The piano had belonged to Shannon, she'd studied classical piano as a child and the small upright was one of her prized possessions. When they'd moved into their home, it was one of the first things to be brought in. She'd played it every day almost until during her pregnancy, she'd had to stop because her belly had gotten too big for her to be able to sit at the piano comfortably and still be able to play.
Soon after Kelly was born, Shannon began showing her how to play. In fact, that was sometimes the only thing that would comfort Kelly when she was fussing with colic. When Kelly was older, Shannon began teaching her how to play and they'd practice for hours while Gibbs was down in the basement working on his boat. The sound of his wife and daughter practicing together was so comforting, that he'd often turn off the Farm Report to listen to them.
After Shannon and Kelly's murders, he'd often toyed with getting rid of the piano; he couldn't carry a tune and the memories that the piano brought back were too painful. But everytime he got half a mind to sell it, something stopped him. Even though them memories were painful, the piano represented Shannon and Kelly and he couldn't bear to get rid of it. He just closed the lid and tried not to look at it whenever he was in the room.
Through each of his subsequent three marriages and numerous girlfriends, the piano remained closed, no one ever touched it or tried to play it and Gibbs was fine with it; he didn't want anyone touching Shannon's piano, messing with the sheet music she'd loved so much.
Then one day, he'd been in his basement working when he'd heard the sound of the old piano playing, very out of tune but he recognized the music as one Shannon had loved. Frowning, he walked upstairs and into the living room and stopped in shock. Tony was sitting at the piano, his long elegant finger moving reverently over the yellowed keys.
"Tony? What're you doing?" At the sound of his voice, Tony jumped up away from the piano and turned around, his green eyes wide.
"Gibbs! I'm sorry! It's just-I'd never noticed it before and I couldn't help myself." He stammered some more before Gibbs stepped forward and put a hand over Tony's mouth.
"Tony, it's fine. I don't mind you playing it." He couldn't believe that he was saying it, if any of his exes had dared touch the piano, he would've been extremely pissed. But for some reason, seeing Tony playing the piano hadn't angered him. Confused, he looked at the piano again, "I didn't know you could play."
Tony shrugged, "My mom insisted that I learn. I took lessons until my teacher smacked me on the knuckles. Then in college, I needed a couple of music credits so I took it up again, been playing ever since." Only problem is that I can't have a piano in my apartment and when I saw yours, I just couldn't help it." He looked at the piano longingly, "Where'd you get it?"
Gibbs sighed, "It was Shannon's. She played it all the time and she taught Kelly."
Tony's face instantly sobered, "I'm sorry, Boss. I didn't know."
Gibbs shrugged, "It's okay. I actually forgot it was there. No one's played it since their funerals." He blinked back the tears that the memory brought up. Then he turned his attention back to Tony's sudden appearance, "So, what're you doing here at…" He glanced at his watch and was shocked to see that it was almost midnight, "Zero-hundred hours?"
Tony shrugged, "I thought you could use some help with the boat." Which in Tony-speak meant: 'I can't sleep and I don't want to take the sleeping pills Ducky prescribed.'
Gibbs sighed, "Come on, you can help me with the ribs."
They had a fun working on the boat. Turned out that Tony was a pretty good singer and knew a lot of songs ranging from classical to old showtunes to classic rock.
As the night wore on, Tony's yawns became more frequent and it took little in the way of persuasion to get him upstairs and into bed. As he watched Tony sleep, he thought back to the piano and wondered how much it would cost to have the piano tuned so that Tony could come over and play whenever he wanted.
Shannon had once told him that the piano was the music of the heart and now he believed her. Hearing and watching Tony play had awakened something he hadn't felt since Shannon and Kelly had died; love. True, he'd loved his three ex-wives but not the way he'd loved Shannon, Kelly and now Tony. He smiled at the thought; maybe in time he'd be able to get Tony to sleep in his bedroom instead of the guest bedroom.