Just pretend DC had a White Christmas in 2003 ;)

December 25, 2003 0600

"Gibbs! Gibbs! Gibbs! I need you! Merry Christmas, by the way!"

Jethro Gibbs looked at his clock and sighed. "Abbs…"

"Gibbs! Look out the window! I need your help! You're like Santa Gibbs. Only you can save the day!"

He rolled out of bed and padded to the window, a small smile playing on his lips. "Snowed huh?"

"Uh huh! Inches and inches! And I need your help, Santa Gibbs. Come on, help your girl out on Christmas."

He rolled his eyes. "Whatcha need?"

"Well, Gibbs, you see, I spend every Christmas with the nuns and Sister Mary Theresa hurt her back and I can't do all the shoveling myself and I knew you wouldn't mind helping the nuns out, 'cause ya know, they're the nuns. They're just as special as you are. Not that we're all not unique in God's eyes, but anyway—"

"Address?" he bit out, interrupting her.

"Don't be grouchy, Gibbs. It's Christmas." She happily rattled off the address and he wrote it down, promising her that he'd be there. It took maybe an hour for him to clear off his driveway and get the car out of the garage. The streets were deserted. Snow in DC was a rarity anyway and caused drivers to be excessively timid, so he was glad that he could power through the freshly plowed roads.

When he got to the convent, he stepped out, glancing over at the church where an elderly man was shoveling. Gibbs trotted over to him. "Can I help you with that?"

The man turned and nodding, giving him a gentle smile. "Thank you, son. Were you just passing by?"

Gibbs shook his head. "A friend of mine asked me to come over and help get the nuns dug out." He took in the older man's flushed face and his decision was made. "Father, go sit down out of the cold. I can handle clearing the steps and the paths."

The priest's eyes glittered with tears. "Thank you, son. Could I get you some hot chocolate or coffee?"

Gibbs nodded to his thermos. "If you could top me up with coffee in half hour that'd be great. What time is your first service?"

"Ten," the priest said, squeezing his shoulder. "God bless you, son."

Gibbs shook his head. "God hasn't blessed me in a lot of years, Father." The priest watched him and nodded sadly before walking back inside. Gibbs took a long slug of coffee and prepared to do battle with the fluffy snow.

"Gibbs! Gibbs!" He looked up at the sound of Abby's voice and smiled, waving at her. She was bouncing up and down from her position at a window of the convent, cupping her cheeks so that her voice would carry better.

"Be over when I'm done here, Abbs!" he replied.

Gibbs shoveled mechanically, only breaking to gulp coffee every ten minutes. By the time the priest came out to refill him, the four stairs leading up to the church had been cleared and he was nearly done with the path to the rectory. In a half hour, forty-five minutes at most, he'd be done and in his car for the drive back home, his bourbon, and his boat.

"You'll join us for the service?" the priest asked quietly as he handed over the coffee.

Gibbs looked down at his saturated jeans and boots and flushed a little.

"Son, God doesn't discriminate. And if you're Abby's special agent I've heard so much about, you should have some dry clothing in the back of your car."

Gibbs managed a smile before he drank deeply. "I do," he allowed.

"Do you have any family waiting? A wife? Children?" the priest asked quietly.

Gibbs paused, swallowing a large gulp of the hot brew. He couldn't lie to a priest; it didn't matter that he no longer believed. "Not any more. My wife and daughter died twelve years ago. Abby doesn't know, though. Please don't tell her."

The priest squeezed his shoulder. "I won't say a word. Come inside, please. I know you no longer believe in miracles, but we'd love to have you here anyway. Let us give you something, even if it is just companionship and good food."

Gibbs leaned on the shovel, watching the priest. "I don't know, Father."

The priest squeezed Gibbs' arm. "As you wish, Jethro. I need to get ready. But think about it. I imagine Kelly and Shannon would be sad to see you alone on Christmas." With that, the priest went into the rectory, leaving Gibbs staring after him.

He hadn't given the priest any of their names.