Disclaimer: I don't own them, just like to write about them.
Author's Note: Written for the NFA Secret Santa for Starvingwriter/Linda. Just a nice little Christmas story. Enjoy!
What I always wanted for Christmas
What should have been a run of the mill interview of a witness turned out to be the opposite when said witness, now a suspect, bolted back into his house. As Tony broke down the door and took chase through the house Gibbs went around to the back hoping to cut him off. He rounded the corner just in time to see Tony tackle the suspect off the deck that was on the back of the house.
That was how Gibbs came to be sitting in the ER on Christmas Eve waiting for his Senior Field Agent.
Although he was ticked off that Tony had gotten hurt Gibbs was glad that the injury wasn't more serious seeing as it turned out the guy had a knife on him. A dislocated shoulder was the worst of it along with a few scrapes and bruises from the fall. It was just Tony's bad luck that he had landed wrong when he tackled their suspect.
When Tony emerged from the examination room with his left arm in a sling, he was barely able to hide his surprise at seeing Gibbs.
"Hey Boss" Tony said, "You didn't have to wait for me."
"You came here in an ambulance DiNozzo" Gibbs responded patiently, "Just how were you planning on getting home?"
As his boss stared at him Tony quickly continued "But seeing as you're already here I guess I'll be riding with you."
Gibbs just nodded at him as he turned and headed out the door with Tony trailing behind him. Once they got in the car and started driving Tony dozed off, the pain meds the doctor had given him in the ER taking effect. Tony woke up when he felt the car stop moving and looked around at where they were.
"I thought you were taking me home boss?" he asked.
"But this is your home."
"Oh, got it." Tony said when Gibbs didn't answer as he got out of the car.
As Tony slowly got out of the car he stumbled slightly only to find Gibbs right there grabbing his good arm to steady him. He mumbled his thanks and then followed Gibbs into his house. Once inside Tony trailed behind as Gibbs went into the kitchen but hesitated in the doorway. As he watched his boss start up the coffee maker he began talking.
"You know, I don't need a babysitter. I'll be fine on my own."
Gibbs turned around and crossed his arms across his chest as he leaned against the counter. "DiNozzo" he began but Tony kept talking.
"Plus it's Christmas Eve boss, I'm sure you must have plans and I don't want to be in the way." Tony pulled his cell phone out of his pocket "I'm just going to call a cab and I'll be out of here."
Gibbs sighed as he pushed himself off the counter and walked over to him. Taking the cell phone from Tony he flipped it shut the put it back in his hand.
"You're not going anywhere Tony and you're not in the way. Now go into the living room, sit down and rest." Gibbs had taken a hold of his arm as he spoke and turned him around, his tone leaving no room for an argument.
As Tony walked back into the living room Gibbs turned around, shaking his head as he went back over the coffee maker. Yeah, sure he had plans. He had invited his dad to come and spend Christmas with him; it had been his attempt at trying to restore his relationship with his father. But if Gibbs was honest with himself having Tony here was a blessing in disguise, for all of them. He could be a distraction, almost a buffer between his dad and him, giving them something else to concentrate on.
Gibbs also knew that this could be good for Tony too. He had found out that Tony had volunteered to be the on-call agent over the holiday and that he didn't have any plans. Gibbs had seen the longing in Tony's eyes as the other members of his team had talked about what they were doing for the holidays and he saw this as his opportunity to help him. His lack of a relationship with his own father had made him never question Tony's not having any contact with his. But now that things had changed, he had started to take a closer look at Tony.
Gibbs made a quick call to his dad to let him know about the extra person that would be sharing the holiday with them even though he knew he wouldn't mind. As he worked on making some sandwiches for them to eat Gibbs sighed softly, he couldn't change things overnight but it was a start.
When Tony entered the living room the first thing he noticed was the Christmas tree. How could he have missed it when he walked through the first time? He had never seen Gibbs have a Christmas tree before but then again as he thought about it, he hadn't spent a lot of time here around the holidays. Tony couldn't help himself, he went over and plugged the lights in that were on the tree and then stood back to look at it.
It was really quite nice. Of course it was nothing like the ones his parents had when he was growing up. Those were huge professionally decorated trees that looked like something you would see in a department store or even the White House. Gibbs tree only had some lights and a smattering of ornaments. Very understated and just the basics; like the man himself. As he stood there admiring the tree it hit him, his boss must be expecting someone. Tony decided that he would leave early the next morning so as not to mess up whatever plans Gibbs had for the day.
That is how Gibbs found him when he walked into the room, standing still just staring at the tree.
"DiNozzo" Gibbs said.
Tony jumped slightly as he turned around. Gibbs motioned towards the sofa with his head as he sat down the tray with their food and drinks onto the coffee table. Tony settled onto the sofa and Gibbs into the chair next to it then they both began to eat in silence.
Tony really wasn't very hungry despite the fact that he hadn't had anything since breakfast and as he picked at his food Gibbs kept a watchful eye. Having finished only half his sandwich and basically picking apart the rest Tony put the plate back onto the tray.
"Sorry, guess I'm just not very hungry." Tony said apologetically.
Gibbs waved off the apology as he gathered up the dishes and took them into the kitchen. While he was gone Tony got up and wandered back over to the tree, there was just something comforting about it to him. Taking a closer look at the ornaments he noticed that some of them seemed to be pretty old. He was so intent on studying them that Tony didn't notice when Gibbs had come back into the room until he was right next to him.
"Got a couple of those from Santa." Gibbs pointed at an ornament that Tony was playing with.
"Santa?" Tony raised his eyebrows.
"It was my mom's tradition." Gibbs shrugged. "She would get a new ornament every year and hang it on the tree after I had gone to bed then tell me that Santa had brought it. Became almost a game to see how fast I could find the new ornament every year."
"That sounds nice boss." Tony said wistfully as he picked up a different decoration from the tree. After a few moments Gibbs broke the silence.
"So Tony, you have any Santa stories?"
"No, not really." Tony shrugged his shoulder "My parents weren't really into the whole Santa thing."
Gibbs glanced over at him but didn't see any outward signs that it bothered Tony, but then again he rarely showed that anything bothered him. Tony let go of the ornament he had been holding and put his hand up to try and cover his yawn.
"Oops" Tony grinned sheepishly "Guess I'm more tired than I thought."
"Go to bed DiNozzo"
"C'mon Gibbs, it's still early"
"Santa won't come until you go to bed." Gibbs said with a straight face.
Tony was trying to decide if his boss was yanking his chain or not when he saw the twinkle of humor in his eyes.
"Oh, I see someone got a sense of humor for Christmas." Tony shot back.
Gibbs delivered a softer version of his usual head slap then pointed to the stairs.
"Right, going to bed now." Tony grinned.
After making sure that Tony was settled into the guest room and getting him some pain killers Gibbs went back down to his kitchen to finish cleaning up. Once there he made a second call to his dad then got to work cleaning and getting things ready for tomorrow's meal.
The next morning Gibbs was up at his usual crack of dawn. After getting showered and dressed he settled himself at the kitchen table with his coffee and the paper while he waited for his dads arrival. Although he had time to enjoy a few cups and read most of the paper his dad arrived earlier than he thought he would until he remembered he was just as much an early riser as he was. Opening the door before his dad could ring the bell and awaken Tony, Gibbs took some of the bags from him.
"Merry Christmas Dad." Gibbs greeted him.
"Merry Christmas son." Jackson replied as he followed him into the living room. Lifting up one of the bags in his hand he continued, "This one needs to go into the refrigerator."
Setting down the other bags onto the sofa Gibbs showed him the way to the kitchen. As Gibbs was putting away the bag of food his dad leaned against the counter. "Tony still sleeping?" he asked.
"Yeah, I was just about to go and check on him." Gibbs gestured for his dad to follow him. "C'mon and I'll show you where you can put your bag."
Jackson grabbed his small overnight bag from the living room and then followed his son up the stairs. Once they reached the top Gibbs pointed down the hall.
"You can put your bag in my room. I'm just going to check on DiNozzo and then I'll meet you back downstairs." Gibbs said.
After setting his bag inside the bedroom Jackson went to head back downstairs when he saw that the door to what he surmised was the guest room was open. Peaking inside he saw something that made him smile. There was his gruff former Marine son pulling the blanket up over the shoulders of his sleeping agent, stopping just short of tucking him in it appeared. He then saw him gently brush his hand over the top of Tony's head with what was clearly a paternal look on his face. Jackson backed away not wanting to interrupt and quickly headed downstairs.
As he waited for his son to come back down Jackson began to empty the bag that was still left on the sofa. There were just a couple of presents for his son plus a little something he had managed to get at the last minute for Tony. He took them over to put under the tree. As he looked over the decorations that were there it all made sense, why his son had him bring the item that was still in the bag. He was just heading towards the kitchen when Gibbs came down the stairs.
"I was able to get what you asked for on the phone last night." Jackson gave his son a knowing smile, "It's on the sofa. I'm going to get myself some coffee."
Once his dad went into the kitchen Gibbs retrieved the item out of the bag. Going over to his desk he grabbed another item and took both over to the tree. Once he finished his little project, he got his gifts from the hall closet to put under the tree then went to the kitchen to get started on making something for breakfast. Gibbs had expected his dad to question him about the item or at least make some kind of comment. But to his surprise even though his dad was carrying on a conversation with him about nothing in particular he remained silent on the item in the bag.
Back upstairs Tony was just waking up. As he blinked away the sleepiness he realized by the sun shining through the curtains that he had slept later than he had intended. Damn, he thought, there go my plans for getting out of Gibbs way today. As he got out of bed the pain from his injuries made themselves known. Looking around he discovered that not only had Gibbs left him a change of clothes he had also set out a bottle of painkillers. Grabbing both he headed out to the hallway and towards the bathroom to freshen up, it was there that he heard the murmur of voices coming from below. He stopped and listened for a minute, he recognized his boss instantly but it took a moment before he figured out whom he was talking with.
"Oh crap" he muttered to himself then continued to the bathroom. As he got cleaned up and changed his clothes he thought about how he could make his escape. He really liked Gibbs dad and felt that he liked him too but the last thing Tony wanted to do was intrude on what was obviously meant to be a family Christmas. Thinking that maybe now that Gibbs was distracted he could just slip out of the house without him noticing but Tony quickly dismissed that idea. Not only was Gibbs never that distracted, it would be just plain rude to not at least stop and say hello; he had been taught proper manners after all. But then, he decided, he would make up some story about having plans that would get him away from Gibbs and his dad.
After he finished getting dressed Tony made his way down the stairs but went into the living room instead of the kitchen, he was still trying to come up with a plausible story that would get him out of this house. Looking over at the tree Tony noticed the presents underneath and with his inner-child taking over he went to check them out. Kneeling down to read the tags he saw the ones addressed to both Gibbs and his dad, no surprise there. But what gave him pause was the one that had his name on it, the handwriting unfamiliar. Coming to the conclusion that it must be from Gibbs dad Tony sighed as he stood up, he couldn't very well leave now.
As he turned to leave something on the tree caught his eye. That was strange, he thought, I don't remember seeing that ornament last night. It was a beautiful shade of blue, kind of a robins egg blue but a shade or two lighter. On the one side it had a picture of what appeared to be a building but when Tony looked closer he realized it was actually an old country church. When he went to take a hold of it to have a closer look the ornament spun around and he saw that it had something written on it. When Tony looked and saw what it said he froze. Recognizing the hand writing as belonging to his boss, his finger traced over the words as a smile slowly spread across his face.
"Tony's First Christmas" he read over and over as his finger traced the words, his smile growing.
Gibbs had barely been listening to his dad's story, he had heard Tony moving around upstairs and when he came downstairs but didn't come into the kitchen Gibbs got curious. Holding his hand up to pause his dad's story Gibbs stood up from the table.
"I'll be right back. Just want to check on Tony."
Walking out of the kitchen Gibbs paused at the entrance to the living room, he arrived just in time to see Tony reading the tags on the presents. Jackson had followed his son and now stood just behind him but slightly to the right. That way he too, could watch Tony but he could also watch his son watching Tony.
They both watched as Tony discovered the ornament, Jackson could feel the tension coming from his son but as soon as they saw his reaction the tension disappeared. Stepping up behind his son Jackson spoke in a low voice.
"So I know there's a story here. Care to share?"
"Not my story to tell." Gibbs answered.
Jackson watched as the smile on his son's face grew while he watched Tony reading the ornament.
"Well, I know one thing for sure. It looks like everyone got what they wanted for Christmas." Jackson said as he reached up and put his hand on his son's shoulder.
Hope everyone had a good holiday!