Summary: Gibbs meets a young boy that changes his life for the better.
Author's Note: Very AU. Tony is only nine years old.
Disclaimer:I don't own these characters. I just wrote this story for fun.
NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs was driving home from work, deep in thought.
It had been a rather rough week at work. The case he and his team had been working on involved the death of a child, a little girl (as well as her Navy officer father), and those types of cases never failed to affect him deeply.
Every time I looked at her small face, he thought sadly, all I could see was Kelly.
Forcing the memories of the death of his wife and daughter, nearly twenty years gone now, to the back of his mind he turned off onto the road leading to his home…
"Son of a—" he growled, slamming his foot on the break as something small and quick raced across the road in front of him.
Now, what would a kid be doing out this late at night?
Stopping his truck, he got out and headed toward the playground that the kid (and he was pretty sure it was a kid) had run to.
Scanning the area, he narrowed his eyes attempting to spot the little…person.
He can't have disappeared…
Just then, there was a rustle in the bushes and he smirked.
"I know you're there," he called out, kneeling down, "so you might as well come out of there."
He waited a few moments, and then a little boy of about eight or nine years old stepped out from the bush.
He had brown hair and large brown eyes.
He was also wearing an expensive looking shirt and designer blue jeans.
Whoever this kid is…he wasn't born on the wrong side of the tracks, that's for sure.
"Hasn't anybody ever taught you it's dangerous to cross the road without looking?" he raised an eyebrow at the little boy.
The little boy shrugged. He didn't look him in the eye, either.
Gibbs' narrowed his eyes. "What's your name?"
Another shrug was his only answer.
Gibbs sighed. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out his badge. "Do you see this?"
A nod was again his only answer.
"Do you know what it means?"
Another nod, and still no eye contact.
Gibbs resisted the urge to growl—or swear—in annoyance.
He reached out and put a finger underneath the boy's chin and lifted it up so that they were looking each other in the eye.
"What does it mean?" he asked, firmly.
"You're a cop," the boy mumbled, just loud enough for him to hear.
Gibbs nodded. Well, not quite a cop…but close enough.
"That's right," he said, "so I know something is pretty wrong when a little guy like you is out this late at night by yourself. Do you live near here?"
The boy shook his head.
"Run away from home?"
Gibbs did growl this time.
"Look, son," he started to say, but stopped when he caught the smoldering expression in those large brown eyes.
"I'm not your son," the boy growled back at him. "I'm nobody's son."
Uh huh, we'll just have to see about that. Gibbs stood back up and towered over the kid.
"If you aren't going to tell me who to call to come get you," he told him, "you're going to have to come with me."
Those brown orbs widened. "Are you going to take me to jail?" the boy asked, clearly worried.
"No, of course not," Gibbs said, "but I can't leave you out here by yourself. My house is just down the street here."
The boy looked weary. "You some sort of pervert?" he asked, bluntly.
Gibbs narrowed his eyes. "Absolutely not," he growled, offended and indignant at the very suggestion.
"I don't hurt anybody that way, and certainly not little boys!"
He stood up and picked the boy up, who immediately started fighting him.
"Put me down!" the kid growled. "Put me down! I can walk by myself! I'm not a baby!"
One of his kicks hit a little too close to 'home' and Gibbs growled, "Fine, but you are coming with me."
He set the boy down, but held on tightly to his shirt. He headed for his truck with the boy in tow.
Opening his door and ordered, "In."
The boy glared at him, defiantly, but obeyed. Gibbs got in, slammed his door in frustration, and started his truck up.
"So," he said, glancing at the boy who sat sullenly beside him, "want to tell me your name now?"
"No," the boy growled, not looking at him.
Gibbs raised an eyebrow. This kid needs his rear end smacked…
"You are going to have to tell me," he growled at the boy, "so you might as well tell me now."
The boy glared at him, sullenly, but then sighed. "Tony," he said. "My name is Tony."
Gibbs smirked. "All right, Tony," he said, pulling the truck into his drive way, "you hungry?"
The boy's stomach rumbling answered for him.
Gibbs chuckled. "You like pizza?" he asked, getting out and opening the passenger side door.
"Sure," Tony told him, jumping out.
"Great. Let's go." Placing a hand on the boy's shoulder, Gibbs led the way inside.
"You take a seat on the sofa while I order us a pizza," he told him. "Pepperoni, okay?"
Tony shrugged, plopping down onto the sofa and turning the TV on.
Gibbs smirked. Just make yourself right at home, why don't cha?
He got out his cell phone, stepping beyond the boy's line of sight but where he could still see him, and dialed his favorite local pizza place.
After ordering the pizza, he put away his gun (locking it in the lock-box inside the drawer in his hallway—which he also locked with an antique skeleton key he kept behind the mirror hanging there) and badge, took off his jacket, and then headed back in to join the boy on the sofa.
"So, Tony," he said, glancing at the small boy who was busy flicking through channels, "what's a little guy like you doing wandering around at night by yourself?"
The little boy ignored him, continuing to stare straight ahead at the television set.
Gibbs narrowed his eyes.
The 'pretend you didn't hear 'em and maybe there'll go away" trick, eh?
Reaching over, he snagged the remote from the kid's hand and turned off the television.
"Hey!" Tony exclaimed. "You said I could watch TV!"
"Actually," Gibbs told him, smirking, "all I told you to do is take a seat on the sofa. Now, I asked you a question?"
Tony glared at him, turning back around and crossing his arms. His face was clearly pouting.
Gibbs counted to ten very slowly in his mind.
This kid is either really spoiled, really stubborn, or both…and I have a feeling it's both!
He sighed. "Look, Tony," he said, "I can't just ignore the fact that you apparently ran away from home. I'm sure there's somebody very worried about you…"
Tony snorted. "Fat chance!" he said, sneering. "He doesn't care enough to worry about me—and besides, he'd have to get off his ass to look for me!"
"Whoa there," Gibbs growled, "let's tone down the language, little man, and exactly who is 'he'?"
"My so-called dad," Tony growled back. "He hates me! He wants to ship me off to military school—want to know why?—because he says I'm too old to be put up for adoption!"
Gibbs couldn't imagine any parent being that bad, and it didn't look like the boy was abused or anything, but…
After everything I've seen on the job, anything is possible…
"Look, Tony," he said, "I'm going to have to know your last name so that…"
"No!" Tony shouted. "You're just going to take me back to him! I won't go!"
That was when he jumped up and tried to make a run for it.
Gibbs, however, was much quicker and grabbed him before he made it to the door.
The little boy started kicking, hitting, screaming, even biting, but it did him no good.
When those little teeth sank deep into his arm, causing him to swear loudly, Gibbs had finally had enough.
He spun the little boy around and delivered one very solid swat to the seat of his designer jeans.
Tony stopped fighting, staring at him wide-eyed as he held onto his stinging bottom.
"Now then," Gibbs told him, firmly, "I don't like getting physical, but if you do then I will, too. Got it?"
Tony nodded, still staring at him wide-eyed.
"Now you will answer my questions," he told him, sternly, "and you will answer them honestly or I will turn you across my knee and give you a real spanking. Understand?"
Another nod, and a sniffle.
Gibbs' face softened a bit.
It was obvious this kid was very upset…and not just because he'd gotten told to go to his room.
How could anyone not want this kid?
Those big brown eyes would melt the heart of anybody, even an old hard-ass ex-Marine like him.
"Now," he said, gently, "what's your last name, Tony?"
"DiNozzo," Tony said, sniffling again. "Anthony DiNozzo Jr."
His nose wrinkled, showing his obvious distain.
Gibbs grinned. "That must mean your dad's name is Anthony DiNozzo Sr., right?"
Tony just nodded. "Yes, sir," he muttered, quietly.
He fidgeted a bit, but had—Gibbs couldn't help but notice—stopped rubbing his bottom.
"Where does he live?"
"Baltimore," Tony replied, glancing down at his shoes.
Gibbs frowned. Kneeling down, he lifted the boy's chin. "How'd you get all the way here?"
Tony shrugged. "Took the bus," he said, as if it weren't that big a deal.
"How'd you pay for it?" Gibbs asked, curious.
"Allowance," Tony told him.
How much does he get a week? 100 bucks!?
"Didn't the driver or somebody think it odd for a little guy like you to be traveling by himself?" he asked.
Tony smirked. "I just told 'em I was an orphan and going to live with my mean grandfather," he said, grinning. "They 'awed' at me and gave me something to eat. That was it."
Gibbs smirked, shaking his head.
Why, you devious munchkin! You know you're cute and you're not afraid to use it to your advantage!
"So, what?" he asked. "You've just been wondering around since the bus stopped, is that it?"
Tony looked sheepish. "I was…looking for a place to sleep," he admitted, quietly.
Of course you were, Gibbs thought sighing.
"Well," he said, standing back up, "you don't have to worry about that tonight. You can crash here."
"Really?" Tony asked, obviously hopeful. "You mean it?"
Gibbs smirked. "I don't say anything I don't mean, Tony," he told him, reaching out to ruffle his hair. "I've got a nice bedroom with a big bed that's all yours tonight."
Just then, the doorbell rang. "That'll be our pizza," he told him, "c'mon."
Tony followed him to the door, where he paid for the pizza, and then they headed for the kitchen where Gibbs placed the pizza onto the table.
"Grab us some milk, will ya?" he suggested, steering the boy toward the fridge while he got down a couple of glasses and plates.
The boy nodded and did as he was told. After the milk had been poured, and two slices of pizza on each plate, they sat down to eat.
"This smells good," Tony said, as he began devouring his pizza.
Gibbs chuckled. "Yeah," he agreed, diving into his own, "it sure does."
The little boy quickly finished both slices and asked for a third and then fourth.
Kid can really put the food away, Gibbs thought, either that or it's been awhile since he ate.
He hoped it was the first rather than the second, but it didn't much matter either way.
As long as he was in his care, the little guy certainly wasn't going to go hungry.
After his fourth slice, Tony drained his glass of milk in a few gulps and then let out a loud belch.
"Uh, excuse me," he said, blushing.
Gibbs just smirked, and then let out an even louder belch.
"Excuse me, too," he said, thumping his chest with his fist. "Didn't know I had it in me?"
Tony laughed. "Better out than in," he said, snickering.
Gibbs chuckled. "You said it," he said, ruffling the boy's hair again. "Why don't you go watch TV while I clean up?"
"You going to turn it off again?" the boy asked, eyeing him suspiciously.
Gibbs smirked. "Not this time, buddy," he told him, honestly, "go ahead."
The little boy nodded and scampered off.
After washing the dishes and putting the left over pizza in the fridge, Gibbs went to check on him.
He smiled when he found him sound asleep.
Well, that was easy enough.
Scooping the little fellow up, he carried him upstairs to his guest bedroom.
He removed the kid's shirt and jeans, leaving him in his socks and his—silk!—boxer shorts.
Shaking his head, he pulled the covers up to the boy's chin and stared down at him.
A momentary pang of grief surged through him as he remembered the few times he'd done this with Kelly.
If I only had it to do over again…
Sighing, he bent and gently kissed the slumbering boy's head.
Turning out the lights, he headed back downstairs to grab a beer before bed.
After the day I've had, I certainly need one.
The next morning, Gibbs awoke feeling something pressed up against him and frowned.
I don't own a dog…and I didn't have sex last night... so…
He glanced down to find a mop of brown lying snuggled next to him and grinned.
Little Anthony DiNozzo Jr. lay sprawled beside him, arms and legs thrown this way and that, with his head snuggled in the crook of Gibbs' left arm.
No wonder my arm's asleep…
As gently as he could, he lifted the little boy's head so that he could free his arm and the got up.
Grabbing some clean underwear, a clean undershirt, and some socks, he headed into the bathroom for a quick shower.
Hope the kid isn't a light sleeper…
Ten minutes later, he reemerged and got dressed.
Deciding to let the little boy sleep longer, he went down stairs and heated the left over pizza for their breakfast.
Not exactly 'well-balanced' but it'll have to do…
He then went back upstairs to wake the boy.
"Tony," he said, gently shaking him, "time to rise and shine, kiddo."
Tony groaned, mumbled something, and attempted to role back over.
Gibbs chuckled. He used to do the same thing as a boy.
"All right," he said, grinning, "I guess I'll just have to eat all that left over pizza without you."
The boy's big brown eyes popped open and he sat up rubbing them.
"Pizza for breakfast?" he mumbled through a large yawn.
Gibbs chuckled. "Yep," he said, "so hop up already."
The boy nodded, but stopped and looked at him. "I'm sorry," he muttered, quietly.
Gibbs frowned. What had the boy done, wet the bed?
Nah, the bed wasn't wet and besides, he's too old for that…isn't he?
Reaching down, he lifted the boy's chin. "Sorry for what, pal?" he asked, gently.
"Coming in here," Tony told him. "I-I just woke up and got scared…" He was blinking back tears.
"Hey now," Gibbs said, sitting down and placing an arm around his shoulders, "none of that. It's okay, pal. I didn't mind you coming in here."
"You didn't?" Tony asked, clearly surprised by that.
"M-My dad would have called me a "cry-baby" and told me to grow up."
The more I hear about this guy the more I just don't like…
"Well, I know you're not and you know you're not, and that's what counts," Gibbs told him, "right?"
"I'd have been surprised if you didn't get scared…waking up in a strange bed, in a strange room, in a strange house the way you did. I'm glad you came in here with me."
"Really?" Tony asked, looking at him wide-eyed.
"Remember what I said last night?" Gibbs asked him. "I never say something I don't mean, so yeah…really."
Tony grinned. "I kinda got to go to the bathroom," he said, blushing.
Gibbs chuckled. "I did too when I first got up," he told him, ruffling his hair.
"The head—uh, bathroom—is right through there." He pointed to his bathroom door.
Tony nodded and hopped down to head for it.
Gibbs went back into his guest room and retrieved the boy's clothes he'd removed the night before.
Wonder if the kid's got any clothes with him…
When Tony came back out, he handed 'em to him.
"I've got a spare toothbrush in the cabinet in there, so why don't you brush your teeth, get dressed, and come down stairs," he instructed him.
"All right," Tony said, and turned to head back to the bathroom.
Gibbs turned to go downstairs…
"Uh, sir?" Tony's voice called him back and he turned around.
"Yeah?" he asked, curious.
"What do I call you?" Tony asked.
Gibbs' grinned. "You can just call me Gibbs, kiddo," he told him, "or Jethro—that's what my friends call me."
"I think I'll stick to Gibbs," Tony told him, smirking. "Jethro's a funny name!"
Gibbs narrowed his eyes in mock sternness. "I'd be hustling, Mr. DiNozzo," he told him, "if you want any of that pizza left downstairs…"
Tony's eyes widened and hurried into the bathroom.
Gibbs chuckled and headed downstairs, where the boy joined him a few minutes later.
"All set?" he asked him, setting a plate with two slices of left-over pizza down on the table along with a glass of milk.
"Yep," Tony said, smiling. "Mmm…this smells even better than last night!" He dove right in eating.
Gibbs chuckled. Yep, kid definitely can put the food away.
After he cleaned his plate and drained his milk, he looked at him curiously, "What now?" he asked.
"Well, for starters," Gibbs told him, reaching for a napkin, "we wipe that pizza sauce off your upper lip…"
Tony wrinkled his nose has his mouth was wiped clean, which the NCIS agent found amusing.
I hated it when Mom cleaned my face, too.
"…and now," he continued after tossing the dirty napkin in the trash, "we head off to where I work."
"Where's that?" Tony asked him, curious.
"Well, officially, it's called the Naval Criminal Investigation Service," Gibbs explained, "but that's quite a mouth full so we just say NCIS for short."
"Oh," Tony said, hopping up from the table, "but I thought you were a cop."
"I am," Gibbs told him, as he grabbed his keys, "I'm just not a regular cop. I solve crimes that involve the military—such as the Marines or the Navy."
"Wow," Tony said, as he followed him out to his truck after locking up the house, "that's really cool!"
Gibbs grinned as he opened the door for the little guy so that he could hop in.
"I've always thought so," he told him. "Buckle your seat belt."
Tony nodded and did just that while Gibbs went around to the driver's side and got in.
"Do you have a partner?" the boy asked, after they had gotten underway. "The cops in those old black-n-white movies have partners."
"Actually," Gibbs told him, "I head a team of two other agents: Special Agent Kate Todd and Officer Ziva David."
"But they're girls!" Tony exclaimed, his brown eyes wide.
Gibbs chuckled. "That they are," he said, "but they're both very good at their jobs."
"Kate used to work for the Secret Service—she was hand picked to protect the President," he explained further, "and Ziva was a Mossad—that's the Israeli intelligence agency—assassin but she's now an official liaison with NCIS…trust me, you don't want her mad at you."
Tony's brown eyes widened even further. "Wow," he exclaimed, but then looked at him slyly. "Are they pretty?"
Gibbs almost hit the brake, but caught himself in time. He glanced at the boy out of the corner of his eye.
"Remind me," he said, grinning. "How old are you?"
"Nine," Tony told him, "why?"
"No reason," Gibbs said, chuckling.
Kid's gonna be a nightmare when he hits puberty!
"So, are they?" Tony persisted, smirking.
"I'm their boss," Gibbs told him, "so I've never really thought about it…but, yes, I would say they are both very pretty. They certainly get a lot of looks from the other guy agents, anyway."
"Cool," Tony said, smiling. "Who else works there?"
"Well," Gibbs said, "there's Ducky—he's an old friend of mine—and he's the medical examiner. He dissects dead people to see how they died."
Tony wrinkled his nose. "That's gross," he said, clearly not liking the idea.
Gibbs just shrugged. "Doesn't bother him," he told him, grinning. "Man's got a cast iron stomach—he never throws up."
They pulled into the parking garage of NCIS.
"Well," he said, "here we are."
They got out and headed for the elevator that would take them inside.
"I think we're going to pay a visit to Ducky first," Gibbs told the little boy.
"Why?" Tony asked. He wasn't sure he wanted to meet somebody that operated on dead people.
"Well, he's a doctor," Gibbs explained, "and I'd like him to take a look at you—to make sure there's nothing wrong with you on the inside."
"I ain't sick," Tony protested, frowning.
"Maybe, maybe not," Gibbs told him. "Ducky'll be able to tell me one way another."
Tony wrinkled his nose. "Don't wanna," he said, clearly close to pouting.
Gibbs stopped, raised an eyebrow at him, and then knelt down. "It's not up for debate, kiddo," he told him, firmly.
"We are going to see Ducky and you are going to let him have a look at you. If you give him any trouble—like you did me last night—you won't like what happens. Got me?"
Tony's eyes widened, but he nodded. "Fine," he said, sighing. "I'll see the duck man."
Gibbs chuckled. "Duck Man, eh?" he said, "I think he'd like that. C'mon."
They got on the elevator and took it to the lowest levels of the building.
"Hey there, Duck," Gibbs greeted the older man as they entered a large, well lit room that was a bit chilly, "got a live patient for you."
Ducky smiled at his entrance. "Good morning, Jethro," he said, "and who have we here?"
He glanced down at Tony.
The boy stepped a little behind Gibbs, but was pushed front and center by the man. He glared up at him.
"This is Tony, Duck," he told him, ignoring the pouting glare being sent his way. "Think maybe you could have a look at him for me?"
Ducky smiled. He hadn't seen Jethro quite so…cheerful...in a very long time.
"Of course I can," he said, glancing down at the boy.
"Hello there, Anthony, I'm Dr. Mallad. You can call me Ducky, if you like."
Tony wrinkled his nose at the use of his full name and Gibbs chuckled.
"Duck calls everybody by their full name," he told the boy, "even me."
"Yes, don't take it personally, lad," Ducky told him, "it's just my way. Now then, may I lift you up on this table so that I can examine you better?"
Tony glanced at the cold looking metal table. "Is that where you dissect dead people?" he asked, suspiciously.
Ducky glanced at Gibbs, who just shrugged as if to say "What else was I supposed to tell him?"
"Well, yes," the medical examiner answered the boy honestly, "but do not worry. It might be a little cold on your bottom at first, but it's very clean and there haven't been any dead bodies on it in…oh…at least a day."
Tony thought about it. "Okay," he said, and let himself be sat onto the cold table. "My butt's cold."
Gibbs chuckled. "It'll go numb here in a minute," he told him, teasingly, "and then you won't feel a thing."
Tony rolled his eyes. "That helps," he said, sarcastically.
Gibbs reached out and ruffled his hair. "It won't be long, kiddo," he promised him.
Ducky was amazed. Whoever this child is he's done wonders for you, Jethro.
"Now then," he said, "can you open your mouth and say "ah" for me?"
Tony complied, allowing the man to look down his throat, check his pulse, listen to his heart beat, his breathing, and feel around his chest, his throat, his eyes, his ears, and even up his nose.
"Well," Ducky told him, grinning, "I must say you are certainly one healthy young man."
Tony smirked at Gibbs. "Told ya I wasn't sick," he said, smugly.
"Uh huh," Gibbs said, lifting him off the table.
"All right, I admit you were right. Just don't let it go to your head, kiddo."
"Should I make this an official report, Jethro?" Ducky asked, hoping to get some more information about the boy.
"Nah, Duck," Gibbs told him, "I just wanted to make sure the little guy was a-okay. Thanks."
"You're quite welcome," Ducky said, "and you come back to visit me if you can, all right Anthony?"
"Uh, sure thing," the boy replied, grinning, "Duck Man."
Ducky smiled at that, and Gibbs chuckled. "C'mon, kiddo," he said, "I've got work to do."
He led him out of the morgue and headed for the elevators again.
"Where are we going now?" Tony asked, curious.
"Upstairs to where I work," Gibbs told him. "You can meet Kate and Ziva."
Tony smiled. "Cool," he said, as they stepped onto the elevator.
Gibbs just smirked.
He's going to have those two wrapped around his finger in no time, I won't get any work out of 'em today.
They stepped off the elevator and immediately received strange looks from those closest to it.
Gibbs glared and the lookers found something else to do.
"Morning, Todd, David," he greeted his two agents, both of whom were staring at them wide-eyed.
"There a problem?" He gave them the Gibbs' glare.
"Uh, no," Kate said, grinning. "Who's this?"
"This is Tony," Gibbs said, putting an arm around the boy's shoulder. "Tony, this is Kate and Ziva."
"Hi there," the boy greeted the two women. "Boy, Gibbs said you two were real lookers and he wasn't kidding!"
Gibbs almost had a stroke then and there, while Kate looked at him with an amused smirk and Ziva simply stared at him as if he'd grown two heads.
He glared down at the boy. "I said no such thing," he growled at the kid.
The boy blushed. "Well," Tony admitted, "you did say you thought they were pretty."
"Uh huh," Gibbs said, still a bit flustered—when was the last time he'd felt that way?—and looked at his two agents.
"Do you think you two could keep him company for a few minutes? I need to have a word with the Director about something."
"Of course," Kate said, smiling. "I'm sure Tony is going to become a fast friend. Right, Ziva?"
"Of course, Kate," Ziva replied, grinning. "Hello there, Tony."
"You talk funny," Tony told the Israeli woman, bluntly.
This caused her Kate to snort in amusement and Ziva to grin wryly at the little guy.
Gibbs smacked him lightly on the back of the head.
"Be nice," he scolded him, "and behave. I'll be right back."
He headed upstairs as he had noticed the Director watching him and his team.
"Good morning, Agent Gibbs," NCIS Director Jennifer Sheppard greeted him with a raised eyebrow, "something you want to tell me?"
Gibbs glanced down at his two agents who were both apparently enthralled by some story the nine year old was telling them.
"I found him last night," he told her. "He apparently ran away from home because his dad's planning to ship him off to military school because he can't put him up for adoption. I'm going to look into it."
"Why didn't you call the police?" Jen asked, curiously. "Or child services?"
"It was late, Jen," Gibbs told the woman, who was not only his boss but also his former partner and lover, "and the kid was hungry and scared."
"I fed him and put him to bed—but not before I got his name, where he's from, and who his father is."
Jen nodded, grinning. No matter what, Gibbs was always an investigator—even in his own home.
"There's something different about you, Jethro," she said, eyeing him out of the corner of her eye.
Gibbs shrugged. "Got a good night's sleep last night," he said. "Kid can wear you out fast."
"I wouldn't know," Jen told him, grinning. "He won't interfere with any cases that come up?"
Gibbs gave her a look that said quite clearly "Don't ask stupid questions?"
"I'll let Abby watch him if we get a call," he said, "but hopefully I can get a hold of his dad and clear this all up."
Jen nodded. "I trust you, Jethro," she told him, "so I'll let you handle it…for now."
"Good," Gibbs told her, and then turned to head back down the stairs.
"You three getting along?" he asked, coming back to find Tony perched on his deck with both women on either side of him, laughing at a story he was telling them.
"Tony was just telling us that you snore," Kate said, grinning.
"He wished to plug your nose up," Ziva said, smirking, "but he did not think you would appreciate it much."
Gibbs narrowed his eyes at the boy. "I wouldn't," he said, firmly, "and I don't snore."
Tony smirked. "You were asleep," he said, cheekily, "how do you know?"
"Because I just do," Gibbs told him, lifting him off the desk. "I believe you two have work to be doing."
He gave his two agents a pointed look.
"Of course," Kate said, and the two of them headed back to their decks to get back to work.
"I like them," Tony said, smiling.
Gibbs snorted, rolling his eyes. "I could tell," he told him, sitting him down in his chair.
"Sit here and play solitaire. I've got to go make a phone call. Don't move until I get back. Got it?"
Tony saluted him. "Aye, aye, Sir," he said, smirking.
Gibbs chuckled. "Little brat," he said, ruffling his hair.
He then headed for one of the empty conference room and took out his cell phone.
Last night, after Tony had fallen asleep he'd called Baltimore and gotten Anthony DiNozzo Sr. phone number. He dialed it now.
"DiNozzo," a deep Italian voice answered.
"Is this Anthony DiNozzo Sr.?" Gibbs asked, not liking the sound of that voice at all.
Too oily, too slick, reminds me of a snake…
"Depends on who is calling," the man on the other end replied.
"My name's Gibbs," he informed him. "I found your kid last night."
There was a pause.
"I am afraid you must be mistaken, Mr. Gibbs," the oily voice spoke, "I do not have a child."
Gibbs eyes narrowed. "Uh huh," he said, "somehow I don't believe you."
"Believe what you will," the man said, "but I do not have a son…"
"I never said it was a boy," Gibbs told him, smiling.
Got'cha, you snake!
There was a sigh.
"The boy ran away," the man said, clearly annoyed rather than upset. "He is no longer my problem."
Gibbs almost crushed his cell phone from gripping it so hard. "He's your son, you bastard," he growled. "He's your responsibility!"
"A responsibility I never wanted," the man said, coldly. "Do with him as you will, Mr. Gibbs, but do not bring him back to me."
The line went dead.
Gibbs silently called the man every swear word in the book and then took a deep breath to calm himself.
He thought of what his next move should be.
I should drive down to Baltimore and ram my fist down that slimy bastard's throat, but that won't do Tony any good.
How could anyone deny their own child, especially a great kid like Tony?
He sighed. Go talk to Jen…
Decision made, he headed up to her office.
He entered without knocking, as he always did unless he knew she was with someone important.
"What's wrong, Jethro?" she asked, immediately knowing by the look on his face that something wasn't right.
"Tony was right," he growled. "His father—and I use the term loosely—is an A-1 asshole who doesn't give a damn about his son nor does he want him back!"
Jen nodded, understanding. "What will you do now?" she asked him, curiously. "Do you want me to call social services?"
Gibbs sighed. "I don't want him in foster care, Jen," he told her. "He's a great kid, but he's also too old—he's nine and most couples want younger children and we both know it."
"He'll spend the next nine years being shipped from place to place without any real home or family. I don't want that for him."
Jen narrowed her eyes. "What are you saying then, Jethro?" she asked, inwardly grinning. This boy has gotten to you, hasn't he?
"I want him," Gibbs told her, firmly. "Can you talk to legal and ask what exactly I need to do—that doesn't involve the courts, that is."
She nodded. "Will do," she said. "I'll let you know by this afternoon. Are you going to tell him?"
Gibbs sighed. "I've got to," he said, not much liking the idea. "He has a right to know."
She nodded. "Good luck," she told him, sincerely.
He smirked. "Thanks," he said, wryly.
I'm going to need it.
He headed back downstairs to tell the kid immediately, but his cell phone ringing changed that plan.
It was a case—the multiple body count kind.
"Todd, David," he growled at the two women, "grab your gear and gas the truck."
He tossed some keys at Kate.
"What about me?" Tony asked, his brown eyes wide.
Gibbs smirked. Oh, no you don't! No way your going to a crime scene, little man.
"I've someone I want you to meet," he told him, smirking. "C'mon."
He ushered the kid onto the elevator, and punched the button to take them Abby's lab.
"Gibbs!" the young Goth greeted him with a big smile the way she always did. "What? No Caf-Pow?"
"I'll pick one up on my way back," he promised her, sincerely. "I've got someone I'd like you to meet."
Abby looked down and smiled even more at the sight of Tony. "Well, hey there," she greeted him, "I'm Abby—Mistress of the Dark at your service!"
Tony snickered at that." Like Elvira," he said, chuckling. "You don't got her boobs, though."
Abby laughed, but Gibbs frowned. "I think someone's watches too many movies," he growled.
Tony shrugged. "I like movies," he said, simply.
"Me, too," Abby told him, smiling brightly but then glanced at Gibbs. "Want me to keep an eye on him?"
"Do you mind?" Gibbs asked her.
Abby rolled her eyes. "Do I ever mind?" she asked, sarcastically.
"Uh huh," Gibbs said. "He'd better not have any tattoos when I get back, young lady…or we'll have a 'talk'."
Abby winked at Tony. "Whatever you say, Gibbs," she said, grinning impishly at him.
Gibbs sighed. "Behave," he said, "both of you."
"So," Abby asked, once he was gone, "what other movies have you seen?"
Tony smiled. He thought he was going to like the 'Mistress of the Dark' a lot…
Gibbs returned about three hours later, Caf-Pow in hand, to find Tony sound asleep on Abby's futon bed.
"I wore him out," Abby told him, accepting the large caffeine drink. "He's a great kid."
"Yeah, he is," Gibbs told her. "I don't want to wake him, so do you mind if he stays down here for a little while?"
"Course not," she told him. "I like the company."
"If he wakes up, though," he told her, "just send him back upstairs."
Abby narrowed her eyes. "Who is he, Gibbs?" she asked, curious.
"He's mine," Gibbs said, "or at least he's going to be."
"Really?" Abby asked, her eyes wide with excitement. "I've always wanted a baby brother!"
Gibbs snorted, grinning. "You two are going to turn my hair white, I bet," he told her, kissing her cheek. "Kate and Ziva have samples for you."
Abby nodded. "I'll have something ready for you in a little bit," she promised.
"I know," he told her, and after one last glance at the slumbering little boy headed back upstairs to begin this new investigation.
It was about thirty minutes later that the fire alarm went off. Gibbs heart slept up into his throat and he went running for the stairs.
He found Abby putting out a small fire with an extinguisher.
"What happened?" he growled, glancing around for Tony.
"Uh," Abby said, "nothing…"
Gibbs eyes narrowed. "Abigail," he growled, knowing she wasn't being completely honest with him.
"It was an accident, Gibbs," the forensic scientist swore, "nothing to get upset about."
"I-It was my fault."
Gibbs looked to find Tony standing there. The boy had a guilty expression on his face.
"What'd you do?" he asked, suspiciously.
"I-I touched something," Tony said, biting his lip. "I didn't know it would blow up!"
Gibbs looked at Abby. "I didn't realize he was awake," she said, clearly guilty. "I had my back turned. I'm sorry, Gibbs."
"Not you fault, Abs," he told her, kissing her cheek.
He turned to Tony. "You, however, are in big trouble. Follow me."
Tony followed him to one of the conference rooms upstairs.
"I'm sorry, Gibbs," Tony apologized. "It was an accident!"
"I know that," Gibbs told him, "but that doesn't change the fact that you touched something you shouldn't have and nearly caught the building on fire. You and Abby could have been seriously hurt—or worse!"
Tony nodded, blinking back tears.
Gibbs sat in a chair and ordered, "Come here, Anthony."
Tony did so, and found himself upturned across the man's knee.
Gibbs raised his hand back and started spanking him.
Tony was shocked at first, but then started raising a fuss.
"Quit fussing," Gibbs growled at him, "or you'll lose the pants…"
Tony stopped squirming, but started to cry from the stinging swats assaulting his bottom.
Finally, it was over with and Gibbs let him off his lap.
Tears rolling down his cheeks, he reached back to rub.
Gibbs glared at him sternly. "You don't touch anything down in that lab," he growled. "Understand?"
Tony nodded. "Yes, sir," he said, sniffling some more.
Gibbs sighed, and then surprised him even more by pulling him into a big bear hug.
"You scared me, Tony," he told him. "Don't ever do that again."
"Uh, okay," Tony said, a bit puzzled, "but I thought you were going to send me back to my dad?"
Gibbs sighed. He'd almost forgotten about that. Damn it again!
"I talked to your dad earlier, Tony," he told him, "and he…"
"Didn't care," Tony said, blinking out more tears. "He doesn't want me, does he?"
Gibbs wanted to shoot Anthony DiNozzo Sr. right in the balls at that moment.
Bastard doesn't deserve to reproduce ever again!
"Why, Gibbs?" Tony asked, softly crying now. "What did I do? Is it 'cuz I'm little and weak?"
Gibbs pulled the little boy to him and crushed him in a hug.
"You are not weak, Anthony DiNozzo," he told him, firmly. "You're the toughest little boy I've ever met, you hear me?"
"Really?" Tony asked, wide-eyed, but then smirked. "I know, you don't say nothing you don't mean."
Gibbs chuckled. "That's right," he said, hugging him again. "He doesn't deserve you."
Tony cried into his shoulder. "W-What's gonna happen to me now?" he asked, sniffing.
Gibbs held him tighter. "You've got me now, and I'm not ever going to let you go."
Tony looked at him with those large brown eyes. "You really want me?" he asked, hopefully.
"I sure do, tough guy," Gibbs told him, smirking, "and we're going to take care of it right now. C'mon."
Picking the boy up, he headed for the Jen's office.
"Is everything all right, Jethro?" she asked, glancing at Tony.
"Had a bit of an accident down in Abby's lab," Gibbs said. "I took care of it."
Jen nodded, grinning. "Hello, I'm Director Sheppard," she said, smiling down at the boy. "I'm Gibbs' boss."
Tony looked at Gibbs, wide-eyed.
"Your boss is a girl!" he exclaimed.
Gibbs grinned. "Yep," he told him, "she is, and she's a pretty good one, too."
"Why, thank you, Jethro," Jen said, smirking. "I'm glad you approve."
Gibbs snorted. "What did legal say?" he asked, crossing his arms.
Jen glanced down at Tony and then sent him a look that said "Are you sure?"
He nodded. "Just tell me what they said, Jen," he told her, bluntly.
"They said that if you can get Mr. DiNozzo to sign the adoption forms—giving up all parental rights—and granting you permission to adopt Tony," she said, "then all you would need to do would be to file them with your lawyer."
Gibbs nodded. "Thanks," he said, placing a hand on Tony's shoulder. "C'mon, kiddo."
With that, he turned and headed out of the office. Tony followed.
"Where are we going, Gibbs?" he asked, curious.
"First we're going to the legal department," Gibbs told him, "and then…we're going to Baltimore."
"Are you sure you don't want to just stay in the car?"
Gibbs asked Tony a few hours later after they had driven to Baltimore.
Tony shook his head. "I've got to get my stuff," he said. "It's mine, not his."
Gibbs nodded, understanding.
They reached Anthony DiNozzo's condo and he rang the door bell.
A well dressed Italian man in a three-piece suit answered the door. He immediately frowned at the sight of them.
"I told you not to bring him back here," he growled, coldly.
It took all of Gibbs control not to knock the cold smirk off the man's oily face.
"Tony wants his stuff," he growled, "and I have some papers for you to sign—then you won't ever have to be "bothered" by him ever again."
DiNozzo Sr. sighed. "Come in then," he growled, "but this had better be quick."
Gibbs nodded, placing a hand on Tony's shoulder as they entered. "Go get your stuff, buddy," he told him, "but hurry it up. I want out of here as soon as possible."
"Me, too," Tony said, rushing off to get his stuff.
Gibbs glared at DiNozzo Sr. "You're a real bastard," he growled. "That kid deserves better than a worm like you."
"We all have our faults, Mr. Gibbs," the man said, smirking. "What papers do you need me to sign."
"These," Gibbs said, taking out the adoption papers.
"You sign 'em and they transfer your parental rights to me. Tony will be my son—not yours. He'll have my name so that you won't have to worry about him 'ruining' yours."
The man smirked. "It was his mother's idea to have him, you know," he said, not sorry at all.
"I was young and foolish and agreed despite the fact I never wanted children. Then, she had to up and die when he was five."
Gibbs really did not like this man. "Just sign the damn papers," he growled.
Still smirking, DiNozzo Sr. did so.
"Happy now?" he asked, sneering.
Gibbs got the papers and put them in his pocket. "Not quite," he said, and then slugged the man in the jaw.
"Way to go Gibbs!" Tony exclaimed, watching his father land hard on his ass on the floor, knocked out cold.
"Let's go, tough guy," Gibbs said, taking the two duffle bags the boy was dragging. "Did you get everything?"
"Yep," Tony said, smiling. "The one bag has my clothes and stuff, and the other has all my movies."
Gibbs grinned. "We'll have to go buy some more stuff this weekend," he told him, as they made their way back to the truck.
"I can't believe it, Gibbs," Tony said, smiling. "I'm going to get to live with you, for real?"
Gibbs chuckled. "Believe it, tough guy," he told him, opening the truck so he could hop in.
"Call me 'Dad'."
A.N—I think I'm going to call this universe "Gibb's Little Guys". The second one will be called "Smart Guy" and will center around McGee.