A Stillwater Easter
Gibbs had thought about declining the offer from his father to spend the Easter long weekend with him. He had told his father that he'd be bringing the team with him since they had no family around. McGee's sister was out of town with something to do with college. He had hoped that all the guests would have his father withdraw the invitation. Of course that didn't happen.
Tony was strangely reluctant about going, Abby didn't need to be asked twice… McGee and Ducky had thought about it but eventually agreed. Ziva was the most of the reluctant of the lot to say the least. But she decided to go along with it all. There ended up being a full house as the couple of cars made their way to Stillwater.
STILLWATER: 0615 am (sun up)
Jackson Gibbs stood on the front lawn as the two cars began to pull up and came to a complete halt. "Hope you have enough room for all of us Dad," Gibbs said as everyone filed out of the car.
"When you said you were bringing everyone, I thought you were only saying that to try and get out of spending Easter here," Jackson said as he took the bags from Abby who happily handed them over. Ziva quickly took hers out of reach with an angry huff.
"Coming DiNozzo?" Gibbs shot his agent an impatient glance. Tony's head snapped up in shock as if he was miles away.
"Actually… Thanks for the offer," Tony paused for a moment. "I appreciate it and all. But I think I might just check into a hotel," he said solemnly as he grabbed the case and leaned up against the car.
"If Tony is going into a hotel I am as well," Ziva said assertively.
"Oh come on," Abby insisted that they stay. McGee shook his head in disbelief.
"What's going on with you?" Gibbs asked loudly. For a few days, Tony had been acting downtrodden and not himself at all. He motioned for Tony and Ziva to enter the house with their bags. As the two past him he gave them a headslap each. "Get inside," he said as Gibbs and his father watched everyone enter the house. It was like dealing with children at times.
"They remind me a lot of you Jethro," Jackson Gibbs observed. "Stubborn, independent and childish," he added.
Gibbs looked at his father with the mouth wide open. "I'm not childish dad," he said while shaking his head. "Thanks for having them all," Gibbs smiled.
"Guess we better go and assign them their rooms," Jackson said as they entered.
"Ya think?" Gibbs smiled. That was something that needed to be done or else they'd be squabbling over who's bed was who's. That was something he didn't want to happen.
Jackson had quickly excused himself after setting up breakfast. He had his store to set up for the Easter rush. Tony rose to his feet quickly and offered his services to help. Jackson readily agreed and was surprised that Tony was out the door in a flash. All he said was yes, he'd appreciate the young man's help and Tony jumped to his feet with childlike excitement. Ziva soon followed suit.
Tony helped stock the shelves with Ziva. She couldn't believe that he was being so quiet but that suited her just fine. He looked over at her and it wasn't long before a mischievous smile appeared on his face.
Jackson was filling out some of the store's paperwork and making sure the till was fully set up for the business of the day. His son's two quiet agents suddenly began talking with the strangest conversation he had ever heard two adults enter into.
"Oh come on… I am worth more than a dollar ninety nine," Ziva said loudly as she checked her arm and huffed angrily at Tony. He shrugged and adjusted the price gun and used it on the arm again. "Two dollars ninety nine?" She took the sticker off her arm and put it on Tony's cheek but then quickly removed it. "Sorry, I forgot, you are worthless," Ziva said trying to get back to work.
"I think you mean priceless Ziva," Tony corrected her.
"I know what I meant," she huffed and moved further down the aisle.
"Yeah?" Tony asked.
"Yeah," Ziva responded.
Jackson shook his head and wondered if they acted like this around the office. If so, he wondered how the hell they got any work done. Any which way, it felt better to have his son and even his colleagues back in town. Occasionally the house got too lonely at times. "If you two have quite finished your yacking perhaps you can bring the cartons of drinks out of the store room Anthony," Jackson requested.
"Sure thing… Boss… Um, Boss Senior," Tony quickly corrected himself. "I'll be right back," he said as he slowly walked away.
Tony lifted the a couple of boxes of soda and took them to the fridge. He flexed his arm as it felt like it was beginning to ache. The air from the fridge seemed to bite at his face when he opened the door. A familiar tickle formed deep in his throat and he cleared his throat to remove it and finally got rid of the tickling to get back to what he was doing.
He saw the shadow of an arm reach above him and then felt a sudden chill of coldness against his neck. "Sounds like you need it," Jackson said.
Tony forced himself not to flinch at how freezing the bottle was. "Thanks," he said as he opened the bottle and took a long mouthful. "It's just so dusty in the stockroom," Tony smiled halfheartedly.
Ziva took the other bottle from Jackson's hand. "Thought you would be use to dusty Tony," she laughed. "Gibbs' basement is dusty is it not?"
Tony rolled his eyes as he drunk more and continued working. "That's different Zee-Vah," he smirked and wiped his forehead.
Ziva grunted in response and left the area since she was clearly annoyed. Tony shrugged his shoulders. "She was a lot nicer last time around," Jackson commented absently.
"Yep," Tony responded without giving too much away. "This is her on a good day lately... I think..." He quickly cut himself off. "Looks like another box of mountain dew can fit in there," Tony changed the subject.
"But after that... We're going back to the house before we open up later," Jackson said.
"You're the boss, Boss," Tony joked before making his way back to the store room. Tony was willing the urge to cough to go away as he found himself struggling to bring the box back and he dropped it at his feet when he reached the fridge again. "I was thinking of going sightseeing later on," Tony called back. "You know of any good sights around town?" He asked.
"Oh gee, no I don't Tony," Jackson responded. "I've lived in Stillwater most of my life and I haven't left the store or my front yard," he answered.
"You know you and Gibbs are very much alike in that department," Tony laughed as he imagined those words coming out of Gibbs' mouth. He struggled to laugh and breathe at the same time and his body began heaving as it gave into the coughing fit that Tony was trying to avoid.
"You alright there?" Jackson looked towards the fridge where the loud coughing was coming from.
"Yeah," Tony answered in between spasms. "Air just went down the wrong airway," he sounded convincing. "Shit," Jackson heard Tony say after there was a small bang.
"What happened?" Jackson turned around once again as he was filling the cigarette shelves up.
"I dropped a couple of cans and they've burst," he said. "You got a mop there?" Jackson had already foreseen this and was already on his way with a mop and bucket. "Sorry about that," Tony said sheepishly as he began mopping up the spilled contents.
Fortunately, the need to cough had subsided before they had entered the house. It was time. Tony just wanted to get changed and out of there. He really wanted to get out and about. Last time they were here he didn't get a chance to look around Stillwater. Now he had the chance to see the town where his enigmatic Boss grew up. Perhaps it will give him a chance to gain an insight into Gibbs personality.