DISCLAIMER - not mine, obviously

AUTHORS NOTE - Just a little something to help me over my writers block from the past couple of months so if you think it sucks just say, I won't be offended.

Gibbs knew they should have been keeping a closer eye on Kelly, making sure their three year old didn't get lost in the crowds but with three other children with them that wasn't always feasible. They were visiting Shannon's sister Lily in Rhode Island to help the woman out. Lily had just given birth to a baby girl and, already having seven year old twin boys, her and her husband were exhausted. They'd agreed to take the kids to the pier for the day to give the other adults a chance to buy in the last of the kids Christmas presents.

The twins had been carrying on and all the ruckus had woken the baby who'd in turn began to cry. Whilst he tried to soothe the child and Shannon scolded the boy Kelly had managed to slip away and toddled down to edge of the pier. His head snapped up at a scream of 'daddy' - he'd recognise his little girl's voice anywhere - and watched in horror as she slipped on some ice and disappeared into the water. Before he even realised what he was doing he was handing the baby off to Shannon and running to the water to save his daughter, knowing that Kelly couldn't swim. Someone beat him to it. A young boy had been standing nearby and dived into the water. Gibbs arrived in time to have his daughter's shivering figure handed to him as the boy slipped under the water again. Coughing and spluttering the boy pulled himself out of the water, his numb limbs refusing to co-operate as he sat trembling on the pier.

"Anthony!" a tall imposing man stormed over. "What did you think you were doing? There's no way you can come to the office like that and your suit is ruined."

"S...sorry father," his trembling increased but Gibbs couldn't tell if it was from fear or simply the cold.

"I'll see you later," the man turned and walked away.

"Here," Gibbs wrapped his coat around the boy.

"T...thank you s...sir," he got out through chattering teeth.

"I think it's us who owe you the thanks," Shannon had gotten Kelly wrapped in a blanket and was rocking the three year old soothingly in one arm whilst holding the baby in the other.

"It's n..no p..prob..lem," he managed.

"My sister lives nearby," Shannon stated. "Let's get the two of you back there and dried up."

"T..thank you ma'am," his lips were turning blue.

"Please, call me Shannon," she smiled. "And honestly, it's the least we can do."

"What's your name kid?" Gibbs lifted him when it became apparent he was in no fit state to walk, finding that he was almost as light as Kelly.

"T..tony," he offered. "Tony DiNozzo."

"Nice to meet you Tony," they reached Lily's house and he settled the boy on the couch. "You wait here and I'll go get you some towels and something to wear."

"Why are you being so nice to me?" he wondered as another blanket was wrapped around his shoulders, his shivers abating somewhat.

"You saved our little girl," Shannon had put the baby down for a nap and changed Kelly.

He frowned slightly at that, as though trying to figure out their reasonings to be grateful for someone simply for helping their child. The twins were playing happily upstairs in their room and Gibbs handed him a couple of towels and some of the older man's clothes, to change into. It wasn't long before he was curled up under some blankets in the lounge again, with a cup of hot milk and some cookies. Shannon couldn't help but fuss over the boy, her maternal instincts coming out and he seemed to be genuinely enjoying the company.

Over the next several hours Gibbs managed to carefully extract information from the boy. It turned out that Tony was a, twelve year old, swimmer at Rhode Island Military Academy and was interested in joining the police but that his father was completely against the idea and his mother had died two years previously. It didn't take an idiot to read between the lines that DiNozzo Snr wanted him to take over the family business and was determined to do anything to get him to agree. He excused himself when Lily and her husband got back, claiming he really had to get home before his father. Gibbs gave him a lift and was marginally surprised to see the sight of the manor he lived in. Thanking the older man he headed inside and was greeted by the servants. Despite their best intentions they eventually lost touch with the little boy they owed so much to. The next days paper read 'Local Hero Saves Toddler' a reporter had been on the pier and his actions had made front page as there was little else going on.

25 years later

Gibbs really couldn't be bothered with the case in Baltimore, especially so soon after Burley had left, and with Blackadder the only member of his team but the director had insisted. Sighing he led the junior agent and Ducky on to the crime scene. His eyes fell on the only police officer who seemed to be doing any work and widened in a mixture of shock and recognition. Little Tony DiNozzo wasn't so little anymore, in fact he was taller than Gibbs, but the agent would recognise that smile and those sparkling green eyes anywhere.

"See you became a cop after all," Gibbs called.

"Gibbs," Tony's face lit up in delight. "What are you doing here?"

"NCIS," the agent suggested.

"Figures," the younger man grinned. "What with you being a marine and all, so you want my case?"

"I think in this instance we can share it," Gibbs offered.

"Great," Tony agreed.

Approaching him the younger man filled him in on everything Baltimore PD had done and learned so far, ignoring the dark glares from the other police officers on the scene. He had to admit that he was rather impressed, he'd always known the boy would make a good cop but the younger man's enthusiasm and knowledge was better than he could have ever hoped for. As he headed to the precinct with Tony he knew one thing for certain, regardless of the out come of the case Tony was coming back to NCIS to work for him.