Many thanks to combatcrazy, GibbsRules, Everlasting Midnight, AlexDN (thanks again!), stargatesg1973, bearman45, Kateri1, lulubell76 and katesari for the reviews!
For those of you wondering just what's going on with Logan, this chapter and the next couple will give a little bit more of an inkling, but we won't realise just what's going on for quite some time yet!
Four hours later Gibbs, Tony, Logan and Jeth were nearing Stillwater, Pennsylvania. Jeth was not happy at having to sit in a car for four hours two days in a row and had spent a sizeable portion of the journey acting up, crying and driving the three men to distraction in between demands for a square pizza and his own piano.
"No Jeth. You are not getting a piano, a keyboard maybe, but not a piano," Logan said with exasperation.
"What about a square pizza?" He pleaded.
Tony looked at Gibbs who looked back at his SFA, "Don't look at me…I don't even know where to get an ordinary pizza in town."
"Tell you what Jeth, if Papa Gibbs dad lets me, I'll make one for you, but only if you're really quiet and well-behaved for the rest of the journey."
That request had obviously been met by deaf ears.
"Look at that cow with the brown spots…And that one's black…Look at that one lying down. I didn't know cows could lie down… Those are weird looking cows…They're big."
"That's a buffalo," Logan sighed as they passed a herd near the town.
"Can you get buffalo burgers in Stillwater?" Tony asked Gibbs.
"How should I know DiNozzo? I didn't even know anyone locally kept a herd of the things."
"That cow needs a haircut," Jeth commented.
"Jeth, that's a Highland Cow - they're supposed to be like that."
Jeth seemed to lose interest in every cow they passed but as they passed the 'Welcome to Stillwater' sign he asked.
"So when are we getting Buffalo burgers?"
Jackson Gibbs was away in a world of his own, thinking of nothing in particular as he swept the front entrance of his shop - Stillwater General Store - when he saw a car pull up. He watched with a measure of amusement and curiosity as his son's right-hand man (and 'pet project') stepped out of the car, looking wrung out and stressed. Leroy got out of the car a moment later looking mildly amused and then listened as another man got out of the car.
"Jeth, if I hear one more comment about cows, or pizzas or food of any description I'll get your Grandfather to turn this car around and we can go back home."
"But can I still talk about buffalo burgers?"
Jackson watched with increasing interest as his son chuckled at the little boy's defiance.
Leroy finally noticed his father watching them from the entrance of the shop and walked forward leaving the other two men and the little boy behind momentarily, and enveloped Jackson in a hug.
"Hey dad, thought I'd surprise you."
As they parted Jackson looked at his son, "And just what surprise would that be?" he nodded in the direction of Logan and Jeth who were waiting to be introduced.
"Tony?" Leroy said to his agent.
Tony stepped forward, a little smile on his lips, "Jackson Gibbs, by decree of Ms Abigail Sciuto, congratulations - you are a great-grandfather, and a great-great grandfather. I'd like you to meet my son Logan, and my grandson Jeth…Oh and the great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather thing was Abby's idea."
"Logan, Jeth," he smiled, "it's a pleasure to meet you,"
"Pleased to meet you sir," Logan smiled.
"Don't call me sir, I work for a living," Jackson grinned, "Jack or Jackson will do."
"Hi Papa Gibbs' dad!" Jeth smiled.
"Hi kid! Papa Gibbs?" he gave Leroy a quizzical look.
"Jeth's idea," he responded a little grin.
"Forgive me Jackson, but you don't seem surprised at me turning up with a son and a grandson."
"Nope," smiled Jackson, "Leroy emailed me and told me all about you two," he looked at Logan and Jeth.
Jackson noticed as Tony's eyes now fixed on May Durham's guest house across the street.
"Don't you even think about it Tony, you and yours are staying with me - no arguments."
"Okay Jackson," Tony said quietly, "Just still feel like we're imposing a little bit."
"Nonsense - It'll be nice to have a house-full again…C'mon, bring your bags and things into the shop and I'll put them behind the counter."
Gibbs nudged Tony's arm with his hand and held out his palm for Tony's keys," I'll park it around back."
Jackson watched his son go, "Well in that case let's just get you all into the house."
Tony had never managed to sneak a peek at Gibbs' childhood home when he'd last visited Stillwater, but it was exactly what he'd pictured in his mind. As they exited the back of the shop there was an old garage - in which Gibbs was already parking Tony's car - a loosely graveled yard - presumably for deliveries to the store and the adjoining shops - and a small patch of greenery perhaps thirty feet by thirty feet lined by a roughly posted fence. A few little apple trees occupied the grass, while a large oak tree partially hid Jackson's house which was to the side of the yard. Again as Tony had imagined in his mind's eye the house had a large porch decorated with some sparse furniture in the shape of two rocking chairs and a small table. An old rope swing hung from one of the branches of the oak tree and some childrens toys littered the small patch of grass that surrounded it.
"The Smith family's kids come over and play sometime when they're visiting their grandparents," he heard Jackson explain as if he'd known Tony had spotted the toys, "Jeth's welcome to play with anything they've left lying around."
"Thank you s-Jackson," Logan responded.
They began walking up the few steps to the porch and Tony heard the slam of the garage door indicating that Gibbs had finished parking the car.
"This was my grandfather's house," Jackson explained as they went inside, "or rather the plot of land was. Don't think he built much more than a shack here to be honest, but my father began to build this whole house, mostly by himself when my big sister was on her way. Didn't get it finished until my big brother arrived. And I've kept it pretty much the way my mother kept it…Of course, Leroy didn't live here when he was little," Tony could almost sense the exact moment Gibbs rolled his eyes, "he was away living with his mother further down the road in one of those new houses. Never did like this one much did you?"
"Didn't really think about it," Gibbs responded.
Tony was surprised. He hadn't realized Gibbs' parents had separated when he was a kid.
"I remember she wasn't too happy when she had to move back in here when the old mine became unstable. We'd told the developers not to build above the old mine, but they did anyway," sighed Jackson, "Anyway, let's get you all upstairs."
Tony quickly surveyed what he could of the bottom floor of the house. It was neat and tidy but full of clutter and old momentos and nick-nacks - Jackson Gibbs was a hoarder. They then headed up the narrow staircase and up to the top level which was entirely different - light, airy and roomy. There was a long hall with rooms to either side.
"I quite often put people up when there's contractors in from out of town, so I'm always ready for guests," Jackson smiled, "Leroy - you can take your old room; Tony - There's a room here just next door. This was Leroy's cousin's room when he was little. Logan, there's a room for you here," Jackson indicated further up the hall, "And there's a room next door to that for Jeth…Hope he doesn't mind pink,"
"Pink?" Gibbs enquired, "Why do you have a pink room?"
Jackson merely gave his son an amused smile.
About an hour later Tony, Logan and Jeth were walking aimlessly around Stillwater, not that Jeth cared as he munched away at a Buffalo Burger.
"Mmm," was his verdict.
"Why can't I get these at home dad?" he asked.
"Because I don't know anywhere that sells them," Logan explained.
"You said cities were great 'cos you could get everything in them and in the country you get nothing," Jeth said, "so you should be able to get them,"
"Jeth! I did not say you can't get anything in the country…Just that cities have more stuff."
Logan stopped and sighed, looking around, "Where exactly are we?"
"Uhm…" Tony consulted the small map he'd bought from Jackson's store, "Stillwater."
"Where?" said Jeth.
"It's a small town, so that's all it says."
"Says there's a short walking trail just northeast of the town at a nature reserve near the old mine," Logan pointed out.
"Sounds like a plan," Tony smiled.
"So how's that kid of yours doing since he found his son and grandson?"
"Kid? First Abby, now you?" Gibbs remarked.
"Well you treat him differently from the other two, Tim and Ziva, you're stricter with him, kind of like I was with you…I'd let your friends get away with all sorts…smoking, going walks up into the old woods - unless I knew the corporation was blasting - but you were mine so it was different and you had to toe the line."
"Even if you needed to point the Winchester at the school bullies in order to stop me from goading them?"
Jackson chuckled, "You reign Tony in the same way I tried to reign you in, and you're lenient with Abby the same way you were lenient with Kelly."
Gibbs shrugged, "I wasn't lenient with Kelly."
"I seem to remember a time she decided she wanted all of Shannon's flowers to be white and you found her sitting in the flower bed covered head to toe in some white gloss paint she'd managed to haul out of the shed. All you did was give her a bath and a mug of coco while Shannon was busy tearing her hair out."
"That was one time-"
"-Want me to list all the others?"
"…Not particularly," Gibbs chuckled softly at the memory.
"And I see Abby's made the same observation as I have about you and Tony."
Gibbs couldn't see his father as the older man disappeared under the store counter and reappear with a pricing gun.
"Top pallet $1.75. The rest $1.50," he pointed to the packs of tins sitting on the table before tossing the pricing gun to his son.
Gibbs nodded and pulled the first pallet of cans closer to him and began to price them.
"I've had both Abby and Ziva basically call me dad in the past year, and when Abby declared that I was like a father to Tony, he kind of silently agreed…I'm just waiting on getting a Father's Day card and a hug from McGee and I'll have the whole team treating me like one of their parents."
"What made Abby and Ziva call you dad?" Jackson replied as he moved round from the counter to help stock up the shelves.
Gibbs was silent as he chose his words, "With Abby it was with the whole Hernandez deal…She thought her ballistics report would get me convicted," Gibbs looked up as Jackson nodded, reading between the lines, "She wanted to know if I'd hate her if she did her job."
"What did you do?"
"Told her to do her job."
"So you didn't tell her that you love her like a daughter?"
"I didn't have to," Gibbs looked away, pricing more cans, avoiding the sceptical look he knew his father was giving him.
Gibbs grimaced, "Can't really talk about that one much, but she said I was the closest thing she had to a father now that she's cut ties with Israel."
"And what did you say to her?"
"Felt like telling her she was clutching at straws and that I couldn't be a substitute for her real father no matter how big a bastard he was…But we were discussing much more serious issues at the time so I didn't say anything about it."
Jackson smiled a little, "You're getting good at taking in strays."
Gibbs laughed a little at that comment.
"Anyway, you sidestepped my original question which was how is Tony doing?"
Gibbs stopped what he was doing and placed the pricing gun on the table.
"At first I thought he was doing okay, but now I'm not so sure…He's welcomed them into his life with open arms as if he's known them for years…He's introducing them to relatives and one of his dad's staff hinted they might even be going to Italy to meet the rest of the family…And Logan…he's acting a little odd around me, almost like he's jealous that Tony and I are so close."
"Tony's dad's staff? What does his dad do?"
"Your guess is as good as mine…I don't think 'Senior' knows anymore for that matter…He's up to his eyeballs in debt but he still owns a mansion on Long Island and still employs staff. Meanwhile he's emigrated to Monte Carlo without telling his son. Tony went to Long Island yesterday to give his dad the news and was told he was gone…Tony was pretty upset."
"I'll bet he was…I'm taking it that he and his father aren't all that close?"
Gibbs shook his head, "He saw his father once last year, and as far as I know it was the first time he'd actually seen him in the flesh since he was at Peoria PD and that was a good 15 years ago."
Jackson tutted quietly, "Why are some people like that?"
"I dunno," Gibbs sighed before a rare look of contemplation crossed his features and he sat down.
"He talked about his mother last night...I've known Tony for nearly a decade and never knew a thing about his mother other than that she died when Tony was a kid and that she was a bit eccentric. He normally only mentions her a couple of times a year if even that, and sometimes he makes a joke of it, saying that he'll 'swear on his mother's life' and things like that."
Gibbs paused, aware that his father was listening intently.
"He saw her die when he was eight. She was murdered."
"And he saw that when he was that little?"
"She'd been attacked by her husband's business partner...He kicked her in the head a bunch of times…She went to hospital, they checked her out and said she was fine…A few hours later while she was keeping Tony out of the way because the police were interviewing his father…She dropped dead...Tony sat with her body for hours until his father found them."
"That's awful," was all Jackson could say, "the poor boy…Why was she attacked?" he added after a few moments.
"Tony's father's business partner had been embezzling money from the family business. Tony's mother found out and confronted him."
"And you're saying this happened on Long Island?"
Gibbs watched as Jackson furrowed his brow, obviously trying to remember something.
"About thirty five years ago there was some consortium that made a bid for Tucker's mine…they'd put a good deal together…the workers were all for it, but the bid fell apart when one of the companies in the consortium ceased trading…I remember reading that one of the men in charge of the firm had been accused of murdering his business partner's wife. He was found not guilty but when D&K Holdings stopped trading the consortium no longer had enough equity for the bid…Tony's mother wasn't called Christa by any chance?"
"I couldn't tell you dad…But I'll ask him."
"If she was, then she was a lovely woman…She came out here on her husband's behalf when the consortium was putting its bid together…Everyone liked her…She took time to talk to the miners and their families and took note of their concerns. That's why when she was killed they ran the story here too…I spoke to her a few times…She'd been an academic and she was as witty and beautiful as she was smart…Couldn't believe it when I heard she was dead."
Gibbs paused and looked at his father, "Tony's mother was a college professor."
Their conversation was interrupted by Gibbs' cell phone.
"Hey boss…Got a funny story for you,"
"We decided to go for a walk, and we're kind of lost."
"What are you near?"
"Funny, DiNozzo...What trail did you walk along?"
"Uh," Gibbs could hear the rustle of paper as Tony examined the map, "The Stillwater Natural Heritage Trail."
"Is there anything near you or that you've walked past that's stuck in your mind?"
"A field of corn?"
Gibbs sighed, "DiNozzo,"
"I'm sorry boss...everything kind of looks 'samey',"
"Stay put," he instructed...I'll get a map of the trail and I'll come get you."
"Staying put boss...see you soon," Tony put his phone away.
"Gibbs wants us to stay put?" Logan asked.
"Yeah, he's going to get a map of the trail and come get us."
"We shouldn't stay here...we should keep going," Logan sighed.
"He's my boss...I trust him...he'll find us," Tony smiled.
"I'm not staying put," Logan said defensively, "I'm not having my kid stuck out here in the middle of nowhere...We walked for an hour, and ended up off the trail...who knows if Gibbs is going to find us."
"You disagreeing with a Gunny?"
"Yes," Logan said, an edge of anger in his voice, "I am...I might not have made it to Gunnery Sergeant, but I was a damn good Marine. C'mon little guy, let's find a way out of these woods."
"But Papa Gibbs will find us," said Jeth quietly.
"Not if I can get us back to a road first...come on."
"Unbelievable," Tony felt both angry and helpless as Logan stalked off, but he had no option but to follow them.
A minute or two later he pulled out his cell to give Gibbs a call, and sighed in frustration as he realised he no longer had a signal.