This is set a few months after the end of Imprinted.

Warning: This story contains explicit male/male sex. If this kind of thing isn't to your liking, if you're underage, or if m/m sex is illegal where you are, please don't read this story. Life is far too short to be upset by things you read on the internet.

Disclaimer: Not my sandbox, I'm just playing in it. Thanks to all involved in making NCIS such a fantastic show.

'Is there somewhere you'd rather be?'

'What?' Gibbs turned away from the window.

'I said, is there some place you'd rather be than here?' Jack said slowly and clearly. 'Because you sure as heck don't look like you're enjoying Christmas with your old man.'

Gibbs gave an impatient shake of his head. 'I'm fine, dad.'

'Uh-huh,' Jack lowered himself into his armchair. 'Could've fooled me. The last time I saw you this distracted, you had Shannon on your mind. Want to tell me about your girlfriend?'

'Nothing to tell,' Gibbs said, going back to staring out of the window.

'You could have invited her,' Jack persisted. 'Got room for one more, especially someone who can get under your skin like this. She going to be the fifth Mrs Leroy Jethro Gibbs?'

'Dad! For the last time, there is no woman!' Gibbs said, exasperated. Visibly making an effort to be sociable, he said, 'I'm going to get a drink. You want one?'

'I'll have some hot cider, if you don't mind,' Jack said, watching his son leave the room. Something was up with him and Jack was determined to get to the bottom of it. This was the first Christmas they'd spent together in twenty years. Call him a sentimental old fool, but he wanted to make it a good one. Since Leroy looked about as ready to talk as a stone was to grow legs, get up and walk, he figured he'd have to take a leaf out of his boy's book and do some good old-fashioned investigating.

Step one: background investigation. Family, friends, etc.

Jack took the proffered mug. 'Would you mind doing me a favor?' he asked innocently. 'I meant to have Peter's boy chop me some more wood, but what with one thing and another, I clean forgot to ask him last time he came in the store.'

Gibbs resisted the urge to roll his eyes, but just barely. 'Sure, dad.' He set down his glass of bourbon. 'Tonight?'

'If you don't mind, son. They say it's going to be a cold one.' Jack watched in satisfaction as Jethro stalked out of the house. As the door shut behind his son, Jack grabbed the phone and his address book from the table beside his chair. He flipped through it. 'S… s… Sciuto!' He dialled and, a few rings later, the familiar bubbly tones rang out.

'Jackson! How are you doing? I was going to call you this evening, but I heard Gibbs was coming up to visit you and I didn't want him to think I was checking up on him, but I didn't want you to think I'd forgotten about you either, so I'm really glad you called!'

'Hey there, Abby! How's my favorite scientist doing?' Jack smiled.

'Fine! I'm doing fine. I'm not on call and I have the next three days off, so I'm making the most of the holiday season. In fact, another twenty minutes and you'd have missed me. I'm going to help out at the soup kitchen for a couple of hours, then I've got a charity bowling match with the nuns, and tomorrow me and McGee are helping deliver meals to the homebound,' Abby gushed excitedly.

'Sounds like you're having a great time,' Jack said. 'So you're spending Christmas with Tim?'

'Ziva's coming round tomorrow evening and we're going to have dinner together, the three of us,' Abby said. 'How're things going with you guys? Are you having a good time? You are having a good time, right?'

'I'm not entirely sure,' Jack said. 'Jethro seems a little… distracted. I sent him out to chop some wood.'

Abby laughed. 'I suppose that's one word for it! Tell me you have earplugs, or you're going to be short on sleep, from what I gather.'

'I'm not sure I follow,' Jack said. 'Why would I need earplugs? Leroy doesn't snore that I know of.'

'Him and Tony, silly!' Abby said. 'Gibbs has actually started locking his door, more's the pity. I haven't walked in on them, but I hear Ducky has.'

'Leroy and…'

'Tony. Tell me he's behaving! He is, right? I think he was a little freaked out by the whole Christmas with the in-laws thing. I mean, it's been quite an adjustment for both of them, but Tony really doesn't have that great an experience of relationships and having a family and I know Gibbs has his own share of problems with relationships, but he has you, and Tony thinks the world of you. You don't mind, do you?'

'Of course not,' Jack said automatically. 'There's nothing to mind. Listen, you'd better run along. You don't want to be late! Have a wonderful Christmas.'

'Thank you! You too, Jack!'

Jack put the phone down and reached for his mug. In a daze, he sipped at his cider until the mug was empty. He glanced out of the window at the lengthening shadows, then pushed himself to his feet and made his way to the back door.

Outside, Gibbs had a reasonable stack of wood split, standing a chunk on the block, then swinging the axe with an easy, loose swing. Jack watched him split another couple of logs down into usable sticks. He laid the axe across the chopping block, picked up the sticks and tossed them into a basket to bring in.

'Well?' he asked, brushing past his father and setting the basket by the back door, in the shelter of the porch. He went back for the axe, set it beside the basket, then shrugged on his sweater.

'Well what?' Jack asked, feeling a scowl gathering.

'Going to tell me what this is all about? The woodbox is full.' Gibbs said, opening the back door. 'Coming in?'

Jack followed him back into the kitchen. 'I could have sworn it was running low,' he said, settling himself at the kitchen table. 'You ready to tell me what's bothering you yet, son?'

'I'm fine, dad.' Gibbs said, washing his hands at the sink. With his back to his father, Jack could see the tension in the set of his shoulders and the rigid line of his back.

'Funny, you don't look fine,' Jack said, keeping his tone light. 'In fact, you look like a man who wants to be anywhere else but here, with anyone but your old man. Or maybe not anyone - just that one special someone.'

'I told you, I'm not dating,' Gibbs scowled.

'You said you weren't dating a woman,' Jack corrected him. 'You didn't say anything about Tony.' Gibbs glared at him, but he continued undaunted. 'Why didn't you bring him up here? We've always got along just fine.'

'He has his own plans,' Jethro said, tossing the hand towel down on the counter. 'He's spending the holiday with the rest of the team.'

'Is he now?' Jack asked, eyebrow raised. 'Because Abby thought he was spending it with us. I get the impression she was worried I might not approve of my son being in a relationship with another man. What were you thinking, Leroy? Are you ashamed of him? Why wouldn't you tell me?'

Gibbs' expression turned thunderous. 'It isn't that simple, dad. There's a whole lot going on that you don't understand. And when I get my hands on him, there won't be enough left for a relationship with anything.'

'It's a long drive. You'll have plenty of time to explain it.' Jack got to his feet. 'Better get the cooler out of the garage. We wouldn't want tomorrow's dinner to spoil before we get there.'

Half an hour later, Gibbs found himself behind the wheel of his car, the trunk and backseat stacked high with presents and food. 'I've a sweater I was going to give you,' Jack said as they pulled onto the highway. 'I think it'd suit Tony more, though. Would you mind if I gave it to him tomorrow?'

'Why would I mind?' Gibbs asked. 'He still wears the one you gave him when we came up here for that case.'

'He's a good boy,' Jack said. 'You could do a lot worse. In fact, if memory serves, you have done a lot worse.'

'Thanks, dad.'

They drove in silence for a while until Jack said, 'So, are you going to tell me what's so complicated? I mean, when you like someone and they like you, it seems to me like it's pretty straightforward.'

'I'm not gay,' Gibbs said quietly. 'And neither is Tony.'

'But you're together, right? You're in love with each other?' Jack pushed.

'We are,' Gibbs conceded. 'It isn't as though we have much choice, though.'

'Sometimes love is like that,' Jack said.

'It's… There's a… We're imprinted on each other,' Gibbs said. 'It's a biological thing. There are changes in the brain. It makes it impossible to be with someone else. They think Shannon and I must have been imprinted, and that's why my other marriages didn't work out.'

'Nothing to do with you being a miserable SOB, huh?' Jack said. 'Oh, I don't doubt biology has a part to play, but those wives of yours were all just attempts to recapture what you lost. Life doesn't work like that. Maybe biology, this imprinting thing, is the only way you'd look hard enough to see what's right under your nose and actually give it a chance?'

The miles rolled by until Gibbs sighed. 'Probably.'

'Any time you want me to state the obvious, you know where I am,' Jack grinned.

It was late by the time they made it back to Washington D.C. The house was dark, apart from a low flickering from the small basement window.

Jack put a hand on his son's arm before he could open the car door. 'Go easy on him. From the sounds of things, he doesn't have many memories of happy family Christmases to go on.'

Somewhere on the long drive south, Gibbs' anger had drained away. 'Yeah, I know. Come on, dad. Let's get all this inside.'

Together they gathered as much as possible and took it into the house. The door was unlocked and in the kitchen, a pizza box sat on the worktop. Flipping it open, Gibbs saw only a couple of slices had been eaten. 'Have a seat and I'll go find him.'

'Go get him, tiger,' Jack said. He put the kettle on, then busied himself putting the food into the fridge.

Quietly, Gibbs opened the door to the basement and started down the steps. Wrapped in the old blanket he kept down there, Tony was curled in the corner close to the pile of lumber that Gibbs had yet to start working with. The old TV was playing the end of a black and white film with the volume turned low. A half-empty mug of bourbon sat on the worktop.

Gibbs walked over to the younger man and crouched down beside him. 'Tony? Come on, wake up.'

One green eye appeared, widened, then closed again. A hand scrubbed over Tony's face, then he pushed the blanket down and sat up. 'Jethro! Fancy meeting you here.'

'Yeah, fancy that,' Gibbs said gruffly. 'What the hell, Tony?'

Tony's bravado melted away, leaving him looking tired and miserable. 'I didn't want to cause a problem for you with your dad. And I didn't want him to think any less of me.'

'You really think my dad would hate you for making me happy?' Gibbs asked. He reached out a hand and cupped the back of Tony's neck. 'Why did you tell me you were spending Christmas with the team?'

Tony leaned into the caress. 'I usually work the holidays,' he said softly. 'I figured I'd go in, cover for someone with a family. And I knew everyone would be upset on my behalf if I'd said so. It's no biggie. Why didn't you tell your dad about us?'

'Figured I'd do it while I was up there, but I couldn't stop wishing you were with me. Dad called Abby, got part of the story out of her and I told him the rest on the way back down.'

'Jack's here?' Tony shot up in alarm, nearly overbalancing Jethro in the process. 'Is it too late to go hide in work?'

'Way too late,' Gibbs said with an evil grin. 'Come on, let's go upstairs and you can help unpack the car so we can get to bed.'

'I'll take the couch,' Tony said automatically. 'Ow!' He put up a hand to rub the back of his head.

'No one's taking the couch,' Gibbs grumbled. 'Move it, Tony.'

'So, you really missed me?' Tony asked as they climbed the stairs.

'You thought I wouldn't?' Gibbs grabbed his shoulder, stopping the younger man in his tracks. 'You thought I wanted to spend Christmas away from you?'

'I thought you wanted to spend it with your dad,' Tony said stubbornly.

'I wanted to spend it with my family,' Gibbs growled. 'And in case you hadn't noticed, that includes you.' He pushed Tony up the stairs, then spun him around and pinned him to the wall in one deft move. 'For a smart man, sometimes you're an idiot, you know that?' he murmured.

Leaning in, he brushed his lips over the younger man's, tasting the faint hints of coffee and bourbon. He deepened the kiss and Tony opened with a moan, letting him sweep inside. All too soon, he pulled back, opening his eyes to see Tony, lips reddened, eyes suspiciously bright, take a deep breath and visibly pull himself together.

'Merry Christmas, Tony,' Jack said.

As one, they turned to look at the older man. Gibbs stepped back, but kept a hand on Tony's arm, needing the contact as much as the younger man did.

'Hi Jack,' Tony said weakly. 'I'm sorry you had to drive all this way.'

'Leroy looked about ready to head out on his own. I don't think he sat down once the whole time he was at mine,' Jack said with a smile. 'I'd rather have a proper Christmas here with the whole family around me than face a couple of days of my son pacing and snarling and being miserable as all get-out. Welcome to the family, Tony.'

'Thanks, Jack,' Tony said huskily.

'If you don't mind, I'm going to get my bag and go to bed. Have to get up early to put the turkey in the oven.' Jack made his way down the hallway, giving Tony a pat on the shoulder in passing. 'Sleep well, you two, and don't worry about being too loud. Abby warned me to bring my earplugs.'


Chuckling at the two red faces staring at him in horror, Jack waved a hand and headed for the guest room.

'Oh god!' Tony whimpered, letting his head drop to his lover's shoulder. 'This is way more embarrassing than that time in the bullpen.'

'It's like being a teenager all over again,' Gibbs commiserated. 'Come on, let's go grab the rest of the stuff from the car.'

There wasn't much more to bring in; twenty minutes saw them upstairs, getting reading for bed.

'So when you say it's like being a teenager…' Tony began as they slid into bed.

'Yeah,' Gibbs grinned, teeth startlingly white in the low light. 'It wasn't the marines that taught me how to move silently.'

'Really? You don't say,' Tony said, shifting to accommodate the other man's lean form.

Gibbs settled himself between Tony's legs, leaning his weight on one elbow as he stroked the hair from his lover's forehead. 'Yeah. Think you can keep quiet?'

'With the right incentive, I can do anything,' Tony murmured huskily.

Gibbs bent his head and kissed Tony, sipping at his lips, coaxing them open to suckle at his tongue. Tony moaned, so Gibbs broke off the kiss and nipped at his ear. 'Ssh.'

'Right, I'm shushing,' Tony whispered, rolling his hips against the older man's.

It was Gibbs' turn to groan, throaty and low. 'God, Tony!' He took Tony's mouth, kissing hard and deep, swallowing the little noises neither of them could control. With a fumble and a tug, he had their sweatpants pulled down far enough to bare their cocks. Tony slid a hand between them, pressing Gibbs' cock down against his belly, trapping his own.

Slowly Gibbs rolled his hips, letting his cock slide under Tony's hand, rubbing against the other man's, careful not to tug at the hairs on Tony's belly. It didn't take long before they were both leaking pre-cum, then with half a dozen fast thrusts, Gibbs was crying out into Tony's mouth, coming hard across his abdomen, and Tony's hips stuttered upwards as he came too, wet heat painting the palm of his hand.

'God, Tony,' Gibbs murmured against the other man's lips. 'Missed you today. I need to touch you, need to feel you.'

'Missed you too,' Tony said. 'Felt like I was going crazy. I could smell you, your coffee, the sawdust, your bourbon. But I couldn't touch you; you weren't there. I was about ready to get in my car and drive all the way up to be with you, even if your dad met me on the porch with a shotgun.'

'Never happen,' Gibbs said, shifting only far enough to grab a handful of tissues and wipe them both down. 'More like he'd shoot me for being a grumpy bastard.'

'Yeah, but you're my grumpy bastard,' Tony said, sounding smug. 'Merry Christmas, Jethro,' Tony said, turning onto his side and curling up around the older man.

'Merry Christmas, Tony,' Gibbs said, wrapping an arm around him.

The morning came far too soon. Gibbs, normally an early riser, woke to find Jack standing in the doorway holding a couple of mugs.

'Sometimes I wish I had a camera,' Jack said cheerily. 'Thought maybe you boys could use some coffee. You know, after that late night you had.'

Gibbs felt himself blushing. 'I thought you said you had earplugs,' he muttered, shifting a sleepy Tony off his arm. Tony muttered something incomprehensible, then pulled the pillow over his head as Gibbs sat up and took the mugs.

'Some things I don't need to hear to know they happened,' Jack said. 'I'm going to go put that oven of yours on to heat up.'

'Want a hand?' Gibbs asked.

'Sure, if you can tear yourself away from that boy. He's cute enough when he's asleep, all right,' Jack said with an evil grin.

'Give me a minute.' Gibbs set the mugs down on the nightstand. 'And dad?'


'Shut the door.'

Laughing, Jack did as he was told and Gibbs heard him shuffling off down the corridor. He looked down at Tony. Even with his head under the pillow, Jack was right. He was cute. It was still new enough to be surprising, the rush of love and affection that Gibbs felt whenever he took the time to look at his lover. He lifted the pillow and Tony mumbled a protest, burrowing his face into Gibbs' side instead.

'Come on, sleepyhead,' Gibbs said, his voice warm with amusement.

'Mmm, no,' Tony said, eyes firmly closed. 'Sleeping, here.'

'Does that mean you don't want your Christmas presents?' Gibbs asked. 'And Jack brought you coffee.'

'Presents?' Tony cracked open an eye, looking up sleepily. 'Coffee?'

Gibbs laughed, wriggling back down to lie nose to nose with the younger man. 'Coffee first. Presents later.'

Tony pouted. 'Kisses first.'

Gibbs raised an eyebrow, but did as he'd been instructed and leaned forwards, pressing a chaste kiss to Tony's mouth before pulling back again.

Tony pouted harder. 'Jethro…' he whined, then yelped as Gibbs smacked his ass. 'Ow!'

Gibbs growled, then pounced, rolling Tony over and pinning him. He kissed the younger man aggressively until Tony melted under him, until he was hard against Gibbs' thigh, then he moved down, nipping at Tony's neck, his nipples, his stomach. Finally, he settled between Tony's thighs and without preamble, took the head of the younger man's cock into his mouth. Tony stifled a moan, then fought to lie still, panting as Gibbs sucked him off ruthlessly. Embarrassingly quickly he spilled into the older man's mouth.

Gibbs sat up, with a smug grin. He drained his coffee in one long swallow, then whipped the covers back and hopped out of bed, leaving Tony shivering.


'Come on, Tony. It'll be warm in the shower,' Gibbs said cheerfully, ignoring his own erection as he strode into the bathroom.

Scowling, Tony forced himself upright and followed at a slower pace, cradling his coffee. 'Way to kill the afterglow.'

'Get in here and I'll show you afterglow,' Gibbs promised, washing himself quickly.

Tony admired the view for a few seconds as he drank his coffee, then set the mug beside the sink and stepped into the shower. He shivered as the warm water cascaded over him, but Gibbs set about chasing away his goosebumps, washing him thoroughly with Tony's favorite shower gel. He paid special attention to Tony's groin and ass, leaving Tony shaking for another reason by the time he backed off and reached for the shampoo.

'Close your eyes,' Gibbs murmured huskily. His strong fingers rubbed the shampoo through Tony's soft hair, making the action more of a massage. Tony rested his hands on Gibbs' hips and closed his eyes, trusting the older man not to get shampoo in his eyes and thoroughly enjoying being touched so intimately.

Gibbs turned him around under the spray, cupping a hand over Tony's forehead to protect his eyes as he rinsed the suds out of his hair. When the water ran clear, he ran his hands down Tony's back and cupped his ass. 'Spread your legs.'

Hands against the tiles, Tony widened his stance and braced himself as Gibbs slicked himself up with waterproof lube. He rested his chest against Tony's back and used one hand to guide himself to Tony's opening.

'Okay?' His lips brushed Tony's ear and Tony turned his head a fraction so that Gibbs could bite down gently on his earlobe.

'Go for it.'

Gibbs pushed at Tony's opening, feeling the muscle relax to take him inside. It was tight, hotter than the shower, and Gibbs shifted his other hand to cup Tony's semi-erect penis while they waited out the initial burn of penetration.

After a few seconds, Tony let out a breath, then nudged back with his hips. Gibbs took the hint and slowly slid all the way inside. Wrapping his arms around Tony, there no room for even the spray to come between them. To Gibbs, it felt like coming home, each and every time. With a silent prayer of thanks that Tony had waited out Gibbs' anger and pride and still trusted him enough to give them a chance, Gibbs kissed Tony's neck and began to move.

It didn't take long: it was probably something Dr Childs would be interested in studying, the way the imprint made everything so intense that all Gibbs' legendary control flew out of the window the moment he touched Tony, and as far as he could tell, Tony was no better. Their libidos appeared to have reverted to somewhere back in their teenage years. It made for quicker refraction times than either man should have been capable of, but as Gibbs shuddered through his orgasm, retaining just enough coordination to bring Tony off at the same time, for a fraction of a second he wondered if they'd ever learn how to hold out long enough for lazy Sunday morning sex, the kind that started with breakfast in bed and finished hours later with lunch eaten with fingers, only partially clothed and still sweaty and sticky.

For now, though, there was no danger of them running out of hot water.

Gibbs waited until his knees stopped trembling before he withdrew and washed off his dick and Tony's ass. Tony waited until Gibbs tapped him on the hip, then turned around and kissed Jethro long and deep, running his hands up and down Gibbs' back, holding him close.

'Enough kisses?' Gibbs asked at last, pulling back and blinking the water out of his eyes.

'Never,' Tony grinned. 'But they can wait until after breakfast.'

'Good to know,' Gibbs smiled. Tony's stomach rumbled and with a laugh, he turned off the shower.

A couple of minutes later, dried and dressed, they entered the kitchen where Jack was busy at the stove. The older man turned to them with a smirk.

'You boys done working up an appetite?'

Refusing to blush, Gibbs ignored the innuendo. 'What do you need a hand with?'

'The oven's about up to temperature. How about you give me a hand getting the bird ready while Tony puts on a fresh pot of coffee?'

'Sure,' Gibbs said.

'Want me to whip up some batter for pancakes?' Tony asked as he emptied the coffee filter.

'You sure you can manage it?' Jack asked.

'It's easy enough,' Tony smiled. 'Something I learned in college.' As father and son stuffed cloves of garlic under the turkey's skin and put halved oranges and lemons into the bird's cavity to keep it moist as it cooked, Tony filled the coffee machine and set it going, then took a large jar out of a cupboard. Unscrewing the lid, he measured out two cups of flour, cracked in a couple of eggs and added some milk, then popped the lid back on. He leaned back against the worktop and began shaking the jar.

Jack eyed him, then shook his head. 'Never seen it done that way before,' he said. 'Does it work?'

'Well enough,' Tony shrugged. 'It's easy to see if there are still a few lumps. And when you're in a frat house, you can bet someone's used the whisk for something it wasn't designed for, but there's always empty jars lying around.'

Soon enough, the turkey was in the oven and Gibbs was flipping pancakes while Jack took care of the toast. Tony set the table and poured out the coffee, then sat down carefully, ignoring the knowing look in Jack's eye as the older man brought out a dish of scrambled eggs and a plate of bacon that had been keeping warm under the grill.

Breakfast was a noisier affair than usual, with Tony and Jack catching up on the past few months, although Gibbs noticed Tony skipped over his hospital stay. He was grateful that Jack kept the conversation light, amusing Tony with tales from his years running the store. After breakfast, fortified with more coffee, they moved into the living room, where a small mound of presents sat under the small tree in the corner of the room.

'So, presents,' Tony said, eyeing the pile with a curious mixture of childlike excitement and poorly hidden unease. 'Are we, ah…'

'Opening them? Sure,' Gibbs said. 'Unless you want to keep 'em for next year.'

'No, no. Well, maybe. No,' Tony waffled. 'There aren't any power tools in there, are there? No, of course not. Why would there be? You use hand tools. And you wouldn't give me hand tools. You wouldn't, would you?'

Although Gibbs was tempted to let him ramble on, he decided in the spirit of the season to put his lover out of his misery. With a soft tap to the back of his head, he said, 'No, Tony. No tools, hand, power or otherwise.'

Tony shot him a grateful look. 'Thank you. In that case, I'm sure I'll love whatever it is.'

'Why don't you go ahead and hand them out?' Jack asked. When Tony shuffled forwards on his knees to do so, he looked over at his son. 'Tools?' he mouthed.

Gibbs shook his head. 'Long story,' he mouthed back. He took the parcel Tony handed back, checked the tag and passed it along to his father. When all the presents had been distributed, Tony sat beside the coffee table, looking at the two older men.

'Well?' Gibbs asked.

Jack smiled. 'Christmas ain't getting any younger.' He picked up one of his presents and started to open it.

That was enough for Tony: he tore into the wrapping paper and emerged seconds later with a book on the history of James Bond cars and gadgets. 'From McGee.' He was into another present before Gibbs had finished opening his first.

In short order, all the presents were opened. Beaming, Tony was wearing Jack's sweater, his thumbs rubbing obsessively over a carving of a St Bernard dog, minus the brandy barrel, which Gibbs had made for him. Jack had a plush pillow in the shape of the Epstein-Barr virus, from Abby, a pair of decent boots from his son and The Godfather trilogy on DVD from Tony. Gibbs had a new extra large travel mug and a fistful of vouchers for his favorite coffee place from his entire team and what looked like half of the rest of the NCIS Washington DC office, a year's subscription to WoodenBoat Magazine from Jack and a season ticket to the West End Cinema from Tony. They were showing a series of films about the armed forces and Gibbs had served in Iraq with one of the directors. Tony's card also promised a meal at the steakhouse of Gibbs' choice.

Tony was wearing Jack's sweater, and had a copy of Tim's latest novel and a Chuck Norris calendar from Ziva piled in front of him. On top of the calendar sat a bag of Jamaican Mocha coffee beans from Palmer, a good wool scarf from Ducky and a plush pillow in the shape of the plague bacterium, which looked disturbingly like a giant black sausage.

'Thanks, Jack!' Tony beamed. 'It's great!' He hugged the sweater to himself, letting the wool comfort him.

'I'm glad you like it,' Jack said. 'So what did my son get you?'

Tony blinked, his smile becoming fixed.

Gibbs sighed. 'I wasn't planning on giving Tony his gift with anyone around.'

'You got him sex toys?' Jack asked. 'Wow, I owe Abby on that one.'

Gibbs bit back a growl. 'No, dad, I didn't get him sex toys.' He was glad that present was hidden upstairs under Tony's pillow. 'Here, Tony. I wanted you to know…' he handed the younger man an envelope and a small box.

Tony opened the envelope first. In in was a copy of the title deed to the house, in both his and Gibbs' names. 'Jethro, you know I don't-'

Gibbs leaned forwards and put his hand over Tony's. 'I did it weeks ago. The deed didn't come through until last week. This is your home too.'

Tony's smile was crooked, but genuine. 'Jethro…'

'It wouldn't be my home without you in it,' Gibbs said. He watched anxiously as Tony bent his head and opened the box. Inside was a heavy silver ring. 'If you don't like it, we can always change it-'

'No!' Tony said, looking up, his eyes shining. 'No, I love it.' Carefully he took it out and held it up to the light, bringing the simple double helix etching into relief. On the inside was engraved ADN - LJG - Semper Fidelis. He slid it onto his right ring finger. It fit perfectly.

Gibbs smiled at the joy on Tony's face. 'I'm glad you like it.' Forcing himself to keep going despite his father's presence, he leaned forwards and cupped Tony's cheek, his jaw with one callused palm. 'This is your home. I'm yours. I won't kick you out, I won't leave you even when I'm being a bastard. Tony, I…' He took a deep breath. 'I love you.'

Tony's smile was incandescent. 'Love you too, Jethro.' He stretched up and kissed Gibbs lightly, a promise of all their kisses to come, an affirmation of all the kisses they'd shared. Then he turned sideways, and settled himself against Gibbs' legs. 'Anyone fancy It's a Wonderful Life?'

'Sure,' Gibbs said, resting his hand on Tony's shoulder, relishing the physical contact between them. 'Dad?'

'Wouldn't be Christmas without it,' Jack said gruffly.

Gibbs glanced at his dad; glittering eyes revealing how much the simple exchange had affected Jack too. 'Been a long time since I saw it,' he said.

Jack nodded. 'Call me a sentimental old fool, but I'm glad we're here. Never thought I'd get to have a family Christmas again.'

'Been a long time for us all,' Gibbs said. 'Merry Christmas, Tony, Dad.'

'Merry Christmas, Jethro,' Tony said softly. 'And thank you for welcoming me into your family, Jack.'

Jack huffed a laugh. 'We aren't the easiest family to be a part of, but you make my son happy and I like you. Now put the damn television on before I make a complete idiot of myself.'

'Too late,' Gibbs grinned, ruffling Tony's hair as he got up to put the movie on.

'Did I ever tell you about the time Leroy got suspended from school for tying the Granger boy to a tree with his own belt?' Jack asked. 'What I'll never understand is how the heck you got his underpants on his head without taking off his pants first.'

'Dad!' Gibbs protested as Tony laughed, but the TV flicked into life and the opening scene of the film began to play. Tony leaned back against Gibbs' legs and the three men settled into their first Christmas together as a family.

Late that night, Gibbs lay in bed, still full of turkey and roast vegetables, with Tony curled around him. His lover was sleepy and sated and all but purring from trying out the slim, curved dildo that had been his other present from Gibbs.

'Sleep,' Tony murmured. 'You're thinking too hard.'

'Just wondering what I did to deserve this,' Gibbs said, pressing a kiss to Tony's forehead. 'If it hadn't been for that damn Imprint, I'd never…' His arm tightened around his lover's shoulders.

'Mmm,' Tony did his best to snuggle closer. 'You have me. I sent Doctor Childs a card from us both.'

'You did, huh?' Gibbs smiled. 'Merry Christmas, Tony.'

'Mmph. Sleep.'

And they did.