A/N: Written for Day 12 of Tibbs_Yuletide.
Thanks to sunsaralyn for the speedy beta!
"Dad!" Tony froze on the spot as DiNozzo Senior wrapped him in a bear hug. It took him a moment to remember that he should probably hug his old man back. Tony gave Senior a few solid pats on the back before Senior was satisfied enough to let go of him, leaving a wide-eyed Tony standing there gaping at his father.
"So, how've you been?" Senior rested his hands on Tony's shoulders and asked, his tone light and cheerful. "How's everyone on your team?"
"They're fine…" What the hell was that all about? Tony tried to shake himself out of the daze induced by his father's totally out of character moves, but he was simply too stunned. What had gotten into his father? Tony didn't remember his father being so touchy-feely with him. Ever. It was unsettling enough for Tony to mentally run down every possible worse-case scenario involving his father—when his father looked friendly, he usually wanted something, and for the life of him, Tony couldn't figure out what it could be.
"You okay there, Junior?"
"Me? I'm great!" Tony answered with a nervous glee that was closer to being manic than genuinely happy. His brain was spinning in hyperdrive, with all the most bizarre possibilities swirling inside. Forcing himself to snap out of it, Tony continued quickly, pulling on his father's arm. "Come on, let's get you over to Adams House and settled. I've got dinner reservations made in Georgetown for later. That should give you enough time to get freshened up, and do whatever else you wanted to do."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Slow down, Junior." Senior shrugged off Tony's hand. "What's gotten into you? You sure you're all right?"
"Yup! I'm good!" Tony said all too quickly, and Senior frowned. "Come on, I'm parked just down there."
"About that, Junior." Senior rested a hand on Tony's shoulder. "I was hoping that I could stay with you, Son."
Tony stopped mid-stride and turned quickly, nearly losing his balance in the process on the snow-sleek sidewalk leading into the parking garage at the airport. "What?"
"I said, I was hoping that I could stay with you this time, Son." Senior cocked his head, looking at the horrified expression on his son's face. "The Adams House is nice, but I was hoping to spend some time with you, and…you know, catch up."
"You… want to… catch up?" Tony looked at Senior, completely dumbfounded.
"Yeah, Junior! I haven't seen you since… oh my, since last year." Senior smiled, patting Tony's shoulder goodheartedly. "I brought some photo albums, things your mother kept."
He waited for Tony to meet his eyes. "What do you say, Son? How about a long overdue family Christmas?" Senior asked, softer than before.
Tony was speechless—he'd never seen the almost pleading look on his father's face. Ever. He found himself nodding even though a part of him was screaming in protest. "I'd like that, Dad."
The smile on Senior's face had Tony feeling happy but ashamed at the same time. The team had the holidays off, but they were on call if more than one case came in. When Tony had called at the beginning of the month to tell his father he wouldn't be able to make it up to Long Island, Senior had said he'd come to DC instead. The plan had been that his father would stay at the Adams House, and they'd have dinner somewhere, see how things go, then maybe spend more time together.
He hadn't planned on telling his father about Gibbs but now it seemed inevitable. "He'd have to know sooner or later," Tony muttered to himself.
"What was that?"
"Nothing, Dad," Tony straightened up, squaring his shoulders. "I just gotta make a quick call, can you go ahead and wait in the car? I'll be right over."
"Sure, Son." Senior deftly caught the keys Tony tossed at him, and went about looking for his son's car.
Tony watched as his father waltzed out of earshot, then dialed Gibbs' number. "Hey," Tony greeted when the call was picked up on first ring.
"Tony," Gibbs' voice was warm calling out his name, rather than the usual harsh tone at work. "Everything okay?"
"Yeah, the flight was only a bit delayed, and Dad didn't have any checked bags. Thank goodness." Tony chuckled softly.
Gibbs grunted in agreement. Neither man were big fans of lost suitcases that went to tour the world.
"Uhm…Jethro…" Tony began only to pause in hesitation.
"He doesn't want to stay at the Adams House," Tony said with a sigh.
"What do you mean?" Tony could almost hear the frown form on Gibbs' face.
"He wants to come stay with me."
"But you live…" Gibbs' voice dropped off.
"Yeah." Tony loosened his tie and unfastened the top button. "Would that be okay with you? He can take the couch."
"Not a problem for me," Gibbs said after thinking for a moment. "But are you sure about this? You do realize we have to tell him."
"I don't want to refuse him. He really is trying."
"I can't say I like the idea, but if he's willing to forgo the luxury of the Adams House, then…" Gibbs sighed. "Why not?"
"I can tell him that we're roommates…"
"If you weren't all the way at the airport I'd head-slap you into next year," Gibbs growled. "Hell no, DiNozzo. I've got nothing to hide. If he's not happy with it, he can go find himself a hotel room."
Tony smiled at Gibbs' words, the almost brash way of saying he loved him. "Okay. I'll be home soon."
"Drive safely," Gibbs reminded Tony.
"I will! Stop being a bear!" Tony quipped, grinning.
"Oh I'll show you about being a bear when you get home," Gibbs quipped back. "Love you."
"Love you, too." Tony ended the call and stuffed the phone into his pocket before turning to find his car and his father.
Tony made a smooth lane change that took them into the collector that led off of the Beltway onto residential streets. It was mid-afternoon, and while there was traffic, it was largely coming out of DC, rather than towards the metro area.
Senior had tried to start some conversations, but Tony just wasn't up to it. He tried to focus on the road, only answering his father's questions with short answers.
"I thought you lived near Georgetown?" Senior asked, noting the sign that welcomed them to Alexandria.
"Huh. Why didn't you tell me?" Senior turned to look at his son. "Doesn't Gibbs live in Alexandria as well?"
"Yes, Dad." Tony sighed. His father was like a six year-old with the questions, and it was getting on his nerves.
"So you guys live close?"
"No, Dad." Tony nearly snarled. "Can we not talk about this now? I need to focus on getting us there safely."
Senior was about to say something, but clamped his mouth shut when he saw the stormy look flit across Tony's face.
"You're going to have to take the couch, we don't have enough room upstairs." Tony looked apologetically over to his father when they hit a red light. He didn't want to be so snappy, but this whole change in the plans was making him anxious. "The couch is pretty comfortable though, it won't hurt your back."
"That's fine," Senior said nonchalantly, but before he could continue, the light turned green.
Tony made one last turn onto their street, then parked in front of the house, shutting the engine off. "We're here."
"Nice neighborhood," Senior commented, noting the nicely manicured lawn that is partly covered with snow and the tidy appearances of neighboring houses.
"Yeah, it is. Nice neighbors too." Tony took the bags from out of the back seat. "Come on."
Gibbs must've heard the car, because he was leaning against the doorframe, waiting for them by the time the two men reached the top of the stairs. "Hey."
"Hey," Tony greeted back, letting Gibbs take the bag inside while he busied himself with his snow boots. "Thanks."
"Gibbs!" Senior called, the surprise clear in his voice, as he stepped up into the front hall. "How nice to see you. What are you doing here? Junior invited you over?"
"I live here," Gibbs said, arching an eyebrow, and looked to Tony, who gave a shrug and shook his head lightly.
"Oh." Tony winced at the confused look on his father's face. "Junior said this is his place."
"It's our place," Gibbs corrected as he took the coat from Senior and hung it up.
"So you boys are roommates now?" Senior took a couple of steps and wandered around. "It's a nice place you've got here."
Gibbs turned towards Tony and hissed, "you didn't tell him?"
"I was hoping to do it with you around!" Tony hissed back. "And I rather not talk about it when I'm trying to drive on wet roads!"
"Tell me what?" Senior turned back towards the two men, cluing in on the fact that the conversation was about him.
Tony sighed. It'd hurt less ripping off the bandage quickly, right? "We're not roommates."
"No? But you live together."
"No, Dad. Jethro and I…" Tony cleared his throat and took a deep breath before continuing. "We are together."
Silence descended upon them, and it took a long moment before the facts sank in for Senior. "You're together—you mean together together?" he asked, eyes wide and a finger pointing between the two men.
"Yes, Dad!" Tony let out a frustrated groan. "Like 'we're shacking up' together."
Senior just stood there and stared at the two men.
"I knew this was a bad idea." Tony threw his hands up, stomping past his father into the living room and plopping himself down on his spot on the couch. The fireplace was lit and warmth radiated from the dancing tongues of flame, but he paid no attention to it. He supported his elbows on his knees then buried his head into his hands.
"Tony…" Gibbs sat down next to Tony and began running a hand up and down Tony's back.
"No, Jethro, don't tell me it'll be okay. You know what? I'm going to go find a hole to hide in, and I'm not coming out ever again." Tony groaned. "Why did I think this would be a good idea? Why did I let you convince me?"
"I'm sorry, Dad, if this is disappointing." Tony ignored his father calling his nickname. "Actually, no, I'm not sorry. I've been a fucking disappointment since I picked Ohio instead of Harvard, so, whatever. You don't have to stay if you don't want to. I'll call Adams House and get you a car…"
"Junior." The tone was much harsher now, and it made Tony look up in annoyance. Senior was standing right in front of him. When he'd moved there Tony wasn't sure.
Senior exchanged a look with Gibbs—or, more precisely, Gibbs glared at Senior and Senior glared back—before crouching down so he was eye-level with Tony. "Let me make two things clear, Son. One, you've never been a disappointment to me. I know I've never told you this, because we never talk, but I've never been disappointed in you. I'm sorry for what happened in the past—I was stupid to listen to your step-mother and too stubborn to apologize."
"Wait… what?" Tony's jaw dropped.
"Let me finish," Senior reached out to pat Tony's cheek. "You were brave to walk your own path, and that was all that mattered. I'm proud of the man you've become"
"Second of all, I'm not a bigot. It just surprised me, is all. I just never imagined you and Gibbs—" he made waved a hand at the two men, "would be… eh… into each other, so to speak."
"You're not mad at me?" Tony asked, the uncertainty clear in his voice, sounding too much like the little boy who thought he was going to be punished for breaking a window. Gibbs couldn't help wrapping his arm around Tony and pulling him close.
"No, Junior. I'm not." Senior said, watching Gibbs' attempt at comforting Tony. "I want you to be happy." He smiled when he saw the tension bleed out of Tony's shoulders. "I mean, I kind of knew it all along that you weren't entirely straight."
"The… uh… Flaherty's boy, what's his name… James!" Senior said, sounding completely smug.
"Oh God!" Gibbs arched an eyebrow at the horrified look on Tony's face. "This… this is too much…" Tony ran a hand down his face. "You knew that I was bi all along? Why didn't you say something?"
"Same reason why I didn't say a lot of things, Son. Stubborn and prideful, that's the DiNozzos for you." A sad smile pulled at the corner of Senior's lips. "I know that no amount of apologies will undo the past. What was done was done, but we have the future ahead of us. I want to try and do right by you, if you would give me the chance. What do you say, Junior?"
Tony finally moved his hand away from his face, running them through his hair before sighing heavily, letting out the breath he didn't realize he was holding. "Okay." Tony looked to his father, his eyes bright, and was surprised by the moisture and genuine apology in his father's eyes. He broke out into a smile before reaching forward to wrap his father into a hug. "Okay, we'll both try," he whispered into his father's ear.
They stay like that for a long moment, until it became uncomfortable for the both of them. Tony let go of his father and helped the old man up.
"Where's Probie?" Tony asked, finally realized that something was different.
Senior found himself a comfortable spot in the armchair. "Who's Probie?"
"Our dog." Gibbs reached out and pulled Tony back down to the couch and into his arms. "Stacey took him to intro agility class with Gryph. Said something about discipline and using up their pent up energy. They should be back soon."
"Huh, that might actually be a good idea, now that he can't go out into the backyard." Tony nodded. "When's Jack getting here?"
"He said he'd be getting in at around eighteen-hundred." Gibbs spared a look at his watch. It was only four in the afternoon. "I told him I'd pick him up at Union Station but he said he'd take the Metro here. He's supposed to call when he's here so I can go get him."
Gibbs' phone rang before Tony could ask more. "Yeah, Gibbs."
"Come on, Dad." Tony gave Gibbs' knee a squeeze before getting up. "I'll show you around."
"You can hang you suits up in the front hall closet. Use the washroom down here or the bathroom upstairs, it's up to you." Tony took his father around the first floor, pointing out where everything was. "I'll grab you some pillows and blankets later."
"Tony?" Gibbs called out. "Stacey's back. You wanna go get Probie?"
"Sure." Tony shrugged as he led his father back into the room. "Just let me go get changed first."
As soon as Tony was out the door, Gibbs turned to Senior, who'd been quietly observing the two men.
"Sit." Gibbs nodded to the armchair that Senior sat in before. "We need to talk."
"Yes, we do." Senior smirked. "You know, it's usually the father that does the talking."
Gibbs snorted. "It's a bit late to play the 'father' card, isn't it?"
Senior winced at Gibbs' comment. "So how long have you two been together?"
"Eight months, there about," Gibbs answered, his eyes fixed on the older man.
"But you've had feelings for my son for a while, haven't you?" Senior leaned back into the chair. "That was why you cornered me that first time we met."
"I did what I thought was right. Whether you wanted a relationship with him or not, he needed to know. He needed the closure." Gibbs nodded, not answering Senior's question directly. "Tony's the most important person in my life right now. I won't let anyone hurt him, you included."
Gibbs waited for his words to sink in before continuing, keeping his tone calm and even. "You are welcome in this house, as long as you are really trying to patch things up with Tony and undo some of the damage you've done. If you hurt him again, I'll hunt you down."
Senior's expression faltered briefly before he managed to recover. "Harsh words, Gibbs. You threatening me?"
"No, that's a promise. I don't do threats." Gibbs smirked, but somehow it made him look more dangerous.
"You really do love him."
"Damn right I do."
"Gibbs, I may be a bastard and a negligent father, but I would never deliberately or intentionally hurt Tony." Senior sighed, running a hand up and down his face. "He is my son, and I've never stopped loving him."
He looked back to Gibbs with a weary smile. "You have my word, Gibbs, that I will do everything I can to fix things. I'm too old to be stubborn."
Gibbs nodded at his words. They both were. "I'll be holding you to that."
Probie barked once as the front door opened, making Tony look up from the book he was reading. "Jack! Probie, stay," Tony ordered before Probie could launch himself at the newcomer. The dog whined in protest as he paced the floor space in front of his dog bed as Tony got up from the couch to meet the elder Gibbs.
"Tony! How are ya?" Jack dropped the bags in his hand by the door and held his arms wide. "Come give the old man a hug."
"Dad!" Gibbs snapped from the door. "Later. We still have four more bags of groceries outside!"
"Maybe later, Jack." Tony smiled warmly. "Jethro. I'll take care of these, and you get the rest. Jack, you know where the guest room is."
"Don't worry about me." Jack waved dismissively. "I can take care of myself. And who is this?"
Tony turned to find his father standing behind him. "Uh, Jack, this is my father. Anthony DiNozzo Senior. Dad, this is Jackson, Jethro's father."
"Nice to meet you… uh…" Senior stumbled a bit as he held out his hand, unsure what to call Jack.
"Call me Jack." Jack took Senior's hand and shook it enthusiastically.
"My friends call me Tony, but I guess under the circumstances, Anthony will do." Senior smiled.
"So, Leroy told me you're gonna be staying with us for the holiday?" Jack asked, blue eyes looking sharply at Senior.
"Dad, be nice." Gibbs tossed his words over his shoulder as he walked past the two men with the rest of the groceries. Probie perked up and trotted behind Gibbs, wagging his tail. "Down boy, this ain't for you."
Jack followed behind Gibbs and Probie into the kitchen, with Senior on his heel. "Leave the bird out Leroy, it needs to thaw properly so we can brine it overnight."
"I got it, Dad." Gibbs sighed. "Why don't you go get yourself settled? Tony and I will take care of this. And take Probie with you."
"All right. I'm going." Jack put his hands up, walking away. "Come here, Probie. I've got a new toy for you. Call it an early Christmas present."
"Anything I can help with?" Senior stood by the kitchen door, looking slightly lost.
Tony looked up at his father, who'd changed into khaki slacks and a wool sweater earlier. "Why don't you give me a hand so Jethro can get dinner started?"
He'd originally planned to take his father out to dinner, but since Senior wasn't staying at a hotel anymore they'd decided to stay in instead.
"Sure," Senior agreed happily. "So, what's for dinner?"
"Chili," Gibbs said as he took a large container out of the fridge. "Made it this morning; thought we'd have something simple before tomorrow night's feast. You want cornbread or spaghetti, Tony?"
"Cornbread, duh!" Tony grinned. Gibbs' cornbread was his mother's recipe, and he was not ashamed to admit to being addicted.
They managed to get through dinner without too much problems, to which Tony breathed a sigh of relief. Tony had been worried that the dads wouldn't get along, but they seemed to have made peace with each other.
"God, I'm exhausted," Tony groaned as he plopped himself down on the bed.
"Been a long day," Gibbs commiserated. "At least we didn't get called in."
"Small mercies?" Tony let out a sarcastic laugh, muffled by him burying his head into the pillow.
"Something like that. Hope it stays that way." Gibbs slid into bed next to Tony, pulling the younger man into his arms. "You okay though? With your dad here and all."
"I will be." Tony nodded, rubbing his face against Gibbs' shoulder. "I still can't believe he wanted to… you know?"
"I know. Now, sleep. We'll worry about that tomorrow, hmm?" Gibbs ran a hand through Tony's hair and down his back before leaning in for a kiss. "One day at a time."
"Sounds like a plan." Tony yawned, wriggling a bit to get comfortable in Gibbs' arms. "Good night, Jethro."
"Good night, Tony."
Tony stared into the vanity mirror Christmas morning bleary eyed as he brushed his teeth. They'd had a late night cleaning up after having the entire team over for dinner. It was tiring, but at the same time satisfying. Tony missed having get-togethers with his little NCIS family.
They were woken up by all thirty-something pounds of Probie landing on their bed, only to find both Dads standing by their bedroom door grinning at them, each with a cup of coffee in hand.
"You were right, Jack. They're kinda cute when they're asleep." Senior looked impressed.
"Told ya." Jack chuckled, patting Senior on the shoulder. "I'm gonna go get breakfast started. I bet they're hungry. I know they were up late messing around."
"Dad!" Tony and Gibbs yelled at the same time, both their faces flushing beet red.
"I'll give you a hand." Senior gave the two half naked men in bed one last look before following Jack down stairs. "I'm pretty sure I still remember a few things."
"Ugh!" Tony buried his head into the pillow. "I don't believe this!"
"Yeah…" Gibbs couldn't help but laugh at the absurdity of the whole thing as he wrapped his arm around his lover. "I felt like I was sixteen again."
That had been half an hour ago. Gibbs then dragged him into the shower, got them both cleaned, quickly brushed his teeth before bounding downstairs to rescue his cup of morning sludge before the Dads finished it all.
Rising his mouth, Tony was still a bit dazed from the realization that they had gotten through almost two whole days without killing each other. Jack and his father had somehow figured out that they shared a passion for Civil War history, and once they found that common topic, it was impossible to shut them up.
Tony shook his head. He could never imagine that his father's sudden change of heart would make it one of the best Christmases ever in his life. Maybe there was such thing as Christmas miracles after all.
He made his way downstairs, dressed in old jeans and a Buckeye sweatshirt. Jack busied himself in front of the stove and his father sat at the table flipping through one of Gibbs' books. Probie had completely warmed up to their dads, and was dozing next to Senior's chair, only looking up when Tony entered the dining room.
"Morning," Tony greeted, yawning as he made his way towards Gibbs, who sat across from Senior working on a crossword puzzle. "Merry Christmas."
"Hey." Gibbs got up from his seat to wrap him in a hug, leaning in for a kiss before letting go. "Mornin'. Jack's making french toast."
"Mmm, sounds yummy." Tony waltzed over to the kitchen, pouring himself a cup of coffee, thankful that Gibbs had the good sense to make a second pot.
"So, what's the plan for the rest of the day? Aside from presents?" Gibbs asked as Tony settled in the chair next to him. "It's a Wonderful Life marathon?"
"Of course!" Tony grinned. "Followed by Elf, Christmas Story, Scrooged, On Her Majesty's Secret Service and Die Hard."
"How did I guess." Gibbs rolled his eyes, ruffling Tony's still damp hair.
"Well, Jack and I thought we could take Probie out for a long stroll before lunch." Senior looked up from the book he was reading.
"Suit yourself." Gibbs shrugged. Having DiNozzo Senior around certainly caused a bit of a stir, but everything seemed pretty much back to normal now, for which Gibbs was thankful.
"Alright, breakfast is served," Jack finally said, carrying two plates to the table. "Leroy, why don't you get everything else and I'll grab the other two plates?"
"It's good to see you again, Son," Senior said as the three men stood in front of the security checkpoint at Dulles International. Jack had elected to stay at home to watch Probie while the two sons drove Senior to the airport.
"You too, Dad." Tony smiled. It'd been a crazy three days, but a good three days as well. For the first time in his life, he felt like he would actually miss his old man.
"Oh! Come here!" Senior pulled Tony into a hug. "I'll call you in a few days."
"Okay, Dad." Tony smiled, holding his old man tight before letting go.
"And nice to see you again too, Gibbs." Senior held out his hand, which Gibbs took without hesitation. "Take good care of my boy, hmm?"
"Always." Gibbs gave him his trademarked lopsided smile. "You take good care of yourself too."
"Listen, I'll probably be down here for a business meeting late January—"
"You're always welcome at our house," Gibbs said before Senior could finish. "And you can even take the guest room next time."
"And same to you if you two ever decide to take a trip up north," Senior offered.
"Will do." Gibbs nodded.
"I better get going." Senior glanced over at the clock.
"Bye, Dad." Tony smiled.
"Bye, Son." Senior smiled back, as he headed toward security.