Working on Christmas Eve had never bothered Gibbs that much. Hell, working on Christmas didn't bother him. He usually tried to avoid it, though, for his team's sake, but their turn inevitably came around, and such was the case this year.
"Christmas Eve this year, huh Probie?" DiNozzo lamented to Tim, settling behind his desk with his feet propped up next to his computer.
McGee nodded, letting out a laborious sigh. "I'm supposed to be meeting up with Sarah to drive up to my parent's house," he said, shaking his head. "Now we're going to be driving all night."
"I had a hot date set up tonight," Tony added, looking wistfully heavenward. "Guess we'll just have to spend tomorrow night together, huh?" He waggled his eyebrows suggestively at Tim, who groaned and turned back to his computer.
"I do not see the big deal," Ziva commented from her desk. "It is not even Christmas. Do you also have a 'Valentine's Day Eve?'"
"No, Zi-va, Christmas Eve is the time you spend with your families, waiting for Santa to come. And unwrapping a single present and having a family dinner," Tim explained.
Ziva frowned and shrugged, and Tony remained silent, one eyebrow raised.
"Well, it's really fun," McGee stammered, blushing under the skeptical looks of his coworkers. "Hopefully today will be a calm one," he said finally, desperately trying to change the suspect.
"Pack it up," Gibbs ordered, walking into the room. "Just got a hit on our BOLO."
Tony swung his long legs off his desk and quickly picked up his backpack, aiming a grin at McGee.
"Spoke too soon, McJinx," he said as they walked out of the bullpen.
Ten minutes later, Ziva and McGee were in one car, Tony and Gibbs in the other, looking for the car that had been reported driving in the area.
"Why can't this be easy?" DiNozzo whined as he scanned the road. "Why does he have to be driving a silver Camry? There are only a million of them in DC alone."
"Shut up, DiNozzo," Gibbs replied. "Keep an eye out."
"Will do, Boss," Tony said, resuming staring out the window. It wasn't long before he started humming distractedly under his breath. Gibbs grit his teeth as he recognized the Scooby-Doo theme song, knowing it would be stuck in his head for hours.
"Ziva, you got anything?" Gibbs asked into the radio.
"That's a negative, Gibbs. All quiet over here."
"Keep looking. Let us know as soon as anything happens."
"Got it," Ziva answered.
"So," Tony said, breaking the brief silence. "Any fun plans for tonight?"
Gibbs rolled his eyes. "Yeah, DiNozzo, work."
"Oh. Right," DiNozzo said with a laugh. "Sorry, Boss."
"Sign of weakness. Got it Boss."
Gibbs growled under his breath. "Don't do it again."
"I won't," Tony assured. "Hang on- there he is! Boss, he's heading east on 64th."
"Tell Ziva and McGee," Gibbs barked, switching lanes and racing after the Camry.
DiNozzo clutched at the arm rest as Gibbs expertly swerved between lanes, and focused on keeping his lunch down. He'd forgotten, or possibly blocked out, just how terrifying a car chase was with Gibbs at the wheel. The suspect turned down a side road and Tony groaned.
"This alley leads to a dead end, Boss. He's gonna run," Tony said, unbuckling his seat belt as he spoke.
"I'll loop around and cut him off from the front," Gibbs said as the suspect did as Tony had predicted and bolted from the car.
"Sounds good!" Tony yelled as took off after the suspect. Gibbs backed up as DiNozzo ran, barking directions into the radio at Ziva and McGee even as he roared out of the alley.
He made his way around the block, eyeballing where he anticipated the suspect and Tony to emerge, gunning the car when his guess proved to be a few blocks closer than it was.
"I see them, Boss!" McGee yelled into the radio. "Ziva and I have cut off his northern exit."
"Good," Gibbs answered tersely, moving to block off his route. He would cut off the west, and with the building at his back. they would have this guy essentially cornered-
A car careened out of the one entry point that was not blocked off by a member of Gibbs' team and slammed into Tony.
"Shit!" McGee shouted over the radio, even as Gibbs tore out of the car.
"McGee, apprehend the damn suspect!" He yelled, racing towards Tony. His senior agent was lying still and unmoving on the pavement, crumpled awkwardly. As Gibbs reached his side, he noted with satisfaction out of the corner of his eye as Tim tackled the suspect to the ground, yelling at him to put his hands behind his back.
"Tony? DiNozzo? Hey, can you hear me, DiNozzo?" Gibbs asked, gently rolling DiNozzo onto his back. Tony groaned, and Gibbs winced at the sight of Tony's right arm, which looked mangled.
"Where does it hurt, DiNozzo?"
Tony blinked languidly, then grimaced in pain.
"Um, my arm is killing me, and my, uh, my knee," he managed, biting his lip.
"Gibbs, I've called for an ambulance," Ziva said, coming up next to Tony.
"'M okay," Tony mumbled, struggling to sit up. Gibbs grabbed his good arm and helped him upright.
"Yeah, DINozzo, you're great," he grumbled. "Just sit tight, let the medics do their job."
Tony muttered something under his breath, but acquiesced, leaning his head back against Ziva.
"Stay awake, Tony," Gibbs ordered, noting DiNozzo's pallor.
"I am," Tony grumbled.
"Good. You stay that way," Gibbs said, resting one hand on Tony's good shoulder. DiNozzo was clutching the other arm to his chest, his face twisted in pain.
"On it, Boss," Tony said quietly, and Gibbs wondered, not for the first time, what the hell he'd done to instill such loyalty in his senior field agent.
Five hours later, Gibbs helped a very compliant and very loopy DiNozzo into his apartment building, glad that for once, the elevator was working.
"You got your keys, Tony?" He asked. Tony blinked at him for a second before shrugging.
"Think they're in my pocket, but they could be anywhere. We could make it a treasure hunt, Boss, and the keys would be the treasure, only they wouldn't be the real treasure. The real treasure would be getting access to…my apartment," he rambled, saying the words 'my apartment' with reverence and awe. Gibbs shook his head, amused but unsurprised by Tony's reaction to the painkillers he was on.
Poor kid deserved them.
He'd fractured his elbow and was in a cast that extended from his fingers to mid way up his upper arm, the cast cushioned in a blue sling. He'd also twisted his knee badly enough that he needed a brace, though he'd been able to avoid crutches.
"Tony, I'm going to look through your pockets, okay?"
Tony waved his good hand in what Gibbs took to be permission, and gently felt through his coat pockets, relieved when he found the keys on his first attempt.
"Just a minute, then we'll get you inside and laying down," he said, watching as Tony blinked and slumped against the wall.
"'Kay," Tony slurred, grinning slightly. "You get those out of my pocket? "
"Yep," Gibbs answered, inserting the key into the lock.
"Whoa," Tony mumbled. "M' pocket must be really deep."
Shaking his head, Gibbs opened the door, then turned back to Tony and looped an arm around his shoulder.
"Yeah, it must be, DiNozzo. Come on, let's get you inside."
"'Kay Boss," Tony chirped, grinning blearily. Gibbs shuffled inside, DiNozzo's arm over one shoulder, and helped him over to the couch, easing him down onto the cushions.
"Damn, Tony," Gibbs said, looking around the room as he grabbed a blanket and tucked it around his agent's shoulders. "Must have been some hot date planned."
While Tony had never been sloppy, he had certainly never been the picture of tidiness, either. Tonight, though, his apartment was spotless, a Christmas tree shimmering brightly in one corner, lights carefully strung up around the room. On the counter sat a bottle of wine and what looked to be the ingredients for a lasagna.
"Not a date," Tony mumbled, levering himself up on his good arm. "Asked m' dad to come. Don't know what I was thinking."
"Aw, hell DiNozzo," Gibbs said under his breath, standing to get Tony a glass of water.
"Doesn't matter," DiNozzo said, fiddling with the edge of the blanket. "Used to it."
Gibbs returned to his side and held out the glass of water and two pills. "You shouldn't be."
Tony took the pills and swallowed them with a grimace, then shrugged.
"Was gonna make lasagna," he said quietly. "My mom used t' make it every year. Guess it doesn't matter now." He laughed shortly and shook his head, lifting his injured arm. "Not like I could anyway."
"Hey, doesn't matter, DiNozzo."
Tony gave a strange crooked smile. "Just tired of being alone."
"Me too, Tony," Gibbs said quietly, a memory of the last Christmas he'd shared with Shannon and Kelly coming unbidden to mind.
"Hey. How about we watch a movie and I'll order a pizza, huh?" Gibbs asked, shaking his head as if to clear the memory away.
Tony made a face and nodded slowly. "Movie sounds good. Pizza, not so much. Pizza would be a disaster. Probably a disaster all over the floor."
"Yeah, you don't handle your meds too well, do ya DiNozzo?"
"Hey, I handle them just fine, Boss. I handle everything just fine. I'm a DiNozzo."
"Right," Gibbs said. "Now which movie do you want to watch?"
Tony smiled tiredly and ran his good hand through his hair.
"Do you have to ask?"
Forty minutes into It's A Wonderful Life and Tony had already fallen asleep. Gibbs looked at him fondly for a second before grabbing a beer from the fridge and nursing it through the rest of the movie. With ten minutes or so left, there was a sharp knock at the door. Gibbs got up, hand instinctively going towards the gun still settled on his hip, and peered through the peephole.
"Hey Abbs," he said, smiling as he opened the door.
"Gibbs! What are you doing here?"
"DiNozzo's on painkillers, didn't want him alone tonight. Why are you here?"
Abby smiled and held out the gifts she'd been holding behind her back.
"I didn't want him alone tonight either."
Gibbs smiled and wrapped an arm around Abby's shoulders, pressing a kiss to her hair as they watched DINozzo sleep.
"He doesn't look nearly so obnoxious while he's sleeping, does he Gibbs?" Abby commented.
"I'd say he looks downright peaceful," Gibbs answered, grinning when Abby snorted.
"As if," she murmured. "Tony really did his place up this year, huh?"
"Yeah," Gibbs replied. "Guess he just caught the holiday spirit."
"Is that- is that stuff to make lasagna?" Abby asked, walking towards the kitchen.
"Tony was going to make some for dinner tomorrow."
Abby's face fell. "There's no way he can manage that with his arm."
"Do you have anywhere to be tomorrow?" He asked, looking from the ingredients back to Tony.
"You know," Abby said, smiling softly, "I don't think I do."