Santa's Littlest Helpers
Summary: I am going to warn you ahead of time that this is a NCIS Christmas fantasy story. So…if this is not your cup of tea please do not read any further. In my story there are two worlds one which has the normal day-to-day stuff and the other world is the world of the magic of Christmas. Tony, McGee and Abby are in a car accident and stranded. Gibbs cannot help them because a huge snowstorm has hit the area. We all know Gibbs is not a person who can just sit back and wait when his family is in danger. Some nightly visitors come to his aid to help him get through it. Also…in my story, you are going to find out a little more about Gibbs. Gibbs has had a relationship with one of the nightly visitors years ago.
I hope you like.
Warning: I prefer not to use a beta reader so all the mistakes will be mine.
Christmas was just a little over three weeks away and the Chevy Chase Pavilion in Washington DC was crowded with shoppers. People were rushing around looking for best deals for the perfect gift for their love ones. At the moment, Abby, McGee and Tony were standing in the middle of the food court. They were trying to find a place to sit down so they could eat. McGee finally spotted an empty table and all three friends rushed toward it before anyone else got it. As Abby set her tray down she began talking, "Okay…you guys we need to decide what we are going to get our silver fox that has nothing and wants nothing?"
Tony sat down, "I know…why don't we just get the boss man exactly what he wants and that's nothing?"
Abby immediately pinched Tony in the arm. "HEY…THAT HURTS…ABBY!"
"Tony that's not funny. We have already agreed that this year we are going to get our silver fox the most perfect Christmas gift and we are not going to leave this place until we find it. Do I make myself clear Mister?"
Tony nodded as he rubbed his sore arm.
Abby finally sat down, "Good…now…let's think of a good gift we can get him."
Tim who had already started eating decided now would be a good time to bring up something that he had been thinking about. It was going to cost them a plenty but to him Gibbs would be worth it. He just wondered how Tony was going to take it. The SFA could be a little on the cheap side some times. "Abby…I have been thinking about this ever since you brought it up. How about we get Gibbs a brand new TV set and maybe a new DVD player to go with it? He could sure use a new one because the one he has now only plays that one stupid western channel in black and white. Every time it messes up he calls me to fix it. The last time I ordered the part online for it there was only one left in stock and I bought it. I checked around and I can't find the part anywhere. If it breaks again, Gibbs will still expect me to be able to fix it even if I can't get a part."
Abby thought about it for a few seconds and then finally grinned, "MCGEE…you are so screwed with Gibbs but I do think it is a great gift to give him. Think of all the possibilities he could do with it. I think it's time we bring our silver fox into the twenty-first century."
Tony shook his head; "NO! NO! NO! We can't do that. First of all, it's really McGee's problem not ours if he can't fix Gibbs' TV. Second…Abs you and I both know we should never compete with the big man in the red suit. Santa might not be too happy if we try to do his job for him. Thirdly and this is the most important one, I don't think Gibbs is going to like this at all. We all know he is pretty set in his ways. He likes that old TV set. I think he once mentioned to me that he wanted to be buried with it or something like that? To be honest Abs…I really don't think he will want to re…OUCH!" Tony yelled, "HEY…I told you that hurts. Will you please stop pinching me?"
Abby smiled, "Tony…I am not going to stop it until you agree with us. I think…McGee's idea is a pretty good one. Our Silver Fox needs a new TV and it's up to us to get him one. Maybe the only reason he hasn't got a new one is because he doesn't know which one to get. We can help him with that. When we are finished eating, we will go and pick out Gibbs' new TV, and a DVD player. Maybe we can also get him some DVDs of John Wayne. I know…we could get him some Phoebe Cates movies too. I remembered him once mentioning he really loved her?"
Tony didn't dare to say anything else. His arm was still hurting from her pinching. He figured by this time tomorrow his arm is going to be black and blue.
Several stores and almost two hours later they finally found the perfect TV set for Gibbs. Tony just kept staring at it until he finally asked, "Abs…don't you think that 55-Inch TV might be a little too much for Gibbs?"
The Goth grinned, "Our Silver Fox is getting older and his eyesight isn't what it use to be."
"Come on Abs…he's not blind. The boss man just has trouble reading the small fine print."
Since this was McGee's idea he decided to speak up, "Tony…I agree with Abby we should get him this one. He mi…might not love it at first but it will grow on him. I think maybe we could also get him a DVD play, a game player with some hunting and sniper games to go with it."
Tony looked at his two friends out of disbelief, "Are you both crazy? Gibbs is going to kill us…especially me since I am his senior field agent. And…I also know, we won't need to get him a sniper game because he will be using us for targets practice with his real rifle."
"Tony…don't be such a worrywart, I promise you Gibbs will love it."
Tony continued to stare at his two friends. From the looks on their face he knew he wasn't going to win this argument. Finally he gave up and agreed to go along with them. In the back of his mind, he couldn't help but feel that Gibbs was going to use him for target practice after Christmas.
When they were finally finished with all their shopping, Abby paid for it with her credit card. McGee and Tony agreed to give her their share of the bills once she tallies up everything. Before they left the store, Abby also made arrangements to have all the stuff delivered to Gibbs' house the day before Christmas. She knew she was going to have to distract Gibbs that day while McGee and Tony setup the TV and all the stuffs that will goes with it.
As they were walking outside, Abby remembered she was supposed to pick up a special tea blend for Ducky while she was at the mall. Abby rushed back inside the mall with McGee following closely behind her. Tony yelled to them that he was going to go get his car and wait for them outside.
As Tony was heading to his car, he couldn't help but notice a Santa standing by a red kettle ringing a bell. There were also several reindeer grazing in a fenced off area. Tony walked over and dropped some money into pot. The man in the red suit thanked him and wished him a Merry Christmas. Tony answered back with, "Santa…I sure hope so."
The old man looked concerned, "Son, it…sounds like you might have your doubts about Christmas?"
Tony grinned, "If you only knew Santa…if you only know. I guess…I should warn you because this year you are going to have some stiff competition for the best gift."
The old man grinned, "Is that so?"
"Santa…I just spent almost three hours and a lot of money with my two best friends looking for the perfect gift for our boss?"
"Did you find what you were looking for?"
"Yes and no…my friends found what they think will be the perfect gift for our boss but I've got this strange feeling my boss is not going to be too thrilled about what we got him."
The old man laughed out loud, "Young man, I am pretty sure your boss will appreciate anything you and your friends get him."
"Santa…you…really don't know my boss or my two friends."
The old man grinned ever more, "Son…your forgetting…I'm Santa and I am suppose to know everything about everyone. Don't you worry…it will be fine. Your boss will love what you and your friends will be giving him because it will come from your hearts."
"Maybe you're right…Santa. I guess I better go get the car before my friends wonder where I am. Oh…Santa…by the way, I have been very good this year and I expect to see you on Christmas Day."
The old man laughed out loud as he watched the younger man walk away. When Tony was out of his sight he finally whispers to himself, "Do not worry young Anthony because Leroy Jethro Gibbs will love what he gets for Christmas."
Tony, McGee and Abby were down in Abby's lab celebrating. They had just gotten word they have the whole week of Christmas off. The three really didn't have any plans to go anywhere but they wanted to use that time to relax, visit friends and family. Tony's father will be in Europe on business and would not be back until after New Years. McGee's family was already in DC. His mother and sister were here to give support to the admiral while he goes through his chemo for stage-four cancer. McGee planned to spend as much time with them as he could. With Abby's extra time, she wanted to help the nuns deliver food to the homeless shelters and maybe visit a few friends. She would have like to have spent some time with her brothers but both of them had other plans for this coming holiday. Kyle was visiting his adopted sister and her family in Utah while Luca will be on business trip in Mexico.
Today was the last day Gibbs' team had to work and then they would be on vacation for the next nine days. Since they were going to be off for a while, the senior agent had his team working on cold cases so they wouldn't get caught up on a case just before they leave.
Early that morning Abby called both Tony and McGee to come down to her lab. When the two men entered the room, they found the Goth pacing back and forth/. They could tell she was unset about something. McGee grabbed her arm to stop her, "Abby…what's wrong?"
"Guys…I think we might have a big problem. I checked the weather and there is suppose to be a huge snowstorm heading our way. What if it snows on Christmas Eve and they won't deliver Gibbs' TV and stuff? What are we going to do if we can't give out Silver Fox his stuff for Christmas? What…what is he going to think of us if we don't have anything for him? Wait…Wait before you say anything…I…I do know what he is going to think…he is going to think we don't care enough about him to get him a gift. Poor Gibbs…we can't have that happen. I don't want Gibbs to think..."
Tony cut in, "Abby…maybe the storm won't hit here at all? Maybe the weathermen are wrong? We all know how weathermen can be wrong sometimes…don't we?"
Abby looked at Tony, "No…no…I checked with a close friend of mine who is a meteorologists. He is really…really good at what he does. He told me the storm will hit late on Christmas Eve but he did warn me to have a plan B just incase. OH MY GOD I JUST THOUGHT OF SOMETHING…Poor Gibbs…he won't be able to delivery all those gifts to the poor little precious homeless kids on Christmas Eve if the storm hits earlier. What is he going to do?"
"Abby…calm down. Just let Gibbs know about the storm and this way he can plan to deliver the gifts for the homeless shelter earlier."
"McGee…your right…the kids come first. I will let Gibbs know so he can make sure those poor precious children get their gifts. Now…you guys…what is our plan B going to be?"
"Abby relax, we can get a box and put pictures of what we plan to give him in it. He can open the box and see it. We can tell him he is getting them as soon as the storm is over."
Tony didn't like the idea, "Okay…Mc…Claus…what if he sees the pictures of our gifts and threatens to shoot the deliver man when he comes? You do know the boss would do something like that don't you?"
Abby shook her head, "No…I won't let him do that. He will love his gifts."
Tony still had his doubts.
December 21st – Christmas Party
NCIS was throwing their annual Christmas Party. Even though Gibbs' team was off this week they still plan to attend the party. Abby, McGee and Tony were only going to stay for an hour or two and then they plan to go to another party afterwards. Gibbs had brought his dad with him. While Gibbs was talking to Vance and several of the other agents and their wives, Abby decided to kidnap Jackson and take him to her lab. She still hadn't given up on the idea that Gibb's TV and stuff could still be delivered on Christmas Eve. Once she told Jackson what they had planned for his son, he promised he would drag his son out of the house if needed. Now they only had to pray that it didn't snow.
An hour and a half later Tony, McGee and Abby decided it was time for them leave and head off to the other party. One of Abby's friends was throwing it. She lived just outside of Frederick, MD and it was about an hour's drive from DC. Abby's friend wanted to meet Tony and McGee every since Abby mentioned them.
Tony decided to take his car. He wasn't too thrilled with the idea of having to drive all the way out into the boonies for the party but he had already promised Abby he would do it. The weathermen were predicting a heavy snowstorm north of DC. The storm was not supposed to hit until some time late in the morning. Abby checked with her meteorologist's friend once more and he told her he was pretty sure they have plenty enough time to go to the party and get back home before it started to snow.
When they arrived at the party both Tony and McGee nearly tripped over their tongues when finally met Abby's friend Sally. She was drop dead gorgeous and very friendly toward them. The two men spent the rest of their time competing for her attention. It wasn't until they were getting ready to leave when Abby broke the news to them that her friend Sally was gay. She only put up with their flirting because she thought it was cute of them.
Around one in the morning, it turned out Abby's meteorologist friend was very wrong because the snow had started coming down. Sally offered them a place to stay for tonight but Abby told her they needed to get back to DC. She didn't want to be stuck there just days before Christmas. As soon as they got into the car Tony turned on the GPS and Abby turned on Christmas music. "Well…what to you think of the party and my friend Sally?"
"Abby why didn't you tell us Sally was gay?"
Abby looked surprised, "Timothy…I didn't know you were a homophobic?"
McGee started to defend himself but Tony jumped in before he could, "Abby…you and I both know McGee is not a homophobic. He is just saying it would have been nice for you to tell us up front about your friend being gay before we wasted all our time trying to get your friend's attention."
McGee grinned because Tony was actually sticking up for him, "Thanks…Tony. Abby you should have told us about your friend."
Since her two friends were ganging up on her, she decided to change the subject, "I still can't believe Director Vance gave us this whole week off. It's a miracle."
The snow was starting to fall a little heavier. Tony turned the knob to make the windshields go faster and hoped it wouldn't get any worst then it was. "I wonder why Vance was so nice to us this year and let us off?"
McGee moved a little closer so he could join in the conversation, "I heard the director decided to do it because everyone was fighting over who was going to get it. When he looked into the past ten years and he found out we never got the whole week off, He decided to give it to us. He told the others that it was only fair."
Tony grinned, "So the director had an ulterior motive?"
"Tony that's not nice. Director Vance did it because he thought we deserved it. Remember even you once said it's hard to be on the top of the pyramid. Besides it's been a pretty rough year for him with losing his wife and all."
"You're right…but I sometimes get this impression that he doesn't like me much."
"Tony…he does like you or he would never have left you and Ziva watching his children."
Tony grinned as remembered that time with Ziva and Vance's kids. Vance had asked them both to watch his children, he had wanted to tell the director no but Ziva immediately stepped in and said they would be glad to watch them for him. At the beginning he was very uncomfortable with Vance kids because he didn't know what to expect. As the evening wore on it turned out to be a lot of fun. He and Vance's kids got along fine. He later found out from Vance that Jared and Kayla keep asking when he could come back and play with them.
The GPS told them to take the next exit. Tony followed the instruction. It wasn't until sixteen miles later that Tony realized the GPS had given him the wrong information. Tony immediately stopped the car and it slid a few feet before it came to a complete stop.
Abby had taken her seatbelt off so she could change station on the radio. She almost hit her head on the windshield when the car came abrupt stop. "Tony…why did we stop so sudden?"
Tony looked at her and then back to the road…well what was left of the road, "Abby, if I go any further we are going to drive right into that icy cold pond and I for one have no intention of going for a nightly swim right now. This damn GPS must have given us the wrong information again. We're going to have to turn around and drive back the way we came before we get lost. Now…please put your seatbelt back on just incase. The roads are starting to get slippery."
After several attempts, Tony managed to turn the car around. On the way back the visibility kept getting worst. He didn't realize at the time but there was a fork in the road. He should have gone left instead of right. The snow was now falling too heavy and Tony could barely see where he was going. A few seconds later, a deer came out of nowhere and ran right in front of the car. Tony had to swerve to miss it. He lost control and the car went down a steep embankment. The car rolled over several times before it finally righted itself just before it stopped. The lights and radio stay on but there was no movement inside the car. The only sound that could be heard was a DG getting someone to sing a silly Christmas song to win some free tickets, "Jingle Bells Santa smells…I…I think the next line goes…Rudolph ran away and then Oh what fun it is to ride In a four door Chevrolet…"
Several hours earlier at the NCIS Christmas party…
Gibbs decided it was time for him and his father to leave the party. He found his father in autopsy talking with Ducky. The two men seemed to be having a good time. Both of them were laughing about something when Gibbs walked into the room.
Gibbs was curious about what they were talking about and he had to ask them what was so funny.
"Leroy…why didn't you tell me I had grandchildren?"
Gibbs looked confused and asked, "Dad…what are you talking about?"
"Son…Ducky here has been telling me how your little ones have been giving you gray hair all these years."
Gibbs was still confused and looked at Ducky for help. "Jethro…I was just telling your father about how you and your team work so well together."
Gibbs looked at his father, "Dad…I think Ducky has already opened that new bottle of Bourbon I got him for Christmas."
Gibbs looked at the ME and then back to his father, "Dad…I think it's time for us to leave. The snowstorm will probably hit sometime early in the morning and I want to go ahead an deliver all the toys today."
Ducky just remember something, "Jethro…do you think it wise that Abigail, Timothy and Anthony went to a party in Frederick, MD? What if they get caught in that storm?"
Gibbs had known the three were going to another party today but he didn't realize the party would be so far away. If he had known he would have stopped them. He was now worried but he wasn't going to let the others know, "Ducky…I am pretty sure they will be fine. If the storm hits while they are up there, they can always find a place to stay for the night."
Gibbs turned and looked at his father, "Dad…we need to get going. So…let's go get our coats and leave?"
A couple of hours later, Gibbs and his father finished delivering all the toys and they were finally back home. The first thing both Gibbs did was head into the kitchen to make a pot of coffee. Both of them sat down at the kitchen table and talk for a while. Jackson was getting tired so Gibbs told him to go to bed he would clean up and shut all the light off. After he was done, he headed upstairs to take a shower and then to bed. It wasn't long before he was fast asleep.
Gibbs Has Two Nightly Visitors…
Sometime during the night two mystical being entered Gibbs' bedroom. At first, they just stood there and stare at the sleeping man. Finally the male says, "Ithilethiel…the next few days are going to be very trying for Leroy. He is going to need help to get through it."
The female sat down on the bed next to the sleeping man. She ran her hand along the side of his face. It had been a few years since she had last seen this human. She closed her eyes because she could still remember the first time she had slept with him. She smiled and kissed Gibbs lightly on the forehead. "Nicholas…you do know Leroy and I were once married and I know he is very capable of handling any situation on his own."
"Not this time…Ithilethiel. Leroy will be unable to help the three people who are very dear to him. He will have to sit back and wait until the storm is over before he can help them. The wait will be unbearable and he will attempt to go find them. If he does they will all die. You and I both know Leroy is not a patient man. We are going to have to help him through it and keep him from going outside until it is safe."
"Nickolas why use my babies?"
"Ithilethiel…I believe your little ones will be the only ones who can keep Leroy distracted enough to keep him from making a tragic mistake."
The female continued to stare at the sleeping human. "You know…I could not compete with his Shannon."
Santa smiled sadly, "It appears neither could Diane nor Stephanie. They both made the same mistake you did. They tried to love a man who had already given his heart away to another woman. Ithilethiel…I know you visited Leroy a few years ago and stole his seed. You used his seed to create your three young ones and you also copied the essence of the three he cares for and put it into your little ones."
The female elf looked up at her male companion and then back to the sleeping man, "I have loved this human since the moment I met him. Nickolas…did I ever tell you Leroy and I met in England. We had only known each other for three days when he asked me to marry him? From the beginning I should have realized it would not work out for us but I didn't care."
"You loved him."
"Yes…I loved him. Anyway…I moved to the states with him. I lived in this very house for a couple of weeks before we both realized it was a mistake. His heart will always belong to his Shannon. We eventually parted and we did the human divorce thing. The day I walked out of his life I was still in love with him. Time passed and I couldn't get him out of my mind. So…I decided if I can't have him I would have something of his. I came back and took his seed. While he slept I also joined his mind. It was when I realized that he had three people who were very close to him. I wanted what he had seen in them so I took their essence to mold my children. I know it was wrong but I couldn't help myself."
"Ithilethiel…Leroy deserves to know he is the father of your little ones?"
"I know…but I don't want to lose my babies. What if they love him more?"
"You won't. I know your little ones have very big hearts. They will love you both."
She looked at her companion as a lone tear fell down her cheek. "Nicholas…I wanted him so bad but he would not let go of Shannon. He…loved her too much. What was I to do? I could not get him out of my mind. I wanted him so bad…" The female elf looked at her human one more time, "I…I will allow my little ones to spend time with him but I must warn you. My little ones are empaths. As long as they are on earth…they will have empathy with Leroy's three."
"I understand…thank you…Ithilethiel."
Both visitors took one last looked at the human and disappeared.
Shortly after the two visitors left, Gibbs started dreaming. In his dream, he found himself sitting on the couch in his living room watching as a very young Abby and Timmy were chasing each other around the room. He didn't question it because it just felt so natural to him. When the two children ran past him, Gibbs scooped both of them up into his arms and hugged them as hard as he could. The two little ones started giggling and yelling that they couldn't breathe. Gibbs laughed as he placed both of them on the couch. He started to tickle them when he noticed a pair of big green eyes peeking behind the entrance into the living room. The little boy looked so sad and lonely. He smiled, "Tony…why don't you come and join the rest of us?"
Little Abby grabbed his face and turned it toward her as she was shaking her head, "NO DADDY! Tony was a bad…bad boy. He is supposed to be in timeout. Don't you remember you put him in timeout? We are very…very mad at him."
It took all of Gibbs' willpower not to grin at the serious expression on his little girl's face, "Abby…why are we mad at your brother Tony?"
Little Timmy joined in, "Tony told us that our Santa doesn't exist. You told Tony to stop saying that and to a…a..pol…gizz for making us cry. Tony said he wouldn't do it. Daddy…you made him stay in timeout. Don't you remember Daddy?"
Gibbs looked at his two little ones but his heart went out to the lonely little boy who kept peeking into the room. He decided to try and help make the situation a little better for the boy, "Tony…are you ready to apologize to sister and brother?"
The little boy slowly stepped into the room, "Yes…Daddy. I…I'm sorry I made you cry and that I said our Santa doesn't exist."
Gibbs signaled Tony to come and join them. The little boy smiled and ran into his daddy's open arms. Gibbs picked him up and sat him on his lap. He smiled and pushed the hair back on the little boy's forehead. When Gibbs did that he felt something wet in his hand. He raised his hand and saw blood. He stared at the little boy for a second and then Tony vanished before his eyes. He looked at the other children and they began to shiver. Abby started crying that she was cold and her chest hurt while Timmy was shivering and favoring his left arm. Bruises began to appear on both of the children and then they too vanished like the other child did. Gibbs yelled out their names but they were gone.
At that moment, Jackson was walking past Gibbs' bedroom when he heard his son cry out. He immediately headed into the room. He found Gibbs in the middle of some kind of nightmare to do with his team. The old man knew better then to try and wake up an ex soldier when he was having a nightmare. So he decided to call out his name instead, "Leroy…son are you alright?"
Gibbs opened his eyes and immediately sat up. He looked around the room and finally realized where he was.
"Son…are you okay? Do you want to talk about it?"
"I am fine…Dad. I just had a bad dream…that's all. I am sorry…I am sorry for waking you."
"Son…there is no reason to be sorry, you didn't wake me up…I was just going to get some water that's all. Are you sure you are okay? I could make some coffee and we could talk a little."
"No thanks…Dad…I will be fine. Go get your water and get some sleep. I will see you in the morning."
The old man just nodded and left the room.
Gibbs closed his eyes and tried to follow the advice he had just given his dad. His gut was telling him something was wrong. He had had dreams before like this when one of his team was in trouble. He had dreamed he was their father and it was his job to protect them. He had never dreamed they were all his little kids at one time. He felt this dream was trying to tell him something but what?
For the next hour all Gibbs did was tossed and turn in the bed. Normally, his marine training would kick in and he could fall back to sleep but this time, his mind kept going back to that damn dream. What did it mean? It was still early in the morning. Was he having this dream because Abby, McGee and Tony in trouble? Did they need him? Gibbs knew he wasn't going to get any sleep so he headed downstairs to make some coffee.
As he entered the kitchen, he looked out the window and for the first time he noticed it was snowing. He walked over to the radio and turned it on. The weatherman was warning everyone to stay at home. Areas north of DC were already in blizzard like conditions. The weatherman also said the state troopers were warning everyone to stay off the road and highways because it was just too dangerous to travel.
Gibbs' gut was now telling him something was definitely wrong. He immediately tried to call Tony's Iphone but he got no answer. Next he tried to call Abby and then McGee's with no luck. He knew he was not going to be satisfied until he finally knows their whereabouts. He then decided to call Agent Balboa at NCIS. He knew Balboa and his team were on call right now. He asked the agent to have someone at NCIS see if they could locate his team's cellphones. Balboa said he would call back a little when he finds out something. Gibbs closed his cellphone and looked out the window. It was now, a few hours before daybreak and from the streetlights he could tell the snow was started to pick up, "Where are you guys?"
Early Hours of December 22nd
North of DC…
Abby was the first one to wake up. It was very cold and dark. She tried to remember what had happen and then it finally hit her. She remembers the deer running across the road and Tony trying to swerve to miss it. She tried calling to Tony and McGee but she got no answer. She tried to move but her chest hurt from the seat belt. It took her a few seconds but she finally freed herself from it. She felt around until she found her bag. She opened it up and felt inside until she found her cellphone. She used the light from the cellphone to look around. The first thing she saw was Tony. He was still strapped in the drivers' seat. His face was all bloodied and he was unconscious. She also noticed snow falling on him.
She turned the light from her cellphone toward the broken window. There was a hole about six inches wide letting the snow in. Even though it was very painful, Abby reached over to Tony's neck to check for a pulse and she was pleased when she found it. The pulse was very weak but it was there. Abby painfully removed her coat and used it to stuff it into the opening so the snow would not keep falling on Tony. Once she was finished, she now turned her attention back to her injured friend. She used the Kleenex she had in her bag to wipe the blood away from his face. She couldn't see any cuts on his face so the bleeding must be coming from his scalp area. Right now, it was just too dark to see anything and the bleeding seemed to have stopped.
"Tony…wake up. Please wake up…"
Abby turned her cellphone light toward the backseat of the car. She could see McGee moving a little, "Timothy are you okay?"
"I…I don't aaaa. I think my left arm is bro…ken and maybe a couple of ribs. Abby…what about you? Are you okay?"
"I am pretty sore around the chest but I don't believe anything is broken."
"How's Tony? Is he…okay?"
"I am not sure. He has a head injury and I can't seem to wake him up."
McGee was almost afraid to ask, "Abby…did you check for a pulse?"
Abby looked almost annoyed at the question, "Of coarse I did McGee, Tony has a pulse but it's very weak. He's been bleeding somewhere on the top of the head but it looks like it stopped."
McGee looked at the windows and could see the snow against them, "Abby have…have you tried using your cellphone to see if you can call for help?"
She opened her Iphone and could see there were no bars. "I think we might be in some kind of dead zone."
McGee reached into his coat pocket, with his good arm, and pulled out his Iphone. His could see he wasn't getting any signal either.
"McGee…as soon as it is light enough, I will try to go for help."
"Abby…it's too dangerous and besides you're not dressed to be out to go outside in weather like this. I will do it."
"McGee…you…you are in no condition to be outside. What if you fall? You could do more damage to your arm and ribs. I will do it."
McGee was starting to feel the cold. "Do you think we can get the car heater going?"
"McGee…we are not sure how damaged this car is. Also, I don't want to chance carbon monoxide poisoning. You always hear those stories where people were found dead in their cars."
McGee knew there was no arguing with her when her mind was set on something. He decided to try and be more useful, "Abby…Tony's has always been pretty good about keeping supplies in the trunk just incase of an emergency. I think it's because of his northern upbringing. Maybe he has some blankets back there?"
It took Abby a few minutes but she finally managed to open the door. She could see at least a foot of snow had already accumulated on the ground. Before she stepped outside, she grabbed Tony's gloves and keys. McGee handed her his jacket. It took her a little while to reach the back of the car because of the wind and it was very slippery. When she finally reached the back of the car she knew she had her work cut out for her. The car was covered with snow. It took her a few minutes to clean the snow off the trunk. She tried used the button on the key to open the trunk but it didn't work. She headed back inside the car. She was freezing from the cold but she knew she couldn't give up just yet. She hit the button inside the car to open the trunk. She hoped this would worked. She headed back outside and was thrilled when she saw the lid slightly jarred. When she opened it up the rest of the way, she realized McGee wasn't kidding. The trunk was filled with all kinds of emergency stuff. She was cold so she grabbed Tony's traveling bag, his rubber boots and several blankets and hurried back inside the car and slammed the door.
Once inside, the first thing she did was checked to make sure Tony was still breathing. She covered him with one of the blankets. She turned and handed McGee another blanket.
McGee was cold and he hurried to cover himself, "Thanks…A..Abby."
"McGee…you were so right about Tony's trunk. Tony has food, blankets, flares, emergency lights and a shovel. If he were awake I would hug him right now. Well…maybe not hug him because he is injured. Maybe…I would just give him one little tiny weenie hug."
"Right…I need to stay focused…Timothy…I did manage to find Tony's traveling bag. Tony's sweatpants and shirt are inside. I'm going to use them to keep me warm."
McGee grinned a little, "Aren't they a little too big for you?"
Abby turned and grinned at McGee, "They are but I am still going wear them. Tim…give me a few minutes to get these on and then I will take care of your broken arm. I am pretty sure I can find something in the trunk to brace your arm with.
Jackson was looking out the kitchen window. He was watching his son trying to shovel the snow off his driveway. The older man could see it was a losing battle because the snow seemed to be falling faster than his son could shovel it. Jackson then watched his son finally give up and head back into the house. A few seconds later the door opened and Gibbs walked in looking defeated. The father had seen that look on his son before. Gibbs removed his gloves, hat and coat and hung them up on the hook by the door without saying a word. Gibbs walked over and looked out the window.
"Son…maybe they are just stuck somewhere and don't have any phone service. They will call when they can."
Gibbs continued to look out the window. "Dad…they are on vacation and would not have any reason to call me. As far as I know they could just have their phones turned off."
Jackson watched his son for a few seconds longer and then decided to go make some fresh coffee. Gibbs didn't move. He continued to stare out the window knowing all hopes of finding his people gone. He didn't know how long he had been standing there but he turned when he heard what sounded like small children playing. The noise was coming from the living room. He wondered if his father was watching some show on the TV. As he passed the kitchen he saw his father sitting in a chair reading the newspaper. "Dad…did you leave the TV on?"
"No son…I have been sitting here for a while now. I made a fresh pot of coffee I thought you would like some."
Gibbs could still hear what sounded like small children playing in the living room, "Dad I will be back in a minute, I need to go and turn the TV off." Jackson looked at his son and wonder what he was talking about. He didn't hear anything and the last time he looked the TV was off. He just shook his head and went back to reading the newspaper and drinking his coffee.
When Gibbs walked into the living room, it was as if he stepped into another world and forgot about the world he was just left. He saw his little Abby running around the coffee table being chased by a little Timmy and Tony was sitting quietly on the floor playing with a little red car. Abby and Timmy stopped when they saw their daddy enter the room. Both of them ran toward him.
"Daddy...Daddy you're here. Come play with Timmy and me. Please Daddy?"
Gibbs knelt down so he could gather them up in his arms and hug them. Timmy cried out pain when Gibbs touched his arm. "Timmy…what's wrong."
It was his little girl who answered his question, "Daddy…don't you remember we were in a ak…sa…sa…dent and Timmy broke his arm and has a booboo on his chest like I do."
Gibbs moved back so he could get a better look at his two kids. He noticed several bruises on their faces and arms. "Are you two okay?"
"Yes Daddy…we will be okay but…something is wrong with our Tony. He won't talk to us or play with us."
Gibbs looked at the little boy. Tony was just sitting quietly playing by himself with his little red car. Gibbs looked at Abby, "He…looks okay to me."
"Daddy…Tony has a booboo on his head."
"Was Tony in the accident too?"
"Yes…Daddy. Tony hurt his head and now he won't play or talk to us."
Gibbs called Tony's name but the little boy just kept playing. Gibbs crawled over to where the little boy was and sat down next to him. He studied the boy for a few seconds. Tony just continued to play without noticing his daddy next to him. Gibbs reached out and touched the boy's shoulder and whispered his name but the little boy still would not look at him. Gibbs finally reached for the boy's chin and turned the small face toward him. "Tony?"
The little boy looked at him as if he was studying his face for a few seconds. Tony finally recognized him and reached up to touch his cheek, "Daddy?"
Gibbs smiled and picked the boy up and sat him in his lap. He hugged him. He looked at his other two children. Abby and Timothy smiled and went back chasing each other.
A few seconds later Jackson walked into the room. He thought it was a little strange to find his son sitting in the middle of the floor but he decided not to say anything about it. "Leroy, I was wondering if you would like me to make you something to eat? It's almost noon."
Gibbs looked at the empty space in his arm for a few seconds longer before he finally looked up at his dad.
Jackson could see the confused look on his son's face, "Leroy…are you okay? Is something wrong."
Gibbs looked up at his father, "No…Dad…I am fine."
Somewhere North of DC…
It didn't take Abby long to found what she was going to need to brace McGee's broken arm. She was freezing and she hurried back inside the car. As soon as she entered it she heard a low moan coming from the driver's seat. It seems Tony was starting to wake up. She dropped her stuff and immediately turned her attention to her injured friend, "Tony? Please wake up for me…"
McGee who had been half asleep but now was wide-awake. He was waiting to see if Tony was finally going to wake up.
"Come on Tony boy…I know you can do it. You don't want me to be stuck here alone with McGee. You know how boring he can be sometimes."
Abby looked at McGee, "Well…its true Timothy."
"When? I always thought you enjoyed my company?"
"I did…I mean I do. Well…most of the time McGee but there are those time when..."
"Will you…you…two please lower your voices. You're making my head hurt more."
Both Abby and McGee immediately turned they attention to the driver's seat.
Abby smiled, "I knew that would wake you up."
Tony opened his eyes and was trying to figure out what was going on. He finally says, "I…I take it we are not at the party anymore?"
Abby moved a little closer so she could get a better look at him. She ignored his question, "Tony…how do you feel?"
"My h…head hurts pretty bad."
Abby checked Tony's eyes and could tell his pupils were slightly dilated. "Tony…I think you have a concussion? Do you hurt anywhere else?"
Tony moved his body just a little but nothing seemed to be broken. "My ch…chest hurts some. What hap…happened?"
"Tony…you're the one with head injury. I think maybe I should be the one who is asking all the questions. What do you remember?"
"I re…mem…ber we were at the Christmas party. I remember Gibbs brought his dad to the party. I don't remem…ber anything…after."
Abby looked at McGee and then back to Tony, "You don't remember us leaving the party to go to my friend Sally's party?"
Tony's vision was blurry as he tried to look at Abby. "No…no tell me w…what happened."
"We did go to my friend Sally's Christmas party. We had a lot of fun. It started to snow so we headed back to DC when a deer ran out in front of the car. You swerved to miss it and we went down a steep embankment. The car rolled over several times before it came to rest here."
"Is McGee is okay?"
McGee who had been sitting quietly in the back just listening to the conversation, decided it was time for him to speak up, "Tony…I am okay except for a broken arm and maybe some broken ribs."
Tony looked at McGee in the rearview mirror, "I'm…sor…ry T…Tim."
"Tony…you have nothing to be sorry about. It was just an accident."
Tony shook his head, "Still my…my fault. I should have…"
Abby put both her hands on each side of Tony's face and turned his face toward her, "Anthony DiNozzo…you listen to me. McGee is right; it's not your fault the deer ran out in the middle of the road. You did everything you could to avoid hitting it. You lost control of the car and it went down the embankment. Not your fault. If it's anyone's fault it is mine because I insisted we head back to DC."
Tony heard her words but deep down inside he still felt it was still his fault. He turned and looked at the broken window in front of him and it was covered with snow. Tony decided to try and change the subject, "Is…h…help com…coming?"
"No…I couldn't get a signal. I think we are in an area where there is no phone service."
"H…how…long have we've b…been here?"
"A little over eight hours."
Tony could barely keep his eyes open and he finally closed his eyes. Abby checked him to make sure he was only sleeping. When she was satisfied she turned her attention to McGee.
"Tim…I think it is time I set you broken arm. I know this is going to hurt. Are you ready?"
McGee just nodded. Abby climbed into the back seat because she didn't want to go back outside just yet. She grabbed the stuff she was going to use to brace McGee's arm and sat down next to him. "McGee, I am so sorry for what I am about to do?" Abby reached into her pocket and pulled a clean cloth she had found in the trunk. She rolled it up. "I saw this in the movies. You can bite on it if you need too.
McGee place it into his mouth. He nodded that he was ready. He bit down on it hard as soon as Abby moved his arm to put the bone back into place. The pain was almost unbearable as he tried not to scream out with pain. Abby kept apologizing. She used a magazine she had found in the trunk as a splint. She used Tony's shoelaces to tie the magazine to his arm. When she was finished she smiled at her work and hoped it would be good enough to keep his arm immobile for now. She just wished she had something for the pain.
McGee didn't move for a few seconds because he was still trying to regain his composure. He finally says, "T…thank…thanks…Abby."
Tears fell down the Goth's face, "Tim…I'm sorry…I'm so sorry Timothy. You know I didn't want to hurt you."
McGee finally raised his good arm and touched her cheek with his fingers. He smiled at her and said, "Abby…it…its okay. You…you know you don't need to apologize…you did what you had to do. Besides, if Gibbs was here he would tell you not to apologize because its a…"
"S…sign of weakness."
Both Abby and McGee looked toward the front seat, "Tony?"
"Yah…how can a guy get any sleep around here with all t…that scream…screaming?"
Noontime December 22nd
Gibbs had been watching the news most of the morning. The weatherman was predicting a record snowstorm for the DC and its surrounding areas. He continued to warn everyone to stay home and only go out if it's an emergency.
Earlier Gibbs had finally managed to get a hold of Palmer. He knew Ducky's assistant would know where his three friends had gone. Palmer gave Gibbs all the information he had including Sally's phone number. He also told Gibbs that he and Breena were supposed to go with them but at the last minute they had to back out because Breena's mother decided to throw a party at the same time.
As soon as Gibbs got off his cellphone with Palmer, he tried to call Abby's friend several times but with no luck. There were power outages and phone lines down all over the place. It wasn't until a few hours later that Gibbs was finally able to get a hold of Abby's friend Sally. She did confirm that Abby, Tony and McGee had been at her party and they stayed till one in the morning when it started to snow. She also told him she had offered them a place to stay for the night but they wanted to get back to DC before they got caught in the storm.
Gibbs now knew his people were somewhere between Frederick, MD and DC. He went to his desk and pulled out a map to study it. He could see it was mostly straight driving from Frederick, MD to DC. If the weather had turned bad while they were on the road, they might have stopped at any of the motels along the roadway. He knew they would have no reason to call him but why could he not get in touch with them. What worried him the most was that if they had taken I-270 south it would have taken them through some wooded areas? If they had somehow taken the wrong exit they could be lost or worst off injured or dead. He gut was telling them they were alive but they needed help.
Gibbs had a friend who was a state trooper and he lived and worked near Frederick, MD. Gibbs called his friend. The trooper told him that the weather up there was pretty bad and only emergency vehicles were allowed on the roads. Many travelers had been caught off guard and were now stranded along the roads and highways. Emergency vehicles were going from vehicle to vehicle to rescue any stranded motorist. Gibbs told him about his people and the trooper said he would keep an eye out for them and call him if he hears anything.
Gibbs closed his cellphone and looked out the window. The snow just kept falling. He felt something tugging on his pants' leg. He looked down and saw his little Tony. The boy raised his hands to be picked up. Gibbs didn't question why the little boy was there. For some strange reason again it felt right. Gibbs reached down and picked him up. He placed the little boy on his hip. Neither of them said anything for a few minutes. Finally Tony says, "Daddy…who are you looking for?"
Without thinking Gibbs says to the little boy, "I'm was looking for you."
The boy looked puzzled, his little hands reached for the older man's face and turned it toward him. "Daddy…I am right here. Can't you see me?"
Gibbs smiled at the little boy and kissed him on the forehead. "Yes…Tony…I can see you."
The little boy was confused, "Daddy…why were you looking for me? Did I do something wrong?"
Gibbs didn't know how to explain it to the little boy. He finally says, "No…you didn't do anything wrong. I was lonely and hoping you would come and spend some time with me and you did."
The little boy just grinned and hugged his daddy back.
"Tony…where are your brother and sister?"
"They are watching a…Santa's movie."
Gibbs could tell the boy seemed to be a little upset about it. "Why are you not watching it with them?"
"Abby and Timmy won't let me because I said our Santa doesn't exist. I appa…po…o..gizzed like you told me to but they still won't let me watch the movie. Daddy?"
"What does exist mean?"
"It means to live."
Tony looked puzzled, "I know Santa…lives."
Gibbs held back a grin, "If you do, why did you tell Abby and Timmy that Santa does not exist?"
Big tears started to fall down his little cheeks. He tried to wipe them away, "I only told them that because I heard you and Uncle Ducky talking about our Santa. I heard you tell Uncle Ducky that Santa didn't exist."
Gibbs used the bottom of his shirt to wipe the tears off the little cheeks. He was surprised to hear the little boy tell him that it was really his fault that him and his siblings were not getting along because of him. "We did? When did we say that?"
"Daddy…the…the last time you took us…us to were your work. I…I heard Uncle Ducky tell you he found someone to play our Santa on Christmas day. I heard you…Daddy. I heard…you asked Uncle Ducky what age was he when he found out that Santa doesn't exist. He told you he was seven and you told him you were the same age. I heard you…Daddy. I really did."
Gibbs kissed the top of the little boy's head, "Oh Tony…you weren't suppose to hear that. Uncle Ducky and I were just talking. Santa is real as long as you believe in him."
"Will…I get presents now?"
Gibbs smiled as he hugged his little boy, "Yes…you will get presents just like your brother and sister."
"Both Abby and Timmy said I wasn't going to get anything because of what I said."
"Don't you worried Santa knows you really didn't mean anything by it and he will bring you something too. You have been a good boy this year just like your sister and brother."
"Daddy, can you please tell Abby and Timmy to let me watch the movie with them?"
Gibbs smiled and took one last look out the window. The snow was still falling and it wouldn't be long before it gets dark. He looked down at the little boy in his arms. "Okay Tony lets go watch TV together with Abby and Timmy. I am pretty sure they will let you watch this time."
A couple of hours later, Jackson walked into the living room and found his son sound a sleep on the couch with the TV on. The old man didn't have the heart to wake up his son so he turned off the TV and headed upstairs.
Early December 23rd
North of DC…
It was early in the morning when Tony finally managed to wake up. He looked around and saw that Abby and McGee were still asleep. Tony didn't care what they had told him, he still believed that it was his entire fault that they were in this predicament. He felt it was now his responsibility to go for help. He quietly slipped out of the car. The snow was still falling pretty heavy. The visibility was almost zero. He button up his coat. He wasn't sure which direction to go but he knew he needed to start moving if he wanted to find help for his two friends. He took one last look at the car and started moving…
Abby was the first to wake up. It took her a few seconds to realize Tony was no longer in the car. She yelled for McGee to wake up as she opened the car door. She was hoping Tony had just stepped outside to go to the bathroom. Her heart dropped when she didn't see him. She started to leave the car when McGee stopped her with his good hand.
"ABBY…STOP…PLEASE…YOU ARE ONLY GOING TO GET YOURSELF LOST. THERE IS NOT WAY YOU ARE GOING TO FIND TONY IN THIS WEATHER."
Abby sat back down and looked at McGee. She had tears in her eyes, "McGee…I have to try."
"Please Abby…I can't lose both of you."
Abby just stared at the falling snow for a few seconds. She knew McGee was right and there was no way she was going to find Tony. She could only hope that he finds shelter and stays there.
Meanwhile Tony had only managed to walk about a quarter of a mile from the car. He was finding it harder and harder to move without falling down. The cold was really starting to get to him. He knew if he didn't find help soon he wasn't going to make it. The only thing that was keeping him moving was he didn't want to let his two friends down.
Tony's body was almost numb. He continued to struggle for a few more feet but then something strange started to happen. The wind died down and it stopped snowing. As he stood there he noticed it was still snowing pretty heavy only a few feet from him. He turned his body around and he realized he was standing in some kind of void. He was confused.
Finally he hears a whisper, "Anthony…go back."
Tony tried to see where the sound was going from. It almost sound like Gibbs but why would Gibbs call him Anthony? "Boss…is that you? Where are you?"
"Anthony…please…go…back. I will come for you."
"I need to find help for Abby and McGee. They are going to die if I don't get help for them."
"Anthony…if you continue you will die. You must turn around and go back to them."
Tony just stood there for a few seconds trying to decide what to do. Was he imaging Gibbs talking to him? He was cold and he wasn't really sure which direction to go for help. He decided to listen to the voice and turned around and headed back into the direction he came. It took him a while but he finally made it back to the car. He was too cold and tired to see the relief on his two friends' faces. Both Abby and McGee made him sit in the back between them. They used the blankets and their body heat to warm him back up.
Sometime during the early morning hours…Gibbs had dreamed of Tony being lost in a blizzard and was in trouble. He called to the young man and told him to go back…
Late December 23rd
North of DC…
Abby was freezing as she reentered the car. She had made several attempts during the day to climb up the embankment but when that didn't work she tried walking a few hundred feet from the car to see if she could pick up a signal. Each time she was unsuccessful. Abby was afraid if she went any further she would get lost. The snow continued to fall and the visibility was only a few feet. She was going to have to retrace her footsteps to get back to the car. She was freezing her butt off and needed to get back inside the car.
Once Abby returned to the car she immediately got into the back seat with McGee and Tony. McGee quickly covered her with a blanket to help warm her up. Tony didn't wake up during the whole thing. Both Abby and McGee were worried about Tony but they were afraid to say anything about it…
Gibbs had fallen asleep on the couch. He woke up when he felt someone pulling on his arm, "Daddy…Daddy wake. Please wake up."
Gibbs opened his eyes to see Abby, Timmy and Tony standing next to the couch.
"Daddy…we are c…cold. Please make the cold go away. Please Daddy…"
Gibbs rubbed the sleep from his eyes and looked at his three young ones. He could tell they were cooled because of the shivering. He didn't understand because the room felt comfortable to him. He reached out and touched Abby's arm and she felt very cold. He touched the two boys and they felt the same. He immediately stood up and placed the children on the couch. He ran and grabbed several blankets from the closet and covered them. He headed into the hallway and turned the thermostat up as high as it would go. The children continued to shake. Abby and Timothy started crying while Tony never said a word. They looked at him for help. They wanted him to make the cold go away. He picked up Abby and placed her on his lap and he had the two little boys sit on each side of him. He covered them with the blankets. He was hoping the heat from his body would warm them up. He picked up the remote and turned the TV to try and help get their minds off the cold. Smurfs were on the TV. He hoped the cartoon would distract them enough until they warm up. It wasn't long before he noticed the children were not shaking anymore and they were sound asleep.
Gibbs didn't remember falling asleep. He woke up when he heard his father moving around in the hallway. His father stepped into the room, "Leroy…why on earth do you have the thermostat up so high? It's too damn hot in here." He looked down and the children were gone.
December 24th – Christmas Eve Morning
North of DC…
The snow continued to fall. There wasn't much for the three friends to do except try and stay warm. Tony was now sleeping most of the time. It wasn't long before Abby and McGee joined him. They slept through most of the morning. Abby was the first to wake up. She felt warm and she almost forgot where she was. She opened her eyes and remembered she was sleeping next to Tony. The first thing she did was to make sure he was breathing and he was. She felt she needed to pee but she didn't want to wake them up. She slowly moved the blanket off of her and made sure Tony was covered. She tried opening the door but it was stuck. She decided to try and climb into the front seat. Maybe she would have better luck.
Abby stopped and looked at McGee, "What?"
"What are you doing?"
"Tim…I got to go pee and my door is stuck. I am going to try and see if the front door will open." She pushed against it and the door opened.
"Abby…when you are finished can you please help me? I tried earlier to open my door but it's stuck too."
"Give me a minute Tim." She headed outside and took care of her business. When she was finished she made her way around the car and helped McGee to get his door open. As she was opening McGee's door she finally realized it had stopped snowing and it looked like the sun might finally peek out. She smiled and mentioned it to McGee. They both looked up at the sky and smiled. She stayed with him while he did his business. She was going to have to help him zip up his pants when he was finished with his business.
Once they were finally back inside the car they both realized something. Tony had not moved once since they woke up. McGee tried to wake Tony up but he didn't have any luck. Abby started yelling at Tony to get him to wake up but nothing happen.
"What's wrong with him? Why doesn't he wake up?"
"I don't know but we need to get him to a hospital. McGee…now that the sun has come out I need to go for help."
"Abby…it is still too dangerous."
"Tim…if we don't get Tony to a hospital soon, He is going to die. I have to go. I just have too."
McGee knew Abby was right. Abby headed to the back of the car and got a few things out trunk and handed them to McGee, "This is just incase it take longer for me to find help. You make sure you take care of yourself and Tony. I expect to see you both alive when I get back."
"I will. You take care of yourself too."
Abby bent down and kissed Tim in cheek. "Don't worry McGee…I promise I will be back with help."
Abby walked several hundred feet from the car. She looked up at the embankment trying to find a safe spot to start climbing. She didn't see anything so she continued walking. It wasn't long before she found a safe place she thought she could climb. She looked in the direction of where the car should be but she couldn't see it anymore. She looked up and started her climb. She was half way up when her foot slipped. She fell. She finally stopped when her head hit a tree. She didn't get up.
Around Noon - Gibbs' House…
The snow had finally stopped. Gibbs immediately started putting a few things he might need in his truck. He walked back into the house as his father handed him a thermos of coffee. "I figure you are going to need this. Leroy…son please be careful out there. The roads are still dangerous."
Gibbs smiled as he took the thermos, "Thanks Dad and I promise I will be careful."
"Dad…I will call you once I find out something."
Gibbs slowly drove through his neighborhood he couldn't help but notice his neighbors were already starting to come outside and shovel their sidewalks and driveway. The roads around the area were still covered with snow. He was lucky he had four-wheel drive or he would never have gotten past his own driveway. It took him a while but he finally made it onto Interstate 495 heading north to connect with I-270. The interstate conditions were poor with very few vehicles traveling on it. Normally the trip to Frederick, MD would take him less than and hour but with these road conditions they way they are it was going to take him a lot longer.
After traveling for about an hour Gibbs couldn't help but notice signs for Little Bennett Regional Park. He remembered this area. Mike Franks and he once investigated a murder that was just outside the park.
Gibbs was concentrating on the rode so hard that he nearly jump when he heard the little boy. He turned and looked in the passenger's seat, "Timmy?"
"Daddy…where are we going?"
Gibbs tried to keep his eyes on the road ahead, "Timmy…where is Abby and Tony?"
"Tony is sleeping and we can't get him to wake up. Abby said she was going to find you so you will make Tony wake up."
Gibbs was trying to understand what the hell was going on. Why did he keep seeing these children? He now realized there seemed to be a connection with seeing them and his missing people.
"Timmy…where were you before you came here?"
The little boy looked confused, "I was with Abby…Daddy."
Gibbs realized it wasn't going to be easy to get information from this small child, "Okay...Timmy…what were you two doing?"
"We were playing. We wanted Tony to play with us but he won't wake up…Daddy."
"Timmy…where were you and Abby? Were you inside the house or outside?
"We were in a car."
Gibbs drove his truck to the side of the road and parked it. He turned and looked at the little boy, "Timmy…this is very important. Can you tell me exactly where the car is?"
"The car is in the snow. Lots and lots of snow."
"Timmy…can you tell me where the location of the car is?"
The little boy thought about it for a few seconds and finally realized what his father was asking, "Exit 22."
Gibbs looked at the little boy. They had just passed exit 22. "Timmy…are Tony and Abby at exit 22?"
The young boy nodded, "Yes…Daddy. You have to hurry. We are cccold. We are very…very cold. We nnneed you." Gibbs watched at the little boy disappeared before his eyes."
Gibbs started his truck back up and headed to the next exit so he could turn around and head back south. He needed to get off at exit 22. It took him another fifteen minutes before he was able to find the exit. The road had not been plowed nor had there been any traffic traveling on it. Now…he was going to have to be careful and drive much slower so he could watch for signs to let him know where he agents might be.
Gibbs followed the road until it came to a dead end that led into an icy snow covered pond. If it wasn't for the signs he would never had known there was a pond just a few feet in front of him. Gibbs step out of his truck and stared at it. For a few seconds he wondered if Tony, Abby and McGee were in the pond. He gut was telling him they were still alive. He got back into his truck and turned it around. He knew they were somewhere near and he needed to find them. He drove for a while until he came to the fork in the road. He sat there for a while and stared at the roads. He decided to take the road that goes to the right. Something was telling him that was the road Tony would have taken.
It wasn't long before he saw some trees that looked that had been damaged recently. He stopped the truck and ran toward the edge of the road. He looked down and spotted Tony's snow covered car. Gibbs pulled out his cellphone and called 911 and gave them the location.
Gibbs ran back to his truck and grabbed some rope and the first aid kit from his truck. He tied the rope to a tree and slowly made his way down the embankment. It didn't take him long to reach the bottom. He moved quickly to the car. He found an unconscious Tony and McGee in the backseat. He tried to wake them up but it was only McGee who started to move. It took him a few seconds but the younger man finally woke up. He smiled weakly when he saw Gibbs.
"Boss…you found us."
Gibbs smiled, "You think…McGee?"
"We…knew…you…you would cccome…Boss."
Gibbs looked over at Tony. To him the younger man looked like he was dead. The color on his face was not right. He slowly reached his hand out to touch Tony's neck. Tony was cold to touch. It took him a second but he finally found a very weak pulse. Gibbs smiled a little and whispered. "Good boy…"
He turned his attention back to McGee who was trying to go back to sleep, "Tim…I need you to stay awake. Can you tell me where Abby is?"
McGee was trying his best but he was having problems trying to keep his eyes open. Gibbs patted him on the cheek, "Come on son…I really need you to stay awake…where is Abby?"
"Sor…Boss…Ab…Abby went to get help."
Gibbs stepped back outside the car. He could hear sirens off in the distance. He knew it wouldn't be long before help arrives. He didn't want to leave Tony or McGee by themselves but he also knew he needed to go look for Abby. While he was waiting he looked around and hoped he could see some tracks or something that would help him locate her. He saw nothing.
Minutes seemed like hours before the emergency vehicles arrived. He could hear the sirens above him. One of the rescuers yelled down to him. Gibbs waved back to him and told them there were two men in the car. The man yelled back that they would be down shortly.
As Gibbs was waiting for the rescuers he finally spotted something red and tiny about fifty feet from where he was standing. He moved a little closer so he could get a better look. It was one of Abby's Christmas barrettes she was wearing at the Christmas party. He looked around and finally spotted some footprints. He bent down to look at them. The footprints were too large to be Abby's. Gibbs looked up when he heard the rescuers starting to climb down the embankment. He stood up and waiting.
As soon as the first rescuer was down, Gibbs told him he was going to look for Abby.
"Sir…why don't you wait until the others get down here? We don't need anymore people missing."
Gibbs didn't give the man a chance to stop him. He grabbed his first aid kit and started following the footsteps. When he was about a half a mile from the car, he noticed something gray lying next to a tree. He ran toward it. He knew immediately it was Abby. He turned her over and was relieved to see she was still breathing. He started patting her on the face.
"Abby? Abby…come on wake up for me. Let me see those big beautiful green eyes of yours."
Abby slowly opened her eyes and smiled, "Gibbs you…you found us."
Gibbs smiled and asked, "Did you think otherwise?"
"No Gibbs, we knew you would find us."
Gibbs examined her eyes and could see they were not dilated. The fall must have just knocked her out. "Abby you got a pretty nasty gash on your forehead? Are you hurt anywhere else?"
Abby moved around a little, "Beside the headache…my chest is bruised from the seatbelt but I am okay otherwise."
He helped her up. He took his coat off and covered her with it. They made their way back to the crash site. Several hours later Gibbs was sitting in Abby's hospital room. Her doctor decided to keep her overnight because of her head injury just to be on the safe side. McGee was sleeping in the room across the hall. They both were going to be okay. Gibbs got up and walked over to the window and looked out. Gibbs couldn't relax just yet. He was waiting on word of Tony's surgery. The MRI showed that he had a brain clot. Tony was immediately rushed into surgery. Gibbs was told the surgery might take hours depending on what they find.
Early Christmas Morning…
Over the past few days Gibbs had gotten very little sleep. He didn't know when he fell asleep but he did. When he woke up it was Christmas. He looked over at Abby and she was still sleeping. He got up and headed toward the nurses' desk. The night nurse looked up at him, "Sir…can I help you?"
"Yes…my name is Gibbs. I was wondering if there was any word on Anthony DiNozzo. He was in surgery. Someone was supposed to come by and let me know when he was out of surgery."
"Sir…please give me a moment while I check on it for you." She looked up the name and called the patient's doctor. When she was finished she hung up and looked at him, "I am sorry sir but Doctor Smith just lost the patient. He will be up here as soon as he cleans up to talk with you about it. Again…I am so sorry for your lose."
Gibbs just nodded because he was too stunned to say anything else. He had just lost the one person who was the closest thing he had to having a son. He turned and stared at both Abby and Tim's rooms for a few seconds. He now wondered how he was going to tell them that Tony didn't make it? He looked back at the nurse and told her to let the doctor knew he would be in the empty waiting room for him.
As Gibbs walked into the room he noticed the coffee machine. It looked like someone had just made a fresh pot of coffee. He decided to help himself to it.
"Daddy…can I have some coco?"
Gibbs dropped his coffee and turned. He saw little Tony looking up at him. Anger flowed through him at the moment. Why did he keep seeing these apparitions? Why did this little boy have to keep showing up and remind him what he had now just lost?
The little boy could see the anger in his daddy's face so he took a couple of steps back.
Gibbs saw the fear in the little boy's eyes and all the anger was gone. Gibbs realized he might only have a few seconds to talk with the little boy. He needed to let Tony know how much he loved and cared about him. Gibbs got down on both his knees and he opened his arms to welcome the little boy into them. Little Tony ran into his arms. Gibbs hugged the boy as tightly as he could without hurting him. He finally released him and moved back a little so he could see his face, "Tony…"
Tears were falling down Gibbs' cheeks but at the moment he didn't care. He needed to let this child know what was in his heart before it was too late. "Tony…I want you to know how much I love you and I always will."
The little boy smiled, "I already know that Daddy and I love you too."
Gibbs hugged the little boy as hard as he could and didn't want to ever let go. Finally, he felt the boy vanish within his arms. Gibbs continued to kneel there for a few minutes longer. He stood up and wiped the tears with the sleeve of his shirt.
Gibbs saw the doctor standing inside the room. He didn't know how long he had been there and he didn't care.
The doctor moved closer. "Agent Gibbs…I meant to talk with you earlier but it's been a busy night with all the accidents. You would think between the snowstorm and Christmas…it would be a slow night and everyone was home with their love ones?"
"Doctor please lets just get this over with. I need to call DiNozzo's father and let him know his son is dead."
The doctor looked a little puzzled, "Agent Gibbs…there seems to be some kind of misunderstanding here. Anthony DiNozzo is not dead. He has been in the recovery room for a few hours. We will be moving him to ICU in about a hour or so."
"But the nurse said you just lost a patient."
"I am sorry Agent Gibbs I had to do several surgeries tonight. I just lost a patient on the operator table. When she called me she must have gotten the information mixed up."
Gibbs now just wanted to know how DiNozzo was doing, "Doctor is DiNozzo going to be okay?"
"Agent DiNozzo is going to be fine. I found the blood clot and was able to repair the damage. Right now, we are just watching him to make sure everything is okay. As I said earlier in the next hour or so we will be moving him to ICU. When it happens, I will have someone come and get you."
"Oh Agent Gibbs…I…hope you have a Merry Christmas?"
Gibbs smiled, "Thanks Doctor…and I will now."
Gibbs was sitting in Abby's room when they finally came and got him. Tony was finally moved into ICU. Gibbs sat down in the chair next to the bed. He smiled. He felt he had his kids back finally. It wasn't long before he fell into a deep sleep. The nurses and the doctors worked around the sleeping man.
Abby and McGee stayed in the hospital for another day before they were finally released. Tony tried to leave with them that day but the doctors and Gibbs would not allow it. He was going to have to stay a few more days before they would release him.
Since Christmas didn't happen at Gibbs' house like they had planned, everyone decided to celebrate it on New Years instead. Abby called the store and made arrangements for Gibbs things to be delivered the day before New Years. Abby and Jackson got Gibbs out of the house for the day. Since both McGee and Tony were not physical able to do any of the work, it was left up to Vance and Palmer to put everything together with McGee telling them what to do. Tony was jealous of McGee because it was not everyday someone gets to boss the director around. When Abby, Jackson and Gibbs finally arrived back home several hours later Gibbs was pleasantly surprised. He spent the rest of the day learning how to operator the TV and all this stuff that went with it. Abby was walking around with the expression on her face that said I told you so.
On New Years Day, Gibbs' house was full of friends and family. Everyone, including Vance and his kids were there. In the center of the whole thing was Gibbs. Normally he like being by himself but today with all his family and friends, he couldn't be any happier. Everyone was sitting around the big screen TV watching 'It's a Wonderful Life." Tony was relaxing in the recliner. Gibbs had insisted that he stay at his house for a few days. This way he knew someone would be there to watch him just incase there were any problems. Tony found that it didn't take much for him to tire easy. The headaches seemed to be not as bad as they were at first. Everyone including Gibbs was going out of his or her way to make sure he was comfortable and didn't over exert himself. Tony loved all the attention.
The Christmas/New Years dinner went very well. Everyone including Tony had seconds. When they were all finished eating everyone chipped in and help to clean up the kitchen and living room area while Tony and McGee sat and watch a movie. After they were finished, Vance, his kids, Palmer and Breena said their goodbyes and left for home.
While Christmas music was playing in the background, Tony, McGee and Abby began playing some video games on the new TV. The older men just sat around and talked about old times. Every now and then Jackson and Ducky would catch Gibbs staring at something in the living room. So Jackson had to ask, "Son…what is intriguing you so much that you keep having to stare into the living room?"
Gibbs turned and smiled at his father, "Dad…I'm am just enjoying the day with my family."
What the two older men didn't know or see was little Tony, Timmy and Abby were running around and playing. At one point they were laying on the floor drawing something on a big sheet of paper. Gibbs didn't understand why he was the only one who could see and hear them. At the moment, he didn't really care because right now he was having fun watching them…
It was getting late and Ducky decided it was time for him to go home. Since he was Abby and McGee's ride home, they had to leave with him. After they left, Jackson said his goodnights and headed upstairs. Tony had falling asleep in the recliner; Gibbs decided to let him sleep there. He headed to the closet to get a blanket and covered the younger man with it. As Gibbs was getting ready to turn the lights off the three little children came running toward him.
Little Abby reached up for him to pick her up, "Daddy…Daddy…we came to say goodbye. We got to go now."
Gibbs looked surprised, "Where are you going?"
Timmy shook his head, "Daddy…we are not suppose to tell you."
Gibbs put Abby down and got down on his knees so he could be eye level with the little ones. "Can you at least tell me where you are going so I know you will be okay?"
Little Tony stepped forward and smiled, "Sorry but we can't."
Gibbs look sad as he asked, "Will I every see you three again?"
Tony looked at his siblings and then back to Gibbs, "Daddy…you will see us again. You are in our hearts as we are in yours."
Gibbs reached out and hugged each one of them. Seconds later they were gone. He continued to stare at the empty space. He was going to miss seeing them. He stood up and was getting ready to turn the light off when he heard, "Boss…can you get me my meds. My head is hurting real bad right now."
Gibbs looked at Tony and could see the pain in the younger man's eyes. "Tony, I will be back in a minute."
Just Outside Gibbs' Living Room Window…
Gibbs' nighttime visitors were back but they had been outside watching the belated Christmas celebration for quite a while. Nicholas and Ithilethiel looked down at their three little companions. The children were now in their true form as hybrid elves. Little Abigail, Timothy and Anthony looked almost the same as they did before but they now had pointed ears and wearing matching outfits.
Little Timothy looked up his mother and Santa, "Did Abigail and me do good?"
Ithilethiel smiled at her little one, "Yes Timothy, you and Abigail did very good. I was very proud of you both."
Timothy grinned and stuck his tongue out at Anthony, as he turned to the other adult. "Santa…what about Anthony? He told Abigail and me that you did not exist? That was bad of him. I think…you should maybe punish him for it…don't you?"
That remark got little Anthony's attention and he looked up at the big man waiting to hear his answer. He was worried that Santa was going to be mad at him.
The old man shook his head. "Now Timothy…you know your brother didn't know what that word meant. You could have taking the time to explain it to him. Be honest little one, you wanted to get your brother into trouble didn't you?"
Timothy knew he couldn't' lie to this man. He nodded his head and said, "Yes Santa. I am sorry…Santa."
Santa knew these two little boys were always competing for attention. "Timothy…I think you should apologize to your brother Anthony…don't you?"
Timothy looked at Santa and then to his brother, "I am sorry Anthony for trying to get you into trouble."
Anthony just smiled but he knew better than to say anything else because Santa might bring up something he did to his brother.
Little Abigail had her nose and hands press against the window as she looked inside, "Mommy…do you think our daddy Gibbs will be okay without us?"
"He will be fine Abigail. Why do you ask?"
The little female elf turned and looked up at her mother, "I like him and I don't want our Daddy to forget us?"
"Your father could never forget you. He will always have a place in his heart for the three of you and besides you three can always visit him in his dreams if you want."
While Ithilethiel was talking to her daughter, the snow started falling again and it now distracted little Anthony. He stopped listening to any of the conversations. He began singing to himself and trying to catch the snow. "Shotgun shells, Santa smells, Rudolf ran away, Oh…Oh what fun it is to ride in…"
Santa gave him a stern look and said his name, "Anthony?"
The little elf boy looked up and immediately stopped singing, "Sorry Boss…I mean sorry Santa."
Santa looked at the little elf's mother and he could tell Ithilethiel was doing everything she could not to laugh out loud. They both didn't want to encourage this little one but they also didn't want to change him in anyway. Santa and Ithilethiel turned their attention back to the other two children while Tony bent down and picked up some of the snow that was on the ground. Anthony decided to put it down the back of brother's shirt. Little Timothy yelled out for him to stop it.
Santa sighed as he looked at the little elf. Every since the day this little one was born he knew Anthony was going to be a handful. He also wondered if elves could have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder like humans do. He remembered asking Ithilethiel that maybe she should have him checked out but she refused. She believes believe her three children were perfect in ever way.
Finally the mother says, "Anthony…you know that it not a nice thing to do to your brother. You will apologize to him."
Little Tony looked at his brother, "I'm sorry Timothy." When Santa and his mother looked away, Timothy stuck his tongue out at Tony again. Tony was going to tell on Timothy but the adults had already looked away.
It was time for them to leave, Santa took one last look and laying his finger aside of his nose he, Ithilethiel and the three little elves disappeared.
Back inside the house…
Gibbs was heading back into the living room with Tony's medicine. He handed the two pain pills and a glass of water to the younger man. Tony put the pills into his mouth and drank all the water down.
"Thanks…Boss…did you really like your gifts (yawn) or are you just telling us that?"
"Tony…I already told you I like them. Now get some sleep. Dad said he was going to make his famous omelets in the morning. You haven't live until you tried them. I will see you in the morning Tony."
"Goodnight DiNozzo," As Gibbs reached for the light to turn it off, he noticed a paper lying on the floor. He bent down and picked it up. He smiled as he looked at it. On the paper were three small handprints and underneath each one of them were the names Abigail, Timothy and Anthony. Above the handprints were the words, WISHING YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS.