Title: Love at Christmas both Old and New
Characters: Tony DiNozzo, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Spencer Reid, Aaron Hotchner, Diana Reid, Nick Stokes
Relationships: Tony DiNozzo/Nick Stokes, Aaron Hotchner/Spencer Reid, Diana Reid/Leroy Jethro Gibbs
Warnings: Vague discussion of mental illness, Non-Cannon Complaint: NCIS, Semi Anti-Team NCIS,
Word Count: 3035
Summary: Spencer decides to take Aaron to meet Diana for Christmas. Little does he know there’s a thief at Bennington, and his mother has found herself a new beau. Fortunately a local detective understands and is determined his mother has a Merry Christmas.
Spencer got out of the SUV they’d rented at the airport and studied the hospital where his mother lived. He’d decided to spend Christmas in Vegas, and when Haley insisted on taking Jack to visit extended relatives, thought it might be time Aaron came with him. They’d been together long enough that he should have brought him to meet his mother quite a while ago. Spencer was overly cautious though when it came to her, and Aaron was amazingly patient and understanding.
His partner came around from the driver’s side and took his hand. Spencer knew it was slightly ridiculous, but he was pretty sure he was more nervous than Aaron was about this first meeting between the two most important people in his life. It wasn’t that he doubted Aaron’s willingness to be patient and understanding with her. It was just that he’d had to be protective of her his whole life. Some habits were entirely too hard to break.
Leading Aaron inside, he stopped at the desk finding out that his mother was out in the gardens. He didn’t recognize the woman sitting there, and quickly wondered how in the hell she ever got hired.
“There’s a detective out there with her. She insists that something’s missing from her room. I don’t know how the detective found out. He just showed up today, and Doctor Norman is letting them investigate. Honestly, I told them that she probably just misplaced the thing, or could have even never had it to begin with. They wouldn’t listen to me though. I mean, I only deal with these crazy people every day.”
Spencer just blinked at the woman, and thought how many things were wrong with her whole verbal assault on his common sense and intelligence. She obviously was completely lacking the empathy needed to work in the environment she was in. There would absolutely be a conversation with Dr. Norman happening about this… person. He was just thankful that Aaron didn’t immediately comment. The death grip that he had on his lover’s hand may have clued him in that he wasn’t in the mood to talk.
When they reached the gardens, Reid spotted his mother sitting on a bench with a man roughly her age with silver hair cut in a military style. As the man turned his head, Spencer could see what appeared to be burn scars on the left side of his face.
Kneeling in front of them was a younger man who appeared to be somewhere between himself and Aaron in age. From the pad in his hand, Spencer guessed that this was the detective. He could hear him reassuring his mother about something.
“Professor Reid, I promise you that Nick and I are taking your case very seriously. If you say that there’s things missing, then we’re of the mind to believe you. While we have to take information from others into account, we will not weigh their word more heavily than yours just because of your illness. That is not the way I was trained to do my job.”
“They’ll get your stuff back, Diana,” the silver haired man vowed seriously taking her hand. Spencer found himself frowning at the contact, and wondered who this man was.
“Tony is the best young agent I’ve ever worked with. If he doesn’t take your case seriously, then I’ll head slap him into the middle of next week. Tony, what are you gonna tell Vance about the cross jurisdiction issue? We don’t need some damned local Barney Fife nosing in on an NCIS’ case.”
The man kneeling on the ground looked away from the older man and his mom toward where Spencer and Aaron were standing. He recognized the flash of pain on the stranger’s face. He wore it often on his own when the pain of his mother’s illness wore too heavily on his heart. It also explained a few of the things the older man said that didn’t make sense.
“No worries, Boss. The LEOs have already agreed to let me investigate. Abby is a little swamped, but the crime lab here is pretty good. How about you stay here and protect Professor Reid, while I find out who is taking her things?”
The younger man stood glancing in their direction again, and the silver haired man nodded. “Good idea, DiNozzo.”
“Professor Reid, it looks like your son and his partner are here for that visit that you’ve been looking forward to,” the younger man pointed out kindly. Spencer couldn’t help but wonder how this stranger knew that.
“Spencer! You’ve come just in time! These thieves are taking my things!”
Taking that as his sign to intrude, Spencer stepped up letting go of Aaron’s hand so that he could give his mom a hug. “Hi, mom. What’s going on? What things?”
“This agent is here to find my necklace you gave me. He’s assured me that the communists aren’t trying to put me in jail, but you keep an eye on him. Jethro says he’s not crooked like the rest of them, but you’re the only one I trust. Who is that lurking behind you?” Spencer saw his mom frowning unhappily at Aaron, obviously agitated by whatever was going on.
“Mom, this is my boss, Aaron Hotchner. I brought him to meet you, remember? I wrote in my letters that he was coming with me for Christmas.”
Despite both his and the stranger’s attempts, he could tell she had no idea what he was talking about. The not remembering was only making her more agitated. Surprisingly though when the silver haired man he guessed was Jethro took her hand again, and whispered in her ear, she seemed to calm down.
“Professor Reid, with your permission I’d like to fill in your son and Unit Chief Hotchner on what’s going on.”
Diana nodded turning her gaze to Aaron. “Spencer told me that you are a lawyer. Is that right?”
Aaron nodded seriously with his Unit Chief mask firmly in place. “Yes, ma’am.”
Seeming to accept that she eyed him fiercely before continuing. “You watch them like a hawk then, and make sure they don’t put any illegal devices in my things! The government doesn’t need to know what Jethro and I do!”
Aaron nodded smiling reassuringly as Spencer tried not to think about what she could possibly be referring to. “Don’t worry Professor Reid. I’ll make sure nothing illegal goes on during the investigation.”
“Boss and Professor Reid, I will see you later. Dr. Reid and Unit Chief Hotchner, if you could follow me?” Spencer saw Tony nod to the man he assumed was also ‘Boss’ then followed the detective toward the sunroom. Trying to remain patient he continued to follow him, Aaron once more holding his hand, toward a conference room near the offices.
Once they were all inside with the door closed, the detective began speaking. Spencer was glad to finally be getting some answers with his mother and what was going on.
“SSA Dr. Reid and Unit Chief Hotchner, thank you for your patience. I’m Detective Anthony Stokes of the Las Vegas Police Department. My husband CSI Nicholas Stokes is helping me. He’s checking your mother’s room right now along with a few others Dr. Norman suggested.”
“Investigating for what? Are you really here about stolen things, or is something else going on?” Reid snapped stressed and worried about his mother. He knew something like this could affect her state of mind. When Aaron put a hand on his shoulder, Spencer tried to calm down, and eventually blushed embarrassed at his outburst. He was a federal agent for fuck sake. He should know better.
The detective just shook his head. “No apologies needed, seriously. Dr. Norman and I had a terse conversation of our own when I found out what was going on. I’m afraid I more than lost my cool when I confronted him.”
Before he could continue though, there was a knock on the door, and a dark haired man carrying a silver metal case came in. “Hey babe! I’m… oh sorry. I didn’t realize the Doc and his partner were here already.”
Spencer saw Tony smile and hold out his hand. The newcomer looked curious, but shut the door, set down the case, and moved over to take the detective’s hand. “Gentlemen, this is my husband CSI Nick Stokes. Nicky, this is Dr. Spencer Reid and Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner.”
“I am glad to finally meet you, Dr. Reid. Your mamma talks about you all of the time. She’s been so excited about y’all comin’. It’s a shame this is goin’ on, an’ has her all rattled.”
Spencer felt his patience slipping again at the knowledge another person knew him and his mother, but he had no clue who they were. Granted this person was the detective’s husband, Spencer couldn’t think of him as anything but ‘the detective’ just yet, but that wasn’t helping much.
“I know you want answers, Dr. Reid,” the detective advised compassionately. “I think that it’ll help you to understand who I am.”
Spencer remained quiet trying to find something to say that wasn’t going to take someone’s head off. When Aaron took over, he was more than thankful.
“I think that would be a good idea, Detective.”
Detective Stokes nodded, and Spencer watched as his partner took his hand before the investigator began to speak.
“Before I moved to Vegas and married Nicky, I was Anthony Dominic DiNozzo, Junior, and I worked as the Senior Field Agent on the MCRT for NCIS out of the Navy Yard in DC. That man with your mother is my former boss Leroy Jethro Gibbs. I know it sounds weird that I’d be so invested in my former boss, but frankly from almost the moment I met him he’s been something more.
“My own father is a horrible person. He’s been investigated by the FBI for widow scams so many times he doesn’t even come back to the states anymore. Gibbs is more of a father to me than the piece of shit that helped conceive me will ever be. Unfortunately, most days I’m the only one that remembers just how much he means to me.”
Detective Stokes swallowed hard, and Spencer felt himself becoming sympathetic toward the man. When the explanation resumed, it was CSI Stokes who spoke.
“Agent Gibbs was in an explosion on a Turkish ship durin’ a case they were workin’. It caused the burn scars you may’ve noticed on his face, an’ caused memory problems. Some days he’s almost ok, but thinks that he’s still runin’ the MCRT. Other days he can’t remember that his first wife an’ daughter are dead an’ spends all day looking for ‘em. Most of the time he thinks that he’s still in DC, an’ doesn’t seem to recognize things like seasons not matchin’ up or even that there’s so many people around. The only consistent Tony and Doc Norman noticed is that he ALWAYS knows who Tony is.”
Spencer watched the detective’s face easily reading the grief there. He found himself not just sympathizing with the man, but was beginning to wonder if just maybe there could be someone who actually understood what he went through with his mom. It was something that he’d never really experienced, and until then didn’t realize he’d longed for so badly.
“Nick and I have been off and on since college. When things went to hell, I realized that for his peace of mind I had to get Gibbs out of DC, away from the team, and the Director of NCIS, Jennifer Sheppard. While I think they had good intentions, their constant pressure on him to remember them or things or events was only making it worse. Nick said this was a place I could trust, and had a good reputation. When he said that the PD needed a new detective I couldn’t resist the feeling that the Fates were trying to tell me something. So, I packed up our things and Gibbs and I moved.
“No one other than myself was really happy about it. They even threatened a lawsuit. Fortunately someone must have talked some sense into them, because it never happened. Not that they would have stood a chance. I’ve held all of Gibbs’ legal authority for several years before the accident. So, they had absolutely no say in the matter, and considering they weren’t listening, I was less than sympathetic.”
Tony took a deep breath, and took a drink from the bottle of water on the table before continuing. “I don’t know if your mom told you, Dr. Rieid, but your mom and Gibbs have a relationship of sorts going on. According to Dr. Norman it’s doing them both some good. Even on bad days they seem to gravitate to each other.
“Cases permitting I try to come see Gibbs at least every couple days. The last time I visited, he told me your mom was upset that a necklace was missing. They’d tried to tell the nurses, but they didn’t believe her. So, I talked to Doc, who agreed to let Nick and I investigate. Because Gibbs doesn’t have anything missing, there’s no bias issues.”
“I think I have a pretty good idea of at least one of the people involved,” Nick offered, and Spencer frowned leaning forward wondering if it was the same person he’d suspected immediately.
“The nurse from the front desk?” He asked, and CSI Stokes nodded.
“She doesn’t have any room assignments, but oddly enough her prints are in every one of the rooms I checked. Now I could see one or two, but all of them are more than a little suspicious. I think it’s time we take her down for more questions.”
The four men stood with Aaron, Tony, and Nick shaking hands.
“If you need help with the interrogation, I’m happy to offer my assistance,” Aaron threw out making Spencer smile. He loved watching his lover tear someone’s fragile little story to bits.
“I appreciate it, Unit Chief Hotchner. I know you profilers are considered among the best. In my opinion though, I learned from the very best there is. So, I think I got this. To be frank, I am looking forward to tearing that snooty little bitch’s attitude to bits.”
Spencer looked to Aaron who was trying his best to glare Detective Stokes into submission. When he looked to the detective though, he seemed to be calmly watching Aaron not bothered in the least. Finally, he saw his partner smile, and relaxed. If Aaron was willing to trust these strangers to this interrogation, then he knew he could, too.
A few days later, Spencer was in the sunroom with his mom, Aaron and Gibbs playing Skip-Bo. It was Christmas Eve, and both his mother and Jethro were having a good day. Earlier, his mother pulled him aside and took him out to the garden.
“Spencer, I want you to know Jethro and myself are more than friends. I loved your father very much, but he was never the strongest willed man. Jethro may have holes in his memory and forgets us sometimes. I believe, though, that he won’t leave me. He’s patient, and makes me feel special again. In this place, if you can find something close to love then you have to jump at it.”
Spencer nodded thinking of Aaron. “I completely understand, mom. You know when dad left us, I swore you were the only person I’d ever love after that. For the longest time that was the case.
“I buried myself in school, then work, and forgot about love beyond what I felt for you. Then Aaron’s wife divorced him, he dated then broke up with Beth, and one day I realized that he wasn’t just my boss. Somewhere along the way he made me love him. I’ll never forgive my father for what he did, and I’ll always love you most. I think, however, that I’m going to love Aaron as long as I’m allowed.”
Spencer smiled, and when his mother cupped his cheek, he leaned into her touch. “I like Gibbs, and I’m glad that you have him. I like Tony and his husband Nick. I feel better knowing they’ll be here when I can’t be. You deserve love, mom. We both do. No matter that dad made us feel otherwise.”
“Jethro and I are lucky to have such good boys,” Diana praised. Spencer smiled glad things were going well for once.
The next day they were getting ready to head to Christmas lunch when Tony and Nick walked into the sunroom.
“Tony!” Gibbs called happily. Spencer smiled seeing the hug shared between the two of them. The older man wasn’t having a good day, and refused to let go of a picture of his daughter Kelly.
Spencer saw Tony whisper in Gibbs’ ear then wait. When the former Marine nodded, he patted his shoulder and stepped back with Nick taking his spot.
Tony then turned heading their way, nodding to him and Aaron. Mainly, though, he was focused on his mom. “Professor Reid, I have something for you.”
He saw the detective take an evidence bag out of his pocket, then open it letting a necklace Spencer recognized immediately fall out.
When Spencer was 14 he’d worked for one of his professors a whole semester to earn money to buy his mom a Christmas present as well as book money for the next term. He hadn’t realized that she still had it.
He watched as Tony carefully laid the treasure in his mom’s hand.
“Merry Christmas, Professor Reid.”
His mom wasn’t one to hug most anyone but him. The small smile she gave the detective was returned with one bright enough to light all of Vegas.
Lifting his eyes, he saw Aaron watching him, and found himself smiling as well. Life was good. He was in love. His mom was in love, and there were people to watch over her other than the staff.
It just might be the best Christmas that he’d had in a long time with nothing but signs of more to come. Life was good indeed.
End Notes: This was written for the FA Christmas Advent Challenge.
My Prompt: Reid goes home to Vegas for Xmas and takes his girlfriend/boyfriend with him. Not particular about pairings but Bonus cookie for Hotch /Reid.