See the Main Page for Characters, Relationships, Content Warnings, Etc.
Chapter Notes: There is a section of Italian. The translation is at the bottom. I will warn you I don’t speak Italian, and neither does my beta. She altered it a bit for me, but mostly it came from an online translator. There is a brief reference to a Mr. Rosenbaum. In my head he’s Michael Rosenbaum who used to play Lex Luthor on Smallville. Mostly again because it amused me, and in my head he’s the bald version. Cause bald Mikey is EXTRA HOT!
Thanks to CataLinz and slyvirfor on AO3 the correction on the Italian part! You guys rock!!
Chapter 7: It’s Christmas!!
Once he’d made it down to the kitchen, Tony was greeted with a chorus of Merry Christmas from Ducky and Derek, who were cooking French toast and sausage for breakfast. Fornell looked up from his coffee and newspaper and gave a Merry Christmas grunt. Tony, who was more than familiar with early morning Gibbs, chose to interpret it that way, anyway. Gibbs seemed to be missing, but when he asked, Derek informed him that he’d taken Clooney out for a walk, and that he was a little worried he’d never get his dog back.
When Gibbs finally returned, Tony was sitting letting the morning develop around him. His coffee cup had been emptied and replaced with a large glass of orange juice, and thus far hadn’t said much as he simply wanted to enjoy the feeling of not waking up on Christmas morning alone. He couldn’t help but reflect on how much had changed in less than a week. Six days prior he was alone in his apartment, a ball of uncertainty, with no real idea what he was going to do about his feelings for his boss.
Now, here he was in Gibbs’ house, having spent the night using the older man as a pillow, with his new future in front of him, and surrounded by friends who could be counted on if the worse happened. Fornell maybe still with a question mark next to his name, but Tony was willing to be open minded if that would make Gibbs happy. Because it was Christmas, Tony felt that he could get into the whole peace and goodwill thing he’d heard so much about, and decided that at least for the day he’d call Fornell a friend, but once midnight hit he was back on the questionable list.
While it was true that he still had some uncertainly in front of him, between his two talks with Jethro, and the pep talk from Derek, Tony felt a little more confident about his evolving relationship. His realization that morning had made him realize that no matter what happened with Abby and McGee, it wasn’t going to be the end of the world. He had certainly withstood worse events, even if the absolutely worst case happened and he lost their friendship. The only way that he was losing Gibbs was if he gave up, and that was just not something a DiNozzo did.
Given how far he’d come in the last 6 days and what had started it all, Tony had been a little worried the previous night, that the gift giving moment would be somewhat anti-climactic. As if the necklace hadn’t made him nervous enough, he’d gotten an idea while driving down by the water for a second gift, and had no clue how it would be received. Hopefully well, because the more Tony thought about it, the more excited he got by the concept. This coupled with the newness of friends and family and a warmth and actual peace and harmony, or something close to it, made Tony more excited than he could have ever anticipated.
Once they all got settled in the living room, Derek was selected to start passing out his gifts first. Jethro and Fornell were both pleased with the good quality bourbon that they received, as neither man was prone to wanting expensive or fancy gifts. Ducky was over the moon with his tea. Derek solemnly promised that if Ducky would just let him know when he was running low, he’d make sure Prentiss kept the older man stocked up in real loose leaf English Breakfast Tea.
Tony received some hard to find movies for his collection and spent the next 20 minutes giving the others an excited rundown on the movies, which included Abbot & Costello Meet Captain Kid, A Man for All Seasons, a Diana Dors movie collection set, the complete I Love a Mystery collection, and The Case of the Frightened Lady, which even Ducky was excited about. He’d also gotten a couple old movie posters for his movie room, and an IOU to attend the GI Film Festival with him that upcoming May.
Tony excitedly explained to Gibbs that it was the only film festival in the nation that focused on preserving the stories of veterans. It was something Tony had wanted to go to since moving to DC, but had never been able to attend. Once Gibbs heard this and found out it was a non-profit organization, he said that he’d like to attend also, as did Ducky, and even Fornell if he was not working a case and it was a non-Emily weekend.
Fornell had gone the easy route and gotten everyone, minus Derek, booze, which no one really was surprised about. Gibbs of course got a bottle of bourbon. Tony got a bottle of The Prisoner wine that he’d served for dinner the previous weekend, and Gibbs had mentioned liking. Ducky got a nice quality bottle of Gin.
Ducky also didn’t have anything for Derek and apologized profusely unlike Tobias who hadn’t been fazed much, still holding some weird grudge about the profiler interloper. Derek for his part took both with humor and said that not having to spend the day alone was gift enough. For Fornell Ducky had purchased several gift cards to restaurants around town, knowing the man, like Gibbs, didn’t cook, unless it was an Emily weekend of course. Gibbs received a subscription to a woodworking magazine, and some antique chisels he’d managed to find.
Tony received a gift card to a local cinema that Ducky informed him showed classic black and white movies exclusively, which Tony was excited about not having heard of the place. He also received some new gloves, a hat, and a scarf, which the ME, who also acted as his physician on occasion, advised that he expected to see on him. “And no grumbling, Jethro! His heath is more important than a few extra seconds at your crime scene!”
Derek and Fornell snickered at the scolding, but Tony wisely interrupted and insisted that Gibbs go next, wanting to be the last one to pass out his gifts. Derek was surprised to find out he had a gift, and loved the handmade wooden picture frame, making sure Gibbs knew it was greatly appreciated. “I’ve had a picture of my momma and sisters that I’ve needed a nice frame for forever, but never seem to have time to find one. This is perfect. Thanks, man!”
Gibbs smiled and shrugged admitting that Tony had suggested it telling him about the picture, and helped pick it out from the ones he had made up. Fornell got another bottle of bourbon, much to his delight and Gibbs’ muttered, “Just don’t drink them both in the same damn night.” The two of them swapping bourbon was practically tradition, and neither saw any reason to change it. Ducky got a nice plate shelf that Gibbs had made so he could display some antique china his mother had left him. “Oh, Jethro,” the old man said, but couldn’t go on as he was too choked up. He still terribly missed having her around, and had wanted to display the china that she’d been so fond since he’d moved into his new home.
Tony received some movies that he’d been wanting and had mentioned in the bull pen. Then he was handed an envelope, which contained a receipt for a 60 inch LED smart TV, a Blu-ray player, and a sound system. There was also installment papers for Direct TV with a notation that the collect and NFL football packages had already been ordered for the following fall. Lastly but certainly not least in Tony’s opinion, were designs for a gorgeous TV cabinet that included storage for some of his movies. Speechless, Tony uttered a rather unmanly squeak, then tackled Gibbs back onto the couch cushions raining kisses on his face, much to Ducky and Derek’s amusement, and Tobias’ protests.
Once the two were upright again, and had caught their breath, Tony retrieved his presents slipping the small box into his OSU hoody he had on. He started with Fornell whom was handed an envelope, which contained a 1 year family pass to the International Spy Museum. He hadn’t wanted to buy booze, and the only thing else he knew about Fornell personally was that he loved his daughter Emily. He also knew that the young lady was sharp as a tack and thought that her father hung the moon. Tony figured for a girl like her, unlimited trips to a spy museum along with the chance for some private events would be something father and daughter could both enjoy. From the quietly muttered, “Damnit, DiNozzo,” and the nod that followed, Tony figured that it was a good choice. Not having any kind of relationship with his father as a child, Tony was more than happy to do anything he could to support the relationship between Tobias and Emily.
Ducky also received an envelope, with two pieces of paper in it. The first was for an international tea of the month club that swore the teas actually came from the different countries originally. The second was a membership to a local gym. Tony knew from Jimmy both that Ducky was supposed to be getting regular exercise, and also knew he wasn’t going. Tony called some people he’d known from the OSU PE department, and found out that one of his old friends and classmates worked as a trainer in a DC gym called Golden Horizon. They specialized in senior citizens or people who had recovered from some type traumatic medical event and needed regular exercise, but were intimidated by gyms that catered to the muscle heads and gym bunnies.
“You aren’t the only one that gets to nag people about their health, Doctor Mallard,” Tony advised giving the elder a stern look. “I know for a fact that you are not following your doctor’s orders where your exercise regimen is concerned, and I will be damned if you’re gonna leave me ‘cause you doing something as simple as exercising. The membership you have includes a personal trainer, whom I know personally and have already not only spoken to, but scheduled your first session with. “
“There will be no excuses for missing it, because the director is already aware of your appointment and has agreed to not only that time, but regular appointments at that time. Jimmy doesn’t have class, and the director agrees he can handle anything that comes up. As you see it’s in the morning, so you can go before work. Just to make sure you don’t slack on me, Mark is gonna call me regularly with updates and will call me anytime you miss an appointment. Don’t make me use my PE degree on you, young man!”
For the second time that morning, Ducky found himself choked up. At first he’d been annoyed, but the comment Tony had made about “you aren’t gonna leave me”, made him realize that he’d let the loss of his mother make him forget the other people in his life. Once he could talk again he promised he wouldn’t miss a single session because he didn’t want the wrath of Gibbs Jr to come down upon his head. While Fornell and Derek laughed, Gibbs just smiled and squeezed Tony’s shoulder understanding how important to Tony the older man was, and was proud of him for doing what he could to insure that he wasn’t going anywhere any time soon.
Derek got a box of all kinds of goodies and treats for Clooney, who gave a bark of appreciation, then set into chewing on one of the bones, his wagging tail showing his happiness. For Derek himself there was a box of expensive gloves, a hat, and scarf that matched the new winter coat that Tony had seen the last time he was at his friend’s house and knew he needed. Then he handed him a third and last box to Derek’s protest that the two previous boxes were enough. Tony just grinned excited to see the reaction, and wasn’t let down with the drop jaw response he got.
Inside the box were a football and two envelopes. The football was signed by all of the offensive and defensive starters for the Chicago Bears, Derek’s hometown NFL team. One of the envelopes had a certificate of authentication, and the other held an IOU for 4 tickets to a home game at Soldier Field. “How the hell…” Derek muttered, and stopped staring at the ball, and Tony couldn’t help but laugh, happy his gift had been such a hit.
“A buddy of mine that I played with at OSU, helped me. You remember Alonzo Spellman? He’s a pretty cool dude, not on the team anymore, but he still has plenty of friends who are. He actually called me first needing tickets to something, so we traded gifts. I’m pretty sure that I know where I can get a nice display case made for that puppy too.” Tony looked at Gibbs who nodded smiling, already making plans in his head.
“Man, I don’t even…” Derek started again before standing and dragging Tony up into a huge hug. Tony just grinned and laughed in his ear pounding on his back. Before Derek could sit, Tony made him help move the big box from the side of the tree to set in front of Gibbs. On top was an envelope with a fit card to Gibbs’ favorite lumber store. Inside were some portholes and other small accessories both antique and modern that Tony had thought matched. When Gibbs looked at Tony, sensing there was a story with this gift, especially since Tony knew that it had been quite a while since he’d worked on a boat.
“That one is… kind of a dual gift for both of us. I know you haven’t been working on boats lately, but I was uh thinking that maybe if you’re interested we could maybe possibly work on one together? That is ya know if…” Gibbs cut off the ramble with a kiss of his won that earned an “on my” from Ducky, a “you sly dog,” from Fornell, and a wolf howl from Derek that Clooney joined his master in. After everyone got done laughing, Tony slipped the small box out of his hoody pocket. He found the nerves returned momentarily, and took a deep breath before placing it in Jethro’s hand. “This uh… this is actually what started this crazy adventure that we’ve started.”
“A few months back after I returned from Israel, I was surfing the internet kinda of aimlessly, but contemplating taking the plunge and telling you how I felt. For some reason I thought of my Nonno and Nonna DiNozzo. They weren’t… quite as stuffy and unfeeling as my father but died when I was quite young. I don’t remember much about them, except they always seemed to love each other deeply, and Nonno always had this necklace on.” At Tony’s prompting Gibbs opened the jewelry box and saw something that looked like a golden husk on a black leather band.
“It’s called an Italian Horn necklace. When I started to think about all of the things that you mean to me, I realize that they were a lot of the same things that I had associated with my Nonni. I remember asking my Nonno about his necklace once. He told me that Nonna got it for him, because she loved him and wanted him to be protected from the evil eye. Nonna said that it was a symbol of love and passion and protection… all of the things that I think of when I think of you, Jethro.”
“My Nonni died when I was seven. Nonna died first, and Nonno went less than a month later. I honestly believe that he loved her so much that he couldn’t bear the thought of living on this earth without her with him. For the longest time I thought that I would never have that. I was sure that somehow my father had cursed me, and I would never find someone to love me as much as my Nonni loved each other. Then there you were, and I had no clue what to do about it. So, here I am thinking about all this, and remembered that I actually owned that very necklace that my Nonna had given my Nonno all those years before. When my Nonno died, it was one of the things that he’d left me. His executor, who is not my father by the way, has been holding onto it for me to find my one great love to give it to.”
Tony took the box from Jethro’s hand and carefully took the Italian Horn made of a Tiger Eye gemstone out from the box and slipped the leather cord around Jethro’s neck. “Ti amo con tutto il cuore, Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Possa la nostra vita essere lunga e possa il nostro amore essere pieno di passione e di risate. Tu sei il mio cuore, la mia anima e tutto il mio mondo.”
Gibbs swallowed hard, knowing his eyes were teary, but for once didn’t mind. Leaning in he kissed Tony softly, and when he looked at the others was pleased to see he wasn’t the only one who was choked up. He was however surprised to see Tobias seemed the most moved and made a mental note to ask him later what Tony had said.
Tony stared into Gibb’s blue eyes and could almost imagine his Nonni there watching him. He liked to believe that they would approve, despite the fact that Jethro was a man. Mister Rosenbaum, the son of the original executor now handled his Nonni’s trust and seemed to believe that from what his father had told him, his Nonni would only have wanted him to find love no matter the gender.
The man was very kind and had quickly sent the necklace, advising he had some other things he’d been holding for him and would like to send. Tony was curious as he never knew he’d gotten anything but the necklace, and maybe some trinkets, so he’d promised to contact him and make an appointment when they could meet after the New Year.
Pushing thought about the trust from his mind, Tony found himself lost in Gibb’s eyes, thinking about Derek’s comment from the night before about the universe and balance and bad things paying ahead for good things. If you’d asked him when he was a kid or in college, or hell maybe even as recent as 6 months ago, he probably would have said that his friend was crazy. However, sitting there on Jethro’s couch surrounded by friends and love and well… the peace and goodwill that you always heard about at Christmas time, he could honestly believe that maybe such a notion was true. Because for all the seemingly never ending years of pain and anguish and heartbreak, looking back he would live them all three times over as long as he knew in the end he would end up with Leroy Jethro’s heart in his hands.
Translation: I love you with all of my heart, Leroy Jethro Gibbs. May your live be long, and may our love be filled with passion and laughter. You are my heart and my soul and my everything.
End Note: Also, I do have plans for a sequel. It probably won’t be started til sometime at the end of January because I am currently working on a NCIS/Hawaii 5-0 fic which will have Tibbs and Danno/Chin Ho pairings. There will be another story though hopefully in two or three months. (New Note) I still have hopes to get a sequel done for this. It gets pecked at occassionally when I am in the mood. The Tibbs and Danno/Chin story has been changed to a Aaron Hotchner/Tony and Danny/Chin series, but I also still have hopes that it will get posted. Story #1 is planned for sometime this year, if things hold.