Click for Printer Friendly Version
Running on Faith
by: taylorgibbs (Send Feedback)
Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 2081
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo
Category(ies): Angst/Drama, Character Study, Established Relationship
Summary: When Gibbs invites Tony over for Christmas, Tony makes an amazing discovery that unites Jackson and Jethro Gibbs.
Author Notes: Thanks to Anna for the beta!
Running on Faith
Tony stood outside Gibbs’ house, staring at the door. Gibbs had told him to come in and make himself comfortable, but there had been something in Gibbs’ voice that had concerned Tony. Jack’s arrival had shaken Gibbs up, and Tony couldn’t get a handle on what was going on.
He trusted his lover, though, and the fact that Gibbs had told him to pack a bag and plan to spend Christmas there meant a lot. Tony didn’t need a guidebook to know that there was no way they could pretend; that Gibbs had made some huge decisions to out them as couple. Tony didn’t know or understand why, but he was thrilled. He’d gravitated right to Jack last year and they’d stayed in phone contact every couple of months.
Jack had seemed out of sorts in the last couple of calls, but Tony hadn’t been able to figure out what the problem was, and Jack hadn’t wanted to discuss it. Tony hadn’t pushed, but now that Jack was here, he intended to take the old man aside and have a conversation with him. Tony didn’t like the lost look in the older man’s eyes. Even though Jack had no idea of knowing, Tony thought of him as family.
When he got into the house, he dropped his overnight bag off near the ironing board. After he’d brought in all his presents, a huge bag of chestnuts, and some mulling spices and eggnog, Tony sank onto the couch. There was a pile of bedding there and Tony busied himself by folding it. Why was someone sleeping on the couch?
Natural curiosity taking over, Tony drifted upstairs, peeking into the bedroom. Everything looked fine there. But when he glanced into the spare bedroom, Tony choked off a gasp. The bed was absolutely covered in presents—some big and some smaller, a few even stacked between the bed and closet. There was no way Jack could even make his way to the bed—much less sleep on it. There were a few man sized boxes that Tony didn’t even dare wonder about. Everything was wrapped with perfectly creased corners and all the fancy trimmings.
This was so unlike Gibbs! They’d had two Christmases together as a couple before the bombing and two since, and while Gibbs and he did exchange presents, there was nothing extravagant about them. Last year, Gibbs had gotten Tony an Ohio State sports DVD that had some of his games on it, and he’d let Tony drive his car—which was incredible.
Gibbs gave small things to the team as well—even Ziva, who didn’t celebrate. But this went way beyond a desk calendar for McGee, a bottle of Scotch for Ducky, or even coupons for dinner out once a month, which Gibbs had gifted Abby with last year. This was…huge.
Tony closed the door slowly, the soft click echoing in the empty house. When they’d been in the car alone together driving to the Ellis house today, Gibbs had explained to Tony that he’d wanted to take Jack to the children’s hospital, and Tony didn’t mind that at all. He’d helped out Gibbs with the toys as much as he could, but he was hip-deep in a forensic psychology course and had spent more nights studying or tapping away at his laptop than actual building. Not that Tony thought he did a very good job anyway.
Maybe when Gibbs got the new boat started, and Tony was able to watch first-hand from start to finish, he could get some tips on hand crafting things from the bossman.
When he heard the truck pull in, Tony snapped himself out of his thoughts and bounded down the stairs. Even though he was completely at ease in Gibbs’ house, having Jackson there made it very different—and he was really nervous. This was something Gibbs had decided, though he had to know Tony wasn’t opposed to it. Even so, having the decision taken out of his hands was a little annoying—even if it was so Gibbslike.
Jack entered first, a grocery bag dangling from his fingertips. His eyes widened slightly when he saw Tony, a glimmer of surprise crossing over his features. “Tony! Whatcha doing here tonight?” he asked, moving closer and pumping Tony’s hand.
“I invited him,” Jethro said, easing in beside his father. “Put the beer in the fridge, Dad.”
“We gonna eat soon, Son? I’m hungry. Those kids sure take it outta ya.” He looked at Tony again and then around him. “You got any of those beautiful NCIS ladies with ya?”
“Sorry, Jack. Just me.”
Jack grunted and shrugged, though he didn’t look displeased by that. “Ya like card games, Tony? Leroy and I, we been playing poker at night, since he doesn’t have that digital thing. Can’t get any TV. I had to go down to the Ericsons and watch what they do, and Tony…there’s kids there. Cartoons. All the time.” Jackson shuddered dramatically. It was good to see a little of his spirit back.
“Beer, Dad,” Gibbs said, gesturing to the bag. “Gonna fire up the grill. Tony, help me clear the snow.”
“Sure, Jeth—Boss.” Tony waited until they were outside, the French doors firmly closed, before speaking. “You sure about this?” he asked. He wanted to touch Jethro—they were very tactile with each other normally—but he didn’t dare with Jack just inside.
“Positive. You okay with it?”
Tony gave it a few seconds before he answered. “Yeah. I mean… I didn’t expect to…but…yeah.”
“You sure?” Jethro asked, peering close.
“I’m ready,” Tony affirmed.” It’s time, Jeth. It’s time we let someone beside ourselves in.”
“Besides Abby,” Jethro said, turning away and starting to brush snow off the grill cover.
“Well, yeah, besides Abby.” She’d found out one night a few months back when she’d come over drunk after a boyfriend had terrified her. She’d never expected to find Gibbs and Tony kissing in the basement, but she’d taken it in stride. “I’m just a little surprised.”
“Why?” Gibbs asked, his expression turning serious.
“You have a new relationship with your father. What if this pushes you apart?”
“Won’t,” Gibbs affirmed.” He stopped fiddling with the grill and regarded Tony with a long look. “I have a second chance for a relationship with my old man, Tony. I’m not gonna start it based upon lies. This is who I am. He’ll understand. He more than anyone will understand.”
A brief shadow passed across Gibbs’ face before something chased it away and he smiled. “No matter what, Tony. It’s you and me.”
Tony looked back into the house at Jackson, who had pulled three steaks out of the fridge and was seasoning them. “He okay?” This wasn’t some weird last Christmas with Dad thing, was it?
“Did something happen?”
“Yeah. Let him tell it. After he knows about us. Have a feeling he’s going to have a lot to say to you, Tony.”
“Not my story to tell. Get inside. I’m gonna fire this up now.”
Tony slipped back inside and pulled up a chair, watching as Jackson tracked his every move.
“You like my son?” Jackson asked and Tony cocked his head, wondering if it was a simple question or was laced with more meaning. He chose to play it safe when answering.
“He’s mean to ya. Called ya Bubble Butt. You’re a trim muscular guy. Don’t let him get away with that crap, Tony.” Jack looked up when the door opened. “Ya wanna keep your team happy, Leroy, ya gotta quit with the insults. Especially ones like Bubble Butt.”
Jethro’s lips twitched only once before he started chuckling. “Wash your hands and sit down, Dad. I need to tell you something.”
“Oh?” He did as requested, sitting down just as Jethro did. He watched, his face impassive as Jethro scooted his chair closer to Tony’s, so that their knees touched. “Son, ya tryin’ to tell me something?”
“Pet names,” he said, wrapping an arm around Tony’s shoulder. Tony was so close to his lover that he could feel how Jethro was shaking minutely. “Bubble Butt…” He shrugged, looking away.
“Pet names. Are ya tellin’ me…” Jackson looked between Jethro and Tony, and Tony managed to keep his gaze steady even if his body was stiff. “How long, Son?” When Jack spoke again, his voice wavered.
“Four years on,and off. On for the last two plus, Dad,” Jethro said, his own voice becoming emotion clogged. There was some aspect of this that Tony didn’t understand.
“You happy with him, Leroy?”
“My boy make ya happy, Tony?”
“He does, Jack.”
Jack hefted himself to his feet, coming closer, eyes wet as his emotion spilled over and tears ran down his cheeks. “Welcome to the family then, Son. I…I never thought… Never knew you were what Leroy was lookin’ for. But...”
“Makes sense, doesn’t it, Dad?”
Jackson grunted, mussing Tony’s hair. “Lot of sense, Leroy.” Jack pulled Tony into a tight embrace before Tony could even stand and make it easier for him. When Jackson sagged a little, Tony gently pried him away, and came to his feet.
“You okay, Jack?”
“I’m okay, Tony. Just thinkin’ about the past. Weighin’ on me, but not in bad ways. And how funny it is how things come around.” Jack allowed Tony to help him back into his chair and was silent as Jethro put the steaks on the grill and some corn in the ancient machine he called a microwave. When Gibbs sat back down after giving both men a hug, Jack broke the silence.
“Gonna tell ya a story, Tony. Lonely guy, had lost his wife real young.” He looked over at Jethro when he said that and both men locked gazes for a full minute. “He and his son, they didn’t get along real well, and he started to lean on a good friend of his. A lot. This friend was…a good man. A good, good man, Tony.”
Tony nodded, not daring to break Jackson’s narrative.
“One day the man realized that he and his friend were more than that. Much more than just friends. They couldn’t tell anyone because of the small town they lived in, so they kept on as business partners and went on as many fishing trips as they could.”
“Were they happy?” Tony asked softly.
“Had eighteen years together, ‘til the best friend died. Guy thinks about his best friend every day.”
“And the man’s son?”
“Had some problems. Saw too much of himself in his old man, ya see. Thought that he had to cut the ties to break the patterns. And for a lotta years, he was running scared. Knew he suspected about the man and best friend, but wasn’t sure he knew. Until right now. Leroy…”
“Dad?” Gibbs asked and Tony realized that Gibbs was as choked up as he’d ever heard him.
“Don’t you screw it up with him. You let Tony know what he means to ya, every day. Just like L.J. and I did.”
“I will,” Gibbs said, wrapping Tony in a tight hug. Tony snuggled right in, feeling completely at ease doing this in Jack’s presence.
“Happy for ya, Son. Glad ya found someone willing to put up with your crap. And you. Don’t you let him get away with too much, Tony.”
“I won’t, Jack.”
Jack grunted as the microwave pinged. “We gonna eat any time now? Sooner we can eat, sooner we can figure out what’s in all those boxes upstairs. Ain’t getting any younger, Leroy. Should open ‘em tonight.”
“Dad! You snooped?”
“Hadda see why I was forced to sleep on the couch. Betting one of them big boxes is a fancy TV and since Leroy isn’t a TV watcher, I bet that one’s for you, Tony.”
“Who says all of ‘em aren’t?” Gibbs shot back.
“You got it bad for Bubble Butt, Son.”
“Just welcomin’ ya to the family, Tony. Merry Christmas.”
“Merry Christmas, Jack.”
MTAC - NCIS Fic