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Christmas With Julia
by: taylorgibbs (Send Feedback)
Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 1511
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo
Episode(s): 1-10 Left for Dead
Summary: Gibbs enlists Tony to help Julia get through the holidays.
Author Notes: Thanks to Anna for the sanity read and Cat for the beta.
Part of the Julia Knows Best series. This story slots in between Reconnection and Donuts. Running order of stories can be
found here: http://nfacommunity.com/viewseries.php?seriesid=79
I wish you and your loved ones a happy, safe, and relaxing holiday season filled with love, laughter, and your own special memories to share in future holidays.
Even though it doesn’t quite work with the show timeline, I’m setting this story after Left for Dead, which means chronologically it will go after Reconnection. Think of it as mildly AU.
Tony’d been at Gibbs’ house every night for almost two weeks now, and Gibbs was starting to like it a hell of a lot. The damned boiler in DiNozzo’s place wasn’t fixed yet, and Gibbs wasn’t exactly sad about that. It was nice having Tony here.
Even when Tony ordered far too much pizza. Gibbs looked across the kitchen table, catching DiNozzo’s eye.
“What?” Tony asked around a huge bite of pizza.
“Christmas. You didn’t put in for leave this year. Why?”
“Not going anywhere, Boss,” Tony answered with a shrug. His eyes became stormy for a second before clearing up. “Why?” he asked, his voice wary and suspicious.
“Julia,” Gibbs said simply. His sister-in-law was feeling down this winter. Her husband was at war and her son…Gibbs didn’t know what was going on with Rob, who wasn’t coming home for the winter break at all. He’d tried talking to his nephew, but Julia begged him not to intervene, and Gibbs was choosing which battles to fight with the teen. With Will away, Rob needed a strong father figure and he was bound and determined to be it, regardless of what Rob wanted.
Tony’s expression turned serious at the mention of Julia’s name. “She okay, Gibbs?”
“Think so. Just down.” Tony took that in and nodded, chewing as thoughtfully as he could manage, considering that he was cramming pizza into his mouth like a starving man.
“She coming here or we going there?” It wasn’t lost on Gibbs how Tony said “here” like he belonged at Gibbs’ house.
“There,” Gibbs said, glad this conversation was going well. “She and Will have a Christmas Eve tradition with neighbors—kind of like a winter block party—but she’s on her own Christmas Day.”
“And I bet she doesn’t want to leave just in case Rob comes home.”
“Or if Will calls,” Gibbs added. “You in, Tony?”
“I’m in.” There was a little smile on Tony’s face and Gibbs knew he was going to make Julia’s holiday a whole lot brighter. Tony had such a great presence; he’d bring Julia out of her thoughts better than Gibbs alone could.
“Don’t tell her your plans. Let’s make it a surprise, Tony. It’ll mean more to her.”
Two days later, they knocked on Julia’s door. Gibbs breathed in deeply, grinning. Julia was cooking up a storm again, cinnamon and nutmeg spicing the cold winter air. They’d come over in one car and Tony stood beside him, holding a bottle of wine. And a shopping bag full of presents. Gibbs told him that wasn’t necessary, but Tony had insisted. If Julia was cooking, he was bringing presents.
Through the decorative glass panels in the door, Gibbs could see Julia approaching, wiping her hands on her apron as she came closer. Her expression was a little confused and Gibbs was happy he’d arranged for Tony to stand where she couldn’t see him until she opened the door.
“Jethro? You know you can let yourself right in. Why did you…” Julia turned her head and saw Tony, and her entire face transformed.
“Tony!” she said, a moment before launching forward for a hug. Tony handed the bottle of wine to Gibbs as Julia flung herself into his arms and he held her in a fierce hug. Gibbs had the impression that they both needed this pseudo-family connection.
“Jules,” Tony said, face buried in her hair. “Merry Christmas, Bella!”
“Don’t you flirt,” she said, her voice muffled from where it rested against Tony’s expensive wool coat. She pulled back and brushed her hand over his cheek. “I am so glad to have you here, Tony.” Tears were shimmering in her eyes now and she brought a hand up to wipe away the few that spilled over.
“I’m so glad to be invited,” Tony said, his own voice infused with deep meaning and seriousness. They watched each other for a long moment and Gibbs had to squash the pang of jealousy he found rearing up at the connection they were forming. It was silly and stupid—he had his own connection with them both. This was no threat to him.
“And you,” Julia continued, turning to Gibbs. “You can be a real bonehead, Jethro, but this was one of your best ideas.” She pulled him into a tight hug as well, and he kissed her temple.
“You sure you’ll have enough food for us all, Julia?” Tony asked.
“Tony, I cook for an army! Will you two get inside? You’re letting out all the heat.”
Tony and Gibbs followed her in and gravitated toward the kitchen, lured by the delectable scents emanating from there.
“Roast?” Tony asked hopefully.
“Roast, Julia confirmed. “Did you do the seven fish for your Christmas, Tony?” She turned to Gibbs. “The seven fish is an Italian holiday tradition. When Will and I did Christmas in southern Italy a couple of years ago, I got to see it firsthand.”
Tony winced and nodded. “Not a big fish fan, either. My grandfather made me eat baccalŕ. It was his favorite part of the meal.”
“Salted cod dish, Jethro. Very…unique. What else did you have?” Julia asked as she went back to the stove and stirred a pot of soup. That was Julia’s famous French Onion Soup, and Gibbs tried not to drool as the smell wafted toward him.
“Linguine with clams, steamed mussels, baked scallops, baked stuffed lobster, mushrooms stuffed with crabmeat, calamari, smelts, whatever fish my cousins caught.” Tony looked lost for a moment before he grinned and hugged Julia close.
“My Nonna was a tough old bird. Well, she decided one year to take the rubber bands off the claws of the lobsters, and left the lobsters on the counter. Two of them skidded off and started to go for her. Papi and I found her in the tub, waving the saucepan lid like it was a shield and she was defending against the advancing lobster army.” His smile got a little wistful then.
“It all changed after Papi got sick and we started having Christmas at our house. The cooks didn’t make the food with the same love.” In a split second, Tony’s expression changed and Gibbs knew he’d had enough of sharing for now. It was a damned miracle they’d gotten that much out of him.
“What about you, Gibbs? Share a Christmas memory.”
This wasn’t easy for Gibbs and he knew Tony had to figure that as well. Gibbs stayed quiet for a few minutes, gathering his thoughts and his courage to share a memory like this with Tony. When he spoke, his voice was quiet and reflective. “Kelly loved the idea of Christmas stockings. One year, she grabbed a pair of her mother’s nylons and hung them up instead.”
“Did you fill them?” Tony asked quietly, resting his hand on Gibbs’ arm.
“Was hell trying,” Gibbs admitted, grinning at the memory. “The damned things kept stretching.” He was amazed to find that he wasn’t choking up; that the memory actually made him smile genuinely.
“I remember that,” Julia said with her own smile. “My first Christmas as a married woman, the roast was far too rare, the potatoes were too hard to chew, the carrots scorched, and the pie…”
“Was store bought,” Gibbs supplied.
“My family sat there and ate the entire meal with fixed smiles on their faces. That was the best gift of all, Tony. Knowing they tried and didn’t want to hurt my feelings.”
“And her cooking has improved.”
“Because I took classes. I used that failure as the springboard and took classes.”
“She’s damned good. I keep telling her she could open her own catering company.”
“I remember from Thanksgiving,” Tony said with a grin.
“And maybe I will some day, Jethro. But I love the travel industry.” She dipped a spoon into the soup and tasted, nodding in satisfaction. “You two sit down and give the wine time to breathe. Dinner will be done soon.”
“Thanks for welcoming me, Julia. Merry Christmas.”
“Merry Christmas, hon. You’re family, Tony. You’re Jethro’s now. You belong here.”
Tony turned to look at Gibbs and Gibbs could only stare back. Even though things were still so new between them, Gibbs couldn’t deny how right it felt for Tony to be called his. It was right in a way that defied explanation, and Gibbs couldn’t ignore the sense of peace that came over him when he accepted Julia’s words. “You belong here,” Gibbs said, surprising himself with the ferocity behind his words. “Merry Christmas, Tony.”
“Merry Christmas, Jethro.”
MTAC - NCIS Fic