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Warmth From Within
by: taylorgibbs (Send Feedback)
Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 685
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo
Category(ies): Character Study, Episode Related, Friendship
Summary: Tony pays Jack a visit and gets an amazing gift. Spoilers for 6X04
Author Notes: Thanks to Anna for the beta!
Warmth from Within
Tony reverently stroked the cardigan as he made the drive to Stillwater, PA—hometown of Leroy Jethro Gibbs and home to Jack, who’d let him borrow the sweater last week. Tony had wanted to drive back up last weekend but Gibbs had driven all over the place, that new car of his seeming to bring out the road tripper in him. They’d gone to Skyline Drive, checking out the leaves changing and had ended up in West Virginia, at the New River Gorge Bridge.
Tony still couldn’t get over the changes in Gibbs, both when he’d been in Stillwater and afterward. He’d expected a little difference; a guy couldn’t go back to his roots like that and then continue to be the bastard. But the car, and whatever had happened back there, had changed him. He seemed more at peace, almost like when Maddie Tyler had come to town.
And he didn’t talk about it. Not that Gibbs ever spoke about much at all, even with Tony. But he had hoped the guy would want to share what was in his mind. No dice, just those small smiles and that sense of peace surrounding him.
Tony would take what he could get. And today he was going back to Stillwater not for Gibbs or even himself, it was for Jack. The guy had been great and Tony kinda wanted to thank him. He didn’t have to be so darn hospitable.
He pulled up to the store and walked in, Jack’s face lighting up when he saw who it was. “DiNozzo,” he said and it was so different yet quite the same to Gibbs’ voice. They were remarkably alike once you got past the gruff and bluster. And Gibbs’ constant silence.
“Thanks for letting me borrow the sweater, Mr. Gibbs.”
“Wasn’t borrowing. You coulda kept it.”
Tony shrugged, shoving his hands in his pockets. This was harder than he’d thought.
“You know, his face lit up when he mentioned you and Abby and Ducky. He really cares about you guys. Good to see he’s got someone to look after him.” Jack’s face saddened for a second before brightening up.
“He’s got you too, Jack,” Tony said, plucking a piece of licorice out of a container by the register.
“Not like he has you, Tony.”
“What do you mean?” Tony asked quietly, carefully. They were treading on hallowed ground here.
“I know my boy. I may not know what motivates him nowadays, but I can still read his expressions and Leroy cares about you. A lot. Haven’t seen that look in his eye for a lotta years. Since…” He trailed off and took a generous sip of coffee.
“Since?” Tony repeated in a quiet voice.
“Shannon. Give it to me straight, Tony. You and my boy an item?” Jack came around and sat at the table, looking up at Tony.
“A what?” Tony sank into the chair across from Jack, looking down at the table.
“An item. Ya know what I’m talking about.” Tony’s head snapped back up.
A part of Tony wanted to lie but Jack’s eyes were knowing and wise. He couldn’t do it, even though it wasn’t just his secret to tell. “Shouldn’t you ask Gibbs?”
“No. You and me don’t have the complicated history he and I do. You take good care of my boy, Tony. That’s all I ask.” He squeezed Tony’s shoulder gently. “Now you get back to him. He’s expecting you.”
“Oh?’ Tony arched an eyebrow and Jack gave him a broad smile.
“Knows you pretty well, Tony. Told me you’d be here fifteen minutes before you arrived. Said to bring a pizza home, extra sausage this time.” He squeezed Tony’s shoulder. “And now that we got that out of the way, you boys coming up this way for Christmas or am I going down to you?”
With that, Tony realized he’d found something he’d never expected in Stilwater, PA—Family.
MTAC - NCIS Fic