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Two Wise Men

by: taylorgibbs (Send Feedback)

Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 830
Rating: YTEEN
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tobias Fornell
Category(ies): Character Study, Holiday
Pairing(s): - No Pairing -
Summary: Gibbs and Fornell try to make the best of an unconventional Christmas.

Author Notes: Day 8 of The 12 Days of Gibbsmas.

Chapters: 1

Two Wise Men

December 25, 2002

“You know what your biggest problem was, Toby?”

“What’s that, Gibbs?”

“Ya married her. I warned you.” Jethro Gibbs slapped a microwave bowl on the table, his bracelet clinking against the glass. “Beans? Turkey breast will be done in an hour. I told you she’d fleece you. She fleeced me.”

“Apple pie cooling,” Fornell shot back. “Corn pudding—who makes corn pudding anyway—will be done with the turkey. Beans are fine.”

Gibbs grinned, filling the bowl and setting it aside. “The Grimshaws. They wanted to know if we were a couple. I told ‘em we were a couple of fools. They remembered Diane and laughed at the story.”

“Tell me why we’re doing this?” Toby said acidly.

“Doing what? Eating? Because dammit, Toby, holidays are bad enough for me without you moping around as well.”

“Well, I can get a hotel!”

“With what? Diane drained the bank accounts!” Gibbs sighed, running a hand through his hair. “Look, Toby. We’re both upset. I know you wanted to spend Christmas with Emily instead of having Diane take her away with her new boyfriend. What kind of a name is Thor anyway?”

“And I know you really wanted Alex here.”

Gibbs nodded. His brother was in a warzone now and he couldn’t help but wonder if he’d continue to stay safe. “Thought I fought over there so my brother wouldn’t have to,” Gibbs remarked quietly.

“And maybe he’s fighting over there so Emily won’t have to,” Toby replied just as quietly.

Gibbs nodded, giving that some serious thought and how their families had intertwined. “So maybe we can coexist, Tobias. Neither of us are thrilled with this arrangement but we can learn to live with it. Especially on this holiday. We’re being selfish with our boys overseas. How many of them would love to have this feast?”

Fornell nodded. “Not much of a feast but it’s ours.” He paused a long moment. “Jethro, this is as bad as it gets, right? The loneliness? You’ve done the divorce thing before but I waited to be married and….”

Gibbs sent up a silent prayer of thanks that Toby didn’t mention Kelly and Emily. There was no way he could think about that today. As it was, his mind was jumping through Christmases, remembering the pony, the doll she’d gotten the year before, the way she ran down the stairs so fast her feet barely touched them, the look of wonder in her face when he and Shannon would be waiting with hugs and hot chocolate.

“You survive,” he began quietly. “In your case, you survive because your little girl is waiting to see Daddy, Toby. She deserves the time with you, even if it isn’t on Christmas Day. No man Diane dates or marries will ever compare to her Daddy. And when things get bad, you remember that. For me, if not for yourself.”

His fingers were running over the bracelet now, fingers stroking over the lettering on the inside. “And when you’re ready to love again, you remember that there is no such thing as forever and you enjoy every moment of every day.”

Toby nodded, looking down and staring at the table. “There’s never gonna be another Shannon for you, is there? I mean…you’re never going to give your heart to someone else, are you?”

Gibbs shook his head. “Nope. Had it once. Haven’t found anyone I want to have it since.”

“And no other kids?”

Gibbs winced. He knew Toby needed this conversation but it was damn hard. Before answering, he poured Toby a scotch and himself a bourbon. “Tried with Stephanie. She calls it a miscarriage, better for her. Six months along. Little boy.” He drank deeply. “Not trying again, Toby.”

“I didn’t know,” Toby said simply and Gibbs squeezed his shoulder.

They sat in silence until the food was ready and worked in concert to arrange it on the table. “This is as bad as it gets,” Gibbs replied between bites of food. “But you’ve got me. You’re not alone.”

“Who’d you have?” Toby asked curiously.

“Alex. He put me back together that first Christmas. And by the second one I was strong enough to do it myself. You’ll see, Toby. Your little girl has a lot of Christmases to share with her father. Don’t get so lost in your own pain that you lose sight of that.”

Toby nodded, speaking only after they’d cleaned up and were in the basement, each sipping their liquor. “Thanks, Jethro. Best damn gift you could have given me.”

“What’s that?” Gibbs asked, looking up from the blueprints for his boat.

“Your wisdom. Your experience. It is making my Christmas easier.”

Gibbs nodded, looking at his friend for a long moment before extending a hand. “Merry Christmas, Tobias.”

“Merry Christmas, Jethro.”

Chapters: 1

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