Author: DiNozzoitis aka Violetwarnercobalt
Author's Notes: I got to the stage after signing up for this years Tibbs Yuletide that I had no Tibbs Christmas ideas AT ALL lol... I did however have a rough idea for a team centred fic (with Abby playing a massive role) called Little Wooden Hearts. Which I had begun to rework the hell out of for my first Tibbs Yuletide a couple of years ago. I debated long and hard about whether or not I could re-work the idea (and it pained me quite a bit because I loved the original version) however I am REALLY liking this! I hope you all do too!
Warnings: A good dose of fluffy goodness, with a little touch of Tony angst and self doubt... and maybe a bit of suspension of disbelief needed because I am not sure of certain procedures at NCIS. Also mentions of major and minjor character deaths which have appeared or been mentioned on the show... NO other characters are dead or die in this fic. Also mentions of a slightly nakie Tony ;D
Spoilers: Minjor references to season 7 episode 6 'Outlaws and Inlaws', as well as references to events since season 1 including Dead Man Talking, Twilight, Hiatus and Judgement Day - up until season 7 that is.
Characters/Pairings: Tony/Gibbs (obviously lol!)
Rating: G to PG
Genre/Category: Romance, Angst, Family, Established Relationship, Holiday.
Word Count: 2,954
Disclaimer: I do not own or am in any way affiliated with those that own NCIS, nor am I connected to the show's cast and crew. This is written out of pure enjoyment and absolutely no money is being made from its creation. Please do not sue.
Summary: Christmas comes but once a year, so what has Tony acting so strangely? Will this be a Christmas to remember, or one he will want to wish never happened. For day 10 of the 2012 Tiibbs Yuletide advent @ LJ.
Little Wooden Hearts
As he carefully smoothed out the remaining imperfections on the rounded edges of the wood he hoped that his lover would like the gift he was creating.
He'd spent every free moment he could working hard to get each little detail as perfect as possible, however he was no artist, nor was he a master craftsman, and the self doubt that always lingered in the pit of his soul had made itself known more than once during this project; so much so that he had seriously considered throwing his hard work out with the trash and going out to buy something more suitable.
There were many things about this little project that his lover could hate and he was scared out of his mind that the man who held his heart would laugh at his attempt or worse find that his gift had come across as disrespectful.
He sighed, it was too late now for him to go out and get a new present, as it was he was already pushing his luck trying to get the finishing touches completed before Christmas morning, panicking about whether the final layers of light honey and rich red coloured wood stains would dry completely in time, not to mention there was still the time needed to wrap up the gift to be considered.
Putting down the extra fine grained sandpaper and fingering the name and date burnt delicately into the wood, he sent a silent prayer up in hope that whoever may or may not have been listening would help him to not only get his gift finished in time but that it would also be appreciated, maybe even loved.
Sighing again, he looked at his watch and noticed that it had just passed 0100. "Better get back to it" he said aloud, despite the fact he was the only person in the garage.
Picking up the brush on the bench he dipped it in the pot of stain and got back to work "It's gonna be a long night..."
When Christmas morning finally arrived Gibbs was shocked that his younger lover hadn't already awoken and gotten out of their bed, despite the fact that the large grandfather clock in the lounge could be heard striking nine.
Gibbs had always been an early riser, his time spent in the marine corps had only seemed to cement that, so he had been awake since half past six (admittedly later than he usually would have if he had to go into work but since both he and Tony had the holiday off he had taken an extra hour and a half snooze time), having gone for a jog, despite the amount of snow that covered the ground outside, and returned home, settling in with a large steaming cup of coffee and the paper after a nice warm shower.
He knew Tony always enjoyed sleeping in on their days off, however, Christmas was the one exception.
Tony was like a little kid when it came to the holiday, waking up long before both Gibbs and the sun rose, bouncing around with a youthful energy and exuberance the older man had no idea that someone in their early forties could posses.
Secretly, Gibbs looked forward to it each year, not only did he get to see Tony truly happy, ear to ear grin and twinkle in his green eyes, without the mask he usually hid behind; something which he very rarely got to witness, but his heart swelled at being able to give Tony the kind of real Christmas he had lacked and longed for as a child, the kind of Christmas that the lonely little boy he had once been had caught only glimpses of in old holiday movies and through windows of houses he happened to pass by.
Christmas was Tony's day in his mind, as much as his girls had loved it when they were alive Kelly had always preferred the candy and dressing up of Halloween while Shannon had favoured both the 4th of July and Thanksgiving; and, despite what Abby may have claimed about loving Christmas more than anyone on the planet, her passion for the day dwindled vastly in comparison to that of his boy's.
So, when DiNozzo hadn't woken him at precisely six sharp, Gibbs began to worry; especially when he took into account the strange behaviour the Italian had been exhibiting recently. As soon as he could, Tony would rush out of work, not even waiting around for Gibbs or staying back to fill in the paperwork which he normally assigned himself. Tony would hide in the garage late into the night and had become very secretive, making up half assed excuses for what he was doing and Gibbs would catch him either sneaking in or out of the garage at all times of the day and night, with Tony dragging himself in to bed just before dawn, the older man had a suspicion that Tony had done the same thing early that morning, the silver haired man was almost positive he had felt the bed sink under Tony's weight just before 0400.
Draining the last remnants of his coffee, Gibbs pushed himself up from the table and went to investigate his lover.
The house was completely silent as he made his way up the stairs, he thought by now he would have at least heard Tony moving around, getting dressed or the sound of the shower running. Yet when he pushed open the door all Gibbs saw was Tony face down, sprawled across the bed, bare ass and one leg out from under the blankets, arms hugging Gibbs' pillow tightly to his chest.
Taking a moment to enjoy the view Gibbs wished that he could stop time and live in this moment for all eternity, or better yet, that he had a camera handy to capture it. Walking over and sitting down beside Tony's hip Gibbs leant over and gently stroked the spot on the back of Tony's head that he had claimed as his own, the patch of baby soft hair that his hand always lingered on for a moment after every head slap.
“Hey sleepy head, you plan on joining the land of the living or are ya just gonna skip Christmas altogether this year?” Gibbs smiled as Tony rolled over to face him, forcing his eyes open up into tiny slits, trying to focus on his lover.
“I thought you'd have been awake hours ago, after all it is Christmas morning.”
It took a moment for the older man's words to sink into Tony's exhausted brain, the second they did though he shot up in bed only to be stopped by a wave of dizziness caused by the sudden movement.
“Woah there DiNozzo, what's the rush?” Gibbs asked as he placed a hand on his lover's shoulder, keeping him down on the bed.
“It's Christmas boss and I gotta give you your present!”
“That can wait a bit, wake up properly first, have a shower, get dressed and I'll meet you downstairs.”
“But...” Tony was cut off from saying any more as Gibbs placed a soft kiss on DiNozzo's lips and ran his hand through the younger man's hair one more time before getting up off of the bed.
The older man paused at the door for a moment, looking back over his shoulder Gibbs admired the view as he added “I'll have breakfast waiting for when you're done. Remember, take your time, we've got all day.”
Despite what Gibbs had said it didn't even take Tony fifteen minutes before he had showered, dressed and gone down stairs.
His heart had been racing from the moment that Gibbs had woken him up with the news that Christmas was upon them. Tony was still worrying about the gift he had made for Gibbs and he knew there was no way he could take his time to get ready, he needed this done now so that no matter how Gibbs took the present it was out there and DiNozzo could start dealing with the fallout.
As the ex-cop made his way into the kitchen Gibbs raised an eyebrow in confusion, Tony's normal Christmas spirit was still apparently absent and it worried the older man more than he thought it would. Furrowing his brow for a minute, a light bulb of an idea went off in his head, Gibbs had the perfect way to bring back Tony’s Christmas spirit.
Turning to look at his OSU sweat-suit clad lover, he tilted his head in the direction of the living room “Go sit by the fire and I will bring breakfast out for you.”
Hesitating for a slight second Tony bit his lip but nodded, leaving the room. Gibbs couldn’t help but track him until he sat on the floor between the crackling fireplace and the brightly lit Christmas tree.
The ex-Marine was glad he had the earlier thought of making breakfast for his tired lover when he finally awoke so he didn’t have to rush around getting everything ready for his once famous Holiday breakfast of choice and it wasn’t long until he had a plate for them to share and a mug of hot cocoa for each of them, tiny marshmallows scattered across the top of Tony’s mug.
Carefully sitting down on the floor next to his lover, Gibbs placed the plate between the two of them before handing Tony his mug.
It wasn’t until DiNozzo had to shift something from his lap in order to take the cocoa that Gibbs even noticed he had been cradling something in his lap.
“Jet...” the italian was getting ready to mention the gift he had made for his lover but at the last minute he hesitated, looking around he noticed the plate of pancakes in front of him. He couldn’t help but chuckle and it eased his nerves just a bit “Did you make reindeer shaped pancakes?”
Gibbs blushed a bit, which just made Tony chuckle even more.
“You seemed a bit off this morning and I wanted to bring back your Christmas spirit. There is just a couple of things missing...” Getting up from his place on the floor the older man quickly ducked into the kitchen, coming back with a punnet of strawberries and a can of whipped cream.
Retaking his seat beside his lover, Gibbs squirted a tiny dollop of the cream in the middle of one of the pancakes and placed a strawberry on top.
“You made me Rudolph!” The normal giddiness DiNozzo had at this time of year was quickly coming back and he couldn’t help the face splitting grin. “When did you learn how to make Rudolph pancakes? Please tell me it wasn’t some weird ass Marine corps training that I don’t know about.”
Gibbs couldn’t help but chuckle himself. “Definitely not the Marines.” pausing he allowed himself a moment of composure before telling him the story.
“Oh, oh God sorry Gibbs I didn’t think...” and suddenly Tony was back to biting his lip and avoiding eye contact with his partner.
Reaching out Gibbs took Tony’s hand “Hey, it’s okay. the year she turned three Kelly had chicken pox on Christmas. Shan and I tried everything to make her happy, even the thought of Santa coming couldn’t get Kelly into the spirit. I made one last ditch attempt to get her to at least smile, the moment I put Rudolph in front of her the Kelly we knew was back. It became a tradition every year after that, that on Christmas morning I would have the pancakes waiting for my girls when they got up.”
“Thank you. Not just for telling me the story but for letting me be apart of something that was so special to you and your family.”
Caressing his lover’s face with one hand Gibbs leaned across and gave Tony a quick peck on the lips “You are a part of my family now, don’t you ever forget that. Also stop biting your lip, if you’re not careful you’re gonna draw blood soon.”
“Boss... Gibbs... Jet...” pausing again Tony picked up the package he had been holding earlier and handed it to his lover.
Gibbs took a moment to examine what he had just been handed, smiling at the hastily wrapped package with the lopsided bow.
“Before you open it, I just want to let you know that I'm sorry if it offends you, and I will leave if you really want me too. Both here and NCIS if need be... on second thought don’t open it, I can always get you something better tomorrow.” As Tony made a pass to grab the gift Gibbs snatched it back away from him.
The older man was curious now, and quickly began unwrapping the what appeared to be a plain white shoe box.
“Jet, don’t... please...” Tony sounded so desperate and despite the worry that caused him Gibbs continued to unwrap what obviously was an important present.
Lifting the lid of the box and picking up the first item inside, Gibbs’ brow furrowed and Tony suddenly shot up from his place on the floor.
“You hate them, I knew it, I will go get my stuff now... sorry...” Before the younger man could even take a step the ex-Marine had grabbed his wrist and pulled him back to the floor
“Is this what you’ve been doing all this time in the garage?” he had to grab the younger man by the chin to get him to look him in the eyes, and even then his reply was just a simple nod.
Picking up the second honey coloured wooden heart from the shoe box, Gibbs slipped both loops of twine around his index finger on his left hand, with the right index finger he traced the slightly shaky burnt names in the middle “Shannon and Kelly” he whispered.
There had to be over a dozen little hearts in the box, some the same honey colour as the two he held in his hand, all of which had dates below each name, and some a cherry red colour, also engraved with names of those he knew and loved, these without the dates below them.
Reaching in he picked up the one with ‘Abby’ scrawled on it in what he knew was his lover’s neatest writing and examined the little flaw in it, a flaw he would recognise anywhere, since he spent countless hours trying to sand it to perfection after the Goth’s drunken night spent in his basement.
“This is the wood from the ‘Kelly’, how on earth did you get this out of the evidence garage?”
A light blush spread across the cheeks of the Italian “I may or may not have had a little help from everyone’s favorite Goth.”
Gibbs gave a hearty chuckle and Tony couldn’t help but snap his head at the sound.
“Okay, second question now, why would you think I would want you to leave our house and NCIS over this?”
Mumbling something under his breath Tony was shocked when the older man’s palm gently connected with the back of his head.
“Tone, this is the most amazing and thoughtful gift I have ever received, I know no one ever told you this but you are a great man Anthony Dominic DiNozzo, and there is no way this could be seen as disrespectful. I love them and the work you must have put into them, and I love you.”
Kissing the younger man on the forehead, he whispered in his ear “I do love you.”
Hastily wiping tears from his eyes the younger man replied “Love you to Jet.”
They broke apart and Gibbs stood up, grabbing a large wrapped gift from under the tree and handed it to his lover. “How bout you open this and I will hang these on the tree.”
Taking time to look at each of the names on the hearts he hung them up one by one. There was a cherry coloured heart for each of his family at NCIS, one for his father, Franks and his family and even one for Fornell and names of people he had met on cases throughout the years; and there was a honey coloured heart for each of the people he had lost over the years, and the date which they had passed, there was one for his girls, his mother, Kate, Paula, Jenny and Langer.
While it upset him to see how many of the honey coloured hearts there were, the fact that their were more of the cherry coloured ones.
As he hung the final heart, a cherry coloured ‘Tony & Gibbs’ heart in between the ‘Shannon’ and ‘Kelly’ hearts under the angel atop the tree, the older man couldn’t help but wonder how his lover knew that each and every single name on the tree were people he thought and agonised over as he built the ‘Kelly’.
Turning around to once again declare his love for his partner he couldn’t help but smile at the sight before him; curled in a ball in front of the fire like a house cat was his lover, fast asleep but smiling the most beautiful smile Gibbs had ever seen, a small smudge of whipped cream on his nose.
They would both regret it when they woke and their backs protested, but Gibbs couldn’t care less. Laying down beside his lover, Gibbs spooned the younger man as he too drifted off to sleep.