© 2020 by Jacie
Length: 2900 words
With Tom Morrow's permission, Gibbs hired Tony DiNozzo away from Baltimore PD. The director was adamant that Gibbs needed a partner. Gibbs was allowed to chose his own and his choice was Detective DiNozzo.
Gibbs gets a call on Christmas Eve and finds out that Tony had been in an accident and would need care for several weeks. Ducky insists Gibbs take Tony home and care for him as a bonding experience.
Don’t know them. It’s not true. I made it all up.
This was written for StarbucksSue as part of the Happy Holiday's Challenge.
First Christmas Together on AO3
It had been a tough year. After Stan had bailed on him, opting to move into an agent afloat position, Gibbs had run through a few partners at the behest of Tom Morrow. None of them had worked out for various reasons.
Mostly, Gibbs could be a tough son of a bitch to work for and he demanded the best. The potential partners Tom Morrow had stuck him with weren’t necessarily bad agents, but they weren’t the best. Tom was clearly trying to find a personality match. But Gibbs didn’t care as much about personality as results. He was driven to be the best when it came to solving cases and he needed someone who could not only keep up with him, but who was smart enough to actually partner with him.
Then he’d stumbled over Anthony DiNozzo, Junior, a Baltimore detective with a dirty partner. Gibbs had been working undercover, while another NCIS team was working backup and keeping an eye on him, since he didn’t have a partner at the time.
He’d felt a special bond with the young detective from the moment Tony had tackled him in the field. Gibbs had taken a swing at him, and found a gun pointed between his eyes. That was the moment he chose to back down, not wanting to prompt the detective to shoot him. That would have created a nightmare of paperwork for both NCIS and Baltimore PD to muddle through. Instead, he came clean at the precinct, having them call NCIS to verify his story.
Tony proved himself to be smart and capable. He’d figured out on his own that Danny was dirty, without Gibbs having to toss him a single hint. Of course, Gibbs had figured it out sooner, but he was on the outside looking in. He had no emotional attachment to Danny, and no stack of joint cases closed with him. Gibbs could be perfectly objective. Still, he saw it as a test for DiNozzo, especially because the bad guy Danny was working with was directly involved with the case they were currently investigating.
Gibbs was going to call Danny out if DiNozzo didn’t. He saw Tony pull up to the house that night, and saw Danny leave on his own. Gibbs hadn’t heard a shot, so he was pretty sure DiNozzo was still alive. And he was. They talked about Danny. Tony admitted he didn’t think he could stay with Baltimore PD after that, so Gibbs had offered the young detective a job with NCIS. For the most part, things had worked out pretty well for them. And Director Morrow was off Gibbs’ ass about getting a partner to work with.
The day before Christmas, Gibbs had already hand-delivered the wooden toys he’d made to his church to distribute to needy kids. Now, he was back to his boat and his bourbon. He was alone again, and that’s how he liked it. Stephanie had moved out a few months ago and their divorce was now final. Pouring himself another shot of bourbon, he toasted getting to celebrate a Christmas with her absent.
When his cell phone rang, he cursed and hoped it wasn’t a drunken Stephanie pleading to come over. Glancing at the caller ID, he didn’t recognize the number. “Gibbs…Yeah…He what?...I’ll be right there. I’ll take care of it.”
He made a quick call to Director Morrow and Ducky, then hustled over to the hospital. Ducky met him in the waiting area of the emergency room as Gibbs was talking to a nurse at the front desk.
They were led back to one of the rooms where they found their new agent, Tony DiNozzo, lying in a bed. “Oh great. They called you. Sorry, Boss.”
“What the hell happened to you, DiNozzo?”
“The heat went out in my apartment so I thought I’d go for a run to warm up. A car skidded on the ice and ran into me. Someone called the cops and they summoned the ambulance.”
A doctor walked into the room, with a clipboard and a file. She nodded at Gibbs and Ducky. “Relatives?”
“I’m his boss at NCIS,” said Gibbs, “and this is our M.E., Dr. Donald Mallard. Is DiNozzo going to be okay?”
“Considering he was hit by a car, he’s in pretty good shape. The police called the ambulance because Mr. DiNozzo was unable to stand up on his own.”
“What? You can’t stand up?” Gibbs asked Tony.
Moving the sheet aside, Tony swung his legs over the bed. “I can stand up just fine,” he said. The doctor pushed him back into bed before he could put any weight on his legs.
“What’s wrong with him?” asked Gibbs.
“The contact with the car resulted in two fractured ribs and a small fracture to his fibula.”
Gibbs turned to Ducky, who explained, “He’ll need a boot at least and for his ribs to be taped. He’ll need to have some recovery time in bed, a minimum of six weeks.”
Gibbs crossed his arms and furrowed his brows. “I can’t send him home. His heat is out and…who is going to take care of him?”
Ducky smiled and patted Gibbs’ shoulder. “Who indeed? He needs to stay off that leg, Jethro.”
Additional staff showed up and assisted the doctor in taping up Tony’s ribs, bandaging his various scrapes and fitting Tony with a boot. Once he was taken care of, a nurse came in to have Tony sign several documents and gave him some instructions, which included cleaning his scrape wounds as needed and staying off his feet for six weeks.
“I’ll be happy to stop by once a day to check on the lad,” offered Ducky.
“Why can’t you take him? You’re the doctor.”
“I have Mother and her Corgis to deal with. You have plenty of room at your house. Consider this a bonding experience. What better way to get to know each other rather intimately?”
Gibbs pulled his truck around as Ducky remained at Tony’s side as he was brought out in a wheelchair. As Tony was shivering, Gibbs cranked the heat in the truck and placed his coat over Tony’s shoulders.
The hospital had fitted Tony with a set of crutches which they sent with him. “I’ll be fine, Boss. You can drop me off at my apartment.”
Gibbs drove to Tony’s apartment, then held out his hand. “Key,” he demanded.
Tony opened the passenger door. “I got this. Thanks for the ride. If you could grab the crutches for me, I can get upstairs myself. No problem.”
“Nope. That’s not happening.”
“I’m fine, really,” Tony insisted.
Gibbs glared at him. “No, you’re not. Your heat is out. You can’t drive. You’re not even supposed to walk around. You’re coming home with me. Now, hand over your key and I’ll go pack some stuff for you while you wait here.”
“Come on, Boss…”
“No. You stay here. I will get whatever you need.”
Tony grudgingly handed over the key to his apartment. “I bought you a little something for Christmas. It’s under the tree. If you plan on keeping me for Christmas, you should probably grab that.”
“Stay,” ordered Gibbs.
Several minutes later, Gibbs placed a couple of suitcases into the back of the truck. Retrieving his own coat from around Tony’s shoulders, Gibbs replaced it with one from the apartment. He’d also brought the blanket from Tony’s bed and tucked it around Tony’s torso and legs to help keep him warm.
“Better?” he asked.
“Yeah, Boss. Thank you. I have been freezing ever since that car knocked me down.”
“Lying on cold pavement surrounded by snow and ice will certainly put a chill in your bones,” said Gibbs as he shifted the truck into gear.
Once the truck was parked in the driveway, Gibbs made a motion for Tony to stay put. After grabbing the bags from the back of the truck, Gibbs took them into the house, then propped the door open while he went to retrieve Tony.
Tony did his best to use one crutch, as he leaned some of his weight onto Gibbs, who carried the other crutch. It took a while, but they finally got Tony up the steps and inside the house. Gibbs settled him into the chair, then got some clean sheets, pillows and blankets to make up the couch for Tony.
When Tony was settled on the sofa, Gibbs started a fire in his fireplace. “You let me know if you need anything.”
Gibbs smiled and handed Tony the remote, allowing him to flip through the stations until he settled on a movie.
“I’m really sorry, Boss. I’m going to be useless for weeks.”
“You’re not getting off that easily, DiNozzo. I brought your laptop and had Morrow put us on cold cases. We’ll be working from home for a while. Once you’re better, we’ll get back in the field.”
The next morning, Tony woke up on the couch and smiled when he saw the tree lights plugged in. Turning his attention to the fireplace, he saw a fire was already lit, and two stockings were hung on the mantle. The moment he tried to sit up and swing his legs over, he groaned in pain, and the memory of getting hit by the car came back to him in vivid clarity.
Gibbs was at his side in a moment, placing a hand on his back and settling him back onto the couch. “Do you need something, DiNozzo?”
“Bathroom,” he moaned as he held his taped ribs. “I forgot about the accident.”
“Pain is a good reminder, isn’t it?”
“I can bring you a pot to piss in, or I can help you to the bathroom.” Nodding toward the back of the house, he added, “It’s on the other side of the kitchen.”
Gibbs grabbed for one of the crutches and helped Tony to his feet. It took some time, but Gibbs got him to the bathroom and insisted on remaining in the room to steady him.
“I can do this by myself,” Tony said.
“I was in the Marines. I’ve seen more guys piss that I can count. You’re hurt and it’s not a big deal. I don’t want you to fall over again and make things worse.”
Their next stop was the table, where Gibbs settled Tony down and brought out a hodgepodge of oatmeal, cold cereal, scrambled eggs and some fresh fruits.
“I wasn’t planning on having anyone here for Christmas,” Gibbs admitted.
Just then, there was a knock at the door. Gibbs excused himself to answer it, and soon returned to the dining room with Ducky at his heels. In Ducky’s hands was a plate, which he uncovered to reveal several pastries and a few muffins.
“I had far more than I needed and thought you might have room for them.”
“Thanks, Ducky,” said Tony as he reached for a pastry.
After eating a little breakfast with them, Ducky helped get Tony back to the couch and inspected all of his wounds. Once he was satisfied, Ducky excused himself by saying he needed to help his mother with her Corgis. Gibbs pulled a box and an envelope from beneath the tree to hand to Ducky, as the M.E. dropped off two wrapped gifts for Tony and Gibbs.
Back on the sofa, Tony flipped the television back on, settling on a station that was playing old Christmas movies all day. “Just to put us in the mood,” he said.
“You had no holiday plans?” Gibbs asked.
“No. You didn’t either?”
“No. With Stephanie out of the way, it’s only me.”
“What about your family?” asked Tony.
“My mother passed away from cancer when I was a teen. Dad and I, well, we’ve had a few falling outs since then. We don’t keep in touch that much.”
Tony nodded knowingly. “My mother passed when I was eight. Dad is probably bouncing around Europe hitting on rich ladies at ski lodges.”
“Family isn’t who you’re related to by blood. It’s who you choose to have in your life.”
“I was engaged once. She left me at the altar. Since then, it’s been me and Danny. I obviously wasn’t doing that this year.”
“So you really were just going to hang out by yourself?”
“Yep, that was the plan.”
Gibbs added another log to the fire, then brought a stocking over to Tony. “It was a tradition in our house,” he said as he retrieved the second stocking for himself.
Tony smiled as he dumped his stocking out and sorted out the chocolates and the nuts and lifted up a necklace with a bullet on a chain. “Interesting.”
“It’s a sniper thing. The myth is that there is a bullet out there with your name on it, but if it’s hung around your neck, then no one else can fire it at you, so you’re safe. I was thinking you needed a car on a necklace, but I couldn’t fit that in the stocking.”
Tony laughed and put the necklace around his neck. “Thanks, Boss.”
“Tony, it’s Christmas. Please call me Jethro. I’m not working today and neither are you.”
“Thank you, Jethro.”
When they moved onto gifts, there weren’t many under the tree, but Gibbs opened up a box from Ducky that was a set of blue pajamas. A box from Tony held both a nice watch and a pair of expensive aviation sunglasses.
“They’re supposed to be indestructible,” said Tony.
Tony opened the box from Gibbs, which contained a book, a DVD movie and a ticket for a weekend ski trip at a lodge.
“You’d mentioned once that you’d gone to ski lodges as a kid. We can trade it in for something else.”
“Not at all. We have a few weeks off of active duty. We could go together. I’ll bet I could ride on a snowmobile if you did the driving. The best part of a ski lodge is hanging out in the lobby looking out over beautiful scenery while you’re staying toasty warm.”
“Okay, if that’s what you really want to do, I’ll set it up.”
“You really want to go with me?” asked Tony.
Gibbs nodded to Tony’s booted ankle. “You can’t go by yourself. If you have someone you’d rather go with…”
“No, Jethro. You’ve been way too kind taking care of me. I’d love for you to go with me. I just don’t want to be such a bother.”
Leaning close, Gibbs kissed Tony’s forehead and said, “You’re no bother.”
A knock on the door grabbed their attention as Abby stopped by to wish them a Merry Christmas and gave them each their own box of cookies she’d made, along with baskets of fresh fruit. Gibbs presented her with a handmade wooden box for her rings and bracelet with a matching rack to hold her collars. Tony gave her a gift card to a jewelry store.
Abby was still there when Ducky returned with a Christmas feast. He’d invited the team to his home, but with Tony’s injury, he felt it was better to bring food over to Gibbs’ house rather than try moving Tony. Abby was happy to remain and eat dinner with them. Ducky stayed for one glass of wine, then said he had to get back home to his mother before his assistant, Gerald, showed up for dinner.
Six weeks after Christmas, Tony was still in a boot for his ankle, but had otherwise healed up. As they expected to be reassigned back to field duty soon, he and Gibbs decided to use the free ski lodge weekend as a mid-winter vacation.
Gibbs still insisted on driving and carrying all of their luggage up to the room. Tony brought along both crutches and limped through the lobby soaking up all the sympathetic looks he could garner. Their room turned out to have a king-sized bed.
“I got it for you and maybe a date,” Gibbs explained. “It’s plenty big.”
Tony scanned the room. “Let me guess. When you were in the Marines, twenty of you would have piled into a bed this size.” Hobbling over to the window, he added, “Great view.”
They found that the lodge was agreeable to exchange the ski rental and lift tickets for use of a snowmobile.
On Friday evening, they spent some time in the lobby, settled on a sofa in front of a roaring fire. Gibbs bought a few rounds of spiced rum, and helped Tony back to the room at the end of the night.
The next morning, Gibbs ordered room service and let Tony enjoy breakfast in bed. After eating, they geared up for their snowmobile ride. With more food and more booze in their systems, Tony wrapped his arms around Gibbs' neck, kissed him and said, “I love you, Boss.”
Suddenly realizing what he’d done, Tony let go of Gibbs, lost his balance and fell to the floor.
Gibbs reached out to help him up. “You better not have broken anything else, Tony. And I told you, it’s Jethro when we’re not at work.” Once Tony was up on his feet again, Gibbs whispered in his ear, “I love you, too, Tony.” He placed a kiss against Tony’s cheek, then started to pull away.
Tony smiled and put his arms around Gibbs’ neck again, kissing him on the lips. “This is the best Christmas gift I’ve ever received.”
© 2020 by Jacie