To Help Him Believe
(From I Never believed in Santa)
"Tony, I know it's nearly Christmas and you probably have plans, but I was wondering if you'd trade the Christmas shift for New Years' with me." Rick Johnson asked late one evening. "Sam Mitchell said you were the guy to ask." He explained. "My wife's a marine and she's got leave over Christmas and we want to make it special for Katie our three year old."
"Sure, no problem. I'm not doing anything special over Christmas anyway." Tony replied with a smile. "Now New Years'….All those hot babes… Sure" He grinned.
Gibbs, coming back from the head stopped behind the partition listening to the conversation.
"Okay, Thanks man, I'm sure Santa will bring ya something nice," Rick said laughing as he walked away.
Tony looked at the man's retreating back and sighed.
"I never believed in Santa Claus. If he existed I'd get a family Christmas," He said to himself.
Gibbs listened to the conversation between his SFA and the other agent and bristled.
He had listened to them all talking about their plans for the holidays earlier in the bullpen.
"Good my tickets have arrived." Ziva said smiling as she opened the envelope.
"Going away for Christmas?" Tony asked.
"No they are tickets to a show, I am going with Ducky as a present and then we will be having dinner together." She told him.
Tony smiled, "What about you McElf?" He asked Tim.
"I'm going to spend Christmas with Abby and my family." Tim admitted.
"Nice one, McRomeo." Tony grinned as Tim blushed slightly.
Tim leaned back in his chair, turned to Tony and asked, "So what are you up to this year Tony?"
Tony sent him a million watt smile. "Dinner with my father same as every year, we eat, open presents then watch movies all afternoon."
"Nice." Tim replied pleased that his friend was not going to be alone.
They turned their attention back to the pile of cold cases they were working their way through until Gibbs finally let them go home.
Tim and Ziva were the first to leave and Tony as usual lagged behind.
"You going home DiNozzo? I hear you have a family Christmas planned." He asked his SFA.
"Yeah, Boss. Same thing we have done every year since I was eight, just me and my dad spending the entire day together. You know presents, food, and movies. The perfect family Christmas." Tony replied picking up his bag and heading for the elevator.
Gibbs watched him carefully and noticed the smile leave his face the split second before the doors shut.
Gibbs reached into his bottom drawer and pulled out the file Pacci had given him on DiNozzo years ago and the extra one he'd had done on Tony's childhood after meeting Senior for the first time.
He looked through the reports from various boarding schools and summer camps all of them said the same.
Anthony DiNozzo Junior.
Anthony is a happy and bright boy, he engages well with others. Works well as part of a team. A very popular child.
There was a small note on his RIMA paperwork.
Have tried to contact Anthony's father concerning contact. It has been brought to our attention that despite assurances to staff about picking Anthony up for various holidays. Tony, as he likes to be known, has been at school for two years straight without a visit from any family members.
This year Tony will be fourteen and again the only person at the school for Christmas.
He is withdrawing into himself and has been heard telling his friends he is going home for Christmas, leaving staff to worry about either his honesty or state of mind.
Gibbs slammed the folder shut and opened the other folder from his time in Peoria.
Anthony DiNozzo, Detective.
Great investigator works well alone or in a team. Always available as relief cover during holidays.
Has no family so has no distractions. Although has been known to refer to a father during conversations. N.B. There is no father on file or listed as next of kin.
The more Gibbs looked at the file the more he was picking up from it that Tony hadn't had the perfect Christmas. The conversation he had overheard making sense now.
Tony was always alone.
Knowing how it felt to be apart from his family, Gibbs could empathize and he really did feel like a father to Tony who he now knew obviously needed one.
Gibbs made his way down to the parking lot and could see Tony on the phone near his car.
"Hey dad, I'm just off to get the stuff for Christmas dinner….you what?" His shoulders dropped a little, "No, that's fine, I actually meant to tell you that I have other plans anyway so it's worked out fine. No…Dad. I hope you and….yeah Jocelyn have a nice Christmas yeah give her family my regards…..no I'm sure I don't mind if she's having a family Christmas. I wouldn't want to intrude…Yeah fine."
Tony threw the phone into the back seat of the car. "Merry Christmas." He sighed, checked that no one was looking, swiped a rogue tear from his eye, climbed in his car and drove off.
Out of sight Gibbs fought back the urge to be locked alone in a room with Senior for five minutes with no witnesses.
He picked up his phone and started making some phone calls.
Four hours later shopping done and phone calls made he finally crashed out on his sofa with a satisfied smile on his face.
He spent Christmas morning with a renewed vigor that he hadn't had since Shannon and Kelly were alive. He prepped the food and wrapped the presents and actually brought and decorated a tree.
Abby and Tim were the first to arrive.
Gibbs smiled as they got out of the car and tried to keep a couple of steps apart. Like he didn't know they had rekindled their romance after the bombing. They walked in and he greeted them as Abby offered to make Christmas cookies.
"Just don't burn my house down Abs." He grinned.
"No problem. Come on Timmy gimme a hand." She smiled and he dutifully followed her into the kitchen.
Jimmy and Breena arrived next with more presents Abby got Breena to help her in the kitchen and then Ziva and Ducky arrived.
"Listen guys, I'm going to get Tony, I just want to thank you all for this." Gibbs said before he left.
"I wish he'd told us," Abby said, "I can't believe he's not had a family Christmas before."
"Well we are his family now Gibbs and it is good that we are spending the time all together." Ziva said smiling.
"Ok, I'll be back in an hour." Gibbs said grabbing his coat and keys.
He pulled up at the yard and walked through security.
"Agent Gibbs?" Stan the guard said.
"DiNozzo upstairs?" Gibbs asked.
"Sure, it's Christmas, where else would he be?" Stan asked surprised.
Gibbs shrugged, "How's the wife?" He asked.
Stan laughed, "She's spending Christmas with her mother. If it weren't for DiNozzo being in the building I might have had to go with her, I owe that boy." He laughed.
Gibbs smiled and took the stairs up to the bullpen.
It was time he showed his 'son' what family meant.