Summary: Kelly makes another visit to her Dad on New Year’s Eve to see if she can provide a bigger nudge (push) to get him moving in the right direction in order to see him living happier. Based off of their conversation when Gibbs was under anesthesia in Season 13, Episode 1. I felt he wasn’t living up to what she asked of him – to have better days. This is my take on a follow up discussion.
Characters: Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo, Shannon Gibbs, Kelly Gibbs
”You’re not living up to what I asked of you, Daddy,” a quiet voice came from the shadows on the end of the couch.
Gibbs jerked his head to the side and there sat his daughter, Kelly. Shaking his head a bit, he wondered if he was dreaming again, but the room looked the same, the TV was playing some old movie, and he was icing his knee again after a long day.
“Daddy, I told you to have better days. You’re not doing that,” Kelly sighed again, and then scooted closer to him on her knees. “You’re being mean and grumpy. I’ve been watching.” Her little face looked so much like her mother’s and Gibbs wondered for the millionth time what she would have looked like all grown up.
“Kells…” he sighed not sure on what he was supposed to say. He knew the last few months had been rough, and he had been taking it out on the one person who had always stood by him. For the first time ever in his career, he realized that going back to work was not what he wanted. He felt old, tired, and not all due to being shot. He had felt that he wasn’t needed and that was what he couldn’t get over. The team didn’t need him to be the leader. They had one already, and that wasn’t easy to get over.
“All Mom and I want is for you to be happy again Daddy. And we know someone that can make you happy, so I’m here tonight to make sure you go find him,” she scooted even closer and wrapped her thin little arms around Gibbs’ shoulders, whispering in his ear. “We see. We watch over you, and we know you love him. It’s okay Daddy. We want you to be happy again.”
“Kelly,” he sighed roughly and wrapped his arms around her small body and realized, however farfetched, he was holding her and not a ghost. “I miss you guys so much, it hurts to know I am not with you.” He wiped his eyes, almost rubbing them raw, as his emotions began to get the better of him. He had loved his girls so much and after all the times he’d seen their presence in his dreams they just wanted him to be happy. It was that thought that brought him back to what she said. How did they know? His love, so deep for the man that tackled him on that cold day in the Baltimore alley. Gibbs had fallen in love in that very moment with the green eyed, movie quoting cop.
“How did you know Kelly? I’ve never told anyone.”
A deeper and more feminine voice from across the room said, “Gibbs, Kelly and I watch over you, so we know how much you love him and yet, never have said anything to the man.” Gibbs looked up and saw her leaning against the living room entrance. She smiled at him and slowly walked over to the couch and looked down at his knee. “I wanted to be there last time, but Kelly felt that she would do the most good at getting through to you. I thought she did, but you have become even more withdrawn and grumpy. We just want you to be happy, Jethro.” She looked up from her inspection of his knee, winked at him, and then tucked a strand of her long red hair behind her ear. She grinned at Kelly, then they both turned and grinned at him.
Gibbs ran a hand down his face, mostly he gathered his thoughts before he looked at his wife and decided to just tell the truth, “Shan, I do love him. But he doesn’t love me. I’ve always been the best at reading people. I do it all the time, but he’s never even given me a hint that he loves me back, or is even interested in men.” Frustrated and getting emotional Gibbs leaned back in the couch corner and pulled Kelly up along his side. Gibbs felt his heart beat fast, as he realized his ‘Girls’ had come here to push him into acknowledging his love for Tony. He reached out a hand and grabbed onto Shannon, it felt good to him to just be in their presence. His life had not been easy since they died, and God knows he had tried to move on, but when he’d met Tony his life began again. Looking back, he felt that the few moments he’d had of happiness over the last few years, had been because of Tony. Gibbs had always known that he had wanted to go to work each day, just to be around Tony. He was what made him the happiest since he’d been with his girls.
After a long drive spent contemplating everything that may or may not happen, Gibbs parked his car in front of Tony’s apartment building and immediately felt his heart rate speed up in anticipation. Gibbs knocked twice on Tony’s door. He was nervous which he knew was very unlike him. On the drive over he kept thinking about what Kelly and Shannon had said. He truly hoped the conversation with his ‘Girls’ wasn’t all a dream, because he chose to come over and speak his mind to Tony and if they were just a figment of his imagination…well, he’d cross that bridge when Tony answered his door. Gibbs knew he loved Tony, for a very long time. Finally he reached a decision and knocked on Tony’s door. He hoped he could come up with the words he wanted and needed to say.
“Hey Boss, what’cha doing here? Is there a case? I thought we were off?” Tony opened the door wider and took in his boss standing there staring at his feet. He cocked his head to the side in concentration, what he saw was a Gibbs that he’d never seen before – a nervous Gibbs. Huh, what’s up with the Bossman?
“Ah hell DiNozzo, I don’t know what the hell I’m here for, but there’s no case.” Gibbs looked up to see that gorgeous face of the man he loved and felt some sort of push against his back. He knew it was either Shannon or Kelly behind him, so from the little nudge, he opened his mouth and tried to speak, but nothing came out.
Seeing his boss struggling for more words, Tony said, “Come on in Boss. Let me get ya a beer.” Tony turned and headed to the fridge to grab some beers, leaving Gibbs to shut the door. He wondered what provoked this visit from Gibbs. He was curious as Gibbs hadn’t been to his place since before they began their search for ‘The Calling’. While Tony admitted to himself he was happy Gibbs was there, and gave himself a stern ‘wait and see what happens’ internal talk. Any time spent with Gibbs was good with him. He wondered a little at what mysterious thing brought his boss to his house on New Year’s, but hoped it was what he’d always wished for every New Year’s Eve, to finally be with the man he’d loved for ages.
Gibbs sat on Tony’s couch and did his best to not fidget while he waited for Tony to come back from the kitchen. This is it old man, you can do this. Shannon and Kelly both want you to be happy so let’s put the cards on the table. Internally Gibbs knew his pep talk was making him more nervous, but his mind somehow knew that this was the right time to tell Tony exactly how he felt.
And it all came down to this moment — one moment with Tony that was either going to make him happy or completely devastate him. Gibbs looked over and felt this was the moment where he had to decide if he could allow himself to love a man against everything he had previously known about himself. This was the moment Gibbs needed to decide if he was going to take a step forward into the crazy idea of telling his best friend that he loved him.
Gibbs knew he felt a sense of emotional release come over him in that instant. The release of all memories he had with Tony and the knowledge that Tony was his best friend. After the getting shot in Iraq, having stared death in the face, the heart wrenching discussion with Kelly while he was under anesthesia, Gibbs felt a a door unlock inside of himself. He felt ready to take the biggest gamble he’d ever taken and hoped he could win Tony’s love.
Gibbs felt his heart beating in unnatural rhythm, and hoped he wouldn’t have another episode with it before he said everything he wanted. He opened his mouth, but no words came out. Again he tried, and all he manage to say was, “Tony, I have something to tell you.”
Tony turned on the couch and pulled his leg up, while placing his arm across the back. He stared back at Gibbs earnestly, waiting, and knowing whatever it was Gibbs was going to say it was important enough to bring him here, to his house on New Year’s Eve.
“Tony, I think I’m in love with you.”
Gibbs expression moved into a sort of relieved yet confused look, and he continued without stopping.
“I know I’ve been a real bastard lately, and I’ve felt like I’ve been holding you back as an agent. You deserve your own team. Hell, you’ve been leading this team and taking care of me along the way. I know I haven’t been myself since I’ve come back and that’s on me. I know it doesn’t make much sense. But, a very long time ago I’ve felt a love like this, and it took a swift kick from her and my daughter to get me over here tonight. So this is what I’m saying, Tony. I’m in love with you.”
Gibbs stopped and sat back, and Tony watched as it seemed like Gibbs just went limp in relief of telling him about his love. He shook his head and was amazed at how much Gibbs had spoken. Like multiple sentences all at once. Tony definitely took it all in and then began to smile. His heart felt like it was finally waking up and he was happy for probably the first time ever in his life, someone loved him for who he really was, the real man beneath all the masks. A long moment later Tony asked, “Did you miss me when I was away this summer?”
Gibbs nodded his head slowly — anxiously, wondering where Tony was going to take his announcement.
“Were you excited to see me when I got back from dealing with Budd?”
Gibbs nodded again, this time with a little less uncertainty.
Then Tony ducked his head for a moment, then when he looked up again and Gibbs saw that beautiful DiNozzo smile, “Jethro, I love you too. I have since the first moment I tackled you in that alley so very long ago. Every year, I wish upon a star at New Years, hoping against hope that this would be the year you would tell me you love me back. And now you did, and I am the happiest man in the world!”
Gibbs eyes were drawn downward to watch, as Tony’s tongue slipped out to wet his lips. Immediately, Gibbs wanted to kiss him, but he’d never kissed a man before. Hearing Shannon is his ear, she just giggled and said, “Gibbs just lay it on him! You’ll know what to do then.”
Gibbs licked his lips and tilted his head just the slightest bit. Slowly he reached out with his hand and laid it up against Tony’s face. His thumb rubbed across Tony’s high cheekbone and Tony leaned his head into Gibbs hand. It was almost like Gibbs was just now waking up to the fact that Tony’s features were fascinating and beautiful. He let his fingers move a little further back and began to draw Tony’s face towards his.
Gibbs had no idea how to make this work, but when his lips gently touched Tony’s he quickly knew he’d found his home with the man. Lips brushing a little harder, his other hand reached up and his fingers buried themselves in Tony’s hair. Pulling Tony all the way forward and into the kiss, Gibbs opened his lips and ran his tongue over Tony’s, asking for entrance.
Tony, was stunned when Gibbs’ hands touched his face, and then he felt Gibbs’ lips for the first time, he shuddered and granted Gibbs access and began using his own tongue to glide over Gibbs’ tongue. He was in heaven. The taste of the man making him heady with the knowledge that he was loved. Tony felt the love that Gibbs was trying to convey in the kiss, and surrendered his heart to the man completely.
Tony slowly began to pull back, and Gibbs tried to follow him not wanting the kiss to end. It woke something up in him that he wanted to continue with that feeling of loving someone again and being loved in return. It was heady and deep, but Gibbs thought that it wasn’t surprising as they both wanted this to be more.
“Gibbs…Jethro, let’s take this into my bedroom. I want to be closer to you. I want to just be with you, even if we don’t go any further than this tonight. I want to wake up tomorrow, in the new year, knowing that I can finally show you how I have felt for so long,” Tony pulled Gibbs close and gave Gibbs a little kiss to plead his case for getting them into bed.
Jethro pulled back and found himself looking deep into those green eyes that held so much information if one really stopped to look, but now they were open and honest. He enjoyed being in Tony’s loving gaze. He wondered if he could pull this off, stop being the bastard that he knew himself to be, but he truly wanted to love Tony. His past experiences were what made him into what he was now, and he knew that Tony understood him and loved him for who he was now.
Gibbs stood and held his hand down to Tony and pulled him up from the couch. He figured they could talk about work and their jobs later. He knew that the time spent as partners would go a long way in helping them figure it out. Gibbs looked back over his shoulder as he led Tony into his bedroom, confident that Tony would help him figure it out. That’s what they did with cases, they worked together, negotiated, asked questions, and solved mysteries. It was what you had to do in a relationship. Gibbs knew Tony, he also knew that Tony understood him like no one ever had, except Shannon. Gibbs smiled to himself as he thought of his girls and how they helped him get here tonight. Silently he said, “Thank you, my loves,” and closed the bedroom door behind him. Yes, the New Year was going to be a great one.