Disclaimer: I'm not Bellesario, so I don't claim to own them.
Timeline: Season 5 but no spoilers
Written For: NFA Secret Santa present for writinginct
Beta Reader: azraelz_angel (many thanks!!)
Crossposted: ncis_slash; ncisfanfic; tonydinozzo; kissmeprobie
Summary: Tim has a lot of work ahead of him in order to take Tony home for the holidays.
Part 1: A Boyfriend for Christmas
Tim cast a nervous glance at Tony as they sat on the comfortable couch watching the credits start to roll on “White Christmas”. He had been internally debating for several weeks how to broach a certain subject with the other man and no way seemed the way to go in his opinion. Their relationship was still too new to the both of them that Tim did not want to push things too far too fast.
He thought it weird that he was actually the more secure one in the relationship until he added up everything he had learned about Tony over the years. How, outside of Jeanne, he had never had a relationship last longer than a month, and rarely even that. How he was always insecure in his position with Gibbs. How he never really let anyone get to know who he was beyond the façade.
Tim sighed as he mulled that over in his mind. Tony DiNozzo was a very strange yet intriguing man. He could annoy the life out of someone and then turn right around and risk his own life to save that person without a thought. He never burdened his friends with his personal problems.
Since their relationship started, Tim had found it increasingly difficult to get Tony to talk about himself. They had finally made it through the “when did you realize you liked guys too” conversation after many failed attempts. Their “first date” was an equal disaster that involved miscommunication and a very awkward kiss that was more lips pressed together than anything else. How they had made it to their current stage of kissing, groping and just, for lack of a better word, cuddling, had Tim just as puzzled as Tony himself did.
Tim was startled when he felt a light touch to his cheek and the low voice Tony used when they were alone filtered through his thoughts.
“Earth to McGee. You back with us lowly earthlings Tim? I was beginning to wonder what it would take to get your attention,” Tony said as he waggled his eyebrows.
When Tim didn’t answer right away, Tony flicked the power button to the television and turned his full attention to the younger man. “What’s bothering you? You’ve been like this all evening and the one before and before that.”
Before he could stop himself, Tim just blurted out the question he had been holding back for too long. “How do you celebrate Christmas Tony?”
Just as Tim had feared, Tony began to withdraw into himself immediately. He pulled back as far as he could on the couch, creating a gaping space between them. “Usually never think about it Probie. We’re always on call or have a case, and you know the boss… cases come first.”
Tim knew he had hit a nerve when Tony called him Probie. Tony had refrained from calling him that in private for the last several months. He only slipped it in when he was trying to cover up what he didn’t want Tim to see.
“We aren’t on call this year, Tony. Actually, we have a whole week off.”
“What?!” Tony practically shouted. He stood up and started pacing around and rubbing a hand through his hair. “Does Gibbs know this? He’s had my ass at the office every year for the Christmas rotation and I don’t see him changing that any time soon.”
Tim tried to keep the pitying look out of his eyes. He had to remind himself that it wasn’t Tony’s fault that he didn’t realize why Gibbs always had him working at the office on the holidays, even if it was just cold case research. The truth was Tim hadn’t really known himself until Abby had enlightened him a few weeks ago.
Both Gibbs and Abby had picked up on their relationship relatively quick. Gibbs had somehow given his quiet approval much to the shock of both men, while Abby had been a bit more vocal in her enthusiasm. One week after their unofficial coming out, Abby had pulled Tim into Gibbs’ conference room in order to set him straight on a few things concerning Tony. The one she was the most adamant about was making sure that Tony knew how Tim felt about him and that he was wanted and loved. Evidently, Tony never clued in that people around him cared for him as much, if not more, than he cared for them.
She informed Tim that she had already informed Gibbs that Tony was taking a Christmas vacation with Tim. She didn’t really care where, just as long as he took Tony someplace and, in Abby’s words, “Show him the true meaning of Christmas.” When he asked why and also what Tony usually did for Christmas, her face took on a dark look.
“Let’s just say the bad starts with his father and the good ends with Gibbs making sure he’s never alone at Christmas, even if it means they both have to work. I don’t even want to think how he coped at all the police departments.”
Tim had been shocked to learn that Tony had never had a true family Christmas. His family had the society Christmases when he was growing up, but those didn’t equal the warmth of a small family home, kids tearing into presents, adults sharing stories of their misspent youth and just simple family connections. Tony had never experienced it. The closest he had come, according to Abby, was working with Gibbs and then getting invited over for drinks and to help with the current boat at the end of the day.
Tim sighed and focused on getting Tony to agree to his idea. “Gibbs approved it for all of us, even him. I think Abby’s been trying to talk him into going to New Orleans for a Cajun Christmas. She must have succeeded.”
“Oh,” Tony said with such disappointment that Tim felt he had just kicked a puppy. “Well, I guess it’ll be me, the dvd player and all the Christmas movies I can find. Wanna join me for the festive fun?” Tony asked with false cheer.
“Um, actually I’m going to my parents’ for most of the week we have off. Sara’ll be there and Mom, Dad; I think both Grandmas McGee and Lewis are going to be in and possibly some of my cousins. It’ll be the first year all of us have been able to get together in several years at the same time.”
Tony stopped moving and looked down at Tim with a false smile and glistening eyes. “Sounds like a blast, Probie. Guess I’ll see you around then, cause I think I’m going to go pass out for the night. Need to get in early and finish that report for Gibbs. The boss’ll hit my head into next week if I don’t have done soon.”
Tony stopped his talking and turned to walk to his room. Tim sat in shock at the other man’s response until his mind caught up with him enough to realize he never told Tony his plan. Tony thought he was being left in DC alone for Christmas. Abby was going to kill him if he didn’t get things smoothed over and fast.
He practically jumped off the couch and made it over to grab Tony’s shoulder before he got all the way into the bedroom. “Tony.”
Tony just shrugged his hand off and turned around. “I’m really tired Probie. I’ll talk to you tomorrow at the office.”
“Tony, I didn’t mean that I didn’t want to spend time here with you over Christmas.”
“I understand that McGee. You have a family who wants you with them for the holidays.”
“It’s not just me they want there Tony. They want… I want you there too,” Tim took a breath to prepare himself for the emotional turmoil he was about to deal with. “I want you to come to my parents with me. You’ve already met Sara, but I want you to meet the rest of the family.”
Tony was standing stone still and his face was the classic deer in the headlights look. “You want me to go to your family Christmas get together? As-- As us,” and Tony waved his hands between the two to imply their relationship, “or just inviting a friend with nowhere else to go? I don’t want to be a charity case Tim.”
Tim rubbed a hand over his face. “You’re not a charity case Tony. I want to spend Christmas with you and if we have to stay here to do it, that’s fine by me.”
Tony sucked in a sharp breath. “Really?”
Tim sometimes wondered how Gibbs and Abby were able to tolerate Tony’s clueless nature when it came to how they felt about him. “Look Tony, you don’t have to worry about pretending we’re just friends. Sara already knows about you and my parents know that I like guys and you won’t be the first boyfriend I’ve brought home.”
Tim paused when he realized he had just called Tony his boyfriend out loud for the first time. A smile grew on his face as he babbled, “Boyfriend. I like the sounds of that.”
Tony’s face finally adopted one of his rare and very real smiles as all that Tim had told him started to sink in. “Yeah, I like the sounds of it too,” Tony said and Tim knew without a doubt that Tony was referring to more than just the boyfriend part. “Hey, I think the Family Channel is showing one of those Christmas specials tonight; ‘A Boyfriend Christmas,’ starring Kelli Williams and Patrick Muldoon. Want to try it out?”
Tim smiled as Tony closed the gap between them and wrapped an arm around his shoulder to pull him close. “Sounds like a great idea, Tony. But I do think I need to warn you about my Mom; she kind of has a crush on Agent Tommy,” Tim said in a rush.
“So, like mother like son is it?” Tony teasingly asked as he leaned in and gave Tim a peck on the lips. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
Part 2: A McGee Family Christmas
“Are we there yet?”
Tony’s question was met with a simultaneous sigh from both the driver and the passenger in the back seat.
“No Tony, we aren’t. It’ll be another fifteen minutes at least.”
Sara leaned forward and whispered in her brother’s ear, “How can you stand it Tim? That’s the fifth time he’s asked in the last hour.”
Tony turned to look at Sara, “I can hear you, you know. I’ve got great ears.”
“Then you should know how annoying you sound,” Sara snapped back.
“Me? Annoying? Do you think I’m annoying Tim?” Tony cast a puppy dog look to Tim who kept his focus on the road.
“See! Tim’s not answering, so that means he thinks you’re annoying,” Sara said triumphantly.
“He better not if he knows what’s good for him,” Tony said threateningly.
“Now I see why you write Agent Tommy the way you do Tim,” Sara said with a smirk. “They both have the same childish behavior.”
Tony turned to face Sara and held a finger up. “One, I am not like Agent Tommy. Two, I do not behave like a child.”
“Do too,” Sara retorted back.
“Do not,” Tony said, holding back a smile.
“Will you both shut up or I’m turning the car around?” Tim said through clenched teeth.
Tony and Sara gave each other a smile and turned back to Tim as they spoke in unison, “Yes, Dad.”
Tim pushed a little faster on the gas pedal. “You’re doing that on purpose, aren’t you?”
“Like I would team up with Special Agent Tommy,” was Sara’s reply while Tony responded with, “Would I do that to you Probie?”
Tim wanted to pump his fist in the air in triumph when he saw the driveway to his parents’ house. “Finally,” he breathed out.
The car fell into silence as he parked and they started to exit. Tim and Sara were pulling bags out of the trunk when Tim realized that Tony was still sitting in the passenger seat.
“What’s wrong with him?” Sara asked as she grabbed her bag and headed toward the door.
“Not sure,” Tim said even though he had a decent idea of what the problem was. “Why don’t you go on in Sara and we’ll be there in a minute.”
Tim made his way around to the passenger side of the car and opened the door. A startled Tony looked up at him.
“You going to stay in the car all week, Tony,” Tim questioned, keeping his tone light.
“Ah, no,” Tony said too quietly for Tim’s liking. “I was just-- Does your family really not mind me crashing the family fun?”
“You’re not crashing anything Tony and they don’t mind that I’m bringing you.”
Tim had hoped that he would have to deal with Tony’s insecurities over both meeting his family and their relationship, but it wasn’t going to happen. He could only hope now that he said and did the right things.
“If you say so, Probie,” Tony sighed. He got out of the car and went to grab his bags. “So, show me the McGee house in all its glory.”
Tim led Tony to the front door where Tim’s mom had the door wide open to greet them. He winced when he heard her voice.
“Timothy! What are you boys still doing outside? It’s too cold out here. You shouldn’t keep poor Tony outside when I’ve got a warm cup of hot chocolate waiting on him.”
Tony looked like a deer caught in the headlights as Tim’s mom wrapped her arms around him an Abby-like hug. “You must be Tony,” she said in a cheerful tone. “Sara’s told me more about you than Timothy here has, but don’t you worry; I’ve read ‘Deep Six’ more than once. Now let’s get you inside before you get sick.”
Tony cast Tim a ‘please help me’ look to which Tim responded with a ‘I can’t stop her’ look of his own. Tim followed his doting mom inside and hoped she didn’t scare Tony too badly.
A cup of hot chocolate later, and Tim could tell that Tony had started to relax just a bit. It was either that or the fact that his mom had finally left the room and stopped hovering over him for the moment. Tim picked up the empty cups and carried them to the sink to rinse off.
“So Tony,” he started, “how do you like the place?”
Instead of answering the question, Tony asked one of his own. “Is she always like that?”
“My mom? She’s not usually that,” Tim paused to think of how to describe it.
“Frightening?” Tony supplied.
Tim gave him a small smile. “I was going to say doting, but…” Tim trailed off as he walked back over to where Tony was sitting. “She’ll cool down in a few hours. She’s like this with just about anyone Sara or I bring home. Well,” he amended, “maybe a little worse with you because of my book.”
“Oh,” Tony said quietly.
“Have you ever met any parents before?” Tim risked asking.
“Umm, not any that count,” Tony said in the same quiet tone. “Usually broke up before it got that far.”
“You’re doing fine you know,” Tim said with a reassuring pat to Tony’s shoulder. “She already likes you, which means you probably won’t get the ‘you hurt my baby boy and you will be dead’ speech; or maybe she’ll just use the toned down version.”
“You’ve got a great mom, Tim,” Tony responded with a smile. “So,” he said to diffuse the tension in the room, “where are we sleeping? And do I get to see the ‘Land that Time Forgot’, otherwise known as little Timothy McGee’s room?”
Tim smiled at hearing the jokes come back to Tony’s lips. “You’re going to make me regret bringing you here, aren’t you?”
“Me? You should know me better than that, Probie. Abby on the other hand, made me promise to take pictures,” Tony smiled as he pulled a disposable camera from his pocket.
“You wouldn’t,” Tim grimaced as he tried to grab the camera from Tony’s hand.
Tony evaded his attempts and headed through the door to check out the rest of the house. “This is Abby we’re talking about Tim. Do you really want me to go back to her empty handed?”
Tim groaned when he realized that he had no choice in the matter. “At least let me pick out what pictures you take, Tony.”
It was several hours later when Tony looked up at the sound of the front door opening that Tim got a smile on his face and said, “That’ll be my dad. Come on and I’ll introduce you.”
It didn’t escape Tim’s notice at all slowly Tony followed behind him. “Hey dad!” Tim said as he hugged the older man.
“Tim,” his father said as he patted him on the back. “Being a field agent is good on you. Finally getting some muscle.”
Tim blushed slightly before tugging Tony up closer to his body. “Dad, this is Tony DiNozzo. Tony, this is my dad.”
“Pleasure to meet you,” Tim’s dad said as he took Tony’s hand into a firm handshake.
Tony responded in what Tim considered his ‘witness interview’ voice. “Pleasure to meet you too, sir.”
“I’m not military, son,” Tim’s dad said with a hint of laughter as he clapped a hand on Tony’s shoulder. “Just call me Bill.”
“Yes, sir… er… Bill,” Tony said clumsily.
“So Tim here says that you used to play football. What school did you go to? I was a Fighting Irish myself back in the day.”
Before Tim knew it, his dad and Tony had bonded over football and fraternities. He smiled as he watched Tony talk animatedly about his last game for Ohio State and how it ended his chances for a pro career.
Later that night, as they both lay twined together under the comforter, Tony gave Tim a slow kiss. Then he pulled back and stared into Tim’s eyes.
“Thanks for bringing me,” was said so quietly Tim almost couldn’t hear it.
“Thanks for coming,” he responded as he pulled Tony even closer.
One week later, Tim automatically drove them to Tony’s apartment, knowing that the other man would need to be in his own space after the long week surrounded by Tim’s family. Tim thought it was funny how he had come to think of Tony’s place as much his home as his own apartment; maybe even more so.
They walked into the darkened apartment in silence, sitting down bags and flipping on light switches. It wasn’t until they had moved to sit on the couch that Tim realized Tony’s face was contorted with a sad look. Going for broke, Tim asked, “Hey Tony? What’s wrong?”
“I’d never be able to take you to meet my father,” Tony responded moments later in such a small voice that Tim had trouble hearing it. “It would be socially unacceptable; not that I ever was to begin with.”
Tim felt lost for a moment, unsure how to respond. Then he thought of something that he hoped would ease Tony’s concern and make him realize something else at the same time.
“Tony,” Tim started, making sure the other man was looking him in the eyes. “I couldn't care less about the bastard that gave you your name because I’ve already got the approval of the only bastard that matters.”
Tony scrunched his face in concentration before slowly breaking into a toothy grin. “Does this mean that we have to get Gibbs one of those ‘from the both of us’ cards in June?”
Tim made a choking sound even as a smile graced his face.
“How about some silk boxers that say ‘Who’s the Boss?’”
‘Yeah,’ Tim thought, ‘I’m home.’