Author's note: Thanks to Xanthe for the great beta job, couldn't have done it without you! Takes place in Season 9 and also features Jackson Gibbs and Tony Sr. This story is slash but nothing graphic.
Disclaimer: I don't own them, just like to write about them.
The Best Laid Plans
Tony gripped the steering wheel a little tighter, trying not to let his irritation with his father show.
"Really, Junior, couldn't you make this stop after you dropped me off?" his father asked.
"I told you, Dad, I won't make it to the airport if I don't stop for gas first," Tony said as he pulled up to the pump.
"Just don't take too long, I don't want to miss my flight," Senior grumbled. "I mean really, son, you would think at your age you would have learned to plan ahead better." Tony just barely stopped himself from pointing out that it was his father that had made the change in plans.
They were supposed to spend Christmas together and after how well the Thanksgiving dinner at Gibbs' house had gone, Tony had been cautiously optimistic that his dad would go through with the plans they had made for Christmas; he should have known better. Since Thanksgiving, Tony and Gibbs had discussed telling his father about the two of them being a couple and although Tony was a bit apprehensive, they had decided that now would be a good time. They had told Gibbs' dad last summer and since Jackson was coming from Stillwater to spend the holidays with them, Tony had figured his dad would be less likely to cause a scene with him there.
The plan had been for Tony and Gibbs to have dinner with their own fathers on Christmas Eve and then the four of them would spend Christmas day together. Tony's father had shown up at the Navy Yard that afternoon as planned and just as they were leaving Sr. had gotten a phone call. Once they were in Tony's car he had informed his son that he would have to cancel their plans as one of the investors in Senior's latest project had moved up the date of their meeting, inviting him to spend the holiday and he had to leave for New York immediately.
Sighing to himself as he got out of the car, Tony thought about whether he should stop for dinner on his way back from dropping his dad off at the airport or just go straight to Gibbs' house and make something to eat there. When he went to slide his credit card to start the pump he saw a sign saying it was out-of-order and to pay first inside. Tony walked around to his father's side of the car, knocked on the window and once it was lowered he spoke, "I just need to run inside to pay and I'll be right back. Do you want me to grab you anything?"
"I'm fine, Junior, just make it quick," Tony Sr. replied before raising the window.
Tony took a deep breath and blew it out slowly to calm himself as he walked to the door of the gas station. He knew he shouldn't get upset that his father blew him off…again…but old habits were hard to break. As Tony walked through the door of the station he noticed that the clerk wasn't behind the counter but he figured the bell that sounded when he came in would alert the clerk that he was there.
Suddenly realizing just how hungry he was and that dinner would be delayed, Tony went down one of the aisles to grab a candy bar. As he turned to go back to the counter Tony glanced up at the round mirror hanging in the corner and saw something that made him stop in his tracks. There was a man coming out of the back room with a gun in one hand and stuffing some money into his jacket pocket with the other.
Tony pulled his weapon as he ducked down so that he wouldn't be seen and started up the aisle but he didn't get very far before the robber turned and saw him.
"Freeze! " Tony shouted as he raised his weapon "Federal agent!"
What happened next seemed as if it were in slow motion to Tony as the robber raised his weapon and fired, just missing him but shattering the window behind him. As Tony returned fire the suspect got another round off before Tony's shot hit its target killing the suspect but this time Tony wasn't so lucky; he had been hit in the shoulder.
Meanwhile, outside Tony Sr. was getting impatient, wondering what could be keeping his son. He was just getting out of the car to go after him when one of the front windows shattered and Senior froze. He waited for what seemed like forever but was actually only about 10 seconds before he moved towards the building. The scene he saw as he peeked through the broken window shocked him so much that Senior felt as if his heart actually stopped for a moment. His son was lying there, bleeding from the shoulder, unconscious.
"Junior," he whispered.
Glancing over he saw the other man lying there with what looked like a gunshot wound to the chest, the open-eyed stare telling him that the man was dead. Tony Sr. rushed through the door and over to his son. He knelt down and reached out with a shaking hand to feel for a pulse.
"Thank God," he whispered when he found one. "Junior!" Senior called as he patted his son's cheek. "C'mon, son, wake up."
Pulling the scarf from around his neck, he balled it up and pressed it against the wound to try and stop the bleeding. As he applied more pressure, Tony groaned and it seemed as if he was starting to come around.
Tony moaned again as his eyelids fluttered, and it seemed that he was starting to come around.
"That's it, son," Senior urged "Wake up."
Senior fumbled for his cell phone and called 911 and although there was some confusion as to where they were, help soon arrived. As the paramedics worked on him, Tony was becoming more and more cognizant of his surroundings.
All Tony was aware of was the pain in his shoulder, and voices calling to him. He recognized his father's voice and for a moment was worried that he might have been hurt also. Tony tried to rise up but found himself held down by a paramedic.
"Dad?" he called out shakily.
Senior, who had backed up when the paramedics had arrived, moved forward and knelt by Tony's head.
"I'm right here, junior," he replied.
"You're OK? You're not hurt?"
"I'm just fine, son," Senior responded as he brushed the hair off of Tony's forehead. "Just let the paramedics do their job."
Before he could relax, Tony realized that Gibbs needed to be contacted. He preferred that the information came from his father and not some random person at the hospital. As the paramedics got him loaded on to the gurney and prepared him for transport, Tony could feel himself fading fast.
As they were about to wheel him out the door, Tony grabbed his father's arm and mumbled something.
"Hold on," Senior ordered the paramedics.
"Sir, we need to get him to the hospital," one of them responded.
"Just one second." Senior then grabbed his son's hand and bent down "Go on, Junior, what was that?"
"Call Gibbs," Tony mumbled.
"Don't worry, son, I'll call him right now. Where's your phone?" he asked.
Tony started to reach towards his jacket pocket but his father stopped him. "In here?" Senior asked. At Tony's nod his father continued. "Don't worry, I've got it."
Looking up at the paramedics Senior said "Well? What are you waiting for? Let's go!"
The group made their way out to the ambulance and as Tony Sr. started to climb into the back, one of the attendants tried to stop him but he barely got a couple of words out before Senior's voice turned icy.
"That's my son back there and nothing you can do will stop me from riding with him."
"I'm not trying to stop you," the paramedic said. "It's just that you'll have to ride up front."
Once Senior was settled in the passenger seat and the ambulance was on its way, he opened his son's phone and found Gibbs number. Taking a deep breath, he hit the call button.
Christmas Eve for Gibbs and his father had started out peacefully. Jackson had arrived the evening before and while Gibbs had been at work, his father went shopping. The two met up at the Navy Yard and left for home from there. They were about half-way through dinner when Gibbs got a strange feeling in his gut; something was wrong. He couldn't figure out where it was coming from but he knew this feeling and something was definitely wrong. Gibbs was so distracted thinking about this that he didn't hear his father calling his name until he was practically shouting.
Gibbs looked up "What?"
"Did you even hear what I said?" Jackson asked.
Gibbs sighed. "Sorry, Dad, just thinking."
Jackson cocked his head to the side "What's wrong, son? I can tell you're distracted."
"Leroy," Jackson said firmly "I know you're not a big talker but just spill already."
Gibbs sat back in his chair and just stared at his father for a minute before finally talking.
"It's my gut. It's screaming at me that something is wrong"
Before Jackson could respond with more than a raised eyebrow, Gibbs' cell phone rang. Looking at the caller ID, Gibbs saw Tony's name and immediately went on alert. Tony was supposed to be having dinner with his father right now, and either dinner had gone wrong or something had happened.
Gibbs flipped the phone open and answered with his usual "Gibbs."
"Gibbs, its Anthony DiNozzo Sr."
Gibbs stood up. "What's wrong?"
"Listen, Gibbs," Tony Sr. began.
"DiNozzo!" Gibbs barked "Just tell me, I can hear the sirens in the background."
Senior took a deep breath then began "Its Junior, he's been shot."
"What happened? How bad is it?" Gibbs fired off.
As Tony Sr. explained what he knew, Gibbs grabbed his coat and headed out the door with his father not far behind. Gibbs hung up the phone as he got into his car, making sure his father was safely buckled in before he took off and as he headed towards the hospital he told his father what happened. Both were silent for a few minutes before Jackson finally spoke.
"I have to ask, Leroy. Does Mr. DiNozzo know about Tony and you?"
Gibbs glanced over at his father then shook his head. "We were going to tell him tomorrow."
"Well, this could get interesting" Jackson mumbled as he looked out the side window.
As soon as they arrived at the hospital Gibbs and his father went straight to the emergency department where they found the elder DiNozzo waiting. Gibbs was shocked by two things; just how much older Senior looked since he had seen him last month and the sight of blood, Tony's blood, on the front of Senior's shirt.
"Is that him?" Jackson asked as he gestured towards Senior.
Gibbs nodded and then walked over "Mr. DiNozzo, any word yet?"
Tony Sr. looked up at Gibbs and started to rise but Gibbs gestured for him to stay seated.
"Nothing yet," Senior responded "But I overheard the paramedics talking, and they said the bullet had gone straight through. That's good, right?"
Before Gibbs could respond a doctor came out asking for the family of Anthony DiNozzo. The news was good; it looked like he wouldn't need surgery but they needed to run some more tests to make sure that there hadn't been any nerve damage. It would be an hour or two but then Tony would be in his own room as he would be staying for at least tonight.
After the doctor left, Jackson could see that his son was on the edge as he watched him start pacing back and forth. He stayed standing where he was and observed the man that was sitting in the chair for a moment; Jackson could definitely see the family resemblance. He had never met Tony's father but he could only imagine what he was feeling right now so Jackson went over, stood in front of Senior and held out his hand as he spoke.
"Not the best way to meet, but you must be Tony's father. I'm Jackson Gibbs, Leroy's dad."
The two shook hands and before Senior could say anything Jackson continued.
"Why don't you come with me to get some coffee? I know I could sure use a cup and we might as well stretch our legs, it's going to be awhile."
"I don't know," Tony Sr. replied as he stood up "What if the doctors need more information or something happens?"
"Don't worry, Leroy isn't going anywhere. In fact, I bet he'll be staying the night," Jackson said as he led Senior away.
Knowing how deeply his son cared for Tony and that he wouldn't be able to hide it now that he was injured, Jackson decided to have a little talk with Senior. Once they were settled at a table in the cafeteria he began.
"So, Mr. Dinozzo."
"Tony, please," Senior interrupted with a slight smile.
"Tony," Jackson smiled back. "So, how much do you know about our sons' relationship?"
"What's to know?" Senior looked puzzled "I know that Junior has worked for your son for over ten years now and that they seemed to be pretty close friends."
"Oh, they're more than close friends."
"What does that mean?" Senior questioned as he sipped at his coffee.
"Well," Jackson said slowly "They're a couple. You know, as in dating each other."
Tony Sr. choked on his coffee but didn't say anything, just stared at him.
"It's like this," Jackson began as he went on to explain what he knew as it had been explained to him last summer regarding how they had got together and for how long they had been a couple. After answering what questions he could from Senior and seeing that he still didn't quite believe it, Jackson said "You want proof? I'll show you."
As they left the cafeteria, Tony Sr. wondered if the elder Gibbs wasn't just a little senile. There was no way that his son was in a committed relationship, not to mention a 'gay' committed relationship, without him knowing about it. OK, sure, they didn't talk all that often but he had just spent Thanksgiving with his son and nothing had been said then. It was then that he remembered that they had spent that holiday at Gibbs' house, and that's when it all started to make some sense to him. How protective Gibbs was of Tony and how comfortable his son was around Gibbs' house, almost as if he lived there.
"Well, damn," Senior said softly.
"Did you say something?" Jackson asked.
"Hmm?" Senior glanced over him. "No, just thinking out loud."
As they continued on, Senior went over every detail of the time he had spent with his son at Gibbs' house in his head, looking at it with a whole new perspective.
By the time the two fathers got back the waiting room was empty so they inquired at the admittance counter and were able to get Tony's room number. As they approached Tony's room Jackson gestured for Senior to be quiet and just watch.
Inside the room, Gibbs was standing next to Tony's bed and was talking to him quietly. Senior wouldn't have thought they were anything other than friends at first glance until he noticed that they were holding hands. As he observed the way that they looked at each other he couldn't deny the love that he saw on their faces and that just confirmed it for him. The two older men watched as Gibbs leaned over and gave a quick kiss to Tony then ran his hand through his hair.
Tony Sr. cleared his throat to let them know that they weren't alone before speaking.
"Was there something you forgot to tell me, Junior?"
Gibbs back stiffened as he slowly turned around, not letting go of Tony's hand, and Tony squirmed a bit but before either could say anything Senior continued.
"Did you really think that I would care that the two of you are a couple?"
It took Tony a few minutes to get over the shock while Gibbs just stood there quietly, a wary expression on his face.
"You're not upset?" Tony finally questioned "It doesn't bother you?"
"Junior, with all my world travels you really think seeing a gay couple, even my own son, would bother me?" Senior continued "I'm more concerned that you're with someone that has been married as many times as Gibbs has."
Gibbs just glared, although Senior could see the corner of his mouth turn up in the hint of a smile, and Tony let out a small chuckle along with Jackson, who then spoke.
"Come on, Tony." Jackson grinned "Let's give these two lovebirds a little privacy."
As the door closed behind the two older men, Gibbs turned back to Tony with a smile. He leaned down, gave him another kiss then said.
"I believe we owe my father a huge thank you."
Tony relaxed back into the pillow more as Gibbs pulled the lone chair in the room over, sat down and grabbed Tony's hand again.
"You know what this means, don't you, Jethro?" Tony asked sleepily.
"Hmm?" Gibbs responded as he went back to running his free hand through Tony's hair.
"The present I got your dad isn't going to be nearly enough after what he just did for us. You're going to have to go shopping tonight." Tony then grinned "Lucky for you, Wal-Mart is still open."
Tony gave a small yelp before his smile brightened even more as Gibbs gave him a light head smack then went back to running his hand through Tony's hair.