kasman: (Default)
[personal profile] kasman
Fandom: NCIS
Author kasman
Title: Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow
Beta: Many thanks Alaidh for the beta.
Pairing: None
Summary: Continuing on from “The Loganising of Tony” – this one even has a plot!



CHAPTER 4

The living room was in a state of bedlam. Tony recoiled from the noise of fighting children before even entering the room. He had to stop at the entrance to wait for Nicole’s two boys to stop wrestling on the floor so he could pass. Petey took the situation in hand, however, squeezing through and grabbing each miscreant by a shirt collar to haul them to their feet. “Hey, you two! Behave,” he said fiercely.

“Sorry, Uncle Pete,” the boys said in unison, then scampered off again. Tony and Pete exchanged looks before proceeding further into the room.

Tony moved into the room slowly, offering smiles and heys to faces only half-remembered, until he found himself beside his grandmother. The old lady was safely installed in a comfortable armchair, cooing over a dark-eyed baby, a member of the extended DiNozzo family.

“She’s beautiful, Gina,” his grandmother was saying.

Tony looked on, feeling bored and out of place. He had little or no experience with children of any age, and had no desire for fatherhood. His own upbringing had certainly left a lot to be desired in most respects, other than material goods, and even that had been cut off, other than some income from a trust fund that was so tied up in legal tape that he could never touch the capital. He no longer dined at the family watering trough. Still, he took a second look at Gina, having not seen her since she was a painfully shy, plump, pimple-faced teenager. He wondered when she’d turned into the confident, attractive, twenty-something brunette he now saw. Gina finally became aware that she was being subjected to scrutiny by her handsome cousin, caught Tony’s eye and blushed prettily.

“Hey, Gina,” he said evenly, although he couldn’t help following up with an impish grin at having caused her to react.

“Tony? Oh, my God, Tony, how are you…” Gina’s voice trailed off uncomfortably as the compassion seeped in.

He was saved from anything further by a voice at the other end of the room announcing that, “Lunch is served.” Gina scooped up the baby and looked around the room, eventually catching sight of whoever it was she was looking for, leaving Tony and his grandmother somewhat bemused by her quick departure.

“Come on, Gran, ups-a-daisy,” Tony said, locking his brakes for stability and giving her a helping hand to rise from the chair. He was gratified to find that Petey had appeared on the other side to give a helping hand under the opposite elbow.

“Go on, I got this,” Pete said, once the old lady was on her feet.

Tony nodded and pushed off smoothly. He had found that most people tended to step aside rather than have their toes run over, and this was no different with family members. He was pleased to see that there was one place setting without a chair, about a third of the way down the table and backing onto the windows.

“Is it okay?” Tony looked up, surprised to see that his mother was beside him.

“Fine, Mom. You think of everything.”

“I’m trying, Anthony.”

“I know.” He slid the chair into place.

A few moments later, Pete and his grandmother entered the room, which was slowly filling. “There. Is this okay, Gran?” Pete asked, helping her into the seat beside Tony and hanging her cane from the back of her chair before walking around the table to sit opposite.

“Thank you, sweetie,” she said, patting his hand.

“No problem, Gran.”

Petey took up a position opposite his grandmother and put a protective hand on the seat beside him, the one in front of Tony, holding it for the still-absent Emma. “Is this girlfriend real, or is she just some story you been telling us?” Tony snickered.

“Oh, she’s real,” he said, and watched Tony’s expression change from the usual cheeky grin to a neutral frown as his father took up a position at the head of the table. Joe DiNozzo returned his son’s look with a glittering, cold glare, then turned to smile at someone else and the moment passed. Tony shrugged at Pete, feeling like he’d just been stripped bare and found wanting. Gibbs really has something to learn in the “terrify the junior” department, he thought.

A bevy of servants started serving the meal, most of them extras from an agency hired for the day. Tony was stunned at the beautiful girl who entered late and came up behind Pete, placing cold hands over his eyes with a playful, “Guess who.”

“Emma! You made it!”

“Stating the obvious there, but yeah, I made it.” Tony couldn’t take his eyes off the attractive brunette. She smiled at him and slid into the seat beside Pete, flicking back a stray strand of hair that had managed to escape her loose ponytail. “Hey,” she said to Tony, fixing him with candid hazel eyes. “I’m Emma Bachman.”

“Tony DiNozzo,” he said, offering a hand to shake across the table.

“Ah, you’re Pete’s cousin.”

“Right.”

“And this is my grandmother, Mrs. O’Rourke,” interjected Pete.

“Pleased to meet you,” she said, offering a well-manicured hand to the old lady, who looked somewhat bemused.

“Gran, this is my girlfriend, Emma.”

“Hello, dear. Glad you could make it.”

Emma turned the smile back to Tony, then wrinkled her nose in concentration. “Tony…you’re the cop, right?”

“Ah, not quite,” he said.

“Tony’s a Special Agent…” Petey started to speak at the same time as his cousin.

“I’m an Investigator with NCIS in Washington,” he said, flashing a look at Petey. Petey, if he registered Tony’s changed status or understood the import of what his cousin had actually said, didn’t comment. Even though Tony was back at work as part of Gibbs’ team, the nature of his injury meant he was no longer eligible to be a Special Agent: he no longer fulfilled all the physical prerequisites for a Special Agent – one of which is the possession of a fully-functional nervous system. Of course, Gibbs, being Gibbs, more often than not turned a blind eye to the rule book, and let Tony in on more than he probably should have, including helping out with surveillance and working on crime scenes. But, effectively, Petey had been right when he said Tony was tied to a desk, because he spent much more of his time in the office than he had in the past. As compensation, he was spending a lot more time interviewing suspects. There was something about Tony’s disarming charm coupled with the wheelchair that caught people off-guard.

“And that is?” Emma asked.

“Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Navy cop, if you like.” He flashed her a quicksilver grin, the one that Anne, his PT, considered should be licensed as a lethal weapon, briefly dimpling both cheeks. “We investigate major crimes and terrorism involving the Navy and Marine Corps,” he continued.

“Oh,” she said, her eyes widening for a moment.

“How was…” Petey asked.

“Horrible,” Emma interrupted, leaning into Petey’s chest. “So was the weather…the flight. Chantelle was hit with the ‘flu, so I had to work the booth on my own for three days. My feet are killing me!”

“I do a pretty good foot massage.” Tony looked back over his shoulder, slightly startled, as a bowl of soup was placed in front of him. He quickly turned back to Emma, however, his eyes glinting as he silently cajoled her.

“Now?” she asked.

“No, tomorrow. I can fit you in around 10:00 am,” he grinned. “Of course now.”

“But the food is being served…”

Tony tilted his head slightly and fixed her with dangerously puppy-like eyes, seemingly all innocence. Pete grinned, having seen the act before, but was also confident that his girlfriend would completely see through his cousin. “Come on, under the table…” he prompted. “You worried about smelly feet?”

“Um, no, not really. Stopped by home and had a shower before I came…” She turned to look at Pete, who squeezed her shoulder and whispered something in her ear.

“Okay, then,” she shrugged. “But this better be worth it.”

He grinned. “It will be.” He carefully sucked some of the hot soup off the spoon. “Just let me…” His voice trailed off as he reached under the table to move his feet off the footrest to the floor, having realized that if he didn’t there’d be little or no space for Emma’s feet, delicate as they may be.

“Sure,” she smiled.

Emma stretched one foot across the dividing distance of the table before finding Tony’s knee. He reached under the table with his hands, feeling around for a moment, and started working some personal magic into Emma’s foot.

“Anthony, can you pass me a bread roll, please?” his grandmother asked. At this time of day, and with the larger gathering, they were having a light lunch – either lobster bisque or pumpkin soup being on the menu, with plenty of crisp rolls for dunking purposes. The main evening meal, usually attended only by close family, would be the full Christmas dinner disaster. Lunch was just a get together of people not seen for the rest of the year, most of whom had other functions to attend later in the day.

“Sure, Gran,” he said, reaching for the rolls with his right hand, while continuing to massage Emma’s foot with the other.

“You’ve never done that for me,” she commented, somewhat petulantly.

“Haven’t I? Well, we can do something about that later,” he said.

He exchanged a quick grin with his mother, who was watching him curiously from near the end of the table.

“Thanks, Tony,” said Emma, retracting her now very relaxed feet. “That was really good.”

“You’re welcome,” he said, smiling as he dipped a spoon into the rapidly cooling bowl of lobster bisque in front of him.

-----------------------------

A maid came up behind Tony and tapped him gently on the shoulder. “Excuse me, Mr. DiNozzo,” she said softly. “You’re wanted on the phone.”

Tony looked over his shoulder at her and nodded. He grinned and shrugged at Emma and his cousin and gave his grandmother’s hand a pat. Looking at his mother apologetically, he caught an odd look from her, and saw controlled anger on his father’s face, before he backed away from the table. “Sorry. This must be important,” he said, and turned away, completely missing the shocked expression on Emma’s face when she saw the wheelchair.

Tony picked up the phone in the hall and said a cautious, ”Hello?”



CHAPTER 5

“DiNozzo, I’ve been trying to reach you for hours. Don’t you ever pick up your phone?”

“Boss, I’m on vacation. Christmas? Ring any bells?”

“Rhode Island sent a call for help.”

“And this has anything to do with me how?” Tony said impatiently. “Look, boss, sorry, but I gotta go…I haven’t even had lunch yet.”

“Hear me out, DiNozzo.”

“Yes, boss,” he said from habit and, resigned, propped an elbow on the hall table and leaned his head on his hand to listen.

“Rhode Island’s stretched thin with a terrorism investigation. They got a coupl’a guys off with flu and Christmas and…well…someone walking a dog found the body of a navy commander in a park in Huntington…” Gibbs paused before continuing. “Seems to be a similar MO to that one in Norfolk. DiNozzo, you listening?”

“I’m here, boss.”

“I need you to get over to the crime scene. McGee is already on his way.” He rattled off an address.

Tony gave a huge sigh, surrendering to the inevitable. “Okay, boss. On my way.” Tony hung up the phone and sat still for a moment, his hand still resting on the receiver.

“Anthony?”

He gave a start. “Sorry, Mom, you startled me.”

“Anthony?”

He swiveled to face her. “Sorry, I gotta go, Mom.”

“But, Anthony, it’s Christmas.”

“I'll be back," he replied firmly.

Tony turned his back on her and went to his room, leaving her to either return to her guests or follow. He stripped off the lightweight hoodie he was wearing in favor of the heavier sweater he'd worn in the car the previous day. He pulled his jacket on over the top of the ensemble then rummaged in the bottom of the sports bag for his ID, shoving it into the inside pocket of his jacket. He also checked the charge on his phone and put that in another pocket. Finally, he checked the contents of his backpack before slinging it over the chair back and pulling on his gloves.

He turned to find his mother blocking the doorway. "So that's it? You're just going?"

"Mom, I have to do this. It's my job."

"No it's not – you're on vacation."

"Mom," he pushed forward, even though she stood her ground in the doorway, blocking his egress. "Can you get out of the way, please?"

She stepped aside. "So that's it?"

"I'll be back. Save me some dessert."

Tony looked into the rear view mirror just once before driving out the gate. He saw the house ablaze with lights, with his mother's form silhouetted in the window of his room watching him go.

-----------------------------------------

Tony pulled up at the police barricade just outside the park and flashed his ID to the uniformed cop on duty. “Anthony DiNozzo, NCIS,” he said.

“Right. Detective Andrews said to expect someone.” He gestured in the direction of a set of playground equipment just off to the left of a winding path. “Just down there,” he said. “About two hundred yards. You can park your car over there.” The cop pointed to a pair of black and whites not far from the barricade.

Tony looked at the weather – rain was just starting to fall – and grimaced. “Any chance I could get a bit closer?” he asked, gesturing at the blue and white tag hanging from the mirror of the car.

“No, sir. No vehicles in or out for now.”

Tony tightened his lips and nodded, then put the car into reverse, intending to move it. He quickly changed his mind, however, and shut off the engine. “I’m gonna leave my car right here. You got any objections to that?” he asked, eyeing the young man, his expression deliberately blank in an attempt at a Gibbs stare-down. He opened the car door and started to assemble the chair in front of a now slightly bug-eyed cop. “You still gonna tell me I can’t take the car any closer?”

“Sorry, sir. Detective Andrews’ orders.”

Tony sighed, “Right.”

Tony completed the transfer, and blinking away some raindrops, pulled the hood of his jacket up over his head. He pulled a notepad and pen from his backpack and stuck them in the pocket of his jacket. “You gonna let me through?” he asked, gesturing at the wood

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June 2012

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