Rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens....
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens...
Leroy Jethro Gibbs didn't dislike Christmas, it was just another time of year that brought back painful memories; memories of a child gone too soon, a child that was taken from him without warning. It was a time of year when he reflected on what he had; the blessing that had been bestowed upon his life but always there was the pain.
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things
With the last of the toys packed in the truck, Gibbs set out to deliver them to the children's ward at the hospital; his yearly tradition. This year, Gibbs life was going to be touched in a way that it hadn't been touched in a very long time.
Gibbs didn't see the toy car fall from the sack and land on the floor of the truck nor did he know that it would be the vital part of a moment that would change his life forever.
While Gibbs drove through the streets a young woman fought for her life. "Listen to me baby," the young mother kissed her son. "I want you go take your bear and go hide. Run baby, go hide from the bad man."
"Mama?" The little boy trembled with fear. "I'm scared."
"I know sweetheart," the woman kissed her little boy's tears away. "I love you forever and always. Go hide from the bad man; mama will be okay by herself little man. I am so proud of you always remember that and that I love you."
"I love you toos," the trembling lip, the tears and the fear were the last thing the young mother saw before the bad man came into her view.
Leaving the hospital, Gibbs drove through the snow covered streets of Virginia the feeling of satisfaction and peace keeping the ache of his heart a little dull. Stopping at a traffic light, Gibbs caught sight of some movement in the snow and ice just beneath the trees that lined the center island of the shopping center. Pulling in, Jethro grabbed his flash light and set out to investigate the source.
Under the trees, huddled in a ball, was a child holding a stuffed teddy bear. Crouching down, Gibbs called out softly trying not to scare the child.
"Hey there," Jethro proceeded cautiously. "I bet your bear is cold; how about if we wrap him in the blanket I have in my truck."
Crawling from under the trees, the child, a little boy, no more than three years old followed Jethro cautiously to the truck where he stood patiently waiting for the blanket to keep his faithful friend warm. Gibbs watched the little boy as he walked, his movements were slow and there was a slight grimace on his face. Gibbs heart clenched, he just wanted to wrap the little boy in the safety of his arms and protect him.
Wrapping the blanket around the little boy, Jethro stood for a moment trying to figure out what to do next. Just as he was about to call the local police department, he felt a small tug at his coat. Crouching down, Jethro got to where he was low enough that the little boy could see his face.
Point towards the floor of the truck, Gibbs smiled when he saw the toy car that had fallen from his bag. "Do you want to see it?" Gibbs asked softly getting a nod from the little boy.
"How about this; I will let you have it if you can tell me your bear's name." Gibbs watched as the little boy pulled his stuffed friend closer and took a moment to contemplate what he should do.
Motioning for Gibbs to come closer, the little boy put his lips to Gibbs ear and whispered, "Tee aNozzo".
"That is a great name," Gibbs said causing little boy to smile brightly despite being cold and it appeared... battered. Feeling the he had gained a small amount of trust, Gibbs slowly moved to pick up the little boy. The little boy did not resist, Gibbs sat him on his lap inside the truck and pulled the door closed. Reaching over slowly, Jethro turned the key in the ignition so that the truck heated up. As little boy warmed up, he snuggled closely to Jethro's chest. As soon as he felt the child relax, Jethro called the locals law enforcement; this precious child's best interest were all that he cared about.
It took about a half an hour before the local law enforcement arrived on the scene. By the time they did, the little boy was found sleeping Gibbs arms. As luck would have it, Gibbs was well acquainted with both police officers.
"Jethro," the female officer said softly as she climbed behind the wheel of his truck. "Do you have any idea who this little boy is?"
"Nope," Jethro said softly trying not to wake the boy. "I just happened to see him as I was driving home from delivering the toys for hospital."
"I know tomorrow's Christmas and you probably have plans," Officer Edwards commented. "Why don't you let me take him? I'm sure there's enough of us at the station can keep an eye on them until children's services can intervene."
Looking down at the precious little boy in his arms, Gibbs felt his heart constrict. The trust the little boy was showing in him; wasn't something the little boy was giving easily. Turning to the officer, Jethro took a deep breath before speaking. "I would like to speak with the children's services representative; I don't think there's any reason that I couldn't keep the boy until his family can be located."
"Are you sure you want to do that?" Officer Edwards asked knowing the history of Jethro's lost family.
"Yes, I'm very sure." Jethro spoke without conviction something inside him told him that this little boy was a gift.
"I will call my supervisor and see what I can do," Edwards said with look of understanding in her eyes.
"Do you happen to have a spare blanket in your squad car?" Jethro asked as he situated the little boy inside the confines of his warm coat. "I'm not sure how long this little guys been outside but he's pretty cold. I would like to have a friend take a look and just to make sure he's okay."
"Why don't you go ahead and call Ducky?" Edwards said with a smile. "It probably would not hurt to have your team unofficially look into this matter either; you seem to have resources that we do not."
Jethro could not hide smile that touched his lips, he had forgotten what a good friend he had in Officer Edwards. With a nod, Jethro pulled his cell phone from his pocket and dialed his senior agent.
"DiNozzo!" Gibbs called softly into the phone. "I'll be home in about 45 minutes; I was delayed by something unexpected. Could you do me a favor and call Ducky to meet me?"
"Boss?" Tony was confused. "Are you hurt?"
"No," Gibbs reassured. "I'll explain when I get there."
"Where are you?" Tony's voice was urgent; the fear was dripping from his tone.
Giving his agent his location, Gibbs smiled down at the little boy in his arms as he reflected on his relationship with Tony. Tony... It suddenly hit Gibbs.. A Nozzo... This child, in his arms.. the precious little boy abandoned in the cold... Who could he be? Could he be Tony's son? His brother?
"You definitely have the DiNozzo charm," Gibbs sighed. "Just who are you little man?"
Before he could even hope for an answer a single shot rang out setting unit that had responded to Gibbs' call into action.