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Last Christmas you gave me your heart

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Dec 8: Kissing/Mistletoe

The ball of mistletoe was enormous. Some of the guests were surprised at the traditional decorations, but it fit for the two men. The justice of the peace looked at the gathered guests. It was a small group, but the justice had mingled a bit before the service was to begin. The older gentlemen with a bowtie was quite entertaining and the room was full of love. "Pleased be seated.

There was no music. But as if on cue, a silver haired man emerged from the room to his left and a dark-haired man appeared in the doorway. The older man was accompanied by a gentleman introduced as his father Jackson. The younger man held a toddler and was accompanied by a young man in glasses.

When the quintet stood in front of them, he smiled warmly. "Who brings Jethro to join Anthony?"

"I, his father, do."

"Who brings Anthony to join Jethro?"

"His god-daughter does." The young man with glasses spoke up.

"And that would you be you, princess?"

As if understanding everything, Victoria smiled and babbled a bit, ending in Unca Tone. Laughing Tony handed Victoria over to her father.

"Jethro, Tony. It is my understanding that less than a year ago, you stood right here in this room and declared your intention to join your lives together. Promising to wed within the coming year. I ask you again in front of those witnesses, is that still your desire?"

Tony's heart ached a bit. It was just in front of those witnesses; Jackson, the Palmers, McGee, Abby and Ducky. When he had contacted Senior, the man had acted quite cruelly. It wasn't really unexpected, but what Tony hadn't expected was that his father to show up at the office and publicly renounce him. He looked up and into Jethro's eyes. In unison, they answered. "It is."

"Face your guests, please."

As the two men turned, the justice continued. "Marriage is not easy in the best circumstances. Unfortunately, there are those who will make the marriage between these two men even more difficult. They will seek to tear them apart, denigrate them, destroy their spirit. Will you stand with them, will you help hold them to together, raise their spirits and shower them with your love?"

"We will." Breen and Abby weren't the only ones who answered with tears in their eyes.

"Anthony, Tony, will you share with your family the good and the bad, will you seek council from them with things are round? Will you love them and rejoice with them?"

"We will."

"Please face one another. Do you Jethro take Tony to be your lawfully wedded husband? Will you care for him, honor him, share with him and love him for the rest of your lives together?"

"I will."

"Do you Tony take Jethro to be your lawfully wedded husband? Will you care for him, honor him, share with him and love him for the rest of your lives together?"

"I will."

"The rings, please." He accepted the ring Jackson handed him and released a ribbon bow on Victoria's dress to take it from her. "This ring symbolizes the circle of life; love, family, friendship. Take these rings as symbols of your love and devotion for one another for all the world to see."

Jethro took Tony's ring and carefully placed it on his finger. "With this ring, I pledge myself to you. I know I've made mistakes in the past. Made promises that I didn't keep and paid the price for it." The group snickered. "But, I also made the right choice. I know that in my heart. Unfortunately, till death do us part came very quickly. But, that's how I know that this is right. The love that I feel in my heart is real, true and ever-lasting. I will stand beside you and face with you the trials of life. I will stand in front of you and shelter you when you need me. I will stand behind you and allow you to shine your love and humor on the world. But... I will not protect you from Abby if she finds out you've been eating the gingerbread houses and blaming it on McGee."

"Tony!" Abby humphed.

"Told you it wasn't me." McGee muttered.

"I will however make sure there is your favorite eggnog on hand to drink with them."

Tony laughed. "Blabber mouth." He took the ring from the smiling justice. "With this ring, I pledge myself to you. I've learned how fickle people can be. I kept moving before strings could tie me down and then there you were. You saw something in me and you forced me to be that person."

"...cough... head slaps... cough..."

"Watch it, probie." Tony laughed. "You made me face life, to reach for what was real and how to break lose from what was not. Somewhere along the way, I started to realize that you were my life. That you and our family was the good and we don't waste good. But I.. I will protect you... even when Jackson finds out you were the one who chipped your great-grandmother's gravy boat."

Jackson automatically swatted Jethro on the back of the head.

"Hey..." Gibbs turned to glare at his father. "I thought you were going to protect me."

"Head slap is only an attention getter." Tony retorted. "If he tried to spank you... that's a different story." He leaned in closer and said in a sotto whisper, "I'm the only one who gets to do that."

The justice found himself chuckling with the guests. "I have presided over many ceremonies in my life but I admit none quite like this. Tony, Jethro, you have made your vows to one another with honestly, with love and with humor. May your marriage be blessed with the same honestly, love and humor. It is my honor to pronounce that you are now one. You may kiss your groom."

The guests burst into applause and then surged forward. The justice was amused to see the young woman with deep black hair smack Tony's shoulder twice and shake her finger. Tony had then snagged his god-daughter and used her as a shield.

The group was fluid; moving, mingling, laughing. The newlyweds ended up in the doorway under the huge mistletoe bough.

"See, sweetheart, I told you." Jimmy hugged his daughter and whispered in her ear. "That's what love looks like."