“Tom?” Tony asked.
“Hmm?” Tom was distracted. He was laying, or rather slouching, on the couch in the relative peace of the residence. Some work related papers were all around him. He had been reading the files for most of the day, but now he rested there, his eyes closed with one hand over his eyes.
Tony poked him with his toe. It was easy since he was sprawled on the other end of the couch reading a book. It was all very domestic.
“Toooooom.” Tony was grinning as he whined.
Tom raised his hand from his eyes and glowered at his husband.
Tony's grin got wider. "You are adorable.
"I am the president! I don't do adorable." Tom pouted.
"Yeah." Tony commented.
"Nuh-uh." Tom pouted more and it was hilarious.
"Alright! Let's not take this any further." Tom laughed at his husband. The man was a dork. "What did you want to ask?"
“Do you believe in supernatural stuff? You know...things?” Tony bit his lip. He wanted to know, but he wasn't sure about how Tom would react. Would he think that Tony was insane?
Tom sighed. He didn't know where this was coming from but sensing that it was important.
He put the papers down and gave all his attention to the younger man. “Supernatural stuff? Like what?” Tom asked. He was curious. It wasn't their usual conversation topic.
“The lot of it really, but what I mean this time is…. ghosts.” Tony had gone serious. It was out of character for him so it got Tom a bit worried.
“I don't know. Haven't given it a serious thought before. Though there was this one thing that happened just after I had met you at that café. I'd gone to Alex’s grave. When she was a live there was nothing I wouldn't talk to her about and it didn't end when she died. I used to go to her grave all the time and talk. It gave me comfort." Tom smiled, unshed tears in his eyes.
Tony smiled back. He understood the grief of losing someone you loved. Granted he hadn't been widowed, but once bofore Tom he had been at the altar, waiting for his bride to come to him. Only she never did. So he squeezed Tom's ankle in support, it was the closest so he could reach it without moving.
Tom grinned at him and continued. "I talked to her and I'm not sure if she could hear me or not, but it made me feel better. Anyway, that day I was talking about you and there was this moment I could've sworn I felt her hand in mine. She squeezed it. And that gave me the courage to call you.”
Tony smiled. “That is wonderful.” He wondered if he should tell Tom what he had experienced that one Christmas. In the end he decided to tell him even if Tom would think his as crazy afterwards.
Tony took a deep breath and began his story. He crossed his fingers that his husband wouldn't send him to the looney bin afterwards.
“I met a real ghost once. It wasn't what one would expect when seeing a ghost. There was no death and doom accompanied. The ghost I met was wonderful." He paused as if he wasn't sure how to continue.
"Okay." Tom said, he didn't know what to think.
"I swear I am not insane. At the time I was thinking that I had lost my mind, that I had worked too hard or drank too much, but it was none of those things. It was real." Tony defended himself.
"I believe you." It was Tom's turn to squeeze his husband's ankle. It seemed to calm the younger man down.
Tony gave him a weak smile and continued. "She was almost completely corporeal. Well at least to me she was, I don't think anyone else saw her. Or me after I had agreed to go to this journey with her.” Tony was interrupted by Tom’s outburst.
“Are you crazy? Going along with a ghost… you could have been killed.” Tom raged. “I then I would have never met you.”
Tony smiled at his husband. “At that point in my life, death would have been a blessing.” Tony confessed. Tom had known that Tony had been depressed before they met. He hadn't known how deep the younger man had been in the murky waters. They had never talked just how serious things had been. It had to change, but after the story.
Now that Tony thought about it, he himself had not realized how depressed he'd been. Not until now. He had help in form of a ghost and he was forever grateful for that. She'd been his angel that had gripped him tight and raised him from perdition.
“Oh, love.” Tom reached for Tony who took his hand and kissed it.
“I have been in good condition for a long time now. There is nothing to worry about. But let us continue with the story.” Tony said and Tom agreed.
“She told me her name and I will tell it to you later, but she told me that she was a ghost of Christmas. Apparently Dickens had been bad press.” Tom snickered as Tony said this.
“Anyway, she took me to a Christmas past, my past. I was alone like usual at that point in my life. She took me there to realize some truths. That Christmas morning, so long ago, was the morning I swore that I would never be like senior. That decision is one that has shaped my life the most. I started healing a bit during that scene. I learned that I needed to let go of the past so I could move forward. It sounds lame, but it is the truth. Then she took me to another place in history. To hers to be precise.” Tony paused.
“To hers?” Tom asked. At this point, he wasn't certain if he believed Tony. But he listened and refrained from judging this before it was over.
“To hers.” Tony confirmed. “We went to her old house where she could see her family as they were before she had died. She wasn't a normal ghost of Christmas. She had died and she had been given the job of journeying with me to finish her business and move on. We were both in the same boat so to speak, unable to let go of the past. The only difference was that she was dead and I was not. I have a feeling though, that if none of it hadn't happened, I would be...” Tony paused again.
Tom waited patiently for Tony to start again. He tried hard not to think about Tony dying. He couldn't lose another spouse, it would kill him. He loved him so much that it would completely destroy him, if he lost him.
He bit his lip and tried to focus on the younger man and his words.
“It was perfect, the kind of family Christmas I have always wanted.” Tony went on to describe what had happened and it gave Tom a pause, it sounded like them before Alex had died.
“After that we moved to present. It was weird seeing yourself a few hours older doing things while you watch. He is you and you are he, but you are not he, not really. It was all very confusing and way too emotional for my liking.” Tony grinned making Tom chuckle again.
“I'd been invited over to Gibbs’ and it was wonderful. The man let me talk about everything and when I wanted to be silent, we were silent. Plus his steaks are to die for.” Tony laughed thinking about Tom’s talent in kitchen or lack there of.
“You are laughing about my skills again...” Tom gave him the finger.
“I love you too.” Tony winked.
“We worked on his boat until I almost fell over my feet because I was so damn exhausted. He helped to bed and I guess he went downstairs to clean the tools away because the next morning they were gone.” Tony moved so that he could lean on Tom’s chest and the older man gladly made room for him.
“After that we went to her Christmas. Well it was rather, her family’s first Christmas without her in it. She might have been a ghost, but her longing for her family made my heart break more than once.” Tony inhaled Tom’s cologne and it calmed him down. Tom had that affect on him.
“The family was… their grief was… it was powerful. They cried together and cuddled together. Despite the terrible thing they had faced, they were strong together.” Tony said, he had admired that family then and still did, though now he could call them his family.
“I have to confess something right now.” Tony hid his face into Tom’s chest again. He did not know how Tom would react and it scared him.
“What is it, love?” Tom asked, his voice warm. It was Tony, so he was sure it was nothing too bad.
“I knew I would marry you before I met you.” Tony said silently.
“The ghost. It was Alex was it not?” Tom’s voice was even.
“Yeah.” Tony did not dare to look Tom in the eyes.
“Love, do not hide your face from me.” Tom moved his hand so that he was able to use his fingers to lift Tony’s chin. They locked eyes and Tony felt relieved, there was nothing but love in Tom’s eyes.
“At first I did not know whether to believe this fantastical tale you are telling or call you crazy. Even a moment ago it seemed too odd to be real. I admit that freely. But if I have learned one thing from you, it is to trust my instincts, my gut feeling. And it is telling me, that you are telling the truth. Plus you are telling me things that no one would know unless they had been there. Things that no one would know about Alex unless they had met her and had a conversation with her. So I believe you.” Tom assured his husband and leaned in to give him a kiss.
Tony was smiling dazed when they pulled apart.
“Was there something else?” Tom prompted.
“Yeah.” Tony shook his head to clear it up. “There was more. I also knew that we would end up in here.” Tony motioned around them.
“Here? In the White House?” Tom wanted to know.
“Yes, but I thought it would happen differently. I thought that you would campaign et cetera. Not that you would be picked for designated survivor and then there would be attack on our Capitol.” Tony still did not like to think about that night.
They had all been so scared. At first Tony treated this job like an undercover gig. It was the only way he could handle the stress, the job and their family. Then he'd understood. Alex had said that there would be a time when the whole nation would depend on his strength. It was that moment when Tom had been sworn in. The President depended on him and the nation depended on the President.
“We got through that.” Tom said.
“Yes, we did.” They had both been thinking about that night.
“But on with the story. Alex took me to the future Christmas.” Tony paused for effect.
“Go on.” Tom told him, he wanted to know what was going to happen next.
Tony was giggling. He loved to tease Tom and now that he had seen how calmly Tom had taken the news, he felt relaxed enough to do so.
“We landed on the south lawn and I was fucking freaking out, afraid the we would be seen sneaking around here. Which would not have been good.” Tony sniggered and so did Tom.
“No it would not have been a good thing.”
“I saw you here as the president and I was here and Penny and Leo were calling me papa or pops. And I finally had the family I had dreamed about.” Tony told that everything had happened exactly like their first Christmas had went.
“That was the last scene I saw. I knew then that I would marry you, and that we would have a lovely family together. That is why I was so bold when we first met and this time around the confidence was not faked like it was before.” Tony pecked his husband’s lips.
“There was not much after that. Alex needed to see that her family was able to continue without her. She trusted you lot with me, so of course I was and am going to do my very best.” Tony finished his tale.
“I do miss her so much.” Tom commented.
“I know. I only knew her for a few hours and I miss her.” Tony told him.
Tom smiled and kissed Tony once more before settling more comfortably on the couch. Tony had a devilish grin on his face when he turned to Tom. He waited until he got Tom’s attention again. “Alex was right about something else as well.”
“And what is that?” Tom asked.
“That your skills are not in the kitchen, but in the bedroom. She told me that you would make me forget everything else, even my own name until the only thing I knew was yours.” Tony sneaked his hand towards Tom’s crotch.
“You are insatiable.” Tom smirked and decided to abandon the papers. They could wait.
“Let us see if I still can make you forget your name.” Tom grinned and Tony moaned. And that moan was pure sin.