Pairing - Tony / Tim
Rating - PG-13
Summary - Tony and Tim go to spend Christmas with Tony's aunt.
Deck the Halls
Tony DiNozzo snagged two glasses of champagne from the tray that a passing waiter carried and handed one to Tim. McGee took it gratefully, downing half of it in one drink. He looked uneasy- and about as uncomfortable as Tony felt in his tuxedo. All around them, a crowd of perfectly-coiffed women in expensive evening gowns and men in designer tuxedos milled around, sipping champagne.
“Are you regretting agreeing to come with me yet?” he asked Tim.
Tim shook his head, though he didn’t look too sure about his answer. “No.”
“I’m glad you did,” Tony told him. “And, bonus, you look very sexy in that tux.”
Tim blushed but before he could reply, a voice caught their attention.
“There you are, Anthony.”
Tony turned to see his Aunt Margaret approaching and smiled. Margie was in her mid sixties, yet had the sparkle in her eyes of a twenty five year old. Tonight she was dressed from head to toe in Versace, and the gold and diamond choker she wore probably cost more than Tony’s car. She was practically the only family he had left, or the only one who bothered to keep in touch with him, anyway. His mother had passed away when he was a child and his father, well that was a different story. His father seemed to see Tony more as a hindrance than a son, thinking that he could buy affection with trust funds, and hadn’t seemed particularly upset when Tony had moved out to go to University and never come back.
“Aunt Margie, it’s good to see you again,” he said, giving her a kiss on the cheek.
Margie looked around him to peer at Tim.
“Are you forgetting your manners, Anthony?”
Tony held out a hand to his lover and pulled him closer. “Aunt Margie, this is Tim McGee.” He noticed Margie’s eyes flick to their still-held hands. “You did say I could bring a guest,” he said.
Margie smiled. “I did, and very welcome he is too.” She gave Tim the same warm welcome she had given Tony. “So, how long have you two been dating?”
“Almost ten months.”
Tony felt as though a weight had been lifted when he saw the smile on her face. He should have known that she wouldn’t object to him bringing Tim here; she had always supported his choices. In fact, Aunt Margie had been the first one in his family that he had come out to when he was sixteen. He knew that his father had guessed, even suspected that was one of the reasons his father treated him with such indifference.
“And yet it took you all this time to introduce me to him?” Margie said, accepting the arm that Tony offered and allowing him and Tim to escort her to one of the lavishly laid-out tables where they could sit and talk. “I am glad that you found someone who makes you happy. I can see it in your eyes when you look at him.”
Tony felt his cheeks heat up. “You’ll embarrass Tim, Aunt Margie.”
The older woman glanced at Tim, smiling. “Oh, he doesn’t mind, do you?”
“So, Aunt Margie, how’s the fundraiser going?”
Though she chuckled at his blatant change of subject, she let it slide without further comment, instead telling him all about the amount of money they had raised so far and the charity that the trust she was chairwoman of was supporting this year. He had to admit that this was impressive; they had taken over an entire wing of the museum for a black-tie, thousand-dollar-a-table, fund raiser. He received an invitation to these things every year but he usually turned them down.
Tony always felt out of place here, not because of the other guests- he had been trussed up in monkey-suits and forced to play nice with the cream of society’s crop since he was old enough to talk. No, he usually stood out because he was on his own. He could smile and fake some interest in the designer-labelled, surgery enhanced women who ended up here, fending off the odd attempt to pair him off with his Aunt’s acquaintances’ daughters or nieces, but it got tedious after a while. This year, Tim was with him.
“So what plans do you boys have for Christmas?” Aunt Margie asked Tim.
“Not much,” he said. “I usually spend Christmas with my parents but they’re on a cruise until the third of January, and my sister is spending it with her boyfriend and his family.”
Margie’s smile widened. “Then you simply must come and spend Christmas with me.”
“Aunt Margie, we wouldn’t want to intrude,” Tony began to protest, but Margie wouldn’t hear it.
“Nonsense; I insist.” Giving them both a look that dared them to argue with her, she smiled. “That’s settled, then. I’ll have Elizabeth make up one of the guest rooms for you and you can spend the weekend.”
“I’m sorry about Aunt Margie,” Tony said in the cab on their way back to Tim’s apartment. “If you don’t want to go, I can tell her we have to work or something.”
Tim smiled and took Tony’s hand in his, very much aware of the cab driver listening in. “She’s your family. I don’t mind, honestly.”
Tony laughed softly. “We’ll see if you still think that way when she’s finished showing you off to all her friends.”
“Showing me off?”
“She’ll be telling all of her friends that I have a boyfriend, and so naturally, they’ll all want to meet you.”
“Who is Elizabeth? Your Aunt mentioned her.”
Tony smiled. “Elizabeth is Aunt Margie’s housekeeper. She’s been there as long as I can remember; she’s more my Aunt’s friend than an employee. Whenever I went to visit, she’d bake me her special chocolate chip and walnut cookies.”
Tim wondered just what he’d let himself in for. From what he’d seen tonight he’d figured out that Tony’s world was about as far from his as he could imagine, even if Tony had chosen not to live in it for most of his life. Then again, Tony had put up with the McGee’s for a whole weekend, including his grandmother’s rather personal questions, so he could do this. He wanted to get to know Tony’s aunt, since she was the only one in his family that he ever spoke of with any kind of affection.
Two weeks later, Tim was starting to rethink his decision. Just as Tony had said, Christmas night at his aunt’s house there was a party. Well, he called it a party but Aunt Margie had referred to it as a ‘quiet gathering’. Quiet? There must be forty people here, he thought, many of them women of around Aunt Margie’s age with daughters, sons and husbands in tow. Most of them knew Tony, even if he didn’t know them. It appeared that Margie had been telling them all about her nephew for years, complete with photos and a full description of Tim.
“How many of these people do you actually know?” he asked Tony at one point.
Tony looked around the room. “About a third. I went to school with some of them, and then I met some of Aunt Margie’s friends when I was visiting her.”
A pretty brunette close to Tony’s age, in a figure-hugging black dress, came over to them and he kissed her cheek in greeting. “Tim, this is Rochelle.”
She smiled warmly at Tim. “So, you’re the boyfriend. I’ll bet you’re trying to work out the best way to escape right about now, aren’t you?”
Tim laughed. “Not quite yet, but give me time,” he joked. “So, how do you two know each other?”
Rochelle signalled for them to follow her and led them into the library, where there was some much-needed peace and quiet. They sat down in the padded, leather armchairs, getting comfortable, and from under her jacket, Rochelle produced a bottle of Champagne.
“I ‘borrowed’ this on our way through,” she told them. “I forgot the glasses, through, so unless you want to go back into the lion’s den, we’ll have to drink from the bottle.”
Since neither man minded, she took a drink and passed the bottle on before answering Tim’s original question.
“Tony and I have been friends forever; at school, and we were next door neighbours when I was a kid so my mom used to bring me over to play every time Tony visited,” Rochelle said. “We even went to the high school prom together, didn’t we, Tony?”
Tim raised an eyebrow at that, but Tony just grinned. “It was a disaster.”
“You know exactly what I mean,” he said. Turning to Tony, he explained. “We figured out after about half an hour that we’d both rather have been there with Tyler Patterson.”
Rochelle smiled, remembering. “He was gorgeous. I wonder what happened to him.”
“I saw him whilst I was with the Baltimore PD,” Tony told her. “Or rather, his mug shot. Six months for assault following a bar brawl.”
They stayed in the library until the champagne ran out and they figured they couldn’t hide for much longer. Soon, Margie would come looking for them and so they went back out into the fray.
As they moved around the room, stopping to talk to people that Tony knew, Tim found himself looking around. He had been given a tour when they first arrived that morning, but he still found himself gawking around like a tourist. He’d thought his family went overboard at Christmas, covering the house from top to bottom with more decorations that ever seemed possible, but then he’d seen Margie’s house. Every room of the house had been decorated, though the decorations were not the generic, store-bought ones. There wasn’t a trace of tinsel or metallic streamers or the little chocolate ornaments on the Christmas trees. Instead, everything was tasteful and colour co-ordinated, varying depending on the colour scheme of the room they were in. Outside, strings of tiny white lights adorned the house, edging the windows and doors and around the eaves.
Tim had enjoyed himself today. It was nice to get a glimpse into Tony’s world, especially as his lover never really talked about it much. When they had got up this morning, Elizabeth had made breakfast and they had all sat in the huge lounge, around the Christmas tree with the log fire burning, and opened their presents. Elizabeth, a woman in her fifties who treated Tony like he was her own son, had joined them at his request, joining in as they laughed and shared stories of Tony’s childhood. Margie’s pet dog, a ginger Pomeranian called Artie, had yapped and bounced around them, almost as excited about Christmas as a child. He had shredded discarded wrapping paper into confetti and nosed about into everything, but Margie didn’t mind. Tim hadn’t been sure what to expect- he had to admit that the house and obvious money that Margie came from intimidated him a little- but Margie was very down-to-earth.
He decided that he liked Margie. The woman had a genuine affection for Tony and it was clear that she was proud of him. Tony once told him that his dad had been disappointed when he had joined the police, but Margie had apparently been bragging to her friends about him for years. He liked that, liked the fact that Tony had at least one family member- and Elizabeth- on his side. His father hadn’t even bothered to come to Margie’s party when she had invited him, even after her telling him that Tony was here.
“’You doin’ OK, Timmy?” Tony’s voice asked, breaking him out of his thoughts. “You looked as though you were miles away.”
Tim smiled. “Fine; just thinking,” he told Tony.
Tony glanced about to make sure there weren’t too many people around and then slid his arms around Tim’s neck.
“Just being you,” Tony replied. “And for coming with me. It feels weird being back, but it’s better with you here.”
Tim moved his hands to Tony’s waist. “I wanted to come.”
“Well, I still appreciate it.” Tony reached into his pocket and held something up, grinning. “Mistletoe,” he said. “I thought it might come in handy.”
“As if you need an excuse,” Tim reprimanded, and kissed him. “Happy Christmas, Tony.”
Tony stroked his thumb idly over the nape of Tim’s neck. “Happy Christmas, Timmy.”
He kissed Tim again under the mistletoe, knowing that this would be their first Christmas in many.