“Really? Put your money where your mouth is, probie.” Tony was slightly pissed. This whole thing came up several times a year and he was sick of it. Stomping over to Delores, their human resource manager, Tony took the clipboard and scrawled his name.
Delores responded with what was evidently a question. Tony whispered in her ear and the entire squad room was treated to a sight never seen. Delores tittered. Many made the sign of the cross in the face of evident evil. Gibbs felt a chill up his back. Delores and Tony turned to McGee and twin evil grins made the onlookers shiver again. Without a word, Delores turned to her office and Tony the stairwell.
“What did you do, McGee?”
“Look, Gibbs, I know you and Tony…”
“Oh, no… This is not about Tony and I. This is about your supervisor, your and my senior field agent who left here with a look that would broil your liver. I support my SFA. It is your responsibility to tow the line. And for your information, that is not Tony’s “the coffee pot will be on the table in pieces after I spend all night taking it apart” look. You…” Gibbs poked his agent in the chest, “are in deep with DiNozzo and I will…not…save…you.”
“Gibbs, all I said was…”
“I don’t want to know.” He did but, Gibbs looked at the steps considering and decided the couch or dissected coffee port were just not worth it. “If DiNozzo comes back, I’m in MTAC.”
He met Leon at the top of the stairs. “Please tell me that it’s a domestic situation.” Wow, Leon thought as he pleaded. That felt so wrong.
“Nope.” Gibbs popped the “p” and shook his head. “McGee has been needling DiNozzo all week. I don’t know what burr is stuck in his tail. I warned him DiNozzo was reaching his limit.”
“What are he and Delores conspiring over?” Leon almost whimpered.
“Don’t know. Not asking.” Gibbs took a deep breath and helped himself to a cup of coffee. “Last time I got in between them, Tony took apart the coffee pot leaving little plastic and computer things on over the table and smashed the coffee cups with a tiny hammer which he left next to a big bottle of glue. I have to live with Tony. This is between my junior and senior field agents. Ergo, it is a matter of command. I have stated that I back my SFA. That fulfils my duty.”
The next two weeks Jethro walked on eggshells. He knew Tony was just waiting for him to step in it. Since he could work the latest coffeemaker, Jethro ignored the whispered phone calls. The quickly hidden packages. If his lover wanted him to know he would tell him. Gibbs was also on eggshells. McGee had evidently decided to dig his heels in. Wrong move, Jethro could have warned him. Gibbs ignored the frosty air. As long as they continued to function well, there was no need for him to step in. Thank heaven.
Finally, came the big holiday event. Abby had decided that a nice holiday charity talent event was necessary. Various agents were signed to juggle, play instruments, dance. Gibbs had bought tickets for him and Tony but there was no way that he was nearing the stage. Leon had been roped into emcee this year which made Gibbs wonder what Abby had on him. Usually Abby or Delores traded off during the show.
Gibbs and DiNozzo laughed their way through the first three-quarters of the acts and then DiNozzo excused himself to the restroom. Across the way he could see McGee smiling smugly looking at the program. He had also caught several black looks tossed the agents way by DiNozzo. Gibbs headed for the refreshments. Gibbs desperately filled two cups. Whatever was going on was coming to a head and he did not want to be anywhere close but his gut was telling him he was out of luck. As the lights dimmed, Gibbs worried over the seat next to him as Balboa’s team began juggling.
“Well, ladies and gentlemen,” Leon motioned the lights up but they stayed low. “I’m sure we agree it’s been another great show…”
Delores swayed on the stage giving McGee a smirk and handed Leon a folded paper. When he shook his head, she nodded firmly.
“Uh…I’m sorry, we appear to have a late act that didn’t make the program. Our next performer is singly a medly of Christmas music… Let’s welcome…” ” Leon unfolded a paper and whimpered. “No… please…”
The spotlight swung to the curtain as music began to play. From backstage, she emerged. The embodiment of Veronica Lake. Satiny blonde hair, a figure hugging gown slit up the side. She sashayed to the microphone stand and took hold of it like a lover, caressing it… A breathy voice silenced the crowd… “Santa, I’ve been… naughty…”
Gibbs felt the hot liquid on his leg, but ignored the squashed coffee cup. He focused on his lover’s sparkling eyes as he made love to the mike. His mind locked on the word “naughty” as Tony crooned it over and over. He sat there in dismay, as Tony moved to “Put the loot in the boot, Santa” then “Naughty would be nice for Christmas.” As the music stopped and then led to thunderous applause, Jethro tried to sigh in relief. He needed to stand up. He needed a drink. It didn’t last.
Tony breathed into the mike and licked his red lip-sticked lips. “Why is all that for little old me?” He batted his eyes flirtatiously. “Aren’t you so sweet? But, the man of the night is actually Agent McGee. Why, when I heard how much he wanted to see me? What could I do?”
Jethro though McGee looked sick. Tony smiled at the younger agent. “He offered to donate five hundred dollars to the children for just one little performance. I’m sure we all appreciate your generosity especially Delores and Abby who work so hard every year. Let’s a big hand for Agent McGee. Now, if you’ll indulge me. I’d like to sing one last little song for someone very special… to me.”
Tony motioned… “Santa baby, sleep a sable under the tree…”
The other coffee cup squashed. Sable. No problem. Convertible. What color? Here came Santa Claus. He needed that dress on the floor of his bedroom.