There was something inherently childlike about Tony as he ran around in the snow, flinging it every which way. Puppy-like was more accurate since he was in his wolf form. Jethro watched from the porch, sipping his hot cider and smiling indulgently at the playful antics.
“They get tired yet?”
Jethro looked over at Callen and shook his head. “Not yet. They’ll probably be out there for a while yet.”
Callen smiled faintly and looked out at where Marty, Eric and Tony were playing tag. Jethro could guess what he was thinking, that the three younger Shifters were going to be more than a little sore when they finished playing. Tony might be a good ten years older than the other two, but at heart he was a twelve year old kid who’d never had brothers to play with and they'd been out all afternoon.
Jethro clapped him on the shoulder and said, “Come on inside.”
It had been a long time since Jethro had been able to visit with someone who didn’t have a need to fill the silence. As much as he loved Tony, and Abby, and Ducky, and even Tim, they all talked incessantly. It was nice to have companionship without the chatter now and again.
Callen’s offer for a holiday retreat had been perfect timing, with all the insanity that had been going on at NCIS the last few months. He’d barely had to mention the offer to Tony before the other man had thrown his arms around Jethro in gratitude. They’d been at the cabin in the mountains for almost a week and spent the time just relaxing and being together. Tony wasn’t the only one to howl in pleasure in the dark of night, the echoes from the other bedroom striking a voyeuristic streak Jethro hadn’t known he’d had.
The morning had passed opening presents and eating far too many sweets and junk food until Jethro had reached his quota of noise and thrown the boys out to play.
“God, this is nice,” Callen said, a few minutes later.
Jethro chuckled. “Tony’s a talker, too.”
Callen laughed and said, “Deeks just does not shut up! And usually I don’t mind, but…”
“Peace and quiet is nice.”
“It really is.”
It still surprised Jethro a little that Callen had found himself a pack. The man had been lone wolf for a long damn time. He hadn’t been sure of how Callen would integrate into OSP, but it had settled him down, which had startled Jethro more than a little. Granted, Hetty Lang was a pretty strong alpha and if anyone could keep Callen in line, she'd be the one, but still. It was longest Callen had been one place probably in his life.
That he’d wound up with two mates, however, hadn’t surprised Jethro in the slightest. Callen was complicated like that. They’d tangled intimately a few times in the distant past and Jethro had discovered first time how voracious the younger Shifter’s appetites were and how quixotic. It wasn’t that he was fickle; Callen was as loyal as they came. It was more that he was distinctly non-traditional. If these two young Shifters satisfied him, then they were who he would keep as his mates and be damned to anyone who thought it was wrong.
Jethro occasionally wondered how Hetty didn’t end up with an ulcer, having Callen lead her team. Tea couldn’t be that calming.
He picked up the book he’d been idly reading the night before and started it up again. Every now and again he liked to read mystery novels for the amusement factor, but this guy Castle was pretty realistic in his newest series which made things really interesting. Callen watched something on the tablet that was lying around on the coffee table, but Jethro tuned out the tinny explosions and tire squealing easily as he read. It was nice to share space with someone and not have to worry about hurting his feelings for not paying attention to the unending conversation. Even though they’d been together several years, Tony still got insecure when Gibbs didn't pay him enough attention.
“We never would’ve worked, you know.”
Jethro looked up in surprise at Callen’s abrupt words. He quirked an eyebrow at the other man.
Callen grimaced a little and said, “Sorry. That was a little more random than I realized. I think Marty’s rubbing off on me.”
Jethro bit back the obvious lewd joke and smirked.
Callen rolled his eyes. “Funny. No, I was just thinking about my guys and how noisy it gets with them, especially together after a long day of imbibing caffeine in its various forms. Sometimes I really do want to muzzle them both, but…”
Jethro knew what he was trying to say. “Life would be boring without them.”
“Exactly. This, with you, it’s nice, but not what I want anymore. Not since being with them.”
“I know what you mean,” Jethro admitted. “Can’t imagine my life without him.”
Callen laughed softly and said, “We’d be a couple of grumpy old men without them.”
Jethro nodded and agree, “Old before our time.
“How does Hetty do it?” Callen wondered.
Jethro barked out a laugh. “I was wondering the same thing, but about her dealing you.”
Callen made a face at him, but the door burst open before he could retort and the other three man ran naked inside, shouting and still pelting snow at each other.
“Not in the house!” Jethro roared. He stood up and grabbed Tony by the back of the neck, aiming him towards the bedroom they were using.
Callen jumped to his feet, shouting, “Marty! Eric! Bedroom, now! Get in the shower before you freeze!”
It took a good half-hour for Jethro to calm Tony down. He bundled him up in clothes and settled him on the loveseat under some blankets. He handed his lover a large mug of hot chocolate dosed liberally with rum and then settled under the blankets with him. Jethro tugged him flush against him and tucked the blankets around him. Callen, Marty, and Eric were in a puppy-pile by the sofa, Eric held between the other two and just about buried under blankets and pillows.
Jethro kissed Tony on the top of his head and met Callen’s fond gaze, knowing they were on the exact same page. Life might get crazy and noisy, but there was no one else Jethro wanted to share his life with. He wouldn't trade this for all the peace and quiet in the world.