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Touching Destiny

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CBS Watch Magazine:

Indeed, when Harmon first met Weatherly, he investigated the younger actor's hands and commented on his lack of calluses, saying, " 'Not a lot of labor in your life, Weatherly,' "

Chapter One

He met his fate in a hospital in Baltimore. A Petty Officer had been raped and left for dead and Tony was getting nowhere. NCIS had been called in. He was aware of the agency but had never worked with them and he was a little nervous. This sort of thing always ended up in a huge pissing content and that wasn't gonna get any answers or justice.

This guy strode in all alone, probably early forties, salt and pepper hair, commanding air, and Tony found himself standing taller as the guy approached. Bart, his partner, scurried away like a little girl and Tony was left to face this guy and his overwhelming presence.

NCIS guy flipped his case open, displaying his badge and ID and Tony took it in with a practiced eye. For some reason he didn't understand, he reached out and shook the man's hand firmly.

"DiNozzo," Tony said by way of an introduction.

The man—Gibbs—turned Tony's hand over, studying it between sips of coffee. Tony stood perfectly still, little shockwaves of desire running through him though he tried like hell to remain impassive.

"Not a lot of labor in your life, DiNozzo."

Tony met his gaze levelly and shrugged. "I'm a cop. Enough labor on the job." And there was but he'd always taken care of his hands, even since the football days.

"Could have fooled me," Gibbs said, stroking a finger over Tony's palm. Tony's body had no business hardening like that. For this man, this stranger. Tony sucked in a breath, meeting brilliant blue eyes blazing with intelligence and passion. Was that passion for him or for answers to the crime?

Tony swallowed hard, very aware that there was something simmering between them, not knowing what it meant or how to proceed. Should he yank his hand away or play it off. He decided to do nothing, watching this Gibbs as he quirked an eyebrow, smirking.

"Good to meet you, DiNozzo. What have we got?"

Tony filled the man in on details of the case and they worked side-by-side trying to figure out the answers. The biggest shock was that Gibbs didn't push Tony aside and try to take over the crime scene. He actually consulted before commandeering the physical evidence and having it brought to DC. Tony didn't mind NCIS taking the lead on the evidence, their forensic lab wasn't backed up and it wasn't like Bart was even involved in the discussion. Tony knew how intimidated his partner was when Bart backed off, guarding the victim instead of doing any actual investigating. That was fine. He and Gibbs were making a damned solid team.

Tony didn't work really well with new people but this guy was different, there was a camaraderie between them that had begun with their first highly-charged moment and he relaxed into a banter he hadn't had often, going from slight teasing to passionate debate of theories.

Gibbs found himself charmed by this young detective. DiNozzo wasn't even like his partner, who shirked away. This young guy was whip smart with good instincts and a great read on people. He was also gorgeous and knew it. He reminded Gibbs a little of himself before time and his hurt had caused him to start looking inside and isolating himself from the world.

And with this cop, he didn't want to isolate. Gibbs had been working alone for a few months, since Langer went off to the FBI and Burley to an Agent Afloat assignment. He'd genuinely liked working with Burley and Langer had showed some promise, but he'd be a much better fit at the FBI. Gibbs knew it and he knew Langer knew it.

Gibbs had soundly rejected the revolving pile of files that appeared on his desk. Eager, young, by the books agents who would run him ragged chasing leads that didn't mean anything. He knew what he needed. He needed someone with street smarts. He needed someone just like DiNozzo.

Frank Balboa and Chris Pacci helped out on an as-needed basis but they were running down some cold case that had gotten hot again suddenly. Gibbs had been initially dreading this one—he didn't play well with others and had the disadvantage as one single agent—but then he'd met DiNozzo.

Baltimore was about sixty miles from his home, over forty from the Navy Yard, and snow was falling hard by the time Gibbs looked up, rubbing his eyes wearily. It was sometime in the evening when he came back to awareness and sighed, cracking his back. He'd been leaning over DiNozzo's desk in a hard plastic chair for far too many hours now.

"Ready to knock off for the night?" he asked. Gibbs had been on the case since oh seven hundred, which meant DiNozzo must have been putting in closer to eighteen hours. Deep purple crescents shadowed dark green eyes and DiNozzo's boundless energy was waning. But there was dogged determination in those eyes as well.

"Hey, it'll be here tomorrow. They'll call if Petty Officer Jarvis wakes up; my forensic tech has the evidence. We've conducted all the interviews. Need to take a break, DiNozzo. Come back to it with a clear head in the morning."

He saw the glimmer of hope in the young man's eyes and knew his breathing was speeding up fractionally. There was something about DiNozzo…

"Yeah, okay." DiNozzo drummed his hands on his desk for a minute before standing and stretching, his back cracking loudly. Gibbs couldn't help smirking. He fell into step with DiNozzo, noting how the other man walked him to his car.

"I can take care of myself," he said mildly, laying off the sarcasm he would have used with any other cop.

"I know that, but this is a rough area, force of habit. Where are you staying?"

Gibbs consulted his watch. Twenty-one hundred. In this weather he sure as hell wasn't going home. There'd be no point. "No idea. Have any suggestions?"

DiNozzo's smile brightened up the night. "How about my apartment? I have a spare room with a barely slept in bed and if there's a lot of accumulation, we can take one car in."

It was too innocent to be a come on, but Gibbs natural instincts were taking over, his desire rising. He looked at his car in the secure visitor's parking lot. It was buried in a couple inches of white stuff and that made his decision for him. He jogged over, taking out a small overnight bag from the trunk. "Where ya parked, DiNozzo? You have a coffeemaker?"

There was some sort of gleam in Gibbs' eye that made Tony wonder if he was being hunted. He supposed the invitation had sounded like a proposition even if he meant it as anything but. If he stumbled through an apology, it would make things even worse, so he kept his mouth shut, knowing that a blush was coloring his cheeks even darker than exposure to the cold weather.

He breathed deeply and nodded as the man asked if he had a coffeemaker. Strange question, but Gibbs was hard to read anyway. He motioned them over to his winter car, a '98 Toyota Land Cruiser that he'd gotten at a police auction for a song. His vette was awful on winter roads.

"Nice. Man's car. Not one of those sporty little buzzboxes."

Tony winced but stayed silent, driving slowly through the snow-clogged streets until they came to his place. It was in a refurbished mill, trendy but still kind of rustic. He watched Gibbs' expression out of the corner of one eye, but it didn't seem like the man was particularly impressed.

"You hungry?" Tony asked, leading them up the stairs. They'd wolfed down hot dogs for lunch but otherwise had been surviving on coffee and adrenaline.

"Yeah," Gibbs replied.

"You like Italian?"

"Depends on the Italian," Gibbs said and Tony heard the sensual promise in that voice. He was in so much trouble and damn if his body didn't know it.

"Pasta, Gibbs. Clear, white or red sauce." He tried to keep his voice steady.

Gibbs chuckled low. "Whatever you're ordering in, I'm eating, DiNozzo."

"Cooking is faster. I have some pasta sauce in the fridge and can make some noodles."

When he turned to look at Gibbs, the other man gave him an appraising look. "You sure? Been a long day."

"Yeah, I'm sure. Cooking de-stresses me." He unlocked his door and motioned Gibbs in first. The older man looked around, eyes widening at the huge TV and DVD player, the movie posters on the walls.

Tony came up close behind Gibbs, breathing in an interesting scent of the outdoors and coffee with maybe a little something else. "The second bedroom is there," he said, gesturing. "Bathroom is between the two bedrooms if you want to shower or something. Want to borrow some sweats and a T-shirt?"

"I'm good," Gibbs replied, running a hand over his jaw. "Shower sounds okay, though."

Tony nodded. "You shower. I'll start warming up the sauce and get the pasta started. You a wine drinker?"

Gibbs' crooked smile made Tony melt a little inside. "Depends on the wine."

"It'll be good stuff. Red sauce, red wine. Salad. Good for you?"

"Great." Gibbs gave him a smile. "Better than fast food. Thanks, DiNozzo."

"My pleasure," Tony said and he meant it.

Gibbs disappeared into the second bedroom, putting his small suitcase on the bed and opening it. A shower might help him to get his head on straight. He carefully laid down a new undershirt and a polo shirt for tomorrow as well as a basic pair of knit boxers. This ritual relaxed him, gave him a bit of normality in this room that was completely unlike him.

The bed was huge, covered with a dark green comforter and throw pillows. Gibbs hadn't seen throw pillows since he and Stephanie had broken up. There was what appeared to be higher end artwork on the walls. This was a classy place for a single detective, but Gibbs' gut wasn't telling him this cop was crooked. He had that look where he might have come from money.

Gibbs withdrew a T-shirt and a pair of pajama pants, then snagged his toiletry kit before walking into the bathroom and turning on the shower. He glanced at the items next to the sink. Electric razor, expensive cologne, hand lotion—that explained a lot. And tucked behind all of those almost out of sight was a bottle of lube. Gibbs grunted, his hand going for the cologne. He opened it, breathing in the scent. It was woodsy and spicy and despite it being a cologne, it smelled masculine. It had been what the younger man was wearing all day and a scent Gibbs already associated with DiNozzo.

Gibbs put the cologne back carefully and stripped off, trying to ignore his hardening cock. He'd been keyed up all day, the younger man's presence starting a slow burn that refused to be denied. Gibbs didn't know if anything would happen tonight and the temptation to jack off was high.

He stepped under the spray, letting the hot water pummel his aching shoulders and back. The soap dish was empty, but he located some shower gel, the same scent as the cologne. With a frustrated groan, he waffled for a second between using that and shampoo to wash off. He finally squirted a blob of the gel mid chest, his hands massaging the liquid and transforming it into bubbles.

As the bubbles drifted down his body, the water sensitized his skin more and Gibbs reached down, giving himself a squeeze. The pressure and ache was a familiar one to him and he took himself in a fist and started stroking slowly, intending to give himself pleasure instead of just getting himself off.

Tony breathed deeply, the knots in his shoulders finally easing, It was nice having another guy in his apartment rather than a woman. Felt like he was entertaining a frat brother, though he'd bet Gibbs was military rather than a college guy. Tony puttered around the kitchen, starting water boiling and turning the microwave on to warm the sauce. He'd made the sauce over the weekend and found it tasted better when the flavors matured together. He had bagged salad greens and a couple of bottles of wine were always chilling so they were set for dinner. Heck, if Gibbs was a dessert guy there was a frozen apple pie he could always microwave.

Until the pasta water boiled, he had a break and he ducked into the bedroom, grabbing a T-shirt and a pair of sweats. As a matter of routine, Tony ducked into the bathroom before he thought about it, dropping his pants and boxers just as the sound of running water hit him.

He looked up, his pants pooled around his ankles, and gasped. Gibbs was silhouetted by the clear shower glass, a hand wrapped around a very hard cock, surprised expression on his face. Gibbs froze, his eyes running down Tony's body where his own cock bobbed proudly.

"I am so fucked," he muttered.

Chapter Text

Chapter Two

Gibbs had been divorced three times, this wasn't the first time he'd been caught with his hand on his dick, but it was the first time in a lot of years that a guy had walked in on him. Probably since as far back as the Marines.

And this guy was a specimen. Late twenties with those big green eyes and that lush lower lip that he wanted to drag his cock over. A model handsome guy with a tightly muscled body and… Gibbs let his eyes slide down Tony's body, snagging on the hard cock DiNozzo displayed, realizing the other man might be too shocked to realize what he was showing off. Gibbs wasn't above taking advantage of a situation and this one was presenting itself in Technicolor.

Gibbs angled his body slightly, leaning against the glass and taking a really long look, the hot water pummeling his back and increasing the tingles running up and down his spine. DiNozzo couldn't be aware of his body language but Gibbs was, taking in the way the younger man's hips pushed out minutely, back arching. He was displaying himself; he was expressing his interest. Gibbs responded by stroking himself slowly a few times, his own hips thrusting outward until his cock was trapped against the glass. If Tony wasn't gay, he was bi, and that meant he was Gibbs' for the taking.

The shower glass was cooler than the rest of the cubicle, pressing firmly against his balls, driving his cock upward against his stomach. It was as much friction as Gibbs could handle right now but even though he was warning himself, he rubbed over the smooth surface, stimulating himself, hand tracing over his cock head, legs straining to thrust against the glass despite the threat of pull and drag.

DiNozzo's face had reddened and it was one long moment, green eyes flicking down to Gibbs' cock before meeting his eyes again. DiNozzo seemed to remember he was holding clothes all of a sudden and he grabbed his sweats, holding them in front of him in a purely defensive motion that didn't hide his hard cock. Thank God. Gibbs didn't want that cock covered. Not yet.

"Tony?" Gibbs said softly, resting one of his hands on the glass, hips still moving, cock still rubbing against the glass. He didn't have to worry about drag, he was leaking enough to liberally lubricate himself and the water was hitting his shoulders and back rather than his chest. There was no chance of his pre-cum being washed away. "Come shower with me." Gibbs was aware his voice was pure sexual need. Wasn't the first time he'd used it to gain advantage.

Tony let out a shocked laugh, shaking his head, coloring deeply. "We…the food." He sucked in a breath and let out a tiny sound of need, his hips pumping outward fully, cock completely erect and straining. The entire bathroom was steamy and smelled of male musk and need.

"The food can wait," Gibbs replied, panting a little, back arching, knees flexing. The pressure on his balls was incredible, a lot of pleasure and a little pain that was driving him relentlessly higher. But Tony was getting skittish, the reality of the situation kicking in and Gibbs knew he had to pull back.

Tony shook his head again even though he couldn't tear his eyes away. He worried his lower lip, then licked it nervously, fisting the sweatpants. "Later…maybe? But I….not yet. Not now. Shocked. Thought I was imagining it, Gibbs…"

"You didn't imagine a damn thing," Gibbs in that same quiet voice, finally stilling his hips and exerting every bit of restraint he possessed. He reached behind him, turning the water off, and stepped out of the shower. Tony's eyes slid down his body slowly, appraisingly and Gibbs smiled as he moved closer, aching dick leading the way.

"Not imagining a thing," he repeated. Now that he was in touching distance to the younger man, his cock throbbed even more urgently, pre-cum leaking out the tip. "If you need to wait, we wait. I can be patient." There was no way his cock was going to be denied and they both knew it. Before the night ended he was going to be buried in Tony's mouth at the very least.

"But you…you're… I mean, look at you…You're not…You can't be…" Tony stopped sputtering and ran a shaking hand through his hair, the sweatpants falling to the ground and his teeth working his lower lip again.

Gibbs stepped closer, biting off a groan as their cocks brushed together, a teasing stroke that was only the prelude to what was to come. He ran his thumb over Tony's lower lip. "Don't bite it, okay? Leave that for me."

Tony sucked in a deep breath and nodded. His lower body was shaking, he clearly wanted more cock to cock contact, those green eyes going hazy before DiNozzo's focus sharpened. "Okay. Good." Gibbs' hand came up and he squeezed a hard bicep. "I'm gonna get dressed in the bedroom. You set the timeline and the pace, you get comfortable with this. 'Cause this is happening, Tony. We both need each other."

Tony could only nod as the charismatic older man took his clothes and a towel and disappeared into the bedroom. "So fucked, so completely fucked. DiNozzo, you are so damn fucked," he repeated, trying to calm down.

It had taken all his self-control and effort to not just sink to his knees and suck Gibbs' cock down deep. He dragged his thumb over the wet side of his cock, where Gibbs had left a trail. Tony couldn't resist tasting it, his mouth closing over his thumb. Sweet, so damn sweet and spicy and elementally male. Tony's cock throbbed with every heartbeat and he sucked his thumb, savoring the taste, plunging it in and out, wishing it was Gibbs' dick.

Gibbs wasn't like anyone he'd ever met before, the other man's power and sex appeal its own drug. Tony hadn't been turned on by a guy in years and yet one glance at Gibbs and he was hard and ready to beg for it. Hell, he'd almost begged for it from a fellow cop, a Navy cop no less. If Gibbs had so much as crooked a finger before he got control, Tony would have been on his knees, sucking him right down to the root. Swallowing every drop.

Navy cop, military, LEO, whatever Tony wanted to categorize him as, he knew Gibbs hadn't been protesting. God, that thing he'd done where he was rubbing his hard-on over the glass was one of the hottest things Tony'd seen. He wished Gibbs had cum, spraying the shower and himself, making that sound he had when their cocks had touched. Tony had never been with an older guy and this one was alpha and commanding and self-assured and had control to spare. Whatever happened, this was gonna be one hell of a ride.

The intensity and need unnerved him. They needed to slow this down and figure out the consequences, their careers could be at stake. Tony swallowed hard, pulling the sweatpants on over his leaking cock. He'd reestablish control, this was his house and he wasn't a red-faced virgin or a horny teenaged boy. He was a cop, an adult male no longer driven solely by a testosterone storm and hard dick.

He pulled in a couple of deep breaths and adjusting himself, stroking up and down three times through his sweats. He didn't dare go for skin-to-skin contact right now. Tony could blow here and now but he wouldn't. He'd burn. He'd wait for it. Tony knew that was something the other man would respect without quite knowing how he knew that. This was a guy who appreciated someone with enormous self-control. If he was impulsive he wouldn't be taken seriously and Tony hungered for Gibbs' respect, though he hadn't worked out why yet.

It took a few minutes before Tony felt ready to step out of the bathroom and when he did, he found Gibbs at the stove. The water for pasta was boiling, a box of linguini sitting out and ready. A bag of salad greens was sitting on a cutting board and the microwave was whirring.

Since everything seemed to be well in hand, he stood and regarded the man for a few stolen moments, hoping he wasn't being observed. Gibbs' back was to him and Tony drank in the other man. A charcoal colored T-shirt clung to the man's muscular back and loose knit pajama pants emphasized the long legs. Gibbs was leanly muscular and he was in great shape, biceps testifying to that fact as well as the broad shoulders underneath the cotton T.

The hair was short and military cropped, a little salt and a lot of pepper. That neck was tanned and exposed well above the collar. Gibbs was a military guy, probably career military. And for the life of him, Tony didn't understand how this guy was so open with his sexuality. In their career field. It should have been professional suicide but Gibbs didn't seem worried. In fact, in the shower he'd just seemed to take this as a challenge. Tony got the idea that Gibbs always played to win, and losing was a rarity.

He could have stared at the man's perfect posture and military bearing for hours. Tony's former schooling had instilled a huge dollop of respect for military men. This one had to be a Marine with that haircut. It should have looked ridiculous, but somehow it suited Gibbs. Tony'd never been with anyone so straitlaced, but then again, the man humping the glass in his shower only looked conservative at the precinct. There was a hot-blooded sex machine under there and Tony had the distinct impression that he was gonna get up close and personal with it.

"Thanks for getting this started," Tony said quietly announcing his presence and Gibbs turned to look at him, a knowing little smile playing over his lips. This was one guy who was cool under pressure.

Gibbs shrugged in reply, the smile becoming more broad but still completely knowing and smug. "I'm hungry. Food's not gonna cook itself. You can sit down and I'll handle this."

"Gibbs, it's my house, I'm fine." Tony came closer, reaching around the other man.

Gibbs let out a low laugh and backed up a step, pressing against Tony's hard cock. "Yeah…"

"Yeah, what?" Tony asked, a little annoyed. It was galling to have the tables turned so thoroughly. This man was the master of manipulating a situation. Tony wanted to see him interrogating a suspect and actively chasing down clues. He bet Gibbs was as good on the job as he was here.

"Settle down," Gibbs retorted. "Just taking a little advantage. I'm human." He shrugged and Tony knew the older man was completely unrepentant.

"You always play with your food?" Tony couldn't resist asking.

"Only when it looks as good as you."

Chapter Text

Chapter Three

Gibbs turned around, smirking at Tony, before he spoke again. "Like I said, I only play with my food when it looks as good as you do."

"Yeah, well I'm not on the menu." Maybe he was, maybe he wasn't, but there was no way he was gonna be this easy, he wasn't gonna give Gibbs every advantage. The man was far too assertive already. This was Tony's turf and somehow he had to establish dominance. He knew that holding out would be a lesson in self control, but knew he could do it, even against such a worthy opponent as Gibbs.

"You will be," Gibbs said, self assurance oozing out of every pore.

"You're so sure of that?" Tony shot back. "You're taking lots of chances here, Gibbs. I could destroy you."

Tony didn't know how it happened, had no time to react as he was driven against the wall, Gibbs' forearm against his throat and his leg between Tony's so that his knee was resting against the wall, Tony's ass riding it. He could thrust forward and grind against Gibbs' thigh, but that'd cut his air off.

His eyes flew open wider and he pulled in air, the arm restraining him exerting just enough pressure to panic him. Tony forced his nervousness down. A fellow cop wouldn't kill him, would he? Tony knew he was way out of his element here and a frisson of fear snaked up his spine.

Those eyes had been burning blue fire but now they were cold as ice. Even though Tony was intimidated as all hell, a bigger part of him was turned on. His hips fought to thrust against the muscular thigh, his cock largely unrestrained by the sweats. And harder than he'd ever been.

"You wouldn't," Gibbs growled low. "Because you want to ride my cock, Tony. You want me just as much as I want you. In destroying me you'd destroy yourself. And you're not gonna do that." Gibbs leaned in, taking his free hand and pulling Tony's head to the side firmly. He moved in closer, his mouth working Tony's pulse point, teeth scraping deliciously around and around over-sensitized skin, The arm pinning Tony's upper body, released him and Tony sagged against Gibbs.

"Know you're not ready yet," the other man whispered against Tony's throat. "Been a long time for me…and I want you." There was a hitch in Gibbs' voice that made Tony squirm and writhe against the other man, all self-control gone. He wanted to hear that tone again just for him. He needed it.

His thighs gripped Gibbs and he began thrusting, the friction on his balls hot, almost painful. His hands came up, burying themselves in Gibbs' short dark hair, urging him to continue to work his neck.

"You're not ready yet," Gibbs remarked again, a reminder Tony didn't want to hear. "But when you are, I'm not gonna let you come in your pants. It'll be in my mouth, or my hand. You understand me?"

Tony didn't answer, moving faster. He was so damn turned on. Then Gibbs pulled away and he stumbled to his feet, confused.

"You stopped. Why?" He was only aware he'd been sucking on his lower lip when Gibbs stroked over it with a thumb.

"Because it's not time. You're not ready yet," Gibbs said, those eyes burning again. "You say the word and mean it, and we continue. But right now, dinner."

Tony blinked a few times, nodding. Where the hell had his resolve and self-control gone? Hadn't he sworn to himself that he was gonna take charge, take control? And he'd been humping Gibbs' leg like a damn dog after a bitch.

Tony watched as Gibbs went back to the stove, acting as if he owned the place. He wasn't sure why he was letting this stranger have the run of his apartment, but it felt comfortable, it felt okay. He watched as Gibbs pulled the bowl of sauce out of the microwave and stirred it, sprinkling a little salt in before turning the microwave back on.

"Sit down, Tony. Relax."

"Gibbs this is my place. I invited you over."

"Yeah and I haven't been a good guest so let me make it up to you. What do you have to drink?"

Tony opened the fridge. "Beer, soda, juice, water. Have some wine but it is cheap Italian table wine stuff."

"Beer?" Gibbs' expression perked. "None of that fancy stuff with the stupid names, like Spotted Lizard or Green Fawn is it? That isn't real beer."

Tony chuckled, shaking his head. "Got some Sam Adams, that too fancy?"

Gibbs shook his head. "Sam Adams is fine. Wanna get a couple while I get this started?"

Gibbs couldn't help himself, watching as Tony bent over to get the beer. The Baltimore cop had an incredible body and he knew it. He wanted to cup that ass in his hands, grind against it, spread the cheeks and slide home. And that little bit of cocky arrogance reminded Gibbs of himself before the job had worn so heavily on him. Maybe he needed this affair, this guy, to recenter him. The divorce from Stephanie had been hard, much tougher than he'd expected. She had been the one cheating and yet she was heartbroken when he'd decided to call things off.

The months of tears, drunken phone calls, and sadly pathetic threats, declarations of love, her begging him to come back. He hadn't realized how much they'd affected him. Now that he had this connection with someone else, Gibbs felt almost uncharacteristically young and carefree. He never conducted himself like this. He was a hell of a lot more guarded with everyone in his life. Why this man at this time…that was the mystery.

He busied himself stirring the linguini into the boiling water and then searching for and finding bowls for the salad greens. DiNozzo didn't seem to have many more vegetables than a tomato and onion lying around, but Gibbs cut those up as DiNozzo opened the bottles of beer. One was slipped into his hand and he nodded his thanks, drinking deeply.

"Dressing?" he asked after downing most of the beer. "Hope you have more in there?"

"Don't worry," DiNozzo replied with a smirk. "Got ya covered." He handed the bleu cheese to Gibbs and Gibbs nodded slightly, smiling, wishing he could kiss that little smile right off DiNozzo's face. Patience…he had to somehow locate his famous patience, which seemed to be on permanent vacation.

"Hey, DiNozzo," he asked casually, pouring liberal amounts of dressing on the salads. "You involved with anyone?" He flicked his gaze over to the other man when Tony snorted.

"With my hours? Yeah right. Outside of the casual hookup, hell no."

"Men or women?' Gibbs asked, even though he was pretty sure he knew.

"Women," DiNozzo confirmed. "You?"

"Women too. Divorced about seven months ago. Guys a steady thing for you or just every so often?" Gibbs hated doing this dance but he knew he had to. This wasn't just a one-night stand or a casual hookup as DiNozzo put it. Gibbs wanted Tony. Before Tony could answer, he went on. "Guys…yeah sometimes. Not many. But you're different. There's something about you."

"Yeah, my smile," DiNozzo shot back and Gibbs grinned. It was something he could imagine himself saying before the job had changed him.

"Your spirit," Gibbs replied utterly seriously. 'Something about you that is more than words or looks or your hard body and hard dick. I want you."

When Gibbs spoke again, that hitch in his voice, Tony shivered. He knew exactly what Gibbs was talking about and somehow it seemed that Gibbs knew things there was no way he could, how Tony needed to be needed, how Tony longed to be wanted. How Tony had been dying for a mentor since Chief had retired in Peoria.

Though he was thinking distinctly un-mentorlike thoughts about Gibbs. He'd been damn close to climax when he'd been riding Gibbs' thigh. And even now he knew this was going to end up in bed, which was a place he'd never been with a mentor before. Not that he was complaining.

"Like being wanted," Tony said, trying to be casual. "But you're right, we're rushing it." He regarded Gibbs with a gentle smile. "The hours a marriage killer for you?"

"More than that," Gibbs said with a sigh. Tony read sadness and a little regret in the other man's gaze and moved to squeeze his arm but Gibbs recovered almost immediately, giving Tony a disarming ironic smile.

"She's happier now, engaged. Wasn't forever. I'm okay, DiNozzo."

Tony was silent until Gibbs had drained the pasta and tossed it with the sauce, placing it and their salads on the table. They worked side by side, getting the silverware out, placing napkins on the table, getting a couple more beers ready.

After Tony had shaved some romano cheese onto the steaming bowl of pasta, he dared to speak again, watching Gibbs eat before he took his own first bite. "You play to win, don't you, Gibbs."

Gibbs nodded, those blue eyes darkening and turning electric. "I'm the hunter and you're the prey. You're going to need to learn to submit."

For the second time that night, Tony found himself muttering, "I am so fucked."

"Will be," Gibbs agreed.

Chapter Text

Chapter Four

Tony sat across from Gibbs silently, eyeing the other man. The confident arrogance, the assurance that he was going to get his way, grated. Tony might not be the alpha male Gibbs seemed to be, but he wasn't a wimp, ready to bare his throat and belly for the great big hunter either. And it was time Gibbs realized that, before things got any more heated.

"Have any more theories?" Tony ventured, twirling pasta on a fork.

"No work talk. We had a long day. Need to unwind."

At least Gibbs seemed to have realized that they needed to back off the innuendoes for a little bit. And even though Gibbs was quiet, he had to be a decent conversationalist.

"You watch many movies? This reminds me of The Presidio. Ever seen it? Sean Connery, Meg Ryan, Mark Harmon…" When Gibbs shook his head, Tony continued. "Well, there was this murder of an MP on an Army base in San Francisco and this cop, played by Mark Harmon. He's pretty much a TV star in like night time soaps and hospital shows, but he holds his own. Anyway he jumps in to try to find answers and he ends up in a battle of wills with this Army guy, played by Sean Connery, you know, the best Bond ever, and…"

"Battle of wills?" Gibbs replied, drawing the words out, making it a sexual promise.

"Well, yeah, and the cop is involved with the Army guy's daughter, played by Meg Ryan. Hot Meg Ryan from Sleepless in Seattle, not Meg Ryan with the botched up plastic surgery. And…"

"DiNozzo, NCIS stands for Naval Criminal Investigative Service. We're not Army, we're not even military."

"You're not? I mean, I guess I assumed because you don't wear a uniform but…you're civilian?"

"Pretty much," Gibbs said with a nod. "We answer to SecNav. Secretary of the Navy and we're housed on the Navy Yard in DC but we've been civilian for a while now."

"Oh," Tony replied, temporarily lost for words. While he was mulling over what to say, he shoveled more food in his mouth.

"And I don't have a daughter," Gibbs added. A flash of something darkened Gibbs' eyes and Tony realized there was a story there. "Bet the Army guy wasn't interested in the cop."

"No," Tony allowed after swallowing. "But that would have been kinda hot. They were both sexiest men alive, ya know. And…" He looked up to see Gibbs smirking at him. "Why do you have to make everything be about sex?" He meant it to come out confident and self-assured but instead Tony heard a petulant whine in his tone and he winced inwardly.

"Not doing anything we don't want," Gibbs replied. Nothing seemed to shake him or even rattle his foundation.

"Well, like you said, I'm not ready. And you keep pushing it. Gibbs, I don't know if 'don't ask, don't tell' is a part of your life, but here if my partner knew I was bisexual, it'd get my ass kicked at the least and it might end up with my death in the line of duty."

Gibbs' lips turned up in a slight smirk. "Too nice an ass to kick." He took a long swallow of beer before he answered. "Nobody knows about me. Plan on keeping it that way. Same with you."

It wasn't a question; it was a statement. "Did you research me before you came up here?" Nobody could be that good at reading people. Gibbs had to have had some details on him.

"Nope, just got your name and badge number. No time, DiNozzo. Lone wolf here." Tony knew that wasn't quite true, that Gibbs had been in touch with people in DC and there was that forensic tech he'd sent stuff to.

"No partner?" Tony asked carefully. He knew Gibbs came up alone but there could be a partner who was off for the day or something.

"Nope. My last one couldn't hack the stress and applied for an agent afloat position. That was two months ago." He gave Tony an appraising look and Tony tried not to squirm. "My director and I have an agreement. I get results, he lets me hand pick my own team." He paused for a long moment and Tony chewed thoughtfully, watching this complex man.

"You ever want to join the feds, I could use a streetwise, sharp guy like you on my team." Tony started to protest and Gibbs put up a hand. "I know, you're comfortable here. But you won't be forever. Seen it before. If they aren't smart enough to use you to the best advantage or if you get sick of having a partner who leaves ya high and dry, you call me. Offer is on the table, DiNozzo."

Tony rocked back in his seat, just staring at Gibbs. His was a life where he'd been defined by his abilities and not his career. And yet this guy, after having known him all of a dozen hours was offering him a job? That wasn't the way it worked for Tony DiNozzo.

"Why? Because you want to have sex with me?"

"No!" Gibbs slapped a hand on the table so hard that Tony jumped. "Because I saw how your partner ignores you, how your captain treats you. Because you're being wasted here. You're a damn good cop. Not many can keep up with me."

Tony couldn't help smiling at the praise. "You think I'm good?"

"Damn good," Gibbs replied, locking his gaze on Tony's. "Someone I'd want on my team."

Tony shifted in his seat a few times before he looked away. While it was flattering and all, he'd been in Peoria, Philly, and now here. If he left Baltimore so early, it would be another black mark on his personnel file. No matter what his captain said about him, his next employer would have questions. He had to stick it out here at least five years before he thought about moving.

"I'll think about it. But not right now. Can't afford to move…"

"Can't afford to stay, either, with a partner who isn't on your six." Tony knew he must have looked confused because Gibbs gave him an annoyed look and rolled his eyes. "Watching your back, DiNozzo. Bart Madison isn't doing it. You saw how he turned over the investigation to you and me."

Bart was a schmuck but Tony opened his mouth to protest. Next thing he knew, Gibbs had stood and come around the table in one motion and was covering his mouth. "Loyalty is earned. Rule twenty eight."

Tony tried to mumble around the hand covering his mouth, but he couldn't. Instead he darted his tongue out to lick one of the big blunt fingers. Gibbs' grip immediately released and Tony watched that hand dip into his plate of food, swirling around in the sauce before returning to his mouth.

He looked up at Gibbs, who was dominant in every way. The man was almost too close, not only invading but commanding Tony's personal space, blue eyes glittering. Yeah, as Gibbs had said, he was the predator and Tony was the prey. No use denying it. He closed his eyes, breathing in the scents of pre-cum, very aroused male, and the food. The combination—or maybe just Gibbs himself—made Tony's senses reel. Not to mention his cock throbbing, aching.

"Take it," Gibbs rasped, free hand coming up to cup the back of Tony's head. "Taste it."

Tony's eyes flickered down to Gibbs crotch, that monster of a cock outlined by the soft knit pajama pants. He wanted to surrender, but he had to hold on to what control he had. This was his house. He should have been dictating the situation rather than Gibbs."

"No," he said, tearing his gaze away from Gibbs' crotch.

"Taste it," Gibbs repeated, his voice sliding into a low register. That voice was pure sex.

"No," Tony whispered.

"I said taste it." Gibbs' voice was a whisper now, controlled, but only barely. Tony's eyes flickered up to Gibbs' face just as the man's hand tightened in his hair, still gentle but with the promise of deeper intensity.

Tony waited almost a minute before he opened his lips, allowing Gibbs' finger to glide over his tongue. Gibbs' free hand released Tony's hair and ran down his chest, a fingertip tracing over Tony's throbbing cock and that was it. He was lost. He belonged to Gibbs for as long as Gibbs wanted him.

"Mine," Gibbs whispered as if he knew exactly what Tony was thinking. He removed his finger from Tony's mouth and just looked down at him.

"Yours."

Chapter Text

Chapter Five

They stared at each other for a full minute, Tony's eyes boring into Gibbs', the most assertive gesture he could manage under the onslaught of the other man's command and control. Tony could believe that Gibbs had been a leader in both military and civilian lives. When his voice alone had Tony saying things he never though he'd utter to a man or a woman.

"Mine too," Tony finally stated, his voice more squeak than command.

Gibbs cocked his head, arching an eyebrow but didn't say a word. Tony held out for maybe twenty seconds before he was compelled to speak, to break the silence. "You're mine," Tony said. "Two way street here, Gibbs."

Gibbs just continued to watch him and Tony refused to break that gaze, knowing that if he did, the other man would have less respect for him. And for some reason, Gibbs' respect meant the world to Tony. More than his captain, more than Bart, more than his girlfriends. Tony wanted and needed this man to respect him.

"Yours," Gibbs said finally, a small smile playing over his features. "Don't know what you're diving into, DiNozzo."

"What? The pool is much shallower than I expected."

At that, Gibbs let out a laugh, mussing Tony's hair before he went back to his seat. Tony breathed a sigh of relief. The nearness was getting to him, completely overwhelming him. "Much, much deeper."

"Good, I like a challenge." Tony licked his lips and dug back in to his food, twirling more pasta on a fork. "Life is no fun if you're bored, Gibbs."

Gibbs picked up his own fork again, giving Tony a pensive look. "Don't think being with you will ever be boring," he remarked before he, too, resumed eating.

Tony smirked at that. Everyone in his life underestimated him, considered him to be simple and uncomplicated when the opposite was true. He wore masks as necessary in a law enforcement position, but his high standards had always allowed for the hope that someone would look past them, that someone would consider the man behind the frat boy. When people didn't, the disappointment cut deep and that was one of the main reasons he'd left his former positions. Tony desperately wanted respect, and his superiors kept letting him down.

"Got a lot on your mind, Tony?" Gibbs' voice broke into his thoughts, and Tony flushed, looking up from his plate to meet those brilliant blue eyes staring into his.

"What makes you think that?" Tony asked carefully. He was always so sure around social situations, but this man left him completely off kilter.

"Your eyes darken when you're deep in thought," Gibbs replied, a serious tone in his voice rather than the teasing flirtation or sexually laced intensity of earlier. "When you get introspective, they darken a whole shade."

Tony didn't want to be pegged by anyone, especially not a future lover. "What are you, a profiler?" he shot back in annoyance. "Or are you just so focused on getting me in your bed that you're trying to shrink me to keep me off balance?"

Tony knew he'd gone too far when a wall came down behind Gibbs' eyes. The other man's body language remained the same, but those eyes were ice instead of passion now.

"Well, if that's what you think…" Gibbs said in a completely expressionless voice, eating slowly and methodically now. Tony realized Gibbs wasn't going to make eye contact and sighed inwardly.

So much for getting some…

Tony winced at the road his thoughts and mouth had taken. He didn't really think that Gibbs was so manipulative, but he was sick and tired of being off balance, of this other man dominating his personal space and wrenching out his emotions that he'd pushed back, hard.

Maybe he could save this. "No," Tony said softly. "I don't think that. Was trying to provoke."

"Why?" Gibbs asked, meeting his eyes again, this time in curiosity.

"Because I'm used to being the guy in control. I'm not used to someone pushing all my buttons. I'm not used to being…"

"Prey," Gibbs finished for him.

"Prey?" Tony echoed before he nodded. "Yeah, I guess."

"Think maybe you need to be shaken up?" Gibbs asked the question casually, but Tony knew there was deeper intent behind the words. "Think maybe you need to be dragged out of your comfort zone?"

"Hadn't." And it wasn't something Tony was comfortable with.

"You're a damned talented guy spinning your wheels here, Tony. I'm gonna shake things up, but I guarantee you'll be a better man because of it. In and out of bed."

That said, Gibbs turned his attention back to his food, leaving Tony to watch him.

It was a delicate dance, this seduction. Gibbs knew that he'd come on way too strong initially, his need and predator instincts taking hold over common sense. And just now, with the sauce and Tony's mouth wrapped around his finger…. He could have taken the man then and there. It was only the way Tony moved closer and then pulled back that made Gibbs control himself. He could tell that despite Tony's need there was still reluctance that went beyond nervousness and anticipation.

And despite how hard he was, Gibbs knew he had to set the other man's mind at ease. He studied his food, eating methodically as he pondered his next move. Tony clearly needed an authority figure that understood and trusted him; it would be very bad if Gibbs rejected him or gave him that perception. But he also knew that pushing Tony to have sex right now could damage what he wanted to be a more permanent arrangement.

"Tony, much as we want each other, we don't have to do this tonight," he said, pure regret in his voice. "It can wait until tomorrow, or a few days…"

Tony looked at him and a flash of relief and gratitude shone in the depths of his eyes before he masked it. "I know," Tony replied, but he sounded uncertain.

"You want me. I want you. What harm will a couple of days make? I don't mind waiting so that I know you're comfortable when it happens."

"It will happen?" Tony asked, a casual question that Gibbs knew held a much deeper meaning.

"Yeah, it'll happen."

Gibbs finished eating the meal, collecting the plates and rinsing them off. Tony joined him after a few minutes, and they worked together in silence, washing and drying the pot and dishes. When they were done, Tony gestured toward the living room. "I'll bring the beer; you find a game or something. We're both too keyed up to get to sleep yet."

"What time does your shift start?"

"Nine. I usually get in about seven thirty."

Gibbs nodded. So far, all of his pre-conceived notions about DiNozzo were coming true. He drifted into the living room, eyeing the comfortable, overstuffed couch and the TV and entertainment center overflowing with DVDs. He didn't want to monkey with confusing remotes, so he just walked to the TV and turned it on, quickly finding a basketball game. He settled into the corner of the couch and relaxed.

The edge of his sexual hunger had been dampened by good food and an interesting conversation, and Gibbs found the tension finally slipping away. He settled his back against the couch and wiggled in deep, eyes closing and a small smile blossoming.

"You look good enough to eat, Gibbs." Tony's voice, deep and rough with need, penetrated his consciousness and his eyes flew open.

Gibbs might be a lot of things, but he wasn't a fool. He spread his legs slightly and tipped his hips upward. "Hungry for dessert?"

Chapter Text

Chapter Six

Tony looked down at the other man and nodded, having made his decision. He had intended to stay far away from anything sexual, having regained his equilibrium, but the sight of Gibbs completely relaxing did something startlingly new to Tony. And his libido. He'd spent most of dinner warring with his should he/shouldn't he state of mind and had come to the conclusion that he would back off and let things continue to simmer.

But then he walked in and saw Gibbs on the couch and all the breath left his body. Every intention went out the window and he wasn't sure how or why. Yes, the man was gorgeous but it was so much more than that.

Maybe he needed the power and control for a few minutes or maybe he just needed to step back and away. But coming back to the situation, he couldn't resist. Gibbs looked comfortable and at home, his relaxed pose bringing out a stronger masculinity than he'd shown at the dinner table. This was a man confident in his skin and who he was and Tony was undeniably attracted to that.

He slapped the longnecks down on the coffee table before shoving it out of the way. Gibbs had lifted his pelvis in clear invitation and Tony smiled, hoping it had that wild and feral edge to match how he felt.

Falling to his knees, he became the sexual aggressor, caressing the hard length pressing against the soft, cotton-knit fabric, molding it with his hand. Gibbs' foot brushed over Tony's own balls, the big toe nudging them gently, and Tony let out a long sound of need.

"Gibbs…"

"All on your terms." Gibbs' voice was ragged now, his eyes shining as he looked up at Tony. Those eyes were electric and Tony couldn't glance away.

"I want you," Tony told the other man. "However I can get you. You crawled under my skin. Made a home there, Gibbs. And we just met…"

"Sometimes there's just a connection." Gibbs' voice sounded sad all of a sudden and Tony met his eyes. While fire still blazed there, Tony could see complex emotions flooding through the other man.

"Gibbs? You're sure?"

Gibbs chuckled, nodding. "Oh yeah, Tony. I'm sure." In a flash, that emotion was gone, a small smile playing over the older man's mouth, need shining in the most extraordinary blue eyes DiNozzo had ever seen.

Tony gave Gibbs a smile he hoped was as predatory as the one Gibbs had been shooting him all night and returned his attention to Gibbs' hard cock. "My terms, my control," Tony said quietly. His hand curved around the hard length and he squeezed lightly, feeling the heat and strength in Gibbs' entire lower body. When Tony squeezed, the other man's legs shook, Gibbs gusting out a breath. He didn't thrust as Tony would have, didn't moan or groan.

"Been a while," Gibbs warned softly.

Tony cocked his head, looking up at the other man. "With a man?"

Gibbs let out a sardonic chuckle. "With anyone, Tony. Not what they call a player. Not like you."

"Appearances, Gibbs. They can fool a person. I have a reputation, but doesn't mean it is the truth." Tony hated this part of the conversation but he wanted it to be done. For Gibbs' peace of mind. "I'm clean. You are too, I bet?"

"Yeah." Gibbs gave him an indulgent smile and mussed Tony's hair. "You gonna talk it to death or take care of business?"

Tony looked down, shaking his head at his idiocy. He had a gorgeous man with a gorgeous hard-on sitting here and he was talking about his reputation. He shook his head.

"Don't do that," Gibbs warned softly. "Don't get distracted." He arched his hips up and skimmed the pajama pants down to pool at his ankles. Tony pulled them off the rest of the way.

"Shirt off, Gibbs. I like to touch and stroke."

"Good." Gibbs yanked the shirt off and Tony sat back on his haunches, studying the older man. As Tony'd expected and observed earlier, Gibbs was muscular, broad-chested, with defined abs, strong calves, and holy hell…

Tony's mouth watered at the sight of Gibbs' cock. He'd seen it in the shower cubicle and the steamy bathroom but there was something different about seeing it in the soft light of his living room.

It was a hell of a cock, just like the man. Thick, hard, if a cock had attitude this one would demand for everyone to stand up and take notice. Or worship. Tony had heard about cock worship but he'd never understood why anyone would want to.

Before today…

Gibbs had a cock made for sucking. Made for licking. Made for taking deep into a man's body. Tony groaned, lowering his head to breathe in the scent of Gibbs' pre-cum.

"It's not going to get bigger if you stare at it a long time," Gibbs remarked in a humor-filled tone. "But I like that you like looking at it. And I can tell that you want to taste it. Examine later. Suck now, DiNozzo."

The man could command anyone with that tone. Tony lowered his head further, nuzzling Gibbs' cock, opening his mouth and breathing the other man in.

God, would he ever get there? Gibbs wanted to thrust himself into Tony's mouth. He was burning with need, his cock throbbing, his balls overfull and aching and there was Tony staring at him like he'd never seen a cock before. Someday Gibbs could analyze it, but not yet, not today. Not when he was so damn close to having his cock sucked by a beautiful man.

A stubbled jaw ran over Gibbs' sensitive cock head and he held his breath, his abdominal muscles tightening, and his need growing. He wanted to beg or force, but he knew this had to be completely on Tony's terms or it wouldn't happen tonight, if at all.

And Gibbs needed it to happen. He hadn't wanted a man like he wanted this one.

Ever.

"Tony," he whispered, trying to keep the plea out of his voice, letting the need shine through.

"Right here, Gibbs," Tony whispered in reply, tongue darting out to swirl over Gibbs' head, collecting the pre-cum. Tony let out a satisfied groan deep in his throat, the vibrations passing through to Gibbs' tormented shaft. He reached down, stroking a hand through Tony's hair, working the strands through his fingers even though he wanted to clench the younger man's head and force his cock into that hot and welcoming mouth.

When Tony's lips wrapped around Gibbs' cock, he had to rely on Marine training and self control. The tongue running around his head, flicking the underside and pressing it teasingly against the roof of Tony's mouth, was damn talented. Gibbs looked down and studied the hazy expression in Tony's eyes.

He didn't know which one of them groaned first but they were completely in concert as Gibbs began thrusting in time with Tony's head bobbing up and down. Tony sucked him in like a pro, exerting just the right amount of pressure, the scrape of stubble reminding Gibbs that he was getting blown by a man.

His hand abandoned Tony's hair and Gibbs grasped a handful of couch material, driving up with his entire pelvis now that he knew Tony could take it. Liquid lightning ran up and down his spine and his balls were already tightening. It had been too damn long and Tony was too damn good for Gibbs to hold off.

"Soon," he warned in a tense growl.

"Mmmmmmm." Tony drew out the moan, swallowing Gibbs the whole way down. And that was all it took. Gibbs' eyes opened wider, his body contracting, and then after one long endless moment, he exploded.

"Tony!"

Chapter Text

Chapter Seven

There was so much power in giving the man a blow job and Gibbs had a cock worth worshipping. Looking at it was one thing, stroking it another entirely, but tasting it was its own form of heaven. Gibbs was harder than a man half his age had a right to be, the heat radiating off his dick almost enough to burn Tony physically. Not to mention his emotional level.

This was easily the nicest looking cock he'd ever been up close and personal with. And Tony vowed that it wouldn't be the only time. He could enjoy getting to know this cock and its owner much better.

He heard Gibbs demanding him to stop looking and start sucking and Tony moved closer, nudging Gibbs' cock head and then placing his mouth over it, almost tasting but not quite. He and Gibbs both knew that he was testing Gibbs' resolve.

He nuzzled, he tasted, he assured Gibbs he was right there, and then he finally sealed his mouth over Gibbs' shaft, feeling the other man stroking long, calloused fingers through his hair. There was a rightness about this that rocked Tony's core, that drove him to push thoughts out of his mind and just rely on action, sensation, senses, taste, and velvety hardness. Shared need.

Tony bobbed his head up and down, tasting the other man, while his other hand squeezed and stroked his own cock. The stimulation wasn't enough and Tony found himself working Gibbs' shaft faster, harder, pushing the other man closer to the edge with every flick of the tongue or sucking thrust of his head. Tony groaned as Gibbs called his name, feeling that small pulse before he erupted into Tony's mouth. The explosion was more than Tony expected and he swallowed harder and more rapidly as Gibbs filled his mouth. It took effort, but Tony didn't miss a drop.

When Gibbs started to come down, Tony slowed his motions, laving Gibbs' cock in slow sweeps of his tongue, the lingering taste of Gibbs making him salivate. Tony had never been a huge fan of the taste of semen, but with Gibbs he could learn to crave it.

He lifted his head, watching the other man. Gibbs looked as relaxed as Tony imagined he got, stretched out on the couch, legs extended and surrounding Tony where he knelt.

"Want me to return the favor?" Gibbs asked, regarding Tony with a tiny smile.

Gibbs' voice oozed out like sexual honey, coating and painting the air between them with need. Tony found himself nodding, standing on shaking feet and skimming his sweats off. He was harder than he'd been in years, his cock streaked with pre-cum. It wouldn't take long at all.

"Yeah, but it won't be…" Tony warned.

"Not about stamina, Tony. It's about stress relief, getting off. I usually last more than five minutes too. Not going to think any less of you if I bring you off fast. Except maybe that I'm good. Real good."

Gibbs' disarming comments brought a smile to Tony's face. He moved closer, eyeing the couch for a moment before Gibbs moved forward and reached for Tony's thighs. "You okay standing?"

"Yeah," Tony whispered. Watching the other man run his hands over his legs, Tony realized the textures in their bodies were so different. Those laborer hands felt so different from his own softer ones and the goose bumps that Gibbs caused to rise in their wake were a new experience. Tony's ass was already clenching, the muscles bunching, an ache and longing lodging deep inside him when Gibbs' hands started moving toward the back of Tony's thighs. He wanted this man in every way possible.

But was knowing that a strength or a weakness? Tony was barely aware when he started to pull away, Gibbs' hands anchoring themselves to his thighs bringing him back to awareness.

"Don't do that. You think too much. Now is the time for feeling, not thinking. And sure as hell not psyching yourself out of the best damn blow job of your life."

Gibbs' eyes fluttered closed as he leaned in to taste Tony. His cock head was soaked and Gibbs took his time cleaning it off, hands spreading Tony's thighs gently and stroking upward toward his balls, and further back, skimming over skin that hadn't been touched by another man in years, if ever.

"Gibbs…" Tony hissed out. That tongue was drilling his tip, one hand cupping and lightly rolling his balls, while the other made the journey further back. Tony widened his stance and thrust lightly into the cavern of Gibbs' mouth, groaning when the other man suctioned him in deeper, tongue in endless motion.

This wasn't going to last long at all! Tony began fucking Gibbs' mouth, his eyes finally shutting and refusing to open again. The sensations were incredible! Gibbs knew every hot area, teasing the underside of the head, the slit, tapping the vein that ran underneath with the tip of his tongue.

Tony rested a hand on Gibbs' head, only permitting himself that much contact for now. He was way too involved as it was and he didn't want to be vulnerable or weak with anyone. Especially not a guy. This guy.

Tony groaned again, low, forcing his eyes open for a second. Gibbs was jacking him slowly now, still working his balls, still sucking down his cock. His shaft was throbbing, glistening. The stimulation was almost too much and he had to close his eyes again. He wasn't going to come this fast. He could hold off.

But when he felt Gibbs' fingertip stroking over his hole and he bore down immediately, opening himself up for the other man, that was all it took. His hand tightened in Gibbs' hair and Tony let out a guttural sound of pure, wild need.

Gibbs suction increased, the fingertip entering Tony, and he was lost, exploding into the other man's mouth with an endless sound of male satisfaction. Tony was shaking like a leaf, pouring himself into Gibbs' mouth, absorbing the other man's little hums of satisfaction.

He was going to collapse and die, but at least he'd die happy.

Gibbs released Tony's cock and stood quickly, reaching his free hand out to brace the other man. Tony was still quaking with the aftershocks, his legs fighting to hold him up. Gibbs could tell Tony's mind was on complete autopilot and even that had short circuited. Yeah…Gibbs was that good, but he didn't want afterglow ruined by a broken nose or an unconscious sex partner.

He removed his finger and guided Tony to his bedroom, releasing the man only to pull back the covers. "Get into bed, Tony. I'll be right there."

"You're staying?" Tony's voice sounded vulnerable and little boy all of a sudden and Gibbs ached for whatever had caused that lost sound.

"Yeah. Be back in a minute. Meanwhile, get your shirt off and get comfortable on whatever is your side of the bed."

Gibbs stowed the longnecks, washed his hands, and grabbed their clothes before returning to Tony's bedroom. Tony was stretched out, looking completely relaxed, a remote control in his hand. Gibbs batted that right away.

"What?"

"No TV. Had a long day. We're going to sleep. Gotta be sharp tomorrow. Anything could happen."

"Oh?" Tony asked, lifting his head to look at Gibbs. "Didn't realize you were making the rules again." There was a challenge in those eyes and Gibbs knew that he had to tread carefully here.

He didn't answer Tony until he was stretched out beside the younger man. "Someone needs to look out for you, Tony. I get that sense. It could be me…" Gibbs hadn't expected the words to come out and was shocked at what he said. Yeah, there was a connection, but it wasn't anything that demanded this sort of a response. Commitments always worried him and making a comment like that was a point of concern. It could chase Tony right out of his life.

"Early days for that," Tony replied and Gibbs couldn't work out if his tone was relaxed or deceptively casual, even though his body language didn't change. Tony was good at masking his feelings, no doubt about it. And Gibbs wanted him professionally and personally. He wanted to use that talent almost as much as he wanted to understand why mask-wearing was second nature to Tony.

"Just a friend then," Gibbs replied, glad to have dodged that bullet.

"With a hell of a lot of benefits," Tony shot back, giving Gibbs a lazy self-satisfied smile. "You a cuddler, Gibbs? I know it isn't macho or manly, but I've missed that."

"Could be. For you." As Gibbs curled around Tony, he tried to push away the feelings of rightness about this. He had to take it one step and one moment at a time. He was already way too interested and involved and hurting Tony wasn't an option. Not now, not ever.

Gibbs' eyes shot wide open as he realized something. Tony wasn't the only one fucked here. Gibbs could become way too comfortable with Tony DiNozzo. And that could spell professional suicide for them both.

But as Tony's breathing evened out and he cuddled in close, Gibbs knew he wouldn't give this up for the world. Tony had made his mark on Gibbs' soul.

Chapter Text

Chapter Eight

Tony awoke slowly, snuggling into the comforting warmth of the man beside him, feeling completely relaxed and at peace. He was used to sleeping alone. Even when lovers spent the night, as rare as that was, they always left in the pre-dawn hours, slinking back to their lives as if they were ashamed of what they'd done the night before. But even before he opened his eyes, he could sense that the sun was beginning to rise, the dawn still a little cool, a counterpoint to the comforting warmth beneath him.

Tony immediately knew who it was and he didn't want to move. The latent strength of the other man was apparent even as he slept, even as those powerful muscles were relaxed. He had the feeling that very few people got to witness Gibbs in this vulnerable a state.

Tony's head was resting on Gibbs' chest and he listened to the steady heartbeat of the older man. They'd fallen asleep face to face, but at some point Gibbs had rolled onto his back, bringing Tony along with him. Tony was tucked firmly under one arm, Gibbs' steady and deep breathing ruffling his hair, Gibbs' callused hand lightly clasping Tony's shoulder.

The position was protective, intimate. Normally he would have felt unsettled by the more submissive position, but with Gibbs, it felt perfectly okay for him to be the protector and for Tony to be able to release and give that over to the superior male.

Tony skimmed his free arm down Gibbs' muscled abdomen, brushing over salt and pepper chest hair that was softer than Tony would have expected, tracing the defined planes of Gibbs' stomach before his hand moved lower, curving around hard flesh. Gibbs' cock gave a little jump and Tony's mouth lifted in a smile. He knew just the way to wake the other man.

He began stroking gently, slow, almost lazy, sweeps of his hand, holding Gibbs' cock in a light grasp. Gibbs let out a throaty sound of satisfaction and shifted slightly, his breathing changing in an instant, awareness making Gibbs' body shiver lightly.

Tony tightened his grasp slightly and began an efficient pumping motion. "Hell of a wake up," Gibbs whispered, his voice extra sexy and sleepy as his hips rose and fell with Tony's motions. It was an easy, almost lazy, rhythm and they were completely in tune with each other.

"Morning," Tony replied, glancing up, struck by those hazy blue eyes and the way Gibbs' gaze searched his.

"Morning," Gibbs echoed, rolling onto his side and reaching for Tony's cock. Tony's eyes drifted shut only to spring open when Gibbs gave him a deeply passionate kiss, mouth roaming over Tony's, tongue delving into Tony's mouth. They both groaned, their sounds mingling, rising in the silence of the morning.

Gibbs' hand surrounded Tony with just the right amount of pressure and Tony's head fell back. He gasped for air, knowing his own hand job on Gibbs couldn't possibly be this good, not when his concentration was already fracturing.

"Don't worry about me," Gibbs whispered. "Let me take you over the edge and then you can do the same for me. Okay? We have time, Tony."

Tony should have refused, should have been the gentleman, but with Gibbs it didn't seem to matter, wasn't likely that the other man would look on him negatively for taking his pleasure first.

"Let go," Gibbs teased, giving Tony a smile. From Tony's interactions with the other man, he realized that this carefree, almost teasing smile wasn't something Gibbs handed out all that often.

Tony released Gibbs' hot flesh and rolled onto his back, the other man following. Gibbs propped himself up on an elbow and studied Tony. It felt nice, as if the other man was measuring the reactions in his body, as if Gibbs cared enough to make this as good for Tony as possible.

"Wish we had time for more," Gibbs said quietly. "This'll have to do until tonight."

Tonight? Tony knew he was giving Gibbs his most dazzling smile. A part of him had figured Gibbs was just about the thrill of the chase; that this wasn't going to last beyond what had happened last night. To hear that Gibbs wanted to continue made Tony relax even further. It was so rare that he was enough, and to be enough for this guy…

"Thinking too hard," Gibbs told him, pulling Tony's attention back to his hard cock. Had he really been able to concentrate on coherent thought when Gibbs was doing that to him?

Tony chuckled sheepishly, knowing he was probably reddening. "It's okay," Gibbs assured. "Just feel."

Gibbs' hand tightened on his cock and Tony felt, oh hell did he feel! Lightning ran through his body, centering in his spine and dancing up and down nerve endings. Gibbs' hand squeezed and released a few times, pulsing Tony in a way he'd never experienced before, but he couldn't deny that it was incredible. He was leaking pretty steadily, no lube was needed.

Gibbs suddenly slid down Tony's body, breathing a stream of hot air onto his damp cock head. Tony's upper body rose and he watched as Gibbs rubbed a stubbled cheek over the sensitive underside of his head before slowly licking his entire cock head. Steady sweeps of his tongue cleaned off the pearly pre-cum, even though more bubbled out as a result of what Gibbs was doing.

Tony could have stayed there forever, watching Gibbs' mouth work over him, but then the impossible happened. His cell phone rang, and after a moment, another ring could be heard deeper in the apartment.

"The case," Tony said heavily, but Gibbs was already gone, moving with almost feline grace. Tony reached for his phone, answering in a grumpy tone and listening to Bart's excited chatter. Tony hung up the phone, tossing it on the bureau, and ducking into the bathroom. They only had a few minutes and a joint shower would be the only option.

He wasn't surprised when Gibbs followed him into the bathroom, a pile of nicely folded clothes in his arms. His eyes skimmed down Tony's body and he gave the other man a brief expression of regret before he spoke. Tony had already softened, but he appreciated the sentiment.

"Petty Officer Jarvis was attacked in her hospital bed about twenty minutes ago. A nurse scared the attacker off, but she was so shaken up, she didn't even get a description we can work with. And the guards we set up. Know where they were?" Gibbs asked angrily, his expression much more serious and grim now.

"Where?" Tony asked, shaking his head as he adjusted the temperature in the shower. He was sure he'd gotten the whitewashed story of the events.

"Coffee break. Goddamn coffee break. No backup, they didn't even tell the hospital staff Jarvis was unguarded! You the only competent one at your precinct, DiNozzo?" Gibbs slapped a hand on the counter, his blue eyes blazing with fury.

Tony winced at Gibbs' assessment but he had to agree. This was beyond amateur.

"Gonna get some guys I can trust up here to work with your people guarding her."

Tony had the sense that Gibbs was playing much nicer than he wanted to, and wondered if it was because of him.

"Sounds like it is for the best."

Gibbs turned to Tony, his gaze boring in. "You really wanna stay with these people, DiNozzo? You're a lot better than them. You have so damned much potential and you're gonna waste it here."

Tony blinked a few times. After last night, he was starting to wonder, but he couldn't give voice to that. They needed to keep their attention on the job at hand for now. He sighed, motioning to the water and the steam that was starting to fill the bathroom. "Joint shower and then we'll start at the hospital." Tony turned to Gibbs. "We're gonna get this guy, whatever it takes."

"Whatever it takes," Gibbs agreed.

Chapter Text

Chapter Nine

Their joint shower was a quick affair, but Gibbs managed to jack them both off to quick climaxes while Tony washed their bodies. It was hardly ideal, but it'd do for now, had taken the edge off their need. And groaning his climax into the other man's shoulder had been pretty damn good for Tony.

Gibbs was furious, but he was trying not to take it out on Tony, something Tony greatly appreciated. As Gibbs shaved at the bathroom mirror with an electric razor, Tony dried off quickly and popped a couple of bagels in his four-slice toaster.

He slathered two halves of one with cream cheese and strawberry jelly before bringing it back into the bathroom where Gibbs was dressing. Naked, the man exuded power, and clothed there was an even stronger allure of command. The polo shirt and blazer over chinos look was dated, but they somehow suited the man, as did the snowy white undershirt that clung to the muscled torso the polo and blazer hid.

Gibbs' mouth quirked up in the briefest of smiles as he regarded the food. "You dress and shave; I'll call my guys from DC and get them on the case. We're not leaving the hospital until they get there." His eyes flashed blue fire and he shook his head. "Amateur time is over."

Tony started shaving, watching as Gibbs first wolfed down his bagel and then snapped his phone over. Even though the other man was all business, Tony could sense his attention was directed on him, the way he moved, the way his own electric razor ran over the contours of his face.

When Tony was done, he threw aftershave and deodorant on, dressing quickly and styling his hair with minimum effort. His look was more casual, dress shirt, tie, chinos. It had become his own uniform of sorts. As Tony returned to the kitchen and his own bagel, he heard Gibbs on the phone, even though the other man was taking pains to be quiet.

"Yeah, Chris…I know….Guy I'm working with, DiNozzo. He's my right-hand guy here. Damned good, Pacci. Too damned talented to be stuck here…I hope so. Could use a guy like him on my team… Yeah, Tony DiNozzo. If you can't reach me, you talk to him…Okay, you and Balboa on the first shift and Greely and Valeo second."

Gibbs emerged from the bedroom, clipping his cell phone to his belt. He gave Tony a look Tony couldn't quite decipher and nodded. "One car, you drive. I have four NCIS agents coming up here. They'll work eight-hour shifts." He reached beyond Tony and into the fridge, where he found a bottle of milk, retrieved a glass, and poured himself some.

"We need to stop for coffee. Helps me think."

Tony nodded, finishing up his bagel. He was shocked but pleased and even a little proud that Gibbs had talked to a coworker about him in such nice terms. After a lifetime of trying to get respect, this was an unexpected change. Gibbs had shown Tony more professional respect in the last twenty-four hours than his captain had in the entire time he'd been in Baltimore.

For the first time, Tony started to seriously consider what it would be like to leave Baltimore and work with Gibbs. He didn't know much about the man's working style, but he knew what he liked and Gibbs fascinated him personally and professionally.

Tony leaned in, snagging the milk glass and draining the last inch of so, giving Gibbs a cheeky grin. He wasn't surprised when Gibbs pulled him close for a brief kiss. He tasted of jam, bagel, milk, cream cheese, and sin. Tony could have kissed him all day. Breaking away with a sheepish grin, Tony squeezed the other man's bicep. "Let's get moving then, Special Agent Gibbs. We have a criminal to catch."

It was too early for proper rush hour and they made it to the hospital in record time, winding their way through the corridors with speed and efficiency. Tony was astounded by the way Gibbs moved soundlessly, commanding attention by his mere presence. He could learn a lot from Gibbs. Commanding attention and gaining respect had never come easily to Tony.

He gave himself a mental shake of the head, knowing he had to concentrate, had to continue proving himself as well as try to make the department look better. NCIS would be well within their rights to want Jarvis moved to Bethesda.

As they approached the corridor closest to the room, Gibbs pulled Tony aside. "Bullet points on the bozos who were supposed to be guarding her."

Tony winced. "Milton Dudge, twenty years or so on the force, likes donuts and the less work he can do, the possible. But he's a good guy. Lou Palumbo, same. Didn't think they'd abandon post, Gibbs. They're both family men and lazy but generally okay guys."

"Doesn't make 'em good cops, Tony." With a single nod and a sip of his coffee, Gibbs strode ahead and Tony lingered behind, not wanting to face his fellow cops yet, knowing his disappointment would show on his face.

Gibbs had known Tony would stay behind. The fraternal bond of law enforcement and the young man's own sense of what was right had to be clashing in his head. It was probably best that Tony stayed back, giving the illusion that they'd traveled separately. It'd be easier on him in the long run.

Standing outside the room in a cluster were three men, two heavyset detectives in their forties and DiNozo's incompetent partner—Bart Madison. Bart was a round faced little turd with pale blond hair and a rodent-like look about him. Gibbs' gut screamed from the first moment he saw the guy. The last thing he wanted to do was play nice with any of these idiots.

"Sitrep!" he barked and they all blinked at him for a moment. "Report!" Gibbs said, injecting more steel into his tone.

"Who are you?" The older guy on the right asked, thrusting his square jaw in Gibbs' direction.

"Gibbs. He's the Fed. NCIS," Bart supplied. "Milton Dudge and Lou Palumbo. They had night shift guarding the vic."

"Petty Officer Jarvis," Gibbs corrected, arching a brow. "Dudge, why don't you tell me where the hell you were while you were supposed to be here." The guy who had spoken up earlier flushed, but there was a defiant look in his eyes.

"Hadda take a bathroom break. Took a while. Lou went down to get us some coffee."

"Yeah," Lou put in. "She wasn't alone more than five minutes."

"Oh?" Gibbs arched an eyebrow.

"Maybe ten to fifteen," Milt said uncomfortably, looking away.

"Maybe?" Gibbs growled. "Maybe?" he asked, raising his voice now. "Maybe doesn't cut it, Dudge! You two left her and she got attacked again! What the hell use are you?"

"Asshole," Bart muttered.

Gibbs turned his gaze on him. "Get DiNozzo and you two interview the hospital staff. Now!"

"Fuck you and DiNozzo," Bart muttered again.

"Get the hell out of here. You're off my case." Gibbs was sick of the incompetence and pissing contest. He flipped open his phone, hitting the newest entry, the one for DiNozzo. "You here yet, DiNozzo?" Gibbs snapped, hoping the younger man knew he wasn't angry at him. "Need you here to handle some interviews. My Petty Officer was attacked again while your boys were on a bathroom break."

Tony came into view. "I'm here, Gibbs."

"Good. Get your boys lost. It's you and me and my men on this one from here on out." Gibbs was aware he was laying things on the line for the Baltimore detectives, but he didn't much care. This wasn't about their egos; it was about the case and Jarvis and trying to find the dirtbag who did this.

He snapped the phone closed, glaring at the Baltimore cops. "You're not needed here. Get going. NCIS personnel will guard her. We can do our jobs right."

"Ass kisser. You're gonna get yours, DiNozzo," Bart muttered to Tony as they stormed away. Had Gibbs sealed Tony's fate and set him against the men who were supposed to have his back? The sooner he convinced Tony to leave Baltimore, the better. It could be a case of life or death.

Chapter Text

Chapter Ten

"Well that went well," Tony muttered, watching the other men leave. "You take a class in how to piss people off, Gibbs, or is it just a natural talent?"

Gibbs arched a brow, taking in DiNozzo's concern for the situation. He didn't need to piss the other man off and pull him further off his game. "Letting 'em know their bull isn't tolerated by me. They screwed up." He gave DiNozzo a small smirk. "And you didn't complain about my people skills earlier."

Tony gave Gibbs a wary smile and shook his head, eyes glinting with amusement.

"Okay, DiNozzo. It'll take my men a while to get here, so let's get what we can done. You interview hospital personnel. If they're off hours, get names, phone numbers, tell 'em they have to come back here for interviews." He leaned in close. "Intimidate them if you have to. Pull all security tapes, especially of this area, front doors, and freight elevators. You and me, we'll find the answers. We're not leaving this area until backup is here. Ya understand me?"

Tony nodded, pulling out a notebook. "On it, Bo—err, Gibbs."

Gibbs winked before turning serious and putting his game face back on. "Good. And don't worry about those assholes. Once I light into your chief, they'll be pissed with me, not you. They'll have your six."

But Gibbs wasn't convinced. A clear line in the sand had been drawn and he figured DiNozzo's days as one of the boys were numbered. Gibbs tried to scare up some regret, but he couldn't muster it. DiNozzo was way too damned talented for this bunch. While he was sure there were a lot of competent men in the Baltimore PD, the detectives DiNozzo worked with weren't, and until the other man got in with some of his equals, his talent and instincts would go stale.

Gibbs sipped his coffee, watching DiNozzo hurry purposefully toward the nurses' station, and nodding to himself. There was a hell of a lot of potential there. It just had to be brought out. He took a deep breath, squaring his shoulders before walking in the room.

Rape cases were always tough, but this one was particularly brutal. Twenty-three year old Melanie Jarvis had been attacked, sliced repeatedly with a knife, stabbed four times in the abdomen, beaten, and left to bleed out on a street close to the Baltimore Harbor. She'd had dinner with some friends at one of the trendy restaurants on the harbor and had attended a concert at the Pier Six Pavilion. Sometime after the concert, she'd been attacked less than a block from where her car was parked.

Security cameras hadn't offered any footage and the parents and friends didn't know of anyone with a grudge against the woman, according to the interviews DiNozzo had conducted. She'd been unconscious since the attack and Gibbs didn't think that'd change, but at least he could and talk to her, reassure her as best he could. He'd been in a coma once and had clearly remembered the people who had tried to get him to awaken. For all intents and purposes, Melanie wasn't in such a deeply unconscious state, but this attack could have pushed her over the edge. Between the internal injuries from both the rape and the stab wounds and the trauma from the beating, she had a lot of healing to do.

Gibbs pushed the door open, the room quiet except for the medical equipment, the medicinal smell making his nose twitch. "Hi, Petty Officer Jarvis," Gibbs said to the quiet form in the bed. She was a slight woman, her pale skin and dark hair reminding him of Abbs, and she looked almost childlike in the bed.

"I'm Gibbs, NCIS. I'm working with the Baltimore PD to find the dirtbag who did this to ya. I'm on your six, Melanie. You rest and heal. You're not alone. Nobody gets to ya but through me and that isn't happening."

His hand ran over hers, fingertip stroking her pale skin before he grabbed her chart. The PD had sent over someone to take fingerprints and they hadn't cleaned up yet. Another half assed job. He supposed he should have been happy that they'd sent crime scene investigators over already, but wondered why he and DiNozzo hadn't been called immediately. Something smelled very wrong here and Gibbs' gut was churning. That was never a good sign.

He went to the bathroom and moistened a towel, wiping off the fingerprint dust residue. That done, he settled in to read Melanie's chart, though half his attention was on the door, alert for intruders…and his new right-hand man.

It took Tony some time to get security tapes organized, to question the nurse and security staff on duty, and to take three calls from his chief, each one more tense. Tony hadn't made an ally when he'd snapped that he needed to be left the hell alone to do his job. So much about the PD was a damn pissing contest and it was wearing him down.

A couple of hours later, Tony made his way back to Jarvis' room, noticing a cluster of people standing outside. Two men who looked cop-like were there along with two other people, a short older man and a tall woman with pale skin, dark hair, and tattoos. Gibbs was leaning protectively against Jarvis' door, speaking with the entire group, and Tony was pleased to see his face light up as Tony approached.

"Sitrep, DiNozzo?" he asked.

"Security tapes will be delivered to the room along with a portable TV/VCR combo in the next fifteen minutes. I've interviewed everyone and we can go over my notes whenever you want. Crime scene came and got two fibers off her cheek that preliminarily don't appear to be a match for the bedding or hospital gown, but they're going to run tests, and the prints are in line to be run. Any change in her condition?"

"None." Gibbs looked grimly determined suddenly.

"Mmmm, so you're the Baltimore cop. You didn't tell me he was cute, Gibbs. I was expecting a donut munching chubby guy, not…this." The woman's voice was low and sultry, her gaze running from head to toe and back again.

"Cute, Abbs?" Gibbs retorted with a smirk.

"Um…hi," Tony said lamely, knowing he was the odd man out, feeling like this meeting meant a lot more than it appeared to on the surface.

"Hi. I'm Abby," she said, with a wink. "Forensics. NCIS. I'm going to take all your secretions and prints and all that fun stuff back to DC. Into my dungeon."

"Okkkay," Tony said, attempting to gain some balance, wondering if she was trying to rile him up.

"Called Abby in to run forensics," Gibbs put in. "She's the best and our lab is much faster than yours. She'll head back to DC with everything your boys have."

Abby shook his hand firmly, swaying a little in her platform boots.

"And this is Doctor Mallard, our Medical Examiner."

"Why a ME?" Tony asked, extending his hand to the older man.

"Just want him to look at the charts, DiNozzo. See if he has any insight for us."

Tony shrugged and nodded. He supposed that made sense. Gibbs obviously trusted these folks. "Good to meet you, Doctor Mallard."

"Ducky please, dear boy. No need to be formal."

Ducky? Tony quirked an eyebrow and nodded and the man with the kindly voice. "Ducky, then." He turned his attention to the two men standing in alert positions. These must be the other agents.

"Chris Pacci and Mike Balboa. They're my morning shift agents. I have two others coming this afternoon."

Both men said friendly hellos and shook Tony's hand.

"And this is Tony DiNozzo, my new right hand man."

Tony couldn't help smiling at that, knowing on some level that was a huge compliment. Abby's mouth fell open slightly and Ducky nodded. Tony had the feeling he'd passed muster in a huge way.

"Let's get to work then," Gibbs said briskly. "You and me in a conference room, DiNozzo. Chris, Mike, you guys call if you need anything. Duck, come find us when you're done with the charts. Abbs, play nice with the Baltimore CSIs."

Abby muttered something about Caf-Pow, which Tony hadn't drunk since college. Balboa and Pacci took up positions on either side of the patient's door. The doctor—Ducky—leaned in, squeezing Tony's arm.

"It is lovely to meet you, dear boy. He's been waiting for you for quite some time now."

What the hell did that mean?

Chapter Text

Chapter Eleven

Tony blinked a couple of times when the kindly doctor with a Sean Connery accent said that Gibbs had been waiting for him. Not sure how to answer, Tony just nodded, looking down at the man's hand clasping his arm before breaking away with a nod and what had to be a strained smile.

"With me, DiNozzo," Gibbs said, exaggerated patience in his voice.

"Yeah, I..I'm coming. On it! Bye!"

"Until next time, dear boy," the doctor said with a smile. "I have a feeling it will be very soon."

"Enough, Duck."

Tony followed Gibbs into the conference room, watching him. Even though Gibbs was maybe an inch shorter, Tony had the sense of looking up to the man. "What have we got?" Gibbs asked, sitting down and gesturing Tony to join him. Gibbs listened intently as Tony gave him the rundown of what he'd learned, sharing his frustration that things weren't going smoothly with the older man, knowing that Gibbs would understand.

Tony was furious that Jarvis had been attacked and the fact that the cops he worked with were in dick wars with Gibbs angered him even further. Jarvis wasn't some part of a battle plan, collateral damage. He pounded his fist on the table, growling.

"Settle down, DiNozzo." Gibbs stood and crossed the room, moving a table against the door to block anyone from coming in easily. That done, he sat on the conference table in front of Tony. "Channel the anger into finding answers. They giving ya a hard time?" His hand came out and Tony watched it come closer until it smoothed through his hair.

Tony sighed, leaning into the touch, feeling quite a bit like a cat who was being stroked by his owner.

"Settle down, DiNozzo," Gibbs repeated, his voice hypnotic and as silky smooth as honey dust.

"I'm okay, Gibbs," he said after several minutes.

"Better than okay. Damned good. Too good for these morons. Your chief on your case yet?"

Tony nodded, glancing off to the far corner of the room.

"What'd he say?"

Tony sighed heavily, knowing how little Gibbs was going to like this. "He told me to watch my back and to stop playing so nice with the feds, to remember I owe the department my loyalty."

"Watch your back?" Gibbs repeated, his jaw tightening.

"Yeah."

"That's a damned threat, DiNozzo. Don't know if they're trying to shut ya up or what, but you be careful. Don't let 'em get the jump on ya." Gibbs squeezed the back of Tony's neck gently. "They give ya any crap and you come to me, understand?"

"Deal," Tony replied, unsettled by the anger blazing in Gibbs' eyes. He knew they had a connection but this was an intensity that Tony hadn't seen before, a different kind of emotion and one that made Gibbs completely dangerous. And Tony completely turned on.

"Don't do that," he said in a low voice.

"What?" Gibbs replied.

"Don't look at me like that. It's a different kind of dangerous than the way you were looking at me last night. And I loved that look…but this one?"

"Bothers you?" Gibbs asked, mouth twitching as if he wanted to offer a smile.

"No. Turns me on even more, and we have a case to solve."

Gibbs chuckled, releasing Tony's neck and slipping into the chair beside him.

"You have a theory, DiNozzo?"

Tony shook his head. "Not a theory exactly, but the more I think about this case, the more it starts to bother me."

"Rapes usually do."

"That isn't it. It's not just the rape, Gibbs. There is something…strange. Something is setting off alarm bells in my head and if I could only…"

Gibbs eyes took on that sharp focus all of a sudden. "More specific, DiNozzo. The way she was raped? Left for dead? The location? The time of day? What?"

"Slow down…" Tony tried sifting through his memories and impressions and it was right there on the surface, but before he could reach for it, the thing he needed to remember was gone.

"Dammit, Gibbs! It's right there! Just below the surface." This had never happened to Tony before and it was making him just as angry as the attack on Jarvis.

"Settle down, DiNozzo. The more frustrated you get, the less you're gonna remember. Put it aside right now and concentrate. Breathe easy, Son." His hands came up, working Tony's neck again.

"Don't call me that!" Tony shot back, standing in a defensive motion, hands out in front of himself.

Gibbs blinked a couple of times, trying to cover his shock at DiNozzo's reaction. Okay, he didn't have time to run a background check on the agent before he rushed up to Baltimore, but what he'd seen was just about what he'd expected to. Much better looking and much sharper, but pretty much what Gibbs had expected. He hadn't realized an innocent comment to make DiNozzo's frustration explode like this.

"Okay, Tony," Gibbs said, feeling almost as if he was taming a scared animal. "Whatever I said, I don't want you to get upset. How about forgetting whatever I did and sitting down with me so we can figure this out?"

Tony shook his head rapidly and Gibbs took a long look at the younger man. Rapid pulse, eyes darting around, hands fisting and releasing. Tony was really shaken up and Gibbs had the feeling that he could help the other man, that he could be the one to calm him down.

"Okay," he repeated, acting like he didn't have a care in the world. "You and me, we're gonna get out of this hospital for a few minutes. Coffee helps me think and you need to settle down. That okay with you?"

Tony gulped, nodding, and Gibbs called Pacci and told him they'd be back to the room in a few minutes. Nothing new was happening with Jarvis, everything was quiet in the room.

When Gibbs hung up, Tony was edging closer to him. "Ya okay?" Gibbs asked, deliberately keeping his voice low and gentle.

"Yeah, just don't do the 'son' thing anymore, okay? I know you didn't mean anything by it, but…"

The younger man's eyes were haunted now and Gibbs knew he had to find out what had him spooked. DiNozzo was showing classic signs of needing male attention and attention from a superior in his life. It was probably one of the reasons why he was so angry about this thing with his chief. Gibbs bet it went back to a father or a grandfather. These things always did.

"Come on, Tony. Coffee, my treat. You fed me and gave me a place to sleep last night."

"Neither of us were complaining." The sparkle was starting to come back into DiNozzo's eyes, his posture relaxing.

"We weren't," Gibbs agreed. "Coffee then we put our heads together and figure out who this dirtbag is."

"Deal!"

As Tony led Gibbs to a diner near the hospital, Gibbs' gut started doing a damned dance. He reached for his weapon, scanning the groups of morning commuters for anything that looked off kilter. "Be alert, DiNozzo!" he called, out, putting his back toward the man for a second, eyes darting all around.

"Gibbs? What is it?"

"Something isn't right. Get inside!" The urgency was growing even though Gibbs couldn't figure out why or where it was coming from. He never doubted his gut though.

"Okay, the place is just up here. Walk faster," DiNozzo sounded as confused as Gibbs felt.

Then something whizzed past Gibbs, searing his arm with its heat. "Down, DINOZZO!" he yelled, just as the other man was thrown to the pavement, a fountain of red bursting from his chest.

Chapter Text

Chapter Twelve

Gibbs spared DiNozzo a quick glance before he whirled around, training his weapon in the area the shot had come from. Dammit! He couldn't see a shooter through the mob of people screaming and ducking for cover. "Get down and stay down," he yelled at some terrified commuters before scrambling over to DiNozzo and clamping his hand on the wound.

"Tony! Tony! Ya stay with me here!" Gibbs tried like hell to shield DiNozzo from a potential shooter while trying to assess his injury. Chest wound, this wasn't good. Wasn't good at all. "Dammit! You hang on for me, ya hear me?"

"Tony?" Gibbs looked up to see DiNozzo's partner with his gun drawn. He must have been in the diner. The other cops were standing in a semicircle outside the diner, weapons drawn, scanning the area that the shot had come from. "Tony! God! Guys, secure the scene!" Bart holstered his weapon and ran the short distance to where Tony was lying so still.

"Put pressure on his wound," Gibbs said in a rush. "Lifting him on one...two...three." At the count of three, he lifted Tony in his arms and ran for the hospital entrance.

"ER is around the side," Bart called out, jogging alongside Gibbs. His hand was already wet with DiNozzo's blood.

Gibbs followed the building's exterior, ducking around a corner and finding himself in the ambulance bay. "Gunshot wound, chest, police officer!" he yelled out as they burst through the doors.

A security guard snapped his fingers, rushing over, and a gurney appeared, medical personnel suddenly surrounding them. Gibbs eased Tony onto it and jogged beside Bart as Tony was wheeled into the trauma area. Tony's partner had been silent since they reached the hospital, his face set in grim lines. When Gibbs and Bart were locked out of the exam room, he cursed almost as loudly as Gibbs.

"He gonna be okay?" Gibbs asked a nurse before she closed the door. She could only shrug, giving him a sympathetic look, and Gibbs flipped his phone open.

"Shouldn't use those in here," Bart commented before looking at his bloody hands.

Gibbs didn't answer him, just dialed Ducky, praying he was still nearby. "Duck! Tony DiNozzo was shot, chest wound. Looks bad. Yeah...ER. Okay." He hung up the phone and leaned against the institutional wall, sighing.

"You see anything?"

"No. We were in the diner," Bart said in a rush, his voice pitched a little high. "He's an ass, but none of us want him hurt."

"Wasn't accusing." It was nicer than Gibbs often was, but he knew where the shot had come from, and the direction was completely different from the diner. The cops hadn't been involved. They might be inept and careless, but Gibbs' gut wasn't screaming that they were that crooked.

"Think it's tied in to Jarvis?" Bart asked, his voice sounding a little calmer.

"Gut says it is," Gibbs allowed. "Get out there with your men. That's one of yours in there and you guys deserve answers for him. For your department." He didn't feel much like rallying the damned Baltimore PD but he sure as hell didn't want them hovering around while he was waiting for news on DiNozzo.

Bart nodded and turned away. "Thanks for…" He didn't finish, just shrugged.

"Keep me posted. Staying here. He'll be under my personal guard." There was absolutely no way Gibbs was going to let Tony out of his sight and as soon as Bart was gone, he moved to the small window, watching them work on Tony.

Gibbs wasn't a medical expert, but he'd dealt with his share of injuries on battlefields and in training accidents. He'd seen his share of mortal gunshot wounds, and this just didn't feel like one.

Or maybe that was wishful thinking.

Gibbs knew it was wrong to have formed an emotional attachment to DiNozzo so soon, but there was something about him, something that made Gibbs open up in unexpected ways. Their professional rapport yesterday had given way to the shower and dinner and their physical…thing. Whatever the hell it was. And Gibbs hadn't been exaggerating when he told DiNozzo that he was too good for the local PD. Today just proved and emphasized that.

"Jethro?" His head snapped up as he heard Ducky's gentle voice, his accent softened by his decade in America. Some days it was annoying listening to him go on and on about this or that historical fact or remembered story, but right now Gibbs needed to lean on Ducky. He wouldn't admit it to anyone—not even Ducky—but he needed it badly.

"Duck," Gibbs greeted, nodding.

"What happened?" Ducky asked. A burst of pure frustration had Gibbs clenching his fists. He wanted answers, not to tell Ducky his side of the story. But the docs were still working on DiNozzo and if he was critical, it could be a while. Gibbs watched as a portable X-ray unit was rushed in and tried to regulate his breathing before he spoke.

"We were going to a diner, place down the block…"

" You left the conference room? Why?"

"Long story, Duck. I hit some minefield with DiNozzo and he needed to get his head back in the game. He remembered something but then I sidetracked him and he couldn't get it back. Offered to buy him coffee since he fed me last night. Almost there when he was shot."

"He wasn't the only one," Ducky replied softly, motioning to Gibbs' arm. A scorch mark ran along the outside of his left forearm, the skin reddened and irritated, blood oozing sluggishly from the wound.

"Not even a damned scratch," Gibbs growled.

"Was that another bullet or was there only one shot?" Ducky asked, taking Gibbs' arm in his hand.

"Don't, Duck. Not while he's…" Gibbs motioned to the doors of the trauma room. "This doesn't matter. DiNozzo does."

"Settle down," Ducky warned, his voice still low and soothing. "You can't do anything for the young detective at the moment. Why aren't you out there trying to discover who did this?"

"The Baltimore cops are securing the scene. I'm not letting him out of my sight. Not when there's been shots fired."

"They're already on the scene?" Ducky sounded surprised. "Do you think these are related issues? Are the police involved or is this tied to that young woman fighting for her life upstairs?" Ducky asked cautiously.

Gibbs nodded. "Related to Jarvis, Duck. Gut is screaming it. Cops are clean though. They're not the best but DiNozzo being shot shook 'em up."

"You're certain they're not involved? Do you remember the time when we were in Florence and the police officer there, the lovely redhead…now what was her name? Lucia? You flirted with her and Jennifer was so angry that she—"

"Duck!" Gibbs growled. "Don't! Shots came from another area. None of 'em pulled the trigger." And this didn't have the sense of a conspiracy within the department as well. "Have enough trouble without borrowing any more."

Ducky fell silent and Gibbs started pacing, more for something to do than anything else. As he passed the doors, he glanced in, but the medical personnel were clustered so tightly together that Gibbs couldn't see anything. The voices were so rapid fire and indistinct that he couldn't get a real sense of how bad it was. And that pissed him off.

Just when he was about to jump out of his skin, a doctor pushed the door open, stripping off bloody gloves. "You bring the officer in?"

"Yeah. How is he?" Gibbs asked, a ball of tension lodging in his chest when the doctor shook his head.

Chapter Text

Chapter Thirteen

Gibbs couldn't breathe when the doctor shook his head. All sorts of scenarios ran through his head in a moment and he crossed to the doctor, standing in his personal space, his eyes riveted on the bloody gloves.

"How…" he asked quietly, aware that his voice was shaking. When the doctor didn't answer, Gibbs' voice rose to an angry shout. "HOW?"

"Sir…sir, calm down," the doctor said, glancing over at Ducky. "It isn't what you think!"

He looked back at Gibbs. "He's going to be okay!"

The area went completely still and quiet; Gibbs was only aware of his harsh breathing. "He's okay?" he asked, needing to know, needing to hear it again.

"He will be. He's very lucky."

"You shook your head," Gibbs replied, his voice and anger rising. "You shook your head!" He grabbed the thin material of the sterile outfit the doctor used to cover his clothes and shook the man.

"Jethro!" Ducky explained, rushing forward to grasp his forearm. "Let the gentleman go! He made an honest mistake!"

Gibbs stepped back, head moving from side to side, fists still tightly clenched. He could have lost Tony, just as he was starting to get invested in the young detective. "Bastard," Gibbs muttered, straining to see Tony as the younger man was wheeled out of the exam room and down the hall. The doctor's body blocked him, but Gibbs had the sense that all the medical staff was relaxed. There was no sense of urgency about their movements, so he decided to back down until he knew more about the situation.

"What are his injuries and prognosis, Doctor?" Ducky asked. Gibbs tried to calm his rage, listening as the doctor explained that the bullet had glanced off DiNozzo's rib and skimmed along it, exiting out close by. That was the reason for the initial gush of blood. He'd be kept for observation and, depending on his vitals, he might be released later today.

Ducky thanked the doctor and touched Gibbs on the arm. "Jethro, settle down! What has gotten into you? The young detective will be just fine."

Gibbs shook off Ducky's arm. "I need to see him. Now, Duck. Make it happen!" He knew he was being unreasonable; hadn't realized how rattled he was over this. He was emotionally invested now. As it was, his hands were shaking and he was almost panting. He was never this emotional, never showed his affection and worry over someone he was working with like this. Not unless he was deeply personally involved.

Ducky moved away, muttering something, and Gibbs flipped his cell phone open, scrolling through the numbers to find the one for the Baltimore precinct. He passed the news on that DiNozzo was okay and started pacing, exhaling slowly, trying to calm his racing heart. This had hit close to home. When Gibbs had seen Tony lying there, the blood gushing from his chest, he'd assumed the worst.

Gibbs felt someone touch his arm gently. "They'll have him in a room in a couple of minutes, Jethro," Ducky said, handing him a cup of coffee. "This was in the break room, should be a fair bit better than the colored water they serve otherwise. Now, let's sit down."

Gibbs allowed Ducky to lead him to a chair and sank into it, hands curving around the Styrofoam cup. He was careful to look at Ducky's ear rather than his eyes, was worried that Ducky might see the depth of emotion in his eyes and ask him questions he wasn't quite ready to answer yet.

"Jethro, why has this shaken you so?" Ducky asked softly. "You've just met the lad. I know that you're quite concerned about him, as I would expect, but you're quite shaken up. You're never rattled to this extent, not even when Christopher and Stan were held at gunpoint last year. This reminds me of the time when Jenny was injured in Parma, do you remember that? You were in a right state then as well."

"Duck…" Gibbs warned, sipping the coffee. His hand was shaking and he couldn't stop it, the residual effects of his nerves taking control for the first time in many years.

"Ah, yes. Of course. You were quite upset then as well. That was the last time I saw so much as a tremor from you, Jethro. You've always had such incredible balance and steadiness, and if I might say, it is refreshing to see you're quite like us normal folk a time or two. You can't always be closed off to emotions, Jethro. I know you might prefer it that way, but it simply isn't healthy for you."

Gibbs didn't say a word, eyes now fixed on the wall in front of him. He wasn't going to give Ducky any more food for thought, because Ducky would chew the discussion to death.

"Jethro, might I assume that you're forging a bond with Anthony, much as you did with Jennifer?"

Gibbs growled, sipping his coffee. There was no way to deny it, Ducky knew him well enough to call Gibbs on his BS. He'd tipped his hand already and Ducky knew that.

"Jethro, look at me," Ducky said quietly. Gibbs set his jaw stubbornly, unwilling to let Ducky see the emotion Gibbs knew was present there. When Ducky stood and then crouched, staring into Gibbs' eyes, he didn't even blink, trying to wipe out all the feeling running through him. "Oh, dear. He is the one we've been waiting for, isn't he? I'd suspected as much. There was something to the way you'd introduced him that I hadn't heard since you and Burley started working together, even though I assume that your relationship with Stan was a shade more professional."

Ducky sighed, continuing to stare into Gibbs' eyes. "You've only met this young detective and yet your emotions are fully engaged. I'm not going to ask you what sort of involvement you have or want with him. You see, Jethro, I'm quite open minded. I watched Stan and Jenny fight over your attention for far too long and I saw what I expect was flirtation from you toward Stan. While I know there might be a stigma toward homosex—"

"Enough, Duck!" Gibbs stood and began pacing. He hated when anyone tried to get a read on him, and Ducky had always been accurate to a fault. "Find out where he's been taken and don't bother me until you have a room number."

Gibbs didn't like treating Ducky this way, but he couldn't help himself right now. He was too worried and concerned about DiNozzo, and far too guarded about his own private life. Whatever this was between him and DiNozzo, it was staying just between them.

"Jethro, I didn't mean that you were…" Ducky tried again, trailing off when Gibbs glared at him.

"Doctor Mallard, this is none of your business. Get me the information. That is what I need from you now."

Ducky blinked a few times, genuine hurt shining in his eyes. "Very well then, Agent Gibbs. This will need to be dealt with at a later date."

"Nothing to deal with," Gibbs bit out.

"I respectfully disagree. You're forming a relationship with that boy, Jethro. You're not hiding anything from me." Ducky melted away and Gibbs leaned against the wall, allowing himself to sag against it for a moment. Ducky's words had hit way too close to him. Problem was, Gibbs didn't know what to do about it all. His mind drifted back to the banter they'd shared, the sexual energy between them, and he knew he had to be smiling.

Gibbs blinked a few times as Ducky's voice broke through his memories of last night. "Room 2385…Jethro, are you with me? I said he's in room 2385." Gibbs pulled in a breath, nodding.

"Meet you there, Ducky," he said, racing to the elevator. He needed to see for himself that DiNozzo was okay.

Chapter Text

Chapter Fourteen

Gibbs fought the urge to break into a jog as he moved through the hospital. He'd had to stop people twice to find out the right place to go and he was feeling keyed up and jittery in a way he rarely experienced. He needed to see Tony—now.

Finally reaching the room, he shoved the door open, breathing a sigh of relief at the sight of the man in the bed. Tony looked pale and exhausted, either unconscious or sleeping. Gibbs walked over to the bed, tugging a chair along with him. He hoped to hell that Ducky would take his time getting here so that Gibbs could get his game face back on. The team had always expected him to be a certain way and he didn't like destroying that image for them.

"Hey," he said quietly, knowing from his own experience that unconscious people were aware of human voices and what was said. "Scared me, kid." His voice was rough with the emotion he was trying to suppress. "You're damned lucky, Tony. Should have been a hell of a lot worse."

Gibbs exhaled sharply, mussing Tony's hair. "Should have killed you."

"Didn't," Tony's voice was pained and weak, but it was such a welcome sound.

"Noticed," Gibbs shot back dryly. "Feeling pretty rough?" His hand went back to Tony's hair, smoothing it down and comforting both of them with the gentle strokes, watching as the other man's eyes opened and he looked around the room.

"Hurt like hell, but I'll be okay. Maybe even have a cool scar." Tony's color was great and his eyes were very clear and alert. All things considered, he looked damned good for a guy who'd just dodged the ultimate bullet. He would be sore for a few days and the rib would take a while to heal, but as far as gunshot wounds went, it was pretty minor.

"Maybe," Gibbs agreed. "Most important thing is that you're gonna be okay." He knew he needed to discuss the aspects of the case and see what Tony knew, but for now it was enough to talk with Tony. The verbal reassurances that DiNozzo was okay were finally calming Gibbs down, the strong voice and thread of humor in Tony's voic making Gibbs breathe normally and focus.

"What happened? Did you get the shooter?" Tony asked, looking up at him.

"Don't think so yet. Your guys were in the diner. They're on the case. Wasn't leaving you."

"Really?" Tony asked, his eyes glowing with affection.

"Really," Gibbs asserted. "Was all real. Meant what I said." He wasn't usually this forthright, but this urgency to let Tony know his feelings was rearing its head and he gave it free rein for now. There had been a time where he hadn't said what he felt and had lost that opportunity forever. He wasn't gonna make that mistake again, not when he'd already faced that he had feelings for Tony, whatever they were.

"Wow," Tony said with a small smile. "Wasn't just a shooting induced dream?"

"No." Gibbs paused. "Do you remember anything that happened?"

Tony blinked a few times, his eyes fixing on the wall as he concentrated. "We were walking to the diner. You yelled at me to get down and I turned, but before I could duck, I was hit. I tried to yell out to you to duck too, but…" He paused for a moment. "Something freaked you out. You sounded worried when you yelled at me, and you said something wasn't right. And you…" Tony looked at Gibbs' arm, wincing.

"It's okay," Gibbs assured, impressed with DiNozzo's memory for the details despite what he'd gone through.

"You were hurt." Tony gestured to Gibbs' arm.

"Barely a scratch, DiNozzo. I tried to track the shooter, but there were too many ducking and running. Your guys came out of the diner. Bart helped me get ya back here and took the lead on investigating the shooter."

"And you offered to guard me?" Tony asked, a teasing smile on his face.

"Damned right."

"Do you think this is related to Jarvis?" Tony asked and the expression on his face told Gibbs that was his opinion. Despite how tired the young officer was, his mind was whirling, tossing out theories. It was damned impressive and only made Gibbs want him for his team even more.

"Gut says so," Gibbs offered. "Why I'm staying here. Shooter out there breached hospital security once. Not happening again, Tony. I'll get a couple more of my guys or yours here, can run the investigation from here." Not much more would happen until the evidence was analyzed anyway. The process wasn't as fast as those unrealistic crime shows might have suggested.

"Do you think I'm the target? Jarvis and I aren't associated. This is the first time I've met her and there isn't any connection that I know of."

He hadn't mentioned the most likely connection. "You're investigating the crime against her. You could have been seen at her room today, or even when she was brought in yesterday. Could be the attacker thinks you saw something or that you're a threat to him."

"Could be," Tony agreed, a reluctant note in his voice. It was clear that Tony was a man of action who didn't want to be stuck in a hospital bed right now. Or at all.

"You trust your men, right? Place your life into their hands every time you put on your badge."

Tony nodded, fiddling with the controls on the remote attached to the hospital bed. Gibbs helped him raise the head of his bed until Tony was sitting up and then he tucked the sheet around the other man, giving him a sheepish smile. Gibbs wasn't someone who fussed at a patient's bedside and he had the feeling Tony knew that.

"It's different when you're in the hot seat, Gibbs."

"Different with me, isn't it? You trust me instinctively." Gibbs didn't really expect Tony to admit that, at least not this soon. It was enough that he'd planted the thought in Tony's head. The guy was astute; at some point he'd think back on this.

"I do," Tony said quietly. Gibbs was unable to decipher his tone, but his expression was another story. A small smile touched his lips and he nodded. "I trust you in a different way, Gibbs. I know you're looking out for me. I know I'll be okay while you're guarding me."

"And with them?"

This answer required a lot of thought and Tony fell silent for a few minutes, considering his answer. Gibbs allowed him the time to work it out, suspecting he knew what DiNozzo was going to say before he even opened his mouth.

"It's different with them, Gibbs. It's not…" He trailed off, clearly weighing his words. "It's not 48 Hours, or Lethal Weapon, or Dragnet, or Starsky and Hutch, or even Police Academy. Do you know what I mean?"

Gibbs shook his head, mystified.

"You need to watch more TV and movies. It's not like them."

Gibbs nodded, awaiting the rest of the explanation.

"Buddy cop movies. Where the partners would do anything for each other. These guys only tolerate me. You…you're different."

"Because of what happened last night?"

"No, more than that, Gibbs. Because…you trust my instincts. You listen to my theories. You treat me like a real partner."

"And you like that." Gibbs finished. It wasn't a question.

"Didn't realize what I was missing." Tony admitted.

"So when're you coming to NCIS then?"

Tony sighed, shaking his head. "Isn't that I don't want to, Gibbs. I do. I just can't run away again. I ran from two other police departments when things got hot. Don't want to make it a third. Looks bad on my resume."

"You think I'm gonna let you go once I get you at NCIS?" Gibbs asked with an amused chuckle. He could get beyond this objection with time and well placed words. He wanted DiNozzo on his team, and Tony would be there, whatever it took. Gibbs was playing to win and he had no intention of failing.

Chapter Text

Chapter Fifteen

Tony absorbed what Gibbs said and then fell into silence. He wasn't used to anyone looking out for him, anyone wanting him like this. Philly and Peoria hadn't been thrilled to see him go, but they didn't shed tears either.

And the guys here…they were okay. Despite the screw ups, they weren't bad men, just bored with their jobs. Tony knew that if he kept up and if he stayed here, one day he'd be just like them. They were jaded and distanced from it all. Nothing seemed to shake them any more.

Things shook Tony on a daily basis. Every crime, every victim haunted him, and the ones he hadn't yet solved stuck with him. He was different from Bart and the rest of the guys, the ones who were just marking time at work. The ones who weren't personally invested any more. Maybe Tony did need to be hardened, but he had no interest in becoming like them.

But were Gibbs and his agency the answer? Gibbs had to be at least forty, had seen and experienced a hell of a lot. Tony could read that from staring into Gibbs' deep blue eyes. There were a lot of stories there; he'd seen a lot of good and bad things, a lot of happiness, tragedies, and pain. And Tony had the sense that Gibbs was as driven as Tony himself became when a crime still needed to be solved. He'd seen it in the way Gibbs had yelled at the Baltimore cops.

"What's your secret?" Tony asked softly. He was feeling pretty rough and talking hurt like hell, but he had questions he needed answered.

"To?" Gibbs asked, and Tony was struck by how Gibbs conveyed so much in so few words. His looks were their own language and Tony wanted to learn what they all meant.

"Passion," Tony replied. When Gibbs didn't answer that, Tony felt the need to expand his thoughts, make them less general. "Those guys don't have the fire any more. They lost it a long time ago. You…still have it. It's burning in your eyes right now, Gibbs."

"Is it?" Gibbs asked, leaning closer. "Sure that isn't directed just at you?"

Tony shivered. There was no way his body could react—or so he thought—but his cock made an effort to salute before giving up. This connection with Gibbs had Tony burning up; he'd never felt this way about anyone before. And he didn't want to stop. Despite everything, despite how stupid it was to get involved with someone in law enforcement—a guy no less—Tony wanted Gibbs. Badly.

And then there were the pesky man in authority kink issues to get through as well…

"Positive," Tony said, but his voice was shaking now. This was an important conversation and he needed Gibbs' answer about it. "You still have passion. You still care about the victims. You're…" Tony trailed off, frustrated, unable to put the defining word to what he meant.

"Driven?" Gibbs supplied.

"Driven," Tony repeated, nodding.

"Day I'm not, I quit, Tony. Day I don't care, I can't do my job right, can I?"

"Guess…guess not." Tony had examined the problem before, but Gibbs broke it down just like that to a couple of sentences. "How do you keep yourself caring?"

"Don't know," Gibbs admitted with a sigh. "Not something I think about. Just is. Tony, you have it. You know you do."

"They don't."

It was clear that Gibbs knew who "they" were. His eyes sharpened and he nodded. "Why you need to be with me. They're slower, they're not as sharp. Could get you killed."

Tony wanted to remind Gibbs that "they" didn't have anything to do with what had happened, but he had a feeling that Gibbs would connect that back to the break in of Jarvis' room and he was probably right. It had to be a part of the bigger problem. It was too coincidental to be anything else.

"What made you tell me to get down?"

"Don't know," Gibbs admitted with a shrug. "Gut feeling, Tony. Knew you were in danger."

"It was directed at me and me alone?"

"Think so."

Tony fell silent then, wrestling with the knowledge that he had been a likely target. He filtered through open case files, considering and dismissing people one after another.

"That's why," Gibbs said conversationally, his voice cutting through the clutter in Tony's mind.

"What?" Tony asked, confused. He was hurting and tired and he didn't know what Gibbs was referring to, and it was making him a little cranky.

"You're thinking. Always thinking, Tony. You have the drive up here," Gibbs said, tapping his forehead. "And here too," Gibbs tapped his chest. "Not everyone has that, Tony. Not everyone has the blend of the two. That takes a good cop to a great cop."

Tony blinked a few times and looked at Gibbs. "You think I'm a great cop?" he asked. Nobody had ever seen him that way and it shocked Tony that this guy who had seen such little of his police work was actually able to make that assessment.

"I think you're a good cop becoming a great cop," Gibbs said completely seriously. "Think working with a partner who has your six all the time and who listens to your theories will be good for ya. Think with a little training you could be the best I've worked with. Don't want you marking time here like the rest of 'em. You're too talented for that, DiNozzo. Your instincts are sharp and you're good with people. Come to NCIS. Work with me. I'll take that good cop and make you great."

Tony didn't know what to say to that, so he just held Gibbs' gaze as long as he could and then looked away. Nobody had put this much faith in him since his college spots days and that was different; that was physical rather than mental. Yeah, he was a smart athlete, but it wasn't the same mental processes as crime solving. Not by a long shot. How come this guy who barely knew him and had no clear idea about Tony's talents in the field had so much faith in him? When three police departments hadn't.

Tony swallowed, the realization that he not only wanted, but needed, to work for Gibbs rising up inside him. It might take a while for it to happen, but he had to do it. To be in an environment where he was wanted and valued, where a boss or partner had faith in him as a cop…

Tony was completely floored by that. He had a lot of questions he wanted to get answered, but knowing what he knew about Gibbs, the other man wouldn't give anything away. It would be a pointless exercise anyway.

"You're considering coming to NCIS." It wasn't a question from Gibbs; it was a statement that Tony didn't even bother answering. Gibbs would know that he was right without any intervention from Tony. He had such great instincts.

"Maybe," Tony allowed. He was going to say more, but then the door opened and the NCIS doctor came in, followed by the tattooed woman.

"See, Abigail, he's going to be fine. A minor injury, all things considered. It's good to see you sitting up, young man." He waved some gauze and a bottle of liquid at Gibbs. "And don't think you're getting away without me treating that scratch, Jethro."

"Are you really okay?" the woman asked, rushing across the room and squeezing Tony's hand. "We just found you. There's no way you're leaving us now!"

"Relax, Abbs. He'll be ours soon," Gibbs hugged the woman close. "He'll be ours soon," he repeated, locking his eyes on Tony's, and Tony knew that Gibbs meant it.

Chapter Text

Chapter Sixteen

It was interesting watching Gibbs submitting to the doctor with a grumble. Tony had the idea that Gibbs didn't just submit to anyone's authority and there was no way the kindly medical examiner outranked Gibbs, either in actual authority or force of will. Tony had no doubt that the doctor could—and would—be a strong ally and an even stronger adversary, but there was just no way he was in Gibbs' league.

And yet Gibbs let the older man lead him to the window where they stood now, Gibbs staring out into the city, his eyes intense and wary, always scanning, always aware of his surroundings. It couldn't have been easy for the shooter to get a shot in with Gibbs nearby, and the fact that he'd escaped was pure dumb luck.

Tony watched the older man clean Gibbs' forearm wound. It was obviously more than just a scratch, but Gibbs wasn't acting like the furrow was a big deal. If any of Tony's workmates had gotten injured like that, they would have been complaining and clutching it. But Gibbs didn't even look as if he'd realized it was there until it had been pointed out to him, and even then, it was just an annoyance.

Gibbs was clearly unhappy about being treated, but Tony could see that there was some bond between the doctor and Gibbs that hadn't been there when Gibbs had interacted with the other agents. It was there in the way Gibbs had just smiled and reassured the woman as well. These two were special to Gibbs. And for some reason, they'd warmed to him, Tony DiNozzo, the guy always on the outside.

Tony didn't know much about Gibbs' personal life, but he had a feeling these two were family to him. And some niggling feeling in the back of his head told him that if he stuck around long enough, he'd be thought of the same way. A sense of belonging warmed Tony's chest, healing something deep inside him, something he couldn't ever give voice to. Overwhelmed by what he was thinking and feeling, Tony rubbed a hand over the back of his neck, shifted around in the bed, and sighed.

"Do you hurt badly?" Abby asked and Tony shook his head, moving around a little more. He was sore, but the pain was manageable. There was no way he was taking any pills or dulling his senses. If Gibbs was right and whoever did this had targeted him, Tony wasn't going to be at any disadvantage. He had the distinct idea that Gibbs would feel the same way.

"I'm just sore," Tony said, automatically reaching for the TV remote. When she slapped his hand away, he could only stare at her, torn between being pissed off and shocked at her audacity. They'd just met, she had no right.

"What the hell?" he asked, pitching his voice lower so that he didn't alert Gibbs.

"You are not watching TV. If you're really just sore, you can help with the case. If you're more than sore, you need your rest." She chewed her lower lip and began speaking again in a burst of sound. "It's not that I want you hurt, Tony. I was completely freaked out to hear that you'd been shot. And when we just found you and all, that was not cool, Mister, not cool at all!" She punctuated her word—spoken in a rapidly rising tone of voice—by poking his arm before she pulled in a couple of breaths and pranced around, clearly trying to control herself. "But one of Gibbs' rules is to not believe in coincidences, and I trust him! There's something hinky here and as soon as we can figure it all out, the sooner we can get you home. In one piece and healthy."

"I could get home now," Tony pointed out.

"Against medical advice, Mister!" She was kind cute when she got angry, her face screwing up, her lips pressed tight together.

"You have a doctor," Tony pointed out, gesturing to the man wrapping Gibbs' forearm in gauze.

"You're safer here for now," Gibbs replied. Tony hadn't thought Gibbs had been listening to the entire conversation, but his eyes and full attention were on Tony. "You're staying and one of the four of us will be with you at all times."

"What about the evidence and the case?" Tony asked.

"Ducky can do his magic here," Gibbs said. He studied Abby for a long moment and Tony realized Gibbs didn't want her to go back to DC. He swallowed hard, realizing he was making his first conscious steps toward actively working with the NCIS people. And damn his precinct, his chief, and the rest of them. It might take a while to get there, but his mental shift was turning toward NCIS. He'd made the decision and damn the fallout.

"I know a guy, Erik. He works at the lab, second shift supervisor. With the attack on Jarvis, someone taking shots at me and a federal agent, we know this is escalating. And we now have a good case for running the samples through quickly. I have something that'll sweeten the deal. Anyone have a pad and pen?" Abby rummaged through her purse, pulling out a notepad in the shape of a skull. Tony wrote down the address and did a doodle of Erik.

"That's him. Curly dark hair, stubble, late twenties, six foot even. Tell him if he puts a rush on everything for me, I'll forget what he owes me."

"You carrying his debt?" Gibbs asked with a smirk on his face. Now that the doctor was done with him, he moved closer, dropping gracefully into a chair next to the bed.

"Poker night," Tony said, shrugging. He could feel his ears heating up. It was pretty cliché. Was he going to admit eating donuts every once in awhile too?

"You good?" Gibbs asked, looking thoughtful all of a sudden.

"Maybe. Why do you need to know?"

"Good. When we've wrapped the case, the four of us will play. Abby and Duck against you and me." He'd completely ignored Tony's question and Tony didn't feel like repeating it for now.

There was something that sounded so confident in Gibbs' voice, as if he knew Tony would be a part of their group, as if it had already been decided regardless of Tony's imput. He should have been chafing, should have been pissed off, should have been acting out against an authority he'd never asked for.

But Tony couldn't bring himself to get angry or even annoyed. It was a nice feeling, not only the whole being wanted thing, but someone planning events for them all. He'd never been a part of any group so easily, and with law enforcement being such a tight brotherhood, he was having trouble wrapping his mind around the easy acceptance from these strangers. What did they see in him, anyway?

Tony blinked a few times, startled when Gibbs spoke again. "Duck, get the files, and see if one of the guys brought along a laptop. This'll be our command post for today. Abby, this room have a laptop hookup?"

"Right there," she pointed. "And I brought your laptop, Gibbs. I'll go get it."

She disappeared in a whirlwind of energy, the doctor leaving much more sedately. When they were alone, Tony grinned at Gibbs.

"What?"

"You're really confident in yourself. Poker night. What if I say no?"

"You won't say no," Gibbs said, his tone low and commanding. Tony couldn't help the small squeak he emitted at the sound of Gibbs' voice. He'd always responded to authority—that whole kink thing—but this was…different. Gibbs was an alpha personality unlike any Tony had ever met. He was more commanding than anyone Tony had ever known—even his father, who could make him spill his guts with just one look.

"How do you know?" Tony asked. He was consciously aware of the quieter tone of his voice and the way he'd pulled his body language in slightly. He always reacted that way in the presence of stronger and more alpha men, and Gibbs was top of the heap.

"Because you're mine," Gibbs replied, simply. "I know it. You'll know it soon enough and when you do, neither of us are really gonna want you anywhere but at NCIS as my probational agent."

"How come everyone thinks it is a done deal?" Tony asked, curious. It wasn't only the doctor and the Goth who thought so, the agents from NCIS had the reaction that Tony was important, too.

"Don't take to people well. When I find someone I like and respect, I keep 'em close. And I chose you, Tony. Don't forget that."

"Somehow I don't think you'll let me."

"Damned right! Now rest up until they get back here."