Gibbs had taught him that a man needed a code to live by. And Tony definitely had one.
Rule #7: Saturdays in September are for college football, not romance.
"Wow," Tony said, turning a full circle to take in the entire room. "I didn't know there were this many nerds in the world."
"Be careful, Tony. You're the odd one out here." McGee was not dressed in costume, a fact that Tony was vaguely disappointed by. He was in jeans and a T-shirt that read, I have a 75,000 word vocabulary, and I'm not afraid to use it. He was clearly one of the coolest geeks there--Tony could tell because all the girls in wench outfits that passed them checked McGee out first.
"Why aren't you wearing ears and stuff?" he asked, flipping idly through a row of gaming magazines.
"I don't cosplay that much anymore," McGee said.
As soon as McGee turned away to talk to the person running the next booth, Tony dug out his notebook and wrote down, Google cosplay.
“Oh, awesome, there’s the Square Enix booth.”
Tony stepped between yet another costumed girl and McGee. “...Awesome. Let’s go.”
Rule #3: If they can’t name all the Bonds in order, they'll never be more than a one-night stand.
“William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin ‘the other’ Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith.” McGee took a quick breath. “And technically Richard Hundall cameoed as the First Doctor once. We won’t get into the Valeyard issue, although it’s--"
“And you can’t name a single James Bond,” Tony said, covering his face with his hands.
“Sean Connery!” McGee said, in his most offended voice.
“McGeek, everyone knows Sean Connery played Bond. People raised by wolves could tell you that as soon as they were taught to speak. Sean Connery does. Not. Count.”
“Fine. Um. Remington Steele?”
“I think I might cry,” Tony said into his hands.
“I’ll make you a deal. I’ll watch the Bond movie of your choice if you’ll watch an episode of the new Doctor Who with me.”
“Oh, it’s a deal, Probie,” Tony said smugly.
An hour later, he had his hands clutched in the sofa fabric to keep from visibly flinching. “I am never going to be able to turn my back on a store mannequin again. Never.”
“Wait til you see the one where they can’t blink,” McGee said evilly.
Rule #5: Someone who can't appreciate quality couture can't appreciate a quality date.
"McJetsetter!" Tony called out as McGee stepped off the elevator. "How was New York?"
"Mostly I saw the inside of the publisher's office," McGee said. "My new editor is nice but...thorough."
"You saw nothing of the Big Apple?"
"Well, I did get a little bit of shopping in." McGee busied himself handing a package to Ziva and leaving one on Gibbs's desk. "You know, Abby is the easiest person to shop for in New York." He stacked three different boxes and bags on his desk. "And..." He tossed a box to Tony. "I think you'll like that."
Tony knew as soon as he saw the crumpled edges of the "designer label" box that it had been purchased at a sidewalk table somewhere. He opened it. "Oh...wow! It's a belt!"
"Italian leather. Only the best for you." McGee was for-the-love-of-God beaming.
Tony ran his fingers along the belt. Little pieces of "leather" started to crumple and fall off. "This is great, McGee. I can't wait to wear it."
Rule #11: Impress 'em with your skills in the kitchen, and you’ll be cooking in bed later.
The fireman handed Tony a blanket; he looked at it, sighed sharply, and carried it over to the grass next to the parking lot, where McGee was sitting, pecking away on his Blackberry.
“What are you looking up?” he asked, sitting down and slinging one end of the blanket across McGee’s shoulder.
“The opposite of crème brulee.” McGee tilted the tiny screen so Tony could see the French-English dictionary on it. “I think I’ll have to go with crème éteindre--extinguished cream.”
“I hate you,” Tony said wearily.
“How long are we going to be sitting out here?”
“A while yet,” Tony said. "They have to double-check and make sure the fire is out everywhere in the kitchen, and there was a something about wiring that I definitely didn’t want to hear about."
McGee patted his shoulder in sympathy.
“Ah, damn, the DVDs were in the kitchen,” Tony said suddenly.
“What did you get?”
“A movie,” Tony snapped.
Tony sighed. “The first Lord of the Rings movie.”
McGee stilled next to him.
Tony considered asphyxiating himself with the blanket.
“You’re wearing the belt I gave you.”
There was dead silence for a second, and then McGee called, “Excuse me,” to the nearest fireman and jumped to his feet.
He returned a second later, and Tony hunched down in the blanket.
“Okay,” McGee said. “I gave him your spare keys and told him to call you at my place if he needed anything else.”
McGee held out a hand. “You are coming to my place, aren’t you?”
Tony reached up.
Rule #1: There’s nobody out there worth breaking the rules for. Don’t even try.
“Mm,” Tony said, and allowed himself a long, luxurious stretch across the bed. A stretch interrupted almost immediately by a swat from McGee.
“If you knock me off my own bed, it’s war.”
“Sorry,” Tony said, and rolled over on top of McGee. “You got enough room now?”
A squawk and a sleepy tussle later, they were lying face-to-face on the bed, both smiling.
Tony flexed his feet where they were tangled up with McGee’s. “Tim?”
“Don’t tell anyone, but I’m glad I set my kitchen on fire for you.”
McGee moved one hand until it was resting against Tony’s shoulder. “Don’t tell anyone, but I appreciate the gesture.”