It was a beautiful day in June and really too nice to be cooped up inside a cheap apartment. A small diner was less than a five minute walk away, but Tim still enjoyed the brief outing while he went to pick up their morning meal. On the particularly nice days, he often left early and took a longer route past the small rundown houses in the neighborhood. He’d managed to find a couple places where the elderly homeowners were usually outside watering their plants in the morning. He always smiled and waved to them as he walked by. He enjoyed seeing the flowers in the morning, reaching for the sun.
As soon as the apartment door was closed behind him, Tim placed the paper bag of food onto the table. He then ventured over to the window, picked up a pair of binoculars and stared across the street. “Any movement?” he asked.
“Nope,” Tony replied as he grabbed the bag, opened it and stared inside with utter disbelief. The sensation of déjà vu swept over him in an instant. There were those damn eggs staring back at him again, ready to ooze all over everything the moment he stabbed them with a fork. “Really, Tim? After all this time you still can’t get my breakfast order right?” he asked. “You know I do not like my eggs sunny-side up and oozing.”
Just like years before, Tim walked across the room, grabbed Tony’s breakfast container and shook it vigorously. “There. They’re scrambled. If you don’t like what I bring you, then you can pick up breakfast yourself.” Before Tony could respond, Tim returned to the window and peered outside.
Tony's irritation was obvious in his tone. “We take turns. That’s how it’s done. And when it’s your turn, is it too much to ask that you get my order correct?”
“How do you know it’s my fault and not the cook’s mistake?”
“Because when you go get the food, it’s your job to make sure the order is correct before you bring it back.” Pausing, Tony picked up the foil wrapped burrito and sniffed it. “I bet your burrito is just the way you wanted it,” he said as he threw the burrito at the back of Tim’s head.
Tim turned slowly and set the binoculars on the desk next to the window as he stared Tony down. “You gonna do something about it?” he asked.
Tony nodded. They’d wrestled before; not that either of them could remember who had won the last time. Maybe it was a draw. In a moment, their shoulders collided before Tony wrapped his arms around Tim’s torso, spun around and dropped them both to the floor with Tony landing on top.
“Is that your burrito or are you just happy to see me?” he asked.
Looking up, Tim blushed and shoved Tony in the chest. Instead of getting up, Tony ground his crotch against Tim’s. “Since your burrito is still on the table, I’m going to have to believe that you are extremely happy to see me.”
“Get off me!” Tim said as he shoved Tony harder.
“Get off of you? Or get you off?” teased Tony with a slight grin.
“Tony, please. I don’t have time for your burrito issues.”
Tony finally relented and let Tim off the floor. “How long have I turned you on?”
Unable to find anything to say, Tim blushed deeper and retreated into the bathroom for a few minutes.
Highly amused, and pleased with himself, Tony took a seat and ate Tim’s burrito.
“That was mine!” Tim complained when he returned and saw Tony slam dunking the wadded up foil wrapper into the trash can.
“You’ve been gone for ten minutes. I hope you washed your hands.”
“Why did you eat my burrito?”
“You know why! Next time don’t bring me oozing eggs that stare back at me.”
“Whatever,” said Tim. With his stomach grumbling, he took a second look at Tony’s abandoned breakfast. It was that or nothing. Sighing, he opened the box and dug in.
“Burrito was good,” Tony pushed, pausing to lick his fingertips. “Nice and thick.”
“Tony, just stop it, please.”
“Why? Does the sound of my voice turn you on? Or is it purely a burrito thing?”
“Forget about it.”
When Gibbs and Bishop arrived hours later to relieve the pair, Tony pulled Gibbs aside. “Hey, Boss, do you think we can switch things up a bit?”
“What?” Gibbs snapped.
“Maybe it would be good for Bishop to switch the teams up.”
“Was there something about that ‘no’ that made you think this was open for discussion? Whatever problems you and McGee are having with each other, deal with it. You’re federal agents. Figure it out.”
“Yes, Boss. And thank you for not telling me to suck it up.”
“Hey, if that’s what it takes, DiNozzo.”
Tony felt the slight blush creeping into his cheeks and wondered if Gibbs had noticed. By the odd way he was staring, most likely he had.
“Thank you, Boss, and have a great day. We’ll see you tonight.”
The moment they closed the door, Tim asked, “What was that about?”
“What was what about?”
“You know what.”
“Nothing. It was all about nothing.”
“You don’t like being teamed up with me on stake out.”
“It’s not that, Tim.”
Tony stopped for a moment, then shook his head. “I don’t know. Sometimes it seems like we’re too close.”
“Too close?” Tim asked.
“In each other’s way. I don’t know.”
“Whatever,” said Tim.
Tony sighed and followed him out to the car. “Hey, Tim, hold up.”
Tony unlocked the trunk and dropped his pack inside. “Go ahead, Probie. Dump your pack and get in.”
“In the trunk?”
“Geez, Tim. Pack in the trunk, you in the car.
Tim did as Tony had ordered. “Are we going to go now?” he asked.
Sitting in the driver’s seat, Tony still held the keys in his hand. “Not yet. Observe.”
“Just watch the target house. While you were all wrapped up in your burrito issues, I think our guy showed up.”
Turning, Tim looked down the street. “That definitely could be our guy.”
Tony took out his phone and dialed Gibbs. “See the guy in the leather jacket?”
“Yeah, DiNozzo, we’re watching him.”
“Tim and I will stick around a few minutes. If you need us, just say the word.”
“Wait until he makes his deal,” warned Gibbs.
The four agents carefully kept watch on the house, until Gibbs gave the signal to move in.
“We’re headed down,” Gibbs said softly. “You two take the front, we’ll cover the rear.”
“On it, Boss,” said Tony as he slipped out of the car and began walking toward the house.
Tim was at his side in a moment. “You’re the one with burrito issues.”
“Is this really the time?”
The moment Lance Corporal Reyes was a few steps from the house, Tim and Tony flashed their badges. Their suspect took off running, but the pair quickly caught up and subdued him. As they were walking him back in cuffs, they saw the police pull up as Gibbs and Bishop marched two other men out of the house.
“Giving up the dealer?” Tim asked.
Gibbs shrugged. “These two aren’t Navy or Marine. Ride our guy back and get your reports written up.”
Despite leaving before Gibbs and Bishop, Tony and Tim arrived at NCIS Headquarters only to see their Boss had beat them back. The pair escorted Reyes down to interrogation.
“Glad you guys decided to show up. I was about to send out a BOLO,” said Gibbs, his fingers drumming on the open file sitting on the table.
“We’d been up all night, Boss,” Tony explained. “We stopped for coffee.”
“With a prisoner?”
“We didn’t let him out of the car. We didn’t even buy him coffee.” He looked at Gibbs pleadingly. It was out of protocol and he and Tim both knew that.
After leaving Reyes with Gibbs, Tim and Tony took the elevator back to the squad room.
“You gave that up a little too easily,” chastised Tim.
“Come on, Tim. He knows he beat us back and he could probably smell the double foam latte on your breath.”
Tim sighed as he took his seat.
Tony flipped on his computer. “Don’t feel too guilty. We’d been up all night. I think Gibbs will forgive us a coffee run. It’s not like we let Reyes get away.”
“That is true,” Tim agreed as he began typing.
Forty-five minutes later, they had completed their reports. Tony yawned and Tim followed suit.
“You guys taking off?” asked Bishop.
“Not until Gibbs says it’s okay.” Tim yawned again.
“Go on you two,” said Gibbs as he stepped around the partition. “Get some sleep.”
“Thank you, Boss.”
Tim and Tony bolted for the elevator before Gibbs changed his mind.
“You know, the worst thing you can do right now is to go to sleep?” Tony advised.
“I’ve been on stakeouts before. Plenty of times.”
“While that is true, when you’re tired the only thing you think about is sleeping. Even if it’s the last thing you should do.”
“You’re staying up?”
“Yeah,” Tony replied. “Why don’t you come over? We can watch a movie or two, maybe have a couple beers and some popcorn. It’ll be easier if we keep each other awake.”
Tim yawned again. “Yeah, okay. Lunch first?”
The door opened to their floor and Tim followed Tony down the hallway. “Why am I buying?”
“Because I am supplying the movie, popcorn and beer.”
“What are you hungry for?”
“I don’t know. Mexican? I suddenly have a taste for burritos.”
“Let it go, okay?”
Tony smiled as he got into his car. “Grab a couple sandwiches and meet me at my place.”
Arriving home before Tim made it, Tony changed into a light blue polo shirt and jeans before doing a quick spot clean around the apartment. By the time Tim tapped lightly at the door, Tony had managed to feed his goldfish, pull two bottles of beer out of the refrigerator and had queued up the movie.
“What did you get for lunch?” asked Tony.
Tim pushed in past Tony and put the bag on the coffee table. “Pastrami on rye with chips on the side,” he announced.
“Good choice. And for a movie, I have chosen the classic film, True Grit.”
“The one with John Wayne or Jeff Bridges?” Tim asked as he sat down.
“I said, classic. That implies John Wayne. You just can’t improve on the Duke. Have you seen them both?”
“Only the one with Jeff Bridges.”
“Then you are in for a treat my friend.”
“By far. Although, the Jeff Bridges one is better than I thought it would be. The Coen brothers did a nice interpretation. However, you just can’t replace the Duke. The only thing better in their move is Mattie Ross played by Hailee Steinfeld. If only we could put the Duke in the new movie or Hailee in the original.”
“If she’s the only thing better in the newer version, why would you want to move John Wayne to the new one?”
“It’s darker. Probably more what reality looked like back then. The original is full of bright sunny days and beautiful scenery. And Dennis Hopper. He said John Wayne saved his acting career.”
“That’s what he said in an interview. Did you know that the original version of True Grit was released the same year that Dennis Hopper made his directorial debut with Easy Rider?”
“I did not know that.”
As the opening credits rolled, the pair tapped the necks of their beer bottles together and dug into their sandwiches and chips.
“Good bust today,” Tony said as the film began.
“Yeah. Do you want my pickle?”
Tony raised his eyebrows. “Really McQueen? You keep insisting you don’t go that way.”
Tim rolled his eyes and held up the pickle that had accompanied his sandwich. “You know I don’t really care for them.”
“As you keep telling me. More of a burrito guy.” Tony turned his eyes to the movie and took a big bite from his sandwich. “Stop pointing your pickle at me, McGherkin. People may get the wrong idea.”
Tim dropped the pickle back onto the wrapper. “I think it’s a dill.”
“You just keep your pickle to yourself.”
“Okay, if it means that much to you, I will take your pickle.” The moment Tony had it, he sucked the full length into his mouth, then pulled it about halfway out and sucked on it loudly.
Tim blushed. Tony laughed and elbowed Tim. “I’m just messing with you.”
An hour after they had finished their sandwiches, Tony paused the movie. Tim went to the bathroom, while Tony made popcorn. Minutes later, they regrouped on the sofa with the bowl of popcorn between them and two fresh, cold beers on the table before them.
“Sucks that we have to work tomorrow,” Tony said softly. “We should get a day off to adjust.”
Tim snorted. “Why didn’t you ask Gibbs for another day off?”
“You know why! There’s no way he’d go for that. He’d just shoot me that Gibbs stare.”
When the movie ended, Tony yawned and stretched. “If you want to stick around, I can order in a pizza.”
“I want to get home before I’m too tired to drive.”
“You can crash here if you want. You’re exhausted and you’ve been drinking. Not the best combination when driving.”
“Are you sure you don’t mind?”
“Not at all. I have an extra toothbrush in the bathroom. And we wear about the same size so my closet is your closet.”
“Really? That’s very generous of you, Tony.”
“I’m sure you’d do the same if we were at your place. So what’s next? I just bought the collector’s set of The Lord Of The Rings.”
“We could stay up watching that all night.”
“But we won’t. I’ll order a pizza when we get hungry and we can watch the first one and save the others for another time. It is a school night, after all.”