It's not the first undercover assignment Tony's been on that required him to play straight. It's not even the first one since he got to NCIS. But it's the first one with McGee, and he knows--he could have told you from day one, minute one, second one--that it's the one that will sink them.
"I think he's over by the bar," McGee says, leaning as far as possible away from Tony to get a better look.
Tony's hand slides towards him across the fake leather of the banquette, hesitates for a second, and withdraws, before Tony can do something stupid like put his hand on McGee's thigh. It's right there, taunting him; maybe he should go one better and grab McGee's ass.
McGee squirms some more, Tony breathes shallowly and tries to list the cast of Casablanca in order of appearance, and--
McGee shakes his head, sliding back into Tony's personal space. "Definitely not him."
"Damn it," Tony says, petulantly leaning away from him.
"Patience, DiNozzo," Gibbs says in his ear.
"Yes, Boss," Tony says. He desperately wants something serious to drink (whiskey, maybe, with an absinthe chaser), but he signals the waiter for another beer instead.
He's barely bothered to check out the club--he has seen his share of men's clubs in his personal life he reluctantly--okay, maybe not always reluctantly--shares with his law enforcement coworkers. He's actually been to this club before, sitting awkwardly across from his father and hiding his displeasure at being in the man's presence. He can tell at a glace that it's all dark paneling and overpriced drinks and businessmen in suits bitching about their wives and mounted hunting trophies and bathrooms with bored attendants. It's the clientele that makes a bar like this. Like, you know, former sailors who smuggled weapons out of Norfolk.
Or partners in Armani who wriggle around in the booth next to you. Not because, God forbid, they're aware of how incredibly attractive they look dressed up to the nines and perfectly pressed, or because they're thinking about what you did to them this morning, how you dragged them down to the bed and stripped them out of their faded MIT t-shirt and ridiculous Star Wars boxers, how you opened them up so slowly and fucked them until you were both covered in sweat and grinning like idiots, but because they're doing their job and checking out the patrons.
When the beer arrives, Tony downs half of it, glaring McGee down when he opens his mouth to protest.
This time, Tony sees a likely candidate first, and claps a brotherly hand on McGee's shoulder, pulling him closer. "Nine o'clock, just passing the men's room," he says into McGee's ear (and earpiece).
"Got him," McGee says after a half-second. "Definitely Hines." They pull apart reluctantly, and Tony flicks imaginary lint off of McGee's shoulder.
"Sorry about that, McPermanent Press."
McGee knocks his hand away.
They settle into surveillance mode, making conversation and avoiding eye contact for the next half hour or decade or so. Hines makes no move to do anything but settle over his whiskey and eat peanuts. Tony grits his teeth with the effort of not lacing his fingers into McGee's under the table, not brushing his fingers over the bite mark just above McGee's collar.
"Is he glued to that bar or what?" He moves carefully away and picks up his water glass. He focuses on keeping the glass steady up and down, and wipes his chilled palm across the back of his neck.
"Wait," McGee says suddenly, and Tony jerks with the effort of not looking at him. "He's heading back to the restrooms."
"After him, but keep your distance," Tony hears through his earpiece. "Ziva, can you get to that door?"
Tony slides out of the booth and braces himself to slide his arm around McGee's shoulders, the picture of masculine camaraderie.
"Are we drunk?" McGee asks, and Tony wants to tell him that that's not all, but he doesn't think admitting he's horny will go over very well around here.
"I vote yes," Tony says grimly, and walks McGee across the room and down the hall toward the restrooms.
He expects Hines to head past the restrooms to the fire exit, or to cut them some slack and actually meet with a contact, or anything that will end the torture part of the evening and move on to something easier, like maybe an exchange of gunfire.
So naturally, naturally, Hines is just in the damn bathroom, checking them out over his shoulder from where he stands at the urinal.
There's no time to look awkward or even check each other for cues, and thankfully McGee knows it as well as Tony does. Tony lets go of McGee's shoulder and takes the farthest urinal--an illusion of privacy, but in reality still keeping Hines and the door visible. McGee follows his lead, leaning against the wall behind him and looking uncomfortable--which may or may not have anything to do with the bathroom at all.
"I didn't promise you an unoccupied bathroom," he says, chuckling heartily, and hopes Ziva and Gibbs get the message.
"Like you keep your promises anyway," McGee shoots back, and there's something so comforting about Probie's cranky voice coming out of this staid, slightly stuffy persona that Tony almost calms down.
It takes a ridiculously long time for Hines to finish up, while Tony and McGee make awkward small talk and Tony pretends to use the urinal. Tony keeps his head down as Hines zips up and makes his way out the door, and he knows they need to head out after him, but he takes an extra few seconds they don't have to pull McGee close and do something he's wanted to do all night--kiss him.
McGee draws back, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand and giving Tony the same hungry look that he knows must be all over his own face.
Tony waves a finger. "Later." And then he's off down the hall after Hines.
The resulting gunfight is, in fact, almost a relief.
The upside to this undercover mission is that they look perfectly normal once they get back to the office, if a little sweaty. Gibbs and Ziva tag-team Hines in interrogation until nearly midnight, and nobody's watching them, nobody notices if they stay together on the other side of the glass, nobody's stopping them from standing there next to each other and watching the inevitable confession spill out.
Every time Tony shifts his weight, his fingers brush against McGee's. By the time Hines is wrapped up and they're following the rest of their team back down the hall, McGee matching him step for step, he's so turned on it's almost an out-of-body experience.
"Paperwork tomorrow," Gibbs says when Ziva makes a beeline for her desk. "Good work, team."
Tony grins over at McGee, because crazy bathroom kiss or not, they still did good.