From the outside, it looked ordinary. A custom leather shop. But that was just the brown paper wrapping on the porno mag. Tony hadn't stopped grinning since Gibbs told him to grab his gear, but he had held back on running commentary because god forbid Gibbs take someone else to the next sex shop. Ziva wouldn't bat an eyelash, but Gibbs taking McGee could be entertaining provided that someone filmed it so Tony could watch it every day at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack time. And on an endless loop for Christmas on the same reel as It's a Wonderful Life.
Tony glanced around. The items were similar to the ones they'd recovered from the dead Petty Officer at the crime scene. He reached out to touch a pair of cuffs, and Gibbs slapped his hand away just as the proprietor appeared from behind a beaded curtain. He was older and sporting the kind of sideburns and piped lapels that Tony hadn't seen since Captain Kangaroo, and now Tony was waiting for Mr. Green Jeans and The Banana Man to make an appearance.
"Wow!" Tony said under his breath.
"Here to buy something for your boy?" Captain Kangaroo asked.
"You know," Tony said, leaning as close to Gibbs as he dared with so many potential weapons in reach, "ninth anniversary is leather goods, Boss."
"DiNozzo," Gibbs warned.
"Between you and me, I think he takes me for granted." Tony reached for his badge. "Federal agents, NCIS. Special Agents DiNozzo and Gibbs." Tony put his badge away and pulled out evidence photos. "Do you recognize any of these custom items? Belt, cuffs..." Tony hesitated slightly before saying, "sex machine."
Captain Kangaroo pulled his bifocals from behind a wide lapel and examined the photos. He tapped the cuffs. "That's my stitching, all right. Sold that pair just last week."
"Name?" Gibbs said.
Captain Kangaroo opened what looked to be an old-school ledger, but it turned out to be the skin on a laptop. The Captain typed away, and then gave Gibbs the hairy eyeball. "What do you want to talk to him about?"
"We need to question him pursuant to an ongoing investigation –" Tony said, stopping when Gibbs knocked the back of his hand against Tony's hip.
"Murder," Gibbs said.
Captain Kangaroo nodded and turned the laptop so they could see the screen. "Name's John Safin. Used a credit card."
Gibbs nodded at it. "DiNozzo."
"On it, Boss."
"Are you sure you don't want to buy anything?" Captain Kangaroo asked while Tony took down the information.
Gibbs looked around. Tony covertly observed that Gibbs paid a little too much attention to the ball gags, probably because he knew Tony was watching. Eventually, and apparently with great relish, Gibbs said, "Nope."
Tony finished and gathered the evidence photos. "Ready when you are, Boss."
They thanked the proprietor, got his legal name, and headed back to the car.
"Hey, did you know, on the kid's show Captain Kangaroo, that the actor who played Mr. Green Jeans was a Marine?"
Gibbs looked at him.
"There's context," Tony explained, pointing at his temple. "In my head."
"Get in the car, DiNozzo."
Tony got in. "Next year, I want diamonds."
Gibbs raised an eyebrow. "Diamonds?"
"I'd settle for diamond smugglers, Boss."
Gibbs smacked the back of Tony's head. "Didn't I tell you not to settle, Tony?"
Tony's epic dry spell with women bothered him, but these days it was a low-level irritation, like not noticing how loud fluorescent lights were until the power went out. He dated a lot, had sex a lot less than he could have, and mostly didn't examine why, because that led to Jeanne and how getting serious about someone meant admitting that he had been and still could be a lying liar who lied.
"Just call me Fletcher Reede," Tony muttered to himself as he dug around in his desk for staples or Tic Tacs or whatever it was that he was looking for. He'd know it when he saw it.
He was still coming to terms with the fact that his father was a stone-cold flim-flam man, and that Tony had learned the family trade by accident. You watched people; you found out what they wanted, needed, who they expected you to be, and when you gave that to them, you got what you wanted in return. In retrospect, it went a long way to explaining Tony's hard-on for stakeouts.
He did love watching people without their knowledge. It was more than a little creepy, but at least this way it was legal.
Still, Tony had the job and he had Gibbs and he had his team, and while it wasn't everything, it was enough. Most of the time.
It was late, and Ziva and McGee had already gone home. And aside from Captain Kangaroo and the dead Petty Officer who may or may not have been into kinky sex, it had been a pretty normal day. Gibbs was standing in front of his desk, leaning over to grab a file. Tony was watching him. And it wasn't until Gibbs turned around and said, "See something you like, DiNozzo?" that Tony realized he'd been thinking, oh yeah, he'd totally like a slice of that.
That the weird electric charge he felt around Gibbs might have a little more to do with attraction than adrenaline. A little less John Philip Sousa and a lot more Marvin Gaye. Like suddenly remembering something he'd forgotten years ago for no reason whatsoever, like how desperate he'd been to be friends with handsome Danny Fichtner when they were thirteen.
Tony felt a flash of heat, and then his neck went cold, and suddenly he wanted to put his head between his legs, not necessarily to kiss his ass goodbye but because he'd been hit with a two-by-four of unwelcome insight.
Tony wasn't playing the lead in a Preminger noir looking for the unobtainable Dana Hutton; he was the freaky obsessed character in a Hitchcock psychological thriller, and Jesus tap dancing Christ, he was in love with his boss.
Tony shot to his feet. "Yes, Boss. I mean, no, Boss. I mean... I'm just going to go, now. If that's all right with you, Boss."
Gibbs jerked his head, and Tony ran out of the office like his ass was on fire.
He went home. He locked up his gun. He sat on his couch and turned on the TV, and very quietly freaked the fuck out.
After a decade of boarding school and summer camps followed by college dorms and the frat house, Tony had retained very little in the way of modesty or personal privacy. Spend enough time sharing bedrooms, bathrooms, locker rooms and showers, and you learn to let it all hang out. Gibbs was pretty much the same way; Tony figured the lack of privacy was even more intense in the Corps. Scouting apparently didn't provide the same life experience, because it had taken McGee almost a year to stop changing in the gym's bathroom stalls whenever they sparred.
If there was one things guys liked to do when they were bored, aside from thinking or talking about sex, it was digging up shit on the other guys. At least the guys who got sent to boarding school or who joined a fraternity. In boarding school, it was like some kind of pre-adolescent political warfare in preparation for the boardrooms of tomorrow. In college, it had been a lot less cutthroat, more like Ferris Bueller meets Jackass with a dash of Fear Factor.
It was at boarding school that Tony learned to be nosy and realized that he had a particular talent for it, which had made the other guys try twice as hard to find some dirt on him. Trial by fire. Tony usually won, and when he didn't win, well, he had that subscription to Playpen for more than one reason.
Tony had his secrets, but he'd never expected them to stay hidden. He'd learned never to leave evidence if possible, and where evidence had to exist, to come up with a plausible explanation. And he'd learned just how easy it was to distract people from the truth.
He'd learned his lesson so well that apparently he'd created his own version of Rule #4: the best way to keep a secret is to keep it from yourself.
A secret that probably wouldn't help him with Brenda the barista unless he was willing to check another "Interested In" ticky-box or start a high and tight fan page on Facebook.
Tony laughed then, the crazy mad scientist laugh; he hadn't laughed like this since he'd found Kate's picture on the wet T-shirt wall of fame in Panama City. He laughed as if he'd found had the juiciest, most embarrassing secret ever, because really, nothing could top this.
"Oh," Tony said, dropping his face into his hands. "Oh, Kate. You would have had a field day with this."
Over the next 36 hours, Tony flirted inappropriately with at least a dozen women, went on dates with two and had good but not great sex with them both, leaving him feeling vaguely unsatisfied and twitchy. He cracked a cold case in the wee hours after he'd left the women he'd slept with to go back to the office, and earned a grand total of eleven head slaps from Gibbs. All while constantly quoting John Wayne movies because the Duke was the straightest guy Tony could think of.
Ziva kept shooting him looks that were three parts irritation and seven parts worry, and even McGee had noticed that he was off his game when he didn't respond to McGee's gloating about how many more Facebook friends Thom E. Gemcity had than Tony. To make matters worse, Safin had dropped off the face of the planet, their evidence was thin and warrants were slow in coming, and Gibbs was, to put it delicately, in a mood.
"Hey, Pepé Le Pew," Gibbs said, pointing at Tony. "You're with me. Leave your gear. My office."
Tony would rather waltz around Baghdad's Red Zone without a ballistic vest while Mike Franks smoked an entire pack of cigarettes in his face, but he followed Gibbs into the elevator anyway and tried not to wince when Gibbs flipped the emergency switch to shut it down.
Gibbs looked beyond pissed. "I thought you said you were getting too old for this crap, DiNozzo."
And then Tony lost his mind, blurting the truth and not even bothering with a lie like he usually did, because this one was kind of a doozy and Tony needed Gibbs to know so he could stop freaking the fuck out and just deal with the consequences.
"You know, I really thought I was, but then a few days ago I discovered that I'm just like Tom Cruise, only significantly better looking and no one from Dawson's Creek is contractually obligated to be my beard and baby mama. 'I love this woman!' Oh, Joey Potter, why?"
Tony snapped to attention, looming over Gibbs as best he could. "Sexual identity crisis, Boss. Having one."
Gibbs narrowed his eyes, staring as if that was the last thing he'd expected Tony to say, which was significant considering that Tony had once told the man about his recurring Garbage Pail Kids nightmare while in a narcotic haze. "You're almost 40."
Tony threw his arms wide. "And I, for one, would like to thank you for pouring lemon juice in the paper cut of my midlife crisis."
And that finally got Gibbs to crack the tiniest smile. "Would have thought you'd have this figured out by now, Tony."
"Yeah," Tony said softly, then cleared his throat. "You'd think."
"I don't know! I, uh, I thought I was only attracted to your intelligence, consistency, and strength of character," Tony said. He gave Gibbs a thorough once-over. "I guess I was wrong."
"Aw, hell, Tony." After nine years, Gibbs wasn't exactly a cipher but sometimes he was still irritatingly difficult to read. His expression was somewhere in the vast range between 'you just did something that's going to require extra paperwork' and 'don't bleed on my car's upholstery while I race you to the ER.'
Tony cocked his head. "Although I guess it explains why I spent the first two years staring at you so much."
"Ya think?" Gibbs demanded.
"Wait, you knew?"
"Of course I knew! I was waiting for you to grow up!"
Tony tried to take that in and failed repeatedly. That Gibbs already knew wasn't much of a surprise. The man knew everything. But that he might be interested in return? Tony wouldn't have predicted that in a million years, and his ability to anticipate Gibbs bordered on the preternatural. He hadn't even considered it, but he sure was thinking about it now.
Some rules were absolute. Rule #9: Never go anywhere without a knife. Rule #2: Always wear gloves at a crime scene. Some rules were flexible depending on the wind, the time of day, and whether Gibbs had slept under his boat the night before. Tony hadn't known that Rule #12 was one of them.
Tony blinked. "Uh, Boss? I'm gonna need to let that percolate."
"You do that," Gibbs said, flipping the elevator switch. His voice was low and a little threatening, and it did inappropriate things to Tony's insides.
"Okay," Tony said inanely as the elevator began moving again.
"Hey. You're better than this," Gibbs said. He chucked Tony under the chin. "So show me."
"On it, Boss," Tony said.
Just before the elevator doors opened, Gibbs turned and said, "We're talking about this later."
It was inevitable, really. There were a limited number of people with whom Tony was willing to share personal information, and most of the people on that list were dead. The only person Tony had left to gab with about Gibbs was Gibbs.
Tony rode the elevator down to autopsy. He needed time to compose himself, and Ducky was pretty soothing as long as you didn't make him angry. The man carried a scalpel on him most of the time, and he knew how to use it.
"Hello, Anthony," Ducky said. He was sitting on a stool beside an autopsy table, a file open on the gleaming metal. "I don't have any new developments for you, I'm afraid."
"Not why I'm here," Tony said, seating himself on the autopsy table. He read the file upside-down, stopping only when he realized that it was all pertinent to their current case and he knew all of it already.
"Then why are you here, if I may be so bold?"
"Office romance," Tony said. "Thoughts? Comments? Salacious anecdotes, perhaps?"
Ducky's eyes were sharp. "I take it we're not discussing my hapless assistant and the departed Agent Lee."
Tony touched his nose and then pointed at Ducky.
Ducky nodded. "As you may know, I have indulged in collegiality of a rather intimate persuasion, and I believe that if one enters a relationship with full consent and due consideration of the circumstances, it has a good a chance as any to develop and flourish. But if one is not so lucky, it can make situations... awkward."
"You know me, Ducky," Tony said, considering just how awkward things were already and how much more awkward it could get. "I like to jump in headfirst."
"Without checking to see if there are rocks or shallow water. Yes, my dear boy, I know," Ducky said.
Ducky gave him a considering look. "Yes. Hold your breath, and pray."
"Pray?" Tony asked, crossing his arms.
Ducky patted his arm. "Your lungs aren't what they used to be."
His laugh was genuine, if a little lukewarm. "Funny."
Tony turned to see Abby's face on the web cam at Ducky's desk. "Abby?"
"Help me, Tony-Wan! You're my only hope! Only you're not really Obi-Wan in this scenario, but you're not really Luke Skywalker, either."
"I'm always Han Solo in this scenario," Tony said. "What scenario is this, again?"
"Tony! Will you just get to my lab now?"
"One moment, my beautiful damsel in distress," Tony said. He nodded his thanks to Ducky and went to Abby's lab as fast as his feet could carry him.
Abby's music was loud, but the agitated jangling of the chains attached to her clothing was louder.
"Six minutes!" she shouted, pacing away from him and back again.
"Until midnight?" Tony guessed.
"No! I found something six minutes ago and Gibbs still hasn't shown up! He's never been this late, Tony."
"You found something?" Tony tried to look at her monitors, but Abby cut him off at the pass.
"This is serious! Something's really wrong. What if he's lost his memory again? What if he's been kidnapped or replaced by a pod person?"
Tony couldn't help himself. "They're here already! You're next! You're next!"
Abby stamped her foot. "Tony!"
"Are you Carolyn Jones in this scenario? Because – ow!" Tony rubbed at his shoulder. Abby glared harder than she should have when being compared to Morticia Addams. "Okay, look. I wouldn't worry. Honestly. I may have, uh, thrown Gibbs off his game a little bit. He'll be here any minute, I swear."
Abby glared harder. "What did you do to Gibbs?"
"Nothing," Tony said, throwing up his hands in protest. Unfortunately, this left his midsection undefended.
"You'll have to do better than that," Abby said. She reached under his suit jacket, dug her fingers into the skin at Tony's waist, and twisted. "Nobody expects the Sciuto Inquisition!"
"Let go of DiNozzo's love handles," Gibbs ordered as he breezed into the lab holding a Caf-Pow!. He came to a stop in front of Abby's computer and waited for them to join him. "What do you got, Abbs?"
"Gibbs! Gibbs Gibbs Gibbs," Abby said happily. She abandoned her torture of Tony and began typing furiously on her keyboard.
Tony took a moment to poke at his middle. He knew he was getting old, but it wasn't that squishy. Before anyone could yell, Tony moved to Gibbs's side and tried to absorb the new evidence that Abby had discovered about Safin's potential location.
"This guy doesn't have any friends, Gibbs," Abby said, tap-tap-tapping away. "It's really kind of sad."
Four frustrating hours later, Gibbs said, "It's late. Go home, all of you. First thing tomorrow, you find me a coworker who knows where Safin is."
Gibbs looked hard at Tony, and Tony nodded, gathering his coat, backpack, and gun. He'd pick up some beer on the way to Gibbs's house. Maybe it'd keep him from going straight for the bourbon.
Ziva followed him to the elevator. "Tony, are you all right?"
"No," Tony answered honestly. "But I will be. Thanks for asking, Ziva."
Gibbs's house was as familiar as Tony's apartment. The door was always open, and Tony took advantage of it often, although for the first few years he'd been convinced that he'd wear out his welcome and never be allowed back. But Tony didn't like to eat alone and neither did Gibbs, oddly enough. And sometimes Gibbs needed a second pair of hands or a couple extra inches of height, which meant that Tony occasionally found himself precariously balanced on a ladder replacing burnt out light bulbs.
Walking into the house tonight wasn't the weirdest or scariest thing that Tony had ever done, but it was pretty high on the list. It was quiet upstairs, so Tony put the beer in the refrigerator, popped the tops on two bottles, and went to the basement. It seemed huge down there without a boat taking up all the space. Gibbs had a couple of small projects scattered around; right now he was wearing ancient jeans and a baseball jersey, marking measurements in pencil on a board. Tony put a beer on his workbench and sat on a sawhorse where he wouldn't be in the way.
Tony watched Gibbs work for a while before he said, "So I think we all can acknowledge that I haven't been right since Jeanne." Gibbs glanced at him briefly, a quirk to his mouth. "No comments from the peanut gallery, Boss." He sipped at his beer. "When I was with her, I figured out that I could be serious about someone, which is funny when you consider that I've lost track of how many ex-wives my father has. Could still be eight, but I haven't talked to him in a couple of months. Anyway, he's overly fond of commitment and I rebelled by never coming close. The thing is, I didn't know I was missing something until there was someone to miss."
Gibbs put down his pencil and crossed over to another table that held a chair with a broken leg. "Hand me the wood glue."
Tony looked under the sawhorse, and then tossed the bottle of Elmer's at Gibbs, who caught it easily. He glued the broken leg and then put the chair in a C-clamp to hold it together until the glue dried.
"You're missing something," Gibbs prodded when Tony didn't continue.
"Yeah," Tony said. "And it's making me try too hard. Sorry about that, Boss."
Gibbs shrugged. "Got us Ziva back."
Tony rubbed the back of his neck. "And apparently I'm not as straight as I thought I was."
Gibbs snorted. Tony frowned.
"You could have told me," Tony said even though he knew damn well that Gibbs really couldn't have.
"What do you want, Tony?"
"You." His voice wobbled, and it probably was the least sexy declaration ever. He wasn't even sure until he said it, but it made sense in a way that nothing had recently. Gibbs knew about Tony's hours, his love for his job, and how far he was willing to go to do it. Gibbs knew all there was to know about Tony and he still kept him around. He was everything Tony desperately needed in someone.
And seriously, how had Tony ever convinced himself that his obsession with his boss was normal?
Gibbs finally stopped working and put his hands on his bench. "You weren't ready when I met you. Hell, I don't think you're ready now."
He was probably right, but Tony had to push back anyway even if it meant working out his feelings on the fly. "The first time we met I felt a connection. I always thought it was because I'd found my true north, my Superman, my something to believe in – yeah, Boss, I know you're not Superman. You've got a bum knee, a vicious caffeine addiction, three ex-wives, and an AARP discount that you refuse to use. Point is, I didn't think about it. I should have when I climbed into a body bag and got tossed from a moving vehicle by Fornell, after I got the plague, after you ditched us for Mexico, after Jeanne and Jenny. When I didn't take Rota even though it was the smart career move. I don't know why I didn't figure it out. Maybe I just needed to grow up."
"Didn't know you were offered Rota," Gibbs said.
He hadn't known until now that Jenny had kept her word. The memory of her stung a little.
Tony sighed for Jenny and all the bikini-clad European women he'd never see. "Do you know what the beaches are like in Cádiz?"
Gibbs stared at him for a while. His eyes were ridiculously blue. "You sure about this, Tony?"
He grimaced and scratched his head. "Yeah, I'm pretty sure that I'm stupidly in love with you, Boss. Anyone other than you, and I'll be settling."
It felt like someone had poured hot coffee on Tony's heart when Gibbs smiled, shook his head, and said, "C'mere."
Tony put down his beer and got up hesitantly, stepping close when Gibbs crooked his finger. The whole thing felt strange and tentative, like there was no way this could possibly be happening so obviously he was going to be Punk'd by Ashton fucking Kutcher at any moment. Gibbs cupped his face. He'd done that before. It shouldn't have made Tony's lungs stop.
Gibbs kissed him. At first it was just a press of his lips. It was nice. Incredibly weird, but good. Then he opened his mouth and Tony let him in. This kiss was slow and focused, like flirty small talk and an appreciative glance, the zing of an accidental touch, and the fantastic smell of someone else's skin; Tony felt it all the way down to his toes, warm and a little tingly, like coming in from the bitter cold.
Gibbs pulled away slightly and raised his eyebrow. He wanted a status update, so Tony just licked his lips and said, "Wow, okay."
Because he was looking entirely too smug for a man confronting decades of staunch DiNozzo heterosexuality, Tony yanked on Gibbs's jersey and kissed him the way Tony kissed women he wanted to get into bed, with teeth and a lot of tongue, slow at first, but then faster and faster until they were both breathing hard through their noses and their lips were hot and slippery.
Tony found himself walking backwards until his back hit the wall and Gibbs pressed him against it, and Tony realized that he was hard in front of his boss, because of his boss, and oh, hey, that probably wasn't a gun in Gibbs's jeans, although Tony wouldn't bet money against it.
"Oh, fuck me," Tony said, because the cognitive dissonance was killing him a little.
"That an invitation, Tony?" Gibbs had a way of asking questions in the sweet spot between deadpan delivery and dead seriousness.
Tony blinked, tilted his head, and considered it. To be honest, the idea filled him with lust and terror, heavier on the terror than the lust, but Tony had to admit that he desperately wanted to know what Gibbs was like when he was having sex because he'd been wondering about it for years, and Tony had absolute faith that Gibbs was a fantastic lay. Curiosity hadn't killed Tony yet, and it wasn't his first backdoor rodeo thanks to one or two adventurous ex-girlfriends.
"Yes. That's an invitation."
Gibbs leaned in close and whispered, "We're not doing that tonight. It's late. I'm tired. You let the idea... percolate."
Gibbs's breath made Tony wriggle. "Giving me time to come to my senses?"
"Nope," Gibbs said, eyeing him. "You a talker, Tony? Always wondered."
For the first time in years, Tony blushed. "You'll have to find out for yourself."
What Tony got in return was a deliberate, tongue-fuck of a kiss that got him hot and bothered again in a matter of moments. Gibbs got Tony's pants open fast, pulling down his boxer briefs and sparing a moment to lick his own palm before putting his hand on Tony's dick. Overwhelmed by sensation, Tony banged his head against the wall to regain some clarity.
"Tighter," Tony said, putting his hand over Gibbs's. "Like this. Oh, yeah. That's it. Right there."
Tony squirmed when Gibbs smacked his hand away and took over. His hands were rougher than Tony was used to, hardened from a lifetime of work, but it still felt good. Really good. Tony pictured Gibbs doing this to him in a conference room, the elevator, in a car; the mental images made Tony break into a sweat. He curled his fingers in Gibbs's belt and yanked him closer until Gibbs's hard-on pressed high on Tony's thigh. Tony put his hand on Gibbs's ass.
"You have a great ass, Boss. I can't wait to see your dick. I've looked, you know I've looked," Tony said, his voice low and a little strangled.
"Then do it, Tony," Gibbs said.
Tony moved almost before Gibbs finished talking, popping the button loose and yanking down the zipper. Gibbs kept his spare clothes in the same file drawer as Tony, so the white Hanes briefs weren't a surprise. Tony rubbed his hand over the cotton covering Gibbs's thick cock, trying to get used to the idea. Gibbs just grunted, yanked down his underwear, and wrapped his hand around both of their dicks.
"Yeah," Tony gasped at the feeling of a hard cock nudging against his own. "Definitely not straight."
Gibbs snorted, and then his expression got intense, focused. When Tony kissed him, Gibbs bit his lower lip, then dragged his mouth along Tony's jawline and sucked on his neck. Tony arched into it and clenched his hands so tightly in Gibbs's belt loops that the denim creaked. He didn't care that he was still wearing his suit jacket or that Gibbs's baseball jersey had a loose string at the hem that was tickling him; he felt more naked than he'd ever been. Maybe it was Gibbs's rough palm making him overly sensitive, but Tony was already on the verge. "Gibbs, I –"
Tony came with the smell of sawdust in his nose. He watched dumbly as Gibbs smeared his fingers in Tony's come and used it as lube to jerk himself off. Tony had seen plenty of dicks in his time, what with the locker rooms and the porn, and he liked Gibbs's. Good size, not too huge. Funny looking, but Tony wanted it anyway.
Yeah, he wanted it. He had time to freak out about it later.
"I have this gag reflex. I'm gonna need practice before I blow you. With toys, I guess," Tony clarified when Gibbs's eyes narrowed. "You don't share."
"No," Gibbs said evenly, as if he weren't flushed and holding his dick in his hand. "I don't."
Figuring that there was no time like the present, Tony put a hand on Gibbs's hip and then touched his cock, softly at first, but with more confidence when he discovered that it pretty much felt like his own. Gibbs looked startled for a split second, and then he just looked like the cat who got the cream. Tony was just getting his confidence when Gibbs closed his eyes and sighed, coming in Tony's fist.
Gibbs cleaned himself with a rag and tossed it to Tony. He caught it and gave himself a perfunctory wipe or two, hastily tucking his dick in his boxer briefs and zipping up when Gibbs headed for the stairs. Tony followed him. So much for the afterglow. He didn't know how to ask for more than what he'd already gotten.
"I can go," Tony offered even though he was sweaty and sleepy, and didn't feel like driving.
Gibbs just jerked his head toward the bedroom. Tony followed, because it wasn't the first time they'd shared a bed, and there was no reason to get shy now. And maybe because that was where he wanted to be.
"McGee can never know," Tony said abruptly.
Gibbs smirked over his shoulder.
"You're an evil man. Why do I even like you?" Tony asked.
"Because I make your heart sing," Gibbs said.
Tony laughed so hard that he tripped up the stairs and nearly broke his nose.
Tony woke up in Gibbs's bed at the sound of the shower going on. He went from languid to horrified in a split second, settling into awkward but cautiously pleased when his heart stopped pounding. Tony looked at his watch. It was early, but he needed to stop by his place to change his clothes and make sure his building hadn't burned down, so he got dressed in his wrinkled suit and went downstairs to make coffee because Gibbs refused to buy a programmable machine.
The milk was still good and Tony knew which cupboard had the sugar in a yellow plastic thing. Gibbs came downstairs just as he finished doctoring his coffee. Tony screwed a lid on his travel mug and gestured at the pot when a sleepy-eyed Gibbs grunted an inquiry. Tony drank half the mug, saving the rest for an Egg McMuffin chaser.
"See you at the office," Tony said.
Gibbs grabbed his arm as he walked by and reeled him in. Gibbs kissed him, goosed him, and then sent him on his way. Tony whistled as he walked to his car, waving at a woman walking her dog. She shot him a wary look and reached into her pocket, probably for mace. Tony whistled more quietly and quickly got into his car.
"How are you today, Tony?" Ziva asked. She put her backpack behind her desk.
"I have a pathological need to be liked," Tony said, the phone to his ear. He looked up at Ziva. "I'm trying this radical honesty thing. So far I've only been slapped twice."
Ziva stared, her eyes narrowed as though she could assess Tony's angle like a bullet trajectory.
He was in a good mood, and Tony really, sincerely loved to fuck with people when he was in a good mood. The hold music stopped and Tony snapped to attention. "Hi, yes. This is Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo. I need to speak to – yes, I'll hold."
"You have been avoiding Gibbs," Ziva said.
"That's because I'm desperately attracted to him and don't want him to know," Tony said blithely.
"Too late," Gibbs said, sweeping into the bullpen.
"Morning, Boss," Tony said, suppressing a smile. "I'm on the phone with Safin's place of employment – look, I'm a federal agent. Do you know what the consequences will be if you put me on hold again? Don't you dare – I'm on hold, Boss."
The elevator dinged. McGee turned the corner shortly thereafter.
"McGee!" Tony said. "You're three minutes late but I still think you're the bee's knees. You can be my wing man anytime."
"No, he can't," Gibbs said.
McGee hesitated. "I missed part of this conversation, didn't I?"
"I have been here this entire time, and I still don't understand what they're talking about," Ziva said. "Bees do not have knees."
Tony looked at Gibbs, and hoped. "I could be his wing man?"
Gibbs considered it. "If you behave."
Tony shrugged. "I can live with that."
"Are you still mad that I wouldn't set you up with my friend, Tony? Because that was weeks ago, and you said we were even," McGee said, sitting at his desk.
"McGee," Ziva said slyly, "you should ask Tony what he thinks of your shirt."
McGee looked at his shirt. It was puce. "What's wrong with my shirt?"
Tony actually kind of liked it, on someone else, maybe, and it wasn't like Tony mocked Gibbs for wearing pastel polos. But McGee was always going to be Tony's probie. He opened his mouth.
"Got a better idea," Gibbs said, standing up. "Why don't you ask Tony who Super Glued your face to your desk. I'm getting coffee."
Tony raised his hand. "I was just going to Super Glue your mouse, Probie."
McGee frowned. "I loved that mouse."
Tony sighed. "Please tell me you like your face more than your mouse."
"In my defense, Tony told me to do it and he is the Senior Field Agent," Ziva said, unapologetic.
"I seem to recall that is was your idea in the first place, Ziva." And Tony was saved from the rest of the argument because someone at Safin's office finally picked up and was willing to talk to him. He charmed and wheedled until Stacy in accounting admitted that she was letting Safin stay in her family's vacation home in Maryland because he was just so nice, so attentive, so handsome. When Tony hung up, he jumped out of his chair and said, "Who da man?"
Gibbs was watching him, his arms draped over the cubicle wall. Tony ruthlessly suppressed the urge to make a Tony Danza reference. It never ended well.
"You're the man," Tony said, holding out the Post-It with Safin's address.
Gibbs just snapped his fingers and pointed at McGee. "Do the map thing."
Tony handed over the address. While McGee and Ziva were preoccupied with the plasma, Tony risked an assessing glance at Gibbs only to catch him doing the same thing.
"Almost got it, Boss," McGee said.
"Still want diamonds?" Gibbs said quietly, sitting on Tony's desk.
Tony leaned back in his chair. "What would I do with diamonds? Cufflinks, maybe, but with my luck they'd end up at the bottom of the Anacostia."
"You'll think of something," Gibbs said. "Don't want you to think I take you for granted."
Tony swallowed hard, his heart rabbiting in his chest. "Okay."
McGee cleared his throat. Tony turned to see McGee and Ziva looking at them suspiciously.
"What do you got, McGee?" Gibbs barked, and everyone snapped to attention. Tony leaned into Gibbs's leg for just a second, and then they were both up and moving to see what there was to see.