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Just What is a Karmic-chi Love Thing, Anyway?

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"You want your eggs scrambled?" McGee picked up the box full of breakfast and shook it. "They're scrambled." He walked away and Tony could hear him rolling his eyes. And, oh hell yeah, that meant war so Tony flung McGee's burrito at his head. Neatly wrapped it was a near perfect missile and Tony only regretted it didn't explode on impact. McGee turned and stared at Tony incredulously as if to say, "Did that really happen?"

Tony stared back. Yeah, bring it on, McGee. There was nothing that he could give that Tony can't give back better and blindfolded. Tony had been cooped up with McGee for way too long because he was going to kill him. Kill him dead. With extra shiny death thrown in for good measure. McGee's look was equally murderous and Tony swore that when they launched themselves at each other they were going to throw down (and Tony was going to prove his superiority again) but somewhere something went horribly, horribly wrong (horribly, horribly right?) and instead of flooring McGee with a well-aimed leg swipe, Tony found himself kissing him. Kissing him with tongues and spit and scraping stubble and McGee's hands in Tony's hair and Tony's hands grabbing McGee's face.

Tony leaned on McGee, stumbling them around until McGee crashed into the wall with an outward shock of breath that Tony couldn't help but swallow. It was only as Tony found himself frantically rubbing off on McGee, the friction of his undershorts across his dick working him to a frenzy, that he realized I'm frantically rubbing off on McGee. Which, what? The thought gave Tony a micro-second of panic, but then his lizard brain--which he kept close to the surface so it didn't get lost--took over because McGee was hard against Tony's hip, pushing back, sucking Tony's lip (and, wow, McGee's ability to suck just took on a whole new dimension) and all Tony could think then was yes, yes, god, yes.

McGee moved his hands to Tony's ass, tugging him in closer and that was the killer, right there. Tony pulled his mouth away from McGee's, pressing his forehead into McGee's shoulder, and came so hard his knees shook.

"Fuck," he said into McGee's shirt.

"Fuck," he said again, when McGee's hips stuttered against his, fingers digging into his ass and McGee let out a low hum that sounded just the pleasure side of pained.

Tony stood still for a moment, waiting for his freak-out to start. Unlike Tony, it didn't come; the only thing he could feel was relief and even that fact didn't bother him any. Maybe he'd been replaced by a pod person when he'd stolen a nap sometime back around oh-god-I'm-so-bored-I'm-going-to-die o'clock. He pushed himself off McGee and looked up. McGee's head was tipped back, his eyes were closed and he was red-cheeked and sweating, breath coming quickly through parted lips. It was a face Tony'd made fun of a thousand times. Didn't seem so funny today.

"So that happened," he said.

McGee opened his eyes and something dark flickered briefly across his face before it went carefully blank. Tony couldn't quite catch it--it could have been shame, maybe? Horror? Disgust? Yeah, this...could be awkward.

"Yeah," said McGee, not quite meeting Tony's gaze. "You wanna take the bathroom first? We should probably do the, er, you know, whole watching thing."

"Sure, McGee," said Tony in his smoothest voice, running a hand through his hair and trying not to think about how it got mussed up in the first place. "And later, I'll write down the lunch order for you so you can get one thing right today." He patted McGee's chest and walked off.

The walls were paper-thin in the apartment and even through the sound of running water Tony could tell McGee didn't move from where Tony left him for a full minute.

"Fuck," he said again, and now probably wasn't the time to remind himself that he'd bought the Word A Day toilet paper for a reason. He balled up his boxers, contemplating shoving them down the john. But, given Tony's luck, there would probably be a flood and then McGee would have to come and help him and they'd be on the floor using Tony's spunk-stained underwear to mop up the water and that was when Gibbs and Ziva would walk in. Then there'd be a whole lecture on Rule 12 and Tony would have to explain how that wasn't going to be a problem, boss, because really, the whole thing had been an accident and the co-worker concerned obviously didn't want to be involved with him anyway, and then Gibbs would say what do you mean, accident? And, well, yes and isn't that awkward? And Tony would have to agree and no headslap in the world would be big enough to get past that.

"DiNozzo," yelled McGee, and he sounded pissed. Tony wasn't surprised--it wasn't just his eggs that would be congealing. "Will you get out here?"

"C-" started Tony and then stopped himself. "On my way." He stared at the boxers for a second and then shoved them into his pocket. This was not going to be a thing, this was not going to be a thing, this was not going- Oh, who was he kidding? As things went, this was pretty damn big. Even more of a thing than The Thing and that was 500 pounds of orange rock thing. Big. Taking a deep breath Tony squared his shoulders and opened the door.

McGee shoved past him into the bathroom without a word and locked the door behind him. Tony slumped into a chair. He checked his watch--seven and a half hours until they'd be relieved. Yeah, this was going to be a fun day.

Seven and a half hours of mind-numbing tedium alleviated only by staring at McGee's ass and wondering why it hadn't occurred to him before that it was fi-i-iiiine and the occasional peanut thrown at McGee's head to check he hadn't died yet. Seven and a half hours of trying not to think about what just happened for fear of a) wanting to do it all over again or b) really wanting to do it all over again. At least after the first five hours McGee stopped being the poster child for the National Society of Stick Up Your Butt, even going so far as collect up all the peanuts and drop them in Tony's coffee. Still, Tony had never been so glad to see Gibbs, even though this wasn't his usual in-the-nick-of-time rescue.

"Okay!" he said, bouncing to his feet. "Sayonara, my little ones, I am out of here."

"Aren't you forgetting something?" said Ziva.

"Uh, sure," said Tony, sweeping his coffee cup into the trash. "There you go, Mary Poppins."

"No," Ziva replied, narrowing her eyes and jerking a thumb over her shoulder. "I meant him."

And, oh crap, McGee was riding with him. How could he have forgotten that? And the ice of awkward had only melted so far and that meant slush and Tony did not like mess in his car.

"McGee?" he said and McGee shoved his hands in his pockets and followed him out.

"You wanna, um, talk?" asked Tony, hand hovering over the car radio.

"No, not really," said McGee, staring out of the window.

"Oh thank god." And Tony hit the on button.

Tony pulled up at the Navy Yard. "Same time tomorrow?"

Already halfway out the door, McGee stopped. "I've got some errands to run so I'll drive myself over."

"If you're sure."

"Sure I'm sure. See you tomorrow, Tony."

"Mañana, Probie."

The door slammed shut and Tony opened his mouth to yell his usual protest but gave up, settling for beating his head off the steering wheel. Okay, Tony, he told himself. We can get past this. Accidents happen, right? True, most accidents didn't usually involve shoving your tongue down a colleague's throat and rutting against them like a crazed teenager, but in a world where some munitions genius thought that the best way to disassemble an RPG was by running it over with a car everything had to be possible, right?

When he got home, Tony did not do these things: think about what it all meant, beat off in the shower thinking about McGee's mouth and the capable grip of his hands, put on his Ozzy and Harriet boxset and watch it until he fell asleep.

Tony came to in the morning with his hand wrapped around his dick and a vague memory of a dream about McGee sucking him off. He bolted upright. This was really not good. He couldn't spend hours alone in McGee's company in this state, he was going to end the day either without a penis or without a job and at this point he had no idea which was worse. He practiced all the way over to the stakeout. "McGee's driving me crazy, boss, he keeps bitching when I leave the toilet seat up even though he's a guy." Or maybe, "He farts in the car, boss, my delicate sensibilities can't handle it." Or, "There's only so many times I can come in my pants before laundry day." Okay, so maybe not that last one.

Gibbs gave him the look. It's not like Tony wasn't expecting it, but still, now he had to go to Plan B. He wasn't particularly attached to Plan B, his coach at Ohio State had always said attack was the best form of defense and that's how Tony ended up in traction half his sophomore season, but it wasn't like he was swimming in choices here.

"Alone at last," he said, swaggering towards McGee and shoving the binoculars at him, not giving him time to react. "You watch. I'll do this, you do that."

Tony turned on the webcam.

Ah.

"You're a dead man, McGee," he snarled, staring at the black rings around his eyes. Oldest trick in the book and he'd fallen for it.

"Don't look at me, raccoon boy. It was Ziva." McGee settled himself at the window.

"Ziva." Tony didn't know whether to kill her or kiss her. Sure, he looked like he was a 12-year-old wannabe goth chick with too much time on her hands and access to her mom's makeup, but McGee was wound way less tight and Tony let himself hope that maybe they could de-escalate from Capital I Incident to just-that-thing-that-happened-once way faster than he'd thought.

And then the case went to shit.

First there was the dead body and then the magical case of the disappearing radar. Maybe it was good that they were all systems go because the two of them had to fall back into their usual semi-crisis working patterns whether they liked it or not. And then there was Detective Andrea Sparr and her distracting ass. It wasn't McGee's ass, but it was good, round and bitable as a ripe apple. And it was attached to someone who wasn't McGee, which made it even better. Solve the case, get the girl, forget his vacation side-trip to Gaysville.

The only problem with that last part was that Tony found himself sliding a glance at McGee every time Andrea was around or Ziva started up on the fun-poking about Tony's sudden interest in Metro PD. Actually, that was only half the problem--the other half was the little kick of disappointment he got when McGee didn't react at all. Not once. In fact, the more Tony was around Andrea, the more relaxed with him McGee seemed to get.

"Lunch, McGurgle?" asked Tony after McGee's stomach had made a particularly egregious growl. "It's my turn."

"Sure," said McGee. "Don't forget Ziva. She'll be back soon."

Tony steepled his fingers, "Oh, don't worry, I won't forget."

McGee shook his head, but he was smiling. "You'll never get her, Tony, she's too smart."

"Don't count on it, Probie. I am a highly trained operative. I'm taking her down."

"U-huh. I'm not bringing you grapes when she puts you in hospital."

"So little faith, Probiewan, so little faith."

It was only when the elevator stopped a couple of floors down and Lee looked at him all weird when she got in that Tony realized he had a huge grin across his face.

The radar turned out to have been stolen by the guy who built it. Simplest solution, Ducky said. Tony said that would have been magic like he said in the first place and Ducky said by simple he meant least complicated, not backward. Tony shrugged and stole a screwdriver.

Ziva's ass on the floor was every bit as satisfying as Tony had hoped. Her head poking up from behind the desk like some really pissed off meerkat--priceless. Tony adopted his best, "I'm the workingest worker that ever worked" pose and pretended to ignore her muttered Hebrew (pretty much a dead certainty that it involved cursing and death threats) as she dragged over the chair from the unused desk next to McGee's.

"He is in leg with the Devil," she announced to no one in particular.

"League," said McGee. And, wide-eyed and po-faced, "You didn't think he still had a soul did you?"

Tony smirked.

Two seconds later his computer beeped to let him know he had new mail. He clicked on the message.




From: t_mcgee@ncis.navy
To: t_dinozzo@ncis.navy
Subject: !
Awesome. :D


Tony had no clue what colon D meant, but if it was alongside 'awesome' it had to be good. He hit Reply.




From: t_dinozzo@ncis.navy
To: t_mcgee@ncis.navy
Subject: Told you so
Highly. Trained. Operative.


Highly.



He heard the ding as the message arrived five feet away (Seriously, Tony thought, it would be just as easy to pass notes.) and then a splutter and the click-clack of a keyboard being rapidly attacked.




From: t_mcgee@ncis.navy
To: t_dinozzo@ncis.navy
Subject: Highly trained dead man walking
Did you see her face? You are going to die a hideous and painful death and my funeral suit is at the dry-cleaner's. You didn't forget Ziva's Mossad, did you?
P.S. Can I have your Mighty Mouse stapler when you're gone?



Tony snorted and Ziva glared at him. Gibbs looked up from the report he was reading, blinking, and said deceptively mildly, "Problem, DiNozzo?"

"No, boss. Just, er, yeah, won't happen again, boss."

Gibbs flicked a glance around his team, shook his head and then, apparently mollified, went back to his reading. Tony snuck a look at McGee who was very deliberately not looking in his direction, but was grinning behind his monitor. Tony was the only one who had the right angle to see it--it must be for him. He felt kind of giddy, but then, he'd been mainlining caffeine all day so that explained that, then.

He typed back.




From: t_dinozzo@ncis.navy
To: t_mcgee@ncis.navy
Subject: Well, well, well, you learn something new every day
Ziva's Mossad?



He hit Send then got up quickly and nearly sprinted from the squadroom. Not fast enough that he didn't hear McGee's explosion of laughter and Gibbs' yelled, "McGee, unless you are having some sort of seizure, get on with your damn work!"

Tony sat in the breakroom eating the free candy that he totally deserved after saving the Navy from wasting millions of dollars on an overly expensive and really, really big paperweight, and thought. So things looked like they were back to normal with McGee, which was good. Great, even. They'd ridden the rocky waves of accidental-sex-aftermath and had sailed out onto the tranquil sea of team-cohesiveness. Or something way less wordy and convoluted. Only Tony didn't feel all 'Go, team!'-high-fivey.

It occurred to him that he wasn't ready for it to be over, the thing that wasn't a thing. Because it turned out it was a thing. Not the big, scary one Tony'd been worrying about, but a slow realization that, for Tony at least, the sex hadn't been accidental at all. It had been a long time coming. (Tony mentally snickered at that before continuing his train of thought--if everything was changing around him, some shit had to stay the same.) And, if Tony was honest, the signs were there from way back. Some people may even have called his sincere (and ongoing) expression of interest in McGee's sexuality unhealthy. Or an obsession. Or most probably both.

So, yeah, here he was, admitting to himself that he wanted McGee, that he liked McGee, that he trusted, respected and valued McGee and all these things added up to a sum way greater than their parts.

Tony shoved another handful of chocolate into his mouth and chewed with fierce concentration. Okay, so maybe the thing was still big and scary after all. The question was, was he alone in this freakish new world or not? As Tony saw it, he had two options; he could man up and risk the consequences of being shot down by a colleague and friend, or he could keep the status quo.

Crumpling up the wrapper, Tony dumped it in the trash on his way out. He got back to his desk to find three new messages from McGee.




From: t_mcgee@ncis.navy
To: t_dinozzo@ncis.navy
Subject: Yeah, you'd better run
Thanks for that.



From: t_mcgee@ncis.navy
To: t_dinozzo@ncis.navy
Subject: www.cheapflights.com looking good right about now
Ziva just swore eternal vengeance. I think there was an oath. And something about a goat. There was definitely blood. Yours, I think.



From: t_mcgee@ncis.navy
To: t_dinozzo@ncis.navy
Subject: Because I am a better person
Gibbs wanted to know what was taking you so long. I told him you had diarrhea.
You're welcome.



Tony didn't even try to hide his look at McGee this time. He'd taken off his jacket and sat at his desk, shirt open at the neck, sleeves rolled halfway up his forearms, with his mouth making tiny movements as he typed. The urge to touch hit Tony in the head like a ton of bricks. Well, more like the butt of a Sig, to be fair, but the result was still the same.

He typed.




From: t_dinozzo@ncis.navy
To: t_mcgee@ncis.navy
Subject: That thing that happened.
Can we talk about it now?



And then he tried really, really hard not to hold his breath. McGee's fingers stopped tapping away and there was a long silence. Just when Tony thought he might have to put his head through his monitor to release the tension, he heard McGee type two letters and click his mouse. Two letters. There weren't many answers to that question that came with two letters. What Tony wanted to do was stick his hand over his eyes and peep through his fingers at the screen but he had to settle for squinting until everything went blurry. Obviously he looked totally less crazy like that.




From: t_mcgee@ncis.navy
To: t_dinozzo@ncis.navy
Subject: Re: That thing that happened
OK



OK. O. K. Tony could work with OK. It was kind of non-committal but every negotiator had to start with a baseline and this was Tony's. Game on. Probably best not to do it over monitored government e-mails, though. Tony'd been in Washington long enough to know that never ended well.




From: t_dinozzo@ncis.navy
To: t_mcgee@ncis.navy
Subject: Re: That thing that happened
Ducky's gone home. Meet you in autopsy in 5.



He stood up, making a great show of holding-back-the-pain and not quite clutching his stomach, silently thanking McGee for the ready-made excuse. He did the clenched-ass mince of it-could-already-be-too-late until he was well out of sight and then made his way down to autopsy. It was six and a half minutes by his count by the time McGee joined him. Long enough for his ass to have started going numb from the cold metal of the slab. Long enough for Tony to have started wondering if McGee had decided to leave him hanging. McGee hovered by the door, looking like he was keeping his escape routes open. That was good planning, Tony had taught him well. He spared a split second for pride.

Tony slipped off the slab, keeping his distance. This was something he probably wasn't going to get a second chance at--he couldn't screw it up.

"Ziva thinks it's divine retribution," said McGee, breaking the silence.

"What?"

"Your diarrhea." A brief flash of amusement passed over McGee's face and it gave Tony courage.

"Listen."

"Listen," they said over each other. They stopped, smiling tightly.

"You first," said McGee, trying and failing to find something to do with his arms. Tony wanted to grab his wrists to keep him still.

"Okay," said Tony, smoothing his tie and clearing his throat. "Okay." He forced himself to look straight at McGee. "The thing. That happened. If you, ah, wanted a second bite of the cherry we could do that." McGee's brow creased. He looked...confused. Tony barreled on. "Or a whole kilo of cherries. As many cherries as you like." He stopped and buried his face in his hands. Who was this guy and what had he done with debonair DiNozzo?

He dropped his hands and tried again. "What I'm saying, McGee, is, if you want it to happen again, I'm good with that."

McGee's face cleared. "Oh thank god," he said. "I never thought you'd-"

Only Tony didn't get to find out what McGee hadn't thought because it turned out that four words were all he needed to get from here to there and then they were kissing again, Tony's hands grabbing McGee's face, McGee's hands in Tony's hair. And it was the same jolt to the groin it had been the first time, the same wild need to occupy the exact same space McGee was in, the same imperative to just hold on, but everything was shifted through a half-turn. This had meaning.

Tony broke the kiss, panting, pushing them apart.

"What?" demanded McGee, his eyes even bigger than usual. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," said Tony, taking a step back. "I promise you, McGropable, nothing at all. I just want to-" No, really, was he doing this? Because he was Anthony DiNozzo, Man About Town and this? Was what he did not do. Except for how apparently he did. More evidence for his pod person theory, he was going to need to get Abby to run his DNA. "Listen, do you want to have dinner with me?"

"With your dodgy stomach? Are you sure that's a good idea, Tony?"

"McGee."

McGee looked at him appraisingly and Tony could feel himself getting a little hot under the collar. He loosened his tie.

"Are you asking me on a date?"

Wow, it was really hot in here. And there was Tony thinking they always kept it cool in autopsy on account of the dead not being so fond of tropical climes.

"Yes."

"You don't just want to get laid?"

And, okay, Tony was going to have to revoke his stud creds for sure, but, whatever, this was worth it. "Nope. I mean, I'm a guy, so, yeah. But I think this could be something, McGee, and maybe we're coming at it ass-over-backwards but I think we should do this thing right."

McGee beamed and started towards Tony, his arms making little aborted movements forward as he stopped himself. "I can wait," he said. "Dinner it is."

Tony nodded, looking McGee up and down slow and easy. Third date rule still stood with guy-on-guy, right? There were limits.

"Shall we?" he said, his hand brushing against McGee's elbow as he ushered him towards the door. Tony's insides fluttered in happy anticipation.

"'This thing', huh?" said McGee. "Is that what we're calling it?"

"It has a certain je ne sais quoi."

"It has a certain lack of imagination."

"Tell that to Stan Lee."

They walked off down the hallway, bickering. This was the going to be the weirdest first date Tony had ever been on (and he'd been on first dates that ended in an orgy, or jail, or, on one spectacular occasion, an orgy in jail), and it might not even be the best (Orgy. In jail. Were you not getting that?) but there was just the slightest chance it was going to be the last. And that, really, was the thing.