“Okay, where is he?” Tony demanded as he strode into the cafeteria. The two geeks he’d been searching for both looked up, guilty expressions in place. “Oh, this is good. How gorgeous is he?” Tony dropped down in a seat across from McKay and Zelenka.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” McKay said; however, he blushed. Considering how many times McKay said truly horrifying things about Tony’s relationship with Gibbs and Samas, no way was Tony letting this slide.
“Come on McSmarty, tell the truth. Are you in lurve?”
McKay looked up with an expression that came close to sheer panic.
“He is in love with the major’s gene,” Zelenka said with a dismissive snort. “You have been replaced in his affections. Fickle man.”
“Do not start.” McKay slapped his fork down onto the table. “I simply pointed out that his control is far more instinctive. Tony has to practice, and Beckett…” McKay waved a hand in the air, but Tony had already heard about Beckett’s stray drone and the way he had accidentally targeted O’Neill’s helicopter—the one this new gene carrier had been piloting.
“Yeah, I heard he tried to blow up the general. Good for him.” Tony grinned. He still had some O’Neill issues.
“Where I come from, it is not wise to say such things about one’s superior,” Zalenka warned him.
“I’ve said worse to his face. I mean, he sent me to Antarctica. Antarctica. Seriously, who gets exiled to the bottom of the world?” Tony pouted.
All McKay did was grunt, the unsympathetic ass. Strangely, Tony still liked him, even when he refused to be impressed with any of Tony’s best scams or pouts. McKay poked a plastic fork in his general direction. “I got exiled, all the way to Siberia. You volunteered.”
McKay took a deep breath and was clearly ready to launch into a speech about Tony’s idiotic use of language, but Tony spoke before he could. “He shows up and gives me the whole, ‘You have to serve your country and save your world’ speech followed by the ‘Do or do not, there is not try with that Ancient gene of yours.’”
“That was Yoda,” McKay said, his lips twisting in disgust.
“Yoda had an Ancient gene?” Tony asked in his most innocent voice.
“Oh for God’s sake. Do you have to torture me with your ignorance? I am too important for the puerile games of men with ridiculous hair.” McKay stood and started to walk off, but he turned back and grabbed his half-full tray before striding out with his head up and his food in hand.
“Ridiculous hair?” Tony ran his fingers through his hair. Okay, maybe he’d been conditioning a little less in these past couple of months, but he didn’t think his hair was ridiculous.
“That was for Major Sheppard. His hair is quite… unique,” Zelenka said.
“Oh. Wow. McKay really has it bad, huh?”
“He does,” Zelenka agreed.
“So, is this some military jarhead I’m going to have to threaten with a long death followed by a shallow grave?”
Zelenka shook his head. “Oddly, Sheppard seemed to take an immediate fondness for McKay.”
The phrasing was just foreign enough that Tony got a bit of déjà vu. He might not get to make fun of Ziva’s English anymore, but life hadn’t changed as much as Tony’d feared it might. Gibbs still fell asleep under his latest woodworking project and he worked too damn hard, although these days it was mostly Samas working with the geeks, and Tony was still torturing coworkers.
“That’s good. Unexpected in a slightly worrisome way, but good. They have checked him for alien parasites that might be affecting his judgment, right?”
Zelenka rolled his eyes. “You liked McKay from the first, so maybe not so odd. Or maybe you should be checked for those parasites.”
“Yeah, yeah. You like him too, and he can’t remember your name from one day to the next.”
“Yes, and he is so much better with yours, Timmy,” Zelenka said sarcastically. Tony grimaced. He really didn’t like being reminded of that, or of being reminded of how he had thrown a complete temper tantrum until McKay had finally paid attention long enough to understand that Tony did not like being called Tim.
“McKay’s bark is worse than his bite—we just have to remind the military people to keep that in mind.”
Zelenka nodded. “That we must. Have you heard word on whether you will be going with us if the gate address for the city is found?”
Atlantis. Okay, one part of his life was dramatically different. If the geeks could get this old equipment to spit out the right address, he might have a ticket to an Ancient city on another world. “I think the IOC is struggling with the idea of sending an igigi to Atlantis.” And that was without even knowing that the igigi in question was a queen, perfectly capable of restoring her species if she had the right body of water and the right people to host her children. Samas definitely didn’t want a repeat of the goa’uld debacle.
“They are idiots,” Zelenka said. “I would offer to blow them up for you, but I know Samas takes a dim view of such violence.”
Tony laughed. “Yep, but if they keep this up, they’re going to find out that Gibbs is a little more open-minded when it comes to lethal force. Speaking of the devil…” Tony watched as Gibbs came into the cafeteria. He looked tired, but then Samas had been working himself ragged with all the Ancient tech. The moment their gazes met, Tony smiled.
Gibbs smiled back, and Tony felt his heart warm. “Hey Gibbs,” he called even though he didn’t need to. Gibbs was already halfway across the room. He reached Tony’s table and slid into the chair next to him, a hand resting possessively on Tony’s knee.
“You know, it is very strange. You two share a life, and still Tony calls you Gibbs.”
“What should he call me?” Gibbs asked.
Zelenka looked at Gibbs curiously. “Would ‘Jethro’ not be more appropriate?”
Tony made a face. “Yeah, I can’t say that without thinking about the Beverly Hillbillies.”
“I’ll bring you DVDs,” Tony offered. He already started to form a plan for how to trap McKay in the same room with them and force him to endure endless hours with the Clampett family.
“Or not. We may not have a lot of time to pack,” Gibbs said.
Tony’s stomach twisted with fear. “If O’Neill thinks he can just keep turning our lives upside down on a whim, I’m going to—”
“They found Atlantis,” Gibbs said, and Tony’s rant vanished.
Zelenka leaned forward. “Truly?”
Gibbs nodded. “Yep. And apparently the IOC thinks you lot need a couple of Navy cops along to keep the peace.”
Tony was grinning so hard his face hurt. “We’re all going to Atlantis?” he asked, just to make sure.
“Yep. But what’s this I hear about you being demoted to assistant light switch?”
Zelenka laughed. “Oh yes. If McKay can get Elizabeth to cooperate, he will most happily bring Major Sheppard along on this trip. The man has remarkable control over Ancient technology.”
“And ridiculous hair,” Tony added.
“Yeah, I saw that. If the man falls asleep in a public place, I’m taking clippers to that head of his and giving him a regulation cut,” Gibbs threatened.
Zelenka was nodding. “Yes, I was wondering how an officer could wear his hair in such a manner.”
Tony looked back and forth between the two men, searching for any sign that this was all some elaborate hoax and Major Sheppard was, in fact, bald. However, Gibbs and Zelenka both seemed serious. “Oh I have to find this guy. The hair is really that bad?”
“It’s actually very beautiful, but then he is a beautiful man,” Zelenka mused.
“McKay fell for a beautiful man?” Tony’s understanding of reality shifted two inches to the left. McKay typically stayed as far away from beautiful people as he could, at least he had after his unfortunate infatuation with Carter.
“I know. This will either be raw material for a grand epic, or this is fated to end very badly.” Zelenka stood up and took his empty tray. “I should go. I must finish some work if we are to leave soon.”
Gibbs’ fingers tightened around Tony’s knee, and Tony turned to his lover. “Are you okay with going?”
“I’ll get to see the sky without having armed guards at my back,” Gibbs said. “And there’s a whole world of technology to investigate. Samas is curious.”
“And you?” Tony asked again.
Gibbs smiled and leaned closer. “I have my work and family. It’s more than I’ve had in years, and as long as I have those two things in my life, I couldn’t care less where we live.” Gibbs cupped his hand around Tony’s cheek and leaned in for a kiss. Someone on the other side of the mess gave them a wolf whistle.