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Stillwater Lane

Chapter Text

 

Stillwater Lane

The ding of the elevator caused Anthony DiNozzo to look up from his phone call. He spotted McGee and Bishop as they walked towards him, both chuckling about some shared joke at the tail end of their lunch break.

McGee smiled at him as he took his place at his own desk across from his new boss, and Tony nodded his head in acknowledgement as he continued listening to his caller.

“Mmm-hmmm. Okay. Really? The ex-wife? It’s always the wife!” was the only part of his conversation the other two could hear, and when he put down the phone he saw two expectant and eager faces looking at him.

He paused for a moment, to build suspense. Then, “We have… a new case,” he announced with a sudden grim smile and a flourish of his hands.

Tony loved his new position. He loved being the frontline man. He loved the added responsibility. He loved running his own team and building their skills. And he loved being able to add a bit of a dramatic flair to things without being on the receiving end of the inevitable Gibbs headslap.

And Gibbs was on his mind right now. Not that Gibbs was ever not on his mind, but the phone call had stirred some feelings right up to the surface and it still hurt to look around the bullpen and not see Gibbs with coffee in hand… and of course there was the fact that he was sitting in Gibbs’ chair, which still felt off, and he wondered how long it would take for that to change.

The ‘call that changed it all’ had come in about two months ago on an innocuous sunny morning in mid-July. The team had been combing through cold cases, and Gibbs had answered the phone and his face had turned ashen in the space of one second. “Okay” was the only word he had spoken into the receiver before hanging up, grabbing his jacket, and bounding up the stairs to the Director’s office. Tony could still recall the feeling of dread that had washed over him as he and the rest of the team had sat there, not sure what of was going on or what to do.

It had been almost 5pm before they were all called up to Vance’s office, and when they arrived there was no Gibbs in sight. It was just the Director, looking even more serious than usual, and he had asked them all to sit and had offered them a drink. On company time. They had all declined, of course, and Tony felt no shame that he had basically begged Vance to just come out with whatever it was that was going on with Gibbs, because at that point they all knew it was going to be a doozy.

Vance told of how Gibbs had received a call from the Bloomsburg Hospital that morning, the closest one to Stillwater, where his dad had been taken by ambulance after suffering a severe heart attack. Gibbs had told Vance and then rushed off to make the too-long drive to the middle of Pennsylvania. Vance explained that he had waited to hear from Gibbs before talking to the team. Gibbs had called him just an hour before to say that he had made it to the hospital in time to see his dad, but that Jackson had passed away during the ensuing emergency surgery. Vance had assigned Tony as the temporary team lead, and he told them all to go home for the night.

Of course they had done no such thing, instead gathering up Ducky, Palmer and Abby and going to the bar to talk about the whole awful situation for Gibbs. Tony had left several voicemails on Gibbs’ cell phone that evening, too, letting him know that Tony would do what he could to support him. Gibbs hadn’t called back, but had sent a one-word answer via text… a text Tony still had on his phone. “Thanks.”

Things had slowly but surely unravelled in the following weeks. Gibbs had taken his bereavement leave, and had then used up several weeks of banked vacation time, and by the time he worked through that and Vance had offered him a leave of absence, Gibbs had made the decision to take early retirement – for real this time. The team had been functioning okay until then albeit with the keen sense that they were not a whole, and when Vance had told Tony of Gibbs’ decision and had promoted him to permanent lead on the MCRT all in the same breath, the warring feelings in his chest had almost done him in.

And as much as he loved his new position, two months after that fateful day, the cost attached to it was something he wished nobody – especially Gibbs – would have had to pay.

“So what info do you have?” McGee asked, taking a pen in hand and poising it above his notepad.

“There’s a dead Marine near Quantico, and a suspicious-sounding ex-wife in Pennsylvania who happened to pay him a visit last weekend. From some place called…” Tony paused, looking down at his own notes, “Orangeville.”

“Orangeville?” McGee asked, as he narrowed his eyes. “I think that’s near Stillwater. I’m pretty sure we passed through there when Ziva and I went with Gibbs….” He trailed off, sadness clearly written all over his face, and Tony gave him what he hoped was a reassuring look.

“Thanks, McGoogle Maps,” he joked, trying to lighten the mood, but it fell flat. After sighing louder than he had intended, he regrouped. “Okay, let’s head down to Quantico now and I’ll drive up to Orangeville tomorrow and interview the ex.”

“You know,” McGee began, his eyebrows narrowed in thought once again, “You could call up Gibbs. Stop by and see how he’s doing while you’re up there, make sure he’s not building a boat in rural Pennsylvania or something like that.”

“Yeah.” Tony thought back to the handful of phone calls that he and Gibbs had shared over the past two months. When his former boss had decided not to come back to work, he signed a year’s lease on a place in Stillwater and asked Tony to check in on his other house every week or so. In a moment of raw emotion, he had choked up telling Tony how he needed to take care of his dad’s affairs and also just needed to get away from it all for a while. Tony ached for his friend, and missed him something fierce.

“Why don’t you guys head down to the car, and I’ll catch up after I give him a call.”

He watched as McGee and Bishop grabbed their Go Bags and got back on the elevator, then he picked up his cell phone. His index finger hovered over the numbers as a feeling of uncertainty overcame him. Calling up Gibbs like this felt like an invasion of privacy somehow, but they were all also really curious about how the man was doing. Tony reckoned there were few people who genuinely cared about Gibbs as much as he did, though, and what better reason to visit and make sure he was okay than a nearby case?

He lowered his fingers and dialled Gibbs’ new home number, etched into his memory from all the times he’d called and almost called before. It was several rings before the call was picked up.

“Hey, Tony.” Gibbs’ voice sounded rough but warm, and Tony felt his hesitancy melt away instantly.

“Hey, Boss!” Tony greeted him, a smile spreading wide across his face. “How did you know it was me?”

He could almost feel Gibbs smirking on the other side of the line. “Well, you’re one of a handful of people who calls me. And the phone company hooked me up with Call Display.”

“Aah!” Tony couldn’t hide the chuckle that escaped him. “Next you’re going to tell me that you bought yourself a computer,” Tony teased.

“Actually, I did. Living out here is making me, ah, re-assess a few things.”

“I’ll bet. Gotta order your boat kits online now, right? No Boat Depot down the road and all….”

The unexpected guffaw from Gibbs lit up Tony’s face once more, and it was a good ten seconds until Gibbs spoke again.

“Thanks, Tony. I needed a laugh.” A pause, then, “So what’s up?”

Tony felt butterflies swarm his stomach as he considered what to say and what to ask of Gibbs. In the end, he decided for the direct approach. “We, uh, have a dead Marine down here with an ex-wife who lives up in Orangeville. I’m driving up tomorrow, and thought maybe we could grab dinner or something while I’m there? You know, catch up.”

“You’re staying overnight?” Gibbs asked, his voice curious.

“Well, it’s a long drive and I might need to check out a few more leads on Friday.”

“No, that’s not….” Gibbs paused, clearly struggling with his words. Then, “Stay at my place. I’ve got a spare bedroom, beer. Why don’t you make a weekend of it if you’re not on call?”

“Wow. I, uh, didn’t want to impose but that sounds great. Are you sure?” Tony could hardly believe how well the conversation had turned out, and his pulse was doing some sort of foxtrot in excitement at the prospect of hanging out with Gibbs again.

“Wouldn’t have offered if I wasn’t, Tony. It’s been too long.”

“I miss you too, Boss,” Tony’s voice softened as he reflected back Gibbs’ unspoken sentiment. “See you tomorrow, late afternoon?”

“Sounds good. Oh, and Tony? I’m not your boss anymore.” He could hear the smile in Gibbs’ voice. “‘Gibbs’ is good, but ‘Jethro’ is fine too if you want.”

“Sorry - old habits die hard, Jethro,” he said, testing the name out on his tongue. “Just wait until Tim hears me calling you that. He’s going to….”

“DiNozzo!”

“Shutting up. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Chapter Text

There was no clear and easy way to drive from D.C. to Orangeville, but Tony made the most of the time with the extensive playlist on his phone. As city gave way to suburbia, then to rolling hills and farmland, he also found himself playing around with the radio in the Charger. It was fun to tune in to local stations and hear their news and music, and it helped give some extra flavor to his trip.

It was almost 4pm by the time he was done interviewing the Marine’s ex-wife and, after setting up a meeting with the local police department for the next day, he drove his car further north in the direction of Stillwater. Everything was green and gorgeous, save for the dry sun-worshipping tall roadside grass, and he found himself tapping his fingers on the steering wheel along to the music as his GPS steered him towards Gibbs’ place. He felt those familiar butterflies back in his gut again as he turned off the main road and then, further along, made his final right turn. The street sign read “Stillwater Lane,” and the only house visible was a two-storey tucked back behind some trees about 300 yards along the road.

He knew it was the right place when he spotted Gibbs’ pick-up in the driveway, and he pulled in right next to it and grabbed his bag. He heard the sound of a hand saw cutting through wood coming from behind the house, so he took the paving-stone pathway around to the back. The rear of the house opened out onto a large grassy area capped off by a forest of tall trees, and Gibbs was out on the grass, facing the opposite direction and working over a pair of saw-horses. Tony dropped his bag on the vast flagstone patio and called out a tentative “Hey!”

The sawing stopped, and Gibbs turned around slowly with a knowing smile on his face.

“Hey yourself,” he greeted Tony, before walking over to his former SFA and giving him a completely unexpected but welcome hug. Tony breathed in the familiar sawdust smell that seemed to permeate everything Gibbs-related, and suddenly all was right with his world again. They pulled apart somewhat awkwardly after a second or two, and Tony knew his smile matched the one on Gibbs’ face.

“It’s good to see you, Gibbs,” he said softly.

“You too, Tony,” Gibbs responded in kind, his blue eyes matching the brilliant sky up above them. “Let me show you around.”

Tony picked up his bag again as Gibbs led him through white French Doors into a cosy living room with a wood-burning fireplace built into a brick wall, a comfortable-looking sofa and two armchairs. The requisite television was against the wall opposite the couch, its flat screen an upgrade from the old tube one in his other house. On the left were the kitchen and dining area, and right across was the front door. And crammed into a little nook in the entrance foyer, Tony spotted a desk and the telltale blinking lights of a computer. The whole place was covered in a dark hardwood floor that accented the white walls perfectly. Open plan, but clean lines and simple. It was all very Gibbs, Tony decided.

“So, this is downstairs….” Gibbs said, motioning around with a sweep of his right arm, “And that’s upstairs,” he said, pointing towards the staircase.

“Somehow I had pictured you more in a log cabin-type place,” Tony commented as he looked around. “You know, maybe with antlers on the wall or something. But this is very nice.”

“Smart ass,” Gibbs quipped as he made to go up the stairs, but Tony caught the smile on his face as he turned. He grabbed his bag and followed, and caught a flash of deep maroon on the comforter and curtains as they passed the first bedroom. Gibbs stopped at the second open door and gestured inside.

“Hope this will work okay for you?”

The room, like the rest of the house, was basic but welcoming. A cozy-looking dark blue comforter covered a queen-size bed, and the window faced out over the front yard and driveway. Tony dropped his bag on the small armchair in the corner and turned back to Gibbs.

“It’s a shared bathroom,” Gibbs said, motioning towards the door across the hall, “Plenty of hot water, and laundry is behind the doors over there.

“This is great,” Tony offered, meeting Gibbs’ gaze and suddenly feeling a bit awkward. It had been a while since he’d stayed over at Gibbs’ place back home, and staying here for a full weekend seemed different, somehow. More intimate.

Tension of a kind that Tony couldn’t quite place welled up from somewhere, and he was grateful when Gibbs smiled and broke their gaze.

“I’ll grab us some beers. Settle in and come on out back when you’re ready,” he said, already heading down the stairs.

Tony shook his head to try to clear the unusual feeling from it, then turned back to his bag. He quickly unpacked his clothes into the dresser and small cupboard and, after checking out the bathroom and splashing his face with water, bounded down the stairs after Gibbs.

He found the man relaxing in one of the two Adirondack chairs on the back patio, sipping on a beer and twirling a pair of barbecue tongs with the other hand. Tony paused for a second at the threshold of the French doors as he took in the unusual and compelling sight before him. Gibbs looked relaxed. Really relaxed. Tony could remember few moments before where he’d seen Gibbs just kicking back like this, and it warmed something in his heart. After all Gibbs had been through these past few months, he surely deserved this – a cold beer and a stunning vista of field and forest and the setting sun. They were definitely not in D.C. anymore, and it showed in a good way.

Tony stepped out onto the patio and took a seat in the chair next to Gibbs. He sank back against the wood as Gibbs handed him a beer, and they sipped and stared out at the landscape in companionable silence for a few minutes before a hiss from the nearby barbecue caused the older man to get up and attend to their food. Ten minutes later they were both admirably and awkwardly tackling the challenge of trying eat plates of food balanced on their laps while sitting in those blasted chairs.

“I was going to make a porch swing,” Gibbs commented around a mouthful of potato salad, “But I think a picnic table would be a better idea.”

“Definitely!” Tony held his plate with one hand while he stuck his for into his steak with the other. “Although the food is delicious either way.”

It may have been the setting sunlight, but Tony could have sworn he saw Gibbs blush slightly at the compliment.

“Don’t get too many visitors up this way, so it’s nice to cook for you.” A pause, then, “So you’re meeting with the local LEOs tomorrow morning?”

The change in topic threw Tony off a bit, but it was also welcome. “Well, you know my theory about wives, right?” he joked. “We’ll see if something comes of it. She has a good alibi, though, and mentioned our victim having some girlfriend troubles so I need to check that out a bit more” Tony tilted his head to the side in thought, and Gibbs noticed.

“Out with it, DiNozzo.”

Tony smiled, but it was more of a reminiscing and sad one. “I haven’t been able to talk shop with you in two months. I really miss it. I really miss you,” he acknowledged, an odd mixture of vulnerability and safety battling for prominence inside him at the disclosure. He looked up at Gibbs, knowing his feelings were laid bare on his face. “It feels plain weird checking in on your place and knowing you’re not home. I mean, I know you did what you had to do, but you just left, and it’s like a part of me left with you. I still haven’t quite figured out how I feel about that.”

Gibbs met his gaze straight on and kept it, not backing down from Tony’s emotion-laden admission like Tony had half expected him too. His blue eyes seemed to flash in the last rays of the setting sun, and Tony felt an unexplainable shiver run through him as the sun dipped below the trees and Gibbs’ eyes turned to dark.

“I’ve missed you too, Tony,” Gibbs responded, after spending a long moment contemplating his friend. “I… feel it too. I’m figuring it out too,” he acknowledged a few seconds after that, finally lowering his head and breaking their eye contact.

Tony could see the struggle on the man’s face, could see the way his brow furrowed and his lips parted slightly at his inner turmoil. “Gibbs,” he encouraged, knowing the weight that his friend carried on his shoulders, “You don’t always say much, but you always work it out in the end. I know you’ll be okay. Just remember that you have people who are there for you when you need it. Don’t shut us out.”

“Thanks, Tony,” the older man sighed. Then he chanced a glance up again. “I’m really glad you here. This is… good.”

They shared a warm smile as they went inside, and soon the dinner dishes were cleared up and leftovers put away in the fridge. Tony put the TV on, pleasantly surprised to find that Gibbs had cable, and they watched together from opposite ends of the couch until both of them were yawning.

“Let’s go to bed,” Gibbs said, as he pushed Tony’s feet off the couch to stir him from his resting spot. Tony yawned again and stretched, then put his hands out in front of him.

“A little help, please?”

“Oh come on!” Gibbs responded, faking annoyance, but he smiled and reached his own hands out to pull Tony up. Gibbs’ hands were warm over Tony’s, and Tony was half-way up to standing before he realized that Gibbs’ pull had been too hard. A split-second later, the warm hands were holding his hips to steady him as Tony’s body stopped mere inches from Gibbs’. He instinctively brought his hands up to rest on Gibbs’ chest to brace himself, their faces a breath away from each other. For the second time that evening their gazes met and held, only this time some sort of undecipherable recognition passed between them.

Tony became intimately aware of his heart hammering in his chest as Gibbs’ breath mingled with his own, and he cursed himself silently as his gaze flickered down to Gibbs’ lips for a second. He knew it would be noticed, but there was no helping it, and the buzzing of the phone in his pants pocket was a welcome distraction as the two men quickly pulled apart. Tony scanned the text message.

“It’s from Tim,” he said, more quietly than usual as the encounter with Gibbs continued playing in the back of his mind. “A friend of the victim also mentioned the mysterious girlfriend that none of them had met. And Tim says ‘Hi,’” Tony reported, daring to look up at Gibbs again.

“‘Hi’ back to Tim,” Gibbs said, a careful smile crossing his face. It didn’t reach his eyes, and Tony knew the look on his own face was equally as guarded. Self-preservation was like a first language for both of them, and the situation called for some very delicate handling.

“After you,” Gibbs suggested as he turned towards the stairs, and Tony hauled himself up to the top, idly wondering how his ass looked in the jeans he was wearing. He paused at Gibbs’ door, and the two of them stood there somewhat awkwardly.

“Well, goodnight,” he said, feeling but not completely understanding the tension that seemed to be swarming around them.

Gibbs nodded at him. “Goodnight, Tony,” he said, voice deep with tiredness. “Let me know if you need anything, okay?”

“Will do.” Tony gave a small smile and turned, walking the short distance to his own bedroom door. He made quick work of brushing his teeth in their shared bathroom, then drew the curtains, climbed under the covers in the nude and sank into the comfortable mattress and pillow. The sound of crickets chirping outside drew his attention, and then the slight creak of the bed on the other side of the shared wall did too. He couldn’t help it as his mind flew to picture Gibbs climbing into bed in the next room, ensconced in his maroon covers. Tony gave his head a mental shake, and wondered what had come over him. He thought back to the tense moment shared downstairs that evening, and tried to puzzle it out. It hadn’t been bad tension, exactly, but the glance down at Gibbs’ lips had almost done him in.

Suddenly, the pieces started falling into place, and Tony covered his face with his hands and mouthed a silent, “Ohhhhh shit.”

It hadn’t clicked before because it was the first time in his life that he had dropped the denial and allowed himself to consider another guy’s lips as something to potentially be kissed… and now that he was admitting it to himself, it scared the hell out of him. And the fact that it pretty much explained everything else – the veritable yearning he’d experienced for his friend, the feeling of missing a piece of himself and, good lord, what was now quite clearly sexual tension – had Tony, self-proclaimed Nubile Cutie Inspector Supreme, wondering exactly how long he’d been in denial about his former boss for.

His racing thoughts ground to a halt all of a sudden, and he backtracked. Sexual tension? Oh, that was a topic that he was quite the professional on, and he knew it took two to dance that tango. Which they had. Which meant….

“Oh shit!

Which left him wondering two things: had the multiple-times-married Gibbs figured it out yet, and how on earth was he supposed to get to sleep now?

He didn’t even want to touch what to do about it with a ten foot pole.

Chapter Text

Bright sunlight streaming through the small gap between the curtains woke Tony up in the morning. He cracked an eye open, knowing he was in unfamiliar territory when he heard birds chirping cheerfully outside, and remembered where he was. He had no idea what time he’d eventually fallen asleep last night, but it must have been really late because he could still feel tiredness seeping through his body.

Two seconds later, a deluge of thoughts, emotions, and images from the previous night flooded his brain, and he felt his pulse rate pick up at the same time as his dick twitched and began to harden in his boxers.

“Oh, go away!” he said, both to his thoughts and his anatomy. It was too early for that. He grabbed a pair of khakis and a deep green dress shirt out of the closet and, holding them in front of his groin in case Gibbs was in the hallway, he slipped out of his room and into the bathroom. His shower and shave helped to both wake him up and distract him and, after coiffing his hair just right, he made his way downstairs with his shirtsleeves rolled up and the top two buttons open. He wished he could have been in a t-shirt and shorts in the late-summer weather, but it was still a work day and the casual clothes would have to wait.

He found Gibbs seated at the dining table, bare feet resting up on a chair and the newspaper grasped in one hand as he spooned cereal from a bowl into his mouth with the other. The wonderful relaxed nature of the scene before him took Tony by surprise once again, and filled his heart with joy. This was what Gibbs deserved. And the fact that he was so comfortable being so comfortable around Tony made his heart swell just a little bit more. At the end of the day, no matter what ended up happening or not between them, it was enough for him to know that his friend was happy.

A broad smile lit up Tony’s face as Gibbs looked up at him from his newspaper, and Gibbs’ echoing grin left his heart fluttering in a somewhat disconcerting manner. It must be the glasses, Tony figured. Whenever Gibbs had worn them in the past, Tony knew he had felt that exact same feeling in his gut and today was no different. He was a sucker for those glasses, only now it made more sense. Damn it. He ducked into the kitchen area to get himself back in check, and dumped some cereal and milk into a bowl before turning around to face Gibbs again. The man had gone back to reading his newspaper, so Tony pulled out a chair at the table and said a quiet “Good morning” as he sat down on it.

Gibbs lowered his newspaper to the table and slid a steaming mug of coffee across to Tony.

“Hi,” he greeted, looking up over the rim of his glasses as the mug passed between their hands. “You look like you need this.”

“That bad, huh?” Tony asked as he eyed the swirling brown liquid in front of him and took a tentative sip. The taste was surprisingly smooth over his tongue, and he held off on asking for cream and sugar as he took another experimental sip.

His raised eyebrows must have shown his approval, because Gibbs grunted and said, “Thought you’d like it.”

“It’s a pleasant change from the stuff I’ve had at your place before,” Tony admitted cheekily. “Less of that burned aroma and tar-like kick.”

“Twice the caffeine,” Gibbs said, ignoring the friendly jab. “Should do you well for your drive today. You okay?”

Tony ducked his head down as he felt his face flush. “Just a lot on my mind. No big deal,” he responded as he picked up his spoon and began to eat. He shrugged his shoulders and hoped his act of nonchalance seemed real enough. “I should be back late afternoon. Is there anything I can pick up while I’m out?”

“Nope, I’m good. I’m giving lessons at the local shooting range for most of the day” Gibbs said as he went back to scanning the newspaper. “We’ll head out for dinner tonight. There’s a local spot I want to show you.”

“Sounds great,” Tony said around a spoonful of cereal. They continued to eat and read in companionable silence, and once Tony was done he washed his bowl and spoon out and bounded back up the stairs to get his keys and wallet. Five minutes later he was on the road, headed towards Orangeville, the warm sunlight and fresh air through the open car windows a welcome sign of a gorgeous day ahead.

His day was more eventful than he had expected. The cops were more than happy to find him a spare office and hook him up with a phone and computer so he could liaise with Tim and Ellie back in D.C. They managed to track down the girlfriend between the three of them, and it turned out that she was an old high-school friend of both the marine and his ex-wife, who not only still lived in Orangeville but had been stalking him for several years prior without his knowledge. The arrest went down with less finesse than Tony usually liked, but the local LEOs were so excited to see some action that he let them have their day.

After arranging for her to be transported back to D.C. and saying his farewells at the police station, Tony packed up and made the short drive back to Stillwater. He could feel the now-familiar butterflies start to flare up again in his stomach the closer he got to Gibbs’ house, and by the time he pulled into the driveway he was an overtired and nervous mess. True to nature, the front door was unlocked so he walked right in and announced himself with, “I’m back!” He was met with silence, and he couldn’t see Gibbs on the main floor or outside so he headed upstairs.

His right foot was on the second-to-top step when he heard the bathroom door opening, and that was all the warning he got before Gibbs stepped out wearing nothing but a white towel wrapped around his waist. Both men froze when they saw each other, and Tony knew that the slight blush that spread over Gibbs’ face matched that on his own.

It wasn’t like he hadn’t seen Gibbs in a towel before, of course, but his perspective on things had changed rather dramatically in the past 24 hours. His eyes couldn’t help but sweep across the still-damp hair on Gibbs’ chest and down the line over his torso to where the trail disappeared beneath the towel. When his eyes rose to meet Gibbs’ again, he was able to name the all-too-unfamiliar feeling that had been hounding him since last night.

For the first time in recent memory, Tony DiNozzo was shy.

“Hey,” Gibbs said, breaking the tension with a slight smirk on his face. “You’re back.”

Tony spent a split-second trying to figure out if it was a knowing smirk or just a regular Gibbs smirk, before he mentally chastised himself for thinking like a teenage girl and pulled himself together. He plastered what he hoped was a self-assured smile on his face and took the last two steps up to the landing.

“Hi,” he greeted Gibbs in return. “I called out when I came in but I couldn’t find you.”

“How did things go in Orangeville?” Gibbs asked, completely focused.

Were they really going to have this conversation with Gibbs standing two feet away from him in a towel? Tony shook his head imperceptibly and tried to corral his wandering mind.

“Good. Ah, really good. Tracked down and arrested the girlfriend. Turns out she was local so the LEOs had a bit too much of a good time with that. I don’t think they get out much,” he trailed off.

“Good work,” Gibbs affirmed him with a smile, and Tony felt himself relax a bit.

“So, should I change or are these clothes okay for dinner?” he asked, still unsure of where they would be eating.

It was suddenly his turn to be on the receiving end of a once-over as Gibbs eyed the deep green shirt and khakis before looking back up at Tony.

“No, you look good.” Gibbs brushed past Tony in the hallway, and then paused as he looked back over his shoulder. “I’ll be ready in five minutes.” He disappeared into his room and Tony let out a deep breath he didn’t realize he’d been holding.

What the fuck was up with all this second-guessing he was suddenly doing with everything Gibbs said or did? You look good. How was he supposed to take that? If a hot girl said that to him he knew exactly how to take it. If Gibbs had said it to him several months ago, he would have known exactly how to take it. But after last night…. The whole not-knowing situation was driving Tony crazy. He decided to do the only thing that might help and just try to take everything at face value until Gibbs gave him a sign otherwise. A little friendly flirting never hurt, but he also wanted to actually enjoy his time in Stillwater. They had almost twenty years of history together and Gibbs was his closest friend, quite probably the most important person in his world if he let himself admit it. He cared about the man too much to chance anything too brazenly without enough evidence.

Tony went back down the stairs, picked up the morning’s newspaper off the dining table, and settled into one of the armchairs. A few minutes later he heard Gibbs’ bedroom door open, and footsteps on the stairs. He glanced up from the newspaper and his breath caught in his throat. Gibbs had dressed in light grey slacks and an azure blue dress shirt, sleeves rolled up and the top two buttons undone just like Tony’s, and he looked dead sexy. Tony swallowed instinctively, unable to help himself as he drank in the sight in front of him.

Gibbs seemed not to notice the reaction he was drawing out of the other man as he grabbed his wallet and keys off of the kitchen counter, and by the time he turned around Tony had composed himself.

“Ready to go?” Gibbs asked, as he jingled the keys in his right hand.

“Uh, yeah,” Tony responded and rose from the armchair, and they made their way outside to Gibbs’ truck. Curiosity finally got the better of him, so he asked where they were going.

A small but firm grin attached itself to Gibbs’ face. “Traditional Italian food sound good?” he asked.

Tony’s ears perked up at that, and he nodded eagerly.

“I’m not talking spaghetti and meatballs,” Gibbs continued, as they climbed into the pickup and he turned the key in the ignition. “I’m talking farmhouse country cooking.”

Tony could feel himself start to salivate. “That sounds amazing,” he confirmed, and Gibbs backed the truck out of the driveway and made for the main road. The drive through blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Stillwater and north towards their dinner was quick, and within ten minutes they were pulling up at a farmhouse.

“So this is literally farmhouse cooking?” Tony asked with a grin, and Gibbs smirked back at him.

“Old Tioga Farm,” he replied, as they got out the truck and made their way towards the front door. “The owners open it up once a week for a pre-set menu dinner. People actually drive in from other states just to eat here.”

Tony reached the door first and held it open for Gibbs, who nodded in appreciation and walked through. A hostess greeted them and they were shown directly to their table, all dark antique wood and shine and soft classical music in the background. After ordering some wine, Tony leaned in slightly towards Gibbs.

“How exactly did you get us in here?” he asked across the table, puzzled. “I mean, it sounds like this place sells out way in advance yet we’re here with only two day’s warning?”

Tony watched Gibbs shoulders hunch with sudden tension as he pursed his lips, and then he let out an uncharacteristic sigh and seemed to almost deflate again. When he spoke, his voice was slow but steady.

“I made this reservation three months ago,” Gibbs acknowledged after a few moments, his eyes not meeting Tony’s as he toyed with the napkin ring in front of him. “When you called me on Wednesday… it would have been my dad’s birthday. I had planned on driving up from DC for the weekend and bringing him here for dinner tonight. Things changed, obviously,” he said, finally looking up at Tony with unusually vulnerable eyes, “but I thought you might like it here.”

He lowered his eyes again and went back to playing with the napkin ring, but Tony’s hand over his stilled his movements.

“Jethro….” The name slipped past Tony’s lips, unintentional but seeming somehow right in the situation. He gave Gibbs’ hand a light squeeze, and their eyes met again. “I’m so very, very sorry. And, thank you for this,” he said as he let go of Gibbs’ hand and gestured around them. “It’s wonderful.”

Just then their server arrived with their bottle of wine. She uncorked it and poured them each a glass, and once she had left Tony raised his glass up.

“To Jackson Gibbs,” he proposed the toast, and he watched as Gibbs smiled slowly from across the table. “Occasional curmudgeon, excellent storyteller, and beloved father to the best marine I know - Happy Birthday.”

Gibbs nodded and raised his glass to meet Tony’s, and their clink sounded quietly in the room. They both took a deep drink before setting their glasses back down on the table.

“The best marine you know, huh?” Gibbs asked with a shy smile, egging him on slightly.

“Well, I would have said the best man I know, but I wouldn’t want to be too forward,” Tony shot back, as he batted his eyelashes in an overdone fashion towards Gibbs. The man snorted and Tony knew he’d hit his mark in lifting Gibbs’ mood a bit. He didn’t know if Gibbs had seen the fake flirting for what it really was, but he hoped that the compliment had been taken sincerely.

The server arrived with their first course, then, and there was little more talking done for the next while. They worked their way through delicious soup, savory crepes, roasted vegetables, and braised chicken, and Tony was stuffed by the time their server brought chocolate mousse to their table. He looked over the table at Gibbs and let out a low groan.

“Ooofff, this is all so good,” he puffed, “And I’m trying to figure out how to fit that in on top of everything else.” The hazy sleepiness of the wine was beginning to wash over him too, and it was a dangerous combination. He felt the tiredness from earlier threatening to overtake him again, although he was thankful that his nerves were tempered by the alcohol.

“Just try a spoonful,” Gibbs said, and he scooped up some of his mousse and aimed it at Tony’s mouth. Tony’s mouth opened obediently and conveniently hid the shock on his face at Gibbs’ actions. Not that he minded at all, but it was just something rather intimate and he didn’t think they were really on that level, especially in public.

It was divine, pure heaven on a spoon. His eyelids closed of their own accord and he hummed as Gibbs pulled the spoon out of his mouth.

“Damn,” he whispered. Gibbs looked taken aback, but Tony smiled reassuringly. “Now I’m gonna have to eat the whole thing. It’s that good.”

Gibbs tried a spoonful too, and shot an “Oh, yeah, definitely,” back at Tony with his mouth full. They both dug into their dessert eagerly, and Tony found himself wishing he could undo his belt. A second later he was glad he couldn’t, because an elderly couple on their way out from dinner stopped right next to their table.

“Jethro!” the lady gushed, and Gibbs looked up from his mousse and quickly passed a napkin across his mouth.

“Mrs Anonby,” he greeted her in recognition. “Mr Anonby.” Tony was surprised that Gibbs didn’t stand up, but he saw the tight smile on his face and guessed that perhaps these were not Gibbs’ favourite people. It didn’t seem to deter her at all, though, and she continued on, oblivious.

“We were so very sorry to hear about your father, Jethro. Such a pillar of the community. It’s nice to see you here, enjoying some dinner out with your, er….” she asked, turning to Tony and obviously hoping for more information.

Tony decided to play the charming card, and let her think what she wanted.

“Tony,” he said, flashing her his most winning fake smile. “Jethro and I are having a wonderful time, thank you.”

She seemed to not quite know what to deduce from Tony’s response, exactly as Tony had hoped, but the curious look that passed over her face was quickly replaced by a bright smile.

“Well, that’s just lovely!” she said. “I do hope you boys enjoy the rest of your evening.”

Tony and Gibbs both bade her goodnight as she turned to her husband, and they watched the couple make their way to the front door. As soon as they were out of earshot, Tony turned to Gibbs.

“Let me guess – she has the sweet-as-pie appearance but knows everybody’s business around town?”

Gibbs was still frowning in the direction of the door, but he turned back towards Tony and gave a low chuckle. “Yeah, they’ve known me since I was a kid. I bet she’s just dying to know what I’m still doing here in Stillwater, but of course she won’t ask. You and I, however,” he said, motioning between himself and Tony, “are going to be the talk of the town by morning.

“Why? Because we’re eating dinner together?” Tony asked, confused.

“Yup. And she’s gonna assume all sorts of things because we didn’t give her any of the answers she was hoping for. And I’m pretty sure she saw me feeding you that chocolate mousse, which really helped.” Gibbs tone was sarcastic but he was smiling.

“Wow, we’re having quite the scandalous weekend and I didn’t even know about it. Anything else you want to do to shock the locals?” Tony asked conspiratorially. Gibbs full-on laughed then, and Tony joined in. It felt good to banter back-and-forth again like they had so many times before, and it helped to keep thing light.

“You know, I’m really past caring what people here think of me,” Gibbs responded, still smiling. “If they want to think that we’re together, let them. It’ll keep them busy for at least a few days.”

He seemed rather unperturbed by the whole thing, and Tony was dumbfounded. He knew Gibbs was one of those guys who didn’t give two flying figs about someone’s sexual orientation, but for him to have such a blasé attitude about his own situation was quite the revelation. A very good revelation.

Gibbs reached for his wallet and paid for the meal, and Tony felt Gibbs’ hand on the small of his back as they walked out of the farmhouse and towards the truck. He glanced back over his shoulder at Gibbs, who just smiled at him and gave a small shrug of his shoulders as if saying, “Whatever.”

Tony remembered his intent to not read too much into things, and found himself enjoying their brief physical closeness in the moment. He was actually surprisingly relaxed by the time they reached the vehicle. Gibbs unlocked Tony’s door before walking around to unlock his own, and Tony had settled into a comfortable position on the front passenger seat by the time Gibbs climbed in and started the engine. The swaying of the pick-up truck and the alcohol in his system quickly made him drowsy, and Tony was fast asleep two minutes into their drive home.

“Tony? Hey, Tony, we’re home.” He came to when he felt someone shaking his shoulder insistently, and when he opened bleary eyes he saw Gibbs leaning close to him in the truck’s cabin.

“Hey, Boss….” He tried to smile but could hardly muster the energy.

Gibbs hand gave his shoulder a squeeze. “I’ll help you into the house but you’ve got to lean away from the door otherwise you’ll fall out when I open it.” He climbed out of the vehicle, and Tony shifted his weight away from the door as Gibbs made to open it.

“Can’t believe ‘m so tired….” Tony yawned, as Gibbs helped support him into the house and up the stairs. “Din’ even drink tha much.”

“You’ve had a long day, Tony,” Gibbs said, as he helped him out of his clothes and lowered him into his bed. “A good night’s sleep is just what you need.”

Tony didn’t think anything of the fact that Gibbs had stripped him down to his underwear, or that he was being tucked into bed for the first time in decades. He didn’t register much at all, really, except for the encompassing sense of well-being that overtook him as he sank into dreamland.

Chapter Text

Bright sunlight streaming through the window woke Tony up again the next morning, only this time he felt about a million times better. He felt like a new man after the good sleep he’d had, and the birds chirping outside almost inspired him to break out into a musical number. Almost.

He pulled on a t-shirt and a pair of shorts after his quick shower, grateful to be out of trousers and dress shirts, and tiptoed over to Gibbs’ bedroom door and peeked in. Gibbs was sprawled out on top of the covers in his boxers and a t-shirt, one arm flung over his face, fast asleep. Tony watched the rhythmic rise and fall of his chest for a minute, absolutely fascinated, before sneaking downstairs to make them breakfast. He figured it was the least he could do after flaking out so soon after their dinner the night before. He poked around in the fridge and was grateful to find that Gibbs was stocking more than microwave dinners these days. Tony soon had eggs and bacon frying up on the stove, toast doing its thing in the toaster, and had just about figured out the coffee machine when he heard the stairs creak. He whipped his head around, his body betraying his brain’s intended attempt at casualness, and paused when he saw Gibbs in his shorts, t-shirt, and bare feet combo again.

Those bare feet were messing with his head. Something about the sight of Gibbs like that, so basic and informal, was getting him revved up in all sorts of ways... ways that were dangerous to dwell on right now - especially the barefoot fetish he was apparently developing. The bacon hissed at him from the pan, and he turned away again to refocus.

“Mornin’,” he called as he flipped the contents of the frying pan, and he heard Gibbs padding softly up behind him.

“Mmmmmm, that smelled so good it woke me up,” Gibbs said, as he came to stand beside Tony at the stove. “Anything I can help with?”

“Just the coffee,” Tony said, trying and failing miserably at controlling the smile on his face. “I think I got it right, but maybe do a taste test first.”

Gibbs grabbed a mug out of one of the cupboards and poured himself some steaming black coffee from the carafe. He swirled it around in the mug for a minute, contemplating the liquid, then took a sip. Tony watched tensely from the sidelines, awaiting the verdict.

“Yup, that’ll do.” Gibbs took a larger gulp from the mug and Tony, who had turned to the toast that had just popped up, thought he heard the man sigh with pleasure.

“Thanks for getting me into bed last night,” Tony started, then realized the innuendo as Gibbs choked on his coffee. He turned back to face Gibbs, blushing bright red, and tried to look apologetic. “Well, not like that. You know what I mean.”

The hue on Gibbs face darkened a bit too as he formed his reply. “Well, I remembered that you like to sleep naked, but I wasn’t quite ready to help you with that part.”

Tony ducked his head, contemplating their surreal little conversation and the fact that Gibbs was even partaking in it. And that Gibbs remembered that he slept naked. Which means that Gibbs had been thinking about - Shut it, Tony!

“Yeah, it’s just as well,” he shot back, still beet red but smiling again, “You never know when an iguana might show up.”

Gibbs snorted into his coffee mug as he took another sip, and the tension was broken.

“So what do you do around here on weekends?” Tony asked as he loaded the food onto two plates and carried them to the table. “I mean, I don’t exactly peg you as the type to traipse around the local farmer’s markets.”

Gibbs poured a cup of coffee for Tony, grabbed some knives and forks, and joined him. “Yeah, not really my scene,” he confirmed with a grimace. “They do have some great trout fishing up this way though, if you’re interested. I’ve got some rods in the garage - we could pack a lunch and make an afternoon of it.”

“You’re going to have to give me some pointers, but that sounds great,” Tony said enthusiastically. Tony wouldn’t have usually been into fishing, but he found that being in the countryside and getting to spend time learning something close to Gibbs’ heart held a lot of appeal.

“Good bacon,” Gibbs grunted, and that was that.

Ten minutes later Gibbs was washing dishes and Tony was digging around in the fridge again, trying to find components for a sandwich. It was another hour by the time they had lunches packed and fishing gear sorted out, and they stowed everything in the back of the pick-up and headed out. Gibbs drove south towards Orangeville, but suddenly swerved off the road and into a parking spot outside of a gas station. Tony, who had grabbed the handle above the window when they’d gone off the road, didn’t let go until the truck was in park.

“What the hell?” he asked, mock-glaring at Gibbs. “You taking a page from Ziva’s book?”

Gibbs laughed quietly and shook his head. “Bait,” was all he said as he jumped out the truck and walked into the store. Three minutes later he was back, holding a little white tub. He handed it off to Tony as he climbed back into his seat, and Tony eyed it warily.

“Do I even want to know what’s in here?” he asked, wrinkling his nose as he inspected it closer.

“Earthworms,” Gibbs said nonchalantly, as he backed the vehicle up and swerved onto the road again. Tony made a face and quickly stashed the tub by his feet. A short while later Gibbs made a left and pulled into some curb side parking just down from a pair of covered bridges that spanned the old road across the river. Tony climbed out of the truck and couldn’t help but marvel at the view. The reddish bridges against the background of the sun shining through the surrounding trees and the babbling of the creek created an idyllic scene, and he breathed in the fresh air deeply. He heard Gibbs get out of the truck too, and they enjoyed the landscape together in silence for a moment.

A child’s shrill shriek from down by the river reminded Tony that they were not alone on this sunny weekend, and he pulled himself back to the present and turned to Gibbs. The man was right there, a fishing rod in each hand, and he grinned at Tony’s bewildered expression and passed them both to him.

“I see your stealth skills are still well and truly honed,” Tony joked as his heart beat furiously in his chest from the fright. “I bet you’ve been waiting all weekend to scare me.”

Gibbs smirked and raised his eyebrows. “Old habits die hard.” He grabbed a backpack, blanket, and cooler out of the back, and the bait from where Tony had left it, and pointed to a pathway that led to the water. “Let’s go along there, and walk downstream along the river bank a bit. There’s a sandy area that’s good to set up on.” Tony nodded and followed, trying his best to avoid getting the long fishing rods tangled in the trees branches as they walked along. A few minutes later, after navigating along the river bank with its sloped, rocky sides, they reached the sandy area as promised. Gibbs laid the large blanket out and motioned to Tony to bring the rods closer. He opened up the tub of earthworms and carefully placed one on each of the fishing rods’ hooks.

“You remember how to cast a line?” he asked Tony, as he took one of the rods from him and started messing around with the reel.

“Not a clue,” Tony replied, apologetically. He looked down at the reel of the rod he was holding, and remembered nothing. “I was probably around twelve year’s old the last time I did this. This is so not like riding a bicycle. Or sex,” he added thoughtfully.

Gibbs glanced over at him, and then back to his own rod. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard fishing compared to sex before, Tony. You really do have a gift….”

“Ah, well, that’s because you’ve never been fishing with me before, Jethro,” he puffed up, his automatic flirtatious behavioural patterns taking over before he suddenly remembered who he was with. He snuck a bashful glance over towards Gibbs, but the man seemed to be taking it all in stride. Two seconds later, he got a taste of his own medicine.

“Well, the day is young yet, Tony,” Gibbs replied in a droll voice, as he finished messing with the reel and stood up. “And you haven’t been fishing with me either.”

Tony’s mouth suddenly felt dry as he watched Gibbs take a few steps forward towards the water. The comment, made so casually, sent his pulse rocketing and his mind spinning. He struggled to reign himself back in as he watched Gibbs swift and fluid movements as he cast his line upstream. This was a side of the man he had never seen before, a Gibbs who was apparently willing to give as good as he got in the flirting department.

Oh, it was so game on.

Tony grabbed his fishing rod, making sure to dangle the earthworm as far away from himself as possible, and strutted over to Gibbs at the riverbank. Girl? Guy? How different could it be? Flirting and innuendos were almost as natural to him as breathing, and he was up for the challenge.

“So, Gibbs.…” he began, dropping the base of his rod to the ground so it was standing upright. “Nice form there.” He ran his hand suggestively up and down a section of his fishing rod and tried to look as innocent as possible as Gibbs turned towards him and promptly blushed. He had to hand it to the man, he’d been expecting at least a coughing fit. Gibbs looked away for a second, then right back at Tony. His blue eyes were slightly narrowed, calculating.

“That the best you got, DiNozzo?” he asked, the dare clear in his voice. He dropped his rod onto the sand. “Come over here and let me show you how to really work your pole.”

Tony felt his chest constrict as he breathed in sharply, every sense in his body suddenly tingling. He knew his mouth was hanging open but his brain couldn’t seem to send a signal to close it.

“Oh no you didn’t,” he managed to whisper several seconds later, finally breathing out and still in shock.

Gibbs grinned broadly. “Oh, but I did,” he said, so matter-of-factly that Tony’s breathing hitched again. Gibbs beckoned to him then with a long finger, and Tony plastered a hesitant smile on his face as his feet moved him the few steps needed of their own volition. He knew he was being beaten – nay, crushed – at his own game, and it was unsettling and one hell of a turn-on that it was Gibbs doing it.

It was thankfully all business a minute later, however, when Gibbs got down to explaining how to hold the rod and how to cast and let the line out. The process seemed simple enough, and Tony stepped away from Gibbs, faced upstream, and whipped the rod forward over his right shoulder. The earthworm plopped to the ground on the riverbank near his feet, and Tony bit down on his lower lip.

That wasn’t supposed to happen.

He reeled the line in a bit and tried again, lowering the rod to the side and behind him and then whipping it over his shoulder. Once again, the earthworm did a lovely arc and circled back to the ground as the reel hardly let any fishing line out.

The sudden, steadying touch of a hand on each of his arms made him forget all about the blasted hook and bait, as Gibbs stepped up close behind him and whispered across his ear, “You’re jerking it too hard.”

Tony fought for a snappy comeback but his brain chose that moment to officially shut down. It was all too much, too overwhelming, and he could feel a primal need building in his core. This was entering dangerous territory now, and he wondered how much of their conversation was really about fishing anymore. He watched Gibbs hands slide down his arms towards his own hands as Gibbs body all but encircled him from behind, and Tony gave himself permission to lean back into Gibbs warm chest, just for a moment. It was all wonderfully hard and soft at the same time, and the residual smell from whatever soap Gibbs used tickled at his nose as Gibbs rested his chin on Tony’s shoulder.

Gibbs slid his left hand over Tony’s and moved it lower down the fishing rod. “Grip it firmly at the base,” he said in a low voice, as his right hand covered Tony’s and slid it further up the rod, “And then move your other hand. Nice and slow.”

Tony could feel his heart hammering away in his chest as the analogy played out before him, and for the first time in his life he felt helpless to move. Not that he wanted to move. Someone could yell at him from the other side of the river and offer him a million dollars and he was pretty sure he still wouldn’t be able to move. He only had a second or two to think about that before he almost had a heart attack. Gibbs pressed his groin gently against Tony’s ass as he nudged Tony’s left leg forward to change his stance, and Tony was done.

“Jethro, you’re killing me here,” he breathed out, the whispered words both an admission and a plea. Tony knew he couldn’t take much more without turning around and having his way with the man right there by the river. Gibbs right hand on his swept the fishing rod around their backs, and then up and over their shoulders as the hook, line and earthworm sailed through the air and landed perfectly in the middle of the river with a satisfying splash. Gibbs’ hands let go of Tony’s and his fingertips trailed lightly back up Tony’s arms and came to rest on his shoulders.

“Now that’s how you go fishing,” Gibbs spoke softy as his lips brushed against Tony’s ear, and suddenly he was gone. Tony whirled around, not caring about the potential trout for dinner anymore as he watched Gibbs casually pick up his own fishing rod and cast his line into the water again. It was cruel, so cruel, so wonderfully torturous and Tony could still feel his whole body thrumming with energy as he saw the man glance sideways at him and give a smirk before looking back at the river again.

“Oh, you’re asking for trouble,” Tony shot at him, trying desperately to compose himself and his thoughts now that the all-encompassing assault on his sense had ended. He could see the grin that flashed across Gibbs’ face, but the man didn’t acknowledge him. It was infuriating and intoxicating, and Tony realized with sudden clarity that Gibbs held all the power. It was a dizzying revelation, and Tony smiled to himself as he thought about the dance that was ahead. There was no doubt whatsoever in his mind anymore about Gibbs’ position on things. No guy in their right mind would have done what Gibbs had just done to him if there wasn’t attraction, never mind taking it that far. Tony wanted an admission from him, though, and he would fight to get it.

A sudden tugging on his line drew his attention back to the water, and he watched the end of his fishing rod jerk up and down as something fought on the hook.

“Gibbs!” he yelled in excitement, forgetting that the man was only a few feet away from him. “I think I’ve got one!” A pause, then, “You didn’t cover this part in your fishing sex ed.”

Gibbs looked like he was about to come over and help, but then he grabbed his own rod more firmly and cast another sideways glance at Tony instead. “What, you haven’t figured it out yet?” he responded teasingly. Then his voice dropped and Tony felt a shiver run through his body even in the noonday heat. “Reel ‘em in nice and slow.”

The afternoon progressed with less innuendo-filled conversation and more fish-catching, much to Tony’s relief. They shared an easy banter, although Tony could feel the unresolved tension bubbling under the surface of their conversation topics. He was pleasantly surprised as Gibbs opened up a bit and shared about his childhood in Stillwater, and fishing in that very spot with Jackson on many occasions. He spoke candidly of his first kiss with Shannon, under some mistletoe that had been left hanging from an arch of the covered bridge nearby. And he had Tony in stitches as he told of how he’d “borrowed” his dad’s car when he was twelve years old and taken it for a joyride before finally crashing it into the fence that lined the road nearby.

The sun warmed them as they ate a late lunch on the blanket, and after a while Tony felt his eyelids getting heavy. He lay down and stretched out on his back, closing his eyes as Gibbs packed away the remains of their food, and he felt the blanket shift a few moments later as Gibbs lay down next to him. The sunlight filtering through the trees made shadows dance on his eyelids, and he smiled contentedly as he felt tentative fingers brush against his own as he drifted off.

Chapter Text

The shrieking of children brought Tony slowly back into consciousness, and he ignored the noise and turned onto his side to face Gibbs. He cracked an eye open and paused, drinking in the scene before him. They must have both shifted in their sleep, because Gibbs was lying stretched out with his hands behind his head. His face was relaxed, his breathing slow and even, and as Tony looked down his body he noticed that the hem of Gibbs shirt was riding up a few inches above his shorts, leaving an enticing patch of skin bared. His fingers itched to touch it but he didn’t dare. Not yet, anyway.

The shrieking came again, closer this time, and Tony watched as Gibbs opened his eyes too and turned his head to smile at Tony.

“Hey…,” Gibbs greeted him quietly, the intimacy of the moment not lost on either of them. “Good nap?”

“Yeah,” Tony replied, a lazy smile taking up residence on his face.

“Hey, mister!” The shrieking kids were suddenly right there, and both men realized at the same time that the noise was directed at them. Both their heads swung up as a young boy pointed frantically at the river and yelled again, “Your fishing rod!”

Gibbs was up in a flash, Tony not far behind him, and they both saw one of the rods that they had left next to the river now in the middle of the water and heading quickly downstream.

“Damn, it must have rolled in!” Gibbs cursed under his breath. “Thanks kid!” he threw behind him as he ripped off his shoes and socks in record time and ran into the water. Tony did the same and splashed in after him, chasing both Gibbs and the rod. They were a good two hundred feet further downstream by the time they caught up with the buoyant rod, and both men dove for it at the same time.

Tony came up with it, spluttering and crowing in triumph as he held the rod aloft and shook the water from his hair. Gibbs pulled himself to his knees in the shallow water and splashed a handful of water in Tony’s direction.

“Oy!” Tony yelled at him playfully. “Spoil sport.”

Gibbs grinned and splashed even more water towards him as both of them got to their feet. Tony levelled his best mock glare at Gibbs, then unceremoniously tossed the fishing rod towards the river bank and barrelled towards Gibbs. He hit and Gibbs let out a resounding “Ooffff!” as the breath was knocked out of him and both men fell back into the water. When they re-surfaced, clinging to each other as the current tried to carry them further downstream, both were laughing hard. Their laughter faded after a minute as their physical closeness became impossible to ignore, and Tony couldn’t control the impulse as he reached out and brushed back the wet hair that was plastered across Gibbs’ forehead. He watched in quiet delight as Gibbs’ eyes dilated slightly, and Tony smiled shyly before quickly standing up and offering a hand to the man.

It was only after he pulled Gibbs up and they were back on dry land with the rescued fishing rod that Tony realized they were both soaking wet. He pulled his shirt off over his head and wrung it out, and when he looked up he could tell that Gibbs was watching him surreptitiously as he stripped his own shirt off. They made their way back to their picnic site with barely a word spoken between them, the tension brewing at full force again. Being unintentionally half-naked wasn’t helping, Tony knew, but he wasn’t about to complain and enjoyed ogling the way Gibbs’ shorts clung to his backside as they packed up and took everything back to the truck. Gibbs laid the blanket across the two front seats to try and keep them somewhat dry, and they drove back to Stillwater in companionable silence, each lost in their own thoughts.

Tony was jolted back to reality by a warm hand covering his, and he realized sheepishly that he’d fallen asleep in the truck again.

“We’re home, Tony,” Gibbs urged as he patted Tony’s hand and climbed out of the truck.

Home. Tony liked the sound of that. He wondered idly what sharing a home with Gibbs would be like. He had a fair idea of Gibbs’ routine at home when they were working, having shared the house in DC with him several times in the past when he’d had to vacate his apartment, but there were still so many unanswered questions and things were different now that he’d retired, too.

“DiNozzo!” the bellow came from outside, “Quit daydreaming and get your wet ass out of my truck!”

Tony bolted upright, pushed the door open, and tumbled out of the pick-up. He had the good sense to blush and look apologetic as he grabbed the cooler of fish from Gibbs outstretched hand. He saw the sparkle in Gibbs’ eyes, however, and gave a cheeky smile as he said, “Sorry, Boss,” and quickly hauled the cooler into the house.

Ten seconds later he had it up on the kitchen counter, and two seconds after that he felt Gibbs press up behind him much as he had back at the river. This time, however, they were both shirtless and Tony could feel the heat of Gibbs’ chest against his back. The skin-to-skin contact sent a shock through his body and he balled his hands into fists on the counter in an effort to retain control.

“Don’t. Call. Me. Boss.” The words were spoken softly but firmly, the thin threat in Gibbs’ voice and his physical proximity at delicious odds with each other. Tony drew in a sharp breath, and closed his eyes briefly as he revelled in the sensations his body was experiencing.

“And what if I do?” he asked daringly, wondering what action Gibbs would take if he provoked him on purpose. The tension was sky high again, and he let out a surprised gasp as Gibbs flipped him around and pushed him against the counter. Steely blue eyes bored into his green ones as Gibbs braced his hands on the counter on either side of Tony, their faces almost touching. Being in the middle of a Gibbs-kitchen counter sandwich promptly jumped into his top ten list of things to do. Tony swallowed, his eyes darting down to Gibbs’ lips again, and he didn’t bother trying to hide his interest this time.

He wondered what it would feel like to kiss Gibbs, to feel those lips against his, and as he raised his eyes up again he thought could see the same unanswered question mirrored in the blue eyes before him. Gibbs pulled back and sighed, though, then rubbed his thumb unconsciously against his chin.

“I don’t know, Tony.” The words were whispered, an honest and quiet admission of the turbulence in Gibbs’ soul, and Tony knew the uncertainty in Gibbs’ eyes was a reflection of his own. He had expected to feel elated at finally getting Gibbs to admit there was something more than platonic between them, but he felt a barrage of mixed emotions welling up instead.

“Jethro, how can you… and then…?” he breathed out, the warring frustration and concern heavy in his voice as Gibbs’ right hand reached across to Tony’s left one and grasped it lightly. His thumb traced circles over Tony’s fingers for a few moments, both men watching the intimate touch until he gave a squeeze and let go.

“You’re my best friend, Tony,” Gibbs began, his eyes fixed on a random spot on the hardwood floor. “Have been for years now. And I’ve got a whole hell of a lot of bad and broken relationships behind me. This...,” he said, motioning between them and finally looking up at Tony again, “I couldn’t live with myself if I lost you too.”

Tony could see both the pain and the hope in Gibbs’ eyes, and knew he needed more than some platitude from Tony to break through his hesitation and take him the rest of the way. Tony drew in a deep breath as a hundred thoughts flashed through his mind, but in the end he settled on the essence of what he was feeling in his heart.

You,” he said, taking Gibbs hand this time, “have been the one constant in my life. You are the one person who knows me almost better than I know myself, and you’re still here. There is an awful lot at risk, but I don’t think I could forgive myself if we didn’t try.” He felt Gibbs grasp his hand more tightly, and he continued on, his final thoughts the most vulnerable as he looked straight into Gibbs’ eyes. “If I’m honest with myself, this has been years -”

Warm lips pressed strongly against his, silencing the rest of his words and blanking out his mind as he realized what was happening. It took him a few seconds to respond, and then he was kissing Gibbs back while trying to remember to breathe. He felt Gibbs hands on his hips and then his own hand was behind Gibbs head, stroking through the soft silver hair and pulling him closer. It was exactly like nothing he had imagined and everything he had always wanted, and as he learned the contours of Gibbs’ lips with his own he knew with a fierce certainty that he would never get enough of the man. All too soon, Gibbs drew back with a barely-subdued growl and rested his forehead against Tony’s. Both men were struggling for breath, and when Tony placed his other hand against Gibbs’ chest he could feel a frantic heartbeat that matched his own.

“We, uh,” Gibbs began, his voice rough with emotion, “We should probably deal with the fish and make dinner... because if I kiss you how I really want to kiss you, I’m not going to be able to stop.”

Tony closed his eyes as a thrill of anticipation ran through him. “Yeah, okay,” he managed to get out, as his brain threatened to run wild with all sorts of scenarios involving Gibbs tongue in his mouth. Then he felt a droplet of water trail its way down the back of his leg. “Some dry pants would be nice too.”

Gibbs chuckled against Tony’s mouth, and pressed their lips together again in a quick kiss before letting go and taking a step back.

“Okay, upstairs,” he commanded gently. “I’ve got to gut and scale the fish. You go get changed and then you can help fry them up while I shower.”

Tony fairly ran up the stairs. He was feeling so energized after their amazing kiss, and all the developments of the day in general were somewhat overwhelming in their awesomeness. He veered into the bathroom and stripped off his shorts, hanging them over a towel rail so they could dry. There was no sense in putting them in the dryer – the day was still warm and he knew they would air dry in no time. He caught his reflection in the mirror as he was passing the sink on the way out, though, and he paused and turned to face it.

He lifted his hand and ran his fingers over his lips - lips that had been so thoroughly kissed only a few minutes ago. A thousand questions and insecurities ran through his mind as he contemplated his reflection, and he felt suddenly nervous again. Was he really ready for this? Was Gibbs? And a relationship with a man? A full-on relationship? He had no doubt that that was the only way to be with Gibbs.

The little devil on his shoulder brought one thing after another to the surface as Tony stood there, and his resolve began to splinter as the mental attack continued.

In the end, it was the simple act of looking down and seeing their toothbrushes standing side by side in the same glass on the bathroom counter that drew Tony out of his morose, self-defeating thoughts. He slammed his hand down on the edge of the sink and gritted his teeth as he looked slowly up again and met his own eyes in the mirror.

“You know he’s worth it,” Tony whispered to his reflection. “He’s worth everything.” He paused, trying to give himself some more positive feedback. The mental connection between them had been there for years. The physical connection was definitely there too, and how! In the end, it was just two people wanting to be together, and he had a lifelong familiarity with the male anatomy to draw from. The rest would come together just fine.

“Go get your man,” he said, smiling suddenly as a weight seemed to lift form his shoulders. He pushed away from the bathroom sink, put on some dry shorts in his room and headed back downstairs to find Gibbs.

Gibbs was in the kitchen, a pile of scaled and gutted fish on the cutting board next to him. He looked up as Tony approached, and smiled warmly.

“Fish is all cleaned up,” he said, wiping his hands on a cloth by the kitchen sink. “Dip the fillets in some eggs, then in flour, and fry them until they’re done. I’ll be back down as soon as I can.”

He gave Tony a quick peck on the cheek as he passed, and Tony wrinkled his nose slightly.

“Man, you stink!” he called after Gibbs. Then, “Let me know if you need any help in the shower.”

“Don’t tempt me,” Gibbs called back over his shoulder as he bounded up the stairs.

Tony made the short walk over to the bottom of the stairs. “Hey, I’m the one who has to stand down here thinking about you all naked and sudsy and wet,” he called up. He heard a distant chuckle as the bathroom door closed overhead, and he turned back towards the kitchen.

“Hmmm, now if I were flour, where would I be?” he mused aloud to himself, as he tapped his finger against his chin and moved toward the cupboards.

Chapter Text

In the end, Tony made short work of frying up the fish. He also discovered a bag of French fries in the back of the freezer and slipped them into the oven on a baking sheet. He was just about done tossing a salad when he heard the water in the shower shut off, and five minutes later Gibbs was sauntering down the stairs in a clean pair of khaki shorts and a black t-shirt.

Tony felt warm arms wrap around his mid-section as he placed the baking sheet of fries on the kitchen counter, and he allowed himself to sink back into Gibbs’ chest.

“Now this I could get used to,” he sighed out happily.

“I hope so,” Gibbs murmured against his ear, his voice low and sexy, “Although it’s too bad you have to leave tomorrow.”

“Yeah, this little thing called work is getting in the way,” Tony teased, pushing back more into Gibbs as the man’s arms tightened around him. “See, my boss retired and now I’m the one with all the responsibility. So it’s all his fault that I have to be there.”

“That’s too bad,” Gibbs responded, nipping lightly at Tony’s earlobe. “Not fair at all.”

He’d barely got the words out when Tony spun around and wrenched himself from Gibbs’ arms. His eyes were dilated and his breathing was suddenly hard and fast. Gibbs cocked his head to the side, concerned.

“You okay?”

Tony nodded, and shook his head as if clearing his thoughts. Then he smirked at Gibbs and raised both eyebrows. “If you keep that up - that little thing you were just doing to my ear - I cannot be held responsible for my actions.”

Gibbs raised his eyebrows right back at Tony and pursed his mouth as if considering his options along with the new information.

“Oh no you don’t,” Tony warned playfully. “You stopped things earlier and now it’s my turn. I just spent half an hour cooking dinner and the food is fresh and hot. Which is kind of like you, I guess,” he joked, “Only I need food first. So let’s eat.”

Gibbs held up both hands and back off a foot or two. “Okay, okay, no more getting up close and personal with your earlobes until later,” he grinned, before he turned and grabbed them a couple of plates out of a cupboard.

Tony felt his shoulders relax in relief, and he took in a deep breath. That one little move by Gibbs had almost been his undoing, and he was amazed at his body’s reaction to something so relatively small. The power that man had over him was scary, in a thrilling, can’t-wait-to-experience-more-of-it kind of way. He hoped that he could actually eat the food he’d just cooked, because his stomach was doing all kinds of flip-flops in anticipation of dessert.

They made their way through dinner with some awkward small-talk and several large, looming silences, and Tony was just about done with his second piece of fish when Gibbs suddenly pushed back from the dining table and stood up. He fixed his gaze on Tony and gave him his signature intense stare, which in turn freaked Tony out so much that he jumped to his feet as well.

“What?” Tony asked, bewildered and wondering if he’d done or said something wrong.

“Enough.” Gibbs voice was rough and filled with emotion, and he quickly strode around the table to where Tony was standing. He brought a hand up to cup Tony’s chin, and whispered hoarsely, “I need you. Now.”

The next moments in time were a blur. The air rushed from Tony’s lungs as Gibbs lips descended on his, hot and insistent and delicious, and he felt himself being pushed back towards the table as Gibbs’ tongue flicked against his top and bottom lip and then searched out his own. He responded with everything in him, kissing Gibbs back just as fiercely as he found himself perched on the edge of the table. His legs fell apart and Gibbs was immediately standing between them, his torso flush against Tony’s. Tony was suddenly achingly aware of Gibbs’ erection pressing hard against his own, separated only by the fabric of their shorts, and the heady sensation only served to heighten Tony’s arousal as he pressed back and sought more contact.

“God, Jethro,” he groaned into the kiss. The man would be his undoing, he could tell. His entire body felt like it was on fire, ready to burn up into a ball of ecstasy, and technically they weren’t even past first base yet. The thought of actually touching Gibbs intimately made his brain want to short-circuit. One of his hands sought out the warm skin of Gibbs’ chest, moving under the black shirt and tracing across the smattering of hair until his fingers grazed across a nipple. He both heard and felt a sharp intake of breath at the touch, and it spurred him on.

He grasped at the hem of Gibbs shirt with both hands and tugged upwards, signalling his intention, and he succeeded in pulling it over Gibbs’ head then tossed it away. He pushed forward again, slipping off of the table and backing Gibbs up across the room towards the couch, their mouths still doing battle and their hands not ceasing their explorations. He marvelled at the smooth expanse of skin as his fingers slid down Gibbs back, then along his spine, and tentatively moved lower to cup his ass over his shorts.

Then the back of Gibbs’ knees hit the couch and their momentum caused him to sit down, pulling Tony with him. Tony’s hands lost purchase as he moved to straddle Gibbs, but really it didn’t matter because now it was his turn to push closer, to have control as he devoured Gibbs’ mouth and ground their erections together. He felt Gibbs’ hips reacting, pushing back up in a sweet, sweet rhythm and two seconds later Tony’s shirt was fairly ripped off over his head. Their kiss broken, Tony gazed down into Gibbs’ wild eyes and tried to catch his breath.

“Do you have any idea what you do to me?” Gibbs whispered as he ran his hands up Tony’s bared chest, fingers trailing through the curly hair and stopping at his nipples. He gave one an experimental tweak, and Tony’s head fell back as a wave of pleasure coursed through him and shot straight to his groin. His thighs involuntarily clenched around Gibbs’ at the sensation, and his hands grabbed at the waistband of Gibbs’ pants in an effort to steady himself. Once he could somewhat think again, he looked down at Gibbs once more and nodded his head slowly.

“I have a fair idea,” he gasped out, his voice betraying him. Tony was used to being the pursuer, to setting the tone and the pace of intimacy and enjoying the rewards at the end of it. But this… this was altogether different. This was a two-way street where he was revelling in the battle for domination, revelling in the way that they were trading off in a spectacular experience of amorous give-and-take where he felt more turned on that he had ever before in his life. The biggest difference, aside from the fact that all his previous lovers had been women, was that for the first time he felt needy. There was some sort of emotional desperation, a craving for the man in front of him that was welling up within him and threatening to spill over. And it was scary as hell.

“You done this before, Tony?” the low voice came again from in front of him, and although Tony was tempted to make a joke about it - What, making out with someone? Why, yes I have - he knew exactly what Gibbs was getting at and he could only answer with complete honesty.

“No,” he sighed, closing his eyes at the admission. “I’ve never wanted any man but you, Jethro.”

“Good,” Gibbs practically growled, his own possessiveness and need shining through. “Then we’re on the same page.” His hand curved around the back of Tony’s head as he crushed their lips together again, and Tony found his own hands daring to drift lower until one trailed down the length of Gibbs’ erection, which was fairly straining against the confines of his pants.

“Only you, Tony. Only you,” Gibbs mouthed across his jaw and down his neck, and he ran his tongue over the sensitive skin and then bit down in response as Tony’s hand squeezed around his dick.

“Oh God,” Tony let out in a shallow breath, the competing feeling of his hand on Gibbs and Gibbs’ mouth on his neck being almost too much to bear. Two seconds later it was too much, as Gibbs somehow managed to reach his ear again. Tony’s eyes rolled back slightly as the sensuous assault began, and he could feel Gibbs’ tongue swirling and nipping at his earlobe with practiced ease. He could only bear it for a little while before he brought his hands to Gibbs’ chest and firmly pushed him back against the couch, breaking their contact. Then he leaned forward towards Gibbs’ ear, being careful to keep their upper bodies separated.

“You’re gonna make me come if you keep that up,” he whispered, and when he pulled back Gibbs was levelling a predatory gaze at him.

“That’s the idea.”

Tony suddenly found himself flipped to the side and onto his back on the couch, and Gibbs kissed his way up Tony’s stomach until he was positioned above Tony and was supporting himself on his forearms. He lowered his lips to Tony’s mouth and teasingly flicked his tongue in before pulling back.

“Not fair,” Tony tried to sound disappointed, but really, anything Gibbs did at this point was just building on his arousal.

“That’s the idea too,” Gibbs smirked down at him, and suddenly Tony felt deft fingers working the button at the top of his shorts open. A surge of adrenalin spiked through him and he froze in keen anticipation of what would come next.

“Tony, open your eyes,” Gibbs said quietly, and Tony’s was drawn back into the moment he didn’t even know he’d closed his eyelids against. He gazed up at Gibbs, desperately attempting to maintain some guise of composure, but the next words were almost his undoing. “I want to see what you’re feeling.”

Intense blue eyes bored into his green ones, the emotions swirling within them as rampant as his own, and Tony fought to keep his eyes open as he felt Gibbs slowly slide his zipper down. Tony hadn’t put on underwear after changing his pants earlier, and he watched Gibbs raise his eyebrows in appreciative surprise. Then Gibbs’ hand was on him and his eyes slammed shut of their own accord, sensation and lust overwhelming his entire body as he felt fingers wrap around his dick and squeeze and then begin to stroke smoothly up and down. He forced his eyes open again as his hips rose involuntarily upwards, trying to increase the contact with Gibbs’ hand, and his breath only came faster and his heart beat harder in his chest as he fixed his eyes on Gibbs again.

God, this was undeniably the hottest, most ridiculously arousing thing he’d ever done.

Gibbs watched him with a smile as Tony felt his lips fall open, his breath now coming in short, sharp bursts through his mouth as he moaned. His hands gripped at Gibbs’ back as he tried to stave off the growing pressure building inside him, but his brain was consumed with the knowledge that Gibbs had his fucking hand on his fucking dick. It was a vicious circle, and every time he tried to not think about it he thought about it even more. Then the hand on him shifted as Gibbs’ thumb pressed harder on one side and his fingers on the other, and Tony lost it. His breath hitched in his throat as his brain seized up and his body vibrated with pleasure. He let out a strangled cry of “Jethro!” as his orgasm rocked him, and he felt the warmth of his own come on his stomach and then warm lips over his, soothing and steadying in their tenderness as Gibbs’ hand let go of him.

Gibbs pulled back, eventually, and Tony opened his eyes again to look into those of his lover. He felt a flush color his cheeks as a wave of self-consciousness washed over him. It wasn’t exactly an everyday occurrence - having sex with his former boss, his friend of close to twenty years, and someone with the same plumbing as himself to boot. But it definitely made things indescribably more intimate. With all that history between them, this wasn’t just some act to get off and satiate some urge. It had meant infinitely more, and as Tony stared into Gibbs’ eyes he could see the fire still raging inside them.

He felt the self-consciousness give way as his desire flared to life once again, and he watched with open hunger as Gibbs retrieved a cloth from the kitchen and knelt down to clean him up.

“God, you’re gorgeous, Tony,” Gibbs murmured, and a few seconds later he stood up, reached a hand down to Tony, and helped him off the couch. Tony promptly let his shorts fall to the floor and he kicked them to the side, and then stepped forward so he was toe-to-toe with Gibbs.

“And you,” Tony observed, eyeing Gibbs as one might a nice, juicy steak, “Are wearing too many clothes.” He was unabashed in his nakedness now, and eager to have Gibbs the same way.

“And since you enjoyed looking into my eyes so much,” Tony continued, with a slight leer on his face, “I thought I would return the favor.”

He raised his eyebrows, the dare clearly evident in the fading light, and he could tell Gibbs was struggling to maintain eye contact as his hands made quick work of the man’s button and fly. Gibbs’ shorts were around his ankles inside of five seconds, but Tony took his time with Gibbs’ boxers, making sure to run his hand firmly over the man’s erection before grasping at the elastic waistband and slowly pushing them down over Gibbs’ hips. A satisfying gasp escaped Gibbs lips before they fell to the floor, landing in a puddle on top of the shorts. Tony let his eyes play for a minute, and he let them trail down Gibbs’ lightly-haired chest and stomach until they reached his cock, long and thick and proudly at attention. He ran his tongue over his lower lip subconsciously as he took in the sight, and then his eyes snapped back to Gibbs’.

“I cannot wait to get my hands all over you,” he practically drooled, not trying to hide his enthusiasm in the least. He watched the fire dance in Gibbs eyes, and then the man practically growled at him.

“Then what the hell are you waiting for, DiNozzo?”

It was all the encouragement Tony needed. He pushed Gibbs backwards, out of the pool of discarded clothes, and kept pushing him until his back hit against the glass pane of one of the French Doors. Then Tony’s mouth was on his, lips and tongue caressing and seeking and probing in a sensual attack as his hands moved lower over Gibbs’ body and came to land on his hips. Tony trailed his fingers down the grooves from Gibbs’ hips towards his groin, and he felt the man shiver as Tony let one index finger travel along the length of Gibbs’ cock until it came to rest at the tip.

He broke the kiss to look into Gibbs’ eyes, which were dilated and glazed with pleasure, and then he leaned in to whisper at Gibbs’ ear.

“Mmmmmmm…,” he said, “That feels so good.” It was still so surreal to be standing where they were, and doing what they were doing, and Tony knew he was half-hard again just with the amazement of it all.

Gibbs let out a low sigh in response, but it soon turned into a moan as Tony locked lips with him again and wrapped the fingers of his right hand around Gibbs’ dick. He moved his left hand to Gibbs’ shoulder, keeping him pressed against the glass with gentle but firm pressure as his other hand worked the man up and down in slow, steady strokes. The duelling stimulation soon had Gibbs hands grabbing at Tony’s back and ass, urgently trying to find a place to centre himself, but Tony shook them off and brought his lips to Gibbs’ ear again.

“Nah-uh,” he whispered. “Hands against the glass.”

Gibbs was gazing at him stormy-eyed when Tony pulled his head back, and Tony hoped his responding grin was both reassuring and seductive.

“Consider it a little experiment in letting go of control,” Tony winked at him. He watched carefully until he saw the concession, definitely coupled with arousal, in Gibbs’ eyes. It enthralled Tony to no end knowing that he was the one doing this to Gibbs, pulling him out of his comfort zone, his holding pattern, and working with him to take a dive into something unknown. Gibbs and control were words that had become synonymous with each other in Tony’s vocabulary, and he had only seen the man break apart from it a handful of times during highly emotional situations or with someone he trusted. And this was both. He watched Gibbs place his hands palms-down against the glass on either side of his body, and Tony licked at Gibbs’ bottom lip in satisfaction before he plunged back into their passionate kiss.

He could hear Gibbs’ breathing getting faster as their mouths fought together, could feel Gibbs’ pulse throbbing harder through his hand on Gibbs’ shoulder, and he quickened the pace on his cock as the man finally tore his mouth away from Tony’s and let his head fall back against the glass. Tony used the opportunity to lick up the side of Gibbs’ neck, which smelled of shower gel laced with a tang of sweat, and he chose a particularly smooth spot and thrust his tongue hard against it as his lips drew down too to suck on the sensitive skin. And suddenly Gibbs was bucking against him, his body shaking in release as Tony felt come cover his hand and both their stomachs. He stilled his hand and mouth, but didn’t let go until he felt Gibbs’ weight shift back against the glass door.

Tony pulled back slowly and was rewarded with a breathtaking sight: Leroy Jethro Gibbs, hands still plastered against the glass, head thrown back, eyes tightly closed, and mouth wide open in a silent cry of ecstasy. The moment seemed almost frozen in time, save for the man’s still-rapid breathing, and Tony wished he could capture it and store it away forever. He couldn’t help but stare at the man in front of him, mesmerized with the knowledge of what they had so intimately shared and hopeful at what might yet be.

Gibbs slowly opened his eyes and immediately fixed his gaze on Tony. He didn’t move right away, though, seemingly content to rest against the door and drink in the moment too. Then Tony spotted it, the slight twitch of Gibbs’ upper lip, and soon it had transformed into a full-blown grin that shone as brightly as the setting sun had only minutes before.

“C’mere,” Gibbs said in a hushed tone, and Tony was all too happy – and pleasantly surprised – to be pulled into his embrace. He wrapped his arms around Gibbs’ back and hugged him tightly, breathing in the scent of the man as Gibbs rubbed his cheek against Tony’s affectionately. Tony decided that touchy-feely Gibbs was definitely something he could get used to.

Tony was the first to pull away, but he kept a finger on Gibbs’ chest as long as he could.

“Stay,” he ordered softly, almost a request, and he backed away before finally turning and moving to the kitchen. He grabbed some paper towel, dampened it at the sink, and returned to Gibbs who was still dutifully leaning against the glass door. Gibbs wore a smirk on his face now, though, and there was a seldom-seen twinkle in his eyes. Tony merely raised his eyebrows suggestively in return at Gibbs and leaned in to kiss him, a quick touch of their lips, as he began to clean them both up.

Flirty Gibbs, that was nice too. Oh for sure, there had been flirting up the wazoo down by the river earlier, but this had familiarity behind it now and Tony got tingly in all the right places just thinking about them having that freedom to do so. He still couldn’t quite wrap his head around the whole situation of him. And Gibbs. And making out. And sex. And probably – no, definitely – more to come. Pun intended. But he knew a good night’s sleep would probably help his brain sort everything out, and it seemed that Gibbs was similarly inclined because he gave Tony a coy look with a slight tilt of his head and asked, “Bed?”

Tony nodded, suddenly feeling the emotional and physical effects of the whirlwind day weighing on him. He grabbed Gibbs’ hand and finally, finally, the man peeled away from the glass door, and followed him up the stairs. Tony didn’t even stop to ask, he damn well just assumed and led them both into Gibbs’ room and climbed under the bed covers on the side that didn’t have the alarm clock next to it. Gibbs slipped in from the other side and grasped at Tony’s hand as they lay facing each other.

“Hope you sleep well,” Gibbs murmured, his voice already heavy but eyes shining.

“You too,” Tony answered quietly, pensive and still feeling like he was under some spell. He found it hard to tear his gaze away from Gibbs’ eyes, even though his mind was trying to convince him to stop falling and start sleeping.

Fat chance of that he rebutted himself, as his eyes dropped down to Gibbs’ lips again and he remembered the heady taste and feel of their mouths pressed together. Gibbs was evidently having the same problem, though, because he let out a big sigh all of a sudden and, with a muffled, “Aw, hell,” he tilted his head forward and kissed Tony again and again until they were both panting for breath. When they eventually pulled apart, their breathing deep and ragged, Gibbs cradled Tony’s face in one of his hands and bumped noses with him.

“Couldn’t sleep without kissing you again,” he admitted, eyes closed in some kind of act of self-preservation.

“Me too,” Tony agreed, and he allowed himself a small smile. There they were, Mr I-don’t-do-deep and Mr It’s-better-by-myself, confessing vulnerable and honest feelings of need in the dark. And damn but it felt good.

His brain content and his heart happy, Tony drifted off to sleep with his fingers brushing against Gibbs’.

Chapter Text

Tony’s first conscious thought the next morning was that he was really going to have to do something about that bright sunlight. It was shining right across his face again in a warm if unwelcome greeting to the day. He turned away from the window and opened his eyes, and that’s when thoughts two through ten assaulted him all at once. They were all along the lines of holy shit! and naked Gibbs! and just how bad is my morning breath?, and he watched the object of his affection sling an arm over his eyes as he shifted from his side to his back in sleep… which only helped the sheet slip lower down his body.

Tony propped himself up on an elbow and couldn’t help but stare. Really, he couldn’t. It wasn’t his fault that Gibbs was just lying there, almost completely exposed, and not doing anything about it. He figured that someone ought to enjoy the view and so he did, but the longer he ogled Gibbs the more his fingers itched to touch him and the more he wondered what it would feel like to taste him, to wrap his mouth around him and make him hard.

“Enjoying the view?”

Tony’s head whipped back towards the top of the bed, but Gibbs still had his arm over his eyes and, as best Tony could tell, they were still closed. But the edges of Gibbs’ lips were curling up in a smug grin, and Tony knew he’d been caught. A strong desire to wipe that smirk off of Gibbs’ face suddenly gripped him, and instead of answering the question with the obvious – because lord knows, he didn’t think he’d ever get enough of the view - Tony swiftly slid the rest of the sheet off of Gibbs’ body and lowered his mouth to plant small kisses along the trail of hair leading down Gibbs’ stomach. He felt Gibbs’ body tense up slightly, and Tony allowed himself a small grin of satisfaction - he knew where he was going, and Gibbs knew where he was going. He moved his right hand to cover Gibbs’ now-semi-hard cock as his mouth moved closer and closer, and stroked lightly along its length.

He felt Gibbs shift under his touch, and Tony could tell that the anticipation was high for both of them. He purposefully veered off course when he reached Gibbs’ groin, and instead kissed around and down along the line of hair until he reached the man’s upper thigh.

The growl of frustration was loud in the quiet room.

“Tony, I swear, if you keep teasi-”

And that was what he’d been waiting for. In a split-second Tony had wrapped his lips around the head of Gibbs’ cock, cutting off Gibbs’ threat as he slowly lowered his mouth to take it all in. He was rewarded as Gibbs grunted and rocked his hips up, and Tony could feel Gibbs’ erection growing in his mouth. It was simultaneously one of the weirdest and most arousing feelings, and Tony redoubled his effort as he pressed his tongue along one side of Gibbs’ cock and then sucked upwards. Hard.

Shit!” Gibbs groaned, his physical response unstoppable as he rocked again into Tony’s mouth. Tony was expecting it this time, and he met Gibbs’ thrusts in a steady rhythm that send his head spinning and his heart flying. Giving Gibbs’ a blowjob… definitely in the top five of things he’d ever done, he mused, knowing that his own dick was already hard and begging for attention. He put more pressure on Gibbs’ with his tongue and his lips, and soon the man had a hand gripping at Tony’s shoulder and was squeezing hard in warning. Tony knew he must be doing things right, so he kept up the pace until Gibbs thrust harder once, twice, and then, with a guttural cry, he spilled himself into Tony’s mouth and down his throat.

Tony swallowed and swallowed again, grateful that his many nights out doing shots with his frat brothers over the years had dampened his gag reflex. He’d never really given any thought to the whole thing; after all, it was only yesterday that this sort of thing had even become a probability. But even if the sensation was weird and the taste bitter and tangy, it was all Gibbs and that meant he wanted to do it again right away.

He released Gibbs slowly from his mouth, and pulled himself up the bed so that they were eye-to-eye. Gibbs’ face was relaxed and his gaze lazy in the wake of his orgasm, and Tony didn’t even try to reign in a huge grin.

“Good morning,” Tony winked at him, and Gibbs smiled in return. Then he pressed his lips quickly to Gibbs’, and pulled back and made to climb over Gibbs to get off the bed. “Gotta do something about my morning breath before I kiss you properly,” he explained, but he didn’t get far.

“Not so fast,” Gibbs growled, and he grabbed at Tony’s hand as Tony swung his body over Gibbs’. The weight behind Gibbs’ hand stopped him from righting himself properly, but Tony’s own momentum was also at play and it meant that, instead of getting off the bed and standing, he fell off the bed and dragged Gibbs along with him. Gibbs landed on top of Tony, the two of them a heap of arms and legs on the floor, and Gibbs mumbled a quick “Sorry” as Tony blinked his eyes furiously, trying to get re-oriented. Then, before Tony could quite take in all that was happening, he felt a warm, wet heat envelop his cock and his brain shut down.

“Oh God,” the whisper slipped from his lips. Gibbs fucking mouth was on his fucking dick. He could feel Gibbs’ tongue swirling around just so, and his lips were doing that thing he liked with the - OH DEAR GOD, he could feel Gibbs’ hand at the base of his cock, twisting slightly with every rise and fall of his mouth, and tension thrummed in Tony’s body as he felt himself spiralling up all too fast.

This was going to be embarrassingly quick, he could tell, but the part of him that usually would have cared was strangely silent. He craned his neck up slightly, hoping to distract himself a bit and try to get a look at what was going on down below. Big mistake. His legs were spread apart and there was Gibbs, nestled firmly between his thighs, right hand gripped firmly around him and his mouth taking Tony in and out, in and out in long, unyielding movements. The involuntary gasp that escaped Tony’s mouth drew Gibbs’ attention, and he lifted his gaze to look up at Tony with gleaming blue eyes and it was Tony’s undoing, right then and there. His head fell back to the floor and he cried out, pleasure surging through him as his balls tightened and his release spilled into Gibbs’ mouth. Gibbs kept the pressure steady as Tony rode out his orgasm, and the feel of that mouth around him was something Tony never wanted to have end. Even when he had stilled again, and his cock was softening and sensitive, he hummed in appreciation at the snug cocoon of Gibbs’ lips as they lingered.

It seemed like a full minute before Gibbs moved, crawling up to drape his body over Tony’s and nestle his face in the space between Tony’s shoulder and neck. He nuzzled affectionately at the skin there, instantly igniting Tony’s senses again. Only, Tony realized that this time it wasn’t just the all-too-familiar feeling of lust that was swirling around inside his body and his brain. Now there was a second feeling, not competing exactly but flowing alongside in a balancing contrast, and Tony had difficulty putting his figurative finger on exactly what it was. Calming, comforting, belonging?

And then Gibbs raised his head to whisper at Tony’s ear, “Mine,” and Tony’s heart clenched in his chest then flooded with warmth, and he knew in that instant what had been missing from his life for so long.

“Yours,” he replied softly in agreement, and the world seemed to agree with them as the sun shone even more brightly through the bedroom window.

* * * * *

They finally dragged themselves downstairs, their stomachs calling out louder and louder for food with each passing minute, and worked in companionable silence as Tony whipped up some French Toast and Gibbs brewed them some coffee. The meal was good and the coffee strong, and Tony found himself staring off towards the living room as the previous night’s activities played through his mind. Then he made the mistake of trying to laugh and swallow at the same time, and he choked on a piece of toast.

“You okay?” Gibbs asked, standing up and making his way around the table, but by the time he got closer Tony had managed to swallow and was holding up a hand and saying, “I’m okay.” Then he pointed, and turned to look at Gibbs just in time to see the man flush a rather unbecoming shade of pink from head to toe.

“Yeah,” Tony chuckled, shifting away slightly in case Gibbs got any ideas about head-slapping him, “We need to wipe down those French Doors.”

The residual sweat marks were glaringly obvious in the brightness of day: a long straight-ish line down, framed by what looked suspiciously like two butt cheeks beneath, and two very distinctive hand marks to either side. There was no hiding the fact that something hot and heavy had taken place right there, and Tony looked up in surprise when he heard Gibbs laugh too.

“I think I’ll keep it for a while. Nice souvenir of the weekend,” he drawled, and Tony found himself getting rather warm at that idea. He figured Gibbs probably didn’t have many visitors, but still, leaving the smudges proudly up there… it was kind of hot. Gibbs looked at him, then, and leaned down for a quick kiss. Which, of course, threatened to turn into more right away because Tony didn’t think he would be able to do anything quickly with Gibbs anytime soon. There was just too much damn desire crackling around between them, and that was just the way he liked it. He relished in the sensation as Gibbs’ tongue swirled around his own, dancing and darting around his mouth and between his lips and sending arousal coursing through his veins.

Gibbs eventually pulled back with a reluctant sigh, and Tony gave him a tight smile as he watched Gibbs take his seat at the other side of the table again. Their time together was speeding towards its end at an alarmingly fast pace and, as much as he tried to ignore it, the reality of their situation was starting to hit home. They hadn’t talked about what all of this meant, or where they might take things, never mind the four-odd hour drive any time they wanted to see each other. Tony felt his heart sinking just a little bit as worries threatened to cloud his brain.

“Hey,” Gibbs called across to him, and Tony raised his gaze up from the spot that he’d been staring at on the table. He managed a smile, because how could he not when it was Gibbs who was looking at him that way, but he knew it didn’t really reach to his eyes. “You up for one last outing? There’s something I want to show you.”

Tony’s mood perked up a bit at that. “Sure. Let me just get my stuff packed up first.” He gathered up both their plates and set them in the sink, and gave Gibbs’ ass a light smack as he moved past him towards the stairs. “I’ll be right back.”

The sound of running water and cutlery clinking together followed him up the stairs, and he made quick work of shoving his work clothes and his now-dry shorts back into his bag. He crossed the hallway to the bathroom to brush his teeth, and once he was done he looked forlornly down at Gibbs’ toothbrush for a moment as it stood all by itself in the glass on the counter. Stupid sap, he chastised himself with a shake of his head. You and Gibbs get together and suddenly you’re all schmoopy about a fucking toothbrush. But that was just it - he didn’t feel like himself. Something had shifted, something had connected, and he supposed it might take more than one night’s sleep for his brain to figure that one out.

He carried his bag downstairs and found Gibbs writing something on a piece of paper.

“Here,” Gibbs said, handing the slip of paper to him and looking somewhat awkward. “My e-mail address. You know, in case you want to, uh, e-mail.”

Tony looked down at the hastily-scrawled note and grinned. He reckoned he’d probably seen Gibbs tap at all of five buttons on his keyboard at one time, max. This was going to be interesting.

“Great. Thanks.” He slipped the paper into his wallet and followed Gibbs out the door and into the pick-up. They turned right at the main road, and followed along for a few miles before Gibbs took another right and drove under a wrought-iron arch that had clearly seen better days. They kept going for a couple hundred yards, flanked by scraggly fields of oddly-shaped stones on either side of them, until Gibbs pulled to a stop next to a large evergreen. He cut the engine and climbed out without saying a word, so Tony got out too and walked around to where Gibbs was standing in the shade of the tree.

He was surprised when Gibbs took his hand, and the man gave him a quick smile before leading them along a pathway. The sound of flowing water got louder and louder, and soon they were next to a rectangular stone that sat about fifty yards away from the edge of an embankment that led down to a creek. Gibbs paused then, and Tony looked around and then down, his heart stuttering as he realized what he was looking at.

Jackson Gibbs. The lettering spelled out the name clear as day, and Tony suddenly realized that they were in a cemetery.

His eyes flashed up to Gibbs’ face, and he could see the mixed emotions swirling around in the man’s eyes. Gibbs shrugged his shoulders as if to say, “Well, here we are,” and Tony bit at his bottom lip. He hadn’t expected this, hadn’t wanted to ask for fear of prying too much, but if this was Gibbs’ way of trying to start a conversation then Tony had his opening.

“I didn’t realize this was a cemetery,” he began, not quite knowing how to go about things.

“Yeah,” Gibbs responded, looking slightly relieved if anything. “It’s not used much anymore – there are two newer ones to the south and west, but Dad always insisted that this was there he wanted to be. Near the river.”

Tony squeezed Gibbs’ hand lightly, because it seemed like the right thing to do. Then, “Do you come here often?”

“Nah.” Gibbs looked around, as if wanting something else to set his eyes on. “My memories are in my head, in my heart. And in my face every time I drive through town,” he said wryly, a slight smile curling his lips at that admission.

“The store…?” Tony said, half statement and half question, and Gibbs nodded.

“We’d talked about it a while ago, not too long after that case we had up here. You know, what we’d do with the store if he passed on. I didn’t need the money, and he didn’t want things to change, of course.” Gibbs full-on grinned at the memory of how stubborn his dad could be. “So we agreed to sell it to a local family who wanted to run it, and give the proceeds to kids programs in the community… and that’s what I did.”

Tony nudged the edge of the gravestone with his shoe, wondering exactly how to ask what he wanted to ask. When he looked back at Gibbs, the man was eyeing him with a knowing look.

“Out with it, Tony.”

He hesitated a moment longer, then drew in a deep breath and plunged ahead. “Okay… so, how come you decided to move up here if things were pretty much taken care of already and you can’t go anywhere without being reminded of your dad? I mean, that’s a pretty big change, never mind an emotional one.”

Gibbs’ gaze never strayed from his. In fact, it seemed to grow stronger, more intense, and Tony couldn’t tell if it was a good or bad thing or both. But he waited it out, knowing that Gibbs would talk when he wanted to, about what he wanted to. In the end, it took almost no time at all before the words were rolling out like some released wave.

“Tony….” A deep sigh, then, “My dad and I didn’t see eye to eye for a very long time, and I feel like I spent half my life fighting against this place and all the experiences and memories it holds. And then when he died, and I was back here… well, it kind of put a lot of things in perspective. Family, my job… you.” Tony blinked in surprise at that, but Gibbs continued on. “I need time to sort myself out, sort out my priorities and figure out what I wanted from the rest of my life, and this seemed like the best place to do it. And I still stand by that. Stillwater is a reminder to me of how short life can be, and sometimes,” he tilted his head towards Tony, “change can be a very good thing.”

“Yeah, but you fucking retired and just disappeared without even saying goodbye. I know you were hurting, but we were hurting for you too.” As hard as he tried, Tony couldn’t keep the anger out of his voice. What was worse, he felt such sadness welling up inside him, feelings that he’d kept a lid on for two months already, and he swiped at the corner of his eye as he felt moisture welling there.

If Gibbs was surprised or taken aback by Tony’s outburst then he didn’t show it. Instead, he drew closer and pulled him into a tight hug. Tony could feel dampness on his neck, knew that Gibbs was trying to hold back tears too, and suddenly it all just seemed to fall away and not matter anymore. He let himself hug Gibbs back, holding on to the man as if his life depended on it, and they stayed like that for several minutes. Gibbs finally broke the silence, his voice low and rough against Tony’s neck.

“I’m so, so sorry, Tony,” he said softly. “I didn’t know how to handle anything, needed to get some space from life I think. But that’s no excuse for shutting all of you out….” He kissed lightly at Tony’s collarbone, as if asking for forgiveness.

Tony pulled back to look him in the eyes. The gaze that met his was steady and firm, which was surprising given that Gibbs had just opened up and apologized for something. But it was good, a change just like Gibbs had talked about, and Tony raised his eyebrows slightly as a smile crept over his face.

“Well,” he huffed out in pretend annoyance, “I think I can mostly smooth things over at work before you make an appearance, whenever that is, but you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do with Abby. You cannot pay me enough to touch that.”

A wry grin lit Gibbs’ face, but his eyes showed regret. “Yeah, I know.” He sighed again, the conversation clearly weighing heavily on him. “Thanks, Tony.”

“For what?” he asked, a bit confused.

“For having the balls for call me on everything.”

“Ah. Anytime,” he offered playfully. “Better get used to it. This,” he said, motioning between them, “is not going to work if you never talk and I make excuses.”

“Old habits die hard,” Gibbs observed, “but sometimes it’s worth it.”

“Defeinitely,” Tony agreed, then he winked at Gibbs. “On the good side, if we do fight then we’ll get to have make-up sex.”

“Seriously, Tony?” Gibbs raised his eyes skyward and shook his head. “Yesterday it was fishing, today we’re in a cemetery and your mind still hasn’t left the gutter.”

“Hey, don’t blame me. You already knew I was incorrigible,” Tony leered at him. “And that will never change.”

* * * * *

They held hands on the short drive back, both sensing the looming separation. Tony was ready to go after a quick lunch, and Gibbs joined him by the car as he hefted his bag into the trunk and closed it.

“So….” Tony started, not knowing how to do this whole ‘goodbye’ thing. He kicked some loose stones on the driveway, thinking about how to ask without sounding too needy. “Any idea when you might be down in D.C. again?”

Gibbs hooked his thumbs into the front pockets of his jeans and looked down too. “There’s a case sometime in early November that I have to testify at, that joint task force thing we did with the FBI a while back.”

“Ah.” That was going to be hard in more ways than one.

Gibbs reached out and took Tony’s left hand in his right, and Tony felt sparks fly through him at the touch even though it was more familiar now. Gibbs gripped his hand more tightly, compelling Tony to look up at him, and the emotion playing out on Gibbs’ face was like nothing he’d seen before. And it was all for him.

“I had no idea what would come of this weekend, and you have no idea how torn I am about not following you back home. But staying up here is something I really need to do, at least for a while longer.”

Tony nodded in agreement, in understanding. “I think I know exactly how you feel, because I feel it too. And I get it, I really do… as much as it sucks.” He smiled and squeezed Gibbs’ hand in return. “Take all the time you need, but remember what you said about life being short.”

“I will.” A pause, then, “Look, I know it’s kind of far away still, but do you want to come up here for Christmas?” He looked at Tony hopefully, and Tony pretended to ponder the offer.

“Is it, like, all winter wonderland in the snow up here?”

“Yes.”

“And you have a wood-burning fireplace….”

“Yes.”

“Can you get a bear skin rug?”

“Tony!”

“Okay, okay… and yes, of course,” he grinned. Gibbs pulled him in for a kiss then, and Tony tried to memorize the feeling of their bodies close together, of his arms around Gibbs’ strong back, of their lips together as each kiss promised more good things to come. When they separated again, he was out of breath and hard as a rock.

“Shit,” he mumbled, and he tried to subtly adjust himself as Gibbs looked on with a smirk.

“You wanna come back inside?” Gibbs teased. “I can help you take care of things.”

“As tempting as that is,” Tony replied, a mock scowl on his face, “I’ll never leave if I do.” And there was the truth of it - he didn’t want to leave. He felt like he’d only just got Gibbs back and now he had to let go again, and that was even worse than not having seen him for the previous two months. But life was life and that included work, and he had a team to take care of now. He climbed into the car, started it, and lowered the window as Gibbs walked over to lean down and look through it at Tony.

“Bye,” Gibbs said softly.

“Bye,” Tony whispered back. “I’ll call you when I get home.”

“Yeah, that’d be good.” Gibbs gave him one last knowing smile and stepped back. Tony backed the car out of the driveway and, with a last wave out the window, drove down the road and made a left turn. He watched Gibbs for as long as he could in his mirrors, until trees obscured his view and the only thing left to see was the “Stillwater Lane” sign receding into the distance. He left the music off this time, content to let his mind wander through the events of the weekend as the sun shone down and the miles passed by.

Chapter Text

Tony fairly waltzed his way off the elevator and into the bullpen on Monday morning, until a few strange looks from people on other teams reminded him where he was. He reigned himself in, put on a more demure façade, and strode purposefully over to his desk. Last night had been, well, interesting. He’d slept okay, but there had been no sunlight shining through his blackout curtains in the morning, and no Gibbs to kiss. Nobody had shared dinner or breakfast with him and, if he admitted it, he was feeling just a teeny bit lonely. He supposed it was probably a good thing that he and Gibbs had only spent the one night together together, otherwise it would have been like ripping a band-aid off his hairy arm - and he was not a fan of that. He knew that they were facing a lot of time apart, doing the long-distance thing, but he still smiled to himself as he put his Go Bag under his desk and logged onto his computer. The whole thing between them was definitely very different, but also comfortably familiar enough that he didn’t have any immediate nagging worries in the back of his mind.

He was half-way through whistling the Bonanza theme when a shadow fell over his desk, and he looked up to see Abby glaring at him.

“Hey Abbs,” he tried to sound cheerful, but his smile faltered as she continued to give him a dirty look. Finally, she leaned forward and poked him in the chest with a gloved finger.

“You’ve been sleeping with the enemy!” she growled, leaning back again and tapping her foot in agitation on the carpet. He balked and felt the color drain from his face. There was no way… she couldn’t possibly, could she?

“How did you know?” he whispered, looking frantically around the bullpen and hoping she would speak a bit more quietly.

“Tim told me you stayed with Gibbs this weekend because of the case up near Stillwater,” she continued on, as loudly as before. Then she stomped her foot for added effect. “How could you, Tony? He still hasn’t even spoken to me since he left, yet you stayed with him? Have you no allegiance?”

Tony’s eyes went wide and he felt a blush creep up his neck. “Oh,” he managed to get out, relief coloring his voice. “Ohhh, right. Look, Abbs, I’m so sorry. I didn’t even think about it really, Tim just suggested it and I called Gibbs up and….”

Timmy suggested it?” she interrupted him, eyes narrowed and gleaming. “Ooooh he is in such big trouble when I see him.” Then her whole demeanour changed. She smiled at Tony and leaned down to kiss him on the cheek. “All is forgiven,” she announced, and turned to leave as Tony lifted his hand to wipe absently at the spot she’d kissed.

“Hey Abbs?” he called after her, and she paused and turned back around.

“Yeah?”

“You kissing me on the cheek now because I’m the new Gibbs?”

She smirked at him and winked. “Maybe,” she threw over her shoulder as she turned back towards the elevators, and Tony couldn’t help but grin. She was just as good at the game as he was, and their back-and-forth banter was fun.

And thank God she hadn’t actually figured things out. He’d just about had a heart attack on the spot, and it wasn’t even 9am yet. Not that he wanted to hide things from everyone, exactly. He and Gibbs hadn’t even talked about that whole side of things, but the situation was so new and they needed time to get comfortable with each other before letting others get comfortable with it too.

The elevator doors opened just then, and Tony quirked an eyebrow up and watched closely as McGee walked in and sat down at his desk.

“Morning, Tony,” he greeted, then noticed the look. “What?”

“You might want to avoid Abby for a while,” Tony whispered conspiratorially across the space between their desks. “I’ll let you figure out why,” he added helpfully, as he dug into his desk and pulled out his phone which had just beeped. He slid the lock button and pulled up the text message.

Gibbs: Thinking of you, wish you were here. The French Doors say hi.

Tony blushed furiously, and stashed his phone back in his desk drawer as Tim looked on.

“Aren’t you going to respond to that?” Tim asked curiously.

“Not now, McNone-of-your-business,” Tony huffed, as he grabbed a random folder from his desk and pretended to look studiously through it. Then he realized it was upside down, and he flipped it around and looked up to see that Tim was still regarding him, now with amusement lighting his eyes. Damn.

“So,” Tim asked, seemingly changing the subject, “How was your weekend with Gibbs?”

Tony froze for a second, wondering what to say. Then he realized that there was a whole lot he could actually tell Tim, so he unwound a bit and kicked back in his chair.

“Well, we ate some food,” he began.

Tim rolled his eyes.

“And,” he continued, “we went fishing.” Tony paused for a second, wondering how to broach the next bit. Then, “He took me to the cemetery where Jack’s buried.”

“Oh.” Tim looked surprised at that. “Seems kind of personal. You know, for Gibbs.”

“Yeah. I think it was his way of helping explain why he just up and left us over here. He feels horrible about that, by the way.” Tony gave Tim a hard look, and Tim nodded in understanding.

“No, I totally get it,” Tim said softly. “I can only imagine what he must have been going through. I always figured it wasn’t personal.”

“Good. He says he’ll be down in about 6 weeks to testify at a trial, so I expect he might swing by then.” Tony conveniently left out the fact that he hoped to be getting an eyeful – and handful – of Gibbs the night before everyone else.

“Great.” Tim started typing at his computer but paused after a minute. “I think I’d better go and face the wrath of Abby now. No sense in delaying the inevitable, I suppose.” He looked through his wallet and pulled out a few dollar bills as he stood up and made to leave. Tony cocked his head, wondering about the money, and Tim saw the questioning look.

“For a peace offering,” he explained.

“Ah, Caf-Pow. Smart man,” Tony supported him. He watched as Tim disappeared into the elevator, then grabbed the phone out of his desk drawer and re-read the message from Gibbs. He slowly punched in a response, surreptitiously scanning the room for roaming eyes as he did so.

Miss you too. You made me blush in front of Tim. My face complemented the orange walls quite nicely. Talk later?

His phone buzzed again a minute later as another message came through. He hid it under the desk before sneaking a look, just in case.

Gibbs: Definitely. And, LOL.

Tony hummed in surprise. Gibbs using a text acronym - would wonders never cease? He shoved his phone into his pocket this time, and headed down to autopsy to check in with Ducky on the details about the dead marine from last weeks’ case.

* * * * *

The days and weeks took on a life of their own as Fall pushed in with a vengeance and the MCRT got more and more busy with cases. Tony had a theory about people’s moods souring after the nice summer weather disappeared, and it seemed to hold some truth to it because there was barely a day when he made it home before 8pm and barely a weekend that he wasn’t in the office at least once, following up on something case-related.

The benefits of the long-distance aspect of Tony’s relationship with Gibbs became more apparent during the busy time, too, as Gibbs – notoriously the man of few words – was quite happy to chat on the phone with Tony every night or so and exchange texts or e-mails during the day. And although Tony missed him, he relished the fact that there was no pressure or feelings of guilt when he got home late or left his dirty dishes untouched in the sink for four days. It also forced Tony, for just about the first time in his life, to actually focus on the mental and emotional aspect of things. He figured it kind of forced Gibbs to talk too, though, because a whole lot came out that he didn’t expect to and it forged a new closeness that was surprising given the miles between them.

The biggest perk, double-edged sword that it was, was the physical separation. Tony had a taste of Gibbs and he wanted more, and he knew exactly what his attention would have been on if Gibbs was local instead of a four-hour drive away. He was still in his probationary period as team lead, and it was enough just trying to keep up with all the minutiae of their cases. Inevitably, though, his daydreams led his mind to places that ended up being very awkward when he came back to reality in the middle of the bullpen, and he couldn’t set foot in the elevator or the observation room without several fantasies about wholly inappropriate office behaviour bombarding him at once.

Tony found himself having longer showers at home after work to help him relieve that tension, and admitted as much to Gibbs late one night during one of their phone calls.

“I miss you, Jethro. And I want you so much.” His voice was low and rough, filled with a need that he had tried and failed miserably to hide.

“Trust me, Tony, the feeling is completely mutual,” Gibbs replied, the frustration clear in his voice too.

“So…,” Tony asked coyly, hoping to set a certain tone, “What are you wearing?”

“I don’t care how horny we are, I am not having phone sex with you!” The response from Gibbs was immediate and loud, capped off by a good-natured laugh. “Three days, Tony. I’ll be there in three days.”

“Gah! Okay, fine. Just wanted to test the waters.” Tony threw a hand up in the air in defeat, even though Gibbs couldn’t see it.

“You know how much I want you, right?” Gibbs voice was apologetic, smooth as silk and light as a touch, and damn if it didn’t turn Tony on even more.

“Talking like that really isn’t helping, Jethro,” he growled, looking down at the tented bedsheets over his groin. He sighed loudly, on purpose, and tried to sound sorry for himself. “Well, it looks like I’m going to be taking matters into my own hands over here.”

“You would have been, anyway,” Gibbs goaded him on playfully.

“Oh shut up!” Tony couldn’t help but smile, though. It was the smile that he knew swept across his face whenever they shared things that nobody else got to experience, whenever he saw a part of Gibbs that was usually hidden away. As much as Tony put up the carefree playboy façade, Gibbs liked to pretend to be an enigma... and Tony was glad to be able to say that those pretences were long by the wayside, at least between them.

“Shutting up,” Gibbs replied dutifully. Then, “See you Thursday night.”

“I’m counting the hours,” Tony said, and he could already feel those long-forgotten butterflies starting to flutter around in his stomach again. Thursday couldn’t come soon enough.

Chapter Text

If Tony was more agitated - or leaning towards hyperactive – than usual on Thursday afternoon, nobody seemed to notice. He had trouble concentrating on anything, and found himself drifting between checking the time on his wristwatch, his cell phone, and his computer clock. Wash, rinse, repeat. There was a suspect to interrogate at 3pm and he let Ellie have it, knowing that she’d do the better job given the circumstances. Then he glared at his office phone for the last half hour, daring it to ring with a new case. Finally, finally, five o’clock rolled around. With a quick wave goodbye to Tim and Ellie, he was out the door on time for the first time in weeks.

Tony made the drive to Gibbs’ house more quickly than he’d ever admit, and his stomach fluttered in anticipation as he pulled up next to the pick-up in the driveway. He tried to act casually as he grabbed his bag and got out the car, just in case Gibbs was watching through a window, but he gave up all pretences as he neared the front door and he ran up the steps and turned the knob.

Unlocked. Good, that meant Gibbs was here.

He pushed the door open and there the man was, leaning back against the small closet across from him and looking for all the world like he wanted to make a meal out of Tony as he eyed him up and down.

“Hey,” Tony managed to squeak out, surprised to see Gibbs waiting there and undeniably turned on by the predatory look that was being levelled at him.

“Hi,” Gibbs smiled, and with an evil glint in his eyes he raised both his eyebrows at Tony. “About seven minutes earlier than I expected. You must have made good time.”

“I had a good incentive.” Tony was back on his game now, and he locked the door, dropped his bag next to it, and strode over to where Gibbs was standing. He got as close as he could without their bodies actually touching and tried to steady his breathing.

“So….” He raised an eyebrow of his own back at Gibbs as he gaze into those piercing blue eyes, and he watched as Gibbs’ tongue unconsciously flicked out to swipe against his bottom lip.

Then he was pushing forward, pressing, groping as his fingers found purchase at Gibbs’ hips and his tongue delved into Gibbs’ mouth in desperate re-connection, making his soul practically sing as he savored the familiar touches so long-denied him. He felt Gibbs push back against him, felt the need and desire in the way Gibbs’ lips moved against his own and in the thrust of their groins against one another, and the adrenalin rush than ran through him cemented the certainty that this was exactly where he was supposed to be all along.

Gibbs tore his mouth away from Tony’s and looked him straight in the eye, and whispered, “I need you.”

The urgent words were almost Tony’s undoing, and he kissed Gibbs hard again as he manoeuvred them to the base of the stairs and then up a few of them to the small landing. He shoved Gibbs back against the wall, some kind of primal urge taking hold as he breathed in the scent of the man, and he grabbed at the hem of Gibbs shirt and pulled it over his head. Gibbs made short work of Tony’s shirt too, and their eyes locked for a second during the moments apart, the hunger all too evident and written plainly across each other’s faces. Then Gibbs pushed back again, and flipped them around so Tony was against the wall. He kissed along Tony’s jaw and down his neck as their eager fingers worked tandem to undo belt buckles and pants, and then Gibbs’ lips and tongue latched onto Tony’s earlobe and Tony’s world almost dissolved as a shot of heat ran straight to his dick.

He let out a guttural cry and couldn’t help but let his head fall back against the wall, giving Gibbs even more access to him. The man didn’t disappoint, sucking and licking a path from his ear back to his mouth, and Tony could feel pressure building in his belly as he keened and writhed against the assault. Then Gibbs shifted again, and they were moving up the stairs in a haphazard fashion, naked as the day they were born.

And somewhere deep inside the recesses of his mind, a tiny voice spoke out and prodded his arousal even more at the craziness of the whole situation. You’re naked. With Gibbs. In Gibbs’ house. On Gibbs’ stairs. In Gibbs’ bedroom. And, God, he didn’t think he could take much more of it but he never wanted it to stop.

Tony finally managed to tear his mouth away from Gibbs, and the stormy eyes that met his made him grin in delight. The fact that he could have such an effect on this man… wow.

“What?” Gibbs asked softly, and Tony smiled even wider.

“Just, you,” he replied, and Gibbs suddenly looked rather serious as his whole body stilled.

“Tony…?” His name was a question on the man’s lips, and Tony never had a single doubt about how he would respond.

“Yes.”

His answer was firm and sure, and Gibbs nodded. Then a smile was back on Gibbs’ face, and he asked, “Shower first?”

Tony breathed in deeply and leered at Gibbs. “So long as it’s a hands-on shower?”

“Oh yeah.” Gibbs took his hand and pulled him into the ensuite bathroom, and then into the tub where warm water soon cascaded down over his head and made him blink a few times as he wiped at his face. Then slick, soapy hands enveloped his body from behind as Gibbs pulled them together, his hard cock rubbing solidly against Tony’s ass, and Tony melted back against him as his senses went haywire. Gibbs’ hands didn’t stay still, however, and delivered on their promise as they scrubbed at Tony’s body with a loofah that was nearby. Tony eventually managed to turn around and he returned the favor, doing as good of a job as he could at washing Gibbs’ body as their mouths danced together and their erections nudged at one another. When he was done, and the loofah was hanging up again, Gibbs still kept to the program and they each took a minute working shampoo into and then out of their hair.

The second Tony was done rinsing himself off, however, he found his hands pressed up against the shower wall and Gibbs was behind him again, all hot pressure and thrilling as hell as he draped himself on and around Tony and his erection slid against his ass once more. Then, out of nowhere, one of his hands was on Tony’s cock, smoothing and stroking and sending his arousal soaring even higher with his touch.

“God, I’ve missed you,” Tony sighed out and Gibbs chuckled behind him and kissed at the back of his neck. Tony let his face rest against the cool tiles in front of him, and just revelled in the moment as he felt the delicious tension building inside him. Then he felt Gibbs pull away behind him, although his hand stayed wrapped around Tony’s cock, and suddenly there was a new pressure right at his opening and he stiffened.

“Is that…?”

“Just a finger, Tony,” Gibbs reassured him, and he began trailing the digit lightly around the area as Tony gradually relaxed once more against the tiles.

In fact, if Tony was honest with himself, he more than relaxed. It felt damn good, and he murmured in approval and couldn’t help but shift himself more towards Gibbs’ touch. The hand on his cock started up a light rhythm again, then, and the double sensation soon had his pulse pounding hard in his ears as his world shrunk down to the places where Gibbs was touching him.

Then a change, Gibbs’ finger pushing against him, pushing gently into him, and Tony felt heat rise in his face at the knowledge that they had now entered into something wholly more intimate than before. It was such a foreign sensation, yet it stirred Tony up in a slow burn as it awoke nerve endings that he never even knew existed. By the time Gibbs had added a second and then a third finger, Tony found himself moaning in a quiet yet shameless fashion.

“Doesn’t seem fair that I’m having all the fun here,” he managed to get out, but Gibbs was quick to correct him.

“I think I’m just about as close as you are, Tony,” Gibbs objected, his voice warm at Tony’s ear. “I’ve got the better view.” He felt Gibbs move, and then his fingers were angling a different way as his stiff erection prodded against Tony’s thigh.

Moments later, a jolt of electricity zapped through Tony’s body and he almost came right then and there.

Holy shit! Are you fucking kidding me?” he yelled out as he slammed a fist against the wall.

The hands on him froze, and Gibbs was right back at his ear asking if something was wrong.

“Nothing’s wrong,” Tony gasped, still trying to turn his brain the right way up again. “I think you hit my prostate.”

The smugness in Gibbs’ voice was clear in his response. “Good.”

Good?” Tony breathed out, turning his head to look back at his partner. Then, part in disbelief and partly impressed, “You’ve been doing some research.”

“E-mailing you isn’t the only thing that new computer is good for,” Gibbs smirked as he sought out the slight bump again with his fingers, and Tony bucked against him a second time and pounded his fist on the wall once more.

“Okay, you’ve got to stop that. Like, now.” he gasped out again as he desperately tried to reign himself in. “I want… need you.”

Gibbs’ hands still then and slowly withdrew from Tony’s front and back and, as Tony stood upright, Gibbs turned off the water and handed him a towel. Tony just swiped the towel across his back and around his legs, not really caring about whether he was dry or not, and it seemed that Gibbs had the same idea because, after a cursory sweep around his shoulders and torso, Gibbs dropped his towel to the floor. Then he was right on Tony again, lips urgent and hands everywhere. Somehow, they made it over to the bed, and when the back of Tony’s knees hit against the mattress he turned and climbed onto it, dragging Gibbs down and on top of him.

“How do you want to…?” Tony got out between frantic kisses, and with a last press of his lips Gibbs pushed at Tony’s side, signalling for him to flip over.

“Just like in the shower,” Gibbs said, his voice a low rumble filled with desire.

Tony allowed himself a one-second freak-out as he rolled over, but lust and hormones quickly took over again as he pulled himself up onto his hands and knees. He felt Gibbs come to rest behind him, could feel Gibbs’ cock against his ass and a thrill of anticipation ran through him as he heard the snap of a bottle of lube being opened. Tony craned his neck around to watch as Gibbs pulled away slightly and spread the liquid over his cock. Then Gibbs looked up and dark, heated eyes met Tony’s as he leaned forward and ran a moist finger over Tony’s opening.

Tony’s eyes involuntarily closed at the erotic sight and sensation, and he turned his head forward again and waited, anticipating. He felt Gibbs nudge up against him, then, and Tony tried to focus on relaxing himself. Suddenly Gibbs’ hand was on his cock again though, moving with fervid intensity, and Tony’s mind was torn between the two sensations as he instinctively pushed into the warm fingers and palm that were stimulating him.

Then Gibbs was pushing forward, slowly, gently, patiently, and Tony moaned into the feeling as his body stretched and contoured around the head Gibbs’ cock. He put a hand up against the headboard to steady himself, wincing slightly as Gibbs pushed further in, but almost immediately he was lost in the heady reality of what they were doing and pleasure surged through him again as the man started moving inside him.

“You okay?” Gibbs asked from behind him and Tony nodded, not trusting himself to speak. The next thrusts were harder, more passionate, and Tony fairly keened as Gibbs drove into him and somehow kept up a steady pace with his hand too. It was barely any time at all before he was groaning with bliss, both hands gripping at the headboard as he thrust back to meet Gibbs with each stroke.

“So fucking close….” He managed to puff out as he fought the hopeless war against his oncoming orgasm, desperately trying to delay it, to do anything to stay floating in the rapturous head- and body-space that he found himself in.

“God, Tony,” he heard Gibbs rasp behind him, voice choked up with emotion, and suddenly Tony was on the edge of the cliff and falling, falling, and happily drowning as wave after wave of pleasure washed over and through him. He strained against Gibbs’ hand, seeking out as much pressure and friction as possible as he came, and seconds later Tony felt Gibbs slam against him once, twice, and strain against him as he orgasmed too.

Tony dropped his head down between his raised arms, panting in euphoria and release and relief, and it was a minute before either of them had the wherewithal to try and move. He felt a tentative hand on his shoulder as Gibbs pulled back and out of him, and as he turned his head he was met with the most beautiful, open, heartfelt smile he had ever seen. On anyone. Period. Tony felt slightly bad that he just stared back at Gibbs for a few moments, utter amazement clouding any higher facial functions, but when Gibbs’ smile grew impossibly wider Tony managed to break through the haze and grinned back.

The corner of Gibbs’ mouth quirked up slightly, then, and his eyes bored into Tony’s as his hand trailed from Tony’s shoulder down to his hips.

“That smile….” Gibbs whispered, seeming so uncharacteristically lost and undone in the moment as he shook his head slightly. “I’ve always loved your smile.”

Tony didn’t know quite how to respond to that, especially given that he’d just been admiring the same thing, so he just grinned even more. He still didn’t trust himself to say anything sensible, though, so he pushed up onto his knees, turned around, and planted a big kiss on his lover’s lonely mouth. Gibbs returned the kiss with gusto, pulling them together into an embrace as they tried to say things without using any words. The kiss morphed from passionate to sweet to tender, and Tony eventually pulled back to look at Gibbs.

“Okay, I think I can put sentences together again now,” he joked, and Gibbs nodded in understanding.

“Yeah, I know what you mean. That was something else. You are something else.”

“You make me feel… ugh, I can’t even put it into words,” Tony said, and he snaked his hand around the back of Gibbs’ neck and ran his fingers through the short hairs there. “Unbelievably good? Amazing, maybe? Well, definitely, but, you know….” He trailed off as Gibbs regarded him with a soft look that said he was babbling, but he couldn’t help but run his other hand up Gibbs’ arm as he remembered something else. “I missed touching you.”

“Next time,” Gibbs promised with a pleased look, and Tony liked the sound of that.

You hungry?” Tony asked then, as his stomach rumbled and reminded him that he hadn’t eaten since lunch.

“Famished,” Gibbs smiled at him. “I think I worked up an appetite.” He helped Tony off the bed, then led him back to the bathroom where they cleaned up. After stripping the sheet off the bed and tucking a new one in place, Gibbs pulled on jeans and a hoodie and motioned for Tony to help himself to sweats from the dresser, since his clothes were still in his bag by the front door. They made their way down the stairs and into the kitchen, and Tony thumbed idly through a few takeout menus as Gibbs went searching for his cell phone.

* * * * *

They were trying to decide between Chinese takeout or pizza when bright headlights shone across the front windows of the house and a car door slammed shut. Ten seconds later there was a loud rapping at the door, followed by someone persistently pushing on the doorbell.

“What in the…?” Surprise was written all over Gibbs’ face, and Tony looked like a deer caught in the headlights... very casual, Gibbs-sweatpants-wearing headlights.

“Does anyone know you’re here?” Tony asked, confused. “I mean, I told the team you’d be down soon for the FBI trial but I didn’t give any specifics.” Gibbs shook his head ‘no’ in confusion too, but then slowly changed to nodding it as realization dawned on him.

Damnit, Fornell!” He swore under his breath as he pushed away from the kitchen counter and strode quickly to the front door, where the doorbell buzzer was still being assaulted. Gibbs unlocked the door and yanked it open, but planted himself in the middle of the doorway instead of stepping aside as he would usually have done.

“Tobias,” Gibbs greeted the man, his voice friendly but firm.

“Since when do you lock your front door?” Fornell gave him a hard look, and Gibbs smirked slightly.

“Since I haven’t lived here for four months. And it’s nice to see you too,” he responded, a hint of sarcasm playing in his tone.

“That DiNozzo’s car out front?” Fornell asked, curiosity getting the better of him.

“Yeah.”

“Well, can I come in?” The slight agitation was clearer in Fornell’s voice.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Tobias,” Gibbs responded, friendly but firm once again. “I’m busy.”

“With DiNozzo?” Curiosity was the frontrunner again, with Fornell looking a little lost and confused.

“Yes.” Gibbs raised his eyebrows in emphasis, and folded his arms across his chest.

“So, you’re busy. With DiNozzo,” Fornell talked himself through it, wondering why on earth Gibbs looked so amused. He narrowed his eyes slightly and studied Gibbs, then his eyes suddenly went wide as he put the pieces together.

“Ohhh ho ho…,” he crowed, and he slapped a hand against his knee. “Oohhh boy, are you serious?” He was leaning forward slightly now, incredulousness written all over his face, and it was obvious that he wanted to hear more.

Gibbs reached behind himself and grabbed at the door handle. “Goodnight, Tobias,” he emphasized, but he allowed himself a small grin at his friend before Fornell turned around and headed back along the walkway, shaking his head. He knew that Fornell would keep things quiet until they had a chance to talk.

The last thing that he heard before he shut the door was Fornell mumbling to himself, “Man, Diane is going to have a field day with this.”

* * * * *

The pizza had been excellent; in fact, it was quite possibly the best pizza Tony had ever eaten. He figured that no small portion of his assessment was owing to the fact that the pizza had been eaten on the couch, under blankets next to Gibbs, in front of a roaring fire, watching Gunsmoke reruns on Gibbs’ prehistoric television, with beer to wash it all down.

He’d heard Gibbs’ entire conversation with Fornell from his spot in the kitchen, and the man had just grinned at Tony and shrugged his shoulders in such a blasé fashion that Tony had just gone back to watching the TV. Fornell was safe, He knew Gibbs trusted him and that was good enough. The rest of the team though – heck, the rest of everyone in their lives… now, that was a different issue altogether. He got up and turned off the TV as the end credits of the episode started rolling, and Gibbs watched him closely as Tony walked back to the couch and sidled up next to him once more.

“What’s on your mind?” Gibbs asked, wrapping an arm around Tony’s shoulder to pull him closer.

“That obvious, huh?” Tony turned slightly to kiss Gibbs on the cheek, then settled his head against Gibbs’ shoulder.

“Tony, I’ve know you for how long now?” Gibbs chuckled lightly, the sound a welcome breath of fresh air in the slight tension of the room. “Was it Fornell? I didn’t think that would bother you.”

“It didn’t,” Tony replied, then he grinned at the memory of Fornell’s reaction. “In fact, that was the funniest thing I’ve heard all day. But it got me thinking about things, you know. I mean, at the risk of sounding like a teenage girl, we haven’t really talked about anything, Jethro. About what this means, or what we are to each other, or when and how we start telling people… although that’s one cat that’s already tearing out of the bag.”

There was silence for a few moments, and Tony was about to lift his head to see what Gibbs’ face looked like when he felt a soft kiss on the top of his head. Then Gibbs’ voice, low and rough, “Good questions, Tony, and I guess we need to come up with those answer together. I’m all in here, pretty sure that you are too,” Gibbs continued thoughtfully, and Tony nodded slightly in silent agreement, “but where that leads us… I guess we’ll see.”

“Yeah, this is definitely the road less travelled for me, in just about every sense,” Tony confessed, “but I’ve trusted you with my life for so many years that I know I can count on you in this.” With my heart went unsaid. Tony didn’t know if he should go there yet, or if he even could go there yet. And, quite frankly, thinking about or acknowledging his deeper feelings freaked him out a little bit. He hadn’t allowed himself to go there since Jeanne, and that hadn’t exactly turned out well.

Gibbs interrupted Tony’s little internal reverie by squeezing his shoulder and pulling him closer again, and Tony sighed happily against Gibbs’ chest.

“The team,” Gibbs spoke softly, tentatively, “Do you have any ideas? I think, for myself, I need to mend some fences before I go doing anything else too exciting.”

Tony laughed out loud at that. “No, that sounds fine. We have time on our side, there’s no rush. And yes, definitely let them all wrap their heads around your re-appearance before we get them thinking about me wrapping my –”

“Tony!”

“Oh come on, Jethro.” Tony teased him. “You know you want me to.”

And so he did.

Chapter Text

The shrill ringing of his phone made Tony bolt out of bed. He looked around, disoriented, before he remembered that he was at Gibbs’ house, and then he spied the phone on the bedroom dresser and quickly answered it.

“DiNozzo,” he said roughly, as he wiped a hand over his face and across his eyes.

“Hey Tony,” came McGee’s chirpy voice over the line. “I’m grabbing some donuts on the way in to work. Any particular kind you want?”

“Yeah, um, chocolate glazed,” Tony mumbled out, still half asleep, before he suddenly froze and looked at the time on his wristwatch. “Oh, crap!

“You okay?” McGee’s voice was concerned now. “You need a ride or something?”

“No, no ride!” Tony almost shouted, as he grabbed at his bag and dug around frantically for a pair of pants. “I’m good, thanks, Tim. See you soon!”

He hung up, threw the phone back onto the dresser, and started hopping around as he tried to pull his trousers on. Then he felt eyes on the back of his head and he looked around to see Gibbs watching his hasty dressing antics with a smirk plastered across his face.

“Ha ha, not helping,” Tony threw out as he ran into the ensuite bathroom, splashed his face with water, and started working on his hair. “You didn’t exactly remind me to set an alarm, Mr Let’s-snuggle-before-we-go-to-bed.” Gibbs full-on grinned at that, but Tony’s attention was already back on his bag of clothes and he didn’t notice.

He found his shirt next and got that on in record time along with his tie and socks, and dug around one last time for his jacket and shoes. The bag was still full of clothes in anticipation of him staying the weekend, and it wasn’t making things any easier.

“Okay, that about does it,” he said, a little out of breath as he smoothed down the front of his jacket and straightened his tie.

“I should be in shortly after lunch,” Gibbs called out from where he was still ensconced in the sheet and blankets. “Trial’s at ten, and I’ll bet that Fornell is going to want to chat about last night once we’re done.”

“Sounds good,” Tony said, as he nudged the bag towards the wall and crossed the room. “I won’t let on that I know you’re coming.” He bent down to kiss Gibbs goodbye, and when he pulled back they were both smiling. “See you later, babe,” he said softly, before giving Gibbs one last peck on the lips and flying down the stairs and out of the house.

* * * * *

Babe?

Tony was all the way through the security checkpoint at the Navy Yard before he realized what he’d called Gibbs, and he bent forward and thunked his head against the top of his steering wheel several times as he pulled into the parking lot.

Why did something like that have to slip out? There was no telling what Gibbs thought of the whole thing, and he didn’t imagine Gibbs as being the type of guy who was partial to pet names. Still, it had felt right on his tongue, hadn’t even clicked in his brain as something to be concerned about during the whole drive to work. Tony decided to just let it go and see if Gibbs brought it up later.

He grabbed a coffee from the coffee cart outside the building, and decided that Tim’s donut would have to do for breakfast. He made it into the bullpen after Tim, but with a minute or two to spare before 9am, and was feeling rather proud of himself until Tim glanced over at him and did a double take.

“What?” Tony groused, as he took a big bite of chocolate glazed deliciousness.

“Nothing,” Tim hesitated. “Just, well, are you trying a new look?”

“New look?” Tony asked in confusion, with his mouth full.

“You know, the whole five o’clock shadow thing you’ve got going on? Or, maybe more like a nine o’clock shadow at this point,” Tim observed.

Shit.” Tony grabbed his Go Bag, knowing there was a razor somewhere in there, and headed for the bathroom.

“Yeah, just like I thought. Someone had a really good night,” Tim mused to himself as he watched Tony’s retreating form.

* * * * *

The morning ticked by at a snail’s pace, but lunch time finally arrived and Tony made a beeline for his car. He needed food and he needed it now, and he also needed Gibbs but he suspected he’d get that later. He was back to the office in good time, with a footlong sub sandwich digesting in his stomach, and he pretended to click through things on his computer as Tim and then Ellie drifted back in too.

One o’clock rolled around, and his nerves started tingling. One thirty arrived, and his whole body felt like it was on high alert and the sub wasn’t sitting quite so comfortably anymore. He decided to text Gibbs, to get some sort of ETA and quash his nervousness, but he couldn’t find his phone. He dug in his bag, checked his desk drawer, and all of his pockets. Nothing.

Just then the elevator dinged again, and he couldn’t keep the smile off his face as he looked up and saw Gibbs step off. Then he ducked his head down and waited for Tim to notice the man instead, deciding that sticking with his covert approach was probably best. Sure enough, he heard a sharp intake of breath and then an enthusiastic “Hey, Boss!” from the desk opposite him.

Tony looked up at Tim and feigned surprise at his enthusiasm.

“Yes, McGee” he responded, pretending that he thought the greeting had been directed at him.

“No – Gibbs!” Tim stood up as he glanced over at Tony, but gestured towards where Gibbs was now leaning against the divider next to Ellie’s desk.

“Oh, hey Boss!” Tony shot over at Gibbs, and he smirked when Gibbs gave him the tiniest glare at the use of his former title. God but the man looked good in a suit, and slightly irritated in a suit was even hotter.

Gibbs turned his attention to Ellie as he set a Caf-Pow down on the edge of her desk, and she rose up to give him a quick hug. They exchanged pleasantries and then he moved across to where Tim was standing. Tim gave Gibbs a hug, and Tony heard Tim say something about his condolences on the loss of Jack.

Then Gibbs was turning around towards him, and Tony stood up as Gibbs made his way around the side of the desk to give him a hug as well. He felt something being slipped into his pocket and Gibbs whispered hotly against his ear, “You left your phone on the dresser, babe,” before he withdrew.

Tony knew his mouth was hanging open slightly but he couldn’t help it, and Gibbs just winked covertly at him and turned back towards McGee and Bishop as if nothing was out of the usual.

“I need to pay Ducky and Abby a visit, but are you guys up for dinner tonight? Maybe we could all go somewhere and catch up?” he asked, and now Tim’s mouth was open slightly too at the unexpected invitation, but he recovered quickly and shut his while Tony’s still hung slightly open.

“Uh, sure,” Tim replied, and Ellie nodded her head too.

“Tony?” Gibbs asked, turning to him once again, and Tony finally snapped out of his daze and managed a small smile.

“Sure, sounds great.”

“Okay,” Gibbs nodded, looking pleased at the plan. He walked over and picked up the Caf-Pow from Ellie’s desk and looked them all over once more. “Well, I’ll see you in a few hours then.”

As he moved towards the elevator, Tony hurried after him and said, loud enough for Tim and Ellie to hear, “Wait up, I need to check on something with Ducky.” Gibbs pushed the call button and stood facing the doors, not looking at Tony next to him. Tony was just about bouncing on his toes as they waited for what seemed an eternity, but finally the doors opened and he stepped in after Gibbs and they both turned to face the front.

The doors closed and Gibbs bent down to set the Caf-Pow on the floor, and a second later he’d flipped the emergency stop button and had Tony pinned against the back wall. His mouth covered Tony’s in a desperate plea for contact, and Tony pushed right back into the bruising kiss, his tongue dancing with Gibbs’ as his hand roamed over his back and under the suit jacket. Gibbs ran his hands up the front of Tony’s shirt, revelling in the feel of the smooth material as he moved to kiss along Tony’s jaw line. Tony let his head fall back against the elevator wall as he pulled Gibbs closer to him, seeking as much bodily contact as he could.

“So you’re not too upset about what I called you earlier, then?” Tony asked, as he let his hands slide down to grasp at Gibbs ass.

“Nah-uh,” Gibbs mumbled, kissing the sensitive spot right beneath Tony’s ear.

Tony’s grip on Gibbs’ ass tightened. “I’ve never fully appreciated anyone in a suit until today,” he panted out as Gibbs rocked their hips together in an enticing but frustrating manner.

“Mmm-hmmmm,” was the only reply he got, as Gibbs kissed his way back towards Tony’s mouth and possessed it once more. Minutes later, when they finally pulled apart, Tony swore he could actually feel the endorphins zinging through his body. He looked into Gibbs’ glazed eyes, dilated with arousal, and sighed happily as the man moved closer to rest their foreheads together.

“Wow. I will never look at this elevator the same way again,” Tony admitted as his nose brushed against Gibbs’.

“I hope so.” He felt the soft brush of breath against his chin and closed his eyes as feelings suddenly welled up and threatened to overwhelm him.

Happy. He was just so ridiculously happy, had never been this happy in his life before, not that he could remember at least. And it was all because of this man, the man who had driven him crazy and asked more of him than anyone else and been more loyal to him than anyone and shown affection with head slaps, of all things. And had changed and taken a chance and opened up and confided in him and shared himself so intimately and was making out with him in the fucking elevator at work like two horny teenagers and it still seemed so, so right.

“Why is this so easy, so good? You know, aside from us not seeing each other for weeks on end?” he whispered into the silence, afraid that speaking louder would somehow break the tenderness of the moment.

“I was wondering that too,” Gibbs confessed quietly. “Whatever it is, I’m grateful.”

Tony pressed a quick kiss to Gibbs’ lips, and then regretfully pushed him away slightly so that there was an inch or so between them. “I, um, really do need to talk to Ducky,” he admitted gently, “and I know you have lots to do.” He tilted his head towards the Caf-Pow that was still sitting over in the corner. “I’ll come and check up on you if you’re still in the lab in two hours.”

“Sounds good,” Gibbs smiled fondly at him, and he bent over to pick up the Caf-Pow. Tony leaned past him to flick the emergency stop switch once more, and the elevator whisked them down towards Autopsy.

* * * * *

Tony gave it until 4.15pm before he made up an excuse and took the elevator - the elevator - down to Abby’s lab. He stepped tentatively across the threshold, and was surprised to see nobody there. Then he heard lilting laughter coming from near her office, and he moved further into the room to see Abby and Gibbs sitting and chatting casually around the corner.

“Tony!” Abby jumped up to greet him, and she set her Caf-Pow aside before running over to give him a big hug. “Gibbs was just telling me all about the weekend you spent together!”

Tony paled visibly but looked up to see Gibbs giving him a reassuring nod, and he remembered to breathe and hugged Abby back before they both pulled apart.

“Oh yeah?” he tried to sound curious, but not too curious.

“You never told me that he took you for authentic Italian food at some fancy farmhouse,” she accused him, and she slapped his arm for good measure. “It sounds amazing! We should totally all do a road trip sometime and eat there.” She turned around to smile at Gibbs, and he grinned back at her eagerness.

“Sure,” he responded with a twinkle in his eyes.

“So,” she announced, turning back to Tony, “All is forgiven. He is no longer the enemy, and you can sleep with him anytime you want.” Bewildered expressions passed between Tony and Gibbs, and she covered her mouth with her palm and backed up as she realized her faux pas.

“Oh, no no no, I didn’t mean it that way. Not that that wouldn’t be totally okay, or hot, or anything. But it’s just that when Tony said….” She trailed off and looked at Tony, eyes pleading for him to help her out.

Tony looked over at Gibbs, and tried to appear sheepish for Abby’s benefit when he actually felt intense relief inside. Poor Gibbs, though. Tony watched him sitting there looking dumbfounded.

“You… what?” Gibbs asked, confused and obviously wondering if Abby knew something.

“When I got back from visiting you, and Abby found out,” Tony explained, “She said I’d been sleeping with the enemy. You know, meaning that I stayed at your place,” he emphasized slightly. “She was upset because you’d up and disappeared on us, and so, you know… the enemy,” he finished, using air quotes.

Gibbs considered Tony carefully for a minute, and then turned his gaze to Abby. She bit at her bottom lip and looked at the floor, and then she fiddled with the pendant on her choker as the silence wore on. Then finally, finally, she snuck a glance up at Gibbs, looking for all the world like a schoolgirl in the Principal’s office.

Tony watched her visibly deflate as Gibbs gave her a warm smile, and she smiled back.

“Abbs…,” he said, drawing out her name in the fond way that he had done so hundreds of times, “We already went over this. All is forgotten, forgiven… whatever.”

“Excellent,” she said, and she strode over to give Gibbs a hug. “Gotta get my hugs in while I can,” she said, looking at Tony over Gibbs’ shoulder.

Tony smiled knowingly, and then remembered about dinner. “Hey Abbs, are you coming out with us tonight?” he asked. And then, to Gibbs, “You asked her, right?” Gibbs rolled his eyes and Tony narrowed his back in return.

“Yes, he did,” she replied as she stood up and straightened her skirt. Then she smiled at the glances that were passing between the two men. “Kind of fun seeing you getting all bossy on the Boss man, new Boss man.”

“Yeah, well, there’s a new Sheriff in town,” Tony said, his voice heavily accented as he pretended to raise an imaginary cowboy hat off his head.

Gibbs stood up and kissed Abby on the cheek. “See you up front in a few minutes?” he asked.

“I’ll be there.”

He made to move towards the door, but stopped when he got to Tony and drew himself up to full height in front of him.

Sheriff?” he asked, eyebrows raised and a smirk on his face.

“Yeah, well, you know….” Tony trailed off as he got lost in Gibbs’ blue eyes for a moment, then he shook his head almost imperceptibly and cleared his throat. He took a step backwards from Gibbs, and looked past him to Abby, who was standing with arms crossed and eyes narrowed, watching the whole scene with suspicion. “Ah, yeah, so, see you in a few, Abbs,” he called out, and he turned around to hightail it out of there behind Gibbs.

“Wait!”

Both men froze at the stern voice from behind them, and Tony turned first to face Abby. She walked up to them slowly, arms still crossed and tapping the finger of one hand as she pursed her lips and studied them. Tony gave her what he hoped was a cheesy-but-innocent smile. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see that Gibbs was giving her his best blank gaze.

“Something hinky is going on here,” she declared. “Something very hinky. Do either of you want to fess up to something, or are you going to make me figure it out by myself?”

Gibbs continued staring at her, admitting nothing, and Tony just upped the cheese factor on his smile in self-defense.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about, Abbs,” he said, trying to play dumb. “The only thing going on is my stomach rumbling because it’s almost time for dinner.”

“Yeah, right,” she said, and she gave them both the evil eye. “I’m watching you two. Something’s up, and I’m going to figure it out.”

“Well, just don’t take too long because we’re leaving soon,” Tony said as he turned towards the door again.

He waited impatiently beside Gibbs as the elevator took its sweet time getting to them, and once they were inside Tony let out a big sigh of relief and slumped against one of the walls.

“Well that was close,” he said, and Gibbs nodded in agreement next to him. “You think she’s going to figure us out?”

Gibbs turned his head slightly to look at Tony, and the corner of his mouth curled up in a half smile. “Maybe. Eventually.”

“I think I’d better sit as far away from you as possible at dinner,” Tony decided. “I don’t think I could keep my hands off you at this point.” He let his fingers drift over to caress Gibbs’ briefly, and Gibbs’ smile widened at the touch.

“Probably a good idea. We can make up for it later.”

And with a quick wink at Tony, they were off the elevator and making plans with Tim and Ellie about where to eat dinner.

Chapter Text

They had mutually decided on a sports bar not too far from the Navy Yard, and Tony pulled into the parking lot shortly after everyone else. He entered and spied the team gathered around a small rectangular table near the back of the place, and as he walked over they started sitting down. He walked a little faster, but there were only two seats remaining by the time he got there: one right next to Gibbs, and one right next to that one.

Damn.

Then Abby, who was the only one still standing, gave him an evil wink and sat down, leaving him the seat right next to Gibbs.

Double damn. She was on to something. He wasn’t sure if they’d completely been made yet, but the next hour or two was not going to do anything to help matters. He’d meant what he’d said to Gibbs earlier in the elevator – it was going to be tough keeping his hands to himself, let alone with them almost sitting on top of each other now, and Gibbs was still wearing that ridiculously hot suit to boot.

“Tony,” Gibbs greeted him neutrally as he sat down, and Tony did his best to respond in kind as everyone settled in. The waitress came by with menus, and there was welcome distraction for a few minutes as everyone picked out appies, burgers, and drinks. Ducky, sitting on Gibbs’ other side, got started on a tale about the history of breweries in England as the waitress left with their orders, and Tony found his mind wandering as he half-listened and tried not to pay attention to Gibbs’ arm which was right next to his at the corner of the table.

He looked up to find Abby watching him, so he gave her the same cheesy grin as he had back in her lab. “Having a good time?” he asked her nonchalantly.

“You could say that,” she replied cheekily, with a smug look on her face.

He caved in. He just couldn’t take it anymore without knowing what was actually going through her head. “Okay, what gives?” he whispered at her ear, trying to keep things quiet so that nobody else would hear their conversation.

She turned slightly more towards him, and sat up straight with her hands placed carefully in her lap. She looked like she was about to burst, and Tony turned more towards her as well and covered her hands with his. “Out with it,” he coaxed, giving her his most winning smile - no cheese, all please.

You guys…” she started, then trailed off as the excitement continued to build and almost visibly leak from her. Tony noticed that Tim and Ellie were shooting some interested looks their way, and Abby must have too because a more serious façade descended over her, and she leaned forwards towards Tony and whispered.

“You guys are just made of awesome. I’m so happy for you!” She squealed the last bit and clapped her hands quietly together in her enthusiasm, and Tony grabbed her hands and pushed them down into her lap once more.

“Shhhhh…,” he warned her, his heart beating furiously from nervousness. He decided to play the clueless card one last time, although he figured he didn’t really have half a chance of her not implying what he thought she was implying. “Okay, Abbs, focus. Now, what on earth are you talking about?” He managed to get it out with his best poker face on.

She tilted her head to the side and raised her eyebrows as if to say Oh please. Don’t play dumb with me, mister.

Tony’s shoes suddenly became very interesting to him as he looked down and let out a big sigh, but he felt her hand squeeze his encouragingly and as he looked up he broke out into a shy grin. Abby practically beamed back at him, then made a zipping motion with her hand across her mouth.

“Not another word until Monday, I promise,” she whispered. “But then I expect you down in my lab first thing. Oh, and don’t forget the Caf-Pow.” With that, she turned away towards Ellie on the other side of her, and Tony was left alone to ponder the previous two minutes.

The drinks arrived then, though, and as he grabbed his beer he decided that trying to figure out how Abby had figured them out wasn’t worth his brain power. She was the best at what she did for a reason, and it felt kind of nice that someone else knew. He felt a hand press lightly against his thigh under the table as he was thinking about things, and glanced over to Gibbs in disbelief. Gibbs, however, appeared for all intents and purposes to be absolutely engrossed in Ducky’s story, so Tony subtly slipped his hand under the table to meet it. He took a swig of the beer that was in his other hand and joined in the conversation that Abby and Ellie were having next to him, pretending as best he could that nothing unusual was going on under the table.

Five beers, several shots, and two hours later, however, and it was a different story. It seemed that the team would be giving the local taxi companies some good business that night, because toast after toast had been made and drink after drink had been bought. Ducky had even launched into “God Save the Queen” at one point, when he glanced up at one of the large overhead TV screens and noticed that England had won a European Football match. Gibbs had his arm resting on the back of Tony’s chair by that time, and Tony was taking every opportunity to lean precariously close to him and brush some part or other of their bodies together. And Tony was laughing, more than he’d laughed in an awfully long time. It felt so good to let loose a bit after several hellishly busy weeks, and to do it while sitting right next to Gibbs was just icing on the cake.

Tony stretched his foot out a bit, hoping to bump into one of Gibbs’ and give him a not-so-subtle reminder that he was thinking of him. He nudged against a shoe, and made some comment at Tim as he raised his foot up slightly to rub against the trousers-covered leg. It only took about three seconds before Tony realized his mistake, though, as he felt and then turned to see Ducky staring him down from across the table. Tony turned beet red, knowing that he couldn’t exactly apologize across the table for what he’d done because then he’d need to explain his wandering feet to everybody. But then Ducky’s eyes lit up in recognition and he did a theatrical whisper in the direction of Gibbs’ ear, just loud enough so that Tony could hear what was being said.

“Jethro, I’m drunk not blind. Would you consider taking Tony home before the two of you spontaneously combust?”

And with that, Ducky pushed his chair back and stood up, giving them the opening they needed. “I’m afraid I need to call it a night before I can’t tell up from down,” he announced to the table. “Thank you one and all for the delightful evening, and I do hope we can do this again soon.”

Ellie, who had been looking a little green, quickly stood up too and echoed Ducky’s sentiments. Tony was studiously looking at anywhere but Gibbs, but he heard the man’s chair scrape back as he thanked everyone for being there tonight.

Tony looked over at Tim and Abby. “You guys also gonna head out? I’ll call us all some cabs.” Tim and Abby both nodded their heads, and Tony whipped his phone out of his pocket and made the connections. Five minutes later, all their bills were settled and they were staggering out onto the sidewalk in various states of inebriation.

Tony didn’t think he’d ever seen Gibbs drunk. Heck, he wasn’t sure if Gibbs was actually even drunk right now, although with the amount of liquor he’d watched the man drink he didn’t imagine he could be anything but three sheets to the wind. Gibbs had gone quiet, which wasn’t anything out of the ordinary exactly, but it was a pensive quietness that seemed incongruent with what normal drunk looked like. Tony knew his own mind was doing fanciful loops as it jumped from thought to thought in a wonderfully disjointed way, but Gibbs looked like his mind was fixed on something... and all of a sudden, Tony caught the man’s eye and realized that Gibbs was fixed on him. The heat in the gaze made Tony’s pulse start hammering so fast that he figured he would either end up passing out or jumping Gibbs right then and there, just to relieve the tension thrumming through his body.

He was saved by the arrival of several taxis, and he and Gibbs both climbed into the same one without drawing so much as a curious glance from Tim or Ellie. Abby and Ducky, however, both decided to wink at them at the same time, and then caught each other’s movements with a knowing smile. Tony watched the two of them out the window of the taxi as it pulled away from the curb, huddled in secretive conversation on the sidewalk, and he dropped his head into his hands and groaned. He heard Gibbs chuckle quietly next to him, and a warm hand soon drew his down from his face and onto the fabric of the backseat between them.

“You know, it really is too bad that I’m heading back on Sunday,” Gibbs joked, but he gave Tony’s hand an empathetic squeeze.

Tony let his head fall against the window and he sighed. “Monday is going to be absolutely insufferable.”

* * * * *

The taxi dropped them off at the foot of Gibbs’ driveway, and soon they were at Gibbs’ front door and he was fishing for his key in his suit pockets. Tony leaned back against the wall, enjoying the freedom to take in an eyeful of the man, and Gibbs must have sensed it. He paused, key finally in hand and halfway into the lock, and tilted his head at Tony as a small smile played across his lips. Then the door was open, and Gibbs motioned Tony through without taking his eyes off of him.

Tony was more than used to being on the receiving end of a Gibbs stare, but in this circumstance it was a little more unnerving, a little more unsettling. Not bad, exactly, just different. Tony shrugged off the thought and his jacket, though, and began loosening his tie as soon as he was through the door.

A hand over his hand on his tie stopped him, however, and he half-turned in the dark back towards Gibbs before he was abruptly pushed against the wall as the door closed next to him. Gibbs pressed up against him, his body holding Tony to the wall as his hot breath caressed against Tony’s ear.

“Allow me.” Gibbs’ voice was low and clear, more of a command than a request, and Tony could feel the adrenalin starting to pump through him at those two simple words. He forced his hands down to his side and leaned his head back against the wall in submission, enjoying the arousal swirling around in his body as his mind tried to play catch-up on the fact that they were both drunk and Gibbs was going all alpha on him. He could almost taste the tension in the air, and it was delicious.

Gibbs raised his other hand to join his first at Tony’s tie, and he made short work of undoing the knot. He left the tie hanging loosely around Tony’s neck, though, and his eyes raised up as his hands started working on the buttons of Tony’s shirt.

“Tell me what you want, Tony,” he whispered, his gaze steady and burning as the buttons popped open one after another.

“You,” Tony breathed out, his breath hitching in his chest as Gibbs skipped past the button at the top of his pants and ran a firm hand between them and down over Tony’s erection.

“Well, isn’t that convenient,” Gibbs murmured, his lips back at Tony’s ear again, “Because I want you too.” Hands back at the top of Tony’s trousers again, Gibbs paused, and Tony’s heart beat so fast in his chest that he was sure Gibbs could hear it.

“But,” he continued, “There’s a little score we need to settle first.” Tony’s eyes widened as Gibbs drew back to fix his eyes on Tony’s again, and then there was a mischievous smile on Gibbs face as he undid the button and slowly, oh so slowly drew the zipper down.

“I’ve been thinking about you in this suit all day,” Gibbs said seriously, “And about getting you out of it for just as long.” He slipped his hand inside Tony’s pants and let a finger slide suggestively up and down over Tony’s cock, before withdrawing it.

“Tease,” Tony complained half-heartedly, as his racing pulse and raging erection steadfastly betrayed any sort of disappointed attitude he tried to muster. Additionally, and much to his chagrin, he found he just couldn’t get enough of this talkative and flirtatious version of Gibbs, with every word sending fire down his spine.

“So here’s the deal,” Gibbs said, his lips suddenly a breath away from Tony’s. “I seem to remember a rather pleasant situation several weeks back in Stillwater, when you challenged me to let go of control.”

“Oh God.” Tony’s head thumped audibly back against the wall again, and his eyes involuntarily closed as he let out a full-bodied sigh at both the memory and in anticipation of what Gibbs might be planning. He felt the man’s hands run up his chest, pushing his shirt further open but making no attempt to take it off, and he drew in a shaky breath, waiting. He felt the tie slide off around his neck, then Gibbs hands interlocking with his, pushing upwards and over his head to clasp his hands together against the wall above him. And finally, the smooth touch of the tie against his wrists, looping and twisting in figure eights just tight enough to give the illusion of being restrained.

“Oh God!” The words were a moan this time as Tony thrust his hips towards Gibbs, seeking any kind of friction as his senses were overwhelmed with arousal. He felt Gibbs step back, and opened his eyes to see the man run his tongue over his bottom lip. Tony had seen that exact movement countless times before, but here and now was the first time it had sent a pulse of heat straight to his groin. And just like the elevator earlier, he knew that he would never see Gibbs do that again and not think of this exact moment. The seconds were being imprinted into his brain in flashes of light, and he watched as Gibbs approached him again and brushed words at his ear once more.

“You okay?” And there he was, even in the middle of just about the most erotic moments of Tony’s life, making sure he wasn’t pushing too far even though all signs from Tony pointed to go.

“Yes.” The word was almost inaudible, but it was all Tony could manage as he struggled to take even shallow breaths over the thumping of his heart. Then Gibbs hands were at his waist again, every touch searing into Tony as he grabbed hold of Tony’s trousers and underwear and pushed them down to the floor.

“Good. Then close your eyes and keep that gorgeous mouth of yours shut,” Gibbs ordered, and Tony slammed his eyes shut once more and pursed his lips together. It was almost a relief to have less senses bombarding his sluggish brain with information… until he felt Gibbs mouth slide down over his cock and suck back up.

Tony’s brain just about exploded, and he swore he could see stars behind his eyelids even though he knew it was dark all around them. Gibbs’ movements were torturous, slow and patient as he thoroughly explored with his lips and tongue. Tony fought against the instinct to lower his arms and to push forward with his hips. He had no idea if Gibbs would stop if he did, and stopping was the last thing he wanted. Then there was a hand wrapping around the base of his cock, drawing more sensation with every rise and fall of Gibbs’ mouth, and Tony let out a helpless moan as he instinctively bucked forward slightly.

Gibbs didn’t stop. In fact, Tony knew he sped up slightly because he could hear his pulse getting faster as it throbbed past his ears. Tony thrust forward again with the next twist of Gibbs’ hand, and Gibbs matched his movements with a mind-numbing press of his tongue up the side of Tony’s cock. And so they continued, Tony growing unexpectedly bolder and less inhibited given the situation, and Gibbs more intense. In no time at all, Tony found himself doing without thinking, responding to his core body desire and primal need with wild abandon as his arousal coiled tighter and tighter and his consciousness drifted higher and higher.

Then he was falling, crashing down in a wave of ecstasy and oblivion as he came hard and fast in Gibbs mouth. There was no way to warn the man without breaking Gibbs’ orders, so Tony didn’t worry about it as he just allowed himself to bask in the full experience and frenzy of the moment. His whole body trembled as he slumped back a minute later, spent but content, and then Gibbs’ lips were lightly pressing against his to bring him back to the present, to Gibbs’ warm body against him, to his own body against the wall right by Gibbs’ front door.

Tony opened his eyes slowly as Gibbs’ lips left his, and watched the hesitant smile on his lover’s face with wonder. Then he lowered his joined wrists over the back of Gibbs’ head and pulled the man to him in a crushing hug.

“Good?” Gibbs asked against his neck, and Tony nodded his head in affirmation.

“God, Jethro…,” he sighed out, his mind still reeling from sensation overload, “How did you…?” Then his eyes narrowed at Gibbs, whose smug grin was right in his face.

“How did I know you’d completely let go like that?” Gibbs tilted his head to the side in consideration. “I think it was kind of a reverse psychology thing. You know, take away control to gain real freedom. Or something like that….” He trailed off.

“I gotta be honest, I didn’t think you’d pull out the kinky stuff just yet. Or at all. And I will never look at a tie the same way again.” Tony appraised Gibbs, who rolled his eyes.

“Oh come on, Tony,” Gibbs teased. “You’ve been getting off on that whole control thing with me for years, in one way or another. I was just feeling particularly inspired tonight.”

Tony fought the urge to stick out his tongue at Gibbs. “Speaking of which, we seem to have a recurring problem here,” Tony observed, “in that you’re still wearing too many clothes. And,” Tony continued with a raised eyebrow, “I didn’t get what I wanted yet.”

The corner of Gibbs’ mouth quirked up as he took a step back and began unbuttoning his shirt. “Oh, yeah?” he asked, as he worked his way down to the top of his pants and paused there.

Tony pounced forward, spurred on by sight of the tie still done up around Gibbs’ neck. He pushed Gibbs up against the closet door and made deft work of the knot, then pulled the tie off and threw it on the floor. Then he held his own hands up and watched as Gibbs slowly unravelled the tie on his wrists, letting it fall to the floor too when it was all the way undone.

“No more games,” Tony whispered, and Gibbs’ head nodded slightly. Then they were all hands as Tony pushed Gibbs’ trousers down and Gibbs pushed the shirt off of Tony’s shoulders, and then they were kissing their way up the stairs again much as they had done the day before. There was no waiting this time, though, no tentativeness or caution as Gibbs all but pushed Tony onto the bed and climbed to lie on top of him. Tony revelled in the passion he was drawing out of his lover, in the way Gibbs’ mouth was seeking all over his face and neck, and in the way his hard cock ground down against Tony’s re-awakening one with such heat.

Then Gibbs was at his ear one more time. “I didn’t forget about what you wanted.”

And suddenly Gibbs was reaching for a small bottle of lube, and seconds later he had Tony’s knees pushed back and was working his cock gently but deliberately into him. Tony gasped at the intrusion, surprised at both the swiftness with which Gibbs had moved and at visceral reaction that his body was having. Everything seemed right, seemed intuitive as they began moving together, and Gibbs’ eyes locked on Tony’s as he thrusted and pulled back in a tantalizing repeated motion.

“You remembered,” Tony breathed out as he drank in the fire that he saw, fire that was there because of him. It was a heady thought, almost too much for his brain to process with the alcohol still making its way through his system, but that factor let it make even more of an impression on his mind and body. And on his soul. Tony had never given too much thought to matters of the soul, but he was fast coming around. And his instinct from yesterday had been right: there was something indescribable about being able to see Gibbs, about the added connection that it threw into the mix.

A thin sheen of sweat covered Gibbs’ brow as he sped up, moving faster and smoother within Tony. He looked like he wanted to say something, and Tony raised one of his hands to touch Gibbs’ and gave him a look of encouragement.

“Just… God, you’re amazing, Tony,” Gibbs managed to get out past his rapid breathing. Then he almost seemed to pause, and tiled his head slightly. “You think you can…?”

And Tony laughed, a genuine happy and relaxed laugh that made Gibbs pause for real and smile for a second, although there was a questioning look in his eyes. “As flattered as I am, Jethro, I’m not quite the young stallion you would have encountered if you’d got on this horse when we first met,” Tony joked. “I’m just going to thoroughly enjoy you enjoying me.”

Gibbs thrust forward slowly and leaned down so he was nose-to-nose with Tony. “This horse is a better version,” he whispered solemnly, and he picked up his pace again with his hands planted on either side of Tony’s shoulders. The thrusts came harder and faster, and Tony could see the pleasure taking over in Gibbs’ eyes, eyes that were so close to his now and black as night. Then with a low growl Gibbs was coming, pushing unyieldingly into Tony as his release poured out. Then eventually he dropped down, burrowing into the crook of Tony’s neck as Tony’s arms came up to wrap around him.

“I love seeing you like this, being with you like this,” Tony murmured against his forehead, and he placed a small kiss there. “Knowing that I get you like this is just stupidly awesome.”

Gibbs was quiet for a moment as his breathing slowed, but then he propped himself up on his arms above Tony once more and gazed at him with eyes that were back to blue. “Ditto,” he said with a smile.

“What, back to one word sentences now?” Tony teased him. “You were doing pretty well there for a bit, with all that sexy talk and –”

Gibbs lips covered his, effectively shutting Tony up in the most welcome way he could imagine, and he let his tongue graze over Gibbs’ lips in return.

“Mmmmmm,” Tony hummed, “I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of your lips on mine.”

“I hope not,” Gibbs said, as he finally pulled out of Tony and dropped to his side on the bed next to him. He shuffled over so that he was right next to Tony, and threw an arm casually over his chest. “You tired?”

“I don’t think my body can decide,” Tony admitted. “Half of it’s exhausted and the other half feels like it’s pumped up on caffeine. I blame you for both, by the way.”

“Well, I’m definitely not apologizing for either of those,” Gibbs said as he reached down and pulled the covers up and over them. “And I’ll gladly help confuse your body again anytime you want.”

And with that, he closed his eyes against Tony’s arm, leaving Tony to lie there and wonder how he’d ever thought that Gibbs might enjoy interrogating people more than he enjoyed sex.

Chapter Text

His pillow was too flat. Tony punched it a few times, trying to fluff it up, but it didn’t work. Then he noticed that it didn’t smell right. It smelled fucking fantastic. It smelled like…

His eyes flew open and he pushed up slightly to search the dark room, but Gibbs wasn’t there. The clock on Gibbs’ nightstand read 6:30 and Tony sighed as he dropped back down on his stomach. He had hoped for a leisurely morning wrapped around his lover, but apparently that was not to be and so he lay there for a few more minutes, breathing in the scent of the pillow.

The smell of brewed coffee gradually drew him back up, and he pulled on a pair of boxers and padded barefoot down the stairs, looking for Gibbs. There was nobody in the living room or dining room, and although the coffee machine was percolating happily in the kitchen, Gibbs wasn’t there either… which left the basement. Tony wasn’t quite sure how to feel about that. The basement was Gibbs’ default place, his man cave, and it made sense that he might be down there working through things in his mind while sanding. On the other hand, it was one of the few mornings they would have together and Tony couldn’t hide the pang of disappointment that hit him hard as he wished Gibbs had chosen to stay upstairs with him instead.

But it was what it was and there was no sense in making a big deal out of it at such an ungodly hour on a Saturday morning. Tony grabbed a mug and poured himself a steaming cup. His search for milk or cream came up empty, but there was plenty of sugar in one of the cupboards so he doused the coffee with that and stirred vigorously. Then, putting on a happy face, he started down the stairs.

Five seconds later he paused, taking in the sight before him with a mouth wide open in surprise. Gibbs looked up from the far side of the room as he heard the stairs creak, and shot Tony a warm smile.

“That mostly-naked bed-head look is one of my favorites on you, I think,” Gibbs mused, as he went back to prying a nail out of a beam of wood.

Tony smiled and unconsciously ran his free hand through his unkempt hair as he descended the last few steps, and he set his coffee mug carefully down on the last one and sat down next to it. He studied Gibbs for a moment, before asking the question that was burning on his tongue.

“Why?”

Gibbs looked up at him and pegged him with an undecipherable stare. “Why am I taking apart the boat?”

“Yes.”

He heard Gibbs sigh from across the room, but the man’s shoulders didn’t slump as Tony had expected them to. Instead, it almost seemed that Gibbs drew himself up taller, maybe even puffed his chest out a bit. Tony knew his jaw was gaping open again, so he took a sip of the scalding hot coffee and waited.

“I guess…” Gibbs looked at him again, more squarely this time, “I think I’m done building boats.”

“Wha-?” Tony cleared his throat. “Um, okay…?” He knew that his features must look comical in disbelief, and sure enough Gibbs chuckled as he walked over towards Tony.

“That flustered look is one of my favorites too,” he said, and he pulled Tony up to stand in front of him. Tony reddened slightly at the compliment, and at what Gibbs’ touch was doing to his heart rate. He hoped that would never get old.

Gibbs leaned in to kiss him, a light caress across his lips that almost made his toes curl in its simple intimacy, and he let out the breath he didn’t realize he’d been holding.

“Boats are your thing, always have been,” Tony observed. “Why now?”

Gibbs cocked his head to the side and raised his eyebrows at Tony. “Haven’t always been my thing, Tony,” he admitted. “I started on my first one after Shannon and Kelly died, and just somehow kept on going since then. I thought I was working things out, working things through, but really I was just circling.”

Tony’s mouth was slightly open again, but he kept quiet in the hopes of Gibbs sharing more. This was a lot, a lot of stuff for Gibbs. Big, really deep stuff.

“I started building other things when I moved to Stillwater,” Gibbs continued. “Those chairs on the back patio, the picnic table that’s there now. And when I got back here on Thursday I realized that I didn’t want to be by myself in the basement anymore, working on boat after pointless boat. They won’t bring anyone back, they won’t change a damn thing. The only thing they’ve helped me do is put up barriers. And confuse people.” He looked straight into Tony’s eyes, searching and finding something that he was looking for there. “I want to build things for living, Tony. Things that bring together instead of wedge apart. Things to share... with you.”

The earnestness in Gibbs’ voice almost brought Tony to tears. He saw moisture gathering at the corners of Gibbs’ eyes too, and pulled the man into a tight hug. Tony had always said that DiNozzos didn’t do crying, but somehow it didn’t seem like such a taboo thing anymore, especially with his arms wrapped around… oh god.

Tony pulled away sharply, his eyes wide as his hands hung onto Gibbs’ shoulders like they were the only things anchoring him down.

“Tony?” Gibbs’ voice was soft caring and concern and confusion. “What is it? You okay?”

“I just realized…” Tony’s voice cracked, and then it shook as he got the rest of the words out, “I just realized how completely, crazily in love with you I am.”

He didn’t expect anything back, just felt like he couldn’t breathe until he had spoken those few words, but Gibbs pulled him into a crushing kiss that was so deep and passion-filled that the breath was knocked right back out of Tony again. Then Gibbs broke their connection abruptly, withdrawing only a fraction so that he could look Tony in the eye.

“God, Tony, I love you too,” Gibbs’ breath whispered across the space between them, voice thick with emotion. Then he leaned in to kiss Tony again, a soft brush of lips against each other that held so much promise. Both men sighed out at the same time as the tension of the moment dissipated, then looked at each other and chuckled.

“Wow,” Tony said, “Not even 7am yet and we’ve already had a meaningful day together.”

Gibbs kissed Tony’s lips again, not seeming to be able to get enough of them. “You have anything in particular you’d like to do today?” he asked. “We could go out somewhere, grab lunch and go for a walk or something if you want to.”

Tony eyed him with a small smile. “You know, we have kind of been doing this backwards, falling in love before the first date and all.”

“Works for me,” Gibbs said, as he grasped Tony’s hand and squeezed it lightly. “It’s been a long time in the making.”

“Yeah,” Tony replied softly. “Works for me too.”

“You hungry?” Gibbs asked, with a tilt of his head towards the top of the stairs.

“Depends on what for….” Tony responded slyly, and he got his answer as the corner of Gibbs’ mouth lifted up in his signature half-smile.

* * * * *

They had definitely worked up an appetite, especially after skipping breakfast in favor of some more athletically-inclined activities, and so late morning found them outside the previous evening’s sports bar collecting their cars and wondering where to go for lunch. Gibbs suggested a Mexican cantina not too far away, and a few minutes later Tony found himself staring at a menu and desperately trying to recall his eighth-grade Spanish.

“You weren’t kidding about this place being authentic,” he observed as he flipped a page over. “I mean, I can make my way through this okay but you’re gonna have to help me.”

“You like seafood?” Gibbs asked, and Tony looked up in surprise.

“Sure.”

“Why don’t I order, then?” Gibbs suggested, and two minutes later he was reeling off a list of dishes to their waitress that had Tony’s ears perking up.

“You know, you sound really sexy when you speak Spanish like that,” he observed, and Gibbs’ face flushed slightly at the compliment. “So what are we eating?”

“Shrimp ceviche to start, then chicken enchiladas and beef tacos. Oh, and a Corona each.”

“Sounds amazing,” Tony said, already salivating. “You must have had your fair share of good food when you were staying with Mike.”

Gibbs took in a deep breath and let out a long sigh. “Yeah,” he started, and then looked down at his hands on the table. Tony brought his hand up from his lap and placed them gently over Gibbs’, and gave a light squeeze. Gibbs looked up again, smiling at the knowing touch, and continued. “Some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. Some of the best drinks too, of course, with it being Mike and all.” He smiled, his eyes lost in the distant memory of his friend. “Coming back here after all that was… interesting.”

“You and Ziva,” Tony sounded a bit unsure, “You came back because of her.”

“Yup.”

“Was there ever anything… you know…?”

“With me and Ziva?” Gibbs looked highly amused, and Tony could tell from the heat rising up his own face that he was blushing.

“Sorry, I just had to ask. I mean, that’s a lot to do and you two just seemed….”

“No, Tony, never,” Gibbs cut him off, his voice firm and sure. “But you on the other hand, c’mon. I asked you about Berlin and you said no.”

“I didn’t lie to you about that.”

“Israel?”

“What does it matter now, Jethro? It’s all in the past.” Tony felt frustrated and flustered and he knew it was showing. He felt Gibbs move to place his own hands on top of Tony’s then, and when Tony looked up he saw open, curious eyes watching him.

Tony sighed, and shook his head slightly. “Okay, fine,” he started, then wondered how to put everything into words. “It’s not exactly a newsflash that I had some feelings for her. I asked her to come back home, said we could start a new life together… and I would have done anything to make it work at the time. She said no, we kissed goodbye at the airport, and that was it.” He looked up at Gibbs, his eyes slightly moist for the second time that day. “Another person, another good friend that I really cared about, lost.”

Gibbs’ grip on Tony’s hands tightened. “I swear I’m not going anywhere.”

“You already did, Jethro. Mexico, and then Stillwater,” Tony could feel himself getting riled up and hated himself for it, but his brain was starting to put pieces of his experiences together and it was making for a pretty disheartening picture. He looked up as the waitress brought their food and drinks over, and he chugged half his beer in a few seconds before looking back at Gibbs. “Look, Jethro, it’s not about you but it is about you. Man, we shouldn’t have started this conversation. We were having a really great day up until now.”

“Needs to be talked about, Tony,” Gibbs observed as he took a long pull from his own bottle. “We haven’t really had these types of conversations before.”

“Because you were always the boss,” Tony tried to keep the bitterness out of his voice. “It wasn’t safe to go there, even on a platonic relationship level.”

“I wasn’t at a place where I could let anyone in,” Gibbs responded, his voice quiet and thoughtful. “It’s taken me a long while to dig myself out of that rut, believe me, and I really regret that things couldn’t have been different with you and the team because of it.”

“Is that your way of apologizing?” Tony cracked a small smile at him, but Gibbs’ face remained pensive.

“I can’t apologize for what I was trying to deal with at the time, as best I could. Just like I don’t expect you to apologize for what you’re struggling with right now. It is what it is, and I’ll support you through it.” Gibbs’ gaze suddenly zeroed in on Tony’s eyes, and his voice dropped an octave. “No, actually, I’ll do my damndest to change your beliefs about people, starting with me.”

Tony’s heart stuttered in his chest at the heartfelt words and fierce gaze from Gibbs. Nobody, nobody in his whole life had tried to pursue him the way that Gibbs was talking about, the way that Gibbs had already been doing he realized.

Tony looked up, face set in determination. “Okay, my pity party’s over,” he declared, and he smiled genuinely at a surprised-looking Gibbs.

“That was fast.”

“My brain just needs time to process, you know, longer than my mouth does.”

“I know,” Gibbs chuckled.

“So, are we good?” Tony asked, needing that extra bit of reassurance.

“Very,” Gibbs said. “Now try the ceviche.”

The ceviche was excellent, as was the rest of the meal, and the short but invigorating walk in the cool afternoon afterwards helped smooth over a few other questions he’d had for Gibbs. They were nearing their cars again when Tony suddenly stopped walking and Gibbs almost pulled his arm out of his socket because of their joined hands and his momentum.

“Hey, a little consideration for your boyfriend here?” Gibbs asked jokingly as he rubbed at his shoulder.

Tony cocked his head and gave him a cheeky smile, even though his heart was suddenly pounding in his chest. “Oh, so is that what we’re going with?” he teased. Boyfriend. Boyfriend. He mulled the term over and actually like the sound of it better than he thought he would have.

“Well, whatever works for you, babe,” Gibbs teased back.

“Oh come on,” Tony swatted at him. “I was trying to ask something here and now I can’t remember what it was.”

“Maybe something about if I want to kiss you?” Gibbs suggested, as he sidled up to Tony on the pathway and wrapped his arms around him.

“Well that’s a given,” Tony smiled as cool but soft lips met his in a chaste kiss. “Too bad we’re in public though.” Gibbs smiled knowingly and raised his eyebrows as he loosened his hold on Tony.

“Maybe something about tonight?” Gibbs made another suggestion, as his right hand came to rest on Tony’s hip.

“Oh definitely,” Tony said, suddenly remembering what it was he’d wanted to ask, “But maybe mixing things up a bit.”

Gibbs’ eyebrows raised up even further, which Tony didn’t think was possible, and the grin that covered his face threatened to reach all the way to his ears. “Oh yeah?”

“I didn’t mean…,” Tony started, then he paused, his pulse fairly pounding as he considered, “Although… damn but you make it hard to focus, Jethro!”

Gibbs’ smile was still there, still wide, but his eyes had gone very, very dark. Tony’s breath caught in his chest, the sight filling him with a desire so strong that he had a hard time standing still. He cleared his throat and drew Gibbs to him again in an embrace.

“I was hoping we could stay at my place tonight,” he said at Gibbs’ ear, his slightly shaky voice betraying his calmer exterior. “I’ve got more food and a new bed I need to break in.”

He felt Gibbs push closer to him, the friction on his half-hard cock a delicious promise of more to come. “Let’s get going then,” Gibbs said, his voice low and laced with desire that rivalled what Tony was feeling in his body.

* * * * *

It took them a few hours to get back to Gibbs’ place, pack up both of their things, and head over to the apartment, but soon enough Tony was pushing the front door open and ushering Gibbs in. Gibbs immediately turned into Tony’s bedroom and dumped his bag on the floor before eyeing up the queen size bed.

“Nice,” he commented, as Tony’s arms wrapped around him from behind. “When did you get it?”

“A few years ago,” Tony said, his lips tickling against the back of Gibbs’ neck.

“I thought you said it was new?” Gibbs responded, his voice unsteady as Tony made his way around to his ear.

“Well, like I said, it hasn’t been broken in yet,” Tony replied, as he nibbled at Gibbs’ earlobe.

Gibbs spun around surprisingly quickly and wrenched Tony’s arms from around his waist. “You. Naked. Now!” he ordered, as he pulled Tony’s t-shirt over his head and started working on the belt of his jeans. “You’re not the only one with sensitive ears.”

Tony smirked at Gibbs as he let the older man divest him of his clothes, one piece at a time. Soon enough, Tony was standing there completely naked watching Gibbs pull off his own hoodie, shirt, and pants. Tony stepped forward as Gibbs was about to reach for the waistband of his underwear, and he pushed Gibbs’ hands away and brought his own around to cup Gibbs’ butt cheeks through the thin material of the boxers.

“Mmmmm,” Tony moaned as he pulled Gibbs close so that their groins were pressing against one another. “You feel so good.” He licked up the side of Gibbs’ neck and felt the man tense slightly, which only served to urge Tony on more. He kissed along Gibbs’ jaw line until he was at the corner of Gibbs’ mouth, then let his tongue flick out to dart between Gibbs’ lips in a sensuous tease. He heard a low growl reverberate in Gibbs’ chest at the touch, and the response made heat flare up through his body. It thrilled Tony to no end that he was the one making Gibbs feel so good, making him growl in pleasure and anticipation, and that thought alone was an incredible turn-on.

He ripped Gibbs’ boxers down in one smooth movement, and found himself at eye-level with the man’s hard cock as he did so. Never one to miss an opportunity, Tony licked his way up the length of it and then took it into his mouth, falling down and rising up on it again before Gibbs could even let out the breath he’d been holding. When he did, it was a long, low groan that was so satisfying to Tony’s ears that he repeated the movement a few more times before he rose up and pushed Gibbs backwards over and onto the bed. He knew how this was going to play out, knew how he wanted it to play out unless Gibbs changed his mind. Tony moved around to the nightstand and grabbed a bottle of lube out of the drawer before climbing onto the bed to join Gibbs, who was looking suitably dishevelled at that point. Tony straddled him and dropped down to kiss him lazily on the lips, until the urge became too strong and he wormed his way down to Gibbs’ cock again.

He squeezed some of the lube onto one of his fingers as mouth covered Gibbs’ erection, and he pressed hard against Gibbs’ cock with his tongue as he swept up and over the head of it and back down the side. He felt Gibbs’ hips raise slightly, pushing his cock deeper into his mouth, and he met Gibbs’ movement, taking him in more than he thought was possible… and god but if that didn’t make his own dick throb in anticipation. Tony let his lubed finger slide down to Gibbs’ entrance as the man thrust upwards again, and then he slowly inched his way in.

Tony raised his head enough to look at Gibbs, and in a low, tight voice he urged, “Relax.”

“I’m trying to!” Gibbs responded more vehemently that he’d expected. “It just feels too damn good.”

“Okay, so not a problem then,” Tony smiled as he said the words, then took his attention and his mouth back to Gibbs’ cock. He slipped a second finger into Gibbs as he sucked his way up his dick, and he heard a gratifying sharp intake of breath and then a muffled groan at the dual sensations he was causing. Tony grinned around Gibbs’ erection, continuing his assault on the man’s senses as Gibbs’ breathing came harder and faster. A third finger had Gibbs hissing slightly and then bucking even harder into Tony’s mouth a few seconds later, and he could tell that Gibbs was close. Hell, Tony was close too, his dick straining where it was pushed against the covers of his bed beneath him.

“Tony!” A warning from Gibbs in a harsh whisper, and Tony pulled his fingers from his lover and let go with his mouth too. Five seconds later his own cock was slick with lube, and he pushed Gibbs’ legs back as he pressed gradually into him. The feeling was sublime, so tight and hot that Tony just about came right then as he felt Gibbs’ muscles contract around him. He realized his eyes had squeezed shut, and he opened them to find Gibbs staring at him with dark, dark eyes again.

“This is a huge turn-on for you, isn’t it?” Tony asked, slightly incredulous and incredibly pleased.

“You have no idea,” Gibbs groaned out as Tony moved slightly inside him. Then he tilted his head slightly and the smallest of smiles flitted briefly across his face. “Actually, you probably do.”

“I know what you feel like inside me, and I hope I can make you feel as good,” Tony said earnestly as he thrust forward in an excruciatingly slow manner.

“More,” Gibbs ordered, and he tried to raise his ass upwards towards Tony.

“Hmmm, bossy,” Tony smiled as he drew back and thrust forward faster, drawing a satisfying grunt out of the older man. He did it two more times, watching as Gibbs’ facial features morphed into a look of intense concentration, and then he wrapped his hand around Gibbs’ cock and all hell broke loose.

God, Tony!” Gibbs cried out, his lips pursing as his hands rose up to grab onto Tony’s shoulders. Tony moved again in a fluid rhythm, his hard thrusts meeting his hand at the base of Gibbs’ cock, and then Gibbs’ fingers were digging into him as he came, pushing against Tony for all he was worth. The sight, the sensations were too much for Tony, and he found himself falling over the edge seconds later as he drove his cock into Gibbs’ body and let his head fall back in a silent cry of ecstasy.

And then it was done, and he was suddenly bone-weary as he pulled out and dropped onto the bed next to Gibbs. He moved his head to lie in the space between Gibbs’ shoulder and his torso, but felt like he didn’t have the strength to move an inch more. He felt an arm wrap around him and pull him closer, and he pressed a few light kisses to Gibbs’ chest before falling still again.

“You okay?” A quiet voice from above him, not pressuring for a verbal answer so Tony nodded his head slightly.

“You?” Tony managed to get out a few minutes later.

“More than okay,” Gibbs whispered at his ear. “That was amazing.”

“Mmmmhmmm,” Tony hummed in agreement next to him. Then, softly, “I love you so much.”

“I love you too, Tony,” Gibbs said, and he kissed the top of Tony’s head fondly. “You need to rest?”

“No, just give me a minute,” Tony murmured into Gibbs’ side. “Just enjoying lying here with you.”

“You want to eat in or order out for dinner?” Gibbs asked, then he let out a low chuckle. “It just occurred to me that sex and food seem to be going hand-in-hand for us.”

“My two favorite things,” Tony smiled against Gibbs, and pressed another kiss to his chest. “Well, you and food. You, any way I can get you or be near you.”

Gibbs rolled onto his side to face Tony, and raised Tony’s chin up with a finger until their lips met. The kiss was soft, intimate and unhurried, and it sent an emotional thrill running through Tony’s body in a way he’d never experienced before. He searched for the word that was on the tip of his tongue, the word for the indescribable feeling of well-being and happiness that was thrumming through his tired body and infusing it with a new sort of energy.

Peace. He felt peaceful. It had taken him five decades to get there, but there it was.

He looked into Gibbs’ eyes and smiled. “I’m making you dinner.”

Chapter Text

When Tony woke the next morning, he could feel a heavy arm draped over his mid-section and there was soft breath tickling at his ear. There was no confusion this time as to where he was or who he was with, only a slow smile that crept across his face as he opened his eyes to see a still-asleep Gibbs lying half on top of him.

He hadn’t pegged the guy for a snuggler, but the amount of skin-to-skin contact Gibbs seemed to seek out – even apart from sex – had Tony more pleased than he liked to admit.

He noticed a change in the breathing against his ear then and, just in case it was nothing, he whispered as quietly as he could, “You awake?”

“Hmmmmmmm,” was the only verbal response he got, as Gibbs tried to crowd in even closer to him. Tony couldn’t help it – he let out a laugh, which caused Gibbs to pull back slightly as a frown creased the forehead above his sleepy eyes.

“What’s so funny?” Gibbs groused, but Tony turned to the side and kissed him and soon his feelings appeared to be appeased.

“Sorry,” Tony said, “It’s just the novelty of waking up like this with you. Not funny, exactly, just….”

“Happy?” Gibbs supplied helpfully, and Tony kissed him again.

“Yes. Until you have to leave.”

“I know. Me too.”

There was a long silence, each lost in their own thoughts until Gibbs started tracing slow circles on Tony’s belly and Tony pushed his had away with another laugh.

“Food first this time! It’s already,” he turned to look at the clock on the nightstand, “9am, and my stomach is liable to taken on a life of its own if I don’t eat something soon.”

“Have it your way,” Gibbs dismissed him, but Tony caught the small smile at the corner of his mouth.

“You can shower first, if you want,” Tony offered. Gibbs let out a frustrated sigh as he peeled himself away from Tony, but he whacked Tony good-naturedly over the head with his pillow as he climbed out of bed, and then Gibbs darted for the bathroom as said pillow was thrown at his naked rear end.

* * * * *

Tony was still running a towel over his hair as he walked into the kitchen, dressed casually in a pair of sweatpants and a shirt. Gibbs looked up from his bowl of cereal as Tony approached, and Tony did a double take as he set his towel down on the island next to Gibbs’ bowl.

“How do you do it?” Tony asked, incredulous.

“Do what?” Gibbs mumbled around his mouthful of Cheerios.

“How do you make plaid pyjama pants and a t-shirt look so hot?”

Gibbs shifted on his chair and smirked at Tony.

“Not helping.”

“Hey, I haven’t had this much positive affirmation in a long time. I’m eating it up,” Gibbs responded with a grin. Then, “Okay, I’ll be helpful – your phone beeped while you were in the shower. I think you have a message.”

Tony turned back to the living room and picked his phone up off the coffee table, then swiped to unlock it and pressed at the screen a few times.

Shit.”

“What’s wrong?” Came Gibbs’ voice from the kitchen.

“I hope you’re ready for this, because –”

DING DONG!

“- Senior’s here.” Tony sighed out as the doorbell rang. He turned to look back at Gibbs, who shrugged his shoulders as if to say what can we do? and gave him an encouraging smile, then he walked slowly over to the door and opened it.

“Son!” Came the enthusiastic greeting from out in the hallway.

“Hi Dad,” Tony tried to sound pleased even as his insides were churning.

“Sorry to drop by so suddenly,” Senior said, as he stepped through the doorway to give Tony a hug, “but I’m on my way up to Atlantic City….” His voice trailed off as he spotted Gibbs sitting at the kitchen island, and he pulled back from Tony with a confused look on his face.

“Oh.” Senior stood up straighter and cleared his throat as a slight frown creased his brow. “I hope I’m not interrupting anything.”

“Just eating breakfast,” Gibbs supplied from the kitchen, as nonchalant as Tony had ever heard him.

“Yes, I see that,” Senior responded politely, but his eyes were shooting daggers at Tony. “I’d like a word with you privately,” he said, more of an order than a request, but Tony resisted as he felt his dad’s hand grab his arm to steer him out into the hallway.

“No, Dad,” he said through gritted teeth. “Anything you want to say can be said right here. Or you’re welcome to actually come in and have some coffee, which I was just about to make. I guess the surprise goes both ways.”

And with that, Tony wrenched his arm out of the grip that Senior had on it and made his way to the kitchen. He didn’t look back to the front door, knowing the exact posturing that his dad would be doing as he tried to make up his mind about whether to stay or go, and he wasn’t about to let him pull the “pleading eyes” trick either. DiNozzos were particularly proficient at that, and the decision needed to be made without any nonverbal appeals. Tony heard the front door close as he reached into a cupboard for the ground coffee, but two seconds later there were footsteps on the hardwood floor as Senior walked to the kitchen and pulled out the chair next to Gibbs. He sank down onto it slowly and propped his elbows up on the counter.

“So,” Senior started, his voice gruff and low, “How long?”

“How long have Jethro and I been together?” Tony spelled it out, not wanting to let the man bask in any small comfort that the omission of naming their situation would give him. “A few months.” He poured water into the coffee machine and switched it on, then grabbed three mugs from another cupboard.

“It’s an abuse of authority,” Senior accused, as he turned to scowl directly at Gibbs.

“Actually,” Gibbs said, as he raised another spoonful to his mouth, “I retired a while before that.” He popped the spoon into his mouth and pretended to chew thoughtfully on the cereal as he watched for Senior’s reaction. Tony was watching out of the corner of his eye too, as he doused all three mugs with sugar. He had to hand it too the man – aside from a very slight reddening of his face, he gave away nothing. Tony pushed two steaming mugs of coffee across the counter, and Gibbs immediately took a long sip from his without flinching. Senior merely wrapped his hands around his own mug and was quiet for almost a full minute before he spoke again.

“You’ll forgive me if I’m having a bit of trouble processing all this,” Senior said at last, quieter and more measured than before. He looked up at Tony, who was leaning against the opposite side of the kitchen island across from him and Gibbs, and smiled weakly. “I just never pictured you with a man.” Then, to his side, “No offense intended.”

“None taken.” Gibbs words were slow and weighted, forgiving but still warning.

Tony looked at the two men sitting next to each other, the two most important men in his life for better or for worse, and smiled as Gibbs met his gaze. He kept their eyes locked, drawing strength from the calmness he saw there.

“Yeah, well, Dad, you should know all about love finding you in the most unexpected ways.”

“That I do, Anthony. That I do.” Senior took a sip of his coffee and looked up in surprise. “This is really good.”

Someone,” Tony emphasized as he looked at Gibbs, “is very particular about their coffee, so I started buying the good stuff.”

“Well that I definitely approve of,” Senior responded.

“I’m not looking for your approval, Dad.” Tony’s voice was guarded again as his pulse rate jumped.

“That’s not what I meant,” Senior said, sounding as genuinely apologetic as was possible for him. Then he laid his hands out on the marble slab and traced a vein across the stone surface with his index finger. “Look, you’re both absolutely free to do whatever you want to do, obviously. And at least this way we can conveniently bypass all the getting-to-know-you awkwardness.”

“Yeah, because we’ve done that in a completely normal, boring way over the years,” Tony said sarcastically, but the smile on his face gave away his true feelings and he saw a matching grin on Gibbs’ lips. Senior laughed as he realized the irony of what Tony had said, and he put a hand on Gibbs’ back as he pushed his chair back and stood up again.

“I always knew he thought the world of you,” Senior said as he let his hand rise up to Gibbs’ shoulder. “It’s good to know you feel the same way.”

Gibbs regarded the older man carefully. “I do.”

“Well then,” Senior said, the timbre and cadence of his voice back to normal as he made his way to the front door, “I have a poker table or two with my name on them, so I’ll be going. You boys have yourselves a lovely day, and I’ll be seeing you soon.”

Tony joined him by the front door, and was not so much surprised as pleased when Senior gave him a hearty hug. Then he waved to Gibbs, who was still nursing his coffee and waved in return from the kitchen, and then the door was closed and he was gone.

Tony dropped back against the wall and sighed in relief.

“Could have been worse,” Gibbs observed, as he padded over to Tony and took Tony’s left hand in his right.

“I was expecting an explosion or two,” Tony agreed. “Thanks for acting so unruffled. You do this whole coming out to the parents thing often?” he joked.

“Nah,” Gibbs said, as he leaned in for a kiss. “Just for you.”

“Okay, so we’ve got parents, well, parent covered. Just a few co-workers to go and we’re good. Which reminds me…,” Tony said, as he reluctantly let go of Gibbs’ hand and picked up his phone again to type on it as fast as his index finger would let him, “I need to pick up a Caf-Pow for Abby tomorrow.”

“Bribe?”

“Something like that.”

He dropped the phone back onto the coffee table once more and suddenly found himself spread-eagled across it, his knees barely touching the floor as several carefully-placed magazines and a few remote controls fell haphazardly down on either side of him. He felt Gibbs’ hands at the waistband of his sweatpants, and then they were off of him and a warm, hot body was sliding up and along his ass and back.

“You do realize that this is a woven table, right? As in, might collapse at any second?” Tony warned, but then there was a lubed finger at his hole and a slick hand on his cock underneath him and he forgot why he was protesting.

“I’ll buy you a new one,” Gibbs growled at his ear, and Tony moaned as two fingers slipped into him.

“Okay, where’d you hide the lube?” Tony gasped out as a third finger stretched him deliciously, and Gibbs was back at his ear again a second later.

“Behind the pillow on the couch. Now shut up and let me fuck you.”

Then Gibbs was pushing into him, a sweet burn that filled him and made him push backwards immediately, seeking more. And more was what he got. There was no subtlety, no careful gentleness of their first few times together. It was a passion-fuelled joining of bodies as Gibbs moved hard and deep, every thrust and stroke and touch a declaration of possession and partnership and love. Tony didn’t even fight it as his arousal crested and his orgasm screamed through his body and then out of his mouth, and as he cried out he felt Gibbs pump into him one more time and lose himself too.

They lay there for a few minutes, joined and sated, until Tony’s knees started protesting at the added weight they were half-supporting.

“Gotta move,” he whispered, and Gibbs stood and then helped pull him to his feet as well. They stood there regarding each other, naked and smiling, and then Gibbs swiftly drew Tony to him in a fierce hug.

“I love you, Tony,” he murmured against Tony’s ear, and Tony couldn’t help the ridiculously big smile that took over his face.

“I love you too, Jethro,” he whispered back, then he kissed the man’s cheek and drew back slightly to look him in the eye. “I’m really going to miss you. This is… hard.”

“I know.” Gibbs sounded very apologetic as he leaned in to kiss Tony. “Look, I’ve got the place in Stillwater for a year, but I’m going to mostly live back here after Christmas. I just can’t be away from you much more.”

“When did you decide that?” Tony asked, happy but surprised by Gibbs’ decision.

“After that first weekend, I think,” Gibbs smiled fondly at him. “Being around you is helping me work through things, so it’s all good.”

“And I’m sure the amazing, ridiculously hot sex we’re having has nothing to do with your decision,” Tony said, nudging him in the side.

“It’s a bonus,” Gibbs admitted, “But mostly it’s you. What I needed was in Stillwater, until it wasn’t.”

“Well, you know that I understand about your needing to do whatever you need to do. There’s no pressure from me.”

Gibbs’ kiss was his response, slow and unhurried as his tongue met Tony’s in a re-affirming and wistful dance. When he did speak, it was with his lips still against Tony’s.

“I think we need to shower again.”

“Yes.”

“Together?”

“Yes.”

“Are you trying to delay my leaving?

“Yes.”

“Good.”

Chapter Text

“I know you’re there,” Abby’s voice rang out smugly from across the lab, where she was turned away from the door and watching something on her computer monitor. “My spidey-senses are tingling.”

Tony took in a deep breath as he stepped through the doorway, and five seconds later he was leaning over from behind Abby and placing a Caf-Pow down next to her keyboard.

“You remembered!” She gushed, and she turned to envelop him in a big hug. Then, pulling back slightly, “Thanks!”

“No problem,” Tony said, trying to sound more confident than he felt. He knew what was coming, and couldn’t forsee anything really good happening – he’d either end up blushing profusely or, worst case scenario, his dick might actually take on a life of its own with any mention of Gibbs.

“So…,” Abby began, as she picked up the Caf-Pow and sucked on the straw. “Dish! When, where, all the good stuff.”

“Uh,” Tony swallowed hard as his brain galloped through all the good stuff of the past weekend, but he finally managed to get his wandering thoughts under control just as he saw Abby cock her head slightly at him and grin.

“You’re nervous. It’s cute,” She observed, as she gave him a friendly punch on the arm. “Okay, let’s just start with the when and where.”

Tony smiled faintly, then his smile widened as he began talking. “The case up near Stillwater, when I stayed with Jethro for the weekend.”

“Oooh, Jethro,” Abby interjected, wiggling her eyebrows.

“Oh shut up!” Tony tried to fake annoyance, but his face was covered in his thinking-of-Gibbs smile and it was pointless. “Something was different right from the start for both of us,” he continued. “Tension that I couldn’t figure out. More intimate, you know, without the whole work thing in the picture. Then we started flirting and it just kind of snowballed from there.”

“So that’s why you looked like you were having a heart attack when I said you’d been sleeping with the enemy,” Abby smirked, as she sucked on the Caf-Pow straw again. “Because you’d actually been, well, you know.” She wiggled her eyebrows again. Then, “First kiss?”

Tony considered how much he wanted to share, but that seemed unobtrusive enough. “Against the kitchen counter.” She raised her eyebrows, and Tony knew what she was asking. “He kissed me.”

“Alright, bossman!” Abby crowed. “And…?”

Tony couldn’t help but grin as his eyes drifted to a random spot on the wall. “God, he’s amazing.”

“Tell me more,” Abby implored, but Tony brought himself back to the present with a slight shake of his head, and gave her an apologetic look.

“Not gonna go there, Abbs. Sorry.”

“Okay, well, let me picture things then,” she said excitedly, and she brought a finger up to her chin and tapped it thoughtfully. “You’re both on fire, just can’t get enough of each other’s bodies.” She paused, looking at Tony who was indeed a nice shade of pink. “God that’s so hot!” she sighed. Then, “He’s more dominant but you both take the lead at times. And I bet he’s all touchy-feely, totally opposite to how he is here. Well, to how he was here.”

Tony shifted slightly as his pants tightened, and he knew he needed to change the subject or make a hasty retreat.

“I plead the fifth,” he said, holding up a hand.

“Fine,” Abby said, the slight frustration clearly evident in her voice. Then, “Okay, well let’s stay away from the physical stuff – boo, by the way,” she shot a sharp look at him and Tony grinned again, “Give me the emotional run-down. Are you in loooove?”

Tony’s eyes darted down to the floor as a shy smile overtook his face.

“Oh my God, you guys!” Abby gave him another spontaneous hug. “You are seriously just so cute. How long did you like him for? You know, before that weekend?”

Tony was finally able to meet her eyes again as he considered his answer. “I honestly don’t know. A while, maybe. A long while, maybe.” He shrugged his shoulders. “I think part was denial and part was just never letting myself go there because, well, three ex-wives, hello? Can you get more straight than that?”

Abby patted his shoulder. “Must have been that DiNozzo charm. You’re just too sexy to resist.”

“Something like that,” Tony replied.

“Mind you, I never figured you for changing teams either,” Abby continued. “You do that before?”

“No,” Tony admitted firmly. “First time. Only time. Nobody else.”

“So, what,” Abby gave him a curious look, “like, he’s the one?”

Tony’s head whipped up and he felt the breath constrict in his chest at Abby’s wording. He could feel his pulse pounding in his ears as he considered feelings that he hadn’t really put words to yet, feelings with such depth and power that they half-scared him even now.

“I… I guess I hadn’t really thought about it,” Tony managed to get out, half-stumbling over his words as his brain fought over processing the emotions versus locking them away. He felt Abby’s hand on his arm and saw an encouraging smile cross her face as his eyes locked with hers.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to pry,” she said quietly. “I just have some sort of weird feeling about the two of you.”

“No, it’s okay,” Tony responded as his heart rate dropped back down to somewhere near normal. “It is different. I mean, it’s only been two months but we’ve been together in just about every other capacity for years. We didn’t go into this lightly, Abbs. There was too much at stake.”

“I know,” she said seriously. Then she grinned again. “Well, I’m so stoked about you and Gibbs and I’m rooting for you guys. Thanks for filling me in,” she said warmly as she gave him one last hug.

Tony smiled at her as he backed out of the lab. “It’s still need-to-know for now, Abbs,” he cautioned her.

She made a zipping motion across her lips and, with an overdone wink at him, she turned back to her computer.

* * * * *

 

“Hey,” Gibbs warm voice greeted him over the phone.

“Hey yourself,” Tony responded, and he couldn’t help the smile that crept across his face.

“How did things go today?”

“Well, I slept like crap. I was just getting used to having you next to me,” Tony complained fondly. He heard a grunt from over the line, so he continued, “And I was thoroughly interrogated by Abby. I didn’t give her too many x-rated details though.”

“Because she guessed them all, spot-on?”

“Yeah, pretty much.”

He heard Gibbs laughing, and the slight trepidation that he’d been feeling vanished.

“She’s really happy for us, Jethro. Like, really happy. And not just because she thinks it’s the hottest thing she’s ever heard of.”

“Well you’re the hottest thing I’ve ever heard of so it must be true.”

A moment, then, “You’re in quite a mood tonight.” Tony relished the fact that Gibbs was still flirting with him, even from so far away.

Gibbs’ voice was soft yet earnest when he spoke, and if Tony didn’t know better he’d say he thought the man was a little choked up with emotion. “I had the most amazing weekend with you, Tony, and I just can’t get you out of my mind.”

“You say that like it’s a bad thing,” Tony bugged him, feigning disappointment.

“Trust me, when you’re trying to instruct a bunch of burly men with guns at a shooting range and all you can do is think about where the target’s groin would be then yes, it’s a bit of a problem.”

Tony couldn’t help himself – the image was just too funny and he laughed out loud.

“I’m flattered, I think,” he responded, “and I wish I could say I was sorry you’re having such a hard time, but I’m not.”

“If my mouth was where I wanted it to be right now, you’d be having a hard time too,” Gibbs shot back, his voice a low growl.

“Oh believe me,” Tony sighed out, as his dick twitched in his jeans, “My pants have been feeling extra tight since the second I heard your voice.”

There was silence on the other end of the line.

“Jethro?” Tony asked, wondering if something was wrong.

“Just trying to figure out how many speeding tickets I might get if I left here and drove down to your apartment right now.”

“Mmmmm, sounds good,” Tony hummed. Then, “Speaking of which, we never really talked about when we might see each other again. You know, before Christmas. Not to sound needy or anything, but -”

“Tony,” Gibbs interrupted him, firm but tender, “Trust me, I can’t wait that long either.”

“You want to come down for Thanksgiving?” Tony asked. “That’s only a few weeks away.”

“Sure,” Gibbs replied, and Tony could hear the smile in his voice.

“I was thinking,” and Tony paused, wondering how to phrase what he wanted to say. “I was thinking that maybe we could get the team together and have dinner or something, maybe at your place.”

“You planning on telling everyone about us before then?” Gibbs voice was more curious than anything else, and Tony felt himself relax back into his couch.

“If you don’t mind? Tim’s coming over for pizza tomorrow night,” Tony replied, as he mentally ticked people off the list in his head. “I’m taking Bishop for coffee on Wednesday, barring any wild and crazy cases,” he continued, “And it’s Palmer’s kid’s birthday on the weekend so I figured I’d share the news when I bring the present in to work on Friday. That is, if Ducky hasn’t spilled the beans by then.”

Tony heard a grunt of approval over the phone, and he smiled. Then Gibbs asked, “You gonna tell Leon?”

“None of his business, really,” Tony said, shrugging his shoulders as he leaned his head back. “He’ll find out when he finds out, and that’s fine with me. I’m just not going to go out of my way to tell him.”

“Sounds good.”

You sound good.”

“Don’t get me started, DiNozzo,” Gibbs growled.

“You haven’t used my last name in a while. It sounds all sexy when you’re -”

“Tony!”

Tony smiled.

* * * * *

The knock at the door came exactly at 6pm, exactly an hour after he’d left work and exactly when he’d suggested that McGee show up. Tony grabbed two beers out of his fridge and moseyed over to the front door, and when he opened it he saw McGee with his hand raised, ready to knock again.

“Tim,” Tony greeted him casually, and he held a bottle out as McGee stepped through the doorway.

“Hey Tony,” Tim smiled as he shrugged his coat off and then took the proffered beer. “Thanks for having me over. Any night I don’t have to think about what’s for dinner is a good one.” He took a swig from the bottle and followed Tony over to the couch. The box of pizza was already set out on the coffee table, and they each took a piece as they sat down.

“So,” Tim raised his eyebrows at Tony, “What’s up?”

Tony almost choked on the pizza in his mouth. “Why do you think something’s ‘up’?”

“Well,” Tim began, as he pursed his mouth slightly, “We’ve done this often enough that I know your tells. There’s no movie involved, just the pizza and beer, so that means talking.” He took a large bite of pizza and looked over at Tony expectantly.

“You ruin all the fun,” Tony complained as he took a swig of beer from his bottle.

“You want me to ruin it some more?” Tim asked with a cheeky smile. Tony looked at him with eyes wide and mouth slightly open, so he continued. “I know you’re seeing someone, and I know it’s been going on a while. Like, since you started getting all those texts that you didn’t want to answer at your desk because they made you blush. You know, right after the case near Stillwater.”

Tony’s mouth dropped slightly more open, and Tim smiled happily. “And then the day that Gibbs came to visit, you had totally forgotten to shave that morning. Hadn’t even eaten breakfast, I think. All signs of a really good night, if you know what I mean.” Tim winked at Tony and calmly took another bite of his pizza.

“How…? Wha…? Shit,” Tony finished off, as he raised his eyes to the ceiling. Damn, he thought he’d done a half-decent job at hiding things, but working with an office full of investigators was bound to be trouble… especially with one Timothy McGee sitting right across from him all day.

“And you’ve been happy. Real happy, not fake-Tony-smile happy.”

That brought his head up, and he gazed long and hard at McGee. “You’re good.”

“Thank you.” Tim smiled genuinely at the compliment.

“So, McNosy, have you figured out who it is?” Tony asked, as he moved to the kitchen and grabbed another couple of beers from the fridge. He needed more alcohol, because this conversation had taken a total left turn from how he thought it would go.

Tim squished his mouth up as he watched Tony sit back down on the couch. “Hmmm….” He began. Then his eyes caught on something behind Tony and he froze. Two seconds later, the biggest grin spread across his face from ear to ear, and Tony let his head fall down into his hand as he shook it.

“Hey,” Tim asked with a smirk and two raised eyebrows. “Isn’t that Gibbs’ NIS hoodie behind you?”

Tony groaned as he turned to see the hoodie that Gibbs had obviously left behind on Sunday. “You really do ruin all the fun, Tim.” But as he looked back at his friend, he couldn’t help the big smile that spread across his face too.

* * * * *

“Thanks for the coffee, Tony,” Ellie said as she wrapped her hands around the paper cup to keep them warm as they walked.

“No problemo,” Tony said, wondering how to broach the subject at hand.

“So you’re seeing someone, right?” Ellie said. “Is that what this is about?”

“What?” Tony tried to look taken aback, “I can’t take my favorite probie for coffee without having an ulterior motive?”

“Tony, you never take me out for coffee.”

“Ah, true. How did you know?”

Ellie sighed happily. “Oh, you know, you’ve just been daydreaming more than usual and sending secretive messages on that phone of yours for a few months now. I had it narrowed down to a significant other or some kind of really compelling game app.”

“Right.” Tony tried not to grit his teeth. Apparently he wasn’t as good at this whole thing as he thought.

“It’s so sweet. I hope you two are really happy together.”

“Don’t you want to know who it is?” Tony asked, confused.

Ellie tilted her head at him and regarded him with a long look. “After last Friday night? Are you kidding? I was drunk, not blind.”

Tony stopped in mid-stride. “Hey, that’s what Ducky said,” he called after her.

* * * * *

“Tony!”

“Hey, Black Lung. I brought a birthday gift for the munchkin.” Tony put the gift on a nearby desk and shoved his hands into his pockets.

“Aww, you shouldn’t have.”

“Of course I should have. Uncle Tony wanted to buy the first spy set.”

“Well, that’s very kind of you. I still wish you could make it to the party but I know how it gets around here. You’d think SecNav would schedule a meeting during the week, not on a Saturday afternoon.”

“Yeah.” Tony shifted slightly. “So, Jimmy….”

Jimmy looked up from the cadaver he was working on. “What is it, Tony?”

“I just wanted to let you know that, well, that I’m seeing someone. And it’s pretty serious.”

“That’s great. What’s her name? Where’d you guys meet?”

Tony was silent for a moment, and Jimmy looked up at him again.

“Um,” Tony began, “It’s not a her.”

“Oh.” Jimmy paused and actually put his scalpel down on the autopsy table. He wrinkled his brow for a moment, and then smiled. “So… Gibbs?”

“Damn it!” Tony slammed his hand down on the table and Jimmy had the decency to jump backwards in fright. “How has everyone figured it out?”

* * * * *

“Hey Tony,” Gibbs’ voice was tender over the phone. “How’d it go?”

“We’ve been made. Made, I tell you. By all of them!” Tony shouted out.

Chapter Text

Tony stirred from his sleep on Wednesday night as the bed dipped down behind him. Two seconds later a warm body pressed up against his, and two seconds after that his brain registered that the other person was also naked.

“Sorry I’m so late,” the whisper came at his ear. “I’m glad you got my text.”

Tony nodded as he pushed backwards, and an arm snaked around from behind and came to rest on his hip.

“A seven-car pile-up and nothing for me to do but sit there and think about you.”

“Mmmhmmm,” Tony sighed, as the hard cock behind him rubbed between his ass cheeks.

“You want to go back to –”

“Jethro, I haven’t seen you in three weeks. Would you shut up and fuck me already?”

“Thought you’d never ask,” the whisper was at his ear again, and Gibbs’ grip on Tony’s hip loosened for a second as he turned away, and then it was back again even tighter than before. A few moments later the head of Gibbs’ cock was pressing at his opening, and Tony pushed against it and moaned as it slipped inside of him. Gibbs thrust forward with his hips suddenly, and Tony let out a gasp as Gibbs’ cock slid fully inside him.

“Oh God I’ve missed you,” he groaned, and then he groaned even louder as Gibbs hand shifted from his hip to his cock.

“You just want me for the sex,” Gibbs teased Tony, as he let his hand slide up Tony’s cock, over the head, and then back down again before stopping with a firm grip at the base.

“Right now, yes,” Tony shot back as he tried to pull back and get some more friction on his cock, but Gibbs was pressed firmly up behind him and he couldn’t move more than half an inch in either direction. “You gonna make me beg?” he panted out, but all Gibbs did was tighten the grip on his cock in the dark. Tony could feel his pulse pounding in his ears and the adrenaline surging through his body as Gibbs continued to hold still, and he felt like he was teetering on the precipice of something huge as the arousal kept building in him.

“Bastard!” he growled out finally. Then, in a beseeching voice that he was pretty sure Gibbs had never heard him use before, “Please!”

The movement was sharp and instantaneous as Gibbs pulled back and slammed forward into Tony, taking his breath away in the most spectacular fashion as his mouth dropped open and his eyes closed involuntarily. Then Gibbs was moving, setting up a rhythm that felt so damn good that Tony was almost content to just lie there and soak in the pleasure that was climbing ever higher inside him. Almost. Gibbs’ hand moved on his cock again without warning, and Tony swore as he thrust back towards Gibbs and then forward into Gibbs’ hand.

How do you…? Goddamnit! I want to come already,” Tony half-yelled, at whom he wasn’t quite sure.

“Then come for me,” Gibbs growled, and his palm tightened around Tony’s cock even more as he thrust harder into him.

Tony clenched around Gibbs’ cock as he came, spilling his release out with a guttural cry that spoke of long-pent-up tension and relief. Gibbs followed a few seconds later, his body shuddering against Tony’s as his orgasm ignited every synapse in his body. Gibbs let out a breathless sigh as he let his head fall to the pillow, and his hand moved back to Tony’s hip.

“Welcome home,” Tony spoke quietly from in front of him.

“I should go away more often,” Gibbs joked, but Tony tensed up in front of him and he amended, “Or not.”

“Or not.” Tony’s voice was somber as he shifted on the bed, and then he propped himself up on an elbow, still facing away from Gibbs. “We need to change the sheets.”

“Yeah.”

Both men were lying down again five minutes later after a quick clean-up in the bathroom and a change of the bedding, and Tony turned to face Gibbs but stopped short of touching him.

“What’s going on?” Gibbs asked, as he placed a tentative hand over Tony’s but didn’t push further.

Tony was silent for a moment, his thoughts whirling as he tried to form words without sounding resentful or nagging. Then, “I know this is hard for both of us,” he began, “but it’s really hard for me to keep turning my emotions on and off like this. And then when you joke about….”

He trailed off, lost for words and knowing he was liable to become a mess if he thought too hard about things. Then Gibbs hand was rubbing along his arm and pulling him into a hug, and Tony went willingly as he breathed in the scent of the man he loved with his face against Gibbs’ shoulder.

“I’m sorry, Tony. I shouldn’t have said that,” Gibbs mouthed against his temple.

“These feelings,” Tony sounded exasperated as he breathed out hard, “They’re so strong and so overwhelming and so fucking touchy and then throw in not seeing you when we’ve only really just started this more intimate part of things and –”

Gibbs’ mouth was on his before he could protest, his lips soothing and apologizing in ways that words couldn’t, and Tony felt his resistance melting slowly in the warm and gently reminder of how Gibbs felt about him. Gibbs pulled back after a while and Tony met his gaze with steady eyes.

“Forgive me?” Gibbs asked, and Tony couldn’t help it as his lips quirked up in a small smile.

“Yes.”

“You want to go back to sleep now?” Gibbs asked, a cheeky smirk firmly in place.

Tony just rolled his eyes as he settled down against Gibbs shoulder, but the small smile was still firmly in place on his lips as his breathing evened out and he fell asleep.

* * * * *

They were back in Stillwater, on Gibbs’ bed, and Gibbs was leering at him from somewhere near his groin. Then Gibbs’ head dipped down, and warm lips enveloped his cock as Gibbs’ mouth started moving over him in the most fucking fantastic way.

“Oh God!” Tony moaned out, as the assault on his dick drew arousal up and through his whole body until he felt like he was about to burst.

“Mmmmmm,” he heard and felt Gibbs hum around him, and suddenly the sensation and noise were off kilter from each other.

Tony’s eyes flew open as he realized that he’d been dreaming. And God, what a dream –

The breath flew out of his lungs as the humming came again, and a tongue swirled around the base of his cock as a slick finger pressed into him and stroked upwards.

Holy shit!” he yelled out, his body half-jumping up in realization as he felt his balls starting to tighten. “Jethro!”

He managed to lift his head up enough to see Gibbs bobbing up and down over his cock, and then icy blue eyes lifted up to meet his and Tony was gone, his hips thrusting up as electricity shot down his body and he came hard and fast in Gibbs’ mouth. He could feel the delicious tension still thrumming through his body as Gibbs released him, and then he was sinking back onto the bed, floating in a dreamy headspace once again that was only helped along by the soft kisses being placed up his chest and then up his neck.

“Good morning,” Gibbs whispered at his ear, and Tony could hear the cocky note of satisfaction in his tone.

“Quite,” Tony smiled lazily, and his eyes were still closed as he reached to the side and pulled Gibbs down for a kiss.

“I hated to wake you up, but I loved it too,” Gibbs said, as he pulled away and looked at Tony. His eyes darted to Tony’s bedside clock after a moment and Tony caught the action, and he turned and swore under his breath as he saw the time.

“I’ll repay the favor later. We’ve got to get going,” he said, as he pushed out of bed and pulled open several dresser drawers at once in search of clothes. “People will be at your house in three hours.”

Gibbs came up behind him and wrapped his arms around Tony’s frantic ones from behind. “Slow down,” he implored, as he kissed the back of Tony’s neck. “It’s a casual potluck lunch, right? We also pretty much just have to show up.”

Tony stilled under the caress and turned in his embrace until they were facing each other. “I guess so,” Tony sighed. “Good thing I ran a vacuum through the place last weekend. We can dust a bit and it should be fine.”

“You vacuumed my house?” Gibbs took a step back, looking both surprised and pleased.

“Well, yeah,” Tony shrugged. “You don’t mind, do you?”

“No, not at all. Just didn’t expect you to do something like that.”

“I wanted to,” Tony smiled at him. “Glad to help out.” He kissed Gibbs solidly on the lips and then turned around again. “Now, I really do need to get dressed.”

“Fine,” Gibbs said, and he smacked Tony’s naked butt as he walked over to his bag in the far corner of the bedroom. “But let me do the dusting once we’re there.”

“Deal.”

* * * * *

At any other house, the doorbell would have rung and someone would have gone to open it for the visitor. At Gibbs’ house it seemed that old habits died hard, as it should be, because Tony and Gibbs were wrangling several steaks at the fireplace when a voice rang out and suddenly Abby was giving them both awkward hugs from behind. Tony half-turned and greeted her, while Gibbs stood up and braced himself as he was enveloped in a full-on head-to-toe hug.

“Gibbs!” She sighed against his shoulder. “It’s so good to see you again. I miss you, and I swear Bert does too because he just hasn’t been farting quite the same these past few months.”

Tony heard Gibbs chuckle and he smiled to himself. It was good to have Gibbs here, good for everyone. He was still an integral part of the team, part of the family, even though he wasn’t at NCIS anymore, and it was good to know that some things didn’t change.

The next twenty minutes saw the arrival of McGee, Bishop, Ducky, and finally Palmer, who pushed through the door loaded down with drinks and staggered his way to the kitchen.

“Hey, Jimmy,” Tony called as he ran to help the man unload his bottles of soda and beer, “Let me grab those from you.” He grabbed the two six-packs and set them down on the counter next to the fridge.

“Thanks, Tony,” Jimmy said, and he looked relieved as he wiped at his brow. “It’s cold outside but that made me work up a sweat.” He glanced around the kitchen before whispering conspiratorially at Tony, “I didn’t want to break anything here in Gibbs’ house.”

“Relax,” Tony whispered back. “He can’t have you fired anymore.”

“Oh, right.” Palmer looked relieved, and he grabbed a beer and took a swig from it before setting it down on the kitchen counter. “Thanks for having this get-together at lunch time, by the way. You know, keeping dinner time free for extended family meals.”

“No problem,” Tony replied with a small smile as his friend walked past him and left the kitchen, but he felt his gut clench suddenly as the reality of Palmer’s statement hit home. He didn’t know if the whole white picket fence, wife, and two kids had ever exactly been his dream, but here he was, pushing fifty, with only his job to keep him company. And the love of a good man he reminded himself. Then he smiled wryly at the thought, at the irony of the situation that he and Gibbs were in – two attractive but older men who had somehow managed to mess up almost every romantic relationship, both fixated on their jobs, both with little family short of those they had spent all those long hours working with… both finding each other somehow on this current trip around the sun. He felt like Last Dance should be playing in the background.

“Hey, you okay in here?” A warm hand squeezed his shoulder, and as he turned around the hand dropped to his waist and pulled him close. Tony let his head fall against Gibbs’ face and he nuzzled there for a minute before kissing gently along Gibbs’ jawbone to his mouth. The kiss was soft, intimate but chaste, and as Tony pulled back he let his eyes drink in the sight in front of him. All for him. Gibbs was all his.

“Just thinking about how lucky I am to have you,” Tony whispered, well-aware of how many other people were milling around nearby. Then, just a breath louder, “I love you.”

The side of Gibbs’ mouth curled up slightly in the exact way that made Tony’s insides wobble a bit, and he heard a low, “I love you, Tony,” before Gibbs was pressing their mouths together again in a decidedly less-than-chaste kiss. Tony lost himself for a moment, forgetting about the food and the company and half-drowning in the tingling sensations that raced across his lips and tongue and down and around his body. He found himself grasping at the front if Gibbs’ shirt, grounding himself there as his heart and head were bombarded with feel-good emotions.

It took just about all his strength to pull back, and when he did he noticed the unusual quietness only a second before a loud whistle rang out. Tony looked over Gibbs’ shoulder and out towards the dining room, where he saw Abby grinning like an idiot and giving them two thumbs up while McGee and Bishop looked on, smiles also plastered on their faces.

Gibbs kept an arm around Tony as he half-turned to see what was going on, and Tony caught the glimpse of a smile before Gibbs barked out, “Alright, show’s over!”

McGee and Bishop did quick about-turns and took their plates of food to the living room, but Abby was not so easily dissuaded. She took a few tentative steps closer and clutched her hands together.

“Oh my God, you guys are just, like, the –”

“Hottest thing ever. Yeah, we know, Abbs,” Gibbs interrupted her gruffly, although the lop-sided smile on his face gave his true feelings away.

“Well, yeah, ridiculously,” she said as she rolled her eyes. “But just, I don’t know… something just seems so right about seeing the two of you like this, like it was meant to be this way. I mean, obviously you guys wouldn’t be together if you didn’t feel like you were supposed to be, but you know what I mean? Right? Like –”

“Got it, Abbs,” Tony smiled encouragingly at her. “And thanks for your support.”

“No problemo,” she replied, and then with a sly wink at them she turned and followed after the other two.

Tony pulled Gibbs further into the kitchen, until they were standing near the back door where nobody could see them.

“Okay, no more making out when the team’s around,” he sighed against Gibbs’ lips.

“Yeah.” Gibbs almost sounded disappointed.

“We have guests to attend to.”

We. I like the sound of that,” Gibbs mused, and he pressed his lips to Tony’s one last time before pulling back and squeezing his hand. “Let’s go.”

* * * * *

Lunch had gone exceptionally well after that, and Tony had enjoyed watching a more relaxed Gibbs chat and interact with their friends. He’d especially enjoyed doing so from the seat right next to Gibbs on the couch, where the older man had firmly entwined their hands and not let got from the minute that Tony had set his fork down on his empty plate. He’d also watched surreptitiously as the occasional glance at their hands had left people with smiles on their faces, and each time he’d found himself feeling extremely grateful that the team were so accepting of the two of them together.

People seemed reluctant to leave, but Palmer and Bishop eventually excused themselves around 3pm followed shortly by McGee and Abby. Ducky’s offer to help with clean-up and dishes was welcomed by both men, and Gibbs invited him to stay for a leftovers dinner. Tony knew how close Gibbs and Ducky were, and how Ducky also didn’t have anyone to spend Thanksgiving dinner with, so he was more than glad that the M.E. could join them for a few more hours and Tony had busied himself with sorting out some of his own things upstairs so that the other two could catch up a bit.

By the time 7pm rolled around, Ducky could barely get through a sentence without yawning and he bade them farewell not long after that. Tony stifled his own yawn as he stood to the side of Gibbs near the front door and watched as Ducky backed out onto the road and, with a cheery honk of his car horn, disappeared down the road.

Gibbs closed the door and turned to regard Tony.

“Thanks for organizing that. It was really good to see everyone,” he paused, cocking his head to the side, “and some of them got an eyeful as well.”

Tony took a step towards Gibbs, stopping just short of their bodies actually touching each other. “Didn’t hear you complaining,” he teased, his voice low and thick.

“I wasn’t.”

Tony raised an eyebrow. This new, more mellow Gibbs was still taking some getting used to. The man, who was notoriously secretive about his private life, had evidently had a change of heart somewhere along the road. He couldn’t imagine the Gibbs of years past shrugging off being caught in a heated lip-lock with a significant other, especially around the whole team, and his heart swelled just a little bit as extra adrenalin kicked in from somewhere. Tony took Gibbs’ hand and pulled him towards the stairs.

“I still have a little favor to return from earlier,” he said, trying to put on his most sexy come-hither voice.

“Little?” Gibbs regarded him with thinly-veiled amusement, but he let himself be led along.

“Oh shush,” Tony growled at him. “Semantics.” He let Gibbs climb up two of the steps before he spun the man around and pushed him down, his butt landing with a satisfying hard thump on the landing. Gibbs gaped up at him in wordless surprise for a second before Tony’s lips met his, and his hands began working on the man’s belt and the zipper of his jeans.

“Lift,” Tony ordered, his lips still dancing over Gibbs’, and he braced himself with one hand and tugged Gibbs’ pants out from under him and down his legs until they pooled around his ankles.

Tony pulled back slightly, taking in the wide-eyed and aroused look on Gibbs’ face for a moment, and then with a smirk he pushed at Gibbs’ shoulders until the man was lying flat on his back. Tony straddled Gibbs’ legs on the stairs and surveyed the scene with satisfaction. His eyes locked on Gibbs’, dark with desire and anticipation, and he licked his lips.

“You gonna suck my cock already?”

Tony was pretty sure that Gibbs had intended to sound arrogant and dismissive, but the question came out as a pleading whisper instead, completely belying his gruff exterior.

Tony smirked again, and he ran a finger along the length of Gibbs’ hard cock.

“Mmmm, I’m thinking about it.”

He looked down as he let his fingers wrap around Gibbs cock and squeeze lightly, and he heard a sharp intake of breath from above him.

“Think faster.”

Tony lowered his head towards Gibbs’ groin, but stopped when he was a few inches away and glanced up. Those same dark eyes met his again, emotions flickering through them rapidly, and Tony couldn’t keep up the act anymore. He let his genuine smile show through, winked at Gibbs, and dropped down.

Holy sh-

Gibbs’ words were lost as Tony’s mouth closed around him and he bucked up involuntarily, already too high and too hard and too worked up. Tony sensed it and tried to withdraw slightly, but suddenly Gibbs’ hand was pushing down on his head and so he smiled instead to himself as he pressed down over Gibbs’ cock again and swirled his tongue around near its base. He dragged his lips up and then pushed down another time, then a third and fourth and soon enough he knew that Gibbs was about to lose it. Not that he was counting. It was just thrilling to know the effect that he had on the man.

“Tony….” Gibbs voice was an urgent growl of warning, and then his back was arching off the floor and he was pushing up as his feet found some purchase on the stairs beneath him. His release pulsed into Tony’s mouth, and Tony drank it down without a second thought before licking around the head of Gibbs’ cock for good measure.

Then the hand at his head was pulling upwards, and Tony was drawn along Gibbs’ body until his lips were crushed to Gibbs’ in a heady kiss. He braced himself on his elbows above the man and dipped his tongue into Gibbs’ mouth, his own body fairly quivering with pent-up energy and lust. Gibbs seemed to read him, though, because Tony felt warm hands pushing under his shirt and then pushing down on the zipper of his own jeans, and Gibbs drew Tony’s cock out of his pants and began working his hand up and down along its length.

Tony found himself trembling from the exertion of holding himself up like that, but the position pulled on his muscles in an enticingly different way that added an extra jolt of heat to each stroke of Gibbs’ hand.

“You were right,” he managed to gasp out. “Holy shit.”

He let his eyes close as the now-familiar fire began sweeping through his body, the flames licking at every crevice and fanning over every crest as the pressure in his core built… and then the bliss was surging through him, as Gibbs pressed down to the base of his cock and let Tony strain against him in erratic thrusts of pleasure. The tension finally dissipated along with any semblance of energy that Tony had left, and he dropped down and rolled to the side of Gibbs on the landing.

“God, I hope nobody comes back tonight. They’d really get an eyeful right now,” Tony sighed out.

A wry chuckle from Gibbs was his only response.

“You locked the door, right?” Tony asked a minute later, as it suddenly occurred to him just how precarious of a position they were in, especially given Gibbs’ lax security tendencies at his home.

Gibbs turned his head and Tony got the royal two-raised-eyebrows treatment. “Since you and I started doing this?” Gibbs emphasized, and the corner of his mouth curled up in a half-smile. “Yeah.”
* * * * *

They had showered and settled downstairs on the couch with a couple of blankets, a blazing fire, and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles in occasional powdery static on the ancient TV. It was around the time that the end credits started rolling that Tony’s phone beeped with an incoming text message, and he leaned forward to pick it up off the coffee table and found his way to the right screen.

He knew his tone was flat and laced with disappointment as he read out loud, but he didn’t care. Didn’t care around Gibbs, at least.

Happy Thanksgiving, son.

“Oh.”

“Wish he would have called instead.”

Tony felt Gibbs’ warm hand on his thigh, and it squeezed lightly before Gibbs spoke softly. “You could have called him, too.”

Tony turned his head to look at Gibbs, and he knew that the man expected him to react. But all Tony did was shake his head. “I know.” He paused, as he let his eyes drift downwards and he picked at the edge of the blanket over their legs. “Truthfully, I didn’t even think of him until now. And that makes me feel even worse.” Tony let his head fall against the back of the couch and he rubbed at his forehead, trying to think of what to do.

“You wanna text him back? I’m sure he’d appreciate it.”

Tony looked at Gibbs again, and dropped his hand down onto the man’s knee as he leaned forward again to type on his phone. One of the good things about Gibbs was that Tony knew he could count on him to reserve the platitudes and keep any unnecessary sympathies to a minimum. Five seconds later he was done, and he set his phone back down on the coffee table and stared at it.

“You okay?”

“Yeah.” Tony’s hand found its way back to Gibbs’ knee, and his fingers traced lazy circles around it. “Sometimes I just wish that we were closer, you know? He’s the only family I have, really.” Then he paused again and gave Gibbs an apologetic look. “Hey, I’m sorry. Here I am waxing on about Senior and this is your first Thanksgiving since Jack….”

Gibbs’ hand covered Tony’s at his knee, and gripped it firmly. “It’s okay. Nice to hear you talking about him a bit.”

Tony’s phone buzzed again, and he picked it up and read.

Hope you and Gibbs are keeping each other warm. It’s a balmy eighty-five degrees down here in Barbados.

Tony huffed out through his nose. “Okay, now I don’t feel so bad anymore.” He pushed three buttons and laid the phone down again.

“That was quick,” Gibbs observed, sounding rather curious.

“I sent an emoticon of a person sticking their tongue out. Seemed appropriate.”

“Emoti-what?” Gibbs looked confused for a second, but then he smiled slowly as he figured it out for himself. “Ah, right.”

The phone buzzed again.

“Oh for fucks sake!” Tony half-yelled, but he was smiling as he swiped his finger across the screen. His face grew more serious as he read the message, though, and Gibbs raised an eyebrow at him expectantly as he waited for Tony to speak.

Tony cleared his throat, and when he spoke his voice was soft and unsteady.

“He wants to see us at Christmas, for a day or two.”

“Okay. So, what’s the problem?”

Tony pursed his lips. “We’re going to be in Stillwater.”

Gibbs shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly. “Invite him along.”

“Oh. Okay.” Tony visibly relaxed as he punched a return message into his phone, then he turned to Gibbs and kissed him, their lips lingering against each other in a sweet and familiar intimacy.

“Thanks,” Tony smiled as he eventually pulled away.

“Tony, he’s family.” Gibbs shrugged again, trying to brush off the whole thing, but Tony caught the glint of moisture at the corner of his right eye.

“You know what?” Tony said, and a mischievous grin flittered across his face. “I’m putting you in charge of figuring out where we’re going to have sex, because I am not doing it with my father in the next room.”

A beautiful smile filled Gibbs’ face two seconds later, and Tony felt himself half-melt at the sight. “Is that so?”

“Yeah. Your bed squeaks.”

“My bed here doesn’t.”

“Are you sure? I may need to test that theory out again.”

Gibbs gave Tony a long, lusty look. “We’ve got all weekend. I’m counting on it.”

Chapter Text

Tony found himself wide awake at 6am the next morning, disgustingly early for someone who didn’t have to go in to work and who had no intention of joining the throngs of Black Friday shoppers looking for deals on TVs and KitchenAid Mixers. A quick glance to the other side of the bed showed Gibbs, curled up and facing away from him, still fast asleep. Tony slipped out of bed and pulled on a t-shirt, hoodie, shorts, and runners, and headed downstairs. He put the coffee machine on and scrawled a note about going for a run in case Gibbs woke up and wondered where he’d gone.

Gone for a run. Be back soon.

He regarded the piece of paper on the counter, feeling like it was missing something. He picked up the pen again.

Love, Tony, he added.

He regarded the piece of paper once more. It had been a long time since he’d signed his name that way, and the word looked foreign but good. Satisfied, he grabbed his cell phone and headed out the front door.

The air outside was brisk and bracing, still chilly in the pre-dawn darkness of the late-November morning. There was a five-mile loop that he’d run around Gibbs’ neighbourhood before, on the few occasions when he’d stayed over, and his feet automatically followed the familiar route again this time. He didn’t have to think about where he was going, and found his mind drifting between Gibbs and his dad and work, and back to Gibbs again in a free association-type loop. Tony had never found running to be a good way to get any deep thinking done – the shower was his place for that – and so he was quite happy to let the random and disjointed thoughts from his brain slip in and out of his consciousness as his feet pounded along the road.

Man, I am so. far. gone. And it’s all very, very, good.
I wonder where Dad’s staying in Barbados?
Damn, I forgot to give those forms to Vance on Wednesday.
Can’t believe we made out in front of half the team.
Where are we going with this?

But after three miles, the thoughts were a little less disjointed and he found himself looping back around to just one, over and over again like a stuck record: Where are we going with this?

Tony shook his head as he ran, trying to get rid of the invisible cobwebs that seemed to be clawing at him. Eventually, he slowed to a walk and let his heart rate and breathing get back to something approximating normal as his feet kept moving in an easy and light rhythm.

One. Two. One. Two.

His brain fog cleared slightly and he took in several deep breaths of the cold air.

Where were they going? Was it something he even needed to think about? Yeah, probably. Gibbs would be back in town in just over a month – what then? Would one of them suggest moving in with each other? Or something more? The whole moving-in thing didn’t feel quite right in his gut, maybe because their relationship already felt very permanent. Like, forever permanent… short of one of them being a totally unforgiveable ass.

Tony chuckled at that, then sombered quickly.

Forever. That was a long time. A looooong time. The only other forever he’d entertained before was Wendy. Hmmmm, first his high school music teacher, now his former boss. Maybe there was a pattern there.

Tony grinned wryly to himself.

Knowing Gibbs for almost twenty years already in the way that he did definitely framed things differently in their relationship, though. Two and a half months in and the physical side of things was obviously still at inferno level, but without the usual insecurity that accompanied a new relationship because, really, it wasn’t a new relationship. It was a new level in their relationship, a relationship already based on trust and friendship that had stood the proverbial test of time.

Tony glanced at his watch, and shook his head as he picked up his pace once more.

God, it wasn’t even 7am yet. Too fucking early for all that deep stuff.

Still, he knew they’d have to talk about it at some point, and he found himself unsuccessfully trying to get the thoughts out of his brain for the rest of his run.

* * * * *

Tony pushed through the front door of Gibbs’ house ten minutes later and found Gibbs sitting at the dining room table with a book, reading while eating a piece of toast.

With those damn glasses on.

Tony did a double take and found his body immediately responding. His hot, sweaty, desperately-in-need-of-a-shower body.

Shit!” he mumbled under his breath.

“And good morning to you too,” Gibbs looked up at him with a grin, and he took the glasses off his face and set them carefully down on the table in front of him. “I got your note. Everything okay?”

Tony shifted his weight from one foot to the other, debating whether or not to let Gibbs in on the added merits of his glasses. Then he figured what the hell.

“Do you have any idea how hot you look when you wear those?” Tony asked, as his eyes darted down to the table. Gibbs studied him for a moment then, keeping his eyes on Tony, picked up the glasses and set them back on his face.

“What, these?” he asked, and the devil-may-care attitude with which he said it only served to make Tony’s pants feel even tighter. Tony bit at his bottom lip, trying to appear calm and collected, and then Gibbs smirked at him. “Maybe.”

Tony rolled his eyes and sighed out loudly, “You’re evil.” Then he turned away and loped off towards the stairs. “I need to shower,” he threw back over his shoulder, and he could hear Gibbs’ chuckle following him up the stairs.

Twenty minutes later he was back downstairs, in ass-hugging jeans and a long-sleeve shirt that all but clung to his torso. He caught Gibbs watching him as he walked through the dining room and into the kitchen to grab some coffee, and smiled smugly to himself.

Good. Two could play at that game.

But as he returned to the dining room and Gibbs – who had apparently elected to keep his glasses on despite the fact that the book was now nowhere to be seen – his phone rang. The call display read Vance and Tony swore again. He looked apologetically at Gibbs and mouthed “We’re on call” as he answered. A minute later he was done, and he set the phone down on the table and sank onto a chair.

“I have to go in. There’s a dead Marine out at Fort Dupont Park, not too far from the office.” Tony considered for a minute, and then looked at Gibbs. “You want to come along?”

Gibbs looked at Tony over the rim of his mug as he took a long sip of his coffee. Then he set it down on the table, and grinned. “Sure.”

* * * * *

They stepped into the elevator together, and Tony pulled Gibbs in for a leisurely kiss as they were whisked up to the bullpen. His tongue sought out Gibbs’ as he let a hand slide down to the man’s ass, and he felt a thrill of anticipation as Gibbs pushed him back against the rear wall of the elevator and pressed their bodies together.

“Gonna have to keep my hands off you for a little while now,” Tony sighed out a few seconds later, and he pulled back as the elevator slowed and the doors opened.

“That’s okay,” Gibbs smiled knowingly at him as they stepped out. “We’ve got plenty of time.”

“Hey Tony, Gibbs,” McGee greeted them from his desk. He had his Go Bag sitting next to his keyboard, and his camera bag was slung over one shoulder. There were assorted Best Buy gifts bags littering the space behind his desk, and Tony guessed that his friend had been in the middle of some discount shopping when he’d been called in.

Tony was about to return the greeting when Vance’s booming voice sounded out from the second floor, and he looked up to see the man standing there with a pensive look on his face. Vance’s eyes slid over to Gibbs, and he paused before nodding at the man and returning his gaze at Tony again.

“Agent DiNozzo, would you mind joining me in my office for a minute?” Vance didn’t wait for a reply, but turned in the direction of his office and walked away.

Tony grabbed some file folders from his desk drawer, and looked over at McGee and then at Gibbs. “The Almighty calls. I’d better take him these reports I forgot to give him on Wednesday. Be back in a jiff.” And with that, Tony was off and bounding up the stairs.

Vance had left the door to his office open, so Tony walked right in. There was minimal staff in the building because of it being a holiday weekend, and Vance’s secretary was not at her desk but there was an unfamiliar person in Vance’s office with him. Vance looked up from the computer monitor that he and the other man were standing behind, and gave Tony his usual stern look.

Tony stopped in his tracks, his jovial countenance immediately replaced by his “serious workplace” face. He held the folders up and cleared his throat.

“Uh, these are the reports from Wednesday,” he offered, but Vance didn’t move so Tony took a few steps forward and placed them on his desk. Then he looked at the man again, waiting. After what seemed like an eternity of mildly amused scrutiny, Vance gave Tony a small smile and spoke.

“Agent DiNozzo, this is Agent Dalgarno from the I.T. department,” he said, indicating the other man with a nod of his head. “Pursuant to your team’s ill-received Halloween prank several weeks ago, Agent Dalgarno has been showing me the live feed from the newly-installed security cameras in the elevators of this building.”

Tony tried to look appropriately obsequious as he listened, but suddenly he froze and paled visibly. His eyes flicked from Vance to the rear of the computer monitor, and back to Vance again.

No. Surely not? Oh crap.

“I just wanted to let you know that the cameras are in fact now live, so that you can inform your team.” And Gibbs went unsaid, but Vance looked like a kid in a candy store by that point and Tony just wanted to hightail it out of there.

“Uh, thanks,” Tony cleared his throat again, his voice suddenly hoarse and scratchy as he backed up towards the door. “We’re heading out to the site now. I’ll check in later,” he managed to get out, and he turned in the doorway and walked away as fast as he dared, not waiting for a reply.

Chapter Text

Tony took the stairs back down to the bullpen two at a time, and almost ran straight into Gibbs as he turned the corner at the bottom. He put out his hands to brace himself against the man’s chest, and took in a deep steadying breath as Gibbs’ hands came up to hold his hips. The touch was brief, there one second and gone the next, but it served its purpose and Tony smiled hesitantly.

“Do we need to talk?” Gibbs asked, a slight frown creasing his forehead as he nodded towards the elevator.

Tony’s eyes blazed for a moment, half in anxiety and half in amusement, and he shook his head. “Not there.” Then he looked over Gibbs shoulder and spotted McGee watching the two of them. “Tim!” he yelled across the bullpen. “Campfire. Now!”

Tony let his hand reach to tug at Gibbs’ as he moved past, and five seconds later they were both crowding around Tim at his desk. Tim looked from Tony to Gibbs, and back to Tony again, a slightly bewildered expression on his face.

Tony cleared his throat and tried to keep his face from flushing beet red.

“Remember that Halloween stunt that you and Bishop pulled in the elevator?” he asked, both eyebrows raised for emphasis.

“Uh… yeah,” Tim answered, his voice defiant in the face of Tony’s stare. “You mean, the one that was your idea?”

Tony pursed his lips slightly. Damnit. Right.

“Well,” he continued on, undeterred and just wanting to get the news out, “Those security cameras that Vance threatened us with are now up and live. As of first thing this morning,” he said, and at that point he turned and looked apologetically at Gibbs.

It was Gibbs’ turn to raise both his eyebrows, but a small grin pulled at the corner of his mouth and Tony let out a large sigh.

“So, yeah, Vance knows,” he finished off.

“Vance knows what?” Tim asked, still oblivious to the undercurrent of non-verbal communication that was sweeping between the two men in front of him.

Tony shot him a hard look. “Vance knows,” Tony emphasized, and he grabbed Gibbs’ hand briefly in his as a visual aid.

Tim paled slightly as he figured out what Tony was talking about. “Oh.” Then he smiled, a tentative, private smile meant just for the two of them. “Is that okay? I mean, we all know, right?”

Tony sighed again and tapped his fingers on Tim’s desk in front of him for a moment. “Yeah, it’s okay. Just not exactly how I wanted him to find out.”

“Good thing I don’t need an office anymore,” Gibbs observed wryly, before taking a step back and giving them a questioning look. “Don’t you two have somewhere to be?”

“Oh, right.” Tony whipped around and grabbed his camera, his Go Bag, and his badge and gun. “I hope Bishop is enjoying warm, sunny Oklahoma and not being at work today,” he said as the three of them made for the elevator.

Tony gave Gibbs another apologetic look as the doors opened and the three of them stepped in, but he had to stop himself from chuckling as Gibbs stared pointedly at the now-apparent camera for their entire ride down to the parking garage.

Tony could just imagine Vance laughing at them up in his office.

* * * * *

They pulled to a stop behind the police cruiser near the Fort Dupont Summer Theatre, home to free seasonal concerts and their latest homicide. Ducky parked right behind them in his M.E. van, and soon they were getting gloves and gear together and heading towards the police officer that they could see standing guard near the stage. Tony looped his camera around his neck as they walked, mirroring Tim, and smiled. It had been a while since they’d worked a case without Bishop and it would be nice to do a bit more of the grunt work again, even if that meant just helping with the photos.

He looked over at Gibbs, who was walking and talking with Ducky a few feet away, and smiled even wider. It seemed so normal to have him here, and yet the circumstances were so very different to the last case they’d actually worked together. It had been almost five months yet here everyone was, still just as close and almost as if nothing had changed. Gibbs really had created a deep loyalty, a pseudo-family with his rag-tag band of merry men and women and that bond was still as strong as anything.

The police officer took a few steps towards them, away from the swaths of yellow tape surrounding the theatre, and smiled.

“Corporal Holmes,” he said by way of introduction, and he looked at them expectantly.

Tim and Tony flashed their badges and I.D.s and introduced themselves, and Ducky gave the young officer a long, hard look from beside the gurney he had been pulling and the man nodded in assent. Then he turned to Gibbs, who was standing slightly to the side of the others, and waited.

“Uh, I’m retired,” was all Gibbs said, as he raised his hands up and back away a few feet.

Tony gave Corporal Holmes his most winsome smile. “I don’t suppose he could help us out? We are down an agent this weekend, and he knows this stuff backwards.”

“Sorry,” Corporal Holmes said, his smile still in place but his voice more firm, “Only authorized personnel.”

“No problem,” Gibbs said, and he gave Tony a fond smile as he backed up another few steps. “I’ll just go for a walk.”

Topy smiled back, his heart beating that little bit faster as it always did when Gibbs looked at him that way, and he watched the man turn and head for the paved pathway nearby. Then he turned back to Corporal Holmes, all business.

“Do you mind sticking around, just to ward off any looky-loos while we do our thing?” he asked. “Don’t need any kids seeing what a bullet through the chest looks like.”

“Not at all, Agent DiNozzo. That’s what I’m here for.”

Tony gave him a curt nod and headed towards the stage, where Tim and Ducky were already getting started. He eyed the heavily forested area around the stage as he walked, and turned around after about five yards and walked backwards instead, calling out to the officer again.

“Hey, did anybody clear the area –”

And that’s when he felt it: the harsh sting at the side of his neck and, barely a second later, another impact against his chest and a sharp pain as he was propelled backwards and down to the ground.

The sound of two gunshots registered a moment later, almost ethereally, as his head and body hit the grass and hard-packed soil and his pulse set up a raging beat in his skull. He moaned raggedly, all he could get out as a cloud of haziness descended on him.

Yelling. Lots of yelling. Footsteps running away, giving chase.

Shoes running towards him. A familiar face, dark hair.

“Tony!”

Tim.

Hands prodding, probing, pulling at something around his neck. The camera.

“By golly!”

Ducky.

Quack, quack. Ha ha.

Hard footfalls, fast, and rapid breathing. Then silver hair, stormy blue eyes.

Jethro.

“Tony! Tony, oh God.”

Jethro. “Jethro.”

“Tony?”

He wheezed out a breath, the air in his chest constricted and the movement painful.

“I’m still alive.” Another wheeze. “Everyone can get their panties out of a bunch.”

He could hear Tim calling 911, and then distant yelling that was so loud he couldn’t help but crank the corners of his lips up in a weak smile.

“Got you, you son of a bitch!”

Corporal Holmes.

The fog was lifting, but the pain in his neck was getting worse and he tried lifting a hand to it.

“Easy, my dear boy. Let me see to that.”

Then Ducky was applying pressure to his neck, and Gibbs was staring helplessly down at him even as Tony tried to smile encouragingly in return. His left hand fished around, patting the ground, a leg, until the hand that he was looking for smoothed over his and grasped it gently. Shaking slightly

“Jethro.”

There were sirens in the distance, and as they grew closer Tony’s eyes rolled slightly.

They’re for me.

“Tony, you okay?”

Must have been the eye roll.

“Okay. Just… funny.”

A pause, then Gibbs’ voice, gruff and tight. “Right.”

And then there was mayhem once more as the paramedics arrived, and Gibbs was shooed away again as Ducky gave them a run-down on the situation as they hoisted Tony onto a stretcher and carried him over to the ambulance. Then the doors were closing and somebody placed an oxygen mask over his face.

“Grwibs?” He tried speaking around it, but it was hard.

The paramedic in the back with him glanced down, but his attention was drawn elsewhere as the ambulance lurched away from the curb and sped off down the road. Tony didn’t have the strength to try to ask again or fight against the fog that was settling back over him like a warm, fuzzy blanket, so he closed his eyes.

Just for a minute.

* * * * *

He could tell the lights were bright even before he opened his eyes. There was a dull, warm glow shining through his eyelids that spoke of overhead fluorescence, and he lay still as he cracked one eye open and assessed himself.

The pain was okay... kind of muted, but he could still tell that his chest and the side of his neck were sore. He wiggled his arms and legs. All still attached, good. He fumbled for the keypad at the side of his bed and raised it slightly, then he lifted up the top of the flimsy hospital gown he was wearing and looked down at his chest. A myriad of bandages were covering up who-knows-what in the middle, right over his sternum, but he wasn’t heavily sedated or attached to more than an I.V. so that was probably a good sign. He lifted a hand to the side of his neck and felt there, too. Another bandage. And his head was still pounding but more in a person-kneading dough-on-a-counter way than a bongo drum kind of way.

The room was private, with the typical bed, a few chairs, and a flatscreen TV against the far wall. Tony looked towards the window but the curtains were drawn against the sun.

Then he heard raised voices through the door, which was cracked open. A strange voice and a familiar voice, battling it out somewhere down the hallway.

“I need to see him!”

“I’m sorry, sir, but he’s only been out of surgery for half an hour and needs to rest. Only an immediate family member would -”

“Don’t ‘sir’ me! I’m the closest thing to immediate family that he has around here. Check the ‘next of kin’ notification on his records, for fuck’s sake!”

Goodness, Gibbs swearing in public - that was a new one.

Then there was furtive discussion in lower voices, and Tony craned his neck towards the door but it didn’t help and only served to make his wounds throb. He laid his head back against the pillow and stared at the ceiling for a minute, waiting for the doctor or nurse or whoever was outside to decide Gibbs’ fate, but then he got an idea. He reached for the keypad again and pressed the call button. Again. And again. And again, and he heard a satisfying repeated pinging down the hallway at what he surmised must be the nurse’s station.

It was barely ten seconds before a man with a stethoscope around his neck pushed the door further open and walked in to the room, and Tony could just tell that is was the same person who had been speaking with Gibbs.

Tony mustered as much energy as he could and spoke through gritted teeth. “Let him in, or I’m climbing out of bed and walking myself and this I.V. pole over to him.”

The doctor did a good job of not looking too bothered by the thinly-veiled threat, and then the corner of his lips quirked up in a smile.

“Well, the fact that you’re awake and obviously have all your faculties about you does change things,” he responded, looking down at Tony from next to the bed.

“Good.”

“Before I let him in, would you like to know what actually happened to you since you arrived here?” Another knowing smile from the doctor, and Tony knew he looked a bit sheepish as he nodded.

“Well,” the doctor, whose name tag read “Dr Wheeler,” continued, “You’re an incredibly lucky man, Agent DiNozzo. A bullet grazed the side of your neck, and you have six stitches there. And a second bullet rammed itself sideways through your expensive camera and more or less exploded the LCD screen into your chest, but the bullet itself didn’t make it through.”

Tony’s jaw was somewhere down near the floor at that point, and he made a concerted effort to shut it. He couldn’t believe that the camera had saved his life. If Bishop had been there today and he hadn’t been wearing it….

“We had to remove the glass from your chest. Luckily, none of it was buried too deeply because of the jacket you were wearing – only two stitches needed,” Dr Wheeler carried on, “and the bandage is just to keep the area as sterile as possible and to protect the injury from chafing against your clothing. You need to change that daily for a week, by the way. Honestly, I think the slight concussion you got from falling to the ground is the most serious thing you’re dealing with right now. You should be okay for desk work by Monday, but stay away from field work for a couple weeks.”

Tony was looking at him with wide eyes, and managed to mumble a “Thank you” as all the information swirled around in his head. Dr Wheeler nodded and moved towards the door, then stopped and turned back.

“We’ll have the I.V. out in the next hour, and you’re free to go as soon as you feel well enough so long as there’s someone to keep an eye on you for the next 48 hours.”

“Uh, yeah, that’d be him outside,” Tony smiled wryly.

The doctor nodded again and left the room, and five seconds later Gibbs was pushing through the door with both a frown and a smile fighting for dominance on his face.

“Hey,” Tony greeted him quietly from his inclined position on the bed, and Gibbs marched over and looked like he wanted to wrap Tony up in a big hug but he held back, settling instead for a soft kiss on the lips. Then he pulled back and just stared down at Tony for a few moments, emotions swirling in his eyes and playing across his face like an open book.

“I thought I’d lost you there for a minute,” he said, finally speaking in a low, rough voice. “Scariest minute of my life.” He ran his fingers along Tony’s arm, up past the bandage on his neck, and stopped as he caressed Tony’s cheek. The intimate gaze became too much for Tony after a few moments, hitting at some long-hidden part of himself with such force that it hurt, and so he finally broke their eye contact and gestured towards the door, hoping to lighten the mood.

“I thought he was going to make you marry my sorry ass before he’d let you in here,” Tony joked, but when he looked back at Gibbs the gaze was even more intense and an eyebrow was raised up in consideration.

Tony swallowed hard, half-afraid and half-excited as he wondered what Gibbs was thinking. They really needed to talk, maybe once his head felt a bit more clear.

Gibbs was the one who broke their eye contact this time, and he ran his fingers back down Tony’s arm until their hands came to rest together.

“Your ass is anything but sorry,” he whispered fondly, with a hint of humor in his voice, “And I would have done anything to see you. Just as well they don’t let me carry a sidearm anymore.”

“Oh yeah, that would have made a great impression,” Tony chuckled, and the tense mood was suddenly broken.

“So, when are they gonna detach you from Skinny Pete here?”

“What?” Tony asked, looking confused. Gibbs gestured over at the I.V. pole, and Tony laughed again, even though it hurt slightly. “Within the hour, apparently. And then you get to chauffeur me home and play nurse for the rest of the weekend.”

Gibbs smirked and raised his eyebrows at Tony.

“I didn’t mean it like that,” Tony rolled his eyes, “Although….”

That brilliant white Gibbs smile was back in place, and Tony returned it with one of his own. Gibbs gave his hand a squeeze, and gazed down at Tony intensely once again before speaking.

“So, home… my place? Yours?” He looked a little unsure, knowing the question was slightly loaded.

Tony met his gaze straight-on and didn’t flinch. “Yeah, we need to talk about all that, don’t we,” he said, putting it out there.

Gibbs nodded slightly in acknowledgement, and Tony gave what he hoped was an encouraging smile. “Talking can wait until tomorrow. Hopefully my head will be behaving itself more by then. But I think we should go to your place - if I’m laid up and not moving about much, it makes more sense to be where you have more you can do.”

“I thought I was supposed to be playing nurse and making you feel better?” Gibbs responded coyly, the innuendo clear, and Tony felt his heartbeat speed up as he gazed up into those piercing blue eyes.

“Why do I have the feeling that talking won’t be the only thing we do tomorrow?” Tony asked, and a wink form Gibbs was his only answer as a nurse bustled into the room and started removing the I.V. from the back of his hand.

Chapter Text

Tony fell asleep in the car on the way to Gibbs’ house, and Gibbs woke him up and helped haul him up the stairs to the bedroom once they arrived. He passed out again soon after that, ensconced in the warm covers that still smelled like Gibbs’ laundry detergent, and Gibbs woke him up a few hours later to check on him.

“What’s three times seven?” Gibbs asked, one hand on Tony’s forehead and the other on his arm.

“Wha?” Tony responded groggily, as he peered up through half-closed eyelids.

Gibbs gave him a somewhat more stern look, and Tony closed his eyes again and rolled over.

“Twenty one,” his muffled reply sounded out, and two seconds later he felt the side of the bed spring back into place as Gibbs stood up and left the room.

It was the same story several hours later, when Gibbs woke him up and asked him what his own address was. Gibbs also pressed two white pills into his hand, and Tony took the proffered glass of water and washed them down before falling asleep again almost immediately.

Several hours after that it was the alarm clock that woke him up, and as it began beeping he realized that Gibbs was snuggled up in bed behind him, also fast asleep. Gibbs turned over and re-set the alarm, then curled back up against Tony.

“Where’s the first place we kissed?” Gibbs asked sleepily.

“Mmmmm…,” Tony sighed happily, remembering, “Kitchen. Stillwater.”

Gibbs hand settled gently on Tony’s hip and squeezed lightly, and a few minutes later both men were asleep again.

Tony’s bladder woke him up before the next alarm did, and he managed to push himself out of bed without too much pain or difficulty and headed for the bathroom. When he climbed back into bed two minutes later, he saw two eyes watching him in the dim glow of the moonlight through the curtains.

“Hey,” he said quietly, as he lay down carefully.

“Hey yourself,” Gibbs replied, his voice tender but rough with tiredness. “How are you feeling?”

Tony considered things for a moment. “My chest is a bit sore, but not too bad. Same with my neck.” He lifted a hand to gingerly brush against the bandage under his ear, and felt a sudden thrill rush through his body as Gibbs fingers matched the actions on the other side of his neck. Tony turned slightly towards him, a small smile creeping across his face.

“My head feels pretty good, especially after those pills you gave me earlier,” he continued, hopefully.

Gibbs raised an eyebrow at him, the effect not lost in the dim light of the room.

“Tony….”

“What? You were the one who was all Mr Innuendo at the hospital.” Tony moved his hand, lightly pressing along Gibbs’ stomach then tracing a path down towards his cock. Gibbs’ hand grabbed his before it reached its destination, and Tony sighed loudly and rolled onto his back again.

A second later Gibbs’ face was looming over his, close enough that – if his neck and chest weren’t all patched up and stitched and in need of not being exerted – Tony could have lifted his head up an inch or two to kiss him. Instead he settled for looking up into the eyes that were focused intently on his own, and he sighed again, unconsciously this time.

“What exactly,” Gibbs began, tilting his head ever-so-slightly, “were you planning on doing to me?” His voice had lost all trace of sleepiness and instead was infused with a raw lust that gave Tony’s skin goose bumps without so much as a touch from the older man. “You’re not supposed to be moving in ways that will pull at your stitches and trust me –” he pulled Tony’s hand up to briefly cup his cock before pushing it back down again, “doing that is not on the menu right now.”

Tony kept his gaze, the challenge clear in his eyes. He wanted Gibbs to know that he wasn’t going to acquiesce without a fight, but when he felt Gibbs’ hand trailing down his chest in much the same way as he’d done only minutes before he sighed out one more time and looked away, smiling.

“Fine.”

“Fine what?”

“Fine, I won’t try to touch you. Like that.”

Gibbs kissed at his collarbone then flicked his tongue across Tony’s nipple, and Tony drew in a sharp breath as the jolt of sensation shot straight to his groin. He fought the impulse to turn and grind himself up against Gibbs as the man raised his head and looked at him with concern.

“Did that hurt?”

Tony huffed out a light breath, his breathing shallow as his pulse continued to hammer in his chest.

“No.” A calculated pause. “But my dick will, soon, if you don’t finish what you’ve started.”

Gibbs was still staring at him, eyes glinting in the semi-darkness, and Tony realized that humor wasn’t going to cut it with his lover barely 18 hours after he’d been shot.

“Promise me,” Gibbs urged him, “that you’ll let me know the second anything hurts.”

Tony gazed down at Gibbs, sensing that the man was uncomfortable going against his best instincts despite his obvious desire, and reached up to place a hand on his shoulder.

“I promise. And, I love you.”

He watched as the creases around Gibbs’ eyes relaxed slightly and then, with a quick wink, Gibbs’ head disappeared down his body.

Tony drew in a sharp breath as the warmth of Gibbs’ mouth descended over his dick. He felt the man’s lips tighten around his erection, smoothing down and then up again in a seamless movement before stopping to let his tongue play around the head. Tony resisted the urge to arch his hips up, knowing that it would put stress on his chest wound, and so he ground his legs down into the mattress just to have something to tense up. He felt Gibbs’ tongue, next, licking a forceful line down him and over his balls before rising back up the other side and then around the underside of his cock. Tony desperately tried to focus on his breathing as the sensations bombarded him, and then a moment later Gibbs’ hands were on him, one at the base of his shaft and the other rolling his balls, and he realized that this was a calculated erotic attack and that he was screwed in more ways than one. Lips, then tongue, then hands… and then Tony felt a moist finger rubbing over his entrance, and he nearly lost it.

Fuck!” Tony breathed out as the movement sent waves of pleasure rolling through him, and he let his eyes fall closed as Gibbs gently nudged his legs further apart. Then the finger was pushing gently into him, swirling around and moving slowly in and out, and then searching, pressing upwards and trailing back and forth until Gibbs found the right spot.

“Oh God, Jethro,” Tony half-yelled, as he dug his heels into the bed and his knees squeezed inwards against Gibbs’ shoulders. His eyes snapped open and he saw Gibbs smirk up at him before lowering his head down again, and a moment later Gibbs’ mouth and finger were working in tandem. The feeling was almost immediate as Gibbs stroked over his prostate, the need to come building inside him with such a deep and powerful force that Tony didn’t want to even try to prolong things. Instead he made his body relax, consciously loosening the muscles in his arms and legs and torso until all that remained was awareness and responsiveness to the bliss that was coursing through him and building, building, building.

His orgasm rocked through him, seeming to break through from somewhere deep inside as he trembled and emptied his release into Gibbs’ mouth. He felt Gibbs’ mouth bearing down on him, putting pressure in just the right place so that Tony didn’t need to thrust upwards, and if he wasn’t already a relaxed lump of goo he might have melted right into the mattress.

Gibbs moved off of him ever-so-slowly, and kissed his way back up Tony’s chest and around the bandage until they were eye-to-eye again. Then the man plundered his mouth, somehow still not putting any pressure on Tony’s head and neck even though his lips and tongue were seeking and searching with passion that was still unquenched. Tony could taste the faint trace of himself on Gibbs’ tongue, and he felt his cock twitch ever-so-slightly as he once again contemplated the fact that he and Gibbs were together. Doing this.

“You sure I can’t touch you?” Tony asked, his words a whisper against Gibbs’ lips, and Gibbs pulled back a fraction to look him in the eyes.

“I have an idea, but let’s wait until a bit later.” Gibbs’ voice was husky as he nuzzled against the good side of Tony’s neck, and Tony let out a long breath as he pulled Gibbs down against his side.

“Then let’s sleep some more,” Tony petitioned, already growing drowsy again. Gibbs arm crept over his belly, carefully avoiding the bandage on his chest, and soon the sound of soft snoring filled the room once more.

* * * * *

It was always the smell of coffee that did it. Tony wriggled his nose as the strong scent wafted through the bedroom and gently but firmly roused him from sleep. He turned his head a bit but could already tell that Gibbs wasn’t in bed with him any longer, and so he carefully pushed his way up to a sitting position and let his toes swing down to rest on the floor.

Hardwood. Just like the rest of the house. He hadn’t really paid it any attention before, but the beautiful grain of the wood shone through in the morning light and so Tony sat and contemplated it for a minute. He also contemplated the fact that his close encounter the previous day was making him stare at Gibbs’ floor, of all things, but he pushed that thought aside as he heard soft footsteps on the stairs, and a moment later Gibbs was walking through the door with a tray of food and a steaming mug of coffee.

“Room service,” Gibbs joked, as Tony turned his head to look at him and smiled. Tony lifted his feet back onto the bed and tried to push himself backwards towards the headboard, but the action pulled at his chest and neck so he gave up and just sat where he was, with his legs crossed.

“Thanks,” he said as Gibbs carefully placed the tray on the bed in front of him and handed him the mug of coffee, and Tony took as sip as Gibbs sat down next to him on the edge of the bed.

“You need anything else?” Gibbs asked, eyeing him softly but warily, and Tony shook his head “no” as he took a bite of his toast. He swallowed and took several more large bites in quick succession.

“First meal since breakfast yesterday,” he said around a mouthful. “I just need food, and you.”

Gibbs grinned at him, the toothy kind that reached all the way to his eyes, and Tony’s toast-filled hand paused halfway to his mouth as he stopped and contemplated that for a minute, his heart fluttering in a very girly-like manner in his chest at the sight.

“What?” Gibbs features transformed themselves into a quizzical and slightly embarrassed look, and he let his fingers trail along Tony’s thigh as he glanced down for a second.

“I love your smile, especially when it’s like that and just for me.” Tony quickly shoved the rest of the piece of his toast into his mouth so that he wouldn’t say anything else too gushy, and chewed hard for a minute. Gibbs glanced up, a small smile now in place, but the twinkle in his eyes gave away his delight at hearing what Tony had just said. He ducked his head down again, and then quickly drew his gaze back to Tony’s face.

“You do realize you’re still naked, right?” Gibbs asked, sounding quite amused at the fact that Tony was just sitting there so comfortably and also at the face that he hadn’t even noticed until that moment.

Tony glanced down at his nether regions, then back up towards Gibbs with a smirk.

“Is it later yet?” he asked suggestively, and Gibbs raised both eyebrows at Tony as his smile widened.

“No.”

“Just like that – no?” Tony responded, a little bit of playful attitude in his tone. “Sheesh, Mr Bossy….”

Gibbs mouth covered Tony’s in a silencing kiss, gentle but sensual as he let his tongue run across Tony’s lower lip, and when he withdrew Tony closed his eyes and sighed out.

“Fine.”

“That your favourite new word?” Gibbs asked cheekily, and Tony was tempted to stick his tongue out before he settled for just ignoring Gibbs and taking another long sip of his coffee. Then Gibbs’ fingers were on his thigh again, and Tony watched them tracing circles around and around as Gibbs spoke once more.

“Is now a good time to, ya know, talk?” He hesitated a moment before adding, “About stuff.”

Tony considered giving him a hard time about being so unspecific, but he knew exactly what Gibbs was intending and how he probably wasn’t used to having any sorts of talks about any sort of stuff with his ex-wives - if what Tony had heard was anything to go by – and so he pushed the tray away from himself and clasped Gibbs’ fingers with his own, and squeezed encouragingly.

“Sure.”

They were both staring down at their entwined fingers now, and it seemed like a safe place to be looking so the two of them stayed like that as Gibbs spoke up.

“I used the word ‘home’ yesterday, and I guess we need to talk about what that means. The last thing I want to do is make any assumptions about what you want.”

“You mean like the fact that we’re never apart whenever we’re together?” Tony asked, and Gibbs nodded. “And, what? Like, should we move in together or something like that?” Tony put it out there, but he still felt that same nagging sensation in the recesses of his brain that he’d felt while out on his run the day before.

“Maybe.” Gibbs sounded unsure, or at least undecided, and Tony was glad for it. Then, “Damn, why is it so hard to talk about this?”

Tony’s fingers squeezed Gibbs’ lightly again. “Just get it out there, whatever it is you’re worried is going to send me running, Jethro,” he joked. “I’m a big boy, I can handle it.”

Gibbs’ lips curled into a tight smile, and he seemed to be gathering his resolve before he looked up and right into Tony’s eyes.

“Look,” he started, sounding vulnerable and laid bare. “I love you more than anything. And I want to be with you for as long as you will have me.”

“Forever,” Tony butted in, feeling the need to reassure him.

The corner of Gibbs’ lip quirked up slightly, but his eyes looked almost sad as he continued speaking.

“We both know I don’t have the best track record with relationships, and we both know that I seem to have a certain M.O. when it comes to relationships too.”

“What, like marriage?” Tony asked, his heart beating a little faster as he considered the idea.

Gibbs’ wry grin was back. “Yeah. And this is not something that I want to push.”

Tony’s brow creased slightly as he tried to understand. “So… you don’t want to get married?”

Gibbs shook his head slightly. “That’s not it, Tony. I think it’s more that I want to approach things differently with you, be more aware of my biases and tendencies and not make the same mistakes and assumptions that I have before. This is why I said I didn’t want to make any assumptions about what you wanted.”

Oh.

“And,” Gibbs continued, “I really have no idea what you want… so any insight would be much appreciated.” He smiled at Tony then, and Tony could read the relief in his eyes that said he’d managed to get it all out. Tony smiled back, but his insides were doing some rather alarming summersaults and he knew that his own eyes were probably giving his emotions away too.

He cleared his throat and tried to gather his thoughts, and he looked at Gibbs with all the sincerity he could muster and said, “I haven’t got a fucking clue what I want, really.”

Gibbs stared at him, open-mouthed, for a few seconds, obviously not knowing quite how to respond, but Tony wasn’t done.

“I want to be with you and this, right here, seems like a good place for us. But how that happens or when it happens… I’m just not sure yet.” Gibbs closed his mouth as Tony continued, “I’ve never lived with anybody before, only been engaged once, and my track record is as bad as yours but in a completely different way. And this whole relationship is a bit of a dichotomy, not even three months together but years of history, and it feels too fast and too slow at the same time and my brain can’t quite wrap itself around it all.” Tony shifted on the bed, stretching his legs out in front of him as he leaned over carefully and took another sip of coffee. Then he looks up to meet Gibbs’ eyes, which were regarding him with such love that he swore he felt his heart try to skip a beat.

“Okay.” Gibbs smiled at him, the corners of his eyes crinkling slightly as he did so.

“Okay?” Tony asked, confused once again.

“Yeah,” Gibbs’ hand was back at his thigh again, tracing up and down. “Let’s take some time to think, to both figure out what we want.”

“Oh. Okay.” Tony didn’t know quite what he’d expected, but the fact that Gibbs was being so diplomatic about the whole thing was refreshing. He knew that he would have had a hard time saying no if Gibbs had wanted to push for him moving in, or taking things a step further, but his stated intentions for a true partnership really got to Tony deep down. It had always been Gibbs on the top at work, and although their relationship hadn’t really manifested any of that aspect of things Tony really hadn’t known how things might pan out in the long run. And now here they were, equals in every sense, and they had passed a huge hurdle in being able to truly share their hearts.

“You know,” Tony grinned at Gibbs as he grabbed the man’s hand and moved it higher up his thigh to let it rest at the crease between his leg and pelvis, “All this talking and trust and lovey dovey junk is really turning me on.”

He saw Gibbs glance at his hand, and then watched as Gibbs moved his hand down slightly to stroke at Tony’s rapidly-hardening cock.

“Really?” Gibbs dead-panned it as he gripped Tony’s cock tighter. “I think it’s time I had my way with you.”

“God, please!” Tony dropped onto his side, his breathing faster and his pulse soaring as Gibbs stood up and unzipped his jeans. He watched as Gibbs pushed them down his legs and stepped out of them, and then pulled his shirt over his head. Three seconds later Gibbs was curled up behind him much as they had been during the night, only Gibbs hand was on his cock again and moments later Gibbs’ cock was pushing against Tony’s entrance.

“Fuck, finally!” Tony moaned as Gibbs pushed slowly into him, the feeling of being stretched and filled overwhelming him with desire. “Fuck me, Jethro!”

And Gibbs pulled back and thrust into Tony, just like he’d asked, and Tony gasped as Gibbs’ hand worked over him at the same time. Suddenly Gibbs stopped, but before Tony could swear again Gibbs was craning his neck over to see Tony’s face.

“This okay?” he asked, and the raised eyebrow told Tony that nothing but the absolute truth would suffice.

“Yes. I swear, nothing’s hurting at all. I’ll just lay here and let you do all the - oh fuck!” And Gibbs was moving again, faster and smoother and Tony found his release building surprisingly fast again as he did the same as before and stayed mindful of nothing but the stimulation and sensations that caressed his body.

“So close,” he stuttered out, and he heard a whispered “Me too” from behind him right before his orgasm hit him, radiating out from his core to the furthest reaches of his nervous system and back again in rolling waves. He felt Gibbs give several hard, sharp thrusts at the same time, and then Gibbs was pushing into him as he emptied his own release into Tony.

There was nothing but hard breathing for a minute, and then there was slower breathing, and finally calm as Gibbs whispered at Tony’s ear, the two of them still joined together.

“Is it just me, or is this ridiculously intimate?”

And Tony just sighed happily and reached an arm behind him to pull Gibbs closer.

Chapter Text

Three-and-a-half chilly but busy weeks later, Tony slammed the trunk of his car closed and dusted off his hands on his pants. He was ready to head back up to Stillwater and the nervous tingle of anticipation that had started in his belly a week ago had steadily grown, and now it was a full-fledged running-of-the-bulls-type stampede through his nervous system whenever he thought about seeing Gibbs again. They’d had a lot of time to think since their last serious conversation together, and even though they’d spoken almost nightly over the phone, they’d consciously steered clear of any further discussion about their relationship.

Tony was grateful for that – for the time to clear his head and think, really think, about what he wanted with Gibbs. He only hoped that, when the time came, Gibbs wanted the same thing.

He tilted his neck from side to side to work out a kink, and walked around to open the driver’s side door. His chest was completely healed, and although the flesh around the small scar on his neck was still tender from his injury, he had been back in the field for more than a week already and had relished getting to exercise again. The short run he’d gone on this morning had served as a warning to him about not overdoing things too quickly, however, and Tony was looking forward to some quality time spent sitting and doing nothing except listening to music in the car. He climbed in, shut the door, fastened his seatbelt down across his chest and waist, and started the engine.

Well, if nothing else, he thought to himself, the next few days should be interesting.

* * * * *

The long drive to Stillwater was quite different from the same one he’d taken barely three months earlier. There was more traffic as last-minute holiday shoppers braved the cold weather, there was patchy snow on the ground, and there were decorations at every corner – even on the longer open stretches of highway, there was barely a mile that went by where Tony didn’t see colorful lights in a distant house or green-and-baubled garlands wrapped around fence posts. He found himself in a good mood as his car moved smoothly along the roads, his nervousness lessening as the holiday mood took over, and he spent the last third of the drive listening to Christmas songs on repeat.

He was belting out a pretty good harmony to Jingle Bell Rock as he turned onto Stillwater Lane and Gibbs’ house came into view, lights shining through the windows into the growing darkness. His voice went quiet, and Bobby Helms carried the rest of the song by himself again as Tony pulled into the driveway and shut the car off. The tension was back in his belly again, but he ignored it and popped the trunk open before getting out the car.

It was positively frosty outside, several degrees colder than what it had been at home the previous evening, and Tony grabbed his carry-on-sized suitcase from the trunk and ran for the house, his warm breath condensing in frozen clouds in front of his face as he breathed out fast. He pushed through the front door without bothering to knock, and screeched to a halt at the foot of the stairs.

“Thank God I’m here,” Tony announced, as he surveyed the bottom floor of the house.

A none-too-surprised Gibbs looked up from the stove, where he was sautéing some mushrooms.

“Hello to you too,” he responded, a slight smirk playing at the corner of his mouth as he turned back to the frying pan. “How was the drive up here?”

Tony left his bag by the stairs and sauntered over to the kitchen, where he wrapped his arms around Gibbs from behind and buried his nose in the man’s hair. He took a long, deep breath in and sighed contentedly at the familiar scent that he missed so much.

“Good.” He paused, considering his next words carefully. “Very full of colorful lights and holiday cheer… and as much as I love this house, it’s about as festive as a pile of rocks.”

“My decorations are in D.C.,” Gibbs grumbled good-naturedly, as he moved the mushrooms around the pan with a wooden spoon.

“Your decorations,” Tony paused for emphasis, “Have been boxed up in your attic for as long as I’ve known you.”

Gibbs turned off the stove and moved the frying pan to a trivet on the counter. Then he turned around in Tony’s arms and, with a smile that made Tony’s heart flip-flop in his chest, he leaned forward and placed the lightest of kisses against Tony’s lips. Tony melted forward, pressing for more and getting it as Gibbs’ arms wrapped around his body too and pulled them together. The kiss deepened slightly, their lips moving together in a sensual dance of longing and familiarity, and Tony eventually forced himself to pull back as he felt his body revving up and responding to his lover.

There was work to be done, and ravishing Gibbs would have to wait.

“I have a surprise for you,” Tony said, as he pressed his lips to Gibbs’ one last time and stepped out of his embrace.

Gibbs raised an eyebrow at him and leaned back against the counter, folding his arms across his chest.

“Right, you don’t like surprises,” Tony mused, half to himself, “But if I’m going to be spending Christmas with you then I need it to feel like it’s not, say, February.”

He took Gibbs left hand in his right and pulled until Gibbs reluctantly moved with him, and he left the man standing at the front door while Tony dashed for his car again and grabbed two boxes from the trunk. He was back at the house a few seconds later, and he handed the boxes off to a skeptical-looking Gibbs while he ran to retrieve the last two boxes, one of them a particularly awkward and large rectangular-shaped one. Tony squeezed himself and the boxes sideways through the front door and dropped them in the middle of the living room next to the other two that Gibbs had brought inside. Then he stood up and dusted his hands off, a satisfied smile on his face until he turned around and found Gibbs giving him a beady-eyed stare.

“What?” Tony asked as innocently as possible. He watched as the corners of Gibbs’ eyes twitched, and then the creased lines melted as his blue eyes flashed and a grin broke out on his face. Tony smiled again, relieved that Gibbs wasn’t actually upset about the imminent redecorating.

“This is your place as much as mine, Tony,” Gibbs pointed out, “But know that I absolutely draw the line at singing Christmas Carols.”

“I promise I won’t try to change your mind,” Tony said in mock-seriousness, “But I make no such promises about my dad.” He opened up the rectangular box and handed the base of a fake Christmas tree to Gibbs.

“Remind me again, when does he get here?” Gibbs asked as he appraised the pieces of plastic in his hands with a frown.

“Tomorrow night, and then he’ll be here for Christmas Eve and leave late on Christmas Day. So only two nights, thank goodness,” Tony answered as he glanced over at Gibbs. The man was still turning the plastic over in his hands with a slight scowl.

“Oh just get over it,” Tony finally said, as he handed Gibbs more pieces that would make up the trunk of the tree. “I wasn’t about to strap a real one to the roof of my car and haul it up here.”

He watched as Gibbs snapped out of his reverie with an apologetic look, and the man got to work helping Tony build the tree. And then he helped with decorating it… and the fireplace mantel, and a wreath on the front door, and lights around the windows outside – at which point they had both broken a sweat and were without coats in the cold and were enjoying the brisk wind. Gibbs plugged the lights in and they both stepped onto the driveway to admire their handiwork.

Tony felt the huge smile threatening to spill over his face, and he turned his head toward Gibbs and saw the same look mirrored there. Gibbs fumbled for his hand as they watched the lights glowing in the dark, and Tony felt some strange sort of peace settle over him. They had done this together, had brought some extra life into the home that they were sharing for the next few days… and, he hoped, some extra life back into the season for Gibbs.

“Thanks for this,” he heard the whisper from Gibbs, and Tony squeezed the man’s hand in the darkness. Then a sudden chill ran through Tony and rattled their joined fingers.

“Fuck, it’s cold!” Tony laughed, as his body signalled loud and clear that it had cooled down and reminded him that it was all of thirty degrees outside. Gibbs tugged on his hand and they hurried back along the driveway and through the front door, and they had both just toed off their shoes when Gibbs pulled Tony to a stop next to his suitcase.

“You missed the one decoration that I did put up,” Gibbs whispered against his ear, and Tony’s pulse quickened as he raised his eyes to see the sprig of Mistletoe strung above their heads.

“Mmmmmm,” Tony hummed in approval as he lowered his gaze to meet Gibbs’ eyes, “I change my mind – I like your decorating just fine.”

There was a brief pause as Tony watched Gibbs’ blue eyes flash at him and darken with desire, and then Tony all but pounced on him, pushing Gibbs up against the wall next to the stairs as his lips sought purchase on the man’s neck, along his jaw and, finally, wrestled their lips together in a passionate tangle. He heard and felt Gibbs sigh out as his body relaxed in submission under Tony’s onslaught, and it only served to make the fire in Tony’s body burn ever hotter. This was exactly what he wanted, what he needed, and seeing his lover so lost in the moment spurred him on.

He brought his hands up to Gibbs’ sides and turned him around, breaking their kiss as Gibbs forehead and hands came to rest against the cool wall. Tony pressed his chest to Gibbs’ back and let his hands run up and under his shirt, stopping briefly to flick across the man’s nipples before making their way down again. He felt Gibbs shudder in front of him, then the man growled in anticipation as Tony’s fingers undid the button at the top of his jeans and slid the zipper down. Tony’s hand slipped inside and under the waistband of Gibbs’ boxers, and he found himself moaning out loud along with Gibbs as he took Gibbs’ hard cock in his hand and worked it up and down.

Gibbs instinctively pushed backwards into Tony, and Tony ground his own dick against Gibbs ass as the pleasure intensified for both of them.

“God, Jethro….” he breathed out, hungry for more of the man who had turned his world upside down in the most amazing way. Gibbs tried to reach around for Tony’s zipper, but Tony brushed his hand away and firmly placed it back against the wall.

“Hands off,” Tony huffed, his breathing coming faster and heavier as he pushed Gibbs’ pants down to the floor and then wrangled his own off of his body.

“Then fuck me already,” Gibbs threatened, and Tony felt a thrill run through his body from head to toe at hearing Gibbs say that. The command, the passion, the surrender in his voice cut Tony to the core, and he moved his mouth behind Gibbs’ ear and growled out a response.

“Yes.”

He grabbed Gibbs’ hip with one hand and pushed him so that Gibbs realized what Tony wanted and moved sideways towards the stairs, but as Gibbs straightened up with the intention of walking up them, Tony pushed him forward so that Gibbs’ hands came to rest on the stairs in front of him. Tony’s hand kept working Gibbs’ cock as his other hand searched around in his bag for the bottle of lube that he knew was there. Ten seconds later his own cock was slick and he was leaning over Gibbs and pushing into him.

“God, Tony!” Gibbs cried out in pleasure, and then, in slight amusement, “What is it with you and stairs?”

Tony’s lips curled into a smirk as he pulled back and then sank himself balls-deep into Gibbs.

Shit. So close already.

He tried to form a coherent response as the man under him moaned out and pushed back against him again, and Tony lost himself in the pleasure for a few moments as they moved together in an intoxicating rhythm. Then he gave up on trying to speak altogether as Gibbs breathing got more labored and Tony’s followed suit, and they climbed higher and higher together in a spiral of ecstasy until Gibbs stiffened under him and cried out, and Tony stilled the hand on his cock and squeezed hard through his lover’s orgasm. And then Tony was coming as Gibbs’ muscles clenched around his dick, the extra pressure drawing his own release out of him in a pleasure-overloaded haze. He felt Gibbs sink to his knees underneath him, and Tony’s body followed as they rested awkwardly on the stairs for a minute.

Finally, Tony kissed his way up along Gibbs’ spine and murmured at his ear, “You.”

Me what?” Gibbs voice sounded from in front of him, breathless and confused.

“The stairs… you inspire me to try new things,” Tony admitted, and he just knew that Gibbs was wearing a Cheshire cat grin at hearing that even though he couldn’t see the man’s face.

And then, sure enough, he heard the smile in the man’s voice as Gibbs responded.

“Good.”

Tony felt the strain in his arms and legs then, and he placed one last kiss on Gibbs’ shoulder before he slowly pushed backwards and stood up. Gibbs turned around slightly and Tony reached forward to pull him up to standing as well, and they leaned against each other for a moment, heads together dropping random kisses onto noses and cheeks and lips as their sticky bodies embraced one another.

Tony’s stomach gave a sudden growl, and Gibbs’ head jerked up off of his shoulder.

“I’m gonna have to re-heat those mushrooms,” he considered, suddenly all business again. “And the steaks and potatoes.” Then he winked at Tony. “After we shower.”

* * * * *

Their shower together made for an extra-extra-late dinner, but it still wasn’t beyond Tony to make even more suggestive comments when Gibbs said he had a surprise for dessert.

“I thought I already had dessert… twice,” Tony commented as Gibbs helped him with his coat and then led him out the French Doors and into the back yard. It was really dark outside, the moon hidden behind ominous-looking clouds, but Tony remembered that there was only grass between the house and the forest of trees across the lawn, and so he held onto Gibbs’ hand and followed steadily until they reached something dark about halfway between the two.

A flame suddenly flared in Gibbs’ other hand, and as he bent down to touch something with the lighter, Tony figured out what he was looking at.

Kindling blazed in the darkness, setting the inside of the fire pit alight in a warm glow. Gibbs produced two folding camping chairs and a container along with two long metal sticks as Tony watched larger logs catch fire and burn even more brightly in the night. He turned to Gibbs, mouth slightly open in delight, and Gibbs smiled shyly at him as he opened up the camping chairs and handed Tony one of the metal sticks.

“S’mores,” Gibbs said in explanation, and Tony wrapped an arm around Gibbs and pulled the surprised man to him in a heartfelt hug.

You are the best,” Tony whispered against Gibbs’ shoulder, and he pulled back and kissed Gibbs firmly on the lips. “And I love you so damn much.”

Gibbs’ eyes met Tony’s and seemed to see straight through to the very depths of his soul. “I love you too, Tony,” he said without hesitation, the sincerity and gravity of the words warming Tony down to his cold toes. Then he paused and, with a smile, opened the container. “Marshmallow?”

Tony smiled fondly as he considered the man in front of him. Gibbs had made a fire pit for them, had planned this whole thing so they could enjoy it together. Him and Gibbs making love and s’mores in rural Stillwater… he never would have dared to imagine it, but now that he was here and in the moment, he couldn’t imagine it any other way.

“Don’t mind if I do,” Tony responded quietly, gratefully, as he pulled his chair over so it was right next to Gibbs’ and pushed the marshmallow onto the end of his stick. He didn’t care about looking needy with this man; he just wanted proximity and contact and knew instinctively that Gibbs would always welcome that from him. No explanation was needed, and Tony revelled in the fact that their way of being together seemed to come so naturally despite all their baggage from previous relationships.

Tony saw Gibbs smile over at him as their marshmallows toasted next to each other, and he smiled back.

“Coals are the best,” Gibbs spoke quietly, “But the flames will keep us warmer and you can still avoid marshmallow flambé if you’re careful.”

Tony gazed into the fire, getting lost in the dancing red and orange and yellow flames as he rested his spare hand on Gibbs’ knee.

“This is perfect, Jethro,” he responded, his voice barely sounding above the crackle of the burning wood in front of them. “Just perfect.”

And then his marshmallow caught ablaze and Tony jumped up, pulling it out of the fire pit and blowing on it like mad until the flames were out and the crisp, scorched crust had cooled somewhat. He looked sheepishly over at Gibbs, who was trying to stifle his laughter while offering Tony some graham crackers and chocolate.

Gibbs had a few flaming marshmallows of his own to contend with as they sat in front of the fire, and there was a comfortable balance as they alternated between small talk and periods of staring into the flames until even the coals were cooling and their warm coats were not keeping the cold out anymore. And as they finally crawled into bed, tired and sated and naked and warm in each other’s arms, Tony re-affirmed the word that they’d spoken to each other when they had first been together all those months before.

“Mine,” he whispered in the dark.

And Gibbs pulled him even closer and, after a moment, echoed the word back to him with such emotion that Tony wondered if he’d heard the older man’s voice catch when he said it.

“Mine.”

And then they rested, wound together even through their deepest sleep as the calendar ticked over to December 23rd and the snow began to fall outside.

Chapter Text

Tony felt the chill in the air the second he took his arms out from under the warm blankets and stretched them above his head. A glance through the open curtains showed snowflakes drifting lazily down from the sky, and so he ensconced himself in the blankets once more and turned over towards Gibbs, who was still fast asleep on his back and snoring softly.

A lop-sided smile spread across his face as he watched Gibbs’ chest rise up and down beneath the covers, and he couldn’t help but let his hand steal across to rest splayed lightly across the man’s ribcage.

This was what he’d been missing his whole life, the sense of unencumbered peace and happiness that filled his veins and both sparked and calmed his nerve endings. The sense of realness, of walls dropped and open acceptance of the good, the bad, and the ugly. The sense of finally being home.

Tony had figured out in the past few weeks, knew now without a doubt, that home was wherever Gibbs was. And today he needed to tell the man exactly how he felt.

There was a pressing sense of urgency in Tony as he quietly slid from the bed and pulled a robe around himself, but also lightness in his step as he descended the stairs and started the coffee machine in the kitchen. Ten minutes later he was slinking upstairs again with two trays, and he saw the lump that was Gibbs stir as he opened the bedroom door.

“Good morning,” Tony called out, keeping his voice down as he rounded the bed and set one of the trays on the nightstand next to Gibbs’ head.

Gibbs’ eyes eased open and locked on Tony’s, and then Tony watched with poorly-disguised enjoyment when the man’s nose twitched as it recognized the smell of coffee and breakfast. Gibbs was quick to push himself up to a sitting position, and Tony moved around to the other side of the bed with the second tray and, with a bit of careful manoeuvring, slid back into bed.

“What’s this?” Gibbs asked, a smile on his lips as he watched Tony pick up the knife and fork from the tray in front of him and poise them over his plate.

“Pancakes,” Tony deadpanned, before cutting into his syrup-drizzled stack and taking a large bite.

Gibbs turned to look at his tray on the nightstand, and was quiet for a second before shaking his head and lifting it over and onto his lap.

“What?” Tony asked around his mouthful, before going back to chewing.

“How did you know?” Gibbs indicated his own pancakes with a wave of his hand, a stack sprinkled with a hefty dose of powdered sugar.

Tony paused his knife and fork and cocked his head slightly to the side. “What, the sugar?” He thought back to when he had been making the food a few minutes ago. “I just guessed. You seemed more like a sugar kind of guy.”

Tony couldn’t really decipher the private smile that flickered across Gibbs’ face, but he figured he’d chosen well as the man took a long drink of coffee and then dug into the pancakes with gusto. They ate in silence for several minutes, a few shared smiles passing between them between bites, before Gibbs set his knife and fork onto his empty plate, put the tray back on the nightstand, and laid a warm hand on Tony’s robe-covered thigh.

“Thanks,” he said softly, as he watched Tony take one last bite of his own pancakes. “That was delicious.”

Tony smiled at Gibbs as best he could with his mouth full, and quickly swallowed before coughing out, “You’re welcome.” He set his tray on the nightstand on his side of the bed and leaned over to kiss Gibbs chastely on the lips, then pulled back slightly.

“It’s snowing,” he stated, an excited expression on his face. “Want to go out in it later? You know, walk, talk?”

Gibbs’ gaze shifted to the window, where the open curtains gave him a good view of the weather outside. Then he looked back at Tony, his own eyes lit up in the youthful joy that the first snowfall of the year brings.

“Sounds great. I know a good place,” he suggested. “But first, I think I’d like to burrow back into this warm bed with you for a while.” He raised an eyebrow at Tony and waited to see what the response would be.

Tony grinned from ear to ear. Then he stood up, dropped his robe to the floor, and climbed back under the covers as Gibbs looked on approvingly. Tony moved so that he was chest-to-chest with Gibbs, and snuck an arm over the man’s side and around his back to pull him closer. Several soft kisses followed, their legs tangling together loosely as their passion sparked and simmered. Tony guessed that they were both too full for anything more energetic to happen, so he let himself relish in the moment as he sank even further towards Gibbs and rested his head at the comfortable space where arm met torso. There was silence for a few more minutes, each man lost in his own thoughts, before Gibbs finally spoke up.

“You never did tell me what happened with Leon,” he whispered, his voice curious as he pressed a kiss to the side of Tony’s head.

Tony chuckled against Gibbs’ chest, and then louder as Gibbs’ fingers tickled at his side. “Okay, okay!” he breathed out, his amusement warring with the sense of wellbeing that had thoroughly infused his body during the last few minutes. “Well, I had to see him about a case shortly after he saw us, and after we’d talked shop he gave me this look with that smirk of his and he asked if there was anything else I wanted to talk about. I played innocent and said no, and he just sat back with a smile and said, ‘All the best to you and Jethro.’ And that was it.”

He sighed out as he felt Gibbs’ wandering fingers smooth down along his side and over his hip, and he looked up to see Gibbs smiling at the ceiling. It was a full minute before the man spoke and, in true Gibbs form, it was short and sweet.

“Good.”

“Good? That’s it,” Tony asked, surprised. Gibbs turned his head to watch Tony’s face and nodded.

“Yup. You did well, and Leon mostly kept his nose out of our business… good.”

“Well, I’m very good at playing innocent,” Tony stated, as he batted his eyelids at Gibbs and ran a finger along his cock at the same time. Gibbs instantly bucked towards him and let out a low moan.

“God, Tony,” he sighed out. “The things you do to me, the things you make me feel… are anything but innocent,” he trailed off as he leaned in to kiss Tony once more. Gibbs’ warm lips against his mouth sent Tony’s pulse rocketing, and he was helpless to protest as Gibbs’ tongue ran over his lower lip. Tony opened his mouth willingly, savoring the feeling as Gibbs’ tongue dipped inside and ran across the tip of his own. The things the man was doing to his mouth were like an alternate and literal definition of oral sex, Tony mused, and Tony’s fingers and hand grew bolder as he felt Gibbs’ hand join his own.

His stomach was still full of food but desire was quickly winning out, especially as their hands moved up and down the length of Gibbs’ hard cock, jacking him off together. Tony felt the urge to come building in his body as he realized what they were doing, the sheer hotness and intimacy of the act spurring his body on even though the attention was on Gibbs. He found himself pressing his own dick against their moving hands to try to relieve some of the pressure, but it only made things worse. Or was that, better? He could feel Gibbs pressing forward more, then, and suddenly the man strained forward one last time as his release spilled from him, covering their joined hands and his belly as he let out a long groan of satisfaction.

Tony leaned his mouth into the groan, smoothing his tongue around Gibbs’ lips until Gibbs started kissing him back again. A moment later he could feel Gibbs moving their hands under the covers, and then both their hands were on Tony’s dick and his eyes shot open to see Gibbs’ stormy blue ones staring right back at him.

“Oh God,” he managed to gulp out, knowing exactly what was coming and feeling both self-conscious and just about to bust from arousal at the same time. The two opposing feelings only served to heighten things for Tony, especially as he felt Gibbs’ hand on his starting to work up and down over his dick.

He let his eyes close and his head fall back into the pillow as pleasure shot through him, pleasure that was already well on its way to boiling and was building up in a steady crescendo. He felt Gibbs shift next to him, then, and Tony felt himself being pushed onto his back as Gibbs nudged a knee between his thighs to spread his legs out a big more. Then one of Gibbs’ hands was under Tony’s head on the pillow, cradling it as Gibbs mouth swooped down to feast on his lips from above. And their hands kept moving, up and down, around and over in that maddening fashion, except now there was even more delicious pressure.

Tony found himself giving up, giving in. Gibbs suddenly taking a more dominant position on something so mutual pushed him right over the edge, and Tony felt his toes curling as Gibbs released his mouth and moved down to rake his teeth over one of Tony’s nipples as his orgasm washed over him. He could feel his entire body clenching, floating, sighing out as bliss engulfed him and brought him gently back down to earth a few moments later.

He lay still for a minute, his eyes closed, until he felt Gibbs shift above him again. Then there was a soft press of warm lips against his own once, twice, and a third time that lingered slightly, and as Gibbs drew away Tony forced one eye open and watched the man watching him.

His voice croaked as he tried to speak, so he cleared his throat and tried again.

“How do you keep…?” he drifted off, still struggling with post-orgasm incoherence as his gaze lingered on the fine lines of his lover’s face, the sparkling blue eyes, the silver-gray hair that practically begged to have fingers run through it.

“How do I keep…?” Gibbs teased, a grin lighting his face as he traced a finger down Tony’s chest. Tony lifted a hand to grasp at Gibbs’ finger and held it close against his heart.

“How do you keep amazing me like that?” Tony managed to get out, and he knew he was blushing slightly as he said it but he didn’t care. “We keep sharing more and more with each other physically, emotionally, things I hadn’t even thought about. It’s just blowing my mind right now.”

He could see Gibbs considering his reply, and the twinkle in the man’s eyes caused Tony to speak up again quickly.

“And no comments about blowing stuff, please,” he added, a smirk spreading across his own face.

Gibbs chuckled, the sound spreading out and warming the room somehow with its resonance.

“Mind blown over here too, Tony, believe me,” Gibbs paused and pushed himself up on an elbow, and he seemed to look at their joined hands on Tony’s chest as he continued. “Something is just different about this. Something good, very good. I’ve never done that with anyone else, but with you….” he trailed off for a second and his gaze shifted back to Tony’s eyes, “I think we’ve still got a lot of new territory to explore.”

“Yeah,” Tony’s voice was soft as he considered the man next to him. “I’m looking forward to it.”

The kiss to his lips was swift and firm, and unspoken words passed between them as Gibbs let his mouth linger against Tony’s.

“I love you,” Gibbs breathed out, and Tony smiled against his mouth as their bodies shifted together.

A second later both men were pulling apart, with various mumblings of “Right!” and “Yeah, shower,” as they threw the covers off and made their sticky way towards the bathroom.

* * * * *

Lunch was a quick affair a few hours later. It had been preceded by much lounging around, talking, and general making out on the couch in front of the fire, and Tony was washing dishes and trying to figure out how to go about things in the afternoon, to have that talk that he so desperately want to, when Gibbs’s arms encircled his waist from behind and there was a murmur at his ear.

“Didn’t you mention something about going for a walk?” Gibbs voice was as hot as his breath, and Tony tried to ignore the things it did to his body as he turned in his lover’s arms and smiled. Perfect.

“Yeah. Now?”

“Sure,” Gibbs smiled back at him, and they made their way towards the front door.

Both men pulled on heavy boots and Gibbs helped Tony into his winter jacket. Tony patted his pockets before zipping it closed, and then watched curiously as Gibbs did the same with his own jacket. Gibbs noticed Tony watching and smiled at him, but then grabbed his keys and opened the door nonchalantly, so Tony grabbed his gloves and followed him outside without further comment.

Ten minutes later Gibbs pulled his truck over to the side of the road, and Tony could see the faint outline of a wooden structure ahead of them through the swirling snow. He jumped out of the car as best he could, trying to avoid the rapidly accumulating snowdrift at the side of the road, and suddenly Gibbs was there helping him over and around and onto a pathway. Gibbs kept a hold of his hand as they meandered along, and Tony realized where they were as the structure loomed closer ahead of them. He couldn’t see it clearly yet, but the eerie silence of the falling snow did nothing to hide the babbling of the river that swept along nearby to them, and sure enough the covered bridge – now with an extra helping of snow on top of it – gradually solidified in front of them as their steps took them closer and then right up to and into its shelter. Several picnic tables underneath were their only companions as Tony and Gibbs both surveyed the scene.

“We never did actually come in here last time. This is really cool,” Tony observed as he looked around. He poked at one of the walls and took a closer look at a picnic table before drifting back to Gibbs who was still standing near the entrance. The man had a faraway look in his eyes, and Tony reached out his arms and pulled them gently together.

“Hey, you okay?” he asked, not concerned exactly but wondering what was going on in the man’s thoughts.

“Hmmm?” Gibbs murmured, coming back down from wherever his head had been at. He looked at Tony and smiled. “Yeah, good,” he said softly. “I was just thinking about the last time we were here, how this was where I realized exactly how far gone I was.”

“With me?” Tony asked hopefully.

Gibbs’ nose and lips nuzzled at Tony’s neck. “Oh yeah.”

Tony tilted his head so that Gibbs would have better access, but then he froze as his eyes drifted above them. “No way! Did you plan that?” he asked suspiciously.

Gibbs’ lips paused under Tony’s ear, and Tony watched as the man pulled back and his eyes took in the sprig of mistletoe that was strung above them under the eave of the roof.

“Damn teenagers are still at it,” Gibbs grumbled good-naturedly, his smile bright as he looked at Tony. “I swear it wasn't me, but I'm not complaining.”

Tony raised an eyebrow at him, just to bug the man, but then pulled him close again.

“Well, tradition is tradition,” Tony stated as seriously as he could, before leaning forward to press his lips to Gibbs’. His eyes closed as the familiar and heady sensations assaulted his senses, the taste and feel of the man’s mouth against his almost too much in the feelings that it evoked in him. And it happened every damn time, too. Tony sighed happily into the kiss and hoped that it would never change.

Gibbs was the first to pull away, many moments later, and he kissed Tony’s cold nose fondly before he turned his head to look through the bridge and out towards the path on the other end.

“Did you want to keep walking further, or talk here, or…?” he trailed off, and waited for Tony to respond.

Tony felt his stomach fill with butterflies all of a sudden, and not for the first time he thought about how ironic it was that him facing down terrorists and criminals with guns didn’t produce nearly the visceral reaction in him that talking about matters of the heart did.

“Yeah, let’s keep going. Warm up a bit,” Tony nodded towards the far side of the bridge, and Gibbs took his hand once more as they made their way across the river and onto the pathway on the other side.

“So…,” Tony began, not quite knowing how to start things.

“So…,” Gibbs smiled at him, before helping out a bit. “Are we talking about us?”

“Yeah,” Tony said, his gaze on the distant, fuzzy-looking trees as they walked along parallel to the river. He figured he may as well just jump right on in, so he did. “That day at your place, we left things at your wanting as much of us being together as I was willing to have, and with me needing to think about what I wanted, right?” He chanced a glance over at Gibbs, and was relieved to see a reassuring smile on the man’s face.

“Yup,” Gibbs answered, and he met Tony’s eyes. Then he stopped suddenly and turned to grasp Tony’s other hand is his as well as they faced each other, and his face was earnest as he spoke. “Look… I need you to understand that you have me, all of me, no matter what you decide. What I’ve found in you is something so completely unexpected, so amazing, so intimate and open and yes, fucking hot,” Gibbs smiled at him, and then continued, “Something that I never thought I could have with anyone, period. And I will fight for you, and for us, whatever that looks like, because I love you so damn much.”

Tony, for the first time in a long time, found himself speechless. He knew he was staring blankly at Gibbs, but he couldn’t help it. It felt like the breath had been sucked out of his lungs, or maybe it was that Gibbs had used up all the air with all those words that had just come out of his mouth. Either way, it took a good few moments before a smile crept across Tony’s face, and his body began thrumming with nerves and anticipation and heat despite the freezing temperature outside.

“Jethro…,” Tony breathed out, his mind racing but oddly calm too as he worked to piece together what he needed to say. Gibbs watched him patiently, and waited as Tony took a deep breath to speak.

“I need you to understand that I love you more than anything, ever” he started, returning Gibbs’ words back to him in a fashion. Then he continued on, his speech more pressured as he tried to get everything out. “You gave me time to think, didn’t push, just left the whole thing in my hands… and it’s a big decision. But it didn’t take me long to figure out what I want.” A tremulous smile played at Tony\s lips as Gibbs nodded in encouragement, still waiting patiently.

You,” Tony’s voice was a whisper against the silence.

Gibbs cocked his head slightly to the side. “Okay…?”

And then Tony was down on one knee on the cold ground, feeling a bit silly as he struggled with his zippered pocket while still holding onto Gibbs’ left hand. Gibbs’ eyes were wide as Tony looked up at him, and Tony knew that his were the same as they gazed at each other and Tony gave up on fidgeting with the zipper.

“Look, there’s a ring in there somewhere,” he motioned vaguely towards his coat, not breaking eye contact with Gibbs. “I want you, all of you, always. I want to share life with you as fully as possible, love you as much as you deserve, and even learn to drink black coffee.” Tony cracked a smile and Gibbs did too, and he could feel his pulse racing in his ears as he spoke again. “You are the most amazing man I’ve ever met, and I can’t imagine my life without being with you this way. So Leroy Jethro Gibbs, will you marry me?”

The words hung in the air between them, peppered by falling snow for a moment until Gibbs grasped Tony’s hand tighter and pulled him back up to standing. And then Gibbs’ mouth was on his, lips ravishing and tongue seeking as Gibbs’ other hand caressed against the back of his head and tried to pull them even closer together. Tony feel under the spell for a minute, relishing in the passion that a simple kiss could inspire between them, but then he pulled back and looked pointedly at Gibbs.

“Yes,” Gibbs gasped out, an all-encompassing smile on his face as he tried to catch his breath, but this time it was Tony who was pressing back into the kiss and soon they were both as much a tangle of lips and arms as two very thick winter jackets and pairs of gloves would allow. They only came back to the present when Tony’s phone beeped with an incoming text message, and he pulled reluctantly away and gazed at Gibbs with new eyes.

“Did we really just do that? Get engaged?” Tony asked, a nervous smile on his face.

“Yes,” Gibbs said again, his eyes twinkling in the mid-afternoon gloom.

“Okay, give me a minute,” Tony said, and he fully disengaged himself from Gibbs and finally got the pesky pocket in his jacket unzipped. He pulled out a ring box and opened it up between them to reveal a thin gold band.

“Look,” he said shyly, “I don’t know how guys do this with other guys but, if you’ll wear it –”

“Yes,” Gibbs said again, no hesitation in his voice, and Tony reached for the man’s left hand and slowly slid the ring onto Gibbs’ finger. He looked down at it for a minute, the full magnitude of what they were doing settling onto his shoulders, and the weight felt as light as air.

Tony let out a big breath and looked up at Gibbs again, and with a slightly shaky voice and a smile he murmured, “Fiancé.”

“Sounds good,” Gibbs murmured back as he pressed a soft kiss to Tony’s lips again. Then Tony watched as Gibbs went digging into one of his own jacket pockets, and Tony’s mouth dropped open as Gibbs produced an almost-identical ring box and held it between them.

Gibbs locked eyes with Tony and spoke in a low, rough voice. “I bought this just in case… in case you told me that you did want to get married. I was going to propose to you right away, but you beat me to it. Not that I mind,” he chuckled. Then he took Tony’s left hand and asked quietly, “Would you?”

Tony nodded as Gibbs slipped the gold band onto his finger, and he couldn’t help but stare at it as he felt all the pieces of his life falling into place, finally fitting together in that moment. “This…,” Tony paused, wanting to explain how he was feeling. He looked at Gibbs, smiled tentatively, and then looked back at his hand. “This just feels right. God, I love you so much.”

Gibbs pulled him into a fierce hug, and they stood there just breathing in the cold air and each other for a minute until Tony’s phone beeped again.

“I think you’d better get that,” Gibbs mumbled against his neck, and Tony shoved a hand into his pocket and pulled out his phone.

“Well,” he said, looking amused as he read the messages, “It’s my dad.”

“And?” Gibbs prompted him.

“He’s sitting in his car in your driveway wondering where the hell we are.”

Chapter Text

“Dad?”

Tony knocked on the window of Senior’s car, which was still running and had all the windows fogged up.

“Dad! Time to defrost.”

The car’s engine went quiet, and three seconds later Senior was pushing the door open and swiping at the small avalanche of snow that tumbled down on top of him from the roof of the car. The heavy scent of Chinese takeout wafted out of the car after him.

“Hi Son,” Senior greeted him jovially, with a cold hug. “Thank God for cell phones - I really need to use the little boys’ room. Grab the suitcase and food, will you?”

Tony stepped back and gestured towards the house, where Gibbs had opened the front door and was waiting for them. Senior hurried inside while Tony opened the trunk of the car and grabbed the suitcase that was there. He didn’t bother wheeling it along through the snow, but instead lifted it by the handle and ran for the house. Gibbs was still waiting at the door, and Tony paused to give him a kiss as he handed the case off to him.

“Hi,” Tony breathed against his lips, and he lifted one frosty hand to caress the back of Gibbs’ neck.

“Hey yourself,” Gibbs smiled back at him, and Tony caught the glint of gold as Gibbs raised his de-gloved left hand and brought it to rest on Tony’s coat-covered shoulder. Tony allowed his head to fall forward so that their foreheads were touching, and he let his breathing even out as he prepared for the mad dash back to his dad’s car again. He pursed his lips for a second and then let out a long sigh.

“You okay?” Gibbs asked, concern coloring his voice as his lips pressed against Tony’s again.

“Yeah.” Tony kissed back, letting his tongue seek out and play against Gibbs’ for a second before he pulled back and straightened up. “Just wondering how we’re going to tell my dad about this.”

“Is that gonna be a problem?” Gibbs asked, and his eyebrows narrowed in a slight frown.

“No, no…,” Tony gave a small smile, not quite knowing how to really reassure Gibbs that it truly wasn’t a problem. In the end, though, he just grabbed the man’s hand and held it firmly in his. “The best thing that’s ever happened to me is definitely not a problem, Jethro,” he whispered urgently, as he heard the bathroom door open upstairs. “It’d just be nice to have had an extra minute or two to figure it out together, that’s all.”

He watched as Gibbs’ eyes relaxed and the blue sparkled once again, and Tony let his lips drift along Gibbs’ jaw as footsteps sounded on the stairs.

“I’d better get our dinner from the car,” he whispered against the man’s ear, and he felt a playful hand land against his butt with a solid thwack as he turned to head back outside.

* * * * *

Beef and Broccoli. Chicken Chow Mein. Deep Fried Prawns. Fried Rice. Almond Chicken. Sweet and Sour Pork. And, of course, the ubiquitous fortune cookies.

Tony shook his head slightly as he lifted a random carton from the dining table and coaxed some more food out of it and onto his plate. His dad had probably given the chef at nearby Berwick’s only Chinese Restaurant half a heart attack when he showed up and ordered just about their whole menu for take-out. But the food was good, and somehow still warm, and Tony caught Gibbs smiling at him over a forkful of chow mein as the three of them ate their way through the spread.

Senior was the first to give up, declaring himself “too full” after about twenty minutes of solid eating, and Tony found himself about ready to burst soon after that. Gibbs continued on, his stomach of steel apparently nonplussed, as Tony rose and walked over to the fridge.

“Beer?” he asked, and Gibbs nodded and his dad gave an uncharacteristic grunt of assent that sent Tony digging into the back of the fridge with a grin tugging at the corner of his mouth.

Things had been going pretty well so far, all things considered, and the small talk had been sparse but genuine. Tony suspected that it would take a while for his dad and Gibbs to truly warm up to each other, especially in such a different context, but there had been a refreshing politeness and deference from Senior that had Tony hopeful for an uneventful visit.

He set the two beers down on the table and then took a casual swig from his own... and he felt his father’s eyes on him. Tony took his time meeting the man’s gaze, and when he did, the look in his father’s eyes gave him pause. He had a hard time figuring out the unusual emotions in those murky depths, ones that the self-assured and dominant Anthony DiNozzo Sr. simply didn’t let slip – confusion? Fear? Hurt? Tony narrowed his eyes slightly and watched as his dad did the same in return back towards him.

The sound of Gibbs clearing his throat was an obvious and welcome interruption in the loud silence, and suddenly Tony knew exactly what was coming.

“So,” Senior started, as he pursed his lips for a moment and ran his right thumb and forefinger down the neck of his beer bottle, “Do you boys have something you want to tell me?”

Tony couldn’t help but glance guiltily over at Gibbs, who was still stuffing his casually relaxed face with food, but Gibbs was already looking at Senior and his eyes didn’t drift away from the man.

“Because, you know,” Senior continued on, the defensiveness now clear in his voice, “It’s not every day that you wonder if your son got married and you didn’t even get invited to the wedding.”

Tony was sure that his face flipped from ashen pale to bright red in a second, but he let out a nervous chuckle and smiled at his dad as he held up his left hand.

“The rings?”

Senior’s raised eyebrows didn’t relax as he waited for an explanation, and Tony tilted his head to the side and let out a slightly petulant huff.

“I know we’ve had our ups and downs, Dad,” Tony said, “but give me some credit, okay?” He paused and turned towards Gibbs, who had finally had his fill of sweet and sour pork and was contemplating Tony and Senior quietly over the top of his beer bottle. He smiled when Tony caught his eye, and he gave the smallest nod of his head in encouragement as Tony faced his dad again.

“That walk we were on while you were waiting here for us – well, I proposed to Jethro.”

Tony watched as his father’s face shifted through a myriad of emotions, but the one that it settled on involved a broad smile and some barely-disguised relief.

“Oh.” A pause, then, “Well this calls for something more celebratory than beer,” Senior remarked, and without another word he pushed himself away from the table and headed for the stairs. Tony shot a surprised look at Gibbs behind his dad’s retreating back, but Gibbs just shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly and made an I-have-no-idea face back at him. Senior was back down within a minute, a bottle of single malt Scotch Whisky tucked under an arm and the smile on his face now including some flashing white teeth as well. He moved past Gibbs and Tony and found some glasses in one of the kitchen cupboards, then expertly moved back to the other men and deposited everything on to the table.

“A toast,” he said, as he twisted the bottle open and poured two fingers of the alcohol into each glass. Gibbs and Tony each grabbed one, still rather bewildered, as Senior raised his up towards the two of them. “A toast to love and happiness, to new beginnings, and to family.”

Tony watched as Gibbs raised his glass upwards and touched it to his dad’s with a light clink, but Tony couldn’t bring himself to move his arm. He found his brain whipping through scenarios and questioning his dad’s motivations at a frantic pace, and it bothered him immensely that he couldn’t get away from wondering what the angle was in all of this. Why was his dad so fucking calm about this? Why was he being so accepting, so happy? And why the hell was Gibbs sitting there looking at him like he’d grown a third arm?

“Tony…?”

And there was the even bigger surprise, the fact that the expectant question was on Gibbs’ lips and not on his father’s.

He turned away from his lover and looked instead to his dad, whose face appeared to be desperately trying not to morph into some sort of uncomfortable emotion again.

“What’s the deal, dad?” Tony asked, crossing his arms in front of himself and doing a poor job of keeping the frustration and suspicion out of his voice. “You only just managed to come to terms with our relationship the last time you saw us together - actually, the only time you saw us together - and suddenly you’re ecstatic that we’re engaged. So what gives?”

He noticed a glance pass between Gibbs and Senior, and Senior sat down again and swirled what was left of the liquid around in his glass as he contemplated the top of the table.

“Son…,” the deep, familiar voice began, and Tony knew what to expect: the disappointed tone, the reprimand, the excuse or explanation that didn’t fool anyone. But when his dad paused, and Tony chanced a defiant look across at him, he saw the man smiling at him… and not his typical fake, appeasing, covering-up-real-feelings smile either.

That was new.

Tony nodded his head up slightly, inviting his dad to continue, and the man took a deep breath in before he started speaking again.

“Anthony, I understand where you’re coming from, and why it’s hard to trust me,” Senior began, and Tony felt himself waiting for the ‘but.’ It didn’t come. “And I know,” he continued, “that things were a bit… rocky… when I dropped in at your apartment. I was surprised, and a bit confused, perhaps, and it gave me a lot to think about.”

And then Senior looked over at Gibbs again, and Tony had had enough.

“Okay, what’s up with the furtive looks between the two of you?” he interrupted, and he felt like he was in some sort of twilight zone when both men smiled at him. It was a little bit creepy, really.

“Let me explain,” Senior said, more statement than question, and Tony pursed his lips as he leaned back in his chair and waited.

“This might sound a bit strange at first,” Senior admitted, “but I understand Gibbs over here - in the relationship department, at least. I’ve been chasing after something since your mom died, let it pull me down and exacerbate my vices in interesting ways. And I can understand and appreciate,” he paused, and he gestured towards Gibbs and Tony, “how amazing it can be to suddenly see someone in a whole new light, someone who fills the darkness and makes life truly alive again… like what you two are for each other. And you don’t mess with that, you grab it and hold on to it.”

Tony forced his jaw, which was hanging open so far that it was threatening to detach itself, closed.

“Oh.” It was about all he could get out, really. He hadn’t expected that, any of it, from his dad. Tony had figured that his reaction to the news of their engagement might be polite at best, not something involving unconditional approval and a one-sided heart-to-heart. Tony turned slowly to face Gibbs, who still had that maddeningly peaceful visage in place.

“You figured this out, didn’t you?” he said, half accusingly and half in relief. “You knew that he would understand, and that’s why you weren’t worried about it.”

The corners of Gibbs’ mouth curled up in a small smile. “That’s what I’d hoped,” he said, and he reached out a hand to brush against Tony’s fingers and the gold band nestled there. The soft touch sent warmth flooding through his body, and Tony realized that he needed to do something. He reached for his glass again, cleared his throat, and raised it up towards the middle of the table.

“To what you said, dad,” he acknowledged, with an apologetic smile in Senior’s direction, “And to the two of us not being asses about things anymore.”

“Here, here!” came an unexpectedly loud cheer from the older DiNozzo, and then Gibbs was standing and there were hugs all around for a second or two until they realized that there was still a whole bottle of Scotch to be drunk and no time like the present to do it. Senior poured them all another few fingers’ worth of alcohol, slightly less accurately than the first time, and he raised his glass in another toast.

“Happy Tibb’s Eve!” he declared, and both Tony and Gibbs looked at each other and then at him in confusion.

“What?” Tony asked, a smirk on his face. “Is that our celebrity couple nickname or something?”

It was his turn to be on the receiving end of two confused looks, and he huffed out loud. “Oh come on, you guys. Brangelina? TomKat? Kimye?” He thought he saw a faint glimmer of recognition in his dad’s eyes, but nothing more. He tried again. “Tony and Gibbs – Tibbs? Like, how perfect is that?”

He swore he heard Gibbs snort beside him, but his eyes were on his dad who had tilted his head to the side and was giving Tony a sharply raised eyebrow.

“No…,” Senior drawled, and he took a long, slow sip from his glass. “Tibb’s Eve was invented somewhere in Newfoundland, I think, as an excuse to drink before Christmas during Advent. Or something like that. I forget. The important thing,” he said, as seriously as he could while raising his glass again, “is that we’re all together and it’s an excellent second toast to drink to tonight.”

And so they did. And a few rounds later, Gibbs produced a deck of cards from one of the kitchen drawers and they played chip-less poker and drank until the bottle was decidedly more on the empty side and both Tony and Gibbs had to help haul Senior up to the guest room when they all decided to call it a night.

Tony found himself wobbling as he attempted to brush his teeth, and it was all he could do to remember to down a full glass of water before he shuffled across the hallway and literally fell onto the bed next to Gibbs.

“Next time,” he mumbled against the pillow, still fully-clothed and not caring, “Just you ‘n me, somethin’ less potent, and strip poker.”

He heard a grunt from the pillow next to him, and didn’t need to try to crack his eyes open to know that Gibbs was smiling at him in the dark.

Chapter Text

Tony stumbled down the stairs just shy of noon on Christmas Eve morning. He scratched at the stubble on his cheek as he rounded the corner, and spied Gibbs and his dad sitting at the dining table. The two men looked like Tony felt - a bit worse for wear - and were both still in some variation of pyjamas, so Tony gave Gibbs a weak smile as the older man looked towards him, then shuffled towards the coffee pot.

“Morning,” he said quietly, because noise was bad right now. Very bad.

The other men grunted quietly and noncommittally back at him from the table, where both of them appeared to be leaning on their mugs of coffee for support. Tony poured a mug-full for himself, not bothering with the cream or sugar for once, and shuffled back towards the table where he pulled a chair out and sat down carefully.

“Oh God,” he sighed, as he let his head fall forward slightly. “That was a baaaaaaad idea.”

There were more grunts of agreement from Gibbs and Senior, and the three men spent the next few minutes in silence while drinking from their mugs and trying not to think about much at all. Because thinking was painful right now. Very painful.

Eventually it was Gibbs’ stomach that gave a loud rumble of protest, and Tony lifted his head slightly to grin even as Gibbs frowned back at him.

“What?” Gibbs groused half-heartedly, but the second, even louder rumble a few seconds later had everyone smiling in some way or another.

“Jethro,” Senior sighed out, sounding like he’d temporarily lost the wind beneath his wings, “I think it’s time we explore this little town of yours and find someone who can cook us breakfast.” He glanced briefly at his wristwatch, and amended, “Or lunch.”

“I know just the place,” Gibbs replied, as he drained the last of his coffee.

* * * * *

The Pie in the Sky Café was everything Tony expected of a small town dining establishment on Christmas Eve morning: packed to the brim with locals, who were sardined around tables covered in red-and-white checkered tablecloths or waiting for their coffee to-go or leaning over and perusing the display case full of freshly-baked pies next to the cashier. He tried to take it all in inconspicuously as the three of them made their way through the throng of customers and over to the only table that was still unoccupied. At least three people called out greetings to Gibbs in the ten seconds it took them to get to their seats, and Tony could feel curious eyes on them as he grabbed a menu and pretended to look it over.

“What’s good here?” he asked Gibbs, still staring at the menu instead of looking at the man sitting next to him.

He felt a warm hand on his thigh, an encouraging squeeze, and then it was gone as Gibbs picked up his own menu and looked it over.

“The breakfast skillet it good. Or the stuffed French Toast,” he suggested. “Guess it depends on what you’re in the mood for.”

Tony bit back a risqué comment about exactly what he was in the mood for as he set his menu down and tapped his fingers on the edge of the table.

“I’ll have whatever you’re having,” he said, smiling at Gibbs and then across to Senior who was, somewhat ironically, perusing through the Seniors section of the menu. “Dad?” he asked.

Senior glanced up at them as if in surprise, and then pointed his finger at a random part of the menu. “Did you know that they do seven kinds of toast, and eggs eight different ways here?” he asked, sounding rather impressed. “Never mind the twenty-three varieties of pie. I don’t care if I’m eating brunch, I’m getting dessert too.”

The quiet chuckle from Gibbs made Tony smile, and two minutes later a waitress had taken their orders and there were three steaming mugs of coffee on the table. The men sipped in silence for a few moments, until Gibbs let out a satisfied sigh and leaned back to stretch his arm out across the back of Tony’s chair.

Jethro,” Tony cautioned him, feeling awfully self-conscious as Gibbs fingers stroked a path across the bottom of his shoulder blade.

Gibbs leaned in to whisper at his ear, and Tony caught a few stares out of the corner of his eye. “I want to, Tony. I don’t care what anyone else thinks.”

The warm breath sent a proper shiver down Tony’s spine, and the resultant grin on Gibbs’ face served to make him feel even warmer.

“Get a room, you two,” came from across the table, where Senior had his nose buried in a copy of the local newspaper.

Dad!” Tony hissed, but then the waitress was there with their food and Tony plastered his most charming smile on his face and didn’t let it lapse until she left. He turned slightly towards Gibbs then, and let his own hand fall onto the man’s knee to show that he was fine with public displays of affection.

He squeezed at Gibbs’ leg once, and then cleared his throat. Tony’s voice was low when he spoke. “I just didn’t know if you’d want to out us to your whole town… because, you know, it seems like they’re all here. I stand proudly with you wherever, you know that, right?”

The look he received in return was fond, tender, and suddenly Gibbs leaned slightly towards Tony and gave him a kiss just short of his ear. “I know, and I love you for it.”

Tony’s smile was broad, and it didn’t leave his face through his whole meal and two coffee refills. He was just running a paper napkin across his mouth when the front door jingled and he looked up to see a familiar-looking couple entering the café. He couldn’t quite place them, though, and squeezed at Gibbs’ knee to get his attention.

“Hey, who are those people again?” he asked in a hushed voice, and Gibbs had barely looked up when the couple were suddenly right at their table. An expectant, rather inquisitive expression framed the woman’s face, and the strong smell of perfume wafted over them. Tony felt his eyes watering and coughed into the napkin that was still in his hand, while Gibbs raised his chin up and addressed them.

“Mrs Anonby, Mr Anonby,” he said, his tone so low and warning that Tony swore he could feel the hairs rising up on the back of his own neck. And then it clicked – their dinner at Old Tioga Farm, celebrating Jack’s birthday. This was the nosy woman who’d been fishing for information. Well, she sure had chosen the right day and place, and Tony was ready to give her a show.

“Jethro, how lovely to see you again,” she gushed, “And your friend is here too – Tony, was it?” she asked, turning towards him with a slightly raised eyebrow.

“Just can’t get enough of this town, I guess,” Tony simpered right back at her. He noticed that Gibbs’ arm was on the back of his chair again, so he leaned into it and sighed out happily. It earned him a satisfying frown from the woman, who turned her attention back to Gibbs once more. It was a moment before Tony saw here eyes light up, and then she spoke again.

“Jethro! Did you get married?” she asked, looking like she was about to burst with excitement at spotting the ring on his finger. Tony bet that that alone would be gossip fodder for weeks, but he knew there was a lot more coming and so he settled in to observe the fun.

“Actually, I got engaged,” Gibbs replied, his best bland and guarded smile stretched thinly across his face. “Yesterday.”

Tony could almost hear the cogs spinning in Mrs Anonby’s brain, and he decided to stretch his left hand out towards the napkin holder and make a show of grabbing another one. His own ring was impossible to miss, and he heard a sharp intake of breath to his right as the woman tried to figure out what to say.

What ended up coming out of her mouth was a very high-pitched, very pointed, very displeased-sounding, “To whom?”

Tony let his hand fall to Gibbs’ thigh as Gibbs leaned sideways and kissed his cheek. There was another sharp intake of breath to his right, more of a gasp this time.

“To Tony.” Gibbs’ voice was warm and proud when he said the words, louder than any of their previous conversation at the table, and Tony knew they were drawing the attention of almost everyone in the place now. But he knew Gibbs didn’t care, and that meant that he didn’t either.

She let out a loud, indignant huff. “Well I nev–”

“Oh shut it, you old prude,” came from across the table, where Senior was looking up at Mrs Anonby with his best business poker face-cum-scowl firmly in place. He stood up and threw several bills down onto the table. “I’m not sitting through any more of this crap. You coming?” he asked, ignoring the woman and turning his attention to Gibbs and Tony.

“Absolutely,” Tony said, and Mrs Anonby took a step backwards as he stood up and made room for Gibbs to leave his seat too.

“Jethro, what would your fathe-”

My father,” Gibbs interrupted her, drawing himself up to his full height and giving her his best interrogation glare, “loved Tony. And anything else is absolutely none of your business.”

He turned towards Tony then, took his hand with a smile, and led the two of them back through the maze of tables and chairs towards the front door where Senior was waiting for them.

* * * * *

“So you really don’t give a flying fig about anything that happened earlier?” Tony asked for the tenth time, as he pulled up a website on Gibbs’ computer later that afternoon.

“Oh I care,” the hot breath caressed his ear from behind, and then turned into a strong drag of Gibbs’ tongue down Tony’s neck. “But I only care about how you feel, not about any of them.” The tongue turned into two lips sucking gently against a shallow dip by Tony’s collarbone, and Tony had to push the man off of himself.

“Hey, we’re supposed to be concentrating here,” he chided Gibbs, trying to sound stern but failing miserably.

Gibbs spun the chair around all of a sudden, and pulled Tony up to standing. “Grab that pad of paper and a pen, and meet me on the couch,” he ordered, and Tony shook his head with a smile as he followed the older man into the living room.

“You’re the professional here, you’ve already done this four times,” Tony teased, as he sat himself down as close to Gibbs as humanly possible. The man grunted and Tony could almost feel the eye-roll. “How hard can it be to plan a wedding?”

Gibbs turned to him then, with both eyebrows raised. “You’re kidding, right?” he asked, looking bemused. “Some women spend years planning everything.”

“Yeah, but we’re not some women.” Tony huffed out, and then added a quieter, “Thank God.”

“What’s important to you in all this?” Gibbs asked, his voice a murmur in the stillness of the house.

“You,” Tony’s reply was immediate. “Our friends. That’s it, really. I don’t about anything else, it’s just stuff.”

“So… ceremony? Reception? Decorating? None of it?” Gibbs asked, and Tony felt his head start to swim with all the details that started flooding in.

“Stop,” he urged quietly, and then he smiled. “I have an idea.”

“Go ahead, I’m all ears. Very eager ears,” Gibbs added, “Because I hate all the pomp and circumstance too.”

“Old Tioga Farm,” Tony’s smile was brilliant and hopeful as he looked towards Gibbs for approval. The twinkle in those blue eyes was encouraging, so Tony continued. “We’ll have, what, a handful of people? You, me, my dad, Fornell, the team, maybe LJ Senior if you want?”

Gibbs nodded.

“It’s kind of where this all started, and we can have the ceremony and dinner all in the same room. It’s small, intimate, gorgeous, and I bet they’ll even make us a cake if we ask nicely.”

“When?” Gibbs’ voice sounded excited, and his eyes were wider.

“Our next weekend off, not on call, is mid-January,” Tony mused, trying to run his work calendar through his head. “And after that –”

“Sounds good.”

Tony drew in a deep breath at the certainty, the finality in Gibbs’ voice, and then he let it out slowly. “You do realize that’s only three weeks away, right?”

“You want to wait longer?” Gibbs asked, although it was half a statement and Tony quickly reached out a hand to reassure him.

“No, no, not at all,” he smiled, as he ran a finger up Gibbs’ thigh. “I guess you’re right, without all the superfluous crap it’s just a matter of renting tuxes, hiring an officiant, and inviting people.”

“And booking the restaurant,” Gibbs said, and Tony was up and back at the computer in a flash, looking up the phone number.

The front door opened a second later and Senior shuffled in, dusting the snow off of his jacket as he took in a deep breath of the warmer air. Both he and Gibbs watched in silence as Tony chatted on the phone for a few minutes, and when he hung up he looked awfully proud of himself.

“You busy on January 16th?” he asked Senior, who shook his head no. “Good, because that’s when we’re getting married.”

Senior’s eyes went wide even as a smile lit his face. “I go out for a walk and miss everything,” he mock-complained. “So, what’s the plan?”

Tony walked back to the couch and Senior followed, taking a seat in the armchair across from the other two. “We’re having it up here, at an Italian restaurant Gibbs took me to before.” He turned his gaze towards Gibbs, “And they have an officiant and would be more than happy to do a cake.”

“So, tuxes and invitations and we’re done?” Gibbs asked, looking half-amazed at how easy it was all turning out to be.

“Might be easier to just call people,” Tony suggested. “You know, ‘Hey, we’re engaged, and by the way you’re invited to the wedding in three weeks.’

“Okay, so just the tuxes,” Gibbs pursed his lips, sounding impressed.

“And maybe some corsages too,” Tony added. “Which are easy enough to arrange.”

Tony looked over at his dad, who had an incredulous expression on his face. “Did you boys just plan an entire wedding in ten minutes?”

Tony lifted a hand to his heart and huffed out, “You make it sound so cheap.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Senior waved his hand to the side of his face dismissively and then looked off towards the kitchen. “By the way, what’s for dinner? And, please, don’t mention Scotch ever again.”

* * * * *

It was late when Tony padded down the stairs in his robe, hair still wet from his shower and teeth freshly brushed.

“Hey,” he greeted Gibbs softly. The man was up to his elbows in sudsy water as he finished washing the dinner dishes, and he half-turned towards Tony and gave him a warm smile.

“Almost done here,” Gibbs said, as he set a few more things on the counter to dry. Tony sidled up behind him and wrapped his arms around Gibbs’ waist, then slowly pulled the man away form the sink.

“Those can wait.” Tony’s voice was a low growl as he reached over, grabbed the towel that was hanging from the oven’s door, and handed it to Gibbs.

“Oh yeah?” Gibbs tried to turn in his arms, but Tony held him firmly until the man finally relaxed back against him. “So what did you have in mind?”

Tony loved that Gibbs could be like this with him, so pliant and malleable and open. He let his hands slide under the waistband of Gibbs’ jeans, and then under the waistband of his boxers until his fingers stroked against Gibbs’ soft cock.

“I’m going to make you hard,” Tony ground out against Gibbs’ ear, “and then I’m going to make you come.”

He suddenly let go of Gibbs and spun him around, pushing his back up against the kitchen counter as he fumbled at the button of the man’s jeans.

“But your dad –?”

“Is already asleep. Trust me, I checked,” Tony grinned, as he knelt on the floor in front of Gibbs and lowered his zipper. He pressed his mouth to Gibbs’ boxers, moving his lips briefly over the rapidly-hardening ridge there, and then he pushed the waistband of Gibbs’ boxers down and let his mouth sink over Gibbs’ cock. There was a loud, satisfied sigh from above him and Tony smiled as he began to lick and suck and stimulate. He could feel Gibbs’ erection growing larger and harder in his mouth, and it spurred him on faster as he felt his own need growing. Tony savored every second as he worked his mouth up and down and around Gibbs, loving the taste and the warmth of the man and the urgency as Gibbs began thrusting back into his mouth. A hand in his hair and a half-strangled cry were all the warning he got before Gibbs thrust one last time into his mouth, and then Gibbs was coming and it was all Tony could do to hold onto his own desire as the man emptied himself into his mouth.

Gibbs was still for a few moments and Tony eventually withdrew his mouth, tucked Gibbs back into his pants, and stood up. The sight before him was delicious, wanton, and unguarded – Gibbs’ head was thrown back, his mouth slightly open, hands bracing himself against the counter as his body came down from its high. Tony growled against his neck and pressed himself against Gibbs so that their bodies were touching as much as possible.

“God, that was hot,” he whispered, and Gibbs nodded his head in agreement. Then Gibbs’ head snapped down, his eyes wide open and dark, and Tony took a half-step backwards. “What?”

“My turn,” Gibbs growled, and then his fingers were fussing at the looped belt of Tony’s robe as he pushed Tony backwards towards the couch in the living room.

Tony grinned broadly at Gibbs, just eating up the passion and desire in the man’s expression and actions as he let himself be propelled backwards through the room. The smile disappeared and he uttered an expletive as Gibbs pushed the robe off his shoulders and grabbed his dick with one hand and started fondling his balls with the other.

“On your knees on the couch,” Gibbs ordered, and Tony swallowed hard as he turned away from Gibbs and climbed onto the couch, letting his arms and torso drape over the back of it as the position bared his ass to his lover. He felt his blood thrumming through his veins as Gibbs’ fingers traced down his spine, over his cheeks, and then back to the top of his crack.

“God, Jethro…,” he sighed, already feeling blissed-out at the intimate touch and at the anticipation of more to come.

And then he bucked as the Gibbs parted his cheeks and Tony felt the man’s warm, wet tongue lapping against his entrance.

“Fuck!” he hissed, trying to keep as quiet even as his body screamed out at the overwhelming sensations.

Gibbs’ only response was to press harder, swirling his tongue around Tony’s hole and then running it across in alternating movements. Then his tongue pressed against the entrance and Tony just about lost it.

Please!” he begged, and he hated that he sounded so needy but there was nothing else he could do. It was all just sensation and bare need, and he almost whimpered as Gibbs’ hand wrapped around his cock and pumped once, twice, three times, slow but steady. And then his hands was moving faster as his other one held Tony in place, preventing him from thrusting forward and forcing him to just let Gibbs take over. Tony felt like he was on fire, burning up as the tongue licked and probed on one side and Gibbs’ hand matched it in counterpoint on the other.

And then he was coming, heaving forwards and crying out softly as his orgasm almost bowled him over in its ferocity. Gibbs held on for a minute, riding it out with him, and then he let go and disappeared for a moment. He was back soon with a cloth, wiping first at the couch and then at Tony, who shivered a bit at the sensitivity but welcomed the care.

Tony let his head fall down on the top of the couch, out of breath and thoroughly content.

“I think I need to return the favor as soon as I’m coherent again,” he mumbled. “That was something else.”

And then Gibbs was running his fingers through Tony’s hair and kissing gently at the corner of his mouth as the younger man rested, and the small clock on the fireplace mantel let out a single muted ding at the top of the hour.

“Merry Christmas, Tony,” he murmured back.

Chapter Text

The sun shone down brightly, brilliant and stark against the frost-tipped grass as Tony made his way up the path. He could see Gibbs waiting ahead of him, facing away and towards the farmhouse while standing at parade rest.

You can take the man out of the Marines…. Tony found himself musing, and he picked up his pace a bit as a knowing smile lit his face. His steps slowed and then stopped a few feet away from the older man, however, and he drew in a deep breath of anticipation.

“Jethro.”

And then Gibbs was turning, and Tony couldn’t keep the ridiculous grin off of his face as he took in the sight before him. Black tuxedo, white vest, pale blue tie to match those brilliant blue eyes… eyes that were boring into Tony’s, eyes that didn’t stray even as Tony looked Gibbs up and down.

“Wow….” Tony let slip, and then his eyes met Gibbs’ and he watched as a smile slid over the other man’s face, watched as it reached his eyes and made the corners crinkle up just that little bit in the way that he loved as Gibbs finally gave him a once-over too. Gibbs moved a step closer, bringing their bodies against each other, and the chaste kiss he pressed to Tony’s lips spoke of promise and possibility.

“You ready?” Gibbs asked as he pulled back, his voice low and unusually rough... but Tony knew what that meant now, knew intimately how much Gibbs’ tone could contain infinitely more than any spoken word. And it was the simple knowing of the man in front of him that settled Tony’s heart, that had long ago pushed out any doubt or insecurities and left only room for trust and joy.

Tony looked him straight in the eye, and hoped that Gibbs could see the depth of his feelings and hear the finality in his voice. “Absolutely.”

Tony reached out his hand to Gibbs, and they walked the rest of the way up the path together until they reached the door, and Gibbs pulled it open to reveal their friends, their family standing and waiting with expectation and excitement - all of them wearing corsages and boutonnieres, all of them equally important to the two men who quietly walked down the short aisle between the tables hand in hand.

Things were a bit of a blur for Tony, in retrospect, from then on out. He and Gibbs had chosen to stick with traditional vows, in lieu of the personal and intimate promises that they already whispered to each other in quiet times. Their rings, which Tim had been holding on to for the past few hours, were exchanged, and a massive excited whoop! from Abby had accompanied the officiant’s declaration of them being “Husband and husband.” And the kiss… oh, the kiss. Gibbs had planted one on him, and then turned the two of them 90 degrees and brought his hands up to cup Tony’s face so that nobody had a good view as his tongue plundered Tony’s mouth, until loud and persistent cat calls finally forced the two of them apart and up for air. Tony had found himself blushing, but the usually reserved Gibbs had just looked out over the small gathering, raised his eyebrows, and shrugged the whole thing off as if to say “Get used to it.”

And then they had eaten. And eaten. And eaten some more. Winter squash soup, oven-roasted vegetables, pan-seared crepes with mozzarella and prosciutto, lamb meatballs, cannelloni… and then tiramisu and the previously-memorable chocolate mousse, all followed up with slices of the smallest and most perfect wedding cake that Tony had ever seen – two squares levels of white fondant-covered devil’s food cake and fudge cream goodness, topped off with a figurine of two men in suits sitting in a boat.

There had been short speeches and toasts made by almost everyone there, the most poignant of which had – somewhat unsurprisingly – come from Gibbs’ namesake LJ, and then there had been lots of photos taken, and more wine, and eventually Abby and Bishop had insisted on a first dance even though there wasn’t really any room for that sort of thing. Tony figured that the women had been conspiring about it beforehand, because Abby had promptly pulled up the most poignant song on her phone and let the speaker play it as Tony and Gibbs had held each other and swayed somewhat awkwardly together.

“All of me loves all of you…” Tony hummed to himself as Gibbs pulled the Challenger into the driveway on Stillwater Lane.

“What was that?” Gibbs asked, as he shut the engine off and turned towards his husband with a smile.

“Just thinking over today,” Tony said, his voice still far away as his eyes stared ahead at the closed garage door in front of them. “That song that Abby played on her phone, it was beautiful.”

“The moment made the song that much more beautiful,” Gibbs spoke softly across the space between them, and the words pulled Tony back to the present. He turned to look at his husband - holy shit! - and grinned.

“Look at you, going all romantic,” Tony teased, and the only warning he got was a low growl from Gibbs before the man wrapped a hand around the back of Tony’s neck and pulled the two of them together, forcing their lips into a passionate kiss as Gibbs’ other hand reached up for the knot in Tony’s tie.

“Or not!” Tony rasped against Gibbs’ lips as the man wrangled the tie off from around his neck and started working on the buttons of his vest. Tony let his hands wander, too, and he almost had Gibbs shirt untucked before the other man pulled back sharply. The gaze aimed at Tony was filled with love, longing, and lust, and Tony felt desire spark along his body as Gibbs whispered a word in the charged air of the quickly-cooling car.

“Inside.”

Five seconds later Gibbs was opening the front door for him, and two seconds after that Tony’s jaw was almost hitting the floor as he took in the scene in front of him – lit candles on almost every surface, a roaring fire, warm blankets spread out in front of said roaring fire….

“Okay, definitely romantic,” Tony sighed out happily, as an arm wrapped around his waist from behind and he felt Gibbs’ chest pressing against his back. Gibbs’ chin came to rest on his shoulder, and Tony turned his head slightly to the side as he asked in awe ,”When did you do this?”

“You didn’t stay here last night, remember,” Gibbs’ voice was soft against his cheek, “and Abby came by a few minutes ago to light the fire and the candles.”

“Ah, I was wondering why she hurried off right before we did,” Tony mused. “She seemed really excited. I can only imagine what kind of images are running through her mind right now.”

He heard Gibbs’ low chuckle against his shoulder, and then the man pulled him close, molding their bodies together so that Tony could feel Gibbs’ erection pressing against his ass. Then Gibbs’ fingers were unzipping his pants, and Gibbs’ hand was sliding low over his belly, and all thoughts of Abby and her wild imagination flew out of Tony’s mind as he let his head fall back and his eyes close.

“You feel so good,” Tony whispered into the stillness of the room, and then his mouth dropped open in pleasure as Gibbs’ firm hand closed around his aching cock and stroked it rhythmically up and down from behind him. He felt pressure building almost immediately, almost too quickly as Gibbs’ other hand reached up to flick repeatedly across his nipple, and soon Tony was a writhing mess of euphoria.

“Stop!” he gasped out, as he twisted away from Gibbs’ hands and their ministrations on his body. He turned to face the other man, who had a heated but smug look on his face, and took his hand and pulled him forcefully towards the blankets and then down onto the ground with him.

“Get these off!” Tony ordered, too far gone to try and be tactful as he practically ripped the rest of Gibbs’ clothes off. Tony’s mouth was sinking down over Gibbs’ erection a second later, and he only pulled back when he heard the other man let out a gasp.

“I want you,” Tony panted out.

“I want you too.” Gibbs’ darkened eyes found his, and he drew Tony on top of him. “Come inside of me,” Gibbs practically begged him, and he kissed his way along Tony’s neck and along his jaw until their lips met in several short, hard kisses.

Tony nodded hard, would have agreed to anything anyway, but this was the essence of who they were as two men – claiming each other, together, forever. He felt Gibbs press a small bottle of lube into his palm, and Tony flipped the cap open and quickly worked one hand over himself while easing Gibbs open with the other. And then he was sinking in, sinking forward into oblivion as the sensations of the moment and the emotions of the day overwhelmed him. His eyes opened for a brief moment as he let a hand slide around Gibbs’ cock to stroke it, and he saw the passion in Gibbs’ eyes before the older man’s eyes closed. Tony let his body cover Gibbs’ as much as possible, every thrust pushing him further in to Gibbs and pushing his hand and body harder against Gibbs’ cock, and his lips peppered Gibbs’ chest with kisses as the pace quickened.

“God, Tony,” Gibbs gasped out, bucking up against him, and then Tony was coming hard and fast as the jolt of ecstasy swept from his toes to his nose. He let his full weight fall onto Gibbs, then, but Gibbs only let him rest for a few seconds before he gently pushed Tony onto his back and grabbed the bottle of lube from the floor again.

No words were needed as Gibbs’ fingers played briefly against and then inside Tony, and then Gibbs was pushing slowly, oh so slowly into him. Tony let out a sigh as his whole body responded to the man, and he revelled in the feeling of being filled, being joined, being one in every sense of the word. The emotional high that he was on didn’t let up as Gibbs thrust into him again and again, hands splayed over Tony’s chest to keep him upright so that he could look into Tony’s eyes. And look he did. Tony couldn’t tear his eyes away, drawn by some force up into the dark blues above him as Gibbs’ fervor built. Suddenly, Gibbs’ eyes slammed closed and he strained against Tony, emptying himself into his husband’s welcoming body as Tony let a smile steal over his face.

It was a while before Gibbs cracked one eye open, and then the other, and then his mouth broke out in a matching grin to Tony’s as he spotted the other man watching him.

“I love you,” Tony stated simply, and Gibbs’ lips were immediately on his in an ardent kiss. Tony hoped he never took those warm lips and that marvellous tongue for granted, and he returned the kiss hungrily until it naturally slowed and then stopped.

“I love you too,” Gibbs whispered against Tony’s mouth, “And I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you.”

Tony reached a hand up to touch Gibbs’ cheek. “Mine,” he said softly, the word conveying everything he felt.

Gibbs lips dipped down to brush against his once more. “Mine,” he echoed, and Tony could see the clarity and brilliance in his eyes as he said the word.

And then, Tony just couldn’t control himself anymore.

“Oh my god, we’re fucking married!” he yelled out.

* * * * *

“So you’re really buying this place,” Tony asked as he felt Gibbs curl up against him in bed later that evening.

We’re buying this place. And, yes,” Gibbs answered, and Tony felt the man’s breath brush lightly against his hair. “So many memories here with you. It’s a good getaway spot.” Gibbs paused. “And it’ll be fun keeping the locals on their toes whenever we go into town.”

“You need a new hobby, I think,” Tony observed with a chuckle.

“Nope, got lots to do back in D.C.,” Gibbs stated firmly. “Including you.” Tony felt an arm slip around his mid-section, but it settled loosely against his belly without any suggestion of more.

“Hah!” Tony huffed out. “I was waiting for an innuendo.”

“I learned from the best,” Gibbs said, as he pressed a kiss to Tony’s neck. Then he abruptly changed the subject. “So… this time tomorrow we’ll be in the Bahamas.”

“Ahhhh,” Tony sighed out. “I can hardly wait. Warm, sunny, you shirtless all day….” The fingers at his belly tickled lightly against his skin, and Tony laughed. “Oh come on, like you weren’t thinking the exact same thing!”

“I was,” Gibbs admitted, “And I was thinking of all the days after that that we’ll be together.”

There was silence for a minute, before Tony spoke up again.

“Yup, you’re totally gone, a totally sentimental sap now,” he teased, shaking his head. But then he quickly turned over and wrapped his arms around Gibbs, giving him a heartfelt kiss to ease any sting of his words. “And I love it,” he emphasized.

“You changed me, Tony,” Gibbs’ voice was quiet in the dark. “You changed something inside of me. It feels so good to be this way again.”

Tony knew who and what he was talking about, and he hugged Gibbs closer as he felt himself slipping towards sleep in the man’s arms. “I think we’ve been changing each other, slowly but surely,” Tony murmured drowsily, “and I love it. I love you.”

“Love you too,” came the soft voice and breath against his hair again, and Tony drifted contentedly off to sleep to the feel of Gibbs’ heart beating against his hand.