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No Time For Losers

Chapter Text

McGee couldn’t get the words out of his head. It had to have been bright red when it was first written, but now it was turning brown with exposure to air. Liquid enough that the words showed signs of dripping. Looking just like the words scrawled on the walls on TV or in the movies – no doubt Tony would have been listing his top ten movies with messages scrawled in blood. Except this time, the words were meant for him.

”YOUR MOVE, ELF LORD”

McGee was trying not to hyperventilate as he stared at those words. How had it come to this?

It had started out just like any other case. Nothing indicated that this case would turn out this way. Like on any other day, the team was called out to the crime scene, and once they got there they scrambled to get to work. Ziva was photographing. Tony had drawn the short straw and Gibbs’ ire, and was assigned to bagging and tagging. And McGee was interviewing the two hikers that had come across the body of the petty officer. According to Ducky, he had been stabbed to death somewhere else and then dumped here in Rock Creek Park. Which seemed to be the body dump area of choice for poor, murdered petty officers, at least for as long as McGee had been on the MCRT.

The main difference these days was that even though Tony and McGee had driven in in separate cars, they had been awakened from a deep sleep – the kind of blissful relaxation and boneless, dreamless sleep that came from excessively good orgasms – curled tightly around each other in McGee’s bed. They rarely spent the nights apart now, and he’d gotten used to getting called out in the middle of the night while with Tony, and purposely driving to work in separate cars to keep the façade that they had going, despite McGee’s wish that they could just ride to work together.

Mostly, they spent the nights in McGee’s bed, though. Tony’s bed, as it turned out, was way too small for good post-coital snuggling. Someone inevitably fell out of the twin bed. McGee was trying to worm his way into Tony’s heart and convince him to buy a new bed so that they would be able to sleep together comfortably, whether they were at his place or Tony’s. But they hadn’t been in a proper relationship for all that long. So he didn’t want to rock that boat quite yet. He knew how skittish Tony was with regards to relationships. Hell, if Director Shepard wasn’t already dead, he would have had to have a serious talk with her about strengthening the protective walls around Tony’s already bruised and fragile heart with her ridiculous Jeanne Benoit and La Grenouille bullshit op.

Tony had never been the same since then.

But yeah, other than the fact that they had been sleeping together soundly in McGee’s bed, after they’d gone out for a romantic candlelit dinner, and come home to the kind of sex that seemed to only ever occur in pornographic movies, everything else seemed to be business as usual. There was a body dumped. MCRT caught the case because they were on call. And they were all there in Rock Creek Park, business as usual.

It occurred to McGee that ever since he had started hooking up with Tony that all the sex that he’d had with the man seemed to be the kind of sex that only happened in gay porn movies. Not that Tony wasn’t capable of soft and tender sex, but he was always so hot and so ready for action, and always so ridiculously into McGee while they were fucking, that it always made it seem like porn to McGee. He’d never come so hard in his entire life, whether he was fucking Tony, or Tony fucking him.

He’d bit the bullet and confessed that he had actual feelings for Tony one day, and then the man had so adorably blushed and become shy, something he would have never ascribed to Tony. Tony had actually run off and not talked to McGee outside of work for two days after that, before McGee cornered him in the men’s room at work. Tony finally confessed to having feelings for McGee as well. And since then, Tony had become so different with him when they were alone. In private, Tony was sweet and thoughtful, and a complete pushover. He was still sassy, of course, Tony without snark wouldn’t be Tony. But it was never over the top, and it was somehow different. Tony was almost submissive and pliant and, if McGee didn’t know him so well, he would have missed the quiet air of contentment that Tony gave off when they were alone.

Tony was happy to be with him. Tony wanted to be with him, and nobody else. It blew his mind.

But they kept this quiet. As quiet as they possibly could. Just between the two of them. McGee’s family didn’t know. Tony’s father was estranged, anyway. Gibbs didn’t know. Abby didn’t know. Ziva most certainly did not know about them. Breaking Rule 12 was a no no and whatever else Tony was, he was still Gibbs’ Senior Field Agent and he was still someone who firmly believed in Gibbs’ rules. Breaking Rule 12 was hurting Tony’s relationship with Gibbs, and it was something McGee regretted and wished that he could make better. But it was something Tony had to deal with himself.

His devotion to their team lead pre-dated McGee even being on the team. It wasn’t as if it was a surprise to either of them. McGee didn’t really care that much about the rules when it came to being with Tony, but Tony? Well. Tony really did care about the rules. But he also understood that he had to figure this out for himself and hadn’t let it affect their relationship. So far, Tony had been choosing being with McGee over his need to please Gibbs, which did make McGee happy. But he also wished that it wasn’t tearing Tony in half, and that Tony wasn’t so sure that if Gibbs found out about them, that he would be tossed aside. Tony never even considered the possibility that Gibbs might throw McGee off the team instead of him, which would be the more logical option given the number of years that Tony had been Gibbs’ right hand man.

But, Tony was one of the most insecure people that McGee had ever met. He’d known that Tony was insecure, but he’d thought it was only a little. Tony was a talented master of masks. But being with him as much as they had been since they got together, he truly saw how Tony beat himself up for every perceived unkind word from Gibbs. And the mental torture that he put himself through for every case of theirs that went cold was unbelievable, which, thankfully those were few and far between. Because Tony even beat himself up for every case that they actually solved – found fault with himself because he didn’t put together the pieces early enough, didn’t solve it quickly enough, wasn’t in time to prevent someone else from getting hurt, didn’t ever think his performance was good enough. McGee had thought that he was hard on himself, but his Senior Field Agent took it to a whole other level. Tony flagellated himself for everything, every single action, and hid it all underneath his entire snarky personality.

It made McGee wonder at the kind of childhood that Tony had been subjected to and if he could say anything to make Tony feel more secure.

But they weren’t there yet. They weren’t at the point where McGee could openly tell Tony that he loved him, because he knew that the older man would absolutely rabbit it out of there and most probably drink himself into a stupor or fuck the first person that caught his eye, or possibly even both. And then be filled with so much regret, and he would hate himself for torpedoing yet another relationship. McGee didn’t need to add to Tony’s list of Things To Beat Himself Up About, so he kept the words to himself. But even without the words, Tony was blossoming before his eyes. Despite the whole thing about worrying about what Gibbs would say about the two of them breaking one of his goddamn rules, Tony was still opening up so beautifully to McGee. There was no way McGee wanted to risk all this by telling Tony how he truly felt about the man.

All this aside, that morning they did their jobs as per usual, worked the case, and since Tony was bagging and tagging, Gibbs told him to finish up, clear the crime scene and drive the NCIS truck back to the Navy Yard. He was taking McGee with him to interview the victim’s wife, and to inform her of her husband’s death. Ziva had been sent off earlier to dig into one of the items that Tony had unearthed – something that seemed to hint that the petty officer might possibly have some connections to a meth dealing ring that the team was working on cracking on a different case. And Ducky and Jimmy had taken the body back to conduct their autopsy at least an hour ago.

McGee didn’t like leaving Tony or anyone alone at the crime scene like that, but Gibbs seemed to already be in a mood and any arguments or, god forbid, pointing out regulations to Gibbs would be suicide at this time. So he kept his mouth shut. He got into the car with Gibbs after giving Tony’s latex-clad fingers a short, secretive squeeze. Gibbs drove away so swiftly that McGee didn’t get a chance to even get a last look at Tony, still crawling on the ground looking for evidence. He was too busy trying to protect himself from whiplash with Gibbs’ driving.

And then two hours later, when they were driving back and had just arrived at the Yard, after informing the wife, both men watching her reactions carefully, they both agreed that she didn’t seem to know what was going on with her husband, or that anything was even going on with him. That he was just a normal guy, and they were happy together. They had no debts other than the usual shit to speak of, no enemies. They seemed to have a normal marriage and she had no idea what could have happened to her husband. McGee spent over a half hour just trying to calm her down while Gibbs called her sister to come and be with her, as she was so distraught.

When they arrived back at the Navy Yard, Gibbs called up to the bullpen and had Ziva conference in the others to get a status report before he could even park the car. Ziva was apparently at her desk, still unsuccessfully trying to tie their two cases together, Ducky and Jimmy were conducting the autopsy, and Abby was clamoring for evidence to start processing.

“What do you mean you need the evidence, Abs?” Gibbs growled into his phone. “DiNozzo should have been there over an hour ago with the truck.”

“The truck hasn’t arrived, Bossman,” Abby whined.

“Call DiNozzo,” Gibbs ordered McGee.

His heart started pounding when he dialed Tony and it went straight to voicemail. He’d had no text messages or voicemails from Tony since, and they were still in that honeymoon stage where they left each other little secret messages. Just to hear each other’s voices. He hadn’t heard a peep from Tony since they left him at the crime scene.

“Tony. Where are you? Bring the evidence in, man, before Gibbs takes his wrath out on me,” he left the short message after the beep.

It hurt him to hang up without voicing his true concerns and his true feelings. Because he really had a bad feeling about this. Tony might pretend to be dumb and flighty, but he really wasn’t that way at all. McGee knew that Tony not arriving on time without calling anyone or alerting anyone of the situation was a bad thing. Tony wasn’t irresponsible and he wouldn’t have just not completed the task of bringing in the evidence. Evidence was key not only in solving crimes, but ensuring that justice was served and the perpetrator was penalized to the full extent of the law. What mattered was what they could prove in a court of law. Evidence was their life blood. Tony had been the one to drum that into McGee’s thick skull when he started out with the team. There was no way Tony would have flaked out on the evidence and the truck for no reason.

Shit, where the hell was Tony?

“DiNozzo didn’t pick up,” Gibbs was barking into the phone, presumably to Abby. “We’re going to go back to the crime scene and see if we can find him.”

“Lo-jack,” McGee said urgently. “Abs, locate the truck!” he called out loudly.

Gibbs nodded approvingly at him. Gibbs’ driving on a normal day was atrocious, but when he was in a rush? All McGee could do was hang on to the oh-shit handle, and pray that Tony and the truck were fine. He was imagining some horrible weird crash – a squirrel, or a dog, or something jumping into the road and surprising Tony. Maybe Tony had wrecked the truck and was unconscious somewhere.

Abby called back with coordinates a few minutes later, and McGee realized that he could ping Tony’s phone right from his phone and he kicked himself. He pulled up the app and fiddled around with it.

“Tony’s phone is at the same coordinates as the truck,” he told Gibbs.

They made it there in record time and found the NCIS truck off the road a little ways, tucked around a bend in the quiet road, practically into the trees, such that it wasn’t easily visible to vehicles driving by. The driver side door was left wide open. As were the back doors.

McGee gasped, his heart stopping when he saw that the driver’s side seat was bloody, and they saw a trail of blood dripping all the way to the back doors. The floor on the inside of the truck was covered in blood. A lot of it. The kind of amount that could kill a person.

“Tony!” McGee whispered hoarsely.

“He’s not here,” Gibbs was scanning the surroundings, and McGee could see the tracker in him surface. “Someone took him.”

“They hurt him,” McGee couldn’t help the words coming out of his mouth.

“More than likely,” Gibbs agreed. “Although it might not all be his blood. DiNozzo’s scrappy. He wouldn’t have gone easy.”

That was what McGee was afraid of. Tony wouldn’t have just given up and gone with them without a fight. Shit. Shit. Shit!

“Call it in. Get the team out here,” Gibbs was still speaking. “Have Abby come out. We can’t wait to bring the truck in to her.” Time was of the essence in these types of cases. They needed Abby to start working the scene out here to increase their chances of finding Tony as quickly as they could. Unless it was already too late…

“Maybe he’s just crawled into the woods..?” To die… McGee couldn’t say the words out loud. “Should we call in the dogs?”

“No. See? They dragged him and maybe one other person, and the blood trail ends here,” Gibbs indicated to the ground, not that McGee was in any condition to see whatever it was that Gibbs was seeing. Not that McGee would have seen that kind of trail even if he wasn’t too busy stopping himself from hyperventilating about his secret boyfriend being kidnapped in front of his boss. Gibbs was the tracker. McGee was just a friggin’ boy scout.

But it was later, when they went in with full gear, trying to work the bloody truck, when McGee’s blood curdled and he had to literally stop himself from howling with rage and fear. A message had been scrawled in Tony’s blood. Way in the back of the truck, where they wouldn’t have seen it right away. On the wall, past the evidence and supply cabinets, low to the floor. And the message made McGee’s blood run cold and his heart practically stop.

“YOUR MOVE, ELF LORD”

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The first time that they bumped into each other, in the most unlikely of places, McGee wasn’t entirely sure who was more surprised. Well, at least to McGee it was the most unlikely of places. His first thought was that Tony must have been following him, for some perverse and probably soon-to-be embarrassing to McGee reason. But then he saw how Tony was dressed, and his second thought was that Tony had to be doing some kind of undercover op, because sometimes Gibbs lent him out to other agencies for that purpose and that would be why he wasn’t in the loop for what Tony was doing that night. On a night they were supposed to have off. And his third thought was that Gibbs or whoever was running this op for Tony was going to be so pissed at him for being in the wrong place and the wrong time, and his secretly fluid sexuality would have to come to light.

But then when the guy Tony was dancing with pulled him close by his belt loops, glaring viciously at McGee, and possessively kissing Tony right smack on the lips, refusing to allow Tony to be distracted by anyone else at the club. And then Tony was moaning into the kiss, loud enough that McGee could hear it even over the loud bass of the dance music, and he saw that the pair was grinding obscenely on the dance floor, McGee thought, holy shit. Tony’s gay!

Even though he was relieved that he hadn’t accidentally screwed up an undercover op – Tony could not possibly be faking that level of enthusiasm, McGee could see that both he and his possessive partner were hard where they were grinding their dicks together – he felt like he needed a moment to figure this out. Get his head around this new development.

He excused himself from whoever he was dancing with – he didn’t really recall the guy that point – and stumbled through the crush of hot, hard, sweaty, male bodies, to the bar where he gulped down a whiskey sour and ordered another right away, leaning back against the bar, his eyes unerringly finding Tony’s lithe form moving sinuously to the beat. Tony was wearing some kind of black mesh shirt that should have looked stupid – certainly McGee would have looked like a fucking idiot if he’d worn it – but Tony was pulling it off. His tanned skin shone through the mesh, and McGee was almost certain he saw body glitter on Tony’s nipples, as well as a dusting of it down his abs. His actual six pack abs.

Tony had been hiding the fact that he’d been working out again, McGee thought to himself. He went through these phases – he’d gain weight, lose weight, gain weight. It all depended on his emotional state, the state of their cases and how hard Gibbs was pushing them, and whether or not he was in a relationship. Tony seemed to be one of those people who pretended to never be in a relationship, but McGee knew that the man had been in love with Jeanne, for one, and had hidden that from them for a multitude of reasons, the main one of course being that he was involved in an unsanctioned undercover op to seduce the poor woman for having the misfortune of being La Grenouille’s daughter. Even so, McGee had always hated how beautiful Tony always was, no matter what the hell was going on with his life, and no matter how much weight he’d gained or lost. He was always so well put together, and so snarky, so quick with the comeback. And he’d teased McGee mercilessly about being gay.

And now here he was, dancing obscenely with a guy who was easily half a head taller than him and deeply muscle bound. Enough muscles and chiseled good looks that McGee felt incredibly inadequate when the man had so openly staked his claim on Tony. The man was fucking intimidating. Sinewy, bulging biceps, well formed pecs, abs to die for. Seriously, McGee would happily lick the man’s eight pack, were it not for the fact that he was too busy sucking face with Tony. And of course the man was completely shirtless. Because why would someone like that even want to ever wear a shirt to hide his muscle-bound perfection? The muscles weren’t so extreme that it was a turn off. He was not so much the Incredible Hulk. Maybe more Thor than the Hulk. He had blond hair, was built like a brick shithouse, and was apparently incredibly into Federal Agents dressed in mesh shirts. McGee found himself staring at the pair, unable to tear his eyes away from them. Hell, at this point, he was thinking he might also be into Federal Agents dressed in mesh shirts, because if he couldn’t lick Tony’s dance partner Thor’s abs, he wouldn’t mind a taste of Tony’s.

McGee shook his head, trying to dispel that thought. Where the hell had that come from? Out of left field, surprising him. Not that it’d never crossed his mind that that Tony was good looking. Of course he could appreciate Tony’s physical beauty. But it had always been theoretical. Tony was his Senior Field Agent. Tony was the guy who would definitely give him a hard time about everything – from his wardrobe choices, to his hobbies, to how he chewed his food. One time Tony even mockingly imitated how he ate his breakfast and for a week afterwards, McGee hadn’t even been able to look at yogurt, never mind eat it in front of Tony, which meant that he skipped breakfast for a week, and McGee was not one of those people who functioned well without eating breakfast.

But yeah. For the first couple of years that he’d been on the MCRT, McGee thought that Tony’s entire purpose on the team was to make his life as hard as he possibly could. But things eventually tapered off as McGee grew a thicker skin and learned to do the job to Tony’s exacting standards. McGee had a grudging respect for the man now. He had spent a lot of time with him in a professional setting – if one could call occasionally being superglued to things at his desk, or even his desk itself, professional. But he’d known Tony. Or at least he’d thought he did.

After all, he knew how the man danced – like a flailing idiot – which the moves he was busting out on the dance floor completely contradicted now. He knew the songs Tony always butchered if they went out for karaoke, knew his usual pizza order – sausage, pepperoni, extra cheese – , his favorite sandwich. His favorite delis in several different neighborhoods. They’d worked together for years now, in a job that forced familiarity between teammates, given how much they depended on each other during their long, grueling, and dangerous work hours.

But McGee had never even had a whiff of this side of Tony. The side that was laughing coyly, and batting his goddamned eyelashes up at Thor. He’d never seen Tony move his hips so smoothly and so sensuously like that when he danced, looking like he actually knew what he was doing instead of his usual style of awkwardly flailing his limbs as he danced. Thor was absolutely eating it up, and couldn’t keep his hands off Tony’s body.

McGee tried to tear his eyes away from Tony on the dance floor, vaguely smiling when men approached him, but he was unable to focus on anything but Tony. Not that Tony was making a spectacle of himself or anything close to that. Tony wasn’t any more or less lewd than others on the dance floor. He just had never seen Tony seem so openly happy. So carefree. Just dancing his heart out and laughing at his partner, kissing him, running his hands all over the man, rubbing up against him as suggestively as humanly possible.

McGee’s brain was all a-whirl. He absolutely had no idea how he felt about this. Tony was obviously not at all the ultra-straight Agent DiNozzo that he liked to portray at work. Which did kind of make sense, given that they were in law enforcement, and it was kind of still a stigma in their profession. It was one of the reasons McGee had remained quiet about his own sexual preferences. Plus, they worked with the military. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was still in effect. McGee was the son of an Admiral and he knew better than to be openly out in his profession and with his background. But Tony had been teasing him about his sexuality for years now. And to see him so joyously laughing, rubbing himself so obscenely on Thor, it blew his mind.

He turned to the bartender, waited for him to bring him another drink – switching to beer. He didn’t want to be completely smashed before the night was over. He’d come out tonight to have an anonymous hook up. He wasn’t proud of it but yeah, sometimes he just needed to let loose. Not even Abby knew this, that he was sexually attracted to men as well as women. He wondered if Abby knew about Tony’s preferences.

When he turned back to the dance floor, Tony was no longer in sight. McGee sighed and shook his head. If he hadn’t physically bumped into the man, there was no way he would have ever believed that that was Tony out there. He’d stared at him for a span of at least three songs, and yeah, it was definitely Tony. Just a Tony he’d never seen before.

He stood and craned his neck, trying to see if he could catch sight of Tony or Thor again before he gave up and sipped his beer and began responding to some of the men who were flirting with him. He tried not to feel bad about himself that none of them were even slightly Thor-like. He wasn’t in competition with Tony, for god’s sake. But for some reason, twinks loved McGee, and so did men in the older, more Gibbs-esque spectrum. It was rare for him to be pursued by anyone in his age group, and very rare for them to be as overtly sexual and physically intimidating as Tony’s Thor had been.

He was kind of responding to one of the older men – he had that Gibbs look to him and McGee couldn’t deny that Gibbs was hot, definitely a DILF – when someone nudged him gently as they pushed through to the bar. McGee turned his head and saw Tony flashing him a saucy grin. He waggled his eyebrows suggestively at the Gibbs-esque guy, leaned close and hummed approvingly in McGee’s ear. It was instantaneous. McGee felt himself blushing crimson. Tony still had what it took to make him stutter and blush like the probie he used to be, all these years later, even though if anyone should be the one wrong-footed in this scenario, it should be Tony. Mr I Am Strictly And Utterly Heterosexual Tony. But Tony seemed to be completely loose limbed, and relaxed right now.

McGee sent the Gibbs lookalike off after getting his number and turned to Tony who was leaning on the bar, waiting to be served.

“Fancy seeing you here,” McGee told him.

Tony smiled at him, but turned away to put in his drink order, before turning back to McGee.

“A Shirley Temple?” McGee shook his head when he heard Tony’s order. “Seriously?”

Tony laughed and sighed, shrugging carelessly. “I don’t like to drink when I’m looking to get fucked,” he told McGee bluntly.

What?” McGee couldn’t help but stare at Tony.

For whatever reason, even after watching Tony dance with Thor, he’d assumed that Tony would top. Not that Tony was super aggressive or super masculine or anything, but that Tony never relinquished control. Tony was wound tightly and was always so tightly reined. McGee knew that he never liked for anyone to see him at any kind of disadvantage. And getting fucked in the ass was definitely not particularly advantageous, especially for random anonymous hookups.

Tony shook his head at McGee’s reaction. “I like to be fully aware and fully sober when I’m getting fucked, Probie,” he repeated dryly.

“No, no. I mean. Tony!”

Tony sighed. “Let’s hear it…”

“No, I mean. I’m surprised to see you here, for one.”

Tony grinned at him. “And you immediately assume that I would top?”

“Well…” McGee shrugged. Yeah. He did. Definitely. Although suddenly all McGee could think was what a power bottom Tony would be and how lucky Thor was to experience that.

Tony laughed and accepted his drink, pushing cash on the bartender and accepting the flirtatious wink and overlong hand touch with a coy smile before he turned back to McGee. “Well, you know what they say about people who assume things.”

“I’m not making an ass out of you or me.”

“No, dumbass. They say, Gibbs’ll kick your ass for that,” Tony grinned naughtily. “For breaking his rules.”

McGee sighed. He couldn’t help but notice that Tony had eyeliner on, and glitter in his hair and on his eyelids. And fuck it all, Tony looked good. Absolutely delicious. It was messing with his head.

“Aw, Probie. Cheer up. Go call that delicious Gibbs-lookalike that was hitting on you before. I know he gave you his number. I give you my blessing. Go get laid. That always relaxes me,” Tony nudged his shoulder gently.

McGee stared at Tony, who seemed to be completely and utterly relaxed. And yes. Tony was wearing his ‘I just had sex’ expression. “Shit! Did Thor already fuck you?” he gasped.

Tony gave him a mildly curious look before he raised an eyebrow and grinned wickedly. “They do have nice restrooms here. Clean. Big stalls. Roomy enough for shenanigans.”

“I do not want to know, Tony,” McGee whined. “Where’s Thor anyway?”

“Chris? He’d get a kick out of you calling him Thor,” Tony giggled. Tony actually giggled when he talked about Thor, McGee noted. And his name was Chris? As in Hemsworth? “He went home.”

“He went home?” McGee repeated stupidly before he started getting angry.

“Jesus Christ, relax, Probie. He had a hard week, he called me to meet here, we’ve danced, he’s gotten his fill of dominating me on the dance floor, we’ve fucked, and now he’s exhausted so he’s gone home.”

Without you?” McGee was outraged. Did Thor think he could just use Tony just like that?

Tony gave him a surprised look, followed by a sweet smile. “Aw, Probie, are you defending my honor? Chris and me, we just have an arrangement. We both like to keep a low profile about our activities. He likes how I dance and how I look, and you know, he’s definitely easy on the eye and I definitely have no objections to tapping that ass. And turns out, we both like it when he holds me up and fucks me against walls in public places. We like to get our rocks off, and then we both like to go home to our own apartments and our own beds. Without any company. None of that morning after awkwardness, you know? It works great for both of us. He’s a nice guy, and he’s discreet. We’re just friends. With benefits.”

With fucking against walls in public places benefits, McGee’s brain supplied.

Tony yawned. “Besides, I’m beat and I’m going to call it a night, too. Just wanted to come say hi to you before I left.”

McGee nudged him with his shoulder now. “Hi,” he muttered, smiling as he rolled his eyes.

“See you Monday?” Tony asked, raising an eyebrow, eyes crinkling as he gave McGee a fond smile.

McGee nodded.

“Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do,” Tony told him, barely holding back the smirk. He plunked his still-full glass on the bar behind them, leaned over and dropped a soft kiss on McGee’s cheek before he disappeared into the crowd, and McGee kept his eye on Tony’s retreating back until it he lost it in the mass of bodies in the club. And he ended up not going home with anyone or taking anyone home, or hooking up with anyone or anything. Which was disappointing. But somehow, not all that disappointing.

He went home and spent a couple of hours killing orcs, Elf Lording it over the game, and utterly schooling his World of Warcraft archnemesis Hadrian like the Elf Lord that he was before he crawled into bed. But instead of seeing Tony on Monday, he saw the man the next day when they were unexpectedly called out to a crime scene, despite the team not being on call. McGee was tired and sleepy and out of it and he knew that he looked like it, and Tony wasn’t much better. McGee rubbed a leftover bit of glitter off Tony’s eye before Ziva could get a look, and Tony gave him a sleepy smile of thanks and bumped his shoulder with his before they snapped into action, bagging and tagging, and photographing, and interviewing, and all of the usual crime scene activities.

McGee was exhausted by the time Gibbs let them go home, late that night. But the sight of Tony’s sleepy smile, and the way Tony had leaned into his fingers, practically nuzzling his palm, when he was rubbing the glitter off his eyelid warmed the pit of McGee’s belly enough that it kept him awake a long time, lying in bed, thinking of Tony’s completely genuine, not at all bullshitting, not at all masking the inner Tony, sleepy smile. Because it was the most breathtaking thing he’d ever seen.