Jocund - Five Prompts Version
Fornell snickered as he watched Gibbs pace back and forth in his basement. Apparently, Tony had invited Gibbs to join him and Tali in Paris and Gibbs couldn’t make up his mind if he should accept the invitation or not.
Well Fornell had found it amusing 2 hours ago, now he was just annoyed, “Stay or go, but make up your damn mind.”
Gibbs glared at Fornell, “You're welcome to leave whenever you want.”
“And miss out on the free show? Nah.” Fornell smirked. “What's the problem anyway? I know you like him.”
“He's got a daughter.”
“I've seen you with kids, Gibbs. That's not an issue.”
“I don't want to mess up her life.”
“How would you mess up her life?”
“What if Tony and I don't work out?”
“The man loves you, Gibbs. What do you think will happen?”
Gibbs just glared at Fornell.
Fornell chuckled.”Seriously. why haven't you left, yet? You know you want to.”
Gibbs harrumphed. He frowned at Fornell's jocund expression. His friend was having way too much fun with what was a very serious decision for him. Gibbs decided to ignore Fornell and Tony’s invitation and turned to his boat.
Fornell shook his head and decided to tweak Gibbs’ tail a little. “You know if you don't want to go, I'll be happy to go visit DiNozzo. I'm sure he still knows how to have a good time even with a kid.”
Gibbs snarled. “Get out.”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa. I was only kidding. I know better than to poach on your man, but someone else who's not as nice as me may get there first while you're twiddling your thumbs and sticking them up your ass here.”
Gibbs grunted and pointed to the door, waiting for Fornell to leave. He knew Fornell was right. Tony wouldn't wait for him, forever.
At the same time, the high fashion life wasn’t for him and he couldn’t imagine leaving his job. He didn’t know what to think. It was true Tony had invited him to visit them in Paris, but Gibbs didn’t know what Tony felt for him.
Despite Fornell’s insistence that Tony loved him, Gibbs couldn’t bring himself to believe it. Maybe it was better if he just stayed home. Yet, he really missed Tony and wanted to see him again even if only as a friend.
Gibbs stared at his boat. He remembered Tony sitting on the steps and watching him. He remembered the feeling of ease that he’d never have again now that Tony had Tali.
He had plenty of vacation time. It’s just he always thought he’d work until he dropped. Now, he wasn’t so sure he wanted to.
In some ways, he felt like he was letting down the Marines by even considering taking a break. He knew Leon would disagree. Leon was always pressing him to use his vacation time.
He considered calling up Abby to book his flight to Paris, but realized he didn’t want her asking a bunch of questions. It would be bad enough once she figured out he’d gone to see Tony. Of course, that meant he had to find a way to book the ticket himself.
He scrounged around for the yellow pages. Flipping through, he found a number for an airline and called them up to see if he could book a flight to Paris. The lady who answered was really nice, but unfortunately that airline didn’t fly to Paris.
Gibbs growled in frustration. She gave him another number for a travel agency and suggested that they’d be better able to help Gibbs. Gibbs gruffly thanked her and hung up not waiting for her response.
He breathed a sigh of relief when the travel agency easily booked him a flight. As they didn’t have any cases currently, Gibbs entered Leon’s office the next morning to discuss his vacation time. Gibbs left the same way he came in, stopping only to tell Bishop and McGee that they were on cold cases for two weeks unless they wanted to take vacation or another team asked for their help.
Bishop and McGee blinked at each other, but before they could even think of a question to ask, Gibbs was already gone. Bishop and McGee shrugged and started working cold cases. McGee had been working cold cases for thirty minutes when a feeling of dread overcame him.
“Who’s going to tell Abby?” McGee blurted, staring in shock at Bishop.
“Tell Abby what?” Abby bounced into the bullpen excitedly.
“Abby! Don’t do that.” McGee shouted, grasping his chest with his hand. “Are you picking up from Gibbs on sneaking up on people now?”
“Nope. You just weren’t paying attention.” Abby giggled. “Now, tell me what?”
Bishop and McGee exchanged glances. McGee gestured for Bishop to tell her, but Bishop shook her head mouthing that McGee knew her better. Abby’s head ping ponged, looking back and forth between the two.
“Seriously. One of you just tell me. I’m getting worried now. Is Gibbs hurt?” Abby started jumping around, muttering to herself about Gibbs being hurt.
“Gibbs isn’t hurt.” Bishop rolled her eyes.
“What is it then? Is it Tony? Is Tony hurt?”
“Tony’s in Paris with Tali. How could he be hurt?” Bishop logically pointed out.
Abby shrugged. “What’s wrong then? And where’s Gibbs?” Abby looked around, realizing for the first time that her silver fox wasn’t present.
“Um… About Gibbs…” McGee trailed off.
Abby whipped around, her pigtails flying and her eyes filling with fire, “Spill, Timmy.”
McGee gulped loudly. “We don’t know where he is.”
“What?!” Abby screeched. “We have to find him.”
“Chill, Miss Sciuto.” Director Vance cut in, “Gibbs has taken some vacation time. He’ll be back in a couple of weeks.”
“What?” Abby wailed, tears coming to her eyes. “How could Gibbs do this to us?”
McGee and Bishop wrapped their arms around Abby and started leading Abby back down to her lab. “We’ll take it from here. Thanks Director.”
Vance vanished back into his office. Bishop and McGee exchanged looks over Abby’s head as they both patted Abby on the back soothingly.
“How can you side with the Director?” Abby accused poking McGee.
“I’m not siding with anybody, Abbs.”
“We have to get Gibbs back.”
“Abby. Gibbs is allowed to have a private life.” Bishop shook her head slowly.
“No. He left without telling us. He could be in trouble.”
“Abby. He took vacation with Vance. He’s not in trouble.”
Abby stubbornly shook her head. She wasn’t about to let this go.
Bishop and McGee exchanged looks again. They knew they had a hard time ahead of them to convince Abby not to send out the national guard after Gibbs. They’d have to work together to keep her occupied and distracted. They were curious themselves, but knew better than to stick their nose in Gibbs’ business.
Gibbs walked off his flight in Paris, completely unaware of what was happening at NCIS headquarters. He hadn’t told Tony he was coming. He hadn’t wanted Tony to feel forced to meet him at the airport.
It may have been cowardice on his part, though, as it still gave him the option to turn around and fly back to the US without Tony ever knowing he was there. Standing at the baggage claim, Gibbs contemplated if he could really follow through with Tony’s invitation. Sure, he’d taken the time off, but he could easily spend Thanksgiving alone as well.
Gibbs’ phone dinged with a text message. “Abby’s freaking out, you know. You should give her a call before arriving here. I don’t want Tali to overhear the screaming match.”
Gibbs sighed. He couldn’t say that Tony was wrong. Abby was undoubtedly going to be pissed.
He also couldn’t just leave now that Tony knew he was there, though he was kind of curious why the team had called Tony about his whereabouts, but not him. Tony would never let him hear the end of it if he left now. He could also kiss his chances with Tony goodbye if he did so.
He wasn’t quite ready to do that, so he grabbed his bag and made his way out of the airport. Heaving a sigh, Gibbs quickly dialed Abby.
“Gibbs. Gibbs. Gibbs. Where are you? It’s not nice to worry Abby like this.”
“Abbs.” Gibbs refrained from rubbing his forehead, but that didn’t stop him from wanting to do so.
“Seriously. Are you ok?” Abby babbled.
“I’m fine, Abbs. I just needed a vacation. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks. Don’t worry.”
“You better be, mister.”
“I’ve got to go now, Abbs.” Gibbs hung up, knowing if he let her that Abby would happily talk to him for hours.
Gibbs caught a taxi to Tony’s current residence. He paid the taxi driver and walked up to Tony’s door. Gibbs just stared at the door in front of him, afraid to knock, afraid to see if it was open.
Before Gibbs could make a decision about knocking or just trying the door, it swung open in front of him to reveal a smirking Tony. “Get in here already before Tali thinks you don’t want to see her.”
Gibbs shuffled inside with a slightly sheepish expression. “Tony. It’s good to see you.”
“Is it? You didn’t look so sure a minute ago.”
Gibbs shrugged. Just then he heard the gleeful screams of a three year old. Little hands and arms wrapped themselves around his leg.
“Dohd Gibbs!” Tali greeted excitedly.
“Tali,” Gibbs scooped her up and into his arms, tickling her chin which caused her to giggle.
“Dinner’s almost ready.” Tony announced, heading into the kitchen to finish up his cooking. Gibbs set Tali back on the ground and nodded to Tony.
Tali solemnly held out her favorite doll to Gibbs. “We play tea party?”
Tony shook his head. “I don’t think Gibbs knows how to play tea party, Sweetie. Maybe another time.”
“Tea party!” Tali stamped her foot.
Gibbs melted a little inside. He couldn’t believe that he’d wanted to stay away from this, away from her or him. “It’s alright.”
Tony looked at Gibbs, a bit shocked, to confirm that Gibbs really meant he was willing to play tea party with his daughter. When Gibbs just nodded, Tony shrugged in return. “It’s your lucky day, Sweetheart. Both Eliza and Gibbs will be joining us for tea.”
“Eliza?” Gibbs mouthed to Tony.
“Her doll.” Tony mouthed back, before continuing aloud, “But first we must have dinner and then tea party after.”
Tali pouted, but Gibbs nodded, so she shuffled over to the table for dinner. Gibbs headed into the kitchen to help Tony bring the food out.
“You don’t have to do this, you know? She’ll be fine without her tea party.” Tony whispered.
“I know.” Gibbs grunted.
Tony shook his head. “Still not the most communicative, are you?”
Gibbs shrugged. “I say what needs saying. We should talk after she goes to bed.”
“Talk? You?” Tony gasped, teasingly.
Gibbs smirked in reply.
Tea time was filled with stilted conversation with Eliza and giggles from Tali as they played along. Gibbs remembered doing this with another little girl, Kelly. Sometimes there’d been two little girls having tea time with him when Maddie came over.
He hadn’t been able to share in tea time much given his deployment schedule, so he’d always made sure to participate when he could. A soft expression stole over his face as he remembered some of the funny stories Kelly and Maddie would share during tea time. Tony watched Gibbs not sure what had brought that expression to his face, but intrigued nonetheless.
Together, they put Tali down for bed. She, of course, wanted a story before bedtime. Tony settled next to her on the bed while Gibbs sat in a chair nearby and listened to Tony as he read her a story.
After Tali had fallen asleep and Tony tucked her in, Gibbs exchanged a look with Tony. “Do you ever wonder what we’re doing?”
Tony gestured for Gibbs to precede him out the door. “All the time,” Tony murmured as he shut the door to Tali’s room. “What brought this on?”
“You. Her. Remembering similar experiences with Kelly and Shannon and how absolutely terrified I was that I’d mess up with both.”
Tony blinked slowly as he parsed the underlying meaning of that sentence. “The only way you could mess up with either of us is if you’re not committed to us. It’s not just me anymore, Gibbs. I have Tali, now. It’s not fair to her to bring you in as something more than just an occasional visiting uncle if you’re not committed to her or to me.”
Tony glared at Gibbs when nothing additional followed that statement. While he was good at interpreting Gibbs, not everything could be based on hopes and assumptions. This was one time where Gibbs needed to actually talk about what he was thinking and feeling. It was the only way a relationship would work between the two of them, especially now that he had Tali to think about as well.
The fact that Gibbs had flown up here was promising, but he needed more than that. He needed a promise at the very least. Not a promise that Gibbs would never hurt them, but a promise to be honest with them and not try to hide from them. He loved Gibbs, but he refused to initiate this conversation.
Gibbs glared back at Tony stubbornly, out of habit, before glancing down and away as he realized he was the one who wanted to talk. Gathering his courage, Gibbs raised his eyes and met Tony’s. Tony shifted to lean against the wall and held Gibbs’ gaze.
He searched for how to start the conversation he wanted to have, opening and closing his mouth a couple of times with no words coming out. Exasperated with himself, he finally blurted, “I love you.”
Tony blinked. After a pause, he nodded and drawled out, “Okay?”
Gibbs shook his head. Tony definitely wasn’t making this easy on him. “Tony,” Gibbs started before stopping and starting again, “I want to give us a try.”
“Truthfully, I wasn’t sure until I saw you with Tali. I’ve always had feelings for you, but I wasn’t sure about the idea of having another little girl in my life after what happened to the last one. I loved Kelly. I would have given anything for her to still be alive, right now.”
Tony nodded understandingly.
“I don’t know if I could take losing another one, but it doesn’t matter anymore because after spending time with you and Tali this evening I know I’m already addicted and the thought of not having you both in my life scares me more than I’m even willing to admit, definitely more than not taking a chance on us.”
Tony nodded, but didn’t know what to say, so with a bit of non sequitur asked something he’d been wanting to know since it happened, “What were you thinking about when the soft smile stole across your face earlier during tea time with Tali?”
“Oh. I was remembering similar tea times with Kelly and sometimes Maddie. Those two would always tell the most outrageous stories during the tea times I shared with them. I have no idea if they did the same with Shannon, but I assume they did.”
Tony smiled softly. “Thanks for sharing.”
Taking a deep breath, Tony stood up straight for the harder part, “I know you think you want this and us and sharing Kelly with me even a little is a great start, but I need a promise from you. If you can’t make this promise to me, I’m afraid it’s a nonstarter as far as I’m concerned due to Tali.”
Gibbs nodded sharply showing he understood, waiting for Tony to explain.
“I need you to promise to always be honest with me, even when it’s hard. Even if you can’t tell me about something, you need to tell me that not misdirect or hide. We can’t make this work unless we’re both honest about what we need and what we’re not getting.”
“When did you grow up?” Gibbs joked.
Tony didn’t smile. “I kind of had to.”
Gibbs nodded, expression turning more serious, “I can promise you that. It will be hard and you may have to call me out at the beginning before I get used to it, but I want to share with you. I’m just so used to keeping Kelly and Shannon to myself that I don’t even think about it sometimes.”
Tony nodded understandingly. “Neither of us is perfect, Gibbs. I don’t expect you to be. We’ll figure it out together, but we both need to work at it.”
“I’ve never been afraid of hard work, Tony.”
“That’s what I’m counting on.”
Figuring the conversation was over, Gibbs changed the subject, “So where am I sleeping?”
“My bed.” Tony deadpanned.
“The only other option is the couch and it’s really not comfortable for sleeping. We’ll share my bed.”
“I already said ok, Tony. You don’t have to keep explaining.” A smile played around the edges of Gibbs’ lips. He kind of liked nervous Tony even more than confident Tony. “Do we need to worry about Tali figuring out we’re sleeping together?”
“Nah.” Tony shook his head. “She’s the one who pointed out how much the couch sucked for sleeping on during a sleepover she had with a few friends from school. Fair warning though, you will be helping me cook Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow and expect a full inquisition of little girl questions.”
“I’m pretty sure I can handle it.”
“How about I give you something else to handle, right now?”
Gibbs shook his head and followed Tony into his room. “I’m not going to vanish. We don’t have to rush.”
“But if I don’t lure you with my wiles, what incentive will you have to keep returning to us?”
“You definitely don’t need to worry about that.” Gibbs shook his head, pushing Tony down onto the bed and lying next to him, “Nothing could keep me away from you two, now.”
“Good.” Tony curled up around Gibbs as they settled into sleep, or maybe something more. Only they, the bed, and the walls would know and none of them were talking.