He hadn’t meant for it to happen. A spur of the moment thing really. Caused by an adrenaline rush after not dying in a fiery explosion. He’d been so shocked at first, after Gibbs cut through the red wire. But the shock had quickly given way to joy.
With a wide smile and a laugh he had turned to Gibbs. His boss was staring at the bomb, cool blue eyes watching it intently as if he expected it to draw a weapon against them. In that moment, high on joy, he had a momentary lapse of judgment.
Tim swallowed, hands tightening around the steering wheel as he pulled into his boss’ driveway. Just a few second time was all it had taken to potentially ruin his career. He shifted into park, sitting for just a moment in the heated cab. But still. He couldn’t decide whether he truly regretted his actions. Not yet anyway. Not when Gibbs was doing his best to pretend that it had never happened.
Well, not exactly.
He supposed that being drafted as Gibbs’ personal valet could be considered a punishment. If this was the only punishment he received he could count himself a lucky man. But in his life experience Tim had never considered himself friends with Lady Luck. So he was waiting for the other shoe to drop.
The door swung open and Tim’s Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed again. Gibbs pulled the door shut behind him with his left hand. His whole right arm was still held securely against his chest by the black sling given to him by Ducky.
That was his fault as well.
Tony and the others didn’t know about his slip up. They assumed that he was chauffeuring their boss everywhere because he was the reason the man couldn’t drive himself. But Tim knew Gibbs had forgiven him for that, had not even held him responsible. Gibbs was team leader, it was his job to keep the Agents under his command safe.
Gibbs walked quickly to the passenger door. The morning air was almost as chilly as the glare on the Marine’s face. Opening the door with his left hand was awkward and Tim instantly regretted not getting out to open the door for him. As the older man slid into the car Tim retrieved his peace offering from the cup holder.
At least the scent of the steaming beverage appeared to melt some of the ice from his boss’ features. Tim waited until he was sure of Gibbs grip on the cup before shifting the car into reverse. He checked the street behind them as he backed out onto the road. Beside him Gibbs smirked slightly behind his cup.
“Did you want to stop and pick up some breakfast on the way Boss? Or have you already eaten?”
So far, Gibbs hadn’t said anything about his actions. He hadn’t made any motions to remove Tim from his team. So for now, he would play valet. He might not enjoy the early hours or the late nights but he was enjoying the time he spent alone with his boss. Both of them silent as he drove through the darkened streets.
Maybe sooner or later that other shoe would drop. Would fall on Tim with all the weight of his actions and he would have to face some bitter consequences. But for now he wouldn’t truly regret what he had done.
Out of the corner of his eye he saw Gibbs raise the cup and take a sip of the hot drink. His slightly chapped lips closed over the mouth of the lid. His head tilted slightly back and his throat moved as he swallowed. There was a slight quirk to his lips that could have been a smirk. But Tim didn’t want to risk a closer look.
Again his hands tightened on the steering wheel. He thought back to that brief moment. The bomb disarmed, they were both still alive! Outside Tony and Ziva were directing civilians away from the bus station. The bomb squad was preparing to enter.
And Timothy McGee had turned to his boss with a wide smile and a laugh. Gibbs looked up from the bomb and met his agents eyes. His look was still intense, ice blue eyes shining with focus that was now centered entirely on him. He hadn’t been able to help himself.
It had only taken a second.
A second without real thought.
His hands had reached up, cupping the weathered face. Timothy McGee had leaned forward and their lips met. It was only a soft brush, quick and almost chaste.
Then he had realized that Gibbs was frozen and his better senses had slapped him in the face. Jerking back he tried to hide his horrified expression as he realized what he had done. He tried to stammer some excuse. Gibbs’ eyes and face had gone completely blank, devoid of all emotion. He had said nothing at all until the bomb squad arrived mere seconds later.
And then, things had snapped back to normal. He had ordered Tim to return to Tony and Ziva, to question the station staff and anyone else who might have seen Dr. Shore leave the suitcase behind. Gibbs had left him standing in shock, until a slap to the back of his head jumpstarted him back into motion.
Tim resisted the urge to swallow again. Not with Gibbs in the car, he couldn’t look weak. Couldn’t make Gibbs think it was anything more than just a spur of the moment thing. Couldn’t let him know that he dreamed at night of breaking rule twelve. That he dreamed at night of him.
He loved his job so he knew he had to be careful with his feelings. He had to hide them away, in the back of his mind. Firmly hidden behind locked vault style doors and yards of caution tape they shouldn’t have been able to hurt him. It had only taken a moment of weakness for all his caution to go to waste.
The blaring sound of music next to his ear dragged Tim abruptly from the depths of sleep. He sat up, almost knocking his makeshift Bert pillow off the cool metal table. Abby smiled at him, pulling the second earbud free so she could speak to him.
“You told me to wake you up at two.”
His brain wasn’t all the way awake yet and he stared at her for a moment in confusion.
Oh. Thanking her he swung his legs over the edge of the table and leaned forward. His brow furrowed as his eyes squeezed shut. Had sleep deprivation always given him such headaches? Was this a sign that he was getting old? Abby watched with carefully concealed concern for a moment before turning and pacing to the other side of the room as he cracked his neck.
“Hey, remember when you went to Africa?”
In an instant the memory of a hard, sandy floor flashed through his mind. Heavy fists and feet. The terror at the thought that they might not survive completely swallowed whole by the sheer joy of seeing Ziva alive.
“Uh, yeah. It left an impression.”
“Think there’s um…” She continued pacing, not looking him in the eye as she swung her earbuds nonchalantly. “Any chance that maybe you came into contact with a tsetse fly that was carrying the protozoan Trypanosoma brucei?”
He could have laughed, touched by her concern. But he didn’t even have enough energy for that.
“Abby I don’t have sleeping sickness, I’m just exhausted.” He knew that it was all his own fault though. When Gibbs first asked for that ride home he could, technically, have said no. But it had never really been an option. “I had no idea how hard Gibbs works. I mean keeping up his schedule is gonna kill me.”
She stopped, finally facing him and putting more force behind her words.
“McGee you can’t do that, okay? He’s been practicing this for like, years.”
With great resignation he said, “Abby I owe him.”
It slipped out before he could think about the words. By the time he had it was too late to cut it off. He did owe him. If Gibbs had told anyone about the kiss, McGee could have, would have, been brought up on charges of sexual harassment. Possibly transferred to another office or worse, back down to the sub-basement!
“Because he saved your life?” Oh, well…if she thought that there was no reason to dissuade her from the notion. “That’s part of his job description.”
“He pushed me out of the way of a speeding car.”
And despite the fact that Tony had not been there, the senior field agent was not letting him forget it.
“Pushing people is really rude, McGee! Seriously.”
He looked to the floor, grateful for her concern but unable to fully explain his motivations.
“He’s up at the crack of dawn, if he goes to bed at all. What exactly is running through that guy’s veins.”
Tim sat up straight, surprised and a little worried. How much of the conversation had Gibbs heard? He gave a slight chuckle, deliberately pretending to mistake his bosses request for an answer.
Gibbs smirked and Tim wondered what he was thinking. The silvered head jerked towards the door as he replied.
“No, get me some.”
“On it Boss.”
Tim shot a brief look to Abby as he jumped off the table. Her amused eyes were glistening with slight disapproval at his easy acquiescence. But she wouldn’t say anything while Gibbs was in the room. He slid out of her office into the main lab, passing Gibbs carefully as to not brush him in the slightest. He gave one last order as Tim headed for the door.
“And get everyone ready.”
Abby followed him into the main lab, ready to give Gibbs her report. As he stepped into the hallway he could hear her behind him.
“You’re enjoying having a valet.”
Well at least she knew the difference between a butler and a valet. As Gibbs’ valet he took care of the personal needs of the man. If he had been Gibbs’ butler he would have been tasked to care for the man’s entire household. And he did not doubt that Gibbs counted NCIS as a part of his household.
There was no way he could have survived as Gibbs’ butler.
Groaning quietly Tim blinked. Then blinked again; opening his eyes wide before squeezing them tightly closed. The silver Porsche rumbled as it sat in the convenience store parking lot. Gibbs hadn’t explained what he had needed to stop in for and the look on his face as he made the request didn’t prompt Tim to ask.
Feeling the exhaustion creeping up on him again Tim rolled down the window. The chilled night air invaded the cab like an army. Tim shivered but the cold had served it’s purpose. The exhaustion had been battled back, temporarily.
Gibbs stepped out of the small store. As he walked to the car he pulled what ever he had purchased out of the plastic shopping bag and dropped it into his jeans pocket. Double checking that the car was in park Tim unbuckled his seat belt and leaned across the seat to push open the passenger door.
Gibbs caught the door as it tried to swing back closed. He pulled it open the rest of the way as Tim settled back into the drivers seat. He re-buckled his seatbelt and as soon as he heard the tell-tale click of his passenger doing the same, threw his car into drive and headed back out onto the road.
The drove in silence for a few minutes. Wind from the open window whipping around the raised collar of Tim’s warm coat. But it kept him awake, so it served it’s purpose and he ignored it. He thought nothing of it until Gibbs spoke.
“You cold Tim?”
Glancing over it only took him a moment to realize that Gibbs was not wearing the warm Carhartt jacket from earlier. He didn’t know where it had gone or when it had disappeared. But he quickly rolled the window up and cranked on the heat.
“Sorry Boss, I was just trying to keep myself awake.”
Gibbs looked him over, much like he had last night…this morning?
“You tired now Tim?”
For a moment Tim was silent as he contemplated his answer. He had lied earlier. Had lied and Gibbs had seemed to pick and tease at him for it all day. So what was the right way to answer? Should he lie and invite himself into more torment instead of his warm bed. Or should he tell the truth?
Gibbs was watching him. Tim fought valiantly not to glance over at him every time they passed under a street light.
If he told the truth would that open them up for other truthful conversations? Would the truth damn him now?
“Yeah Boss, I’m a little tired.”
Gibbs nodded slightly and turned to face forward in his seat. They continued on in silence until Tim pulled into Gibbs’ driveway. Waiting until the younger man had put the car into park Gibbs leaned over and turned the car off, taking the keys with him as he stepped out of the car. Confusion coloring his features Tim followed behind.
“Um Boss? I kinda need my keys to get home.”
Gibbs walked in through the unlocked door, dropping the keys on the small table by the door.
“Come inside McGee. You can have a cup of coffee to keep you awake on the drive home.”
Tim hesitated at the threshold. A cup of coffee sounded heavenly right now. Truth be told he didn’t think himself safe enough to drive at the moment. But still…he hesitated. Something deep in his gut was warning him that this was a trap. Gibbs’ head popped back into the foyer.
“You born in a barn McGee? Get inside and shut the door.”
The blatant order was enough to jar him into movement. He stepped inside, unbuttoning his coat as he closed the door behind him. Before his part-time position as his boss’ valet he had only been to Gibbs’ home once. And that one time he had been ushered into the basement so fast he had barely been able to discern the color of the walls.
His fingers trailed lightly over the door. It really had no lock. That was odd. Had Gibbs gone out and bought a door that specifically didn’t lock? This was the home he had shared with Shannon and Kelly, surely the door had had a lock then.
He could hear the sounds of Gibbs cursing in the kitchen so he left the door behind. He entered the living room and cautiously looked into the kitchen. The coffee maker was percolating on the counter. And Gibbs was turning circles beside the counter.
For a moment Tim simply stared. The straps for his sling had somehow gotten tangled behind his back. Tim couldn’t even imagine how such a tangle could happen. He continued staring from the archway into the kitchen, something fluttering in his gut kept screaming for him to run. But ingrained behavior won out over instinct as Gibbs cursed loudly again and he quickly moved into the kitchen.
“Here Boss, let me help you.” In his urgency to help he thought nothing of how close he was to the other man. How his arms wrapped around him as he turned. “Hold still for a minute Boss and I’ll get you out of that.”
Gibbs froze and the sling fell away. He stood nose to nose with Tim and the younger man all at once realized the position he had gotten himself into.
During their dance around the kitchen they had turned and turned until McGee found himself with his back to the counter. Gibbs stood facing him, close enough that Tim could feel his breath ghosting against his lips. He swallowed, eyes flickering quickly between lips and icy blue eyes that bored into him.
Tim stepped back, his backside running into the counter. Gibbs followed him, backing him up slowly until he was trapped in the corner. Trapped between Gibbs and the bend of the counter.
Tim’s breath hitched in his throat. Here is was. The other shoe had fallen.
“Boss, about the other day-”
He cut himself off as Gibbs leaned close, lazily laying his hands against the counter on either side of Tim. Closing his eyes Tim leaned back as far as he could. He could feel the heat of his bosses body radiating like a furnace. It was doing terrible things to his normally strong self-control.
Was this a new form of punishment? To torment him with something he could never have? Tony, he wouldn’t have put it past. Ziva, he could have expected it from. But Gibbs? He had never thought it would be in Gibbs character to torture him like this. But there could be no other explanation that he could reason out.
“You get this little crease between your eyebrows when you’re thinking about something really hard.”
Gibbs was watching him with such intensity. The only other person that had ever watched him that intensely had been Abby, during their short fling. He swallowed as the repercussions of that thought hit him and almost all of his blood traveled south.
“Normally I don’t mind it. Kind of even like it. Shows that you’re working hard. But I don’t want you thinking so much right now.” Gibbs was leaning even closer now. Tim could feel their clothes brush. His hands were shaking. “I just want you to feel.”
Gibbs moved, ever so slightly and their lips brushed. It was the most brief sensation of friction Tim had ever felt. The lightest. And it was driving him insane. His whole body was trembling now. With anticipation? Terror? A little bit of both probably.
But it served to confirm something in his mind. He knew Leroy Jethro Gibbs. And the Gibbs he knew would not torture him this way. At least, not as a punishment. He cracked his eyes open, staring at Gibbs through his lashes. He valiantly tried to calm himself, but his control was shot and his next words came out as a breathy groan.
And with that it appeared that Gibbs’ control was shot as well. He dove forward, crushing their lips together with a kiss that was neither brief nor chaste. Tim’s hands rose from his sides and he snaked them over strong shoulders. Gibbs’ lips were still chapped, maybe even more so, but the feeling didn’t deter Tim from the kiss.
Pressing forward he tugged on those strong shoulders; pulling their bodies flush against each other. Gibbs groaned, a sound that made Tim echo it, and his hands left the counter top. Fingers spanned over Tim’s hips holding him as the older man ground forward. Tim’s breath hitched as the evidence of Gibbs intent met his own. He moaned as their hips met again and he felt Gibbs tongue tracing his bottom lip.
His lips parted happily and the kiss was deepened. Another moan slipped from his throat as he finally, finally, tasted Leroy Jethro Gibbs. The prevailing taste was coffee and beneath that a faint taste of bourbon. There was a mystery taste that Tim couldn’t place, but it reminded him of summers where his grandfather would fire up the smoker and smoke pork with hickory chips.
Gibbs slid his hands up, pulling out the neatly tucked in shirt to trace fingers gently over the muscles of Tim’s sides. Finger deftly undid his belt and carefully popped open his trouser buttons. Tim was practically panting now. Gibbs was touching him! Leaving trails like a brand across his skin. It was almost to good to be true.
Abruptly a thought crossed his mind and Tim broke the kiss pulling back until he could see the others face. Gibbs pressed forward in a renewed attack, but Tim’s hand on his chest halted him.
“Boss, this isn’t just a one time thing is it? Just ‘let him get his rocks off’ and everything goes back to normal?” He tried to keep the pain out of his voice but it seeped through anyway. “Cause if it is I just need to leave now. Because I don’t…I don’t work like that. I don’t, can’t, do the one night stand thing.”
Gibbs had that semi-amused, semi-frustrated look he got when he was about to headslap Tony.
“I have been waiting for six years for you to show some fragment of interest in men. In me. I told you then, that you were mine.” That last word came out as a harsh growl, accompanied by another thrust of hips. “I thought at the time that my offer was clear. But apparently I was mistaken.”
Gibbs reached up, cradling Tim’s face between his hands and the gentleness of the motion shocked him.
“After your invitation last week I have been doing everything in my power to get us alone together after work hours. And at each of those opportunities you have run away at the first chance.” Their foreheads bumped and green eyes were forced to meet blue. “After all that effort went to waste I decided blatant might be the best way to go.”
Tim couldn’t help it. He smiled. This was certainly not what he had expected. It was better than anything he could have hoped for. He leaned forward again but this time it was Gibbs that halted the advance.
Gibbs looked pointedly towards his arms, then his legs. Both were shaking. His entire body was shaking and all at once the exhaustion came rushing back. Tim’s face must have revealed his devastation because Gibbs laughed.
“The team isn’t on call Tim. We’ve got all weekend to get to know each other better.” He slipped under Tim’s arm and started towards the stairs. Tim was surprised to find that he actually needed the help to walk. “I don’t doubt that you’re gonna fall asleep the second you hit the mattress. And I prefer my partners to be a little more alert than that.”
They slowly made their way up the stairs, past the unused master bedroom, the room that had been Kelly’s and into the previous guest room. Gibbs helped him remove his shirt and shoes. They both struggled with his pants for a few moments and Tim laughed dejectedly.
“I’m sorry about this. We finally both know what the other wants and the only thing I can do is sleep.”
Gibbs pulled the previously forgotten purchases from his pocket and tossed them onto the bedside table.
“Don’t worry Tim. We’ve got the whole weekend ahead of us. You can’t possibly sleep through the whole thing.”
Tim laughed, eagerly eyeing the package of condoms and the tube of lube.
“Well don’t be so sure of that.” He teased, feeling brave in his joy and exhaustion. Another leap. “The way I feel now I might sleep an entire week.”
Gibbs dropped onto the other side of the bed. He rolled over until he was almost on top of Tim. Voice intense., he whispered. “Let me rephrase myself. I won’t allow you to sleep all weekend.” A possessive kiss landed on Tim’s lips. He wanted to respond, but he was already halfway to sleep.