Late Friday afternoon found Tony sitting on his Italian leather couch, head in his hands, as Gibbs' harsh words played over and over in his mind. He had screwed up for the umteenth time and found himself nose to nose with a very pissed off Gibbs.
"DiNozzo, get that checked out then go home. I don't know what the hell has gotten into you this week, but until you get your shit together you are benched!"
Even worse was the memory of Gibbs' look of utter disgust as he barked at him with total contempt and disdain in his voice.
"Fuck," Tony said in one long drawn out anguished sigh.
It had been the equivalent of Hell Week. From the moment Tony stepped off of the elevator Monday morning it was one disaster after another. It started with him trying to beat the clock to not be late when he literally ran into Gibbs knocking the large coffee from his hand. An audible gasp went up in the bullpen. Tony, his eyes wide in terror, saw both Ziva and McGee covering their gaping mouths. Cautiously turning his attention to Gibbs, he stood and waited for the expected head slap. He was not disappointed as it was delivered swiftly with more force than usual.
"Dammit, DiNozzo," Gibbs barked as he looked down to see the cuffs of his khakis turned dark brown as he stood at the edge of a growing puddle on the floor. "Clean this up, then go and get me another coffee, and I don't mean the crap from the break room. I'll be down with Abby."
"Yes Boss. Sorry Boss," Tony stammered as Gibbs marched to toward the back elevator, slamming the empty cup into this trashcan on the way. Taking pity on him, McGee ran to the break room and returned with a huge roll of paper towels and helped Tony soak up the hot dark fluid.
By the time Gibbs got back, the mess had been cleaned up and a fresh extra-large coffee sat in the middle of his desk. He shot a quick disapproving look at Tony, who dropped his head in shame and defeat.
Tuesday found Tony unable to walk more than ten feet without bumping into something or tripping over his own size 12 feet. Interestingly enough, that only happened when Gibbs was in relatively close proximity. Returning to his desk after the team had gathered around the plasma screen to review their current case, Tony tripped after Gibbs barked out assignments. He managed to stop himself from face-planting into the corner of his desk, but ended up knocking a stack of case files onto the floor. Papers scattered and floated everywhere until it was a jumbled mess. This time it was Ziva to the rescue as she helped gather all the stray papers.
Tony blinked stupidly at the random pile of folders, reports, and notes piled on this desk. It would likely take hours to sort it all out and get everything back into its proper place. He sighed in defeat and wondered what the next disaster was going to be. Tony looked up and saw Gibbs fixing yet another death glare at him.
"DiNozzo, get back to work and get those records I asked for. That stuff can wait," Gibbs ordered.
"You got it Boss," Tony said mournfully as he grabbed the messy two-foot tall stack of papers and slammed it down on his credenza to be dealt with later.
McGee and Ziva strolled into the bull pen Wednesday morning to find Gibbs at his desk jotting down notes in a file and Tony fast asleep. He was perched precariously on his chair with his feet crossed at the ankles on the top of his desk and his arms hanging down to the floor. His lips were slightly parted and he was snoring softly. The minor disaster from the day before had been sorted as the six case files had been reassembled and were now neatly stacked in the middle of his desk.
McGee looked questioningly at Gibbs and asked, "Hey Boss. Has Tony been here all night?"
"Looks that way, McGee," Gibbs replied without looking up to acknowledge the arrival of his junior agents. "I want a sit rep in thirty. I hope you have something for me by then. I'm going for coffee. You two want anything," he offered as he stood and holstered his Sig, getting two 'no thank yous' and a snore in reply. Gibbs chuckled then stopped in front of Tony's desk on his way out. He shook his head ruefully as he looked down on his Senior Field Agent. "DiNozzo, what the hell am I going to do with you," he thought before turning to McGee.
"McGee, wake him up. I'll be back in twenty."
Tony returned to his desk washed, shaved, and wearing a clean but slightly wrinkled pale yellow button down shirt tucked into the same dark blue jeans he had worn the day before. He had learned early on working with Gibbs to keep an emergency toiletry kit, clean shirts, and socks tucked away in the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet behind his desk.
He stopped dead in his tracks at the sight of a large coffee with a wisp of steam coming out of a hole in the lid sitting next to his phone. Tony mistakenly beamed at McGee, who slowly shook his head and covertly pointed at Gibbs. He closed his eyes before taking a tentative sip, and was surprised to find it doctored to his liking with a sinful amount of hazelnut creamer and just a hint of cinnamon.
After letting out an appreciative groan, Tony opened his eyes to find Gibbs staring at him. Tony blushed slightly and smiled. "Thanks for the coffee, Boss. It's perfect! Just the way I like it."
Tony's smile turned into a frown when Gibbs snapped, "Yeah, well thank your friend Misty, she apparently knows how you like it. Okay, sit rep!" Gibbs was already standing impatiently in front of the blank plasma screen as McGee, Ziva and Tony traded shrugs and confused looks in response to Gibbs' unexpected outburst.
Standing shoulder to shoulder with Gibbs made it difficult for Tony to form a coherent sentence, or breathe for that matter. He was positively tongue tied so he just handed his notes to Gibbs to read for himself. After trading theories about the two-week old murder case the huddle broke up. Tony stood his ground pondering an idea that had just popped into his head while McGee and Ziva scampered back to their desks. Gibbs looked at a pensive Tony for a moment then asked, "Everything okay, DiNozzo?"
Tony snorted and declared, "Yeah, fine Boss. I'm just gonna go over there." He jerked his thumb in the direction of his desk, turned, and took three steps before tripping over his own feet to land with a thud in the middle of the bull pen.
With only his pride wounded, Tony managed to prove his new theory of the case by finding a missing piece to the puzzle in the case file. Something a witness had said to him during his interview with her at the crime scene had been bothering him for days. After hearing a single gunshot, the woman ran inside the house to find the victim lying in his bed with a bullet hole between the eyes. He pulled out his notes and the evidence of her complicity in the murder jumped out at him: "The last thing I expected was to find him with a 9mm bullet hole in his head." There was no way she could know the murder weapon was a 9mm since the caliber of the bullet would not be conclusively determined for two more days when Ducky completed the autopsy.
Gibbs ordered Tony to take McGee with him to pick up the woman and bring her in for questioning. He tossed the keys to the Charger to Tony and offered a sincere sounding, "Good work, DiNozzo." Tony turned to follow McGee to the elevator and promptly ran into the corner of the partition wall. As he attempted to steady himself he proceeded to knock the small, potted fern adorning the corner of Ziva's desk to the floor.
They arrived at the diner where the witness worked and quietly placed her under arrest as an accessory to murder without incident. All that was left was to take her in and let Gibbs work his magic in interrogation. Unfortunately, their arrival would be delayed when during the drive back Tony swerved to avoid hitting a cat and ran the car up the curb and into a light post.
McGee again took pity on Tony and called Gibbs to tell him what happened. The police showed up and cited Tony for failure to maintain control of the vehicle while McGee called a tow truck. Ziva showed up half an hour later and drove her teammates and their suspect back to NCIS.
As predicted, Gibbs broke the woman in record time. Not only did she confess to her role in what turned out to be a murder for hire scheme, she identified her boyfriend as the shooter. Armed with information where they could find him, Tony was ready to bolt to bring him in when Gibbs stepped into observation and instead ordered McGee and Ziva to pick him up.
Tony spent most of Thursday just trying to stay awake as the team worked to finally close the case. The shooter, a junkie in need of quick cash, gave up the victim's wife, who had paid him $2,000 up front with the promise of more when the deed was done. Much to his chagrin, Ziva and McGee were again sent to place her under arrest.
The stress of the week was getting to Tony. He had only managed two hours of sleep the night before and chugging down coffee wasn't helping much. To make matters worse, Gibbs barely acknowledged him and flat out refused to speak to him. While Ziva and McGee were gone, Tony decided to bite the bullet and confront Gibbs.
Gibbs looked up when a tall shadow crossed his desk to find Tony staring down at him. His eyebrows shot up and his eyes narrowed at Tony's haggard appearance. Dark circles were prominent under this eyes and he was paler than normal. It was obvious that his SFA had not been sleeping well, and Gibbs had a pretty good reason in mind why.
"Something on your mind, DiNozzo?"
Tony took a deep breath. "Yeah, kind of wondering why you won't talk to me or even look at me. You pissed at me or something, Gibbs," Tony asked plainly.
Gibbs removed his reading glasses and carefully placed them on top of the file he had laying open in front of him. Leaning back in his chair with his arms crossed, Gibbs replied, "Well yeah, DiNozzo, you could say that. You look like hell. I'm guessing the new flavor of the month has been keeping you up too late at night."
Tony gaped at Gibbs and let a jolt of anger rage through him. "That's what you think?" Feeling bold at the moment, Tony leaned over Gibbs' desk and with a sneer said, "Sounds like your jealous that I'm getting some and you're obviously not." He then pushed himself up and retreated back to his desk to put the finishing touches on his report. With any luck he'd be home within the hour.
Gibbs hid his reaction to Tony's snide comment well, but he had to admit it stung. Yes, he was jealous but not for the reason Tony thought.
McGee noticed the tension between Tony and Gibbs immediately when he arrived back at his desk. Neither man would look at the other and he couldn't help but wonder what had transpired in the ninety minutes he and Ziva were gone.
"Uh Boss? Sheila Manchin is down in interrogation. Ziva's with her," McGee reported to Gibbs, who stood and grabbed the case file from his desk.
"Good work, McGee," he said while patting McGee on the shoulder.
McGee smiled proudly. "Thanks, Boss! Um, they're in Interrogation 2."
Gibbs nodded then strode over to Tony's desk. "That report better be perfect before you leave," he threatened before storming out of the bull pen.
When he was out of sight, Tony let out a pent up growl and threw his pen across the bull pen.
"Jesus, Tony! What the hell happened while we were gone," McGee asked heatedly.
"Nothing I want to talk about, Probie. Been a long fucking day and I just want to finish this so I can get the hell out of here," Tony stated coldly.
Friday morning found everyone in the bullpen on pins and needles waiting to see what today's disaster would be. McGee felt for Tony, who at least looked rested for the first time all week. He kept chancing sideways glances at his friend and partner trying to see if he could see any clues. Tony had been uncharacteristically quiet, which worried McGee even more. Deciding to make what he considered the ultimate sacrifice McGee stood and strolled over to Tony's desk.
Tony looked up and saw McGee frowning down at him. "Something on your mind, McStaring?"
"Just wondering if, you know, maybe you'd want to grab a drink or two after work, assuming we get out of here. My treat." McGee offered.
Tony narrowed his eyes before a smile crept up on his lips. "Sure; why not? A boys' night sounds good to me." Tony nodded before shooing McGee away as Gibbs, sullen as ever, approached.
"Grab your gear. Looks like a hostage situation. Wear your vests people," Gibbs barked as he quickly holstered his Sig and tossed the MCRT van keys to McGee.
What followed was the beginning of the end of Tony's day, if not his job. All hell broke loose soon after the team arrived at a nondescript ranch house on a typically quiet suburban Alexandria street. Rick Balboa's team had also been dispatched to provide additional tactical support and to act as intermediary during negotiations.
A teenage boy was holed up inside the house, apparently distraught over the news that his father, a Marine serving his second tour in Afghanistan, had been killed by an IED the day before. He had locked his mother and little sister in a second floor bathroom and had been threatening to kill himself. From the negotiator who had been on the scene since dawn, the team learned that the kid had lost his nerve and the situation was tragically turning into a death-by-cop scenario.
Metro PD had pulled back to form a perimeter and were in the process of evacuating houses across the street when shots rang out. Gibbs heard profanity shouted by a familiar voice just as he was tackled to the ground and covered by the muscular body of his SFA. From his prone position on the front lawn, Gibbs heard the distinct sound of a flash bang going off.
"DiNozzo, get off of me," Gibbs barked as he rolled Tony off of him and managed to scramble to his feet. "What the hell is wrong with you?"
Gibbs looked between Tony still lying on the ground and the house, where several canisters of tear gas shot through the front picture window had the desired effect of flushing out the young gunman. McGee and Ziva rushed up the front steps and dragged the kid out onto the lawn. Ziva made short work of cuffing his hands behind his back while McGee kept his Sig purposefully trained on him.
It was over practically before it started, and Gibbs stood and watched as Balboa and his team rushed into the house wearing full gear and gas masks to bring out the scared mother and sister. Out of the corner of his eye he noticed that Tony was still on the ground, this time with blood seeping through his fingers as he held his right calf.
"Jesus Christ, DiNozzo," Gibbs muttered as he dropped to his knees next to Tony. "McGee! Get an ambulance here, now! Tony's been shot," he called out before pulling Tony's bloody hands away to assess the damage. He quickly replaced them with his own to apply more pressure as he waited for the paramedics to arrive. "Should have left your ass at the office."
"Cancel that, McGee. It's just a scratch," Tony shouted as pulled away from Gibbs' ministrations.
McGee trotted over and found himself caught in a palpable web of tension. He looked from Tony to Gibbs and back again as the pair glared at each other.
"Tony, are you okay?" McGee asked, if for no other reason than to break the spell.
Still glaring at Gibbs, Tony stated, "I'm fine. Just help me up."
Before McGee could offer Tony a hand up, Gibbs stepped in and pulled Tony to his feet.
Nose to nose with his Senior Field Agent, Gibbs barked, "McGee, drive him to the ER then take him home. Ziva and I can handle things here. DiNozzo, I don't know what the hell has gotten into you this week, but until you get your shit together you're benched!"
Gibbs stomped over to the MCRT van and did his best to wash the blood from his shaking hands. It was too much blood for just a scratch. Tony was hurt worse than he was willing to let on, but his stubborn pride wasn't about to let it show. Gibbs knew he had lived up the "second B for bastard" by yelling at Tony, but it was the only way he could hide his fear.
Three hours later, McGee pulled the company sedan to a stop at the entrance to Tony's security apartment building. Tony mumbled a "thanks McGee," then sighed and opened the door to climb out. He stopped when McGee grabbed his arm.
McGee frowned at the look of total defeat on his friend's handsome face. If he didn't know better, Tony looked like he was about to cry.
"Tony, are you sure you're okay," he asked. "I know physically you're gonna be fine, but I'm worried about you. How about I come up and we can talk."
Tony blinked at him, partly out of shock but mostly to keep unshed tears at bay. He was tired. God, so tired. Tired from lack of sleep, and tired of being a train wreck all week. Unable to keep the tears from falling a moment longer, Tony nodded.
With no intention of taking the Hydrocodone prescribed to him for pain, Tony tossed the pill bottle onto the counter where it skittered into a corner where it would easily be "forgotten". "You want a beer, Probie?"
McGee spun around while simultaneously pressing the "end call" button on his iPhone. "Uh, sure. I, uh, called Gibbs. Told him you were fine, but you were on pain meds and the doctor wanted someone to stay with you for a while. He, uh, sounded pretty upset. Not mad, like earlier. Tony, you should call him. He sounded really worried," McGee reported as he twisted the cap off of a cold bottle of beer Tony offered him. "You're not having one?"
"Need something stronger," Tony replied as he pulled a bottle of top shelf single-malt scotch from behind his bar and poured three fingers worth into a tumbler. He carried the bottle with him to the couch. Waving in the direction of the adjacent easy chair, he motioned for McGee to sit.
"I think the only words Gibbs wants to hear from me are that I quit," Tony grumbled.
McGee sat back in the deep, extremely comfortable chair and sighed. "No, he doesn't. Look, call me McIdiot or tell me to shut the hell up, but I've noticed something this week. Except for wrecking the car, which totally was not your fault, everything else happened when Gibbs was close by."
"What the hell are you talking about?" Tony asked.
McGee laughed. "You really want me to run down all of your little disasters this week? Okay, I will."
Tony gaped as McGee did exactly that. It was true. He had been a walking, talking disaster in progress all week. Continuing Tony's string of bad luck, all of his most spectacularly embarrassing moments saved themselves for when Gibbs was around.
When McGee finished his rundown of the worst week of his life, Tony laughed at the absurdity of it.
"So, you're saying I have a superpower where I turn into Very Special Agent Idiot anytime Gibbs walks by? What, he's like some coffee-fueled version of my own personal kryptonite or something? Jesus, McGee, I've worked with him for a fucking decade! Why now? Why the hell would I suddenly be all star-struck and unable to function around him?"
Tony was out of breath when he finished his tirade. He tossed back a healthy swig of his scotch and sank back into the couch.
Completely unfazed, McGee smirked. The subject of what to do to get Tony and Gibbs together was a topic he and Abby had discussed at length. Years of watching them orbit around each other was finally paying off. Tony made no apologies for doing his utmost to impress Gibbs and garner his attention and praise, but it took keen observation to see the underlying motivation behind it. Gibbs was much more subtle, but his interest in Tony was just as obvious to those in tune enough to notice.
Abby might kill him for going solo on this particular mission, but McGee could not pass up a chance to weasel a confession out of Tony. His inexperienced by generally trustworthy gut told him that this was an opportunity not to be missed. Tony had sworn him to secrecy five years ago after a drunken confession that he was bi, and until now the subject had never come up.
His voice steady and deadpan, McGee blurted out, "You wanna know what I think? I think you have a crush on Gibbs. Actually, I think you're in love with him. So does Abby, and you know she's never wrong about this stuff."
McGee nodded at Tony's stunned expression.
"I think that's why you're nervous around him, or it's some extreme attempt at getting his attention, which you definitely have."
Tony blinked half a dozen times before exclaiming, "Have you lost your goddam mind, Probie? Just because Gibbs happens to be a good-looking guy with a great body you think I have the hots for him? What, I'm so focused on his silver hair and piercing blue eyes that I can't function when he looks at me? Or, maybe, just maybe I find the combination of Old Spice and saw dust so intoxicating that I lose the ability to speak when he stands next to me? Or, worse, that his ...".
McGee smirked as Tony came to his moment of self-realization. He waited patiently for the penny to drop, and waited for the likely melodramatic, explosive response. It looked like Tony was struggling to parse it all together, so McGee sat back and sipped on his beer. He knew by the wild green eyes growing impossibly wide the second Tony finally got it.
"OH MY GOD!" Tony shouted before clamping a hand over his mouth. He got up, and despite agonizing pain began pacing. "Holy shit, McGee! I can't - me crushing on Gibbs? Our boss? Our badass, former Marine, male boss, who, I might add, has been married four freaking times? For fuck's sake, McGee, he's not even gay! OH SHIT!"
McGee went from amused to concerned when Tony began having trouble catching his breath in the grip of a full-blown panic attack. He slammed his empty beer bottle down on the coffee table and rushed to Tony's aid. Steering him back to the couch, he kept repeating for Tony to calm down and breathe.
"Jesus Tony, calm down! Look at me and breathe with me," McGee instructed as he knelt in front of his panicked friend. "That's it, in and out. Slow and easy. There you go. Steady. Focus on me. In ... out ... in ...out. There, that's better," he said when Tony's breathing began to even out.
It was several long minutes before Tony found his voice. It was shaky, soft, and full of fear. "Jesus. What am I gonna do, Probie? If Gibbs finds out he'll kill me and have Abby hide my body."
"TONY, calm down. Just - sit here for a minute. I'm gonna get you a glass of water. Okay? Just, don't move," McGee instructed.
From the kitchen, McGee watched as Tony sank down into the couch, resting his head on the back, and was relieved to see his chest rising and falling in a steady rhythmic pattern. He let out a breath he hadn't realized he had been holding and pulled out his phone. Positive that he needed reinforcements, he sent a text to Abby. 'With T. Call G. Need his help.'
'OMG! T ok?'
'IDK. Panic attack about G. We were right.'
'OMG! *squee* I'll send G over.'
'Tx. Call U later.'
McGee shoved his phone in his pocket and returned to find Tony with his head in his hands. He felt bad for his friend when he heard the sighed, anguished, "Fuck."
"Here, drink this. Doc said you needed fluids," McGee ordered holding the tall glass of water out in offering.
Tony took the glass and chugged down half of the contents on one go. Seeing McGee scowling at him, Tony rolled his eyes but dutifully finished off the water. He slammed the glass down onto a coaster and looked McGee in the eye.
"Look, Probie, I appreciate the concern and all, but you don't have to stay. I'm just going to go take a shower and then maybe drink myself silly. I just want to forget this whole fucking day," Tony announced. The defeat in his voice was plainly evident.
"You sure? I mean, I can hang out, maybe order a pizza," McGee offered.
"Nah, thanks though. Not hungry. Nothing personal, McGee, but I really need to be alone."
McGee got up and took his beer bottle to the kitchen. Tony walked him to the door. Before the door closed on him, McGee offered, "Promise me you'll call if you need anything." Tony responded by flashing the Boy Scout salute and nodding.
Pulling his car around to the side of the building safely out of view, McGee sat and waited. He crouched down behind the wheel when he first heard then saw the bright yellow Challenger pull into the parking lot and into the parking space he had recently vacated. Satisfied that he had remained safely out of sight, McGee slowly drove off and headed to Abby's place.
Tony turned the deadbolt and began searching through his desk for his trusty little black book. It was full of numbers of men and women who would be more than willing to provide a necessary distraction. He was on a mission to get any thought of Leroy Jethro Gibbs out of his mind. Problem was, it wouldn't get him out of his heart.
He had just pulled open the drawer and picked up his prize when he was startled by a loud pounding on the door. He groaned and stomped back over to the door, shouting, "Dammit, McGee, what did you forget this time?"
Instead of McGee, Gibbs was standing at this doorstep, dressed in jeans, a tattered USMC t-shirt, and a pair of Nikes. Tony wanted to cry. He stepped back and made a production of waving Gibbs inside.
"So, guess I should be grateful that you came here to fire me in person," Tony said, his tone more defensive than he had intended while his eyes flashed with contempt. "Okay, you gonna ask me for 'em?"
Gibbs cocked his head and glared. "I'm not here for your badge or your gun, DiNozzo."
"Then why the hell are you here," Tony demanded. Suddenly feeling off-kilter and bordering on dizzy, he stumbled over and took a seat on the couch. He tossed his black book on the coffee table. Gibbs followed, taking the adjacent chair McGee had sat in earlier.
"Hey, Tony, what's wrong?" Gibbs asked, his eyes not leaving his second in command. The pallor of Tony's complexion and the beads of sweat popping out on his forehead worried him. He looked nothing like the version of Tony he had seen just hours ago. Maybe it was the day or the whole week of misadventures catching up to him. Whatever the reason, Gibbs' concern for the man, his trusted friend, was genuine. The problem was voicing his concern without giving himself away.
Tony groaned. There was only one reason why he suddenly felt drunk off of his ass - painkillers. He had only tossed back at most one or two shots of the scotch he had poured for himself, but he did polish off a whole big glass of water under McGee's watchful eye.
"McGee, that son of a bitch. I'm gonna kill him," Tony mumbled, clenching his jaw and slowly shaking his head in disbelief. He looked up with glassy eyes and swayed as he tried to bring Gibbs into focus. "He fucking dosed me, Gibbs!"
"What?" Gibbs barked.
Tony nodded, looking and feeling like a maniacal bobble-head. "I'll bet you a week's pay. Go look! They gave me ten fucking pills and I didn't take any." He stabbed a finger in the general direction of the kitchen.
Curious and slightly amused by Tony's slurred protestations, Gibbs went to the kitchen and found the small pill bottle. He poured the contents out onto the counter and counted. There were only nine pills.
Gibbs returned to the living room where Tony sat still nodding at him.
"I was right, wasn't I?"
"Looks that way. How much of that scotch have you had?"
"Permission to shoot him? Dammit Gibbs!" Tony made a vain attempt to stand only to have Gibbs gently push him back down and take a seat next to him. Being physically close was a risk, but not as great as the risk of Tony face planting into the coffee table. The heat rolling off Tony was intoxicating, but Gibbs managed to keep himself in check. Shoving the little black book out of the way, he snagged the nearly full bottle of scotch and held it in front of Tony.
"How much have you had?" Gibbs asked, drawing each word out.
Tony looked at him and blinked stupidly. "Jussa a li'l bit."
Gibbs dropped his head and sighed. 'Oh boy,' he thought. The powerful drug was starting to kick in. With Tony's low tolerance when it came to any type of narcotic, even the tiniest amount of alcohol would only serve to exacerbate the effects. It was a good thing Abby had called him, because Gibbs knew he was the only one who could handle Tony in a drug-addled state. They had been down this road more times that Gibbs dared count. It was going to be a long night.
Calls to Ducky, Abby and McGee were in order, but first Tony needed coffee - strong coffee, and lots of it.
Tossing a decorative throw pillow down on the couch, Gibbs stood and ordered, "Here. You lie down while I go make you some coffee. We need to talk, but not when you're stoned out of your mind."
A shrunken back Tony looked up at him with a childlike expression and announced, "I gotta pee."
Gibbs yanked Tony to his feet and held him in place until he was somewhat steady on his feet. He ducked under Tony's arm and together they made the thankfully short trip to the en suite bathroom. Gibbs stood outside the door while Tony took care of business, hoping to God his assistance would not be necessary.
When the door flew open, Gibbs looked at his ward with raised eyebrows.
"DiNozzo, where are your pants?"
Tony jerked his thumb over his shoulder. Gibbs looked around him and saw them sitting in a pool on the floor in front of the toilet.
"Toomush work," Tony mumbled, hanging onto the door jam for support.
Gibbs snatched up a pair of sweat pants hanging over the back of a nearby chair in the bedroom. It was an amazing balancing act, but Gibbs managed to get Tony's feet in the legs and got them pulled up to his waist.
Repeating the earlier process, Gibbs escorted Tony back out to the living room and deposited him back on the couch.
"Now - lie down," Gibbs instructed.
With his feet still flat on the floor, Tony tipped over, missing the soft pillow and hitting his head on the arm of the couch. "Ow!"
"Oh Christ, DiNozzo," Gibbs muttered under his breath as he grabbed Tony's legs and got him laid out on the couch.
While the coffee dripped into the carafe, Gibbs unclipped his phone from his belt and hit a random speed dial button. He needed to touch base with pretty much everyone, so it didn't really matter who answered first. He cursed under his breath and waited for the call to connect.
McGee! "Uh, hey Boss. Um, how's Tony?"
Turning his back to seek a bit of privacy in the corner of the kitchen, Gibbs growled out a menacing, "Stoned out of his damn mind, thanks to you! McGee, what the hell were you thinking?"
A very contrite McGee answered, "Sorry Boss. I shouldn't have given him the meds, but they don't give him the strong stuff anymore - do they?"
Gibbs snatched the prescription bottle and squinted to read the name of the drug. "Hydrocodone. You know he can't handle any painkillers, plus you knew he'd been drinking scotch! It says "Do not drink alcohol with this medication" right on the damn label, McGee! I'm going to be lucky if we don't end up right back in the ER! And if we do, so help me, you will end up with my boot up your ass!"
Never one for idle chit chat, Gibbs ended the call with McGee midway through a rambling string of excuses and apologies. Gibbs had no time or patience for either.
He heard Abby in the background, so there was no need to call her. Thank God, because he'd already gotten an earful of excited rambling from her earlier. She was the reason his Friday night of solitude in the basement had been scuttled to babysit Tony.
With another sigh, Gibbs punched in Ducky's number. The coffee pot was full by the time the learned doctor finished reading him chapter and verse about the possible side-effects of Hydrocodone, especially when mixed with alcohol. He advised Gibbs to "keep a watchful eye on young Anthony, that dear, dear boy." Gibbs was relieved that Ducky pointed out that with Tony's high metabolism rate, he should be fine and have no ill effects of the drug after a good night's sleep.
Gibbs wasn't as concerned about any lingering physical effects as he was about the mental. Painkillers had a way of turning Tony into a handsy, libidinous, powerhouse with little self-control and no brain-to-mouth filter. The sooner Gibbs got Tony tucked in for the night, the less regret there would be, on both sides, in the morning.
The upside of a stoned Tony was that Gibbs would get the God's honest truth out of him. As he poured two cups of ridiculously strong black coffee, Gibbs weighed his options. Talk now but keep a safe distance, or wait until Tony was more lucid.
Returning to the living room, Gibbs could not believe his eyes or his ears. Holding a steaming mug in each hand, he stood and watched as Tony played conductor to an invisible orchestra while singing a song he hadn't heard since Kelly was a toddler.
"I love you, you love me, we're a happy family. With a great big hug and a kiss for me and you, won't you say you love me too?" The singing turned into humming until Tony dropped his hands to his sides with a pitiful sigh.
Gibbs cleared his throat. Tony craned his head back and favored Gibbs with a beaming smile. "Oh hey, Boss!" He managed to sit up on his own, swaying slightly and shaking his head to clear the fog.
"Here, drink this. All of it," Gibbs ordered, handing one of the mugs to Tony.
"Ow! Burned my tongue," Tony protested after taking a healthy swig without bothering to blow on it. "And I was 'specting cocoa. This stuff's awful, Gibbs!"
Gibbs rolled his eyes and sat his mug down on the coffee table. He returned to the kitchen and retrieved a bottle of hazelnut creamer from the fridge and a spoon from the silverware drawer. When he handed them to Tony, he sat and watched with astonishment as Tony turned the remaining coffee nearly white.
"Ah, thass better," Tony slurred after taking a drink, smacking his lips and licking away the coffee mustache left behind.
Tony's tongue snaking out was a true test of Gibbs' resolve. His long-held desire for the younger man needed to stay locked up tight, but it was becoming harder and harder to resist or deny what he wanted and needed. Abby had called him on it more than once, and to his utter shock so had Ducky. Both had advised him to take a chance, but the fear of letting his feelings known and being rejected would ruin their friendship. It was a risk Gibbs was not willing to take.
Gibbs had long ago figured out that Tony wasn't the womanizing playboy he portrayed so well. This week proved it leaving no doubt that Tony's feelings for him weren't strictly platonic either. Gibbs had observed Tony long enough to know that he was equally at ease flirting with men as he was with women. He always suspected Tony was more bent than straight, but Tony hid it well. Now the lingering question: what to do about it?
"Whatcha thinkin' 'bout, Boss?" Tony asked, startling Gibbs and pulling him from his thoughts. Suddenly needing distance, Gibbs stood and took Tony's coffee mug from him.
"I'm thinking you need more coffee," he said before retreating to the kitchen.
By the end of the third cup, Tony protested that he needed to pee again. His speech was no longer slurred, so Gibbs knew the caffeine was doing its job. He let out a relieved sigh when Tony stood and managed to stagger to the bathroom under his own power. It was a good sign.
Tony splashed cold water on his face and looked at his reflection as he toweled off. He tossed the damp towel on the vanity top and took a deep breath. His thoughts turned to the gorgeous man he had dreamed of for years sitting in his living room. Pointing an accusing finger at his reflection, Tony warned sternly, "Keep your idiot mouth shut and your hands to yourself, DiNozzo. He's Gibbs, for fuck's sake!" Standing tall, Tony rolled his shoulders and thanked God he hadn't said anything stupid - yet. With a hand on the doorknob he paused as a recent memory flooded in. He threw his head back and groaned, "Oh fuck! Please tell me I wasn't singing!"
Tony stopped dead in his tracks when he crept cautiously back into the living room. There was Gibbs, looking sexy beyond reason, lounging in the arm chair swirling a generous amount of scotch in one of his cut crystal tumblers. Tony noticed for the first time that Gibbs was wearing a pair of jeans that actually fit! He swallowed hard.
"You okay, Tony?" Gibbs asked, completely oblivious to the havoc he was wreaking.
"M'fine, uh, Boss," Tony stammered. He could feel Gibbs assessing eyes on him as he returned to his seat on the couch. With a feeling of dread creeping in, Tony picked up his coffee with shaky hands and prayed. The weight of Gibbs' stare got to be too much. Tony knew that Gibbs was waiting for him to say something, anything to explain his bizarre behavior. For the first time in many, many years, Tony DiNozzo was utterly speechless.
"Tony? Look at me. What's going on with you?" Gibbs asked with a soft, husky edge to his voice. It was completely disarming.
Tony glanced up from studying the creamy swirls in his coffee. "What do you want me to say, Gibbs? I'm a screw up. I dunno why, but ..."
Gibbs interrupted. "Yes you do. Is it me, Tony?"
Tony's eyes went impossibly wide and for a brief moment he was sure he was going to be sick. This was not happening.
"Whadya mean?" he asked stupidly, his voice pitching up into an embarrassing range.
Gibbs threw his head back and laughed. "Give it up, DiNozzo! Abby ratted you out and McGee all but confirmed it. They figured it out a long time ago. Question is, what do we do about it?"
Tony jumped up from his seat. He needed to run, far and fast. Unfortunately, the head rush from standing too fast made his head spin causing him to sway. One second he felt himself falling, the next he felt sure, strong arms holding him safely back against the firm plains of Gibbs' chest. Tony wanted to cry.
Taking advantage of the situation, Gibbs spoke directly into Tony's ear barely above a whisper. "Do I make you nervous? I can feel you shaking. I need to know, Tony. Are you afraid of me, or attracted to me? Tell me!"
The last two words came out as a direct, not to be disobeyed order. Tony knew he wasn't capable of lying, so he swallowed down his shock and fear and confessed. "Not just attracted, Gibbs. I want you - I need you."
Gibbs tightened his hold. Tony's body trembled and his breathing sped up. Gibbs was sure that if he looked into Tony's eyes they would be jet black with desire. He heard and felt Tony gasp as he ground his burgeoning erection against Tony's ass.
Tony moaned involuntarily as Gibbs overwhelmed his senses. He couldn't hold back from getting hard if his life depended on it, and thanks to thin sweat pants and no underwear, he couldn't hide it either. Gibbs nuzzling the spot just there behind his right ear sure as shit wasn't helping the situation any. Tony whimpered helplessly and fell under Gibbs' spell. He was lost - utterly and completely at the man's mercy, and damn it all to hell if Gibbs didn't know it! Tony could almost feel the smug smirk against his skin as Gibbs kissed the side of his neck.
The lips returned, warm and soft, ghosting over the shell of his ear. Tony reminded himself to breathe as he tried to make sense in the sudden shift in this wondrous turn of events.
"This what you want, Tony? Is this what you need?" Gibbs ground his hard cock against Tony's ass again for emphasis.
The desperate, pleading, "Yessss," in response came out as a panted hiss.
Suddenly, the strong arms holding Tony were gone and he felt himself spun violently around until he stood nose to nose with the man of his dreams. 'God help me,' Tony thought as he peered beneath his long lashes into once icy blue eyes now black. Never had anyone looked at him with such intense focus.
The strong arms surrounded him again and he was held fast. Groin to groin Gibbs rocked them slowly, his eyes never blinking, never leaving Tony's.
Gibbs was a man of few words, preferring to let his actions speak for him. When he did speak, each carefully chosen word had purpose and meaning. Tony attempted to control his ragged breathing as he waited to hear the verdict on his fate. He never dreamed in a million years that he would hear these particular words.
"You just want my cock for one night, or something else - something more than that? I could fuck you right here, right now, if that's what it will take to get you to focus. We'd never have to speak of it again. But if you want more from me - with me - tell me now."
Tony's knees threatened to buckle. His mind raced as he tried to process what he just heard. All Tony could think was that this was this had to be some bizarre dream, or a really shitty joke! His unquestioned trust in Gibbs pushed both of those ideas away leaving him with reality. 'Holy fucking shit,' he thought.
Achieving a brief moment of clarity, Tony spoke. "Depends, on what I can have. If it's just a pity fuck, I'll take it. If you want more, just say the word. I only want what you can give me."
Gibbs eyebrows shot up at Tony's brutal honesty. The ball was in his court; it was now or never. He owed Tony honesty in return.
"I can give you everything, everything you've been missing. I can give you love and security. You've had my attention and my heart for years. But you have to know that if we start something together - it's forever. I'm too old to play games, and I'm a selfish bastard, Tony. I don't share. If you want me, it's only me from here on out. I'm not going to risk everything for an occasional fuck or some short-term fling. Not my style."
"But your ...," Tony attempted to ask.
"Ex-wives? You've met them. I think I loved each of them, but not enough to give a damn if they stayed. You, on the other hand, matter more to me than anyone - since Shannon. God knows you've hung in there longer than any of my exes." Gibbs eyes shined and he smiled. "You matter to me, they didn't. So, tell me what you're thinking right now?"
Tony smiled shyly. "I'm thinking if you don't kiss me right now I'm gonna wake up and find out this was all a dream."
Gibbs cupped Tony's face in his hands. He muttered a soft spoken, "Not a dream," against Tony's lips before claiming them in a kiss of possession. Two flicks of Gibbs' tongue was all it took for Tony to open up and welcome the eager tongue into his mouth.
'Jesus fuck the man can kiss,' Tony thought as the kiss deepened until he was dizzy. Tony knew in no uncertain terms that he was being claimed, and he went willingly. Years of pent up frustration, longing, desire, passion and love were poured into the kiss. Unshed tears stung Tony's eyes as he breathed in the so familiar scent that had driven him crazy for over a decade. Gibbs smelled like home, and wrapped in his arms was the only place Tony ever wanted to be. It was too much and not enough all at the same time.
The kiss finally broke leaving both men panting for air. Gibbs placed his hands on Tony's ass and pulled him close. Their dialogue had done nothing to diminish either man's arousal.
Tony shivered when Gibbs voice crooned in his ear. "I want you, Tony. I want to claim you and make love to you, but it's too soon."
"No!" Tony protested between sucking in lungs full of oxygen. "God Gibbs, don't you dare say that! I want you now. I need to feel you, all of you, inside me to know that this is real. I swear to God, Gibbs, if you don't make love to me tonight, I'll go crazy."
Gibbs looked into Tony's eyes and found them filled with sincerity, love and trust. His heart skipped a beat. There was no turning back. He relented and allowed Tony to take his hand and lead him down the hall to his bedroom.
Tony was under no illusion that Gibbs was a bottom in any sense of the word. Gibbs exuded pure alpha-male dominance, and one look at the enormous bulge in his pants told Tony that the man was packing something pretty fantastic! He grinned when Gibbs cleared his throat after catching Tony licking his lips.
Clothing was shed in a desperate attempt to get skin on skin contact. Tony pulled Gibbs' two layers of shirts over his head in one swift motion while Gibbs unbuckled and unzipped his jeans. Tony cast of his shirt, which joined Gibbs' in a pile on the floor.
Gibbs pushed Tony back then dropped to his knees, pulling the offending sweat pants down in the process. Tony's impressive dick sprang free and slapped against this taught abs leaving a definite splash of precum behind. Before Tony to form a coherent thought, he felt the pad of Gibbs' tongue lick a swipe from his heavy balls to the tip of his painfully swollen dick. Tony had to brace himself by holding onto Gibbs' shoulders for dear life to keep from falling.
If Tony thought Gibbs was a great kisser, he hadn't seen anything yet.
"OH MY GOD," Tony cried out when Gibbs opened his mouth and throat wide and took him deep. Heat, suction, little swirls around the head with his skilled tongue, and the slightest scrape of teeth on the sensitive head had Tony ready to come embarrassingly fast. Looking down and seeing Gibbs intently focused as he sucked him off was Tony's undoing. Nothing would stop the explosive orgasm that was building. He only had a second or two to rasp out a warning that he was about to come. Gibbs responded by redoubling his efforts, swallowing once, twice and by the third Tony shattered into a million pieces.
He tried to scream out Gibbs' name as his entire body trembled and thrummed with intense pleasure, but nothing but a pained groan emerged. Tony dug his fingers into warm flesh leaving half-moon indentations as he emptied all he had into Gibbs' mouth and down his throat. Gibbs swallowed every drop greedily and teased the slit with flicks of his tongue to coax out more, but Tony had nothing left to give.
Gibbs climbed up Tony's body smacking his lips, savoring the last remnants of cum. Satisfied that he got it all, Gibbs kissed Tony and shared his essence with him.
"You taste so good," Gibbs murmured when he broke the kiss and walked Tony backwards until the backs of his knees made contact with the bed. Tony fell back and bounced once. Still unable to speak, he leveraged himself up and watched as Gibbs finished undressing.
As promised, Gibbs' cock was beyond awe inspiring, bordering on intimidating. Long, thick and cut, it jutted out proudly from a nest of dark curls and bobbed tantalizingly as Gibbs sauntered over to the bed. Tony's mouth watered in anticipation of hopefully getting a taste. He only had time to mutter an appreciative, "Damn, Gibbs!" before Gibbs descended to kiss him senseless once again.
Tony was left a whimpering puddle of need when the marathon kiss broke. His hedonist side craved touch, and Gibbs supplied it in abundance. Strong calloused hands explored and soothed as Tony began to writhe. Tony managed to claw his fingernails up and down Gibbs' back while rolling his hips to entice the man to move things along.
"Please, Gibbs?," Tony plead. Never before had he ached so much for anyone, and he was losing what little control remained. "I need to feel you inside me."
"Shhhh, you will, I promise," Gibbs whispered as he left the first of his marks on Tony's tender flesh.
Tony felt teeth sinking into his skin just behind his left collarbone and blood being pulled to the surface. He arched his back in response and turned his head to give Gibbs better access to mark him. Tony reveled in the pain of taking the mark; the feeling of possession was almost overwhelming.
Gibbs moved slowly and purposefully, seeking out more places to leave his brand. The inside of Tony's left thigh, three places on his abs, and a matching mark behind his left collarbone. The didn't want to leave any visible marks; only he and Tony would know they were there. He then turned his attention to worrying Tony's nipples. He kissed and laved the left one while pinching and rolling the right one until it was fully erect. Once both nipples had been thoroughly worshipped, Gibbs kissed Tony gently.
Warm breath tickled Tony's ear again. "I want you, Tony. You ready?"
"Oh God yes! Lube's in the drawer. Condoms are too, if you want," Tony panted out, his eyes slammed shut as he tried to control his raging need.
"Tony, open your eyes and look at me," Gibbs commanded. When they fluttered open, Gibbs asked, "Do you?"
"God no!" Tony declared. "I want to feel you. Nothing between us. I trust you, Gibbs."
Gibbs leaned over Tony's prone body and tugged open the nightstand drawer. His eyebrows shot up when he saw that not only did Tony have a variety of lubes and a box of condoms, but also scarves, cuffs, and a long, thick dildo. He grabbed a random bottle of lube then sat back on Tony's legs.
"You into kinky shit, DiNozzo?"
Tony's eyes went wide. "Huh? Oh, that. Ummmm..."
Gibbs chuckled and smiled. "S'ok. I don't mind a little roll playing and all of that - but not tonight. Tonight, it's just about you and me. I just want to make love to you." His eyes and voice softened as he carded his fingers through the hair at Tony's temple.
Tony smiled shyly and nodded. "I want that, too. Make love to me, Gibbs."
Gibbs descended to kiss Tony's swollen lips. Hovering just above he stated, "It's Jethro in the bedroom."
"Then make love to me, Jethro," Tony mumbled against Gibbs' lips.
By the time they reached the point of no return, Tony was so relaxed that Gibbs only need to conduct cursory preparation. That didn't mean, however, that he didn't take his sweet time pushing Tony to the edge with his fingers before pulling him back.
"Christ Gibbs, uh, Jethro, if you don't fuck me soon I'm gonna die," Tony plead, his whole body breaking out in a light sheen of sweat as he was driven toward insanity.
Gibbs' response was to nudge at Tony's stretched and glistening hole with the head of his cock. Tony's legs fell open and he grasped the backs of his knees, pulling them up so that Gibbs had room to situate himself between them.
"Gorgeous," Gibbs muttered seeing the object of his years of desire splayed out for him. The look of trust in Tony's eyes spurred him on and he lunged gently forward, breaching the offered opening until just the head was fully inside.
Tony hissed at the initial burn, but he knew he was about to be rewarded with an amazing, life-changing experience. "Please," he whispered softly.
With his hands on each side of Tony's head, Gibbs pushed in at an agonizingly slow pace. It was as much to keep himself from coming instantly as it was to let Tony adjust. Gibbs bit his lower lip and dropped his head as he felt Tony's body open up a bit more.
"God, you're tight. Feels so good," Gibbs breathed out as he pulled back and slid a bit further in.
Tony felt like he was being split in two, but the burn quickly faded as he relaxed more to accommodate Gibbs' massive dick.
"Fuck, Jethro. More - I need more. Take me," Tony moaned.
Gibbs obliged and surged forward again until he couldn't go any deeper. Hazarding a glance down at their joined bodies, Gibbs felt a wave of desire and love he hadn't felt in years. He felt honored to be making love to Tony.
The pace stayed slow for several minutes, until Tony thrust his hips up and ended up with Gibbs' cock slamming against the tiny nub of his prostate.
"Oh shit!" Tony cried out as his toes curled. From that moment on, it was a race to the finish. Tony clawed at Gibbs' ass to pull him deeper, cursing and begging for more. Gibbs obliged and began thrusting with the clear intent of shoving them both off into the abyss. The sound of grunts and groans and skin slapping against skin filled the room creating an erotic soundtrack. The rhythm of their dance was fast and frantic as they sprinted for release.
Gibbs felt Tony tense and supported his arched back, driving impossibly deep as they both came undone. The electricity was palpable, and Gibbs would testify if called upon to do so that there were definite sparks. Several aftershocks prevented either man from moving. They stayed locked together in an erotic embrace for several minutes until Gibbs' shaking arms gave out.
Utterly spent, they collapsed into a sweaty, sated heap, clinging to each other as if their lives depended on it, desperate to maintain the physical connection. Gibbs softened cock slipped out naturally causing both of them to whimper at the loss.
Gibbs leveraged up on his elbow and brushed sweaty hair from Tony's forehead. 'Jesus, I am one lucky bastard,' Gibbs thought, looking at Tony as he basked in the afterglow. Tanned skin flushed and eyes painfully green, Tony was beyond gorgeous.
"You okay," Gibbs asked once Tony's breathing began to even out.
Tony beamed up at Gibbs. "Okay? I'm a lot better than okay. Jethro, that was beyond incredible."
A emotional switch was flipped causing Tony's expressive eyes to well up with tears. His sudden sob caught them both off guard.
Concerned by the sudden change, Gibbs pulled Tony close. "Hey, hey, what's wrong?"
"Nothing - I just - I've never felt so loved before, Jethro," Tony confessed as the tears spilled from the corners of his eyes.
The sincerity of Tony's confession hit Gibbs like a ton of bricks. This wasn't about the amazing sex they just had, it was more transcendent than that. It was almost spiritual, and something inside Gibbs broke free.
"You are loved, Tony. I love you," Gibbs said softly as his own emotions came to the fore. "I've dreamed of this, you and me, for years. Just wish I had told you sooner."
Tony sniffled a few times. "Me too, but here we are now. You and me, that's it. No one else. I love you, Leroy Jethro Gibbs. You're mine and I'm yours."
Gibbs smiled then kissed Tony gently. "I really like the sound of that. We've got a lot stuff to figure out, but we've got time," Gibbs said before rolling out of bed.
"Where you going?" Tony whined, already missing the heat of his lover's body.
Gibbs barked out a laugh. "I'm coming right back. Was just gonna get a washcloth to clean you up, unless you want that to start itching and we end up glued together," Gibbs said, pointing at Tony's cum-covered chest and abs.
"Oh yeah, huh huh, good point."
Cleaned up and cuddled up under the covers, Tony asked around a jaw-cracking yawn, "You sure you didn't show up here to fire me? I swear, I thought you did."
Gibbs cuffed Tony upside the head gently. "Of course not. I just needed to find out why you turned into Agent Idiot this week. I had my suspicions, but...," he trailed off when Tony started laughing.
"That's what I said to McGee! He said I was crushing on you, and I'm like 'so you're saying I turn into Very Special Agent Idiot whenever Gibbs is around'. Oh God, Gibbs! This is so weird. I mean, I never in a million years thought we'd end up here like this. I sure as hell dreamed and fantasized about it though. Guess we're gonna have to have a chat with McAbby now."
Gibbs sighed and then chuckled. "You know we're never gonna hear the end of it. I suppose I could threaten to kill McGee if either of them says anything. Not sure if either of us is ready to come out as a couple just yet," Gibbs said, leaving it hanging as a question.
"No way! Don't get me wrong, I'd love to take out a full-page ad in the Post, but right now I want to keep this just between us. I don't want to share anything yet. I'm selfish too, and I wanna keep you all to myself for a while," Another yawn.
"Okay, that's it. Sleep time. We'll talk about this tomorrow, and Tony, we will talk," Gibbs said before pecking Tony's red, puffy lips.
Tony snuggled into Gibbs' side and offered a sleepy, "Good night, Jethro. Love you."
Gibbs wrapped Tony in his arms and kissed the top of his head. "Night, Tony. Love you too."
Just as Tony began to drift off to sleep, his eyes shot open when he heard Gibbs mumble into his hair, "In the morning, I'm thinking breakfast in bed - you making love to me."
'Oh God! So much for Gibbs only being a top!' he thought. With a smug smirk on his lips, Tony fell into a deep sleep and dreamed.
Next to him, Gibbs' tears of happiness fell silently as he sent a thank you up to the heavens. He made a mental note to send Abby a dozen black roses before he too drifted off to dream of the future - their future.