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Love in Quiet Measure

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Tony had washed the mason jars again.

He'd long gotten used to drinking out of sawdust-littered glasses, blowing them clean before pouring his whiskey, but since Tony had shimmied his way into Jethro's life, that had changed. Now, he regularly found the glasses either upstairs in the drainboard or put away—upside down—in the basement.

The latter typically meant Tony had also gone ahead and hidden the bottle of Jack for the night as well, but after three spectacular arguments that Tony hadn't run from, Jethro had gotten used to it. Oddly, he didn't seem to miss the drink when Tony was sitting on the crappy wooden steps, watching him work. (It was not what he had done ahead of tonight.)

Jethro looked down at the glass in his hand.

It was a small thing, a daily chore that somehow he'd forgotten in the to and fro of life, but Tony never failed to make sure they were taken care of, just as he always remembered to make sure there was food in the fridge and clothing in the wash.

“Hey,” Tony called down the stairs, “I don't hear sanding or cursing. You alive, boss?”

He couldn't resist the eyeroll. Hell, after this many years, it was reflexive when it came to DiNozzo and he yelled back for Tony to pull the steaks out for him to season.

“No steak, doctor's orders!”

Cyril was in France or Spain or somewhere European, out of reach of any of his patients to pass down his edicts on diet and exercise, but still, Tony adhered to the orders he'd left before ferrying off on his trip. Another... thing that Tony remembered with remarkable ability.

“Then what the hell are we having for dinner?”

Tony clod down the stairs at that, a plastic carry out bag—the kind with THANK YOU in blocky red letters—in one hand and dinnerware clasped in the other. “I thought maybe pasta and seafood tonight,” he told Jethro, a blush creeping up the back of his neck.


“Yeah. From Marchello's.”


Tony's comfort food came from Marchello's.

Any opposition he might've had to the change in meal fell away, and he told Tony, “Okay.”



But as Tony went to set the food down on the counter, Jethro snatched it up himself, took Tony's hand in his own, and pressed a kiss to Tony's closed lips. “Let's eat upstairs. This stuff's not meant for basement eating.”

Tony nodded, a little dazed from the kiss, chaste as it was, and let himself be taken upstairs.