Hi folks!

Don't worry, I'm still working hard on Agent Adrift but this story came to me this morning while I was making breakfast and before I knew it I had written the whole thing. It's short but made me smile.

I hope y'all like it.


The Race

"You know, you don't have to do this Boss," Tony said nervously. Never in a million years did he think Gibbs would take him up on the offer. He was just joking around. Flapping his jaw. Talking a big talk.

Looked like this time the boss was taking him seriously.

"You said you wanted to race, DiNozzo," Gibbs replied with a half smile as he walked to his car and opened the door. "Let's race."

Gibbs was already strapped to his seatbelt and turning the key before Tony's brain reminded him that he needed to move. Trotting over to his own Mustang, he strapped himself into his seatbelt and carefully maneuvered it next to the Gibbs' Challenger.

The team had been called in to a case on a Sunday afternoon and all had driven in their own vehicles. When they arrived to find the case wasn't a case at all (dispatch was going to get an earful from Gibbs when he got back to the office), they were allowed to go home.

Upon seeing the boss' Challenger parked near his Mustang, Tony couldn't help himself and before he knew it he was joking about how he bet his car could beat Gibbs.

Big mistake.

The local LEO's hadn't opened the roads that had been blocked for their "non" case so they had their own private driving course. Both of them always rated highly on their driving quals and when the rest of the team heard about it, they lined up to watch eagerly. Even the LEO's came to see what all the fuss was about.

Trying not to let the crowd out there worry him, Tony revved his engine and smiled with what he hoped was confidence at Gibbs in the car next to him.

Taking a cue from a recent movie she had seen (at Tony's suggestion of course), Ziva walked out in front of the two cars. Standing between them she raised her hat above her head, looking at each man with a mischievous grin before letting her arm go.

The moment the hat dropped two engines roared to life and they were off. Gibbs' Challenger took the lead quickly but Tony wasn't worried. Like a jockey knowing exactly when to urge his horse on, the younger man knew that they still had a ways to go. The Mustang was going to nail the corners, her smaller size easily able to outmaneuver the bigger vehicle Gibbs drove.

They battled like that for a while, Gibbs taking over the lead in the straightaways and Tony pulling to the front after each turn. Being treated to a fantastic heat, the crowd back at the finish line cheered loudly. Bets were being placed and though it looked to be close, most people had their money riding on Gibbs.

The final turn came and each man put their foot to the floor. Once again Tony had come out in front and this time he was determined to keep the lead. Gibbs caught up and soon the men were going head to head.

Tony spared a glance to the car on his right and just as he did, Gibbs looked his way as well. The two men shared determined smiles before looking back where they were going, enjoying the race as much as anyone watching it.

The cars were so close that it was impossible to tell who was in front at any given second and the crowd yelled louder, everyone encouraging their favorite.

At the last second, Tony's Mustang inched its way out in front of the bigger Challenger as they flew past the finish line. They slowed steadily and turned around, heading back to the waiting crowd.

Tony's car was immediately surrounded by the LEO's, all of them betting that the ex-cop would beat the ex-Marine and very happy that their gamble had paid off so dearly. After some good natured rubbing, their gathered their winnings from the NCIS crew (which all except one had bet on Gibbs). Tony got out of the car and was summarily raised up onto strong shoulders, laughing at the attention.

"Better luck next time, Jethro," a voice said and Gibbs turned to find Ducky standing beside him. The rest of the NCIS crew murmured much the same and quickly dispersed. Ducky stayed behind.

"So how much did you lose, Duck?" Gibbs asked, walking around to lean against the hood of his car as he watched the celebrations on the other side of the road.

"Me? Why nothing. I just won fifty dollars off of McGee."

Gibbs laughed at that, clapping his old friend on the shoulder.

"Always said you were brilliant, Duck."

"And you should remember that my dear boy," Ducky replied, wagging a finger at Gibbs before walking back to the van to join a pouting Palmer.

Gibbs continued to watch the men congratulating his Senior Field Agent. Tony took in the praise with his usual poise but underneath Gibbs could see that he was truly touched by his new friends. Talks of drinks that night at a local club lead to everyone exchanging phone numbers and deciding on a place to meet. As Tony walked back to his car, he smiled as he caught Gibbs looking at him.

The team leader smiled back, tipping an imaginary cap to his opponent as they both got in their cars. Driving away, Gibbs continued to smile as he thought of the look on Tony's face. It made him feel better than he had in a good long while and he knew why.

It was the exact same look Kelly always had after he had let her win a horse race on the beach.

The End