Title: Keep It
Rating: M
Spoilers: Judgment Day, Last Man Standing
Summary: Being reassigned has its perks.

Author's Note: Okay, I never, ever thought I would write slash-smut. Ever. I'm female, and a lesbian at that, so guy-on-guy is so far out of my realm of experience I can hardly see it… but somehow last night the muse decided that McNozzo was absolutely, positively the only thing I could write. Any inaccuracies are totally mine – many, many apologies! I'd appreciate it if you could let me know about my characterisation, though. Some parts I think I nailed pretty well, others I'm a bit less sure about.


I look warily over the top of the cardboard box into Tony's face, waiting for the inevitable new McNickname. "So… what?"

I haven't seen his expression so bleak since the day we lost Kate. "So I guess this is it." Blankly, I look past him at the corner of the bullpen he calls his. The trashcan is overflowing, and the box on his desk is closed, his name scrawled on the side in black marker.

Gibbs, Ziva, Abby, Palmer and Ducky already said their goodbyes, which ran from long and teary – Abby's – to terse yet affectionate with a veiled undercurrent of frustration – Gibbs'. Now it's just me and Tony left, and I don't even know where to start.

Rising from my chair, I nod. "Guess it is."

There's something in his hands, and I can't help but smile a little as I recognise a well-thumbed copy of GSM – Summer Swimsuit Edition 2003, if I'm remembering rightly. It has some really nice… swimsuits. "Reading material to keep you company out on the ocean waves?"

Tony glances at it, then deposits it on the edge of my desk as I step around it. "Gonna need it – no 'fraternising' allowed aboard ship."

It's like Tony's personal hell, and I pull him into a brief, manly hug. "I'm sorry, man."

I feel him exhale, and he gives me an equally manly back-slap before stepping away. "Yeah, Probie… me too."

We stare at each other, unsure now what to say. I've been the butt of his jokes and pranks since we first met, back when I was stationed at Norfolk. His sense of humour can be cruel, but I know him well enough to know that it's often how he shows he cares. He's always had my back, and when I've been at my lowest points, he's been around to console me in his own barely-sensitive way.

I'll miss him, more than I'd thought was possible.

To my dismay, I feel my throat tighten; the telltale sting of tears begins to build. I sigh inwardly – I'd lay heavy odds that the next thing out of Tony's mouth will end with 'McWeepy'.

"Gonna miss you, Tim." His voice is a little huskier than usual, quiet and emotional. I look up and blink, surprised – his eyes are bright with unshed tears. The star athlete has a sensitive side – who knew?

"Yeah, Tony. You, too." It seems safe to hug him again; this time, with a little less macho restraint. His return grip is firm, and I hear him swallow thickly, trying to digest the lump in his throat. I managed to keep my cool around everyone else, but with Tony it's harder. I struggle to breathe without breaking into a sob – it's a minefield, but somehow I manage it.

We draw back to arm's length, and I memorise his face: he's trying so hard to affect his usual devil-may-care attitude, but there's a strained edge of desperation to it.

"Keep in touch when you can, okay?" Why do I feel as though I'm losing a part of myself?

"Take care of them," he says with a nod, taking it for granted that I'll understand who. We both know the drill. Keep Gibbs from obsessing and brooding; keep Abby from worrying and panicking; keep Ducky from trying to fix everything. If one of us isn't around to do it, the other one steps in. It's an unspoken agreement.

"You got it," I agree, and the moment comes to release my hold on his shoulder and upper arm.

It comes… and goes.

The 'guy code' is strict, and it's something you work out instinctively when you get to puberty-age. Too many hugs or too much close contact can give unwanted signals. It's very complex and very subtle, but I manage to get by.

Right now, though, I'm in direct violation of the guy code. And Tony's still gripping my shoulders tightly.

We stare at each other a moment longer, the rawness of the near future fading as we consider the implications of the present. In his eyes, I see realisation, conflict… desire.

The bullpen is empty and silent around us, illuminated by nothing more than our desk lamps. He sucks in his bottom lip for a moment, subconsciously licking it. An image of what it would feel like to kiss him hits my mind's eye, and the tension in the air grows so thick that I can almost feel it against my skin.

Even so, if I take what I want from him right now, he'll only brush me off. Just the thought of his offhand comments if we're ever a team again makes me wince – I can't risk going there. The stage we're at is still within plausible deniability.

I begin to loosen my grip, and his tightens, dissuading me. A little disoriented by the new turn of events, I stare at him, trying to slay the hopeful serpent that slithers down my spine.

So fast that it's almost like the strike of a snake, he kisses me, and our bodies collide: my hands in his hair, his arms around my waist, pressing me against him. It's different from the women I've been with – rougher, brisker, with an edge of precarious uncertainty – but it's still strangely familiar, almost inevitable. His five o' clock shadow scrapes against my skin as he moves down my neck, which grounds me enough to gasp out, "What are we doing?"

If I wasn't undoing his belt buckle at that moment, he might have taken it the wrong way. As it is, he contents himself with a sarcastic, "I don't know about you, but I personally am mowing the lawn... What do you think we're doing, McClueless?"

He smothers my retort with another kiss, his tongue teasing mine expertly. He's kissed a lot of women… and a male-to-female transsexual. The thought gives me pause, and before my knees turn to jelly completely, I turn my head from the kiss, though I'm unable to keep myself from unbuttoning his pants. "Well, it seems like we're on our way to second base-"

Tony's hands have been busy unbuttoning my shirt, and as the last one opens he pushes the fabric off my shoulders, then lets his fingers wander down my arms and over my chest. I almost lose my train of thought, but just about manage to keep it together. "But I need to know if you're just using me because I'm the only available source of sex before your deployment starts…"

The words come out sharper and more defensive than I meant them to, and Tony halts his exploration of my body to meet my eyes with a stare as confrontational as mine. God, how can he turn me on this much when he's just the same old DiNozzo who's tormented me since the day we met? "McGee, there's a singles bar just down the street. It's filled with girls. And guys. Girls and guys who aren't you. Why would I be here if I just wanted to get off?!"

He has a point, and it makes me kinda smug. As guys go, Tony's nowhere near the sideshow freak end of the scale, and it's a boost to my ego that he's choosing to spend his last night on shore with me. "Promise you're not gonna hold this over me for the rest of our natural lives?"

Tony gives me a frustrated kiss that leaves my head spinning, his hands working at my pants. "I started this, Probie. My lips are sealed."

A lot of the time when we're not in the field, I don't trust him. But I do trust his logic on this one, and I relax a little. "Don't ask, don't tell…"

"I won't tell," he says, and then my thoughts veer off track as he reaches inside my pants, his fingers more gentle than his tone.

"And I won't ask how you got so good at this," I whisper, leaning back against my desk for support. He pushes my pants down over my hips, and my cheeks begin to burn as he looks me over.

Appreciatively running his hand over my attention-seeking cock, he raises a wry eyebrow. "You're just full of surprises, McGee." Then a thought hits him, and a small, vaguely irritated frown creases the skin between his eyebrows. "So this is why you never got annoyed when I made all those jokes about your size…"

For the entire time I've known him, I've been trying to figure out a way to make him shut up. That's never seemed more important than it does right now. "Tony…"

The impatient groan does the trick, at least temporarily. He pulls me into another kiss, his tongue insistent against mine while his hand goes to work, teasing at first, then closing around me and beginning in earnest. He knows exactly what I want, and he's more sure of himself than any of the few women I've been with. Soon I'm poised on the brink, high from the scent of Tony's cologne, made delirious by his touch-

His hand drops away at the last second, and I open my eyes to stare at him in disbelief. "What-?"

"Sorry, your face was just too good to resist." Some of the old sparkle is back in his eyes, and that's the only reason I don't turn around and look for my firearm.

Scowling, I grab a fistful of his hair and pull him into a kiss hard enough to make him yelp. "Can't you drop the frat boy act for thirty seconds?!" I demand, not sure if I should be punching him in the face or begging him to get me off. "Why do you always have to have the upper hand?"

"Because, McBlueBalls," he tells me with obvious amusement, "I'm the senior field agent, and you're just the pathetic Probie."

McBlueBalls? Did he really just go there?

The only reason I don't get dressed and storm out of there is that he's already sinking to his knees in front of me, carefully watching my expression for that moment of anticipation when I realise his intent. And before I can stop myself, I've given him exactly what he wants, and I'm dependent on his actions again.

He waits a few seconds too long to begin, and I snap, "DiNozzo, if you don't get on with it right now, I'm gonna start ripping pages out of your damn magazine, starting with the bikini centrefold of Sarah Michelle Gellar!"

"That's emotional blackmail!" he protests, his eyes narrowing at the new gambit.

"Actually, it's extortion," I tell him, closing my eyes and shoving back the instinct to beg. "Whatever you're gonna do, will you just get on with it, already?"

My only answer is silence for an interminable moment, and I'm just about to crack one eye open to see what he's doing when his tongue strokes down my length, sending a fresh wave of desire through me. When I feel his lips close around me, I almost cry out.

I lose track of time, a slave to his skilled mouth and hands. I rest my hand on the top of his head as silent encouragement and let him lick, suck and stroke me to the edge again, not wanting to give him the satisfaction of moaning but almost unable to help myself. He tries backing off again when I'm almost there, but I tighten my fist in his hair and blindly grope behind me for his precious copy of GSM, warning him not to screw with me.

I don't know if he does it intentionally, but for long, frustrating seconds I can't take the final plunge down to oblivion, held at the mercy of Tony's confident technique. When I can't take the unbearable tension any more, I lose control of my tongue, gasping out, "God, Tony, please…"

I hear – and feel – his short hum of self-satisfaction at finally getting me to beg, and then I'm lost, spiralling down into weightless, disorienting pleasure as I come hard. While I sag against my desk, trying to recover my breath and my sanity, Tony swallows and gets to his feet, seeming a little unsure for the first time since he first kissed me.

I reach for him, and we support each other, our breathing irregular. Tony's still hard against me, but I need a while to recover before I can return the favour. "Wanna go to your place?" I ask, my mind skipping forward to an image of him curled up beside me in bed, sweaty and exhausted yet as happy as the circumstances will allow.

He nods, his libido still well and truly in charge, forgoing any classic snarky comments for now. Within five minutes we're in his car, breaking the speed limit – he drives, and I rest a hand lightly in his lap, taking my revenge for the torment he put me through. He's too wired even to snap at me, and the second I shut his apartment door behind us, he grabs me, pushing me up against the wall and pinning me there with a desperately ravenous kiss.

I reverse our positions and kneel before him right there in the hallway, drawing on my memories of what techniques he, and old girlfriends, have used on me, rewarded by his soft curses and groans. The sense of accomplishment as he loses it is intense, and I support him as we stumble in a lustful haze through to his bedroom, then collapse in a relaxed, post-coital tangle of arms and legs on the bed.

He's given up on trying to bait me for now, and in the companionable atmosphere of the darkened room I try to figure out when exactly I started thinking of Tony as a partner in more senses of the word than one. It's too hard to pin down, and when he surfaces from satisfied languor enough to begin tugging at my clothes, I give up the calculation without a second thought. The present is what matters right now.

We fall asleep after we're done having sex for the first time. Neither of us mean to, but the state of comfortable exhaustion that creeps in is too all-encompassing to fight. I manage to hold on until he gives a light snore, and then I let my own mind slip into slumber.

I wake at dawn, his arm draped over my waist and his warm body at my back. The first thing I register is moisture on the back of my neck, but I'm not quite awake enough to move. I keep still, drifting a little, and that's when Tony's breathing hitches in a silent sob.

While I pretend to sleep, keeping my breathing as even and undisturbed as I can, he lets himself cry: over the Director's death; over the loss of our team as it stood; over his upcoming deployment to a day-to-day existence of chastity and boredom. Maybe even over his separation from me, though I know better than to ask him about it.

All I can do is feign sleep, knowing if I betrayed my wakefulness he'd just reposition his mask of carefree nonchalance for my benefit. I let him hold me and cry, his tears wetting my shoulders and mine rolling slowly from the corners of my eyes, following gravity down toward the pillow.

We sleep again, lulled by the comforting hormone contained within our tears, and then wake – kissing, touching, stroking and arguing our way toward climax. The sun slants through the drapes to fall on the rumpled bedclothes, and Tony sighs, his jaw tight and the darkness returning to his eyes as he tells me, "You're gonna have to go, Probie. I got packing to do and a boat to catch."

The shower we share is mostly platonic – the day's events loom too close for comfort, and despite our coming situation, neither of us have the energy to coax another spark from the embers of our emotions.

All too soon, we're standing at his apartment door, staring at each other; faced with the same conversation that started it all the night before. "This is it for real, now," I murmur, and before he can respond the memory strikes me. "You left your magazine on my desk. You want me to go by the office and pick it up for you?"

Tony shakes his head. "Keep it." The irony of looking at a magazine full of scantily-clad women, after the events of the past twelve hours, isn't lost on either of us, and we exchange a slight, despairing smile before hugging each other tightly.

"Take care of yourself, Tony." There's nothing more to say, and he shrugs, inclining his head in an unspoken right back atcha…

We don't kiss goodbye – the past, even if it was just minutes ago, is the past, and we hold ourselves aloof. It's only when I step out into the hallway and look back at him that he gives me a bittersweet smile and says, "You suck at pretending to sleep, Probie."

A final moment passes between us – affection, appreciation, understanding and longing. Neither of us want to look away first, but he's been through enough this week. I turn toward the elevator with a nod of farewell, and don't look back until the apartment door closes behind me with a soft click of finality.