Chapter 1 – Things Can Be Very Different To How They Seem
"There's no way I can tell Gibbs, Abby. I just can't".
Tony's words made Gibbs stop short. He'd gone down to Abby's lab for a quick chat as soon as he arrived at NCIS that morning; the pretty Goth and her flirting always put him in a good mood. Finding the lab empty, he'd wandered over to look at a weird picture, all black and red and very abstract, which she'd put on the wall. He'd been partly hidden by a cupboard; neither Tony nor Abby saw him as they walked in. Hearing Tony mention his name, and gathering that there was something that he was not telling him, he pulled himself back completely out of sight. He was being a sneaky bastard, he knew, but what concerned Tony concerned him. He had to find out more.
"I agree, there's no way you can tell him, Tony! I'm sorry, sweetie, but you have to face facts here. Gibbs can't be what you want him to be. It's just the way it is, Tony". Gibbs caught the sad note in Abby's voice, and wondered what the hell they were on about. He couldn't be what Tony wanted him to be? What was that all about?
He knew that Tony had deep issues of insecurity; that Tony needed and craved his approval. He'd always thought that Tony just wanted a father figure, a male authority figure who he could look up to. He knew he didn't give Tony enough feedback about just how good an agent he was turning out to be, didn't praise him enough, didn't spend enough time with him.
Tony was speaking again.
"I wish I knew how to quit him, Abs".
"Always a movie reference with you, Tony" was Abby's amused reply. Then, more seriously, "I wish you knew how to quit him, too".
Gibbs, for once, cursed his lack of knowledge about movies. What the hell was DiNozzo on about? Quit him? Was he planning to resign, but not sure how to tell him? The thought appalled him. NCIS without Tony was…well, unthinkable. Was it he that was the problem? Had he let Tony down by not reassuring him enough, not giving him sufficient praise? Was that what Abby meant by "he can't be what you want him to be"?
And now Tony was planning to resign. Well, there was no way he'd let that happen. Tony was the best damn second in command he'd ever had, and he could make him even better. No way was he going to lose him to some other federal agency – especially to Fornell at the FBI - or God forbid, back to ordinary police work.
Tony was talking again.
"Reckon it's my fault, Abs. I've been so careful to weave this alley cat, macho, womanising image. Everyone thinks I'm Mr Super Straight, the poster boy for heterosexuality. You're the only one who knows any different, Abs. You're the only one who knows I'm gay. No, it's Gibbs, Mr Multi-Married Gibbs with the redhead fetish, who's the genuine, no doubt about it, poster boy for straightness around here. You got any idea just how bad he'd chew me out if he knew I'd rather screw men than women?"
Tony was gay????
Gibbs was not often fazed, but he sure was now.
"You don't know that, Tony. Somehow I can't see Gibbs as homophobic. I don't think he'd have a problem with you being gay, although I understand why you want to stay in the closet. It's the rest of it that worries you, isn't it? How he'd react if he knew everything that's going on in your head?"
"Got it in one, Abs, that's what bothers me" was Tony's reply. There was such sadness in his voice that Gibbs felt his stomach clench. Tony could be so vulnerable at times and Gibbs couldn't help but feel protective. Especially as it seemed Tony had him pegged as a bigot. Which he was not. He heard Tony sigh.
"No way can I tell him, Abby. How can I look him in the eyes and see disgust, repulsion, rejection on his face? It would kill me, Abs. Fucking kill me. Maybe you're right. Maybe he'd be OK with the whole gay thing, although he probably wouldn't appreciate me lying to him for so long. But telling him how I feel about him? That I want him to take me to bed, tie me up and screw me senseless? Nope, can't do it, Abs. No way".
Tony wanted to fuck with him??!! Gibbs couldn't move, couldn't think. He'd never expected this.
"Shouldn't have started thinking about Gibbs screwing me", said Tony. "Wonder if he's as bossy in bed as he is out of it? God, I hope so".
"Don't go there", said Abby. "I reckon he's probably Mr Regular Sex between the sheets. No hinky, kinky stuff for our Bossman – I just can't see it, much as I'd like to, Tony. You and I…well, we're cut from different cloth from Gibbs. We like that sort of thing. He's vanilla flavour, I reckon. Can't see Gibbs having handcuffs in his nightstand, sorry, Tony".
"You're probably right, Abby, but a guy can't help fantasising, can't he? If Gibbs is vanilla, I want to lick his ice cream cone. Mmm.…" Molten sex dripped from Tony's voice. Gibbs felt his cock twitch.
"Tony! You have to forget Gibbs and find someone else. You're gorgeous, Tony. You have a body to die for. You could get any guy you wanted. Find someone else, and forget Gibbs. You have to".
"I love him, Abs" Tony said wistfully. "Really love him. Yes, I know he can be a cold fish, but he's what I want. If I were with Gibbs, I'd never look at anyone else. Just him. Can't help it, Abs. I really have the hots for older men and if they're authority figures, well that's the ultimate in getting me all worked up. I mean, look at Gibbs. That silver hair, those blue eyes, that tight ass…"
Gibbs' brain was totally scrambled now. Tony loved him?? Loved him,as in…LOVED him?
"Tony! You can't go around checking out Gibbs' ass. You just can't! What if he sees you?" Abby sounded really worried. "Although I know what you mean about the hair and eyes…and yes, he does have a cute ass. Yep, Gibbs is one hot guy. But, Tony, he's straight, as well as being your boss. Be honest, has he ever shown any sign of interest in you whatsoever?"
"I don't know, Abs", Tony replied. "No, none, I suppose. It's just sometimes…I don't know…I see him looking at me. And those head slaps, you know? Maybe I'm imagining it, but sometimes I think…maybe his hand stays on my head just a second or two longer than it needs to, you know? Sometimes it feels like we have a moment. God, I'm clutching at straws, aren't I?" Tony sounded bitter, defeated, tired.
"Yes, sweetie, I think you are", Abby said firmly. "You're reading things into Gibbs' actions that aren't there. I know how much you want him to want you. But he won't and you have to move on. That's all there is to it. I know it's not what you want to hear, Tony, believe me".
"Maybe you're right, Abs". Tony sounded unconvinced.
"I certainly am, Tony boy. Get yourself into some tight leather pants, get out clubbing this weekend, bag yourself a hottie and screw him into the middle of next week. Take your mind off Gibbs. Try that new club that's opened down town".
"And will it be full of bossy older men with silver hair who want to top me, Abs?" asked Tony, sarcasm rather than sex dripping now from his voice.
"Probably not, Tony boy, but hey, that's a good thing. Get over this thing you have for guys bossing you around. Come on, you know Abby girl is right. Will you try it, Tony? Give it a go, for me? Go on, just put yourself out there and see what happens".
"OK, Abs", Tony replied. He didn't sound too enthusiastic, however. "Maybe I'll check out that club Saturday night. Been a while since I pulled on the tight pants and put it out there. Perhaps it's time to accept that Gibbs will never want me as I want him. Sure might make working with him easier, if he was just…Gibbs…to me, not Special To Me Agent Gibbs With The Hot And Sexy Ass".
"Well, his ass will always be hot, like the rest of him, but I get where you're going with that, Tony", said Abby. "Honestly, it will be the best thing. Gibbs is straight, he's your boss and he's not interested in you. Find someone – and there will be plenty of them - who is".
"May well give it a go, then, Abs", said Tony. "Shit – I'd better get back upstairs and start work, or else Gibbs will be riding my ass, and not in the way I'd want. Catch you later, Abby girl. Will let you know how I get on at the club on Saturday".
Gibbs heard the swish of the doors to Abby's lab, and knew Tony was gone.
He heard Abby moving around and then the din of one of her crazy music CDs assaulted Gibbs' ears, deafeningly loud and unspeakably awful to him. He took advantage of the noise to exit the lab himself without Abby hearing him.
Coffee. He needed coffee. Strong, black and lots of it. He had a lot of thinking to do.