Rating: FRM (Not totally sure, but for safety's sake...)
Summary: Tim's managed to keep his composure since Abby's revelation, but now he's got a question and he's determined Tony will answer honestly, whether or not it may tend to incriminate him... and whether or not it will break both their hearts.
Tony thought about stepping forward and giving a hug one more shot, but he knew Tim would only back up again This was not at all the greeting Tony's famous stomach remedy usually received after a week such as Tim had just endured. Equally as confusing was the terse ultimatum the younger man had just issued.
"Okay, okay." Tony finally conceded. "You're upset. What's going on?"
"You play first... or we don't play at all. Maybe ever again."
For the first time all day, Tony noticed that the faint smile Tim was showing didn't get anywhere near his eyes.
"I hate truth or dare."
"At the moment, it's not my favorite game either. We still need to play."
Alarm bells began resounding in Tony's head and he quickly backed down.
"I get it. I'll do whatever you want, if you'll come sit with me on the sofa and drink your broth."
Tim nodded and the pair took seats close to each other on the long couch. Tony handed his lover a mildly steaming cup and the younger man accepted it gratefully. After several attempts, he'd still had no luck wheedling the formula out of Tony, but when his stomach was this unpredictable Tim swept his curiosity aside, trading it for sheer relief. The first sip settled both his nerves and his queasiness and he turned to face Tony, ready now to hear the answers he was seeking.
"Always is. Watching you drink that hot pink crap made me nuts. I knew it couldn't help you like I could. I only teased you..."
"I know, Tony. I know. If this comes out right, you can make that up to me later."
"Truth or dare: Who really slept on the couch in Paris?"
Tony's brow furrowed slightly and he tilted his head a little.
"We both did. I thought you knew that."
Tim swiftly placed his mug on the table, fearing the sudden trembling in his hands would cause him to spill the hot liquid.
"I can't believe... how could... Damn it, you swore you wouldn't ever lie to me, Tony..."
"Timmy, wait... calm down, okay? I didn't lie. The couch sucked, so Ziva and I traded nights. That way neither one had to walk around the whole time with their back tied in knots."
Tim studied the other man intently for a few minutes before holding out his hand, little finger extended. To the rest of the world he knew it was considered a silly childhood ritual, but it held special meaning for them as a couple. With his entire heart and soul, Tim trusted that, if he'd lied, his lover's guilt would force him to decline the invitation, so when Tony grinned and completed the connection with his own pinky, a large chunk of Tim's anxiety fell away.
"You, uh... you remember that morning?" Tony asked quietly.
"Every second. We woke up with our hands tangled together. When I realized we were pinky swearing, I wanted to laugh, but... the look on your face said you thought it was serious... important. So I took it that way too."
"The night before's a little fuzzy..." Tony chuckled.
"Not for me. We barely did anything... but I'd never felt so incredible in my life. Then instead of getting dressed, you just... settled in and fell asleep. That was the first time I was really sure you wanted me. Not just a convenient body... *me*."
Tony scowled and flushed briefly.
"I still love her, but I've never completely forgiven her for hurting you like that." he intoned darkly, using his free hand to give Tim his mug back. Once the other man had it securely, Tony stroked his lover's face slowly with his fingertips.
"Casual is who Abby is... how she does things. With me, anyway. I don't think about it anymore. Besides... it meant I was free to take something better when it came along." He reminded Tony with a shy smile.
"She has no clue what she threw in the dumpster. Someday she'll realize what she lost... and as much as I care for her, I'll laugh in her face."
"Hush. Drink your broth."
Tim complied readily and the two sat in comfortable silence until the mug was empty. When Tim finally set it aside, Tony leaned in and kissed him gently. "You're okay now?"
"Yeah. Never fails. The recipe..."
"... has been in my family for generations and for the thousandth time, I'm not giving it up. My Nonna would put out a hit on me if she found out."
"She's dead, Tony."
"So you understand why I'm keeping the secret to myself." Tony insisted, dropping brief kisses all over Tim's face and gradually easing him down on his back. "I really did miss having you to talk to, you know. It's such a relief to drop the walls... the 'Eleanor Rigby' shtick I do for the rest of the world..."
Tim's eyes widened.
"Oh! So the lyric about a face in a jar... now it makes sense! It took me long enough..."
"You don't wear masks, kid. Everybody sees you just how you are. If you were more like me and Gibbs... you'd have gotten it the first time you heard the song."
"Shhh. Not now, okay? You went away and now I need *my* broth... the one thing that soothes me, calms me down... and always makes me feel better the minute I taste it."
Tony dived in for a deep, intense kiss and Tim opened for him, in every way possible. As he pulled Tony in tighter to his body, Tim felt everything, body, mind and soul, relaxing and surrendering to the ecstasy beginning to build and expand out from his core. Tony ground down against him, Tim pushed up in response. Tony whispered lines of love poetry in his ear, Tim laved the other man's neck and groaned his assent.
"God, yes, Tony... need you so bad...."
"I swim in you... long to drown in you... drink in every drop of your essence... drink and drink and drink... then plead to be given it all again... just once more, my only love... renew me with your kiss, your touch, your passion... just once more..."
"Tony... oh... oh, please... now... now!"
"Show me the heights, beloved... only you know the way... take me there, Tim... take me there... yes... yes, Tim..."
It took several minutes for both men to catch their breath. They would gladly have stayed together on the couch indefinitely, but the discomfort of wet, sticky boxers forced them out of their reverie and into thoughts of hot showers and clean clothes. Tony reluctantly began to pull away so Tim could get to his feet, but something in the younger man's eyes made him pause.
"I'm ready. Tonight, Tony. Please... tonight."
Incredulous, Tony could only stare, wondering if his galloping, sprinting heart would ever slow down.