The one that got away

A/N: Set pre-series...is NOT a Tony/Gibbs slash...altho it is a pre-slash...

"You ever feel like time is slipping away?" Tony's question catches his boss off guard.

"Why do you ask?"

"I just think sometimes that if we don't act, the ones we love the most will slip away from us." Something bittersweet is in Tony's voice and his eyes. Gibbs makes a note to find out more about his newest agent's past.

"You got a point to this discussion, DiNozzo?"

"Yeah, boss, if you're not careful, that person that you care so much about will eventually slip away."

"That person is too young for me Tony. I'm not going to jeopardize a career for a slight romp in bed.

"You ever ask that person if they were interested in a slight romp in bed as you put it?"

"No, and I don't intend to."

"Yeah, how's that working out for you?"

Tony saunters out of the squad room and Gibbs stares after him. What the hell had brought that on? Gibbs sighs as he looks once again at the files in front of him. Fourteen FLETC candidates and of those, two might be able to make it on his team. A movement to his right brings his gaze up to that of the director of NCIS.

"Director?"

"At ease, Gibbs, how's the search going?"

"I managed to narrow it down to these two. Aside from that, none of them look very promising sir."

"It's a start Gibbs. Go home, get some sleep this weekend. Balboa's taking some time at the end of the month so, you guys get the next two weekends off…enjoy it while you can."

"Thank you sir."

Tom Morrow watches Gibbs leave and heaves a sigh of his own. He's not sure what is going on with his Lead Agent but hopes that the weekend will bring the man some peace of mind if nothing else.

###

His cell phone rings and Gibbs answers with his usual, "Yeah, Gibbs."

The nonchalant tone dissipates when he hears the voice on the other end. "I'll be right there; tell him to hang on, I'll be right there. Put the phone to his ear." The elevator dings and he runs out towards a fleet vehicle. "You do not have permission to die, you hear me? You will not die!"

Tony is driving past and Gibbs has never been so glad to see anyone. He flags the younger man down and climbs into the car before Tony can bring the car to a complete stop. "Bethesda and step on it Tony."

"On it boss."

On the way there, Tony steals glances at the taciturn profile. Gibbs hasn't said a word since telling him their destination. If he didn't know any better, the younger man could almost swear that Gibbs is worried about someone.

"Thanks Tony. Go home we're done for the weekend. Get some rest and prepare for a long week ahead."

Okay, now Tony is concerned. That's more verbiage out of Leroy Jethro Gibbs than he's heard in the almost six months he's worked with him. Before he can ask what is going on, Gibbs is running to the doors and Tony can see a doctor trying to stop him. Gibbs slumps when he hears what the doctor has to say. Then he overcomes whatever the doctor said and walks slowly into the room.

The next week Gibbs is uncharacteristically absent until midweek and the younger man has to wonder just what happened. Deciding that Abby might have some ideas he hightails it down to the lab while Gibbs is busy talking to the director. Abby is in her office and Tony immediately notices the lack of loud music.

"Abby, what is it? What happened? What is going on with you and Gibbs?"

"Sorry Tony, I forgot that you didn't know. Gibbs lost an agent…well, a former agent on Friday night. We haven't worked with him in years but he was a good friend."

Tony gives her a hug which she half-heartedly returns. Tony heads back upstairs and finishes his report, handing it silently to Gibbs. The former Marine thanks him then motions for Tony to follow him. Once in the elevator Gibbs hits the off switch and turns to face his agent.

"His name was Shane Brendan. He was killed in a drive-by shooting. He was a friend."

"More than?"

"No, DiNozzo, he wasn't my lover. Just a good friend, we're gonna miss him."

"Abby said he was a former agent?"

"Mm…he was offered his own command and took it."

Now Tony knows why Gibbs has been gone for the past few days. He'd gone to tell the other team their leader had been killed.

"Family?"

"None, aside from his team."

"Are you gonna be all right boss?"

"Yeah."

Gibbs starts up the elevator and Tony knows that the conversation is at an end. Lost in his thoughts he doesn't immediately react when the doors open. Gibbs lightly smacks him in the head and he looks up as Gibbs nods towards the underground garage.

"Go home, Tony. I'll see you in the morning."

"Hey boss, what I said earlier, it still goes…if you don't talk to whomever…what happened to Shane could happen to either of you…don't let them get away."

Gibbs takes a closer look at the young agent. There's no humor in Tony's eyes just a deep sincerity and shadow of loss.

"Come on DiNozzo, let's get something to eat."

"Honestly boss, tonight…I need to make a phone call. Rain check?"

"Yeah…have a good night DiNozzo."

"You too boss."

Tony leaves and Gibbs watches him go slightly worried about Tony's behavior. His agent is known for many things somberness isn't one of them. He flips his phone open and calls his lab rat.

"Abby's phone, what's up Gibbs?"

"You tell me Abbs, why is Tony so upset about Shane?"

"I'll meet you at the car Gibbs."

Gibbs shuts his phone worried now about his lab rat's behavior. She's never that curt with him. He paces as he waits wondering what is going on with his team.

"Sorry Gibbs had to pull up a file for you." she hands it over and he raises an eyebrow. She shakes her head and says, "I promised him that I wouldn't say anything to you, but that if you ever asked I'd show you."

It all makes sense now…Tony's playboy image and devil may care attitude. His agent had been engaged once and lost her just before the wedding due to a drunken driver. Tony keeps in touch with her parents and today would have been their wedding day. Gibbs sighs and reaches once again for his phone. When the recipient answers, he says just four words.

"We need to talk."

###

Two weeks pass and Gibbs is lying in bed softly caressing the chest of his lover. Soft lips brush his cheek and he looks into the brightly smiling eyes that occupy his thoughts, his dreams. His dreams, if not for Tony and his persistence Gibbs might not be having the pleasant dreams. He shudders slightly making his partner lean back a bit to study him.

"What are you thinking of Jethro Gibbs?"

"How close I came to losing…all this."

"Are you still worried about what might happen if I get accepted?"

"Oh, you'll be accepted, there's not a doubt in my mind about that. I'm just not sure I can wait for you to come back."

"What? Why?" Worry starts to cloud those eyes and Gibbs for once hastens to reply.

"I want you too much…I'd be up there every weekend demanding you spend time with me."

"We could try to pull off the ultimate undercover op…you not recognize me for months while I pretend to be a bumbling blushing over eager young recruit."

Gibbs chuckles and imagines what that could lead to. Clandestine meetings in hallways, elevator rides that never end, a basement that wouldn't see sawdust for a few nights a week at least. Gibbs thinks about all the things they can do and looks his lover in the eye. Tim grimaces as a blush graces his features when he sees the desire and want but most of all the love in Gibbs' eyes.

"Okay so that part we won't have to work on."

Gibbs chuckles again and pulls him close. "I just don't want to lose you Tim. I don't want you to be the one that got away."

A/N: NO Flames...well okay there might be a few in there someplace...lol...