Thanks to tinkerbellblu83 and DreamCatcher for their reviews!
A big thank you goes to all the readers who followed this story from the start and let me know it with reviews and PM's. This chapter is my Christmas present to you!
Above all, thank you to Finlaure, for the the help, the support and the inspiration for the epilogue.
Gibbs was in front of his mirror, trying to adjust his shirt collar and tie to cover the bite mark Tony had left on his neck. Ziva's citizen oath ceremony would start in one hour and he wanted to look at his best for this special occasion. Besides, he didn't want his team and Vance to speculate who had left that hickey on his neck. Although, he thought that maybe Tony would have enjoyed the teasing and the questions about the mark.
Gibbs smiled at his reflection. His mate had gone home to change because he had nothing suitable to wear for the occasion kept here, but would soon return to get him, since they had decided to drive to the ceremony in an agency's sedan instead of their personal cars. Gibbs guessed the younger man was also now arranging his shirt to cover the mark the vampire had left on his skin.
He grinned as he put on his jacket. Everything was fine again. Dean had gotten what he deserved and Mike Franks had called from Mexico a few minutes ago.
His old mentor had informed him that he and his girls were fine, aside for a missing finger and being royally pissed with Rivera and Reynosa for his burnt-down house. Gibbs had managed to convince Mike to calm down and to go to the hospital to have his hand checked, and promised he would use his vacation time to help him to rebuild the house.
Gibbs had just finished combing his hair when the doorbell rang. Who could it be? Tony hadn't had time to go to his apartment, change and drive back.
He went down the stairs to open the door and saw it was M. Allison Hart. His heart started beating faster, but he resolutely calmed himself down. He wasn't going to behave like a school boy with his first crush, no matter what the havoc her vampire pheromones would cause or the fact he was now free to act on his attraction—if he wanted.
But did he really want to? Had someone asked him yesterday, his answer would have been yes. He had been so excited when Tony had given him his permission and he had even started imagining what he would do when he would soon be alone with Allison. However, during the night something must had happened, because while his body was reacting to her presence in the usual way, his mind was calm and focused, with no thoughts of kissing or touching her racing through his head.
Confused by his reaction, Gibbs opened the door and watched as Allison scanned him from head to foot.
"Sharp suit," she then commented, her eyes shining with admiration. "You're clearly supposed to be somewhere in that sharp suit."
He eyed her and the large brief case she was holding and replied, "It's all right."
"Never known you to hang around the house dressed like that, Special Agent Gibbs," Allison commented as she stepped inside and he noticed with interest the use of his title, the first time she had done it spontaneously.
"What's on your mind?" Gibbs asked as he closed the door and followed her in his sparse dining room, where she put her bag on the table.
"Do you really believe in right and wrong? And enforcing the law? Putting the bad guys behind bars? Protecting and serving? Why, of all things...are you a cop?" Allison said as he rummaged into her bag and took out a bound folder, which she then laid on the table.
Gibbs looked at it as she sat down and his eyes widened. It was Abby's report about Pedro Hernandez's murder. This was why it had never arrived to Rivera; Allison had stopped it.
He watched in silence as she pulled two law books from her bag and put them down near the report. "We're both sworn representatives of the law. And we're both supposed to uphold the code," she commented, looking straight into his eyes.
"I've got my own code," he replied, although, of course, Allison was right. He was supposed to uphold to laws and rules.
"No. The vampire code of 'mess with my mate and you're dead' doesn't work in the human society," Allison said, shaking her head firmly. "In this report there's enough evidence to convince some overzealous judge or the Internal Affairs to open an investigation against you, if they match this with the fact Hernandez killed your wife and daughter. This is a bullet that could end your career. Do you think I want that?"
"I didn't ask you to stop it," he said sincerely, aware of the danger she and her family could now be in if he hadn't already dealt with Reynosa and Rivera. "What do you want, Allison? Thank you? An apology?"
"Why the hell not?" she exclaimed.
"Because I've got a...rule against it."
"Well, it's a stupid rule," she retorted, buckling her bag. Gibbs could see the hurt in her eyes. He knew he should act now if he didn't want to lose her.
Yet, he couldn't bring himself to offer her more than a whispered, "Maybe it is…"
"I wanted to know who you were," Allison said fiercely. "Who you are. As a person. As a vampire."
He nodded and tilted his head on the side to observe her better as he thought about what he could say. In spite of his experience with women, he always felt himself at loss when he had to deal with them regarding personal matters.
Gibbs saw her eyes widen as her gaze zeroed on his neck and he realized that she was looking at the mark Tony had left—no doubt because his mate had wanted Allison to see it.
Her hand reached out, as if to touch him, and then stopped midway. So Gibbs took her hand with his and pulled it till her fingers brushed his neck.
"Your mate…Agent DiNozzo…left it?" she whispered, her fingers gently stroking over the mark.
"He's very passionate about you."
"I know," Gibbs said softly, looking at her. "He loves me, as much as I love him…Maybe even more, 'cause I don't think I could tolerate sharing him with someone else, while he gave me his permission to be with you if I want, and he did it out of love."
Allison nodded, her cool fingers still moving on his skin. "He's really an extraordinary man. I've never had the good fortune to meet a human like him. All my donors…I always need to put them in trance before drinking…no one had ever bared his neck for me willingly. This is why I seldom drink."
Gibbs looked deeply into her eyes and murmured softly, "Humans like him are rare, but they do exist. Keep looking Allison, and one day you'll meet someone like Tony."
Allison's lips bent in a sad smile. "That means you're not going to take advantage of the permission he gave you?"
He nodded slowly. "Yeah…" He shook his head and forced himself to elaborate, knowing she needed him to tell her his reason. "Up to yesterday, I'd have jumped at the idea of being with you. You're a female vampire. You know what effect you have on me. But now I realize I no longer want it. I don't want another mate. I'm completely happy with Tony, and frankly adding you to my clam would be unfair, not just to him, but to you too. You would always been second best to Tony, and that's not right. You deserve more than this."
Allison nodded, the sad, resigned smile still on her lips, "I understand." She picked up her bag and tapping the report she had left on his table, she added, "Should this ever cause you troubles, give me a call. I'm pretty sure we can beat it."
Gibbs stood up and followed her to the foyer. She stopped near the door, and turned to look at him, the longing in her eyes evident.
So he let his fangs descend and bent his head forward, leaning closer until their lips touched.
Their kiss was gentle, tender and comforting, without any hint of the passion Gibbs had imagined there would be when he had fantasized about Allison. It wasn't a welcome kiss. It was a goodbye kiss.
When they separated, Gibbs caressed her lower lip with his thumb and murmured, "Fare thee well, Margaret Allison Hart. May this life and the next one bring you happiness."
"To you too, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, to you too," she replied to their kin's traditional goodbye.
And speaking so, the female vampire opened the door and walked away, from Gibbs' house and his life.
He stood on the doorway, looking in the direction where her car had disappeared, lost in thought. A part of him was surprised by what had happened and by how quickly he had made his mind up. Another part, instead was not.
Maybe he had always known it would have ended like this, no matter what Tony's decision would have been. Maybe he had always known that his belief in being faithful to only one person at time would ultimately be stronger than his instinct to form a clan. Or maybe, during this whole Mexican mess, he had realized he already had a clan. Not a traditional one made by mates, but once composed of people he cared for and who cared for him. Abby, Ducky, Ziva, Tim, Mike and, above all, Tony. They were his clan and, at least in this life, he didn't need to add more members to it.
The honk of a car horn startled him, and Gibbs blinked his eyes. A sedan was parked in front of his driveway and his mate was walking toward him.
"What are you doing there, standing in the doorway and staring? Are you all right?" Tony asked as he stepped onto the small porch.
Gibbs nodded. "Yes, I am. I was just thinking."
"About M. Allison Hart? I passed her car on my way here."
"Yeah. About her and other things."
"Was she here?" Tony asked, and then made an embarrassed smile. "Sorry, not my business. I guess I'll need time to adapt to the idea I won't be able to drop by here unannounced anymore. Listen, why don't you write down some sort of schedule so I-"
"She won't be coming back, Tony," the vampire interrupted him.
Tony frowned, "Why not?"
"Because I told her I already have a mate and I don't need another," Gibbs answered, watching the younger man closely.
"But I told you that you could have her if you wanted," Tony protested. "I don't want you to suffer."
Gibbs frowned. Suffer? Why was Tony thinking he would suffer? What had Bill told him? Pushing those questions away, he said calmly, "I know, and I appreciate it, but I changed my mind."
"You changed your mind?" Tony repeated, his voice rising in anger. "All these months of self-questioning, of wondering if I could do it, of trying to understand you, were all for nothing? Or was it a test?"
/They weren't for nothing,/ Gibbs answered, using their connection to channel thoughts and feelings, hoping they would soothe his mate. /And certainly they weren't a test. I really believed I wanted her. But when the moment came, I realized that I was wrong. I don't want to share myself with anyone else but you./
/You really mean it?/ Tony whispered, and Gibbs didn't miss the relief washing over his mate.
/Yes. This connection between us is special. Unique. Bringing someone else in the mix would be disrespectful of this gift I've been given, and I don't want that. I want to belong completely to you, just as you belong completely to me, for all the time we'll be granted to spend together./
He saw Tony bite his lower lip as his eyes became brighter, and took a step forward, opening his arms in silent invitation. His mate didn't hesitate, and they embraced, hard, right there in front of his house open door, as his neighbors walked by and tilted they head toward them in greeting.
They stood like that for a long time, not talking, just sharing feelings and emotions along their connection, as they basked in each other's warmth, scent, and strength. Then Tony stepped back, with a big, gentle smile on his lips.
"Thank you, Jethro," he simply said.
"No, thank you, Tony," Gibbs smiled back.
Tony nodded and taking a deep breath to compose himself, he looked down at his watch and his eyes widened.
"Holy shit!" he exclaimed, raising his alarmed face to look at the vampire. "Ziva's ceremony starts in twenty minutes!"
Gibbs swore under his breath and pulled the door of his house closed. He quickly stepped down the steps as Tony followed him muttering, "We can't make it to the courthouse in so little time. She will kill us! Abby too!"
Gibbs opened the door of the sedan on the driver side and looking at his mate he said, "If I were you, I'd hold on extra tight, because you're gonna have a full demonstration of how quick vampire reflexes are."
Then he stepped into the car, and started the engine. He waited until Tony fastened his seatbelt, then he asked, "You ready?"
"As much as I can ever be…" Tony answered, but he was smiling. "Come on Boss; get us there at warp speed."
Gibbs grinned back and then dived into the traffic in the direction of DC, his mind already plotting a route that would bring them there in fifteen minutes, tops, and thus give Tony a few minutes to recover…
Anthony DiNozzo was drunk. He hadn't been this plastered since the party his frat brothers had given him after graduation. But Tony felt he had learned a very important lesson on his way to this state of inebriation.
Never, never ever try to drink two old Marines under the table. Especially not when you are still feeling the effects of the red-eye flight you caught to get from Washington, DC to Baja, Mexico.
He had landed in Mexico that very morning, to help Gibbs and Mike to complete the new the house the two men had been building, and to spend the remaining of his and his partner's holidays relaxing on a beach.
Gibbs had taken his large accumulation of vacation and travelled to Mexico two weeks before to keep his promise to help Mike to rebuild the house Colonel Bell's men had burned down, leaving Tony behind to man the fort and lead the team in his absence.
Tony had watched his partner leave, disconsolate, and moped about it, until, two days before his 'Uncle Bill' had called with terrible news of a death in Tony's mother's family. Vance had immediately approved leave and Tony took off for two weeks to, go to England for the funeral and to help settle the estate. The young man figured that Vance would never need to know that 'Uncle Bill' had used just a little persuasion in his voice to guarantee that Tony would have no problem with his leave request.
As soon as he had dropped his bags in the trailer house where Mike and Gibbs had been sleeping while Leyla, her mother and Amira lived in a small, rented villa, Tony had started competing with his partner and Franks.
He had said that he could hammer, saw and paint faster and better than either of the older men. The painting challenge had turned into a huge paint fight that ended up involving both Leyla and Amira and resulted in a beautiful rainbow colored room for the little girl.
Then, after dinner, the men had all gone in town for a beer, and Tony had had the brilliant idea to say he could drink more margaritas than his companions.
The result of that dare was the fact only Gibbs' strong grip around his waist was now keeping him upright as they walked – correction, his partner was walking, Tony was stumbling – toward the trailer house, after leaving Mike at the cantina, intent on shamelessly flirting with Camilla the bartender.
As they proceeded toward the soon to be completed house, which wasn't located on a beach, but on a cliff overlooking a long, almost white strip of shore, the cool breeze coming from the ocean cleared Tony's mind, so that he was feeling more lucid when they reached the property.
"This way," Gibbs said, as he led Tony around the south corner of the building, instead of moving toward the trailer house. "I want to show you what I finished working on yesterday."
Tony followed his partner and smiled brightly when he spotted a working hot tub on the house's deck.
"Wow! It looks very nice. Not to mention inviting," he commented.
"You wanna try it?" Gibbs asked, cocking his head.
Tony's smile got broader as he replied, "You can bet I want to try it."
A few minutes later, their clothes discarded on the deck, the two men sat down in the water, letting it soothe away the aches caused by a day of hard work.
They soaked in silence for a while. Then Gibbs began to rub Tony's tense shoulders as he sat behind him in the water.
"Uhm…" the younger man moaned in pleasure, as a certain part of his anatomy began to stir, reminding him it hadn't see any action in two weeks.
"Care to tell me what today was all about?" Gibbs asked, his breath hot against Tony's ear.
"The competing, Tony."
"What do you mean with 'competing'?" Tony asked, leaning back into his partner's strong arms, "What wrong with a little competition anyways?"
"Nothing, if it is done for the right reasons. But I'm not sure it was the case today…"
"What do you mean?" The younger man asked as Gibbs began to nibbling his ear.
"Dunno…I just trust that you know you're my one and only, and that you're not thinking Mike or Leyla are a threat to you. Aside the fact you know they aren't my types, I hope you haven't forgotten what I said you the day of Ziva's ceremony. They weren't just idle words."
"I know…It's just…Well, you left to get here only two days after that talk, while I still had to adapt to the idea that you no longer wanted M. Allison Hart as your mate too. Oh, Boss…I feel like I'm suffering from a sort of jet lag. You know how it works…they say you can adapt quickly enough to the first time zone change, but you'll have problems if you switch back to your previous timing without letting enough time pass from a change to the other…"
Gibbs' eyes narrowed as he moved in the hot tub to face Tony, "You are still uncertain of my commitment to you? Of your place in my life?"
"No…Uhm…just dazed…I had two shocks close together…I guess I got the second while I was still adapting to the first one…It's nothing. I know you love me. I know how sincere you were when you said those things…I guess I'm just still a bit confused…" Tony answered, knowing he wasn't making a lot of sense, but unable to be clearer, because he wasn't really sure of what he was feeling. He knew Jethro had been sincere and honest when he had said he didn't want Hart or anybody else. He knew it because he had felt his partner's emotions and feelings as he talked. Yet, he still felt a bit out of sorts.
Tony heard Gibbs emit a low growl a moment before his partner used his vampire speed and strength to heave him out of the hot tub and onto a deck chair, all within a few seconds.
Gibbs grabbed bottle of suntan oil Leyla must had left on the deck and used it to slicken and stretch a surprised Tony.
"We are out in the open!" he protested, even as his body happily caught up with his partner's actions, his cock stiffening quickly to full erection. "What if Mike comes back? What if-" He never completed the line, as Gibbs rolled them over and then picked Tony up by the hips and slowly slid him down his hard cock.
All of Tony's worries disappeared as he felt Jethro's fill him, and he leaned forward, taking possession of Gibbs' mouth. Their tongues battled for dominance as Tony began riding the man he loved with an almost frantic pace.
"Mine!" The younger man panted as sweat and water dripped from his body onto his partners', "I love you so much."
"Yours! Always yours!" Gibbs groaned in answered, thrusting up into Tony almost violently.
The two men kept the punishing, hungry pace on for as long as they could. When Tony started to shiver with his imminent orgasm, Jethro used his strength to sit up and held him closer. A moment later, just as Tony convulsed and came, spurting between their bellies, he felt Gibbs bite him, but not on his neck…Jethro bit him on his chest, right over his heart.
/ Yours is the only blood I'll ever want, for all the time we'll be together. Yours is the only love I'll ever need as long as you will be at my side,/ the vampire almost screamed through their connection.
/Yes!/ Tony answered with his whole heart and mind. All the fears and doubts still lingering in his soul vanished and a peace that he had never known settled into his mind.
When Tony next awoke he was clean and lying in a small but comfortable bed in the trailer house. He was alone and there was no sign of his partner.
Had it been all a dream?
Tony felt the answer at once, as the peace and love still filled his heart and mind. He would never doubt Jethro's love for him again.
Well, this is done.
To those readers that followed this story till the end, without abandoning it along the way thinking they knew what would happen, I hope you liked it. I hope to have made you see why I've been saying all along Gibbs and Tony's connection would come out of this being stronger than before. Not only they now have a better understanding of each other, but Gibbs' refusal to form a clan even if Tony give him permission to do it shows the depth of his love even more than his promise not to create one if Tony couldn't accept it.
I've been leaving breadcrumbs (about Gibbs' belief in being faithful to only one person, about Bill's not having a similar connection with his mates, about Gibbs fighting his instinct and rejecting Allison's offer in the basement, about Gibbs referring to the team as "his people") all along…they were small, almost unnoticeable, but they all led to this final decision.
Someone who read this final scene in advance asked me why Bill said Tony Gibbs' would suffer if he couldn't have his clan, when Gibbs is making obvious he isn't going to suffer because of it.
The reasons can be more than one: Bill could have exaggerated to make Tony more receptive to the idea of sharing Gibbs— let's not forget that Bill is unable to have children and consider Leroy the "son he will never have". So he might have tried to push Tony to accept Gibbs' needs, because he wanted Gibbs to be happy. Or maybe, since he suffers if he hasn't clan, he guessed Gibbs would suffer too. Or maybe he doesn't realize how deep and fulfilling the connection between Gibbs and Tony is for his fellow vampire. Whatever the reason, Bill was wrong when he said Gibbs would suffer and this is the only important thing!
That being said, I like to experiment with things, so I also wrote a different ending to this story, one where Gibbs acted after Tony gave him leave. This alternate (and non-official, meaning it won't effect this AU in any way) ending is posted on my Live Journal. The link is in my profile if you wish to take a look at it. Please leave a comment if you do. I accept anonymous comments, so there is no need to register on LJ if you don't have an account. I would really like to hear what you think of it. And no, there is no het smut, so don't worry.
As for the rest, I will soon post a short vignette I wrote on a dear friend's request. It's titled "Surprised Connection" and I guess it could be considered an epilogue of Complex Connection(s)' epilogue.
After that, I don't know if I will write more in this series. I've no ideas at the moment, so please, if there is something you would like to see happen to Vampire! Gibbs and his mate Tony please let me know. Maybe it will push my recalcitrant Muse back at work…
Let me know what you think! It will make me post "Surprised Connection" sooner! :)