This began with a plot bunny someone threw into the bullpen. I won't say what it was until the end but you'll catch on as you read the story. This is DiNozzo/Gibbs slash first time, M/M sex and language warnings. Personally, as I think those tend to go with the genre warnings seem a bit obvious. I broke this into 3 chapters and it's complete. No spoilers. Written around Sept. 2010.

Summary: Tony is out in the cold and goes to Gibbs' home to warm up.

The Handyman's Dream

Chapter 1 - Out of Options

DiNozzos are not quitters. DiNozzos are not quitters. He kept telling himself that, repeating it like a mantra as if it would enable him to endure the inconvenience, the discomfort, the sheer frustration that his apartment had caused him over the past several days.

Tony DiNozzo does not give up just because a few things go wrong. No, he just becomes a whining wimp and turns up at Gibbs' doorstep at one in the morning on what had to be the motherfucking coldest night of the year. He stood there shivering despite his several layers of clothes, unsure if he should knock or just walk in. Gibbs must be asleep and sure wouldn't be happy to be woken only to find a stray on his doorstep. A grumpy, sleep-tousled Gibbs in his jammies would be a sight to behold, but even so Tony knew he was tempting fate by coming over uninvited.

It had been the week from hell. First his refrigerator broke. He didn't discover it for a couple of days so the smell of bad milk made the apartment reek. Then the faucet over the kitchen sink didn't provide any water at all and jiggling it not only didn't get the water running but the tap broke off completely in his hand. Tony figured he'd get the fridge repaired or get a new one at the weekend. He could replace his own tap if he had to, but Abby had already said she'd help him on Saturday. She was much better at that kind of thing than he was, and besides, she was fun to be around no matter what they did together. His spirits needed lifting right now.

This morning the tepid water in the shower turned almost brown and smelled ugly. He'd grabbed a shower in the decontamination unit at work even though non-emergency use was forbidden. His toilet wasn't flushing properly, either. A plumber was definitely in order but Tony wasn't doing anything until he got the super to sign off on it because last time he got stuck paying out of pocket for repairs.

Just the day before the ancient lock on the front door jammed, with him inside, and he'd been forced to exit by the rusty old fire escape - which was not a good thing to do when dressed in designer clothes. Then this evening when he got home (which required breaking into his own apartment) the heat was off and the place was freezing. After a dozen attempts to reach the super Tony gave up.

He'd tried to sleep by snuggling under all the blankets he owned but when he turned over, admittedly in a temper, the bed collapsed and he was dumped onto the ice-cold drafty floor. It looked as if one of the legs had snapped off, which was odd because the bed was of particularly sturdy construction. Tony had moved to his couch to grab a few winks but discovered the cushions were soaking and there was a suspicious damp spot on the ceiling.

That's when Tony DiNozzo gave up.

By one in the morning, out of options, Tony decided to take refuge at Gibbs' home.

He'd stayed there before, back when he'd first started working at NCIS. That summer Gibbs was out of town for three days and Tony was between apartments. It was a disaster because inviting one friend over to watch a foreign film somehow burgeoned into a wild keg party with a dozen rowdy frat brothers who were in town for the weekend. Gibbs had returned early to find Tony halfway drunk and wrestling with two athletic young men and a hose in a makeshift mud pit out in the back yard.

Gibbs had been seriously upset. Not that he said much, other than glaring and growling, but everyone got the idea really fast, especially Tony.

Never before had Tony felt so much like a teenager caught doing something illicit by his parents. Hell, he hadn't even felt like that when he had been a teen. He'd apologized to Gibbs several times, cleaned up the mess, repaired a broken coffee table and did everything he could think of to make up for the trouble he'd caused, including putting on the charm. But nothing could make up for the look of disappointment he'd seen in Gibbs' eyes. That was four years ago and he still had twinges of guilt about the incident.

Eventually Gibbs let Tony sleep over again - under supervision - once because he was hurting from a break-up with a girlfriend and got too drunk to drive home. More recently was when Tony had a concussion and Gibbs had agreed to watch over him, but only in his own home. So Tony knew where the spare bedroom was and even if it wasn't the same as sleeping in Gibbs' own bed, being across the hall from him was as close as he was likely to ever get. It was also strangely comforting.

Tony lay awake in the narrow bed, aching for what he'd never have, smelling the plain washing detergent on the clean sheets, jerking off into a towel to the rhythm of Gibbs' snores and almost crying with loneliness.

Now Tony stood on Gibbs' front doorstep getting cold feet, in more ways than one. He almost headed back to his car and began ticking off his short list of places he might be able to bunk for the night. None of them was really a possibility, which he'd already known when he drove over in the first place. His teammates and small circle of friends were either snuggled up with their significant others or didn't answer their phones, so he had already crossed them off his list.

A motel was out of the question. His wallet with its life-saving credit cards had been missing since that afternoon but Gibbs had said he thought he'd seen it lying on the back seat of the sedan they'd used earlier that day. Only the car was locked up in the repair shop awaiting a brake job and he wouldn't have access to it until the morning.

It didn't take long for the freezing cold night air and a healthy dose of common sense to get the better of him. Tony knocked lightly and then stepped inside Gibbs' house. He sighed at the welcoming warmth that greeted him, and at the smell of coffee and wood and the lingering aroma of Gibbs' dinner - pasta and marinara sauce - that made it feel like coming home. God, how he loved Gibbs' place. It wasn't just the smells, or the house itself, though he liked that it was roomy but still cozy, well built and sturdy like its owner. He loved it because of the man who occupied it, who made it his own by simply being there.

There was just enough light emanating from the small bulb over the kitchen stove for Tony to make his way to the couch. There was an afghan draped over the back of it, hand made years ago by some maiden aunt, no doubt. Still shivering from the cold, Tony removed his boots with numb hands, curled up on the couch still wearing his winter coat, muffler and all, and pulled the crocheted throw over himself.

Tony started awake. There was someone standing over him. He peered up at Gibbs, enjoying the sight of tousled gray hair, rumpled long-sleeved t-shirt and rather clingy knit pajama bottoms that left little to the imagination. He rubbed his eyes and said, "Uh…hi, boss."

Gibbs frowned and said nothing.

Tony swallowed, feeling heat rising to his face. For the first time in hours he actually felt warm. He worked on a smile and hoped it appeared both endearing and sincere. "I didn't want to bother you, boss."

"Get the hell off my couch, DiNozzo." Gibbs shook his head slightly and made his way to the kitchen without waiting to see Tony's reaction. He stopped in front of the coffee machine, squinting at the too-small numbers on the timer, and set it, grumbling under his breath.

Well, that didn't last long, thought Tony. He drew on his boots, rose to his feet, neatly folded the warm afghan and put it back where he'd found it. He walked quietly to the front door, feeling rejected and frankly quite hurt that Gibbs hadn't even asked him why he was there in his living room, in the middle of a cold January night.

Tony shivered at the thought of sleeping in his apartment then decided he'd risk slipping into work. Looks like he'd catch some zees under his desk after all, so long as the security guards didn't roust him. They'd been enforcing the 'no sleeping on the job' policy too seriously of late. He could wash in the men's room or sneak into the decon shower in the morning. If he located his wallet he could use the gym down the street. Sighing heavily, Tony reached for the doorknob and braced himself for the cold blast of air.

"Where do you think you're going, DiNozzo?"

Tony jumped. Gibbs was right behind him. He hoped he hadn't audibly squeaked but from the amused look on Gibbs face he was afraid he'd embarrassed himself. "I'm heading over to a sleepover at this cute blonde's place," he said quickly, hoping his excuse didn't sound too false, or if it did that Gibbs would just let it slide. "I should've gone there first. Sorry, boss."

Tony had opened the door barely an inch when Gibbs's reached past him and pushed it firmly closed. "You'll let the cold air in."

Gibbs was standing so close behind him that Tony could feel the heat coming off his body. Under all the layers of his clothing his dick reacted. Great timing. Tony knew he had a pained look on his face as he tried to suppress his hard-on. Standing there in the dark foyer, his head bowed a little, Tony tried to school his expression and hoped Gibbs couldn't see his features. "Cold air? Uh…I think that's what's gonna happen when I open the door to leave, Gibbs," Tony pointed out with a hint of sarcasm.

"You sure you want to leave?" Gibbs asked in a low voice.

Tony had been sure a minute ago that his boss was annoyed that his agent presumed he could just waltz in and sleep uninvited on his couch. But was now Tony was getting a whole different set of signals starting with the hot breath on his neck, right behind his ear where he was very sensitive. Gibbs was still pressed up against his back and was not moving.

Tony asked, "Ya think I have a choice?" For once he didn't add 'boss' or Gibbs' name to the end of his reply. For once the expected head slap didn't come. Instead a hand slowly stroked Tony's hair in one long sensuous caress, from the crown to his neck, where it retained him in a gentle hold. Tony shivered at the touch.

"You having problems with your apartment again?"

Tony nodded, unable to speak. God, that hand felt so good. He silently begged Gibbs not to remove it. Its heat was seeping into him and then the fingers squeezed his neck muscles slightly, fondly, and Tony's knees grew weak and he shivered in reaction.

Gibbs said in a low, husky voice, "You're cold. There's a bed upstairs."

Then the hand was withdrawn and Gibbs stepped away. Tony took a few deep breaths and when he finally turned it was to see his boss heading upstairs. He wanted nothing more than to run after him but still he hesitated, uncertain of what the invitation entailed, afraid he was reading too much into it.

From the upstairs landing, Gibbs called, "C'mon, DiNozzo. I haven't got all night."

** end chapter 1 **