'It doesn't seem like a year,' Tony mused, studying the label on his beer bottle.
'Nope,' Gibbs agreed, settling comfortably beside him on the couch. In front of them on the coffee table, two plates bore silent testimony to their cowboy-style steak anniversary dinner. 'Any regrets?'
Tony shook his head. 'You?'
Gibbs pretended to think for a moment, then shook his head too. 'Not a one.'
'Good.' Tony flicked on the tv and flipped channels until he found a football match. 'Your ex-wives must be crazy,' he said quietly.
'Oh?' Gibbs looked at him in curiosity, eyebrow raised.
'Yeah,' Tony said confidently. 'Being married to you is about the easiest thing I've ever done.'
Gibbs smiled. 'That's how it should be.'
Thanksgiving was a team affair. It was pretty much by default, since the team was in the middle of tracking down a possible serial killer who preyed on cadets, but still, Abby got Jimmy to help her set up a table down in the evidence garage and cobbled together a potluck supper for everyone still on the premises. As cases allowed, people popped in, chatted, ate, then ran off again to check on BOLOs or make calls. Even Vance stuck his head round the door and stayed for half an hour.
When the rest of the team had managed to get down there for dinner, Tony dragged a scowling Gibbs down to the locker.
'Eat something, or Abby is going to pout at you from now to Christmas,' Tony advised him. 'If anyone calls, it'll come through to our cell phones. If we get a hit on our suspect, McGee's got it rigged to beep his pager. Taking an hour out to get something to eat won't wreck the case. There's nothing else we can be doing right now.'
With ill grace, Gibbs conceded the argument and let the younger man push him into the room.
'Gibbs! You came!' Abby squealed, bouncing over and planting a kiss on his cheek. 'Here, have a plate. We were just about to say what we're thankful for this year.'
With a grunt, Gibbs took the paper plate and looked over the table.
'I'm thankful you organised this,' Tony grinned, kissing Abby on the top of her head. 'There aren't too many takeout places that deliver on Thanksgiving.' He busied himself filling a plate. 'So what are you thankful for, Abs?'
'I'm thankful for a year without losing anyone,' Abby said. 'And for Sister Rosita's mad bowling skills. For family, for Major Mass Spec, for you guys. How about you?'
'I'm thankful for staying out of the hospital, mostly,' Tony said. 'And for support in unexpected places.'
'You have been trying out a new brand of underpants, Tony?' Ziva teased. 'I am thankful that I am an American citizen, that I am here, now, to share this holiday with you all. I am thankful that Gibbs was not too badly hurt earlier this year. I am even thankful that you were not hurt seriously when that car crashed into us at the start of the year.'
Tim nodded. 'I'm thankful we're all still here, more or less intact. And I'm thankful I finally finished the first draft of my next novel because if it'd taken much longer, you'd probably be investigating my editor for murdering me.'
Ducky put down his piece of cake and stood up. 'I am thankful that my skills as a doctor haven't been required too often this year. And I'm thankful for good friends and good company. For what are you thankful, Leon?'
Vance came over and joined the group. 'I'm thankful none of you have been accused of anything serious this year. I'm thankful I haven't had to explain too many of your stunts to SecNav. And I'm thankful that in about twenty minutes, I'm heading home to my wife and kids.'
'That just leaves you, Gibbs,' Abby bounced.
'What about the Autopsy Gremlin?' Tony asked.
'Oh, I already said,' Jimmy smiled.
'You mean we missed it? Come on, Jimmy, 'fess up again,' Tony said, clapping him on the shoulder.
'Okay, if you really want,' Jimmy said, shrugging diffidently. 'I'm thankful for everything Doctor Mallard has taught me over this past year. I'm thankful for being a part of this team, for helping find some justice for the people who come into Autopsy. I'm thankful that we're all here together and I'm thankful that we're about as close to being a family as we can be.'
'Wow, way to go, Jimmy,' Tony grinned. 'Your turn, Jethro.'
'I'm thankful for stupid criminals,' Gibbs said shortly.
'That's it? That's all you're thankful for?' Tony asked, incredulous.
'There has to be more that you're thankful for,' Abby pouted. 'There really isn't anything else?'
Gibbs stared at them all. Then, his gaze resting on Tony, he said, 'I'm thankful for agents who don't mess around on the job and catch stupid criminals before they commit any more crimes.'
Tony sighed. 'Way to get into the holiday spirit, boss.' As his mouth opened to say more, his cell phone rang. He answered it with a terse, 'DiNozzo,' listened for a few seconds, then said, 'Thanks,' and ended the call. 'We've got a hit. State trooper saw our man on the Beltway. He's in an unmarked car, so he's following at a distance.'
'Gear up, people,' Gibbs said, but they were already scrambling to put down plates and plastic cups, heading for the doors. Gibbs handed his plate to Abby and kissed her cheek. 'That's why I'm thankful,' he said quietly, then strode after his team.
Four hours later, with their suspect in custody, Tony and Gibbs finished off their cold turkey-pasta salad in the observation room while McGee and Ziva conducted the interrogation. The tech in the corner kept his attention on the machines in front of him.
'So?' Tony asked quietly, watching his team mates through the one-way glass.
'What?' Gibbs asked, turning his attention to Tony.
'I know what I'm thankful for.' Tony reached out a hand. After a moment, Gibbs took it.
Tony's eyes snapped open to find himself plastered against Gibbs' back. He was hard, and his hips rocked against the older man's firm buttocks of their own accord.
'Shit! Sorry, Jethro,' Tony said, scrambling back. 'I, uh…'
'Happens to us all,' Gibbs said, not turning over. 'Go take care of it and get back in here so we can get some more sleep. It's too damn early to get up.'
Mortified, Tony retreated to the bathroom, where a few quick strokes of his trusty right hand were enough to have him spilling into a fistful of tissues.
A few hours later, as they drove into work, Gibbs glanced across at the younger man. 'You want to talk about it?' He didn't have to specify what it was.
'No, not really,' Tony said, fiddling with his seatbelt.
A couple of blocks later, Gibbs spoke again. 'How long has been?'
'Since the dinosaurs roamed the earth? A few hundred million years. Since you had your last coffee? About twenty minutes,' Tony said flippantly.
'A few months,' he said grudgingly. 'Why?'
'By which you mean…' Gibbs raised an eyebrow.
Tony sighed. 'Over a year.'
The low purr of the engine filled the silence until finally Gibbs reached out and squeezed Tony's knee. 'I meant it when I said you can go elsewhere. I never intended for you to be celibate.'
After a moment, Tony patted Gibbs' hand. 'Yeah, well, it turns out in some ways I'm not all that like my father.' As Gibbs opened his mouth to speak, Tony added, 'It doesn't matter. I'm fine. I'll just make time to, you know, clean the pipes more often. Really, I'm fine, Jethro.'
With a skeptical look, Gibbs let the subject drop.
Tony made it a part of his morning shower, on those mornings when he had time for a shower, when they weren't hurrying out of the door in the small hours to get to a crime scene. After another couple of incidents of waking hard or half-hard, pressed up against his husband, Tony began taking care of business with his evening shower too.
When he found himself waking in the middle of the night with his hand inside his sweatpants, wrapped around his aching cock, and his mouth pressed to the nape of Gibbs' neck, Tony figured he was in trouble. When it took him another five minutes to force himself to let go and move away, Tony knew it was serious. The next night, when he woke up with his hand cupping the older man's soft genitals through his own sweatpants, Tony knew it was about as serious as trouble got.
He spent the rest of the night in the guest room and after a searching look from Gibbs in the morning, nothing more was said on the subject.
After two weeks of sleeping in the guest room, Tony was in a foul mood. So far he'd snapped at both Ziva and McGee, been curt to the point of rudeness with Ducky, and was avoiding Abby altogether.
With Gibbs away from the bullpen, Tim and Ziva were debating the possible causes of Tony's mood. It wasn't helping.
'He has been very irritable,' Ziva remarked archly. 'I think maybe one of his lady friends has dumped him, or given him an unwanted present. A DST, yes?'
'STD,' Tim corrected. 'It wouldn't surprise me, but… Actually, you know what? It would surprise me. I haven't heard Tony boast about his conquests in a while now. Perhaps his women have stopped taking his calls. Looking for someone a bit…'
'Richer?' Ziva asked cattily.
'I was going to say younger,' Tim said.
Outwardly, Tony gave no sign of listening, but inwardly he was seething. He stabbed viciously at his keyboard in an attempt to finish his report so that he could go out on a coffee run before he snapped and murdered his colleagues.
'Do you suppose they have realised there is more to life than designer clothes and a stylish haircut?' Ziva asked. 'Or perhaps Tony has.'
'Yeah, right,' Tim scoffed. 'The day Tony gives up casual sex with complete strangers is the day I give up writing.'
Tony shot to his feet, hand going to his wallet. For a second, he was ready to pull out his wedding ring, show them just how casual he was, but then common sense reasserted itself, stilling his hand. 'And maybe if either of you had a sex life of your own, you wouldn't feel the need to discuss mine,' he snapped. 'God knows any sane man wouldn't put his dick anywhere near Ziva in case she cut it off, and Tim, the only women you're beating off with a stick are either perps or crazy stalker fans of your books, Mister Gemcity.'
'DiNozzo!' Gibbs was standing by the corner of his desk, face thunderous. 'With me. Now.'
For a moment, Tony wrestled with the urge to say no, then with a growl worthy of the ex-marine himself, Tony stalked off after his boss. In the elevator, he beat Gibbs to the emergency switch.
'What?' Tony snarled.
'Give me your handkerchief,' Gibbs said, holding out his hand. 'Your handkerchief,' he said impatiently.
Taken aback, Tony pulled out the crisp white cotton square and handed it over. 'Boss?'
'Not Boss, Jethro,' Gibbs said, pushing Tony back into the corner of the metal box. In one fluid move, he had Tony's pants open and his cock out.
'What the hell?' Tony choked out.
'Shut up, Tony,' Gibbs said. 'I've had enough of you snapping and snarling at everyone just because you aren't getting laid. Clearly doing it yourself isn't working for you and you're too damn stubborn to go elsewhere.' With a few practised strokes, he had Tony hard and leaking in one callused hand.
'Jethro- God! You don't- You… Oh my God…' Tony's head fell back against the wall with a thump.
'Apparently I do,' Gibbs said wryly.
Tony whimpered as Gibbs jerked him off, hand tight and hot around his aching dick. 'Shit, Jethro!'
'Ssh,' Gibbs said, pumping faster.
Tony panted, hands scrabbling for purchase on the smooth metal walls. He thrust forwards into his husband's fist, then, mouth open in a silent cry, he came hard, shooting into the handkerchief Gibbs held ready.
A few seconds later, when Tony could breathe again, Gibbs let him go. The older man watched as Tony tucked himself away with trembling hands.
'Yeah,' Tony admitted. 'Look, Jethro-'
'You needed something,' Gibbs said gruffly, looking away. 'And it was either this or shoot you.'
'Right,' Tony said, looking down at the floor. 'Thanks.'
'No more sleeping in the guest room?'
'Sure. Okay,' Tony agreed. He took the soiled handkerchief and balled it up, then flipped the emergency switch.
'We good?' Gibbs asked as the younger man avoided looking at him.
'We're good,' Tony said.
Back in the bullpen, while Gibbs demanded Ziva and Tim's reports, Tony surreptitiously stuffed his used hanky in a small evidence bag, tucking it in the bottom of his backpack to wash later. As they scrambled to get them finished, Gibbs disappeared off in the direction of the head, leaving a subdued Tony to get on with his own report.
'Go see Ducky,' Gibbs said when the hard copy of Tony's report landed on his desk.
'On it, boss,' Tony said, ignoring the looks his team mates were exchanging. He pretended not to hear them as he waited for the elevator.
'Gibbs, is DiNozzo all right? He seems… unlike himself,' Ziva said.
'He's fine,' Gibbs said curtly.
'But-' Tim began.
'I said he's fine. Don't make personal comments if you don't want him to make them back,' Gibbs said, shutting down the topic. 'McGee, get me the financial records for our marine-'
The elevator doors closed behind Tony, cutting Gibbs off mid-sentence. 'Damn,' Tony whispered to himself. 'What am I supposed to do now?'
That night, Tony climbed into bed beside his husband. 'So…' he said awkwardly.
'It isn't exactly a hardship,' Gibbs said drily. 'And we're married. Why, you nervous?'
'Actually, I am, a little,' Tony confessed. 'Never thought I'd be doing something like this.'
'What, sleeping with your husband?'
'Come here.' Gibbs put down his book and glasses, turned out the light, then lay down on his side, facing Tony. With a gentle hand, he rubbed Tony through his sweatpants, making the younger man jump. 'Okay?'
Tony bit his lip and nodded. 'Yeah.' Tentatively, he reached out and did the same, eyes widening as Gibbs hardened at his touch. When he was rocking forwards into Gibbs' hand, the older man carefully pulled down his waistband and drew him out. After a moment's hesitation, Tony did the same.
Lying forehead to forehead, in the privacy of their darkened room, under the cocoon of blankets, the two men breathed faster, hands losing rhythm as they sped up. With a muffled cry, Tony came, his hand tightening around Gibbs' cock. With a groan, Gibbs thrust into his hand a few more times, then came too.
After a minute, Tony fumbled for tissues and they cleaned themselves up.
'Um…' Tony began, then squeaked as Gibbs wrapped an arm around his shoulders and tugged him close.
'Still okay?' Gibbs asked softly.
'Yeah,' Tony nodded, then yawned.
Gibbs pressed a kiss to his forehead. 'All right, then. Get some sleep.'
'Mhm.' Tony snuggled closer, draping an arm and a leg over the ex-marine.
'But you have to do something!' Abby said. 'It's your birthday! The big four-oh. Come on, Tony! If you won't have a party, how about coming out for the evening? A few drinks, some dancing?
'Abby… I have plans, all right? Private plans. Plans that don't involve my coworkers, if you know what I mean,' Tony said with a wink. 'If you really insist on doing something, how about we have lunch next week?'
'Tony! Okay, fine,' Abby pouted. 'But for the record, your fortieth birthday should be a big celebration. Huge. Enormous!'
'Duly noted. When it's your turn, we'll hire a circus,' Tony said drily. 'Can I go now? Before Gibbs has to send out a search party? Because if he does, I may not make it to my birthday.'
'Go, shoo, catch bad guys. Lunch next week.' Abby waved him away. As he exited the lab, Tony could hear her muttering, 'That is so not a party.'
Gibbs looked up as Tony's phone rang. The agent lifted the handset and listened.
'Uh huh… Okay, be right there.'
'Case?' Gibbs asked.
Tony shook his head. 'Nope, gotta go sign for a letter.'
Gibbs nodded. With a sinking heart, he watched Tony cross to the elevator. As the doors closed behind the agent, he had the sudden irrational fear that he wouldn't see Tony again. With a snort, he forced himself to go back to the case file on his desk, but when the elevator pinged, he found himself looking up again, watching the tall man stride back to his desk. Tony tucked the letter into his backpack, ignoring his team's stares.
'Are you not going to open that?' Ziva asked.
'Nope,' Tony said.
'It looks important,' Tim chimed in. 'I mean, that looked like a law firm logo, and if you had to sign for it…'
'I know what it is,' Tony said. 'It'll keep for later.'
'What part of it's my mail and I'll open it later do you not understand, McNosey?' Tony said. He shot Gibbs a look.
Gibbs sighed. 'As long as it isn't a demand for child support, or you being called in a divorce case, I don't care. McGee, Ziva, if you don't have enough to keep you busy, I'm sure I can find something for you.'
The threat worked, and the two junior agents put their heads down and got back to work. Tony looked at Gibbs for a long moment, his expression unreadable, before doing the same.
It was after ten - twenty two hundred hours - when Gibbs pushed open his front door. A late call in MTAC had kept him back, but he'd chosen to spend another couple of hours on paperwork rather than face going home. It wasn't something he'd felt since the final days of his last marriage.
The living room was lit solely by a lamp in the corner: no Tony. Gibbs went into the kitchen, where the remains of a romantic dinner littered the table. A cold rage descended on the ex-marine and before he knew it, he was taking the stairs two at a time.
The master bedroom was empty, the bed still made from that morning. Gibbs found himself outside the guest bedroom, hand on the door, oddly reluctant to push it open and see who his husband was with. Steeling his resolve, he opened the door.
Tony was alone. The younger man was sitting on the bed, arms wrapped around one knee, looking out of the window. A suitcase lay open on the floor with some of his clothes neatly folded into it.
After a moment, Gibbs found his voice. 'What's going on? Where's your girlfriend?'
Tony didn't look round. After a moment, he spoke, his voice low and hoarse. 'No girlfriend.'
'I know you had plans with someone. I heard you telling Abby. And downstairs, I saw-'
'Rule number eight, Jethro. Never assume. Yes, I had plans that didn't involve my coworkers. They involved spending the evening with my husband.' At last he looked round and Gibbs flinched at the misery in his eyes. 'But I guess you don't need to pretend any more, do you? I'll go to a hotel tonight, start looking at places this weekend.'
The younger man carried on as though Gibbs hadn't spoken. 'I know you didn't do it for the money, but there's a lot more than either of us knew about. And you've let me live here for ages, let me inconvenience you. So I was thinking I'd transfer half to you once the check's cleared. You can still get your boat out of the basement with it.'
'I don't want your damn money!' Gibbs exploded. 'You want to know why I didn't come home tonight? Because I thought you were celebrating your birthday with some cheap blonde half your age.'
'Yeah, I got that,' Tony said and there was a world of hurt resignation in his tone.
'No! I didn't come home because I didn't want to sit here wondering where you were and who you were with. I… I was… I wanted it… to be me,' Gibbs finished quietly. 'I didn't want you out there with anyone else.'
'Wait, what?' Tony's brow scrunched in confusion. 'You were jealous?'
After a pause, Gibbs nodded. 'I don't want you to leave. I want to be your husband. For real.'
'You aren't just after my trust fund, are you?' Tony quipped, but relief washed over him.
'Screw the money. Tony, will you marry me?' Gibbs heard himself say.
Over the roaring in his ears, he could still make out Tony's fervent, 'Yes!' and a second later, he had an armful of tall, elegant, solid man, kissing him on the lips for the first time since their wedding with what seemed like a lifetime of pent-up passion. Gibbs tightened his arms around his husband and silently vowed never to let him go.
Later, in bed together, in their bed together, Gibbs kissed Tony with long, slow kisses until they broke apart, dazed, their lips were swollen.
'You know we're already married, right?' Tony said, reaching up to run his fingers through Gibbs' soft hair.
'We can renew our vows,' Gibbs said, stroking a hand down Tony's side, exploring his husband's body. 'Invite the team, my dad. Yours, if you want him there.'
'So you're saying this is a forever thing?' Tony asked.
Gibbs nodded. 'Yeah, Tony. I am.'
Tony and Gibbs renewed their vows at the same courthouse, in front of the same Justice of the Peace, but the similarities ended there. They'd decided to surprise the team, but had told Jack, Ducky and Vance.
'Where are we going?' Ziva asked curiously. 'We do not have a case.'
'You'll see in just a minute,' Tony grinned.
'Is Gibbs going to be there too?' Tim asked.
Tony's grin got wider. 'He'd better be.' He drove past the courthouse and found a parking space. Pulling in, he recognised Gibbs' car a couple of spaces down the road, and Ducky drove past them both and squeezed into a third space.
They climbed out of the cars, meeting up in a loose group on the sidewalk, only to be hailed from the courthouse steps.
'Jack!' Abby cried, running over to greet the older man. 'Do you know what's going on? Gibbs and Tony wouldn't say.'
'Abigail,' Jack beamed, planting a kiss on her cheek. 'Just in time.'
'Time for what?' Jimmy asked, coming up and shaking Jack's hand.
'Time to catch up with my favorite federal agents, that's what,' a familiar voice said.
'Tony!' Ziva found herself drawn into a big hug by Tony DiNozzo, Senior.
'You look beautiful as always, my dear,' Senior smiled.
A whistle cut through the chatter and all heads turned to look at Gibbs. 'Take it inside.'
'It's like herding cats,' Ducky complained as the group straggled inside. Outside the courtroom, he stopped Tony. 'Do you have everything?'
Tony patted his pockets. 'Yup. Come on, Ducky. It's showtime.'
'We aren't too late, are we?'
Gibbs turned to see the director and his wife accompanied by the Secretary of the Navy hurrying down the hallway. 'No, we're just about to start.'
'Thank you for inviting us,' Jackie smiled. She kissed Tony's cheek, then Gibbs, and made her way into the room followed by the men, leaving Tony and Gibbs standing outside.
A squeal cut through the air, accompanied by a chorused 'I knew it!' from Tim and Ziva.
'I guess they figured it out,' Tony grinned and held out his hand.
Gibbs took it and brushed a kiss over his husband's lips. 'Come on, let's get married again.'
Tony nodded. 'Forever, this time.'