Disclaimer: Do I really need this? Either way, NCIS is not mine.
A/N: Okay, well. Wow. This came out of nowhere. Seriously, my fingers started typing without consulting my brain and I ended up with this. I hope you like it. I don't usually do Tibbs but I wrote my first one as little drabble for another fic and found these two just write so well together.
Sorry if Gibbs is a bit OOC. I wanted to write him as the reluctant one (at the end, when I knew what the hell I was writing) and so he's a lot less 'screw-the-consequences' Gibbs. Because really, everyone's got to have a weakness. Why can't Tony be his?
Enjoy, and please let me know what you think :)
There had always been tension between them. Looks that lasted too long, gazes that were more intense than the situation called for. Being close, physically, right inside each other's personal bubble. Always in his face or over his shoulder, so near they shared the same breaths.
But they'd been like that for years. Closer than co-workers, too much electricity between them to be just friends. Oh, the electricity. Sometimes just a look, thrown casually across the bullpen, would send shocks down his spine and leave his skin tingling. And other times, when their emotions were raging, blood pumping, the rage and anger that their jobs inspired spilled over, and the air between them almost burned. They'd shout and yell and Tony would swear that they'd both been seared with sparks. It was an intense but unshakeable relationship.
Or so he'd thought. In a whirlwind of anger and bitterness, Gibbs had left for Mexico. Left behind NCIS and his home and the city. Left Tony standing shore side, stepping into shoes he knew would be a challenge to fill. Tony did it with skill and charm, the same way he tackled everything. Things kept moving, life went on, and the bullpen didn't always feel so empty.
The same couldn't be said for Tony. His mind played tricks on him; more times than he could count he automatically ordered Gibbs' coffee or braced himself for the headslap that wouldn't, couldn't reach him from Mexico. He covered up any slips. He learnt to be more careful around the team. McGee and Ziva were fond of reminding him that he wasn't Gibbs.
He wanted to scream at them. 'No, I'm not Gibbs! Gibbs left! The misfits, the ones who had never found a home until this, never felt a part of anything until we were here. We're the ones he left behind to go build boats with Franks. Dammit, he has a basement for that! He wants to build boats? I'll buy him a damn shipyard! Wants to see the sea? There, now, you've seen it! Come back, you bastard! I thought we were more important to you than that. I thought I meant something. I thought…'
In the end, it was easier not to think at all.
But hell, he missed him. The electricity, the intensity, the heated rush of blood when he unexpectedly appeared behind him, as he always did. He hated that he missed him. After the way they'd left things between them, Tony wasn't even sure what he'd do if he ever did see Gibbs again.
He had to keep reminding himself that Gibbs wasn't dead. But it was hard to tell the difference when he felt his absence like a lost limb. He didn't even know how to contact him, short of flying a long way south.
There had been a moment, just before he'd left. One moment of hope that he wasn't the only one feeling the electricity. Standing on Gibbs' porch, the midnight rain soaking him to the bone. Refusing to go inside unless Gibbs promised to stay. The glare, in his weary eyes, just didn't cause the usual subordination this time.
"Can't glare at me like that now. You quit. You're not my boss anymore."
The glare continued but Tony could see the strain underneath it, the emotions that his boss usually kept so well hidden, breaking through the cracks. Though the rain was cold, Tony's simmering anger kept him from feeling it. It overflowed into his voice, his words clipped, sharp. Jaw clenched and teeth grinding.
"Never had you down for a quitter, bo-… Guess, I shouldn't call you that now right?"
"No. I get that you hate the politics. The bastard idiots up the ladder who make the worst calls and don't have to live with the consequences that we have to deal with. But they've always been there. Always will be." He stepped closer, getting right into Gibbs' face. Either side of the doorway; one in, one out. Tony leant into the frame, hand gripping so tightly his knuckles were white. "But we're the boots on the ground. We get around all the crap the Powers That Be throw our way. We have to. How can you just walk away from that?"
A pause, painful and painted red. "You done?"
Tony let out a snort. "You clearly are."
Gibbs eyes flashed with an anger so intense that Tony flinched. The silence between them grew, and the electricity flew between them like a thunderstorm. Tony met Gibbs' eyes and held them. Conflicting emotions flashed through them too fast to read. Gibbs' seemed to be reading Tony as much as Tony was trying to understand what was flying through Gibbs head. Gibbs closed his eyes for half a second and breathed in deeply, before saying, "Tony, you're soaked and dripping rain water all over my porch. Either get in the damn house or go home."
Gibbs' glare was almost pitying and Tony had to fight the urge to punch him.
"Fine, leave. Go to Mexico. Retire and leave everyone here, wishing you were with us. But just tell me this Gibbs." Tony's voice held so much bitterness and angry resignation as he asked, "Nothing is pulling you away from us. From me. And we both know you're reason for leaving is a load of bull. So tell me," his voice dropped, a sadness creeping into his words that he had tried desperately to hide, "what is pushing you away?"
Gibbs said nothing. He stared at Tony as if seeing him for the first time. His eyes wandered over his face, gaze hovering slightly longer over his lips before returning to his eyes. Tony was close to tears and thankful the rain made sure he was the only one who knew that. He held his breath, wanting, hoping for an answer that would make everything okay, wipe away the hurt more than any amount of rain could ever do.
Gibbs raised a hand, oh so slowly, eyes locked on Tony. He reached up, until his hand was raised level with his own face. In stunned silence Tony watched as Gibbs' open palm drifted nearer to his cheek. He resisted the almost overwhelming need to lean into his hand. Gibbs' hand came within an inch of settling on Tony's wet cheek, his thumb hovering over his lips.
Tony's chest tightened painfully as he willed silently to Gibbs to keep going, beseeching him with his eyes to just make that first step. To reach out. To accept.
With a sudden growl of frustration and anger Gibbs hand clenched into a fist and he slammed it into the door frame next to Tony's face. His head dropped and he drew in rough, growling breaths.
Tony's heart felt like it had just dropped like a stone into his stomach. The stab of hurt seared through him like blazing fire. It lit him up with a rage and disappointment bordering on disgust.
Gibbs spoke low. "Go home Tony."
His fist clenched and with almost hysterical tone he stepped back and said "Fine." He threw his arms up in the air and started walking backwards in the rain, away from Gibbs. "The great Leroy Jethro Gibbs ladies and gentleman! Running away from something he can't even admit to himself!"
"Forget it." And without a glance back Tony slammed the car door behind him and drove away, speeding desperately away, through the midnight storm like a ghost.
Knowing my track record this will probably be a one-shot, but it might not. Let me know what you think. Constructive criticism appreciated (like I said, sorry if Gibbs was OOC). Reviews make me rather happy :)