My first crack!fic. Songfic too. OOC Gibbs, big time. Responsibility lies with three entities… the new Land of NCIS message boards, on which there's a thread entitled Hold Your Breath For Lines We Shall Never Hear. One of my contributions was 'Gibbs singing any song from Barry Manilow's Greatest Hits.' Another one was Jimmy Palmer saying 'Shut up, Agent Gibbs,' but that's another story. Anyway, I happened to mention the boards and the thread, as well as my Gibbs singing Manilow idea to slashscribe, and she said I should write a fic for it. So I did. This is therefore her fault.

Song lyrics courtesy of allthelyrics dot com, and Barry Manilow, of course. And anyone else who had a hand in writing them. I own the story, nothing else.

Definitely NOT part of the FIOverse. Update to Second Law coming soon.

Thank you, Barry Manilow

Tony pulled up outside Gibbs' house and cut the engine. His internal debate lasted only a few seconds before he shook his head and gave himself a head slap. There you go, Boss. He got out of the car and headed for the front door, walking right in and shutting it behind him.

The unsettled feeling had taken root in his gut and hadn't let go all day, not since they'd found the little girl's body in the woods, with her mother's only a few yards away… both right where the estranged petty officer husband and father had said they'd be. Closing the case had been easy enough, but Tony had been watching Gibbs like a hawk since they'd all gone to the bullpen to write up their reports.

Gibbs had been bitchy ever since they'd caught this case… no, his bastard status hadn't changed, but Tony felt this new level of pissed-off deserved a different label. He didn't think he'd ever seen Gibbs as intimidating as when he'd been in interrogation and demanded to know what the petty officer had done after kidnapping his family. The man had caved easily, scared half to death. After putting him back in holding and calling for janitorial services, the team had gone out to the scene… and Gibbs hadn't said a word since, not beyond one-word commands, anyway.

It didn't take a genius to figure out not only what was bothering the team leader but also that he wasn't going to handle it well tonight. And so Tony had shown up, doing what he always did, having his boss' six. He told himself he'd do the same for Probie or Abby… he'd learned early on that trying to be there for Ziva wasn't healthy for anyone. He knew, though, that it wasn't the same. Not when he didn't have the same feelings for the rest of the team that he had for their leader. He'd reconciled himself to wanting and loving from afar, so much so that it wasn't usually part of his conscious thought process anymore. It was just nights like this, when he knew Gibbs was hurting, that he became aware of his feelings again. He knew, though, that he'd just be a friend to his boss, as always.

Heading to the basement door, Tony stopped as he heard a strange sound coming from down in that mysterious realm. It took a moment to place it… singing? The only time he could remember hearing Gibbs sing was recently, when they'd started singing about the wheels on the bus when they caught a case… but this was more prolonged and Tony learned one more thing about his boss… he didn't have the best singing voice. The words filtered up to Tony's ears as he started down the stairs.

Memory
All alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
It was beautiful then
I remember the time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again

Tony stood on the landing half-way down the steps, mouth gaping open, staring at his mentor… who was sitting on the floor, a mostly empty bottle of bourbon next to him, jar in hand, singing Barry Manilow.

Barry Manilow? Gibbs actually knows this stuff?

The frat-boy aspect of Tony's personality was urging him to take out his cell phone and get some video… but the rest of Tony quickly beat that part into submission. There was no way he'd do that to his boss. Gibbs deserved better. He certainly didn't deserve to ever be reminded of this level of pain again.

Tony moved closer, crouching down in front of Gibbs, and staring in horror at the tears that were making their way down his face. Gibbs wasn't sobbing… he was just staring into space, drinking the bourbon, and singing softly. He broke off to stare at Tony for a moment, then picked up the bottle and held it out to him. "Tony… here. Have some."

Tony gingerly took the bottle and set it on the workbench. "I think one of us should stay sober, Boss… you okay?"

Gibbs attempted a glare, failing miserably. "No, 'm not okay. 'm sitting on the floor, in the dark, drinking too much and singing. I don't sing."

Tony cocked his head and looked at him. "Hate to break it to you, Boss, but you do sing. You just don't sing well. And of all the things you can sing… Barry Manilow? Seriously?"

Gibbs shrugged and hugged his jar of bourbon to his chest. "Shannon liked him. Played his albums a lot, used to sing to me sometimes. Reminds me of her… and Kelly."

Tony stared at him. Bossman must be really drunk if he's talking about them.

Gibbs reached up and wiped irritably at his face, spilling the rest of the bourbon on the floor. He looked mournfully down at the empty jar, then held it out to Tony. "More?"

Tony took the jar and put it on the bench. "Think you've had enough. Let's get you upstairs." He grasped Gibbs' arms and pulled, helping Gibbs stagger to his feet. "I've got ya, Boss."

Gibbs nodded seriously. "Yeah, Tony, you do. You just don't know it."

Tony shot him a puzzled look, then started to move him to the stairs. Gibbs reached up to wipe at his face again, then started singing softly.

When love is gone
What good is candlelight
Each lonely day
Becomes a sleepless night
No one is there to share the rising dawn
And so it fades away when love is gone

Tony cringed as Gibbs rested his head on his second's shoulder. It doesn't mean anything, it doesn't mean anything, it doesn't mean anything, he repeated to himself.

They managed to make it upstairs to the kitchen, where Tony propped Gibbs against the counter while he filled a glass with water. He looked at the glass, then at his boss, who was gazing at him, tears still coursing down his face. Shaking his head, Tony put the glass on the counter and gave Gibbs a bright smile. "Think I better come back for that." Gibbs just stared at him some more, so Tony moved in, taking Gibbs' arm and draping it over his shoulder. "C'mon, Boss. Some nice water and some asprin, and you'll be good as new."

They made their way up to the bedroom, where Tony managed to trip over Gibbs' feet and the two of them landed face-first on the bed. Tony frantically tried to disentangle himself, while Gibbs giggled into the sheets. Managing to pull himself free, Tony sat up and reached out, taking hold of Gibbs' shoulder and rolling him onto his back. "You okay, Boss?"

Gibbs looked up at Tony, his giggles fading away as he shook his head. "No, 'm not." The tears started again, and Tony thought he heard a whisper of Kelly's name before Gibbs started singing.

You remind me, I live in a shell
Safe from the past and doing okay
But not very well
No jolts, no surprises,
No crisis arises, my life goes along as it should
It's all very nice but not very good

Tony awkwardly patted Gibbs on the arm. "You rest, Boss. Gonna get you that water and some asprin." He fled.

A few minutes later, he re-entered the room to see Gibbs had managed to divest himself of at least some of his clothing and crawl under the covers, propped against the head board and watching Tony come in. Gibbs scooted over as Tony approached, so Tony sat on the bed and held out the asprin. "Take it, Boss. You'll feel much better if you do."

Gibbs stared at the pills for a moment, then nodded and picked them up, popping them into his mouth. Tony handed him the water, watching as Gibbs drank it all. Gibbs tried to put the glass on the nightstand and almost missed, but with Tony's help the glass stayed intact.

Tony ran a hand through his own hair, forcing aside the impulse to do the same to Gibbs. "Alright, Boss. You should be good for the night, huh? I'm just gonna take off." He moved to stand, but Gibbs grabbed his arm and pulled him back down onto the mattress, causing Tony to let out a squeaky 'eep' of surprise.

"Stay."

Tony stared at Gibbs. "What?"

Gibbs stared back, then started singing again.

Wouldn't it be fine bein' lonely together
Wouldn't it be fine havin' a shoulder to share

Tony gave him a weak grin. "You're so gonna regret this in the morning… if you remember it. Just don't blame me, okay? I like my job."

Gibbs shook his head, looking seriously at Tony. Then he leaned forward while pulling Tony close to him, placing a tentative kiss on his cheek.

Tony pulled back and stared at him. "You must be even more drunk than I thought, mistaking me for a red head."

Gibbs shook his head more vigorously. "No mistake. You're Tony, you're my backup, and your hair is brown." He reached up with his free hand and ran his fingers through Tony's hair. "And I've wanted to do this for years." He shifted over and kissed Tony, this time on the mouth… a soft, lingering kiss that had too much coordination given the amount of bourbon he'd consumed.

Tony couldn't help but respond. He only had so much nobility in him, after all.

A few moments later, he pulled back and stared at Gibbs, who was already looking at him. "Boss, I sure hope you don't remember this in the morning."

Gibbs' brow furrowed. "Why?"

"Um… woulda thought that was obvious."

Gibbs sat up a bit and kissed Tony again, this time sweeping his tongue over his lips. Then he leaned back, tugging on Tony until Tony was lying beside him and they were facing each other. Gibbs turned on his side and wrapped his arms around him, then started to sing again.

And I'm ready to take a chance again
Ready to put my love on the line
With you...
Been living with nothing to show for it
You get what you get when you go for it
And I'm ready to take a chance again with you

Tony stared at Gibbs, watching as he wiped the drying tears away one more time. He looked at Tony, then started running his fingers through Tony's hair. "Sleep. We'll talk in the morning."

Tony knew he should get up and out, but he'd wanted to be there for so long that he just couldn't bring himself to do it. "If you don't kill me in the morning," he grumbled.

Gibbs made another sound suspiciously like a giggle. "Not gonna kill you, Tony… maybe do something else to you, though."

Tony tried once more to move away, but Gibbs just tightened his arms and pulled him closer.

"Love ya, Tony."

Tony lay there, astonished, until long after Gibbs had fallen asleep. Then the craziness and the exhaustion caught up with him and he followed suit.

Morning arrived, and Tony slowly swam to consciousness, taking a moment to realize where he was and whose arms he was lying in. At least he still had his clothes on and was on top of the covers while Gibbs was underneath. Maybe I can sneak out of here… he must be sleeping pretty soundly after drinking so much.

Tony cracked his eyes open and saw Gibbs facing him, blue eyes clear and aware and looking into his. Tony slammed his eyes shut. Don't panic, don't panic, don't panic…

"Tony."

Tony tensed at the sound of his name, then slowly relaxed as he realized Gibbs didn't sound angry. He sounded… what? Tentative? Hopeful?

Tony opened his eyes again and looked at Gibbs. Gibbs looked back, clearly sober. His eyes searched Tony's for a moment, then he stared singing softly again.

There ain't no good in our goodbyein'
True love takes a lot of tryin'
Let's hang on to what we've got

The words hung in the air and Tony pulled back just a bit. "You're serious."

Gibbs nodded. "Been in love with you for a long time, Tony. Wasn't sure how you'd react, so I didn't say anything."

Tony stared at Gibbs for a few seconds, then a soft smile began to spread over his face. "Then all I can say is thank you bourbon and Barry." He leaned in and kissed Gibbs' lips, pulling the other man closer.

After a few moments, Tony pulled away, then began to sing.

When I see you lying there
Like a living answered prayer
There are no words
For what I feel for you

Fools get lucky
Destiny likes me
It must be one of nature's rules
Love like yours
Should save the fools like me

He looked at Gibbs. "If you ever tell anyone that I know Manilow too, I'll withhold sex for a month."

"Not gonna happen," Gibbs said fervently, as he moved to cover Tony's body with his own.

The End