It's a beautiful autumn day and the team's off rotation for the weekend. Gibbs celebrates by waking Tony with kisses and a killer blowjob, which Tony reciprocates enthusiastically once he's over the shock of being woken up early on a day off. They go running, but Gibbs leads them on their shorter route.
"What's up, getting old?" Tony teases, dancing out of reach. Gibbs growls at him and sets a punishing pace for the last half mile.
Once they're through the shower, Tony barely has time to change into a decent pair of jeans and a patterned shirt before someone's knocking at the front door. As he hurries downstairs, Gibbs opens the door to reveal Abby, wearing a plaid mini-skirt, an outrageous pair of steel-spiked platform boots and a babydoll t-shirt with a picture of a fossilised fairy skeleton on it.
"Gibbs!" Abby launches herself at him, giving him a quick bear hug. "Can Tony come out to play? Pleeeease?"
Gibbs finds himself laughing. "Sure, why not?" He turns to face his lover. "As long as you've brushed your teeth and washed your face, you can go play with Abby. Don't wander off with strangers."
"Ha, very funny," Tony grumbles, stepping down into the hallway. He reaches into the closet for a light jacket, grabs his wallet and keys. "You want to come?"
"Nope. Have fun," Gibbs says, dropping a kiss on Tony's forehead. He swats the younger man on the ass and shoos him out the door.
Tony lets Abby hug him too, then shrugs on his jacket. "Where to, my lady?" he asks, proffering his arm. He starts forward, then stops with a frown and fishes in his back pocket. He pulls out a twenty dollar bill and laughs.
"What?" Abby asks.
They take Abby's car and hit up a few shops, have lunch in a deli that does fantastic salads and sandwiches, follow it up with cheesecake from a bakery a block over. Tony picks up a slice for Gibbs. They find retro t-shirts for the team; a gremlin in a lab coat wielding a scalpel and a bone saw for Palmer, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. for Ducky. Miss Piggy in the middle of a karate chop for Ziva, a Red Dwarf t-shirt for McGee with a Space Corps directive in binary across the front. Tony's pretty sure McGee will be able to read it without having to refer to an online translator. He doesn't know whether he hopes it actually is a Space Corps directive, or if it'd be funnier as something rude.
Gibbs gets another Muppet; Sam the Eagle glares at them in a way that makes them giggle for five minutes straight when they find it. Tony gets himself a Snake Plissken t-shirt and Abby ends up with a not-so-retro Firefly t-shirt which has River proclaiming "I can kill you with my brain." Because Abby totally could.
Mid-afternoon, Abby looks at her watch and squeaks, hustling them back to the car as fast as possible.
"Late for something?" Tony asks as she does a credible impersonation of Gibbs, speeding back to the house.
"I forgot I'm meant to be…" Abby trails off, going pink.
Tony waits until they're through the intersection before prompting her. "Meant to be? What? Where? Who?" He adds the last with a leer and even though Abby has her eyes firmly on the road, she reaches over and smacks him on the thigh. "Ow!"
"Watch it, mister," she threatens, then spoils it by giggling. "You are such a dog!" Of course, Tony has to defend his honor, so they pull up outside Gibbs' house still arguing. She follows him inside and there's Palmer waiting at the foot of the stairs, which throws Tony for a loop.
"Hey Tony," Palmer says with a grin. Ever since he got married he's worn an air of quiet confidence that fits him like a tailored suit.
"What're you doing here?" Tony asks. "Not that I'm not happy to see you, but am I forgetting something?"
"No, I just thought I'd drop by. You said you'd show me the difference between Zegna and Armani. I was in the neighborhood, so…" He waves a hand, drawing Tony's attention to the mug he's holding.
"Gibbs got you coffee?" Tony asks, incredulous. "And you're drinking it? Voluntarily? Wow."
"I'll leave him in your capable hands, then," Abby says cheerfully. She plants a kiss on Tony's cheek, then gives Palmer a hug and hurries out of the house.
"You know, I'd think she was on something, but I bought her a Caf-Pow! an hour ago." Tony shuts the door behind her. "Might as well come on up."
He spends almost an hour pointing out the subtle differences in style, cut, the finishing techniques that make buying a designer suit worthwhile. Tony even pulls out one of Gibbs' old Sears suits for comparison. In the end, Jimmy promises never to buy another chain store suit and Tony thinks it's time well spent.
"I'm happy you see the light, padawan," Tony grins, leaning against the wall. "So what're you doing the rest of the day? Going to surprise Mrs Gremlin with a grand romantic gesture?"
"Something like that," Palmer smiles. "Oh, hey, could I get another coffee before I head out?"
"Sure, no problem. Sorry, I'm a terrible host," Tony apologises. "I'll just get changed."
"Well, I have to go in five," Palmer says apologetically.
"When you put it like that…" Tony grins. "Come on, I can get changed later. Just don't spill your coffee on my suit."
"Wouldn't dream of it," Palmer says and lets Tony lead the way to the kitchen. He wanders casually over to the back door as Tony fishes mugs out of the cupboard. "Huh. I wonder what Gibbs is building out there?"
"What?" Tony frowns. "He hasn't said anything about building something out there."
"Maybe you should come see." Palmer opens the door and steps outside, Tony impatient at his heels. He moves aside and Tony stops dead.
"What the- Jethro?"
There's an arbor set up in the middle of the garden, decorated with swathes of white and purple fabric. Several rows of chairs hold Jackson and Senior, Fornell and Emily, the rest of the team and a few other people from the Yard - Abby's changed into a fetching black lace number, complete with long gloves and a parasol - and to one side there a couple of long tables hold plates of food. In front of the arbor stands Ducky, with a face-splitting smile, a woman Tony hasn't seen before, and Gibbs.
He's wearing an Armani suit and the tie that Tony bought him to wear to Palmer's wedding and he holds out a hand.
"Is this- You bastard," Tony says, but his cheeks ache from grinning so hard, and he's across the lawn before he knows it. "You haven't even asked me."
Gibbs takes Tony's hands in his and gazes into his eyes like they aren't surrounded by friends and colleagues, like they're a couple out of any one of a thousand romantic films, and Tony loves it, loves him.
"Anthony, will you marry me?" Gibbs asks. "Here, in front of all our friends and family. I want everyone to know how much you mean to me." His voice drops to that intimate rasp that sends a shiver through Tony and makes him glad he has his suit jacket buttoned. "I love you, Tony."
"You don't do anything the easy way, do you?" Tony asks, amused. He steps closer, feeling the heat of the older man all along his front. "Yes, I'll marry you, Leroy Jethro second-b's-for-bastard-Gibbs. But you owe me a honeymoon."
"Of course," Gibbs says, but he's smiling and Tony's smiling and it takes a discreet cough from Ducky to get things moving.
There's a whirl of vows and rings and a kiss that makes Tony want to haul Gibbs inside and do filthy things to him, never mind that they have guests. And then they're married - really, truly, til death do us part married and everyone crowds round, congratulating them, until Gibbs whistles sharply and tells them all to go eat.
The food is good - it looks catered, but it looks as though Abby and Ziva and Ducky have brought along a little something too, which just makes it better. There are best man speeches from Ducky and Palmer, even though Tony hadn't had the chance to ask him. There are toasts to love and health and happiness, to enduring friendships and to wedded bliss. Fornell tells Tony he knows a good divorce lawyer, but promises Gibbs this is one not-yet-ex he has no interest in wooing. Well, only on a professional basis. Tony laughs and then has to remind Gibbs he has no interest - personal or professional - in Fornell and the FBI.
Later on, with candles and lanterns lighting the garden in the mellow fall evening, Gibbs holds Tony in his arms and they sway to slow music. Jimmy dances with his wife, Fornell with Ziva, Ducky with Abby, McGee with Jackie, the director's wife. Senior cuts in on Fornell and leads Ziva away, while Jackson tells Emily stories from Leroy's childhood.
"I can't believe you threw a surprise wedding," Tony says, brushing his cheek against his husband's.
"I can't believe you didn't figure it out," Gibbs replies, his thumb rubbing circles through the soft fabric of Tony's shirt at the small of his back.
"Why?" Tony leans back just enough to make out his lover's eyes.
"Because you're a damn good investigator," Gibbs says with a mock scowl. Then as Tony rolls his eyes and opens his mouth to argue, he says, "You're it for me, Tony. There isn't a day to come that I won't want you by my side, and I know you feel the same way."
"How can you be so sure?" Tony asks. "I mean, you could meet someone else, or you could decide I'm too annoying. Or Caroline Winberg could come to her senses and demand I be her love slave."
"Ten years, Tony. Ten years. And you bought me this damn tie, and I wear it every chance I get," Gibbs says, his eyes warm with affection. "I figured it was your way of asking me to marry you. And every time I wear it, this is me saying yes."
Tony's eyes widen in surprise. "Oh! You know, you should really fire me, boss," he grins ruefully. "I honestly hadn't figured that out. Maybe I was afraid you wouldn't want to be stuck with me."
Gibbs huffs a laugh. "If any of my ex-wives had asked me to wear a pink paisley silk tie, I wouldn't have married them."
"You'd have worn it for Shannon," Tony says. In his tone is all the reassurance Gibbs needs. They'll always be a part of him, but Tony's never felt overshadowed by their ghosts, not in their personal life, not in their home, and in return, Gibbs doesn't feel the need to protect their memories, to guard his heart against intrusion, against the possibility of love.
"Yeah, I would," Gibbs says. "But I'm wearing it for you."
"So what you're saying is that tie is your engagement ring," Tony says teasingly. "Are you calling me cheap?"
"Never," Gibbs smiles. He leans forward and kisses Tony as they move together in the warm evening air, surrounded by friends and family, everyone they love. And even the ghosts of all those they couldn't save, who stand in the background of their relationship, of their lives, have no power to darken this one perfect day, their wedding day.
The photos come back a week later and even though there was nothing formal, Tony's favorite, the one that ends up framed and sitting on the mantelpiece, is one taken by Jimmy, of the moment when Jethro took Tony's hands. Everyone's smiling at them, but Jethro only has eyes for Tony. And the tie - their tie - looks-
"You know it really brings out the blue in your eyes," Tony muses, setting it back. "And your hair-"
A hand reaches out and swats the back of Tony's head, but it turns into a caress halfway through. "You were saying?"
"You look really good." Tony turns and kisses his husband long and slow. "For a guy your age," he adds, when they break apart, and Gibbs has to pin him down and show him that age just means stamina, especially when Tony's hands are tied and he can't do more than wriggle and moan and curse Gibbs for being such a sadist.
Later - much later - they lie in a tangle of limbs and cooling sweat and savor the afterglow. Tony strokes the tie lightly. "Best money I ever spent."
Gibbs strokes Tony's thigh and hums in agreement. "At least I know what to get you for our anniversaries."
"Yeah?" Tony's eyes light up.
"Yup. Every year's gonna be silk."
"I can live with that," Tony says sleepily, nuzzling Gibbs' neck. And he can.