Hey guys, last chapter! A massive thanks to everyone who reviewed and encouraged me to continue this, even though it was hard for me to write.
Tony smiles sweetly when his fingers brush the soft hand of the girl handing him a coffee cup. She blushes and quickly glances away from him. The usual thrill he gets from a pretty girl crushing on him, is strangely absent this time. Actually he's been too busy dealing with his attraction towards his Boss, it kinda took the whole weekend to get over being rejected. He doesn't get why Gibbs wants to get more out of this. Haven't they already gone over this? Why would a relationship between them have any chance of working out? They're the two people with the most ridiculous track-record in the whole Navy Yard and yet, Gibbs seems to think that they have to put all that aside and, what, just jump into it?
He's always had his Boss' six and their familiar routine brings him comfort, especially when their job brings them into unfamiliar territory. Gibbs isn't a man of impulsive actions, he thinks things through and then acts on what his intelligence and gut tell him. Tony has never found it difficult to follow his lead because he feels they're on the same page when it comes to their job. He thought that they had the same understanding in their friendship but it seems like they're drifting further apart each time one of them acts on the mutual attraction that hangs in the air between them, making the hairs on his neck stand up and his skin itch in anticipation of the next head slap.
Tony has always been a confident man. He may come on a little arrogant and shallow sometimes, but it's merely a cover story, a life style to go by when surrounded by people invading his comfort zone. But he always makes sure to show enough of his true identity when alone with the team. Sure, he loves a good prank from time to time and who could resist teasing Ziva every once in a while, especially now she needs to be cheered up from the whole C.-affair? But he knows it's important to be known by the people who protect him. He takes his time to get to know them, too. Although he acts like he's allergic to McGee's 'nerdy' videogames, he comes over to his apartment at least once a week, armed with a six pack to beat him at 'Grand Theft Auto'. When one of the nuns is feeling a bit under the weather, Tony takes her place to make sure that Abby's bowling team is complete. When he needs to unload after a case, he gets Ziva to join him at the shooting range and they make sure to challenge each other into going beyond their usual limits. He loves the team and he couldn't miss any one of them, but Gibbs is by far the most essential part of his life in and outside of NCIS.
As much as he values his colleagues, sometimes he really misses the days where he and Gibbs were a two-man team. When they met in Baltimore, they just sort of clicked in a way that Tony had never experienced before in his life; not with his frat brothers, not with his fiancé, not even with his partner Danny. As soon as he saw a glimpse of the man under the gruff exterior of 'hard ass Marine', Tony tried to get Gibbs to open up. He wanted to see more of him, was intrigued by him and he didn't know what he was supposed to do with that feeling since he'd never felt that same drive he normally only experienced while on the job, in his private life too. He knew it was important in this line of work to have someone you could fall back on or talk to after an intense case, so he made himself available to offer support whenever he thought the older man needed it. Of course, that was when he hadn't yet realized the functional mute-thing going on with his new Boss. After a couple of failed attempts at getting him to open up via the soft and understanding approach, Ducky had taken pity on the new Agent and he had informed him of Gibbs' allergy towards psychologists. Ever since that short but very enlightening conversation, Tony had taken a different approach to things and he had claimed the role of jokester in their well-functioning two-man team. He'd started annoying the older man on purpose so he could take out his frustration on the back of his head. If a bald spot was the only price he had to pay for giving the older man an outlet for the anger brought up in him by injustice and bureaucratic politics, he'd gladly see past that little detail. When the team had been expanded, Tony had just carried on in his 'mission' to bring comic relief to those who needed it. He knew that Gibbs saw right through him but he never confronted Tony about it in front of his teammates, he would just go a little easier on Tony when the younger man showed up in his basement later that evening, in search for affirmation of his indispensability. They began to search each other's company, first after the hard cases and then slowly it evolved into the kind of friendship where either Tony or Gibbs could just show up in the evenings, sometimes with food and beer, sometimes just to watch the other work on a boat but they always got exactly what they needed out of those evenings spent together, even though they were never really sure what it was that drove them to each other's doorstep in the first place. He knew that it was important for their work routine to respect the hierarchy at NCIS, but they were much more informal when alone. Tony would joke a little less and tease Gibbs a little more and the older man would give back as good as he got. He didn't know how to explain it but to know that he could just barge in because the door wouldn't be locked anyway, and that Gibbs would be waiting for him to come down to the basement… it felt like coming home. Eventually, the two men would just have to share a look at the office if either of them needed the company, and the other would just show up, no questions asked.
Tony didn't know when their dynamic had shifted but all of a sudden he'd started watching Gibbs' hands move over the smooth wood, he'd let his eyes roam over the toned body of his Boss and then he'd had so sit on his hands to keep from reaching out and touching him. It wasn't the attraction towards another man that shocked Tony – he'd known since college and he didn't make a secret out of it – but it surprised him that he hadn't seen it coming. He had been more quiet than usual that night and even though Gibbs would throw him questioning glances from time to time, they didn't talk about it for another couple of weeks.
He could remember that conversation as if it were yesterday. They were sitting on the couch in Gibbs' living room with plates and steaks on their lap, feet propped up on the coffee table. Tony was entertaining the older man with stories about his time in college and Gibbs was laughing heartily at the thought of his Senior Field Agent running across campus naked with a feather in his ass just because he had lost a bet. Tony felt a surge of pride in his chest at the sight of Gibbs letting down his guard and laughing like that. To know that he'd done that, almost felt as good as chasing a suspect and then tackling him in an awesome way. He hadn't realized he'd been staring at his Boss when he noticed Gibbs looking at him intently, as if trying to solve a puzzle you suspected you didn't have all the pieces to. Their eyes locked and Gibbs had seen the desire plainly written in them.
Tony felt like he should say something. Anything. But the intense blue eyes staring back at him made it nearly impossible to form a coherent thought. He opened his mouth a few times before he realized that he couldn't change the facts anyway, he'd probably just make it worse by rambling on and on about it. That was something he'd do at work but in here, he felt safe enough to just stay quiet and wait for the storm. He had cast his eyes down when after a few moments, he realized that the storm he was waiting for, still hadn't come so he looked back up and found Gibbs smiling that lopsided smirk of his. he frowned but that only made Gibbs' smile grow bigger.
"Tony, relax. In each friendship, there's a moment where you realize you could be attracted to the other person. And then you simply have a choice to make, between either that friendship or the attraction you're feeling towards the other. Us being two guys doesn't change that, we each swing both ways and we've known that about each other for years now. I knew this would happen, so now we just have to be smart and choose our partnership above everything else, especially now the team has expanded. They count on us to be a solid team, two men they can rely on, so we have to make sure that there's nothing more in between that could complicate things, you understand?"
Tony let out a breath he'd been holding for too long. Gibbs was exactly right, the mutual trust they had built over the years was far more important than following his hormones wherever they led him. God knows he didn't go well with relationships and his Boss hadn't exactly set the right example either. It'd be difficult not to ogle him but he could always have fun with someone else and try to put it out of his mind whenever it got hard to ignore.
"I expected at least a head slap, Jethro. This is a bit disappointing, I must say." Tony grinned as Gibbs gave him a mock slap on top of his head. Then he sobered up and frowned again. "Okay but seriously, why aren't you pissed? I feel like I've complicated things and you just go like 'Relax'?"
Gibbs shrugged. "I've been experiencing the same moments you are now."
Tony waited for more to come but Gibbs kept quiet after that.
"Seriously? You amaze me sometimes, at work you're a functioning mute and then we're here, alone, and you say these sentences, like a whole group of words and there's not a single command in it!" Tony acts amazed and it earns him another head slap. "But when it's important, you go back to saying a few words and that's that? Come on, don't leave me hanging here!"
"What's there to say, Tony? You're a good-looking man and I'm only human. I didn't say anything about it because I knew we couldn't act on it anyway. I know that it would mess with our work dynamic and I can't have that. It's my job as team leader to make sure that doesn't happen."
Tony nodded. Gibbs was entirely right but still he felt a pang of disappointment at his words. He winked at his Boss before he stood up to get them two beers. "It's a shame though, I bet it would've been steamy."
The only answer he gets is a chuckle and then they're back to normal.
Tony shakes his head as he walks the short distance from the coffee shop to the Navy Yard. In theory, the whole not-acting-on-it-thing had worked but there had been numerous moments where one of them walked the thin line between friendship and more. Like when they were sparring; Gibbs held Tony in some grip he couldn't get out of, and he'd ask if the younger man had been working out as he leaned in a little closer. Or Tony observing Gibbs in the basement and telling him that he's glad Gibbs doesn't wear those well-worn jeans to work, because there's no way he could have his six without staring at his ass. If he was really honest, he had to admit that it had become increasingly difficult not to act on their mutual attraction and keep himself from just trying to convince Gibbs by jumping his bones.
A few weeks later he'd gone to a pub close to his home and he'd spent the whole evening giving his undivided attention to a pretty girl sitting at the bar. They'd hit it off and after a few shots, their conversation flowed easily and when he'd dropped her off later that night, she'd asked if he wanted to come in for a cup of coffee – the international code for 'do you want to come in for a cup of me?'. She was beautiful and Tony loved how she let go of all control when he drove in to her one last time before he came. They were sweaty and blissful, but when Tony dropped down next to her on the bed, he couldn't shake the feeling that something was missing. He didn't try to fool himself into guessing what that something was. If he had been forced to choose between having this girl in his bed on a regular basis and just kissing Gibbs once… well, let's just say that Tony didn't spend much time denying what he knew was there. He'd gotten out of the bed, mumbled something about having had a great time and he'd taken a cab to Gibbs' house where he had tried to get the kiss he so desperately wanted but he'd gotten more than he had bargained for. Gibbs was in love with him. Love. Seems like there had been more than one shift in their friendship, more than one he hadn't seen coming but Gibbs apparently had, if you could go by his composed reaction to everything. When they'd gotten into a fight two weeks later, Tony had tried to help him by repeating the words Gibbs had told him weeks before; that it was a bad idea and it wouldn't work out if they tried to be more than friends. But he couldn't deny that he'd felt a surge of jealousy when he'd seen Gibbs with Balboa. Nothing had happened really, the older man had just laid his hand in Balboa's neck as a sign of gratitude. And yet, he hadn't been able to keep the accusation out of his words when he had confronted Gibbs about it in the basement later that evening. They had defied their friendship too many times and now they couldn't go back to how it had been before they had allowed their attraction to surface.
Tony tries to shake it off as he walks through security and into the elevator. It stops one floor before their bullpen and opens to show Balboa waiting there, a few files in his hand and a smile far too bright for a Monday morning.
"Good morning DiNozzo!" he says cheerfully as he joins him in the confined space. Tony nods, "Balboa. You going up to our bullpen? I thought you were working with the cybercrime unit this week?"
The other man smiles in return. "I am, but I just have to drop off a few files for Gibbs first." He holds up the files in his hand to show what he's talking about.
Tony tries not to let anything show but he sticks out his hand surprisingly fast. "You can give 'em to me, I'll just pass them on to Gibbs." His voice doesn't give much space for argumentation but still, Balboa doesn't hand over the paperwork. "It's not a problem, thanks for your help!" At that moment, the elevator doors open and Balboa walks out before Tony can keep him from marching over to his Boss' desk. He tries not to watch them like a hawk but it becomes increasingly difficult when Balboa drops one of the files and bends down to retrieve it, with Gibbs throwing his ass the briefest of glances. Tony looks around the bullpen. It's still early and the three of them are the only Agents already there. He stands up abruptly and walks over to Balboa, holding out his hand. "You can hand those files over to me now, I'm handling the paperwork today", and then, almost as an afterthought, "here's your coffee, Gibbs." He takes over the files and watches Balboa frown, looking from Gibbs to him and then back to Gibbs. Gibbs shrugs, as if it's out of his hands – which it is – and Balboa walks away but not before looking over his shoulder one more time.
"You gonna piss on those files too?" Gibbs asks the question calmly but there's an underlying note of amusement barely hidden. He's mocking him. Tony has to bite his tongue to keep from answering but the answer is playing over and over in his head.
'Whatever it takes to keep him away from you.'
He works hard that morning, barely sparing McGee and Ziva a glance when they come into the bullpen. They haven't been given a case already so that grants him enough time to file Gibbs' work. The team leader is up in MTAC assisting the Director and McGee has been assigned to help Abby with other teams' cases as long as the MCRT doesn't get a case of their own. Ziva is looking over a cold case and it's just the two of them at their desks.
After half an hour she comes over to his desk to bounce some ideas off of him.
"Little busy here, Ziva."
"What is going on, Tony? You have been quiet all morning, what happened?"
He sighs, props his head up with his arm and looks at her intently, as if trying to decide whether or not to trust her. She moves to sit on the corner of his desk, making clear that she's not going before he has spilled his guts. He complies because there's no way he wants to make her angry – choose your enemies wisely, you know?
"Balboa makes me pissed, he's always hanging around Gibbs, trying to please him in every way he can."
Ziva frowns. "Why does that make you pissed?"
"It's my job to make him ha…" Tony swallows. "I have nothing to do here if he keeps taking over my work."
Ziva laughs at that. "Come on, Tony! You hate paperwork! Which is why you surprised me by getting Gibbs to give his work to you for an entire week. You have the instincts of a cop on the street, you love fieldwork. Not too long ago, you would have been jumping up and down if someone wanted to take over your desk duties. And when you are sitting at your desk, you spend more time playing stupid games than you do working. Try again."
"Hey, those games are a lot of fun! But then again, you wouldn't know fun if it slapped you in the face, David."
His colleague sighs. Leave it to Tony to deflect everything that comes too close to his personal zone. "Come on, admit it. You." – Ziva points at him – "are jealous."
"Jealous?" Jesus, why did his voice sound like an eight-year old girl just now?
"Tony. This has been going on for too long, get over yourself already and go get him." She rolls her eyes and moves to get off the desk and walk back to her own when Tony reaches out and grabs her arm before she's out of reach.
"But first he says we can't act on it to keep the team together and now he's mad at me for not wanting to start something. I can't keep up anymore!" He throws his hands up in defeat.
"Yeah, and this is obviously helping the team, you acting like a child whose toy has been taken away by someone else to play with."
"Toy? What… Do you talk to him or something?"
Ziva just frowns and then she moves on. "You have been partners for years. You probably already fight like a married couple too." She rolls her eyes again. "Come on Tony. I do not care if you become partners in every sense of the word. I know for sure that Tim would not mind either. Ducky would probably congratulate you two for finally growing a pair and Abby would just ask if she could watch you two. If we do not care, why do you?" she then jumps off his desk and resumes her work as if nothing happened.
Tony keeps staring at her for a few moments before he realizes that she's right. Maybe starting a relationship would make them grow even closer? If that were the case, the team would in fact only profit from it…
It's already gone dark and it's cold outside, but Tony needs a moment to compose himself before going into the house and facing Gibbs. He takes a deep breath before he pushes the door open and walks inside. He's surprised to find Gibbs in the kitchen; normally at this hour he'd already be covered by an inch of sawdust. The older man spins around and looks surprised to find Tony standing there. He finishes putting on the coffee maker and walks over to him slowly before stopping a few feet away from him.
Tony clears his throat, afraid that nothing will come out if it's as tight as it feels right now.
Gibbs raises an eyebrow and seems ready to argument with Tony so the younger man interrupts his train of thought.
"Please, Jethro. Can you sit down for a moment?"
The older man seems to realize that this must be important so after a slight hesitation, he moves towards the couch and sits down, his shoulders tense and a serious look in his eyes.
Tony follows him and sits down in front of him, on the coffee table, with his legs between Gibbs'. Tony doesn't speak immediately but he doesn't break the established eye contact in between them either. Whatever he was searching for, he seems to have found it because when he speaks, he seems sure of his words.
"I need this to work out."
"What?" the tension doesn't leave Gibbs' body and Tony leans forward, laying his hands on Gibbs' knees.
"You, me, this, whatever?" he makes a vague gesture in between them. "First, I shared your opinion into thinking the problem was the team, that we couldn't start a relationship because it would mess with the hierarchy, the dynamic, or because I wouldn't be able to handle it if our friends would not be okay with it. I now know that that isn't the issue."
Gibbs just gazes at him, his face unreadable. Tony takes that as a sign to continue.
"Then I thought that it must be my fear of commitment that was keeping me from taking that step. It made sense because you seemed just as determined not to start anything serious ever again, either. But I realized that there had to be more because something was really nagging at me, holding me back from giving in when you needed me to be there for you." Tony sighs and moves his hands away from Gibbs' knees to rub them against his eyes in an effort to gain some sense of control over the whirlwind of thoughts going through his head.
"Your friendship is unbelievably important to me. You are the only one who really knows me and hasn't run away because of that. I thought that I was afraid of making a commitment to you, but I realize now that I am already as committed as I can possibly be. I have never trusted someone so deeply as I trust you and no one has ever accepted me without trying to change at least one thing about me."
He reaches for Gibbs' hands and takes them in his. "I care so much about you it's ridiculous and the thought of something going wrong and our friendship being ruined scares the shit out of me so I really need this to work out, do you get that? I need to know that we'll be able to handle the changes at work, that we will stay a team, okay?" He caresses Gibbs' hands with his thumbs and when he sees the tension drain from Gibbs body, he exhales hard in relief.
He gets up from the coffee table and straddles Gibbs' legs, sitting on his lap. He wraps his arms around the other man's neck and kisses his temple softly before moving back and frowning.
"Jeth? Are you ever gonna say something?"
His words seem to awaken something in the older man and Gibbs draws in a deep, shuddering breath before wrapping his arms around Tony's waist and tightening his grip.
"I thought I'd lost you by demanding so much from you." His voice sounds strained, tight. He closes his eyes when Tony caresses through his silver strands and goes back to pressing soft kisses against the side of his face. He feels Tony smile against his cheek.
"Not letting you go. You're my toy, remember?" He looks at the older man and waggles his eyebrows, which earns him a breathy chuckle.
They're gonna be alright. The relief floods through him and he feels like he could solve all the problems in the world right now.
He softly kisses Gibbs' jaw line.
He kisses the right corner of Gibbs' mouth.
Their eyes lock before he presses a soft kiss against his lips.
Gibbs cups his neck and jerks Tony back to him, covering Tony's mouth with his. The kiss is hungry and instantly passionate. He doesn't even have to beg for entrance to make Tony part his lips and when their tongues meet, Gibbs vaguely wonders how he will ever be able to stop kissing the younger man. He softly bites Tony's bottom lip and runs his tongue over it while moving his hands from Tony's waist to his ass. He drags Tony's ass over his lap and the Italian moans loudly against his lips at the feel of Jethro's half hard cock, instinctively repeating the motion.
Tony kisses from Gibbs' lips to his jaw line, along his cheek to his ear, where he softly bites his earlobe and then proceeds to press kisses down to the pulse point located under his ear. He licks it and scrapes his teeth over Gibbs' neck, earning a full body shiver from the older man.
Jethro unbuttons Tony's jeans and unceremoniously shoves his hand inside until his hand makes contact with Tony's naked cock. He groans as he runs his thumb across the head and finds precum already gathered there. Leave it to Tony to go commando when he already has trouble controlling his desire as it is.
"You tease.", he whispers hoarsely.
Tony pushes his hand away only to unzip Gibbs' pants and moves off his lap for a moment to tug the pants down and off. He throws them behind him, without even sparing a second glance as to where they land. Gibbs uses Tony's position to push the younger man's jeans down in one motion. They pull off each other's T-shirts and after Tony makes Jethro's boxers disappear somewhere behind the couch, they take a moment to stare at each other's bodies. Jethro shifts and lies down on the couch, tugging at Tony's hand until the younger man comes to lie beside him, facing each other.
Tony makes a low, throaty sound when Gibbs kisses him and takes his erection in his hand. He does the same for Gibbs', taking a firm grip on his cock. He starts stroking it in an agonizingly slow pace, mirrored by his lover.
"Feels so good…." Jethro breathes against his lips and Tony feels a familiar surge of pride coursing through his veins. He speeds up the tempo. They can go slow later, right now he wants to see Gibbs come. He feels that the other man is getting close because Gibbs' hand is going faster too.
Gibbs lets out these soft moans and Tony is getting high on them, doing everything he can to get more of those sounds out of him. He rubs his thumb over the slit and then makes a circular motion around the head, teasing Gibbs before resuming his strokes over his shaft. Gibbs' breath hitches and puts his head in Tony's neck to keep from screaming out when he feels himself tumble over the edge. He bites Tony's neck as he comes in hot spurts over their stomachs and the edge of pain mixed with pure pleasure makes Tony see stars. He grips Gibbs' waist, afraid he'll fall off the couch, when the other man rubs his balls and strokes his cock one last time before Tony comes too. He's never yelled so hard but he's afraid his head will explode if he tries to be quiet.
He sags against Gibbs and spends a few minutes relearning how to breathe before he starts laughing in Jethro's neck – who backs off a little to see what's so funny.
When he looks at Tony's face, the younger man has a dreamy expression written all over it and a slight blush makes him even more handsome than he was before. When Tony reads the question written in his boyfriend's eyes, he shrugs before going back to nuzzle his neck.
"I'm never going to get tired of playing with you!"
A/N: That's it! Hope you guys liked it!