Here's my tag to 9.04, Safe Harbor. It's got some spoilers for that episode. I shouldn't have taken the time to write this… got sick over a week ago with a nasty virus, still getting over it, have literally mountains of papers to grade. This idea popped into my head this morning, though, and wouldn't let go of my brain, so here it is. No plans for sequel at the moment… use your imagination! And I promise I haven't forgotten Second Law… it's just been a bad couple of weeks time-wise.

The Right Context

NCIS

Tony DiNozzo looked up as the elevator doors opened and Agent Borin stepped in.

"DiNozzo." She nodded to him, then glanced at the lit button on the wall.

Tony shot her a rakish grin. "Agent Borin."

Borin rolled her eyes and smiled slightly. Shaking her head, she glanced at him, her expression changing to something more thoughtful.

"Something on your mind?" Tony asked.

Her eyes narrowed, and she reached out to flip the emergency switch, stopping the elevator and plunging the box into semi-darkness.

Tony made a show of looking around. "Are you absolutely sure you and Gibbs shouldn't be dating?"

Borin raised an eyebrow. "You think you want us to be?"

"Huh?"

"Come on, DiNozzo… you think Gibbs grilling steaks in the fireplace and watching black and white television is charming? And head slaps can be romantic in the right context?"

"You heard that?"

"I've got good ears."

"Damn. Maybe you and Gibbs are twins separated at birth."

Borin snorted indelicately. "Don't know if you've noticed, but I'm younger than he is. Thanks for that." She moved her hands to her hips. "So, how long has it been?"

Tony's brow furrowed. "Since…?"

"Since you've been in love with Gibbs?"

"WHAT?" Tony stared at her, his mouth hanging open.

"Please. I'm not blind, DiNozzo."

Tony continued to stare, his eyes wide as he tried to process what she said. "I'm not – he's, what – you… really? I mean... what?"

Borin looked at him curiously. "Maybe you are."

"Say what?"

"Blind."

Tony simply gaped at her, unable to come up with something to say.

Smiling, Borin reached out to turn the elevator back on. It shuddered into motion, and moments later the door opened to the parking garage. She walked out, leaving Tony still standing there, staring in her direction.

"Good night, Dinozzo. Sweet dreams!"

Gibbs' Living Room

Gibbs looked up from his book when he heard the door open. Never gonna finish at this rate. He'd started to move from his reclining position on the couch when he saw Tony walk past the living room, moving purposefully toward the basement. Gibbs sat there, smirking a bit as he listened to the footsteps descend into the basement. There was a short silence, then the footsteps on the stairs again, growing louder this time. Seconds later Tony came into view, marching into the living room and stopping just a few feet from the couch.

Tony stared at Gibbs; Gibbs looked back up at him. Tony tilted his head slightly, then spoke. "I need you to head slap me, boss."

Gibbs' eyebrows shot up. "Why?"

"Umm… it's an experiment."

"What exactly are you testing?"

Tony shifted impatiently. "Just do it. Uh, please."

Gibbs shrugged, put down the book, stood up, and moved to within a couple of feet of Tony, delivering a medium strength head slap.

Tony closed his eyes for a few seconds, then opened them and stared at Gibbs. He then surprised Gibbs by moving suddenly, turning and slamming the palm of his hand against the wall. "Damn it!"

Gibbs took a step forward, reaching out to the younger man, only to let his hand fall to his side. "Tony, what's going on?"

Tony was muttering to himself; Gibbs caught the words 'she was right.' Taking a deep breath, Tony looked over at Gibbs. "Nothing boss, or at least nothing I can't handle by going back home and getting drunk. Uh… thanks for the slap." Tony gave him a weak smile, then practically bolted from the house, slamming the door shut behind him.

Gibbs leaned over to look around the corner where Tony had disappeared, then turned to the coffee table and picked up his cell phone. He flipped it open, squinted for a bit, then hit a few buttons, putting the phone to his ear.

"Hey, Borin… yeah, he just left. Thanks for the heads up – I owe you one."

Gibbs laughed at her reply and hung up. He took a deep breath, then strode to the door, grabbing his jacket off the coat rack and snatching up his car keys from the side table.

Forget what he'd said to Ziva… he was about to be done with being lonely.

End