Title: The Secret House
Summary: A week away from work, in a house with old friends should be just what Gibbs needs to relax and forget...until a friend brings a surprise guest.
Not betaed, mistakes are mine.
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"Why am I doing this again?" He asked staring at her across the kitchen counter.
"Because we do this every year." She grinned. "And every year you bitch and moan but you always have a good time."
"Right." Gibbs smirked.
"Plus if you're going to do this it may be our last chance to get together here." She sighed.
"Yeah." There was a hint of sadness in his voice.
"Come on. You said you needed to get away." Jess paused looking at him with worry in her eyes. "I know you need to get away!"
He nodded. Jess had been married to one of his best friends from the Marines, a friend that had passed years ago at too young of an age. She was a true friend, someone he trusted and knew he could always call on, no matter what. And even though she was beautiful and a red head, they had always been nothing but friends.
Jess was almost six foot, a tall lean woman that could stop men in their tracks. Her auburn hair almost always cascading down her shoulders in beautiful heavy waves. The bright blue eyes shining out from her face always full of tenderness and concern, making people immediately feel comfortable with her. Although, piss her off and those blue eyes could become daggers, that along with her sharp witted tongue had put many men in their place.
"Tobias coming?" Jess asked.
"No. He's undercover." Gibbs chuckled. "And he was really upset he couldn't make it."
She rolled her eyes.
Tobias definitely had a crush on Jess, he followed her around like a lost puppy looking for a home.
"He's sweet." Jess grinned.
"Yeah." Gibbs shook his head. "Not exactly the word I think of when I think of Fornell."
"Gail can't make it but Stephan is coming." She said ignoring his comment.
"Talked to him yesterday." Gibbs nodded. "What about Alexis?"
"She's bringing a friend." Jess smiled.
"A friend?" Gibbs smirked.
"No really just a friend."
"Not from what I hear." She grinned. "She says he's a real pretty boy."
"Wonderful." Gibbs rolled his eyes.
"What? I thought you liked pretty boys." She tried not to smirk as she took a sip of her wine. She received a sharp glare from Gibbs for her snide comment."Right. You're here to forget about the pretty boy."
He put his hands on the counter between them and leaned forward. "Is this how you're going to be all weekend?'
"Sorry." She put her hands over his. "I want you to just relax and forget about all that this week. Promise?"
"Trying." And he was trying, he hoped that getting away, spending some time with friends would make it all go away, at least for awhile.
"The party can begin!" Stephan cheered as he strolled proudly in the door.
"Oh God did you start drinking already?" Jess rolled her eyes.
"No. I was driving." Stephan chuckled. "But I would like a drink now."
"Beer, wine, Bourbon?" Gibbs asked.
"All of the above." Stephan sang happily.
Gibbs shook his head as he grabbed a beer and handed it to his friend. Stephan was a typical Marine, they'd served together several times. He was beyond tall and a solid mass. An imposing figure if you didn't know him, inspiring fear in many that faced him on the battle field. But those that knew him knew him as the goof ball he really was. He loved nothing more than hanging out with friends, having fun, drinking and enjoying life. There wasn't a mean bone in the man's body, he was all heart, giving you the shirt off his back if he felt you needed it.
"I actually beat Alexis here? How did that happen?" Stephan dropped his bag down and took the beer from Gibbs.
"She's bringing a friend." Jess smiled.
"Male friend." Jess clarified.
"He gay?" Stephan raised an eyebrow.
"Is it a Marine thing?" Jess looked at Stephan, really not surprised he had asked the same question as Gibbs. "A man and woman can't just be friends?"
Gibbs and Stephan smiled at each other.
"They can." Stephan grinned. "Once they've slept together."
"What? We are friends and I've never slept with either of you." Jess wanted an explanation to that one.
"Yes but you were married to one of our best friends." Stephan shivered. "That would just be weird."
"So you both want to sleep with Alexis?" She raised an eyebrow.
"I'm married." Stephan held up his hands.
She looked at Gibbs.
"Not my type." Gibbs shook his head then winked at Jess reminding her of the secret they shared.
"You are both pigs." She rolled her eyes.
The door opened again and Alexis walked in.
"Hey everybody." Alexis smiled, as she dropped her bag.
"Alexis." Jess instant made her way to the other woman hugging her.
The man standing behind her smiled.
"Hi." He smiled at Jess.
"Hi." Jess smirked. Oh he was good looking and definitely a pretty boy.
He extended his hand to her. "I've heard a lot about you. I'm-"
"Wait." Jess held up her hand. "Come in and meet the gang. One time introductions make life easier."
The three of them walked towards the kitchen.
"Stephan, Jethro, Jess, this is Tony." Alexis smiled as she introduced the man next to her.
Steel blue eyes locked on familiar green and Gibbs forced himself not to shake his head.
"Hey Tony." Stephan extended his hand then realized Gibbs and Tony were staring at each other. "What am I missing?"
"I'm not sure." Alexis glanced back and forth between the two men still staring at each other. "You two know each other?"
"Yeah." Gibbs body involuntarily tensed.
There was a long moment of silence.
"Either of you care to share?" Jess asked folding her arms across her chest.
"Tony and I work together." Gibbs finally looked away from Tony, picked up his beer and took a long swig.
Jess' eyes widened as her arms fell from her chest and she looked at Gibbs. It couldn't be!
"Wow that's just weird." Alexis shrugged it off.
"Yeah weird." Tony forced a smile.
"Beer Tony?" Stephan asked.
"Sure sounds good."
Stephan grabbed a beer from the fridge and handed it to Tony. "So you actually have to put up with this guy on a daily bases?" Stephan grinned. "God I feel for you. I did it for way to long."
"You worked with Gibbs?" Great just what he needed another past agent of Gibbs that, Gibbs obviously liked better than him.
Stephan raised an eyebrow. "Um no Jethro and I served together."
"Ah Marine." Tony nodded, that was better than a past agent.
"Guilty." Stephan grinned and pointed at Tony. "Wait I get it."
"What?" Tony looked puzzled.
"You're Jethro's Senior Field Agent right?" It finally made sense to Stephan.
Tony glanced at Gibbs as if asking permission to admit it. When Gibbs didn't even acknowledge him he looked back to Stephan. "Yeah although I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing right now."
"Neither am I." Stephan had seen the way Tony looked at Gibbs.
"Okay." Jess wanted to change the subject. "Jethro you should start the grill and I'll bring the burgers out."
Gibbs nodded and walked out to the back patio.
"Alexis why don't you get Tony settled in one of the rooms." Jess took a deep breath and forced a smile. "Maybe show him around."
"Sure." Alexis grabbed Tony by the arm. "Come on Tony."
"And what am I doing?" Stephan asked feeling like he should be doing something.
"Pouring a Bourbon for Jethro." She sighed, then whispered to herself. "He's going to need it."
"You can take this room." Alexis smiled as she opened the door and they walked in.
"Great room." Tony glanced around and dropped his bag down next to the bed.
"You work at NCIS?" Alexis sat down on the edge of the bed and looked at Tony. "Why didn't you ever tell me?"
"Here I always thought you worked for the FBI or CIA as some secret spy or something." Alexis shook her head. "Why be so secretive about NCIS?"
"I don't know." Tony shrugged dropping down next to her.
"I know." Alexis smacked his arm. "Because when we originally met you thought you were going to get some."
Tony chuckled. "Probably."
"Afraid when I became some one night stand I'd come hunt you down at work." She laughed.
"Hey it happens!"
"So you already know Jethro?"
"Do you two not get along?" Alexis sensed something wasn't good between them.
"Why do you ask that?"
"The look you two exchanged in the kitchen." Alexis smirked. "You both looked shocked and less than excited to see each other."
"We get along fine." Tony forced a smile.
"Right." Alexis nodded knowing he was lying.
"Maybe this was a bad idea." Tony ran his hands over his face.
"Oh come on it can't be that bad." Alexis grinned. "Jethro's a good guy never known him to be rude to a house guest."
"You know?" Alexis interest was piqued. "You've been a house guess of Jethro's?"
Tony nodded. "Not one of my shining moments.
"Oh God, what did you do?" Alexis groaned.
"Oh I swore never to talk about that!" Tony had been young and stupid, he knew that now.
"I'm sure everything will be fine and if not I'll protect you." Alexis grinned as she got up and grabbed Tony's hand. "Come on let me show you the house. It's amazing!"
Jess walked out onto the patio and sat the burgers beside the grill. She rubbed her hands over her arms warming herself against the cool breeze. "I don't even know what to say about this."
"Nothing to say." Gibbs shrugged tossing the burgers onto the grill and closing the lid.
"Nothing to say!" Jess shook her head. "Jethro come on, it's me. "
Gibbs walked over to the patio railing and looked out over the water. The water always calmed him, focused him. Putting his hands on the railing he took a deep breath inhaling the scent of the sand and water.
Walking over, Jess mirrored her friends position. "I'm the one person you actually talk to." She paused. "Well now and then."
She glanced over at him then back out towards the view. "I know how you feel about him remember."
There was no response.
"Hard to forget about him when you're stuck here with him for the week."
"A week." Gibbs dropped his head towards his chest. His team had a week off, not because anyone wanted it but because NCIS headquarters were being moved to Quantico. Only a skeleton crew was working while the transition was being made. Of course, all teams were on call if needed but his team would be the last called. They had all racked up so much over time that Vance had made it clear the only way his team would be called in is if the world was ending.
"You going to be okay?" She asked leaning her head on his shoulder.
"Yeah." Gibbs wrapped his arm around her waist, feeling her laugh without hearing it. "What?"
"God he is such a pretty boy!" She laughed.
"Thanks a lot." Gibbs' bumped his hip against hers.
"Oh come on, really Jethro." She pulled her head up and grinned at him. "He's beautiful."
"Okay enough." He snapped slightly, but still with a hint of humor.
"Seriously if I were a few years younger."
"You're my age?" Gibbs' eyebrow went up.
"I, I didn't mean-" She stammered realizing how that had come out. "I just meant for me personally, he's a little young."
Gibbs rolled his eye. "He's not that young."
"Sure." Jess grinned, still not believing this situation was happening. "This is like some weird lifetime movie."
"Oh God." Gibbs groaned. Great if she saw that so would Tony with all his movie references.
"If you need me to run interference between you two just let me know." Tenderly, she touched his cheek and place a kiss on his forehead.
"Hope we aren't interrupting?" Stephan asked walking out onto the patio, followed by Alexis and Tony. All three of them seeing Jess kissing Gibbs' forehead.
"No you're not." Jess smiled, patting Gibbs' shoulder as she stepped away.
"Here." Stephan held out the glass of Bourbon to Gibbs. "Thought you could use this."
"Thanks." Gibbs sighed never so grateful for a drink.
"Really you actually made your wife sleep on the floor?" Tony laughed.
"Hell yeah." Stephan chuckled. "Believe me after ten years of marriage chivalry is dead."
The entire group of people laughed.
"Another drink for everyone?" Jess asked standing up from the patio table.
Yes rang up around her.
"I'll help." Tony smiled, following her back into the house.
Jess grabbed another bottle of wine from the fridge and a beer.
"Jethro speaks very highly of you." She smiled at Tony as she twisted the cork screw into the wine bottle. He was a good looking man, no wonder Gibbs felt the way he did.
"Nice to hear."
"He's just weird about the whole two-"
"Two worlds colliding. Work and private life." Tony chuckled finishing her sentence. "I know."
"Of course you know." She smiled. "Probably better than most."
"You are more than work to him you know that right?" She knew Tony was feeling uncomfortable, in large part due to Jethro barely having said two words to him all day.
"I know." Tony glanced at the counter then back at Jess. "But this is different."
"We are a completely separate entity for Jethro." She sighed. "We've all been friends a long time."
"How long?" Tony asked.
"To long." She chuckled pulling out the cork. "But it's hard to let someone into this little world of ours, more so for Jethro than any of us."
"You and Stephan are great."
"Thanks." Jess nodded. "We try."
Tony smiled, Jess had helped put him at ease somewhat.
"Can you grab the Bourbon from the bar."
Tony looked in the direction she nodded. "Got it."
"We'll get some more booze in him and maybe he'll loosen up." Jess smirked.
"That I wanna see." Tony grinned.
As they came back out to the patio everyone was laughing.
"What did we miss?" Jess smiled.
"Don't ask." Alexis rolled her eyes.
"Oh now come on." Stephan grinned turning his attention towards Tony. "Tony. Would Alexis ever sleep with you?"
"God no." Tony groaned. They had been friends to long for her to put up with his game playing.
"See." Stephan pointed at Alexis. "Every guy has one female friend that knows them too well to sleep with them. You are Tony's."
"It's true I saw you that night after the twins and you realized that-"
"Okay moving on." Tony's eyes widened and he glared at Alexis.
The group of people again started laughing, but Tony noticed, Gibbs didn't laugh instead taking a sip of his Bourbon.
Taking the seat Tony had originally been in, Jess sat down, forcing Tony to sit next to Gibbs at the head of the table. As he took the seat he looked down the table at Jess.
"Jess this house is amazing." Tony could understand how someone could fall in love with the place. It was beautiful.
"Um thanks, I guess."
"This isn't Jess' house." Alexis said looking at Tony puzzled.
Tony's head jerk around at the sound of Gibbs' voice. "Yours?"
Gibbs nodded still looking down the table at Jess.
"Oh." Tony paused. "Didn't realize."
"I did find it for him though." Jess smiled trying to pull everyone into a conversation.
"That's your job." Gibbs shook his head.
Tony looked at her again. Gibbs has a house on the beach, that Jess found for him. This was weird.
"I'm a realtor." She explained to Tony.
"God." Stephan groaned. "Please don't tell this story again."
"Fine." Jess stuck out her tongue. "I won't."
"What story?" Tony asked.
"I'll tell you later Tony." Jess grinned.
"Toast." Stephan said holding up his glass, the others following suit. "To good friends, a week of sun and fun and lots of booze!"
"Here, here." Rang up as the glasses clinked together.
Gibbs downed his Bourbon and poured another.
"Hamburger was almost as good as the cowboy steak." Tony smiled at Gibbs trying to make the older man talk to him.
"Thanks." Gibbs nodded.
"Cowboy style steak." Stephan sighed. "Haven't had one of those in awhile."
"I bought some steaks." Jess chimed. "For just that."
"We ate a lot of those during our tours." Stephan grinned at Gibbs.
"Yeah." Gibbs answered.
Stephan looked at his watch. "I hate to break up the party but I had a very long Friday and I need to get some sleep."
"I could use some sleep too." Alexis sighed. "That way tomorrow I'm refreshed and ready to go."
"Night." Gibbs nodded to them as they rose to leave.
"I think I am going to head in too." Jess tried not to smile as she glanced at Gibbs then Tony. Maybe if they were alone the two might actually talk.
"Me too." Tony stood up.
"You should stay and talk." Jess touched Tony's shoulder. "You have to know Jethro never sleeps, especially when he's here."
"We had a long day too Jess." Gibbs said narrowing his eyes at her telling her he knew exactly what she was trying to do.
"We did." Tony stood up glancing at Gibbs. "Night."
"Night." Gibbs replied without looking up.
Walking out towards the water, Gibbs found a spot just out of reach of the waves crashing against the shore and dropped down. He poured himself another drink then pushed the bottle into the sand. Looking out over the water he shook his head. This was supposed to be a week for him to not think about Tony or the feelings he had for the younger man. That wasn't an option now, hard to forget about something when it's right in your face.
He'd had feelings for Tony for years, but the last few months had just taken a toll on him. For some reason Tony had decided to start showing up in the basement more frequently. Use to be Gibbs would see him once, twice a week maybe. Now Tony would be there three or four times a week. All the visits and conversations had pushed Gibbs feelings closer to the surface, making it harder and hard for him to sleep.
Jess had become his sounding board, knew all about it. She had arrived one night after one of Tony's visits. She could tell something was going on and had finally pulled it from him. He still didn't understand why he told her. Maybe he just finally needed to admit it to someone, have someone tell him it was all going to be okay. She had been understanding, accepting, and brutally honest in her belief that he needed to talk to Tony about it. But talking to Tony about it was not an option...for so many reasons.
He raised his glass and downed it in one swig, then refilled it. It was getting cooler, the darkness of night dropping the temperature quickly. Closing his eyes, Gibbs took a deep breath, expecting to smell the sand, the salty air, but instead immediately inhaled the familiar scent of the man he had just been thinking about. It was a scent he had memorized years ago.
"Am I bothering you?"
Gibbs let out the breath he'd just taken, exhaling Tony's fragrance and wanting to take another breath and draw it back into him. "No."
"I didn't know." Tony sighed as he looked out over the water illuminated only by the moon light and stars, a blanket wrapped around his shoulders.
"No." Tony cut him off. "She always said Jess and the guys."
"I got the impression you were close you never told her where you work?" Gibbs asked finishing the glass, refilling it and offering it up to Tony.
"We are close, but I just-." Tony took the glass, drank it down and gave it back. "I kinda keep that to myself."
"Yeah." Gibbs chuckled. Tony had issues in the past with ex's.
"If I had known I wouldn't have accepted the invitation." Tony finally looked at Gibbs. "I know you keep work and personal life separate. I would never have intruded"
"It doesn't seem fine." Tony dropped down into the sand next to his boss. "You don't wanna look at me and you barely spoke to me tonight."
Swallowing the lump in his throat, Gibbs forced himself to look over at Tony. Jess was right he was beautiful and bathed in the moonlight only made him more so.
"Hi there." Tony grinned meeting Gibbs' gaze.
Gibbs smirked and shook his head. "I was just surprised when you walked in."
"So was I."
"But it's fine, really." Gibbs looked back out over the water, continuing to look at Tony in the moonlight was just too much.
"Okay." Tony nodded, wanting to believe Gibbs was telling him the truth.
"Believe me it really is okay." Gibbs repeated sensing Tony's concern.
"I hate that you can read me so easily." Tony sighed. "And that I still have to work so hard to get even a glimpse inside you."
"You're a hell of a lot better at reading me than most." Gibbs snickered, swallowing the Bourbon and refilling it.
"Jess is great." Tony said wrapping the blanket tighter around his shoulders.
"She is." Gibbs nodded. "A little old for you isn't she?"
"No I didn't mea-" Tony's eyes went wide surprised Gibbs would even think that. "I would never go after someone you are seeing."
Gibbs laughed. "I'm not seeing Jess."
"You're not?" That was a shocker. She was exactly Gibbs' type.
"No." Gibbs shook his head. "She's a friend. That's all. Same with Alexis."
"Oh I thought...you and Jess seem really close." Tony paused. "And out on the patio."
"We are close but-." Gibbs sighed. "But it's not romantic in any way shape or form."
"Okay." Tony grabbed the glass from Gibbs and took a sip. "Good."
Gibbs turned, eyebrow raised. "Good."
"Good to know." Tony added, quickly changing the subject. "And the house?"
"What about it?"
"Why keep it a secret?"
"Not really secret." Gibbs shrugged. "I just don't talk about it."
"Right." Tony gave the glass back to Gibbs still looking out over the water. "I'd never say anything to anyone."
"Aren't you cold?" Tony shivered pulling the blanket tighter against his body trying to stave off the cool breeze.
"No." Gibbs sighed. "I love when the weather is like this. I could sit out here all night."
"This is why you bought the house." Tony knew without an answer. "The water, the view."
"Yeah." Gibbs took a deep breath inhaling Tony's scent mixed with the other fragrances around him. The view, the water. It was only a small reason he'd purchased the house, but he couldn't explain the other reasons, not now and not to Tony.
"Yeah." Gibbs glanced at Tony, then back at the water. "Beautiful."
"I just wanted to make sure we were good." Tony needed to know this was okay , that they were okay. He couldn't take a week of Gibbs ignoring him. "Because if you don't want me here I can-"
"Tony." Gibbs forced himself to look over at the man. "It's fine, I promise."
Tony nodded. "Thanks."
"No thanks necessary."
"I'll leave you to your view." Tony smiled as he stood up wiping the sand from himself. "Do you want me to leave the blanket just in case?"
Gibbs shook his head.
"See you in the morning."
"Sleep well." Gibbs said still staring out at the water.
As Tony walked away, Gibbs ran his hand over his face. A week, they were here a week!