Tony closed the door to the Director's suite softly, the click barely sounding even in the quiet of the late night. He thought of Vance's words, rolling them inside his mind, trying to answer any other way than how he had just a few minutes ago.

"Are you sure?"

Tony started down the stairs, a smile on his lips. He was sure. 100%, no doubts at all. He looped down the orange steps, his mind flashing back to another set of stairs, another walk down just about a year ago…

"Are you sure?"

"I'm sure," Gibbs growled, frustration starting to be evident in his voice. "Either lead the way or get out of the way."



Tony held his ground. "What did Bruce say?"

"That with your help it would be okay," Gibbs explained. "Now, are you gonna help?" He rolled his eyes at Tony's skeptical expression. Hooking his cane onto his arm, he reached into his pocket with his free one to pull out his phone, tossing it at the younger man. "Call and verify, Skippy," Gibbs suggested.

Tony tucked the phone back into Gibbs' pocket. "I believe you." With that, he turned, stepped down onto the tread below Gibbs and walked slowly down the basement stairs. He was keenly aware of Gibbs behind him, one hand on the railing, one working his cane expertly as he slowly proceeded down the wooden steps. Today marked the first time Gibbs had attempted to get to the basement. Tony knew his husband had missed the space, had missed the tranquility of the work. This would be good for both of them.

After a week in the hospital and four weeks in rehab, Gibbs was finally home. During that time Gibbs had quietly retired and Tony had been quietly promoted. Tony had spent every free moment with Gibbs, needing to be close, to make sure the older man was still here, still alive. Gibbs had been patient—up to a point. He refused to have Tony near when he was in therapy, and encouraged others from the team to take Tony out while Ducky visited Gibbs. This gave Tony a respite while still knowing someone who loved Gibbs was there, even if it wasn't him. This morning Bruce, the physical therapist, had given Gibbs his instructions for home and this part seemed to be the most important to Gibbs—that he was allowed in the basement as long as Tony was there to help him down and then back up the stairs. They'd moved the bedroom downstairs for easier access, but the basement, well, it can't exactly be moved. Having Tony assist him was an indignity Gibbs was willing to endure if it meant getting to the basement.

It took a few minutes, but soon Gibbs was walking across the basement floor, wielding his cane like an expert and sitting at his large project table. Tony leaned against the wall and watched, content that Gibbs was back where he belonged.

After slipping his glasses on, Gibbs reached out with his right hand and snagged and unfinished toy, inspecting it for what needed to be done. He lifted his left hand, working the toy between the still unresponsive fingers and curling them around it before lifting a paint brush and a pot of color. "You can go now," he said softly.

Tony smiled, coming up to Gibbs and kissing his cheek. "You'll call me when you're ready to go upstairs?"


Tony headed to the stairs, pausing at the top. "Jethro? Are you sure?"

"Bye, Tony."

Tony laughed.

Tony nodded to the lone cleaning man. They were used to each other, having spent many nights in the darkened office together before Gibbs' stroke. By habit he pulled the trash can out from under his desk for easier access before sitting down. He half twirled in his chair, looking around the darkened bullpen, seeing at once all the faces past and present.

His view hadn't changed since his promotion, staying in his own desk even after it was clear that this time Gibbs' retirement would be permanent, remembering McGee's and Ziva's surprise.

"Tony! Are you sure about this?"

Tony fought to not roll his eyes. "I told you, I like being here," he said, indicating the desk he'd occupied for the past fifteen years. "I like seeing who's coming this way," he continued, making movements between him and the elevator."

"But what about…" McGee's voice trailed off, eyebrows indicating the Director's suite above them.

Tony shrugged. "I'll know."

"Know what, DiNozzo?"

"When you're behind me, Director," he said easily as Vance walked in from the Autopsy elevator. McGee looked shocked.

Vance entered the bullpen, eying the desks suspiciously. "You're not moving, DiNozzo?"

"No," he said simply. How could Tony explain it without really explaining? That even though he'd taken Gibbs' desk during his Mexican hiatus, he'd known, deep down, Gibbs would be back. But this time he wouldn't and though he loved Gibbs, he didn't want to be his clone. They were already linked so closely together, but Tony knew if he didn't start out right he'd never be respected as Anthony DiNozzo, Senior Agent in Charge, but as Tony, the new (and somewhat lacking) Gibbs.

"Very well," Vance said, hooking a finger for Tony to follow. "Sec Nav has concerns about the Osborne case. Are you sure…"

There was little of Kate left in the office, but Tony spied a small pencil drawing of Abby posted on the wall behind the desk. Ziva had found it in one of the drawers and tacked it behind her. No one had ever told her who'd drawn it, and if Ziva knew or suspected, she never said, either.

Ziva's influence on the office, though, could be felt. From the Israeli flag in her pen holder to her usually questionable choice of food to her surprising green thumb, the former Mossad agent had successfully transformed from a spy to an agent. Tony smiled again, thinking that he might, no, he was, a big part of her success.

He twirled a bit more to view McGee's desk. His Probie. Nothing more to be done with him, Tony thought. McGee was all grown up and would soon be on his own. How far that green kid who Tony kept from barfing in front of Gibbs all those years ago had come.

The fourth desk was merely glanced at. He'd given Ziva and McGee quite a bit of leeway in choosing the fourth for their team, and they'd picked well. Over the year, Special Agent Dwight Wilson had matured into a vital and important part of the MCRT. He was sure the team would be in good hands.

Booting up his computer, Tony pulled up the correct form and started typing. All the information was entered by rote—name, age, birth date, years of service. He only paused when he reached "marital status." For so long on forms like this, it had been "single," even after starting a relationship with Gibbs. Until they married. Now they were legal, and could be together forever. To have, to hold, to love, honor and cherish. Tony remembered his vows. "With my body, I thee worship."

Oh yeah, he thought, shivering at remember passion. Worship Gibbs' body he does, even if the other man had doubts.


Tony shook his head, which, considering where it was, drew another groan from Gibbs.


Tony released Gibbs cock with pop, lips red and shiny. "What!" he asked, exasperated. Today, finally, the doctor had declared Gibbs recovered enough for sex. It had weeks…no, months since he'd tasted Gibbs and was slowly going crazy for want of the flavor. Eyes focused on Gibbs' hard cock, he licked his lips before bending again only to be stopped by Gibbs' hand on his shoulder.

"Tony, wait," he said, a pleading note in his voice finally getting through Tony's lust addled mind.


"Are you…I mean, are you sure?"

Tony blinked. "Sure about what?" He watched as a shadow passed through the bright blue eyes.

"Sure about wanting me."

It was all Tony could do to not laugh. Not want Gibbs? After two months of rehab and waiting? He was raging hard with both need and want. Then Tony realized Gibbs was unsure that Tony might not want him, with the slight paralysis of his mouth, of the more than slight paralysis of his left hand. Gibbs—Tony's rock, his idol, his love—was scared.

Tony smiled softly, moving up to straddle Gibbs' thighs and leaning down to kiss the softly slack mouth. "God, yes," he whispered, tongue seeking entrance and dueling lightly. His hand grasped Gibbs' left hand and pulled it toward his cock. He uncurled the fingers, then laced them around his cock, holding them close. With his own hand, he moved Gibbs fingers up and down, mirroring the motion with his own hand on Gibbs erection. A slow rhythm developed, both men moving slightly in sync, hands slick with sweat and pre-come. Gibbs' right hand rose to anchor in the headboard, hips jerking with each pull of Tony's fingers.

Tony smiled slyly, watching Gibbs' eyes roll up with pleasure. Both hands gripped a bit harder, squeezing both Gibbs' cock and his own through the awkward fingers of Gibbs' left hand. A few more strokes, a bit more twisting and both men were coming, shouting their releases in tandem.

Tony collapsed on the bed, turning just in time to miss collapsing on Gibbs and laying out on the bed. When his breathing was under control, he leaned up on an elbow and glared at his husband. "That answer your question?"

Gibbs pulled Tony close for a kiss. "I never want you to think you have to stay with me."

Tony recoiled at Gibbs' words, at their meaning. "Have to stay?" he practically yelled. "Of course I have to stay."

This time Gibbs reacted. "No, you don't," he said coldly. "I don't want pity, Tony, even…especially from you."

"Have you always been this dense?" Tony said, finally laughing at the absurdity of this conversation. "I have to stay because I love you, you idiot. I have to stay because without you I'm nothing." He once again straddled Gibb's thighs, leaning down on his elbows to engulf Gibbs totally. "I have to stay because I cannot live without you." Dropping little biting kisses along Gibbs still damp chest, Tony continued. "I fell for you, Jethro. You. Regardless of what you were then and regardless of what, or how you are now."


"Jethro!" Tony leaned down, arms crossed across Gibbs' chest, growing serious. "I've seen the vows taken lightly and discarded, and I knew when I said them, it would be forever." He shook his head. "I'm not saying that to hurt you about the exes, or even blaming my dad for all my stepmothers, but to me, the whole 'death do us part thing?' I mean it."

Gibbs lifted his left hand, curled fingers brushing along Tony's cheek. It was a calculated gesture, Tony knew. Showing him that Gibbs wasn't whole, wasn't perfect. "I'm sure," Tony said, uncurling the fist and placing a soft kiss in the palm.

Tony looked up, nodding to Vance as he left his office and entered MTAC. There was a terror threat against the Sixth Fleet in the Med, and Tony knew the Director would end up being here all night.

He would not miss that.

"I'm sure, Director. It's time," Tony said, wincing a bit as he sat down. The damn bullet graze on his thigh was small but particularly painful.

"I'm sorry to hear that, DiNozzo," Vance said.

Tony could see that the other man really was sorry. They might have started off with a few bumps, but through the year that Tony had been Senior Agent in Charge they'd formed an understanding. Tony wasn't Gibbs—and he'd always had a healthy respect for authority. That's not to say they didn't have the occasional tussle, but for the most part, they'd worked well together.

But it was time. Yesterday he'd been shot again, and frankly this was it. He was tired of the strain, the perps, the long hours and days on a case. And he missed spending time with Gibbs. While Tony no longer worried for the other man's safety when he wasn't at home—they'd moved from Gibbs' old house to one with bedrooms, kitchen and a woodworking room on the same floor—he still missed his husband.


So today he'd talked to McGee and cleared the younger man's promotion to lead the MCRT. Then he talked to Vance.

And he was sure.

Tony completed the form, reviewed it for errors (damn it, you don't spell occurrence with an s!), then hit print. He pulled the paper from the printer and signed it, slipping it into the inter-office memo envelope, tugged the little string in place and scribbled Vance's name across the front before sailing it across to his outbox. With a sigh, he was crossing one more thing off his to-do list when the elevator bell rang…