A/N. This is a post ep for Newborn King with a little bit of Devil's Triangle.
Gibbs stepped lightly, but Tony felt his presence all the same. Turning his head just enough to show Gibbs he was aware, Tony's eyes didn't stray from the darkness of the back garden. Gibbs stood next to Tony and shared the view in silence. Leyla was tucking her daughter in; the youngest in the house having filled up on Christmas pie and worn herself out playing with an enthusiastic Tony. Now that enthusiasm seemed completely gone, as Gibbs tried to judge his agent's mood.
"I need a Breena," Tony eventually mumbled. Gibbs didn't speak; waiting for Tony to finish his thought. "Someone who understands the job. Someone who knows why we do what we do, and loves me more for it." Gibbs made a non-committal sound that may have been a ghost of a laugh. This seemed to upset Tony, if the sudden set to his jaw was anything to go by. Carefully –too carefully- he placed his beer bottle on the wooden porch railing, carved by Gibbs' own hand, and turned to face the older man.
"Y'know what? I don't need a Breena. What I really need is for you to finally pull your head out of your ass and realise that it's you." The outburst was unexpected, and Gibbs couldn't seem to form a response. Tony took the silence as license to continue. "It's always been you, and I can't tell if you're just dense, if you're avoiding the subject or if you really don't want me that way." Stepping closer to Gibbs, Tony's voice became quiet; the effort it was taking not to shout was evident. "If you ever figure it out, let me know." With Gibbs still staring at him, Tony left.
Tony wasn't surprised at the hammering on his door a few hours later; he was only surprised that it came so soon.
"It's open," Tony called from the sofa, knowing who it would be. Gibbs entered slowly, as if he wasn't sure he should be there. "Come to fire me?" Tony asked, the sarcasm in his tone masking genuine fear. Gibbs closed the door carefully before turning and just looking at Tony. After a few moments Tony met Gibbs' eyes.
"Me?" Was the only thing Gibbs said, and it was spoken with such disbelief that Tony actually laughed aloud.
"Yeah, Gibbs. You."
"Baltimore. I wasn't blaming you for Wendy, but it was because of you that we didn't work out. Because of my feelings for you." Tony didn't break eye contact as he spoke. He wanted Gibbs to understand how serious he was.
"Why now?" Gibbs' voice was steady, but Tony could read his body language easily and it was screaming a need to do something.
"I finally feel like we're both ready," Tony explained. He moved over on the sofa and motioned for Gibbs to sit. At a loss for anything else to do; Gibbs sat. "When it started you were in the middle of a divorce and I was in a rocky relationship. Then the plague, and Kate. You went to Mexico and that put you back a decade or so emotionally. Then there was Jenny; I was afraid you wouldn't want me after what happened to her." Gibbs was about to speak but Tony raised a hand, needing to finish. "After I got back from my Agent Afloat position I thought about it, but it was so hard to just get the words out. Then we had Mexico, round two, and that stirred up a whole mess. By the time I thought we were over that enough to try something, Mike Franks dies and there was no way I could say anything to make that go away." Tony stopped speaking; not sure what else there was to say. Gibbs hadn't spoken a word about what he was thinking, and for once Tony couldn't anticipate.
"Why now?" Gibbs repeated. Tony took a deep, shaky breath. Gibbs knew him too well; he'd skillfully said everything but what really needed to be said.
"Just following your orders, boss." Gibbs smiled at this.
"I told you not to be like me."
"And if I were you, I would dance around the subject. I'd convince myself I was doing it for your own good, or our own good. I'd quote Rule #12 and let us go the rest of our lives without even trying," Tony laughed again and shook his head. "Pretty much like I've been doing for the last decade. Because I'm scared. Because you might not want this… want me. Jesus, Gibbs, will you say something?"
"'How are you going to get what you need, if you don't let me go?'" The words were whispered like he'd been over them a thousand times in his head. Tony looked at Gibbs, confused, and it was Gibbs' turn to laugh. "I'm not stupid, Tony. I know there's something between us. It's been there since you tackled me in Baltimore. You're right that I was scared, but it's not the reasons you think." Gibbs shifted closer to Tony, hand flexing as he tried not to reach out. "I can't lose you too," Gibbs' voice was hoarse and almost desperate. "It took me so long to let go of Shannon that, if we tried something and I lost you because of it, I don't think I'd survive." Tony couldn't stop himself grabbing Gibbs' hand, and the older man wrapped his fingers around Tony's hand in return. "Diane told me she didn't think I'd ever love another woman. She was right. This past decade… It's been you, Tony."
"I…" Tony closed his eyes, the intensity of Gibbs' look causing tears to spring up behind his eyes. After a few deep breaths, Tony opened them again. "What now?" Gibbs' grinned and leaned forward.
"Now comes the part we're both good at." Tony smiled back as Gibbs leaned in and kissed him.
"Merry Christmas," Tony said on a sigh as they parted. Gibbs laughed softly, his hand drifting to Tony's hair. "What about the rest?" Tony asked eventually. "The relationship stuff."
"We work pretty well together already," Gibbs replied. "I don't see why that can't work at home too."
"You know I'm not just gonna take your lead, right?" Gibbs laughed.
"Like you do that now?" The responding laugh from Tony was followed by another deep kiss. They were in sync, like they always had been. The rest, Tony decided, should be easy.