Set just after Left For Dead.
Gibbs secret is finally discovered.
An established relationship story.
Written: August 2005. Word count: 937.
Tony DiNozzo clattered down the basement stairs. "Gibbs, are you down there. I wondered if you felt like. Oh -" He came to an abrupt halt as the couple who had been embracing and kissing, broke off from their activities.
The person in Gibbs's arms made as if to move away, but Gibbs firmly prevented the retreat, and instead pulled his lover nearer to him. "DiNozzo," he said, staring up, the dark blue eyes unreadable. "I thought you were going out on a date."
Tony shifted his feet and stared down at the couple. Suddenly he was reminded of when, at the age of thirteen, he'd come home early from baseball practice, burst into the sitting room and found his parents locked in a passionate embrace on the sofa. The main difference between now and then was that his parents had been almost naked; Gibbs and his lover were at least fully clothed. Other than that, the feeling was just the same, and Gibbs's cold stare almost an exact match for his father's.
"I was," he managed, as the stare grew more frozen. "But she had to cancel. Her grandmother was taken suddenly ill, or something. I . . . I'm sorry, Gibbs. I didn't realize . . . That is I didn't expect . . . I mean I didn't . . . "
Gibbs let him flounder before saying softly, "It is my house, DiNozzo."
"Yes, boss. I know that. And it's very good of you to . . . I tell you what. I'm just going to go upstairs and go to bed. That is unless you want to -" Again he came to an abrupt halt. "Night, then," he managed, in a forced cheerful voice.
Gibbs said nothing; he just stared. The one that cut right into you, tore through every defense you'd ever had, saw everything you didn't want to reveal, read your innermost secrets, and then dismissed them all as being not worth his effort.
Tony turned away from the icy gaze and glanced at the other person, who as yet hadn't spoken. "Night then," he said again in his fake cheerful voice, and smiled before turning on his heels. He began to race back up the stairs.
"DiNozzo," Gibbs's quiet voice, louder than any gunfire Tony had ever heard, stopped him.
"Boss?" he said, without turning around.
"If I get to the office tomorrow and find . . ." Gibbs left the words, and the clear threat, hanging in the air.
They sprang towards Tony. He turned slowly to face the man he respected above all others. "You won't, Gibbs," he said, with more open honesty than he had ever used before.
For several long moments, Gibbs just held Tony's stare. Then he nodded almost imperceptibly and looked away, turning both himself and the person he still held in a one-armed embrace away from the stairs.
Tony stood still for another second, before turning and once more going up the stairs.
Gibbs and Ducky?
Ducky and Gibbs?
Well it certainly explained everything. Now he knew what it was that Gibbs reminded him of when either Kate or Tony himself, or anyone other than Gibbs, became irritated with Ducky, or about Ducky, or made jokes at the ME's expense.
It reminded him of the time when his favorite cousin had been complaining about her husband. Tony, wishing to support his cousin, had added his own comments about the less-than-good side of her husband. The next ten minutes had been taken up with her shouting at Tony, pointing out his own faults, before finally slapping him around the face, and storming off. She could criticize her husband, but woe betide anyone else who tried it.
It was just the same with Gibbs. It was fine for Gibbs to become irritated, or to send Ducky off to ‘see if there were any more bodies' in the woods, but woe betide the person who dared to match the irritation, or pass comment on what Gibbs had done. Not that Gibbs shouted or hit Tony. At least Tony couldn't recall a specific occasion when a jokey comment about Ducky's ramblings had earned him a slap around the head, but as Gibbs did it so often, it was hard to keep track. No, instead he just glared at whoever had been joking or criticizing. His quiet, cold, penetrating glare; the one that made even some of the hardest criminals quake. It all made perfect sense.
It was the lioness and her cub syndrome.
When he'd persuaded Gibbs to let him come and stay while the heating in his apartment was sorted out, Tony had told his boss that he'd ‘grown up' since the last time - all of six months ago, as Gibbs had reminded him - he'd stayed there. He'd now prove to his boss that he had been right. No one would ever discover, at least not from Anthony DiNozzo's lips or actions, about Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs and Dr. Donald ‘Ducky' Mallard's more than just good friend's connection.
Tony reached the kitchen and had an idea. He tugged his notebook and pen - LJG's Rule 5: ‘No NCIS Agent is to go anywhere without his or her notebook and pen,' - and scrawled a quick note to Gibbs. It told Gibbs the name of the motel where Tony would spend the night - LJG's Rule No. 6: ‘All NCIS Agents should be contactable in more than one way at any time, day or night.'
He closed the door behind him, making sure to drop the latch, and strode out into the night.
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