Author's notes:  First of all, my sincere apologies and heartfelt grovelling at [info]ingenius_inc 's feet for the delay.   This should have been done sooner.  I wanted to get it done sooner, and long story short, it just didn't happen.  I hope that you can forgive me and that you enjoy the story.  It was inspired by  the dialogue between Gibbs and Tony in  "Left for Dead" when Gibbs tells Tony he can't stay with him because of "what happened the last time."  This is my version of what happened the last time.

 

Tongue and Groove

 

by Kira

 

EMAIL: Kira

 

Prologue

 

With a quiet click, the window latch gave beneath his nimble fingers.   He pushed it up and awkwardly clambered through, the pane knocking against his back.  He swore under his breath as his foot grazed a lamp, sending it tilting towards the floor.  A quick catch and he had it standing still against his palm.  It was supposed to be a quick job: get in, take care of the target and get out again.  He turned on his penlight and began to move about the apartment following the small yellow glow.  The layout was straightforward.  The left side of the living room opened up into a small kitchen.  A hallway on the right led down to a bathroom at the end of the hall, a bedroom on the right, and what looked like a small den on the left.  It wouldn’t be hard to find his target.

 

He approached the bedroom cautiously; he could hear faint snores behind the closed door.  Ears pricked, his gaze was so focussed on the ground in front of him that he startled when something was suddenly between his legs.  He stumbled, dropping the flashlight.  The small beam went out, leaving him in the dark.  He bent down and, after some fumbling across the carpet, found the flashlight.  He shook it and heard a faint rattle in the bulb.  Shit.   The fall must have been enough to break the filament.  He held himself still and waited for his eyesight to adapt.

 

Slowly the inky blackness resolved itself into grey shadows.  He looked down but couldn’t locate what had made him stumble.  Holding a hand out in front of him, he continued his approach to the den.  Once inside, he peered about, trying to sort out the grey shapes along the walls.  A desk, another television, bigger than the one in the livingroom, bookshelves, and a wooden case with what appeared to be glass doors; perhaps a display case.

 

He was about to move towards the desk when a deafening noise attacked him from the wall. An alarm!  He bolted back down the hallway to the living room, bumping against the walls like a pinball.  He wrenched open the window and scrambled outside.  He could hear the muffled thump as the lamp hit the floor this time.  Damn it!  He hit the street at a flat out run and cursed his luck.  He’d have to try again later.  He’d get him. He had to.  It was what the boss paid him to do.  And what the boss wanted done, got done.

  

Act One

 

Special Agent Jethro Gibbs frowned into his coffee cup.  Whoever had made this batch had allowed the grounds to get into the pot.  He spat his mouthful into a nearby garbage bin and tossed the rest of the Styrofoam cup in after it.  It was bad enough he spent the better part of the night fairing the side of his boat because three of the planks had warped in the unusual humidity.  Most would have simply ripped the planks off, but Gibbs usually found the motion of the plane soothing, gradually shaping the wood to his liking.

 

But his rhythm had been off, the basement unusually warm and sticky, and inappropriate thoughts had flowed too easily through his mind of how he wished that it wasn’t wood beneath his hands, but muscled flesh, rippling beneath his fingers.  No comfort was to be found, not even when he jerked off angrily before falling into a lonely bed.

 

He had gotten stuck in a construction zone, sitting in his car for an hour and half and listening to some popular music crap.  Now he had to face the morning without his coffee.  He’d send Kate or Tony, whoever pissed him off first,  for a cup from that gourmet place down the street.   Odds were good DiNozzo would be the one who wouldn’t manage to fly under his radar.  Gibbs nodded at the security guard as he retrieved his gun, tucking it back into his holster and punching the button on the elevator.  It wasn’t going to be a good day.

 

His first glance of the bullpen as he left the elevator confirmed his suspicions. Kate was industriously working at her computer.  At least she was trying to between shooting nervous glances at the clock.  Gibbs smiled for the first time that day.  It wasn’t often she beat him in to work, and clearly her feathers were ruffled.

 

The smile transformed to a frown when he noticed Tony’s empty desk and the absence of any coat to show he had been in and was in the head or getting coffee.  Speaking of which...

 

“Agent Todd.  Coffee?” he asked.

 

“No, but thanks,” she replied brightly.  “I just had some....That wasn’t an offer was it?”

 

“No, it wasn’t.  Where’s DiNozzo?” he asked as he slung his coat over the back of his chair.

 

“He hasn’t checked in yet.  Maybe he got stuck in traffic.  I heard there was construction that was holding up traffic for miles.”

 

“Yeah, I heard about that.”  He logged on to his computer and after a moment spent perusing his email, he paused and looked up.   “Coffee?”

 

“Right.”  She snatched up her purse and headed for the elevator.  “Black right?”

 

“There is no other kind,” he shot back before the door closed.  He snorted as he saw an email from Fornell.  The FBI agent still had a bug up his ass about Gibbs’ NCIS team ‘commandeering’ Air Force One and making off with the body three weeks ago.  It was no coincidence that after wrapping up that case his email spam had quadrupled in size.  Today it was farm animals and chicks – women, not chickens –  gone wild.

 

The phone rang at his elbow and he absently picked it up.  “Gibbs.”

 

“Hey, Gibbs, do you have the TV on?  Channel 5?”

 

“No, why?”  He loved Abby like a daughter but sometimes her diversions were...distracting.

 

“Just put it on the screen, Bossman.  It’s important!” she insisted.  He pointed the remote towards the television and hit the number 5 and then enter.  He squinted at the news broadcast, something about a fire.

 

“What am I seeing Abbs?”

 

“That’s Tony’s address!”

 

Gibbs’ attention snapped back to the television and he hung up.  The fire on the screen was an impressive one, engulfing what looked like a duplex.  Fire trucks were on the scene and reporters milled about.  He turned up the volume.

 

“– arrived at the scene just in time to save the houses adjacent to the duplex.  But as you can see behind me, the fire has consumed most of the building.  We are waiting for word on the occupants, but sources say that the resident of the lower apartment, an elderly woman,  managed to escape without injury.  The resident of the upper apartment, however, is now being treated by emergency crews.  There is no word yet on his injuries, sustained when he heroically went into the burning building to save the elderly woma–“

 

Gibbs hit the autodial.  “Abby, call Kate on her cell and have her meet me there.  Get Ducky out there while you’re at it.”

 

“Do you think he’s okay?”

 

“It’s DiNozzo.  Of course he’s okay.”  He hung up.              

 

As he snatched up his coat, he wasn’t sure who he was reassuring more.

 

*********

 

The street was swarming with LEOs and fire officials.  A quick flash of the badge let him through the yellow tape that was keeping the crowd well away from the blaze.   The two story building was still engulfed in flames.  A fire truck had extended a ladder with a fire fighter resting on it, shooting water onto the roof, but it didn’t seem to have much of an effect.  Gibbs twitched his nose as the smoke drifted around him.  It was time to find someone in charge.

 

He picked out an older man with a headset and a helmet, barking orders into the microphone.

 

“– back the line up a bit, the pressure isn’t great here and we’re going to have tap into the reserves soon.  What?  Jesus, doesn’t he listen?  No, we’re not done.  Tell him to get his ass back to the truck.  Let me know when you’re done.”  He took in Gibb’s badge and waved him closer.  “Michael Graves, Fire Marshal.”

 

“Gibbs, NCIS.  One of my men lives in the building.  I heard he got out but was injured.  Where is he?”

 

“We’ve got the EMT crew set up over there.  If they haven’t transported him yet, he should still be there.”  He gestured towards a white van surrounded by reporters being held back by police officers.

 

“I’ll want to talk to you when things calm down.”  Gibbs said, already walking towards the van.

 

“I’ll be here.  God knows this isn’t going to die down any time soon.” Graves muttered, turning away to yell into his microphone again.

 

Once he managed to get by the police by flashing his badge, he found his wayward agent, sitting at the back the van, an oxygen mask held against his face and an EMT packing up a case of medical supplies while Ducky poked and prodded at Tony’s eyebrow.  Tony was in a t-shirt and boxers, soot smeared across his face and a bright red blanket draped over his shoulders.  Blood trickled from an oozing cut at his temple.

 

“DiNozzo, what the hell is going on?”  He was caught between concern and amusement as Tony came to attention and almost fell off the edge of the van’s floor.  The EMT kept a hand on his shoulder, preventing him from standing.

 

“Sorry, Boss,” Tony managed between coughs.  “Kind of had an emergency here.”

 

“Is he okay?” Gibbs asked, turning his attention to Ducky.

 

“Oh yes, Jethro,” Ducky said, fixing a butterfly bandage over the still oozing cut and patting Tony’s shoulder reassuringly.  “He’s got a bit of smoke inhalation, and some minor burns.  Someone should probably keep an eye on him.”  Ducky looked at Gibbs, who looked at Tony, who proceeded to look at the EMT.

 

She shot Tony a look of exasperation, which quickly morphed into affection as he grinned at her through the oxygen mask.  “Someone other than me, Agent DiNozzo.”

 

“He’ll be with me.  I know what to look for.”  Gibbs quickly dispensed with the possibility of any tender loving care from an overly perky EMT.

 

“Well gentlemen, and lady,” Ducky added with a smile at the paramedic, “I’m afraid I can’t tarry.  Gerald called me on the cell phone on the way over.  Mother’s got into a spot of trouble with the gardener.  Something about burying the bodies in the rose bushes.  If you need me, just give me a ring.”

 

“Thanks Ducky,” Gibbs replied, smiling as the older gentleman tipped his hat to them.  DiNozzo, report.”

 

“Woke up to the smoke alarm. By the time I got downstairs, I could see the flames in Mrs. Klapinski’s apartment.  I knocked on her door, but there was no answer.”

 

“So you decide to charge in there and be a white knight?”  Gibbs asked sarcastically.

 

“Actually, no, turns out she was already outside.  Her alarm had gone off already,” Tony replied. He coughed and wheezed into the mask for a bit before continuing.  “We called the fire department on my cell.  I grabbed it on my way out, reflex I guess.”

 

“So how the hell did you end up like this?  The report on the news said you saved someone,” Gibbs insisted.

 

Tony mumbled something in response but the mask made it even more impossible to hear.  Gibbs narrowed his eyes.  Tony wasn’t even meeting his eyes.  Something was definitely –

 

“Tony!  Bubeleh, you are alright?”  Gibbs was brushed aside by an elderly woman clad in a floral pink bathrobe and toting curlers in her greying hair.  “My hero, he is,” she said as she noticed Gibbs.  She hugged Tony tightly and fussed briefly with his mussed hair.

 

“And you are?” Gibbs asked, one eyebrow raised.  Tony pulled the mask from his face to quickly intervene as the strange women drew herself up, wrapping her robe more tightly about her robust form.

 

“Boss, this is my downstairs neighbour, Mrs. Klapinski.”

 

“Tony was so brave!  He go back in to rescue Mr. Cuddlesworth before he could be burnt.  Such a brave boy,” she said, patting Tony’s cheek.  Gibbs raised his eyebrow again, turning to Tony.

 

“Mr. Cuddlesworth?”  Tony scratched at his hair, and wouldn’t meet his gaze.  Was he....embarrassed?

 

“My poor poopsie wouldn’t come out from under the bed for me.  But Tony, he go get him.  See?”  Mrs. Klapinski held out her arms to receive a grey animal carrier.   Tilting his head, Gibbs could it was occupied by a very large cat.  He bit his lip and turned to Tony.

 

“You got injured rescuing a cat?” he dead panned.  Tony winced, and it had nothing to do with any injury.

 

“I couldn’t just leave it, boss.  Besides –.” Whatever he was going to say was lost as urgent shouts from firemen urged the crowd back.  With a loud groan, the two story building collapsed, sending smoke dust and ash into the air.  The flames grew with a new source of oxygen, before being quickly targeted by firemen.

 

“Tony!” Kate’s shout brought both men’s attention to bear on her as she pushed between two policemen who only relented upon seeing her badge.  “I got here as soon as I could after Abby called.  Oh my god, is that your apartment?”

 

“Was.  Was my apartment,” he replied with a sad sigh. “I don’t’ suppose I could stay with you.  What with me having lost all my worldly possessions, and all.”

 

Staring at the remaining flames, Kate patted him absently on the shoulder.  “Anything you need, Tony.”

 

A lecherous grin crossed his face.  “Anything?”

 

Her gaze turned back to his face and she swatted him on the shoulder.  “Tony!”

 

“He’ll be staying with me,” Gibbs growled.  Kate smiled appreciatively, glad to be off the hook, while a look of surprise crossed Tony’s face.

 

“Thanks, Boss.  You don’t have to do that.  Really. I can find a motel somewhere.  Or I could– ”

 

“Until we find out what caused this fire, I don’t want you anywhere that’s not secure.”  Gibbs began walking back towards the fire marshal.

 

“Secure?  You think someone’s trying to kill me?  Why?” Tony called after him, coughing at the effort.

 

“Besides me?” Gibbs retorted without even turning back.

 

******

 

“It’s too early yet to tell what started the fire, let alone whether it was deliberately set,” Graves insisted.  “Look at that mess.  Hell, we’ll be lucky if we can tell which part of the rubble is first or second story.  The fire gutted everything.  Give us a couple of days and we’ll have an answer for you.  Until then, just let us do our jobs.”

 

Gibbs had to respect that.  “Call me if anything comes up,” he said, handing his card to the marshal.

 

“Hey, Boss.”  Tony said, joining him in surveying the remains of his home.  “Were you serious about me staying with you?  Cause I was wondering...” he trailed off.

 

“Spit it out, DiNozzo.”

 

“Well, it’s just that Mrs. Klapinski is going to be staying with her daughter, who is really allergic to cats.  She, Mrs. K, not the daughter, really loves her cat.  She just found it outside by our dumpster and it was right after her husband died, so she got really attached to it.  I don’t want to impose, and I could find a hotel that takes cats or something, but if you don’t mind...”

 

“Just get the damn cat, DiNozzo.  Meet me at the car.  Agent Todd!” he called,  beckoning her over.  “I want statements from any witnesses.  Take down Mrs. Klapinski’s statement.”

 

“Is this our case?” she asked.

 

“Not yet, but it never hurts to be prepared,” he replied.  “We’ll meet you back at the office.”

 

As he walked back to the car, Gibbs couldn’t help thinking that he was risking too much having Tony stay with him.  It wasn’t  as though Kate wasn’t capable of protecting him.  She had been in charge of the damn President.  But the thought of Tony with her, and not him, sent his gut roiling, and it pissed him off.

 

He knew that Tony was bi.  The younger man, upon getting the job offer, had been upfront about it.  Had said that if his sexuality was a problem for the ex-marine, to say so.  He’d had it affect his job before and he wasn’t about to let it happen again.  Gibbs had said he didn’t care who Tony slept with, so long as he was able to do his job, not bothering to reveal his own tendencies.  Now, a year and half later,  he wasn’t so sure he didn’t care.  He was starting to care that it wasn’t him .

 

He got into his car and slammed the door shut.  Damn it, he wasn’t supposed to fall for his subordinates.  It always ended badly.  Plus, DiNozzo wasn’t exactly his type.  He wasn’t a red head.  No, he was brunette, tall, leggy, quick to grin and incredibly smart despite his attempts to hide it.  No, he wasn’t Gibbs’ type at all.  Jethro closed his eyes and counted down from ten.

 

He had reached five, when Tony joined him, stowing the cat carrier in the backseat before settling down in the passenger seat.  He smelled strongly of smoke and Gibbs shifted as he discovered a new kink.

 

“Sorry about the upholstery.  I didn’t think to nab one of the blankets the emergency guys had,”

Tony apologized.  Gibbs just nodded and turned the key.  He was pulling out onto the street when a noxious smell overrode the smoky scent.

 

“Jesus, DiNozzo, what the hell did you have for breakfast?”  Gibbs darted a glance at Tony as he manoeuvred the car between a police car and a news van.

 

“Wasn’t me, Boss.  I think it was Mr. Cuddlesworth.”  Tony seemed to get an inordinate amount of pleasure at saying the cat’s name, which was a complete misnomer.  It wasn’t a cute, soft bundle of fur.  No, it was big, mangy orange cat, currently angry at being confined to the carrier, and apparently suffering from serious intestinal gas.  Gibbs rolled down his  window and breathed shallowly through his mouth.

 

“Okay, the plan is this.  We go to my place so you can shower and change. You can borrow something until we get you clothes.  Then we find out who might want to burn down your apartment.”

 

“Sounds like a plan, Boss.”  Tony grinned.

 

Distracted by the smell of the cat and of Tony, in Gibb’s case, neither agent noticed the black car that pulled into traffic behind them.

 

*******

 

Gibbs jaw tightened uncontrollably as he watched the incredibly handsome, incredibly Latin, and incredibly gay tailor guy smooth his hands over Tony’s ass.  Yeah, he’s checking the fit.  Sure.  Tony responded to the flirtatious caresses with good natured charm.  He smiled and joked about wandering hands. Raul responded with more innuendo and took far too much pleasure in measuring Tony’s in-seam.

 

They had stopped off at Gibb’s house just long enough for Tony to clean off the grime and smell of smoke and to let the cat out of the carrier to explore its temporary shelter.  Gibbs had pulled a pair of old sweats from his closet and handed them off to his agent. They didn’t fit very well, but who cared when they stretched snugly across that ass?  They had stopped off at work to pick up Tony’s spare wallet, stored at the office for emergencies and equipped with one credit card, two hundred dollars cash and a condom.  Gibbs shook his head at the condom.  Always be prepared. Then Tony had directed Gibbs to a clothing store, where Tony assured Gibbs they would be well taken care off.

 

Raul certainly hadn’t minded when they walked into the men’s clothing store.  He had ushered them in, undaunted by the rather casual dress they both sported.  The flash of Tony’s credit card,  helped even more, garnering them the offer of fresh coffee and pastries.  Gibbs passed on the pastry, but now sat enjoying a full bodied cup of java from freshly ground beans. Maybe Tony was right.  Maybe it was time to rethink his shopping habits.  One glance at Raul, however, overshadowed any lingering pleasure from the coffee.

 

At Gibbs’ growl the tape measure snapped back into its container and Raul made a strategic withdrawal.  Tony just fiddled with the cuffs on the jacket and kept trying to see his ass in the mirror, twisting and contorting in ways that raised Gibbs’ blood pressure.  He disappeared back into the changing room and emerged once again clad in the too tight sweats.  Raul whisked away the suit and offered them a seat on a sofa while the adjustments were made.

 

“Thanks again, boss.  It just doesn’t feel right going into work in your stuff.  Plus, we wouldn’t want people to talk,” Tony said with a grin as he slouched in the comfortable cushion  next to Gibbs.  Gibbs just grunted and pulled out his cell phone to check for messages. Anything to distract from the faint aroma of aftershave he could smell, he wasn’t sure why Tony kept aftershave in his kit at the office, but he wasn’t complaining.   He idly flicked through his electronic phone book and wondered how a 1-900 number had gotten programmed on the autodial.  He wouldn’t put it past Fornell.  He deleted it before Tony could peer over his shoulder and comment.

 

Tony sighed.  “I’m going to miss my clothes.”

 

“You had insurance right?”  He would kick his agent’s ass if he didn’t.  They had enough risks in their line of work.  Insurance was par for the course.

 

“Sure.  But you don’t just replace an Armani Collezioni french-cuff.   But remind me to get another Ermenegildo Zegna Tie, because it was my favourite.”  Tony fingered a worn patch of fabric at his knee that was a precursor to a hole.  He sighed with a wistful look.  “Plus, my movie collection....oh, and my college jacket.  But I guess that my frat brothers can help me there.”

 

Gibbs was saved a detailed list of lost items as Raul returned, clothing held preciously in front of him.  He gave a mini-bow and smiled lustily at Tony.

 

“Your clothes, sir.”

 

“Thanks, Raul. That was fast.”

 

“We aim to please,” Raul said with a definite leer.  Gibbs squinted and the man’s grin faded slightly.  Tony saved the day by taking the pile of clothes and disappearing again behind the curtain.  When he emerged, he was dressed in a perfectly fitted grey suit with a shirt so pale blue it almost looked white.  The jacket hugged his shoulders and tapered to his waist.   The pants fell down his long legs, encasing them in free flowing soft fabric.  And Gibbs wanted nothing more than to rip all of it off.

 

“What do you think, boss?” Tony held his hands out from his sides and spun once.

 

“Sears is cheaper.”  But he smiled slightly as he said it and Tony grinned back, his eyes sparkling.  “And I think you’d better get your ass into the car so we can get on with our day.”

 

Tony’s grin widened and he went to pay for his purchase.  Gibbs went to the car to will away the erection that threatened to bore a hole through his pants.  He was going to have to work harder on that self control.

 

******

 

“There’s nothing really much to tell, Gibbs,” Kate said as she scrolled through her notes on her PDA.  “The neighbours didn’t hear or see anything suspicious.  Mrs. Klapinski woke up when her alarm went off, smelt smoke and immediately left the building and got the neighbours to call 911.  It wasn’t until Tony joined her that she realized she had left her cat inside.  Then, according to her – and I quote – ‘my Tony gallantly rescued Mr. Cuddlesworth from getting crispy,’” she smirked at Tony.  “Remind me to nominate you to the SPCA for heroism.”

 

“Did Graves have anything to add?” Gibbs asked, and putting his weapon in his desk drawer.

 

“No, just told me to tell you that he, and again I quote. ‘will tell you when he turns anything up and until then to keep our asses out of his way.”  She looked up at Gibbs.  “Nice fellow.  Think he missed his morning coffee.”

 

“Tony, I want you to get a working list of people who might want you dead.  Focus on past cases, here and during your time in Peoria, Philly and Baltimore.”  Tony simply nodded and began opening file folders.  “Kate, I want to you to take point on the Mason case.  This fire may have been an accident and I don’t want us falling behind on our current case load.   Where are we in terms of our suspect list?”

 

Kate dug around on her desk and retrieved a file.  “Two are accounted for, rock solid alibis and one was unaccounted for at the time of the shooting.  We were going to interview him this afternoon.”

 

The Mason case wasn’t high profile, an apparent accidental shooting turning out to be murder.  He could afford to let Kate take over while he made sure Tony was safe.

 

“Have him brought in.”

 

As Kate reached for the phone, Gibbs shook his head.  Life was hectic enough without his own agents being targeted for trouble.  He hoped that the fire was innocent, although a small part of him was glad that he had the excuse to keep a close eye on Tony.  It never hurt to be too careful.

 

********

 

Interlude

 

He had watched as the duplex burned down. He regretted the loss of property, but even more he regretted that it meant his target was more mobile than before.  Keeping track would be difficult. Thankfully, he was able to spot him and watched as he rode off with the agent.  He followed from a discreet distance, never allowing himself to be caught.

 

He waited outside the headquarters of their agency, and followed them to a nondescript white house that was only lacking a white picket fence for all its simplicity.

 

Unfortunately, the area was well populated, making a day-time retrieval difficult. He would again have to try at night, and hope this time he was successful.  His buyers were getting impatient. They wanted the merchandise quickly and undamaged.  So he would have to move carefully.

 

*********

 

Act Two

As days went, aside from the fire, things went smoothly.  The suspect Kate brought in was so disarmed by her pleasantly asked questions he broke down, crying as he signed his confession.  The list of people wanting Tony dead was disturbingly long, but was also easy to shorten as they ensured that incarcerated criminals were still in jail and confirmed the whereabouts of those that were released.

There was a moment of commotion when Abby realized Tony was in the building and rushed up to hug him in relief and tsk over his head wound.  She announced that saving cats was very manly and that he should be proud, starting a mini war between DiNozzo and Kate that lasted until about five o’clock, when Gibbs had finally had enough and called it a day.  Kate went home and Gibbs once again found himself playing chauffeur.

“Turn here,” Tony said suddenly, and hung on as Gibbs whipped the wheel around to make the turn.  Finding himself in a large parking lot, Gibbs frowned. 

“More shopping?”

“I can’t live in a suit, Gibbs.  Besides, you’ll like this place.  It’s more your scene,” Tony said with a smirk.  Gibbs looked out the window.  Sears. 

Rolling his eyes he followed his agent into the store.  While content to dawdle in Raul’s ‘boutique,’ here Tony was focussed.  He moved down the aisles deliberately and surely.  Two packages of underwear – boxers, not briefs – four packages of generic white socks and one package of black dress socks, and a pair of better fitting sweats hit the counter. 

“Need anything while we’re here?” Tony teased. 

Gibbs laughed and shook his head.  “I’m good.”

They returned to the vehicle and on the way to Gibbs’ home debated dinner.  Tony was in the mood for Pizza, Gibbs for Thai, and they compromised with some authentic Chinese that came in cardboard boxes oozing exotic sauces and spicy scents.  Tony asked for one more stop at the pet store to grab a litter box, some cat food and a water dish. 

The food went quickly, and Gibbs left Tony cleaning up the mess to return to his boat and the comforting smell of wood chips and sawdust.  As he took the plane to one of the boards, he sensed rather than saw Tony enter the door at the top of the stairs.

“Still building a boat, huh?”

“How very observant of you , DiNozzo.”  Gibbs let the plane glide over the grain of the wood, barely pressing down.  A thin curl of wood appeared above the blade, spiralling as it lengthened.  Tony made his way down the stairs and stood, hip canted against the banister at the bottom.

“My dad never made anything,” he mused aloud.  “Except money,” he added with a deprecating smile.  “I always wanted to build a soap box car with him.  Like on Leave it to Beaver, season four, when Beaver has to build this soap car but doesn’t have wheels and uses a baby carriage’s wheels that this girl has.  Great episode, all about the rigid sex roles of the time.  Anyway, I wanted a soap car so bad, and they weren’t even popular when I was a kid, but it was this ideal I had, father and son, building a soap box car.”  He laughed, a hard gust of air.  “Not all of us are destined for wood working, I guess.”

Gibbs’ eyebrows had drawn together as Tony reminisced.  He had no use for deadbeat parents, and knew that Tony’s were anything but stellar role models for parenting.

“Come here,” he said, gesturing Tony to come closer.

“Boss?” Tony asked, suddenly less cocky and much more unsure.

“Come here,” he repeated.  Tony obeyed, even if he did so reluctantly, hesitancy screaming in every step.  Gibbs beckoned him even closer.  “You can’t learn if you don’t actually touch the boat.”

He handed Tony the plane and pointed to the plank he had been levelling.  “Nice even strokes, don’t press too hard.  It’s easier to take more off, but once you’ve gone too far down you can’t put it back without a hell of a lot of trouble.”

Tony settled himself awkwardly into the place Gibbs had vacated and tentatively began stroking the plane against the wood.  Small shavings dropped onto the floor to be immediately obscured by the layer of chips already there.  He was moving slightly off-grain, so Gibbs moved behind him, wrapping his hand around Tony’s on the handle of the plane, guiding his hand.  They moved together, slowly stroking the wood into shape.

When Gibbs finally backed away, driven into distance by his growing erection, he caught a glimpse of Tony’s face.  It was transfigured by the light of the basement bulb.  He was smiling –  not smirking or leering –  lost in the activity and mesmerized by the feel of the plane under his hands.   He looked younger, innocent, completely unaware of the effect he was having on his boss.

The moment was lost as Gibbs watched him shake himself and turn the blade back over to him.

“Thanks, Boss,” he said, his voice rough.  “I think I’ll turn in.  It’s been a long day.”

“I’ll be up soon.  Just leave the light on in the kitchen.”

“Will do.”  As Tony left, Gibbs returned to evening the plank, smiling to himself.  He could still detect the faint scent of Tony’s aftershave and the handle of the plane was warm from his touch.  His cock twitched.  Damn, he had it bad.

It took little over an hour before the plank was even with its neighbour and both were perfectly smooth to his touch.  He was just putting away his tools when he heard a large thud from upstairs. 

“DiNozzo?” he called.  “You okay?”

Silence.  There was another thud and a muffled shout.  With a quiet curse, Gibbs grabbed his spare weapon from the drawer on his tool bench and took the stairs two at a time, his heart pounding in his ears.

Leading with his gun, he cleared the hallway and moved silently through it to the kitchen doorway, where the overhead light spilled a rectangle of illumination.  He could hear a struggle, Tony’s breath still wheezing from his earlier smoke inhalation, and  the low grunts of another man that punctuated the fight.

“NCIS,” he shouted as he rounded the corner.  “Don’t move.”

The tableau before him sent icy tendrils through his veins.  Tony was in a headlock, his wound from that morning bleeding again.  He was clearly dazed, but was trying to get free.  The other man, however, was holding a gun to the side of his face.  The new player was about Tony’s height, but with more muscle mass, holding the agent in place with one arm around his neck.  Gibbs noted his features: Caucasian, male, late thirties, black nylon jacket and black jeans, with a mole high on his left cheek and thick eyebrows, possibly a broken nose although it was hard to tell from that angle...and stupidly not wearing gloves.  The details burned into his brain as he took one step into the kitchen.

“Don’t even think about it,” the stranger ordered.  He pushed the muzzle of the gun hard against Tony’s head, eliciting a moan and another feeble attempt to break free.  “I’ll just leave with what I came for and no one gets hurt.”

“Don’t move,” Gibbs demanded.

“You’re in no position to make demands, buddy.”  The gun never wavered from Tony’s head.   “Just give me what I want and there won’t be any problem.  I’ve got no beef with you.”

“You got a beef with DiNozzo, you’ve got a beef with me,” Gibbs spat.  His gun didn’t falter either.  He took another step into the kitchen – and slipped.  He went down hard, taking the brunt of the fall on his left arm, hip and shoulder.  His gun skittered away from his hand and he floundered on the linoleum.

Thankfully, some of Tony’s wits were still about him and he managed to elbow the stranger in the stomach, following up with a picture perfect left cross.   Reeling, the man squeezed off a shot but it went wide, smashing the window above the kitchen sink. Gibbs snatched up his gun and aimed awkwardly from his prone position.  Before he could draw a bead and fire, the man darted into the hallway, pushing Tony to the ground as he went.  Gibbs waved Tony on as he struggled to his feet and followed moments later. 

Tony stood, hands on his hips, looking pissed. “Sorry, Boss. He got away. He had a car parked by the driveway but I couldn’t get a plate, it was too dark.”  He dabbed at his forehead with a finger and winced when he hit the reopened wound.

Flexing his elbow, Gibbs nodded.  He resisted the urge to swear.

“What happened in there, Boss?  You went down like a –”

“There was something on the floor.  I couldn’t get traction,” he snapped, allowing his frustration to show.  In silence, they returned to the kitchen and Gibbs crouched where he had slipped.  He could see a wet pool covering the linoleum in the entrance way to the hall.  He jerked his head back at the smell.  Cat pee.  He had been foiled by a goddamn incontinent cat.  A loud purr punctuated the silence.  He looked up and there was Mr. Cuddlesworth, curled on the chair under the table and gazing at him entirely unperturbed by the evening’s events.  Gibbs sighed.  It was going to be a long night.

“I need coffee.”

******

Gibbs rubbed at his eyes.  By the time the crew had gone through the house, dusting, printing and lifting every fibre that they could find, the sky was turning a hazy pink with dawn on the horizon.  The coffee pot had been filled and refilled so many times that he had lost count.   A board covered the shattered window and he made a mental note to put in a call for repairs.   He shuffled into the living room, heading for the bathroom and a shower.  Hopefully that would banish the exhaustion pulling at him.

Ducky had tended to Tony’s reopened wound, tsking at him and regaling him with an old tale, and now Tony sat with Kate on the couch trying to help with her sketch of his assailant.  His face was subdued and lined from lack of sleep.  The fire he could pass off as an accident until the arson investigation told them otherwise.  But a direct attack?  That couldn’t be ignored.  At least now they knew they had a target, something – someone – to hunt.

“Gibbs?  I’m heading back to get this stuff to Abby.  Should I tell the director you’ll be taking the day off?”  Pacci held up his evidence collection kit and nodded towards the door.

“We’ll be in.  Help Abby get all the evidence into the garage.  I want it all together.  Give us an hour, tops.”

“Will do.”  Pacci left, whistling tunelessly between his teeth.  Reliable, but tone-deaf.  

He felt Tony’s eyes tracking him as he went into the shower and let the hot water pummel him into wakefulness.

Precisely one hour later, they were walking through the garage doors of NCIS headquarters.  Abby stood at the head of a long table covered with bagged evidence, boxes with folders and a box of clean latex gloves.  She wore a grim expression on her face, frowning even more when she saw Tony’s re-bandaged forehead.

“Alright, people.  Let’s catch us a bad guy.”

“DiNozzo, sit down before you fall down.  And here, start sorting through these.”  Gibbs sorted through a pile of papers and tossed him a folder.  “These are more possible suspects.”

“Hmmm.  Hours of reading pleasure.”  Tony sighed.  “One of these days, I wish the guy would just say ‘My name is John Smith.  You killed my father.  Prepare to die.’  That would take the guess work out of things.”

Gibbs merely quirked his eyebrow and turned to Kate.  “See if the arson investigators are up.  I want them here in the next hour, with all their evidence and a report of what they’ve found so far.”

“It’s seven a.m., Gibbs. They aren’t going to like that.”  But she opened her PDA to find the number with one hand while pulling out her cell with the other.

“Abby...what do we have?”

“At this point?  Not much.   I managed to narrow down some prints that weren’t yours or Tony’s from the kitchen.  I’m running them now.  The slug Pacci found was messed up from going through the window and hitting the telephone pole, where our intrepid agent found it.” She shot Pacci an impressed grin.  Pacci ducked his head and Gibbs could swear a hue of pink crossed his cheeks.  Pacci blushing?  The man who once followed Gibbs into a strip joint after a perp and who didn’t blink an eye when it was women’s night out?  Abby was a force unto herself, he supposed.

“Can you tell me the weapon?  It was dark, but it looked like a Glock.”

“It’ll be hard to give you an exact make based on the bullet alone, given the damage, but I can give you a ballpark once I run some tests.”

“Alright, go.”  He dropped a quick peck on her cheek and waved her off.

“I’ll go get coffee,” Pacci offered, and Gibbs waved him off.  Coffee was good.  Everything would look better after coffee.  Except Tony’s face.  That would take a few days to heal.  And until then, Gibbs stomach would clench every time he looked at him.

******

Pacci returned with coffee and everyone had refuelled and was doggedly sorting through reams of files when the shrill ringing of Tony’s cell phone pulled everyone out of their respective work for the time it took for Tony to press the ‘talk’ button. 

“Oh, hello Mrs. Klapinski....no, everything is fine.  Mr. Cuddlesworth is just fine.  What?”  He glanced over at Gibbs with a calculating look on his face.  “No, I’m sure it won’t be a problem. Can you give the address and number?  Uh huh.  I got it.  Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it.”  Tony scribbled on a scrap piece of paper and hung up.

“Trouble?”  Kate asked.

“Uh, Mrs. Klapinski had made an appointment to get her cat vaccinated today.  I said I’d take care of it...if that’s okay, boss,” he added.  Gibbs looked at the mountain of useless paper work that wasn’t getting them any closer to figuring out who had a grudge against Tony, or at least who wanted him dead.

“What the hell, it’s not like this has been productive.  When’s the appointment?”

“Twelve o’clock.  I got the address.  It’s just down by the waterfront, on Queen Street.”

“All right, let’s go.”

“I think I can handle this one, boss,” Tony said with a grin.  “It’s just a cat.”

“Someone’s out to kill you, DiNozzo.  Consider yourself in protective custody.  Let’s go.”

After collecting Mr. Cuddlesworth, no worse for wear despite the break in, they managed to find the veterinarian’s practice in a medium-sized bungalow, tucked away in a narrow lot on Queen Street.  The foyer was white and clean, and the receptionist greeted them as they came in.

“Hello, how can I help you today?”

Tony grinned at the attractive brunette.  “Hi....Melissa,” he read off her name tag.  “I’m Tony DiNozzo.  Mrs. Klapinski asked me to bring her cat.” He held up the carrier, wincing as Mr Cuddlesworth decided to let loose a resounding belch.  Melissa peered into the carrier. 

“Oh yes, Mrs. Klapinski called earlier and said you’d be by.  You can just have a seat in room 2 and the doctor will be right with you.”

Room 2 was similarly whitewashed, and held a counter filled with various veterinarian accoutrements, a very scary assortment of needles, and a tidy flat screen computer monitor.  The walls had pictures of various pet ailments and an admonishment to spay and neuter your pets.  A stainless steel counter stood in the middle of the room.

Before they could even sit down, a young man in a white lab coat stepped into the room.  He took in the pair and smiled.  He extended a hand towards Tony, widening his smile as he took in Tony’s face.

“Good morning, I’m Doctor Marshall, what can I do for you today?”  he cast a brief glance at Gibbs but then returned his attention to Tony, still holding on to his hand.

“We’re here to get Mr. Cuddlesworth all caught up on his shots.  He belongs to a friend of mine,” Tony said, gently extracting his hand.

“Ah, you’re Tony,” he said. Gibbs didn’t think the vet’s smile could get any bigger, but it did. “I’ve known Mrs. Klapinski for a number of years.  She volunteers here quite a bit.   She’s said a lot about you.”

“Really?” Tony perked up and grinned his ‘boy-next-door’ smile.  “What sort of things?”

Dr. Marshall grinned back.  “That if you weren’t already in a committed relationship you’d be a fine catch.”  He darted a look at Gibbs.  “This must be Agent Gibbs.”

Tony caught Gibbs’ look in his direction and just shrugged, obviously confused.

“And this must be the new addition to the Klapinski household.”  Dr. Marshall poked a finger through the grate on the carrier door and stroked the cat’s nose.  A rumbling purr filled the room.
“Let’s just get him on the table and give him a once over before we get the shots.”

Mr. Cuddlesworth didn’t protest at being manhandled out of the carrier and more or less crouched on the table looking about resentfully.  Dr. Marshall pulled out a wide, flat paddle and ran it over the cat’s neck.

“I’m just looking to see if he’s got a microchip.  Since he was a stray there’s a chance he was someone else’s first and they might have....ah ha.” There was a buzz and he turned on the monitor.  “Hmm that’s odd.  The scanner picked up a chip but it’s not reading it.”

“What does that mean?”  Tony said, peering at the monitor.

“Well, some chips can only be read by certain kinds of scanners. We’ve got one that catches most chips, but some it just can’t read.  It must be one of those.  Which means someone might be looking for this little guy.”  He ruffled the fur on the back of Mr. Cuddleworth’s neck affectionately.

“I’ll take some pictures and get his face out there on the net to see if there are any hits.  Until then, we’ll give him his shots to make sure and send him back with you to Mrs. Klapinski.  I’ll give him the standard set of shots and make up a schedule for his boosters so Mrs. Klapinski will know when to bring him back.”

He quite efficiently injected the shots, rummaged in a drawer for a digital camera, snapped some shots much to Mr. Cuddlesworth disdain, and with another affectionate snuggle, put the cat into his crate.

“Will that be all for today?” he asked, clearly hoping for more.

“As far as I know,” Tony replied, glancing at Gibbs.  Dr. Marshall smiled again, his eyes crinkling.

“Well, if you and your partner ever get a dog or cat, feel free to take advantage of our low cost spay and neuter policies.  Free follow up visit included.  Here’s my card.” He took out a card from his breast pocket and scribbled on the back.  “My number’s on the back.  Just in case,” he added, shooting a look at Gibbs.

Gibbs smiled thinly and resisted the urge to growl.  “We’ll do that.”

“Just check with Melissa at the front desk to settle the bill.  It was a pleasure meeting you,” he said, stressing ‘pleasure’ as he once again raked Tony over with his eyes.  “And thank you for helping out Mrs. Klapinski.  She means a lot to us here at the clinic.  Give her our best.”

“Will do, thanks.  It was nice meeting you.”  Tony grabbed the carrier and followed Gibbs out the door.  “Sorry about that boss.  I don’t know why he thought...”

“Forget it, DiNozzo.  Just pay up so we can get back to work.  I’ll go start the car.”

As he walked to the car, Gibbs ruminated on the doctor’s assumptions.  Evidently Tony talked to Mrs. Klapinski about him at great length.  Long enough for her to make certain...assumptions.  It would be funny if it didn’t tread so close to how Gibbs felt about the younger man.

He was putting his keys in the lock when he sensed movement behind him.  He started to turn, his gut telling him it wasn’t just Tony, when the muzzle of a gun came to rest on the back of his neck.

“Don’t move.”  A hand grabbed his keys and tossed them across the pavement, then proceeded to remove his weapon.  “Where is he?”

Gibbs shook his head.  “You aren’t getting him.”

“Look, this isn’t your problem.  Just hand him over and no one gets hurt.”  The man punctuated his words by jabbing Gibbs’ neck with the gun.

“You aren’t getting him,” Gibbs repeated.  “There’s nowhere you could hide if you hurt him.”

“Christ, what is it with you and the damn cat?”  The man hissed, spit prickling the back of Gibb’s neck.  “It’s a fucking cat!”

Gibbs froze.  “What?”

“Freeze!  NCIS, put down your weapon and get on the ground.”  Tony’s voice echoed in the parking lot.  The perp spun around with Gibbs as a shield.   DiNozzo stood in a textbook stance, gun in both hands, unwavering and looking calm and collected.

“Let the agent go,” he demanded. 

“Give me the cat and it’s a deal,” the perp shot back.  Gibbs could see the confusion cross DiNozzo’s face. 

“Come again?”

“The cat, where’s the cat?”

“This is about a cat?  You mean I’ve been scouring my arrest history looking for some revenge seeking criminal and you just want a cat that breaks wind more than my great grandfather?” DiNozzo’s voice was filled with disgust, but his weapon never wavered.

“Look, just get me the damn cat and no one gets hurt.” He poked Gibbs again.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” DiNozzo warned.  “He really hates that.”

“Oh yeah?  What’s he going to –,” he was cut off as Gibbs elbow connected with his solar plexus, knocking the breath from his body and doubling him over.  A knee to the chin as he bent over sent him reeling onto the asphalt.  Gibbs straightened his jacket with a subtle shrug that settled the suit coat back onto his shoulders and gestured towards the groaning man.

“What you waiting for, DiNozzo.  Cuff him.”

Tony holstered his weapon and trotted obediently over, taking out his cuffs as he drew closer.

“So what was that about the cat?”

“I don’t know, but I think we’re going to have to make an appointment with Dr. Marshall. Speaking of which, where is it?”

“Left it in the lobby when I saw you two through the window.  You know, that was all kind of anti-climactic.  I had visions of this ending in explosions and fiery death.   For him, not for me.  I feel disappointed.”  Tony swatted the perp on the back of the head.  “Bad criminal.  Sit.  Stay.”

******
 Act 3

Abby was bouncing when the team arrived in the lab.  “Gibbs, you are not going to believe this.”

“What did you find?” Kate asked.

“So Dr. Marshall let me watch the surgery, which was very cool by the way, and I knew we hit gold as soon as he cleaned it off.”

“What is ‘it’ exactly,” Gibbs asked, eyes on the plasma screen and its curious picture of resistors and what looked like a child’s electronic set up close and personal.

“It’s a microchip.”

“Well, yeah, Abby.  The cat was micro chipped. Isn’t that standard?”  Tony pointed out.

“Well, if by ‘standard’ you mean ‘equipped with microchips containing highly secretive industrial secrets,’ sure.”

“Industrial espionage?” Kate asked, her eyebrows raised.

“That would certainly explain why Dr. Marshall couldn’t get a reading off the chip.” Tony pointed out.

“Yup.  I haven’t broken all of the code yet, but it’s definitely some sort of industrial plans.  Once I can figure out what it is we can let them know they’ve been compromised.”  She smiled.  “At least we know Tony hasn’t pissed anyone off any more so than usual.”

“Thanks, Abbs.” DiNozzo responded with a wry smile.

“All right people.  Let’s wrap things up and call it a day.  Kate, call the arson investigators and let them know what we know.  They can have first dibs at interviewing this guy.  Then tomorrow we can find out why hell he put a chip in a cat.   Tony, you’re with me.  We’ve got files to get back into order.”

After typing up their reports, refiling the files in their boxes, and putting the final dots on i’s and crossing the t’s, Gibbs phone rang.

“Gibbs.”

“Hey, Gibbs, you won’t believe what’s on the chip,” Abby chirped on the phone.

“Try me.”

“Plans for toys.” He could hear the amusement in her voice.

“Toys?”

“Yeah.  You wouldn’t believe how cutthroat the business is.  New toys can bring in millions of dollars of revenue.  It’s a dog eat dog business.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he was trying to sneak the plans over the border.  Animals are used to smuggle things all the time.  Speaking of animals, how is Mr. Cuddlesworth?”  Gibbs looked over to where the cat carrier sat on Kate’s desk.  They had gone through all that trouble over toys?

“He’s fine.  Now go home.  It’s been a long day.  Good work.”

“You too, Gibbs.  Tony said you were very manly in taking down our guy.”

“Did he now,” Gibbs asked, glancing covertly at Tony who sat with his head in his hands staring despondently at his computer monitor.

“Take care of our boy, Gibbs.  He’s had a stressful day.”

“Will do.”  He hung up and stood, grabbing his coat from the hook behind his chair and his weapon from his desk drawer.  “What’s wrong DiNozzo?  You look like someone killed your dog.”

“Apartment hunting is so depressing.  Everything’s so expensive.”

“Well, pack it in.  Let’s go.  I’m starving.”  He didn’t want to think about Tony moving out.  Not yet.  Not while he could still imagine the man lying in the spare bed, sleeping in the next room, taking hot showers behind the bathroom door.  God, he had it bad.

“Italian?”  DiNozzo asked, snatching up his own coat and weapon and grunting a bit as he picked up Mr. Cuddlesworth’s carrier.

“You know a place?”  The last pasta he’d eaten had crunched between his teeth and there had been unidentifiable green things swimming in the sauce.

“Yeah, small but good.”

“What do they say, it’s not the size that matters?” He quirked an eyebrow and grinned inwardly at Tony’s smile.

Tony’s ‘place,’ was a small restaurant called “Alfredo’s”, run by a husband and wife team who, upon seeing Tony, spouted a running arpeggio of Italian, followed by an assessing look at Gibbs.  Tony had just laughed, returned with his own melodic phrase.  The woman, shorter by a foot than Gibbs , with a towel draped over her shoulder, ushered them to a table to wait for their order, insisting that Jethro call her Maria.   The decor wasn’t fancy by any stretch of the imagination.  The blue table cloths were linen, clean and pressed, but worn.  The wallpaper was outdated but welcoming, small parsley patterns on a backdrop of ivory.  The silverware, carefully wrapped in linen napkins was sturdy and functional.  Gibbs approved and put it on his list of places to come back to.  They hadn’t been sitting long when Maria returned, the heat from the kitchen flushing her cheeks.

“You’re in luck, Tony.   Lasagna! Just out of the oven,”  Maria said triumphantly bearing two containers and a foil bag.  He could smell the garlic bread and his mouth began to water.  Tony grinned widely.

“Alfredo makes the best lasagna this side of the Atlantic, Boss.   You won’t be disappointed.”
Tony grabbed the containers, bussed Maria with a kiss on her cheek and murmured in her ear.  She blushed and whacked him on his arm. 

“Tony!  Get out of here.”

“Trust me!  Alfredo will love it.”  Tony said, ducking her half hearted attempts to flick him with her towel.  Gibbs watched the antics with amusement but was impatient.  He wanted food. He wanted Tony, and he’d be damned if he wouldn’t get at least one of those before the day was over.

******

They ate in the basement, the containers of food on their laps, backs braced against the boat,  watching a ball game on the small television.  They had both changed from their work clothes, Gibbs into soft jeans and a grey fleece sweater, Tony into his new sweats slightly damp from his after work shower.   A half empty bottle of whiskey sat between them with two mismatching glasses partly filled with what Tony called ‘rot-gut,’ but still drank with only some complaint.  After the day they’d had, alcohol was alcohol and neither of them was too choosy about the source.

Tony had been right in his assessment of the lasagna. The noodles were just the right texture, seeped in thick tomato sauce, and layered with cheese and ground beef.  The foiled bag had indeed contained garlic bread, steaming hot, dripping with butter and laced strongly with garlic.  It was heart attack in a bag, and Jethro really didn’t care.

Gibbs watched the light from the television cast its shadows on Tony’s face and he was mesmerized with the strong lines of Tony’s jaw, the slight upturn of his nose.  The brilliant eyes that were squinting at the replay.   He had a smudge of tomato sauce at the corner of his mouth and before he realized what he doing, Gibbs reached over and gently swiped at the streak with his thumb.

Tony froze, his eyes blinking in surprise.  His tongue quickly lapped at his lips, stroking where Gibbs’ thumb had been.  It was too much and Gibbs broke.  He stood, planting himself between Tony’s comfortably spread legs, grabbed Tony’s head between his hands and pressed his lips against Tony’s.  Tony gasped, the sound muffled against Gibbs’ mouth.  Gibbs pressed his advantage and while he plundered the moistness of Tony’s mouth, he pushed him up against the firm wood plank behind them.  The food containers scattered beneath them, and the whisky bottle fell on its side, rolling into the centre of the boat frame, but he didn’t care.  He wanted to lose himself in the intense heat of Tony’s kiss.

Coming to his senses, he paused, waiting to feel the response of the man beneath him.  He didn’t have to wait long.  Tony fumbled at Gibbs’ shirt and pulled the hem up and over the shorter man’s shoulders.  They broke off the kiss long enough to strip off each other’s shirts and then returned to the ecstasy of the kiss.

Tony didn’t let him lead for long and soon used his height and longer limbs to turn them around.  Gibbs slitted his eyes in pleasure as he felt Tony’s lips move down the column of his throat, tracing a line of sweat down to his left nipple.  His hips jerked involuntarily as teeth closed gently around the sensitive nub.  He ran his hands through Tony’s water spiked hair, gently pressing the younger man’s head southward.

Tony was not shy, and eagerly unzipped Gibb’s jeans, pushing the well worn material down past his hips and pulling the white boxers with them.  Gibbs let his head fall back as a very talented mouth enclosed his erection and unabashedly began to move up and down the shaft.  Tony knew what he was doing, and that experience was paying off in spades as far as Gibbs was concerned. 

Moist heat and constant suction had him pumping his hips as much as Tony would take....and take it he did.  Tony’s hands were resting on Gibbs’ hips, but didn’t restrain his thrusts as he fucked that talented mouth.  Then suddenly they were gone, as was the delightful warmth around his cock.  Fingers returned soon, and he watched with aroused detachment as Tony rolled the condom onto him, smoothing it over him with a firm movement of his palm.  Gibbs wasn’t sure where the hell the condom came from, but any attempt to ask Tony was swept away as Tony cupped his balls and gently squeezed.

Arousal spiked through his groin and flushed his face and shoulders.  He wouldn’t last long.  Not after such longing.  Not at the sight of Tony on his knees before him, starting to sweat and breathing heavily with lust.  As his mouth returned to suck vigorously at Gibbs’ cock,  Tony’s right hand moved around Gibbs’ left buttock, stroking and massaging.  As much as Gibbs anticipated it, the shock of the invasion of the finger in his ass had him spasming around it, and coming copiously into Tony’s mouth, flooding the condom.  His fingers tightened on the frame behind him, bracing him against the wash of sensation.

Tony gave his cock one final swipe with his tongue and then carefully pulled off the condom and tied it off.  He looked up at Gibbs and grinned boyishly.  Which of course meant that Gibbs had to pull him up and kiss him senseless once again.

“I want you to fuck me,” Tony whispered in his ear before disengaging from the embrace and brushing sawdust from his knees.  “But not on the damn boat.  I’ll meet you upstairs.”

It took Gibbs a few moments to gather his scattered thoughts and pull up his pants, leaving the fly open.  But he quickly followed Tony up the stairs, eyes glued to the ass ahead of him.

When he reached his bedroom, he paused in the door frame and watched with frank appreciation as Tony slipped his hands into the elastic of the pants and pushed them down over his hips, buttocks and down those long legs.  He looked over his shoulder at Gibbs and smirked.

“Like the view?”

“Oh, yeah.” Gibbs shot back, the corner of his mouth moving up in a lazy smile.  He moved forward, his groin tightening again in anticipation.  He ran a hand down Tony’s flank, feeling the muscle ripple and quiver.

“Nervous?” he asked, placing his hands on Tony’s hips and standing close behind him, pressing the soft fabric of his jeans against the firm swell of Tony’s ass.

“No,” Tony laughed.  “Horny.”

“Well, we can take care of that.” He snaked his hand around to cup Tony’s erection and was pleased to hear the sharp intake of breath.  He pumped the growing cock in his hand, flicking his thumb over the circumcised tip.   Tony pressed his hips forward into Gibbs’ grip, a moan escaping from his lips.

“What do you want, Tony.” Tony jerked at the use of his name.  Gibbs paused, stilling his strokes, and let his other hand slide across where hip met thigh to cup the firm muscle in Tony’s ass.  “Tell me.”

“Fuck me.  Hard.”  Tony gasped, trying to undulate forward into Gibb’s loose grasp and back into his caressing fingers.

“Get on the bed,” Gibbs whispered in Tony’s ear, eliciting another shiver.  “Hands and knees.”

“Want to see you,” Tony whined.

“Later,” Gibbs promised, pressing Tony forward until his knees hit the bed.  While Tony was getting comfortable he rummaged in the bed side table for the packet of condoms he knew he had bought and a bottle of lube that had leaked over the mystery novel he had once tried to read and that now lay with slick pages in the bottom of the drawer.  Fortunately, there was still enough liquid in the bottle for their purposes, and the book was boring anyway.

All thoughts of the book were driven from his mind when he turned back to the bed and saw Tony sprawled wantonly across it, gently undulating his hips and pressing his cock in to the mattress.  Gibbs stripped out of his jeans and joined the younger man on the bed.

He popped the cap on the bottle and poured out a puddle of thick lube into the small of Tony’s back.  Tony hissed as the cool liquid hit his skin.  Gibbs stroked his hands over Tony’s ass, soothing and calming.  He slipped a finger between Tony’s cheeks, teasing his asshole.  Tony tried to bear back, eager and willing, but Gibbs pushed on his back, wanting to tease.  One slick finger at a time, he loosened the tight muscle, taking his time so that his own erection would renew itself.  Tony was groaning with the slow pace, the sheets damp with sweat and his leaking cock where it pressed against the cover.

Gibbs twisted his fingers, nudging Tony’s prostate, closing his eyes at the sensation of Tony’s ass spasming around his fingers, clenching rapidly.  His cock throbbed.

“Oh, god.  Fuck me.  Do it.”  Tony demanded, rolling his forehead on his forearm and pulling his knees under him and spreading them eagerly. 

He didn’t need much more encouragement, but he could barely see straight to open the condom and roll it on.  Tony’s ecstatic moans kept distracting him from the job at hand.  He guided his cock to Tony’s glistening, loosened hole.  “You ready?”

“Just fuck me already, Gibbs!  Do — oh, god,” Tony was cut off by the sensation of Gibbs sinking into him slowly but smoothly in one thrust.  Gibbs groaned at the tight heat that enveloped him, pulling on Tony’s hips to get him even closer.  Tony grabbed at the headboard and Gibbs took the hint, pulling back and giving a sharp thrust.  They built a rhythm, the bed’s frame creaking slightly under the combined weight. 

He could feel the heat building in his gut, spreading out to his limbs and pooling in his groin.  He once again encircled Tony’s erection with his fingers in a loose grip, sliding up and down in tandem with his thrust.

“Come on,” he murmured.  “Come for me. Let go.”

Tony whimpered at the dual sensation, struggling to take more of Gibbs into himself.  “Give it to me.  Show me – oh fuck –  some of that – harder – marine stamina,” he chortled between gasps.

Gibbs obliged and blew Tony’s mind into oblivion.  The resultant tightening of the ass around his cock made him come, and he slumped over the broad back, panting.  Tony managed to rally them both, hissing as Gibbs withdrew slowly, and gently stripped and tied off the condom before tossing it over the side of the bed to land on the floor. 

Before Gibbs could get distracted by thoughts of dried semen on his hard wood, Tony pulled the covers down and had them tucked neatly into bed and drowsing in the warm afterglow of mind-blowing sex.

“So, is this the last time we’ll do this?”  Tony asked sleepily.

“I don’t know about you, but I plan on doing it again.” Gibbs said with a small grin.  “Your presence would be nice.”

Tony chuckled, the sound reverberating across his rib cage.  “Yeah, it would.”

He fell asleep with Tony murmuring in Italian in his ear.

******

The next night, they lay sprawled on the bed, sweaty and sated.  Tony could barely keep his eyes open and was dozing lightly on his side, one arm thrown over Gibb’s chest.  Gibbs sighed contentedly.  He doubted he could move a muscle.  They had slept in, called in to say that they wouldn’t be making an appearance today, and then spent the day trying to do work.  They had failed miserably and ended up having sex in each room of the house.  Tony had especially seemed to enjoy being fucked against the kitchen counter, hands pinned behind his back and making whimpering noises that had just goaded Gibbs into thrusting harder.  Gibbs himself had been partial to the mutual hand job in the shower; simple, satisfying and easy to clean up afterwards. 

There had been one small interruption when Abby called with news from the arson investigators.  The cause of the fire had been an electrical short that started with a broken lamp, igniting the liquid from a similarly broken oil lamp.  Gibbs was almost disappointed they couldn’t stick the bastard with arson, but it looked to have been an accident.  But that didn’t really help with Tony’s current apartment problems.

“Tony,” he said quietly.  Tony just snuffled and burrowed his head further into his pillow.

“Tony!”

“Hmmm?” 

“You know you can’t stay here, right?”

“Mmm. Figured it wouldn’t be a good idea.  Rumour mills and all,” came the drowsy reply.

“No, that’s not it.”  Gibbs smiled at the ceiling.  “If we lived together, we’d never get out of bed.”

Tony snorted into his pillow.  “Can’t argue with you there.  Not that it would be too terrible, but I do like my job.”

“You can start looking for a new apartment tomorrow,” Gibbs said.  He gasped as Tony’s hand dipped below his waistline and gently stroked him to hardness.  “Or you could give it a few more days.”

Conversation was put aside for much more interesting activities, while Mr. Cuddlesworth perched on top of the bureau, tail curled about his feet and a deep purr rumbling in his chest, watching the antics of his humans with smug feline superiority.

Finis