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The Trick is Not Minding

by: twoweevils (Send Feedback)

Series: Semper Fi #3
Chapters: 004 Word Count: 12166
Rating: ADULT
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo, Ensemble
Category(ies): First Time
Pairing(s): Gibbs/DiNozzo
Summary: It had been a long haul from the time he'd first locked eyes with Gibbs and thought, I wouldn't mind a slice of that.

Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

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Book yourself on the first flight to BWI in the're coming home.

DiNozzo threw his stuff in a bag and was halfway out the door before the small part of his brain that was still rational realized there was no such thing as a redeye from Panama City Beach to DC. Not really one of your more popular commuter routes. He smiled, thinking of a planeload of stiff-suited lobbyists and congressional aides making a weekly trek to Harpoon Harry's for a beach pail filled with Long Island Ice Tea.

Now, buckling himself in for the pre-dawn flight that would take him to BWI via Atlanta, he rubbed a hand over his jaw. He'd showered and shaved hours ago, unable to even think about sleeping, but he'd be stubbly again by the time he landed in Baltimore. Maybe he could clean up in the airport before he went to find Gibbs.

A cocky grin stole over Tony's face. He'd set out to get himself fired when he grabbed the phone in one hand and his dick in the other and called Gibbs last night. It was a last-ditch assault--he'd never wanted anything for so long with so little hope of getting it. But Tony couldn't make himself quit. He wanted to force Gibbs to push him away. He wanted to see if Gibbs would push him away. Because, at some level, Tony knew that the heat wasn't just one-sided. And last night, Gibbs fucking went for it.
Damn, I'm good.

He tried to relax, closing his eyes to chase the sleep he'd missed, but he was too amped with anticipation. If he didn't know himself better, he'd say he was nervous. It had been a long haul from the time he'd first locked eyes with Gibbs and thought I wouldn't mind a slice of that. Of course, that was just Tony's standard operating procedure with pretty much anything that moved. But once he was under Gibbs's jurisdiction, he was more interested in survival than seduction.

To make it through Gibbs's personal boot camp was a badge of honour among NCIS field agents. Many failed.

The failures often made good sycophants in the Director's office or moved over to one of the three-letter agencies that Gibbs cheerfully despised. But Tony loved a challenge and wasn't afraid of hard work. He remembered the day, nine months in, when Gibbs first indicated that he thought DiNozzo wasn't entirely incompetent.

Tony had been awake for nearly two full days, tailing a NAVAIR commander suspected of murder. The civilian intern who found out the guy had been selling intel to one of the beltway bandits turned up dead in a Pax River dumpster. It had gotten a little hairy at the end--his backup hadn't shown and DiNozzo took out after the guy alone, trying to catch him before he ditched the knife and bloodied clothes in the Patuxent.

Back at the Yard, Tony handed the dirtbag off to be processed, and hit the men's room to examine the damage to his nose and his favorite North Face turtleneck. Gibbs was in there. Without looking at Tony, he said, "That's a good job, DiNozzo," zipped up, and left.

Definitely worth the price of a new turtleneck.

The flight attendant reached across DiNozzo to lower the window shade. She was curvy in all the right places and favoured Tony with an inviting smile. To his great amusement and mild astonishment, he realized that he hadn't flirted with her. Not even a little bit. Not even when she'd offered him a pillow.

He hadn't been able to really put his heart into any serious grab-ass for a long while. He was slipping. Even Paula Cassidy noted his lack of enthusiasm when she emailed him about hooking up after her current deployment. Panama City Beach was supposed to get Gibbs out of his head. Get him back in the game. Instead it just made it all too clear that the game was over. He wanted Gibbs and nobody but Gibbs.

It was all Kate's fault. When she first joined NCIS, Tony had been all about defending his position on the team. Ducky had been right--he and Kate fought like brother and sister over Gibbs's attention. And Tony had enough insight to admit that he looked to Gibbs for some kind of paternal approval. But somewhere in there--he didn't want to think too hard about how--it had degenerated into a quest to bag the son of a bitch.

Whatever. He'd rolled out his well-oiled arsenal of charm and innuendo, cranked up the flirting, and damned if Gibbs didn't seem to be taking the bait. Or at least playing the game. And then the bastard moved the goalposts.

It actually caught Tony by surprise the first time he got hard when Gibbs stood too close to him. Then he started getting tingles when he caught one of those smiles that Gibbs tried to hide. His heart, or his stomach, or whatever was in the middle there, flopped when Gibbs looked at him that way.

If that wasn't enough of a clue, there was the sheer and unyielding terror when he saw Gibbs on the floor in autopsy with a bullet in his shoulder. Even when the medic arrived and Tony wasn't needed to keep pressure on the wound, he kept Gibbs in a near-bruising grip. He wanted nothing more than to wrap his long body around Gibbs like human Kevlar.

He'd seen the movies and read the books. He knew what this was. Somehow, the desire to please his boss and the desire to fuck his boss had merged into being ridiculously in love with his boss. Because that's what this was: love. The evidence was clear. What else could make you act like such a complete ass?
Tony shifted in his seat and checked his watch. Soon. His face got hot thinking about how Gibbs had been last night. How his voice changed as he responded to Tony's raw need.

Home, Gibbs had said, you're coming home.

Gibbs cursed himself for keeping his place so spotless.

If there'd been dishes in the sink or a hamper full of laundry or a layer of dust over everything, he'd have something to do. He needed an occupation to keep from going completely nuts. He'd dozed off after...what had happened earlier with DiNozzo, but now at zero-dark-hundred, he was suddenly completely wide awake. He wanted Tony here.

After confirming (for the third time) that Tony's flight would land at 1106, Gibbs tried to collect himself, heading downstairs for some boatbuilding therapy. The rich smell of the wood hit him like a slap and the memory of that phone call came flooding back. Almost before he could draw breath, he was straining against his jeans. Again. He considered taking care of it himself, but decided the wait would be worth it.

Gibbs threw a splash of bourbon in the mug. He grabbed a rag and started to wipe down and put away his tools, trying to lose himself in the routine. This whole thing was his own damn fault, of course. He'd known exactly what was going on. Hell, he'd practically dared Tony - deliberately provoking him, challenging him to cross the line. Prudence wasn't something they taught Marines. And it sure didn't come naturally to Gibbs.
But Gibbs couldn't make an obvious move. He was the boss. Relationships between agents never work out.

But goddamn, was it fun. He would come up behind DiNozzo, silent and deadly, and watch him respond to his voice, low and purring, in his ear. He'd perch casually on Tony's desk, legs wide, his thigh brushing Tony's arm as he avoided the questions in Tony's eyes.

He screwed the lid on a jar of galvanized washers. What the hell was he supposed to do? When your days and nights are littered with bodies and pain and stupid waste, you need a little something to break the tension. He'd always liked keeping his people off balance. And DiNozzo made it so easy.

It was inevitable that something would happen, sooner or later. He had tried to tell himself that when it did, it wouldn't mean anything. It would be all about relieving the tension. They'd come pretty close a few times, but it always seemed like the wrong time--like last fall after the Jeffrey White thing. But now it was happening. Going to happen. Had already started. And Gibbs wasn't sure he knew what he wanted. He checked his watch again. Definitely need to kill some time.

Push-ups and crunches. They'd never been known to fail when you wanted to take your mind off something. Or focus your mind on something. Somehow the effort of straining your muscles, keeping good form, and pushing for that extra twenty--or fifty--allowed your head to look at a problem from a new angle. He switched off the basement light and headed upstairs.

As he settled on the carpet and started his workout, Gibbs thought about how he and DiNozzo had sparred with each other all this time. He knew he could drop Tony to the canvas in a heartbeat. Yet he held back--letting Tony land the odd blow, but dancing just out of reach. Gibbs had played this game before, but never so close to home.
And there was the real problem. Gibbs paused mid-crunch. He had to admit it. Tony had gotten too close to home. Gibbs let him get too close. Too close to be just a warm body on a cold night. This was DiNozzo, and Gibbs was in. He was all in. Would Tony be up for that? Gibbs smiled to himself and started to work on his obliques. He'd find out soon enough. He already knows I'm the marrying kind.

Gibbs's breath came faster as he lost count of his crunches. Even if those marriages hadn't worked out the way he hoped they would, Gibbs always hoped. He wanted a life outside of work. He wanted a reason to come home. He never thought that reason might come in a DiNozzo-shaped package, but you just never knew what life was going to throw at you.

He checked the clock. 0520. Time seemed to be moving very slowly. He was sweaty and tired, but his head was clearer now. He wanted this. And not even Tony would have put so much on the line last night if he wasn't feeling pretty damn serious. He wouldn't have gone on with it for so long if it was just a matter of chalking Gibbs off some list. His gut told him that much...or maybe the feeling was coming from somewhere nearer the waterline.

He lay back, resting his head on his hands. They'd have to be careful. The NCIS chain of command tended to turn a blind eye to 'fraternization' unless someone filed a formal complaint. He'd broken that rule before but it looked like he was going to throw the rule book out the window this time. Gibbs pushed the thought away. It would work out. They'd make it work out. He closed his eyes, relaxing into sleep as he thought about Tony. In his house. In his bed. Tonight. Every night.

Gibbs swung by his usual neighbourhood place for coffee before heading to the interstate. He balanced the cup on the roof of his car when his cell phone bleated. He's not coming. He missed the plane. He came to his senses.

"Yeah. Gibbs."

"Ah, Jethro. Sorry to disturb your day of rest."

"What do you need, Duck?" Gibbs took a sip of coffee through the hole in the lid.

"We've got a rather odd problem here."

"What kind of problem?"

"Abby's here with me, and..." Mallard hesitated. Gibbs heard a murmured conversation in the background. "We really think it would be best if you came down to see for yourself. It's not something I feel I can discuss on the telephone."

"Got it. I'll be there."

Damn. The problem with having a reputation for being a workaholic was that people expected you to be just waiting for the chance to do more work. The plane would be on final approach by now. No way to reach Tony. Rubbing his neck as he swung the car back toward DC, Gibbs reflected that sleeping on the living room carpet was only marginally more comfortable than sleeping on the keel of his boat.

DiNozzo, it's me. Something came up. I'll give you a call when I can.

Tony stared at the cellphone. He'd known as soon as he heard Gibbs's voice. Something came up? Hoisting his bag more firmly across his shoulder, he headed toward the cab stand. He hesitated for a moment before telling the driver where to take him. Gibbs's door would be unlocked...Tony bit his lip thinking about what kind of surprise he could have waiting for Gibbs when he got home. Whatever had held him up probably wouldn't take that long to resolve.

He gave the driver the Takoma Park address and settled in for a quick Sunday morning trip down I-95. Tony figured he'd get cleaned up and see what might be edible in Gibbs's kitchen. From his previous visits, he knew Gibbs wasn't much of a cook--if he couldn't barbecue it or microwave it, Gibbs didn't eat it. Maybe he'd throw something together...something that wouldn't suffer from sitting and waiting while they finished what they'd started last night.

Tony closed his eyes and pictured what was coming. Maybe Gibbs would slam him against the door and give him a quick hand job to take the edge off. Or maybe it would be slow and sexy, no urgency, all the time in the world to explore. He shivered in anticipation of finally getting to know what Gibbs liked and how to give it to him. Has he even done this before?

He remembered a website he came across, back when he was trying to absorb everything he could about the Navy and Marine Corps to impress his new boss. There'd been that cadence the 'Hollywood' Marines in San Diego used: Don't ask (how large) don't tell (your sarge). Gotta love the internet. He'd read some pretty wild stories of what went on in Marine barracks--he bookmarked a few--but Gibbs?

An image of Gibbs as a Marine rose suddenly and fully formed in Tony's mind. Back ramrod straight, hair high and tight, everything polished and completely buttoned down. He sat up and opened his eyes. Shit. He tried to fight back the sick feeling that welled up from his stomach.

What if there was no emergency? What if Gibbs had changed his mind and needed to buy some time to figure out what to tell him? Tony realized he knew that story; morning after a party, vague recollection of having made someone promises he had no intention of keeping. Practice avoidance. Duck the calls and be oh, so casual the next time their paths crossed. It's not's me.

They were just north of Jessup. Still time to file a new flight plan. Without giving himself time to second-guess the decision, he told the driver to get back on the Beltway.
How many times had Gibbs warned him about thinking with the little head instead of the big one? There was no way Gibbs was going to risk both of their jobs for what would probably turn out to be no more than the odd fuck after a lousy day.

But Gibbs had said 'home'.

And Tony had come pretty close to using the L-word--and not the one that involved two hot girls getting it on in L.A.

He sighed and stretched the kinks out of his neck as he paid the driver and climbed the steps to his apartment. He wasn't making sense. He couldn't think. Tired. Hungry. He'd go upstairs and wait. It wasn't like he had much of a choice.

"What is that?" Gibbs stood behind Abby and McGee, looking at what appeared to be an orange labyrinth on the plasma in her lab.

Abby half-turned and took the vat of CafPow! from Gibbs's hand. "What's it look like, Gibbs?"

"It looks like I'm going to be filing your termination papers unless you cut the crap and tell me what I'm doing here." Gibbs was in no mood for games.

"It's an RFI chip, Boss." McGee broke in before Abby could tease the answer out any longer. He'd never seen Gibbs quite like this. He looked almost...disheveled. In unthinking response to Gibbs's disarray, McGee tightened the perfect Windsor knot of his tie. "Radio Frequency Identification. The chip has a small antenna which enables it to receive and respond to radio-frequency queries from an RFID transceiver."

Gibbs gave McGee the usual blank stare. Abby chimed in, "It's like an EZ Pass, Gibbs. You know, the transponder you put in your car to pay tolls? Only way smaller."

"And we're looking at it because?"

"Ah, there you are, Jethro." Dr. Mallard entered the lab with Jimmy Palmer close on his heels. "We're looking at this chip because I found it implanted subcutaneously in Seaman Beaumont's left upper arm."

Tony went around the apartment opening windows. He'd only been gone for two nights, but the place smelled kind of stale. A chilly spring rain blew in, leaving droplets on the windowsills. He checked his answering machine. Nothing from Gibbs. Just Kochifis wondering if this was the week he was going away, and, if not, did he want to shoot hoops Monday night.

"Where are you, Boss?" he asked the empty room.

As he stuffed laundry into a duffle bag, Tony considered calling. But Gibbs had said that he would call. When did I turn into such a girl? What could have come up? Work. But then why hadn't he given Tony more details? Gibbs knew he was home. There was no reason he couldn't come in to work if there was some emergency.
Unless Gibbs doesn't want me there.

Flushing with humiliation and rising anger, Tony slammed into the kitchen and stared at the contents of his fridge. Not much there. But then, he'd planned to be away all week, eating seafood and the occasional co-ed.

He pulled the Cap'n Crunch box down from the pantry shelf and headed for the living room. He'd go out and stock up later. For now, he just wanted to zone out with a James Bond movie and try to figure out what to do next. So what if Gibbs wasn't willing to take a chance with him? He'd handled worse. As Q explained the operation of the Aston Martin DB5's passenger ejector seat, Tony settled in and thought strategy.

A joke. That's how he'd play it. Take the rest of the week off as planned. Avoid the phone. Drink, dance, get royally and thoroughly fucked right here in DC. Then stumble into work next Monday with enough tales of his exploits to make McGee sweat and Kate start thumbing through the agency policy on sexual harassment. Gibbs would be his usual miserable self. If he did make any reference to the phone call, Tony would use the "God, was I drunk!" excuse and claim to remember almost nothing.

And he'd start looking for a new job right away. His instincts had been right when he tried to get himself fired; it was time to leave. It was probably better this way. He sucked at relationships, and Gibbs didn't have much of a track record either. Never mind that Tony had never felt so connected with someone, never learned to anticipate the way he did with Gibbs, never wanted to excel so badly. Never mind.

It was over. No more pent-up frustration. No more longing looks across the office. No more games. Tony unclipped his cell phone and turned it off. No more Gibbs.

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