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Whole Again

by: taylorgibbs (Send Feedback)

Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 8232
Rating: TEEN
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo
Category(ies): Angst/Drama, Hurt/Comfort
Pairing(s): Gibbs/DiNozzo
Episode(s): 4-03 Singled Out
Summary: After Gibbs' return from Mexico, Tony takes a stand.

Author Notes: written by Silver Fox Files (TG and Ange). Thanks to Anna for the beta!

Chapters: 1

Set after Singled Out. Tony has just been offered the job in Rota and Gibbs still has his moustache.

Gibbs studied himself in the mirror and ran a hand over his newly shaven face. He should have felt like himself again after almost five months bearded. But he didn’t. There were so many holes in his memory. Some things were close, so close he could almost touch them and other things hung just out of reach.

Hearing the click of the door, he wondered who was here. He’d met Ziva here and then Fornell had come over but nobody since…and he wasn’t expecting anyone, was he?

Gibbs slowly walked down the stairs. The cadence of the steps was something he recognized but couldn’t place, like so many other things lately. He reached the bottom of the stairs and looked over, surprised. “DiNozzo?” he asked quietly.

He’d been wondering about the man a lot lately, how easily he’d slipped into Gibbs’ role but moreover how wounded the other man looked. Gibbs would catch him staring at him as if there was something DiNozzo desperately wanted to say, but didn’t know how.

“You bring dinner?” he asked, looking at a duffle bag, confused.

"No dinner, not yet. Can run out and get it, although I put in a request for gumbo and corn bread, so as soon as Abbs is done with it, she’ll drive it over." Tony was sick of waiting, sick of hoping that Jeth would remember what he'd walked away from.

"Thought you might want some company. So here I am. TV's in your room, but I can move it out here if that makes you more comfortable. Might want to relax, just get your bearings again."

“Gumbo and cornbread?” Gibbs asked, confused. Something about that rang a slight bell but he didn’t know why, couldn’t reach it. He let out a huge gust of air, a purely frustrated sound. “Abby cooks for me?”

His eyes focused on Tony’s duffle again. “Why the bag?” he asked. “And why’s there a TV in my room? Did ya stay here while I was gone or something?” He knew Tony had paid his bills though he didn’t understand why Duck hadn’t. So much he couldn’t understand or figure out.

“Dammit, why can’t I remember everything?” he said, stalking into the kitchen. “You look at me like I killed your dog and I don’t know why. Abbs…she can’t look at me without getting emotional. Duck, Jenny, McGee, Kate…”

Had he really said Kate??

He pulled out a beer and cracked the top on it, closing his eyes when he heard the kitchen door swing back and forth and then open.

"Abby cooks for me, although, if you asked her, she'd cook for you. I mentioned that you really enjoyed her gumbo, and she took that as a way to keep you here." Tony put down the duffle bag, ignoring the question. He'd been staying at a hotel for the last few nights, since Gibbs had been back in town. He needed new clothes, and he'd honestly believed it would be just a day or two before his lover remembered what they had. He hadn't planned on pushing the issue, and still wasn't if Jeth would drop it.

"TV is in your room, because that's where it lives. Has for a while. I stayed here while you were gone. Didn't think it would be that big a deal. Wanted to keep the home fires warm for you. If you don't want company, I can bail again but I'm not bringing the gumbo back by. I'll take it to the hotel and have a feast. I'm a greedy bastard, and don't share."

Gibbs looked at Tony for a long time after he finished his beer, his eyes glancing to the bag and absorbing Tony’s words. Hotel…your room instead of the bedroom…what did it mean? “Hotel,” he said, almost as if it was a statement. “Not apartment?”

He put his empty bottle down and moved closer. “Tell me what I can’t remember, DiNozzo. There’s something major…and I can’t remember it. And if I don’t remember, I’m gonna lose everything, aren’t I? What is it? Tell me…”

“Hotel, I’ve been living here for a couple of years now, Gibbs. I gave up my apartment, so yeah I’ve been at a hotel.” The doctor had said in the beginning Jeths might not ever get his full memory back. Tony was prepared to take his chances on that, even if it was killing him. But it had also been suggested that no one from the team make any drastic pushes to force the memories back. That was the most difficult thing to manage.

“Not supposed to tell you what you can’t remember Gibbs. Could shock you and cause you to shut down again. Don’t want that to happen. We all need you too badly to push the matter. So you’ll have to figure that part out for yourself. If you think of something, that you aren’t sure if it’s a memory or not, just ask. If I know, I’ll confirm it for you.”

Tony was living here? Gibbs listened to what Tony said and then walked upstairs, peering into the spare room first. The closet was full but the bed hadn’t been slept in for a long time. He moved to the bedroom now, pulling back the sheets and breathing in the scent on the other side, something he’d smelled before but had never truly realized. Tony’s scent.

Coming back downstairs, he pierced Tony with a very direct gaze. “We’re lovers?” he asked even though he felt he knew the answer. “Is that what I can’t remember? We were, weren’t we? And you look so hurt because I hurt you by not remembering. Ah hell, Tony…”

He blinked rapidly, nodding, piecing the holes together even though he had no memory to back them up. “I left you…Tony…I didn’t remember. I don’t remember.” He was bi, he knew that, but he had no idea he’d had a relationship with Tony. “Couple years?” he asked softly.

“Tony…you know I don’t say this often. But…I’m sorry….” He so rarely said the words, and uttered that tone of voice even more rarely, but something deep inside him pushed him beyond his normal limits. Tony was that important. He moved closer, almost but not quite touching. “Show me…show me how you feel about me…Make me remember. I need to remember.” It was a plea now, a heartbroken plea, a sound he’d never before uttered with a coworker. And only with few friends.

"We were. What we are now though?" Tony swallowed hard at the vulnerable sound in Gibbs’ voice, his every instinct telling him to go to his lover. Instead, he allowed the wall to come back up, a protective bond around him, and he shrugged, not sure of anything. He'd tried not to act hurt; he knew it wasn't Jeth's fault he couldn't remember.

"I paid the bills out of our joint account and told Ducky I'd buy the place if you insisted on really putting it up for sale. I managed to scare off a few possible buyers, so the place just sat on the market. Worked out well for both of us, since you came home again."

After a couple months, Tony had given up hope that Jeth would come back. If he hadn't remembered what he left behind by then, he probably wasn't going to remember at all. He still might not remember, not even if Tony did as he was asked.

"You have no idea how much I want to hold and kiss you. I've been living in your house surrounding myself with your things. Hoping you'd come back to me. But I don't want to freak you out, or push you into something you're not ready for, or that you might not want anymore." Tony kept gulping down his emotions and hope, even as they swirled around and he hoped like hell he could let down his guard and allow Gibbs in.

A pang of longing so strong it almost drove Gibbs to his knees hit him. “I need you,” he whispered, finally touching Tony, chest to chest. “I might not remember, but my…a part of me has to.”

He blinked back emotion, bringing a shaking hand to Tony’s face, stroking over his jaw. “Kiss me. Show me…” He pressed inward more firmly now and it felt not only right, but perfect. Gibbs buried a hand in Tony’s hair, whispering the last words. “Show me how it is between us. I have to know…”

“Not sure it’ll be like you don’t remember.” Tony wasn’t sure just how tight control he could keep on his emotions. It had been five horrible months, and he was walking a very fine line. But the closer Jeth got, the harder Tony got and the worse it was. He was leaning in, almost touching their lips together. If he were to lick his lips, it would close the gap between the two of them.

He knew he didn’t have the self restraint, and closed the distance between them. Trying to keep it so Jeth wasn’t overpowered was rough, but Tony knew that this could scare away his partner as much as anything else they might do. For all Tony knew, Gibbs was a straight Marine. So there was a possibility that Tony was going to end up getting thrown across the room, if that personality was in control.

Gibbs’ eyes closed as Tony’s mouth came closer, curiosity and longing thrumming through him. When Tony’s lips brushed his, Gibbs tightened his hand in Tony’s hair, groaning his approval, opening under the other man.

He pulled back long enough for Tony’s eyes to open, and Gibbs gave him a very gentle smile, reading volumes in those eyes. “You gotta make me understand this, DiNozzo.” He should have been in shock or angry…he didn’t remember being anything but mostly hetero, not having been with a guy since the Corps. And yet he couldn’t deny that a part of him knew this was right.

“You gotta make me remember,” Gibbs repeated. “Because something this incredible…deserves to be remembered.” He ran a thumb over Tony’s mouth and touched his face lightly.

“It’s like gumbo. Hot and spicy, but it has real substance to it. We’re comfortable, but we have this hotness to us. You recognize it, and just five minutes ago, you were a straight man who never even thought about another man. Well, that you could remember.” It would be funny if it had happened to someone else. But this was Tony’s life that Jeth’s amnesia was screwing with.

“You don’t have to remember. You know we can pick up from here. We’ve got dinner, with the famous Scuito firecracker corn bread being prepared for us. We have kissing and touching and you’re back where you’re supposed to be. We can take it from there. I will tell you though, if you decide to make a run for it again, I’m following you. I can’t live without you, Jeth, can’t keep it together another time. You’re just stuck with me.”

“Are we in love?” Gibbs asked quietly, even though he knew. “We are in love, Tony. Aren’t we? I know, even though I can’t remember.” The longing in Tony’s voice made his gut clench hard.

“Must have been so damn hard for you, Tony. Who knows about us? Have they all been wondering, giving you shit?” Gibbs shook his head. “Didn’t do right by ya, did I?”

"Love is such a small word, to describe what we have. It's more than love, you're my one partner, Jeth. I love you, but I'd die for you, if I could. If I had been on the boat with you, it never would have gotten to this point." Tony had spent the last few months, so incredibly guilty that he hadn't been able to save his lover. He'd had to take over the team, and put on a brave face. When he'd just wanted to curl up into a ball and not deal with any of it.

"The team knows. They figured it out when we were leaving at night together and coming in at the same time. Can't say they aren't observant investigators. Ducky and Abby knew almost from the beginning. Had them over for dinner once I moved in, spilled the beans and drank ourselves silly. None of them cared, and they helped take care of me after you left. Abby fed me, Ducky made sure I’d leave the house for more than work. McGee got me out on the weekends. Even Ziva, who you wouldn't really peg for a nice person, made sure that I wasn’t brooding. So it was hard, but the team held me together as much as I held them together. We got through. You can't be guilty about what you didn't know was waiting here for you."

But this was Gibbs. He could be and would be. Even with his memory shot, he knew this was something incredible and, in that moment, he was at complete peace with it. Didn’t matter what he remembered. This guy was important. Tony. His Tony.

“If you’d been on the boat, have a feeling I’d be with ya.” They were still chest to chest and Gibbs stepped back for a long moment, tugging Tony along with him. “Den. Let’s sit down.” He flopped down on the couch and pulled Tony down beside him, flashing on a glimpse of memory.

“You fed me once? Right here?” he asked cautiously. “One of us was sick…you? Was it after…” He trailed off, watching Tony. “After I’d almost lost you?”

"Guess I'm not completely forgettable." Tony smiled, happy that there was some sort of memory, even if it wasn't a complete one. "I had just gotten out of the hospital. You kept saying I needed to let you help me, because you almost lost me. I didn't get it at that
point, but things fell into place pretty quickly. I recovered, because really, the plague is so yesterday. You took great care of me. Between you and Abby feeding me, I surprised the hell out of the doctors when I had minimal long term damage. You were the one who
brought me back from the edge, and who made sure I got better. You never almost lost me, even if you thought you did. I wasn't going to disobey a direct order and die when you told me I couldn't. No one disobeys you, not if they can help it."

“Y Pestis,” Gibbs said softly. He remembered some of it. Ordering Tony not to die. “You and me, snuggled up together…reading?” he asked as a memory started coalescing in his mind. “Ducky coming in and us springing apart, hoping Duck hadn’t seen anything.”

He stretched out, resting his head in Tony’s lap and bringing Tony’s hand to his hair. “And I…used to stroke your hair like this?” His eyes closed and relaxed in the position. Even if he didn’t remember, parts of him knew. Had to be why he wasn’t panicked or nervous about this.

They were vague, but the memories were there. They just needed to be brought to the surface.

"Yeah, who really gets the plague? Well, except me. My fault too. Tried to run, but you insisted on getting me healthy." Tony gently stroked Jeth's hair, loving how the slightly longer than usual strands tickled his finger tips. He rarely got to be the strong one, so having his lover at his mercy was a novelty.

"Weren't going to let me die, weren't going to let me wither away in self pity like I wanted. We'd read curled up together and probably did amuse Ducky with our attempts to hide what was pretty obvious to anyone but us from the very beginning. He wasn't fooled you know, but he acted like he was. We never did fool anyone but ourselves, but,
once we figured it out, we were so happy. Never experienced anything like that with anyone besides you."

“You’re essential to me,” Gibbs insisted, even though he didn’t have the memories to back it up. He felt it to the depths of his soul. Instead of giving rise to the anger and frustration threatening to burst forth, he sighed, snuggling into the comfort of a warm lap and gently stroking fingers.

“This goes much deeper than I…” Gibbs shrugged. “Then I guess I figured I had the capability to feel.” He looked up at Tony, studying his face. Something came to mind, a fleeting thought he knew needed to be asked, even though he felt he knew the answer. “Soul mates? My body knows. My emotions know. It’s just my mind lagging behind. Bear with me.”

He reached up, pulling Tony’s hand onto his chest, resting it above his heart. “Stay with me.”

"We're essential to each other Jeth. Hated you were gone, hated that you didn't remember. It was like someone cut off my arm or something that I couldn't live without. But I knew that you would come back to me. I knew it like I knew that you were my other half." Tony was actually pleased to know that Jethro didn't suffer the way he did,
that he had no clue about what he'd left behind.

"I can wait as long as I have to." Feeling his partner's beating heart, under his fingers was enough to calm Tony down. "No where else I'd rather be, or I'd rather be with. You're it, and you're stuck with me until you remember or until you decided that we're just going to start over fresh, and move on from this point. I'll be happy with
either option. If you want to see pictures, I can bring them out. Took the few we bothered to put up back down when Ducky said you wanted to sell the place, didn't want to be outing you when you didn't know what was going on. Now that you're home, we'll start introducing things slowly. Starting with dinner, and working outward."

“Abby’s dinner?” Gibbs said with a faint smile. “We picking it up or what?”

“Abby’s dropping off. Think she needed to see that you weren’t going to take off in the middle of the night. She’ll be happy to see the dead thing on your face is gone.” He’d seen Jeth with a day or two stubble, over a weekend when they couldn’t find anything better to do than stay in bed. Scruffy Gibbs was sexy, especially when added to
sleepy eyes and cuddling. The beard was one thing; the pornstache that looked like it belonged in Boogie Nights was another.

Gibbs ran a finger over his upper lip, the skin extra sensitive from being freshly shaved. “You didn’t like it or the beard? Heard you all calling me Papa Smurf,” Gibbs remarked quietly. “It worked for me down there. Shorts, T-shirts, longer hair, grew a beard. Was nice to be someone else and not me for a little bit, Tony. Could figure out who I was a lot better that way.”

He sat up now, running a hand through his hair. “What do you think? You know me best…do you like it?” He knew he sounded a little vulnerable. He’d never had his hair this long, not since he was a kid anyway. And he liked it a lot.

He looked over at Tony and pulled in a deep breath, holding it as if he could hold this moment in time. He didn’t remember much, didn’t know much, but he realized that this was special.

“Never been a romantic that I remember,” he said quietly. “But I think I’d like being one with you. We were happy, weren’t we? Show me…Tony you have to make me remember.”

“You weren’t romantic in the classical sense of the word. But you had your moments. Although I could have done with roses more often, and less bitching that I didn’t always get my socks into the hamper.” Tony knew he was giving Gibbs what his partner called his goofy smile. Tony would take that teasing and complaining in a heart beat, the debates about who would do dishes and who would cook, who needed to clean or do laundry. “You would do little things, like getting my coffee for me like you would get Abbs her Caf-Pow. And you didn’t even make a peep when you would have to ask for hazelnut creamer at the counter. I knew you loved me the first time you let me drive to a crime scene. It’s not something that anyone outside of the team or maybe a few close friends would notice. But I knew what it meant.”

“Hazelnut crap. You get me to drink it and we’ll both know it’s love, Tony. We’ll both remember…”

Tony cut in, needing to move to more mundane topics as he pushed Jeth down to lie in his lap again.

“Love the hair. But the beard. It’s not really the you I know. A few days without shaving, that’s exciting. Lazy Gibbs, well, because I know what extracurricular activities that could lead up to.” Tony could get used to the hair, it was a little shaggy and made him wonder not for the first time, about young Gibbs. Before the Corps, had he been a
floppy haired teen, or had he always worn it high and tight?

“The hair can stay as long as you can tolerate it, or until you can pull it into a ponytail.” He ran his fingers through it, tracing the same path that Jeth himself had. “If you get to the ponytail stage, I’ll cut it for you, while you’re sleeping. I guess I don’t just see you as an old hippie. And I don’t see me with an old hippie, but this is cute. It suits the new you. But can be easily fixed, if you want to be the old you again.”

Gibbs cocked his head. “And the team? How did they react when they found out? Any jealousy?”

The doctors had warned Tony not to push too hard, in case they did further damage. When Ziva had gone in, it had been on a direct order from the higher ups. They hadn’t cared about damage just their mission. He wouldn’t push, he couldn’t. He meant it when he said that he’d take what he could get.

There would be no trying to coerce Jeth into drinking anything in his coffee, Tony knew that. Although it was true, if he tainted his coffee, it would be known world wide that he was in love. “You’re just lucky I love you enough to not push for you to change who you are, or what you drink. And the team loves you enough to know that you aren’t going to treat me any differently then you would any of them. Ziva was a little concerned you were looking for a threesome when you let her drive to a crime scene, but I cleared that up. Let her know we’d be more interested in McGuppy or Ducky than her. Once she understood that the driving isn’t an invitation into your bed, I think she felt a little more secure. You don’t ever treat me like a lover at work. We keep our lives very compartmentalized, if someone didn’t know they weren’t going to figure it out by watching us. I think Ziva and McGee were a little apprehensive, but nothing changed. And we won them over.” Tony paused, looking at Gibbs. “They love you Papa Smurf, furry or clean shaven. And I love you, fur, no fur, any way I can take you. Even if the fur didn’t look like the you I know.”

“Came back with a full beard…” Gibbs ran his hand over his jaw. “Liked it.” And he had but he also had realized that deep down inside it wasn’t him. It wasn’t the Jethro Gibbs he’d been all these years.

“You love me,” Gibbs replied, warmth brimming over in his voice. “Cranky bastard like me?” He sat up now, really looking into Tony’s eyes. “You really love me.” It was a declaration of fact now, no question in it. “And you have tears in your eyes…”

He had to remember. He needed to or he was going to lose this. Even if his mind didn’t remember, a part of him did, a part of him was screaming with the rightness of it.

“Why didn’t you come to me? You needed me and I think I needed you? Why didn’t Mike send me back…”

“Of course I love you, why wouldn’t I? You’re fantastic, you’re a hell of a guy, you throw a mean football and you can kick my ass any day of the week. And if you haven’t noticed, you’re still pretty hot for an old guy Jeth.” Tony joked, not touching on any of the real reasons he loved the man.

“You understand me; you’re the first person to ever get me. To let me be me, and not care that I’m not always perfect; because you’ll find out if you don’t remember, that I’m far from perfect. You know me better then anyone else in the world. And you still want me around, which is completely new to me.”

Tony had considered going down to Mexico, but every time he did, he felt guilty about it. It had been apparent that Jeth had needed time and space to heal. He might not have even gotten to this point, and it was far from perfect.

“You needed to heal. I hoped that by letting you leave, you would come back to me whole again. Your world was destroyed, at least as you knew it. If I had Mike send you back, I’d never know if it was because you got kicked out or because you wanted to be here. Even without me pressuring you, you decided to stay. That’s what I needed. I couldn’t be the reason that you came back. I’d never know if it was what you wanted, or what you thought I expected.”

“I don’t remember,” Gibbs said softly. “So it’s a wonder to me, Tony. That anyone on the team loves me. That someone loves me.” Gibbs gave Tony a gentle smile, shifting positions so that they were now eye to eye.

“I always understood you. I used to be a little like you a long time ago, Tony. A very long time ago. But that is a sacrifice I couldn’t have made. What would you do if I never came back? I hadn’t planned to, then Ziva…and Fornell…”

They’d needed him; they’d made him feel needed. And all along Tony had been standing on the sidelines.

He knew he rarely said it but it bore repeating. “I’m sorry that my forgetting hurt you so much.”

Tony’s eyes widened and he acknowledged that with a nod. "It wasn't just me, Jeth. All of us needed you, and you didn't remember us. At least not the way we were. Abby, she was here with me for two weeks, because she was sure I was going to break. But I think it was as much for her as it was for me. She slept on your side of the bed, in one of your t-shirts until she couldn't smell you anymore. I think she spent some time after that trying to replicate your scent. Sawdust is harder to work with than gun powder I guess, because she never seemed to get it right."

Tony could live with what happened. He'd had the option to follow his lover, or do what he had been asked. Keep the team together, keep everyone safe and hope that his butterfly lover came back to him. The saying said he would, but it had been getting to a point where he didn't know if the situation with Ziva hadn't happened if he really would have.

"I did what I needed to do here. I knew that you might never come back but it was a chance I had to take. You gave me the keys to the car, and if I left, the wheels would have fallen off. Even Madam Director seems out of sorts without you here Jeth. I had to keep them together for when you did come back. And I got lucky on both fronts.
You're home, and everyone bought into me as team lead and didn't demand transfers."

Gibbs set his jaw and shook his head. “Shouldn’t have come down on your shoulders. Proud of you…but you shouldn’t have had to…”

He looked down, feeling terrible. The idea of Tony and Abby curled up in his bed, of Abby trying to replicate his scent, were heartbreaking. “You sure you wanna stay, after all of this?”

He knew it was well within Tony’s rights to leave. He had been through a different kind of hell. And even now Gibbs didn’t remember. There were shadows, and impressions. There was a sense of rightness, but no actual memories. And he wanted to feel complete. This was the missing part of his soul. And in forgetting, he’d almost lost it again.

He let out a little anguished sound at the thought.

“Who else was going to keep the team together? McGee? He’s barely able to keep himself together most days. I was the right person, and you might not have remembered everyone, you knew what you were doing when you put the team in my hands. If it hadn’t been me, things could have ended very badly. They almost did anyway, but it gave me something to focus on. Other then running away and joining you on the beach. I almost ended up being your tool monkey; I was so close to following you. But
like you needed to be anywhere else but here, this was the only place I could be."

Tony laughed at the idea of leaving. Someday if Jeth remembered, he'd realize that in the beginning, Tony had tried to leave. But hadn't been allowed to. Now, he couldn't leave, this was his home more than any place before had ever been.

"You're stuck with me. I know I don't have to be here. I want to be here. With you, without you really wasn't much fun. I'm more worried about if you really want to be here. You still don't remember everything, and this was your home with Shannon and Kelly. Are you sure this is where you want to be?"

“It is home, Tony. You’re home. We’re home.” He touched first his chest and then Tony’s. “This is home.” Gibbs stood slowly, stretching his back.

He walked upstairs, knowing Tony was following him. He stopped at Kelly’s bedroom. “Have you ever been in here? Did you…you must have known…”

He waited for direction from Tony before he opened the door to that room. In truth he was intimidated to go in there. “Did I talk much about the family I had…beforehand?” He hoped to hell he didn’t compare Tony, as he’d compared his exes.

Then again, there wasn’t as much of a basis of comparison as there had been with the exes. There was the man versus woman, muscles versus curved, and the brown versus red hair, the knowing smiles were the same though and the way they completed him.

“You never talked about them. And no, I never came in here. There was one place in the whole house you didn’t want me, and I didn’t want to invade. More than I had that is.” He had invaded, bringing all of his stuff and forcing Jeth into the new century. He’d brought TVs, computers and game systems. He’d brought poker parties for the team,
and a kitchen full of gadgets that would make a gourmand jealous.

“Once I knew, I guessed that this was where you kept Kelly and Shannon and the memories that go along with them. I didn’t want to go in, it wasn’t my past and I didn’t have a place in here without you. I left the door locked, and though I was tempted, I hoped that you’d come back and take me in there. When you’re ready, it doesn’t have to be now. But if it is, I’m here to get you through it.”

“Did I ever take you sailing?” he asked abruptly, feeling the ghost of a memory brushing his consciousness.

The switch in topics was confusing, but Tony was more than able to go with it. They’d talked about sailing a lot. For having grown up a rich kid, it was something that Tony had never bothered with. Spending that much time trapped in a small space with his father had never been his idea of fun. But sailing with Jeth, in a boat that had
been built in their home had sounded much more appealing.

“We were talking about it. You have a half finished shell of a boat downstairs, and we talked about when you finished maybe we’d take this one out once before you burnt it. I didn’t do anything to the boat other then dust it and make sure that nothing was eating it. You’ll find a pillow down there, if I needed to feel close to you, I’d sleep down on the floor. Always seemed to work for you when you were out of sorts. If it’s something we’re going to be doing on a regular basis, we might want to invest in a futon mattress. The floor is damn hard.”

Gibbs took his key ring out and unlocked the door. It had an exterior lock on it, which opened easily despite not being used for months. “Come in,” he said quietly, shelving the boat conversation for now. They would get back to that later.

He motioned to the pictures on the wall, some of which were family portraits; others were pictures of a little girl in this very room. “Friends…Pat and Lynn Kiley—have you met them? They convinced me to get rid of Kelly’s furniture, to turn this into a quiet place rather than a shrine.”

He gave Tony a smile that was little more than a wry twist of his lips. “I built the crib, the cradle, the bed. They’re all in the attic.” Instead of a bed, there was a couch, ugly and a little uncomfortable. “We used to watch movies on that thing. Little Mermaid was her favorite. Kelly’s. Shannon…she liked those romantic things. The chick flicks.”

He sat on the couch in his spot and motioned Tony down. “I can feel their spirit in here. You think that is crazy?”

“I’m familiar with the senator. Up and comer in the political circles. Rumor has it, after a couple successful terms in office, he might be running for president.” It shouldn’t surprise him that Jeth knew such powerful people. He might complain about some of the
fancy parties that they were required to attend to show off the use of the agency, but he fit in much too well to support his Average Joe persona.

“I think your friends were right though. This is nice, not a shrine but a place to get away and be quiet. There are memories, but not so overpowering that you can’t function.” Tony wanted to look closer at the pictures, but knew that he was needed right now. There would be time for that later. The fact that Jeth needed him took precedence
over everything. He sat down, and moved in, so that they were touching, but he wouldn’t over power his lover either. He was there for support right now.

“I love that you have this room. I know the man you are, under the gruff voice and the head slaps. But this is just physical proof. I really want you to know how much I appreciate you sharing this with me. I like to think you would have eventually.” Tony shrugged, trying to play this off more casually than it actually was.

“Maybe from here on out, we can leave the door unlocked, and someday open up the door all together. You don’t have to keep your family locked away. I knew coming into this that you had a past. I couldn’t compare to them, not even on my best days. We’re partners; more than headslaps and ‘Ya think, DiNozzos’ here.”

“Go ahead, Tony. Explore.” It would give Gibbs an opportunity to study Tony as a lover rather than a coworker, to try to put the few remaining pieces of the puzzle together. “Go ahead…”

He gave Tony an encouraging nod. The least he could do was to let Tony explore, and Gibbs knew in his gut, and deeper still, in his heart, that this was the right thing to do. He pulled in a deep breath and leaned back on the couch, looking around the room and then focusing on Tony. Gibbs felt completely at home and at ease here, and sharing it with Tony felt like the right thing to do.

“Think we can leave the door open from now on. Equal parts of my life.” He paused when he said that but realized it was true. Even though he didn’t remember, he knew. And each new realization knocked him to the core.

“We fit,” he whispered, awed.

"Yeah we do." Tony had no argument for that, although he was stunned by the two words. He'd just reached out to touch the picture of Kelly and Jeth. He was pushing the girl on a swing, and you could almost hear her laughter in the air. The smile on his lover’s face was incredible. Even though he knew that they were happy together, he couldn't remember ever seeing Gibbs that way.

"It's not always perfect, it's not always calm. But we do fit. You don't remember, and I'm okay with that because I know that you don't need to remember. You feel it, even if your brain doesn't recognize it yet. And I think that's the best sign
of all."

“I feel it. My gut…and a lot more, Tony. Feel…complete. Haven’t felt that in a lot of years.” Since Shannon and both knew that. He stood now, resting his hands on Tony’s shoulders from behind, stretching to kiss the nape of his neck. A kiss became a gentle nuzzle and Gibbs found his hands running over Tony’s chest and settling at his waistband. Gibbs rested his cheek against Tony’s shoulder.

“Didn’t think I could love like this again,” he whispered. It didn’t feel wrong at all, didn’t feel like a betrayal to his wife.

“I knew you could. Didn’t know why you couldn’t give yourself fully, but I knew you loved me. Never doubted it. Now it makes so much more sense.” Tony was standing still, letting Jethro explore. The touches were tentative, but inquisitive. If he were a cat, he’d be purring right now.

“Might not be the best place for what your fingers are promising, Gibbs. We may want to take it back to our couch, or into the bedroom. Don’t know what you’re thinking, but I don’t want to screw up the memories in your head more than I already have.”

“Bedroom,” he agreed a little tentatively. “Can the gumbo wait? Will Abbs wait?” He didn’t know that it mattered. He pulled away slowly, encircling Tony’s wrist with his hand.

“Bedroom,” he repeated more firmly this time. He was stunned to find himself getting aroused at the thought of DiNozzo in bed. With every step he took his blood heated until he lightly shoved the other man on the bed and crawled atop him, brushing his mouth over Tony’s gently but with heat and passion, a hand digging into Tony’s thick hair.

“I want you,” he whispered in wonder.

"Gumbo can wait, Abbs, can't. But she'll get over it. She'll be excited that we're back together. And that I won't be moving in with her." Abby would let herself in, and park herself on the couch and likely critique their vocal performance after the fact, but he didn't care. Nothing was more important than this second chance.

"You can't wait, and you aren't going to. It's you and me, Abby can find her own silver haired fox. I've got mine and I'm not letting him go again. You have no idea how badly I want and need you right now. Been waiting too long, not sure I can manage any longer."

“Talking too much,” Gibbs semi-growled wrenching himself away from Tony’s mouth. They were both hard now and it didn’t bother him at all that he was pressed against a muscular chest, a hard cock digging into his thigh.

“How’s it work, Tony? Me or you…on top?” He couldn’t fathom being the partner with less control but the fact remained that he didn’t remember. He could very well be the one who was penetrated.

Gibbs licked his way down Tony’s throat, the feel of the stubble under his mouth remembered by a part of himself. He began tugging at buttons, knowing he was ripping the shirt in his need to feel muscles under his hands and mouth. He fastened his mouth on Tony’s pulse point and sucked hard as he rolled them over so that he was underneath now and Tony could show him how they were together.

Gibbs strained up, driving his hips against Tony’s and rubbing urgently against his hardness, emitting small sounds of need long denied but never forgotten. He was so damn hard, so damned needy.

“Tony…” he whispered, coming up for air, realizing he was holding fistfuls of the tattered shirt in his hands, realizing he’d bruised Tony’s jaw where he’d sucked so hard.

“Show me. Don’t wanna be patient…”

“You never do. Not a surprise there.” It was obvious that it was only Jeth’s memory that was gone. His body knew what to do, even if he didn’t remember. “You’re a bit more dominant, but I don’t take any shit from you. I’m quite capable of rolling you, and showing you I’m an equal, although I don’t mind playing the role of sex toy either. We play it by ear; there isn’t a set script that we work with. Some nights it’s hot sex, some nights it’s cuddling and reading the paper in bed before falling asleep. Although there is usually hot sex that leads up to that too, if we’re lucky and have the time. Most nights you top me, but once in a while you let me top you. We’re not exactly typical.”

“Less talk, more action,” Gibbs growled. “Ya talk too much.” He bucked up against Tony, groaning at the contact. “More action, Tony. God, I need you.” This was what he’d been missing but didn’t even know it. This was what he needed to feel complete again. He arched up, reaching for Tony’s shoulders and pulling him close. “Give me what we’ve been missing, DiNozzo.”

“Never complain about my mouth when it’s wrapped around your dick.” Tony muttered. He was trying here, but they were flipping pretty quickly. It was great, although he knew that Jeth likely still didn’t remember a damn thing, and if this was going to be sex and that was it, there was going to be some major disappointment. But he couldn’t say no. He was hard, and primed for whatever he could get tonight. Not bad considering he’d only come over to pick up some clothes and make sure that a certain boyfriend wasn’t going to run off again.

“You don’t have to rush; I’m not taking off, Jeth. I’m here, and I’m staying. And if you rush, one of us is going to get hurt. It’s been how many months? Now get your clothes off. Let me save my pants, since you did a number on my shirt. Let’s enjoy, and while up against the wall is good, it can be so much better.”

“Months… Been months…for both of us.” He’d been away for almost five months and the need was rising inside him. Gibbs shifted out from under Tony, yanking clothes off and dropping them in a very untidy pile, chest heaving, cock leaking. He just stared at Tony, eyes wide, desire making him shake a little with the intensity.

“I need you,” Gibbs finished, reaching for the other man. “Tony…need you.” He didn’t much care what Tony said or thought right now, as long as they could bleed the edge of their lust off. Gibbs palmed Tony and squeezed, not feeling at all strange about holding another guy’s erection.

“How…?” Gibbs asked. He didn’t know how to find the words to ask if they just kissed and jacked each other off, or if there were usually mouths…or full penetration. And right now he needed this so much he wasn’t sure it mattered.

“You want to see how it can be, I’m happy to show you. No desperation. Let me take care of you, Jeth. I know you want to rush this, but that’s not who we are. Let me touch you, stroke you and I need to taste you. Don’t know if you’re going to want this when morning comes and you still can’t remember. But I’m not going to let you rush this if it’s all I’m going to get.” He put up a hand, motioning for Gibbs to slow down.

Gibbs blinked rapidly, not sure what to say about that. “You can…tell me how you want me, DiNozzo. Tony…” He’d want this, he knew he would. Right now he understood that Tony was the hidden piece of the puzzle, the thing Gibbs had desperately been trying to figure out.

“Been trying to figure this out for four months,” Gibbs told Tony quietly. “What I was missing. Now I know.”

“Now you know,” Tony agreed, pulling Gibbs close and kissing him tenderly. “Even if you don’t remember, Jeth, I’m here. I’m not leaving. I love you, ya bastard.”

As Gibbs’ mouth sealed on Tony’s and he kissed Tony with ferocity and passion, Tony realized he didn’t care if they took it slow or hard and fast. He didn’t need more than this moment and their new beginning. Or starting over. He could face anything as long as he was with Gibbs.

Hours later, as Gibbs came back to awareness, he realized Abby was singing off key from her position downstairs, where she’d been for a while. Gibbs thought she’d come in sometime between the incredible blow job and sloppy kisses as he guided himself inside Tony, but he wasn’t sure he could pinpoint that. It was all a sexual haze.

He was completely relaxed, snuggled against Tony, his mind finally intact again. It had been from the moment he’d entered Tony. He turned to his sleepy, yet sated, lover and gave him a lazy smile. “I remember everything, Tony. You, me, us. Every moment. Not gonna waste any more of ‘em.”

“Been waiting for that,” Tony replied, knowing that it would be okay. They had a second chance and they weren’t going to waste a second. “Missed you, Jeth,” Tony whispered.

“I know,” Gibbs stroked a hand over Tony’s jaw. “But I’m here now, whole again.”

“So are we,” Tony added and Gibbs cocked his head.

“What are we, Tony?”

“Whole again.”

Chapters: 1

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