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Moving Forward

by: ksl (Send Feedback)

Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 030 Word Count: 111544
Rating: ADULT
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo
Category(ies): Alternate Universe
Pairing(s): Gibbs/DiNozzo
Episode(s): 4-03 Singled Out
Summary: An AU where Tony accepts the position in Rota, Spain when Shepard offered it in season four.

Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30

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When they’d gotten within the city limits, Gibbs had called McGee to tell him that he and the team could head home after returning the van. Their reports on the operation could wait until tomorrow. He didn’t bother to tell them to avoid the Director. They should know better than to let her corner them. Not that she needed to talk to them; she was as aware of what happened as they were. She’d been watching from MTAC and listening in on their radio communication. But knowing Shepard, Gibbs was sure she’d want a full briefing as soon as possible.

While Gibbs was talking to McGee, Tony called Miri. He told her to head for the hotel, and he’d see her tomorrow. Something she said made Tony laugh, but it wasn’t loud enough for Gibbs to hear. He was tempted to ask, but wasn’t sure he really wanted to know.

Gibbs opted not to head for the office, going directly to his home instead. He’d taken government vehicles home before; it wasn’t a violation of regulations, although it wasn’t regularly permitted. Gibbs didn’t want to be cornered by Shepard either. The mission was a success. There was no follow up required, at least not by NCIS. The CIA might need to keep track of Benoit, ARES and their agent, but NCIS’ roll in all this was finished. A full briefing could wait until tomorrow.

Gibbs was decidedly pleased when their respective phone calls were completed Tony took his hand again. They’d never held hands before, but it felt right to do it now.

Gibbs didn’t know what to say, so he let silence fill the car. Tony rubbed his thumb over Gibbs’ knuckles. There was nothing erotic about the caress but it made Gibbs’ spine tingle just the same. It had been a long time since anyone other than Abby had touched him with anything approaching affection.

“You sure we should be pissing Shepard off by not going back to the office?” Tony asked quietly.

“She’s been pissed about La Grenouille for years.” Gibbs shook his head. “I don’t think she’d be any less pissed if we went back to the office.”

“Point.” Tony squeezed Gibbs’ hand. “You think the CIA will keep her informed from now on?”

Gibbs snorted. “Not just no, hell no.”

The CIA never shared willingly, and they would see no reason to start now. NCIS’ involvement in their affairs would be terminated as soon as possible. And Gibbs wasn’t honestly sorry about that. He’d been involved in one covert operation since joining the agency and one was plenty.

Tony sighed softly. He settled back in his seat, eyes closing.

“Tired?” Gibbs asked.

“Been a long day, Boss.”

That was as close to a yes as Gibbs expected to get. He smiled. Tony never admitted to being tired. Just like he never admitted to sleeping at his desk, even when caught red handed.

Silence filled the car again. Gibbs thought he’d hear Tony start to snore at any moment, but he didn’t. He couldn’t tell if that meant Tony wasn’t really that tired or if he no longer trusted Gibbs enough to fall asleep in the car. Tony had worked with Gibbs for over a year before he felt safe enough to doze. It was possible he no longer felt sufficiently at ease to nod off. But the way Tony’s thumb continued to brush across Gibbs’ knuckles made him think it wasn’t a lack of trust that kept Tony awake and aware.

Traffic was light enough that getting to Gibbs’ home didn’t take long. He pulled into the drive and parked the car, blue eyes studying his house searching for anything amiss. Even after more than fifteen years, it still felt strange to pull up to his home and not have Shannon turn on the porch light, open the door and welcome him home.

Tony sighed, straightening in his seat. Gibbs expected him to say something like ‘home sweet home’ or ‘looks just like I remembered it’, but Tony just looked at the house. His expression was wistful, green eyes displaying a longing Gibbs had never seen before morphing into something politely neutral when Tony realized Gibbs was looking at him.

“You got steak?”

“Yep.” There were two marinating in his refrigerator. He’d bought them when he’d found out Tony was coming to DC. They’d been marinating since he and Tony had gotten a drink together and Gibbs began to believe Tony didn’t hate him, and they might actually have a meal together. A six-pack of Tony’s favorite beer was keeping the steaks company.

Walking into the house, Gibbs turned on the hall light. The soft overhead lighting illuminated the foyer without blinding them. He hung up his coat and motioned for Tony to do the same.

“Steaks are in the fridge. Can you get them while I get the fire going?”

“Sure.”

Gibbs had the chimney and flue cleaned just a few months ago. He always kept wood in the fireplace ready for use from fall through late spring. He found the dry heat helped ease the aches and pains damp, chilly weather now fostered. And some part of him had hoped he and Tony would end up here, so just like having steaks in the fridge, he kept the fireplace ready, just in case.

The firelight danced, casting shadows on the wall. Tony came into the living room carrying the pan the steaks had been marinating in, two plates with eating utensils, and two beers. He put everything but the beers on the coffee table, and turned on the lamp on the end table, muting the shadows.

Gibbs took the beer Tony offered him. “Thanks.”

“No, thank you.” Tony smiled, before taking a sip of his beer and sighing in satisfaction. “Been a long time since I had this. Dark beer is okay, but still nothing better than an old friend.”

Tony sat on the couch, or more accurately lounged on it, taking up more than half the available space. Gibbs didn’t mind. He wouldn’t be sitting until the steaks were done, and he rather liked the way Tony made himself at home. Very few people ever did that in Gibbs’ house.

“You want anything other than steak?” Gibbs asked as he positioned the small grill frame in the fireplace so he could put the meat on to cook.

Tony held up his beer. “Already got it.”

“Not green or leafy,” Gibbs observed dryly.

“No,” Tony agreed, “it’s not, but Ducky isn’t here to complain and what Miri doesn’t know won’t hurt me.”

“She give you shit about your diet?”

“Not really. At least not about what I eat. It’s more about how much.” Tony sipped his beer. “But when I first got to Spain…I…ah…well, I wasn’t really paying a lot of attention to what I ate, when or how much. I’d lost a bit of weight. Miri got worried and started watching out for me.”

Tony chuckled. “Actually it was more like nagging, but with more threats than pleas.”

Gibbs’ eyes narrowed. “How much weight?”

“Not that much.” Tony shrugged. “No big deal. Not like I couldn’t stand to lose it, but Miri is like a mother hen with one chick some days. ”

Gibbs knew Tony hadn’t actually weighed himself in years, and never paid attention to what his doctor had to say during his annual exam as long as it meant he was cleared for duty. The younger man had told Kate once that his weight hadn’t changed since he was in college. He hadn’t been aware of any weight gain until Kate pointed it out. He likely hadn’t been aware of any loss until Miri pointed it out. And for her to notice, when she hadn’t known Tony all that well, it had to be more than a little.

Obviously the transition hadn’t been easy for Tony. That thought gave Gibbs a pause. It hadn’t occurred to him that leaving might have been hard for Tony to do, or that he’d had any difficulty adjusting to his new position in Spain. He’d always thought the decision had been an easy one. He thought Tony had left and not looked back, hadn’t missed them or regretted his choice.

Gibbs sighed. He knew better than to assume. Every time he did, at least where Tony was concerned, he was wrong.

Gibbs eyed the steaks. “You still like it medium rare?”

“Yep.” Tony settled into the couch a little more. He looked around the room. “I like that you haven’t changed anything.”

Gibbs arched an eyebrow. “I thought you said my couch sucked.”

“I did, and it does.” Tony grinned. He gestured with his beer to encompass the entire room. “But it is also you. Just like everything else about this place. And I like that.”

Gibbs felt his face warm. “Thanks, I think.”

Tony chuckled. “You’re welcome, Boss.”

Gibbs put one of the steaks on a plate and handed it to Tony. He put the other on his plate and joined Tony on the couch. He sat close enough that their knees could easily brush against one another.

“You take all your stuff to Spain?” Gibbs asked, suddenly curious about Tony’s place. He’d been in Tony’s apartment a few times but rarely gave much thought to whether or not the space defined him the way Tony seemed to think Gibbs’ house did him. He found himself wondering what Tony’s place looked like now.

“Most of it.” Tony smiled as he cut into his steak. “My car is still here in the states. It would have cost a fortune to ship my baby, and I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t fit down some of the streets in Rota.”

Gibbs found it encouraging to know Tony’s car was still in the area. He’d come back for it. Tony loved his cars. He’d been devastated when the corvette was totaled. Not that Gibbs had been particularly sympathetic then, but he’d at least known Tony had lost something important to him.

“Where’d you leave the Mustang?” Gibbs asked, before taking a bit of his steak.

“One of my frat brothers has her.”

“You could have left it with me.”

Tony looked at him, green eyes apprising him with a disturbing frankness. “I’ve seen how you treat cars, Boss.”

“I’m not that bad.”

Tony chuckled. “Yes, you are.”

“I am not.”

Tony grinned. “Any minute you’re going to stick out your tongue at me.”

Feeling silly, Gibbs did just that. Tony to threw back his head and laughed loudly. Gibbs found himself laughing with him. He’d forgotten how much he loved it when Tony laughed like that, free and easy. He’d also forgotten how he enjoyed playing with Tony.

They continued to tease each other, joking and laughing, talking easily throughout their meal. It was the best evening Gibbs had had in months.

Watching Tony looking so relaxed and happy, Gibbs leaned toward him, unable to resist the temptation the younger man represented. He kissed him, slow, soft and sweet. Tony’s mouth opened readily under Gibbs’. Gibbs took advantage of that, his tongue meeting Tony’s---playing, teasing, tasting.

Gibbs moaned. He could taste beer and steak on Tony’s tongue, and something uniquely Tony. He chased the flavor, exploring as much of Tony’s mouth as possible. The need to breathe forced him to pull away.

Tony reached out and cupped Gibbs’ face, fingers caressing his cheek as green eyes searched blue.

“You offering me dessert?”

“And breakfast,” Gibbs replied, his voice hoarse and breathless.

“Best offer I’ve had in a long time.” Tony smiled softly, something like regret coloring his tone. He was clearly having second thoughts.

Don’t say no, Gibbs silently pleaded, don’t. I need this, I need you, Gibbs thought. It had been so long since he’d been with anyone. So long since he’d been with Tony. He turned his head to kiss Tony’s palm.

“Please,” Gibbs whispered, “Tony. Stay.”

Tony sighed. “This is probably not a good idea.”

“I know, but—“

“Yeah, me too.” Tony kissed him, his lips barely brushing against Gibbs’. “I’m not having sex on this poor excuse of a couch. And I sure as hell am not sleeping on it.”

Gibbs’ heart rate accelerated. Tony wasn’t saying no. He wasn’t leaving.

“I’ve got a bed upstairs that’s top of the line.”

“Well, let’s go try that puppy out.”

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