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Telling Time

by: Kylie Lee (Send Feedback)

Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 1563
Rating: ADULT
Warning(s): Character Death
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo
Category(ies): Angst/Drama, Episode Related
Pairing(s): Gibbs/DiNozzo
Episode(s): 2-23 Twilight
Summary: 2.23 "Twilight" postep.

Author Notes: Originally posted 09/07/2005; archived 09/16/2005. Originally written for the ncis_flashfic Midnight challenge.

Chapters: 1

There was no faint click, no ticking, from the clock by his bedside. Instead, light flickered within large, green, glowing numbers. He'd missed the change. He'd missed it when the 12 became a 1, when the 59 became a 0, when everything reset to binary, when one day had become another. He wondered about that moment when one second slid into the next, counting off seconds, minutes, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries, millennia. Time accumulated somewhere, somehow, like heavy coins that could be hefted, that could be moved apart, one from the other, to study in their discreteness.

Wait, he wanted to say. Stop. He wanted to grab it back, grab the moment, before the red smashed through her head, before she had fallen back, dead before she hit the ground. Realization had come before movement. She stood with her back to him. He'd seen the red before he'd heard the sound, and it was all so fast, all so utterly, completely, emphatically over. That was the moment he wanted to stretch, the moment before terrible inevitability. He wanted time to freeze, because he wanted to walk around to see her face, so he could look at her. He wanted to tell her--what? What did he want to say? Something. Something important.

Kate's voice: Wow. I thought I'd die before I ever heard you compliment--

And there was red, and noise, and hot blood on his face, and Kate staring at the sky, eyes open.

Beside him, Gibbs, asleep, made a noise, a faint, voiced exhalation, and turned onto his side. In the darkness, Tony could make out his nose, his lips, his forehead, and the immediacy of it hurt him in some way he didn't understand. Gibbs's simple presence in his bed moved him. They came together for fun. This marked the first time they'd come together for solace. He hadn't thought they had it in them.

He hadn't thought Kate would go so easily.

He hadn't thought.

They'd done what they had to do with Kate's body, with the paperwork, all of it mechanical, all of it official. Ducky had looked gray and stricken, like someone had punched him in the stomach. He would do an autopsy. Gibbs didn't respond when McGee tried to talk his way through it, because Gibbs had his own way of dealing with these kinds of things, and his way was vengeance. He would hunt down the shooter, Ari, and kill him, Tony had no doubt of that, just as he was sure that Gibbs was carrying Ari's bullet, not the other way around. Tony kept McGee out of Gibbs's way. Tony debriefed Ducky. Tony told McGee to tell Abby. Tony made sure Gibbs had coffee. Tony ran interference, trying to shield Gibbs from the bullshit even as he knew Gibbs didn't need him to do that. Gibbs would tell her family tomorrow, her Catholic family with brothers, brothers who had made her strong. He would tell them that she was dead.

She used to protect the president of the United States.

Kate's voice: Tony. The sarcasm, the exasperation, the annoyance. He could think of no better way to pass the time than to piss her off. She got annoyed so easily. He thought they'd end up in bed together sooner or later, probably later, but when they did, it would be because of affection and mutual attraction, because they were better together than apart, and what worked at work should work in bed, just like with Gibbs. Later had today--yesterday--moments ago--hours ago--millennia ago--become never.

"You shouldn't be alone," Tony had said, because Gibbs had become relentless, which always boded ill. "Come over to my place for a late dinner. We'll order pizza."

Gibbs had rubbed his face. He looked weary. "Yeah," he said. "Pepperoni would be good."

It wasn't good. They'd both known it wouldn't be, just as they'd both known that Tony would say, "Fuck it. Come here, boss," and they'd end up in the bedroom, mouth on mouth, devouring each other with a desperation borne out of despair, of love of Kate, of inevitability. They could not stay apart, they had never been able to stay apart.

"Here," Gibbs said, touching him, "and here," and Tony said, "Yes," because the focus on his body, on what Gibbs did to his body, almost, almost erased his memory of the sound of Kate's voice saying Tony, don't you dare, the shock of her blood on his face, the image of her sitting bolt upright, suddenly awoken from sleep at her desk, her hair messy, Kate in the morning, because time passed, morning to noon to night, the shock of ice in his face when she threw a drink at him because he'd pissed her off, the smell of her hair, her breasts straining her too-tight tops, and her voice, her voice, exasperated, saying his name, saying Tony, saying Wow. I thought I'd die before I ever heard you compliment--

"Tony," Gibbs said, voice raw and harsh.

"Jesus," Tony said, because he needed it, needed Gibbs in a way more fundamental than breath, because he was alive.

The sound of a condom wrapper ripping; the sensation of being turned onto all fours so slick fingers could push into him; Gibbs's harsh breath; and Tony, so hard he felt dizzy, until Gibbs entered him and he came back to earth.

"Harder," he said when Gibbs began to thrust, because Kate was just out of reach. "Oh, god, Jethro, don't stop." He couldn't bear it if Gibbs stopped. "There," he said. "Now."

And there was red, and noise, and hot blood racing through his body, and Gibbs's hands digging into his hips. And there was pleasure, hard, hard pleasure, piercing him and filling him, ecstasy extended, and time stretched, a moment pulled out long, the coin spinning endlessly through the air, an eternal moment that condensed life to sensation, before the moment proceeded to another moment and time once again ticked along, once again accumulated its seconds. The noise was his voice, torn from him. His chest and stomach were wet with hot liquid. Instead of the scent of copper, he smelled acrid semen. Behind him, in him, Gibbs panted wildly, pulling Tony toward him while his hips thrust.

"Tony," he said, over and over, excitement instead of exasperation tingeing his voice, and then he could not speak at all. He could only gasp as he thrust deep, as his cock spurted. Tony knew that time stood still for Gibbs as he came inside Tony's body, just as it had stood still for him when Gibbs had driven him to orgasm, an endless moment of unadulterated ecstasy.

"Jesus Christ," Gibbs gasped when he was done, when the moment released him. He stroked Tony's back with gentle, warm hands.

"Yeah," Tony said.

Gibbs pulled out, leaving him empty. As Tony used Kleenex to wipe off his stomach, he heard Gibbs get rid of the condom. "Tell me why we do this," Gibbs said, lying back with a sigh. It wasn't really a question.

"I don't know," Tony said, but he did. They did it because there wasn't enough time.

"I should see them in person," Gibbs said, taking Tony's hand and holding it against his chest. "I shouldn't just phone them."

"I'll come with you if you want."

"No. I don't think so."

Gibbs was right. "Okay." Tony rolled onto his side. Gibbs squeezed his hand. Tony kissed him, soothed him, until Gibbs, fingers on Tony's face, eyes bright in the dark, said, "It just took a second, a fucking second."

Kate's voice: Wow. I thought I'd die before…

"Go to sleep, boss."

Gibbs gave a humorless laugh. "Yeah," he said, but he let Tony take him in his arms.

They lay together for what seemed like hours, until Gibbs's breathing told Tony that he was asleep. He found that his chest hurt, that he couldn't take a deep breath. The clock said midnight. Kate had been dead for nine hours. Kate had been dead for an eternity. Tomorrow would come whether he liked it or not because time had started again, because time was accumulating again, and Gibbs would make the journey, would tell her family in person.

He'd take one heavy coin, the moment she'd yelled "Shooter!" and jumped to take a bullet in her vest, and place it over one eye. He'd take another, her sarcastic laugh right before she spoke the last words she would ever speak, and place it over the other.

He'd need a third to cover the wound in her forehead. He hadn't thought of that. That moment would be her hair, the curve of her neck, her eyes, as she looked back at him, as she had done a thousand times, a million times, each moment individual, as she looked back to say, with careless contempt, with her brand of annoyed affection, Tony.

Wow. I thought I'd die before I ever heard you compliment--

The green flickered, a number changed. There was no faint click, no internal acknowledgment in his gut or his brain when one moment became another. Had it been the same for Kate? Had one moment simply merged into another, unending, life passing into death?

"God damn it, Kate," he said hopelessly, because saying it out loud acknowledged her, and next to him, deeply asleep, Gibbs stirred.

Chapters: 1

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