Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 2252
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo
Category(ies): Character Study, Romance
Pairing(s): - No Pairing -
Summary: Tony's known Gibbs a very long time - but not as long as Gibbs has known him.
Author Notes: This story is for dinky_di_1 who made the winning icon in the Gibbs category in the iContest I held in my LJ in April, 2011. This icon was also voted best overall in the iContest, and I can see why. The idea is simple, the execution flawless and the use of that particular picture sublime. I'm glad I didn't try and write this story too soon - it needed to wait until after "Restless" aired.
The twink dances around Tony. He’s got thick dark hair, big brown eyes, and is about twenty – and boy, doesn’t that make Tony feel old!
“So…do you come here often?” the twink asks, gyrating in time to the music.
Tony does his best not to roll his eyes at the cheesiest chat up line in the history of forever. “More than I used to,” he says, taking a sip of his drink.
The twink grins and does a little shimmy, knocking his hips against Tony’s and almost making him spill his beer. “Why’s that?” he asks. He’s wearing a pair of skimpy denim shorts and a cut-off tee shirt that shows off his finely honed abs to perfection – as was obviously the intention.
“I’m not closeted now,” Tony says, speaking loudly to make himself heard over the music.
“A hot guy like you in the closet? That sucks!” Twink puts his arms over his head and makes a little thrusting motion with his groin; Tony grimaces and takes a step back. “You wanna dance?” Twink asks, twirling around Tony provocatively.
“Not really, no. I’m waiting for someone, you see,” Tony tells him.
“Oh.” Twink stops dancing and pouts. “Who? Some hot guy?” He brightens up visibly. “Are you interested in a threesome?”
Tony almost snorts into his drink. “No – but, uh, thanks.”
“Have you got a boyfriend?” Twink asks nosily.
“Nope. Not yet anyhow.” Tony grins. “Maybe by the time the evening is through?” He doesn’t want to get his hopes up too high, but all the same…
“Who are you meeting then?”
“I don’t know.” Tony shrugs.
Twink’s eyes narrow. “Come on! You just said you’re meeting someone – you must know who it is! Is it a date?”
“No.” Tony beckons Twink forward, in a conspiratorial way. “I’m meeting a secret admirer,” he whispers into Twink’s ear.
Twink looks like he’s about to expire on the spot. “A secret admirer?” he squeals dramatically. “OMG!” He actually spells out the initials rather than speaking the words. He grabs hold of Tony’s arm and pulls him back towards the bar where it’s quieter. “Tell me everything!” he demands.
Tony grins and settles back with both his elbows resting on the bar behind him.
“Okay…where to start…”
“At the beginning!”
“I don’t know where the beginning is – not until I know the ending.”
“Oh shut up! Just tell me the whole story!” Twink is practically begging.
“Well, it started many years ago, when I first realised I was gay,” Tony says.
Twink nods sagely. “We’ve all been there, sister!”
“Mmm.” Tony doesn’t really like being called ‘sister’. He glances anxiously towards the door, wondering when his secret admirer will arrive. Maybe he’s already here. It’s a busy Friday night, and the gay bar is heaving with men.
“So, back when you first realised you were gay...” Twink elbows him in the ribs to get his attention back again.
“Yeah – I first realised I was gay when I was at boarding school. But I was a coward.” Tony gazes moodily into his drink.
“Well, I expect it was harder back then. When I came out my mom threw me a big party, but she’d known I was gay since the day I was born!” He giggles loudly.
Tony frowns. “What do you mean – ‘back then’?”
“Well, no offence – I mean, you’re hot and all – but you’re kind of an older guy. Sort of a sugar daddy type.” Twink winks at him.
“A sugar daddy?” Tony glares at him, but Twink is impervious and just twirls his hair around his finger. Tony decides to let it drop. “Anyway, I knew my father wouldn’t approve, and it just wasn’t who I wanted to be, so I hid for a long time.” Tony takes a thoughtful sip of his drink. “I hid behind a mask for years. I dated women – I even slept with them – but I knew the truth, and the reason I knew…”
“Yes?” Twink is lapping this up, his big eyes wide and excited.
“…Is because I had a giant crush on my boss.” Tony gives a rueful little laugh. “And I hid that too - although I often wondered when someone would figure it out. I mean, it was so damn obvious! I practically worshipped the guy. I turned down promotions because I didn’t want to leave his side. I worked my ass off to please him. And I lied…I lied, and lied, and lied – about pretty much everything, not just my sexuality, but also about who I am as a person. I just wasn’t comfortable being me.”
“What changed?” Twink dips a finger in his own drink and swirls it around.
“I did. I think…I just grew up.” Tony smiles. “It took me a long time, but I eventually realised that I had to stop living a lie. I started being honest, with myself and with the people around me. I can remember the moment I realised I had to face up to myself. See, I had this memory of bullying someone at school – but it turns out he bullied me; I’d changed it in my head because I didn’t like the truth. I realised then just how much of my life I’d rewritten to conform to everyone else’s expectations, including my own, and I felt…” He pauses. “Lost,” he finishes sadly.
Twink’s gaze becomes sympathetic, and he pats Tony on the arm.
“It woke me up to what I’d been doing all those years, and I suddenly realised that I was in danger of disappearing completely beneath all the lies. I’d worn the mask so convincingly that I’d *become* the mask.” Tony shakes his head. “I was an idiot.”
“Oh, I’m sure you weren’t!” Twink pats him again. “Well, not completely,” he adds. “Although…all those years denying yourself hot guys! That is a tragedy.”
“Yeah.” Tony bites back a smile because that isn’t the tragedy, but he can see how from this kid’s perspective that’s the saddest thing about his story. “From that moment on, I decided to be honest. It wasn’t easy.” He shakes his head ruefully. “But slowly, bit by bit, I found myself again.”
“Then did you have lots of sex with hot guys?” Twink asks.
“Well…some.” Tony grins. “First I had to go around and tell the important people in my life who I really was, one by one.” He closes his eyes, remembering his father’s stubborn refusal to believe him; Ziva’s petulance; and McGee’s stunned but grudging acceptance. He remembers Ducky’s wise, gentle smile and the warmth of Abby’s tight hug.
Most of all, he remembers Gibbs silently emptying out the contents of a mason jar onto his workbench, filling it with bourbon, and handing it to him.
“’Bout time,” Gibbs said.
“Yeah – just wasn’t sure you did. Seemed like it was something you had to figure out for yourself. Like a whole lot else.”
And that was it. Nothing more was said about it, but now when Tony had a hot date, he specified the gender without holding back. He talked about the men he found attractive and replaced the GSM in his desk drawer with copies of Attitude instead.
Gibbs watched his rebirth without commenting, the way he had from the beginning. He stood supportively on the side-lines, giving Tony the time and space to be himself. Every time Tony had some new revelation about himself, he turned to Gibbs to discuss it…only to find that Gibbs already knew.
“That was two years ago, and I’ve been exploring who I am ever since. Not just being gay,” Tony says quickly, as the twink opens his mouth to no doubt make yet another trite comment about sex. “About everything. About who I am really, underneath the class clown mask.” He says that mockingly, remembering how once Ziva had told him that was who he was. It isn’t. It never was. It was just who he wanted them to think he was – and he played the part so well that he ended up believing it himself, just like with the bullying incident when he was a kid.
“What about the secret admirer?” Twink is glancing around the room, eyeing up the writhing bodies, and Tony senses he’s losing his audience with all this introspection.
“The notes started appearing about a month ago; in my locker, in my bag, in my desk drawer.” Tony fingers the note in his jacket pocket. “From someone admiring the journey I’ve taken. Praising me for it, and saying they’ve been watching me with pride.”
“Wow!” Twink’s attention is back on him again now. “Who are the notes from?”
“I don’t know. They’re not signed, and they’re printed, so I can’t figure it out from the handwriting.” Tony shrugs. “But…in the final one, my secret admirer said he’d meet me here tonight, if I was interested.”
“And are you?”
“Well, I guess we’ll find out when he turns up. It depends on who he is.”
“I hope he’s hot!” Twink says predictably. “Do you have any idea who it is?”
“No.” Tony shakes his head. “I just want it to be who I hope it is.”
“The hot boss guy? The one you’ve been crazy about for all these years?” Twink asks, which shows that he has at least been paying some kind of attention.
“Yes.” Tony feels his stomach churn anxiously. He can’t believe it really will be Gibbs. Knowing his luck, it’s more likely to be the very effeminate Simon from HR, who always flirts with him when he hands in his vacation forms. Or maybe the monosyllabic and extremely hairy Jeff from the evidence garage, who Tony has caught checking out his ass on more than one occasion. Neither of them holds much appeal for him.
He takes another sip of his drink and surveys the crowded room anxiously. Whoever it is, he wishes they’d show up soon and put him out of his misery.
“You nervous?” Twink says. “I would be! I mean, there’s this hot guy who wants you, and you’re just standing here, waiting…”
“I don’t know whether the guy who wants me is hot.” Tony is starting to feel irritated by Twink’s one-track mind – when suddenly the crowd parts and someone strides into his field of vision.
“You see him yet?” Twink glances around.
“Oh yeah.” Tony feels his face stretch into a smile so wide it feels like it’s going to split in two.
Gibbs is standing there, dressed in a pair of dark blue jeans and a loose white shirt, looking simply stunning, and there’s a smile on his face as big as the one on Tony’s as they catch sight of each other.
Tony thinks he’s probably known it would be Gibbs all along. All these years, he thought he was waiting for Gibbs, but the truth is that Gibbs has been waiting for him; waiting for him to stop hiding behind his masks and finally be the person Gibbs always saw in him, even when Tony refused to see it himself.
Gibbs let him figure it all out for himself, piece by piece. He didn’t move in the minute Tony admitted his sexuality – he gave him time to explore it first. Only now that Tony is finally happy in his own skin, has Gibbs made his move.
Gibbs walks towards him, still smiling broadly, and Tony knows this moment has been twelve years coming. It’s a long time, but he hopes Gibbs thinks he’s worth the wait. He can see now that Gibbs always knew who he was and what he wanted; he was just waiting for Tony to catch up.
“Who is it?” Twink asks. “OMG! Who is it? Tell me! Is it hot boss? Is he here?”
Tony is laughing as he replies. “Oh yeah! Hot boss is here!”
Twink looks at where Tony is looking and sees Gibbs for the first time. “Him?” He sounds disappointed. “You mean the really old guy with the silver hair? He’s hot boss?” His tone is incredulous.
Tony laughs out loud because Gibbs looks as gorgeous now as the day he first met him, back in Baltimore all those years ago.
“Don’t be an idiot,” Tony says to the twink, taking a step forward. He takes another, and then another, towards the man who has been waiting for him for so long.
He stops in front of Gibbs, reaches out, puts his hand on Gibbs’s cheek, and gazes into those vivid blue eyes.
“Sexy…” He grins, shaking his head wryly, because he’s found Gibbs drop dead sexy for as long as he’s known him, and he’s known Gibbs a very long time – although not as long as Gibbs has known him. “…Never gets old.”
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