Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 1014
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo
Summary: "You - Leroy Jethro Gibbs - cannot go through life without experiencing the thrill and passion of real driving."
"What do you mean, you never drove a stick?" Tony stopped chewing and brushed powdered sugar from his fingers with a paper napkin.
"Never learned." Gibbs took a swig from his coffee cup, his eyes sweeping across the pier.
"But you were in the Marine Corps…don't tell me they give you jeeps with automatic transmissions."
"Your tax dollars at work, DiNozzo." Gibbs glanced in the rearview mirror, then fixed on the darkened hulk of the ship docked nearby.
"No, no. This is all wrong." Tony paused as a figure walked toward the car. He checked the blowup of the Navy ID in the file on his lap. This guy was too tall. He popped the last of the doughnut in his mouth. "You – Leroy Jethro Gibbs – cannot go through life without experiencing the thrill and passion of real driving."
"You sound like a car commercial."
"This is one case of truth in advertising, Boss. Trust me." Tony said, his voice dropping. "You wrap your hand around that shaft, feel the engine throb, hear it whine as you push it just a little harder around that curve – it's like...
"Sex." Gibbs drained his coffee cup.
"Well, yeah." Tony squirmed in his seat a little. "But it's—"
"Look, I can wrap my hand around this gearshift just fine." Gibbs glanced at Tony, then turned back to survey the pier. "You want to go forward, you just put it in drive."
"But you're not driving the car," Tony continued in a rush. "The car is driving you. You can't downshift when you're trying to pass to get a little extra pickup – you just jam your foot down and hope you can get past that semi before he decides to shift back into your lane."
Gibbs glanced at his watch. "Got an old saying that my DI taught me. You wanna hear it?"
"Do I have a choice?" Tony said, rolling his eyes.
"He used to say, 'If you have a dog, why bark?', DiNozzo."
"You're missing the point, Boss!" Tony turned a little towards Gibbs. "Sure, you can drive an automatic. You might even enjoy it a little. But you'll never really feel the car. Never feel like the car is part of you—"
"DiNozzo! Eyes front!"
"Sorry, Boss." Tony shifted back to his side of the car, checking the street behind them. Nothing but some newspapers blowing in the gutter. "But it's true. You can't stay on cruise control forever."
"I've got better things to think about than what gear I'm supposed to be in." Gibbs raised his nightvision binoculars.
"Yeah, I guess you do." Tony picked up his own binoculars and did a slow sweep over the deck of the ship. "And it's not like you don't know what you're missing." Tony lowered the binoculars and flipped through the casefile. He clicked his pen a few times, then picked up the doughnut box, only to toss it in the backseat when he found it empty. He sighed and looked out the passenger side window.
Gibbs shifted in his seat.
"You know what? We catch this guy, and then it's you and me in the back parking lot of White Flint Mall."
"You need something at Bloomingdales, Boss?"
"No. You're going to teach me how to drive a stick."
"You're going to show me how to drive your Mustang, DiNozzo."
Tony opened his mouth to reply, then caught movement halfway down the block. He watched for a moment, then shoved the casefile to the floor as he reached for the door handle. "Showtime."
The parking lot was dark and, except for an empty mall security sedan near the entrance, deserted. Tony glanced down to see that the parking brake was engaged, then checked to make sure Gibbs's foot was on the clutch. "Okay, now this is a standard 'H' – let's do first gear. Push it forward and slightly to the left."
Gibbs tightened his grip on the leather-covered knob.
"Wait!" Tony put his hand over Gibbs's. "You have to be ginger with it. Tease it a little. Don't just ram it in."
"You sound like my second wife."
Tony pulled his hand away. "I so did not need that picture in my head."
Gibbs pushed the gearshift forward. "All right. I'm on first."
"You're in first. This isn't baseball."
"Why does it matter whether I'm on it or in it? I got to first base, right?"
"Not recently," Tony muttered under his breath. "All right, now where's second?"
"You don't know how to get to second base?"
"I know exactly how to get to--." Tony paused for a heartbeat, and looked at Gibbs. "You were the one who called time out."
Gibbs pulled the gearshift back. "Second."
"How'd you know that?"
"Standard 'H', right?" Gibbs said, with a half-smile.
"Okay, you're so smart, let's see you get to third."
Gibbs circled the gearshift knob with his palm. "Well, I'd like to, Tony, but I'm not getting much encouragement over here."
Tony glanced sidelong at Gibbs. "Put it in third."
"All right," Gibbs said, pushing the lever forward. "What comes after third?"
"What usually comes after third?"
Gibbs slipped his hand off the gearshift to rest on Tony's thigh. "After third, you go home."
Tony's breath caught as Gibbs's hand moved over his leg. "You can't just change gears on me like that."
"Maybe I'm tired of cruise control." Gibbs voice was low, his fingers dragging lightly over the inside of Tony's thigh. "Maybe I want to learn how to shift for myself."
"Maybe?" Tony dropped his hand to cover Gibbs's, stopping the delicate teasing. "I love this car, Gibbs. I'm planning on keeping it for a long time."
Gibbs threaded his fingers through Tony's, and lifted their hands back to the gearshift knob. "Then you better show me how to drive it right."
"This is serious stuff." Tony closed Gibbs's hand over the knob and looked at him. "If you strip my gears..."
"Well, you just have to make sure that doesn't happen." Gibbs took a deep breath. "Show me, Tony."