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by: Xanthe (Send Feedback)

Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 005 Word Count: 48169
Rating: ADULT
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo
Category(ies): Angst/Drama, Character Study, First Time, Hurt/Comfort, Romance
Pairing(s): Gibbs/DiNozzo
Summary: When Tony receives some bad news, it forces him and Gibbs to go on a difficult and emotional journey.

Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Previous Chapter

Part Five

The sun was shining through a gap in the drapes when Gibbs woke, casting a single bright stripe down the centre of the bed. Gibbs blinked. He was still lying on his back, and Tony was still lying half on top of him, his hand resting on Gibbs's chest, his tousled hair soft beneath Gibbs's chin. It felt like the years had rolled back, and they were in that motel room again. Gibbs moved his hand and ran it lightly down Tony's arm, trying not to wake him. It had been hard, these past seven years, working with Tony, *worrying* about Tony, and never allowing the fondness he felt for Andy to bleed over into their working relationship.

He remembered that time Tony had the plague, and Director Morrow had ordered him to call Tony's father and let him know that his son was close to death. That had been one of the few direct orders Gibbs had disobeyed in his life. He didn't want Tony's father anywhere near him, especially not when he was ill and vulnerable. Besides, he suspected that his own presence would help Tony far more – if his father had been there Tony might have died just to get away from the coldness and the accusations. All he'd had to do was tell Tony to live and he had.

A cellphone rang, breaking into his thoughts, and Gibbs reached out a hand to locate it on the nightstand, where they'd both thrown their phones last night. It was Tony's phone ringing – he glanced at his agent, still fast asleep despite the noise, and answered the call himself.


"Uh…Tony?" Pete's voice.

"No, it's Gibbs," he said. There was silence for a moment. Gibbs wondered if Pete was smarting from what he'd said to him last night, but he didn't regret saying it. All Tony's family tiptoed around his father like he was some kind of god – Tony was the only one who didn't and he'd suffered years of crap as a consequence.

"Oh. Right. Is Tony there?"

"Yes." Gibbs glanced down at Tony. The only part of him that was visible was his tousled hair.

Another hesitant silence. "Is he okay? Can I speak to him?"

"He's fine, and no you can't. He's asleep, Pete."

There was another silence and he could almost hear the cogs in Pete's brain turning as he tried to figure out why Gibbs and Tony appeared to be sharing a room.

"What do you want, Pete?" Gibbs growled impatiently.

"It's my uncle – it looks as if the end is near now. I thought Tony should know. If he wants to say goodbye he should come straight over."

"I'll tell him." Gibbs shut the phone and tossed it back onto the nightstand. Tony woke at *that* sound, and jumped, startled. His head emerged above the blanket and he gazed at Gibbs blearily.

"Not a dream then," he muttered.


Gibbs looked at him. They'd only had a few hours sleep, and Tony had been shattered when they’d gone to bed. He looked a little better now but Gibbs wasn't used to the expression of naked vulnerability he saw in his eyes. Usually Tony was so good at disguises that it was easy to be taken in by them. Now it looked as if he was too tired and emotionally wrung out to bother – or maybe it was just that he trusted Gibbs enough to let him see him with his guard down.

"Didn't think it would feel this easy," Tony said, with a little grin. Gibbs raised an eyebrow. "Waking up in bed with you again after all these years - I thought it'd feel weird but it doesn't. It feels like it used to."

"Yeah." Gibbs nodded because it *did*. It felt lazy and comfortable and he wanted to lie here all day like this, holding Tony, but he couldn't because of what Pete had just said. He braced himself, because this wasn't going to be easy for Tony. "Pete just rang," he said quietly. Tony grimaced.

"I must have freaked him out running out like that last night."

"Yeah – you did, but he didn't call about that," Gibbs said. Tony sat up. "He said – if you want to say goodbye then we need to go straight over. Your dad's not got much longer."

There was no reaction. Tony just sat there, hair messy from sleeping, eyes barely awake.

"You don't have to go," Gibbs said. "You don't owe that bastard anything."

Tony thought about that for a moment, and then he moved his head and placed a quick, almost furtive kiss on Gibbs's cheek, as if he wasn't sure Gibbs would allow it, before sliding out of the bed.

"Yeah. I do have to go," he said, getting up and walking towards the door, picking up his clothes as he went. He opened the door and then glanced back. "I need to make sure he actually dies," he said, with a faint hint of one of his usual stupid grins.

Gibbs took a hurried shower and got dressed and then knocked on Tony's door. Tony opened it and stood there, unmoving; clearly he was finding it hard to access his usual armour in the current circumstances.

"Changed your mind about going?" Gibbs asked, seeing the sense of dread in Tony's eyes.

"No. Just…trying to get up the strength to climb back into the ring," Tony replied. "Still feeling a bit punch drunk."

"You can do it. You're down but not out yet," Gibbs told him. Then, without even thinking about it, Gibbs did the one thing he thought might help him get through the day; he took Tony's jaw gently in his hand, pulled his chin up, and kissed him on the lips. It wasn't a long kiss - it wasn't really more than a brief press of his lips against Tony's - firm, purposeful and reassuring, but it seemed to work. When he pulled back Tony seemed to have found some resolve, and he gave Gibbs a decisive nod.

"Yeah. That did it. Let's go," Tony said.

Pete had clearly done a lot of phoning around because the kitchen was full of people when they got there. Everyone was walking around quietly, or gathered in huddled groups, talking in undertones as if Tony's dying father could hear them all the way down here. Pete was arranging them into groups to take up to say goodbye.

Gibbs had never been part of a large, extended family like this, and it felt strange to be with all these people who were waiting around for one man to die. He wasn't aware people did this hanging around a dying man's bedside thing any more but it seemed they did; he felt like he was trapped in a movie. Gibbs followed Tony up the stairs and back into the bedroom he knew they both hated, to find a couple of women sitting by the bed, one of them crying loudly into a handkerchief.

"That's Aunt Maria," Tony whispered.

"Were she and your dad close?" Gibbs asked, startled by the decibel level of the tears.

"No, she cries like this about everything. There are pictures of her crying her eyes out at my parents' wedding," Tony replied, with a grin. "Although…with hindsight, tears were probably appropriate on that occasion."

Tony's father seemed to have shrunk overnight, and Gibbs thought Pete was right; the old man clearly didn't have much longer left.

Tony sat down on a chair beside the bed and Gibbs stood beside him, allowing his hip to touch against Tony's shoulder for reassurance because god knows Tony needed as much of that as he could get right now.

Tony's father slipped in and out of consciousness. When he was awake there was something angry about him, and Gibbs got a sense of the man's fury. He wasn't ready to die yet. He was old but a long way off from extreme old age. Just a few months ago he'd been running his business, and, no doubt, terrorising his staff, and now he was reduced to this – a shrunken shadow of himself, shuffling towards death, and he was livid about it.

When he was conscious he was lucid, although he was clearly struggling to get his words out now, in contrast to the way he'd been the previous day. Gibbs thought that if anything he'd probably rallied yesterday just because of Tony, his rage towards his son spurring him to a last few moments of coherency before he surrendered to the inevitable.

It was a long day. People came and went, everyone looking subdued and a little scared, as if they weren't sure what they were going to do when the old man died. Gibbs could understand that; like all the best monsters, Tony's father had acquired a retinue of people who were attracted to his strength and certainty, and they had come to depend on him. Gibbs felt a quiet sense of pride in Tony, as he sat there silently. He, at least, had dared to stand up to his father, and while the price for that had been high, he'd shown that he was his own man and would lead his own life - and damn the consequences.

Late in the afternoon the old man regained consciousness again, and looked straight at Gibbs. Gibbs looked straight back at him; unlike most of the other inhabitants of this room, he wasn't scared of him. The old man gave a grunt, as if he recognised that fact, and Gibbs saw a glimmer of that fury in him again. DiNozzo relished a fight, and he longed to be well again so he could take on the challenge that Gibbs represented, and finally claim victory in his war with his son. Gibbs suspected that there were a number of battles this man still wanted to fight.

Gibbs stared the dying man out, and DiNozzo stared right back at him. Gibbs raised an eyebrow, and then leaned forward, under the pretence of adjusting the man's pillow.

"It's not too late, old man," he whispered into DiNozzo's ear. "You can still say those words to Tony that we talked about yesterday. If you don't say them now then it will be too late. This is your last chance."

He knew the old man had understood. He saw the recognition in his eyes – and with it one last, faint hint of total obstinacy - and he knew in that second that he would never say those words. DiNozzo raised a feeble hand to brush him aside.

"Where's my son?" he whispered, in a thin, reedy voice. "Where is he?"

Gibbs moved back to his former position and Tony leaned forward.

"I'm here, Dad," Tony said.

DiNozzo shook his head. "Not you. I mean Pete. Where's my son Pete?" he cried, looking around.

He saw Pete, sitting on the side of the bed opposite Tony, and patted his hand feebly. Gibbs felt a surge of anger on Tony's behalf, but when he looked down at Tony he saw a glint of amusement in his eyes; Tony clearly admired his father's insistence on prolonging their feud to the bitter end if nothing else.

Gibbs was glad the old man hadn't managed to deliver a knockout blow just before his death, but then he had a sudden flash of realisation as to why: It was because of him. It was because he'd let Tony sleep in his bed last night, and kissed him on the lips this morning. *He* had given Tony the armour he needed to deflect anything his father threw at him.

Gibbs watched as DiNozzo turned and gazed at his son, his eyes flashing triumphantly in expectation that he'd landed the final, decisive punch that would give him his victory, once and for all. Gibbs wasn't going to give him the satisfaction. He decided they'd all played fair with this old monster for long enough; he didn't deserve for them to pull their punches any more.

He moved his hand, placed it on Tony's shoulder, and squeezed, and at the same time he flashed DiNozzo a victorious, derisive smile. He didn't say anything but his smile said it for him: "He's mine now, old man. You've lost. He's won. He's got me now - you can't hurt him any more."
Tony seemed to understand perfectly that there was an unspoken battle going on. He glanced at his father with amused eyes, making it clear that he just didn't care any longer, and then he glanced up at Gibbs, and smiled at him.

DiNozzo's look of triumph faded, and his lips twisted into a bitter line, his jaw clenching spasmodically as he gazed at Gibbs and Tony, his eyes dark in defeat. Then he closed his eyes and his head rolled sideways and Gibbs realised, before anyone else reacted, that he'd died. He heard Tony exhale loudly, and Pete mutter something, and then Aunt Maria started wailing.

The next hour or so passed in a blur of people talking in muted undertones, as if they could somehow still disturb the dead man. There were phone calls and arrangements to be made - and Pete was in his element.

"Pete's a small detail kind of guy," Tony whispered to Gibbs, as they stood by and let Pete take centre stage. "He loves this kind of thing."

Pete was speaking to the funeral home on his cellphone, arranging for the collection of the body after the doctor had finished certifying that Tony's father was dead. He finished the call and came over to them, and Gibbs was surprised to see that his eyes were glassy. Maybe the old man really had been more of a father to him than he'd been to Tony.

"Your dad and me talked about the kind of funeral he wanted. He had…well, you can imagine that he had some strong views on that so it's all been arranged for some time now," Pete said.

"Great. I'm glad I don't have to handle that. You're as organised and efficient as ever, Pete," Tony said, patting his arm affectionately. Pete rubbed his hand over his eyes.

"I'm going to miss him, Tony," he whispered.

"Yeah. I know, Petey." Tony wrapped his arm around him, and Pete buried his face in Tony's shoulder, his own shoulders shaking suspiciously. Tony, by contrast, remained dry-eyed as he comforted his cousin. Eventually Pete drew back, and pulled a large, white handkerchief out of his pocket. He blew his noise noisily, and then took a deep breath and got himself together.

"Uh…the funeral will take place the day after tomorrow," he said. "I can tell you what's been planned if you want…"

"No." Tony shook his head. "This is your show, Pete."

"You are going to be there, aren't you?" Pete asked anxiously. Tony nodded.

"I'll be there," he replied. "Don't want the family gossiping about me not showing up – they've gossiped about me enough over the years as it is. Look – we're going to head back to the hotel now. Call if you need anything, okay?"

They drove back to the hotel in silence. Gibbs wondered what was going on in Tony's head – he had no idea how he was feeling right now: Upset? Angry? Relieved? They drew up and Gibbs parked the car and turned to look at Tony to find that Tony was already looking at him. His eyes were dark but determined.

"Look," Tony said. "Say no if you want, because I don't want your pity, but…would you fuck me, Jethro? Would you fuck me like you fucked me that first time - really hard? Would you fuck me so hard that I can't think about anything else except being fucked? Except being fucked by *you*?"

Gibbs gazed at him expressionlessly.

"I'm sorry," Tony grimaced, looking away. "I shouldn't have asked."

Gibbs thought about what had happened in that room back there. He'd just staked his claim to this man, and he wouldn't have done that if he hadn't meant it. He reached out, put his finger under Tony's chin, and drew it up so that he was looking at him again.

"I'll fuck you," he said, surprised by how throaty his voice was. "But that time I fucked you before – that first time - I was in a bad place. I didn't have anything to give you back then. I do now. If I fuck you this time I'll want to keep fucking you – now, tomorrow, when we go back home, hell – forever probably. I won't be one of your three week flings and I won't share you with anyone else. If this is what you want too then go get what we need and come meet me in my room. If it isn't – then I'll be here for you but I won't fuck you. Understand?"

Tony stared at him, his eyes wide and startled. "I understand," he replied.

"Good. Then it's your call."

Gibbs got out of the car and slammed the door shut behind him, then walked into the hotel and up to his room. He took off his jacket and threw it on the chair, and then took a deep breath and sat down on the side of the bed. He had meant what he said but it had taken him by surprise all the same – not that he'd said it but how much he wanted it.

He wondered if Tony was capable of committing to one person the way he'd asked, and whether he'd want to give up all the women and the occasional furtive flings with men, just in order to have him. He remembered how insatiable Andy had been but that had been a long time ago and Tony wasn't nineteen any more. Gibbs had no doubt he still had a pretty active libido though – this was Tony after all. And he might be vulnerable right now but he was still capable of making this decision, and knowing exactly what he was getting into if that was his choice. He wondered how long Tony would take making up his mind but he hadn't expected the knock on the door quite so soon.

He got up and opened it, to find Tony standing there with a tube of lube in one hand and a pack of condoms in the other. Gibbs looked at them, and then at him.

"You sure?" he asked.

"Jethro – I've been in love with you since I was nineteen. I'm sure," Tony replied, his eyes deadly serious.

Gibbs took the condoms and lube off him and threw them on the nightstand, then he grabbed hold of Tony's jacket, pulled him into the room, kicked the door shut behind him, pushed him against the wall and kissed him. Tony made a little squeaking sound of surprise, and then recovered, wrapping his arms around Gibbs's waist. He was a lot beefier now than he'd been seventeen years ago but he still tasted the same, Gibbs thought, as he opened Tony's mouth with his tongue and pushed himself deep inside.

He held Tony against the wall as he plundered his mouth with ruthless efficiency, needing to explore him and reacquaint himself with how it felt to kiss him. He remembered the surprising softness of Tony's lips, and the half-remembered rasp of stubble on stubble.

He grabbed Tony's hair and pulled his face even closer, his hand tangled in the thick softness, remembering how he'd enjoyed holding him like this that first time he'd kissed him. Tony kissed him back just as eagerly – with more finesse than years ago but just as good. Gibbs drew back.

"You've been practising," he said.

"It has been nearly two decades," Tony pointed out. "I picked up a thing or two in that time."

"I don't even want to know how many people you've kissed since then," Gibbs growled, feeling his possessive streak kick in. Tony grinned.

"Maybe not as many as you'd think," he said. "Not everyone found me as charming as I know I am. I never have managed to figure out why." He gave another, more self-deprecating grin, and Gibbs gave a little grunt of amusement. He wasn’t fooled though – Tony's armour wasn't at full strength again yet, and he wondered whether it ever would be around him. Maybe he'd been right earlier, and Tony was letting him see him with his guard down because he trusted him. After all, Gibbs had known him when he'd been a fucked-up kid blowing strangers in bars – he didn't have to pretend around Gibbs.

Tony's eyes were dark with need, and Gibbs saw in them everything he'd been through over the past couple of days. Tony nuzzled into his neck, his arms tightening around Gibbs as he held onto him for dear life.

"Please fuck me, Jethro," he whispered desperately into Gibbs's ear. "I need you to fuck me."

"I know." Gibbs put his hand on the back of Tony's head, holding him close. "It's okay. I know. Ssh." He kissed Tony's ear, feeling Tony press against him, his body shaking. "Ssh. It's okay. I've got you." He rocked Tony for a couple of minutes, kissing his hair and ear repeatedly until the shaking stopped. When he thought Tony was over the worst of it, he released him.

Tony stood there, looking as if he didn't know what to do next, so Gibbs did it for him. He pulled Tony's jacket off his shoulders and pushed him over to the bed.

"Get undressed, Tony," he whispered throatily in Tony's ear. Tony shivered but complied immediately, taking off his clothes with mechanical, shaky movements of his hands. Gibbs got undressed too, watching Tony the entire time. He took a moment to enjoy seeing Tony's naked body after so long. He'd filled out a lot – his legs, his shoulders, his neck – and he had considerably more chest hair than he'd had back then. He was much more solid now as well, but it suited him. His cock was pulsing, standing erect, and Gibbs felt his own cock harden in response as he looked at it.

Tony got onto the bed, on all fours, and glanced at Gibbs expectantly over his shoulder. Gibbs shook his head.

"Not like that," he said. "I know you think that's what you want but it isn't. I can make it better than that. Let me take care of it for you, Tony. Just do what I say and relax."

He guided Tony firmly onto his back, and then lowered himself down on top of him, covering his upper body with purposeful kisses. Tony gazed at him in the semi-darkness of the room, his eyes completely trusting. Gibbs took Tony's head between his hands and kissed him on the mouth again, gently, slowly, taking his time, and Tony seemed to unwind beneath him, his body relaxing, muscle by muscle. Gibbs kissed him insistently but tenderly, until every single ounce of the tension that had built up in the past couple of days had dissipated, and Tony was boneless beneath him. Only then did Gibbs reach for the lube.

He pushed Tony's legs apart and slid a finger inside him, never once taking his eyes off Tony's face as he worked his finger in and out of Tony's body. Tony opened up sweetly for him, offering himself up with a trust that Gibbs found surprisingly arousing. It didn't take long to make him ready, and then Gibbs rolled a condom onto his hard cock, and settled between Tony's legs. He nudged himself against Tony's entrance, and then moved forward, sliding his cock easily into Tony's welcoming heat.

It felt so good that it took his breath away, and he hung there for a moment, looking down on Tony as a wave of pleasure rippled along his cock and through his entire body. It had been so long but it still felt as good as it had all those years ago. The last time he'd fucked Tony, he'd been too lost in his own grief to care that much about pleasing him. He'd wanted the release that came with thrusting into a hard, willing body, and had enjoyed the fact that Tony was a sturdy, robust recipient of everything he could throw at him.

This time around he did care about pleasing Tony. This time around Tony was fragile, and Gibbs wanted to make sure he got what he needed. He adjusted his position and thrust into him, and Tony gave a little gasp. He wrapped his legs instinctively around Gibbs's body, desperately trying to force him in even deeper, and Gibbs complied, thrusting harder next time. Tony never took his eyes off him, and Gibbs kept his own gaze locked with Tony's as he fucked him with long, deep strokes.

Time stood still and there was just the motion of his hips, and the feel of Tony's body clenched hard around his cock, and the sensation of being *in* Tony again after all this time. There was the deep connection of Tony's gaze, and the total trust he saw in it, and the little sounds Tony was making, those old, familiar sounds that he hadn't even realised he'd been missing.

He leaned forward and kissed Tony's mouth, and Tony arched up into him, moaning. Gibbs kissed him and fucked him, kissed him and fucked him, and he didn't think either of them wanted to come because they both wanted this sense of connection to last for as long as possible. Finally Gibbs knew he was close, and he took Tony's hard cock in his hand and began rubbing it firmly with each inward thrust of his hips. Tony was whimpering loudly now, his gaze never leaving Gibbs's face.

"Come for me," Gibbs told him. "Come for me, Tony."

Tony convulsed beneath him, and then he spurted out over Gibbs's hand, gasping for breath as he came. Gibbs smiled at him, and continued thrusting into him with slow, measured thrusts, feeling his own climax build. He liked the way Tony was looking up at him as he fucked him, liked how loose his body was now he had climaxed, and how good it felt to be inside him.

Gibbs felt himself starting to climax and he gave a groan of pleasure as he came, still keeping his gaze locked with Tony's. He hung there for a moment as he got his breath back, and then reached forward and stroked Tony's hair, and ran his hand lovingly down the side of his face. Tony's breath hitched, and Gibbs leaned forward and kissed him again. Tony's body rose up against his, seeking the connection, and Gibbs kissed him with a kind of quiet, purposeful passion, needing to make Tony understand the way it was going to be between them. He wasn't going to be walking out this time around; Tony had someone who was going to be there for him from now on.

Finally, Gibbs drew back, and pulled himself out of Tony's body with regret. Then he broke gazes for the first time as he removed the condom and chucked it into the trash. Afterwards he got into the bed beside Tony and pulled him over so that Tony was in his favourite position, head resting on Gibbs's shoulder, arm slung over his body, legs entwined in his. He pulled up the sheets around them and held Tony close, and Tony burrowed into him like he never wanted to be released.

"Thank you, Jethro," Tony murmured into his chest. "I was right you know," he added.

"About what?" Gibbs asked, feeling lazy, sated and genuinely happy for the first time in years.

"You do know how to give a good fuck," Tony said, glancing up at him with a grin.

"That wasn't fucking, Tony," Gibbs told him, dropping his head down to claim another kiss from Tony's lips. "That was making love."

They spent all that night and the following day in bed. It was strange how familiar that felt, even after all these years. Gibbs read the paper while Tony watched TV, throwing his pillow around the bed and pursuing it to get comfortable with only slightly less fidgeting than when he’d been a teenager. Gibbs wasn't complaining. He liked it best when Tony ended up lying with his head and shoulders resting back against Gibbs's bare chest, his hand loosely wrapped around the remote as he endlessly changed channels. Gibbs slung his arm around Tony's body and pressed the occasional idle kiss to his hair, continuing to read his paper whenever Tony wasn’t making him look up at whatever trashy piece of TV he was watching. Gibbs's only comment most of the time was a grunt but that seemed enough to satisfy Tony.

They had room service delivered and ate that in bed too.

"I wish we could stay here," Tony said, diving straight into the donuts.

"Worried about the funeral?" Gibbs glanced at him over his glasses.

"No…well, yes, but that's not it. Just…all we ever had was this, Jethro. Us, holed up in a room somewhere. We never had work before, or life, or, you know, nosy co-workers." Tony grimaced.

"Tony, none of your co-workers comes close to you in the nosy stakes," Gibbs pointed out, with a roll of his eyes, all too well aware of Tony's insatiable appetite for gossip and almost non-existent respect for other people's privacy.

"True," Tony grinned. "But how do we handle this? When we go back to DC? What happens then, Jethro?"

Gibbs saw the flash of anxiety in Tony's eyes, and he took off his glasses and put them on the nightstand. Clearly they had to talk about this.

"You think I'm going to run out on you again?" he asked.

"No. Yes. Probably." Tony shrugged. "I know you said it wouldn't happen but things will get very complicated when we go back. You're not a man who likes complications, Jethro."

"Tony – I have three ex-wives. I'm *used* to complications," Gibbs pointed out.

"Yeah, but this – me – I might be one complication too far," Tony said quietly. "How *are* we going to handle it when we go back home?"

"Well, I'm not going to enter into that double life shit you're so good at. I can't go around lying the whole time. It'll irritate the hell out of me," Gibbs replied.

"Yeah, well, your whole 'ask me anything personal and I'll break your legs' approach won't work for me," Tony told him. "I don't have the steely glare and head-slapping down to a fine art yet, either. Nobody's going to be scared off the topic by me – diversionary tactics are all I've got."

"So we have a basic difference of style," Gibbs grinned.

"But then again we always did," Tony grinned back.

"Look, Tony, nothing's going to change back at NCIS," Gibbs told him. "I'm not going to suddenly start calling you 'sweetie' and patting your ass in the squad room, and you're not going to start making goo-goo eyes at me across the room when you're sitting at your desk."

"It's tempting…" Tony grinned. "But no," he added, as Gibbs shot him a warning glare.

"Work's work," Gibbs said firmly. "I won't be treating you any differently there and if you treat me any different your ears will start ringing from all the head-slaps you'll get. Got it?"

"Got it, boss," Tony said smartly.

"But I'm not hiding, and I'm not lying, or making up any kind of shit, so don't ask me to. If people find out – well I don't really give a damn."

"Could be awkward though," Tony pressed.

"You ashamed of me?" Gibbs shot back. Tony looked confused.

"No…just…you're new to this, Jethro, but a lot people really aren't comfortable with the whole bisexual thing. I've always found it easier to hide it than risk getting caught."

"That's your father talking," Gibbs grunted.

"Maybe." Tony's eyes were suddenly bright and intense. "But do you want to know what kind of a formative experience it was to be in love for the first time, to be really in love, and to creep out every night to meet him, so you could fuck, and then to be caught with your dick in his ass and your hand on his cock, and have the school principal haul you off him by the scruff of your neck?"

Tony's fingers clenched into fists, the half-eaten donut now abandoned. Gibbs sat back, startled.

"Do you have any idea what it was like to have the principal *scream* at you for being depraved, and dirty, and evil, while your dick is hanging out and the boy you were just fucking is being hauled up too, and he's looking at you like you've betrayed him. Then he's saying that maybe it wasn't the mutual thing you thought it was, and he wasn't as totally into it as you know he was, and that sounds like it's one step away from you *raping* him and you sure as hell know that wasn't what happened. And then you're dragged back to the principal's office and it's the middle of the fucking night and he's calling your *father* and telling him about it and saying he has to come and get you now - *right now* - because you've disgraced yourself, and the academy, and the family name and you can't be allowed to stay there for another single second in case you decide to stick your dick into some other boy's innocent fucking ass."

Tony broke off. He hadn't raised his voice the entire time, he'd just talked in a low, intense undertone, but the emotion in his eyes was heart-breaking. Gibbs nodded to him to continue.

"And then you have to pack up your stuff with someone watching you the whole time in case, I don't know, you corrupt some other boy while they're not looking, and then, worst of all, you have to sit in a car for the long drive home beside a father who can barely stand to look at you. And you sit in your room for a few days until he can bring himself to talk to you and you wonder why this whole thing is making everyone go so crazy when it was just sex, and you *like* sex - with girls, with boys, whatever - and it was hot, and it felt good, and nobody got hurt so what's the big fucking deal?"

Gibbs watched and waited, needing Tony to let all this out, because he doubted he'd ever told anyone else about it in his entire life. Tony took a deep breath, and his eyes darkened. Gibbs knew he was scaring himself by how much this all hurt – that maybe he hadn't even known it hurt this much because he'd kept it bottled up for so long.

"What happened next, Tony?" he asked softly. "Tell me."

"What happened next is that my father finally called me into his study but only to tell me that he'd disinherited me, and he'd arranged for me to go and live with my alcoholic mother, and that he wasn't going to pay for my education again because that was just throwing good money after bad. Of course he'd always known I was trouble, and a dumb little shit as well, but he never thought I was a fag and he fucking hates fags and why couldn't I be like my cousin Pete instead of embarrassing him and the family, and did I know he had a business to run and what the hell would people think of him? And then he got his *lawyer* to drive me to my mom's house because he couldn't stand the sight of me. Then when she died, he showed up at the funeral and told me he hadn’t forgiven me and he wasn’t going to spend another dime of his hard-earned cash on me unless I proved to him that I wasn’t going to be worthless my entire life and that was going to take some doing because he didn’t think I had it in me.”

"It's a good thing he's dead," Gibbs commented, "'Cause I want to go over there and kill the son of a bitch all over again."

"Yeah, so now you know, so don't sit there, Gibbs, and judge me for hiding it, for pretending to be oh-so-freaked out when I discovered I’d kissed a transsexual during an undercover op, or for flirting like crazy with every hot girl I see just so people never suspect my tastes are a little broader - because I *know* just what happens when you get caught with your dick in the wrong place and I don't want to go through that again."

"I wasn't judging you, Tony," Gibbs said quietly. He reached out and put a hand on Tony's shoulder, wondering if he'd shrug it off, but instead it seemed to calm him down and he nodded, and managed a faint grin.

"I know. I know that. I just…don't think I can be any different," Tony told him. "This is the only way I've ever found of protecting myself, Jethro."

"Okay. Then we take it one step at a time," Gibbs said. "I'm not in any hurry and I won't tell anyone without talking to you about it first."

"Okay." Tony nodded.

"But it's going to come out one day," Gibbs said. "And it won't be as bad as you think. You're not a kid any more, Tony, and you can handle it. Christ, if I can take it then I'm damn sure you can."

Tony laughed at that. "Yeah. I'm guessing that's going to shock a few people. The whole ex-marine, three ex-wives, tough guy federal agent thing will confuse the hell out of them. You'll just stare them down though, boss, if anyone dares to say anything."

"And you'll joke your way out of it. Like I said, difference of styles – but both of them work, in their own way. Now come here."

Gibbs pushed the half-eaten donut aside, ignoring Tony's squawk of protest, and kissed him on the mouth. Tony opened up immediately and Gibbs felt his hard cock pressing into his thigh.

"Christ – it was just going to be a kiss," he muttered after he released him. Tony grinned, looking a little shame-faced.

"You've always been my wet dream, Jethro; around you my body is always going to think it's nineteen."

"I'm flattered," Gibbs grinned, kissing him again. He slid his hand inside Tony's bathrobe, found his hard cock, wrapped his hand around it, and then rubbed it with long, firm strokes. Tony started making his usual orgasmic noises and Gibbs silenced them with another deep kiss, caressing his cock the entire time. Tony gasped, his body convulsing against Gibbs as he was thoroughly and expertly kissed and jerked off at the same time, and then he came over Gibbs's hand with a series of happy little squeaks.

Gibbs laughed and released him, then leaned forward and kissed his forehead.

"Your father is dead, Tony," he said. "And you've been living by my rules for the past seven years anyway, remember?"

"Uh, I don't think you have a rule to cover this situation, boss," Tony pointed out, grinning up at him.

"You're right." Gibbs nodded. "Here's a new rule. Rule number twelve: Never feel guilty about being who you are."

"I think there's a rule number twelve already," Tony frowned. "Isn't it 'never date a co-worker'? Because we're kind of breaking that one."

"That's why we're replacing it with the new rule," Gibbs said impatiently. Tony laughed.

"Okay. New rule number twelve. I'll try and remember it, boss!"

Tony grew quieter as the day turned into evening. He received a few phone calls from Pete about the funeral arrangements, and each one made him quieter still. Gibbs felt in his gut that this wasn't good. They still had one last hurdle to jump – he'd feel a lot happier when the funeral was over and he could take Tony back to DC and love him back to his usual self. Annoying though Tony's usual self could be, he'd take it over this hunched-shouldered, dark-eyed version any day.

Neither of them slept much the night before the funeral. Gibbs lay awake, gazing up at the ceiling, one arm around Tony, while Tony lay in his usual position, head on Gibbs's shoulder, tracing one finger in endless little circles over Gibbs's chest.

Gibbs was relieved when the morning came and they could finally get this over. They washed, shaved and dressed in silence, and Gibbs wondered what he could say that would make this any easier for Tony.

"What's going on in there?" he asked eventually, pressing a finger to Tony's forehead as Tony buttoned up his stiff, formal white shirt.

"Just…mixed feelings," Tony replied, fumbling with his cufflinks. "I'm not sad he's dead but…I just wish it had been different between us, you know?"

"Yeah. I know." Gibbs took the cufflinks out of his hand, and threaded the first one through his shirtsleeve.

"I did love him, Jethro," Tony sighed. "As fucked up as it always was between us, I did love him."

"I know that too," Gibbs said, fastening the other cufflink.

"And then there will be everyone staring at me. They all know why I got expelled from Drewes and god knows it was years ago but it's the best gossip they've ever had so they'll never let it drop. You'll almost be able to hear the whispers. 'Is he married yet?' 'Is he gay?' 'Does he have a girlfriend?' 'Who's that guy with him?' 'Are they together?' 'Hey, Tony's date is *hot*'."

Tony grinned and pressed a kiss to Gibbs's freshly shaven cheek.

"And then there's the will – they're reading that after the wake and everyone is pretty sure I've been disinherited but they'll be hoping for some nice, juicy scandal there too. They'll all be looking at me to see how I react. Nosiness kind of runs in our family."

He grinned again, but his hands were shaking slightly as he reached for his black tie and began knotting it.

"And I don't *know* how I'll react," Tony said quietly, making a mess of the knot and starting again. "I don't know if I'll just feel relieved the old monster is finally six feet under, or whether I'll screw it up and say something inappropriate at the graveside. Or even whether I'll do something really dumb, like cry, because there’s still a kid inside me who loved his dad and just wanted him to love me back and now it's too late."

Gibbs batted Tony's hands away and undid his second completely useless attempt at a knot, jerking it apart with terse, purposeful movements of his fingers. He thought about what he'd asked Tony's father to tell him, and how he'd even asked him lie to him if it wasn't the truth, and how the old bastard had remained stubborn to the end. He wasn't sure that Tony's father *had* loved him, and he was damn sure he hadn't been proud of him, but, in the end, he also wasn't sure that really mattered right now. What mattered was that Tony heard those words from somebody; somebody he loved and respected, somebody he looked up to almost like a father – and somebody who really did mean them.

He did up Tony's tie for him, and adjusted the knot with a smooth flourish of his fingers. Then he rested his hands on Tony's shoulders and looked him in the eye.

"I love you, Tony – and I'm proud of you," he said firmly. Tony gazed at him, wide-eyed. Gibbs squeezed his shoulders. "You hear me, son?"

"Yes. I hear you." Tony said quietly, and Gibbs knew that it meant far more coming from him than it ever would have done coming from his father.

Tony's whole body seemed to change; his shoulders broadened, and he stood up straight, no sign of even a hint of self-doubt, his eyes clear and focussed. Gibbs helped him into his jacket, and then they walked out there together, side by side.

Tony didn't cry, and he was graceful and charming to a fault throughout. Gibbs could feel the eyes of hundreds of relatives and family friends on them both, could hear the little ripple of whispers as Tony walked down the aisle of the church, could see how people were studying the black sheep of the family, assessing and scrutinising him.

He was proud of the fact that Tony held his head up high and didn't react. He didn't pull any stupid faces or make any inappropriate jokes, and afterwards, when they went back to the house, he made the rounds of the guests, shaking hands, smiling, making polite conversation and behaving with the utmost dignity.

After an hour or so of that, he returned to where Gibbs was standing, grabbed his arm, and pulled him to one side.

"Okay, I'm done. We have to get out of here before I snap, boss," he hissed out of the corner of his mouth. "All this being on my best behaviour is exhausting." He caught the eye of an old lady with immaculately coiffed white hair and smiled at her benignly. She smiled back, nodding at him approvingly.

"I'm ready to go when you are," Gibbs told him. "The car's all packed up and the shuttles fly every half hour."

"Then let's find Pete and say goodbye."

Gibbs followed Tony out of the room and they found Pete in the hallway talking to Daniel Weston.

"Pete – we have to go now," Tony told his cousin.

"You're not staying to hear the reading of the will?" Pete asked, surprised. Tony glanced at Weston.

"Nah. I don't think there's any point," he said.

Pete looked embarrassed. "Look, Tony, I'm sorry…" he began.

"Don't be," Tony interrupted him. "Despite what he thought, I never did want his money." He glanced at Gibbs. "And I'm more than happy with what I got out of this trip," he added.

Pete looked at Weston and then back at Tony. "Look…there's one thing I want to give you – if you'll accept it? It's not from your father – it's just something I'd like you to have."

Tony frowned, looking puzzled. Pete reached into his pocket, pulled out a set of keys, and threw them to Tony.

"It's outside," he said.

Tony glanced at Gibbs, still looking confused, and all four men walked out of the door and onto the driveway. Tony took one look at the bright red Ferrari standing out front and gave a whoop of sheer joy. Gibbs couldn't stop himself laughing out loud at the expression on Tony's face; he was like a kid with a new toy as he circled the car, still whooping as he traced one finger over all the gleaming red metal.

"You sure about this, Pete?" he asked, fondling the car in a way that was positively obscene.

"I'm sure, Tony. She's all yours," Pete beamed.

"What about the rental?"

"I'll get someone to take it back to the airport for you," Pete told him.

Tony made another circuit of the car and then stopped beside Gibbs, a shit-eating grin on his face.

"How about it, boss? Feel like a road trip back to DC?"

"Sure," Gibbs said, grinning back at him. “You know me – I like road trips.”

They transferred their luggage from the rental car into the Ferrari, watched by the little crowd of people who had gathered out front, intrigued by all the commotion.

They said their goodbyes, and then Tony got into the car and rested his hands lovingly on the steering wheel. Gibbs got in beside him. Tony was silent for a moment, and then he turned to face him.

"You know, I don't think I ever said thank you," he said. Gibbs raised an eyebrow.

"For putting me through college. I have no idea where the hell I'd have ended up if you hadn't done that. You pretty much saved my life. "

"Just returning the favour," Gibbs said softly, remembering how close he'd come to blowing his brains out back then, and how taking care of Andy had given him something to live for.

Tony nodded, understanding. "Yeah – but thank you all the same," he said sincerely. "I might be saying it years too late, but I want to say it."

"You're welcome, Andy," Gibbs said softly. Tony's eyes sparkled in response to the name, and he gave a bright, goofy smile that was all Andy. "Now – let's go home," Gibbs said.

Tony nodded. He glanced out of the window at the little crowd of people who were gathered around them, and then a spark of total mischief flashed in his eyes. He looked sideways at Gibbs, then leaned over, took hold of Gibbs's head in his hands, pulled him towards him, and kissed him on the mouth – hard and passionately - for several seconds.

A little murmur went up from the watching crowd, and Gibbs could feel Tony grinning into his mouth as he kissed him, and then he was released. Gibbs raised an eyebrow.

"What happened to the not being comfortable with anyone knowing thing?" he asked.

"Hey – new rule number twelve, remember? Besides, I wanted to give them something *else* to talk about for the next couple of decades," Tony said, with a jaunty wave at the crowd. He put the car into gear, released the brake, slammed his foot on the accelerator, and they shot down the driveway at high speed.

"So…I was thinking…we could…I don't know…stop over at a motel along the way, fuck each other's brains out, and maybe get roaring drunk as well, just for old time's sake?" Tony said, with a sly wink. "Whaddya say, Jethro?"

Gibbs rolled his eyes, but he grinned anyway. “Sounds good to me, Andy.”

The End

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