Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 867
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo
Category(ies): Character Study, Vignette
When he has time for breakfast -- when he's not hauled from sleep by a curt invitation to come and look at the mortal remains of yet another dead sailor -- Gibbs eats oatmeal. Plain, ordinary oatmeal.
His DI at Parris Island had insisted on it. Every morning.
Even on Sundays when the mess hall had as much bacon and local sausage as you could shovel onto your tray, the DI watched to make sure his "girls" asked for a bowl of oatmeal.
Even on mornings when they were scheduled to run for hours with a 40-pound pack and you'd think a man could use a little fried meat to keep body and soul together, the DI called for oatmeal.
Even on mornings when it was so hot that the thought of putting a spoonful of thick, hot oatmeal in your mouth made you want to puke, the DI (looking fresh as a daisy in his crisp green shirt and khakis) tucked in to a steaming bowl of steel-cut oats.
Gibbs got to like it.
Oatmeal filled you up. It sat in your gut without making you feel weighed down. Oatmeal was like a special kind of armor. It centered Gibbs. Made him feel strong. And it sopped up coffee like nobody's business.
Gibbs ate oatmeal in Panama City. When he woke from his coma he asked for oatmeal before he asked for coffee. He made oatmeal over a campfire one chilly morning in Kosovo before shouldering his rifle and climbing a hill to wait on his prey. And he had oatmeal for breakfast before he took his rifle down to Mexico for that very important hunting trip.
And then there was this morning.
It's the middle of one of those DC heatwaves when everyone wonders whose bright fucking idea it was to build the nation's capital on a mosquito swamp, and Gibbs has made enough oatmeal for two.
Not for the first time in his life, certainly. There'd been a time in his life when "Daddy's Oatmeal" was hailed as a special treat because it meant that he was on leave for long enough to get into a routine with his wife and kid. He'd even coaxed Jen into eating oatmeal a couple of times, though she shuddered and complained and demanded croissants for a week afterwards.
But this morning is different.
Gibbs is up before his alarm goes off. He's not used to sharing the bed and as long as he’s awake, there are things he can do.
When he hears the telltale creak of the second step from the top, he dishes up two bowls of oatmeal and puts them on the kitchen table. He's pouring coffee when the 1970's-era dial phone on the wall near the back porch rings. It's work, of course. Who else, at zero-dark-hundred?
DiNozzo comes into the kitchen while Gibbs is on the phone. He's wearing a pair of thin drawstring pants, his hair is pointing in eight different directions and he's rubbing one eye while he tries to focus the other on his Blackberry. "Boss, we got a..."
Gibbs nods and gestures to the phone. He turns back to look out the window while an MP from the Navy Yard tells him that the DC cops just picked up a dirtbag they've been chasing since February. Good news and not a breakfast-killing emergency. He hears Tony rummaging around in the fridge behind him.
Finishing the call, Gibbs turns back to the table, where Tony's eating his oatmeal with one hand and thumbing through e-mails with the other. Gibbs snags his coffee from the counter and sits down. He looks at the oatmeal. There’s a spoonful of something decorating the top of it. "What's this?"
Tony puts down his Blackberry and takes a sip of coffee, making the face he always does after his first taste of Gibbs's Marine-issue brew. "Try it."
Gibbs eyes the bowl suspiciously. He dips out a spoonful and sniffs it. "Strawberry jam?"
Tony nods and shovels a large spoonful into his mouth. "It's not quite Frankenberry, but it'll do."
Gibbs shrugs, stirs the jam into the oatmeal, and digs in. He's hungry. It's just a spoonful of strawberry jam, but it brings out the nutty flavor of the oats. And it's an interesting counterpoint to the coffee. "It's good."
Tony grins. "I guess you can teach an old Marine new tricks."
Gibbs looks at Tony, taking in the long smooth lines of his shoulders, the shadow of stubble over his jaw, and the small, but distinct hickey on his neck. This is the way it’s going to be from now on, he guesses. Even the oatmeal is going to be different now. Not better, necessarily, and definitely not worse. Just different.
He pushes his chair away from the table and moves around to pull Tony to his feet. There's a drop of strawberry jam on the corner of Tony's mouth. Gibbs rubs it away with his thumb, then leans in for a long, slow kiss.
"You got anything else you'd like to teach me, DiNozzo?"
"Well." Tony snakes a hand up under Gibbs's t-shirt. "Have you ever heard of blueberry pancakes?"