Betas: Kathy & Janice - thanks for everything ladies, you made my story rock!

Special thanks to for the transcripts on their site. It helped a lot!

Author’s Note: The title for the fic came from the song by the Byrds, which I’ve attached to the end of the fic if you’re curious

Time for Every Purpose


December 2005

Disclaimer: Navy NCIS is the property of Paramount Pictures and Donald P. Bellisario.

Another redhead, Tony thought morosely as he watched Gibbs step out of a sporty silver convertible being driven by a woman wearing sun glasses, fur and a smile. This would make it, what, four or five?

The three wives, that chick who’d killed her stepbrother - although that had only been a flirtation and luckily he hadn’t had to witness it first hand, and now this one with the flashy car. And it wasn’t the first time Tony had seen her dropping Gibbs off or picking him up either. Damn.

Tony really had to get over this obsession he had with his boss. It was never gonna happen, even if Gibbs actually threw rule twelve out the window. Snorting softly to himself over the ludicrous notion of his obviously straighter than straight boss ever giving Tony more than a hand to the back of the head and a hard time the former cop quickly fell into step with his coworkers.

He bantered mindlessly with Kate and McGee as he tried to ignore the butterflies tripping the light fantastic in his stomach when Gibbs assumed the lead. God that man had an ass to die for.

Sighing, the younger agent forced himself to step back into the roll of Tony DiNozzo, loveably skirt-chasing goof ball with a bratty streak a mile wide. No one he worked with would ever believe that he was actually someone looking for the right person, and that person was someone who’d never want him back. In fact the idea that the person he was pining for was one Leroy Jethro Gibbs, who was definitely and without question a man’s man, was so incredibly ludicrous it didn’t even bear mentioning. Except it was the truth and there was no way in hell Tony could ever see himself getting what his heart truly desired.

Besides, Anthony DiNozzo and heartbreak just didn’t compute for the rest of his team, especially not since Kate had supposedly profiled him and shared her findings with everyone who’d listen. Tony was a dog who’d hump a table leg provided they had long legs and melon breasts. He was borderline Neanderthal, didn’t believe in commitment. He chased women and usually only fell for the ones who tried to kill him. Like Amanda Reed a.k.a. Commander Voss, a woman who wasn’t completely a woman because the surgery to turn her/his plumbing inside out hadn’t happened yet.

Shuddering slightly as he remembered finding out that Amanda was actually Voss and had murdered someone Tony had known, respected and hung out with, Tony had to fight back the gag reflex at the thought of actually tonguing his friend’s killer.

Kate’s barbs were pretty vicious when Voss’s name came up and Tony was glad she’d finally let that one go.

It had been like rubbing salt in a particularly nasty wound each and every time she’d gone after him over that. It wasn’t even the fact that what she fixated on was the fact that he’d ‘tongued a guy’, Tony had done that particular act more times that Kate herself probably had if one considered the fact that she was obviously a repressed former catholic school graduate. It had been the fact that Amanda had lied about who and what she was... oh and that tiny and insignificant fact that she’d killed Chris Pacci, just a minor thing...kinda like saying you considered Mt. Everest a tiny little hill.

But whatever her reasons for teasing him the fact was it would take Tony a long long time to forgive and forget Kate’s acid tongue and he doubted he’d ever trust her with any truly sensitive information about himself or his life again. He just didn’t trust her not to rip him to shreds and then grind her high heel into his real feelings. She’d done it both times he’d actually dared to let her in and he wasn’t willing to get burned a third time, better to play the clownish fair-weather friend then to risk exposure and hurt.

Tony continued to watch Gibbs do his thing, cutting through Bethesda red tape the way a shark would cut through water, and he came to a sad sort of conclusion.

‘Let’s face it, DiNozzo, you’re only ever gonna be one of his agents and an on again, off again friend. Time to move on, find someone else to pin your hopes and dreams on. After all, a redhead you’ll never be,’ he thought to himself. Yup, he thought rather morosely to himself, definitely time to move on.

Tuning back into the conversation going on around him, Tony rolled his eyes and began to bait their most junior agent as he continued to work. "Probie, what were you thinking? spontaneous human combustion? It’s an urban myth!"

Gibbs couldn’t quite put his finger on it but there was something different about DiNozzo. He was his usual pain in the ass but there was... something missing. That normal sparkle in his eye when Tony interacted with him was gone and Gibbs didn’t know why. Not knowing what was going on with DiNozzo irritated the senior agent in charge; Gibbs wanted to know what had changed and why and he wanted to know now.

However, they had a case to focus on and now he had to do something that really pissed him off. In fact it was safe to say that Gibbs despised what he was about to say. He had to order Tony and Kate to Norfolk and the Aircraft Carrier, The Kennedy, Commander Dornan’s last posting.

The minute he heard the order Tony was up and grabbing his jacket. "I’ll get the car," he grinned, wondering if this was his lucky break. Maybe this was the answer he was looking for. Maybe rekindling the pseudo relationship he’d begun with Paula Cassidy a year ago would be just what he needed to forget about Gibbs once and for all and help him move on with his life.

Kate couldn’t resist. "What are you so jazzed about?"

Sighing, Gibbs answered before Tony could. "He knows that the first person you’ll be talking to is the NCIS Agent Afloat. Special Agent Paula Cassidy." Never mind the fact that the woman in question had played Tony like a flute to get what she wanted. Never mind the fact that he’d gone to bat for her, stood up to Gibbs and ended up taking it on the chin when he’d done his job and she blamed Tony for it, not the real bastard responsible, namely Gibbs.

DiNozzo deserved better than the likes of Agent Cassidy. He deserved someone who’d see beneath the hotshot exterior to the man beneath, the one who needed encouragement, who could get hurt, who hid his pain beneath bravado and a cocky attitude. And that person was definitely not Paula Cassidy. Gibbs only wished it could have been him, but to the best of his knowledge Tony chased women, end of story. There was no chance at all for a beat up old ex-marine like himself in DiNozzo’s personal life beyond the friendship they already had.

Caitlin rolled her eyes upon hearing Gibbs announcement and smirked. "You’re kidding," she laughed.

Tony grabbed his knapsack and sighed at Kate’s attitude. "She was reassigned there."

McGee, who’d been following the conversation looked more than a little bewildered when he asked, "What am I missing?" prompting Kate to explain while Tony impatiently cooled his heels. But finally they got moving, much to Tony’s relief.

The drive to Norfolk was basically Kate ribbing him about Paula and Tony returning the favor by firing off potshots at Harrison, the current boy toy of the female NCIS agent. It was a typical sibling, pseudo-rival sort of conversation that actually helped settle Tony’s nerves. Even the debate about who knew the right way to go and who should report to the EX-O helped relax him so he wasn’t all tense and nervous when he knocked on the door and walked in. Special Agent Paula Cassidy looked up as Tony walked in. "I was expecting Gibbs."

"Disappointed?" Tony asked, turning on the charm. "Hi. You’ve been back a week. You didn’t call."

Paula raised an eyebrow. "Oh... I’ve been gone months. I didn’t get any e-mails."

"Well, I figured you’d be too busy to reply. You were at sea with 5,000 men." Laughing, Paula leaned back against her desk. "I had trouble choosing." Tony grinned. "Guess I’m a hard act to follow."

"Actually, I was afraid of making the same mistake."

Bringing his hand up, Tony faked getting shot right in the nose. "Ooh, wow. Full contact. There. Nice. Let’s start over. I’ll go back outside and do this again," he said, making to leave. "It won’t change anything," Paula called. "Commander Dornan really blew up?" Using his hand as emphasis, Tony mimicked something going boom.

"Literally." Moving forward, his body language open and flirtatious, Tony settled down, getting to work with Paula all the while trying to light a spark under the Agent Afloat.

When Tony returned to the bullpen a few hours later with Paula and the files he could have sworn that he felt the temperature drop by about ten degrees as Gibbs stared at how close they were standing to one another. And then there was his tone of voice. To everyone who hadn’t spent making the study of Jethro Gibbs into an art form they’d assume he was being his normal bastard-like self, growling snapping and generally making people dislike him. Those people would be wrong. Gibbs was downright hostile toward Paula and pretty damned rude to boot.

So what if Paula had cut the ensign some slack by not filing a report? Personally, it struck Tony as a very compassionate thing to do, especially since by all accounts Dornan was an even bigger bastard than Gibbs and unlike Gibbs the commander was plain mean to boot. It didn’t mean that she’d ‘looked the other way’ or compromised and investigation. She’d been a nice person.

Of course it meant that he got to spend more time trying to convince Paula to give him more than the time of day since Gibbs had ordered him to help grab Hayes and bring him in for questioning.

Tony definitely couldn’t complain about that. But what the hell was up with Gibbs?

Just as the elevator doors opened for him and Paula to leave and do what Gibbs had ordered Tony heard Kate make a surprised sound. "Is that Dornan’s surgeon with Ducky?"

Gibbs first glanced up at Ducky and the surgeon and then quickly glanced over at Tony and stayed as he replied "Ducky’s older, Kate. He’s not dead." The butterfly dance in Tony’s stomach returned full force and had absolutely nothing to do with the elevator’s descent or even the fact that Paula was warming up to him. It was entirely the fault of his boss. Damn the man.

The team eventually got the break in the case they needed and that led them to a hotel room of partying teenagers who’d had the piss scared out of them when the NCIS team burst in, guns at the ready in a precise take down. Gibbs was even enjoying himself somewhat as he held in the smirk that threatened as the group of teenagers literally shook in their collective shoes while he growled and glared at them.

Even the ringleader, Jonathan, cowered under his pointed look, or maybe it had been the Sig Sauer that he’d had pointing at him. Too bad he couldn’t train DiNozzo to duck and run when Gibbs was pissed at the world, it would save Tony a smack or two to the back of the head.

Then again Gibbs really wouldn’t want to change a thing about his younger agent. He actually thought that Tony was perfect just the way he was. And he liked the chance to touch brunette hair that was as soft as duck down despite it’s spiked look.

Speaking of DiNozzo, Gibbs growled inwardly as he remembered the way his agent seemed desperate to spend even more time with Agent Cassidy... standing too damned close to Agent Cassidy... defending Agent Cassidy... risking Jethro’s wrath to defend Agent Cassidy and generally making a fool of himself over her. Didn’t DiNozzo see that he was setting himself up to get shot down yet again? Gibbs began to wonder why the hell hadn’t he sent McGee with Kate to the Kennedy instead.

The last thing Gibbs wanted to see was that wounded puppy look DiNozzo had had in his eyes when that bitch had proclaimed that she’d played him. It made Gibbs blood heat and he came to a quick decision as Jonathan told them about the guy who gave them the card outside the pool at Alexandria Central High.

"Agent Cassidy, Agent Todd, get your butts in here! You two baby-sit these people until their parents get here. And collect their car keys!" the lead agent barked, motioning for DiNozzo to follow him.

Sighing the younger agent glanced at Paula as she entered the room while he was exiting and shrugged his shoulders. "So much for ending up in a hotel room tonight," he murmured with regret.

"Today, DiNozzo!" Gibbs ordered from the hallway where he was waiting, holding the elevator.

"Coming, boss," Tony sighed, giving Paula a quick caress on the shoulder before loping after his team lead. Leave it to Gibbs to dangle such a sweet and tempting carrot in front of him and then whack him with the stick when he got too close to it. It was almost as if Gibbs didn’t want him to connect with Paula again, but why would it matter so much to the older man?

Tony reached up and ran his hand through his dark hair. Nope, still not red and there was no way in hell he was turning his plumbing outside in. The very thought shrieked of Voss. Sliding into the elevator just as the doors began to close, DiNozzo glared half-heartedly at his boss. "That was cruel, Gibbs, you couldn’t have taken Kate with you?"

"Who’s in charge here, DiNozzo?" the older man asked mildly, inordinately happy to have separated Tony and Paula and put a road block in DiNozzo’s badly planned ‘operation get played by Cassidy’.

"You are, boss," Tony sighed. Damn and double fuck!

"Yeah," and before Tony could duck Gibbs had delivered a soft smack upside the head, just because he could and just because his fingers were itching to feel that softness across his palm again. Grinning, Jethro settled back against the wall for the rest of the quick ride down to the main floor, enjoying the spectacle of one Anthony DiNozzo stewing in his own juices as he tried to hide his frustration at not being able to continue to put the moves on the Agent Afloat.

Sometimes it was just too much fun to wind Tony up and watch him twirl. Too bad he couldn’t wind him up the way he really wanted to, but from all appearances Tony was the penultimate player and all he played was women, as evidenced by Cassidy.

If only there was some slight chance that he’d want to ‘play’ with Gibbs, the older man would be all over DiNozzo like white on rice. But despite the whole ‘tonguing a guy’ incident Tony seemed very much to be strictly a ladies man. God damn it all.

The drive to the high school was made in silence with furtive glances on the parts of both men when the other wasn’t looking. Tony was trying to figure out just what the hell Gibbs was playing at and Gibbs was trying to determine if there actually was well, something, between him and Tony beyond work and friendship, call it wishful thinking on his part but it was getting harder and harder to ignore DiNozzo and seeing him panting after Cassidy just pissed him off to no end. So here he was, looking for some sort of spark that would indicate that he actually had a chance with the younger man if he were to actually approach DiNozzo.

Guns drawn the two men took their time searching the pool, search lights in their free hands as they swept the pool room. Finally, at the end where the diving boards were situated, Gibbs and DiNozzo spotted Evan Hayes sitting on one of the dive platforms.

"Special Agent Gibbs, NCIS. Get down on your stomach. Spread your arms and legs. Quickly," Jethro ordered.

Hayes didn’t even bother looking up. "I’m done taking orders."

"Do it now, Ensign Hayes!" Gibbs barked only to have the ensign pull a gun out from between his outspread legs and put it to his temple. "No, son. You don’t want to do that."

The distraught young man looked at Gibbs. "Then put the weapon down."

"Can’t," Gibbs explained softly. "I’ve got to cover my partner. Isn’t that right, Tony?"

"Right, boss," Tony replied equally quietly.

"I would never hurt anyone, I don’t want to do it," Evan replied morosely.

"Okay. I’m holstering my weapon, okay?" Gibbs coaxed, taking a chance and locking his safety before holstering his weapon. Tony was still there with a bead drawn on their suspect and there was no one he trusted more than Tony to cover his back. "All right, your turn."

Evan watched Gibbs carefully and once the older agent had put his weapon away lowered his own gun, looking down at it, distraught. "I’ve been trying to pull this trigger all night... but I can’t... ‘cause I’m a coward."

Gibbs shook his head. "You’re not a coward. You just don’t want to die." Gibbs continued to talk to the younger man, trying to get him to relinquish his weapon but...

"This is the only place I ever felt safe. It’s the only place, I was ever happy," Evan said sadly, eyes darting around the high school pool.

"All right. Let’s talk about it," Gibbs suggested moving closer, glancing at Tony who watched carefully.

"It’s too late to talk," Evan replied in an eerily dead voice, rising to his feet.

"Don’t do it," Gibbs ordered harshly even as he saw the gun hand move upwards and heard a single shot ring out, Tony’s aim true as the younger man covered him and prevented the ensign from firing, which was precisely what Evan Hayes had wanted - a way to die that didn’t involve him pulling the trigger himself.

Evan’s coach was called in as a material witness and confirmed the identity of Ensign Hayes in a choked voice. "That’s Evan," he confirmed. "He was troubled...but I had no idea he was suicidal," the man continued as he walked away, devastated.

Gibbs tried to break it gently. "He was suspected of murder." "Murder? Evan? No way, not possible," the coach denied.

Tony replied as gently as possible. "We think he killed a superior officer at the Bethesda Naval Hospital Tuesday."

The coach looked up, shocked. "Tuesday? When?" " A little after 0300."

"3:00 a.m.? That’s impossible. He was with me. He called. He woke my wife and me up. He wasn’t making any sense. I told him I’d come get him. I picked him up in front of the hospital around 2:00," the coach denied, his eyes never leaving his former student.

Tony sucked in a sharp breath. "You must have the wrong time." The coach shook his head. "No, I’m certain."

Tony paled and gripped the table. But that would mean... "Well, it’s not possible because... "

"Agent DiNozzo," Gibbs interrupted gently but firmly. "I’ll meet you up in the squad room."

"No, Boss, that would mean..." Tony began only to be silenced by a look from Gibbs as he stepped between Tony and the coach, cutting of DiNozzo’s line of sight and forcing the younger man to focus on him. Heaving a heavy sigh, Tony nodded, turned and left the morgue, a sinking feeling in his gut as he made his way up to the bullpen.

Kate looked up from her desk as Gibbs walked into the bullpen once he’d escorted the coach out the building. "Ensign Hayes had an alibi?" she asked.

"What’s gonna happen, Gibbs?" he asked from where he sat at his desk, Paula hovering behind him, torn between concern over Tony and concern for her own ass. Leave it to Cassidy to cover all her bases, Gibbs thought snidely, liking the woman less and less with each passing moment.

"Nothing," the senior agent replied, looking Tony in the eye. "You did everything by the book."

"I killed an innocent man, Boss," Tony replied harshly, his voice tight with emotion as he got up and walked over to the senior agent’s desk, needing to move, to confess, to do something to absolve him of his guilt.

Gibbs purposely made his voice harsh, needing to get his point across hard and fast, get Tony focused on the case again. "It was suicide-by-cop, DiNozzo. Get over it. We focused on the wrong guy."

The case was over, the murder was not, in fact, a murder at all but a cover-up by Dornan’s doctor to hide the mistake she’d made in surgery. It had been Tony who’d figured out the way Dornan had died, the matches and cigarette being used as a time fuse and it had been Ducky who’d determined that Dornan was already dead with the help of Abby’s amazing forensic skill. And now all that was left to deal with was the aftermath, something Tony had absolutely no desire to do.

Picking up the phone, Tony dialed the number he’d known for a while but had never called until now. He wasn’t sure of what he was going to say, he just knew that he was so damned tired of it all and that tonight of all nights he didn’t want to be alone. Not when he’d killed an innocent man. The answering machine clicked on at the other end of the phone. ‘This is Paula. Leave a message.’

"Hey, it’s me. Come on, just cause you’re pissed at Gibbs is no reason not to return my calls, right? So dial the number, ‘cause you’ve got it. Okay. " Hanging up the phone, Tony rested his head on his hands. Damn he definitely didn’t want to be alone tonight.

"Sometimes, you’ve just got to know when to let go, Tony," McGee chimed in from his workstation.

There were times when Tony really felt sorry for being such a brat because he was currently getting a glimpse at just why Gibbs kept smacking him upside the head. "You don’t really expect me to take advice about women from you, do you?" he asked the ‘probie’ sarcastically.

McGee grinned somewhat smugly. "I could stay here and argue the point, but I have a date."

Tony stood up suddenly and walked out of the bullpen without looking back. Dammit, normally it was Kate that got it to him but for once it was McGee that had managed a direct hit, fuck him.

Fuck them all; he really wasn’t in the mood to deal with anyone’s shit tonight. Taking the elevator down Tony headed toward the morgue, morbid guilt drawing him to the body of the innocent man he’d killed. Walking into the dark room, he flipped on the lights and walked over to the freezer that housed Hayes’ body. Opening the door Tony pulled out the slab and leaned against the side of the freezer looking down at the body that had once been a living man. He looked so young, so innocent, and so full of hope and promise. And yet there, in stark relief on his chest, was the single gunshot to the heart that Tony had taken when he had thought the ensign was going to fire on Gibbs.

Tony had killed in the line of duty more times than he cared to count but he’d never killed an innocent man before. It... hurt. A lot.

Back up stairs Gibbs walked down from the MTAC Center with Ducky. "So now what?"

Ducky sighed. "I don’t know."

Gibbs looked down at the bullpen, seeing Kate and McGee packing it in but no Tony. Frowning, Gibbs wondered just where DiNozzo had gone.

"You can’t let any woman affect you like this, Duck, especially one you didn’t know that well."

Too damn bad he couldn’t take his own advice, although it wasn’t a woman who affected him and Gibbs knew the man in question but not as well as the deepest parts of him wanted to.

"My concerns are more immediate. I have two tickets for the opera tonight. She was going to accompany me. Jethro?"

Gibbs responded vehemently. "No." Wife number two had managed to get him to an opera once. When she’d asked him what, he thought and he’d replied that they’d sounded like a couple of cats in heat he’d slept on the couch until he shipped out again one week later. There was no way he was repeating that experience even if he had his own bed to sleep in now.

Besides, he had other plans, namely finding DiNozzo and keeping the younger man company so that Tony didn’t spend the night brooding over what he’d had no choice but to do.

"I wonder if Kate would be interested. Kate, would you like to accompany me to the opera tonight, my dear?" Ducky asked the attractive agent as they entered the bullpen.

"I’d love to, Ducky," Kate said, smiling, "Give me an hour to go home and change?"

Gibbs watched Ducky, Kate and McGee leave and then decided to go look for DiNozzo. His computer was still on and his jacket was still draped over his chair so the younger man had to be in the building somewhere. Unfortunately the older man had a pretty good idea just where he’d find the younger agent, especially after hearing McGee make a comment about Tony crashing and burning with Cassidy.

Turning off his computer, Gibbs holstered his weapon locked his desk and grabbed his coat. He then walked over to Tony’s workstation and repeated the shutdown process, grabbing the younger man’s gun, coat and knapsack as well. There was no way he was going to let DiNozzo return to work tonight. Nor was he going to leave him alone. The case was over and he could stop being the bastard boss and just be Tony’s friend. God knew the younger man needed that more than a fuck right now, and that’s all he’d have gotten out of Cassidy if he had managed to hook up with her.

The elevator ride down to the morgue was quick, hardly giving Gibbs time to order his thoughts, let alone figure out what he was going to say to Tony. In the end it was a no-brainer. Gibbs took one look at Tony standing by the cooler, looking as if he’d just killed his best friend, and he walked over, putting an arm around Tony’s shoulder, pulling him as close to him as the ‘manly’ hug would allow.

"C’mon, you’re going home with me tonight, DiNozzo," the older man said quietly even as he gently pushed the slab back into the freezer and shut the door.

"I’ve still got that fancy swill you call beer in the fridge from the last time you crashed at my place and we’ll order a pizza and just hang. You can help me sand my boat too, I’m always looking for slave labor," Gibbs grinned, ruffling Tony’s hair as he led him out of the room, flipping the lights as they passed the switch.

"Hey, watch the hair, boss," Tony replied almost by rote even though he did nothing to correct the now mussed ‘do. "I’ve got a reputation to maintain. Wouldn’t want to disappoint the ladies in accounting."

"They’re not the ones you have to suck up to in order to get a raise, DiNozzo," Gibbs replied with fond exasperation as he led Tony toward the stairwell. "I am."

"Is that an offer?" Tony asked, mouth opening before his brain could engage fully. Fuck! "Ahh, I mean, well you know how I put my foot in my mouth, boss. Don’t want you to think that I was propositioning you or any..."

"Tony? Let it go," Gibbs grinned. "You’re just digging yourself deeper." Besides, Gibbs rather liked the answer he’d gotten. It wasn’t thought out; it was raw, honest and from the gut. And it meant that despite all appearances up until now that Tony wasn’t entirely inflexible when it came to what gender he was attracted too. That knowledge made a lot of things had said and done in the past make a whole lot of sense to Gibbs now. Yes, things were looking up for one Leroy Jethro Gibbs.

Nodding meekly, Tony managed to snag his jacket and pack from Gibbs and followed him down to the parking garage. Of course the minute they hit the asphalt Tony was already thinking of escape routes and the best way to duck and run. What the hell had he been thinking saying what he had up in the morgue? Is that an offer? Shit, it was a good thing Gibbs hadn’t shot him on the spot. "Well, boss, thanks for the pep talk, I think I’m gonna..."

"My car, DiNozzo, now. I told you already. You’re spending the night. Actually you’re spending the weekend since it’s Friday. We’ll swing by your place and get a couple of changes of clothes for you. Consider yourself on boat duty."

Besides, there was that little comment that Gibbs had to follow up on. DiNozzo was cute when he blushed. Not that Gibbs would ever use the word Tony and ‘cute’ in a sentence when speaking. Be that as it may, this was the first indication Gibbs had ever had that maybe Tony wasn’t as much of a skirt chaser as everyone thought and Gibbs would be damned if he let the opportunity get away without taking full advantage.

"Awh, c’mon Gibbs, last time I did that I was picking splinters out of my fingers for hours!" Tony whined but nonetheless headed toward Jethro’s car. After all, he already knew he was going to lose. Besides, he really didn’t want to be alone and Gibbs was offering him an entire weekend of male bonding. Not bonding he’d like to be doing but it was still alone time with the man and it was all good.

Grinning Gibbs got into the driver’s seat and started the car. "Better splinters out of your fingers than my foot out of your ass, Tony," he informed the younger man mildly.

As Jethro expected DiNozzo whined and wheedled all the way to his place, trying not so much to get out the weekend as to get out of the ‘hard labor’ that Gibbs had outlined. Tony grumbled through the motions of throwing stuff in an overnight bag, bitched as he checked the fridge for perishables and groaned as he watered the few surviving houseplants he had, and yet despite all that Tony was the first one to Gibbs’ car and the first one out when they finally got to the former gunny sergeant’s house.

Dumping his stuff in the spare bedroom, Tony quickly changed into a pair of well-loved and well-used blue jeans and his favorite cambric shirt before heading downstairs to join Gibbs in the living room. The older man motioned to an opened bottle of beer on the coffee table as he listened to the Muzak on the phone, waiting to place their pizza order.

Settling down on the couch, Tony observed his boss as surreptitiously as he could, ogling Gibbs’ ass outright when the older man turned away, pacing while he waited to get off of hold. Sighing inwardly the younger agent knew he was right back where he’d started two, or was it three? days ago. He was still hung up on a guy who was not only his boss but was involved with a red head and as straight as they came. Unrequited attraction was such a bitch.

Gibbs listened to dial tone as he occasionally made an affirmative noise, using the ploy to watch Tony watch him in the window’s reflection. The naked lust on the younger man’s face combined with a sort of melancholy sadness that gave Jethro pause. What exactly was going on in DiNozzo’s mind? The lust was definitely a step in the right direction as far as Gibbs was concerned but it was the other expression that gave him pause and kept him observing the younger man.

It was only when dial tone turned into screeching beeps that Gibbs finally disconnected and turned back only to find, as he had suspected, a typically ‘Tony’ expression plastered onto the face of the man in question. "Apparently everyone and their brother have decided not to cook tonight, it’ll be about 45 minutes," he said as he sat down on the couch well within the younger man’s comfort zone despite the size of that particular piece of furniture.

Placing his sock clad feet on the coffee table before him Gibbs sagged back into the well-loved upholstery with a happy sigh, taking a swallow of beer as he did so. Jethro wasn’t a man of words most times and to be perfectly honest. He sucked at it. But Tony needed to know, needed to hear what Gibbs had to say. "You did good today, Tony. I know you’ve got issues with what happened but you have to remember that Ensign Hayes used you.

"He said it himself; he was too scared to pull the trigger so he forced you to do it for him. It really was suicide by cop."

"I know," Tony replied after long moments of silence. "I mean logically I know it but it doesn’t make the guilt any easier, Gibbs. He was just a kid who got mixed up in something beyond his control. He didn’t have to die."

"Yes, Tony, he did," the older man corrected. "He had to because he was determined to make it happen. He knew damned well what would happen when he turned that gun on me. He knew you’d have no choice but to fire. He played you, DiNozzo."

"He’s not the only one," the ex-cop muttered. "Between that Marta Hari bitch Ari sent after me, D.E.A. Melinda Stone and Voss I’m beginning to think I should start pitching for the home team, I might actually stand a better shot at maintaining a steady and non-life threatening relationship." Tony tried to come off as joking but the truth was he pretty much believed in what he was saying.

"Might not be such a bad idea at that," Gibbs replied as calmly as he could. At last the opening he’d been looking for!

"But you’d have to make sure you picked the right sort to go after." He continued conversationally. "For instance, I’d see you as wanting an older man, not a younger one. You need someone to depend on, someone who’ll be there 24/7. After all, you’ve got the club going, free wheeling, flirtatious thing down. Seems to me you’d want someone more stable, a little laid back, maybe even a home body to balance you out."

"Umm, Gibbs, you’re freaking me out here. You realize we’re talking about me doing the horizontal mambo with another male, right? Isn’t that like ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ territory?"

"We’re civilians, Tony. And besides I’m not asking and you’re not telling. I’m suggesting and you’re... listening. You are listening, aren’t you DiNozzo?" Gibbs said, staring intensely at Tony.

And then Tony finally bought a clue. "Older, dependable, stable, homebody... maybe a bit of a bastard by times too?" the younger man husked, hoping he wasn’t setting himself up for a firing squad.

"A definite bastard, but only at work," Gibbs qualified. "Possessive, jealous and definitely territorial during down time, though," he warned quietly. "Sounding more familiar, Tony?"

"Sounds a bit like you, boss," the ex-cop replied, hardly daring to breathe. "Are you propositioning me?"

"Hell no. If I were propositioning you, I’d only be after a quick fuck.

I’m talking about a relationship, DiNozzo. Dating, dinner, movies, making out on the couch, you getting your fingers full of splinters and me sucking them out for you, that sort of thing," Gibbs sighed with fond exasperation, crowding into Tony’s personal space even more. "Am I making myself clear enough for you?" Tony fought the urge to let his jaw drop. Gibbs was..."Jesus, boss, are you putting the moves on me?"

"Yeah," Jethro grinned. "Are they working?"

"Are they... you’d better not be shitting me, Gibbs, because ex-marine or not I’ll have your balls if this is your way of torturing me some more," Tony responded darkly before reaching out with both hands, wrapping them around the back of Jethro’s head and yanking him into the ideal position to smash their lips together hungrily.

Growling his approval low in his throat, Jethro’s hands dove into the soft brown stuff that was Tony’s hair, holding the younger man’s head immobile as he took command of the kiss. His tongue demanded and received entrance but Tony regrouped and retaliated, dueling his tongue with Gibbs’ in a mock fight for dominance. Over and over their tongues clashed, retreated, tasted and feasted. It was only the immediate and desperate need for oxygen that finally forced them apart and as soon as they heaved in fresh oxygen they re-engaged once more. Hands slid from where they had a death grip downwards to touch and tease and caress. Gibbs discovered a new fetish in cambric and the way it drove Tony wild when Jethro rubbed the younger man’s nipples through the fabric. Tony found that he actually could whimper given the right stimulus, namely Gibbs’ tongue on that spot just behind his ear.

He also discovered that if he ran his fingers along the nape of Gibbs’ neck he got a full body shudder from the older man. Tony couldn’t wait to try running his tongue down the same spot and seeing what else he could make Jethro do. Sighs turned into moans turned into breathless demands for more as the two men learned each other’s taste and texture. Buttons flew as the cambric was ripped open and the golf shirt was no match for questing fingers as DiNozzo buried beneath to find Gibbs’ stomach, still washboard despite being on the far side of middle age.

"Jesus, DiNozzo, I want you naked!" Jethro groaned, his eyes feasting on the hard planes, muscular angles and the light dusting of golden brown hair on the younger man’s chest.

"You’ve seen me naked already, boss," Tony laughed breathlessly. "Remember Gitmo?"

"You weren’t exactly rising to the occasion that time, Tony," Gibbs smirked, earning a scowl and an elbow to the ribs.

"I’d call you a bastard but that’s a given," Tony shot back, sulking slightly. "I’m also better company than you had back then," Jethro replied, referring not to Tony’s reptilian bed partner but the agent he’d been trying to pursue. "I’ve yet to see proof of that."

"You want proof?" Gibbs crowded closer, forcing Tony onto his back and then covered him from chest to groin, bringing their erections together. "How’s that for proof?" And with that he sealed his mouth over Tony’s once more... only to be interrupted by a knock on the door.

"Go Away," Gibbs snarled, glaring toward the foyer, pissed that he’d been interrupted.

"Pizza boy, boss," Tony laughed breathlessly.

"Fuck the pizza boy," Gibbs growled, not wanting to surrender Tony’s mouth even for the length of time it took to say that.

"To hell with that, I want you to fuck me, but the pizza boy’s pounding on the door, Gibbs. Go pay for it and then get back here. Cold pizza tastes almost as good as fresh from the oven and it’ll be waiting for us when we’ve worked up a real appetite," Tony grinned, pushing the older man off of him.

"Whose god-damned house is this anyway?" Jethro grumbled as he reluctantly stood up.

"Who ordered the god damned pizza?" Tony replied, smirking, as he came to a standing position with a lithe, catlike roll upwards. Smirking at the glaring ex-marine, DiNozzo sauntered up the stairs. "I’ll be in bed. Your bed. Move your ass," and with that he disappeared around the corner toward the bed in question.

Jethro couldn’t hold back the grin that forced its way out. Nope, no worries about DiNozzo changing just because he was sleeping with the boss; he was still an irreverent pain in the ass. Just the way Gibbs liked him. Now to take care of the pizza kid.

Practically ripping the door off its hinges Gibbs thrust a couple of bills at the kid, grabbed the proffered box, glared for good measure, and slammed the door again, locking it for the first time in a long time. The pizza, box, napkins and all, was tossed on the coffee table and Jethro took the stairs two at a time, hitting the lights on the way up. He had rule number 12 to scuttle. Rounding the corner into the bedroom the sight that met his eyes caused Gibbs to stop dead in his tracks. Tony displayed provocatively on his bed; naked Tony splayed and ready for the taking. "Fuck," he breathed not realizing he’d actually said that out loud until the patented DiNozzo smirk came out.

"That’s the general idea, Boss. Now get in here and get naked."

"Anyone ever tell you that you’re a pushy pain in the ass?"

"Don’t you mean piece of ass?" Tony snickered, sitting up and shifting until he was at the end of the bed with Gibbs between his legs. Deciding that Gibbs was being too slow, Tony reached out and slid the fly of the older man’s chino’s down and then undid the button. Sliding his hands around to Jethro’s ass, Tony pushed the pants down taking his boxers with them.

"Fuck. Me," Tony breathed, taking in the sight of a nicely hard body, still in top condition despite being on the waning end of prime. Tony could actually feel his mouth start to water, as he took in corded thighs, washboard abs and a lean waist without an ounce of body fat. And what was in between the thighs and stomach... oh baby!

"That was the general plan, yes," Gibbs replied dryly. He was unaccountably flattered at the admiration and lust he saw flare to life in Tony’s eyes. It was nice to know that someone like Tony, who worked out on a regular basis and was born with a whole lot of good genes, found one beat up old ex-marine appealing enough to be rendered almost speechless.

Tony decided that the only way to shut Gibbs up was to do something drastic so he leaned forward and sucked the tip of Jethro’s erection into his mouth. He had to grin at the wordless bark of arousal and at the feeling of callused hands clamping down on his head to hold him. Still Tony hummed his appreciation, eliciting a strangled half moan half curse from the man above him. Inching forward the younger man swallowed Jethro down an inch at a time until he hit his gag reflex and then backed off just enough to prevent it from happening again. Tony wrapped a hand around the remainder of Gibbs’ shaft and began to palpitate it gently, squeezing and releasing in time to the hollowing of his cheeks as he suctioned the delicious cock in his mouth.

Jethro was pretty sure that this was what purgatory was. He wanted nothing more than to let Tony keep going until he came and conversely he was desperate to bury himself in Tony’s ass and lose the both of them in the rhythm and sound of flesh slapping against flesh.

In the end the desire to be buried balls deep inside DiNozzo’s ass won out over the delicious sensations that Tony’s mouth was eliciting. Bracing his hands against Tony’s shoulders Jethro pushed the younger man back and off of him, grinning slightly at the sound of protest as well as the wet pop of sound as Tony’s mouth finally released its prize. "I want to be in you the first time," he explained simply, a finger brushing over the now puffy lips of his lover.

"Fuck, for someone who had bodily harm done to him by two ex-wives for his lack of communication skills you sure know how to talk a good game," Tony breathed even as he scooted back onto the bed and up until he was comfortably reclining on the fluffy pillows that graced the top of Jethro’s bed. "Well? What’s stopping you?" he smirked, hands tucked behind his head as he waited to be tackled.

Growling predatorily, Gibbs got onto all fours at the side of the bed and crawled up until he was directly between Tony’s thighs. Lifting one leg he licked an anklebone and then blew on the moist flesh before placing that leg around his waist. Repeating the gesture, he was soon snugly within the circle of Tony’s legs. "Back to being pushy I see," Gibbs mock sighed. "You really have to learn who’s in charge here, DiNozzo. ‘Boss’, remember?" he smirked, pointing toward himself. "And ‘underling’," he finished, wrapping a hand around Tony’s cock and stroking it firmly.

The lube was in the obvious place, his dresser drawer. An unopened box and still a sealed tube that had been there for longer than Gibbs cared to think about. The box hit the floor in a mangled mess, the tube was soon punctured and the cool jelly being warmed in the palm of Jethro’s hand, the condom, from yet another unopened box, this one only a week old, was in Tony’s hands being rolled onto Gibbs’ cock.

Jethro took his time preparing Tony, gently inserting and reinserting his fingers until he’d relaxed and widened Tony’s anus enough for him to not cause the younger man too much pain. The breathy moans and little pleading whines that came from Tony’s throat made it next to impossible to keep control but Gibbs hadn’t spent half his adult life in the marine corps without coming out knowing how to keep his cool in a hot zone.

"Christ, Gibbs, you’re killing me here," Tony gasped, hips thrusting upwards in blatant invitation. "Enough with the boy scout routine and fuck will ya? I mean there’s only so much ‘be prepared’ that a man can take!"

Gibbs snorted silently. Only Tony could take something as innocuous as the Scout Motto and turn it into something sexual. It was just one of the things that attracted Gibbs to the younger man, his playful, if perverse, sense of humor. "You really need to learn patience, DiNozzo," he replied mildly as he slid another finger inside, this time crooking his fingers to rake across Tony’s prostate.

Tony howled. His hips gyrated and bucked, hands squeezed down on Gibbs’ thighs hard enough to leave bruises. "Bastard! Oh god, you bastard stop screwing around with me and screw me already!"

"You’re not really convincing me here, DiNozzo. So far the merits of continuing to drive you out of your mind with lust outweigh the immediate gratification of pounding this ass into the mattress and making you come so hard you pass out from it," Gibbs husked, bending slightly to nip at the base of Tony’s throat before moving down to mouth the younger man’s nipples, eliciting further vocal reactions from Tony.

Chuckling around a nipple Jethro let his fingers slide across Tony’s prostate, one last time before sliding out in order to make room for something larger and harder.

Slicking his cock with the leftover lubricant Jethro slowly pushed his way inside, biting down hard on his lip to keep from moaning at the incredibly pleasurable squeeze of Tony’s anal muscles clamping down on his cock.

"Oh Jesus Christ, Gibbs!" Tony cried out, hips bucking as the breath stuttered in his throat. The ex-marine was hard, long and thick, filling Tony more than he’d ever been filled before. It was incredible and god, he was ruined for life now.

"Breathe, DiNozzo," Gibbs chuckled, looking down at the younger man. "I’m giving you a direct order here."

Tony’s cock leapt and a full body shudder coursed through him, vibrating even Jethro’s cock inside of him. Jethro’s smile became more silky and heated. "So, Tony, you like it when I order you around?" he purred, leaning in close and watching as Tony’s eyes dilated even further. "You like me in charge and in control? I think we’re going to have to explore this further, don’t you?" "Oh fuck, boss, please," Tony begged, hands coming up to hold onto the headboard for dear life as he arched impossibly higher. "Move, damn you, I need... oh god I need it, need you."

"You’ve got me, DiNozzo," Jethro promised in a dark velvet voice as he slid almost completely out of Tony’s body and then slammed home again. "You’re never getting rid of me now. You’re mine now, Tony, all mine." Over and over Gibbs rocked into Tony’s body, marking, claiming and taking the control that Tony seemed so ready to offer up to him. He reveled in the ability to be with and in Tony, what an incredible rush it was.

"Jethro," Tony whimpered, hands coming up to rest on the older man’s hips in order to pull him down harder. God, he’d dreamed, fantasized and jerked off to thoughts of Gibbs fucking him for so long that he could hardly believe this. It was so much better than any dream or fantasy, the slick hot slide of Jethro’s cock moving in and out of him, the drag and push, the fullness and the shock waves that surged every time the older man’s cock raked Tony’s prostate. He was soon reduced to whimpers and moans, the ability to talk and articulate abandoning him as he got closer and closer to orgasm.

Above him Jethro was breathing harshly, his hips moving faster and faster, pounding into Tony.

One of the older man’s hands wrapped around Tony’s cock, the gun calluses adding another level of sensation, a rough sandpapery feeling within a tight grip. He worked Tony over with infinite skill and finesse, driving the younger man further and higher than he’d ever been and all Tony could do was hang on and enjoy the ride.

Watching the expressions flit across Tony’s face was one of the most erotic things Jethro had seen in his life and he had a fair number of steamy memories to draw from in his adult lifetime.

"That’s it," he coaxed, "you look amazing impaled on my cock like that, DiNozzo. Gonna make sure you like that a lot from now on, you can count on it. But right now I want you to cum for me Tony," Gibbs whispered, bending down to nip hard at Tony’s bottom lip.

"Jesus, oh holy fucking hell, Gibbs," Tony gasped as Jethro’s cock shifted slightly inside of him when Gibbs bent down to claim his mouth causing it to be in constant contact with Tony’s sweet spot. After all the build up, the foreplay and the hard fucking it didn’t take much to send the younger man crashing into orgasm. With a strangled gasp and the tensing of his body he was coming, covering Jethro’s hand and his stomach with his spunk.

"Oh yeah, that’s it baby," Gibbs groaned managing a few more thrusts before the spasmodic clamping of Tony’s ass set him off as well. With a harsh groan Jethro collapsed onto Tony, shaking slightly from his exertions and the fading spasms of his orgasm. He could feel his cock slowly soften inside of Tony’s ass, jerking every now and again with residual pleasure.

Underneath him Tony looked sweaty and sated; his lips were red, puffy and tender looking, his hair matted and sweat soaked and as far as Gibbs was concerned DiNozzo had never looked sexier than he did at that very moment. "This look is good on you," he murmured, a smug little smile lighting his face.

"What, sweat rag?"

"I was thinking more along the lines of rode hard and put away wet," Gibbs replied, his tone even more smug than his smile.

Tony’s eyes narrowed and he growled slightly. "Just you wait until it’s your turn and then we’ll see who looks hard and wet... that so didn’t come out right," he groaned as Gibbs burst into laughter. "Oh stop braying already, damned marine," the younger man grumbled, slightly put out at putting his foot in it so well. "And another thing. Call me baby again at your own peril. You may know how to sneak up behind someone without making a sound and kill a person fifty different ways but I will be forced to do something drastic that includes bodily harm to you."

Gibbs just laughed a little harder, collapsing completely on top of Tony when his arms gave out on him.

"Ooof! Do you mind? I’m not a mattress!"

Rolling to the side caused Gibbs to slip out of Tony completely, causing Tony to make a slight noise of protest at the loss. Gibbs’ arm snaked around Tony’s shoulder, drawing the other man along with him so that Tony was comfortably cradled in the crook of Gibbs’ arm, the other going around Tony’s waist to secure him safely to Gibbs’ side. Jethro tried not to be too smug as Tony instinctively curled toward him, relaxing into his arms.

"And another thing, just so we’re clear, I am in no way shape or form the ‘girl’ in this relationship, got it?" Tony continued, hardly missing a beat.

"Yes dear," Gibbs’ intoned earning him a deadly glare and sharp jab to his side. "Keep it up DiNozzo and I’ll insist on ‘stay alive’ training for the rest of the week and make sure McGee and Kate know who prompted my sudden ‘generosity’." "You wouldn’t!" Tony gasped knowing that if that happened his life would be effectively over because Tim and Kate would kill him.

Gibbs let Tony ponder the horror for a few more moments before letting him off the hook.

"Probably not, your ass is mine and mine alone, DiNozzo. No one else gets to take a shot at it from this point on."

"Gee, I feel so relieved to hear that. Not."

"Tony, shut up and go to sleep, will ya? We’ve got the rest of the weekend, hell the rest of our lives, to figure this relationship out. There’s time for everything."

Tony, who’d been about to open his mouth in order to lodge a protest, grinned in slightly stunned pleasure. Time for everything, maybe even a lifetime, oh yeah, he could get used to that.

Threading a hand behind Gibbs’ head he drew the older man down for a long, slow, and thorough kiss, expressing his happiness nonverbally.

When they finally came up for air Gibbs’ grinned back down at him. "I take it that this meets with your approval."

"A lifetime with you? Hell yes," Tony agreed quickly. Like he’d say no to that.

"Glad to hear it," Gibbs murmured, his lips brushing reflexively across Tony’s temple while his hand ruffled Tony’s hair. "Glad to hear it."


  since 02-17-07

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time of war, a time of peace
A time of love, a time of hate
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time to love, a time to hate
A time of peace, I swear it’s not too late!

(c) The Byrds

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