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Series: 1) Recruitment, 2) Bonded, 3) That Fits The Crime, 4) Home, 5) Drowning, 6) Descent 7) Deliverance
Author's note: Mild xover with CSINY
Note: All thanks to Kya, who came up with the original plot bunny of NCIS as a wolf pack!!
Summary: In an AU where shapeshifters exist. Gibbs and Tony finally have time for themselves...
The best part about Italy was waking up in Gibbs' arms every day and not having to rush to get dressed and go to work. There were plenty of mornings that turned into early afternoon in the blink of an eye during marathon lovemaking sessions. There were other mornings that they just lazed about in bed talking, or not, and enjoying the warm sun streaming in the windows. Tony learned more about the evils of Gibbs' ex-wives than he ever thought he wanted to know and talked way too much about his own life.
They invariably joined the rest of the clan in the kitchen, or on the patio, for lunch. It was relaxing to watch the kids as they ran around on two and four feet until Maria yelled for order and to sit and eat, or not get fed at all. It showed him how a real family acted, the love the parents and guardians showered on all the children. And the acceptance he had from everyone filled him with a sense of wonderment, even two weeks later.
Afternoons were spent wandering the estate or making short trips around the surrounding countryside. They went to a couple of outside vineyards and the beach three times, much to Gibbs' almost-concealed dismay. Tony couldn't help teasing him there, wearing a Speedo and having his lover rub lotion on him every time he came out of the water. When they got back to their rooms, Gibbs jumped him and the remaining time before dinner was spent working up an appetite.
It was in the middle of the third week that Tony started feeling restless. He wouldn't have thought he could ever tire of being on vacation, but not having anything to do started wearing on him by then.
When they were lying in bed that night, Gibbs asked, "You ready to go home, or do you want to travel a bit before we go back?"
Tony thought about it, then answered, "I think I'm ready to go home. I miss everyone, even if I know I'm going to miss this side of you when we get there."
Gibbs sighed and told him, "I'm not going to change back to how I was before, Tony, I told you I wouldn't."
"I know, and I believe you," Tony was quick to assure. "It's just...you're sure as hell not going to be this open around others and I like it. I like knowing all I have to do is look at you and you'll come and give me a squeeze."
Pressing his lips to Tony's temple, he agreed, "I won't, no, but I'm not going to just push you aside. This is us and we've got Morrow's blessing, so it's not like anyone's going to fire us."
Tony grinned. "Not unless we try to arrest Rabb again."
Gibbs chuckled and said, "We'll keep that off the To Do list."
"So when will we leave?"
"When do you want to leave?"
Shifting to look at him, grateful that his sharpened senses allowed him to see Gibbs even in the dark, Tony asked, "Tomorrow would be great, but we have to make arrangements first."
"Says who?" Gibbs questioned, smirking. "We can catch a transport or take a private flight."
Surprised, Tony countered, "Just like that?"
"Just like that," Gibbs confirmed.
* * * *
It wasn't quite 'just like that,' but pretty damn close. By the day after, they were on a private plane back to
. Once there, Tony decided a long weekend in the city would be perfect and Gibbs gave in with surprising ease. It was as though he wanted to spend as much time as possible lavishing attention on him, before going back. New York
Not that he was complaining.
Friday night was spent demolishing the hotel room in a variety of fun and incredibly flexible ways. Saturday, they hightailed it out of the room to let the cleaning staff take care of things and caught a Yankees game. After, was a bar, supper, and beers while watching Gibbs get clobbered at darts even though Tony knew Gibbs was letting the young marines on leave beat him. When they got back to the hotel, it was his first instance of making love with a slightly drunk Gibbs and he literally howled his pleasure as his lover took him time after time.
Security got an eyeful when Gibbs answered the door stark naked and pissed at the interruption, which made Tony chuckle. Again.
"You don't have to look so pleased about it," Gibbs grumbled for the fourth time as they headed for the hotel dining room to get breakfast.
Laughing softly, Tony replied, "Oh, come on Gibbs, it was pretty funny. They thought you were killing me."
Gibbs scowled, but there was no real heat to it, so Tony just grinned more and avoided a lazy swat to the back of the head. It was only a few minutes to wait for a table and he enjoyed standing close to Gibbs, soaking in his lover's scent and heat.
When they were seated, Gibbs said, "I thought we could visit with a friend of mine I haven't seen in a long time, since the flight doesn't leave until tonight. How's that sound?"
Tony nodded and answered, "Sounds fine to me. Who is it?"
"His name's Mac Taylor. He used to be a marine and now he works for NYPD, heading their forensics lab," Gibbs explained. "He's a good man."
"One of us?" Tony questioned, curious.
Gibbs shook his head. "No, but strangely enough, he wound up with one of us. I'm betting Danny'll be there, too, unless he's working."
Tony was eager to meet someone that Gibbs had known way back when. Breakfast took forever, but finally, they were in a cab heading to the man's apartment. Gibbs called on the way there, but got voicemail. Tony asked, "Think they had to work?"
Gibbs grinned briefly and answered, "It's probably something a little more...personal...than work that's keeping Mac from the phone. Something we should've done a little more of this morning."
Choking when Gibbs discreetly cupped him out of view of the cab driver, Tony didn't dare squirm to get free. It would only bring to the bored driver's attention what he was hoping not to. Fortunately, Gibbs released him to make another call when the cab pulled up in front of a building. This time a man picked up and Tony paid for the ride while Gibbs talked to his friend and got out of the cab.
By the time he joined Gibbs outside, a young man with spiky blond hair had stuck his head out the window and yelled, "Gibbs! Get your ass up here pronto before Mac nails your hide to the wall!"
Tony grinned, observing, "That must be Danny."
"Got it in one," Gibbs confirmed, pushing him lightly to the front door.
His first impression of Mac was deep waters, a lot like Gibbs really, only without the sound and fury. At least as far as he could tell. Danny, on the other hand, was about as wired as Abby, but a lot rougher around the edges and not given as much to smiling. After introductions, Danny came out with some beers and they all settled on the sofas. It was a nice apartment, neat but lived-in. There seemed to be more of Mac than Danny in it, but Tony noticed the sports magazines on the coffee table and the really nice audio/visual set-up, which he guessed to be at the younger man's insistence.
"I'm glad everything turned out all right," Mac said, taking his beer from Danny.
Gibbs didn't look surprised as he said, more than asked, "Word traveled this far."
Mac shrugged. "What do you expect, when a beta's taken like that? I assume you killed the bastard."
"An explosion did, but dead is dead," Gibbs replied.
Tony leaned against Gibbs, not liking the cold tone his alpha used. Gibbs flashed him a reassuring smile and put an arm over Tony's shoulder.
Danny broke in with, "So whatdaya like, DiNozzo? A pie or subs for lunch? Me, I could murder a pie, given the appetite we worked up."
Mac cuffed him lightly upside the head and reproved, "Manners, Danny."
Grinning, not in the least repentant, Danny said, "Pizza it is. Delivery, or you want I should go pick it up?"
"Why don't you show Tony the neighborhood and pick it up?" Mac suggested.
Tony didn't need to be psychic to know a conversation about them was going to take place without them around to listen. He looked at Gibbs, suddenly nervous about being out on his own. He hadn't been since the kidnapping.
Gibbs squeezed his shoulder briefly and said, "It's a good idea. Danny's a pretty decent guide. Just stay out of trouble."
Which was exactly what he was worried about, but Tony took a breath and nodded. "Sure thing, Boss."
"Come on, there, DiNozzo, let's head out," Danny ordered, climbing to his feet and stepping on Mac in the process.
Mac slapped him sharply on the ass, which earned a grin from Danny. The admonishing glance that followed tempered the high-spirits somewhat and Danny gave the other man an abashed, if silent, apology.
Tony took a last look at Gibbs before leaving the apartment, but his lover wasn't paying the slightest bit of attention to him as he and Mac talked about work. A little shaky, but determined not to show it, Tony closed the door behind him and followed Danny to the elevator.
* * * *
Jethro nodded and answered, "If by okay you mean I'm ready to grab Tony by the scruff and drag him back here."
Mac offered a wry grin and said, "I know the feeling. Not that we've been through anything like you have, but Danny was trapped in a vault a couple of months back and I had a case I could not let go of to check on him."
"Ouch," Jethro commiserated. "How are things between you two?"
"Better than last year, I'll tell you that," Mac replied emphatically. "If I never have another year like that again, it'll be too damn soon."
Jethro pointed out, "It did get you together."
"And now we're together, we don't need to do anything like that ever again," Mac countered sharply.
Raising his hands, Jethro apologized, "Didn't mean to bring up bad memories. You'd think you were Shifter, acting like that."
Mac's lips twisted, his expression rueful as he said, "You don't need four legs and a tail to be possessive."
"No, I guess not," Jethro agreed.
They drank in silence for a few minutes before Mac asked, "So you're heading back to DC tonight? When do you go back to work?"
"Tomorrow. I want to get Tony back as soon as possible. We've been gone too long as it is," Jethro answered. "It's going to be rough, but it has to happen."
Mac nodded. "It's a good idea. I'm surprised you held off as long as you did."
"We hadn't properly bonded," Jethro admitted, pained that he had to.
Mac's eyebrows rose and he repeated, "You didn't?"
"It's a long story."
"We've got at least a half hour. Spill, Gunny."
Jethro half-smiled and started to spill his guts.
* * * *
By the time Tony and Danny got back with the pizzas, because there was no way just one would satisfy four grown men, of whom three were Shifters, Jethro was about ready to track the two of them down. The second they walked through the door, talking and laughing about something, he got to his feet, doing his best not to growl and failing.
Tony immediately stopped short and visibly deflated. "Um, Boss?"
"How long does it take to get a God damn pizza, DiNozzo?" Jethro questioned, almost pleasantly.
Danny answered, "We got stuck..."
Keeping his voice quiet and even, Jethro interrupted, "I'm not talking to you," and gave his best, 'cower in submission before me,' glare.
Danny swallowed nervously, grabbed the pizzas from Tony, and hightailed it to stand behind Mac.
Interested only in Tony, Jethro prompted, "I'm waiting."
"We ah, we got stuck in the subway. It wasn't moving, Boss. And I couldn't call you because we were, you know, underground," Tony explained hastily.
"This was going, or coming back."
Jethro could practically see the 'busted!' sign Abby would've held over Tony's head as the beta hunched down a little.
"The next time you pull a stunt like that, you're suspended for three days."
Tony's jaw dropped and he looked about to protest, so Jethro folded his arms over his chest and waited. As expected, the other Shifter backed down, sighing. "Understood, Boss."
"You're going to have to get used to the tighter restrictions, Tony," Jethro told him, relenting a little. "People aren't going to want you out of sight for very long. And if you take off without telling anyone, or leaving word somehow, you won't be able to sit for a week."
It was Tony's turn to swallow nervously, but he seemed to take the threat seriously.
As well he should, Jethro thought in dark amusement. I've got no trouble taking a belt to his backside if that's what gets through to him that his wild days are done.
He didn't want to break Tony, just...rein him in a little...keep him from doing something they would all regret in the future. Like get kidnapped again. Or worse.
"Come on. Let's eat," Jethro ordered, slapping Tony upside the head to let him know the serious part was over.
Looking relieved, Tony smiled and said, "Great! I'm starving!"
Mac helped Danny set up in the small dining area and Jethro herded Tony over to sit. At first, everyone was too busy eating to talk, all four men falling on the pizza like ravenous wolves. Not too far from the truth, Jethro thought to himself, amused. But then Mac started telling embarrassing stories about him and some of the trouble they'd gotten into together. He was going to put a stop to it until he saw the gleam of mischief in Tony's eyes. It was something that had been absent for way too long, so Jethro let Mac continue, adding in a few anecdotes of his own for Danny.
And then it was time to catch their flight. Jethro was glad he'd had the hotel ship their baggage to the airport. He'd had a feeling the visit would run long. They said goodbyes and headed out for La Guardia with promises to visit. Tony and Danny exchanged emails, yelling them out as Jethro hustled Tony into the waiting cab. He smiled when Tony leaned against him, resting his head on Jethro's shoulder. "Tired?"
"A little," Tony admitted. "But I'm glad we stopped."
"Me, too," Jethro agreed, ignoring the driver to kiss the top of Tony's head.
"So what's Danny's story? He doesn't have a, uh, family?"
Knowing what Tony was asking, Mac answered, "No. No, Danny's family consists of the people he works with and he's a lot better off."
"I'll tell you later, in private."
Tony nodded, apparently content with the response.
It was a rush to make their plane, but they did. The flight itself was uneventful and they arrived not a couple hour later at BWI. Jethro hadn't told anyone they were coming home, but he knew word had probably already reached everyone here. He was hoping to just show up in the morning, but seriously doubted their pack would let that happen.
Not surprisingly, there were three cars in the driveway when they got home. He glanced at Tony, who looked somewhat apprehensive at the front door without moving.
"It's going to be fine, Tony," Jethro promised.
Tony looked back at him and asked softly, "What if they look at me different?"
Jethro knew they would, but he could only hope that they would be able to get passed Tony's technical betrayal. He wasn't worried about Ducky or Abby, but the others were another story. Kate was pretty rigidly set in her ways and Tony's defection to Ari would probably weigh heavily on her. As for McGee, well, Jethro just didn't know him well enough to guess how he would react. And Gerald was fiercely loyal, so he might take Tony's brainwashing as a sign that the beta wasn't fully committed.
Shaking his head only a second later, Jethro said, "Then I'll smack them into next week and they can find another team."
Tony's jaw dropped.
Jethro grinned and tapped it shut. "Come on, DiNozzo, time to go home."
He paid the cab driver while Tony climbed out of the cab and grabbed their suitcases. Before Tony had gone two steps, the front door opened and Abby came screeching out at a full run. Right behind her was Mutt and they both jumped on Tony, slamming him into the ground with the combined weights. Jethro hid a grin and picked up the suitcases that had dropped to the ground.
Ducky poked his head out to call, "Well don't just stand there, Jethro, come in, come in!"
Shaking his head, he walked passed the mass of bodies on the ground and headed inside, knowing Tony and Abby would follow shortly. He'd barely gotten inside when Gerald took the bags from him. The black man gave him a friendly smile and turned to put the bags down while Ducky gave Jethro a brief, but tight, hug.
Kate hovered anxiously behind them and gave Jethro a tight smile as she demanded, "How is he?"
"He's fine, Kate," Jethro assured her.
"Are you sure? No residual problems? He's not withdrawn or..."
Jethro gripped her shoulder, interrupting firmly, "He's fine."
She took a breath and gave him a crooked grin before saying, "Sorry."
"Not a problem," Jethro told her, letting go.
They headed deeper into the house where Jethro saw no sign of McGee. Frowning, he asked, "Where's Probie?"
Kate snorted. "Late getting the pizza."
And then Tony and Abby walked in and the next ten minutes were spent with everyone fussing over Tony in a gratifying way. Jethro couldn't have planned it better if he'd tried. The younger man was kept in a constant state of blush and bewildered smile, which warmed Jethro all the way through. Sitting on the sofa, Jethro absently petted Mutt while the others lavished attention on Tony.
McGee showed up just as things started to quiet down and there was more exclamations and organization over the food. Jethro bit his tongue on the urge to move everyone into the kitchen as the pizzas landed on his coffee table, along with the soda. Cleaning up was going to be a serious pain in the ass.
Tony sat on the sofa next to him and Jethro put an arm around over his shoulder as conversation turned to what they'd missed at work. The big news was that Morrow had announced his retirement, which took Jethro by surprise, and no one knew who his replacement would be yet. Then there were the usual transfers and promotions and miscellaneous case tidbits. Even without Jethro and Tony, the team had worked on cases. Jethro got the sense that Kate had relished being in charge and had no idea what he would do when she decided it was time to move up. Hopefully it would be a few years before they found out.
The afternoon stretched on, conversation flowing easily amidst laughter and high spirits. When Tony started yawning, Jethro caught Ducky's eye and the older man said, "Well. Since we have to be at work tomorrow, I believe we should head home. Gerald?"
Gerald stood with Ducky and that was signal to everyone else, who pitched in to clean up. In about ten minutes, things were mostly shipshape and the group headed for the front door. More time was spent saying goodbye than cleaning up, but finally, everyone was gone. Closing the door, Jethro turned to find a strange look on his lover's face, almost a frown, and asked, "What's wrong?"
"Nothing," Tony answered immediately. He smiled and moved closer to put his arms around Jethro's neck, continuing, "We have a great pack, Gibbs."
Jethro smiled in return and agreed, "We do."
Yawning, Tony rested his head on Jethro's shoulder and murmured, "Tired."
"Let's go to bed, then," Jethro said, rubbing Tony's back.
He let Mutt out for a quick run and to take care of business, Tony heading on to the bedroom without him. By the time he and Mutt reached the bedroom, Tony was sound asleep under the covers and Jethro took a few minutes just to watch him. Mutt jumped onto the bed, immediately curling into a ball at Tony's feet. Jethro got ready for bed and then climbed in a few minutes later. He pulled Tony into his arms, eliciting a sleepy grumble, and let himself drift.
It scared him that as of the next day Tony would be back on the job. No matter what he'd said at Mac's, Jethro couldn't keep the younger man tied to the office or his side. Tony was damn good at investigating, so he would wind up in danger at some point in the future. Not that he couldn't instigate a few more safety measures, like making sure no one went out on the job without a partner, but he had to give Tony space to be himself and do his job.
Stroking fingers over Tony's soft hair, Jethro sighed and wished life were simpler. All he could do was control how he treated his beta and make sure Tony knew that he was loved and wanted; the rest would have to be dealt with as it happened.
Jethro pressed his lips to Tony's forehead and whispered, "Love you, Tony," before finally closing his eyes to go to sleep.
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