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Summary: Gibbs helps Tony get rid of some nervous energy.
Since the energy couldn't just disappear, it needed to be dispersed. Nervous energy. Angry energy. Relieved energy. Jethro watched as Tony went from watching television on the couch, to walking to the kitchen for a soda he wouldn't end up drinking. He watched as Tony's knee bounced rapidly when he was sitting, and watched the way his hands stayed fisted from the moment they'd stepped through the door until two hours later.
There were a lot of things that Tony could bounce back from without any help whatsoever. He could take many bizarre and unusual things in stride and keep on going just as he'd always done. Being framed for a heinous murder and arrested for it, however, was not one of them. It had hit Tony right where it had always counted for him; professionally. No matter what shape Tony's personal life was in, how many women he dated, how screwed up his family was, the one thing the young man could point to with pride was his work. It was beyond reproach and what had caught Jethro's attention in the first place.
Then had come the smile.
Stretching a little to relieve the kink in his back, Jethro picked up the remote and turned off the television, waiting for the inevitable explosion.
"What the hell, Gibbs? I was watching that!" Tony exclaimed angrily.
Jethro wondered briefly if maybe they should have hit the gym before coming home, but only said, "And now you're going to bed."
Glaring at him, shifting to face him on the sofa, Tony retorted, "I'm not ten and you're not my damn father."
"No, I'm not," Jethro agreed mildly. "I doubt your father ever gave you a rule or boundary in your life. I, on the other hand, have no intention of letting you stay up all night wearing yourself out for no reason."
"I know how to take care of myself," Tony snapped, jumping to his feet.
Jethro restrained the impulse to sigh. "That's debatable, but not tonight. Tonight, you're going to take a hot shower and then get your ass in bed."
Tony grimaced at him and shook his head, saying, "I'm not ready to go to bed. I wouldn't be able to sleep."
"I didn't say anything about sleeping," Jethro pointed out, still in that mild tone of voice.
Tony went still and, for some reason, grew even more tense. "Not really in the mood here, Gibbs."
Snorting, Jethro replied, "I could tell that from the way you keep calling me by my last name. Just...trust me for a change, will you?"
"I always trust you," Tony countered, hurt.
But Jethro had to shake his head and say, "Not with the important things you don't."
"You don't think my life is important?"
"I think your heart and soul are equally as important, but haven't been entrusted with either yet."
It was a toss-up as to which way the night would go. Tony could clam up and storm out of the house, driving to his apartment not to darken Jethro's door again for a good long while, if ever. That was entirely possible. He could also argue about the trust issue and delay giving in to Jethro's demand for a very long time. Or the last option, which Jethro was really hoping for, he could acquiesce and go upstairs to take a shower and join Jethro in bed.
There was a long silence before Tony bit his lip uncertainly and began, "You never...I didn't figure you wanted...You never talk about stuff like that."
Jethro stood and walked over to him. He looked into Tony's eyes for a few seconds before informing him, "Yes I did, Tony. I do all the time. You just don't listen," and smacking him on the back of the head.
Tony flinched, but the irritated grimace he aimed at Jethro was belied by the lightening of hope in his eyes. "So, shower?"
"Shower," Jethro confirmed.
The grin Tony flashed at Jethro was pure brash, causing him to relax a little as he watched Tony jog lightly up the stairs. He went downstairs to the basement to work on the boat while Tony showered, knowing that the other man would take a good, long time to relax under the indecently luxurious showerhead that he'd had installed a few months ago. And since Jethro could hear the pipes going on and off down in the basement, he would know when to go upstairs to meet Tony in the bedroom.
Tony wasn't the only one who needed to unwind after the events of the last couple of days.
* * * *
Feeling a lot like
down the Rabbit Hole, Tony stared at his reflection in the bathroom mirror for a long time. The mirror was mostly fogged over, giving him a nebulous appearance that matched his chaotic emotions. Seeing everything that he'd worked so long and hard for go down in flames had torn something deep inside and he wasn't sure how long it would take to get everything back to normal. Alice
He'd known the moment that he'd followed Gibbs home tonight that something irrevocable would happen between them before dawn. Not sex. They'd been having sex for the last six months without any real change in their relationship. It had been more than just 'relieving tension,' between them, but less than...well...a real relationship. No mention had been made of feelings, or permanence, or changes and compromises.
Not in words anyhow, Tony allowed, grimacing at his reflection. Maybe he's been saying all of that all this time and you just couldn't figure it out. So much for being perceptive.
Sighing, Tony rubbed the towel over his head a last time and folded it over the rack before padding out into the bedroom. To his surprise, Gibbs was in bed, but dressed in sweats and a t-shirt. He stopped at the edge of the bed and commented lightly, "I feel a little underdressed here."
Gibbs grinned at him briefly and held up the blankets. It was a silent, but clear, invitation. Tony hesitated a moment longer, but then climbed under the covers to stretch out beside the other man.
"C'mere," Gibbs ordered softly.
They'd never been much for the softer side of a relationship, which had always underscored to Tony that they didn't really have one. Not of any real import, at least. Now, though, faced with Gibbs holding his arm open and an expectant expression on the other man's face, Tony was suddenly scared shitless by the possibilities. Possibilities that included a real home, ties that bound, the whole nine yards. Instead of moving closer and curling up over Gibbs' chest to accept all of that, as indicated, he sat up and scooted a couple of inches away.
Gibbs sighed. "Okay. Looks like we talk first."
Which was almost scarier than life in prison for a murder he didn't commit. Sitting upright and crossing his legs, Gibbs looked at him silently, observing him until Tony exclaimed, "What!? Come on, Gibbs, you're really freaking me out here!"
A half-grin twisted Gibbs' mouth as he replied, "I'm not trying to freak you out, Tony, I'm trying to show you something."
"You're still not paying attention."
"Paying attention?" Tony repeated, exasperated. "You're just sitting there, staring at me. I'm not psychic, you know, I do need clues to go on."
Gibbs gripped the back of Tony's neck and held tight, bringing him in so close that he almost went cross-eyed looking into the sharp, pale blue of the other man's eyes. "Pay. Attention."
Tony was about to protest again, but the hand on the back of his neck tightened and so kept his mouth shut. It was an uncomfortable position, and the grip just shy of painful. He couldn't imagine that it was any easier for Gibbs to maintain the off-balanced position, and yet there didn't seem to be any trouble on his part in doing so.
Pay attention to what? That he's acting like a lunatic? Tony demanded silently. What the hell is he talking about? All he's doing is staring at me. And ow, that's more than a little tight ,there, he could loosen up a little. Jeeze. Give the man an inch and he grabs a mile. No big surprise there. Frickin' ex-marine, gung-ho, holier-than-thou attitude. It's not like he doesn't have issues.
Eventually, Tony's thoughts wound down and he was left with...silence...and the sharp blue of Gibbs' eyes. Eyes that invariably seemed hard and cold to those who did, and didn't, know the other man well. Eyes that could make a battle-hardened soldier trust in an instant, or a killer go cold with fear in less time than that. There was so much staring back at him that it seemed impossible for anyone to call the other man cold and unfeeling, even Gibbs himself.
It was in concentrating on Gibbs' eyes, really seeing them for what seemed like the first time, that he felt their breathing align. He could feel every indent on the fingers touching the back of his neck, all the ridges and the minute trace of sweat that hadn't formed into beads just yet. For the first time ever, he felt...connected...to another person. It wasn't that romantic drivel about feeling at one with someone, he could get that from a really great orgasm and had, more times than he could count, while having sex with Gibbs.
This was so much more, and conversely, so much less, than that. This was...
Tony straightened abruptly, the realization hitting him right in the gut.
A barely-there smile spread over Gibbs' lips and he murmured, "Now you're getting it."
Unexpectedly, a laugh bubbled up from inside and Tony grinned at his lover as he observed, "No wonder you kept smacking me in the head."
Gibbs huffed in amusement, eyes sparkling with silent laughter. "I was starting to wonder if I would give you a concussion before you got it."
Without a second thought, Tony shifted forward so that he rested completely on Gibbs, who lay back against the pillows, getting comfortable. Breathing in deep, taking in the familiar smell of sawdust, Tony smiled and wrapped an arm over Gibbs' chest as he asked, "So now what?"
"Now we move on," Gibbs replied simply, kissing the top of his head. "You ready for that?"
"Yeah, yeah I think I am, Boss," Tony agreed, sighing tiredly.
It was really weird, but all that pacing and watching tv and keeping himself busy hadn't done a thing to dispel all the crap running through him. He'd been a mass of nerves and psychotic energy, ready to explode that nothing could seem to disperse. And yet apparently, just five minutes of staring into Gibbs' eyes was enough to drain him of the need to go haywire and commit real murder. Of course, finding out that he was loved as much as any one person can love...yeah...that helped a lot, too.
Not that he had to tell Gibbs that. The man's ego was already at 'insufferable bastard,' nine times out of ten.
Tony grinned as he drifted into sleep.
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