by Juli

August 2004

Feeling clean – it was a sensation not fully appreciated until it was impossible to achieve.

Tony DiNozzo leaned into the water cascading from above, relishing the simple act of taking a shower like he rarely had before. He braced one arm against the wall and gave the rest of his body completely over to the delicious feel of the water sluicing over his skin. It still wasn’t enough. If he could, Tony would crawl right up the water stream into the showerhead itself.

The dirt from the sewer felt like it was ground in soul-deep… and that wasn’t all. Tony had a sick feeling in his stomach, probably a leftover effect of the drug Vanessa, the waitress, had given him. Or maybe not. He’d screwed up pretty bad by letting that psychotic bitch slip something into his drink - the reality that his kidnapping was his own damn fault didn’t sit well.

Tony groaned and rubbed his hands against his face. He’d never live this one down. Just the thought of it exhausted him even more than the physical trial of the kidnapping did. All he could do was stand beneath the spray, with the washcloth dangling from his fingers, almost too heavy to hold. He was too tired to wash himself but also was too tired to get out. Maybe, he thought, he’d end up standing there all night.

His first clue that he wasn’t alone was the sudden draft as the shower curtain was drawn aside. Before he could react, however, a warm body stepped behind him and familiar, calloused hands gently took the washcloth from him.


DiNozzo turned, moving carefully in the small space, and faced his lover.

“Boss, I’m so-….”

Jethro put his index finger over Tony’s lips, a request for silence. When the younger man complied, he ran his thumb over Tony’s full lower lip before leaning up to kiss DiNozzo chastely on the forehead. Then, remaining mute, Gibbs moved Tony so that he was facing the water again.

Tony shivered, even though the shower water was nice and warm. The intensity in Gibbs’ eyes… he’d seen it often enough on a case but it still gave him goosebumps when his lover turned it on him.

When the washcloth first brushed his back, Tony jumped a little but he almost immediately relaxed. He knew that touch, intimately. The nubby fabric slid easily over his skin and a moist waft of scent indicated why. Gibbs was using Tony’s brand of soap, the one that matched his favorite cologne. Gibbs himself used a more utilitarian brand and often teased DiNozzo about his preference for the fancy type. The fact that he was using the frou-frou stuff was a major concession that wasn’t lost on DiNozzo.

The cleansing soon developed a pattern. Jethro would gently scrub a chosen body part, just as carefully rinse it, and, finally, bestow a kiss on the clean flesh. Or, as in the case of Tony’s spine, a trail of kisses. Despite the inherent sensuality of Gibbs’ actions, the experience wasn’t sexual. In fact, it was almost reverent.

Gibbs rubbed a circular pattern across Tony’s shoulders, finally easing the terrible tension that had settled in Tony’s muscles when he’d woken up in the sewer. DiNozzo held his breath briefly when Jethro began washing his torso – he was ticklish there and Gibbs had used that to his advantage before. This time, however, Gibbs kept his touch firm enough that it didn’t tickle, simply worshipping it as he was doing with the rest of Tony’s body.

Tony’s extremities weren’t forgotten either. Gibbs’ washcloth measured the length of Tony’s arms, giving each finger individual attention. DiNozzo gave a soft mew of protest when Gibbs knelt to wash his legs and feet. Jethro patted him on the hip in reassurance, working quickly to alleviate Tony’s discomfort with the situation.

Gibbs saved the best for last. After getting up from washing Tony’s feet, he made sure there was a copious amount of lather on the washcloth. With utmost reverence, he stroked it over Tony’s ass. Tony gasped but even this intimate touch was designed to not arouse. As Jethro circled the cloth around Tony’s cheeks and in-between, Tony felt safe, possessed and, over all, loved.

DiNozzo thought it was over when his body was clean but Gibbs wasn’t quite finished. The older man put aside the washcloth and grabbed the shampoo. Tony shivered in anticipation and dipped his head so Jethro had easier access. Having his hair washed was a major button for Tony and he loved it whenever Gibbs indulged him.

The shampoo was cool compared to the warmth of the water but the way Gibbs’ slick fingers moved through his hair more than made up for it. Tony loved Gibbs’ fingers. Blunt-shaped and calloused on the pads, their workman-like nature hid a sensitive side. Just like the man himself - because just as Gibbs’ hands were capable of drawing beautiful shapes out of wood, Jethro was capable of drawing out the best in Tony.

As usual Gibbs’ timing was impeccable; he finished rinsing the last of the shampoo off just as the water started to run cool. The older man reached over to turn it off and Tony grabbed Gibbs’ arm when he was finished. Asserting himself for the first time in the encounter, Tony pulled Gibbs close and kissed him. The older man didn’t take offense at having control wrested from him. In fact, Jethro reached up and cupped the back of Tony’s head, deepening the kiss. Even so, the gesture was more about love and comfort than sex and that was just fine with Tony. As much as he liked sex - and he’d be the first to admit that he liked it a lot - even Tony had to admit there were times when sex wasn’t the answer.

This was one of those times.

When the two pulled apart, Gibbs nuzzled Tony one last time, rubbing their noses together before stepping back. DiNozzo moved to follow but Gibbs stopped him with a hand on his chest. Ever practical, Jethro reached outside the shower and grabbed a couple of towels.

Now that he was clean, Tony felt his exhaustion descend again. By the time he was through toweling his hair off, Gibbs was already done and had stepped out of the shower. The curtain was pulled aside again and Jethro offered Tony a hand, guiding him out and onto the bathmat. Once there, he firmly removed the towel from Tony’s hands and began to use a fresh one to dry the younger man. Despite his exhaustion, Tony had to smile. Gibbs was using one of the oversized towels he complained about, the ones he said took forever to dry. Gibbs had grumbled when Tony made him buy them, saying that he resented shelling out extra money for a towel some marketing genius had decided to call a ‘bath sheet.”

Gibbs didn’t appear to be resenting anything now.

With intense concentration, Jethro ran the towel across Tony’s skin, chasing down every last errant drop. He worked around Tony rather than make DiNozzo move, something that, in his tired state, Tony was very grateful for. He also had the feeling that he now knew what Gibbs’ boat felt like – the concentration Jethro was using on him was very much like the focus he had working on his boat. It was, without a doubt, a very good feeling. Tony started yawning about the same time Gibbs was done. He didn’t try to hide it or to squelch the yawns; Jethro was much too observant for that to work. Sure enough, as Tony finished a yawn so big that his jaw popped, he saw Gibbs looking at him fondly. DiNozzo shrugged and offered his own sheepish grin.

Gibbs tossed the towel aside and stretched out a hand to Tony. DiNozzo took it gladly, arching one eyebrow as he realized Gibbs hadn’t put on his boxer shorts and was naked as he was.

Jethro looked embarrassed. “I want to feel you,” he explained as he began to lead Tony out of the bathroom.

DiNozzo couldn’t argue with that – he had an overwhelming need to feel his lover too. Obediently, he followed Gibbs to the bedroom and waited while the other man pulled back the covers. With a moan of ecstasy, Tony crawled in. As good as the soft, worn sheets felt, though, it wasn’t perfect until he felt Jethro climb in behind him. Gibbs lay spooned against Tony’s back and, when the older man draped his arm across Tony’s torso, DiNozzo immediately latched on to it. He clasped Gibbs’ hand as though it were his teddy bear and curled around it. The action pulled Jethro even closer, which was exactly what Tony wanted. The older man didn’t complain, though. Instead, he kissed DiNozzo’s shoulder before lying back against his pillow.

Sleep beckoned, but Tony wouldn’t give in to it. There was something he needed to take care of and, judging by the tenseness in the body snuggled behind his, he knew it needed to be done sooner rather than later.

“It wasn’t your fault.” Tony said quietly. He felt Jethro tense even more.

“You asked me twice about bringing Sacco in,” Gibbs said. “I should have listened to you.”

Tony let go of Gibbs’ hand long enough to turn in Jethro’s arms. Once he was facing his lover, he felt the older man arms go around him. He knew something like that had to be bothering Gibbs. The man had been apologizing with his touch ever since entering the shower.

“Sacco wasn’t the killer,” DiNozzo pointed out. “There’s no telling what would have happened if we’d brought him in for questioning. If he’d kept the secret about smuggling the girls for that long already, there’s no guarantee that he would have broken down in interrogation. Then we wouldn’t have found Atlas in time.”

“I should have listened to your instincts,” Gibbs disagreed. “What if Vanessa would have just decided it was easier to kill you than kidnap you?” His eyes, as he looked at Tony were steady, but DiNozzo could feel a small shudder shake the older man.

Tony kissed him before saying, “Your instincts about Sacco were more right than mine.”

“You could have been killed,” Jethro repeated. “I never should have let you tail Sacco without backup. If someone would have been there with you, it never would have happened.”

“But you were there with me,” Tony claimed. “Right there in the sewer, it was your rules that taught me to carry a knife and it was the knife that got me and Atlas out of that cell. Then, when we were being chased, you were there again. It turned out okay.” He thought about it a minute. “Would have been better if Sacco hadn’t been shot, though.”

“Yeah,” Gibbs agreed. He didn’t trust himself to say anything else, humbled by the level of trust Tony showed in him.

DiNozzo laid his head on Gibbs’ chest. He didn’t like how this conversation was going; Jethro could be entirely too hard on himself but it was obvious he wasn’t going to listen to reason tonight. “Hey, I just thought of something.” He lifted his head and glared at Jethro playfully. “Atlas said there is no list of Marine rules like that.”

“Really?” Gibbs said. A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. God, he loved this man’s unquenchable spirit. “Must have been before his time.”

“Uh-huh,” Tony narrowed his eyes suspiciously. “Why should I believe you?”

Jethro shifted Tony until the younger man was lying against his chest again. “Because I’m older and wiser than you?” His emotions were a little raw and he appreciated DiNozzo’s shift to a lighter tone.

“The older, I’ll grant you but I’m not sure about the wiser,” Tony murmured, nuzzling the skin underneath his cheek. “But you do give wonderful showers.”

“Well, I was inspired,” Gibbs said, reaching down with one hand to cup Tony’s ass. “Besides, couldn’t let you come to bed smelling like that.”

“Cleanliness is next to Gibb-liness,” DiNozzo said solemnly, then yelped as Jethro swatted him lightly on the butt.

“Go to sleep, Tony.”

“Yes, Boss.” DiNozzo lifted his head and looked at Gibbs hopefully. “You too?”

“In a minute,” Jethro assured him. “I just want to watch you for a little while.”

Tony smiled and kissed Gibbs again before settling in his arms again. Jethro patently didn’t believe him but it was true - the older man *had* been with him in the sewer for every step of the way. Just like Gibbs’ loving presence was *always* with Tony, wherever he went and whatever he did. His presence in Tony’s life was just that profound.

Snuggled comfortably against his lover, Tony finally let sleep claim him, secure in the knowledge that, no matter how lost he was, Gibbs would always find him.

~the end~


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