Let Sleeping Gibbs Lie

by Juli

October 2008

Gibbs woke up alone, which meant that he woke up crabby. He was used to both states, but didn't care for the alone part much. He'd been solitary far too often in his life to be content with only his own company. Not when there was a damn good alternative. The bedding on other side of the mattress was cool when he checked, indicating that he'd been solo for some time.

After untangling himself from the sheets, Gibbs climbed out of bed and padded down the hallway. He checked the head on the way by, but it was empty. Tony sometimes needed a late night snack, but was usually quick enough about it to be back in bed before Gibbs missed him. That left only one other possibility and Gibbs headed straight for it, becoming more awake by the moment.

The dim light coming from the living room told Gibbs he was right, so it was no surprise to find Tony on the couch, flicking through the television channels. Instead of his characteristic sprawl, however, Tony was hunched in a ball as he listlessly watched the rapidly changing screen.

"Tony?" Gibbs asked as he walked into the room. "What are you doing?"

Only Tony's eyes moved as he glanced briefly at Gibbs. "Couldn't sleep," a short shrug accompanied the claim. "Figured that both of us didn't need to be awake, so I came out here."

Gibbs knew a lie when he heard one. Tony's body language was screaming a different story. He stepped all the way to the couch and deliberately placed himself between it and the television.

Tony made an annoyed sound. "Hate to tell you this, boss, but you might be able to sneak up on people, but you aren't invisible."

There. Tony moved slightly when he spoke and Gibbs saw a dark shadow on the other man's jaw.

Ignoring Tony's protest, Gibbs sat on the edge of the couch and gently reached for Tony's face. Tony stopped talking as Gibbs tilted his head enough to get a good look at the bruise. Gibbs ran a thumb softly over the dark mark. He knew damn well that it hadn't been there when they went to bed.

"Did I do that?" He asked quietly.

Tony nodded, dislodging his face from Gibbs' grip. "Yeah, but you were asleep."

Gibbs remembered how tangled the sheets had been when he woke up. "I'm sorry. I was a soldier for a long time, Tony. Sometimes the memories ambush me."

His apology got him another shrug and a quick glance. "It happens."

It was never a good sign when Tony went quiet. Gibbs wasn't exactly Mr. Sensitivity, but, he knew when he couldn't let an issue slide. "Talk to me, DiNozzo. What's going on in that head of yours?"

"Nothing," Tony wouldn't look at Gibbs. "You should go back to bed."

Gibbs snorted. If ever a comment deserved a good head smack, it was that one, but he'd promised never to do that when it came to their personal life. "Try again."

Tony shifted on the couch, but didn't answer.

"I can wait you out; I've pulled all-nighters for less," Gibbs warned. Tony glared at him before sighing.

"You've had nightmares before, but I was able to handle them," Tony finally explained. "Most of the time I can talk you down into a safer sleep before they get too bad."

"But not this time," Gibbs supplied when Tony's voice trailed off.

"Not this time," Tony smiled, wincing when the motion pulled at the bruised skin. "You knocked me out of bed."

Gibbs couldn't help but notice that Tony's smile didn't reach his eyes. "I'm sorry. You know I was asleep, right?"

"Yeah," Tony admitted. He looked down. "But you know what they say about the subconscious, it reveals things that you would never admit when you're awake."

"What?" Gibbs couldn't follow his lover's logic.

Tony looked at him, a palatable sadness in his eyes. "You pushed me out of bed, Gibbs. Maybe you don't really want me there or trust me to be there."

Gibbs felt a wave of fury wash over him. He'd like to find every bastard, male or female, that had caused Tony's insecurities and beat them bloody. And he'd start with Tony's parents. Showing that anger would be counter-productive in the current situation, however, so Gibbs held it in.

"Tony," Gibbs said instead. "You are in my bed. Is there anything about me that really let's you think I'd have you there if I didn't want you?"

"You have three ex-wives," Tony's chin came up as he pointed out Gibbs' marital history. "I bet you wanted them in your bed too."

Which was a good point, but unfortunately Tony didn't know everything about Gibbs' past relationships.

"I did," Gibbs admitted. "But I never had nightmares with any of them."

Tony started to get up from the couch. "Thanks, that makes me feel a lot better."

Gibbs put one hand on the middle of Tony's chest, holding him in place. "The memories I have nightmares about? I don't revisit them much, especially not in my sleep. I have to be with someone I trust a lot for that to happen."

"Oh." For a such a tall man, Tony's voice sounded very small.

"I never had those nightmares with any of my wives," Gibbs reiterated. "Not even Shannon."

He watched as Tony's eyes got wide. Tony knew there was only one woman that Gibbs considered his true wife, the one he'd lost to death rather than divorce. That Tony had achieved a level of trust that even Shannon hadn't was significant and Tony was smart enough to realize that.

"Oh," Tony straightened on the couch. "Jethro, I'm sorry."

It was Gibbs' turn to shrug. He didn't like being vulnerable and liked talking about it even less, but it was worth it to see the renewed confidence in Tony's eyes.

"Move over," Gibbs ordered, a sudden change of subject.

"Why?" Tony asked. He obeyed, but his face was full of curiosity.

Gibbs climbed onto the couch until he was nestled into Tony's arms. Normally, he'd be the one holding Tony, but wanted to demonstrate the level of trust he had in the other man. Sometimes with Tony words weren't enough.

He felt Tony's surprise in the way the other man's body stiffened. Slowly, though, Tony relaxed and the arms around Jethro were tender as they cradled him. Gibbs laid his head on Tony's shoulder and soon felt Tony nuzzling his hair. The TV remained on, but neither of them paid any attention to it. The sound was down so low on the television that Gibbs could hear Tony's breathing.

After an indeterminate amount of time, Tony kissed the top of Gibbs' head. "Gibbs? My feet are cold, think we could go back to bed now?"

"Sure, Tony," Gibbs got up and offered DiNozzo a hand. After Tony stood, Gibbs cupped one hand around his bruised cheek. "We should put some ice on that."

"Nah," Tony leaned into the caress. "It's too late now, it's already bruised."

"I'm sorry." Gibbs gave him a chaste kiss as he apologized for an unprecedented third time.

Tony's smile was genuine as he responded. "You were sleeping, not your fault." His smile turned into a cheeky grin as he took Gibbs' hand and headed towards the bedroom. "Still sucks to be you, though."

Gibbs didn't trust that grin, although he was very glad to see it. "Why's that?"

"Because you're going to have to explain to Ducky, Ziva AND Abby how I got the bruise," Tony cheerfully pointed out. "McGeeky will wonder too, although I don't think he'd have the balls to do anything about it, not like Ziva and Abbs anyway."

Given how much Tim looked up to Tony, Gibbs thought that DiNozzo might be underestimating the other agent, but he'd nailed the others' reactions dead on. It might not suck to be him, but Gibbs would have some explaining to do. Tony tended to inspire very protective reactions from the people who knew him well.

"And I suppose you'll let them think the worst," Gibbs growled. Not that Tony would if there was any real question of Gibbs getting out of hand, but Tony wasn't above using the situation to get some extra attention either.

"Oh, I might be persuaded to vouch for your reputation," Tony waggled his eyebrows at Gibbs. They'd reached the bedroom by that time. "As long as the next time any hitting goes on in bed, you promise to only smack the other set of cheeks." He grinned so widely that Gibbs knew that any shadows that the incident had left had been truly dissipated. "You know, the lower set of cheeks."

Gibbs was only too happy to oblige.


~the end~




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