Throwing his car into park, Gibbs removed the keys from the ignition and sat staring through the darkness at the apartment door that, with any kind of luck, could lead him into a world of new possibilities - possibilities he had denied himself until now.
Gibbs rubbed both his hands over his face and let out a jaded sigh. Of course, all of that depended on DiNozzo opening the damn door.
Releasing his seatbelt and pocketing his keys, Gibbs shifted into a more comfortable position and reached for the cup of coffee he had purchased on the way over. "Come to Poppa." With his gaze firmly focused on the brightly painted door of DiNozzo's apartment, Gibbs took his first sip of the strong tasting java and began to wonder about the brash NCIS agent he was undeniably attracted to.
Was Ducky right? Was DiNozzo like himself - hungry for the kind of passion that could only be found in the arms of another man? If the answer was yes, would DiNozzo be willing to help an old soldier grab a new lease on life?
Gibbs closed his eyes and wearily leaned his head against the seat's headrest, recalling Ducky's admonishment from earlier that evening.
"Jethro." Ducky treated Gibbs to his patented Mallard scowl. "You're never too old. In fact, if you decide not to pursue Agent DiNozzo, I might just give him a whirl myself."
Gibbs nearly fell flat on his face. "Ducky!"
The senior NCIS agent had taken a seat on the exam table nearest to where his friend was working, leaning forward so that he could study the body that was being dissected. Ducky's startling statement caught him by surprise so much that he pitched forward and, upon losing his balance, fell off the table. "You're not serious, are you?"
"Hmmm?" Ducky placed an x-ray on the last empty view box and began to examine it. "Did you say something, Jethro?"
"Are you trying to tell me you'd make a move on DiNozzo?" Straightening his jacket, Gibbs walked across to his friend and peered over his shoulder at the x-ray.
"Would it bother you if I did?" Ducky moved down the bank of view boxes, taking a moment to inspect each individual x-ray. "If you don't stake your claim on young DiNozzo, he's fair game and you know how much I enjoy the hunt." The ME turned and looked over the edges of his bifocals at Gibbs. "You've used your three wives as camouflage long enough. It's time to step out and embrace your reality. Live it, relish it." Ducky walked back toward his friend and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. "Jethro, there's no shame in being gay."
"Tell that to the Marines," Gibbs quipped sarcastically. Turning away, he resumed his seat on the exam table and ran his fingers along its edge. "What if my particular reality doesn't want to be embraced?"
"Our young colleague might just surprise you." Ducky turned off the view boxes one at a time before returning to the body he was currently working on. "Besides, have you learned nothing from our most recent case?" Ducky snapped his gloves on tighter before pointing a finger at Gibbs. "Never allow anyone to deter you from your goal in life. Seize the day, Jethro, or else someone will steal it from you."
Gibbs knew his friend was referring to Agent Pacci and his anger at himself resurfaced again. He quickly slammed the door shut on his guilt, determined to keep a tight reign on those emotions until the time was right for him to face them head on.
"What's with all these 'grab' oriented clichés?" Gibbs asked.
"Excuse me?" Ducky lifted an amputated arm off the table and peered closely at the recognizable needle marks in the antecubital area.
"Embrace your reality? Seize the day?" Gibbs reached behind him and snagged his neglected cup of coffee. "Next thing I know you're going to tell me to grab some damn bull by the horns and run with it."
"Actually, Jethro, I'd prefer you grab Tony by the ass and run with him."
"Donald Mallard!" Coffee went hurling through the air and landed on the floor directly in front of the ME.
Ducky lifted the protective shield of his headgear and grinned at the sputtering NCIS agent. "I may be old, Jethro, but I'm not dead." Walking over to Gibbs, he reached out a hand and gripped his right shoulder. "It's time, my friend. You've denied your desires long enough, and unless you wish to end your days alone and bitter, you better take yourself over to young DiNozzo's and see how much he'd enjoy tonguing you."
Gibbs raised his coffee cup and saluted his friend. "You are a dirty old man."
Chuckling under his breath, Ducky lowered his face shield and resumed his examination of the dismembered body before him. "Those are the best kind, Jethro. The very best kind."
A small smile crept across Gibbs' face as he stuffed another empty styrofoam cup under his seat and exited his car. Even after all the many years they had been friends, Ducky still had the power to amaze him.
'Amaze and shock,' Gibbs corrected himself.
Walking toward the front door of DiNozzo's apartment, Gibbs focused his gaze on the motorcycle parked directly in his path. Something about the bike was familiar and he stopped beside it, noting the heat that was radiating off the engine. Closing his eyes, he pinched the bridge of his nose and tried to grasp the elusive memory that was worrying him.
The sound of a motorcycle's engine roaring to life as he walked out of his home. The red glow of a single tailight fading into the darkness as he climbed into his car.
Gibbs laid his hand on the seat and lightly caressed the black leather that remarkably still held the warmth of its last rider. Was this DiNozzo's bike? 'Was it the one I saw pulling away from my house only minutes ago?'
Checking the perimeter and finding himself alone in the darkness, Gibbs took a seat on the Harley and lightly skimmed his hands along the handlebars and down over the engine. His gaze drifted to the pavement below the bike and he pinpointed the numbers painted in white on the concrete - numbers that matched the metallic ones hanging crookedly on the front door of DiNozzo's apartment.
'This is DiNozzo's bike.' Gibbs leaned forward and took hold of the handlebars, a groan slipping out as he tightened his thighs against the seat that had been cushioning DiNozzo's ass moments earlier.
'Why did you leave, Tony? Why didn't you knock on my door?'
Gibbs snapped his head up and stared straight at DiNozzo's apartment, Ducky's ever present voice of wisdom echoing through his mind.
Maybe, just maybe, Jethro, young Tony was afraid you wouldn't open your door to him.
"Dammit," Gibbs muttered under his breath as he slipped off the motorbike and walked toward DiNozzo's apartment. Had he scared off the one person he wanted more than any other? "Only one way to find out, you miserable bastard," he told himself, his eyes widening in surprise at the sight of the slightly unsteady hand that lifted to bang on the orange painted door in front of him.
As if DiNozzo had been standing there waiting for him, the door flew open before Gibbs could finishing knocking three times on it. The tall ex-cop had obviously just stepped out of the shower. Beads of water clung to his skin, and as Gibbs watched mesmerized, several droplets escaped down Tony's flat abdomen only to be caught by the waistband of the navy blue sweats slung low on his lean hips.
With fingers itching to trace the rivulets of water running down DiNozzo's chest, Gibbs lifted his gaze and found a hesitant smile of nervousness and confusion aimed in his direction.
"Boss? Something come up? I know I was in the shower but I'm pretty sure my pager didn't go off. Of course, I was singing pretty loud and could've missed it. Boss?"
Tony soon ran out of words and took a step backwards, shuffling his feet and running a nervous hand through his damp hair. "Is something wrong? Is it Kate? Abby? Magee?"
Gibbs followed DiNozzo inside, kicking the door shut with his foot. He pinned the younger man with his gaze and gruffly asked, "Why didn't you need to call anyone the other night, DiNozzo?" Gibbs referred to the night they had been summoned to the scene of Agent Pacci's murder. He had demanded that both Kate and DiNozzo cancel their plans for the evening so that they could get right to work collecting evidence. Kate had excused herself so that she could call her current boyfriend while DiNozzo had denied the need to do so.
"Uh, Boss? I'm not sure what you're getting at."
DiNozzo took on the appearance of a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car and Gibbs softened his voice as he stepped closer to the younger man and lightly touched him on the arm. "Kate had someone to call. Why didn't you, DiNozzo? Why didn't you have someone to call?"
Swiveling his head back and forth, his gaze going from the hand on his arm to the face hovering mere inches in front of him, Tony swallowed hard. "Ummm . . . the person I would've called if I had needed to call someone . . . I mean the person I wished I would've been calling . . . ." Tony lifted his head and looked straight at Gibbs, the expression on his face leaving no doubt as to whom he was referring to. "The one person I would've called was already on the scene, Boss."
Gibbs gasped as he felt a sudden weight lift from his heart. Twenty-two years of subterfuge and denial had just disintegrated into dust and the feeling of freedom was almost too much for him to comprehend.
"How come you haven't called me before?" Gibbs moved even closer and slowly slid both his hands up DiNozzo's arms and onto his shoulders, smiling at the shudders he could feel coursing through the lean body he held next to his own.
"I wanted to call, Boss. Been wanting to call for some time now."
Gibbs dropped one hand down DiNozzo's back and cupped the firm ass that had recently been riding the Harley parked outside. "You have my number, DiNozzo. What kept you from dialing it?"
"Wasn't . . . ." Throwing back his head, Tony groaned when a second hand joined its companion and gripped his ass hard. "Wasn't sure I had the right number. Your personal, at home number, Boss."
Gibbs caught DiNozzo's left earlobe with his teeth and bit down on it. "555-1530. Got it?" Shifting his hands to DiNozzo's hips, he slammed their groins together and his own moan quickly fused with the one that was being offered to his mouth. "Memorize it, DiNozzo," Gibbs instructed a second before he crushed his lips to those of the man frantically tearing at his shirt and jacket.
Minutes later, Tony snatched his mouth away and struggled to breathe. "Boss, wait." He gripped the hands that were attempting to slide his sweats off his hips and a wicked grin appeared on his face when he heard Gibbs' growl of protest. "Am I memorizing it because I'm gonna be calling it a lot?" Another warning growl was issued and Tony let go of Gibbs' hands, his knees nearly buckling when those talented hands took hold of the hard shaft tenting the front of his pants. "Or do I need to memorize it cause it's gonna be my new number?"
Shoving DiNozzo's pants down his legs, Gibbs muttered something about smartass subordinates who talked too much. He continued chronicling a certain agent's idiosyncrasies as he dropped to his knees and took the head of DiNozzo's cock into his mouth. The scent of the younger man's natural musk and the flavor of his precum drove all further thoughts right out of Gibbs' mind and he immediately began to suck hungrily on the rock-hard organ thrusting wildly down his throat.
Unwilling to have oral fellatio listed as the cause of his early demise, Gibbs took charge of the situation and braced DiNozzo against the wall, gripping the younger man's hips and controlling his erratic movements as he deep-throated him repeatedly. The fur-covered balls that had been slapping against his throat were now hitting his chin and Gibbs knew DiNozzo was only seconds away from shooting his load. Working one hand between the man's legs, he searched for and found the puckered opening of DiNozzo's ass, the guardian muscle giving way to the two fingers gently invading it.
Hands that had been tangled in his hair left abruptly and Gibbs couldn't help but chuckle when he heard those same hands pounding on the wall above him.
"Fuck! Boss! You're . . . . Jethro! I'm . . . ."
DiNozzo's scream hit the air only a second before his scalding hot semen hit the back of Gibbs' throat. Burying his nose in the wiry bush of hair surrounding the base of DiNozzo's cock, Gibbs swallowed rapidly, making absolutely sure he didn't let one drop of his new lover's release escape his lips.
Wiping his mouth clean with the back of his hand, Gibbs rose gracefully to his feet and batted away the fingers that clumsily fumbled with his belt. The immediate focus of his desire was claiming another kiss from DiNozzo's swollen lips and he did so as he guided the wobbly man to the oversize leather couch that took up nearly half the space of the small living room. Pulling DiNozzo into his arms, Gibbs gave into the hunger that had plagued him for the past two years and kissed his lover until the urgent need for air drove them apart.
The feel of work-callused fingertips stroking his nipples caused Tony to shudder uncontrollably and a quiet hiss of pleasure slipped past his lips as he leaned his forehead against Gibbs and inquired huskily, "You said I was to memorize your home phone number. Why, Boss? Why should I memorize it?"
Gibbs pushed DiNozzo back a few inches and gazed into his eyes, instantly recognizing the fear, the shyness, the uncertainty darkening their brown depths. He decided he didn't like what he saw and with Ducky's advice foremost in his mind, Gibbs embraced what he prayed would become not only the reality of his life but also the future of his heart.
"How else are you going to remember your new home phone number if you don't memorize it, DiNozzo?"
DiNozzo's arms circled around him and hugged him tight, so tight it was almost impossible for Gibbs to let out a sigh of something he hadn't experienced in a long time.
The sigh of . . .