Special Agent Jethro Gibbs' head snapped to the left. The last echoes of a gunshot made their way through the woods. He heard a grunt. That was DiNozzo. Crap. With a moment's regret, he stripped off his clothes. He put his holster where he'd be able to reach it easily. He changed between one heartbeat and the next. Wolf keen ears and smell found Tony easily. He changed, firing blindly in the direction of the suspect. Tony did a double take.
He offered a sly grin and a raised brow. Gibbs smacked him on the back of the head. The suspect was firing again. Gibbs changed. Tony lifted his weapon, younger NCIS agent's eyes sighting in on the suspect. Gibbs charged. The suspect, Holden, fired. Bright pain flared up from knee to hip. God damn it, that hurt. Two shots later and the unmistakable smell of death filled the clearing.
Tony knocked the suspect's gun away. He looked at Gibbs, eyes full of worry. He chewed on his lip. "I'll send McGee and Ziva for ambulances." He paused. "Can you... can you change back when you're hurt? Should I call this pretty little vet I know?" He grinned suddenly. "I can tell you with authority that she's a real redhead."
Gibbs growled. He limped to his gun. He glared at Tony until the younger man holstered it and handed it over. He took it in his teeth and headed for his clothes.
"Boss?" Tony's voice wavered. A whiff of fear and anxiety reached Gibbs' nose. The werewolf stopped. He turned and purposefully looked Tony up and down. Tony smacked himself in the back of the head. "Don't forget to put a hole in your pants," Tony stated. "And... don't bleed to death okay? In fact, you stay here. I'll get your things after I send the kids down the mountain, okay?"
Gibbs considered. His leg did hurt like a mother-fucker. He put his gun down gently, then laid down next to it. Tony paused long enough to tie a quickly improvised bandage around Gibbs' leg. He ruffled the fur on the top of Gibbs' head. It was the same color as his hair. Oh, his second would pay for that.
"I think we need to talk after this."
Gibbs woofed out an agreement. Then, Tony was gone. Damn, but Gibbs hated getting shot.
"Where's Gibbs?" McGee asked peering into the trees. Ziva stood next to him, holding one of their suspects. She shrugged and put the man into the car.
"Tony and Gibbs went that way."
Tony stumbled out of the trees, covered with twigs and dirt. He scowled at the clean pair. He frowned. "Damn it," he muttered. There was blood on his sleeve, but he seemed to be ignoring it.
"Tony?" McGee said.
"He's still in there. Shot in the leg. I killed the one who shot him."
"We've got the other one."
If someone who didn't know Tony had heard him, they'd think he was simply a cold professional. For McGee, who knew better, Tony sounded terrified. He never snapped unless Gibbs wasn't around. McGee started for the woods, but froze. Tony's hand caught his wrist.
"Take the suspect back with Ziva. Send an ambulance and get another team up here to process the site."
"You're bleeding and Gibbs is hurt too."
"I'll take care of Gibbs."
McGee looked at the older agent for a long moment. Their eyes met. He nodded slowly. "I'll come back with Ducky to take care of the other suspect." He took the keys out of his pocket and headed to the car. That left Tony with the SUV and forensic kits. McGee tried his hardest not to think about the fact that Gibbs could die before they got back. Ziva frowned at him. "We're taking this one back to interrogation. I'll bring Ducky back up."
"We will call an ambulance as soon as we get service."
Tony lifted a hand in farewell.
Tony dropped the pile of clothes next to Gibbs. He sat down next to him, dizzy from his own wound. Tony ruffled the coarse fur absently. "I know a girl at the national zoo who'll keep things quiet if you need a vet. Or Ducky's on the way," he said quietly. The wolf growled at him. The wolf was gone a moment later, replaced by a grouchy Gibbs with a bullet in his leg.
"We need to have a long talk, DiNozzo."
"Yes, boss." Tony dropped his hand from his boss' hair, and his eyes from his face. Gibbs caught the hand. "I'm not mad at you." Tony looked up almost coyly, testing Gibbs' emotions. No, the man wasn't angry.
"So, you want Ducky." The fingers of Tony's other hand started to burn. He finally noticed the pain in his arm. Gibbs frowned.
"So are you. I'll be fine. I could drive you down."
"There's a crime scene to be secured."
"You could bleed out."
Gibbs smacked Tony across the back of the head. Tony glared at him. He felt sulky. "Secure the scene. I'll be fine. Now, DiNozzo." There was a growl in the words that was no different than any other day. Gibbs struggled into pants as he spoke.
"Yes, boss." Tony left him with a "remember to fake a hole."
Gibbs forced away the little surge of satisfaction that making DiNozzo back down always created. The young man was just worried about him and had every right to be. It had been a nasty manhunt and they hadn't had time to get back-up for it. The former Marine opened his knife. He approximated a bullet-hole in his pants. Then, he cut the pants away, making sure to get them wet with blood. It wasn't much of a chore given that the wound was bleeding. Gibbs took off his shirt and pressed it against the gun-shot.
Tony secured the site with yellow tape and settled next to Gibbs to wait for the secondary team that would do the shooting investigation and Ducky who'd do the autopsy and patch them both up.
"We could talk now, or you could go back to pretending that I'm an idiot."
Gibbs frowned at him. "There's plenty of time to talk later. You'll just have to put a leash on your curiosity."
"Then let me look at your leg at least. I've got a first aid kit in the Jeep."
"DiNozzo, I'm fine."
"You're not fine! You were shot. Again." Gibbs heard the tremor in Tony's voice and sighed.
"Fine. Get the kit." The next few minutes were quiet. Gibbs had to admit that cleaning the wound and putting a pressure bandage on it made a world of difference. Tony laid him down and elevated his leg with a log. "Let me take care of your arm."
"It's just a scratch, boss."
"Tony." The one word was enough to make the young man hand over the kit and settle next to Gibbs to have the wound tended. "A bullet through the arm is not a scratch."
"It didn't go through, it just grazed me." Gibbs pulled the bandage a little tighter than it had to be and Tony grimaced. "Bad mood, boss?" Tony shifted slightly away and Gibbs tightened his grip on the arm he was holding. "Boss, I need to go wave the truck up the trail."
"They'll find it."
The younger man settled down. "How are you feeling? Dizzy? Cold?"
"You look pale."
"DiNozzo," Gibbs barked. Tony curled in on himself a little. Gibbs sighed. "Come here," he said more gently. He settled Tony's hand on his chest, just above his heart and held it there. "I'm alive. My heart is strong. I'm not going into shock. My leg hurts like a son-of-a-bitch, that's all."
"But it could get infected out here."
Gibbs tightened his grip. "You worry too much, Tony."
"Well, if I thought you didn't have a death wish maybe I wouldn't worry so badly." Tony pulled his hand away and cradled his wounded arm across his body.
"I don't have a death wish."
"Bullshit. You've had a death-wish for as long as I've known you. You're reckless. You run into danger without thinking about what it might mean when you die. And you're going to carry the rest of us along with you one of these days."
"You're one to talk. You were on your way to burn-out when I stole you."
"So I know what I'm talking about." Tony's voice was sharp. "Don't try to bullshit me, Gibbs. Sometimes you're fine, but other times you get this look in your eyes and those are the days I know you're going to find an excuse to do something stupid and dangerous. You're going to run off without back-up and leave me picking up the damned pieces again because I'm too stupid to move on."
The older man was taken aback. "You're thinking of leaving?"
"No, boss." Tony's voice softened. "I think about it sometimes, but I've got too many promises on the table right now. Besides, if I leave and then I hear about you getting hurt, I'll just come running back to make sure you're okay."
"And if you left, you're sure you'd find out how?"
"Ducky or Abby or McGee. Or one of the hundred or so other people that gossip with me on a regular basis. I have to keep an eye on you somehow. It's too big a job for one person."
Gibbs growled. "You are not my keeper."
"Funny. You need one."
Gibbs took a deep breath. "Truck's coming."
"Oh, goodie. Time to turn my gun over as evidence."
The older man chuckled and patted his senior agent on the knee. "Don't worry. They'll only take one of them."
Tony glared at him, but his lips curled up into a smile. "Right, boss."
"And at least three days bedrest, Jethro."
"Don't give me that glower. Either you take bedrest or I'll put you in the hospital."
Jethro glared at the doctor. Ducky looked at him evenly. He refused to be intimidated by the man. "Fine."
"Shall I call Anthony to come take care of you?"
"He's already on the way. He went to get dinner." The younger man limped to his bedroom as Ducky followed close behind. Dressed in loose sweats and a tee-shirt, he looked decidedly different than at work. "He knows by the way."
"Ah, I had wondered," the doctor said with a laugh. "I'll just wait and make sure he hasn't popped any stitches this time. You know, there was a young man I knew once, lovely fellow, but he had the most intricate set of scars I'd ever seen. He couldn't feel pain and so he never noticed cuts. It was fascinating. One night we,"
"Boss, I'm back!" Anthony called up, interrupting the story. Ducky left to find him. "Hi, Ducky," the young Italian said cheerfully. "You staying for dinner?"
"No. Anthony, where is your sling?"
"It was irritating my neck so I took it off."
Ducky frowned. He located the sling in one of the carry-out bags and fitted it into place. Anthony frowned at him, but didn't try to fight the attention. "Keep that in place or I shall have Jethro beat you soundly about the head and shoulders with a throw pillow."
"I really don't know what to say in response to that."
"Then say, 'yes, Ducky, I'll be good.'"
"I'll be good, Ducky," he said in a little-boy voice. He even had the wherewithal to bat his lashes.
The doctor laughed. "Good boy. Now, feed the miscreant upstairs and put him to bed. He's on bedrest for the next three days. If he doesn't cooperate, feel free to call me. I've arranged medical leave for you as well. And the investigative team knows you'll be here if they need to contact you. Off with you."
"Yes, sir." Tony gave the doctor a sharp salute that wouldn't have looked out of place on one of Gibbs' Marines.
"Ducky threaten you with something, DiNozzo?"
"Yeah, you. Here's dinner." Tony started to take off his sling. Gibbs caught his hand.
"No, you wear your sling until Ducky says otherwise."
Gibbs glared, shutting the young man up instantly. He took the Chinese food and helped serve it. Tony settled at the foot of the bed so they could look at each other as they talked. "I'm sure you have questions."
"Ducky's still downstairs. I don't think he trusts me to keep you in here."
"He's making arrangements for Abby to come check on us."
"What?" Gibbs frowned.
"Abby will torture me much longer than McGee will if she catches me without my sling."
"If I remember the exact threat from earlier, I think silk scarves, handcuffs, and Yanni were going to be used in numerous ways until I remembered why it was a bad idea to move my arm too much."
Gibbs laughed at that. "I don't think she owns anything by Yanni. You're safe."
"There's a CD place on the way here. She's crafty that one." Tony was smiling.
"Ducky knows. That's why he's my doctor."
Tony nodded. "And Abby knows."
"How did you guess that?"
"I read her article for the cryptozoology journal before she sent it in. She was theorizing that shapeshifting might be hereditary."
Gibbs raised his brows. "This doesn't freak you out?"
Tony shifted. "I know a lot of people, boss." He looked distinctly uncomfortable now. "And I know a lot of different things because of that."
"And I maybe had a case in Illinois that had something to do with it."
"I didn't say anything, but it was the factor behind the beating. I knew it, but I couldn't tell anyone about it."
"Another wolf?" Gibbs tried to keep his voice steady, but he knew it was sharp when Tony's eyes dropped immediately.
"Yes. It was so wrong. Had to classify it as a regular domestic, but it wasn't. Her husband found out and went ballistic. He beat her until she was half-way dead. When we got there he was about to take a hammer to her."
"That's not why you left?" Gibbs frowned.
"No, I left because there was a certain crime boss who was put out about the fact that I managed to get far enough into his organization to take down three of his top distributors before anyone realized I was a cop. He gave me two weeks to resign and get out of town before he gave his men shoot on sight orders."
"Two weeks? What did you do? Seduce his daughter?"
Tony's cheeks went bright red at that. "Um. Not his daughter, no."
Gibbs blinked. "Not his daughter. His sister? His mother?" The young man coughed as a piece of rice stuck in his throat. He shook his head. Gibbs stared at him for a long moment, then started to laugh. "His son?" he managed. Tony nodded with a sheepish grin. That set the older man off again. "Christ, DiNozzo, and you accuse me of living dangerously."
"Can't argue with my results," Tony replied with a grin. "Anyways, it runs in my mother's family. I never did get to meet any of them, just got her diary when she died." He shrugged. "Well, when I was old enough to read, I got her diary. Papa didn't think I needed it before that."
"I thought your mother died when you were twelve?"
"That was my step-mother. My mother died when I was three weeks old."
Gibbs' eyes narrowed. "What happened?"
"Ah. So, your father remarried?"
"Yeah, when I was three. I had a nanny until I turned six, then it was me versus the housekeeper."
"Your step-mother didn't step in?"
"Except to send me to piano lessons for the rest of my life? Nope. She thought it was important that I be well-educated." Tony shrugged. "Rosa took care of me most of the time." He smiled at some pleasant memory. "I'm going to miss her. She died last year."
"Yeah, well, that's life. It was a really shitty time last year. She died while I was in the hospital."
Gibbs grimaced. "So, you've known about shapeshifters since you were old enough to read. You've actually met one. And you know about me. What are you going to do about it?"
"What do you mean?" Tony blinked. "It doesn't change anything for me. I've known I knew all along. It's you that didn't know I knew. Did that make any sense at all?"
"Yeah, oddly enough it did." The older man smirked. "Actually, I'm a little more interested in your gangster ex-boyfriend."
"Yeah, that. Does Abby know?"
"That I'm bi? Yeah. Unfortunately, that also seems to put me in the realm of friend, not boy-toy." Tony sighed. "One night, boss. All I want is one night, but no, I just get to *sleep* in the guest room coffin." Tony grimaced. "You knew right? I was pretty sure one of my L-T's would have mentioned it."
"Yeah, I knew." Gibbs' smile widened. "And that you're lusting after me."
"No, I finished lusting after you three months into knowing you. We're pretty much long-haul now." The young man wouldn't meet his eyes. Gibbs leaned over and firmly lifted Tony's chin.
"I figured that out."
"You're not mad?"
"Tony, why the Hell would I be mad at you for loving me?"
"Just. . ." The green eyes were wide and there was the faintest hint of fear in Tony's scent now. The young man swallowed. "It's just that I don't know where I stand with you sometimes. I don't know if you're just putting up with me because you know I won't complain when you bitch at me or if you even like me. It's like trying to read a brick wall, boss. I know you trust me. Sometimes I think you even like having me around. But the rest of the time it's all I can do not to run as far away from you as I can."
"If you run, I'll find you."
"If you take a job somewhere without telling me until you leave, I'll hunt you down and drag you back. After Abby's finished with you, I'll lock you in the guest room until you get the idea that I'm letting you go out of your head."
Gibbs sat back, satisfied by the stunned look on Tony's face. "So that means I have a chance?"
"That means you have everything, if you think you can stand me."
Tony licked his lips. "Shit, Gibbs, that, that answer wasn't even in the wildest of my dreams."
The werewolf had to smile at that. He could smell the spike in arousal that the smile created. He paused. Damn it, Ducky knew how he got when he was on pain pills. He shouldn't have left Tony with him when he was vulnerable. His smile faded. "Tony?" he tried, quietly.
"How's your arm?"
"Hurts a bit, but I'm okay. The sling bothers me more than the stitches. Ducky keeps trying to push pills on me. Why are you changing the subject?"
"Because I don't want you making decisions when you aren't thinking clearly."
"Boss, I never think clearly when it comes to you and me." The smile made it a joke, but there was something wistful in Tony's face. "Are you just playing with me?"
"I'd never do that."
"Yes, you would. You'd do anything that gave you an advantage. Hell, you'd do it if you didn't think I was serious, just to tease me."
Gibbs was startled and vaguely disgusted with himself. "I'd never hurt you, DiNozzo."
He restrained the growl that wanted to escape. Tony was one of the only people who could get away with calling him a liar. The green eyes that met his were cold and hard. It was hard not to swell with pride knowing that he'd honed the man to that deadly edge, but there had been a cost he hadn't noticed. "Explain yourself."
"Would it kill you to not take back compliments. Hell, to give me one? Do you know how many times you've said 'good job' to me in four years? Ten times, boss. Ten. I can remember each and every instance. Why? Because it was so fucking unusual. McGee, Abby, Ziva, Kate, even Ducky, sure. But me? No." Tony looked away, defeat in every line of his body.
"Tony, look at me." The green eyes lifted reluctantly. "I never meant to hurt you. I was trying to make you a better agent. And you are the best damn agent I've ever turned out. You're the first one that actually managed to be a good second. I can trust you with my team. I can trust you with my home." He paused. "And I trusted you with my heart the first time you said 'yes, boss' and ducked your head in that little half-bow you do."
Tony blinked at him. "Wow. I think that's the longest time you've ever spoken to me outside of a reprimand."
Gibbs blinked back. "I talk to you."
"No, boss, you yell at me, you order me, you tease me, you snap at me, you sometimes even listen to me, but you do not talk to me."
He did growl then. Tony shook his head with a smile.
"You need to get some rest. I'll put the leftovers in the fridge. You get ready for bed. Ducky left a walking stick by the nightstand."
Gibbs snorted. "You know, avoidance isn't going to change anything."
"Yeah, well, it'll make me feel better. So humor me, okay?"
"As long as you tuck me in."
Tony bit his lip as his arm started to throb again. He wanted to take aspirin for the pain, but his stomach was cramped up from his discussion with Gibbs. He sighed rubbing the side of his face. He locked the downstairs doors and checked the windows. Gibbs usually left them open, but Tony didn't think either of them were aware enough for that. There was a note on the fridge that said "Take your pain pills, Anthony!" He ignored it. Ducky would bitch at him and treat him to the usual lecture on pain management allowing the muscles to heal, but he wasn't taking anything that would slow him down when he was supposed to be taking care of Gibbs. He wondered what the older man would do if he curled up at the foot of the bed like the puppy Gibbs seemed to think he was. He bit off his laugh. Gibbs probably did see him that way. Too bad his boss wasn't the petting kind.
The leftovers put away, and the area secure, all Tony had to do was go up the stairs and tuck Gibbs in. He hardened his resolve and went into the main bedroom. Gibbs was laying in bed, covers half-way up. He grinned at Tony. "Good pills, huh, boss?"
"Yeah." Tony pulled the sheet and blanket up and carefully smoothed it over the strong chest. "I wasn't teasing you, Tony."
"My heart knows that, my head's still a little unsure."
Gibbs' hand rested on Tony's wrist. "I'd smack you, but you're too far away."
"Not smacking myself in the head this time, boss."
"Nah, that's my job. First time we met, I was planning to use a rolled up folder."
Tony pouted at him. "I wasn't that bad."
"Not after I fed you." Gibbs' smile was soft and fond. "I only pushed you because I want the best for you. I'm not good at the soft stuff."
"I figured that out awhile back, boss."
"You can call me by name sometimes, you know. I don't bite."
"Yes, you do."
"Only lightly," Gibbs replied. "Besides, given the turtlenecks you own, do you really dislike that?"
Tony felt the blush in his cheeks and cursed it. "Yeah, well."
"You really planning to spend the night in the guest room?"
"Yeah, I was."
"Do you want to?"
"Not really, but that's not an option yet."
"I don't get any less bossy because I'm out of the office you know."
"And if I told you to shut up and get into bed?"
Tony wondered if the struggle showed on his face. Part of him wanted to curl up next to Gibbs and let him protect him while the rational part of his brain pointed out that he was supposed to be the sensible one for a few days. "It would be really hard to say 'no' but I'd have to. Hell, you haven't even kissed me yet."
"That's easily solved."
"No, boss, you go to sleep. You're not yourself right now."
"You just don't know me yet." Gibbs' voice was fading as the pain pills took over. "Don't mind you sleeping close. I like the way you smell." Then, Gibbs was asleep.
Tony bit his lip, then took the opportunity to kiss his beloved's forehead. "Sleep well, boss. See you in the morning." He curled up in the guest room bed, cursing himself for being a gentleman. He had the perfect opportunity to be asleep next to the object of his fantasies and he was in the guest room feeling sorry for himself.
"Put on the damned sling," Gibbs snapped.
"Now, DiNozzo." Tony scowled, but put the sling back on. Gibbs crooked his finger and the young man came closer. Gibbs undid the Velcro strap that was folded onto the front.
"Boss?" The young man tried to pull away, but Gibbs grabbed him by the belt and held firm.
"You keep going against doctor's orders you get in trouble. Stop it." Tony froze from ingrained habit and Gibbs swiftly secured the strap to pin Tony's arm to his body. The young man scowled at him.
"I'm useless strapped into this thing. And it bothers my neck."
"Take your pain pills or Ducky will jump down your throat."
"How do you know I'm not?"
"I know you better than that."
"I promise, I won't bite if you sit on the bed. You haven't been this jumpy in years. What's wrong?"
"Nothing, boss. Really."
"Anthony Dimitri DiNozzo." Tony stiffened at the use of his full name. He swallowed, staring at Gibbs like prey that knows it's caught, but still wants to run. That wasn't the reaction Gibbs had been planning on. He softened his approach. "Tony, sit down." Tony dropped to the floor, face flat, eyes now fixed slightly beyond Gibbs' shoulder as if ready to take a dressing down. Three years of military prep had left their mark on the man. "Damn," Gibbs muttered to himself. He hadn't meant to hit those buttons. "I'm not mad at you, Tony. Relax. You didn't sleep much last night, did you?"
Tony bit his lip, then shook his head. There were circles under his eyes and it didn't look good on him.
"I was thinking too much." Tony swallowed. "Sorry, boss, I wasn't reacting to you."
Gibbs gave into the temptation and reached forward to gently stroke Tony's hair. Gibbs smirked at the sudden dilation of Tony's eyes. "You know I didn't take any pills today. And you're sober too. So, let's try this again. I love you, Tony and I'm not letting you leave without a damned good reason."
"It could cost you your job."
"I can retire whenever I want. I've got twenty years in at NCIS."
"You're a Marine."
"They haven't asked and I'm not planning to tell."
"Um, Director Sheppard thinks you're hers?"
Gibbs snorted. "Never. Now, I know that floor isn't comfortable. Get up here so we can talk."
"I don't know. I sort of like you petting me."
"I can pet you just as easily if you're asleep in my lap."
Tony licked his lips. "I thought you wanted me to be able to think."
"I have faith in you." As he knew it would, the short statement melted Tony's resolve and he climbed onto the bed. Gibbs arranged himself carefully against the headboard and Tony laid down next to him, not in his lap, but close enough to continue petting. "You know, the first time I smacked you, I found out your hair was as soft as it looks. I wish I could touch you in the office more."
"If you did, I'd probably go crazy and go down on you in the bathroom. Better to keep things separate, boss."
"Then maybe you should try 'Jethro'."
Tony snickered. "I don't know. I sort of like the idea of you associating 'boss' with sex. Might make work interesting. But, okay, I guess. Jethro?"
"Tell me about the wolf."
"It's just a different form of me. A little more forceful maybe. A little more wild, but still me. I'm a hunter and not being furry doesn't change that."
"So it's hereditary right? Did you have to talk about the dogs and cats when you were a teen or what?"
Gibbs chuckled. "My father explained things a lot earlier than that. I learned to change between forms when I was a little kid."
"Mom's diary wasn't really clear on that sort of thing. Just that she had the ability and hadn't been able to change for a long time. She wanted to change while she was pregnant because her mother swore it helped morning sickness, but Papa didn't know."
"I'm sorry she couldn't find someone she could tell. I wouldn't have shown you if I didn't trust you completely."
"I know, boss." Tony nuzzled the sheets, eyes closed and Gibbs shook his head in amusement.
"You're a carrier for the gene, you know. That's why your eyes and nose are so good."
"I'd wondered, but I haven't figure out how to ask Abby about the making of baby werewolves yet. I'm not supposed to know they're really real."
"Well," Gibbs said slowly, "if a mommy and a daddy love each other. . ."
Tony laughed. The deep rich sound soothed away the tension that had grown between them. "I figured that part out by myself. I've got a little bit of experience in the whys and wherefores of sex."
"Ever made love to a shifter?"
"No," Tony said softly. "At least not one that told me about it. I don't tend to have the sort of relationships where that level of sharing is necessary."
"But you stay friends with most of your flings?"
"Yeah. I like people and they like me. I'm very upfront about things not being permanent. I'm Mr. Right Now and most of the people I end up with like that. I date a lot. That doesn't mean I have sex with them. I am perfectly capable of just having fun with someone."
"And your boys? Do you date them too?"
"Yeah. We play games and go out to dinner. It's not about sex. That's not what I go looking for."
"I know," Gibbs said softly. "You just want attention, affection, and someone to play with. And I've never really given you any of that, have I?"
Tony went still, but Gibbs didn't stop stroking his hair. "Not enough to keep me warm at night, but enough to keep me coming back for more. I don't mind that you're hard on me. I know why you do it. It's just sometimes I hate the part of me that wants to provoke you. I want to know you're paying attention and sometimes I give in to that part of me that wants anything from you, even if it's a reprimand."
Gibbs closed his eyes. "I can be a possessive bastard and I could hurt you so easily that it frightens me."
"I don't care, and that's the problem. I'd let you hurt me and still walk back into work the next day. I like the possessive side of you. Hell, the one time Fornell offered me a job I thought you were going to kill him with your bare hands." The hand stroking Tony's hair stopped, resting at the base of his neck.
"I remember that. I remember wanting to throw you over a desk and fuck you right there and then to show you exactly where you belonged."
"Yeah." Gibbs chuckled. "Half the time I'd rather fuck you than smack you, but it's not exactly appropriate."
"God, Jethro. Shouldn't we at least *try* to do the dating thing first?"
"We've been partners for four years, Tony. At this point, sex is just the next step. We've already gone through the jealous phases too."
"Like me taking a long lunch when I've already got thirty-seven hours in for the week and no pressing cases?" The snippy voice was good to hear.
"Yeah, like that." Gibbs smirked.
"Oh, good. That means you won't mind me taking Abby to dinner and making her run through everything she knows about shapeshifters. If she's really nice, I'll let her read some of mom's stuff. It'll give her a different perspective. And then I can corner Ducky and make him tell me all the physical differences and if there's anything I should look out for besides sharp teeth."
"What makes you think I'm letting you out of this bedroom?"
"What makes you think I'm not patient?" Tony shot back. "I've been waiting four years for you."
"You date like a madman."
"No, I don't. Especially not since Kate died." Tony tugged at the Velcro that secured his arm, but his left hand was too clumsy to work it easily. Gibbs caught his hand and brought it to his mouth. He placed and open-mouthed kiss on the palm. Tony's breath caught. He shivered. "Not yet, boss. There's things we need to discuss."
"Like work. Like your leg. Like what do I worry about?"
"Nothing short of a silver bullet or decapitation will kill me. I don't get sick for a reason."
"Okay, Abby and Ducky know. Anyone else I should know about? Enemies from the infamous and unspoken Gibbs past?"
"I'm not that tight-lipped."
"News flash. I'm the only one on the team who knows about your daughter because you told me, not because I found out another way like McGee and Ziva."
"Yeah, McGee knows. And he asked me. I confirmed and he promised to keep his yap shut so I didn't have to dispose of his body." Tony's eyes were clear and his voice steady. Gibbs assessed his second's seriousness.
"When did you get so bloodthirsty?"
"About three months after meeting you."
Gibbs took his time studying the young man that lay beside him. Tony didn't say anything, simply looked up at him. "You would kill him to protect me."
"Yes. I have my own rules, Gibbs. Protect Gibbs is number one. Everything else comes after that."
"Even your own life?"
"Shit," Gibbs breathed. He traced Tony's cheek. "I never realized."
"You knew I'd kill to protect you. That means your secrets too. Anyone who'd try to use your history against you needs to be destroyed. I can destroy credibility more easily than I can pull the trigger. I've been spinning the truth for years, boss. And the stakes just got larger. That's why I need to know more about you. I need to know about threats so I can make my plans."
"If you commit murder for me, DiNozzo, I'll put the needle in you myself."
"Don't worry. I've had enough of prison cells. I can't protect you from prison or from the grave. But if it comes down to it, I'll step in front of a bullet."
"I told you, regular bullets can't harm me!"
"Didn't say I'd step in front of a lead one."
"Lead or silver, you'll be just as dead."
"And you'll be alive. Fair trade."
"You are not expendable."
"Yes, I am. I'm just a cop, Gibbs. You'll find another one."
Gibbs couldn't find any other way to express his frustration, he slapped Tony across the back of the head. This time the smack was harder than usual. Tony yelped. He stared at Gibbs, stunned. "You are irreplaceable." Then, Gibbs kissed him. Tony fell into the kiss, mouth opening easily under Gibbs'. He tasted faintly spicy and Gibbs took his time cataloging the flavors and mapping every tooth in Tony's mouth. When he finally released him, Tony was panting, eyes dazed. "Understand?"
"Yeah. Got it, boss."
"Then get some sleep. We'll talk more later."
"Bastard," Tony muttered as he settled down. Gibbs stroked his hair, petting him gently until he fell asleep.
"Love you too, honey," he murmured. "Love you too."
"Hey, Ducky, just in time for breakfast," Tony told the doctor cheerily. "Your patient is as big a pain in the ass as he was when you left two days ago. He's bucking to get back on his feet and has threatened me with grave bodily harm if I don't help him into the basement sometime soon. So tell me you have good news." Ducky chuckled and checked his charge's sling and stitches. He raised his brows when he noticed a piece of duct tape over the Velcro. Tony shrugged. "He's got this silly idea that if he has to follow doctor's orders, then I do too."
"Good. He's finally learned to listen to me. Now, let me see what you're feeding our poor invalid."
"Exactly what he requested," Tony stated. "Two eggs, one slice of lightly buttered toast, and a bowl of Raisin Bran, accompanied by his favorite elixir in his gallon sized mug."
"And what are you eating?" Ducky frowned at the young man. Anthony shifted uneasily.
"No, you are going to make yourself something similar to what is on this plate. Give me the candy." The young man pouted and Ducky almost relented. "Now, Anthony." Ducky took the box of overly-sugary cereal and the tray and left the younger man cursing in the dining room. His vocabulary was quite extensive and Ducky found himself smiling as the languages switched between Italian, Spanish and English as he got further away.
Jethro was sitting up in bed, obviously feeling the effects of not having his caffeine. He looked at the tray and held out his hands for it. Ducky gave it to him, holding the coffee hostage. Gibbs gave him the saddest pair of puppy-dog eyes the doctor had ever seen. Cursing himself for being a soft-touch, the doctor turned over the coffee. Gibbs smiled at him. "So, why is DiNozzo cursing in every language he knows?"
"Because I am requiring him to eat a proper breakfast."
"You're going to make him pout and I'll have to deal with him," Gibbs growled.
"Stop that immediately, Jethro. You know I will not tolerate you growling at me." Ducky tipped his chin down, glaring over his glasses. The younger man scowled, but obeyed. "Now, let me see your leg, since I'm assured you've been a horrible patient as usual."
"Tony's pretty good about keeping me in bed."
Ducky paused, eyes narrowing. "I also said no strenuous activity."
Gibbs flushed. "That is not what I meant. Christ, you have a dirtier mind than DiNozzo."
"Privilege of age. Let me take a look or you'll be here longer. Eat your breakfast and take your pain pills."
"Did you give DiNozzo this lecture?"
"I assumed you'd taken care of it since you seem to have gotten him to wear his sling rather easily." "You call duct tape an easy solution?"
"Eat and stay still. Well, it doesn't seem to have gotten infected which I must ascribe to luck. It will still take time for it to heal."
"How long, Duck?"
"You can move with the aid of the walking stick. You will be on desk duty for another three weeks. Our young friend will be in the field in another few days. You can both return to work tomorrow, so long as you promise to continue taking your medication."
The doctor studied his friend for a moment. "And how is he taking the knowledge?"
"Better than I expected. He already knew that shifters were real."
Ducky chuckled. "I'm not particularly surprised. Our Anthony has a wide network of friends. Someday it may rival my own. Take good care of him, Jethro. He's good for you."
"And you will be good for him. I should get to the office. Death stops for no man." The doctor stopped at the door. "Jethro, don't break his heart."
Ducky nodded. "Good. I'll let Abigail know that she can talk to him. That should ease any difficulty you have in explaining yourself."
"What do you mean?"
"To be blunt, Jethro, you can be a very cold lover. Anthony is already sensitive to your moods. If you push him away, he'll need someone to talk to. It will help if that person is his best friend as opposed to a man old enough to be his father." He gave Gibbs a self-depreciating smile. "Take care."
Tony pushed the file away from himself and leaned back in his chair, supporting his injured arm with a sigh. He dug his aspirin out of his desk and took a couple to ease the throbbing. McGee glanced at him, worried. Tony and Gibbs had both been snappish due to pain. Tony gave McGee an apologetic smile and shrug. He rubbed at his eyes and turned to his computer.
"DiNozzo, where the hell is that background?"
"In your inbox, boss. You should have gotten it fifteen minutes ago."
Director Sheppard paused by their desks. "Jethro, I thought you were still on restricted duty."
"I can do paperwork, Jen," he replied bluntly. "Resend it."
"At least try checking messages before you delete them," Tony muttered under his breath as he located and resent the information.
"I heard that."
"I'll start muttering in Italian then."
"Good, I could use a refresher course."
The director smirked at them. "I see you're teaching him to be as charming as you are."
"Why, Director, you're looking lovely. Is that a new necklace?" Tony said with a sweet smile. She raised a brow and he kept this face innocently blank.
"I don't dare take him to the next ball do I?"
"I don't know. DiNozzo, you can waltz right?"
"Unfortunately. Did you get it that time?"
"Yes. Got it. McGee, financials?"
"I'll have them in fifteen minutes, boss."
"Ziva, go get the reports from Abby."
Ziva left the bullpen. Sheppard watched them working. Tony resisted the urge to throw water on her to see if she'd melt. She moved closer to Gibbs and Tony was hard-pressed to focus on his work while she was talking to Gibbs in that low voice. "Come up to MTAC," she said after a moment. Gibbs grunted and got to his feet. He started to limp away.
"Walking stick," Tony reminded. Gibbs scowled at him. Tony put his hand on the phone, the threat of Ducky obvious. The blue eyes pinned him, but he didn't back down. Gibbs grabbed the silver-handled walking stick. The director's lips twitched as she watched the byplay.
When they were up the stairs and in the soundproofed room upstairs, McGee risked a low comment. "It's not worth killing her."
"Every day I become less and less convinced by that argument."
McGee shook his head. For someone who seemed socially clueless, the younger man had pegged Tony's relationship with Gibbs within a week of working with them regularly. Tony was still half-convinced that Abby had tipped him off, but couldn't prove it. Kate had never seen it. Some profiler she'd turned out to be. Ziva had hinted that she knew as well, but didn't say anything concrete. Maybe she felt compassionate or maybe she didn't really know. Tony tried to focus on his work, but it was hard. His arm hurt and he regretted not having his sling at the office.
Gibbs watched his senior agent for a moment. He sighed. Then, he stalked across the room. He swiftly undid the expensive silk tie and changed it into a sling before Tony could complain. He made sure to capture Tony's wrist in a loop before tying it off. "How exactly am I supposed to type like this?"
"The same way you always do, one-handed." Gibbs went back to his desk. Tony glared at him.
"Funny, boss." He didn't bother to do anything more than open the top buttons of his shirt though. Gibbs looked at his team. He sighed.
"Go home, kids. I'll see you on-time tomorrow morning."
McGee and Ziva stared at him. Tony was already moving. He was shutting down his computer. "Move it, before he changes his mind," he hissed at McGee. The younger man jumped and shut down his system. He grabbed his bag and left the bullpen. He more than likely would stop to see Abby on the way out. Ziva didn't argue with the advice and was gone, jogging down the stairs. They were doing research on cold cases until Tony could be back in the field. Tony was dropping a couple of files into his bag.
Gibbs raised his brows. "If I find out you came in at four tomorrow, I'll shoot you myself."
"Got it, boss." Tony paused, bag on his shoulder. "You need a ride home?"
"I'm fine. Go home, Tony."
"Your pretty red-head coming to pick you up? Or is the director taking you home?"
Gibbs pointed at the elevator. "Now, DiNozzo, before I change my mind." That got him a quick smile.
"Take your own advice, boss."
Gibbs sighed when his team was safely away. His leg was hurting, but he needed to finish his work. The last thing he needed to deal with was a snappish Tony affecting the rest of them. He could smell Tony's pain and it was distracting. He'd gotten to a point where the attraction was manageable, but the thought of the young man in pain made him want to pull him close and protect him. It was a reasonable enough urge for a man to protect his mate, but it was not appropriate in the office. He rubbed the back of his neck. Two more reports to finish and he'd head home.
Tony stared at the television, not seeing the flicking images on the screen. He was watching scenes that no one else would see there. He was reading through two of the unsolved cases on their team record. This was how he worked best. There was the comforting drone of black and white television to distract his hyper-active side and let him think. His parents had never understood that the low noise and late nights helped him focus and get his work done. He didn't know anyone who did understand except maybe Gibbs. Gibbs let him do things his own way. He shook his head. Thinking about Gibbs wouldn't get him any closer to the solution he knew was staring him in the face.
The knock on the door startled him. He peered through the peep-hole. He dropped his head. "Hey, boss," he said as he opened the door. Gibbs limped in. "Just couldn't do without me, huh?"
"Nope." The little boy grin made Tony blush. "Didn't want to either."
"Oh." Tony shut the door and locked it. He turned off the television.
"You can leave it on. I don't mind." Gibbs stalked around the apartment. Tony shook his head. He settled down on the couch with his files, ignoring the man who wandered through the three rooms. It was just Gibbs being Gibbs. He jumped a little when a furry head nudged his leg.
"Let me get a blanket, okay? This is a leather couch." The wolf whined, but didn't jump up. Tony settled an old, soft cotton blanket he'd had since college on the couch. Gibbs climbed up slowly, due to his leg. He settled there with a little huff of breath. Tony settled back into his place. He couldn't resist petting the silvery fur. He dug his fingers into it, providing a massage while he studied the files. Eventually, he abandoned the case-work for petting his beloved boss. He smiled. "If you didn't want me to work, you could have just said so." Gibbs shifted back into human form. He settled his head on Tony's thigh.
"I don't want you to work. I want you to pay attention to me."
"Boss," Tony laughed. He took his time looking his fill at the older man's body. He traced a scar on his side with absent fingers. Tony's cock twitched.
"Jethro, I told you. My name is Jethro."
"Jethro," Tony whined, "I almost had it."
"It'll come to you, but I'm more important."
"Did Ducky make you take your pain pills?" That was one explanation for the man's mood.
"No, but Abby ratted me out."
"So you came here to crash on my couch or just to get scratched behind the ears?"
"Well, I figured I could tempt you into dinner."
"God, why do you do things like this?"
"Tease me. Christ, Gibbs, half the time I can't figure out if you're really mad or if you're just teasing me."
"Then let me be blunt. I love you Anthony DiNozzo. And if I give you too long to think about it, you'll convince yourself that I was just humoring you."
Tony jumped a little. The thought had crossed his mind. Wonder if being a shifter gives you telepathy. He resolved to ask Abby. "You mean you aren't?"
Tony took a deep breath, the released it. "Jethro, when you say I can have everything, what do you mean?"
"You can have whatever you want from me."
The young man shivered. "Whatever I want?"
"Whatever you want. Nothing changes at work."
"Wouldn't want it to. I like how we work together. Hell, I don't even mind when you smack me. Well, I know we'll be able to live together. I'm not even jealous of the boat. Problem is, will we fit together in the bedroom?"
"So, you've thought about it?"
"You in my bed? Yeah. I'm not a saint, Jet. I'm not even close." Tony licked his lips. Those were some of his best fantasies.
"Good. I wasn't looking for a saint. I was looking for you."
"What makes you think I'll last out when your wives didn't?"
Gibbs shrugged. "I'm married to the job. And those files looks suspiciously like cold cases not pretty brunettes."
"You flirt with anything that's got legs. It's just more subtle with men."
"I like to play hard. I won't apologize for that."
"Only thing I can see as being a problem is that I won't compromise much in the bedroom."
"And you think that's a problem?" Tony grinned. "Oh, is this the point when we both try to delicately find out who gets to be on top?" Gibbs chuckled. He hadn't moved his head and Tony had started stroking his hair without thinking. "Let's cut to the chase, I like strong lovers. And when I dream of you, I'm definitely not on top. That help you out any?"
Gibbs nodded. "Good. I already told you I bite too."
"Figured that out all on my own."
"Oh? Did Abby give you a wolf primer?"
"Instinct and experience. As soon as your leg heals up, I'll drive you crazy."
"Because I want you to court me. Nothing big, just draw me to you. Three weeks should be about as long as I'll be able to resist. That'll give you a chance to heal."
The older man growled. "I hate waiting."
"Then it'll do you good. Did you just assume you'd be able to sleep with your girls?"
"I did with Jen."
"You compare me to the director again and I'll hurt you." Tony tugged at one hair on Gibbs' chest.
"Always make threats specific."
"I will draw a huge smiley face on your ass with a silver-based pens they use for cauterizing wounds so I have something to shoot at."
"Better. And the silver would probably scar. Good thinking."
"That's why you pay me the big bucks, boss. I think of these things. Did you drive yourself over here?"
"No, took a cab. Took a cab in too."
"Okay, tell you what, I'll bring my kit for the morning and run you home. I'll take over your guest room again and we can talk tonight about what you're planning."
"Well, jewelry's out, flowers make you sniff when you don't think I'm looking, and you don't play video games, so I'm thinking a gun or ammo and maybe a subscription to that journal you're always stealing from Abby."
"You jump right into the deep end of the pool don't you, Jet?" Tony grinned. "Luckily, I like that in a lover."
"And maybe I'll be able to get you to move in for weekends."
"That's not too hard. We could even swing it with IA if I pay you rent."
"I'll talk to them tomorrow."
"Good. I'll see if I can break this lease. You have a sentimental attachment to your futon in the front room?"
"No. I like your couch better anyway. Better for crashing on when I get kicked out of the bedroom."
"Guest room, Gibbs."
"Will be yours to decide on. I'll clean out whatever's in there."
Tony looked down with a smile. "I am sort of used to having my own space. I like your guest room though. Your mattress has got to go."
"What makes you say that?"
"Go to the bedroom and lay down on my bed."
"Why, DiNozzo, I didn't realize." Gibbs sat up. He got to his feet and limped to the bed. He laid down and groaned. "Oh, this is evil. No wonder I can't get you out of bed when I call." Tony's cock stiffened just hearing Gibbs on his bed. He had to go take a look. Yeah, naked Gibbs in his bed was looking really good. His skin contrasted nicely with the blue sheets too.
"Well to be honest, that's probably because I've usually just gotten to bed when you call."
"Then you should think about an earlier bedtime. I know you like to work late at night, but you need to sleep."
"Yeah, well, it's easier to concentrate and it always surprises McGee when I come up with information." Gibbs lay on his side, eyes closed. "So we're agreed on the mattress?"
"Oh, yeah. And the comforter too."
"I like your quilt."
"We can use both."
"Funny, I think we just got married."
"Ah, you've been my mate since I hired you away from Captain Larkspur. You just didn't notice."
Tony leaned against the doorframe. "Actually, I did. It happened the first time I got you to laugh. I knew something had changed, I didn't know what it was until about five minutes ago."
"My door was always open." Gibbs sat up. He shrugged. "But I am your boss, Tony."
"Let me run you home, Jet. I'll see you at work tomorrow."
"You won't stay?"
"I can't. If I stay tonight, I'll never leave."
"Do I at least get a kiss?"
"Yes, you get a kiss. Are you sure Ducky didn't drug you?"
"He might have put something in my coffee, but I can't say one way or the other."
Tony laughed. He gave Gibbs a quick kiss on the cheek as he passed. "That's just a promise."
"I'd love to see what you consider an oath."
"I'll show you sometime."
Harry Neilson, personnel security representative for Gibbs' team, read through the roommate agreement carefully. He nodded. "Looks good to me. We'll keep it in the files for the five year review. Just don't shoot him, okay, Gibbs? Your file's thick enough."
Gibbs smirked. "As soon as he gets out of his lease he'll be moving in."
The team lead paused. "Good?"
"Good. Considering how much trouble your team gets into, it's better if you have someone to watch your back." Harry paused. "He thinks to world of you, Gibbs."
Abby squealed and hugged Tony. "Oh, that's so cool. Congrats. Um, you know?"
"I know. Abs?"
"I think we need to talk somewhere other than the lab? My place? As soon as we get out of here?"
"I'm there. With beer. You can tell me everything."
"And you can tell me some things too."
"Mommy and Daddy wolves."
She giggled. "You are so cute sometimes. Go, out of my lab. And if you get cranky again, I'm telling Gibbs."
Tony pouted at her. She pointed toward the door. After he left she jumped up and down. "I knew it! Score!"
"What?" McGee asked as he came in.
"I have just won the pot of all pots."
"Which pot is that?" He looked at her, sensing the trap.
"Why the pot that says when Tony and Gibbs finally get together, of course."
McGee frowned. "How are you going to do that? You have to get them to prove it at work."
"Watch and learn. Watch and learn." Which in reality meant she had no idea, but she would.
The coffee settled on McGee's desk. "Thanks."
"Spill, Probie," Tony said leaning against the younger agent's desk.
"About what?" Play dumb, Tim, he told himself. If you crack, Abby will kill you.
"What is Abby planning? When I left she had a look of glee on her face, which was not equal to the promise of a gossip session, so spill it."
"She won a betting pool. That's all."
Tony's eyes narrowed. "Don't make this a challenge, McGee."
McGee swallowed hard. Gibbs terrified him, but Tony was more likely to actually act on his impulses. Right now, the look in his eyes promised torture of the jock kind. Tim tried to figure out how much trouble that was going to be when he was saved.
"DiNozzo, what goes between 'come here' and 'ouch'?"
Tony winced. "Right, boss." He went to his own desk. He held his arm tight across his middle and Gibbs frowned.
"Aren't you supposed to be wearing a sling?"
"Aren't you supposed to be using a cane?" Tony replied. "You call Ducky, we're both in for it." Their eyes met for a long moment. Gibbs scowled, but admitted defeat.
Abby kissed Tony's cheek as she came into the apartment. She stopped dead. "You're already packing?"
"I'm moving in as soon as Gibbs gets cleared for field duty."
"That's fast work." Her eyes narrowed. "If you were a girl, I'd wonder if you were pregnant."
"Well, I'm not. It's just that we've been in and out of each other's lives and pockets for three, almost four years. As Gibbs put it, sex is the next step. Hell, every time the pipes break or they're fumigating this rat-trap, I camp out in his guest room. We've got the house-rules hashed out. Pizza should be here in a minute. Just put the beer on the table."
"Okay, spill, who are you and where's Tony?"
"What do you mean?"
"The Tony I know would run from a wedding ring." She put her hands on her hips. "And he'd be terrified."
Tony looked down for a moment. When his eyes met hers, they were solemn. "I could die tomorrow, Abs. I'm not going to let him slip out of this when I've been wanting him forever. Do you know why I'm here? Honestly?"
"Because you're a damn good cop and a really nice guy?"
"Because Gibbs ordered me to not die of the plague."
She stared at him. "He really did that?"
"Yeah. He really did. And he believed that I'd follow that order. No one has ever had that much faith in me before. There's been no one I've trusted to find me when I'm lost. I've never had anything but a light relationship. Hell, you and I are closer than I am to my own family. NCIS is my family. I'm not leaving." He froze. "I'm not leaving," he whispered again in wonder. He smiled, then caught her up in a tight hug.
She hugged him back. "Oh, God, you were going to leave us? When?"
"I don't know. I thought about it after Kate died, after I was framed, after they tried to hurt you. I should have run for my own peace of mind, but I couldn't. I mean, we have movies to see and Probie's still got some to learn. And I can't leave Gibbs with Ziva. I don't trust her." The separated at the knock on the door. Abby punched Tony in the shoulder.
"You are not allowed to leave without my permission." Tony paid for the pizza. He set them down on the table next to the beer.
"I won't. Honest, honey." He locked the door. "Let me just get something for you."
"Ooo, presents! I love presents."
He handed her a file folder. "These are photocopies of my mother's journal. She was a shifter. It will give you a different view of things."
Abby kissed him full on the mouth. "Thanks."
"No, you can't read them right now. Right now, we're eating pizza."
She snuggled onto the couch next to him. "You know, if you weren't married, I'd definitely give you a better thank you than a kiss."
Tony sighed. He kissed the top of her head. "Well, someday you'll have to call me for phone sex."
"I can do that. Or I can get you that boxed set you were lusting after."
Tony laughed. "That's my Abby."
Gibbs surveyed the neatly packed apartment. "I thought there'd be more."
"I put some things in storage and got rid of some junk, but I really don't have that much. Mostly electrical for the entertainment system and my video collection. And some sports stuff." Tony shrugged.
"Then how do you create that big of a mess?"
"It's a small apartment. Nonna always said a big house was easier to take care of than a small one." He shrugged. "You sure you're up to this? I can wait. I've got another two weeks on my lease."
"Nah. We'll be getting cases on Monday. I've got the UHaul."
"Yeah. My couch is so taking over the front room."
"Did you get some help or is it just us?"
"Steve said he'd be here, but he's a lawyer. Things come up."
"No one from Baltimore?"
"Can't confirm rumors. You know that." Tony winked.
"Yeah." The young man's smile was fond.
"Steve? Hell no. I wouldn't date anyone that much like me."
"Let's go. There's root beer in my fridge."
Tony laughed. "So you're giving up scotch?"
"Not in this lifetime, babe."
Tony collapsed onto the couch, sliding down until his head was on the arm. Gibbs lifted him upright and settled next to him. Tony leaned against him. The older man nuzzled the dark hair, scenting him. "You ready for bed already?"
"After a shower."
"You really need one?" Gibbs asked, frowning. He liked the way Tony smelled.
One eye opened to peer at him suspiciously. "Why? What do you have in mind?"
"I like the way you smell. Besides, you'll just need another one after I'm done with you."
"And just what do you think you're going to do?" Tony's smile turned sly.
"Well, for starters, I was planning to claim you hard enough that you won't be able to sit tomorrow, but that can wait if you like." Gibbs' eyes were half-closed so he could better appreciate the smell of his lover. The hard spike of lust in Tony's scent was enough to make his mouth water.
"Bedroom?" Tony asked.
The younger man made it up the stairs in record time. He stood by the bed, stroking the sheets. "So? How do you want me?"
"Any way I can get you and as often as I can have you."
Tony bit back a moan. He pulled at his clothes. Not bothering with a show. Gibbs bit back his own reaction. Then, he pounced. He pulled Tony into a hard, deep, messy kiss that left them both panting when they separated. Tony's breathing was shallow. "Get the damned clothes off and get me into bed before I go crazy."
"Towel first. Under the nightstand." Tony bared his teeth in frustration. Gibbs chuckled. "You really don't want to challenge me right now. It'll just be harder on you."
"Can't get much harder right now." The young man moved to spread the beach towel over the bed. "I suppose I should thank you. At least I won't have to do the sheets tomorrow." Gibbs chuckled. He pulled Tony in for a hot kiss and felt the young man melt under his attentions. "Okay, so I was wrong."
"I could get harder. Christ, Gibbs, get those damned clothes off so I can see you." Tony tugged at Gibbs' shirt.
"Patience, babe, patience."
"I've been patient. I've waited for years. I don't want to wait anymore."
Gibbs kissed him again, mostly to shut him up. He knew Tony would be a vocal lover, but for the moment, he just wanted to explore and enjoy him. Tony whimpered. His fingers roamed over Gibbs' skin, under his shirt. The clever fingers traced his ribs and carded through the hair on his chest. His mouth tasted like heaven and Gibbs didn't want to ever stop. The broke apart for air a moment, then went back to kissing.
"Jet, please, I don't want to just come in my pants. I want to actually feel skin."
Gibbs was willing to follow that plan. He stripped his lover, then himself. They fell into another kiss. He kneaded the muscled ass, pulling Tony more tightly against him. Their cocks brushed and it was like an electric shock ran through him.
"Please, Jet," Tony said roughly. "We can do it slowly later. Right now, I won't last if we go slowly."
"I don't want you to last. I want you to go crazy for me," Gibbs growled into his lover's ear. "Hands and knees." It was almost a question. Tony didn't seem to notice the pleading note. He simply arranged himself on the bed with a smirk over his shoulder.
"Like this?" he asked, voice rough. "Will this get you to move before I explode?"
"God, Tony," Gibbs whispered. He scrabbled for lube in the bedside table. He was willing to admit that he usually used it during more solitary pursuits, but it would work for this.
"Condoms in my jacket if you need," Tony muttered. The practicality faded. "Just hurry."
Gibbs snorted. "I can't catch anything you might have and you can't catch anything I might have. Besides, I have your current medical reports."
"Okay, fine. Sounds great. A little more action here, boss. I really want to feel you inside of me. I want to feel you moving like. . . oh, that's it." Tony wiggled trying to get Gibbs to touch the sweet spot again. The older man chuckled. It was a darkling sound. Tony shivered and pushed back. "Enough playing, get to the main event."
"You're the one who didn't want me to last. And I'm not going to unless you stop fucking teasing me."
Gibbs lubed his cock quickly. He pressed forward. He wasn't sure if he was pleased or not by the fact that Tony adapted readily to his presence. Still, he was hot and tight. "You get around a lot?"
"Not on this side of the scene." Tony panted shallowly. "But, I have toys and a great imagination. Maybe I'll share them with you."
"You will," Gibbs ordered, though he had a feeling his voice was a little to full of air to make the statement a good order because Tony had just clenched his muscles and the feel of it made him want to thrust forward and it took most of his concentration to keep himself moving only steadily forward. Tony dropped from his hands to his elbows, back forming a sweet arch. He whimpered softly.
"Please, I need more, Jet. Just fuck me."
Gibbs ran his hands up and down the smooth skin of Tony's sides. He took Tony at his word and started to thrust. His fingers tightened on Tony's hips to hold him mostly still. One of Tony's hands tried to push his hand away. Gibbs' fingers tightened. He thrust a little harder. Tony's breath came in gasps. "Please, yes, fuck," he murmured in between thrusts. His muscles clenched as he came and Gibbs stilled to appreciate the motion and the tension in his lover's back. Tony collapsed boneless and sated, his body opening to Gibbs' cock like an offering. Gibbs thrust harder, leaning down now, to take in the smell of sex and sweat and the light cologne that Tony always used. He thrust deep once more and came. He settled on top of his lover. He ran his teeth gently along Tony's left collar-bone.
He licked away some of the sweat and kissed the shoulder. "Boss?" Tony said quietly.
"I love you, I really do, but I'm also in the wet-spot and a hate that."
Gibbs chuckled. He rolled to his side, pulling Tony with him. He bit the back of Tony's neck gently as he pulled free of the languid body beneath him. "Stay. I'll get something to clean us up."
"Give me a minute or two and I'll. . ." Tony yawned. "I won't care."
"Until you wake up bitching."
"Yeah." Gibbs kissed Tony's temple. By the time he got back from the bathroom, Tony was asleep. Gibbs grinned. Tony looked well-fucked. He cleaned up his lover, pulled the towel from the bed and dropped both of them into the hamper. Then, he settled into the bed and pulled Tony close. He pulled up the comforter and nuzzled Tony's hair. "Love you too, DiNozzo," he murmured as he fell asleep.
"Gear up," Gibbs ordered. "We've got a dead Lieutenant in Rock Creek Park. McGee, get the truck."
The team hustled into the van. Tony was on the phone with Ducky. "He'll meet us at the site as soon as Palmer gets them here."
"Ziva, secure the site. McGee, 100 yard perimeter." Gibbs nodded at Tony who was already taking pictures of the site and evidence. The senior field agent cornered the park police officer. "What have you got?"
"Three witnesses. And an overbearing military Fed."
"Our jurisdiction. You called us."
"Paul Jones, US Park Police. My partner recognized the insignia. Said he ran across the same thing in Baltimore."
"Oh, crap. Agent Gibbs," the partner in question said as he looked up from his notes.
Gibbs snorted. "Larson." He gave a short whistle. "DiNozzo!"
"Give me the camera. Do the job I hired you for."
"You pissed them off already?" Tony asked as he handed over the camera and sketchbook. Gibbs took the laser measure out of Tony's pocket. "Oh, hey. When'd you leave Baltimore?"
"Same time you did. They actually wanted me to work with Lizard-brain."
Tony shuddered. "So, what sort of evidence are you turning over today?"
"You think I'm gonna roll over just because you ask?" Larson demanded of his former partner.
"Nope. You're gonna turn over the evidence Gibbs asked for because you don't really want to have another investigation where he's involved." Tony's smile had a few too many teeth and Gibbs had to hide his own smile. He focussed his attention on the body. His nose flared. There was no hint of gun-powder in the air. He frowned.
"Larson! Did you move the body?"
"Not an inch," the Rock Creek detective snapped back.
"DiNozzo, three possible shot points."
Tony pointed to the top of two buildings and a much closer tree. "Want me to take McGee?"
"Take care of the witnesses. David, with me. McGee, finish the measurements."
Ducky clucked over his latest guest. "Now, let's see what's happened, young man. You weren't just out on a run were you?" He spoke in a soft, continuing monologue as he worked. He methodically looked over the body, checking for needle marks or distinguishing marks. There were very few scars and no tattoos to record. "It is a lovely time of year for a stroll. It reminds me of my first girlfriend. Anne. She was a lovely girl." He rambled on about her many charms. Jimmy took notes and filled out the paperwork as the autopsy continued.
Once the chest was open, Ducky extracted the bullet. It gleamed in the light. "Oh my," he murmured. "Mr. Palmer. Take this up to Abby immediately. Tell her to test the metal composition." He dropped the bullet into the evidence jar and signed it. Palmer hurried off.
Jethro strode through the door a moment later. "What have you got for me, Duck?"
"I believe our young man was thought to be a shifter," he said. He frowned at the younger man. "You might have Timothy run a search to find any cases where silver bullets were used. I've heard whispers, you understand."
The senior agent nodded slowly. "I'll have him put in requests to the Army and Air Force. What else?"
"He seems to have been in excellent health. The bullet killed him. You'll have to give me more time if you want anything more detailed than that."
Gibbs snapped out "DiNozzo," as he headed to his desk.
"Requests are out to the other branches. I've hit up BPD and the other LEO's in the area. Abby says it's coated in silver."
McGee frowned at them. Ziva tapped a pen against the desk. "You are thinking that the victim is allergic to silver?" she stated. Her eyes were fixed firmly on Tony. Gibbs restrained the twitch of his lips.
"There is that possibility."
The youngest man's eyes narrowed. His fingers moved quickly. He was either asking Abby what was up or trying a search. He wouldn't find anything. There was no organized community of shifters. Gibbs knew of three people off-hand over the course of his life who weren't family. One was a coyote, the other a cougar. He had a feeling Tony and Ducky had collected more, but not as lovers. Unconditional friendship was in their nature.
Ziva turned back to her work on the CCTV footage.
"Yes, boss." McGee's head shot up. "Nothing unusual in his background yet. His file shows two insubordination complaints, but nothing serious. He seemed to have settled down after the second one."
Gibbs tilted his head to the side. That could mean the man was a shifter. More specifically that he was a pack animal. A challenge to a new authority to put him in his place. "Same commander?"
"No, two CO's."
Tony bit at his lip and started searching for something new. He looked up. "Sick calls don't show any pattern of drugs or alcohol. No history of fighting. At least no evidence of it actually getting him hurt."
"Any long-term conditions?"
"Nothing. New hit from the Army. Lieutenant on leave was shot near the aquarium. Our hunter's a Maryland or DC local. He'd have to be to find a good vantage point there. One hell of a good shot too."
"Running locals with sniper experience now, boss." McGee was getting better at anticipating. Gibbs let them run. His instincts weren't screaming yet. They weren't near enough to the prey.
"Boss, I've got a list," McGee said quietly.
"Can you cross-reference it with the one I'm sending over?"
"Sure." McGee handed Gibbs a printed list of names. "All snipers who are still in the area. What's this?"
"I’ll tell you if we get a hit." Tony's eyes lifted to meet his boss' stare. "It's just a hunch and might not pay out."
"A hunch?" Gibbs prompted.
"Silver sales. Bulk silver from jewlers. I have a friend of a friend who's in the business and tipped me to a few of the wholesalers in the area. Unless he's buying at auction." Tony frowned and turned back to his searches. "Background from the Army Lt. is printing right now."
Gibbs grunted and went to collect the papers. "Ziva?"
"I have been running the tapes. No siting of our killer yet."
"Abby is checking."
Gibbs went back to his desk. Tony kept his attention firmly on his computer. He wanted to bounce ideas off of Gibbs, but that was better done in private. He didn't want to out him to Tim and Ziva. Though Ziva might already know. Ducky's presence in the bullpen made the entire team sit up and take notice. The ME rarely came up to report findings. Normally, they trooped down to talk to him. "Anthony, if you'd put this up on the large screen for me."
Tony took the thumb drive. The autopsy pictures flashed up onto the screen. The man's chest was open. It looked wrong. Tony stared at it for a long moment. His gorge started to rise as he realized what he was seeing. He hadn't even considered what a raw rabbit would look like in a human stomach. "I believe our young lieutenant was seen indulging in a few less than normal behaviors and our gunman decided it was wise to remove him."
Ducky gestured and Tony moved to the next screen. "The cause of death was the bullet, but not only the bullet. He might have survived the trauma to his head. It wasn't a high calibre, you see. However, I found evidence that his throat closed up. He was, as I suspected, allergic to silver. Even the slight amount that coated the bullet was enough to trigger the reaction. I assume that information was not in his records?"
"No allergies recorded," Tony confirmed.
Ducky nodded. At his gesture, Tony closed the pictures down. "Do be careful with this one, Jethro. Should he determine you or your team are a threat to his way of life, he will attempt to eliminate you."
Gibbs nodded. "We'll be fine."
The doctor desperately looked as if he wanted to say more, but he held his tongue. Tony handed back the thumb drive. "I've got two possible reports for you to review, please," Tony's voice was quiet. "One from the Army CID, the other from BPD. Let us know if they're the same cause of death."
Ducky nodded. His eyes were full of emotion. "I assume they're in my email?"
"Yes. I sent them down just before you came up."
"Give me an hour. I've got Mr. Palmer cleaning up at the moment."
Tony nodded. They couldn't talk in front of Palmer.
Ducky looked up from the new report that had landed in his inbox. "How many, Anthony?"
"So far? We've got six. Going back a five years, but I think it's been going on longer."
The ME nodded. "Sit down. I'll review this latest report. Any evidence at all of their alternate lifestyles?" he asked, turning his head away from the camera in the corner.
"We haven't found anything unusual. Ziva's trying to find their doctors when they're off base. No sign yet. We've found a few family members, but we can't expect them to easily give up the information. It's too late to do in person interviews. We're just gathering information right now. This is going to be an ugly one."
"And how is Jethro?"
"He's growling. What do you think? I'll be sleeping on the floor tonight," Tony sighed. "Bastard." His voice was affectionate and Ducky didn't bother to hide his smile.
"I am glad that you have resolved things between yourselves. Abigail was considering using a locked closet at one point. I convinced her to let things take their own course."
"She said that if I were a woman, she'd think I was pregnant."
Ducky chuckled. "Well, it was rather sudden for those of us who weren't there for the open scenes."
Anthony shook his head. "I should have kissed him in Baltimore. Kept him from marrying number three."
"Now, he's far too strong-willed for that. You'd at least had to have cooked him breakfast."
The young man shook his head. "And this one?" He tapped the top of the monitor.
"Yes. I believe this is one of ours. Send the ballistics to Abigail, if you would."
"They match. To my eyes at least."
"It so often slips my mind that your specialty is ballistics." He smiled. "You allow it, I suppose."
"Abby's so much better on the stand than I am." Anthony shrugged. "Besides, she has all the shiny toys and the jury loves shiny toys."
Abby frowned at the ballistics reports. "Yes," she told Ziva. "These two are from the same rifle. This one, might be, but I want to take a closer look at it." She paused. "And tell Gibbs I want to see him before he leaves for the night."
Ziva shook her head. "I do not believe he is planning to leave at all."
"No, he'll leave Tony with the overnight shift. Like he usually does."
Ziva blinked. "They trade off, do they not?"
"No. Tony stays overnight. Gibbs makes sure I get home if it's after midnight. Or goes home to sleep until three. Tony takes a nap from four to seven when Gibbs gets back in."
Ziva's brows rose, but she didn't say anything to that. "Do you have anything else for us?"
Abby shook her head. "I'm still running tests. Soon as I have anything, I'll bring them up or call."
"Major Zunka was seeing a fertility specialist," McGee said into the darkened room.
"Any sign of who her SO was?" Tony yawned and streched his neck. He'd been going through the address books by hand, looking for any links.
"No. She had chosen donated sperm. She was going to be leaving the service in four months. I'd guess she was planning ahead?"
"Don't assume," Tony and Gibbs said in unison. Tony startled at that. "Fuck. I am going to get a bell for you one of these days," Tony informed their boss.
Gibbs snorted. "I love a challenge."
"Weren't you going home?"
"I'm leaving at eleven. I saw Abs home. Ziva, you get first nap."
She scowled at Gibbs. "I am not tired."
"You will be," Tony stated. "Go take four hours. McGee will take second shift at eleven." He glanced at Gibbs. "You be in at your usual?"
Gibbs nodded. "I'll wake you up when I get in."
Director Sheppard looked over the major crimes team. DiNozzo's hair was less than usually kempt, McGee had circles under his eyes, and Ziva was wearing the same outfit as the day before. They were working in that strangely quiet way they had when they were actually hard on the trail of their perpetrator. She raised her brows when Jethro looked up at her. He scowled and shook his head. Not going well then. She didn't want to walk into the middle of the minefield today. She had other things to worry about.
She narrowed her eyes when Tony looked up at her. He cocked his head to the side and studied her for a moment, before dismissing her presence from his mind and turning back to his computer. That was new. He normally classified her as a threat during these times. Maybe it was only if she came into his territory. She smirked. What did Jethro call him? His faithful St. Bernard? Fitting.
She shook her head at her own folly and plunged back into the madness of foreign operations.
"We've got a hit," McGee stated. "Robert Bennet. Former sniper. Purchased two bulk silver shipments from a smelter in Maryland. Local to Annapolis."
"Track him," Gibbs ordered. "Tony, find me something the judge will accept."
His senior agent nodded.
"Ziva, get Ducky's reports and correlate."
Gibbs stalked his way to Abby's lab. She smiled at him. "Guess what I've got?"
"You are no fun. Not just matching bullets, two more victims. Pulled from IBIS. Both in the local area. I was just about to call up."
He pulled on one of her ponytails. "Send it up to McGee. I'll get you a Caf-Pow."
"I love you, Gibbs. In a totally platonic way of course."
He snorted. "Right."
"Hey, I know exactly what Tony does to people who horn in on his territory." She smirked. "Though that might be fun too."
Gibbs held up a hand. "Abs."
"I know. I know. No sex with teammates. That's so limiting. Go, bring me my tribute, and I shall take files up to McGee. At least Timmy knows what the inside of my coffin looks like."
"Cream satin," Gibbs called over his shoulder, "with tuck pleats and down feathers."
She gaped after him. He smirked to himself. He'd had to pay with a full week of vacation to get the information out of Tony, but it was worth it. He heard the faint howl in the back of his mind. Full moon tonight and he had a trail to follow. Perfect timing. He retrieved coffee for himself and soda for Abby from the local convenience store. He walked back towards the Navy Yard. He paused near the guard gates, ostensibly to chat with the guard there. "Do a scan of the walls. I think I saw a site."
"Yes, Agent Gibbs." The older man fished for his radio and ordered a scan while Gibbs went into the building.
"They've got possible surviellence on the roof across the street. A team is moving in to apprehend," the guard at the front desk informed him.
"When you catch the suspect, let me have a chat."
The guard smirked. "Yes, sir, Agent Gibbs. I'll start the popcorn."
Since losing Kate the agency had become a little more touchy about people watching their gate. Best case, was a photographer. Worst case, it was a sniper. There was no reason to take chances.
"Boss?" Tony frowned at Gibbs. "What's wrong?"
"Possible sniper across the street. There's a team on intercept."
Tony's face hardened for a moment. Ziva's head shot up. McGee's fingers paused on the keyboard. "Think he's ours?"
"Let it play. We're not the only team here."
"Right." Tony rolled his eyes. "I've got Bennet's home address and credit card records from a gun shop. Not a lot, but with the silver, it's suggestive."
"Something solid, Tony."
"Clerk tells me it was a new sight and a box of ammo. Animal and human shaped targets. Psych evals show a tendency for obsession."
"And local courts show a restraining order against him from Alison Zunka."
"Good enough. Tony, get the paperwork. Ziva, gas up the truck. McGee, get me everything you can on his properties."
The arresting officers put the sniper into the interrogation room with full shackles and left him there. The observation room was filled with the scent of fresh popcorn and two extra video recorders. This one was sure to go onto the Gibbs' greatest hits video. Not that it existed of course. All of the non-existant profits went to Scuito for distribution to Habitat for Humanity. Tyson, the video tech, made sure of that.
The door opened after two hours. Gibbs strode in and took possession of the chair. He stared silently at the sniper for a long moment. "I've got three weapons from you townhouse. And you were arrested with a rifle across from the Navy Yard. Not your usual territory." Gibbs cocked his head to the side. "Want to tell me why?"
Bennet gave him a small smile, but didn't speak.
"When did you discover your girlfriend was allergic to silver?"
The man blinked. His eyes were a pale brown and his hair was cropped in a buzzcut. His body was trim. He was wearing desert cammo which didn't look out of place on him. They had a duffle bag that Abby was processing for evidence. Bennet didn't say a word.
Gibbs studied him. He smelled like gun oil, strong coffee, and bird shit. There was sweat and salt lingering on his skin. There was no smell of adrenaline. He was accomplished at keeping himself steady, like most snipers. The senior agent considered. Ziva would get frustrated and try to threaten the man. McGee would be too vulnerable. DiNozzo, he paused for a moment. No, Bennet was a threat to Gibbs. Tony would kill him and sweet-talk the JAG into burying the body.
"You did four tours in Afghanistan and three in Iraq. Stateside must have been boring."
Bennet's lips quirked up. "A bit. I was thinking of moving to Detroit."
Gibbs snorted. "I hear it's got the same amount of bullets. No bombs though."
"Not my thing."
"Card in your wallet says Maryland Malitia. Not the reserves."
"Medical won't clear me. Shrapnel to the knee." The handcuffs clattered against the table as Bennet shifted.
"Tell me why I shouldn't ship you to Gitmo as a terrorist."
"I love this country."
Gibbs leaned forward. "You were on a roof with a rifle pointed at the gate of a US government institution. The exact same roof that a son-of-a-bitch terrorist used to kill one of my agents. I don't give a damn if you claim to be a patriot."
Bennet's eyes widened. "I wasn't going to kill any of your agents. I was just watching. The rifle wasn't loaded. That's God's Honest truth."
"Were you stalking one of them the way you stalked Lt. Branson?"
The suspect's jaw tensed, but he didn't deny the charge.
"Pretty spectacular shot." Gibbs flipped open the file folder and scanned down it. "You couldn't have made it. Not with these range scores. How the Hell'd you end up as a sniper? Army doesn't have the same standards." His lip curled up into a sneer.
Bennet tensed and leaned forward. "Bullshit. I'm the best."
"You could have taken him from a tree in the park, but there's no way you did it from the roof shot. Angle's all wrong for a tree blind."
The suspect's nostrils flared and his eyes narrowed. The pulse at the side of his neck increased. "I took one shot and hit him in the head. Perfect shot from the top of the insurance building. Just like your agent pointed out. I could have taken twenty-five agents today before your guards came to haul me away. If I wanted to, I could have taken out any one of your team."
Gibbs snorted. "Lt. Branson with one shot. Of course, you found out about his allergy, so that made things easier. All you had to do was wing him. Lucky shot that caught him in the head and triggered his allergy. Bullet wasn't large enough to kill him otherwise."
The sniper took one breath, held it, then released. He lifted his chin and his lips whitened for another breath. His pulse rate dropped and the two spots of color in his cheeks lessened. The man leaned back in the interrogation room chair. The chains around his wrists and ankles shifted with sullen clanks. The oil of them mixed with the hint of blood from the bruises made Gibbs' wolf growl in the back of his mind. He pushed the reaction away with the ease of long practice. The man had confessed to one killing, but Gibbs wanted them all.
"I almost killed your shifter," Bennet said conversationally. He was trying to take control of the session. Gibbs kept his face impassive. When the statement wasn't followed up, he raised his brows and maintained his silence.
Bennet's lips quirked up into a smile. "You've got him well-trained though. Not like some alpha bastard who needs to be put down for the good of the corp. It would have been too much like shooting a labrador puppy."
So either McGee or Tony. No one would think to describe Ziva as a puppy. Gibbs tilted his head and smirked a bit. Bennet's smile widened as if they'd just shared a deep conversation. "It was when he was spotting my perches that I knew. His nostrils were flaring as if he were following a scent. His eyes are too good. And with that build, he could be a formidable hunter." The killer leaned forward. "I didn't know that you could train werewolves, but I guess you can tame any animal if you get them young enough. How long have you had him? I noticed you live at the same address."
"When you were stalking him, you mean?"
"Yes. I'm fascinated, Agent Gibbs. How did you find him and train him? Did you get him as a puppy?"
"He's not a shifter."
Bennet snorted. "I understand. You can't say anything that might be recorded. Come see me in my cell and tell me everything. Now, you already have my confession. What else do you want?"
"Tell me about the Army boy you took down."
Bennet's eyes lit up. "Oh, that was a wonderful hunt. I managed to get him when he came to the aquarium. He always went to the aquarium first thing when he came home on leave. I think the ritual helped calm him before he had to face his father. Took me two years to track him."
"Where did you get his leave schedule?"
The hunter laughed. It was a full-bodied laugh that shook his hair. "On Facebook. His family always posts when he's coming home. I simply set up my account to email me. Isn't technology wonderful?"
Gibbs snorted. "Not so wonderful for him. And there was the woman, Major Zunka."
"Oh, that was an interesting one. I managed to find her through a medical specialist. She was trying to breed. As if we need more of her kind in the world. She should have been spayed when she went into the military. Might have made her easier to control."
"She was an officer. She was on the fast-track to promotion as well."
"She was a bitch that didn't know her place and challenged her betters."
"She wouldn't sleep with you." Gibbs nodded. "I understand."
That spiked the man's pulse again. "She was full of herself. Thought she was better than any man. Probably was a dyke."
"And you stalked her because she had the good taste to turn you down. She chose a Navy man for her donor. Should have picked a Marine." Gibbs smirked.
Bennet scowled. "Cannon fodder idiots all of you."
"Better than 10 of you. They wouldn't have been stupid enough to get caught."
The man surged forward. "Listen, you son-of-a-bitch, I was only caught to talk to you. Not like a lawyer won't get me off."
Gibbs' smile was a challenge of bared teeth. His back was to the camera. They'd have no evidence of anything if he did let a little of the wolf show. He didn't have to do anything but smile. Bennet's face drained of blood. "Holy fuck. You're one of *them*."
Gibbs stood up. He took two steps to the door and opened it. From the shelter of the door he smirked. "Take him back to his cell," he ordered the guard by the door. "And leave the shackles on."
Tony led a tired team back to the office with boxes of evidence. He looked at Gibbs. "He confessed?"
"To three of them. I'll talk to him again tomorrow. Evidence?"
"There's a lot."
"Go home. Look at it fresh in the morning." McGee and David moved faster than their drooping postures indicated they could. Tony raised his brows. "You too." Gibbs sipped his coffee.
"I'm staying if you are."
"I slept in a bed last night."
Gibbs snorted. "I'll get dinner. Go."
Tony gave him a sloppy salute and grabbed his bag. He bit his lip. "Should I stop and get a six-pack?"
The younger man nodded and left. He moved more slowly than the others. Saying good-bye to agents that Gibbs never bothered to cultivate. Gibbs settled at his desk to finish up a few of the papers he couldn't shove off on his team. He switched out his desk lamp. "Jethro?" Jenny's voice stopped him.
"What is it, Director?" He emphasized her title slightly, to let her know he wasn't in the mood.
"Chains all night?"
"He threatened DiNozzo specifically, the rest of the agents here by numbers. Chains. Let him stew. Or help me justify sending him down a hole somewhere."
Jenny closed her eyes and shook her head. "Keep it clean, Jethro."
"Only bruises he has are from being tackled." He studied her. "Get some sleep, Jen." His voice was gentle. They'd been lovers once, but not mates. She gave her own snort, but moved back up the stairs. She paused half-way up. She looked over her shoulder.
"Why did he threaten my agent?"
"He thinks he's a werewolf."
"So, insanity defense?"
"I don't think it'll wash. The major had a restraining order. Any prosecutor worth his rank can convict. Haven't seen all the evidence from the house yet, but there's six boxes worth."
"Make sure they nail the coffin shut."
"Before or after he gets shot?"
Her laughter was full-throated. "Before, of course. No one threatens my agents." She proceeded up the stairs and into MTAC. He shook his head. And people thought he was ruthless.
"I'm sure I was promised food," Tony called from the couch. "I assumed it would be here before I starved to death."
"Never assume," Gibbs retorted. He hung his jacket on the hook. "You're so hungry, come get the damned food."
The whine made Gibbs' teeth clench. "Do that again and I'll tie you up and stash you in a closet."
"I better not tell Abby you're that kinky. I'll never be able to keep you to myself." Tony hauled himself up. He hobbled to the table.
"What did you do to your knee?"
"Just gets stiff sometimes."
"Sleeping on the floor curled up?"
"You know I sleep in my chair."
Gibbs frowned. "Not last night. How'd you end up on the floor?"
Tony blinked. "I think the director told me that I was making her back hurt just watching me. I told her I'd sleep on the floor if she took a nap on the couch in her office."
"Did she get any sleep last night?"
"Probably as much as I did."
Gibbs closed his eyes for a moment. Tony took the opportunity to lift the bag out of his hand and take it into the kitchen.
"She didn't go home today did she?" Tony called back. "Want me to call George?"
George Pullman ran the night shift. He'd look after her. He was old enough to be her grandfather. He'd badger her until she got some rest.
"You never told her you were a shifter, did you?"
"Far as I can tell, she doesn't know they exist."
"And yet, you slept with her for three months or more. Did you tell anyone except Shannon and Ducky?"
"Jesus, boss." There was genuine distress in Tony's voice and in his scent. Gibbs shrugged. He settled down at his usual spot. They didn't talk over dinner. "Rumor has it that you left him in chains. What did he do?"
"Besides targeting the front door?"
"He's been stalking you."
"I know that. I found the pictures. He didn't have anything on me yet. Not like his last few. He did have photos from the first crime scene though. From one of those photo rifles people use on safaris."
"He threatened the agents. He's going to spend the rest of his life in a hospital for the criminally insane. Or he'll be set free and I'll hunt him down and kill him."
Tony frowned. "Not if I get to him first. I get first shots at threats to you. Is he going to try to expose you?"
Gibbs sighed. He leaned back in his chair. "He can try, but the agency doesn't know about or believe in shifters."
"So what are they going to say about the half-digested rabbit in our victim's stomach?"
"That he lost a bet or he was practicing his survival training. Plenty of options. He just had a very strange allergy that he didn't know about."
Tony bit his lip. "Okay. Let's leave it to the prosecutor." He ran a hand through his hair. "Full moon tonight."
"Does it change anything for you? Or is that pure myth?"
Gibbs shrugged. "I get a little restless if I don't change, but I've never noticed anything else."
Tony nodded. He yawned. "I'm going to curl up on the couch and watch a movie. You can join me." A smile slid across his mouth. "I'll pet you."
"We could just go upstairs."
Gibbs showed his teeth. "And you could wear a high collar tomorrow."
Tony's eyes dilated. "I'll lock the door. You throw the left-overs in the fridge."
Tony leaned against the wall across from Bennet's cell. The hall cameras were on the fritz, thanks to Abby. He stared at the man without speaking. He looked a little rough this morning. There were bruises ringing his wrists. There was a good chance that they were on his ankles as well. His chin was rough with stubble. His eyes looked mostly clear, but he was rubbing his wrists absently.
The sniper studied him in turn. Tony knew he looked slick in a navy sweater that was so deep it was almost black and trousers that cost more than Bennet's rifle. His hair was dripping slightly across his forehead. Bennet's eyes narrowed. "What the fuck do you want, puppy? Didn't your alpha tell you to sit and stay?"
"Interesting. You obviously didn't do your homework on me." Tony let his smile turn a little cold and leave his eyes. He'd perfected the look of a killer over several years. Bennet would see nothing that Tony didn't allow. "Camera's off. Wonder if you have an unusal allergy. Oh, wait, that's right. After you got that medical discharge, you found out you were allergic to bees." Tony shook a vial of clear liquid. "I wonder what the effective dose would be? Just a drop, I'd guess. Your throat closes up and my good friend the ME finds a bee carcass in your clothes." Tony switched the vials with the slight of hand he'd developed to pick pockets in another lifetime. The dead bee still had its stinger. "And a stinger in your body."
Bennet's eyes were wide now. His breathing a little ragged. His pupils had dilated. Well, damn, fear and arousal looked scarily alike.
"NCIS is mine. Gibbs is mine. In all ways. I hope we understand each other?"
Bennet smiled. He took a deep breath. "Your kill. No problem." He held his hands up.
Tony gave him a shallow nod and left him there to wait until the next interrogation session. It was too bad he was going to get off on an insanity plea, but there were some secrets that had to be protected.
"You're late, DiNozzo."
"I bring coffee, pasteries, and a primed suspect."
Gibbs raised a brow. "Put him in Interrogation 1."
"As soon as he finishes breakfast. He did promise to keep his hands to himself."
Gibbs snorted. DiNozzo was usually good cop. He probably had his own ideas of how to break the man. "After interrogation, you can have the cuffs removed."
Gibbs studied his second over the rim of a cardboard coffee cup. The coffee was perfect. And Tony looked smugly pleased with himself, even if he had found plenty of excuses to stay on his feet. He was going to be insufferable. "Go visit Abby and take a look at the evidence."
"Jethro." The director stood in front of Gibbs desk.
"Full confession. JAG's negotiating with the LEO's and Army," he said without looking up from his file. He was almost done with his report.
"Walk with me."
He looked up. He put the file aside. He glanced over at Tony and nodded once. Then, he and Jenny went to the elevator. He stopped it and waited with an expectant face.
"I hear that Agent DiNozzo visited the suspect this morning."
Gibbs gave her a half smile. "He's the good cop."
"The cameras malfunctioned just before he got down there. What did he do?"
"I'm assuming he chatted with Bennet and got under his skin." Gibbs shrugged.
Her lips pursed. She took a heavy breath through her nose. "Are you sleeping with him?" she asked flatly.
He raised his brows at her.
"This is off the record." Her lips relaxed. "It's not as if I don't have a vested interest in you."
"Are you asking as my ex or as my boss?"
She laughed. "Given that he called George down on me. I have to know if he's getting his information from you."
"We live in the same house, Jen. Nothing's changed beyond that."
She frowned. "I will find out. But as your boss, I will never ask. Keep it out of the office."
"You have a problem with how I run my team?"
"Fine. I'll drop it." She put a hand on his wrist. "I still worry about you, Jethro. I don't want to see you get hurt."
He flipped the switch to start the elevator again. He visited Ducky while she rode the elevator back toward her office.
Gibbs studied the two vials on the thick wooden kitchen table. "Something I need to know?"
Tony glanced over his shoulder from where he stood in front of the microwave. He was tapping impatiently on the countertop in counterpoint to the popcorn. "Did you know that Bennet's allergic to bees?"
Gibbs went still at that. "I didn't notice that in his record."
"It's not in his military records."
"And where did you find the information? He didn't have a med-alert bracelet. Is it actually in evidence?"
Gibbs smirked. "Who did you chat up and will they remember it?"
"Now, Boss, you wound me." Tony pulled the bag from the microwave, dancing it from hand to hand before he opened it. "He mentioned it to one of the guards. I happened to overhear it."
"And are there any records?"
"Of me letting him know I had the knowledge? Nope. Cameras are on the fritz. And the guards like me better than him. Even if one or two of them are still tempted to trip me back into the cage. Not my fault they're bad at poker."
Gibbs snorts. If they didn't know by now not to play poker with DiNozzo, they deserved to get taken. "He's mine when he gets off."
"Not if I get to him first." Tony's smile showed a few too many teeth. "We can make it a race."
The older man shook his head at his mate. "So what are we watching tonight?"
Gibbs raised his brows and bent his lips down.
"Don't give me that. You like Mel Brooks. And if we conk out in front of it, we won't have nightmares."
"I'll get the drinks."