It’s late when Tony stirs. He glances at the clock on the nightstand to find that it’s nearly midday. Hardly surprising as they only wrapped up the case at 3 a.m. and crawled into bed sometime around 4. He can smell coffee and hear Gibbs moving around downstairs, so he guesses it’s time to get up.

It’s the middle of summer and the room is baking, the sun streaming in even through the closed drapes. Tony groans and slides out from under the sheet which was all either of them could bear to sleep under in the heat last night. His entire body is aching from the stress of the past few weeks and his muscles protest as he forces them to move. Didn’t he only roll into bed an hour ago? It feels that way.

His head is pounding and everything seems too bright. Tony keeps his eyes half-closed as he makes his way to the bathroom – he could walk there in his sleep in any case.

When he’s done, he wanders naked into the bedroom, still in a haze, opens the closet, and searches around blearily for some clean clothes – only to come up empty. He glances at the overflowing laundry hamper in the corner of the room and sighs. They’ve spent three weeks on this case, running from one dead body to another, culminating in a desperate race against time to stop a bomb taking out half of Quantico. They’ve been coming home late, throwing off their clothes, crawling into bed, and then crawling out again a few hours later. Some nights they didn’t make it home at all. They haven’t had time to do any laundry; they’ve barely had time to eat. He has no clean clothes left.

All he can find is a pair of Gibbs’s old, faded blue jeans. He pulls them on, noticing with satisfaction that he can actually do them up – which is more down to the lack of eating these past three weeks than any conscious attempt to lose weight on his part. Still, it’ll be something to tease Gibbs about later. He fills out the jeans snugly, and he manages a slight grin at the idea that it’ll give Gibbs a good view if nothing else. He has no clean socks, and he can’t be bothered to find his slippers, so he walks down the stairs in his bare feet, still half-asleep. He wonders whether he’ll ever feel human again.

Gibbs is in the kitchen. Tony pauses momentarily in the doorway. Gibbs is dressed exactly the same as him – pair of old jeans, no shirt, barefoot. Tony’s heart skips a beat, the way it always does whenever he sees Gibbs. He wonders if that will ever change but it’s been happening for ten years now, so he suspects not.

Gibbs glances at him and then pours a coffee from the waiting brew and hands it to him without saying a word.

“Laundry,” Tony mutters to Gibbs by way of explanation for their attire, gesturing at his jeans with his hand.

“Uh-huh,” Gibbs replies, seeming to understand.

Tony sips gratefully, needing the caffeine hit. When did he last have a cup of coffee? He can’t even remember. He just remembers running, and driving, and making calls, and fighting, and nothing else for days and days and days.

Tony opens the fridge and pours a glass of orange juice for himself and one for Gibbs. Then he gets the crockery and cutlery out of the cupboard and sets them on the table. This is their Sunday brunch routine whenever they get a chance to have Sunday brunch together. Gibbs cooks the bacon, eggs, sausages, and tomatoes, and Tony pours the orange juice, sets the table, and makes the toast. Their dinner ritual is pretty similar; Gibbs does the steak, and Tony does the beer. Tony has a vague suspicion that Gibbs doesn’t trust him with anything involving naked flame, but he’s never put it to the test.

“Naked,” he murmurs as that thought enters his head.

“Yeah,” Gibbs says, and Tony wonders if he really can read his mind.

Tony gets the bread out and sticks it in the toaster. He reaches over to the iPod, scrolls down, finds what he’s looking for, and clicks ‘play’.

“Frank,” Tony says, as the mellow tones of Frank Sinatra croon around the room.

“Mmmm,” Gibbs replies.

Tony gets the butter out and begins spreading it on the toast. He glances over at Gibbs to see how far along the rest of brunch is. His gaze comes to rest on Gibbs’s body; Gibbs looks damn good in jeans and nothing else. His skin is stretched taut over finely honed muscle and the wiry curls of hair on his chest remind Tony of the many nights he’s spent lying with his head resting there. Tony’s gaze travels along Gibbs’s body, and he frowns; there’s a big purple bruise on Gibbs’s ribs and his knuckles are grazed, some of the skin missing. He looks paler than usual and there are dark shadows under his eyes.

Tony isn’t surprised. He suspects he looks just as bad. Two of his fingers are taped together, both of them broken, and there’s a cut above his left eyebrow. Maybe it’s given him a black eye. He has no idea; he was too sleepy to take a good look at himself in the bathroom mirror earlier.

My Way starts to play on the iPod. Tony leans over automatically and clicks it forward to the next song. Gibbs hates My Way. Tony has no idea why, but he suspects it’s because the song hits too close to home for him. This is weird, because you’d think it would resonate not repulse, but then nobody could ever accuse Gibbs of being an uncomplicated man. Tony’s used to his complexities.

Gibbs passes him by on his way to the sink and pauses behind him. Tony’s body glows at his proximity, the way it always has since the day he first met him. Gibbs presses a kiss to his shoulder blade. Just one kiss, but it soothes him like nothing else ever could; Tony smiles.

Gibbs opens the back door and the sun streams in. It’s too hot, too bright, too much. Tony blinks. The stray cat that hangs around outside comes in and winds its way around Gibbs’s ankles. Small children and animals love Gibbs. Tony never has understood why exactly – maybe because Gibbs never talks down to them, or maybe because Gibbs represents to them what he represents to Tony: safety, love, and a gruff kind of no-nonsense being taken care of. Nobody’s ever taken care of Tony before.

“I’ve got you under my skin,” Tony sings along with Sinatra, out of tune as usual.

Gibbs throws some of the bacon into a dish and places it on the floor. The cat eats it eagerly, and Gibbs puts a bowl of water down too. Tony smiles; Gibbs’s secret is safe with him. He’ll never tell anyone that the hard-assed bastard has a soft spot for waifs and strays. Isn’t that why Tony is here, after all? It might have taken awhile, but at some point he’d worn Gibbs down with his puppy dog eyes and eternal hope that he’d one day be allowed to spend the night in Gibbs’s bed. Now he gets to spend every night in Gibbs’s bed. Life is good.

“I’ve got you deep in the heart of me. So deep in my heart that you’re really a part of me…” he sings loudly, drowning out Frank altogether.

Gibbs cracks some eggs into the pan.

“Your jeans fit me,” Tony tells him, looking down at his almost comically concave belly. Damn it, when did he last eat? He thought it was yesterday but it might have been the day before.

“Uh-huh.” Gibbs gives a little snort as he says that.

“Hah!” Tony says, taking another sip of his coffee. Then he notices that the jeans Gibbs is wearing are looking a little loose on his hips too; they’ve both lost some weight over the past few weeks.

Tony glances around the kitchen to see if they’re ready. The sunday newspaper is on the table where Gibbs must have put it earlier, but he’s missing his…

“Glasses,” Tony says, going into the living room. The place is a mess – the remains of various take-out meals scattered around. They can clear up later. Tony locates Gibbs’s glasses, takes them back into the kitchen, and puts them on the table, beside his paper.

Gibbs serves the food onto plates and brings them over to the table. Tony grabs the plate of buttered toast and brings that over too. They sit down opposite each other, in their usual places.

Gibbs opens the paper and hands Tony the sports section. Tony takes it wordlessly and reads as he crams sausages into his mouth. Damn it he’s starving! They eat in silence, apart from chewing noises and the rustling of the paper.

Tony glances up and laughs. Gibbs looks funny sitting at the table bare-chested, wearing his glasses as he reads the news section of the paper. Gibbs glances at him over the top of his glasses.

“Funny,” Tony says.

“Uh-huh.” Gibbs glances back at the paper.

“You,” Tony clarifies.

“Mmm.” Gibbs doesn’t look up again.

Tony starts to feel more human again as he finishes eating. He shoves his plate away with a happy sigh and pats his now rounded belly.

“Full,” he says.

“Uh-huh,” Gibbs says, still not looking up.

Tony moves his leg up and rests his bare foot on Gibbs’s chair, between his open legs, nudging at his crotch with his toes. Gibbs ignores him and continues reading his paper. Tony grins and waggles his toes insistently; Gibbs is looking too damn good, just sitting there, half- naked.

“Horny,” Tony says.

Gibbs turns over a section of his newspaper. “Hmmm,” he replies.

Tony’s grin widens. He refuses to be ignored; isn’t that why he’s sitting here today with Gibbs, in the house they’ve shared for the past two years – and not alone in his old apartment?

Tony prods his big toe gently but knowingly into Gibbs’s jeans and is rewarded by what he feels there. His big toe is very talented and knows exactly what to do to get noticed. Gibbs puts the paper down on the table and places his glasses on top of it, then looks up, straight at Tony. He gives an exaggerated sigh.

Tony laughs. “Sex?” he suggests.

Gibbs’s face splits into one of those broad, heart-stopping smiles that even after all this time have the power to turn Tony inside out. He gets up and goes around to Tony’s side of the table. He reaches out and caresses the side of Tony’s face with his hand, his thumb gently brushing the cut above Tony’s eyebrow. Then he leans down and presses his lips to Tony’s mouth, opening it with his tongue and pushing in sweetly. Tony moans and presses up against him, his hands going around Gibbs’s back and coming to rest on his denim-clad buttocks.

Gibbs draws back. He’s still smiling. “Bedroom,” he says.

The End


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