Tony trailed along behind Gibbs as they walked into the hotel, wondering how the hell his boss could still be walking so fast after the working day they’d just had. It was nearly midnight, and they’d both been up since five a.m. They were in a small town in the middle of nowhere, there were four dead marines lying on a slab in the local county morgue, and Tony was about ready to drop.

Gibbs strode over to the hotel reception desk, with Tony stumbling wearily in his wake.

“Two rooms. Singles,” Gibbs barked. Tony guessed his boss must be a little tired because that was terse even by Gibbs’s standards.

“Oh, I’m sorry, sir,” the young woman at the reception desk replied with a bright smile. She was pretty, but Tony knew he must be far gone because all he wanted to do was throttle her for being so cheerful. “But all we have left is one double.”

Gibbs glared at her, and Tony was pleased to see her perkiness visibly wilt.

“It’s the festival you see. It’s on all week. All our rooms were booked months ago. We just had a cancellation, or you wouldn’t be in luck at all.”

“We’ll take it,” Gibbs growled, holding out his hand for the key.

Tony didn’t care. He’d spent most of his childhood in various boarding schools – he was used to having roomies. And Gibbs – well, the guy had spent half his life in foxholes, so Tony guessed he wasn’t exactly fussy about sleeping arrangements. Besides, he had a sneaking suspicion that Gibbs sometimes slept under his boat, and any guy who did that when he had a perfectly good bed waiting for him upstairs obviously wasn’t too hung up on his creature comforts. And as Gibbs clearly liked sleeping on the floor, maybe he’d let Tony have the bed…

They were both too tired to say a word as they stumbled up the stairs. Gibbs opened the door to their room, and Tony walked inside, threw his bag down on the floor, and eyed the bed covetously. God, he was exhausted! The room was tiny – he could see why it was the only one left – he could also see why it contained a double and not twins or a king. There wasn’t room for anything else. There was barely any room to stretch out on the floor without blocking the way to the bathroom.

“Don’t make me sleep on the floor, Boss,” he said, in what sounded pathetically like a whine even to his own ears.

“No need when there’s a perfectly good bed,” Gibbs grunted, nodding at the bed. “We’ll share.”

He disappeared into the bathroom. Tony didn’t even get that far; he just stripped off down to his boxers and crawled into the bed. He was vaguely aware of Gibbs getting in beside him a couple of minutes later, but he was far too exhausted to have any opinion about it. Within seconds, he was fast asleep.


Tony blinked. The clock on the nightstand said 3:03, in big red numbers. Why was it always three? Why, every damn night, did he wake up around this time?

That thought was swiftly pushed aside by the realisation that he was being held. He fought down his usual immediate wave of claustrophobia. God, he hated it when this happened. Why did women always wanted to cuddle him after sex? He tried to discourage it – hell, he spent half his life making excuses not to spend the night, but if he was stupid enough to let them stay over at his place, this always happened.

He blinked again.

This wasn’t his place.

The body wrapped around him was strong and muscular. He could feel the weight of an arm slung over his hip, and the flat of a callused hand pressed against his belly.


Oh shit.

Gibbs was a cuddler.

Tony cleared his throat. “Uh…Boss?” he whispered.

There was no reply. He tried edging over, but they were both big men, and there wasn’t anywhere to go in a bed this small. This clearly called for a more determined approach. He wriggled, hoping to dislodge Gibbs’s arms…only to find, to his dismay, that they *tightened* around him.

“Boss!” he said, in a strangled tone. “You’re kinda smothering me here.”

“Shaddap, DiNozzo. Tryin’ to sleep,” came back the barely coherent reply.

Tony lay there, gazing at the clock, his heart sinking. He had had barely three hours sleep, and he knew from experience that now he was awake, it’d be at least a couple of hours before he nodded off again.

He’d always been plagued with insomnia. He could usually get off to sleep okay, but come the wee small hours, he’d be wide awake. He’d given up on tossing and turning a long time ago and usually preferred to get up and listen to some music, watch a DVD, or, on particularly bad nights, go into the office and do some work. He’d always told Gibbs that he did his best work at night…

He couldn’t do any of those things now though. All he could do was lie here, in this too-small bed, with his boss’s arms wrapped tightly around him.

“This is probably sexual harassment,” he muttered. “Actually…it’d be more fun if it was.” He brightened at that thought and then could have kicked himself because now he had a raging erection to cope with as well as insomnia – and Gibbs’s hand was resting on his belly, perilously close to…

“Not thinking about that,” he hissed to himself.

This was a new situation for him. Usually, Tony knew how to handle unwanted cuddling. You just extricated yourself gently, pretended you needed to go to the bathroom, and then you went to the lounge and slept on the sofa for the rest of the night. That wasn’t an option here.

He could feel Gibbs’s warm breath on the back of his neck – and one of his boss’s legs was entangled with his own.

Tony wasn’t used to being cuddled. His family weren’t great cuddlers. In fact, he hadn’t been cuddled by anyone in his family since the age of ten, when his mom had died. She’d cuddled him – he’d snuggled up to her while she told him bedtime stories – but after she’d died there wasn’t anyone left who was into cuddling. His father sure as hell wasn’t.

“DiNozzo men don’t cuddle,” Tony muttered to himself, which was something he was sure his father would say, if the old man had ever given any thought whatsoever to the topic. You definitely never cuddled anyone at boarding school – well, not unless you wanted to get a certain kind of reputation, and that had been something Tony had carefully avoided. Not that he hadn’t thought *those* thoughts, just that he’d always kept them to himself.

Then he’d started having girlfriends and had never been comfortable with their seemingly insatiable demands for affection as well as sex. Wasn’t sex enough? Sex was great – no need to ruin it by clinging onto the person afterwards like some kind of needy limpet.

Nobody could call Gibbs needy though. Or a limpet. Tony almost laughed out loud at the thought…and that brought him back to his current predicament.

Tony hadn’t submitted, willingly, to being cuddled since he was ten. He wasn’t used to it. He wondered if there was a skill involved. Of course, this was Gibbs cuddling him, and that was different to his many girlfriends. He had never been cuddled by a man. Ever. He’d had sex with a few, in the restrooms in nightclubs, but that was where it ended. No taking them home and definitely no cuddling.

Tony considered this fact as he watched the red numbers on the clock tick over to 3:24. Behind him, Gibbs was snoring gently.

“I’d have sex with you,” he ruminated. “Well, obviously, that’s a given since I’ve been lusting after you for eight years now.” He rolled his eyes in the darkness. He’d had the hots for Gibbs since he first met the man, but that was never going to happen. Gibbs was as straight as they came, whereas Tony…well, Tony was more bendy. Just a little bit bendy, but definitely bendy where Gibbs was concerned.

“Sex would be fine – great in fact – it’s the cuddling I have a problem with. I’m not used to it. I’ve never really understood the point. It’s not that I don’t like physical contact – take the head slaps for example. I really like them. Uh, I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but I hate it when you slap anyone else. Is that weird? It probably is.”


Judging by his usual experiences with insomnia, he had at least another one and a half hours of this. It wasn’t as if he was going anywhere. Girls were pretty easy to shrug off, but a tough-as-nails former marine like Gibbs? Nah. Not happening. So, as he didn’t have a choice, he should really just lie here and relax.

Hmm, now that he thought about it, he should feel trapped, but actually, having someone as strong as Gibbs holding him down felt…kind of nice. Safe. At least his erection had subsided…for now.

He closed his eyes and tried to think about something other than how nice it would be to have hot sex with his boss. Being held, being cuddled, being snuggled…it was kind of like being loved. Tony wasn’t sure how he felt about being loved. Then again, none of his girlfriends had ever just loved him without making it clear that there was some obligation on his part to love them back, whether he wanted to or not.

He had no such obligation to Gibbs. Gibbs didn’t love him. His boss was just a cuddler. Put him in a bed with any warm body, and he’d probably end up wrapping himself around it. Which was kind of weird, and not something Tony would have expected from his terse boss. Then again, Gibbs had always been something of a fascinating enigma to him, and this was just another interesting facet to the man.

Gibbs had nice hands though. And arms. They were heavy, pulling Tony down. It really was hard to keep his eyes open…

His last memory was of the red numbers of the clock ticking over to 3:33.


“DiNozzo! Get your ass up!”

Tony blinked, blearily, and then gave a yelp of protest as a towel was thrown at him.

“Bathroom’s free. Get moving,” Gibbs ordered.

Tony noticed that his boss was already up and dressed. He glanced at the clock. “7 a.m.?”

“Too early for ya, DiNozzo?” Gibbs raised an ironic eyebrow.

“No…just…” Tony shook his head and grabbed the towel. Usually when the insomnia kicked in he was up for half the night, but he’d only lost half an hour or so last night. “Must’a been more whacked than I thought,” he muttered.

He washed up, got dressed and then followed Gibbs downstairs to the restaurant to grab some coffee and breakfast.

“So…” he said, as Gibbs mainlined his first cup of coffee of the day and then poured himself a second. “About last night…”

Gibbs looked up from buttering his toast, his face completely blank.

“Uh…that thing that happened…?” Tony began, feeling flustered. Gibbs raised an eyebrow. “Oh c’mon!” Tony protested. “Boss, you do know you’re a cuddler, right?”

“Don’t know what the hell you’re talkin’ about, DiNozzo. Now come on, we have four dead marines waiting for us.”

Tony didn’t have much time to think about it for the rest of the day, because he spent it running around all over the place. This case was clearly going to take awhile to wrap up – and as there were only two of them out here, while McGee and Ziva handled enquiries and background checks at the office, there was even more running around to do than usual. And boy, did Gibbs make him run. Without any other minions to order around, he kept Tony at it constantly, wearing him out completely.

It was 10:30 p.m. by the time they got back to the hotel. Tony stared at the bed, hesitating. Gibbs finished up in the bathroom, got into the bed wearing nothing but boxers, and turned out the light. Tony continued standing there.

“You gonna get in, DiNozzo?” Gibbs asked.

“Uh…see…thing is…I don’t really like…” Tony began. “No…it’s more…I’m not really used to…Hmm, I dunno how to say this. It’s just…nobody has ever…and I’m not saying it’s not nice…just that…”

He heard a soft snore from Gibbs’s side of the bed and gave up. He got undressed down to his boxers, and slid into the bed.

“See, it would be totally fine by me if you wanted to have sex – it’s the cuddling I have a problem with,” he confided. “But you’re asleep, so fine. And obviously, I wouldn’t actually be saying this if you were awake – not the sex part anyway – because, well, I want to live.”

He settled down onto his side and was asleep within minutes.


Tony blinked.


And…yup – there it was. Gibbs was even closer tonight than last night if that was possible. His chin was actually resting on Tony’s shoulder, and his muscular chest – his muscular *naked* chest – was pressed up against Tony’s back. Tony remembered the brief glimpse he’d got of his boss’s broad chest before Gibbs had got into the bed. He wondered what it would be like to roll Gibbs over and really explore that chest with his fingers, his mouth, his tongue… and – oh yeah – inevitably he had another erection.

“Idiot!” he berated himself. He moved his hand down so that it was resting on Gibbs’s hand, which in turn was resting on his belly. “So this is cuddling, huh? Okay…there is something nice about it,” he conceded.

Gibbs blew out a soft little snore into his hair. Tony smiled and relaxed.

“I’m not saying I’m completely won over,” he muttered. “Just…that this is okay. I wouldn’t want to do it every night, but it’s not as bad as I thought. With the right person. Which is clearly you. Much to my surprise. And yours too, I’d imagine, if you were awake. Which – thank God – you’re not.”

He looked at the clock, his eyelids drooping. It was now 3:11 – and within seconds he was fast asleep again.

Tony was surprised by how much energy he had the next day. Gibbs seemed surprised too.

“What’s up, DiNozzo? You’re not whining about being tired today,” he said, when Tony cheerfully offered to go get him a coffee at 8 p.m., after a long day in the field.

“I know! I slept well last night. Don’t usually get eight hours, Boss!” Tony said happily. “Usually more like four – five if I’m lucky.”

Gibbs fixed him with a hard glare. “Shouldn’t stay out all night clubbing then, DiNozzo,” he growled, stalking away.

“Uh…no…that’s not what I meant!” Tony protested, running after him. “It’s the insomnia damnit!” he yelled at Gibbs’s retreating back. “I don’t go clubbing on a school night. Well, mostly I don’t.” Gibbs was long gone by now though, and he was talking to himself. “As usual,” he muttered.

Tony was actually looking forward to going to bed that night. He ran up the hotel stairs, talking cheerfully to Gibbs who replied with a series of grunts, launched himself into the bedroom, got washed up and undressed in double quick time, and threw himself into the bed.

Gibbs got in beside him a couple of minutes later. Tony waited until he heard Gibbs start to snore, and then he deliberately turned over and put his hand furtively on his boss’s hip. He rested it there for a moment.

“Hah! See! Two can play at this game, Jethro,” he muttered into Gibbs’s ear. Gibbs mumbled something incoherent, and Tony froze. Should he keep his hand here? He kind of liked it, and it wasn’t as if Gibbs was a shy cuddler – the man liked to positively plaster himself to Tony. “What’s sauce for the goose…” Tony decided, moving his hand confidently down so that it was resting on his boss’s hard, washboard stomach.

“Y’know, what’s weird is that the cuddling is nice, even without sex. Much to my surprise. I didn’t like to tell you earlier, Boss – you know, when you were actually awake – but I think the only reason I’m sleeping so well is because of you. This. Us. The cuddling thing.”

He pressed closer to Gibbs, enjoying the feel of his boss’s firm ass against his groin.

“Would now be a good time to tell you that you smell nice, Boss? Well, in fact, I figure now might be the only time it would be good to tell you that, as you’re asleep and can’t hit me.”

He buried his nose in the back of Gibbs’s neck and inhaled the scent of his hair. “It’s not like you smell of strawberries, or flowers, or anything girly…just you smell of you. It’s a nice smell. Can’t place what it is exactly. It’s just sort of mellow and earthy and…”

He was asleep before he finished that sentence. And he didn’t wake up once, all night long.


They spent four more nights in that hotel room, and Tony slept longer, deeper and better than he had since he was a kid. He had forgotten what it was like to get this much good quality sleep and to wake up feeling so refreshed.

It improved his mood, attitude and sheer investigative brilliance too, and he found himself working at the top of his game. It was his hunch that led them to the perp, and he was fast enough and fit enough to run after the guy for two miles before finally bringing him down. Gibbs even grinned down on him as he was handcuffing the bastard and said, “Good work, Tony,” which pretty much made Tony’s entire week.

In fact, Gibbs also seemed to have become more cheerful as the week progressed. Maybe he’d been sleeping better too. That might explain why Gibbs handed him a cup of coffee as they began the long, slow slog through the paperwork. Gibbs never brought anyone coffee! This was definitely a good sign.

Then they were done. The case was solved, the paperwork wrapped up, and they had to go home. Tony sat in the car beside Gibbs on the long drive back, feeling his good mood evaporating with each passing mile. It was late, he was tired, and he was going back to a lonely bed, insomniac nights, and 3 a.m. visits to the office – not a prospect he was looking forward to.

Gibbs pulled up outside his apartment building. Tony turned to him.

“Thanks for dropping me home, Boss,” he muttered.

“No problem,” Gibbs shrugged. “Figured you’d need to grab a change of clothes. You’ve got an hour. I’ll see you at my place at 10:30.”

“Uh?” Tony gazed at him blankly.

“I like how you work after a good night’s sleep, DiNozzo!” Gibbs growled, but there was a hint of a smile curving at the corners of his mouth.

“You mean, I can…? Yes, Boss! Thank you, Boss!” Tony grinned. He opened the car door eagerly.

“Oh, and DiNozzo?” Gibbs put a hand on his shoulder and pulled him back. “All that sex you kept goin’ on about? We could do that too.”

He took hold of Tony’s chin, pulling him forwards, and pressed a light kiss to Tony’s lips. Tony sat there, open-mouthed, watching in stunned silence as Gibbs drew back.

Gibbs patted his cheek affectionately. “I’m a really light sleeper.”

“But you *snore*,” Tony protested.

“Nah – I just breathe heavy. Oh, one thing’s been botherin’ me though – what does my hair smell of exactly?”

Tony laughed out loud. “Oh, I’ll need to do some more research on that and get back to you.”

He drew Gibbs in for another kiss. Gibbs’s lips were warm, soft and totally intoxicating; Tony couldn’t wait to kiss them a hell of a lot more. He finally released Gibbs with a regretful sigh, got out of the car, and then turned and leaned back in again.

“Uh – one more thing, Boss.” Gibbs raised an eyebrow. Tony grinned. “After the sex, could we maybe do some more cuddling…?”

The End



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