Chapter 21: Early Days, Early Mornings

~Takes place after The Talk.
Some of the first weeks of their growing relationship.~

Tonight it had been 2:15 am. This morning, actually, that Tony had left.

Now, hours later, he sat on his back porch, coffee in hand, and watched the sky lighten. Saturday morning. This weekend was the...he counted back...third since they agreed they weren't done, set the ground rules.

Gibbs didn't know how this was going to work, really, couldn't think beyond the next day, the next time they were together. He hadn't felt so wrapped up in another person, sexually, in years.

He didn't understand why getting dressed next to Tony in the dark, watching the other man leave, made him hard again.

Surprisingly, it hadn't been difficult getting through the weeks. Both men relished their established roles, and had McGee to train and even Kate, while an experienced agent, was still encountering new things during investigations. Gibbs was a little surprised that Abby hadn't asked any questions, sensed anything new between Tony and him but he had avoided her a little bit just for that reason. Maybe it worked, or maybe she was keeping her peace. Not her usual m.o. but he, of all people, knew she could keep a secret.

So the workweeks, the last three of them anyway, had been pretty normal, and at the end of the day on this particular Friday, like each of the last two, he had found a moment when no one was around to ask Tony the question that burned.

"My place?"

Tonight, as the first week, Tony nodded, and smiled. A smile that brought blood to the surface. Then Tony was up and shouldering his backpack and raising his eyebrows at Gibbs, who considered and then gave them the all clear to head out. Kate and McGee joined Tony and they all wished him a good weekend and piled into the elevator.

The second Friday evening, instead of agreeing to come to Gibbs' place, Tony had invited him over. But either way the result was the same. Tony leaving with the others; Gibbs closing down, heading out on his own and still beating Tony to their destination.

All three times he went in first. All three times Tony found him waiting.

Gibbs wasn't sure what to do; he felt like he imagined he must have as a younger man, a younger lover, before all hesitation had been beaten out of him by life and experience. Feeling this way was mostly irritating and a little bit energizing. He knew he wasn't showing his nervousness and uncertainty in any obvious way, but he suspected that Tony knew. Tony could read him too well—better, if truth be told, than anyone he could think of, past or present—and in response Tony, was a little more open about his own uncertainties than he might have been otherwise. Jethro wondered if the younger man was trying to reassure him or if he just wanted to guarantee the sex. Both probably.

Gibbs waited in the small hallway of his own home for the aluminum click and swish of his screen door, the stretch and eventual give of the rubber sealed inner door. In Tony's even smaller entry way, he rested against the wall and listened for the metallic thunks of Tony's keys in the lock of his apartment. It gave Gibbs perverse pleasure to get into Tony's apartment and relock the door before waiting for the younger man.

Each time, Tony entered, tall and cocky, backpack on, expensive sunglasses covering his eyes, the smell of the office and a man's sweat and something else, something that Gibbs knew the taste of better than he knew the smell. And this—this—Gibbs knew how to do, to stand, loose and straight, at attention, and wait, to unnerve the suspect and to see what would be offered before acting himself. But Tony damnit Tony was not what he expected, didn't behave like this was a game, where there was a power dynamic, like other relationships Gibbs had.

Instead, he smiled, open and happy and predatory, and slung his backpack off and down, stepped in, slid his glasses down to be held loosely at his side while he leaned in to kiss Jethro, no hesitation. And Gibbs didn't know what to make of it but was both reassured by the straightforward sexuality and charmed by the sweetness in that first kiss. Each time. Sometimes they would kiss for long minutes, the tang of Tony's mouth and tongue like some kind of aphrodisiac. Jethro couldn't stop, didn't want to stop, and at sixish on a Friday evening he fucking well didn't have to.

He also didn't have to decide where to put his hands, what to do next, because he hands always ended up first on Tony's hips, and by the time the kiss was over, Tony's shirt was always untucked and one of Jethro's hands had snaked beneath to press and lightly scratch in the hollow of Tony's back and the other rested gently on Tony's face, calloused fingertips raspy and catching on the other man's five o'clock shadow.

And Tony pulled back that first time and mumbled against Jethro's lips, satisfyingly breathless and eager, "What now?" and Jethro let his own predator out then and Tony didn't seem to mind and all memory of how they got from the hallway to the bed or the couch or the floor next to the bed or the rug in front of the couch was buried beneath the impressions of hands on naked skin, of how responsive Tony was to his every touch, to the press of his mouth in the most sensitive places, to the sweep of his tongue in the smoothest hollows, to the nip of his teeth...well, everywhere.

Jethro finished his mug of coffee, the sun fully up now. Every one of the last three Saturday mornings, this one included, Tony had roused in the early hours. Both men had dressed and the visitor left for home, both men maintaining an easy silence while they pulled on clothes and left the bedroom.

And if Tony was the one who made coming together easy, Jethro was the one who made leaving so. He didn't feel the same drive to flee as Tony did, didn't understand the younger man's need to part in the middle of the night. Nevertheless, he was comfortable in the dark, often worked through the night, and felt as comfortable in his own skin then as he ever did. When they reached the bottom of his stairs, or Tony's front door, Jethro didn't allow the incipient tension in Tony's back and shoulders to build, just reached out with one strong hand to Tony's neck and pulled him in for a hard kiss.

"Bye." The word slipped from Tony's lips. Jethro never had felt the need to end a phone call or interaction with words, but he always responded now.

"Yeah." And Tony would be gone, or he himself would drive through the nighttime streets of the city to get to his house.

And now, it was Saturday morning and he had another week to wait. Jethro pushed disappointment down and rose to bring his empty mug to the kitchen.


Jethro heard the call from the cool depths of the basement. He wiped the sweat off his forehead with his arm and wiped his hands on a rag before taking the stairs two at a time. As he came out into the kitchen he saw Tony poking his head in, backpack in hand.

"Hey, Boss."

"You know something I don't, DiNozzo?" He nodded toward the backpack. It wasn't inconceivable that Tony would know they had a case before him, especially if the other man had gone into work, but it was strange that he hadn't called to let him know.

"No, Boss, but I stopped by the office to pick something up and Morrow ordered me to deliver these to you." He rested the backpack on the kitchen table, unzipped the bag, and pulled a stack of files out.

Gibbs recognized the HR files he needed Morrow's edits on and nodded his head thanks. Tony rezipped the bag, all too clearly not meeting his eyes, not giving any indication that the two men had been kissing as recently as 2:15 this morning. On the other hand, the younger man didn't slip his sunglasses back on, just held them loosely by a stem, as he hung the backpack on one shoulder and started to talk.

"Well, I'll see you Monday, I guess. I hope the rest of your weekend is as," Tony hadn't missed a bit of the other man's work clothes, the smell of wood and varnish, "productive as today. I—"

"Tony." Tony stopped talking mid-sentence.

"Yeah, Bo—Gibbs?" Clearly determined not to call him boss at home but still, the title was automatic.

"You want to come in?" Gibbs went to the refrigerator, opened it up, grabbed a beer for himself and raised his brows at Tony in question. "Baseball game is on the radio. Probably on TV too."

Tony smiled a little, deliberately meeting his eyes though Gibbs could see that it was hard, could see the hesitation. Why?

"You...I thought...I guess I thought you probably, you know, needed a little bit of time on your own on the weekend. Figured I'd better give you...uh...space."

Jethro thought for a minute then said, "What if I don't want space?"

Tony's smile broadened. "Then I'll take that beer, thanks."

Jethro made sure that some of the Saturday and Sunday afternoons that Tony stopped over they didn't have sex. He didn't want this to be all that was between them. And for his part, Tony followed Jethro's lead. One Sunday afternoon though, game just ending, Tony leaned forward from where he sat on the couch, a respectable eight inches between them, and tipped his empty bottle onto the coffee table before turning back and covering the other man's mouth with his own.

Ah, jesus, what this man could do to him. Tony's mouth was mobile and hot, aggressive in a way that was inconsistent with the friendly, lazy afternoon they had spent together. Jethro just lay back and enjoyed it, awash in sudden lust and the surprising desire to be led, to be drawn down into desire through no forethought or will of his own. As if Tony heard him, the younger man brought the kiss to a close, his finger stroking at the hollow of Jethro's throat until the older man arched into his touch, hypersensitizied and yearning and Tony took this as an invitation to kiss him there, sucking and pulling at the skin, the cartilage beneath, until Jethro's breath was fast and stertorous.

Tony stood and held out his hand. Jethro hesitated the barest instant before taking it and letting himself be pulled up. He didn't go so far as to keep holding that hand, though, even as he followed Tony up the stairs to his own bedroom.

He was rarely in this room in the mid-afternoon and Jethro was struck by the warm light from the southwestern windows. Before he could follow that train of thought farther, Tony pulled him in close and kissed him again, the feel of the younger man's hands cupping and holding his face making him shudder a little. Tony pulled back and murmured. "Do you have any lube?"

Jethro felt his face flush and saw Tony's surprise. "What? Are you...blushing?" This seemed to have been some kind of turn-on because Tony's mouth took his again, passionate and barely controlled. Now Tony was breathing hard as he smiled against Jethro's mouth, "Why're you embarrassed?"

Jethro pushed away and crossed the room to retrieve what he bought one night this week after work. He came back to Tony and thrust it all into the other man's hands.

Tony burst out laughing. "Why did you buy so much?" He looked down at the assorted tubes and bottles of lubrications, hard pressed not to drop any.

"I didn't know what to buy."

"Uh...well, any one of them would probably work okay." Tony peered closely at one tube, proclaiming that no one could last past 19 strokes. Tony raised a delighted eyebrow. "We should start with this."

Maybe sensing that Jethro wasn't quite ready, maybe just curious, Tony asked. "Where'd you go?" There were brands here he had never seen. If anything, Jethro got even more uncomfortable. Tony's eyes were bright with curiosity and arousal, that Jethro had gone to such lengths. Until now, they had used what Tony himself brought with him.

"It's a shop that I heard about somewhere. I think that...women usually go there, but there were some men."

"So not a seedy sex shop. You know you can just go to the drug store."

"Figured if I was going to do it, I should do it right, go some place I could ask questions."

Tony seemed surprised again. "Did you?"

"A few." Jethro reached out and took a bottle for something to do, to look at. He looked like he might say more, but didn't.

"Get any answers?"

"A few." Again, he hesitated but this time he spoke. "I guess...it...is something you get used to? That feels good after a while?"

Took tony a second to put it all together...the lube, the questions...he answered without thinking, "Not for me. I liked it right away. I mean, it hurts a little at first, but…" He hesitated but then glanced up at Jethro, caught his eyes, didn't let go. "Let me show you?" Tony reached toward the other man but suddenly his wrist was held firmly.

Tony held his eyes, let the moment draw out. Jethro's brain was spinning to make a decision about something he had never thought he would need to make a decision about. But even as he tried to wrap his head around what Tony might do with that lube, Tony initiated another kiss and put a small container into Jethro's hand, tossing the others onto a nearby chair.

Jethro pressed into Tony, relieved, excited, exultant, to stroke and play with the younger man until any other pleasure Tony had ever felt was small, getting smaller and was an increasingly distant memory. And if there was a tiny part of Jethro that was jealous of Tony's capitulation and the way his cock in Tony's ass made his lover moan and cry out, he didn't admit it.

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