Summary: What do you talk about to your lover when you’re trapped and probably going to die?
Gibbs/DiNozzo. Established relationship.
“So, what is this?” Tony asked, indicating the space between where he lay on the bed and where Gibbs was rolled up on his side facing him. He watched Gibbs’ eyes darken briefly and rushed on. “Look, if it’s just a buddy fuck deal, I can do that. I’ve done it before. I know how to play the game. But—“
“But what, DiNozzo?” Gibbs asked, sitting up on the side of the bed, half-turned to look into Tony’s face.
“I don’t know.” Tony shrugged, sighed and sat up as well, crossing his legs tailor fashion. “It’s just that a buddy fuck usually just entails two guys getting it on every now and then. This… this feels different somehow. I mean, you’ve asked me to stay over four times this week. Hell, last night you even cooked me dinner. It was almost like…”
“Like a date?” Gibbs finished for him. “How would you feel if it wasn’t a buddy fuck thing?”
“I don’t know,” Tony replied softly. He really didn’t. It was still so soon after Gibbs coming back from Mexico and Tony’s relationship with Jeanne. He hadn’t been lying when he’d told Jeanne he wasn’t good at commitment. Now though, since he and Gibbs had started sleeping together, he’d begun to wonder if his inability to totally commit to Jeanne had more to do with the fact that he hadn’t actually been as in love with her as he’d thought, that maybe it had nothing really to do with the fact that she’d started out simply as a job he had to do. Maybe it really was just that she wasn’t the person he wanted to commit to.
He obviously waited a moment too long to answer because Gibbs shrugged then stood up and walked into the bathroom. “So it’s a buddy fuck thing,” he said as he closed the door behind him and locked it.
Tony swore then stood up and walked over to the door and knocked on it. “Jethro,” he called, “you want me to stay or not?”
“Up to you,” Gibbs called over the sound of the shower running.
“Fine.” Tony hesitated then went and pulled on his clothes and left the house.
When he saw Gibbs the next morning, it was business as usual. Tony wanted nothing more than to pull him into the elevator and hit the emergency stop button then kiss the man stupid and tell him that it wasn’t just a buddy fuck thing, not to him anyway, and he didn’t think it was to Gibbs either if the wooing he’d been doing was anything to go by. He actually considered doing it but then the call came in about a dead marine in a meat works warehouse and they were back in work mode again, boss and 2IC, as if that’s all they’d ever been.
“What’s the bomb squad doing here?” McGee asked as they walked up to where the yellow police tape delineated the crime scene.
“I’m guessing it’s because they think there’s a bomb,” Tony replied, deadpan, nudging McGee with his shoulder then ducking under the tape to follow Gibbs inside the warehouse.
“Yeah, I got that, Tony,” McGee snapped back. “I’m just wondering why there was no mention of it on the call out.”
Tony shrugged. “Who knows?” He waited while Gibbs talked to a big, beefy guy who was wearing a jacket with Bomb Squad lettered across the back. After a few minutes, Gibbs turned to him and waved him and McGee up. “Where’s Ziva?” Tony asked McGee as they mounted the steps.
“I am right here, Tony.” Ziva’s head appeared around the doorway. “I was on my way in to the office when the call came in so I came straight here. It’s appears to be clear,” she added, stepping out the doorway and looking at Gibbs. “Apparently the victim had threatened to blow up his former place of employment because he believed his ex-employer had been having an affair with his wife while the victim was in Afghanistan, according to the night watchman who found the body.” She pointed at a thin, nervous-looking man who was talking to one of the Bomb Squad cops. “However, I can find no evidence of an explosive device or any indication one has been built here. I think he was simply blowing hot air.”
“Smoke,” McGee corrected automatically. “He was blowing smoke.”
“There is no evidence he was a smoker either,” Ziva replied. “There are no ashtrays or tobacco products inside.”
“Never mind.” McGee shrugged and gave Tony a sidelong grin.
“Boss?” Tony asked. “We in or not?”
“Yeah, okay.” Gibbs nodded then stood back to let Tony and McGee pass by. “Thanks, Ted,” he said to the Bomb Squad captain. “We’ve got it from here.”
After that it had been a pretty straightforward case. Ducky and Palmer came and picked up the body, after Ducky had pronounced the man dead by exsanguination. Tony thought Ducky could have skipped that part of the explanation, considering the guy’s head had been almost severed from his body but he refrained from saying so and finished up taking photographs of the crime scene and tried to keep his mind on the job and away from the conversation he’d had with Gibbs the night before.
A sharp slap to the back of his head brought him up short and he realized he hadn’t been too successful at that.
“Watch what you’re doing, DiNozzo,” Gibbs snapped. “You almost left a footprint in the blood.”
Tony was about to retort there was no way he’d do something so amateurish then looked down and saw his foot an inch away from the blood puddle that covered a good part of the cement floor. “Sorry,” he muttered, feeling himself blush to the tips of his ears. He shook himself, took both a physical and mental step back and refocused both the camera and his mind on the job at hand.
“We’re finished here, Boss,” McGee said, coming across to them.
Gibbs nodded. “You and Ziva head back in her car and dig up whatever you can on Petty Officer Caine. Tony and I’ll meet you back there.”
Tony couldn’t stop the grin that crossed his face as McGee went pale. “You want me to drive back with Ziva?” McGee asked, his voice almost an octave higher than usual.
“Tell her you’ve always wanted to drive her car,” Tony suggested. “If that doesn’t work, I’d suggest you sit in the back seat and buckle up. Apparently more back seat passengers survive head on collisions than front seat ones do.”
McGee shot him a look that said as eloquently as a look could that Tony should go do something anatomically impossible to himself but McGee turned away anyway and trudged, shoulders slumped, over to Ziva. He said something to her and then grinned triumphantly back at Tony as she tossed him her car keys.
Tony gave him a quick thumbs up then turned back to Gibbs. “What’s up?” he asked quietly.
“I think we need to talk.” Gibbs looked down at the bloody floor. “I’d rather not do it on the clock but when I see my number one agent about to make a rookie mistake I figure we need to clear a few things up.”
Gibbs waited till the warehouse was empty then grabbed Tony by the arm and hauled him away from the body site to stand near the huge cold room’s open door. “You want to get this out of your system now?” he asked, “so you can get back to being a halfway competent investigator?”
“Sure.” Tony shrugged. “Wait a minute. Are we Boss and DiNozzo now or Jethro and Tony because you know that changes the entire way this goes?”
“We’re talking about our personal lives here, Tony.” Gibbs waited, arms folded. “Spit it out.”
“I just didn’t think you wanted anything too serious,” Tony said quietly. “You said we’d still see other people if we wanted but now…”
“Now?” Jethro asked.
“Um, yeah, now it seems different. You know, dinner at your place, asking me to spend the night…” Tony frowned as a shadow at the edge of his vision distracted him for a moment. He turned quickly but couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary.
“What is it?” Jethro asked.
“Thought I saw someone.” Tony shook his head. “Just a shadow or a reflection maybe.”
If Jethro noticed Tony had slipped back into work mode he gave no sign of it, just looked around as well.
“Move!’ Tony yelled as he saw a telltale red pinpoint of light appear on Jethro’s shirt. Seeing Jethro quirk an eyebrow at him in surprise, he threw himself at him and let his momentum carry them both through the doorway of the cold room and onto the floor. He felt a fiery pain flash along his shoulder as they landed then Tony’s head collided with something hard and unforgiving and the lights went out.
“Don’t move,” a voice said from somewhere in the darkness that surrounded him. Tony blinked, surprised to find his eyes were open even though he couldn’t see a thing. “What happened?” he asked, recognizing the voice as Jethro’s.
“Someone tried to shoot us,” Jethro said succinctly. “Actually they succeeded in shooting you. Thanks to you, they missed me.”
Tony shivered. “It’s cold.”
“Yep. That’s because when you pushed me out of the way, we landed inside the freezer and the shooter locked the door behind us.”
“”Why would he do that?” Tony asked, knowing he wasn’t really tracking the conversation. His head felt muzzy and his shoulder hurt like hell.
“Guess he figured it’d save him a bullet,” Gibbs replied. “Can you sit up?” He fumbled in his pocket then Tony heard a click and a small beam of light suddenly illuminated Jethro’s face. Tony thought it was the best thing he’d seen in forever and only remembering the predicament they were in stopped him from leaning forward and kissing Jethro’s mouth.
“Always prepared, hey, Boss?” Tony said, letting Jethro pull him into a sitting position, biting down on his lip as the pain flared to new heights. “You sure you weren’t a Boy Scout?”
“Nope, that’s McGee,” Gibbs replied with a quick grin.
“You got your phone?” Tony asked hopefully.
“Fell out of my pocket when you knocked me down,” Jethro said, shining the flashlight around the floor they were sitting on. “Damn, must have landed outside the door. Where’s yours?”
“Jacket pocket,” Tony replied, letting Jethro reach in to grab it out. He watched as Jethro thumbed the call button then cursed. “No reception?”
Jethro shook his head. “Nope, dead.” He tucked the phone back into Tony’s pocket with an accompanying pat then shone the flashlight at Tony’s shoulder. “Let’s have a look at this.”
“Just a flesh wound,” Tony quipped though he didn’t think it was. It hurt like a mother, the throbbing extending all the way down to his fingertips and the chilly wetness on his shirt seemed to be spreading, telling him the wound was still bleeding freely.
Jethro pulled him forward a little, slipping Tony’s jacket down his arms and murmuring a soft apology as Tony hissed in pain. “It’s through and through” he said. “At least there’s no bullet still in there to cause an infection.”
“Be a moot point if we don’t get out of here,” Tony muttered sourly, letting Jethro push him back to rest against the wall of the freezer. “Shit, that’s cold,” he yelped, leaning forward again.
“Hang on a minute.” Jethro stood up and walked across to the hooks that lined the ceiling of the freezer. He pulled a couple of plastic covers off the meat hanging there, walked back to Tony and wadded them up then placed them at Tony’s back as a makeshift pillow.
Tony leant back gratefully. It wasn’t a perfect solution but it at least stopped the cold from leaching into his already chilled flesh. “They’ll realize we’re still here and come looking when we don’t get back soon,” he told Gibbs who was prowling the perimeter of the room restlessly.
Gibbs flicked a switch on the wall and there was light at last. He came back and crouched in front of Tony. “You’re still bleeding,” he said then he took off his jacket and pulled his shirt out of his pants, ripped off a piece of it and wadded it up.
Tony bit his lip as Jethro pushed the makeshift bandage onto the wound then he leaned back and closed his eyes, trying to imagine he was anywhere else but here. He drifted until a stinging slap across his face jerked him back to the present.
“Stay awake!” Jethro ordered him and Tony nodded, though it was hard to obey when every part of him was telling him to just sleep…
He felt himself pushed forward away from the padding at his back and then Jethro was sliding behind him, pulling Tony back between his outstretched legs.
“My ass is getting cold,” Tony grouched.
“Good, maybe it’ll keep you awake,” Jethro replied as he pulled Tony back to rest against his chest. “Don’t go to sleep,” he warned as he tapped the back of Tony’s head gently. “Talk to me.”
Tony could feel Jethro shivering, the tremors combining with his own. “Maybe we should move around,” he suggested.
“I’m worried that’ll speed up the bleeding,” Jethro replied.
“Well, I can either die of blood loss or die of freezing,” Tony quipped then wished he’d kept quiet as he feels Jethro stiffen almost imperceptibly.
“You’re not dying today, Tony,” Jethro said harshly. “I’ve lost enough people in my life. I’m not losing you too.” He sighed then moved out from behind Tony, bent down and held out a hand to him. “Let’s walk a little. You think you can stand?”
“Sure.” Tony was anything but sure but he let Jethro help him up and he leaned against him as they made several rounds of the freezer, and just as he was about to say he’d had enough walking, his legs suddenly seemed to disappear and the next thing he was aware of was Jethro cradling him against his chest again.
“Guess that wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had,” Tony said, resting his head back against Jethro’s chest. “We need more plastic,” Tony added “If we wrap it around us, it’ll insulate us more from the cold.”
“Damn, why didn’t I think of that?” Jethro moved from behind him and then came back with more sheets of the stuff pulled from the carcasses above their heads.
“Brain freeze,” Tony suggested, not even bothering to duck the gentle tap he got against the back of his head as Jethro swaddled them both in the plastic and then settled behind him again. He waited a moment before asking, “What’s going on with us?”
“Besides the fact we’re stuck in a freezer waiting for the cavalry?” Jethro’s breath was warm on the back of Tony’s neck and he was grateful for even that small measure of comfort.
“No, us us,” Tony clarified somewhat muddily. “It started out a buddy fuck deal and now it’s more or I think you want it to be more… Do you?”
“Do you?” Jethro asked and Tony tried to turn his head so he could look into Jethro’s eyes but the plastic was too restricting and it hurt like hell to move so he contented himself with squeezing the arm Jethro had wrapped around his chest.
“I didn’t think I did but now I think I do,” he replied.
“You really want to talk about this now?” Gibbs leaned forward and adjusted the makeshift bandage on Tony’s shoulder. “Now? When we’re locked in a meat room with no way out in below freezing temperatures, when no one knows we’re in here, and you’re bleeding? Now you want to discuss our sex life?”
“Not our sex life. Just our life together, where we’re going, what’s been going on with you lately.” Tony shrugged then winced at the accompanying jag of pain. “Besides one good thing about it being so cold, the bleeding’s slowed down, I think. Anyway,” he settled himself back against Jethro again, hearing the crinkle of the plastic wrappings, “if we’re gonna die in here, I’d like to die not wondering about…”
“Wondering about what?”
“Whether what we’ve had is all we ever would have had or whether we were heading for something more.”
Jethro shook his head. “If we die, it’s not going to make much difference, is it?”
“Maybe, maybe not. It’ll make a hell of a lot of difference if we don’t die though.”
Jethro leaned forward and Tony felt the press of his lips against his neck. “I want more, Tony. I always wanted more. I was just never sure if you did.”
“Why?” Tony’s head was spinning now, a slow steady swirl that made him close his eyes against the nausea it produced. He tugged Jethro’s arm closer against his chest as if just that holding could keep him from spinning away into the darkness.
“Jeanne for a start, and the way you look at any woman who walks past as if they’re a buffet and you haven’t eaten in a month,” Jethro replied.
“Just a front,” Tony said. “What about all those redheads, and Mann and Jenny…” He trailed off. “Sorry,” he whispers, “bad example.”
“History,” Jethro replied quietly. “You’re the future I want. So, hang around for me, okay?”
Tony nodded but his shoulder was aching agonizingly now and there was a loud banging in his head that felt like it was going to split his skull in two. He dropped his chin to his chest and let the darkness carry him away.
“How about you wake up and show me just how tough you are, DiNozzo?”
Tony moved his head to the side, away from the annoying tapping on his cheek. “Trying to catch a few z’s here,” he mumbled, happy to feel that he’s warm at last. ”Am I dead?” he asked, not really caring as long as Jethro was still with him and he was warm and pain free and comfortable.
“Open your eyes,” Jethro ordered him softly and Tony obeyed, blinking against the harsh overhead lighting. “Do I look like any angel you’ve ever imagined?” Jethro asked.
“Better than an angel,” Tony said. “I take it rescue arrived in the nick of time.”
“Yep.” Jethro looked around the room then bent and kissed him quickly. “You’re going to be fine. You don’t want to know who tried to kill us, and why?” he added.
“Later. Other things I’d rather talk about first,” Tony said, “Like that future stuff we were talking about…”
“Yes,” Jethro said and Tony knew what he meant just by that one word.
“Good.” He closed his eyes again, letting the feeling of being safe and warm wash over him. “It’s what I always wanted too.”