By Definition

by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)

Author's Notes: I don't normally write this variety of plot, but this time I just couldn't resist. Forgive me? Also, the connection to the prompt is a little oblique, but it is there.

"Tony is not gay!"

Tony jerked to a halt just inside the door to the lab. What the hell? McGee--the source of the exclamation--and Abby had their backs to the entrance to doorway. They seemed to be crowded around a computer. Tony held his breath and hoped that they hadn't realized that he was there.

"He doesn't have to be gay to be in love with a man," Abby argued, apparently still unaware of Tony's presence. Although Tony was beginning to wonder if maybe he should interrupt them. As much as he wanted to know how the hell they'd gotten onto this topic of conversation, it could be...dangerous.

"If he's in love with a man, he's gay by definition," McGee argued.

"I have one word for you, McGee," Abby said derisively. "Bisexual."

"We've never seen him with a man," McGee insisted.

"That doesn't mean he hasn't been with men," Abby returned. "We don't get to see everything."

Tony was beginning to wonder if Abby had something invested in him being gay. Or at least bisexual. Had she and McGee made a bet? Had he slipped up? No, no, that couldn't be it. McGee had said they'd never seen him with a man and Abby hadn't argued.

"Besides," Abby was saying, "even if he hasn't been with men, that doesn't mean he isn't gay. Maybe he wants to but he thinks it's too dangerous because of who he is."

"What, and all the women are just cover?" McGee asked skeptically.

"Cover or a serious case of denial."

Now Tony almost wished they had seen him with a man. At least then they wouldn't think he was repressed or homophobic or something.

"There've been a lot of women," McGee said doubtfully. "No one needs that much cover. And after the crap Tony has been through, I think he's too self-aware to be that deeply in denial."

That didn't sound right. He'd had his share of bad breaks, but he didn't think any of them were as bad as McGee made it sound.

"Well, they could still be cover. Or maybe he really does like women that much and his interest in guys was always sort of an after thought, something that it was just easier not to pursue...until he fell in love."

Tony felt like he was caught between paling and blushing. Okay, so Abby was just speculating, but she had to be speculating based on something. And it sounded like she was pretty confident that he was in love. Apparently he hadn't covered as well as he thought. Or maybe he'd covered too well. But in his defense, he hadn't seen his feelings coming himself. On the rare occasions when he'd thought about the kind of person who could make him want to get serious, he's never imagined anyone like Gibbs. But then, there wasn't anyone else quite like Gibbs.

"I'm not convinced it's love," McGee said, but he sounded like he was weakening.

"Oh, come on, you've seen them together!" Abby exclaimed. "The time when they started the new team together?"

Hang on. McGee hadn't been around when Gibbs had hired Kate after Vivian Blackadder left NCIS. Although Tony guessed that maybe you could say the new team hadn't really formed until McGee joined. Still...

"That scene on the island when Tony draws on thoughts of Steve for strength?" Abby went on.

Tony frowned again, more deeply this time. Steve? What did his old frat brother have to do with this? They'd only spoken a few times since Steve and Kate had gone out that time. That whole episode had made Tony doubt the bonds of frat-brotherhood and they'd only been casual friends since.

McGee's response was definitely amused. "It would make the civil war crap make a lot more sense if it was the worst break up in history."

"Civil war?" Tony blurted out finally. "What are you two talking about?"

Abby and McGee jumped a little in surprise as they broke away from the computer and turned to face Tony. "Iron Man and Captain America," Abby said.

"I'm not following," Tony said, crossing the lab to take a look at the screen. It was displaying a digital comic book.

"Tony Stark and Steve Rogers," McGee said. "Abby's been trying to convince me they're," McGee made air quotes, "'Meant To Be'."

Abby smacked McGee on the shoulder. "Do not mock my OTP!"

A pause.

"Tony, are you blushing?"