Found in the Compromise Between Rain and Sun

by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)

Author's Notes: Not betaed. Written at the last second, so a little rougher than usual, even.

It was an opportunity they hadn't expected, one they hadn't even thought of before it came up. With Gibbs medically banned from duty for a week and Tony well overdue for his annual 'Spring Break', the two men found themselves in possession of a chance to go on vacation together without raising the slightest suspicion.

Gibbs let Tony to choose their destination; if he'd been well enough for his own preference of leisure activities, he'd have been well enough to work. He'd expected Tony to choose someplace with bright sunshine, hot, sandy beaches, warm water, and bungalow bars that served drinks with paper umbrellas in them. He hadn't been looking forward to enduring Tony's roving eye--hooking up with Gibbs hadn't blunted his enjoyment of both looking and flirting--but he'd been prepared for it.

All of which left him more than a little confused when Tony handed him a plane ticket to Vancouver, Canada, and advised him to "bring lots of clothes, because April in Vancouver can be t-shirt weather one day and chilly and wet the next, and the forecasts suck."

Gibbs had decided to hold off his interrogation until they were actually safely in Vancouver, just in case Tony came to his senses and exchanged the tickets. But when the plane had landed, they'd collected their luggage, and stepped out of the airport to find it raining lightly but steadily, Tony's only response to Gibbs's irritable, "Why here?" was, "Great atmosphere."

Nor did the location of their hotel make much sense. Situated on Davie Street, just a couple of blocks from Denman, it was located in a near-residential area closer to downtown Vancouver than to anything else. It was also, barely, walking distance to a beach, but compared to tropical beaches this one was just a modest strip of sand contaminated by cobble stones and leading into excessively cold water. Better than nothing, but not up to Tony's standards.

Gibbs still hadn't figured it out by the time they headed out for dinner. The rain had stopped and the restaurant Tony had chosen was within walking distance, so they left the rental car behind. Taking a deep breath, Gibbs enjoyed air freshened by the earlier shower and comparatively free of smog. Somehow, I doubt that's what Tony meant by 'great atmosphere,' he thought, amused despite himself. A sidelong glance at Tony revealed no more hints of his motive in choosing this particular vacation destination, unless his unusually mellow mood counted.

Frowning internally, Gibbs turned his sharp gaze on their surroundings, looking for anything that would hint at why this particular hotel had attracted Tony. Gibbs knew from the airport advertisements alone that there were more luxurious places just blocks away.

He spotted a proudly displayed sticker in a store front window first. After that he saw it everywhere: stickers in windows, bumper stickers, bracelets, pins on backpacks, you name it.

A rainbow.

Gibbs took a confirming glance around at other same sex couples strolling down the street. Many of them were probably just friends hanging out, but at least half had their hands tucked casually into each other's back pockets, or walked with hips brushing and hands clasped, or favored each other with gentle, familiar touches.

Turning to Tony as they walked, Gibbs raised a challenging eyebrow. Tony flushed and shrugged. "We're across the continent, in another country, in a city with no naval bases," he looked away from Gibbs's intent gaze. "Nothing we do in this neighborhood will make us the least bit memorable."

Mouth open to argue, Gibbs caught sight of a man--young, blond, and built--running an appreciative eye over Tony and trying to catch his averted gaze. It only took a second for Gibbs to weigh all the factors before he slid an arm around Tony's waist, tugged him close, and pinned young, blond, and built with a fierce glare.

Young, blond, and built grinned suddenly and lifted his hands in surrender as they passed each other. When Gibbs returned his gaze to Tony the younger man was beaming at him with no small degree of smugness. Gibbs snorted and turned his attention to the restaurant they were approaching.

But he didn't drop his arm.