Home and History

by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)

Tony sprawled on the steps down into Gibbs's basement and leaned against the rough wooden banister. It wasn't comfortable, like a couch would have been, but he had a cold beer in one hand and not only had Gibbs moved the TV to where it could be seen from the stairs, he'd also turned it to the football game.

It was a pretty good compromise.

Especially when you factored in Gibbs in a t-shirt and khakis, sprinkled with sawdust and leaning into the smooth, rhythmic strokes of the sanding block. It wasn't the sawdust that was sexy, Tony had decided. It was the way Gibbs was when he wore it. Relaxed, but focused. Intent.

Kind of like he was in bed. Not that Gibbs was relaxed in bed. It was just that he was so completely in command of the moment that it never seemed like he was working at it.

The football game wasn't being particularly engaging, but Tony found he didn't really mind. Gibbs was more than worth his attention, even when all he was doing was running his hands over the planking of the hull--newly pegged in place and hardly sanded at all, compared to previous efforts--looking for God only knew what.

"Hey, Gibbs," Tony began.

Gibbs looked up at him. "Why don't you ever call me Jethro?" he asked. "You're entitled. When we're alone."

Tony blinked and shifted mental gears quickly. "Because if I started calling you that when we're alone, eventually I'd start of thinking of you like that. And once I start thinking like that, I'm bound to slip up at work. Once we could pass off as a joke. Maybe even twice. But after that people would definitely start wondering."

Gibbs walked over to his workbench, set down the sanding block, and took up his own beer instead. He leaned back against the bench and studied Tony for a long moment. "You're good at secrets," he said at last, and took a long swig from the bottle.

"Better than anyone knows," Tony said lightly. "Lucky for you." He quirked an expressive eyebrow.

"Anyone?" Gibbs asked. "You keeping someone else's secrets, DiNozzo?"

"Wouldn't be much good at it if I said yes, would I?" Tony said. He tried to keep his tone teasing, but something of the truth must have leaked through, because awareness slowly came into Gibbs's eyes. Awareness and an edge of possessiveness. Not jealousy, but definitely possessiveness. "Hey," Tony said, catching Gibbs's eye. "I might have a few other people's secrets, but you've got mine."

"You have secrets of your own?" Gibbs asked. Amusement edged the possessiveness out of his tone.

Tony snorted and drained the last of his beer. "I'm sleeping with my boss," he replied. "My boss who is a guy. Yeah, you could say I've got secrets."

Gibbs frowned and looked away from him, back at the boat. "You ever wish things were different?"

"Different how?" Tony laughed. "Wish that you weren't my boss? That we didn't work together at all?" He waggled his eyebrows, "That one of us was a woman? Or maybe...that both of us were human?"

"Any or all of the above," Gibbs said seriously.


"It'd make things easier," Gibbs argued.

Tony levered himself up off the stairs and descended the rest of the way into the basement. Gibbs lifted his eyes as Tony crossed the room, but he didn't move, instead just waiting as Tony came to a halt in front of him. Planting his hands on the workbench on either side of Gibbs's hips, Tony took a moment--just a moment--to be serious.

"I've done easy, and I've done casual. Hell, I've done nothing but casual. I never had to work for it. But it never meant anything, either. This..." Tony paused and flushed, suddenly embarrassed, but he pushed on. "This means something."

Gibbs didn't say anything to that, just lifted his hands and drew Tony in for a long kiss. Their mouths sealed together, Tony closed his eyes and just let himself enjoy a taste and a touch that was familiar. He'd thought for a long time that 'familiar' would be the same as 'boring,' at least when it came to sex. But kissing Gibbs was like coming home, warm and safe and certain. Tony could hardly believe how hungry he was for that once he had it.

Their lips parted slowly and Tony leaned his forehead against Gibbs's. "That's good," the older man said roughly, "because I'm not letting you go."

Tony grinned and kissed him again, more briefly this time, and let the moment pass. "So, about this boat," Tony said, turning around to look at the wooden skeleton still only partially clothed by planking. He raised his hands and made a frame of them, half squinting through it. "Somehow I don't see you sailing it in your other form. Centaurs, water, they just don't seem to mix."

Gibbs chuckled and put his arms around Tony's waist. He hooked his chin over Tony's shoulder before speaking. "It's not as bad as centaurs and heights," he said. "Mostly we just get seasick."

"Heights?" Tony asked, covering Gibbs's hands with his own. "I've seen you in a plane, boss. No problems there. Hell, I've watched you sleep through trips that made the rest of us miserable."

"There wasn't much I could afford to be afraid of, as a Marine," Gibbs said simply.

"They beat it out of you, huh?" Tony teased.

Gibbs snorted. "No. You just got over it or you got out."

Trust Gibbs to downplay defeating a genetically ingrained phobia, Tony thought, amused. "And the seasickness?"

It was hard to tell, standing back to front as they were, but Tony was pretty sure Gibbs shrugged. "Never really seemed to hit me," he said. "I think that was actually my favorite part of being a Marine. Being on the water."

"From what I've see, Marines don't actually get near the ocean that often, despite their name," Tony commented dryly.

"Maybe not," Gibbs allowed. "But I liked it when we got to it. Besides, centaurs have something of a history with ships."

"Oh?" Tony prompted curiously.

"Hmm. We were created in Greece, originally. When my ancestors got restless and started out to find the rest of the world they did it by sea."

Tony frowned. "Created?"

Gibbs drew back from him and for a second Tony thought he'd really upset the centaur, but Gibbs just came around in front of him so that he could meet Tony's eyes. "By Zeus," Gibbs said evenly, half leaning against one of the ribs of the boat.

"Zeus?" Tony asked, intensely skeptical now.

"Who else?"


Gibbs shot him an amused glance and briskly disrobed. Once he was naked he stepped away from the boat and transformed. It was a little bit cramped, but the basement was big, even with most of it occupied by the boat. "And this form makes evolutionary sense how?" he asked, tapping the concrete floor with one hoof.

For a moment, Tony just looked. Gibbs didn't take on centaur form nearly often enough, in his opinion. Once a month, usually. Occasionally twice if they didn't have any pressing cases and Tony could wheedle him into another weekend up on Jameson's ranch. Which meant that in the five months since Ducky had arranged for Tony's introduction into Gibbs's tightly guarded personal life, he'd seen the centaur in his four footed form seven times. Eight, if he counted that first transformation.

The power in Gibbs's broad equine body never failed to impress him. The fine grain of his steel-gray coat practically begged for Tony's touch. Never one to resist his impulses, Tony took a couple of steps forward and laid his hand on Gibbs's withers, slowly stroking down over the ridge of his spine. The warmth of Gibbs's body made Tony want to lean against him, to press his cheek to the broad back and breathe in the scent of him. Gibbs in human form invariably smelled of soap and, frequently, coffee. Gibbs in centaur form smelled...different. More potent somehow. Not as intense and musky as when they were in bed together, but almost as good.

As much as he wanted it, Tony held back from actually draping himself over the centaur. They were talking. Or they would be talking, once he finally said something. He put his other hand on Gibbs's belly, just above where smooth human skin merged into the centaur's coat. He glanced between his hands for a moment, then looked up at Gibbs and found himself meeting the centaur's intense blue gaze. Tony shivered on the inside. "I guess it doesn't," he said quietly. "I just never took you for the religious type."

Gibbs reached out, gripped Tony's shoulder in one hand, and moved him to stand directly in front of him, instead of at his withers. "I don't figure I am," Gibbs said thoughtfully. "Growing up in the herd, knowing about our origins and Zeus was never a matter of faith. Just history."

"Most really confident religious communities are like that," Tony pointed out.

Gibbs chuckled. "Not quite," he argued. "Zeus is very...hands on. He has this habit of dropping in every now and then. In person."

Tony blinked. "If you were anyone else," he said uncomfortably, "I'd say you were hallucinating."

"Which is as good as saying it," Gibbs said dryly. He slipped his fingers into Tony's hair, cradling Tony's cheek in his palm, and met his uncertain gaze calmly. "I don't need you to believe it, Tony. It's not really a part of my daily life."

"Religion...faith...usually are," Tony said.

"And I said that this wasn't either," Gibbs countered. "Centaurs don't think of Zeus as their god and he certainly doesn't expect worship from us. We give him respect because he deserves it and because we owe him at least that much. But that's all."

"You don't care if I'm skeptical?"

"Nope," Gibbs said easily. He shifted his weight and let go of his lover. "You ought to step back."

"Do you have to change back?" Tony blurted out. Hearing himself, he grimaced and glanced away from Gibbs.

Firm fingers grasped his chin and turned him back. "Why shouldn't I?" Gibbs asked, his eyes boring into Tony's.

Tony half shrugged but couldn't look away. "I like you like this," he muttered.

"You don't find it strange?"

Of course it was strange, but Tony knew that wasn't quite what Gibbs meant with the question. "It's you," he said instead. "It's a part of you that only I ever get to see. And," he flushed, "I like the way you smell. And feel. But especially the way you smell."

Gibbs seemed a little surprised, but he just leaned down and gave Tony a languid kiss. It was strange to tilt his head up instead of down slightly, but Tony lost himself in it just as quickly. Maybe a little quicker, with Gibbs's unclothed body under his hands and the heady scent of the centaur in his nose.

After they parted Gibbs petted Tony's hair briefly, almost as if he didn't want to let him go. But all he said was, "You mind if I work on the boat?"

"You mind if I lean on you?" Tony returned, eyes twinkling.

Gibbs smiled, the expression more bemused than anything else. "Not at all."

Tony let Gibbs have a moment to retrieve the tools he needed and to settle into his work before hesitantly leaning against the centaur's side and letting his cheek down to press against the smooth, warm rise of his withers. Gibbs didn't say anything; Tony slowly relaxed, allowing Gibbs to take more of his weight, and thought about nothing but breathing deeply.