Matchmaker, (Don't) Make Me a Match

by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)

Author's Notes: Not betaed. Also, I thought this would be crackier than it turned out to be. I consider the premise crack!fic, but it got almost serious on me. But I never would have written this without this challenge, so I figure it still fits.

Tony had been dreading this Monday ever since Kate announced the previous Friday that The Institute for Personality Compatibility Evaluation had found a 98% possibility for her. He knew that Kate dated. He'd teased her about her dates often enough. It just hadn't ever occurred to him that she could be one of those people who were desperately eager to find Mr. or Mrs. Right and settle down.

But she'd shown up on Friday sparkling with happiness and full of hope for the date that had been set up for Saturday night. The Institute never contacted you unless they found at least a 90% possibility, but 98% was still unusually high. The time, Kate said, it was guaranteed to work out.

The worst part was, she was right.

So when she strode into the office Monday morning, glowing and, for once, perfectly happy to share all the details of her date, Tony wasn't surprised. He also wasn't interested in hearing it.

"Okay, I get it," he snapped after the first five minutes of smug gushing. "It went well. The Institute for Personality Compatibility Evaluation strikes again. Another success. Can we work now?"

Kate didn't even blink in surprise, which was probably a bad sign. She just sighed. "Tony," she said, "I don't know why you don't go in and have yourself entered into the database. Now that most of the country is on file, the typical time before a match is found is hardly ever more than four weeks."

Tony concentrated on his computer screen. 'Hardly ever' were the keywords in that sentence. 99% of people who submitted themselves to the database in the past year had been matched up in four weeks or less. 0.99% were matched up by eight weeks. But what did that say about that last 0.01% of people? "I like playing the field," Tony said, not looking up at Kate.

She sighed audibly. Out of the corner of his eye, Tony could see her walk over and plant herself directly in front of his desk. "There is no field anymore," Kate said impatiently. "Now that we know that the system works, everyone is getting matched up. Except for teenagers and commitmentphobes, neither of whom seem your type."

"I don't seem like a commitmentphobe?" Tony asked, struggling for the lightness of tone that had come so easily six months ago.

"I didn't say you weren't one," Kate said dryly. "Just that one wouldn't appeal to you."

"So if I'm a commitmentphobe, why would I want to put myself into the database?" Tony argued.

Kate made a frustrated noise. "Maybe because you haven't gotten laid in almost a year?" she said sharply. Tony's shoulders hunched, but he couldn't deny it, so he just typed harder and tried to ignore her. "Besides, Tony, this system is proven to work. The person they'd find for you would be someone you'd want to settle down with."

"It's not that perfect," Tony grated out.

"Okay, so their success rate was lower for the first couple of years," Kate allowed. "You know that's just because there weren't enough people in the database then. Almost every in the country who is of age is in there now, Tony, I'm sure it would spit someone out for you if you'd just give it a chance."

"I get that you had a good date and you're happy and you want to share, Kate," Tony said shortly, "but would you give it a rest already?"

"I don't see why you're being so touchy--"

Tony shot to his feet and slammed both hands down on his desk. "Because I'm in the fucking database, Kate!" he shouted. "I've been in the fucking thing for six months now and it has yet to 'spit someone out' for me! So shut up already." Tony pushed off the desk and took a step back, chest heaving with emotion. He ran a hand through his hair and dropped back into his desk chair.

"Tony..." Kate trailed off uncertainly.

"Do not apologize," Tony said. He took a steadying breath and went back to work. "I don't need your pity."

"It doesn't mean that there isn't someone for you," Kate said gently. "Just that they aren't in the database."

"Do you know how many people over the age of majority aren't in the database these days, Kate?" Tony said grimly.


"Well, let me update you with a few of the lesser known statistics. 60% of teenagers enter themselves into the database on their eighteenth birthday. By age 25, that number goes up to damn near 98%. You know how many people who submitted themselves within the past five years have waited more than four months without a minimum-90% match?" Tony took a breath. "Ninety-seven. Not ninety-seven hundred. Ninety-seven." He slumped, suddenly exhausted. "So you'll excuse me if I'm not as wildly enthusiastic about The Institute and it's System as every other person on the face of the planet is."

There was a long silence. Eventually Tony dragged his eyes up to look at Kate, dreading the pity he knew he would find there. It was just as hard to face as he'd thought it would be, but he knew Kate didn't mean her sympathy to hurt him. She just...wanted him to be happy.

"I'm sorry, Tony," she said with quiet sincerity, once he'd managed to meet her gaze.

"Yeah, well, I always said I was special, right?" Tony said, smiling weakly. "Not meant for any one woman. Apparently not even meant for any one person." Everyone knew that The System didn't eliminate a possible match based exclusively on gender. The subjects of the match didn't have to meet each other if they had an issue with it and Tony was sure a few closeted people had declined proposed matches for that very reason, but he knew of far more cases in which they'd decided to take a chance and discovered their match was worth reexamining a few assumptions.

Kate turned back to her desk, then paused. "You want to go out for a drink tonight?"

Tony had been planning on working late. Not much else to do. "No," he said. "I'm just going to get a little extra work in. If I can work; everyone in the building is going to know about this by the end of the day."

Kate winced, but didn't disagree. Tony was just glad that Gibbs had been in a meeting with the Director when he'd blown up.


Gibbs knew the second he'd stepped out of the Director's office that it had finally happened.

DiNozzo had been twitchy and irritable and, when he didn't think anyone was looking, vaguely depressed for months now. Kate had been picking at him like a kid with a loose scab for nearly that long and Gibbs had been expecting the inevitable blow out for the last month. He'd been a little surprised at how long DiNozzo had held out; usually Gibbs was within a couple of days of guessing his limit. The fact that he'd been so much more stubborn than usual this time almost certainly meant that whatever it was that had been eating him up was bad. Probably personal and embarrassing to his reputation, too.

Judging by the way the Director's secretary was hunched over and hissing into her phone and the fact that every agent in the squad room was staring at Tony when they thought he wasn't looking, whatever it was had been very personal and very embarrassing. Gibbs wondered, briefly, if he should have headed this off at the pass. He could have. But while Tony took pains to appear like a slacker at work, Gibbs knew better. DiNozzo was always on top of the case, even if he didn't have anything new to contribute; his recent distractibility was definitely out character, which meant that the cause was something that could seriously interfere with his effectiveness as an agent. Better to have whatever it was out in the open than let the desire to keep it under wraps potentially compromise Gibbs's lead field agent.

As he jogged down the stairs, Gibbs kept his ears open for the inevitable fragments of gossip. Most people weren't nearly as good at whispering as they thought they were.

"...six months. Isn't that some kind of record?"

"...thought he'd be match up in a second, the way women fell all over him..."

"Hey, even The System isn't perfect..."

It was all Gibbs could do to keep his expression neutral as he settled in behind his desk and ran a quick eye over his team. He hadn't thought that DiNozzo had had himself entered in the database. Not because DiNozzo hadn't been matched up, which was most of the agency's reasoning, but because Gibbs hadn't believed DiNozzowanted to be matched up.

In more than four years Gibbs had never known DiNozzo to go on a single serious date. Oh, he dated, he dated a lot, but DiNozzo's version of dating was...recreational. He did it for fun, not because he was actually looking for a partner. Gibbs had accepted that a long time ago.

In theory, if DiNozzo really had submitted himself to the Institute's system, he'd started looking for something more permanent. That's what The System was for. You didn't have yourself entered if you weren't ready for that.

How the hell had Gibbs missed the fact that DiNozzo was ready?

Gibbs watched DiNozzo out of the corner of his eye. He was hunched over at his computer, eyes fixed on the screen, a faint flush visible on his face, particularly around his ears. Whether DiNozzo and Kate's confrontation had been loud or quiet, it certainly hadn't taken long for it to disperse to the farthest corners of the squad room. DiNozzo had sharp ears. He could probably hear as many of the whispers as Gibbs could...and he was just ignoring them, trying to bury himself in work. Which meant that they were true.

DiNozzo was looking to settle down.

And after six months, in defiance of all expectations, the system that everyone had come to expect would always provide a suitable partner had failed DiNozzo. How could Tony, of all people, have turned out to be unsuited to...well, damn near everyone? He was energetic, upbeat, attractive, charming, funny, intelligent (even if he didn't advertise it), dedicated to his work... Okay, so he was also a little high maintenance, but he rewarded the time you had to put into him.

Maybe his match just isn't in the database.

Gibbs tried to quash the thought, but it stubbornly rose back to the top of his mind. It was ridiculous. Just the idea that there was only one person in the whole country who was suited to DiNozzo...ridiculous. But he'd gone six months without a match, and there weren't too many people who weren't in the database these days.

Gibbs was one of the few. He knew most of NCIS thought that after three marriages and three divorces, he wasn't interested in trying again. You'd think they'd realize that any man who gets married three times prefers settled relationships to casual ones by nature. He hadn't had himself put into the database because he didn't want to be told who he didn't match.

For once, Gibbs was completely unable to concentrate on work. The squad room was a web of tension and awkwardness, all centered on DiNozzo. Normally the man thrived on attention, but Gibbs knew he'd just find this situation humiliating. He was tempted to order DiNozzo out of the office on some pretext, but DiNozzo was too smart not to realize it was a pretext; he'd only feel even more humiliated by Gibbs's apparent pity.

So Gibbs waited, half his attention on DiNozzo, until everyone else had filed out of the office and the building was slowly growing dark as more and more lights were extinguished. DiNozzo didn't move, still staring at his computer screen the way he had been all day. Finally Gibbs shut down his own workstation, gathered his things, and went to stand over DiNozzo.

"Time to pack it in, DiNozzo," he said.

"I'm almost done," DiNozzo said, not looking up from the screen. His voice was tired in a way that Gibbs had never heard before. Even when they'd worked a hot case for a week straight, running themselves ragged, he'd never sounded like this.

Gibbs leaned over and hit the power switch on the computer monitor. "It doesn't need to be done," he said. "Not right now. Come get a drink with me."

DiNozzo blinked at the darkened monitor before looking up at Gibbs and smiling wryly. "The last place I want to be right now is a bar."

Gibbs knew what he meant. Most bars these days catered either to couples or those explicitly looking for casual sex. Gibbs knew of a couple of places that were still good places just to go for a drink with a friend, but that wasn't quite what he was looking for tonight, either. "I wasn't suggesting a bar. I've got some decent liquor at home."

DiNozzo hesitated for a long moment. Long enough that Gibbs began to resign himself to the idea of leaving him here. But eventually he sighed and reached for his jacket. "Yeah, okay," he said.

The drive home was unnaturally quiet. DiNozzo wasn't the quiet type. Gibbs found himself continually glancing over at him, checking to make sure he was still there. DiNozzo leaned against the car window, staring out into the night. He looked defeated. This wasn't the kind of mood that DiNozzo could slip into suddenly. He was too naturally energetic. This was the end result of a slow wearing away, a grinding down that Gibbs had somehow never noticed. But then, Tony was one of the best undercover agents Gibbs had ever known.

Gibbs pulled into his driveway, put the car into park, and turned it off. They got out and, as DiNozzo circled around the front, Gibbs found himself fighting down the urge to reach out and place a hand in the small of his back. Instead he retrieved his keys and let the two of them into the house.

DiNozzo flipped on the hall and living room lights, familiar with the layout from the times he'd stayed in Gibbs's guestroom. Gibbs left his shoes by the rack in the hall and went straight to the cabinet in his living room that held his liquor, pausing only to drop his things by the coffee table. Behind him, he heard the sofa creak under DiNozzo's weight. Gibbs took a moment to pour a little bourbon into two glasses before capping the bottle and putting it away again. Getting drunk wasn't the point.

Turning and joining DiNozzo on the sofa, Gibbs waited for DiNozzo to open his eyes again before handing him his glass. They clinked them together silently before sipping.

"Didn't think you were looking," Gibbs said eventually.

DiNozzo didn't pretend to misunderstand. "I wasn't, at first," he said. "Kate was more right than she knew. I only entered myself into the database because I hadn't had sex in six months and I was grasping at straws. I figured, just because they claimed to set you up with your soul mate didn't mean that's what you had to get out of it. And hey," DiNozzo shrugged, "if by some fluke I actually ended up actually wanting to stick it out with whoever they hooked me up with, then there was no harm done, right? Since I'd want it."

"But something changed," Gibbs commented, watching DiNozzo sip his bourbon.

"Yeah," DiNozzo said, throwing Gibbs a rueful look. "The more time went by without a match, the more I thought, 'What's going on here? What's wrong with me? Why is it so easy for everyone else and so hard for me? Why can't I have what they have?'" DiNozzo laughed without any real humor and shook his head.

"You ever think that maybe that's why you haven't matched up?" Gibbs asked.

DiNozzo nodded. "Yeah. The people at The Institute insisted that it wouldn't affect the personality profile, but it'd been three months. I insisted they take the old one out of The System and do a new one. So they did. Now I'm three months into that one and..." DiNozzo shrugged again. He finished his bourbon and set the glass down on the coffee table with a loud click. "You know," he said, a shade of bitterness entering his voice, "one of my girlfriends--no, one of the women I slept with--once told me, as she walked out on me, that one day I'd want to settle down and that on that day, she hoped to hell the person I picked would smile and ease me out the door." DiNozzo snorted. "Looks like I did her one better."

Gibbs studied the dregs of his own bourbon for a long moment before draining it and setting it down next to Tony's with a matching click. "Yeah, maybe," he said. "Or maybe the kind of person who suits you isn't the kind of person who wants a damned computer to shape the rest of their life."

DiNozzo turned toward Gibbs, his face a mask of confusion, but that was okay. Gibbs leaned over, raising one hand to rest on the curve of DiNozzo's neck, and brought their lips together. Given that he'd sprung this on DiNozzo pretty much out of nowhere, Gibbs had expected it to be awkward, but it wasn't. Something about his approach must have triggered some instinct in DiNozzo, because he tilted his head just right and met Gibbs's mouth with the perfect amount of pressure. There was no startled hesitation, just the warm, soft movement of Tony's lips under his and the slick touch of his tongue. It was easy and comfortable and heat spread through Gibbs until he pulled back and took a breath, releasing it in a small, satisfied sigh.

"Boss?" Tony asked, a little uncertainly. His tongue swept over his lips briefly; apparently an unconscious reaction, but an encouraging one.

"I'm not getting one of those ridiculous matchmaking scans done," Gibbs said, a little sharply. "You either want this or you don't."


"Tony," Gibbs said firmly. "People aren't supposed to come with guarantees. You work at getting along. You learn to live together, to manage each other. You have faith in each other."

Slowly, Tony started to smile. Soon he was grinning so broadly that Gibbs had to wonder just what he'd said that had pleased Tony so much. But it didn't really matter.

"I can live with that," Tony said easily. "But you know what I can't live with?"

"I can guess," Gibbs said dryly.

"Celibacy." Tony stood, reached down to grab Gibbs's hand, and pulled him up off the couch.

Gibbs took an extra step forward into Tony's personal space. "Feeling a little deprived?" he asked, not waiting for an answer before leaning in for another kiss. God, it was good to finally have Tony in his arms like this. Gibbs drew Tony close against his body, savoring the solid, warm pressure of him.

Eventually they drew apart again. "A little?" Tony repeated, his voice grown thick. He tugged Gibbs in the general direction of the bedroom. "I'm dying here."

Gibbs guided Tony into the bedroom from behind, stopping him at the foot of the bed. "Well. We can't have that," he murmured, sliding one hand across Tony's hip and down to cup Tony's groin. His cock grew hard under Gibbs's touch and his head fell back against Gibbs's shoulder as he gasped audibly.

"Gibbs," Tony said roughly, "do not tease me, okay? I can't handle it right now."

"I have no intention of teasing you." Gibbs brought his other hand around Tony and opening his pants. "Taking the edge off, however, seems like a good idea." Tony's only response was a long moan as Gibbs took the hot length of Tony's cock into his hand. He stroked Tony slowly and lightly, but even that touch made him shudder and gasp eagerly. "Are you always this eager?" Gibbs asked, turning his head so that his lips brushed Tony's neck. "Or is it just the long dry spell?"

"Bit of--" Tony himself off with a choked sound, thrusting his hips into the touch of Gibbs's hand. "Harder," he begged. "Please, Gibbs. I need this."

Gibbs tightened his grip by a fraction. "You started to say something," he chided, smirking.

"Bit of both," Tony ground out. "And you, too."

"Me, hmm?" Gibbs trailed his lips up Tony's jaw to his earlobe and drew it into his mouth for a moment, touching the little bit of skin with his tongue teasingly. "You've thought about me doing this before?"

"Not exactly this," Tony said with a slightly hysterical laugh.

"Tell me," Gibbs commanded, giving Tony one good, solid stroke. Pre-come started to slick his hand.

"I, uh, thought about finding you in the showers late one night," Tony hurried the words out. "Watching you jerk off."

"What else?" Gibbs demanded hoarsely, his hand moving faster over Tony's length. He pressed closer unconsciously, his own cock grinding against Tony's ass.

"Sparring!" Tony gasped. "We're sparring and you pin me and..." He struggled to suck in the breath to speak. "You're holding me down and you can feel that I'm...I'm hard and you hold me down and fuck me right there."

Gibbs bit back a moan of his own. "With everyone in the gym watching?" Tony just moaned. "I bet you'd like that," Gibbs pushed onward, Tony's cock rigid and wet with pre-come in his hand. "You like to show off. I bet you'd enjoy being bent over, taken in front of an audience, letting them all see what a good fuck you are, eager and responsive for me, bent over your desk and shaking because I'm pounding you so hard."

Tony cried out, his hips jerking involuntarily into Gibbs's grip as he came. Gibbs kept stroking him until Tony's shudders were dying down and his hand was sticky with come. Tony leaned back against him heavily, eyes shut, breathing harshly, but when Gibbs touched sticky fingers to his lips Tony drew them in automatically, his tongue sliding wetly over the pads and curling around his knuckles, cleaning his own taste from Gibbs's hand.

Gibbs could hear his own breathing now, ragged and loud. He pulled his fingers from Tony's mouth and stripped both of them quickly. In his haste clothes caught uncomfortably here and there, but neither of them paid any attention, too focused on getting to skin.

They scrambled onto the bed together. Tony sprawled on his back and drew Gibbs down to kiss him, urgent and deep, finesse forgotten in their hunger. Gibbs ran his hands up Tony's smooth, firm flanks and thrust against the taut plane of his belly. Shudders of sensation wracked his body, urgency already building in his gut.

It was a struggle to pull free of Tony's mouth, but Gibbs needed, so he forced himself to pull back, to speak. "I want to fuck you," he managed, voice low and tight and gravelly.

"Supplies?" Tony asked, somewhat more in control.

Gibbs scrambled off of him to get what they needed from the bedside table. When he turned back Tony had rolled over onto his stomach and spread his legs. He watched Gibbs over one shoulder. "Jesus," Gibbs said. "You look like an advertisement for sex."

Tony smirked. "You buying?"

Gibbs snorted and crawled over to kneel between Tony's welcoming thighs. "You just couldn't resist, could you?"

"If you want to shut me up, I can suggest a few ways."

Gibbs drizzled lube onto Tony and pressed one finger deep inside him, fast and a little rough. Tony moaned inarticulately and Gibbs smirked. "That one of them?"

"Yeah," Tony gasped, though whether in answer or general encouragement, Gibbs couldn't have said. "More," Tony demanded, sooner than Gibbs would have expected, but he wasn't about to argue. He just slicked up a second finger and set to working Tony open.

Tony squirmed deliciously under Gibbs's hands. Soft, choked sounds and loud, ragged moans escaped his lips, as if admissions of enjoyment had to be torn from him. Gibbs petted as much of Tony's body as he could reach with his free hand, but all his attention was on the hot, tight channel that gripped his fingers.

"It's good," Tony said finally. "I'm good, come on."

Gibbs took a steadying breath, but it wasn't enough. His hands shook with eagerness as he tore open the condom packet and fumbled it on. But he managed, and then he was pressing slow, so slow, into Tony's body. Gibbs clenched his eyes shut as he moved, the grasping heat overwhelming him, forcing his breath from his body in rough bursts. Finally he was pressed tight against the curve of Tony's ass, Gibbs's whole body trembling with the strain of holding back.

"God, you're tight," Gibbs grated out.

"Been a long time," Tony managed. "Fuck, but you feel good." He shifted under Gibbs and the slight stirring of his body around Gibbs's cock was almost too much.

"Don't do that," Gibbs gasped. "I can't hold back if you move."

"I don't want you to hold back," Tony said, and rolled his hips.

Gibbs groaned and thrust into Tony hard, then paused, clinging to control for one final moment before he crumbled and gave into the urgent, throbbing need to move. The sweet drag of Tony's body over Gibbs's cock, the reluctant give of him as he thrust back inside...Gibbs couldn't last long. He let go, let himself drown in pleasure and need and the sound of their bodies coming together and when he peaked it was all he could do to take Tony in hand again and make sure to bring him over the edge, too.

For a long moment they just lay on top of the sheets, spooned together, Gibbs still buried deep inside Tony. Gibbs looped an arm over Tony's waist and stroked the warm, sweaty muscles of his chest absently as they caught their breath. Eventually he had to pull away--gently--but when clean up was done they returned to pretty much the same position, just under the sheets now.

As he drifted toward sleep, Gibbs wondered if he'd get away without any more talk. Which was, naturally, when Tony spoke.

"You want me to have them take me out of the database?" he asked softly.

"If you discover you're willing to ditch an existing relationship for a match dreamed up by a computer," Gibbs said, "then this would never have worked anyway."

"I'll take that as a no, then," Tony said wryly.

"That's a no," Gibbs agreed, smiling into the back of Tony's shoulder.