Pride Goes Before the Fall

by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)

Tony had invented a hundred private fantasy scenarios that led to him kissing Gibbs. They ranged from so ridiculous that he would never, ever confess them, not even to Abby, to so commonplace that if there'd been any substance to them, he'd have been kissed a dozen times by now. If you'd asked him an hour ago, he'd have said that there was no possibility he hadn't explored, no excuse his imagination hadn't seized upon. But that was an hour ago.

Somehow, he'd missed this one.

"Are you kidding?" he hissed at Kate. McGee looked just as stunned.

The three of them stood clustered tightly around Tony's desk, their heads together like football players in a huddle. Tony glanced towards the elevators, utterly paranoid that Gibbs would somehow materialize at one of their shoulders and overhear what was a thoroughly unprofessional conversation.

"Do you want to win the bet or not?" Kate asked impatiently.

Tony glared at McGee. "I haven't lost yet," he muttered. "We're tied. And Palmer disappeared halfway through. That means he comes in last."

"Palmer disappeared because he got a date," McGee said.

"What? A date?"

McGee nodded firmly. "With Mandy Stevenson. From Records. They went out to lunch."

Tony gaped at him for a long moment. "But... I kissed Mandy."

"All three of us kissed Mandy," McGee corrected.

Kate smirked. "Apparently Jimmy kissed her best," she said, poking Tony in the ribs. "And he has a dinner date with Jessica Conway."

"Wow." McGee's eyebrows rose. "She's really pretty."

"She's not just pretty, Probie, she's a babe," Tony moaned. "Jessica Conway. Did we kiss her?"

McGee shook his head. "She said that you were a...uh..." he paused and frowned apologetically before going on, "that you were a slut and I was a puppy trailing around after you. Sorry."

Tony winced. "If you hadn't kissed every girl I kissed right after I kissed them--"

"Well how else was I supposed to keep up?" McGee demanded. "Besides, it's not like you didn't follow up on the women I kissed first."

"At least I'm not the one who started in on the men," Tony muttered.

"I kind of thought you'd give up after the first one," McGee said, shrugging, "and Henry is a good sport."

"My honor is at stake, McGee," Tony said sharply. "There was no way I was going to let you brag that you'd kissed more people in a day than I did, even if it meant sucking face with a man."

"Not like you don't have experience in that area, Tony," Kate smirked.

Tony shot her a sour look. "If you're still going to rib me about that, you better start in on McGee, too. He even knew it was a guy he was kissing when he got started."

"I am secure enough in my sexuality to joke around with a friend," McGee said calmly.

"I'm not insecure," Tony snapped.

"I didn't say you were."

"You implied."

"No, you inferred."

"There's a difference?"

"Implied means--"

"I didn't ask for a definition, Probie!"


"Boys!" Kate poked them both, hard. Tony subsided, but he treated them both to his best glare. "Back to the topic at hand," Kate said. "Kissing. Specifically, you two need a tie breaker and I think anyone who took me up on my suggestion would be the clear, unquestioned winner."

"But... But... It's... I mean... Gibbs," McGee stuttered to halt.

Kate shot Tony a smug look. "You see? He knows he can't do it. You'd beat him hands down."

"I don't see why you can't just pick one of us," Tony muttered. Kissing Gibbs, on a bet, in the middle of the office was just about the worst idea he could possibly think of. If he was lucky, Gibbs would sock him one and he'd be nursing a black eye and a bruised ego. If he was unlucky, or stupid, or just got too caught up in things, Gibbs would guess that he was interested in a hell of a lot more than winning a bet and he'd be out on his ass so fast his head would spin.

"I wouldn't get into the middle of this if you paid me," Kate said. "It's going to be bad enough listening to you two crow about it when it's over."

"Surely there's someone else," McGee said helplessly.

"Not someone else that you haven't already kissed or that isn't ducking out of sight the minute they see you coming," Kate pointed out. "The whole building knows about the bet by now. If they were willing to get kissed, they've been kissed."

Tony frowned. "Then Gibbs has to know about it, too," he said thoughtfully. Maybe he could get out of this without a black eye after all.

"Yeah," McGee seized upon the observation. "He wouldn't let either of us kiss him."

Tony wasn't so sure. Gibbs had a weird sense of humor. He might let McGee lay one on him just to see how uncomfortable it made him and for how long.

"Gibbs wouldn't believe you'd try," Kate argued. "You just sidle up to him and give him a peck when he isn't looking."

"When is Gibbs not looking?" Tony muttered.

"I don't think it's a good idea," McGee said doubtfully.

"What isn't a good idea?"

The three agents jumped and spun around to find Gibbs standing before them, the ever present coffee cup in one hand and an inquiring look on his face. Tony's heart thundered in his chest, as much from anticipatory fear as from surprise. He was going to do it. He hadn't thought so a second ago, but now Gibbs was here and he looked kind of amused and there was a little voice in the back of Tony's mind screaming, Do it now! You're never going to have a better chance. He knows about the bet, he'll think it's a joke, do it now!

Tony handed control over to the little voice. The next thing he knew he was stepping forward and he had a hand on Gibbs's shoulder and he was tilting his head and then there were warm dry lips under his and suddenly it hit him--I'm kissing Gibbs! Terror and common sense took over and Tony stepped back, heart in his mouth, and yet somehow already regretting that the kiss had hardly been a kiss at all, really.

Utter silence reigned. Tony could almost hear Kate and McGee holding their breath, waiting for Gibbs's reaction. Gibbs himself had a steely glint in his eye. He didn't seem angry, though. Tony spared a moment to hope he might live.

"You call that a kiss, DiNozzo?" Gibbs said at last. He held out his coffee cup and McGee automatically took it for him. "That wasn't a kiss. This is a kiss."

Gibbs cupped Tony's face in strong, callused hands and stepped forward until their bodies were pressed together and Tony had just enough time to gasp for breath before Gibbs's lips met his. There was nothing uncertain about this kiss. Gibbs's lips were firm and warm against Tony's and when Gibbs's tongue brushed his mouth, asking for entrance, Tony let him in at once. Gibbs had started this, he couldn't kill Tony for something he'd started and this was worth the teasing Tony would get from the others. The taste of Gibbs and the hot, slick caresses he gave Tony as the kiss deepened were worth a hell of a lot more than teasing.

The kiss went on, or maybe time slowed down. Tony didn't care which, though he was fighting every moment not to get hard, not to moan, not to give too much away. He was kissing Gibbs back and that would have to be enough, even if he desperately wanted to grind against the man.

At last Gibbs pulled back and let him go. Tony stood there, dazed beyond the ability to speak, and struggled not to lick his lips for a last taste of Gibbs. Gibbs watched him for a long moment. Just as Tony blinked himself back into something resembling coherency, Gibbs turned to McGee and quirked an eyebrow. "Well?" he prompted, quirking an eyebrow. "You going to defend your honor, McGee?"

Right, Tony remembered. The bet.

"I'm just fine with second place, boss," McGee said firmly.

"Okay," Gibbs said, striding over to his desk and plucking his coffee cup out of McGee's motionless hand as he went. He paused before sitting down and stared at them. "Work, people!"

Kate and McGee scattered to their own desks. Tony managed to make it down into his chair and stared at his computer screen. The screensaver was almost mesmerizing. Tony knew he should be doing something, but for the life of him he couldn't think what. Unbidden, his tongue flickered out and touched his lips, but the taste of Gibbs was gone. Tony glanced over at his boss quickly.

Gibbs was watching him.

Tony fought down a blush and turned his attention back to his computer, but the weight of watching eyes remained. Maybe, he thought, twitching the mouse to clear the screensaver, just maybe, some of those fantasies aren't so ridiculous after all.