by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)

Midnight has always been Tony's favorite time of night. When he was little it was the ultimate goal--every night he managed to stay up and active that far past his bedtime was a victory, no matter how tired he was the next day.

In university it was, in Tony's opinion, the peak time of a party. Everyone would have arrived, the music would be blasting, people dancing or talking or flirting. Midnight was too early to start worrying about how wasted you'd be at class the next day. At midnight the majority of partiers would be buzzed enough to be fun and not drunk enough to fall over or run out to puke in the bushes.

That sort of thing hadn't exactly come to an end when university did, though the venue changed. Instead of frat houses there were clubs and bars and a slightly older crowd, but it was all pretty much the same.

Tony had dreaded the day when midnight would become "late," when he'd regret not going to bed earlier or find himself sleeping through that magic hour entirely. He had known the time would come, whether he wanted it to or not. It crept up even on the hardcore party animals, taking them out of the game like a leopard bringing down an antelope.

He misses the midnight hour more often than not, now. Half the time he's working, too focused on the case to care what time it is, except in relation to who he'll have to wake up to get the information that Gibbs wanted twenty minutes ago. Tony's never regretted that. No matter what the rest of the team might think, he'd give up the clubs and the dancing and the drinking in favor of working a case any time.

But the other half the time...

Tony blinks slowly at the alarm clock. Midnight. He can feel sleep lurking, waiting to draw him back down, but first he knows he needs a piss and a drink. It might seem like he could just close his eyes and be asleep again, but if he doesn't get those two things sleep will just recede further and further away.

So he gently pulls away from the heavy arm draped over his waist and the soft cock squashed up against one of his ass cheeks and slips out of bed. His eyes aren't even really open as he goes to the bathroom to relieve himself. He doesn't turn on the light, navigating half by memory and half by touch. The light might chase sleep too far away.

If he went to the kitchen he could find juice or milk or something else to drink, but there's a light in the fridge and Tony just wants to get back to bed, so he turns on the tap in the sink and leans down to drink. A couple of mouthfuls are all he needs, anyway. Just enough to wet down his mouth and throat.

Back in the bedroom Tony pauses a moment before returning to the bed. Gibbs used to wake up when Tony got up in the middle of the night. In the beginning that had led to lazy, sleepy sex that had kept them both awake long enough to feel it in the morning. They'd looked at each other and grinned a little at the signs of sleeplessness, even though they'd known that they couldn't keep it up much longer.

Tony doesn't know quite when Gibbs got so comfortable having Tony in his bed that he stopped waking up. It kind of crept up on him, the same way that Tony had woken up one morning and gotten dressed and realized that enough of his clothes had migrated to Gibbs's place that he didn't need to worry about having something to wear in the morning.

Whenever it happened, it means that Gibbs is still sleeping curled up on his side, as though Tony was still there in his arms. Tony can't say Gibbs isn't what he imagined for himself, because he never imagined anyone could make him want the same person day after day for months, even years, on end.

Tony crawls back into bed, facing Gibbs instead of settling back into the curve of his body. It doesn't matter--the moment Tony lifts Gibbs's arm to slide it back over his waist, Gibbs shifts in his sleep, settling Tony comfortably against him.

As he slips back into sleep, Tony absorbs the warmth of Gibbs's body and the smoothness of the sheets draped over him and the musky scent of Gibbs untainted by soap and the relaxed, heavy feeling in his own limbs and everything is perfect.

Midnight has always been his favorite time of night.