Running and Riding

by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)

Tony knew that Gibbs would never do anything that might give his nature away, regardless of the fact that he now had Tony as well as Ducky to cover for him, if necessary. But, as Gibbs had predicted, Tony couldn't help watching anyway. He watched for signs of sore feet and ankles, for veiled moments of recognition--Gibbs had said that there were others--and for odd twitches or movements. He watched for any hint that the centaur in Gibbs was bleeding through into his everyday persona.

There were none.

He never slipped up, not once, and Tony knew from experience that no matter how disciplined you were, no matter how vigilant, that kind of flawless mask was only achieved by maintaining the role for years on end. Gibbs hid his true nature the way Tony hid the fact that he liked men just as well as women...but even Tony took a night off once in a while. He knew that sometimes you had to let go and enjoy your whole self. He knew that you needed the reminder that the mask was just a mask.

According to Ducky, Gibbs was hanging onto his human side so tightly he was hurting himself. Obviously, Ducky needed reinforcements to handle Gibbs this time, or he'd never have let Tony overhear that conversation. Therefore, the first thing he needed to do was to talk to Ducky.

Unfortunately, they caught a case the day after Gibbs's little revelation. It hadn't turned out to be serious; the missing sailor had gotten married and had forgotten, in the romance of the moment, to tell anyone he and his bride were taking a little trip to Vegas to tie things up quickly. But serious or not, it did keep them too busy to talk.

Sighing to himself, Tony put the finishing touches on his report and dropped it on Gibbs's desk. The man himself was absent and no one knew where he was. Tony doubted he'd gone home. More likely he was refilling his coffee...or avoiding Tony, given that Kate and McGee had both gone home and it was just the two of them for the moment. Tony frowned to himself, but dismissed the thought. Gibbs just wasn't the avoiding type.

Pressing the call button for the elevator, Tony rocked impatiently on the balls of his feet. It hadn't been a long day, but between being unable to corner Ducky and chasing down a man who was happily heating up the sheets with his girl, frustration was definitely the word of the moment.

The elevator arrived with a ding. The doors parted to reveal Ducky, clad in overcoat and hat and obviously on his way out. Tony blinked. "You're heading in the wrong direction if you're going home," Tony said lightly.

Ducky smiled and stepped aside to let Tony into the elevator. "Actually, I was looking for you before I left for the day," he explained. The elevator doors closed behind Tony and a slight background hum started up as they moved. Ducky shot him a significant glance. "Jethro showed you."

Tony nodded. "Yeah." He waited but Ducky didn't go on, merely cocking an eyebrow in his direction. Waiting for Tony to say something conclusive, he realized. "Do you really want me to say it here?" he asked.

"I suppose not," Ducky conceded. "Come along, I know a quiet place to have dinner. Rather reminds me of a cafe I frequented in my youth..."

Tony grinned to himself and let Ducky ramble on through the drive to the diner he apparently had in mind. They tucked themselves into a quiet corner, ordered their food, and waited for it to arrive before Ducky tied up his anecdote of choice and motioned for Tony to speak. Tony took a deep breath. "Right," he said, looking down at his steak sandwich for a moment. "So, I went over to Gibbs's place and he stripped down and...changed."

"Into?" Ducky prompted.

Inexplicably, Tony found himself fighting down a flush of embarrassment. It sounded so ridiculous, but... "A centaur," he managed. "Complete with four feet and grey speckled coat and tail, okay?"

"I'm sorry, Anthony," Ducky said, patting his hand, "but I had to make sure that he'd actually shown you."

Tony waved the apology off. "He showed me," he said, "but he sure didn't do much talking. I heard you saying something yesterday about him needing to change more. Want to fill me in?"

Ducky frowned to himself and sipped at his water, but after a moment he nodded and set the glass down decisively. "One of the reasons Jethro allowed himself to confide in me was because there are a few physical differences between centaurs and humans," the ME informed him quietly. "He needed someone to understand what was happening if he ran into a problem. One of those differences is that a centaur needs to exercise in both forms to be in top condition."

"Or what?" Tony bit into his sandwich, more to keep the waitress from coming around to see if everything was okay than because he was truly hungry.

"Nothing truly serious," Ducky said. "If a centaur couldn't do just as well in their human form as a true human can, Jethro would never have survived the Marines, never mind doing as well as he did."

"But?" Tony prompted, remembering the conversation that had gotten him into this.

"But after going a long period without changing, confining oneself to human form becomes very uncomfortable," Ducky admitted. "At least, so Jethro told me when I pressed him on the matter. He insists there are no long term repercussions, but I'm inclined to believe that that discomfort is a warning sign rather than an end result. Unfortunately, I have no resources with which to confirm my suspicions."

"Gibbs said that there are others," Tony offered.

Ducky sighed and stirred the soup he ordered. "And that simple fact is more than Jethro had told me about his people in all the years I've known him," he said glumly. "Oh, I assumed there were others, but he never he told me so. His comments were restricted to the medical issues that might crop up. Nothing about his family or how centaurs relate to each other--if they do at all. Nothing about how his nature shapes the way he thinks or behaves." Ducky paused to eat a mouthful or two of the soup. Tony waited and eventually the ME raised his eyes again. "But I can observe, and I believe that he's suffering for cutting himself off so thoroughly from his nature. I'm hoping that you'll be able to help with that."

"But...why did you pick me?" Tony blurted. He grimaced for a moment. "And don't tell me that it's just because I was the one who was there." Because I don't want to hear it. He took a big bite of his lukewarm steak sandwich and chewed vigorously lest he spit out some equally pathetic comment.

The look Ducky gave him was thoughtful. "Do you know why Jethro hired you, Tony?"

Tony hurriedly swallowed most of his mouthful and spoke around the rest, half covering his mouth with one hand. "I'm a good detective."

"Certainly," Ducky granted. "Gibbs would never have hired you if you weren't. But there are many excellent investigators to choose from, many of them with exceptionally solid references."

Tony dropped his eyes and shrank back into his seat. Ducky wasn't saying anything he hadn't thought a dozen times, but it was different hearing it from someone else. Especially someone like the ME, who had so much more experience there was no comparison.

"Anthony," Ducking said chidingly, and tapped him briskly on the arm. "I'm not trying to be critical. I'm attempting, perhaps awkwardly, to explain why I brought you into this. Bear with me for a moment." Tony waved for him to go on, but kept his eyes on his plate, picking idly at the remaining pieces of his dinner.

"Jethro hired you," Ducky pushed onward, "because you possess two qualities which rarely occur together. He feels comfortable with you and you are comfortable with everyone else, as well. I don't think you realize just how unusual that is for Jethro. The people that he works well with don't tend to be particularly socially adept."

"Kate--" Tony protested.

"Understands people, but she also puts them off with the rigidity of her attitudes," Ducky interrupted. "And I think you understand young Timothy's difficulties in that area well enough."

Tony couldn't help but grin, remembering the set up in McGee's apartment. "Yeah," he said. "But what has that got to do with me helping Gibbs loosen up on the centaur thing?"

Ducky sighed. "You have a way of endearing yourself to people, Tony, Jethro included. If anyone can coax him into indulging his true nature, I believe it is you."

"No pressure," Tony joked, smiling a little.


The first step, Tony decided, in getting Gibbs to relax a little was to find somewhere safe to do it. Safe by Gibbs's standards, not Tony's, which was easier said than done. There wasn't exactly a listing for centaur safe havens in the yellow pages and the public parks that wound through D.C. were all, well, public.

There was no help for it, Tony told himself, straightening up at his desk and squaring his shoulders. He was going to have to employ his secret weapon. Fortunately they were due for a slow day, having wrapped up two cases in as many days, and no one would miss him if he popped down to the lab for a few minutes. Especially since Gibbs was in a meeting with Director Morrow.

"You want me to do what?" Abby asked, aghast.

Assuming, of course, that his secret weapon was willing to be employed.

Tony sighed. "I want you to find out when Gibbs last took a weekend off and where he went," he repeated slowly.

"You don't have to talk to me like I'm stupid, Tony," she said, piqued. "I heard you fine the first time and I'm so not going to do that because I'm not stupid. Gibbs would kill me."

"He wouldn't," Tony wheedled. "He likes you."

"He likes me because I don't do shit like this to him," Abby shot back. "Bossman protects his privacy like a mama bear protects her cubs."

Tony rubbed at his eyes and turned a flatly serious gaze on the tech. "Abs, I promise, this is important. If he finds out, you have my blessing to lay every ounce of blame on my doorstep." She hesitated. "Please," Tony added, pushing an extra hint of plaintiveness into his voice.

Abby pursed her lips and stared at him for a moment but eventually lifted her hands in surrender. "All right! But it's your skin if he finds out I've been digging."

Not if, Tony thought, when. It was going to become pretty obvious pretty fast that he'd been snooping, but Abby didn't need to know that. After all, she wasn't going to be the one on Gibbs's literal doorstep when he figured it out. "Thanks," he said aloud. "Should I come back?"

"For something this basic?" Abby scoffed. "Park yourself over there," she pointed towards a stool, "and witness the wonder of service while you wait."

Tony grinned and followed orders.

The lightning-fast clatter of keys quickly filled the lab as Abby navigated cyberspace. True to her word, barely five minutes had passed before her hands shot up into the air with a satisfied, "She scores!"

Grinning, Tony rolled the wheeled stool over and peered over her shoulder. "Gibbs," she announced, "hasn't put in for time off in nearly four months." She shook her head sadly as she clicked over to another screen. "When he did, he went to a private ranch up in northern Virginia, which strikes me as kind of weird," she said, tilting her head towards Tony, "because I always thought Gibbs was more of a boat man than a horse man."

Tony almost choked. Gibbs was a "horse man", all right. "Thanks, Abs," he said, smiling, and leaned in to kiss her on the cheek. "This is exactly what I was looking for."

"Remember!" She spun on him with both hands cocked like guns, "If he tries to take me out, you're to heroically push me out of the way and take the blow."

Tony clapped a hand over his heart. "On my honor," he promised.


Actually arranging to visit a ranch owned by one John Jameson proved to be considerably more difficult than just locating said ranch. Tony had performed interrogations that involved less careful substitutions of key words and dancing around the topic actually under discussion. Jameson was obviously trying to confirm that Tony was in the know without giving anything away himself, just in case, and Tony couldn't just come out and say he knew about the centaur thing, because how discreet would that make him look?

It helped a little that Gibbs had been to the place before, but apparently it was pretty suspicious for someone else to call on his behalf. Tony couldn't really blame the guy--if he had been someone digging for secrets, a private vacation spot out of town was a pretty obvious place to check.

Eventually, Tony's real inside knowledge and his good intentions came through because the guy okayed the visit and even gave Tony directions. No mention of money changing hands was made. Tony just had to assume that that would be settled when they got there. He made a mental note to get together a good chunk of cash, just in case paying by plastic wasn't kosher.

That hurdle negotiated, Tony moved onto the next: actually getting Gibbs to go...and to take Tony with him.

Towards that end, Tony planted himself on Gibbs's front step Friday night and mentally fortified his position before lifting his hand to knock. And knock, and knock, with no results. Reaching out, Tony tried the knob and found it unlocked. Shaking his head, he opened the door and stepped halfway inside. "Gibbs?" he called out. Surprising a Marine--especially a former Marine--was a Very Bad Idea.

There was no answer, but Tony could hear the squeak of the basement steps, so he let himself the rest of the way into the house and closed the door. Gibbs appeared in the living room a moment later. "Christ, DiNozzo, can't you leave well enough alone?"

"Depends," Tony said cheerfully. "In this case...nope."

Gibbs jerked his head towards the kitchen and headed in that direction himself. Tony followed and accepted the beer Gibbs handed him with silent relief. He was in the door, and ejecting him tonight wasn't going to be half as easy as it had been before. Tonight, he was prepared.

"So," Gibbs said evenly, "what have you got up your sleeve tonight?"

Tony took a long swig of his beer and leaned back against Gibbs's kitchen counter. "You and I are expected at John Jameson's ranch this weekend."

"How--" Gibbs's eyes narrowed. "Abby."

"Hey," Tony jumped in hurriedly, "if you're going to come down on someone, come down on me. I'm the one doing the snooping here, okay?"

"Snooping is right, DiNozzo," Gibbs growled. "My personal life is none of your business."

Given the kiss Gibbs had laid on him, Tony was tempted to argue with that one, but he figured it was a battle best saved for another day. "Maybe not, but I'm pretty invested in your health and well being," he said instead.

Surprisingly, that comment seemed to derail Gibbs's rant. He frowned at Tony. "What has my health and well being got to do with you?"

Tony blinked at him. "What, you mean aside from the fact that half the time you're the one watching my back out there? I haven't stuck with this job longer than any of the others because of the great hours, boss."

Gibbs studied him for a long moment. "Iíll tell you what I told Ducky,Ē he said at last, ďand what he apparently didnít see fit to pass along when he decided to recruit you to his little campaign. Iím as healthy as I ever have been. A couple of aches and pains are not serious. I am not putting any of you in danger. "

"Not yet," Tony retorted. He gave that a moment to sink in. "We need you at your best. According to Ducky, you aren't. You just told me yourself that youíre hurting. It's not doing any harm now, but eventually someone is going to push us and we're going to need every reserve we've got."

"Assuming I admit I need the...break," Gibbs said slowly, "why are you coming?"

"Mostly? To make sure you actually go," Tony admitted unrepentantly.

"If that's most of the reason, then what's the rest?" Gibbs demanded, pinning Tony with his gaze.

He would have to ask. Tony finished off the rest of his beer and set it on the counter. "What you showed me Monday night was...incredible," he said at length, "and somehow right. Just for a minute there, a bunch of things made sense that didn't before. I want to be on the inside of this, Gibbs." Tony picked up the bottle again and set about picking at the label rather than look up at Gibbs. A hand closed around the empty bottle and drew it out of his grasp. Reluctantly, Tony looked up.

"If you're going to keep pulling this kind of crap," Gibbs said, "you should know it's dangerous to commit me to things without making sure I can actually hold up my end."

Tony's eyebrows drew together. "Dangerous? How?"

Gibbs sighed. "The local Herd Stallion keeps an eye on all the other stallions in the area," he explained. "If I were to say I was going to be somewhere, privately rather than professionally, and as a centaur, and I didn't show, that makes me a potential threat in his eyes."

"Back up a bit," Tony said quickly. "Local Herd Stallion?"

"I'm not the only one of my kind, Tony," Gibbs said. "Not by any means. I grew up with the herd. Before I was fostered out, I'd met less than half a dozen humans."

Tony took a moment to absorb that, as startled by being handed details of Gibbs's childhood as by the revelation that there was a whole herd of centaurs out there somewhere. "So this herd," he said after a moment, steering away from Gibbs's personal life lest he realize that he'd opened up a bit, "they go around in human form, like you?"

Somehow that didn't seem right. Thankfully, Gibbs shook his head quickly. "No. They've got a ranch over in West Virginia. And before you ask, no, we can't go there."

"Can't or won't?"

"Can't," Gibbs said forcefully. "I'm not allowed to go back."


"Can it, DiNozzo," Gibbs snapped. "I'm going. That'll take care of Ducky's concerns. You're coming, which ought to take care of yours. Go home. Pack. I'll pick you up tomorrow morning."

Time to quit while he was ahead, Tony decided. "Right. See you tomorrow."

"Early!" Gibbs called after him as he opened the door. Tony just waved acknowledgement before he slipped out.


The only distinguishing feature of John Jameson's ranch, Tony decided, was that it was out in the middle of nowhere. As far as Tony could see, the man kept horses but not any other sort of animal. Tony wondered what he did for money, because when they arrived the man just nodded and pointed them towards a tiny little guest house. The cash and credit cards padding out Tony's wallet were, apparently, unnecessary.

Best not to look a gift horse in the mouth, so to speak. Tony dropped his bag in his room--there wasn't much point in unpacking for a single night, especially when he hadn't brought anything really nice to a ranch--and went to find Gibbs.

He found him sitting on the back steps of the guest house, looking out at the field that stretched off into the distance. 30 acres of open land, every square foot of it safe, according to Jameson. Given that Gibbs had been here before, Tony was inclined to believe him. But the man still hadn't changed. For the first time, Tony wondered if it was difficult or painful or something. It hadn't seemed that way before, but...well, this was Gibbs.

Tony sat down next to him. "Problem?" he asked casually.

"I don't do this very often," Gibbs said, not looking at him.

"Does that make it harder?"

That got him a surprised glance. "No. Just because you don't do jumping jacks every day doesn't make them any harder to do, does it?"

"I know dick all about this, boss," Tony shrugged. "I'm going to ask stupid questions."

Gibbs grunted. "So what are you going to do while I'm out stretching my legs?"

Tony shrugged again. "Go have lunch with Jameson, maybe. Read." He caught the sidelong glance Gibbs shot him. "Yes," Tony said wryly, "I read. I even brought books with me."

"Never said you didn't," Gibbs said, smiling a little. After a moment he stood up and started stripping down. Tony just watched, fighting down the sneaking guilt for ogling the man. Gibbs didnít seem to be the slightest bit body conscious. Whether or not that was because he was aware he was being admired as well as watched, Tony didnít know.

The change was just as fast and effortless as it had been the first time. Tony drank in the sight of Gibbs in his centaur form. He was visibly more relaxed out here. Whether that was because he wasn't being all but forced to reveal himself or because he was in a wide open space Tony didn't know, but the result was impressive to see. Just standing there, Gibbs possessed his surroundings.

Remembering Gibbs's kiss, Tony swallowed heavily and included himself in those surroundings.

Apparently oblivious, Gibbs glanced towards the horizon and then back at Tony. "Go," Tony said, waving him off. "Have a nice run."

Gibbs chuckled and shot him a brief, challenging look before he took off across the field at a full gallop. Tony watched him go, mouth dry and pants suddenly tight. All those naked, powerful muscles working in harmony, his torso leaning into the wind, four legs driving him forward with beats that Tony could feel reverberating through the ground and from there through the soles of his feet... He'd have lunch later. After he jerked off.

When he appeared in the main house, freshly showered and dressed, Jameson was patently surprised to see him. "I thought you'd go with him," the man said, tilting his head towards the window and the field beyond, when Tony commented.

"How would I go with him?" Tony asked, startled.

"On his back, of course."

"On his back?" Tony all but choked on the words. He laughed and shook his head. "I don't think so."

"They can carry folk, you know," Jameson said calmly, setting a pair of plates on the table.

"Sure," Tony said, though he hadn't known. "I just can't imagine Gibbs carrying anyone."

Jameson frowned to himself. "I think I know what you mean," he admitted. "He's been coming up here, on and off, for forty years. Sometimes I don't see him for years at a time, though he always comes back. But he's never brought anyone with him before." Jameson shot Tony a curious glance.

Tony shrugged. "This time it's more like I brought him," he said.

"So where does he go when he doesn't come here?"

"Not for me to say."

Jameson raised his hands defensively. "Just trying to make conversation."

"I know," Tony assured him, but that was the end of it regardless. They ate lunch in silence and Tony retreated to the guest house and the book he'd brought--Greek mythology. Suddenly it seemed a lot more relevant to every day life.


Gibbs didn't come back until nearly sunset. Tony tried not to worry, but he couldn't help but think of hidden sinkholes and animal burrows and stories of horses that broke a leg and had to be put down. Gibbs, he assured himself, could not possibly be that stupid or careless. But he ended up sitting on the back step for an hour anyway, waiting.

When the centaur finally rode up at a canter and slowed to a stop Tony let out a subtle breath of relief and smiled up at him. Gibbs coat was stained dark with sweat and his chest heaved with breath. He looked magnificent.

"Have a good run?" Tony asked, trying to distract himself.

Gibbs shot him a grin and that was it, so much for trying to distract himself. It didn't help at all when Gibbs shifted back into human form and stood there naked, apparently enjoying the cool night air. It made goosebumps break out on his skin and his nipples harden and Tony knew he was staring, but fuck, he had reason.

"Yeah," Gibbs said, a little breathlessly. "You got a towel?"

"Sorry, no," Tony managed. Still, something must have come through in his voice because Gibbs shot him a look.

"I know you're attracted to me, DiNozzo," he stated. "I can smell it. So you can drop the act."

"You can smell it?" Tony grinned unrepentantly. "That must come in handy."

Gibbs just shook his head and climbed the steps past him and into the house.

Blowing out a frustrated breath, Tony stood and followed him all the way into the bathroom where he was rubbing himself down with a towel. Focus, Tony reminded himself, though his mental voice was a little strained. "Look, I know you want me," he said aloud, "unless you're going to put that kiss you laid on me down to a momentary lapse in sanity. So what's the problem here?"

"Not a momentary lapse in sanity," Gibbs argued, "just a momentary lapse in judgment. I'm not interested in a quick fuck and I've got more baggage than you want to deal with."

"I've been dealing with your baggage for more than four years now," Tony countered. "And who said all I want is a quick fuck?"

"Your record speaks for itself."

Tony set his jaw and blocked the bathroom doorway when Gibbs moved to leave. "I like sex," Tony said, "and I'm not going to apologize for that. I like it a lot and I make sure my partners like it, too. But I'm not stupid enough to think I could go to bed with my boss and not have big fucking issues to deal with later. We wouldn't be having this conversation if I hadn't decided it was worth the accompanying crap."

A small smile quirked the edges of Gibbs's lips. "Big fucking issues, DiNozzo?"

Tony blinked and broke into a laugh. "Yeah, well, we'll probably run into a few of those, too," he shot back. "So?"

Gibbs caught his gaze and held it. "I may look human most of the time," he said quietly, "but I'm not. That's the kind of issue you're going to be dealing with."

"I'm aware of that," Tony returned evenly. "But you've been married three times, so you can't tell me that centaurs and humans aren't physically compatible."

"I've been divorced three times, too," Gibbs pointed out.

"And if you were keeping a secret like this from them, that suddenly makes a lot more sense," Tony countered. "I've had a week to think about this, Gibbs. Take me to bed already."

Because he was watching, Tony could see Gibbs's eyes darken with arousal. "You remember later," he said quietly, stepping close, "you asked for this." Tony swallowed heavily as he was backed out of the bathroom, across the hall, and into the bedroom. They weren't even touching and yet he felt his heart rate pick up. His cock, half hard since Gibbs had changed out front, thickened further.

Gibbs's nostrils flared and he smiled slowly.

Tony caught a moan behind his teeth and lifted his hands to unbutton his shirt, but Gibbs pushed them aside and took over, slipping the buttons through their holes. "I'll do that," he said, his fingers dipping into the opening of Tony's shirt as he worked and stirring his chest hair. "You just stand there."

A whimper slipped out before Tony could catch it. "Sure, boss," he said weakly. "I can do that."

Gibbs finished with the buttons and tugged the tails of Tony's shirt out of his pants, but instead of pushing it off of his shoulders he grabbed the front of Tony's belt and yanked him forward. Their bodies collided and Tony automatically gripped Gibbs's shoulder to steady himself. There was warm skin under his hand and he could feel Gibbs getting hard for him and they were so close...

Tony couldn't resist. He leaned in and pressed his lips against Gibbs's and moaned when they parted and let him in. Christ but Gibbs tasted good and his mouth was hot and wet and he hand a hand in Tony's hair now, holding him. The other hand worked at Tony's pants, loosening belt and button and zipper. Tony stumbled, kicking off pants and shoes at the same time, but Gibbs never let the kiss go, just caught him with a hand on his ass and gave it a little squeeze.

Gasping, eyes half shut, Tony rubbed himself up against Gibbs, prompting a soft chuckle. "That's my Tony," Gibbs murmured, hands sliding around to grip his hips. He pushed suddenly and Tony fell onto the bed.

Scooting backwards to get his feet the rest of the way onto the bed, Tony grinned up at Gibbs. "Trying to keep me off balance?"

"Trying to get you naked and in my bed," Gibbs countered.

"Naked I can do," Tony said, quickly shedding shirt, underwear and socks. "But this is my bed."

Gibbs crawled between Tony's legs and leaned over him, hands planted on either side of his head. "You sure about that?"

Tony's breath caught in his throat as he looked up at Gibbs, the heat of the man just inches away. He bent one knee, rubbing his thigh over Gibbs's, and licked his lips. "Was pretty sure when I jerked off earlier," he said teasingly.

Gibbs eased himself down to press full length against Tony, his head turned to press his lips against Tony's ear. "I like the idea of you jerking off in my bed," Gibbs breathed, he shifted slightly, just enough to press his cock against Tony's. "I think I'd like to watch sometime."

Tony moaned helplessly and slid his hands down Gibbs's back to his ass, pulling the man closer even as he pushed up, grinding against him eagerly. Tony pressed his head back into the bed, exposing his throat, and cried out when Gibbs took advantage, biting and sucking there. "Fuck, Gibbs," he choked out. "'s good."

"It gets better," Gibbs promised, one hand kneading Tony's hip as they moved together, pre-come and sweat slicking their skin.

"Yeah?" Tony breathed, arching his back to rub his chest over Gibbs's smooth, firm skin.

"Yeah," Gibbs said, but then the hot press of his body was gone. Tony's eyes snapped open to find Gibbs sitting back on his heels, but any protest he might have made froze in this throat at the sight of the intent, hungry expression on the older man's face. "Hands and knees, Tony," he ordered.

Tony didn't even think, just scrambled into position, knees planted invitingly wide. Gibbs chuckled and ran his hands over Tony's flanks and down to his hips and ass. He parted the cheeks for a moment and Tony, head hanging low, let slip a soft, eager sound that made his face burn with embarrassment when he heard it.

"You have lube?" Gibbs asked, his voice low and rough.

"Under the pillow," Tony said quickly. He'd expected to need it tonight, he just hadn't expected to need it for this.

Gibbs leaned over him to retrieve the tube, pressing his body against Tony's and his cock into the crease of his ass. Tony couldn't help but push back against Gibbs for the moment before he sat back again.

"So eager," Gibbs said, sounding amused...and pleased. A warm, strong hand rubbed at the small of his back, but a moment later Gibbs cursed softly. "Condoms?" he asked, disappointment already leaking into his voice.

It took Tony a minute to scrape his brain together. "My bag," he managed at last. "By the door."

There was a startled pause, but Gibbs was gone and back again before Tony could get too embarrassed about kneeling on the bed by himself. "You plan on getting laid this weekend, DiNozzo?" he asked roughly, his voice almost drowning out the whisper of sound as he sheathed himself.

"Itís my standard overnight bag," Tony muttered. "Arenít you-- Oh, fuck." Tony gasped, the rest of his words lost in a long, low groan as one slick finger slid into his hole. "Yeah," he muttered, voice gone guttural, "like that."

"And I haven't even got to the good part yet," Gibbs said, working Tony open steadily. "Fuck, Tony, look at you."

Tony just whimpered wordlessly and gave way to a second finger, his body opening up sweet and easy for Gibbs. The stretch and burn was just enough to sent heat shooting down his spine and curling into his cock where it stood rigid and slick with pre-come against his belly.

"C'mere," Gibbs said hoarsely, and curled his fingers just bit.

Tony shouted at the sensation that rolled through him and pushed back hard on Gibbs's fingers. "More," he demanded roughly. "Give it to me. Please."

Tony whined in protest as Gibbs pulled his fingers free. Hands still slick with lube soon curled around his hips and held him steady. Tony hung his head, sobs of pleasure forcing their way from his throat as Gibbs's thick cock opened up and filled him in the same steady movements. He hollowed his back, meeting the welcome invasion with his own eager thrusts. When Gibbs's thighs at last met Tony's, his cock buried deep and tight in Tony's ass, Tony let himself clamp down hard, once.

"Christ," Gibbs shouted, hips jerking involuntarily. He draped himself over Tony's back and mouthed his shoulder for a moment. "You trying to kill me?"

"Want you to fuck me," Tony shot back.

"I plan to," Gibbs put an arm around Tony, one hand splayed open on his stomach. "Deep. And hard."

"Yeah," Tony moaned, bracing himself.

Gibbs pulled back and plunged in again, just like he'd promised, and Tony bucked eagerly against him. The slide of hot, hard flesh inside him lit up his nerves like they were on fire until it felt like his whole body was tied into his ass and the friction and the stretch and fuck, it was good. Tony could feel the roughness in his throat from moaning steadily, could feel the steady trickle of sweat over his skin, but he didn't care. All that mattered was Gibbs's cock inside him and the hand on his belly, not touching his cock, not yet, just waiting to set him off.

"That's my Tony," Gibbs was moaning as he rode him. "That's it." Inside, Gibbs shifted a little, changing his angle, and Tony cried out and jerked hard into his grasp when he found the sweet spot. Gibbs hung on and gave it to him again, lighting him up from the inside out.

Whining softly, Tony screwed himself back onto Gibbs's cock, his body shuddering out of control as he was fucked deep, taken hard. Every inch of his body, every nerve welcomed it and Tony gave up, surrendered himself to Gibbs's driving rhythm and his hard, certain hands and his hot, hungry cock.

"There we go," Gibbs breathed. His hand drifted down at last and wrapped around Tony's aching, desperate hard on. "You can come for me now," Gibbs murmured heavily, fisting Tony's cock just shy of too hard. "Come on now."

Tony just sobbed for a moment, caught between the hand jerking him and the cock in his ass, and then he just melted down and let go. His climax caught him up and shook him hard and dropped him like a stone, leaving Tony limp and pliant, sprawled face down while Gibbs finished inside him.

For a moment they just lay there, catching their breath. Finally Tony turned his head and muttered, "Gibbs? You're really heavy."

Gibbs snorted a laugh and eased off of him, quickly discarding the condom before propping himself up on an elbow. "Better?"

Tony rolled over onto his back and grinned up at him. "Yeah, we're good," he said.

Gibbs ran an admiring eye over him, but all he said was, "You need a shower."

"We both need a shower," Tony said, "but give me a minute to bask in the afterglow, okay?"

Chuckling, Gibbs leaned down and gave him a long, slow kiss. "I think I can handle a little basking," he murmured.

Tony just made a pleased sound and kissed him back.


The next morning Tony woke to find himself alone in the bed. Glancing at the clock, he wasn't really surprised. It was past nine already and Gibbs was an early riser. He was probably off having a morning run by now.

But when Tony found his way into the little kitchen area, Gibbs was sitting at the table with a cup of coffee and a book. "Morning," Tony greeted him, covering his confusion by grabbing a cup of the coffee himself. Sipping, he choked momentarily--Gibbs had made it to his personal preferences--and quickly diluted it with milk and sugar.

"Morning," Gibbs returned, setting the book aside. For a moment they just sat and drank their coffee quietly, but eventually Gibbs set his cup down and pushed it away a little. Tony shot him an inquiring glance. "You want to go for a run?" Gibbs asked.

"I don't think I could keep up," Tony joked.

"You could if I carried you," Gibbs replied evenly.

Tony froze, coffee cup halfway between the table and his lips. Slowly, he set it down again. "You'd do that?" he asked.

"We were a hell of a lot more intimate last night," Gibbs said. "Why are you so surprised?"

Tony shrugged and dropped his eyes. "I didn't think you'd..." he trailed off.

"If you don't want to, DiNozzo, just say so."

"No, I want to," Tony said hurriedly. "I've just never...ridden before."

Gibbs smiled wryly. "I've never carried anyone before. You still want to do this?"

"With the way you ride me at work, you think I'm going to give up the chance to ride you?" Tony smirked.

Gibbs got up from the table and walked around to lean down next to Tony. "You didn't seem to mind the way I rode you last night," he said silkily.

"I wasn't the only one who had fun," Tony returned, waggling his eyebrows.

Snorting, Gibbs straightened up and gave his shoulder a squeeze. "Come on, then."

Quickly, Tony downed the rest of his coffee and deposited the cup in the sink. He got outside just in time to catch Gibbs dropping his pants and grinned. "You know," he said, prompting Gibbs to glance over his shoulder, "this getting naked regularly thing is a definite perk."

Gibbs shook his head and transformed before turning to face Tony. "Waiting for something, DiNozzo?" he prompted.

"No," Tony said, trotting down the steps, "but you're going to have to bear with me here, Gibbs." He regarded the centaur's broad back skeptically. "I'm not exactly going to be graceful."

Gibbs twisted around as much as he could--a little better than halfway--and considered himself. "Put your hands on my withers," he said, patting the rise where the base of his torso merged with his back, "and vault up. And stay forward," he warned. "I don't think it'd be good for my back if you slipped too far."

"Right," Tony muttered, taking a deep breath. He put both hands on Gibbs's withers and jumped, pushing up and swinging his leg over as he went. It ended up being more of a scramble. His abdomen pressed painfully into Gibbs's withers for a moment and his legs flailed, but he got astride with minimal wincing, given the workout he'd had the night before, and scooted forward quickly. Steadying himself with his hands on Gibbs's waist, Tony bowed his head for a moment, powerfully glad that Gibbs couldn't turn around and see how hard he was blushing. Not exactly graceful was right, he thought sheepishly.

"You settled?" Gibbs asked after a moment.

"Yeah," Tony said, clearing his throat. "You okay?"

"I'm good." Gibbs shifted his weight and Tony found himself sliding a little, Gibbs's smooth coat slippery under his jeans. Automatically he slid his arms around the centaur's waist and had to fight down another blush. "You might want to hang on with your legs, too," Gibbs suggested.

"Right," Tony muttered, carefully tightening the grip of his thighs and resisting the urge to dig his heels in. Gibbs was not a horse.

"Okay. Time to go," Gibbs announced, and started off at a steady walk.

Tony was stiff at first, clinging to Gibbs in a way that brought humiliation rushing to the surface even if there was no one to see him struggling to stay on. But eventually Gibbs turned his head and spoke over his shoulder, his voice quiet. "I'm not trying to lose you, Tony," he assured him. "Just relax. Try and move with me."

And somehow that made it better, because if there was one thing Tony knew, it was how two bodies could move together when everything was good and they were both relaxed and into it. So he took a breath, tried to let go of the tension, and made his spine liquid like it felt when he in bed with someone and everything was going right, and suddenly he wasn't on the verge of falling off anymore.

Instead his hips shifted with the sway of Gibbs's back and his body settled into sync with Gibbs's torso. Tony grinned and laughed in triumph and eased up the death grip he had on Gibbs's waist. They kept to the walk for awhile, enjoying the moment, but soon enough Gibbs craned his head around and caught Tony's eye. "You ready for something faster?" he asked challengingly.

"Bring it on," Tony answered, tightening the grip of his arms and legs just a little.

"You got it," Gibbs threw back at him. He broke straight from the walk into a slow canter. Tony had a scarily uncertain moment, but then he settled into the new rhythm and realized it was even smoother than the walk had been. Shouting in exhilaration, Tony leaned into Gibbs, who picked up the pace until the wind was rushing by them and the beats of his hooves striking the ground shook their bodies.

Tony pressed his chest into Gibbs's back and leaned into the wind with him, smiling so broadly his face hurt and the ache in his ass was forgotten and all there was in the world was him and Gibbs and the wind and their bodies moving together, as smooth and perfect as he'd ever felt.