"I promise you'll like it," Tony wheedled, holding up the DVD. "It's a classic, Gibbs, you can't not like it."
"I'm not a movie person. Plenty of people don't like the so-called classics," Gibbs said stubbornly.
Tony hung his head momentarily. "Listen," he said after a long moment, "you said you wanted more than a quick fuck. If you don't want to spend time with me outside of bed, then a quick fuck is what I am. If that's what you want, fine!" Tony sank back against the couch. "But at least let me know where I stand."
"Tony," Gibbs said seriously, "I couldn't be casual with you if I wanted to." Tony frowned and Gibbs took advantage of his confusion to lean forward and snag the DVD case. He raised a skeptical brow at the blurb on the back.
"If it's just because we work together--" Tony began, but Gibbs cut him off.
"This has nothing to do with work," he said.
"How can it not?" Tony asked stubbornly. "Rule number 12--"
"I made that rule--" Gibbs broke off as the doorbell rang and cursed.
Curiously, Tony scooted towards the end of the couch and peered down the short hallway to the front door. Gibbs opened it, but his body blocked the sight of whoever was there. The way his spine stiffened, on the other hand, was perfectly obvious. As was the cool, hard sound of his voice when he greeted the visitor. "Jennifer."
"Leroy," the visitor--Jennifer--said. Her voice was warm, but Tony winced at hearing her address Gibbs by his first name. No matter who she was, he couldn't imagine Gibbs inviting her to use that name, not when he asked everyone else to call him Jethro.
"What are you doing here?" Gibbs demanded. Tony craned his neck, but he still couldn't see the woman.
"Why so harsh, Leroy? We grew up together." Now Tony really wanted to see her. Gibbs, however, was stubbornly blocking her from his view. Either that, Tony realized, or Gibbs didn't want her to see Tony. He scowled.
Gibbs didn't seem to be swayed by the appeal to old ties. "We were children together, Jennifer. I did most of my growing up after I was fostered out, and that was forty years ago."
"Okay, it's been a long time," Jennifer conceded, "but we're still family. Listen, Leroy--"
"Gibbs," Gibbs interrupted.
"Call me Gibbs," he clarified. "Or if you have to be familiar, at least use Jethro."
"Oh. Jethro, then," she said, sounding a little uncomfortable now. You don't know him, Tony thought. Bet you don't want to be reminded of that, do you? "I don't think we want to have this conversation on the doorstep," Jennifer finished, lowering her voice just a little.
For the first time it struck Tony that if she'd grown up with Gibbs, this Jennifer must be a centaur, too. He wanted to smack himself upside the head for being so slow on the uptake but...well, he figured he could cut himself a little slack given that he was dealing with mythical creatures. Not something you work into your mental picture of the world too quickly, he thought wryly.
"You're here on family business, I take it," Gibbs said calmly. He placed no particular emphasis on "family", for which Tony could only be grateful. Centaurs had made his life strange enough without flashbacks to mobster movies.
"Yeah," Jennifer admitted reluctantly.
Gibbs took a step back from the door. "You'd better come in," he said calmly, as if there'd never been any question of it. Turning, he rejoined Tony in the living room, leaving Jennifer to close the door behind her. Tony glanced at Gibbs, but gave most of his attention to the woman who'd stepped inside.
She looked to be about Gibbs's age. Maybe a year or two younger, going by the occasional streak of brown remaining in her hair. Other than that, she was...completely ordinary. She was dressed in blue jeans and an ordinary, loose, brown blouse, her feet clad in thick socks and leather sandals. Coming into the living room, Tony caught her eye, but there was none of Gibbs's sheer presence in her curious gaze or the friendly nod she gave him. Tony toned down his usual smile, unsure of anyone that Gibbs had treated with such veiled hostility, and returned the nod.
"Is this him, then?" Jennifer asked, looking at Gibbs but tilting her head towards Tony.
"Which him would that be?"
Tony looked up at the two of them standing over him and was tempted to get up, if only to stop them from literally talking over his head. One look at Gibbs nipped that idea in the bud. Tony could actually see the tension crawling up the man's spine and spreading through his body.
Jennifer rolled her eyes. "The...young man...you brought with you to Jameson's ranch last week." Tony could hear the word she'd hadn't used--human--echoing in the room.
Gibbs shifted position a little, placing himself more directly between Tony and Jennifer. Tony could feel his eyebrows climbing his forehead. Was he being protective, or jealous? "What's your interest in Tony?" Gibbs demanded.
Or maybe protective and jealous, Tony thought wryly, standing. If they were going to talk about him, he wasn't going to let them forget that he was there, Gibbs's tension be damned. "Boss," he began, intending to ask for an introduction.
"Don't, DiNozzo," Gibbs barked.
Tony subsided automatically, but looked over Gibbs's shoulder to find Jennifer watching him with an odd expression on her face. "Brian sent me to ask you about him," she said.
"He's none of Brian's concern."
"Who the hell is Brian?" Tony hissed. Gibbs reached back and cuffed him upside the head without ever taking his eyes off Jennifer. Automatically smoothing his hair back into place, Tony leveled his best glare at Gibbs, who remained frustratingly oblivious.
"He's Brian's concern if taking up with him means you've backed off your claim on the herd," Jennifer argued. "He'd rest easier, knowing you were committed to a human."
Gibbs's lips twisted into a bitter smile. "I got married three times and he never seemed particularly reassured."
Snorting, Jennifer tossed her head to get a little hair out of her eyes and pinned Gibbs with a sardonic gaze. "The whole herd knew you'd leave any one of those women if you thought the herd needed, or even just wanted, you to take over. You never told them about yourself because you wanted to be able to make a clean break when you left them behind to join us."
"Are you implying," Gibbs said, his voice low and hard, "that I married my wives with the intention of leaving them?"
Tony caught himself holding his breath, his gaze bouncing from Gibbs to Jennifer like a spectator at a tennis match. He'd wanted to interrupt this? Gibbs's personal life was being laid out like dishes at a banquet.
Jennifer backpedaled a bit. "Not consciously, but you were always holding something back."
"And after one weekend, what makes you think Tony is different?"
Tony's gaze shot back to his lover, but Gibbs's expression wasn't giving anything away. Damn the man.
"You told him about yourself," Jennifer said immediately. "You changed for him, even let him up onto your back, something that--as far as Brian is aware--you've never done for anyone before. He'll be pleased to know I found him," she nodded towards Tony, "here."
"Well," Gibbs murmured, eyes glittering, "it's good to know an old warhorse like me can still make the Herd Stallion nervous." A small smile curved the edges of his lips.
"So?" Jennifer pushed. Tony looked from her to Gibbs, feeling like he was missing something here.
Gibbs hesitated for a long time, eventually turning to look at Tony for a long moment. Tony held his gaze, not sure what he was looking for. All the younger man could do was trust that whatever the hell was going on, Gibbs wouldn't fuck it up. Eventually Gibbs turned back to Jennifer and tilted his head a little. "I have my own people to worry about," he said at last.
Jennifer let out a long sigh and nodded firmly. "I'll let Brian know." She took a step towards the door and then paused and turned halfway back to the two of them. "I have to confess, Jethro, I've wondered for a long time how things would work out for you."
Gibbs snorted. "Somehow I doubt that," he said. "I never heard from a single one of you after I left." Tony blinked in surprise, absorbing this sudden parallel to his own life, and looked immediately to Jennifer for her reaction.
"You made it pretty clear that you meant to come back and challenge," she protested. "You know what Murphy would have thought if one of us had kept in touch."
"And when Brian took over?" he challenged. "What stopped you then? Force of habit? Faulty memory?"
"Fear," Jennifer shot back. She folded her arms across her chest and look away from him. "We didn't know Brian, you know. He was from another herd altogether. We were all playing it safe. But that doesn't mean we didn't worry about you. After you lost the herd..." She looked up and made a helpless gesture. "I couldn't imagine you alone, but I knew you wouldn't compromise when it came to dominance."
"I tried," Gibbs said tightly.
"But you couldn't," she said, shrugging, "and humans don't take well to being owned. It's why I... We... always thought you'd eventually challenge Brian, regardless of how strong either of you were. The herd has been expecting for years now to lose you both, you know." Suddenly she smiled. "I should have known that you'd find people of your own, even among the humans," she said, and winked broadly at Tony. His jaw dropped, but she'd departed before he managed to get his mouth in gear.
Gibbs, however, was not gone.
He was, in fact, watching Tony with a gratifying wariness in his eyes. "Tony..."
"Dominance?" Tony queried tightly.
Tony braced himself to get in Gibbs's face. "Owned?" he demanded. "Because you fucked me, I belong to you now? Is that it?"
Gibbs didn't even flinch. "You belonged to me before I fucked you, DiNozzo," he said flatly.
"Oh really?" Tony half laughed. "When did this happen? When I went to that ranch with you? When I found out?"
"When I hired you."
"Gee, I must have overlooked that part of the contract," Tony shot back. "I thought I was accepting a job offer, not signing myself into slavery."
Gibbs's hands fisted at his sides. "Dominance isn't slavery," he ground out.
Tony took a step forward, right into Gibbs's personal space. "You think you own me! How is that not slavery?"
"It's not about exploiting you," Gibbs said quietly, voice tight with frustration. "It's about leadership. Responsibility. Support."
"And the sex?" Tony asked. "What is that about?"
Gibbs leaned in close and spoke low and intense. "That was about me wanting you, DiNozzo," he said, close enough for his breath to touch Tony's skin. Tony had to suppress a shudder. "And you being too stubborn to back down when I warned you it could get...complicated," Gibbs finished.
Anger lent Tony the strength to stiffen his spine. "So this is my fault now?" he asked sarcastically. "Let me ask you this: would you have taken me to bed if I didn't belong to you?"
Tony stared at him for a moment. "No excuses?" he asked at last. "No explanations? Just 'no'?"
"Just no," Gibbs confirmed evenly.
"You're telling me that if I want to be your lover I have to accept being owned by you?"
"You don't get to accept it or not accepted it," Gibbs snapped. "You're mine, like Kate is mine and McGee is mine and Abby and Ducky are mine. Dominance isn't a decision, DiNozzo, it's just the way things are."
"So what makes you the dominant one?" Tony challenged.
Gibbs's eyes went hard. "Back down, DiNozzo!" he barked.
Automatically, Tony stepped out of Gibbs's personal space. His mouth was open to apologize when he realized what he'd done and flushed red with anger and embarrassment. "Reality check, Gibbs! Humans don't own each other!"
Tony almost rocked back on his heels from the force of Gibbs's declaration. "I'm not a centaur," he choked out.
"I am," Gibbs said flatly. "This is the way it is for me, DiNozzo. You're mine or you're a threat."
Tony took a shaky breath. "And if I decide I don't want to belong to you? To anyone?"
Gibbs shook his head. "It doesn't work that way. I'm dominant. That means I choose who is part of the...group. You can ask to leave, but it's my decision."
"You're completely surrounded by humans and you can't even try to do things our way?" Tony asked, a little helplessly.
"I have tried. I tried three times. Is that number ringing any bells for you?" Gibbs was so frustrated Tony could almost feel it radiating off of him.
Three times. "Oh," Tony muttered.
"I am what I am, DiNozzo. That's not going to change." For a moment Gibbs sounded truly tired. "If you can't handle that, go home. I'll see you in the office tomorrow morning."
"But I'll still belong to you," Tony said hesitantly.
"You don't think that'll be a problem?"
Gibbs shook his head. "It hasn't been for the past four years."
Four years, Tony repeated silently. The longest he'd ever held down a job before he was transferred. He still remembered how he felt when Gibbs had invited him to join NCIS. He didn't think he'd ever forget that feeling. Sighing heavily, he turned and let himself collapse onto Gibbs's sofa. After a long moment, Gibbs sat next to him.
"So how does this," Tony gestured vaguely, "dominance thing work? What are you expecting me to do?"
"There isn't a manual, DiNozzo," Gibbs said. "I can't give you a list of rules. If you were a centaur I could at least say I'd expect obedience, but you aren't a centaur." He cast a look in Tony's direction, "Which isn't to say I won't expect obedience at work. But here? I don't know."
"Does the fact that we're sleeping together change anything?"
Gibbs hesitated. "No."
"You hesitated," Tony's eyes narrowed. "What aren't you telling me?"
Gibbs favored him with a brief glare, but there wasn't any real intent behind it. "If you weren't already my senior field agent, it would change things," he allowed. "But you are, so it's immaterial."
"Are you telling me that your lover has more authority with you at work than a senior agent would have?" Tony asked, stunned.
Gibbs wouldn't meet his gaze. "In a centaur herd, the lead mare has authority over the rest of the herd. Between the fact that you now know and your presence in my bed, that makes you the...equivalent in my herd. The team."
Tony ran a hand through his hair. "I'm going to ignore the lead mare comment in favor of a heartfelt, shit." Suddenly realization dawned. "This is the reason for rule number 12, isn't it?"
"So," Tony paused and raised his eyebrows, "what's this about your claim on the centaur herd?"
"Didn't you have a movie you wanted to watch?" Gibbs asked abruptly, leaning forward to retrieve the DVD from where it lay on the coffee table.
"Sure," he said easily, getting up to drop the DVD into the player. "Why else would I have hauled this thing up from the basement?" He patted the TV and made a mental note: always present the option you want as the lesser of two evils.
The credits rolled on The Thin Man and Tony cast a sidelong glance at Gibbs. He didn't seem exactly enthused, but he hadn't fallen asleep or retreated to the basement to work on the boat, so Tony considered it a victory.
Gibbs turned his head and met Tony's glance. "That's your favorite movie?" he asked skeptically.
"Sure," Tony said, hitting the stop button the remote. "One of 'em. Why? Didn't think it was any good?"
"The quality isn't the issue. The content, on the other hand..." Gibbs cast him a speculative glance. "Maybe I don't know you quite as well as I think I do."
Tony laughed. "Coming from you, that's rich," he returned lightly. He turned the remote over in his hands a few times, then rose and crouched by the TV to start unhooking the DVD player. He took his time unplugging the cables and coiling them up, but when he emerged from behind the TV, Gibbs was still sitting on the couch. Only now he was leaning forward, his arms braced on his knees, and seemed to have been watching Tony carefully. Either that or checking out his ass.
"Boss?" he queried, and then winced. He tried not to use it outside of work, but sometimes the damn word just slipped out. Normally neither of them paid attention. At least, Tony didn't. He had to wonder, now, if it meant something different to Gibbs when he slipped that way.
"You planning on going home, DiNozzo?" Gibbs asked.
Was he? Tony looked at Gibbs sitting there, completely self-possessed, and knew he couldn't leave feeling so off balance. Not when Gibbs looked solid and grounded and a little amused at Tony's uncertainty. "No," Tony said firmly, setting the DVD player down on the coffee table and walking over to Gibbs. "But we're done with the movies."
"That so?" Gibbs asked, eyes twinkling.
"Yeah," Tony confirmed. He put his hands on Gibbs's shoulders and pushed him back against the sofa. Leaving his hands where they were, Tony kicked off his shoes and climbed up to kneel astride Gibbs's lap. "That's so," he breathed, and leaned in for a kiss.
God, it was good kissing Gibbs. Good to feel those lips part under his and go soft, good to feel the tongue brushing at Tony's lips, asking for entrance. He slipped his tongue into Gibbs's mouth instead, exploring, tasting, stroking. Gibbs tilted his head a little, opening up further, and Tony took advantage, deepening the kiss hungrily.
After a long moment Tony pulled back, a little breathless with desire, and treated himself to a softer, lighter kiss before moving on to explore Gibbs's jaw line. There were a few fine lines where his jaw met his throat, one of the subtler signs that Gibbs had reached the other side of 50. Tony licked at the creases and gave the skin a little nibble, reveling in the shiver it provoked.
"You want to move this to the bedroom?" Gibbs asked, his voice gratifyingly rough.
Tony sat back a little and trailed one hand down from Gibbs's shoulder to the buttons of his shirt. "Nope," he said cheerfully. One by one, he slipped the buttons free, his hand descending until it rested just on the waist of Gibbs's slacks. Tony leaned in until his forehead was brushing his lover's and met that blue gaze steadily. "I figured we'd finish this," his hand drifted lower, brushing lightly over the ridge of Gibbs's cock, "right...here." Tony pressed down and felt Gibbs harden further under his hand.
His own body singing with lust and accomplishment, Tony stroked Gibbs through his pants and watched his eyes go heavy lidded and his mouth ease open with pleasure. I did that, Tony thought. I did that to Gibbs. A shudder went through him and his cock pulsed and thickened eagerly. He could do more.
It took all of Tony's control not to fumble as he tugged at the belt, button, and zipper of Gibbs's pants, all one handed, because he was damned if he'd move the hand he'd planted on the older man's shoulder. At moments, it seemed like all that was holding him up.
Hands moved to cup Tony's ass. "Tony," Gibbs moaned, squeezing a little, almost unconsciously.
"Yeah?" Tony asked, fingers sliding under the elastic of the older man's briefs, knuckles brushing his bare belly through the gap between the sides of his open shirt.
Gibbs gave him a hot look and another little squeeze. "Touch me?"
Tony took his mouth for another kiss and breathed his answer against moist lips, "Yeah." While their mouths met again and again, soft and slick, Tony pushed Gibbs's briefs aside and wrapped his hand around his hot, hard cock. It was heavy and thick in Tony's hand, full of life and desire and god Tony loved it. He loved the weight of it and the pulse of it in his hand as he squeezed and pulled, driving Gibbs to his climax.
Reluctantly, Tony left off kissing Gibbs so that he could watch the man come. Gibbs's mouth was incredible, but the feeling of his body arching against Tony, muscles spasming, was better. Tony watched intently, working Gibbs's cock until it was spent and Tony's hand was sticky with semen. He gave it a cursory wipe on the tail of Gibbs's shirt, more intent on his own aching arousal.
"What do you want?" Gibbs asked, his hands already coming around to work at the fastenings of Tony's pants, drawing his cock out and fondling it, not really stroking.
"Your mouth," Tony gasped without thinking. "I want your mouth on me."
He'd had sex on enough couches that he hardly had to think before he twisted and slid off Gibbs's lap, one foot on the floor and the other leg bent, pressed into the back of the couch. Gibbs turned and bent over his groin and that couldn't be comfortable, hell, Tony knew it wasn't, but Gibbs did it anyway, bracing one hand on Tony's leg and swallowing his cock down, smooth and deep.
Tony moaned, hips jerking upwards, and threaded his fingers into Gibbs's silver hair. The curve of his head warmed Tony's palms and there was hardly any resistance when Tony urged him to go deeper, take more. "God, that's good," Tony panted.
Gibbs took that either as a sign or as a challenge, because in the next moment his hand tightened on Tony's thigh and he sucked so hard that Tony cried out and thrust helplessly and Gibbs just took it, just let him. It was too good to last. Tony came moaning heavily, constantly, his fingers aching where he'd pressed them into Gibbs's scalp.
Prying his eyes open, Tony looked up to see Gibbs licking his lips as he sat back. A sound that was not a whimper escaped Tony, but he was too thoroughly spent to even think about getting hard again. After a moment, Tony struggled into a sitting position and tucked himself back into his briefs and pants. Both of their clothes were stained and wrinkled. Abruptly, Tony winced.
"Didn't think to bring a change of clothes, did you?" Gibbs asked. Tony cast him a sidelong glance. Yup, the amusement was definitely back. "Come on," Gibbs pushed himself up off the couch. "You can sleep here. I'll drop you at your place before work tomorrow. If you want."
Like he was going to turn down a chance to sleep with Gibbs? Even if it was just sleep. "Sure," he said easily, following Gibbs into the bedroom.
Things had a tendency to work themselves out.