by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)

Author's Notes: Not betaed.

Also, way back when I thought I had finally written a story that could have a title starting with X, completing my long desired (and silly) goal of having written a story for every letter of the alphabet in a single fandom. That story, alas, never got posted because I hated it so much. But look! Now I truly have done it! I have written an NCIS story for every single letter of the alphabet! BWA HA HA!

If Tony had been thinking clearly, he would have realized that it was a bad idea to leave Kate to hang out in the living room while he washed off the mud he'd been crawling through today. Kate was a complete hypocrite when it came to snooping; she bitched him out she caught him going through her things, but she never missed a chance to do it herself.

But he wasn't thinking clearly. He just wanted to stop itching and stinking and feel clean again. So Kate had a whole thirty minutes to herself in his apartment. When he returned to the living room, feeling marginally more human in a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt, he discovered that she'd found his porn.

At first he just chuckled to himself. Sorting through DVD cases gaudily decorated with naked, big breasted women and exposed pussies was bound to be way more upsetting to Kate's sometimes puritan sensibilities than it was to him. Then he realized she'd actually dug past the first two rows of DVDs into the back of his collection.

Tony blanched.

Kate didn't seem to realize he'd come back into the room. She finished perusing the DVD she held and then set it down and reached back into the depths of the wall unit to retrieve another one. She didn't seem upset, at least. As Tony watched she flipped over the case and read the back of it before setting it down and reaching into the wall unit for another.

Tony cleared his throat. Kate didn't so much as twitch in surprise. She didn't even look up from the new DVD case until she'd finished reading the back of it. When she did finally look up she seemed calm, but a little hurt. "Tony," she said, setting the DVD case down. "I know we tease each other a lot, but did you really think I'd freak out if I knew you were into guys?"

Sighing, Tony sat down on the couch heavily. "It wasn't about you," he said. "It was just...easier, you know? Safer. I was in the PD for a long time and that's not exactly a good place to be out. I still can't figure out if NCIS would be better or worse." He raised his hands as if weighing the possibilities. "On the one hand, federal agencies are supposed to have tolerance policies. On the other hand, quasi-military organization."

"Looks like you enjoy the military part, at least," Kate said, smirking just a little and waving Military Maneuvers: Marine Sex Action at him.

Tony flushed hotly and wonder if she'd been through enough of the DVDs to pick up on...

"Private Passions. What looks like the entire series of Devil Dogs. And," Kate paused dramatically, "Bobby's Marines Film 1, 2, and 3."

...the theme.

Tony moaned in pained embarassment and slid off the couch onto the floor next to her. "Okay, so maybe I have a bit of a fetish."

"This isn't an fetish, this is an obsession," Kate said, but she was smirking at him. "Do you have any gay porn that doesn't feature Marines?" Tony scratched the back of his neck uncomfortably and didn't answer. Kate started laughing. "You don't, do you?"

"I have the straight porn!" Tony protested weakly.

Kate gave him a look. "And I bet it's been awhile since you watched it."

"Who needs porn when you're getting the real thing?" Tony suggested.

Kate just snorted. "Every man in existence," she said dryly. "What I want to know is, did this fetish crop up before or after you met Gibbs?"

"Before," Tony said firmly. Although at the time, he'd had non-Marine porn, too. He'd gotten rid of it since; he'd needed the space for new acquisitions.

Kate hummed skeptically, but didn't call him on it. "Well, this does solve one mystery," she commented, setting the DVDs aside and leaning back on her hands.

"What's that?" Tony asked, genuinely curious. People didn't usually consider him much of a mystery.

"Why you take Gibbs's shit," she answered. "I've read your profile, Tony. You've never been shy about leaving a department if you felt you weren't being treated well or if your talents weren't being put to the best use. It's been driving me crazy trying to figure out why you let Gibbs ride you the way he does." Kate smiled wickedly. "I just didn't figure you enjoyed it."

Tony groaned and flopped back to lie stretched out on the floor. "I'm never going to hear the end of this, am I?"

"Nope," Kate said cheerfully.

Tony looked up and met her gaze. After a moment he grinned broadly. "Be careful. I might fill you in on one or two of my fantasies about Gibbs and completely ruin your ability to ever look him in the eye again."

Kate narrowed her eyes at him. "You wouldn't."

Tony just grinned wider. "I have this one," he said with relish, "where I get the call for a case, but when I call Gibbs he isn't answering his cell, so I go over to his place. The door is open, so I just go in, but he isn't in the basement, so I start checking other rooms, and when I get close to his bedroom I can hear--"

Kate clapped her hands over her ears and started singing. Breaking off his story, Tony laughed until his eyes were watering and his stomach was aching and Kate picked up Military Maneuvers: Marine Sex Action and threw it at him.