Author’s notes: This story follows ‘Judgment Night’, and is a tag to the episode ‘Agent Afloat’. Read ‘Judgment Night’ first, or know that the premise is a recently established relationship between Gibbs and Tony. Written in two days, after watching ‘Agent Afloat’ several times. Wonderful episode, especially for Gibbs/Tony shippers. For obvious reasons, Ziva is also in this. My beta warns me it's pretty sugary, so consider yourselves warned ;)


Agent in Love


Tony didn’t quite believe it when Vance first said it.

“Gibbs and Ziva flew out last night.”

“To Cartagena?” Tony asked.

McGee sounded a bit flustered as he spoke. “Yeah, Tony. That’s what I was trying to tell you before.”

Tony didn’t even think to snap at McGee for not spitting it out sooner. His mind was filled and reeling with the thought of seeing—

“Well, when do they get here?” he asked, voice filled with impatience.

The sound of Gibbs’ voice was the most beautiful sound he’d ever heard. “Already have.”

Ziva stood next to him, but she paled in comparison. In Tony’s mind, there was nothing so beautiful as Gibbs – broad shoulders, straight back, silver hair in perfect order – and a smile that could only be called wide considering how much he usually smiled.

Ziva cocked her head to the side. “Nice tan.”

Tony grinned. It was a thousand watt, true, honest grin – the first one he’d given in four months. It was all he could do to not run to Gibbs and throw himself in his arms, kiss him senseless, and tell him that he would never let go. With Ziva there, such an action would be—unwise.

They walked the short distance to the coroner’s office, and Tony asked about the flight out, because he had no idea where to start, and he didn’t want to talk too much to Gibbs, lest he slip.

As he opened the door to the coroner’s office, he had to bait Gibbs, just a little. “So, let me guess – you guys caught a bad case of DiNozzo-itis and had Vance send you down south?”

God knew he’d have gone home with his serious case of Gibb-itis months ago, had it been up to him.

Of course, Ziva took the bait instead. “DiNozzo-itis,” she said, tasting the word. “Sounds – venereal.”

Tony shrugged, turning to them. There was no reason to stop, but he wanted to look at Gibbs again. Tony knew that this case would be over soon enough – and then he’d be back in the hell-hole of the Sea Hawk.

“Kay, don’t admit it,” he said. “I know you missed me.” He looked over at Gibbs, who looked back at him with unreadable eyes. Tony couldn’t help but add, more quietly, “I missed you, boss.”

Gibbs didn’t reciprocate – not that Tony had expected him to. A hint of a small smile was all Tony got to see, together with an, “Yeah. I know, DiNozzo.”

Somehow, it was enough. After seven years, Tony knew enough about Gibbs to be able to read between the lines. And besides, a moment later, when Gibbs’ phone rang, Gibbs brushed by him as he walked between Tony and Ziva to speak more privately. He hadn’t needed to do that, and Tony watched him, body aching with the need to go over and touch, hold, hug, kiss.

But he was left with Ziva, and he could feel her eyes burning a hole into him.

“What?” he finally had to ask, because she was waiting for him to ask, and she’d keep staring until he did.

“You seem—different,” Ziva said.

Tony couldn’t resist. “Taller? Hotter?”

A beat passed as his words rang out and she replied, “Older.”

He sighed inwardly. He really, really didn’t want to have this discussion with her. There was only one person he wanted to talk to, and his eyes traveled to him automatically.

“Well, it’s been over four months,” he said by way of response.

“You still beating yourself up over Jenny?” Ziva asked.

Tony hid a frown behind the expressionless mask he’d been practicing for so many years. Jenny? No, he didn’t think about Jenny as much as he would have expected to. Guilt still plagued him – he still thought there were things he ought to have done, that he didn’t do – but it hadn’t consumed him. She had put him through hell with Jeanne, and she had never apologized about any of it, so his feelings as far as that went were still conflicted, to say the least.

Instead, his thoughts had been on Gibbs. There were no words to express how much he’d missed Gibbs. His boss, his friend, his—lover. They hadn’t gone all the way the night before he shipped out, because they had both been too drained, but they had fallen asleep, Gibbs’ arms wrapped around Tony, and that memory has lingered with him. He’d never felt so safe.

Now Gibbs was there, with him once again. Tony couldn’t believe it, couldn’t stop watching.

“Not as much as I used to,” he said to Ziva.

“Drinking?” she asked, insisting on more questions.

Tony waited a beat. “Not as much as I used to.”

Drinking on the Reagan had never been a smart move. He was the Agent Afloat – he wasn’t supposed to be drinking.

Ziva’s hand felt like an electrical shock as it touched his shoulder, but he managed to hide the surprise.

“You could have called,” she said.

Tony wondered if she thought the low voice was seductive, or if she was simply trying to be comforting. It was likely a little bit of both, and he couldn’t say that he appreciated either one.

He turned slowly, dragging out the process so that he could figure out a response to her, but Gibbs returned before an answer had been forced out of him. Just standing next to him was enough to make Tony dizzy.

“Cod’s on the way from the Sea Hawk,” Gibbs said. “You’ve got an hour, DiNozzo.”

He’d never had trouble kicking into work-mode when he had to. “Okay, listen – I was thinking maybe we should let Ziva handle the coroner. I got a hunch.”

There was no need to mention that although he was fairly certain the coroner in fact would appreciate Ziva’s good looks, it was also, in part, a way to get Gibbs to himself, if only for a few minutes.

It took about two seconds for the coroner to fall head over heels in love with Ziva, and he started her in an animate conversation. Tony smiled – she could use her low, seductive voice on the coroner all she wanted – and he retreated to the body of the dead Lieutenant Evans, and the report they’d wanted access to, with Gibbs

“Everything—good with you, boss?” he asked, as nonchalantly as he could.

Gibbs looked amused. “Yeah, DiNozzo. Everything’s good.”

Tony didn’t know why he was suddenly so nervous, but his heart was pounding. “So, you, uh—talked to Vance?”

“Not yet,” Gibbs said.

Tony nodded, licking his lips, and searching his brain for something intelligent and nice to say. He wondered if Gibbs used to have this dumbing effect on him before – he hoped not, and he hoped that he’d get over it soon, because he sure wasn’t going to be of any help to the case, if all he could think about was how lovely Gibbs’ hair looked, and how much he’d like to run his hands through it.

“Not here, DiNozzo.”

Gibbs’ quiet words reached Tony’s – there had never been any problems with his hearing. His eyes widened at the realization that he must be wearing his heart on his sleeve, and he quickly schooled his expression into a more fitting one.

Ziva laughed, and Gibbs and Tony both looked over at her. The coroner was busily recounting some story to her, and she looked thoroughly engrossed.

Gibbs turned back to Tony. “Got a hunch, huh?”

Tony grinned. “The powers of observation.”

Then the smiles stopped for a while, as they turned to the dead lieutenant. Then, when Gibbs’ phone rang, Tony’s heart fell another mile, when Gibbs said:


He would never feel comfortable around even the mention of bio weapons again, not after his intimate rendez vous with the Plague. Sometimes, he could still feel the lingering effects of that damn illness – running was one of the things that had become a lot tougher afterwards, although he still did it.

“Anthrax, boss?” he asked as Gibbs closed his cell.

“Someone posing as Lieutenant Evans might be planning an attack on the Sea Hawk,” Gibbs said. “David!”

Ziva abruptly ended her conversation with the coroner, who looked crestfallen as she left. She came over.

“Do we have what we need?” she asked.

Gibbs nodded. “Heading back to the Sea Hawk.”

“Oh, joy,” Tony said, rolling his eyes. Then he winced, glancing at Gibbs, expecting a head slap. But Gibbs simply gave him another of his amused smiles – he would be using up a whole year worth of smiles, Tony thought, grinning – and continue walking by his side.

The flight back to the ship was loud but uneventful. Ziva seemed uncomfortable, and Tony flashed back to the mission with Kate, the first time she’d flown out to a ship, starting and landing the way they did. Then Tony pushed the memory out of his mind; he didn’t need to think about the other woman he’d failed in his life – not right now, not in the middle of a hot case.

“Welcome to the bird farm,” the Captain said as they came inside, back on the Sea Hawk.

Tony sighed, and made a face. “It’s great to be back.”

“Completed verification of your crew, Captain?” Gibbs asked, ignoring Tony’s quip.

“Matching FSR’s against five thousand souls is not an easy task, Agent Gibbs,” the Captain said, and showed them the way. “Doing it discreetly – damn near impossible.”

Ziva covered her ear when another flight landed. Tony didn’t, but only because he knew there was no real point – the sound was gone and over soon enough.

“You get used to it,” the Captain said. 

Tony had to disagree. “No, you don’t.”

A minute later, they’d entered Tony’s lair. He held back a shudder – how he hated this place. He knew it was an honor and a step up to be off Gibbs’ team and be an Agent Afloat instead, but Tony hated every second of it. He wanted to be on Gibbs’ team – that was where he belonged. He wanted to be with Gibbs, period.

The Captain was working with them, for which Tony was grateful. He’d had enough sailors working against him in the last four months, enough people hating him and thinking he was a horrid person for doing his job.

“This is where you have been the last month?” Ziva asked, looking around the room, clearly unimpressed.

“Yeah,” Tony said, humorlessly. “It’s just like the squad room, only I’m the squad and there’s no room.”

They were ordered out to interview Jonah Kaplan. As he and Ziva left, Tony grumbling internally about having to spend every second with Ziva and no seconds with Gibbs when all they had were a few lousy hours together, Ziva saw the pictures he’d put up. It wasn’t really for the body – although she did have a nice one – so much as that he hadn’t been able to get a hold of any other pictures before he left. The one he’d taken of Gibbs, just as he entered the bedroom that night, before Tony left, had never been printed – but it had been stared at for many hours, on his cell phone. He was glad, now, that he’d never had a way to print it and put it up. It would have been difficult to explain, to say the least.

Ziva seemed to take some sort of perverse pleasure in the fact that Tony had her on his wall in a bikini. She pretended to be angry, but somehow, he got the feeling that she wasn’t.

Then they started talking about McGee, and they both knew that it wasn’t really him they were talking about. Tony knew Ziva thought he was talking about them, but in reality – “working leads, interrogating – not to mention Gibbs, Duckster, you and me, Abs—you get used to seeing someone every day, talking to ‘em, relying on them, and then suddenly they’re not there—”

She pressed close to him as they walked, using the narrow corridors as a reason to do so.

He wished Gibbs was there with him instead. She looked at him, dark eyes lit with something that he couldn’t name, and if he could, he didn’t want to.

The interview gave little to nothing, because Kaplan was nowhere to be found. Once done, he told Ziva to wait for five minutes.

“What for?” she asked, cocking her head to the side.

“I just have to do something,” Tony said, and he left. He knew she wouldn’t move – she wouldn’t be able to find her way around the ship, and thus it was easier to just stay put.

He went and recorded a message in the communications central, asking the lieutenant in charge to loop it on every TV-screen on the ship. Returning a few minutes later, he was only too glad to go back to his room, where Gibbs was waiting.

“The ship’s crew has been verified,” Gibbs said as they entered. “Everyone who’s supposed to be here’s here.”

“Looking for a ghost,” Ziva concluded.

“Kaplan skipped his watch, and he’s not answering pages,” Tony said.

“He was in DC before he joined the ship,” Ziva said.

“Conveniently, he’s the only one who’s seen Lieutenant Evan’s killer,” Tony said.

“Claims to have seen him,” Gibbs said. Tony swallowed lightly at the mere sound of his voice. Gibbs was calm and collected, mind focused on the job – Tony wished he could be as focused. As it was, the close proximity to Gibbs seemed to steal away at least twenty percent of his focus. At least.

“You think Kaplan may be conspiring with the killer?” Ziva asked, frowning at Gibbs.

“Or Kaplan is the killer,” Gibbs said.

“Kaplan could have checked on twice,” Tony said, following Gibbs’ train of thought. “First as himself, then slipped away, checked on again as Lieutenant Evans.”

When Gibbs told Tony to ‘find him’ – Kaplan – Tony stretched and felt proud of himself.

“Already on it,” he said, turning the TV on. His own face appeared on the screen, reading the message he’d recorded a few minutes earlier. He smiled at Gibbs. “On a loop.”

Gibbs gave another of his amused smiles. “You got a b-plan, DiNozzo?”

Tony’s smile came to a screeching halt.

“B—b-plan?” he stammered, and his mind trying it’s best to work while Gibbs was smiling at him. “A plan b? Be prepared? B? Of course I’ve got a plan b! What kind of agent afloat would I be if I didn’t have a plan b? You’ve gotta—you’ve gotta have a plan b. I’m all about the plan b.”

He really didn’t have a plan b, and though Gibbs was still smiling, Tony felt his temperature rise with every second that he couldn’t figure out a plan b.

Thankfully, the phone rang at that moment, and he could tell Gibbs, rather proudly, with a finger pointed at the phone – “Plan a. Found him. Sick bay.”

He grinned at Gibbs, who raised an eyebrow at him. “Do you want a pat on the head for a job well done?”

“That’d be nice,” Tony grinned.

“Don’t hold your breath,” Gibbs said, passing Tony. He brushed against him again, and Tony knew it wasn’t the least bit accidental. “Let’s go.”

Tony and Ziva hurried after Gibbs, Ziva shooting him odd looks. Tony wondered just how much of the subtext Ziva had caught, but then he realized that he didn’t really care, not right now.

When Kaplan turned out to be innocent, because he didn’t fit the timeline of the crimes, Tony looked to Gibbs, who wore an expression of frustration.

“What now, boss?” Tony asked. He wasn’t entirely sure whether Gibbs was really the boss of him at the moment – Tony was the agent afloat, and as such, he probably led the investigation – but Gibbs would never be anything but the boss to Tony.

“Go search Kaplan’s room,” Gibbs said.

“I already searched it—” Tony said, but Gibbs’ glare interrupted him. “You want us to search it again.”

Gibbs didn’t say anything; he didn’t need to.

Tony and Ziva headed down to Kaplan’s room, shared, as most of the other tiny rooms on the ship, with three other men. It took a half hour to go through everything, find the morphine, and have a conversation that Tony didn’t care for. Ziva had left someone behind in Israel, that much was obvious – but what had him on the verge of anger was the fact that she didn’t seem to want to be in DC at all. It seemed wholly unfair that he wanted to get back on Gibbs’ team with every fiber of his being, whilst she was on the team once again, and didn’t fully want to be there.

Tony breathed a sigh of relief when Gibbs entered the room and told them that Kaplan had been tested negative for Anthrax. Instead, the blame was transferred to the morphine Tony had just found. A phone call from Abby later, and Gibbs said, “Need to access the ship’s sick bay records.”

Tony straightened, eyebrows raised. “Uh—McGee isn’t here.”

Gibbs pointed at him. “You.”

Tony frowned. Hacking? Him? Not his strong suit.

“Boss, I really don’t think—”

“You said it yourself,” Gibbs said. “McGee isn’t here.”

“But I—”

Gibbs turned on his heel and left the room, not listening to Tony’s feeble attempts to get out of what he knew would be an embarrassing experience that might fail badly. Tony sighed to himself and decided that if Gibbs thought he could do it, he’d at least try, and he hurried after Gibbs and Ziva, who’d also left.

After ten minutes of trying, he was about ready to give up – though he’d only been met with one ‘Access Denied’ that he’d managed to get past, he still didn’t get what he was supposed to do to get the information he wanted. It really did look so much easier when McGee did this stuff. But then, with Gibbs’ annoyed grunting in the background, he finally seemed to get the correct clearance and words in to access the records. At once he was allowed to read what he was looking for – and they all realized that it was the male nurse, Taylor Henley, who was the murderer.

They rushed back to the sickbay – but Henley was nowhere to be found. Finding the nearly dead Kaplan in the supply closet, Gibbs hurried out again.

“Medi-vac?” he asked on his way.

“It’s leaving right now,” the doctor said, looking at his watch.

Tony and Ziva had both pieced the puzzle together by then.

“Hold that launch,” Gibbs instructed as he passed Tony. Tony repeated the order to the officer of the deck.

As soon as he’d received confirmation, Tony and Ziva ran out of the sickbay, heading for the control tower. Amidst his racing heart and the worry for Gibbs’ safety, Tony had to admit that he was in the middle of an adrenaline rush from the excitement and the fact that he was finally solving a crime with Gibbs again.

They reached the control tower, and watched as the medi-vac stood still and waiting, motors roaring. Tony’s heart beat loudly in his chest, and he imagined Gibbs inside the plane, talking down Henley.

“Captain – the medi-vac pilot is requesting clearance on agent Gibbs’ orders.”

It was what he’d been waiting for. “Launch the plane.”

The Captain turned to look at Tony, who didn’t look back. “I’ve got an armed man aboard that aircraft.”

“So have I and he said launch it.” He had to refrain from smiling; Gibbs was still alive, with a plan, and Tony thought he had a good idea of what was going on.

“All right,” said the Captain.

“Flight three-five-six-nine, you are now cleared for launch.”

He didn’t realize he was holding his breath until afterwards – but then the pilot told them that Henley had been taken down, and that if they were given permission, they’d turn around and return to the ship.

Tony all but ran down to the deck. Just as he was stepping out into the sun, the medi-vac returned, landing smoothly. The back opened up, and Gibbs walked out, looking like he did this kind of stunts every day. Then again, he did. He held Henley, tightly cuffed, in front of him.

Tony ordered Henley to be taken to the sickbay to be checked over – he was bleeding – and the murderer was quickly whisked off.

Tony and Gibbs stared at each other, and despite the roar of motors and the arrival of another god awfully loud plane, the world ceased to exist for Tony. Gibbs’ beautiful blue eyes held his gaze steadily, and Tony only barely managed to refrain himself from going over and kissing him.

“Good job, boss,” he said.

Gibbs flashed another crooked smile, and said, with some humor, “Thanks, DiNozzo.”

They walked inside, a little closer than strictly necessary. There they ran into Ziva, who’d obviously followed Tony’s mad dash down to the deck.

Gibbs continued on, wordlessly telling Tony that Tony would have to deal with Ziva.

“You are a fast runner,” Ziva said, looking up at him.

“When I have to be,” Tony said.

“And you had to be now?” Ziva asked.

Tony shrugged. “Needed to get the perp down to the sickbay.”

They started walking. Ziva watched him silently, and apparently decided not to point out that Gibbs would probably have been fine on his own, in getting Henley to the sickbay.

“Well, you seem to be enjoying yourself,” she said instead.

Tony grinned. “Aren’t you?”

“Yes,” she said, smiling back at him. “Seems like old times.”

“Ah,” Tony said, and deflected her words with a movie. “Chevy Chase, Goldie Hawn, nineteen-eighty, actually.”

“I meant, you, me and Gibbs,” Ziva said.

He didn’t look at her when he answered. “I know what you meant.”

And he did, so much it hurt. To be this close to what he wanted, and knowing that now that Henley had been taken down Gibbs would leave again – it made his heart ache. A part of him wished they hadn’t already solved the case; if they’d taken longer, Gibbs might have been there longer. They’d barely had a chance to talk at all, least of all privately.

A phone call gave him the information he was dreading – the cod that would take Gibbs and Ziva away would launch in twelve minutes.

The doctor was fixing Henley up when they reached the sickbay.

“Cod’s launching in ten, boss,” Tony said, trying to keep the mourning out of his voice.

Gibbs’ response didn’t register immediately. “Well then, grab your gear.”

“My gear?” he echoed disbelievingly.

“Yeah,” Gibbs said. “Your collar. You ride him home.”

He didn’t believe it. He knew he must look like a goldfish where he stood, but he couldn’t believe what he was hearing.


“Home, DiNozzo,” Gibbs said, and there was something in the way that he said ‘home’ that nearly undid Tony.

“Home,” Ziva said, smiling.

Tony looked at Ziva, and then at Gibbs, and when neither started laughing, he realized that they weren’t kidding. He was actually going home. Home – to DC! Home, to Gibbs and everything that was normal and loved and not a goddamn ship.

And then he realized that he would have to run for it if he was to make it with at least most of his personal belongings.

“Make a hole! Coming through! Make a hole!” he yelled as he ran.

Luckily, he didn’t have that much with him to the ship, and he managed to get most of it – the important stuff, anyway – together in time to rush onto the waiting plane.

Gibbs grinned at him when he came on board. The seat next to him was empty – Ziva sat in front of him – and Tony sat down after stashing his bag.

“I’m going home,” he said, barely loudly enough to be heard over the roar of the propellers. His grin went from ear to ear as he fastened the seatbelt securely around himself.

“Yeah, DiNozzo,” Gibbs said. “You are.”

Looking around to see if anyone was looking – they weren’t, because he and Gibbs were sitting in the back, and everyone had seated themselves for the launch – Tony took Gibbs’ hand and squeezed it briefly. Gibbs shook his head, but there was an indulgent smile on his face still, when the cod launched.

A few hours later, once they’d landed back in DC, Ziva took her own car back to NCIS headquarters, while two NCIS agents took care of Henley, bringing him back to headquarters in a secure van. Tony followed Gibbs, his hands shaking simply because he was back and he was with Gibbs. They got into Gibbs’ car.

“Where are we going, boss?” Tony asked when Gibbs didn’t drive straight back to headquarters as well.

“Need a few minutes of privacy,” Gibbs said.

Tony’s eyebrows rose. “Oh.”

He held on as Gibbs drove – a few months on board a ship had made him a bit unused to Gibbs’ driving – and they made it to their destination in something that must be record time.

“Your place, boss?” Tony asked.

“Closer than yours,” Gibbs said.

They walked up to the house, and Tony resisted the urge to skip forward. Gibbs unlocked the door and they went inside – and then, as soon as the door had closed behind them, Tony found himself pressed against the wall, Gibbs’ lips descending on his own.

Tony moaned into Gibbs’ touch – Gibbs’ hands ran possessively over Tony’s upper body, pulling him closer – and he opened his mouth to allow Gibbs entry. Gibbs’ hot tongue licked Tony’s lips, and Tony gave as good as he got, his knees nearly buckling beneath him.

Finally pulling apart, they were both breathing heavily. Tony could feel Gibbs’ hard-on pressing against his thigh, just as his own did against Gibbs.

“God, I’ve missed you,” Tony said.

“I can feel that,” Gibbs said, smirking and rolling his hips just a little, the friction enough to make Tony gasp in pleasure.

“You could tell me you’ve missed me too,” he said breathlessly and then he gave a mock-pout.

Gibbs gave a slight roll of his eyes, and kissed Tony again.

“Or you could just do that,” Tony said, sighing happily, his forehead resting against Gibbs’. “I know I’ve been wanting to do it since I saw you in Cartagena.”

“Me too,” Gibbs said. “You don’t exactly make it easy.”

Tony grinned proudly. “Thank you.”

“Wasn’t a compliment,” Gibbs said, but he kissed Tony again anyway, lighter this time, a quick kiss. Gibbs really was a talented kisser.

“So what now?” Tony asked. “Do I get to stay, or is it just an interlude?”

“You’re staying,” Gibbs said. “I’m not letting you go again.”

Tony smiled slightly. “Good to know.”

“Nothing changes at work,” Gibbs said.

“’course not,” Tony said. He hadn’t been expecting anything else – and he didn’t want anything else. He wanted Gibbs just the way he was, their relationship exactly the way it had always been – with the added personal stuff after hours. If he could have that, then he’d be the happiest, luckiest person alive – and it seemed it might all work out that way after all. He’d still have to convince Vance to allow him back, but he would; he had to. Just as much as Gibbs wasn’t letting Tony go, Tony wasn’t going to leave again. Preferably ever.

“Love you, boss,” Tony said quietly, smiling against Gibbs.

“Yeah, I know,” Gibbs said. Tony didn’t think Gibbs would say it back, but then, rather gruffly – “Love you, too.”

Then Gibbs pulled back, straightening up. “Let’s go. There are some people who’ve been seriously under the weather without you.”

Tony perked up, rather like an eager puppy. “Really? They missed me? Even McGeek?”

Gibbs smiled, and Tony thought he could really get used to a Gibbs who smiled this much.

“Yeah,” Gibbs said. “Even McGee.”

On the way out, Tony had to skip, just a little bit. He was home.

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