Chapter five


Petty Officer Rosen was nowhere to be found; she had been UA for two weeks. McGee had put a BOLO out and was trying to track her down by way of cell phone and credit cards, with no luck. Gibbs and Ziva had spoken to the other members of Lieutenant Brown’s unit, only to get an image of Petty Officer Elliot Rosen as a pretty but introverted woman who’d displayed more than a healthy interest in Lieutenant Brown.

After three of the other members of the unit hinted that she might have had a relationship with Brown, she became their prime suspect; more so after they looked at her service records, and found several notations of violence.

For Tony, all it meant was that when the hour became late, he got to go home to Gibbs again, Emma in tow. She watched curiously as Tony carried her into the house, Gibbs grabbing the carrier and all the other necessities.

They had Chinese takeout for dinner – they’d stopped on the way to Gibbs’ house – and Emma sat on the couch beside Tony, leaning against its back, studying an empty milk carton with great interest, putting it in her mouth or simply staring at it.

“So you think Elliot Rosen went postal and killed Brown and his wife?” Tony asked around a bite of food.

“Maybe,” Gibbs said. “Until we’ve talked to her, I’m not assuming anything.”

Tony looked at Emma. “Her parents are dead, possibly because her father couldn’t keep it in his pants.”

His own dad had had numerous affairs, but he’d had enough money and good lawyers to keep those women from ever becoming a problem.

“We don’t know if Brown had an affair with her,” Gibbs said. “She might just’ve been obsessed with him.”

“She was pretty,” Tony said, shrugging.

“And a man can’t refrain from cheating on his wife because he has a pretty co-worker?” Gibbs asked.

Tony made a face. “Not if you’re my father.”

“Ah,” Gibbs said.

“Did you ever cheat?” Tony asked, and then he flushed. “Forget I asked.”

Gibbs cocked his head to the side. “No, I didn’t. Not with a woman, in any case.”

“A man?” Tony asked, winking, because it was an opening he couldn’t resist.

“No,” Gibbs said, tone serious despite the kidding sound of Tony’s question. “But I think all my ex-wives would say I cheated on them with work.”

“Ah, yeah,” Tony said. “I can understand that.”

They ate in silence for a few minutes, Tony inhaling a carton and a half of the stuff, because he hadn’t had much of a chance to eat, what with having Emma on his arm all day long.

He didn’t mind as much as he had the day before. There was something calming about having a kid around, at least when she didn’t scream. And she didn’t seem to mind him the way other kids did – although he still suspected that was only because she didn’t have enough developed brain cells to understand the concept of disliking someone. She didn’t mind anyone else either – Abby was fine, Gibbs was as popular as ever, and Emma had giggled in Ducky’s arms as he swung her around. Ducky acted like the grandfather Tony had expected him to.

“Want some coffee?” Gibbs asked.

“Your kind of coffee?” Tony asked. “It’ll burn a hole through my intestines.”

Gibbs rolled his eyes, but stood and removed the dirty dishes from the table. Tony heard him move around in the kitchen.

“Should we go check out what he’s doing?” he asked Emma. He wondered if it should feel so natural to talk to someone who didn’t understand a word. He’d never had a dog, or a cat, or any other animal to talk to, so it was a new thing for him.

Emma grinned at him and he picked her up. At least he was getting better at that. She pulled at his hair.

“You know, it really looks better if my hair’s still stuck to my head,” Tony said.

She didn’t care; he hadn’t expected her to.

“Need any help?” he asked Gibbs, coming into the kitchen.

“Just keep her happy and I’ll do the rest,” Gibbs said. “You’re doing a good job.”

“Don’t know about that,” Tony said. “You should’ve heard her earlier, when she was having her own, not-so-private screaming fest of the year. Didn’t think she’d ever shut up.”

Gibbs gave him an amused smile. “The world of babies.”

“Not one I’d planned on stepping into, boss,” Tony said. “In fact, one I’d hoped to avoid.”

“I noticed,” Gibbs said.

“Was that why you gave her to me?” Tony asked. “To see how I’d react?”

“I put you with her because you’re my Senior Field Agent,” Gibbs said, “And she’s a huge responsibility.”

“I guess,” Tony said. “All the more reason why she should be with someone who can really take care of her.”

“And who’d be better than you?” Gibbs asked.

“I—uh,” Tony said and frowned. “I guess Ziva would be a really bad idea.”

“Uh-huh,” Gibbs agreed.

“And McGee would probably drop her or something,” Tony said, and added with a slight wince, “Not saying that that won’t happen with me. But I guess you need him for computer stuff.”

“Mm-hmm,” Gibbs said.

“Abby?” Tony said.

“Not a field agent and if Emma’s parents’ murderer comes after Emma, Abby can’t protect her,” Gibbs said. “Obviously, the same goes for Ducky.”

“And I’m guessing the Director wouldn’t want to baby-sit?” Tony asked.

“Not really, no,” Gibbs said.

“What about you?” Tony asked. “You’re good with babies and you carry a gun, and you could definitely protect her.”

“Team leader,” Gibbs said. “I delegate.”

Tony rolled his eyes, but smiled. Hearing Gibbs’ reasoning was reassuring – he was, in fact, the best choice for taking care of Emma. McGee would probably have done a good job too, but he wouldn’t be able to work at all if he couldn’t use his hands. Tony could still do his job – thinking outside the box, reading, putting out BOLO:s and doing searches – with Emma on his lap.

His thoughts came to a stop as he smelled a dirty diaper. He wrinkled his nose.

“I’ll be right back,” he said to Gibbs.

Gibbs had put up the changing stuff on the washing machine in the bathroom and Tony placed Emma there. He undressed her and pulled off the diaper. A poop-filled diaper still made him slightly sick.

He read carefully on the bottles to make sure he did things in the correct order – there were wipes, and powder, and cream, and getting it all right wasn’t the easiest thing. He was getting better, though.

He found himself talking to her as she squealed and reached out for him.

“Little Miss Emma, I think you might be changing me,” Tony said conspiratorially to her. “If you’d told me just two days ago that I’d be talking to a baby while changing her—well, I’d sent you to the mental ward. Not that you don’t belong there anyway. Because you’re crazy. Yes, you are.”

He poked a finger in her side, tickling her, and she squealed with joy. He realized he enjoyed the sound; it made him happy too.

“We should give her a bath,” Gibbs said, making Tony jump.

“Gibbs. Hi,” Tony said, embarrassment tinting his cheeks. “Do you have a bath for her?”

“I have a plastic basin we can use,” Gibbs said.

Fifteen minutes later, a bath had been drawn for Emma. The water was just around lukewarm, but Gibbs assured him that it was good for her.

“Now, hold onto her at all times,” Gibbs said.

“You should do this,” Tony said uncertainly.

Gibbs gave him a look. “You can do it. You’ve managed everything else just fine.”

“But what if she gets hurt?” Tony asked. “What if she drowns?”

“She won’t drown,” Gibbs said, rather more patiently than Tony would have expected.

Emma seemed to like getting into the water. She splashed Tony within five seconds of getting in, and he heard Gibbs chuckle.

“Perhaps you should’ve taken off your shirt,” Gibbs said.

Tony glared at him. “Yeah, thanks for the warning.”

With a little bit of soap and some help from Gibbs, Tony managed to keep Emma upright and clean her off. Emma grinned and splashed around in her tiny tub and managed to get Gibbs wet too.

Tony’s mouth went dry when Gibbs pulled his shirt off. Damn, that man looked fine.

He swallowed and forced his attention back to Emma. He thought he saw Gibbs smirking out of the corner of his eye but he refused to look that way to make sure; if he did, he would most certainly need a cold shower.

After twenty minutes, Emma was up again and Tony wrapped her up in a towel and dried her off. He kissed her head; her hair was still wet, dark and slicked down, but she looked up at him and smiled sleepily.

She was nearly asleep by the time Tony had dressed her in her pajama. He held her close and rubbed her back until her body relaxed into sleep.

Placing her in her carrier and leaving the guest bedroom, Tony returned to the bathroom. Gibbs was cleaning up.

“This place looks like a war zone,” Tony said, fighting to keep his voice normal as he watched Gibbs – still naked from the waist up – move around. He felt his pants grow tight at the sight.

“’s not so bad,” Gibbs said. “Sleeping?”

“Oh yeah,” Tony said. “Out like a light.”

Hopefully she’d stay that way for a while, though Tony had little hope of being allowed to sleep through the night.

As Gibbs finished he looked at Tony. “Go grab a dry shirt.”

Tony looked down at himself. His shirt was soaked all over the front and his pants were wet down to the knees.

“Don’t have any more changes with me,” Tony said.

“Take one of mine,” Gibbs said. “We’ll swing by your place tomorrow.”

“You don’t think we’ll be done by tomorrow?” Tony asked. He smirked, and added, “Or are you hoping I’ll move in?”

“Go grab a shirt, DiNozzo,” Gibbs growled.

Tony grinned, though he wasn’t sure why. Gibbs lack of answer didn’t mean anything, nor did the way Gibbs’ gaze roamed up and down his body. It was all in his imagination.

He found a blue shirt at the top of one of the drawers in Gibbs’ bedroom. The bedroom was dark, the walls painted in a rich, dark purple color. It didn’t seem like a color Gibbs would chose – not because it didn’t suit him, but because Gibbs couldn’t care less about interior design – and it had probably been chosen by ex-wife number three instead.

The bed – a king sized thing with white linens – was perfectly made, just as Tony expected. One could take the Marine out of the Navy, but never the Navy out of the Marine. Gibbs would be on his death bed and still make the most perfect bed.

He pulled his shirt off and went back to the bathroom, blue shirt in hand.

“Got anywhere I can hang this up to dry?” he asked.

Gibbs looked up and stopped. This time Tony was sure that it wasn’t his imagination – Gibbs’ gaze did travel up and down his naked torso, mouth slightly open.

A second later, the usual mask was firmly back in place.

“There,” Gibbs said, pointing in the general direction of a hanger where his own shirt already hung.

Tony shrugged on Gibbs’ shirt. It wasn’t the same quality as the ones he bought – Sears wasn’t known for its latest Italian fashion – but it felt good nonetheless, just because it was Gibbs’ shirt.

“There’s coffee in the kitchen,” Gibbs said, striding past him.

Tony smirked. Gibbs was having a reaction to him – Gibbs never avoided his gaze.

He wondered if it was as good reaction or a bad one. And if against all hope it was good, would Gibbs actually think it was good? Would he act on it? Would he fire Tony if Tony acted on it?

Once in the kitchen, Gibbs handed Tony a cup of coffee. He was still shirtless and it was making Tony’s mouth dry with the thoughts running wildly through his head – what would Gibbs’ lips feel like against his own, what would Gibbs do if Tony pressed close and just ravished him—

“Thanks,” he mumbled, taking a sip of coffee.

The air was charged, sparkling with tension. Tony’s heart beat loudly – it should be loud enough for Gibbs to hear, he thought, because Gibbs had always had very good hearing—

He placed the coffee cup on the counter, not really noticing his own hands shaking.

Then he took two steps forward into Gibbs’ personal space.

Gibbs’ blue eyes were alight, the gaze searing through Tony, right into his soul. They stood close enough to feel each others’ breaths; Gibbs’ was warm and hot and slightly fast.

Tony’s hand came up, hesitating a second before making contact with Gibbs. Then his fingers touched Gibbs’ chest and he could feel Gibbs’ heartbeat, just as fast as his own, pounding away against the ribcage. He wondered how often Gibbs’ heart raced – he was always the picture of calm, collected even when standing in the eye of the storm.

Tony used his other hand to brush lightly against Gibbs’ cheek. The stubble felt rough beneath his fingers and Gibbs opened his mouth to say something. Tony’s hand moved to cover his mouth, lightly stopping him.

He leaned in and closed his eyes, meeting Gibbs’ warm lips. He pressed his body against Gibbs’, feeling the hard planes and warm skin. Gibbs breathed against his lips and kissed him back, just barely, uncertainly, in a way that was so not like Gibbs that Tony was temped for a second to open his eyes to see that it was really Leroy Jethro Gibbs he was kissing.

But he didn’t really have to, because he knew. He knew the smell of sawdust and coffee, he knew the warmth and sense of belonging. He had kissed hundreds of women and a dozen or two men, but no one had ever been so right.

Then Gibbs moved, his arms circling Tony’s waist, and he pulled Tony closer. Gibbs bent his head just fractionally and suddenly Tony was being kissed for real, hungrily, the pace changing in a second. Gibbs kissed possessively, nibbling, biting, sucking, drawing out a moan from Tony and making his knees nearly buckle with the intensity.

When they pulled back they were both breathing hard and Tony could feel Gibbs’ arousal against his thigh, just as he knew Gibbs could feel Tony’s.

“Did anyone ever tell you you’re a really good kisser, boss?” Tony asked, breath still quick, still leaning in close to Gibbs. Gibbs wasn’t letting go and Tony didn’t want to leave.

“Not so bad yourself,” he muttered.

“I know, I’ve been told,” Tony grinned, because now that he’d kissed Gibbs he felt invincible. He’d kissed Gibbs, and Gibbs had reciprocated. Tony felt like he could do anything.

Gibbs’ hand moved up to smack Tony lightly, more of a caress than a smack.

“How long?” Gibbs asked.

“I don’t know,” Tony shrugged, because there was no point in playing dumb and pretending not to understand the question. “A year, maybe six. Never thought you’d actually be interested.”

Gibbs didn’t respond to that; he leaned in instead and kissed Tony again. Tony ground against Gibbs, which made Gibbs gasp. Tony smiled, satisfied – Gibbs wasn’t the only one who could heat things up.

But he said, “We should stop, or I won’t be able to.”

“Why stop?” Gibbs asked.

“Words with more than one syllable not your thing anymore, boss?” Tony asked, smirking.

“Stop calling me ‘boss’ when we’re doing this,” Gibbs said.

Tony grinned. “What can I call you?”

“Gibbs,” Gibbs said. “Or Jethro.”

“Jethro,” Tony said, trying it out. He’d said it to himself a couple of times, to get used to the name, but he’d never called Gibbs by his first name to his face before. “Did your parents not like you?”

Gibbs growled and lunged in for another kiss. Before Tony’s mind took a vacation, he thought that this was a much better way for Gibbs to shut him up than smacking him. Then all he could think about was Gibbs’ lips, and tongue, and hands, and cock, and all of his body, pushing, pressing, holding, licking, sucking—

They left a trail of clothes on the floor as they made their way to the bedroom.

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