Throwing the coin in the fountain, Gibbs had made a wish when he was thirteen and hopeful of acceptance from his parents; a hopeless, stupid wish that had never come true. Now, Jethro had run out of maybe's, of later's, and of next times's. He had run out of excuses and run out of will power. His whole life had been one whole game of hide and seek, without the seek, and it had only just gotten to the point when he realized that he had wasted his whole life hiding, of being afraid that what he was hiding would be discovered. Gibbs had looked in his mirror that morning, and had seen the grey hair, the lines on his face and the weariness in his eyes and he had realized that in by hiding that part of himself for his whole life, he had aged; he had grown old and bitter and gruff. Jethro had stayed stuck in his little closet of safety and not come out his whole life while everyone around him lived and thrived, while he stayed in the dark and snapped at anyone that came close to turning on a light in his bleak and hidden world.

Gibbs had looked at the image of a man that was far too old for his real age and realized with startling clarity that it was time to turn on a light; to open the door of that closet he had hidden in and guarded with everything he had and stop hiding, stop fighting, and start living- before it was to late and he didn't have enough time to live out his life in full.

The problem was, he didn't know how to start.

He had never not hid, he had never indulged himself even when he wanted to and had an opportunity. He had no clue where to start, and it left him stumped.

How did someone who had lived their whole life as a straight man, come out as a gay man?

Surprisingly, it was Fornell that had helped him first.

Gibbs had been sitting on his couch staring into space when he had heard the door open and recognized Tobias' familiar footsteps.

"Hey, Gibbs! Got somthin' to tell ya! Diane-"

He could tell when the man entered the room and saw him when he heard the man stop talking and intake a breath.

"Jethro, you alright?" Tobias looked at Gibbs with concern, taking a few steps towards the couch, setting down the bottle of bourbon he had brought with him on the table.

Gibbs just looked up at his oldest friend, his expression lost and saddened, pale and wane.

"I don't…"

Fornell sped his way to the couch, sitting down beside Gibbs and put a hand on his shoulder, panic in his eyes.

"Is something wrong with your team? Did you lose one of them? Is DiNotzo ok?"

Tobias looked ready to call in the calvery, so Gibbs tried to put his feelings into real words, even though every part of him felt like he should runawaydeflecthidedon'taskdon'ttelltheycan'tknowpleasedon'thurtme, but he struggled through his fear and his stubborn pride and spoke.

"Everything's fine, Toby," Gibbs said softly, not quite meeting the other man's eyes.

"Well clearly not everything is fine! You look like someone killed one of your team, you won't look me in the eyes, and your usual lying skills are worse than Diane's' after she's had a few glasses of wine! What in the name of G.W. Bush is going on!?"

Tobias' words made Gibbs flinch, and Fornell noticed it and raised his eyebrows in shock.

"Gibbs?" Tobias leaned forward, putting a hand on Gibbs' shoulder, looking into his face with concern and a slight bit of fear.

"What's going on?"

It was hard. So damn hard. Jethro wished that he had never looked in the mirror that morning, that he had never woke up one morning realizing he was gay and told his parents, only to be shown disgust that only a small town in that day and age could have. Jethro wished that his parents had been more accepting, that he didn't have to hide when he was in the Marine's and that years of working in law enforcement hadn't shown him the dangers of not only coming out as a civilian, but the danger of being a gay cop. He had loved Shannon, and he had loved Kelly. Shannon was the only other person that had known he was gay, and accepted and helped him hide. They had not loved each other as more than siblings, they had used Artificial insemination with Gibbs' sperm to get her pregnant, using money they had scraped together to buy the doctor's silence. They had never slept together, and the closest they had to love was that of siblings. Kelly was well aware of it, and wise beyond her age, she had known to hide her parent's secret to her grave, far too young.

He had know Tobias long enough to know that he was not a bigot. He was actually very accepting of everything. In his brain he knew that Tobias would be accepting at worst and supportive at best. His heart on the other hand was not so sure. He had hid so long that the fear of coming out was so deeply ingrained that he even feared telling his best friend. But he had to bite the bullet. This was his best friend, and if he couldn't tell Tobias, then who could he tell?

"I'm gay, Tobias."

There. It was out, couldn't take it back, couldn't erase it.

Yet he still avoided looking at his old friend.

"Jethro?" Tobias' gentle voice came after a few minutes of silence. Reluctantly, Jethro turned around, and met Tobias' eyes, and the breath was knocked out of him at the gentle smile and complete acceptance in his eyes.

"Jethro, It's ok," Tobias patted his shoulder, "Thank you for trusting me, Jethro. That means a lot," looking at Gibbs with searching eyes, he asked, "Are you ok, Gibbs?"

Thinking about it for a few moments while Tobias watched worriedly, Jethro realized that yes, he was ok. In fact, he felt more than ok. A weight that he had never realized he had been feeling on his shoulders for his whole life was gone, and it left him almost floating. The relief he felt now that someone still living knowing that he was gay was immense, and he felt an honest, if dim, smile cross his lips and stay there.

"Yeah, Tobias… I think… I think I am."