Leroy Jethro Gibbs hauled his bag into the house and heard Tony behind him as Gibbs stepped aside to let him haul in his box. Tony set it down on the table, exactly where he had picked it up two weeks ago when he and Gibbs were heading out to their North Carolina vacation. Gibbs set his bag down on the floor by the stairs.

"You okay?" Gibbs asked. Tony had been quiet for the past hour in the car and he hadn't said a word even as they unloaded Gibbs' stuff from the car and brought it in. Gibbs studied him for a moment, thinking about all the things this man was to him: senior field agent, second-in-command, friend, now lover. He shivered a little at the thought. He'd come damn close to losing it all.

His eyes remained fixed on him as he watched the play of emotions flit across Tony's expressive face. After a moment Tony turned toward him and met his gaze. "Just…the reality of all this is hitting me. There, it was a plan for the future. Now, the future is here. On Monday I tell Director Vance I want everything to change.

"Tony, if you're not ready for this…"

"No, no," Tony held up a hand to stop Gibbs from saying what he was trying to say. "I've never been more ready for a change in my entire life, but it doesn't make it less momentous, ya know?"

Gibbs nodded. He knew all about momentous changes. Sometimes you were ready for them; other times they hit you upside the head wit 4. This was a change he knew deep down he was ready for.

Tony sighed. "I'm ready for all of this. I really am. I'm just also nervous, too, I guess."

Gibbs nodded again. He was nervous, too. He didn't know if he was nervous for the same reasons Tony was, but for the first time in his life he was romantically involved with a man. They had both failed countless relationships and were now putting their friendship on the line for a chance at love neither had ever considered. So far, they were doing well, at least Gibbs thought so; he was already more comfortable with Tony than he had ever been with his three ex-wives.

He stepped up to Tony and placed his right hand on Tony's neck, having discovered Tony liked that by the way he leaned in. "Listen to me, okay?" he said softly. "Work isn't the only big change. You and me…that's a huge change. There's no rush here. You know that, right?"

Tony nodded. "I wasn't ready for vacation to end," he admitted after a moment. "I love being alone with you. I like having you all to myself."

Gibbs smiled. No one had ever told him that before but coming from Tony, it felt so good. "Putting up with me for two weeks wasn't enough?" he teased.

The tap to the back of his head was a surprise. He tried to look mad, but didn't quite make it even as he barked, "Did you just head slap me?"

"Damn right. Get used to it if you're going to say stuff like that."

Gibbs laughed. He loved that Tony felt comfortable enough to tease him.

"Tell me again why the hell we're staying apart tonight?"

Gibbs sighed. "You know why."


"And Ducky."

"And maybe Tim or Ellie or both," Tony said with a sigh.

"I really think we should wait until after I retire or you transfer or both before we tell anyone else about us. That way, no one can question our conduct as supervisor/subordinate."

Tony nodded. "I don't think anyone would though."

"Maybe not, but I don't want to take that chance. You deserve every opportunity and every chance for promotion."

"I appreciate that. I really do. It's just that…" Tony trailed off, and Gibbs could see the conflict in his eyes.

"What?" Gibbs asked, concern growing in his gut.

"Been living with you for two weeks and I liked it. It was easy. Just not looking forward to going to an empty apartment."

Gibbs could hear the sadness in his voice. "You're not alone, Anthony."

"I'm being stupid, aren't I?"

Gibbs huffed. "Not stupid. On Monday, we'll both know a little better what the future might hold."

"Maybe…if Vance has time to talk to us."

Gibbs nodded. "It'll be okay. Really."

Gibbs reached out and took his arm and pulled him close and hugged him. Tony stood there awkwardly for a moment before tentatively bringing his arms around him.

"You never struck me as the hugging type, except for Abby."

"Don't like it?" Gibbs asked, tightening his hold.

"Not used to hugging anyone my own height. Used to those I hug being shorter."

Gibbs splayed his hands over Tony's low back and let his fingertips rub small circles into the muscles there and decided he was going to hug Tony a lot.

Tony groaned a little. "You gotta stop, Jet, or I'll never leave. We can't let Abby catch us like this."

"She'll be happy for us," Gibbs said, reluctantly releasing Tony.

"But then she'll sneak in and try to set up cameras."

"She'd best not do that," Gibbs growled.

Tony smiled. It wasn't his dazzling, brilliant smile but a softer, shyer smile that Gibbs thought made him look years younger. He looked so pleased it made Gibbs heart ache to see it. "Dinner tomorrow, right?" Tony met his gaze.


"Then I need to head to the store." Tony leaned in and lightly kissed him but it was Gibbs who held him close and deepened the kiss trying to convey without words how much he would miss Tony that evening and how much he looked forward to the next day.

"God, Jet! No wonder you convinced four women to marry you," Tony said breathlessly when the kiss ended. "My knees are weak."

Gibbs grinned.

Tony grinned back. "I better go or else I won't. Don't want anyone catching us making out in your dining room.

"This won't be a secret for long."

Tony nodded. "I know, but I…uh…I actually don't mind it being a secret...for now."

Tony nodded and he stood looking at Gibbs for a long moment. When Gibbs gave him a questioning look, Tony smiled a little sheepishly. "We've spent the last two weeks together. Been like a really good dream that's coming to an end. Afraid to wake up and find out it really was all a dream."

Gibbs knew that Tony was still surprised he felt the same. Tony didn't really know the extent that he'd been thinking about the two of them. Maybe he should tell him though now they didn't really have time for a conversation like that. "Not dreaming, Tony, promise. You want me to bring anything tomorrow?"

Tony shook his head no. "Just you and a hearty appetite."

"Sounds good."

"Love you, Jet."

"Love you too, Anthony." One last quick kiss and Tony was halfway across the room before Gibbs blinked and smirked. He hadn't guessed Tony would be one for quick, spontaneous affection but decided he liked it.