Much thanks to the amazing Kesterpan for the beta and encouragement! This is my first time posting and constructive criticism is welcome!

Disclaimer: I love these characters, but they aren't mine. Wish they were, but alas, it is not a perfect world. Mad love to those with the brilliance to create them and their lusciousness, though!

Tony was sitting at his desk with his head in his hands. He thought he was alone, as it was late and most people had left the office already. The sun was already down and he looked at his computer screen, re-reading the report he had already typed up and put on Gibbs' desk.

The report was depressing. He had re-read it so many times that he had most of it memorized. There was no particular reason either. The case was just a typical case. Nothing special, nothing to have him emotionally involved more than usual. It was just a distraction. He knew it. He was avoiding thinking about where he'd rather be.

He opened his personal email account again. He read through the list of messages, deleting spam as he came across it, ignoring other emails and eventually, opened one he had read as many times as the report. It was from his frat buddy Matt. They all usually got together for a wild night of drinking on St. Patty's day. Matt, Blake, Brian, Steven, Paul and himself. It was almost like a reunion. They usually all merged in DC since both he and Paul lived here. Matt would come down from New York, Blake from upper Maryland and Brian and Steven usually flew in from Ohio and Chicago for the occasion then stayed a few days to catch up. This year though, they all made plans to head to Chicago. Only somehow, they had forgotten to tell him that's what they were doing.

Ever since he bailed on the cruise the spring before, he had been left out of more and more of their lives. He wasn't even going to attempt to go spring breaking with them this year. It had been a wake up call two nights ago when he saw the email from Matt asking if he was going to Chicago with them. Matt was the one he usually kept in contact with the least. He couldn't believe Paul hadn't said something to him. What really hurt though was that Steven hadn't let him know. Steven was his best friend for years. He hadn't heard from him since Christmas and at the time, he had said that he couldn't wait to catch up at their St. Patrick's day drink-fest. Now... he had a horrible feeling he was never going to see them again.

What was worse was that he knew deep down inside that he had changed and grown beyond them all years ago when he wasn't looking. He felt like a fool, wishing to be hanging out with friends tonight that he couldn't relate to, drinking like he was half his age. They had been his friends when his life was much simpler, back before he had to live life a little more seriously, with other people's safety depending on him.

He had been a cop and an agent for 17 years. There was a responsibility that came with that kind of experience and he felt it weighing on him. Sure, he could use a night of drunken debauchery, but he knew that he needed to unwind with people who understood why he needed it. He didn't want to spend it with people whose biggest problems were termites eating their new deck, and whether or not they were going to be able to get the time off of their 9-5 to go beer-bonging in Miami this April.

Closing the email, he started re-reading the report. This was his life now. He re-read that report another ten times, letting it sink in why he did what he did and why he should be okay with the changes it had made to his life. His hands worked at his temples as he read. He really had changed. He finally stopped reading his report and leaned back in his chair, closing his eyes and tossing his head back to think.

Tony knew he had let his life become absorbed by the job. Gibbs had told him at Christmas not to let the basement consume him. He had basically said to keep looking for someone to love and to have a life worth living. Thing was, he had those things, just not in a conventional way.

He tried to remember when he had fallen in love with Gibbs. He had been attracted to him from the beginning, but had given up on dating men when he was in the police academy. It was dangerous in their line of work. Love though... somewhere along the way, he had fallen for Gibbs. They bonded over the work they did, work that gave his life more meaning than anything else ever had and probably ever would. He was more than the spoiled, frat-boy jock here. This was who he wanted to be. He took a deep breath and let it out knowing that it was time to leave his past behind him.

Tony looked at his phone. Abby had gotten the rest of the team to agree to go out to Maloney's with her tonight. She didn't even bother to ask him this year, knowing what his annual plans entailed. He thought of calling her to let her know he was on the way, but then wondered if maybe he would rather go sit in Gibbs' basement with him. He heard the sound of footsteps on the stairs behind him and turned to see who was still there.

Gibbs had been standing against the railing outside of MTAC for twenty minutes, drinking his coffee and watching Tony, trying to figure out what he was doing. He looked devastated and exhausted. He watched the younger man pour over his report and it confused him. He had already seen Tony's report on his desk before he headed up to the com room. Was he having second doubts about the case?

After squinting hard for a moment, Gibbs recognized the email site he always found his SFA going through when he was supposed to be working. Tony's body slumped forward as he stared at one window for a long time without touching keyboard or mouse. Gibbs realized something about that email must have him feeling down. He looked at his wrist and saw that it was going on 2100. That's when he saw the date on his watch and his confusion deepened. Whatever was said in that email had him upset enough that he was skipping his yearly outing with "the guys".

Gibbs moved to go down the steps to talk to him when he froze. Tony had closed the window. He watched the younger agent re-read the case file yet again and witnessed the change in his body language. He returned to the railing, unable to look away. He knew he should let Tony know he was there. He should say something, cough, make some noise, hum to himself and most of all he knew that he should not be staring at his Senior Field Agent and Second in Command with such intimate curiosity.

He had stood in the same place many times and watched Tony as he worked on a case with intense drive. It was fascinating to him. He was so focused sometimes that it scared him. He recognized something in him at those moments that he connected with in a way he had never been able to connect with anyone else. It was the same connection that allowed them to read each other with just a glance, having entire conversations with a look and sometimes a grunt or nod. It was the only time he really felt connected with anybody these days, so he took it when he could get it.

He watched Tony lean back in his chair and saw the resignation on his face. It didn't hurt that the man was incredibly sexy. Sure, he was a skirt-chasing jock, but that didn't mean he couldn't look. Anyway, Gibbs had sworn off men after the Corps. Rule 12 had his back too, constantly keeping him from allowing his connection to Tony and his attraction to Tony from merging into what would be a volitile concoction of relationship. The look Tony had on his face tugged at his heart so hard though that it made him uncomfortable.

As soon as Tony sat back up in his chair, Gibbs decided that he needed to stop staring and get to the bottom of this.

Heading down the stairs, Tony turned towards the over obvious shuffle he was making. "Oh! Hey, Boss. Didn't realize you were still here." he said, false cheerfulness plastered across his face.

"Didn't expect you to be here either DiNozzo. Don't you have somewhere to be tonight?"

Tony cringed, and Gibbs, now behind his desk, stopped what he was doing when he saw.

"Uh, no Boss. Seems this year's St. Patty's day debauchery was taken on the road. Without me." he didn't know why he was telling Gibbs outright. This was the bullpen, not the basement. This kind of discussion didn't happen at work between him and his boss. It happened over bourbon or steaks with him and his friend. He stared off into space in the direction of his Mighty Mouse stapler.

Gibbs felt that knot in his stomach tighten. He could tell Tony was feeling abandoned by his friends. It was the same look on his face whenever discussion of fathers came up. It was one of those rare things that he had to steel himself against when it came to Tony. He wanted to fix things for him so that he didn't feel that sense of abandonment. Tony was one of the most loyal people he had ever met, and was unabashedly, fiercely loyal to him specifically. Gibba had always felt he owed him whatever healing he could offer in exchange. This time was no different.

"Why didn't you go with them, DiNozzo? You have almost as much vacation time as I do." Gibbs asked quietly, moving to stand next to McGee's desk to be closer to the man.

"Funny that... they forgot to invite me." His eyes looked up to meet Gibbs. Gibbs felt his own expression fall and tried to keep the pity out of it. He knew that wouldn't help. He leaned back against McGee's desk, sitting on the edge.

"Well then why aren't you out with the team, Tony? You know they would love to have you there." he asked gently but not too gently.

"I was debating it. I just... I don't know if that's what I feel like doing." Gibbs saw the familiar look on Tony's face. It was one he felt quite often on his own. The, "I don't wanna be social, I just wanna wallow in my own concerns" look. He had been making it his mission to not let Tony succumb to just that for months now. He had even tried to get him back with his ex last month, despite his own feelings that he had to ignore the entire time. He didn't have a right to be jealous anyway, he told himself.

"You should go. Just for a drink at least. I know Abby would love it if you showed up. Where are they tonight, anyway?" He prodded.

"Maloney's. I don't want to bring them down, Gibbs. Maybe I should just go home." Tony said, self-loathing not hidden at all.

Gibbs knew he was going to lose the internal battle he was having with himself so he just gave in. "Come on. I'll go with you. If one drink with our team won't kill me, it won't kill you." He tried to smile encouragingly.

Tony looked up at the smile and felt his own creep over his face. He loved when Gibbs smiled. It happened so rarely these days. It took him back to their first real discussion back in Baltimore. He wore a smug smile almost the entire conversation. He was always attractive, but when he smiled, it did something to Tony he couldn't explain. Smiles from Gibbs were special.

"Fine." he said. "But you're buying." He clicked the power down button on his computer and moved to grab his bag. Gibbs smiled even broader and pushed off the desk to turn his lamp off. He tossed his empty coffee cup in the trash and the men walked together to the elevator. It felt weird. Tony usually walked behind him as they headed for the lift, but this time he walked next to him. They were leaving as friends, not boss and agent. Gibbs was hyperaware of this as they got in together. He pushed the button and the doors closed.

"Do you know who decided to go?" he asked Tony, making smalltalk in the silent elevator.

"As far as I know, everyone. I think even Palmer and Breena were going to show. Abby came up tonight to make sure Tim and Ziva were going. Ziva may bring that new guy she went out with last week. She seems to really like him." Gibbs looked at Tony with a little surprise. He wasn't aware that Ziva had been dating again. He was happy for her. He still wanted to beat CIRay down.

They headed towards into the garage. "Maloney's is close enough. Why don't you ride with me? If you want to bail after a drink, you can use it as an excuse to leave when I do." Gibbs offered, reading Tony as well as they both knew they could read each other.

"Ahh, smart thinking Boss." Tony exclaimed, beaming as Gibbs' ingenuity. "I think I will. Besides, if I decide to stay for more than one drink, it will probably be more like ten drinks, and I won't be driving home anyway. Much safer to leave my car here than outside of a bar on St. Patrick's day."

Gibbs nodded as they both got in his Charger. He turned the key over and waited for Tony's belt to click before tearing out of the garage. Once Gibbs finally found a place to park, they walked the three blocks to the bar. The entire street was packed with cars and people trying to get into bars. Maloney's was known to be a "cop's bar". Most of the normal crazy crowd stayed away but it was still packed.

Tony spotted McGee backing away from the bar with two pitchers in his hands. "Hey McTim!" he shouted over the crowd. Tim looked over at the two men with surprise then a smile.

"Hey Tony! Gibbs! What are you guys doing here?" He shouted and motioned for them to follow him. They did as were nodded and as they moved towards the back corner of the bar where two tables were moved together to form one long table, they saw the rest of their crew. Palmer was there with Breena. Ziva was there with a really handsome man with dark, Grecian features, laughing and leaning into one another.

Abby was there in a green collar and green tassled pigtails. She saw the two of them immediately and jumped up in her green striped knee socks and platforms and threw her arms around them in a triad hug with a squeal. "Yayyy! I can't believe you guys came! This is so cool!" She turned to McGee as he sat pitchers on the table. "Tim you're awesome! You bring me beer and men!" she was obviously drunk and Tim was obviously sober by his blush.

Gibbs looked at him with discernment. It would take a few minutes for him to be convinced Tim's sobriety was to keep Abby safe, but he was fairly certain that was the only reason a pasty Irish boy like Tim, would be sober on St. Patty's day. He had a little bud of respect in him for things just like this. He knew McGee cared a lot about Abby, maybe even loved her. He also knew how Abby only partially reciprocated his feelings. It took a big man to still care for her like he did.

Gibbs took freshly poured beer from him as he sat down with Tony sitting next to him, Abby chatting his head off. He could tell Tony wasn't quite in the headspace to be here. He handed him his beer and reached to pour himself a new one. Tony took it with a smile of gratitude and before Gibbs could fill himself a new cup had downed half of it. He smirked at the half empty cup and topped it off.

Tim was talking to Ziva and her new guy which Gibbs soon figured out was named Dion. He was a chef and taught cooking. Gibbs approved of her looking outside of law enforcement for love. It was something she deserved, a little bit of normal. He was attentive to her but not too doting. Strong and supportive as she talked with Tim. He probably would never be good friends with the guy, but for now, he was happy for Ziva.

He looked back at Tony who had begun talking to Palmer and Breena about their wedding. Gibbs was happy for them but was not looking forward to the wedding. He hated weddings. He had been through too many of them. Tony was half finished with his beer again and he seemed to be relaxing a little. Gibbs was glad to see that he was warming up to the situation, fitting into the conversation naturally now.

Abby started talking to him behind Tony's back as Tony leaned forward to hear Palmer better as he told him about what they had planned for the honeymoon. "I'm really glad you guys came! Didn't expect to see either of you tonight!" He was glad she was too far gone already to ask why they made the trip. He smiled at her and felt immensely grateful suddenly for Tim's sobriety, which he was finally convinced was innocent. Abby turned back to the honeymoon discussion all of the sudden at the mention that they were going to be stopping in New Orleans on the way to Mexico. He turned to Tim.

"You're taking her home tonight, right?" he said under his breath into the young agent's ear.

"Oh yeah. Definitely." Gibbs looked at him for a moment with a questioning glare. "Well, her home. I'll be dropping her off at her apartment, Boss." Gibbs smiled. Tim would probably always be nervous around him to some extent. He was much better though. He picked up the pitcher and topped off both he and Tony's plastic cups. He drank his slowly and watched as Tony drank his quickly.

The conversations flowed around the table and he was drawn into each discussion, a bit at a time. Tony had begun talking across the table to Ziva and Dion and he had to move closer in order to hear. Closer meant he was leaning forward in Gibbs direction and he felt the heat of his SFA against him like a blanket. He held his breath for a moment while he mentally reprimanded and convinced himself that the warmth was the beer hitting him after not eating since breakfast. He sat back so Tony could lean forward and hear Dion's half of the conversation. He tried really hard to not enjoy having Tony so close but he was losing the fight. Suddenly Tony laughed at something Ziva had Tim were joking about and he sat up, flashing a happy smile at Gibbs, catching him off guard.

Gibbs went into evasive maneuvers and got to his feet with a smile. "Next pitcher is on me. What are we drinking?" he asked.

"Oh Gibbs! Will you bring us all back a round of tequila on my tab?" Abby asked loudly. Everyone started laughing and making comments about the shot and whether or not they would take it. Tony's voice was heard over everyone's murmurs though. "Come on now people, one shot isn't going to kill us! Count me in! I'll even come help carry them. Let's go Gibbs." He got to his feet and headed towards the bar. Gibbs followed him, eyes rolling, defeated. So much for a moment away from Tony. He didn't have a prayer at getting his thoughts together with the man sticking so close to him.

They approached the bar and a few minutes later they were approached by a blonde with enhanced assets. "What can I get for you gentlemen?" she asked over the noise.

Tony stepped up. "We need eight shots of tequila for our table, two pitchers of green beer and a double bourbon." he shouted. Gibbs looked at Tony, surprised by the addition to the order. He saw him hand the lady his card and tell her to hold onto it. He leaned towards Tony so he could hear him. "I thought I was supposed to be the one buying." he joked. Tony leaned against the railing next to the bar while their drinks were gathered. He smiled back at Gibbs. "You're getting the next round." he said.

"I don't know if I'll be around for the next round" he said, caught off guard by the relaxed smile Tony gave him. He looked very enticing all of the sudden. He could feel his face warming again and looked towards the bar where the blonde was lining up his shots and an assortment of lemon and lime wedges and salt shakers on a tray. The bourbon found its way next to them and she handed the tray over to them. Two pitchers of green beer were sat on the bar by a man in his mid twenties and the two men carried the drinks back to the table.

Tim had moved to take Abby's seat and Abby had taken Tony's. Gibbs recognized that Tim was now on the end and Abby was where she could be safely flanked by two of them. Tony sat in Gibbs old seat and he sat in Tim's. The drinks were passed around the table and everyone took their favorite accompaniments and then the call was made by Abby.

"Alright everyone. One! Two! Three!" They all downed their shot back, even Gibbs and Tim. Gibbs just took his straight. Tim took his with a wedge of lemon. Others around the table had salted first and were just now sucking on their citrus. There were shakes and shivers from half of them at the bitter assault.

Gibbs smiled at his team. They were so close. He realized that he himself had really needed some time with them like this. He started pouring green beer and passing it around the table. They were telling old stories that he had forgotten about to Dion and Breena. Some were so old that even Ziva and Palmer hadn't heard. He joined in where he felt appropriate and drank his bourbon. He was starting to feel the liquor by then. He was wondering if he was going to have to take a cab home himself for the first time in years and smiled.

Tony was plastered by that point. He watched his SFA tell Ziva's boyfriend and Breena his side of the story of when he was undercover with Tim and ended up making out with the transsexual Commander Voss. Gibbs always got a kick out of the story. Tony was normally really defensive about it. Tonight though, Dion asked if "she" was a good kisser and Tony stopped for a moment and then answered, "Actually, yeah!" and then everyone, including Tony laughed so hard that they cried and Palmer had beer coming out of his nose.

Tony put his head on the table, laughing so hard that he was barely able to breathe. Gibbs wiped his own eyes and pounded Tony's back with a flat hand to help him breathe. He couldn't stop laughing himself though so his hand stayed on Tony's back for a while and as the man sat up to take in a gasping inhale, it became trapped between Tony's back and the chair.

Gibbs didn't realize it was even still there at first because of how he was turned towards the younger man. Once he did recognize it, it sent warmth through his body in every direction. He couldn't just yank it away. He knew that would imply a discomfort that he couldn't risk showing. He took his other hand and reached for the pitcher at the end of the table. He couldn't quite reach though and had to reach across Tony to get it. The man was practically pressed against his chest for a moment while he procure-d it, a hint of laughter still on his face.

The closeness suddenly hit Tony like a brick wall on fire. He felt his heart stop beating while Gibbs' body was against his. The heat was suffocating for a moment and he would have gladly died in it. He finally took a deep breath and could smell the tantalizing scent of coffee and sawdust on the man. He had to fight to keep his eyes open and his face from showing the feelings he had taking him over.

He looked down at Gibbs for a moment and then over at Abby who was twice as drunk as he was and he knew he was gone. She was hanging on Tim. He wasn't pushing her away but was keeping his hold on her as platonic as possible. He felt for the man in that moment. He knew that Tim loved Abby and knew that it was unrequited despite their friendship. He suddenly knew exactly what that was like.

Gibbs backed away with the pitcher and gently pried his hand out from behind Tony. Their closeness had him burning from head to toe and he hoped the cold beer would keep him from feeling it somewhat. He took a deep drink and realized the beer had actually gone warm. "I think it's time for a refresh." he said with a crinkle of his nose. Tony watched his expression as he took another drink of the warm ale and laughed at him. "Boss, don't drink that! Go get another pitcher!" Gibbs couldn't resist the smile. He chuckled a little and got to his feet.

"Anyone need anything else while I'm going up there?" Tim looked up at him.

"Um, can we get a couple of waters and maybe some pretzels?" he asked giving a sideways glance at Abby and then back to Gibbs. Gibbs nodded. Tony watched in fascination at how Gibbs was being Mr. Social. It was so unlike him and yet perfect. He caught himself as the older man began walking towards the bar and turned back to the group at the table.

"I can't believe he's being so..." he said to Ziva's questioning glance.

"Social?" she asked.

"Yeah. I mean, it's so un-Gibbs." he said, then finished the last bit of green beer.

Abby had heard their exchange. "I don't know how you got him to come with you Tony, but I'm really glad you d-d-d-did!" She said, swaying and falling back on Tim who put his arm around her waist. Tony thought about that for a moment. Actually, it was Gibbs that got him to go.

How did that happen? He wondered. He sat lost in his own thoughts for a couple of minutes while the conversations around the table turned more personal. Tim and Abby talked, Breena and Palmer talked, Ziva and Dion were whispering back and forth and laughing happily. Tony sat there with a pleasantly surprised look on his face, thinking about how Gibbs had saved him from his own self-pity tonight. They could have just as easily been sitting in his basement drinking, but Gibbs got him out to the bar and was being social with him.

He felt the weight of a stare on him. Being familiar with the feeling in a bar, he started looking around to find the gazer and saw that Gibbs was approaching the table. It broke his concentration as the man sat the pitcher in front of Tony and then a pitcher of water and bag of chips in front of Tim and Abby. Tim gave him a grateful smile and Gibbs nodded back. He immediately began urging Abby to drink the water and eat the chips. She was beginning to look too drunk and Tony saw the tender way he handled her. He was distracted though as Gibbs poured him another beer and then himself one.

He raised his glass to the older man, lost for a moment in his blue eyes. Gibbs raised his glass back. "What are we drinking to?" he asked.

Tony thought for a small moment but didn't break eye contact. "To our awesome, make-shift family." he said. Gibbs nodded and drank. The other conversations continued around them. "I'm glad you talked me into this, Gibbs." he said quietly, a bright smile not only on his lips but in his eyes. "I don't relate like this anymore with my college friends. We don't... have anything really in common other than our pasts." Gibbs nodded and looked back at Tony as he opened up. He forgot where they were and who they were with. He felt his focus honing in specifically on Tony.

"It's good to have friends that share your past. It's important. The friends you have now though are even more important. They understand you, can commiserate with you, can encourage you to make the right decisions when you can't see the right choices to make, and can be there for you in ways that your old friends can't. You, especially, have a big gap between your old life and your current life. I can't imagine it's easy for them to relate to you either." he tried to rein in his wandering mind and even more his wandering mouth.

He couldn't stop thinking about how brightly Tony's eyes were shining. They were so light right then that they looked shamrock green. Tony was just as focused back on him as he was on Tony and he knew they were connecting in a whole new way. He swallowed hard. He realized suddenly that he had drunk way too much if he didn't see this coming. He hadn't had any warning to put the wall up he normally did.

Now that it was down he had a split second decision to make. Should he keep himself open and let Tony in, and in turn see if Tony let him in further? Should he go all in? Or should he try to close himself down and sever the connection he and Tony were suddenly forming, which could potentially damage whatever connection they had before tonight? He took a deep breath and reached for his beer. He thought for that second and decided.

Fuck it. All in. He drank down his entire beer and reached to refill it. Tony watched the moment happen. He knew the struggle on the man's face. He was feeling something very similar within himself and he saw the decision play out too. He opened his mouth to say something and was interrupted by Tim.

"Hey guys. I'm gonna get Abby home. She's tapped. It was good to have you out with us. Should do it again soon." He gave Gibbs a pointed look. Gibbs and Tony nodded and said their goodbyes and thank yous. Gibbs told him to take care of Abby, and it was obvious the girl needed it because she didn't even tell anyone goodbye.

Gibbs turned back to Tony. "So when was the last time you actually hung out with them anyway?"

"Which them? The frat crew or our team?" Gibbs noticed that it was the second time tonight he had referred to their friends as our team. He smiled at that. He liked sharing custody.

"Your frat boys." he said, emphasizing boys.

Tony picked up on the reference and enjoyed the disdain he heard there. He took another drink. "Well, I saw Steven two days after Christmas and then Paul in early January." Gibbs nodded, encouraging him to continue. "Steven, if you remember, lives out in Ohio. Ended up in Cincinnati after school working for P&G. Total suburbian. He's engaged now. Her family lives in Manassas so he and I caught up when they were out there for the holidays with her family." Gibbs vaguely remembered hearing about the visit from across the room while Tony gave Ziva the recap of his weekend.

Palmer and Breena got up to leave and stopped over to remind Gibbs and Tony to RSVP to the wedding. They both said their pleasant goodbyes and watched them walk away from the table. Tony stole a look at Ziva and Dion who were totally lost in each other. He was glad to see Ziva so happy. Gibbs looked over at Ziva as she took an adventure into Dion's mouth, beginning to kiss and then turned back to Tony, blushing just a little.

"So doesn't Paul live close?" Tony nodded, a sad smile starting to form on his face. That wasn't Gibbs' intention by talking about this. He wanted Tony to open up and let it out, not make him sadder.

"Paul lives close but he's a congressional aide now. So he's busy all the time, and when he does get time away, he uses it to party like he's twenty-two. I mean, I know how to have a good time still, but I don't want to show up to a party and have to worry about there being anyone underage there, you know?" Gibbs' eyes widened a little and laughed.

"Has that seriously happened?" he took another drink of his beer and Tony turned bright red.

"ONLY ONCE!" They both laughed hard. "Paul invited me to go with him to this party he had heard about from some of the interns he was working with. We got there and the party was being thrown by this guy whose little brother was still in high school. Well, of course, all of his high school aged buddies crashed the party. I was like, whoa, Paul, we need to leave. And Paul was like, No way man! It's cool! It's okay! and so I went to follow him and pull him out of the house, and we saw one of his co-workers hitting on this girl who I swear wasn't even 16. That was it."

Gibbs was enthralled in the tale. He poured them each another beer, emptying the pitcher. "What did you do?"

"Oh man. I felt so weird doing it, but I of course grabbed the douche by the collar and pulled him away from the girl then cleared the place. I left most of it to the LEOs though, including Mr. Creepy. I was just happy to get the hell out of there." Gibbs was dying of laughter. "Geez, Gibbs, are you okay?" Tony asked, falling forward in his own laughter, his hand finding itself on the older man's arm.

"I can just imagine you, standing there in the middle of the room, dressed in your party clothes, holding some creep in one hand and your badge in another as all of these kids look at you like, What the hell?" Gibbs managed to get it out between laughs and gasps. Tony was laughing so hard his head fell back to the table. They calmed down finally and returned to their beers, smiles on their face so big their cheeks hurt. That's when Tony realized they had been left alone.

"Where did Miss David and her Greek god chef go?" Tony asked.

Gibbs looked around in happy confusion to realize that they were alone at the table. Ziva and Dion's coats were missing. They were actually gone. He was surprised. It was only 0100. The bar was still busy as all else with drunken "leprechauns" coming and going.

"I guess we can say we drunk the rest of the team under the table tonight." Gibbs joked, his eyes shining as he finished what was left of his beer while staring into Tony's bright green eyes. Tony smirked back and nodded. "Now the only question is, which one of us will last the longest?" Gibbs asked with playful innocence.

"Leroy Jethro Gibbs! Did you just challenge me?" Gibbs smiled but didn't break eye contact. "You know, you may be the expert at work, but drinking? That's my area of expertise. You're going down. Let's go." Tony grabbed his coat and moved to the bar where he ordered a long island, another double bourbon and another pitcher.

Gibbs stood behind him while he ordered. Some people moved to get past them and he took a step in closer to Tony. He felt exactly how close he was to the younger man and when the people passed, he couldn't bring himself to move away.

The bartender handed them their drinks. Gibbs reached over Tony's shoulder and took the bourbon and the pitcher. Tony grabbed the long island and the two mugs. He stepped back and into Gibbs. He knew he was going to. He had felt him step closer to him a moment ago and as he had reached to take the drinks he could feel that fire returning to run through him. Gibbs stepped back after a moment of contact that neither man officially acknowledged but didn't move right away to break.

They took the drinks to a smaller table back in the corner closer to the bar so they could refill if they made it that far. Both men knew that they were just using their drinking competition as an excuse to drink some more and hang out by this point. Neither said anything about it yet though. They poured their beers and sipped their other drinks and Gibbs continued prompting stories from Tony.

"So what did your friends think about your decision to go into law enforcement?" he asked as he sipped his bourbon.

Tony thought for a moment. "They were pretty cool about it actually. I mean, they didn't quite understand it. The money isn't exactly what they all make with their various business and political aspirations and seeing as half of us grew up with money, and the other half grew up with absolutely none and dreams of turning that around drastically, they were confused. They were supportive though. They never talked negatively about it. In fact Steven figured I would probably do it once Dr. Pitt blew my knee out. He knew that I wanted to help people more than I wanted to help myself, so... here I am."

Gibbs raised his glass. "Here's to being here." he said simply and Tony's glass clinked with his as they both took deep swallows of their liquor.

Tony smiled at Gibbs. Actually at him. "Thanks for that, by the way."

Gibbs looked at him a little lost. "For what?"

"For getting me out of my funk tonight." he replied, a knowing look on his features.

Gibbs just nodded with a slight flush and took a drink. "We both needed a night out of the basement." he said, feeling the knot in his stomach suddenly untie itself and fray into a million pieces. The look he was getting from Tony was completely open. There was no doubt that something was going on with his SFA that resembled what was going on within himself. The attraction, the connection, was just too strong to deny. He wasn't sure if he should or could act on it, but he figured they still had plenty left to drink on that table before they had to answer that question.

The silence was getting to be too much. Both men could do nothing but stare at each other and the drinks in their hands. "So what's going on with Abby and Tim?" Gibbs asked, trying to get the focus off of them.

Tony was thrown completely but dove into the gossip without pause. "Well, you know when Tim started with the team, he and Abby hooked up, right?" Gibbs looked at him with surprise. He knew Tim had wanted to, but didn't know they did.

"Seriously? So I have to kill McGee?" Gibbs asked.

Tony laughed. "Uh nooo... if you kill anyone it should be Abby." Gibbs glared at Tony as if though he had just spoken NCIS Sacrilige. "Honestly. She kinda played him. I mean, she likes him and all, but he loves her, and she wasn't really as honest as she should have been with him. I can tell you this though, she's been a lot more honest with everyone since because of it. She really cares about Tim, and there's... something there. But she's not a one guy type of girl. Hell, she's not a one woman type of girl. So poor Tim is left being the unrequited best friend. He's tried dating other women, but ya know, once one of them ends up being a Russian spy that's trying to kill you, you just kinda give up. It's safer to pine."

Gibbs laughed at that. Tony loved watching the man laugh. It happened so rarely. It gave him tingles as the laughter bounced through him. It was a private laugh, meant just for the two of them. Tony decided it was his turn to ask a question. "So why did you decide to get out of the basement tonight?" Gibbs had been asking him questions all night to encourage him to be happy in the moment he had now and not cling to his past. It was his turn to ask a question about his journey into the present.

Gibbs was kind of taken aback by it. "Well..." he looked into Tony's face and knew that the man had been honest with him all night and he deserved and honest answer. "You."

Tony's chin dropped and eyebrows raised in question. "Me?" his heart fluttered in his chest and his stomach flipped in a way that was intense but pleasant.

"Yeah. You. You just looked so... left out? I couldn't leave you like that." Gibbs tried to keep his voice and expression light but it wasn't easy. It had angered him what Tony's friends had done to him. They had abandoned him like everyone else in Tony's past had.

Tony was touched. His head tilted a little as he examined the man across from him for the truth and found it there. He really did care about him. "You know? I'm really glad they ditched me." He poured himself another beer and topped Gibbs' off.

Gibbs stared at the beer and then picked it up. "Me too." He took a big drink as Tony did the same. "Especially because it gave you a chance to tell Ziva and them the Commander Voss story!" They both burst out laughing again. Once they started breathing on their own once more, Tony shook his head. He knew he had had way too much to drink by now, but he wasn't going to stop so that he could keep spending time with Gibbs.

"You should have seen Tim's expression the moment he heard that Voss was a guy. It was something. He wanted to interrupt you so bad and then you started kissing him and it was like he froze. You should see the security footage. I bet Abby still has it. I caught her watching it. That girl has some issues." Gibbs' eyes got some far away look as he said that last part and shook his head, the smile never leaving his face.

"She was watching the footage of me kissing Voss? Wow. Yeah, I could see her doing that." Tony said with a shrug.

Gibbs chuckled and smirked. "Yeah. You looked like you were having a pretty good time of it for a minute there!"

Tony turned pink and then picked up his beer with that embarrassed smile that turned Gibbs into mush. "Like I said, I was! He was a pretty damn good kisser!" The glass found its way to his mouth again.

Gibbs laughed. "Well, it's not like you have much experience to compare it to!"

"Uh, do you know me? Tony DiNozzo? Date three nights a week? Hello!" Tony joked.

"Well, yeah, but its different with a guy!" Gibbs shot back with a scoff of a laugh and then realized what his words revealed. Tony realized it too and decided to test it.

"How would you know?" he laughed to cover his nervousness and took a long drink of his long island as he stared Gibbs down.

"Well, I guess I don't really." Gibbs replied with an intrigued smirk. Was Tony really playing along? He asked himself in disbelief. He felt his entire body waking up to the game. He leaned his elbows on the table so he was a little closer to Tony and drank his beer with two hands. He hadn't gone after a guy in decades now. Going after the delicious man before him was playing with fire. He could fall in love easily if he wasn't already on the way there and have his heart broken even easier. He waited for Tony to take it the next step.

"Well, are you going to ask? You know you wanna." Tony said quietly, mischief clouding his eyes and Gibbs' judgment as he leaned forward a little on the table himself, one hand raising his long island to his lips while he drank deeply.

God he was good, Gibbs thought. He already knew the answer based on his body language and flirtations. They were going to be a dangerous combination, but a combination for sure. "You mean, ask you if you've ever kissed a man before? I think I have figured that answer out on my own." he said, acknowledging their flirting in a sideways manner.

"Gibbs! Are you... assuming?" Tony bantered with him about the rules. "That's not like you." he said with a smirk.

"And you know me enough to know this?" Gibbs flirted back.

"Oh, I'm learning." Tony replied.

Gibbs felt his entire body tingle at the prospect of Tony learning him inside out. They both drank deeply as last call was announced. "I can't believe we're closing down a bar together." Tony joked as Gibbs finished off his bourbon.

"Yeah. Never would have suspected this would happen." Gibbs said making sure with eye contact that Tony knew he meant more than just their night out.

"Guess we should get out of here before the mass exodus." Tony suggested.

"Yeah. Especially because I'm way too drunk to walk the three blocks to my car. Even then, I couldn't drive it. It's going to be a bitch getting a cab this time of night." Gibbs began.

"God. I didn't think about that." They both moved to stand up and Tony swayed. Gibbs laughed as he reached out towards him but Tony caught himself on the table. "I need to get the tab settled." he said and moved towards the bar, laughing a drunken laugh as he stumbled again.

Gibbs watched him go and let his eyes take in his body. He had always admired Tony's physique, but tonight, he couldn't keep himself from reacting to it. He turned away to try to get himself under control. The problem was that he didn't really want to get it under control. He saw Tony's coat lying over the back of his chair. He picked it up and used it to hide his erection as it was draped over his arm and headed towards the bar. Tony was stepping away with a receipt and his card, slipping them into his back pocket.

He saw Gibbs walking towards him with his jacket and smiled. He stumbled again and almost fell right into him. Gibbs caught him with a chuckle and helped him back to a steadier stance. He wrapped his arm around the younger man's shoulders under the pretext of helping his drunken ass make his way safely across the bar. They both joked about the green accents people were wearing, Tony trying to make his comments in an Irish brogue that sounded more like the Munchkins of Oz. They laughed their way to the door.

They stepped outside into the cold night air and Tony shivered immediately. Gibbs realized he still had his coat and moved to help him put it on. Tony shrugged his way into it gratefully. "You know, you actually wear a lot of green. I'm surprised you didn't wear something today." Gibbs said.

"I was rebelling." he explained.

"Ah. That's a shame. Brings out your eyes." Gibbs said, eyes locked on Tony's own. Tony suddenly felt shy. That was a very obvious flirtation. An actual come on. They were crossing into that final territory here. It's not just maybes now. There's no "maybe" about that one. Gibbs was flat out seducing him, successfully.

"Well, you know, that's why I wear it. Was taught to accent my best features." he said with an attempt at cocky that actually showed off his insecurities.

"I'm grateful to your teacher." Gibbs said, looking right into those green eyes, a smile on his face of unabashed lust now. "Because you have eyes worthy of accenting."

Tony stood there speechless at first. He had gone the entire day depressed as all hell because he couldn't hang with six men who had become complete strangers to him and had always given him a hard time about his explorations with men. Now he was standing here being hit on- no- being complimented in a way that made him melt- by the one and only Leroy Jethro Gibbs, the man who held his heart in his hands and didn't even know it.

Tony smiled a coy smile. "You're one to talk, Jethro." he chanced. Gibbs felt his breath catch in his chest at Tony's use of his name. He could do nothing but smile back. They just stood there on the sidewalk, staring at each other and smiling like star crossed lovers, in one of Tony's cheesey movies, when a cab pulled up to the curb. Both men had their attention stolen by it and jumped instinctively to grab it before someone else could. They both slid in and Gibbs gave the driver his address. Tony didn't even question that they were going to Gibbs'. He had the guest room and Tony had stayed in it plenty of times after a night of drinking and watching Gibbs work on the boat.

They rode the whole way there in silence, both resting their heads on the back of the seat but turned towards one another, staring at each other's eyes and lips as they smiled back. Twenty minutes later they were pulling up and Gibbs was paying the cabbie. They got into the house and Tony hung his coat up on the coat rack in the living room. Gibbs moved to hang his jacket up on it too and ran a hand across the small of Tony's back then moved towards the steps.

Tony froze for a moment, letting the touch warm him, and then followed Gibbs up the steps towards the guest room. Gibbs saw Tony stop by the guest room door and back tracked a couple of steps to grab his arm and pull him along towards the master bedroom instead. Tony smiled shyly, a complete lack of his usual cockiness and Gibbs found it adorably becoming on the man. It was honest.

They didn't need to talk. They had never needed words to read one another. It was automatic. They had discussed it all with their eyes on the way home. Tony knew that he was about to be taken to bed by the man he'd been pining over for years. He didn't know if Gibbs had been pining as long as he had, but the way they had talked and flirted tonight, and the honesty in Gibbs eyes as they talked outside of the bar, made him well aware that the attraction had been there for a long time, and that was good enough for him tonight.

Gibbs pulled him in and immediately towards the bed. He sat on the bed and pulled Tony down on next to him by the hand, then pushed him gently to lay back. Tony let himself fall back, enjoying the older man taking the lead. He always led with women, but when he was with a man, he preferred to be led at first. He watched as Gibbs leaned down over him, blue eyes shining and asking for permission. His hand went up around the back of his neck, fingers grasping the short silver hairs on the back of his head to grant it.

A moment later he felt Gibbs lips warm against his. It was much sweeter than he expected it to be. He had always figured that if this were to finally happen it would be in the heat of rough passion, exploding out of nowhere. This was just as intense but deeper.

Gibbs mouth was tender but sure. There was no hesitation but he took his time kissing Tony, enjoying the sensation of the male mouth he had long denied himself access to. Kissing a man was so different from kissing a woman. He had forgottenhow much he enjoyed it. He was going to make it last as long as possible. He ran his fingers down the side of Tony's face as they kissed causing him to lean into it a little more. He moved so his fingers found their way into Tony's hair and pulled just a little so that Tony into his mouth.

Tony thought he was going to explode already. He felt Gibbs' fingers pulling on his hair and his cock sprung to attention completely from half mast in less than a second. It ached suddenly with a throbbing need. He was on fire from head to toe. His hands reached Gibbs' shoulders and he could feel the Marine's surprisingly firm muscles as he let his hands explore his back. Gibbs shuddered as the movement on his back gave him the chills. He raised his head from the kiss for just a moment to let himself feel its delicious thrill. His hard on was pressing against Tony's thigh and he felt lightning shoot up his groin every time he moved. Tony could feel Gibbs' taut member grazing his leg and yearned to touch it.

He moved to untuck Gibbs shirt from his pants and pull it over his head. The man helped and then began working on Tony's buttons. Soon they were both shirtless and exploring one another's chests and abs. Tony's fingers grazed Gibbs' nipples intentionally and he watched the man's expression change. He gave them a few more passes and then wrapping his hands around Gibbs' neck, pulled him in for another deep kiss. There was so much fire in this kiss that they both felt it in their toes as they stretched and flexed their digits, their legs tangling themselves together as much as possible.

Gibbs let his kisses trail down Tony's throat and nibbled his ear gently. Tony moaned into the attack and thrust against the man. Gibbs returned the moan and they both knew they weren't going to last much longer. "Tony, I need to touch you." Gibbs whispered with a raspy voice in his ear.

"Yes, God, please, Jethro." he half whispered half begged. "Please." Gibbs reached to unbutton his pants, kissing his way down Tony's chest and stomach. Once his kisses reached his waistband, he pulled Tony's pants and boxers off. Tony sat up immediately as his cock was revealed, pulling at Gibbs' pants, freeing him as well. A mere moment later, Gibbs was lying on top of Tony, as much skin as possible touching him. He reached up to touch Tony's face.

"You're so damn beautiful." he told him, gazing into those bright green eyes. "I'm sorry I've been too afraid to tell you that." Tony melted as Gibbs took his lips in his own again and began kissing him deeply. Their tongues attacked one another, battling for no reason other than the pleasure of battle.

Gibbs moved to reach between them, taking both of their hard members in one semi-calloused hand. Tony's breath hitched at the contact and Gibbs moaned. His hands worked up from the base in one long, firm stroke, his fingertips gracing the tip of Tony's head with their touch. Tony arched up into the touch, raising both men up off the bed. Gibbs' free hand moved behind Tony's head, pulling him closer as he took his mouth again and again. His hand on their cocks stroked with the perfect amount of pressure. He had forgotten how breathtaking the feeling of a man's hard cock could feel in his hand. He let himself admit just how much he had missed it and let that fuel the passion he had for Tony in the moment. He gave it his everything as he stroked them with soft thrusts, letting their cocks rub against each other as he rubbed them both.

Tony was whimpering as Gibbs hand stroked them, but once he began thrusting, Tony lost all control. He began thrusting as well and it pushed Gibbs to the edge. He felt the warmth spread out from the base of his spine and his feet began to tingle with loss of blood as it rushed up his legs to fulfill his need. He felt Tony's member swell just a little bit more as the man cried out and came, his face a beautiful contortion that pushed Gibbs over the edge. He growled loudly and let his warmth spill all over them. They were a sticky, panting mess and he loved it. He fell next to Tony, their cum sticking to him and running down his stomach onto the bed.

"My God Tony." he prayed. "Why didn't we do that sooner?" he asked.

Tony turned and looked at him, panting between smiling lips, eyes hazy. "Best fucking question you've asked me all night." Tony said.

They laid there for a long time as they came back to earth, dizzy from their release and alcohol consumption. Gibbs rebounded first. "Do you know how fucking hot you look with my cum all over you?" he asked, voice raspy with desire again already in his ear. "So hot."

Tony groaned, his cock twitching for more. He reached down and ran his fingertips through the liquid on his stomach and let it stick to his fingers. He ran his entire hand through it, eyes closed in the ecstacy of the moment. It was incredibly hot. He took the liquid and used it as lube and stroked his hardening cock.

Gibbs watched with fascination, his hand on his own cock, as Tony stroked himself with their cum on his hands. "Holy shit, Tony." he groaned.

"God, your cum feels so good on my cock. So good." he began stroking himself faster and harder. Gibbs pace followed as he watched Tony wipe more cum off of his stomach before continuing the pace. Gibbs found himself on his knees looking down on Tony from the side and stroked himself hard and fast, letting himself go. Tony opened his mouth and Gibbs pressed his head against his lips. Watching Tony eagerly accept it caused him to begin to shudder hard. He stroked himself through it, milking himself into Tony's mouth. Tony's tongue teased his slit, sucking as much out of him as possible as he came himself, shuddering hard and drenching himself even further. Gibbs watched him as he glistened with their sex.

Gibbs sat back on his feet and waited for them both to come down. He took Tony's hand in his, needing the contact. It was still sticky but he didn't care. "That was incredible." he murmured. Tony just nodded as he panted. After about ten minutes of just watching each other come down from their orgasms, Gibbs pulled Tony to his feet and led him into the shower.

"I'm surprised you're letting me clean up. You seem to really like me covered in you." Tony joked.

"I do apparently. Never thought anyone was so hot with my cum on them ever. But I can't hold you while we sleep if we're going to stick to one another." Tony smiled from ear to ear at the thought of being held by Gibbs while they slept tonight. He followed Gibbs gladly under the stream of hot water and kissed him slowly as they cleaned each other off.

It took everything in Gibbs not to turn Tony around, hands against the tiles and fuck him hard. It was ultimately his favorite way to take a man and the way Tony was kissing him was making him hard all over again. He fought it back as hard as he could though and finally had to pull away from the gorgeous man in his arms. Tony looked hurt for a moment and Gibbs had to chuckle a little as he pulled the man into an embrace. "I want to keep going Tony, but I don't think we should tonight." Tony took that as a promise of more nights to come and sighed happily.

"Okay. Tomorrow night then." he meant it as a joke but Gibbs nodded.

"Tomorrow night, Tony."

Tony's heart fluttered. They stepped out of the shower and toweled off. Just a few minutes later, they were getting into bed together, naked, and wrapping around one another. Gibbs legs were tangled with Tony's. Their arms were wrapped tightly around each other, bringing their chests together. They kissed a little more and then rested their foreheads together. Tony normally hated sleeping with his face this close to someone. The breathing became uncomfortable. Tonight though, he felt it wasn't close enough. He fell asleep happier than he had ever been, in the arms of the man he loved.

Gibbs felt Tony's breath steady and even out into sleep. He couldn't believe he was holding his SFA in his arms. It felt so right. He was breaking one of his biggest rules but he didn't give a damn. He had spent too long denying a big part of who he was and he had a feeling that denial had hurt more than just himself. It had become very clear to him tonight just how Tony felt. The man rarely became emotionally invested with someone and he was extremely honored to find that he was one of the lucky few. He didn't know what was in store for them, but he was out of the basement now, and he was going to let himself find out.