Partners 4: Memories by megaera18
Summary: Gibbs is allowed home from hospital - but his memory is affected
Categories: Gibbs/DiNozzo Characters: Anthony DiNozzo, Leroy Jethro Gibbs
Genre: Alternate Universe, Angst, Established relationship, Hurt/Comfort
Pairing: Gibbs/DiNozzo
Warnings: Mpreg
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 2 Completed: No Word count: 7933 Read: 9929 Published: 07/10/2013 Updated: 09/25/2013
Story Notes:
See part 1

1. Partners 4b: Memories 2 by megaera18

2. Confusion by megaera18

Partners 4b: Memories 2 by megaera18
Author's Notes:
Gibbs is allowed home from hospital - but his memory is affected
2 weeks later...

Gibbs glared at Ducky, furious.

"Why do I have to stay here?" He gestured at the hospital room, simmering with suppressed anger and frustration. "I've been here for days, I've sat through all your tests, and every one of your experts has said the same thing. Retrograde Amnesia. My memory will come back in time and there's nothing I can do but wait for it to return. I may as well be at home or work until then!"

"Jethro... You’ve just had surgery! You can't remember the last ten years! As far as you're concerned, you're still partnered with Jenny. The world has moved on since then. Jenny's now the director of NCIS and you've been through at least 2 marriages and a serious relationship since then. Plus, last year..."

"I'm walking out of here!" Gibbs snapped, not giving Ducky a chance to finish. The fact that he could barely walk without a crutch didn’t enter into his argument.

Ducky sighed. Gibbs in this mood was like a force of nature; best go with the flow. And in truth, there was no medical reason for keeping Gibbs in hospital. He was healing quickly, with no sign of infection. He was driving the nurses to distraction and even Ducky was feeling a little frayed round the edges. On a personal level however...

Gibbs couldn't remember the past ten years, so he certainly didn't remember his partner. His very pregnant male partner. He was going to get one hell of a shock when he found out, and remembering the vigorously heterosexual, total bastard Gibbs had been back then, Ducky just hadn't found the right moment to tell him. How did you tell someone like the man Gibbs had been, that he had regular sex with his subordinate, let alone that he had made the young man pregnant?

Perhaps he wouldn't need to. Sooner or later, Gibbs' partner instincts would awaken and he would connect with Tony again. It was a calculated risk, but Ducky decided to leave things as they were for a while. He would closely monitor Jethro's progress, but perhaps some time at home with Tony would help. At least then, he would know Tony; trust him a little. At least he wouldn't be like a stranger, the first time, post-explosion, that he found himself having sex with the young agent.

Ducky began to plan.

*******

Tony had gone home. For about thirty seconds. Then he had come back to the hospital and he was presently hovering in the vicinity of the waiting room beside Gibbs' room. Ducky sighed when he saw the young man waiting there. He shouldn't have been surprised. Like all of the partners in Washington DC, he knew quite well how strong the partner bond could be. The anxiety partners felt for each other. Tony's green eyes were filled with misery.

Poor Anthony. The miserable look on his face when Gibbs hadn't recognised him still haunted the medical examiner. A pitiful, despairing expression. Hardly good for him in his condition, so perhaps staying at the hospital was a good idea. Ducky had at first agreed to send him home, knowing that at present, being with Gibbs would only bring him heartbreak, but the young man hadn't been able to stay away. For the long days of his treatment and recovery, Tony had hovered in the background. The hospital was probably the best place for him to be, so that Ducky could keep a watchful eye on him, in his condition.

At some point, however, Gibbs was going to get a big, big shock, now that he was recovering physically, if not mentally.

While Gibbs was getting dressed, Ducky took the young agent aside.

"Anthony. He's feeling much better. He's going to be all right, though he’ll have to take it easy for a while. He can go home and recuperate there."

The relief in Tony's green eyes was touching. "We have a problem though. His memory is going to take some time to return. You're just going to have to be patient with him." Ducky squeezed Tony's shoulder.

"He doesn't remember anything from the last ten years. Not you, and certainly not your condition. And the Gibbs of ten years ago isn't the man you know and love"

"Oh god." Tony said softly. "What do I do?" Again, Ducky squeezed his shoulder, his eyes filled with compassion. "I have a plan. I'm going to ask you to drive him home and stay with him - because of his head injury, you understand. That way you'll have a natural reason for being in your own home - one he can understand at the moment. As for the truth... Well, you'll have to tell him eventually, but take your time. Let the nature of the partnership guide you. Somewhere deep down inside him, he knows that he loves you. Use your judgement. I would imagine that the shock for him will be quite severe when he realises the truth."

Gibbs emerged from his room at that moment, walking somewhat unsteadily, and looked expectantly towards Ducky, who forced himself to smile reassuringly at the two men.

"Ah, Jethro. I was just giving Anthony instructions. He's to take you home and stay with you. No arguments. I'm making it a condition of your release that Tony keeps an eye on you. You've had a serious head injury and I don't want you to be alone right now."

Gibbs frowned but didn't argue. There was a point beyond which you didn't push a medical professional and Gibbs could see that he'd reached it. Besides, he trusted Ducky more than anyone else, except maybe Jen. He didn't really know anyone else in this strange new world. The young agent he had been saddled with was a small price to pay for freedom, and at least he could direct Gibbs to his own home. He looked easy to intimidate. It had belatedly occurred to Gibbs that he wasn't even sure where he lived at the moment!

They headed for Tony's car and began the short drive from Bethesda to Gibbs' house. Tony tried to concentrate on his driving, but he couldn't help the odd, worried glance at his partner. Gibbs looked pale and tired. His face was marked by small cuts, and worst of all, when Tony looked into the familiar, blue eyes, there was no affection there. Just... nothing intimate. Maybe a faint curiosity. The gaze of a stranger, in fact, as he saw when Gibbs met his glance, the next time his green eyes flickered sideways.

"So, you're an NCIS agent?" Gibbs asked. "Tony... Wasn't it?"

"Tony DiNozzo. Your senior field agent." Tony let a little bit of pride creep into his voice. He was proud of his achievements as part of Gibbs' team.

"Huh!" Gibbs studied the young agent coolly, noting the curve of his belly and the way he was wearing his shirt carelessly, hanging outside of his pants. "If you're going to continue as my senior field agent, you'd better lose some weight."

Tony's eyes went wide and he looked momentarily like a kicked puppy. He opened his mouth to answer, then paused. What the hell was he going to say that wouldn't sound insane to this stranger who wore Gibbs' face? He forced himself not to reply, then let his attention swing back to the road. He desperately tried to remind himself that it wasn't Gibbs' fault and this mess would be over... eventually. Still, he felt the sting of tears threatening to spill down his cheeks. He was concentrating so hard on holding back his tears that he didn't see the look of puzzlement the older man gave him.

******

His young companion perplexed him. Normally Gibbs could read a person easily; he prided himself on being a good judge of character. But Agent DiNatso really had him stumped. Gibbs wondered whether it was because of his own head injury, but there were anomalies to the agent's behaviour that couldn't be easily explained. Like now. Years of interviewing suspects had made him recognise those little things in a person's demeanour that gave away what they were feeling. The young man's expression was neutral, but something about the way he held himself told Gibbs he was really upset. Gibbs just couldn't imagine what he had said to cause that reaction. The guy was an NCIS agent. He knew the fitness requirements of the job just as well as Gibbs did.

The way he looked at Gibbs bothered the older man too. Most agents tended to show respect, wariness or dislike when they met him, even long time colleagues. But the young agent showed none of that. The way he watched Gibbs was more like the way you looked at a brother. Or family. Not typical for a young agent ��" terrified was the norm. Useful, of course, when you wanted to keep a green agent to heel.

Hmmm. His gut told him that there were things going on here that he didn't understand. Best tread carefully with DiWhatsit till he understood more. His musings were cut short as the car drew to a standstill. The green eyed young agent nodded towards a house and Gibbs let out a sigh of relief as he saw the familiar sight of his own, well-known home. He did still live here!

Gibbs was glad to be home. He hated hospitals and he was glad to be out of Bethesda, at any price. So he had a watchdog. It was a small price to pay, to be in familiar surroundings once more. He was immeasurably relieved that he still lived in the same house that he had owned ten years ago. It looked much the same inside, too. A few cosmetic changes, like a coat of paint in the kitchen and a new coffee maker. And fortunately, no wife. He remembered the break-up of his marriage eleven years ago with a shudder. They had even fought over the rugs. Damn lawyers and their division of marital property! Pity he couldn't have forgotten that!

He opened the basement door and squinted into the darkness, then grinned. There was still a boat in the basement! Who knows how many incarnations it had gone through. He could be the owner of a fleet by now, though admittedly, the craftsmanship he could see displayed was a level of skill he had to admire. Apparently, he had become quite practised in boatbuilding over the missing decade, which argued, either patience and dedication, or a lot of lonely hours down here. He had taken up boat building as a hobby to get away from the aforementioned wife and the hobby had proved unexpectedly satisfying. Which led his mind onto coffee, an urge he urgently needed to satisfy after that all hospital crap…

He wandered into the kitchen, and he was pleased to see that the young agent was in the process of making his favourite beverage. He nodded to Tony and sat at the kitchen table, and moments later, a mug of steaming hot, black coffee was placed in front of him. He took an appreciative swallow. Apparently, DiWhatsit was well versed in what pleased his boss.

"Aren't you having any?" Gibbs studied his companion. Momentarily, the young agent's expressive green eyes flickered his way, then he shook his head.

"Bad for my health," he said softly.

Gibbs snorted. He hoped he wasn't stuck with some bleeding heart, health nut. Then again, if he had made the position of senior field agent under Gibbs, the young agent must have some good qualities, though apparently physical fitness wasn't one of them. And he was evidently not as shallow as his pretty face and expensive clothes suggested, for the same reason.

A surprise awaited Gibbs when he went next door to watch the news on tv. A state of the art, wide-screen tv hung on the wall, and a pile of dvds rested on top of one of the big speakers attached to it. Gibbs frowned. He had never liked watching movies in the past, not to this extent, and the apparent change in his character puzzled him.

He watched the news in a kind of daze. Everything seemed to have changed, except for the fact that American servicemen were still dying in another foreign war in some place dusty and hot. He didn't recognise the faces of the politicians, and when a picture appeared showing the President in the White House, he was just another face. The story was some scarcely believable scandal about the President's son and his Secret Service bodyguard heading to Niagara Falls to get married. Hell, the fact that any two men could get hitched was just bizarre! The world had definitely changed over the last 10 years. Gibbs tuned the words out. His head began to ache.

Gibbs sighed tiredly. He would get something to eat, then he would gladly rest. He was more tired than he would admit to anyone else, and from the delicious smells emerging from the kitchen, Tony was cooking. Well, at least he could get that right.

He paused at the kitchen door; he could hear voices. Curious, he eavesdropped on DiWhatso.

"...You'll see, sweetheart. Everything'll be okay. Ducky said so..."

Damn. Apparently, his senior field agent was nuts for real.

"...Wow, you sure can kick. Think I'll put your name down early for the Ohio State football team..."

Weirder and weirder. Gibbs shook his head. Who the hell was Tony talking to? He had left his cell phone and laptop on the table next door. And the young man had seemed so normal! Gibbs decided to keep his mouth shut for the moment. He may be a bastard, but he didn't kick the mentally ill when they were down. He would have a word with Ducky later. Still, priorities.

"What's cooking?"

He caught a glimpse of startled green eyes as Tony looked towards him. The young agent was stirring a pot of pasta, one hand resting on his fat belly. He smiled at Gibbs, a little shyly.

Just for a moment, a picture flashed inside his head, like a freeze frame image; Tony sitting right there at the kitchen table, a mug in his hand, grinning widely at him. Then it was gone.

He had known DiWhatsit before! Well enough for the young agent to be a visitor in his house. The memory had been of some early morning event, to judge from the way the sun had been streaming in through the windows. Interesting, and annoying too, that he couldn't place the image in context...

"Hey boss. You want some pasta. You'll like the sauce - I'm Italian so you know it'll be good." Tony was smiling at him, so like that elusive memory, his green eyes sparkling. Gibbs surprised himself by nodding.

It was good too. Hardly surprising that Tony was a bit on the heavy side. Gibbs found himself eating a second bowlful, after which he could barely keep his eyes open. He headed upstairs, calling over his shoulder at DiNutso, "You're welcome to the spare room," though it vaguely occurred to him that he didn't even know whether it actually had a bed in it. He swallowed the pills Ducky had given him, fell into bed and was asleep, as the cliché goes, as soon as his head hit the pillow.

*****

Tony curled up on the spare bed, lying on his side to try and get comfortable. No one had told him how damned uncomfortable this pregnancy thing could be! He seemed to take hours these days, trying to find a comfortable position for sleeping. He ended up with a couple of pillows at his back for support. Not Jethro, but it would have to do. And no chance of mortgaging his soul for one of Jethro’s famous foot massages…

He sighed unhappily. Gibbs wasn’t the man he knew. He seemed more edgy, more angry at the world, and somehow, less human. Robocop Gibbs! Tony sighed again. He wanted so much to feel his lover’s arms around him.

He had been alone for so long before he had fallen into a relationship with his boss, or so it seemed. A series of shallow relationships with pretty women; nothing permanent or meaningful. And then came Jethro Gibbs, who made him feel like he had come home. A few glorious, tempestuous months later and his life had changed irrevocably for the better. He was so deeply in love with the man now. And then Jethro had given him the greatest gift of all ��" his daughter.

The knot of loneliness inside him eased a little. He really wasn’t alone any more. And for two more months, he would have her close to him, inside him. His arms wrapped protectively around his bump. The idea of parental responsibility was strange to him, but it was growing on him. Or should that be in him?

She kicked against his hand and he found himself grinning, despite his troubles. She was going to be as feisty as her father. And a bond between them that would link the three of them together forever.

Not that it helped him to get any sleep…

*******

Gibbs groaned as the rays of the early morning sun woke him as they slanted through the blinds across his bedroom window. He had slept like a log, but that didn’t stop him from feeling as though a guy with a jackhammer was excavating a hole in his head. No dreams. He fumbled for his pills and gratefully swallowed down a couple of the powerful painkillers. He was glad that he didn’t have anything more energetic to do today than sitting around on his ass, trying to remember who he was, these days.

He dragged himself unsteadily to his feet and headed for the shower, only to hear the sound of water running inside. After a moment, it stopped and he heard whistling coming from the bathroom.

DiWhatsit!

The door opened and the young agent appeared, wearing a towel round his waist. He gave a start as he saw Gibbs watching him.

–Making yourself at home?” Gibbs snapped sarcastically. The young man blushed, the colour flooding his face and spreading lower... His skin gleamed with moisture and despite himself, Gibbs let his eyes drop. DiWhatso was definitely out of shape. Though his chest and legs were firm and muscular, his belly was definitely bulging. Gibbs glared at him. The pills hadn’t kicked in yet.

–You invited me to stay. Remember?” Tony gave an easy grin, refusing to be intimidated. Oddly, the young agent’s strength of character made a better impression than if he had been a kiss-ass.

"Go do something in the kitchen!" Gibbs snapped sarcastically. "You seem quite at home there." Tony’s grin deepened. He wasn't sure where his anger was coming from. It was just that he was so frustrated that he couldn't remember even the simple stuff. Who his team was? What cases were important right now? He would have loved to know DiNutso's story, for example. He got the feeling, every now and then, that there was something about the young agent... Something really important that he should be remembering, and not just about Tony’s weight problems.

Stiff and bruised, he dressed, slowly after his shower, his body dictating his speed. Coffee was a priority, followed by something to eat. Then he would look over his home, trying to place his life in context.

Surprisingly, the young agent had followed instructions and the coffee machine was switched on, brewing a cup of something that smelled pretty good. That was twice he had gotten it right. His appreciation of DiWhatsit was definitely growing. Still, it wouldn’t do to encourage him too much, so he merely nodded to the young man and took his cup into the other room so that he could flick through the channels on the big-ass tv. He didn’t see the look of disappointment that Tony gave him.

The memory flash caught him by surprise, freeze frame, almost perfect in its clarity. DiNozzo lying sprawled on a tiled floor, his face white and one arm raised defensively. The other arm lay limp at his side, as a man dressed in chef's whites brought a pipe down towards the young agent's head. Gibbs gasped and the coffee mug wavered in his hand.

True memory or not? He had to know. He picked up his mug and headed for the kitchen. Hopefully, DiWhatsit had gotten over his annoyance by now. Yeah, right.

The green-eyed agent was sitting, glaring at a kitchen gadget. Despite his determination not to like the young idiot, Gibbs felt his lips twitch towards what might have been a smile. DiNutso's expression was pure pout. Note to memory: this agent could win an Olympic medal in pouting. Gibbs wondered whether it was just him, or had the waffle maker done something to offend DiWhatsit too.

He didn't remember having a waffle maker, but then most things passed him by lately. He could see that, whatever the young agent's strengths might be, the ancient art of waffle making wasn't one of them for the young agent. Gibbs finally did grin, as DiWhatsit cursed loudly and pulled the smoking ruin of a waffle out of the gadget. Though he would never tolerate incompetence in his agents in the work they did - apart from waffle making skills, that is - he was beginning to get the idea that he kept the young agent around for the entertainment value.

"Having trouble?" Gibbs schooled his expression to neutrality. The young agent glared at him.

"I'm not too good at this," he said, sounding as though the admission was being dragged out of him. "I've been trying to get it right for months but I just don't have the knack."

"Months, huh? You must love waffles."

"Oh yes!" The young man's face lit up. "I get cravings, you know. Waffles with maple syrup and pick..." He faltered. "Well I just like them, that's all."

"You need the right temperature, that's all. And the waffle has to cook evenly." He found himself taking over, and in a few minutes, he had salvaged something out of DiNatso's mess. He turned out four perfect waffles onto a plate.

With a quick grin, the young agent grabbed one as soon as it had cooled enough and poured an obscene amount of syrup over it. He bit into it hungrily, making a sound of pleasure that was almost indecent. Gibbs found himself fascinated by the way the young agent was licking the sweet stickiness of the syrup off his fingers. The way he sucked his fingers in, one by one, and slowly drew them out again, his tongue tracing the end of each one like he was exploring every last intimate nook and cranny in his search for sweet maple juices…

Gibbs realised abruptly that he was staring as if hypnotised, and he jerked his gaze away, feeling strangely off balance. For a moment, it seemed as though there was a trace of amusement in those green eyes, but he could have imagined it. He searched for something to say, then remembered that odd memory.

"Were you hurt?" he asked softly. "I remembered... Your shoulder. There was a cook and you were on the floor..." He shook his head. "Did it really happen or did my brain make it up?"

"You're remembering things!" Tony's grin was like the sun coming out.

"Only that, and you drinking coffee at my kitchen table. I get frozen images. Not in context. It's confusing as hell."

"I was attacked while we were on a case about six months ago. You saved my life!" Tony rubbed at his shoulder and grimaced at the memory of pain. "Nearly three months of hospitals and reconstructive surgery to set the bones he shattered."

Gibbs hadn't realised he was so tense until he heard the young agent's word and knew that it was a real memory. He wasn't dreaming it all. Plus, long term illness went some way to explaining why his senior field agent wasn’t as fit as he should be.

The young agent finished his waffles and headed to his laptop. He opened it and began to type some sort of report. Gibbs sighed. Apparently he had a nursemaid. Ducky had been determined and Gibbs knew better than to thwart his friend. They were right that he couldn’t work till his head was put back together. Why he didn’t even know who was on the ten most wanted list on the wall of the NCIS office.

Tony’s cell phone rang and he listened to the conversation for a few minutes, then he burst out, –You’ve got to be kidding me!” A swift glance towards Gibbs. –He’s doing good, McGee. He remembered some stuff ��" just little things, but it’s still a good sign, right?” Another pause. –Okay. Send me your crime scene pictures” He looked tired, Gibbs realised. The young agent turned to him.

–I have to go on the computer to check out a crime scene,” Tony said. Apparently, there’s no-one else available ��" they’re all chasing your terrorist cell. He looked oddly reluctant to leave. Gibbs realised that he was the reason that Tony hadn’t run off right away.

–Go be my senior field agent,” he said with a smile. The young agent’s devotion was touching, though a little strange. But then, what was normal about the young agent?

******

End of part 2
End Notes:
See part 1
Confusion by megaera18
Author's Notes:
Jethro can't remember his partner. Poor Tony!
Left to his own devices, Gibbs was at a loose end. Bored now that the young agent had made himself scarce, Gibbs wandered over to the bookshelf, feeling strangely lonely. Maybe there was a tempting book he could read? Some of the volumes on his shelves seemed out of character. Film studies? Biographies of actors? A price list of movie collectibles? Gibbs frowned and pulled out an item that had caught his eye: a garishly coloured black and yellow paperback. Not something he would ever have chosen to put on his bookshelves.

–Gay sex for idiots (A fun resource for the rest of us): Men’s Edition.”

The book was well thumbed and even had a couple of page corners turned down to mark articles of interest.

His jaw just about hit the floor as he read the title details. What the fuck…? Disbelieving, he opened the front cover and stared at the inscription written inside.

–Saw this and thought of you.” It was signed simply –J.” He recognised his own writing. With shaking hands, he flipped through the pages until he got to the folded over corner and stared at the richly illustrated page. His mouth went dry and he shook his head in denial as the book slipped from his fingers. He let it fall.

He couldn’t imagine ever doing THAT! Not ever. Yet despite his certainty, heat had swept through him at the sight of the two men entwined, face to face, one riding the other…

No way. He couldn’t be aroused by that… that…

So, why was he as hard as hell, just as turned on as if he had been looking at straight porn?

Bewildered and not a little afraid, he hurriedly picked up the book and shoved it behind the others so that it wasn’t visible to the casual observer. He had absolutely no desire to expose his weaknesses of character to his young subordinate, or indeed any other visitor to his house. Whatever the hell had been going on in his life, he needed time to think about it. Just not right now…

Perhaps that was why he tried to distract himself by switching on the big tv, setting the channel to CNN. He had ten years of current affairs to try and recall, at least enough that he could bluff his way through a conversation.

The reporter, who appeared, delivering a piece to camera, was young, enthusiastic and no heavyweight, intellectually speaking. He was standing, microphone in hand, in front of a house in Georgetown. The camera panned to the left to show body bags being loaded into a coroner’s van which had NCIS painted on the side. He wondered if that case was the one that DiWhatsit had rushed off to view. Grabbing at the remote control, he turned the sound up.

–…And in another case of the so-called Partner rage, two women were hacked to pieces by a machete…” Gibbs winced. –Agents from NCIS are presently hunting for Petty Officer Jane Weir, who is believed to be the perpetrator of the crime. It is understood that she was visiting Washington last year and like thousands of DC residents, was affected by the Partner Virus. Another victim of that terrorist atrocity…”

Huh?

Partner Virus? Terrorist atrocity? And how the hell did a virus cause a woman to chop someone up? The context of these events was missing from his mind. He had missed more than he realised.

Intrigued, and more than a little disturbed at the thought of more unknown (at least to him) terrorists running around Washington, he found himself headed towards the computer that lurked on his desk. He switched it on and in a surprisingly short time, found himself running a search on the Internet for the Partner Virus. It distantly surprised him that he was able to use the damned machine so easily â€" he hated new technology â€"but some part of him still remembered this. Maybe it was something he used at work, so often that it was at the level of instinct. Besides, he needed to know this stuff, if his people were in danger...

*****

Wikipedia: The Georgetown incident
On December 12th 2009, the Dawn Alliance terrorist group released the Partner Virus in the Georgetown area of Washington DC. The release occurred during a period of high wind with the result that a large area of the city, including Capitol Hill, was exposed to the virus. Within a short time, exposed individuals paired off and engaged in intense sexual activity, followed by a short period of fever as permanent genetic alteration took place...

******

Damn! Gibbs felt his jaw dropping as he read on. Pair bonding? Partner rage? What the hell had been going on?

Gibbs was at least distracted from the damned yellow book, but only because he had a new mystery to ponder. The terrorist attack sounded as if it had been a bitch; domestic terrorism cases always left a bad taste in the mouth. But this time there was a twist to the tale. That whole thing about intense sexual activity? Who with? The terrorists? The persons around them? Root vegetables?

He wondered whether he had been in DC that day? Maybe DiWhatsit would know. The idea didn’t bear thinking about. He could have slept with anyone; a woman like his ex-wife…, a man…, a colleague... The possibilities were endless and horrifying. Which brought his mind round once again to that damned yellow book. What if...?

He found himself blushing fiercely. No way. No way in hell could he put up with that! And yet…

There had been that playful message in the front of the book. As if he was relaxed enough to make jokes with his mystery lover about their love life. A degree of ease that he hadn’t had with his last wife! Stranger and stranger. Damn. As if he didn’t have enough to puzzle out in his life. He felt as if he had a hole in his brain. Or maybe a vortex that was sucking all sense out of the world.

********

Tony frowned as he stared at the crime scene photos that McGee had sent to his laptop. Yeah, he could understand why the probie was concerned. Something didn’t feel right about the case. It should have been a straightforward partner rage case, but the forensics had revealed that the blood droplet patterns from the victim weren’t right, for a start. Like he could be misled about something like that, after years of fieldwork. Also, the suspect wasn’t acting right. He knew how partners acted. He had been there. He remembered the need he had felt, to be close to Jethro after he had saved him. To know Jethro was alive… The probie had been there and had seen how wrecked he had been afterwards. McGee had noticed that the partners in this case were acting too normally. They didn’t cling to each other, needing to reassure each other that they were unhurt…

But he wanted a second opinion. And maybe, he was trying to take Tony’s mind off his troubles.

–Interesting!”

Tony jerked, startled, as Jethro spoke right in his left ear. He turned to look at the older man. Jethro stared back at him, his gaze steady. Remarkably innocent. Not that of someone who loved to make his subordinates jump. Much. Perhaps there was a hint of a ghost of a smile there, visible only to those who knew and loved him.

The older man focused on the crime scene photo and his eyes narrowed.

–Hmm. You noticed, of course, that those are passive droplets of blood. They have a circular shape. You’d expect blood from an attack to have elongated drops if it were cast off.”

Tony grinned. McGee’s very concern, and the reason he had called on Tony for a second opinion. Not much wrong with Jethro’s razor-sharp perception.

–Yeah boss. I saw that. I’ll have Ducky check the body for an alternate cause of death. I think it’s a set-up, but I don’t know what their motive is” Tony turned back to the computer. Almost incidentally, Gibbs' hand rested momentarily on his shoulder. The young agent froze. It was probably fortunate that Gibbs couldn’t see how strongly the small touch affected him. He had to force himself not to lean back into that touch; to feel the warmth of that powerful body pressed against his back.

He couldn’t help but react to the hand on his shoulder though. He must have stiffened, frozen, indecisive, under the touch. He heard Jethro’s breath hitch, then the hand was withdrawn. Damn. Damn it to hell!

Gibbs knew, the moment he touched DiNutso’s shoulder, that he had made a big mistake. The young agent tensed right up, like a coiled spring, and sat frozen under his touch. Not comfortable with him at all. Gibbs managed to hide his embarrassment. He was beginning to suspect that his little gay problem might have impacted upon his work in some way. Well, what else was he to think, if his touch made his young subordinate so uncomfortable. He pulled his hand away as quickly as he could.

He felt curiously deprived of something â€" human contact, maybe? Some part of him wanted to feel a little less alone, and the young agent, with his lively personality and his bright smile seemed to touch something inside Gibbs; a surge of desire that took him completely by surprise...

Oh god, he was turning gay!

A little voice whispered inside him. –So what? Would that be so bad?”

Gibbs did the only thing he could think of; he headed for his basement. At least he could keep his mind occupied with his latest boat. He had no idea how far along he was with it, and he could certainly find some small task to occupy his hands - so that he didn't have to think too hard... Maybe...

For the next few hours, he found a kind of refuge in the slow sweep of the plane across the wood of his latest boat, and tried not to think at all. For a while it worked, but only until he found himself shaking with tiredness. He headed for his bed.

***

Gibbs shifted restlessly as he drifted into sleep, the sense of something missing colouring his dreams. These days, they were strange and haunted, and filled with fragments of memory, or so it seemed. Like tonight... Such intense dreams that it was almost real - and perhaps it was. He had no way of knowing whether it was a memory or just something cooked up in the depths of his imagination. He drifted off into sleep once again.

…He was on his hands and knees, hot, sweet pleasure surging through him as someone unknown wrapped an arm around his waist and drove into him. Instead of fighting, he heard himself begging his lover for more, pushing back against him, utterly surrendering himself to the unknown man's desire…

With a jerk, Gibbs came awake, gasping, and not just from the aftermath of the dream. He sank back onto the mattress, cursing softly. He had no earthly way of knowing whether the dream was real, and to his intense irritation, his subconscious was apparently happy to supply details of what he could have been doing with the unknown person he had bought the book for. Why had he assumed that he would be the one doing the… er… penetration. Maybe he had been the one on the bottom… He shivered, and desperately tried to ignore the way his body had reacted to the dream, so that he was as hard as hell right now!

Shit! It wasn’t as if he could ask DiWhatsit who he had been seeing lately. Or possibly â€" he couldn't quite suppress the thought â€" for years. But there was no-one here. No waiting spouse of either gender to confuse him even further. Then again, it was possible that a lover had left artefacts and evidence around the house. Clothes… A toothbrush…

The only personal stuff he had noticed as he wandered round the house, admittedly not looking for evidence of a lover â€" were DiWhatsit’s few things. Still, possibly that explained some of the odd DVD choices and the big-ass tv.

Gibbs sighed. He was going to have to ask DiNozzo, otherwise he was definitely going to go mad with this. Damn it - he really hated feelings conversations, and not just because of his failed marriages. Shit!

He tried to sleep, but again, as he drifted between waking and sleep, he was haunted by images he couldn't place...

Soft laughter, felt as much as heard, as a vibration from the individual who was going down on him, expert and indescribably good, as Jethro lounged on his old couch, his legs spread, halfway to heaven. He urged the owner of the wicked mouth on with fingers tangled in short, dark hair, and surrendered himself entirely to the other...

He jerked awake, just as the dream came to its climax, his hand between his legs, moaning as he spilled into his sheets with a hoarse cry. Somehow, the fact that he was alone only made it worse.

He sighed softly and sat up. His head was beginning to ache, so he sat on the edge of his bed, noting from the gleam of the bedside clock that it was still only 3 a.m. Damn. He'd forgotten to take the Tylenol last night. He reached for the pills Ducky had given him and popped a couple from the foil, swallowing them down quickly with a gulp from the glass of water that had appeared on the table top next to the bed at some point after he had fallen asleep. DiNozzo, he guessed. Looking after him.

It was more than he deserved.

***

Gibbs was right, of course - Tony had looked in on him a short time after he'd stumbled up the stairs groggily. The young agent had left the water and pills where Gibbs could easily find them, because he knew fine well that Jethro had forgotten to take them before he'd fallen asleep. He probably had every pill tracked and accounted for, and so far he'd been scrupulous in making sure Jethro took them. Except that tonight, the boss seemed intent on avoiding him for some reason.

Tony felt so alone right now. He headed for bed shortly after Jethro, staying within earshot, in case he was needed, but he was emotionally and physically exhausted, and it wasn't long before he too was sound asleep.

Around four in the morning, after a few hours, he woke from a deep, dreamless sleep to instant, alert wakefulness. Something sounded in the night. Tony tensed, all senses straining for long moments. What if Jethro...

The sound of water flushing in the bathroom came, sounding absurdly loud in the stillness of the night. Tony flushed, then grinned to himself ruefully. No big deal. He relaxed as he listened to Jethro moving, then to his surprise, the spare room door swung open. There was just enough moonlight shining through the window for him to see Jethro, moving on autopilot, mostly asleep, stumbling towards him. With a groan, he climbed into bed beside Tony, moving behind him and snuggling up close, his arm almost casually thrown over his partner.

Sleepwalking? Moving by instinct next to his partner?

Tony didn't really care. For the first time in what felt like forever, he was with his partner, and it was good. He sighed and relaxed, blissfully leaning into the warm body behind him, and letting himself enjoy the moment. He didn't sleep much for the next few hours, but perhaps just being close to each other was restorative in some strange way.

***

Gibbs woke from a mostly dreamless sleep many hours later. The sun was slanting brightly across the ceiling, which told him that it was at least ten o clock, but it wasn't that which made him blink in disorientation. The sun didn't usually reach his room in the morning... And the wall of his bedroom was cream coloured, not a pale green! The only room upstairs that was painted green was...

What the hell?

Dazed and confused, he sat up and stared round him. He was definitely in the bloody spare room, where DiWhatsit was staying! Fortunately, he was alone right now, so the young agent couldn't see his boss blush fiercely. But then, how in the hell had he made it from his own bed to DiWhatsit's during the night. He vaguely remembered taking his pills, when he'd definitely been in his own room.

Yeah well, now he wasn't!

Had he been sleepwalking? He cringed in embarrassment, particularly after those dreams he'd had last night... No way! He couldn't have climbed into the wrong bed last night, could he, after a vaguely remembered pit-stop? He vaguely recalled dreaming of lying wrapped in someone's arms, comfortable and comforting, so certain that he was loved...

It hurt to think about it, because it wasn't real...

He forced himself to ignore the misery, and headed for the shower, his mood darkening, then went downstairs for his first coffee of the day. And there was Tony, standing by the stove, making something that smelled very much like bacon and eggs.

The young agent turned towards him when he heard Jethro enter, his smile sunny and welcoming. Perhaps it was because he was embarrassed by his mistake last night, which Tony must have known about, or possibly he was just cranky, but Jethro's feelings of anger and confusion came to the boil. He struck out at the only target in sight...

"Hey, DiFatso!"

Tony's green eyes went wide, then filled with fury, as the stresses of the past few days came surging to the fore. He swung round and glared at Gibbs, his voice low and furious.

"Don't say that again, you sonovabitch! I'm not fucking fat, I'm fucking pregnant and if you say that to me again, I'm going to punch you!"

Gibbs realised that his mouth was hanging open and closed his jaw with an audible snap, stunned by his young subordinate's statement. That wasn't possible! It was insane! Men didn't get pregnant. Surely things hadn't changed that much in a decade? Had they?

"You're what?" he faltered, disbelieving.

"Pregnant." Tony said that word again, his voice turned icy.

"That's not possible... You're insane!"

"If you're just going to insult me, I'm not going to listen to you." Tony snapped and turned to leave. Surprisingly, the young agent seemed to have a spark of courage in him, and a dignity which impressed Gibbs, despite his scepticism.

"Wait!" Gibbs said. "I'm... I'm sorry. If that's really true... Then more things have changed than I believed possible, in ten years."

"Yeah. It's true." Tony turned back towards him, looking curiously vulnerable. He put a hand on his belly. Most of Washington was exposed to a terrorist's virus. It altered male DNA..." He looked as if he wanted to say something else. "...And here I am."

He stepped closer, so close to Gibbs, and reached for the older man's hand, lifting his shirt.

"Feel..." A curiously shy smile. "The best way to prove I'm telling the truth!"

With irresistible curiosity, Gibbs rested his hand on the curve of Tony's belly and he gasped as he felt the distinctive kicking of a baby beneath his palm. Stunned, he could only stare at Tony.

"Hell!"

"It's a girl," Tony said. "And boy, can she kick!"

"That must have been a shock!"

Tony's grin widened, and a hint of humour gleamed in his green eyes.

"You have no idea. Mind you, it was an even greater shock for the father!"

"Huh." Gibbs endeavoured not to look too startled. So what if his senior field agent was gay. Maybe in the last ten years, Don't ask, don't tell had been repealed. Then again, maybe attitudes in general had become more open. Yeah right.

"You're in a relationship?" That seemed a safe question to ask. DiNotso shrugged.

"Yes. I have a partner. He's an ex-marine and we love each other very much." Then he smirked. "You can take your hand away now, boss."

Gibbs flushed. He realised that his hand was still resting, fingers splayed, on Tony's warm belly, with its precious cargo. He felt a huge surge of envy for the unknown partner.

He had never noticed before how Tony's eyes were hugely dark. They seemed to draw Gibbs in. Before he knew what he was doing, he leaned in and kissed Tony.

The younger man's mouth was warm and sweet and opened beneath his. Gibbs found himself deepening the kiss, his hands tangling in the tousled dark hair. Tony moaned, his hands clutching convulsively at Gibbs' shoulders, holding on to him tightly. Then Gibbs' mind caught up with his senses.

What the hell was happening to him? What was wrong with him? He didn't find men sexually arousing. Did he? Unable to stop himself, he touched Tony's belly again. He felt the warm flutter of life again beneath his hand.

He pulled away, his head reeling, staring at Tony's beautiful, kiss-moistened lips. He had never felt like this before, filled with a need he couldn't understand. What the hell was he doing? Kissing his subordinate. His very male subordinate who was someone else's pregnant lover. The thought sparked something white-hot inside him that he realised was jealousy.

He pulled back, away from temptation and felt the panic set in. He wasn't gay. He had never been into men. The thought was abhorrent to him - wasn't it? Yet Tony's mouth had tasted so good, and the silky hair beneath his fingers had been so enticing. He had wanted to touch Tony. So very good. He wanted... wanted to exploit him! What else could you call it - wanting sex with your subordinate? And more... Love...

Oh hell.

He turned and hightailed it out of the room, heading for his basement as fast as his feet would carry him. He didn't see Tony staring after him, his expression a curious mixture of hope and longing.

And he had thought DiNutzo was crazy!

Tony sighed heavily. He didn't know what to do next. The fact that his lover had kissed him gave him hope, but it had evidently freaked the older man out, big time. Gibbs didn't remember what it was like to be with a man, so his virus enhanced instincts had to be driving him crazy. Gibbs still felt drawn to Tony, but his brain was overriding those instincts. Tony knew only too well that partnership couldn't be hidden away like that. Sooner or later, Gibbs' need for him would come to the fore again.

Tony could almost feel pity for him.

***
End of part 3
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