It's been a while since he woke up in his own bed at all, rather than on his couch or under his boat (or at his desk or on an autopsy table). Never mind in bed, stark naked, with a warm body tangled in his arms.
For a while he just lies there, savouring it, doesn't even try to remember exactly what happened or who he invited to join him, or to really think about anything at all. Because waking up with his nose in someone's hair and firm skin and muscle under his hands is a novelty he'd rather enjoy than query.
Some distant part of his brain is attempting to tell him he actually needs to wake up and deal with this, because said skin and muscle is not really the same, in some very specific and rather important way, as the last time he slept with someone, but he's forcibly telling it to fuck off and leave him the hell alone.
The body in question stirs slightly and makes a vague but definitely masculine noise, which bursts his little denial bubble and makes him think he should at least open one eye. While it's not unheard of, it's been a lot longer since he woke up with a bedmate who's a guy. He's not military any more, insofar as a Marine ever stops being a military man, but sleeping with other men is not exactly SOP for federal agents, either.
The hair his nose has been buried in is a brown and messy mop, though Gibbs is pretty sure at least some of the mess is his fault. The eyes that squint at him over one shoulder and then open wide are a familiar startling green, not to mention more than a bit shocked.
"Hey, Boss," says Tony, in a voice that's gravelly with sleep and also slightly sheepish. He manages a grin. Gibbs fails to reciprocate.
It's all rather formal, given their mutual nakedness - and despite the fact Tony's ass is wedged right into his crotch, which doesn't really leave anywhere for either of them to hide.
Tony turns away and rubs his eyes sleepily. "So, that happened."
There's a pause. "Uh... Boss?"
Gibbs abruptly realises his arm is still wrapped firmly around Tony's waist, which is giving Tony a front row seat to Gibbs' morning wood whether he wants it or not.
Hurriedly, he untangles himself and moves away and onto his back. God, should he, what... apologise? And then he wants to headslap himself for even thinking such a thing. Goddamn. What the everliving fuck did he think he was doing when he allowed this to happen?
Tony flops down beside him, and they lie shoulder to shoulder staring at the ceiling. Except when he glances over, Tony is looking at him with the kind of thoughtful, knowing expression Gibbs is more used to giving than getting. Especially when it comes to DiNozzo.
It comes out sharper, more defensive than he'd intended.
Tony doesn't say a word, just... looks.
He can feel himself scowling, and knows he's about ten seconds away from saying something he may come to regret, one way or another.
"I need a piss," he growls, then levers himself out of bed and stomps to the bathroom like an angry toddler.
By the time he's finished, he's calmed down some, and is regretting not stopping to grab some underwear. He's horribly aware, all of a sudden, that he's naked. He's trying not to wonder whether Tony likes what he saw just now, and it's a thought he wishes hadn't occurred to him at all.
It would be a helluva lot easier if Tony didn't get to see anything in the first place. It's kind of dumb, he's well aware, given what happened last night and how they woke this morning, but apparently sleeping with your senior field agent isn't conducive to logic. He splashes his face with water and does his best not to look at himself too closely in the mirror.
Scowling still, he curses himself for being a coward. "My damn house," he mutters under his breath as he pushes the door back open, and then is incredibly grateful to find Tony whistling at the ceiling with his eyes closed.
A t-shirt and boxers aren't the world's most effective body armour, but he feels a lot less naked - not just in the literal sense - once he's put them on.
Fists planted firmly on his hips, he looks down at the man in his bed and grins involuntarily for a moment. Tony is probably the only person Gibbs has ever met who could sleep with his boss in a fit of whatever the hell had gotten into them and then just lie there the next day and whistle the theme from M*A*S*H like this was any other morning. And wiggle his hips under the covers as he did so. Of course.
'Suicide is Painless'? Really? Geez.
"DiNozzo." It's not quite the bark of an order, but it's enough to make Tony jerk upright, legs flailing and eyes blinking comically before opening wide.
Gibbs can't help noticing Tony has no qualms about his own nudity. He's decent - just barely - despite the flailing, but anyone who cared to look would get an eyeful of somewhat hairy chest and hairier... groin... region...
Gibbs coughs. Tony looks down, and apparently is feeling suitably perverse today, because he makes no attempt to cover up any more than the absolute essentials and grins widely, proud of his own damn cheek.
"Mornin'," he greets, with the cheer of one fully expecting a headslap but in too good a mood to care.
Gibbs sighs, quietly curses himself for the weakness which landed him in this spot, and administers the slap for want of anything better to do.
Tony shoots him another grin, then turns to sit at the edge of the bed and reaches for the clothes that ended up scattered on that side of the room.
Gibbs decides not to look at Tony's butt.
"Uh, Tony?" He reminds himself sternly that it isn't exactly Tony's fault - or at least not only Tony's fault - he's in this position. And it's also not Tony's fault this position is particularly confusing right now. "Uh, about..."
Tony half turns round, and for a few moments they just look at each other. Tony seems to be searching for something in Gibbs' expression, though when he speaks again, it's not clear whether or not he found it.
"Hey." He shrugs a shoulder. "It was just sex, Boss. Doesn't necessarily have to change anything, y'know."
Not unless you want it to hangs unspoken in the air.
Gibbs crosses his arms. Tony's watching him with an expression of mild curiosity, although Gibbs knows him well enough to spot the tells which prove he's not feeling as casual about this as he's trying to make out. He also has insane bed head hair and what Gibbs recognises as being the imprint of his own teeth on Tony's shoulder.
Yeah. It's still kinda awkward.
He has no answer to the implied question. Sleeping with Tony was not how he expected or intended things to go. And was probably not a particularly healthy reaction to recent events.
He's not stupid. He recognises that he did, more or less, start this, with a sad, drunken kiss. And even if it was mostly to shut Tony up, even if he was slightly crazed with grief and fuzzy with booze at the time, there are plenty other methods he could've employed just as easily and effectively, if there'd been nothing else to it.
Tony has given up on answers, by the looks of it, and is back trying to separate clothing that somehow got even more tangled than they did.
Gibbs'd also figured out what was going on in Tony's head, possibly before Tony'd figured it out for himself - even if he hadn't had a fucking clue what to do about it until he was confronted.
(He's strangely proud of Tony for that. He never expected this scenario to arise, but an agent with the balls to confront his boss about a difficult situation is exactly who he trained Tony to be.)
How it started, though - his own complicity - is really not the point. The point is, where do they go from here? He has no idea. He sighs and rubs his hand over his face.
Tony's found a t-shirt and tugs it over his head. Gibbs decides not to mention he's got it on inside out.
Tony considers this for all of half a second. "Okay."
He slings Tony a fresh pair of boxers, given the state of his own from last night. It had... lacked finesse, at least to start with. Not in an especially bad way, but this morning has the potential to be uncomfortable enough without either of them having to sit around in a puddle of their own congealed bodily fluids, thanks.
Then he leaves Tony to it and goes in search of caffeine.
Breakfast (which consists of dry toast and coffee, because he's had more important things on his mind the last month or so than grocery shopping, okay?) is less awkward than he feared. It's silent, but it's mostly a comfortable kind of silence.
Going for his second cup of coffee, Gibbs yawns hugely, then glares at Tony for his laugh.
Tony just waggles his eyebrows and smirks. "Huh. I kinda figured a former Marine'd have more stamina."
Gibbs narrows his eyes dangerously, but apparently Tony has gotten a taste for living on the edge.
He leans back in his chair, with a shit eating grin on his face around the mouthful of toast he's chewing none too delicately. Gibbs is forcibly and unwillingly reminded of Kate complaining about Tony's eating habits, but the memory doesn't come as the vicious punch in the gut it would've been a few weeks ago. Which is a good sign, right?
Tony is crowing, either immune or brave or just not very observant at this time in the morning. "Guess I wore you out, old man."
Gibbs growls. "It ain't a joke, DiNozzo," he warns as he sits back down. Because really, he does know that he and Tony approach this subject from different viewpoints and different generations, but Tony knows too. He should know it's not something Gibbs finds this hilarious.
"It's not the end of the world, either." Tony waves his toast around as if to illustrate his point, and Gibbs ducks just in time to avoid losing an eye. "It's just sex," he says again. "It's no big deal. It's just a thing that happened." His voice has an edge of pleading to it, out of nowhere.
Gibbs realises, with a sudden flash of understanding and considerable relief, that the inappropriate humour is a coping mechanism, because Tony still isn't quite as laid back about this as he'd like to be.
"Honest, Boss, it doesn't have to be weird, I-" He pauses, smiles ruefully. "I reallydon't want it to get weird."
Gibbs shrugs. "Me either." He admits it rather quietly into his coffee mug, but hey, he's trying here.
Tony looks relieved, and waves his toast again, rather more carefully this time. "Then we don't let it. Easy."
Gibbs wonders if he ever had such blithe assurance life was this simple, if you just decided it should be. He sure can't remember it if he did.
"Nothin' easy about sex," he grumbles, and Tony laughs, loudly, then raises a disbelieving eyebrow when Gibbs shoots him a 'what the hell, DiNozzo?' look.
"Coulda fooled me, Boss," he drawls, his tone ripe and suggestive.
It takes a second for Tony's meaning to become clear, then Gibbs laughs and shakes his head, a touch embarrassed, maybe even a little pleased, though he'd be loath to admit either of those things.
He's tempted - almost - to say thanks, but no, that's just too... too something, and he's not certain, but he's pretty sure the 'something' is a something he shouldn't be committing to till after they've sussed this thing out a bit more. He allows himself a small grin, because frankly it doesn't seem to be optional as far as his face is concerned, but nothing else.
If either of them was any good at the whole 'emotional honesty' deal, this would be the point where they'd talk it through and figure it out. Or where they'd at least make a start, because it probably isn't the kind of thing anyone could work out in one conversation.
But Tony doesn't really do talking about his feelings and Gibbs doesn't do... well, talking, unless it's absolutely unavoidable. So given both their heads are royally messed up at the moment, caution seems a wiser plan.
Whatever's going on here, neither of them needs to open a can of worms all over their lingering grief, or screw up a relationship that's been vital to them both for several years, and is even more vital now, when, if he's honest (at least with himself), Gibbs knows they're both still reeling.
The rest of breakfast passes in the same comfortable silence, which is somewhat more comfortable now they've at least admitted they don't want this to become a problem.
Tony offers to wash up when they're done. Gibbs rolls his eyes.
"Think I can manage, DiNutzo." He intentionally uses the overly Italianised version Fornell favours, emphasis on 'nut'. It seems appropriate. "Only two mugs and two plates, y'know."
Tony's widening grin says he does indeed know this, and it's the only reason he actually offered - the little shit.
Gibbs growls at him again, but they both know his heart isn't in it, and as they amble to the front door, things are almost normal again.
Gibbs tenses up. The normality feels pretty fragile, and he's not sure he's got it in him to deal with a return of the awkward until after he's had some serious time to think. And about a gallon more coffee. "Yeah?"
Tony opens his mouth, and nothing comes out for a second, then he grins, a very DiNozzo, somewhat lopsided grin without a trace of guile or malice. "I know this - I know this is, was, kinda weird, and it might be, like, a one off kinda deal, which is okay, but-" He shrugs eloquently. "Thanks. I mean- I needed it. Needed to-" He shakes his head and shrugs again, a brief laugh escaping as if he can't believe what he's saying. "It helped."
Gibbs can't help but grin back, because it did help, in some strange, unexpected, completely backassward kind of way. "Yeah."
Tony's shoulders unhunch slightly, relief showing in the lines of his face and his body. "You too?"
Gibbs cocks an eyebrow. If Tony thinks he's gonna actually say it, he's got another think comin', but he shouldn't need to hear it. He should know Gibbs well enough by now, and judging by the wider, less wonky smile appearing on his face, he does.
He turns to leave, and Gibbs isn't really sure what possesses him, but he grabs Tony by the shoulders and pulls him back, leaning in to lay a warm and heartfelt kiss on his mouth.
It may not be the most passionate or sexy or even skilled liplock either of them ever had, but on the plus side, he means it. Exactly what he means by it is anyone's guess, but he means it.
Tony looks momentarily stunned when it's over. Not in the terrified, what the fuck, rabbit-caught-in-headlights way he did after that first kiss. More like a man who didn't expect it and was extremely surprised, but most definitely enjoyed it.
"Okay," he says eventually, and Gibbs chuckles, feeling lighter than he has in a while. "I'll, um."
Just to himself, Gibbs admits that leaving DiNozzo at a loss for words is pretty satisfying. And that Tony floundering is... very nearly cute.
"Get outta here," he says, giving the man a shove.
It seems to snap Tony out of it, and he nods and starts off down the walkway toward the road.
Gibbs has a moment of slightly self-conscious pride as he notices the return of the swagger in Tony's step, something which has been mostly missing since... everything.
He's closing the door when Tony spins around and catches his eye again.
Gibbs stills, wary and unsure. He really is pretty tired and not in the right headspace and so not ready to have any of the conversations Tony might wanna have right now.
"DiNozzo," he says, in a tone all his agents recognise as a warning - not an unfriendly warning, but a warning nonetheless - "go home, will ya?"
Tony's eyes crinkle up and his forehead furrows. "Uh... okay?"
Gibbs shrugs. "We'll talk, Tony. Just... not right now."
Tony blinks, then grins. Message received. "Got it, Boss." He winks.
Gibbs shakes his head but can't help another smile. He shoos Tony back toward his car, then closes the door and leans against it, and when he hears Tony's car drive off, he starts to laugh. You fucked us both up real good, Katie.
He's not really sure where the thought came from or why it makes him laugh so hard, but given how little he's laughed the last few weeks he goes with it, laughs like he's finally seen the joke, like he hasn't laughed in months, laughs till there are tears running down his cheeks and he's bent double with his elbows on his knees. Then he goes and does the washing up, and the smile doesn't leave his face all day.
~ fin ~