Now awake, Tony stretched, but made no effort to climb out of bed just yet as he thought about the day ahead. One way or another, they'd have an answer before the sun came back down Maybe not all of the answers they'd need, but the first one. If Gibbs didn't show, then they could pack up and leave for Greece without second guessing themselves. If Gibbs did show, well, McGee's flow chart would get a lot more complicated.
A noise at the doorway and he looked up to see Tim walk in with a tray piled high with food. Tony sat up and moved the pillows around for both of them, then held the tray while Tim climbed back into the bed. "Wow, breakfast in bed. What did I do to deserve this?"
Tim fed Tony a bite of scrambled egg. "You came home to me, and I'm not even talking about this whole thing with Gibbs. I worried the whole time you were gone."
The idea of Tim worrying about him brought a lump to Tony's throat. "Yeah?"
"Yeah." Tim continued to finger feed him, smiling a bit as Tony would lick his hand. "We had to be so careful and professional when we talked, but I could tell how much you were still hurting over what happened and I couldn't risk saying anything."
"I know." Tony grasped Tim's hand and kissed each fingertip. "I could see in your eyes, even over those crappy shipboard monitors. That's why I never called when we were in port. I was so afraid that I'd admit how guilty I felt, how the fear of letting you down was the only thing that kept me from drowning myself in a bottle.
"Oh, Tony," shifting carefully as to not knock over the food, Tim leaned against him. "You've never let me down, not when it really counted."
"And you're the first lover I've ever had that makes me want to keep that up, you know?"
"Yeah?" Tim tilted his head back enough for Tony to bend down and kiss him.
Gibbs stared at the half-packed bag sitting on his bed. He still hadn't made the conscious decision to go, but he was packing and preparing by rote. Maybe he'd just use the extended weekend to get some fishing in. Either way, he was packing and leaving for the weekend, no decisions necessary – at least that's what he told himself as he shook his head at the irony of deciding to not make a decision.
"Okay, what's on the work orders for the day?" Dressed like Tim in cut-offs and a t-shirt, Tony stood on the porch with a cup of coffee. Tim smiled, knowing which job Tony would want even before he listed off the options.
"Working on the kitchen has got me a little behind with the outside maintenance. Gutters and roof need to be cleaned, caulking needs to be touched up and, of course, chopping wood for this Winter."
"You got my chopping doohickey?"
Tim's smile grew wider as he remembered Tony's accusation that Tim was the Tom Sawyer of the wood chopping world. That was right before he'd taken away Tim's fancy imported ax and handmade log holder and claimed the job for his own. "Yeah, I've got your rotating block, even bought a new tire for it while you were gone."
"Cool." Tony looked up at the cabin roof. Eventually they were going to have to strip the old shake roof and replace it, but they'd hoped to get at least one more year out of it. In the meantime, keeping the moss down and the debris out of the crevices was a regular chore.
The roof was quite steep on the cabin, but shallower over the large covered porch that surrounded three sides. Neither one of them enjoyed being up on the roof, but Tim's fear of heights usually came back to bite him in the ass on this chore. "Why don't we both work on the roof this morning? You do the gutters and the porch roof and I'll climb up and do the roof on the house. Then later, you can do the caulking and I'll chop firewood."
It wasn't totally an even split in the workload, since the debris from the cabin roof would land on the porch roof, but Tim was grateful to not have the extra climb. "Thanks, Tony."
Tools were gotten out of the lean-to at the back of the cabin and they settled in to work, Tony unobtrusively watching the road for any approaching familiar vehicles. Nothing was approaching and the steepness of the roof meant that less debris tended to get caught along the edges of the shingles, so two hours later, he was starting on the other end of the porch roof.
Shirts had been shed and they were hot and sweaty, but both enjoyed the view as they continued to work. The scenery wasn't bad either.
Still not certain about his destination, Gibbs walked out of the grocery story with a bag in one arm and a case of beer balanced on his other hip. Loading everything in the truck, he refilled his coffee and pulled back out onto the road. Eventually, he pulled over as he stared at the directions and the intersection in front of him. This was it, decision time. The road ahead was a dead end, left would get him safely to a popular camping area, while right would put him on an entirely different path. Unable to delay any longer, he activated his turn signals as he shifted the truck into gear.
Hot, sweaty and finally off the roof, Tony was considering a quick jump in the creek when something wet hit his shoulder. Cursing, he glared up at the nearest tree, looking for the offending bird. No bird was over him and the hand that wiped at his shoulder came away wet, but clean. Suspicious, he whipped around in time to get squirted in the face.
"Why, you..." McGee disappeared around the corner, squirt gun in hand, but he'd left a second one, filled, and on the corner of the deck, and the chase was on.
Gibbs found his turn off and followed the narrow driveway. The cabin was not visible from the road and he had no idea what to expect. He even considered turning around at one point, but it was definitely a one car lane. By the time it widened out enough for him to attempt it, he was looking at a simple, rustic cabin with his two 'boys' playing in the front. By pure instinct, he shoved the gearshift into park and leaned forward.
He felt his mouth go dry as he watched Tony and Tim frolicking around like they didn't have a care in the world. Wearing tiny cut-offs, tennis shoes and apparently nothing else, their skin flushed and damp, they looked like his own personal Sirens, dedicated to drawing him in to what both excited and terrified him. Jethro Gibbs was a loner, only one person had ever cracked that tough facade and losing her had almost killed him. He'd sworn he'd never get that close to another living person again, but there they were, their laughter drawing him in.
They noticed his presence and turned towards the truck, Tim in front of Tony. Gibbs was surprised at that, until he saw Tony's hand stroking Tim's chest before moving down to grasp his cock through his shorts, all the while looking directly at Gibbs, the direct challenge laid out. Here we are, Boss, make your final choice. Come claim us or lose us forever.
Not willing to leave, but not ready to make the decision, Gibbs put the truck back into gear, but didn't touch the accelerator as he continued to watch and think. The truck rolled forward slowly as Tim reached up and back to wrap his arm around Tony's neck.
It took a lifetime, it took seconds, before the truck was next to a jeep he'd never seen before. Parking, and killing the engine, Gibbs got out slowly. Figuring that 'hey, I've come to fuck your brains out' might be a little crude, he decided to start with the obvious. Opening the passenger side door, he pulled out the groceries. "Brought steaks, figured we could grill them."
By circumstances or planned, Gibbs didn't know for sure, but McGee stayed in front of Tony as they walked over to join him. Tim took the bag of food from his hand and passed it to Tony.
"Would you take this in, Tony?"
Tony looked at the bag, then McGee, then the case of beer under Gibbs' other arm as a silent conversation seemed to take place. Nodding, he took the bag and walked to the cabin, leaving Tim with Gibbs.
McGee didn't pull any punches. "The beer stays locked in your truck."
"Tony doesn't need the temptation while we're sorting everything out."
If Gibbs was expecting a simple romp, he was finding that he was wrong. "What are you, his mother? Tony's a big boy."
Tim didn't back down, just stood between Gibbs and everything else. "I know he is."
"He's not an alcoholic."
"I know." McGee looked more serious than Gibbs remembered ever seeing before.
"He's not an alcoholic, but he's been using the booze as a crutch and that can be a really short road.". Tim let some of his worry show through. "Especially when he's still struggling with his guilt over Director Shepard."
"Jenny made her own choices, it wasn't Tony's fault – never was."
"Maybe it's about time you told him that."
Gibbs nodded slowly. "Okay, I can do that. You and I need to talk about what happened that night, too."
"Inside, in front of Tony. We don't have secrets between us, not about the important stuff." Tim turned and walked back to the cabin, leaving Gibbs to make his final decision.
This entry was originally posted at http://emerald-green37.dreamwidth.org/23