First Rule

by Jane Davitt

Gibbs opens the door wearing a T-shirt Tony wouldn't have used to clean the floor with, but which Gibbs makes look good in a grungy kind of way, and a thin layer of sawdust that glitters in places as the hall light catches it. He's sucking his knuckle and Tony winces.

"Did I startle you?"

For a man who doesn't flinch when things blow up behind him, Gibbs gets surprisingly twitchy about normal things like doorbells ringing.

The knuckle is removed and examined. Ouch. Ragged skin and a skim of red. "You normally just walk on in, DiNozzo." Gibbs tilts his head. "Well? Who's dead?"

His tone implies that there'd better be a dead body and if there isn't, he'll arrange one.

"No body, boss." Tony holds up the DVD he's just rented and gives Gibbs his best smile. "See? I didn't forget."

Gibbs frowns, blue eyes sparking, and he hears a tinny voice warning him: Danger, Anthony DiNozzo, danger.

What does a robot know about danger, anyway?

"Forget what?"

"I promised I'd rent Fight Club for you, remember?" Tony lets his bright smile become a puzzled look, with just a smidge of hurt on the horizon.

It's going to work eventually. No one can resist his puppy eyes for ever, not even Gibbs.

"You said you hadn't seen it, and that's just wrong." He frowns back at Gibbs. Serious face. Wrong, wrong, wrong. "So I thought we could hang out and watch it and then I could go to bed --" Oops. Mentioning going to bed with Gibbs standing right there, sweaty, dusty (in need of a shower; want me to help you with those hard to reach bits, boss?) is…not a good idea. "I could go to sleep happy, knowing I'd righted a wrong. You know, that just doesn't sound right, does it? Righting a wrong. Suppose it was happy being left?"

"You sound like Abby," Gibbs says. "Don't."

"Right, boss."

That gets Gibbs' slapping hand twitchy, Tony can tell, but they're off duty and the way they're standing, Gibbs would have to step real close to be able to curl his hand around to reach the back of Tony's head.

Not that Tony would mind some proximity, even if Gibbs is a little on the ripe side.

"The thing is, Tony," Gibbs says, "I don't want to watch the movie."

Oh. Tony feels his expression shift to disappointed and he sees Gibbs notice it. Hell, Gibbs notices everything. He plasters on a smile and waves the DVD jauntily like a flag. "No worries, boss. It's a seven-day rental, so why don't you keep it and watch it by yourself one night, huh?"

Gibbs won't take it from him. "I really don't --"

"Look, it's a good movie, okay?" Tony snaps, and he's getting pissed now. There's more to life than dead people and playing with planks of equally dead trees. Gibbs needs to, well, not get a life, because Tony doesn't have one, so he doesn't see why Gibbs should have one either, but Gibbs needs to lighten up. Chill.

"You need to watch this movie," he says and he's going to make Gibbs watch it if he has to tie him to a chair and -- no, that's weird. Bondage and Gibbs. Hmm. No. Gibbs tying him to something has possibilities though. Tony bets Gibbs knows all sorts of interesting knots.

Gibbs sighs and rubs at his face. "Tony -- I've seen it. Twice."

"What?" Tony shakes his head and the words are still there, stuck in his brain. Twice? Twice? "But you said --"

"I know what I said."

"Then --" Tony purses his lips, annoyed now. He hates not being able to figure things out. "I don't get it. A week ago, you said you'd never seen it."

"A week ago you said I should. Said it was a great movie. The best guy movie ever." Gibbs puts quotation marks around the last bit with his voice alone, a flush rising in his face.

Gibbs is flustered. Well, how about that.

"Yes, I did," Tony says slowly.

"I'm a guy, DiNozzo."

"I'd noticed that, Gibbs."

"So I rented it."

"And watched it. Twice."

"Yeah," Gibbs says, daring Tony to comment. "Twice."

It all hangs there for a moment. Tony isn't moving; Gibbs isn't moving, but there's suddenly less space between them and a lot of tense silence.

Tony breaks first, as he always does with Gibbs.

"Third time, you get all these subtle nuances you miss the first two times around, I swear it."

Gibbs rolls his eyes, grabs the DVD from Tony's hand, and smacks the back of his head with it, all in one smooth move.

"Nuances," he says, making the word sound twice as long as it needs to and kind of filthy. "Huh." He shrugs one shoulder. "I'm out of beer."

"Popcorn?" Tony says hopefully. He's in. They're really going to do this.

"No popcorn."

The man's an alien. Has to be.

"Still interested?" Gibbs asks him.

Tony raises his eyebrows. "Was that a nuance?"

"Just a question, DiNozzo."

And they're not talking movies now, but they can both pretend they are, and Tony's good at pretending. He can be anything Gibbs wants him to be.

So he smiles and watches Gibbs smile back and says 'yes' quietly, because it's a quiet kind of moment and follows Gibbs inside and closes the door behind them.

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