Marked Man

The first time Gibbs did it, Tony alternately tensed, laughed, and babbled rushed stories. None of which slowed his lover down. He just continued, kissing and licking as he moved across every single inch of Tony's body -- brushing soft, feather-light kisses onto each scar.

By now Tony has grown used to it -- as 'used to' as anyone can grow to lying in bed after hours of sex and cuddles, having one's body laved with attentive lips and tongue. He no longer tensed, but sometimes he still laughed because, dammit, Gibbs *knew* he was ticklish right there, and it was hardly Tony's fault that the end of the knife scar ran right there. But Gibbs just kissed his way down with Tony wriggling and laughing and swearing he was going to make Gibbs ticklish if it was the last thing he ever did.

He hadn't found any ticklish spots yet, but Tony was determined to keep looking.

It wasn't every time they made love, wasn't even every time that one of them nearly escaped getting a new scar, or came home from the hospital, or had had a particularly bad day at work. As far as Tony could tell, there was no pattern -- unless it was just when the air was just the right temperature, and the hours just long enough, and... some nameless thing was just right in Gibbs' world.

But when Tony was woken from his post-coital nap by a light kiss on his neck, he knew. He'd lay still and let his lover explore things he had memorised. He'd be ready by the time Gibbs had reached his left ankle and the barbed wire scar he'd got when he was twelve. Tony would roll over and Gibbs would work his way back up.

The first time, Tony had told him about the ones he'd got before joining NCIS. Most of them he figured Gibbs already knew. The next several times he had alternated between babbling about them, and teasing Gibbs for his peculiar habits, and talking about whatever popped into his head when his lover's mouth touched his skin.

Now he just lies silent and relaxed -- until there's a light kiss just above his right hip. A tiny scar, barely an inch long. Just the width of a blade.

It's hardly visible -- Tony has checked with two mirrors, staring at the thin white line as it has slowly faded over the years. When his lover kissed him there, Tony still tensed. He has never said a word, and Gibbs has never asked. Someday, Tony told himself, he would tell him. Probably not in bed, naked, glowing after the warmth of sex. Maybe in a dark bar, with several beers inside him, and the safety of too many strangers around them for anything but the bald truth to come out.

But not today. Today Tony lies still as Gibbs traces the marks on his skin, and when he's nearly finished and his mouth presses lightly on the small of Tony's back, the tension threatens to break. He opens his mouth but forces back the sound, and Gibbs just finishes -- two more kisses, moving towards his shoulder, then Gibbs is there, arms and body heat and scent surrounding him.

Tony hangs on while the memories fade into a thin, pale scar that no one but Gibbs will ever see.