Rain

~ Written for the NCIS quotes ficathon.

There's a hurt down deep that has not been corrected.
There's a voice in me that says you will not win.

~ R.E.M.

If fate means you to lose, give him a good fight anyway.
~ William McFee


Tony walked down the sidewalk, glad on the one hand that it was nearly empty and annoyed for exactly the reason most everyone else was gone. The thunderstorm had already drenched him, though, so trying to get inside or stay under canopies was pointless. He just wanted to get to his destination, get this the hell over with, and... after that, he had no idea.

Martin's building came into view, and Tony stopped. Blinking, he wiped some water off his face -- fruitlessly -- and told himself that not doing this was no longer an option. He forced himself to start walking again and soon enough he had reached the front door, then he was standing in the lobby, dripping on the carpet, and Reg, the doorman, was ringing him through.

He exchanged greetings with Reg, whose easy smile was never faked no matter how much it was just his job to make visitors and residents feel welcome. Sometimes Tony stopped and talked for a few minutes, but not tonight. He headed quickly for the elevators, heart pounding and the inevitable voice in his head beginning to scream.

This was not a good idea. But in all fairness -- it hadn't been a good idea from the very start. After tonight it would be over, though, and Tony could start putting as much space between him and this entire situation, as possible.

He stepped onto the elevator, hit the number five button, then closed his eyes and leaned back against the wall. The flow of air made him shiver.


"DiNozzo." Tony stopped typing long enough to answer his cell.

He froze when he heard, "So that's all I was to you? A fuck buddy?"

He didn't reply; Tony closed the phone and set it on his desk. He'd blocked Martin's home and cell numbers already. But apparently Martin had figured that out, and had taken to calling from a variety of phones.

Three weeks since he'd told Martin he wasn't coming back, and three weeks he'd been getting phone calls. The first few had been conciliatory, full of apologies and offers to change whatever it was Tony wanted. But the only thing Tony wanted was to be free of the guy he never should have started sleeping with in the first place.

And that was the one thing he wasn't getting. He'd stopped trying to talk to Martin, nothing he ever said made any difference. It was the growing tendency towards creepy possessiveness that had made Tony realise he needed to break things off -- but he'd obviously been too late.

The cell rang again and Tony glanced at the number; same one as a moment ago, so he didn't answer. He saw Kate give him a look, but he ignored her. There was more of a chance that he'd take Martin back, than he'd tell Kate what was going on.

He tried concentrating on his work, searching through databases for information that his gut was telling him didn't exist in electronic form. He'd end up in a dusty basement somewhere, pawing through folders and papers, to find the information he needed.

The sad thing was, he was looking forward to it. At least when he found nothing, he could blame it on the records and not on the fact that he couldn't concentrate. Not that Gibbs would take no for an answer regardless.

His cell rang again and Tony glanced at it. Not a number he'd seen before, so he cautiously opened the phone. "DiNozzo," he said, feeling his stomach tighten.

"Why don't we meet for lunch?"

Tony slowly closed the phone.


Tony raised his hand to knock, then stopped. Stood there for a long moment, arguing with himself. It wouldn't be locked. Maybe he should just go in? He'd done it before.

Except he'd only done it when Gibbs didn't answer. This time, Tony hadn't called first, hadn't knocked. For all he knew Gibbs was right inside, naked on the couch with his mysterious redhead. Tony told himself it was -- probably -- absurd, but he knew it wasn't all that impossible.

He raised his hand and knocked, loud enough that Gibbs would only miss it if he was asleep or in the shower.

Tony had to force himself not to think about that. Harder than accepting the chance that Gibbs was occupied with a woman, was thinking about him being alone. Naked.

Tony waited, then knocked again. He counted to a hundred, then cautiously opened the door. There was no sound of someone enjoying themselves on the couch. No sound of running water. No sound at all, which meant either Gibbs was in the basement working, or was gone.

He stepped inside and closed the door behind him, catching his hand as he automatically started to lock the door behind him. He took a few steps into the living room, looking for any sign that he was making a huge mistake.

It seemed that no matter how many times he did this, he felt like an intruder about to be shot. Gibbs had never told him he couldn't come in. Hell, Tony could remember four or five times he'd been explicitly almost-invited.

But he'd never got over the feeling he was trespassing, and never got past the belief that one of these days he was going to walk in and regret it.

"Gibbs?" he called out, glad he sounded somewhat normal, and not spooked-out-of-his-skull. There was no answer, so Tony took this as a reasonably good sign and headed for the basement stairs.

The lights were out, and there was clearly no one at home. In the basement, at least, and Tony had to debate whether he felt brave or stupid enough to wander the rest of Gibbs' house looking for him.

He stood in the threshold to the stairs, looking down towards the darkness. There was no one in the house at all, he realised. Something his instincts had whispered to him when he'd first stepped up to the front door.

But now he was inside, and he had no idea when Gibbs was coming back, and by rights Tony should turn around and leave.

He walked back to the living room and sat down on the couch. It was large, and deep -- excellent for having sex on. Excellent for stretching out on, alone.

Tony curled up in the corner, leaning sideways against the arm. He told himself this was the worst idea he'd had since he'd smiled at the stranger in the bar.


Waking up was hard. He was warm and comfortable, despite the fact he was sitting up. It wasn't his chair at work, though, which meant that his neck and back weren't screaming at him. Tony opened his eyes and saw a living room -- Gibbs' house. Gibbs' couch, and Gibbs himself, sitting in the chair opposite the couch, reading a newspaper.

"Morning?" Tony offered, since the presence of sunlight told him he'd slept through the night.

"Morning." Gibbs barely glanced at him. There was a large mug of coffee at his hand, and as soon as Tony saw it, the smell hit him. He shoved himself away from the arm of the couch, and thought seriously about standing. He'd done it before, he could do it again. He wasn't sure why he felt so groggy, though.

"Coffee?" he asked, as he lurched to his feet.

"In the kitchen," Gibbs said. Tony nodded, and got himself turned in the right direction. After a moment he was steady enough to move forward, and finally found the kitchen. He rummaged through cabinets for a mug, then got the coffee from the pot into the mug without spilling any.

He gave himself ten points for agility, then leaned back against the counter and took a sip. "God. Coffee," he muttered, wishing there was a way to bypass drinking and absorb the coffee directly into his brain. He looked over as Gibbs walked into the kitchen. Gibbs said nothing as he went to the coffee pot and refilled his own mug. Then he leaned against the counter, facing Tony, and looked at him.

"Um. Hi," Tony began, trying to sort through the fog in his brain for coherency and logic to explain his presence in Gibbs' home.

"You all right?" Gibbs asked, and Tony stared at him in confusion. Of course he wasn't, else why would he be here? But he hadn't expected Gibbs to come right out and ask.

"Sure," Tony said, breezily.

Gibbs raised an eyebrow, then set his coffee mug down. Took two steps closer and Tony stared in shock as Gibbs raised his hand to Tony's face. Lifted Tony's chin and stared at Tony's eye.

Where Martin had slugged him last night.

"Oh. Bruised?" Tony's forced cheer vanished, and he thought again that maybe this had been a bad idea.

"Quite a shiner," Gibbs agreed and he let go Tony's chin.

"I--" It was on the tip of his tongue to say that it was nothing. But he'd found Martin waiting by Tony's car when he'd come out from the grocery store. Martin had screamed at him, Tony had shouted back, and then Martin had shoved him. Knocked him against the car, then slugged him.

When he'd grabbed Tony by the shirt and flung him to the ground, Tony had finally fought back. He'd left his bag of groceries spilled on the ground next to Martin, and got in his car and driven away.

Driven here, where he'd fallen asleep on Gibbs' couch.

"You wanna tell me what happened?" Gibbs asked, and his tone was that odd mix of professional and personal -- like if Tony just asked for it, Gibbs would be just a friend and not his boss.

Almost like he could tell Gibbs the truth, and it would be okay.

For a second, Tony thought about it. About saying what he'd done, all the stupid things and the unlucky things and how his ex-fuck buddy had gone all bitchy drama queen on him and was stalking him now, and how he'd come over here because he needed a place to hide.

Martin didn't know where he lived or worked, and Tony had told him his first name was Angelo. But he hadn't been able to go home last night. Maybe he'd thought Martin would have followed him; he wasn't completely sure, now. All he knew was that he'd driven here, instead of home.

The good thing was that Tony knew Martin wasn't a real psycho. He'd seen enough of those in his work to tell the difference. A few weeks of harassment and abuse, and Martin would be content to complain viciously about his ex, to friends.

Tony shrugged. "Guy tried to mug me." Then he grinned. "Either that or I reminded him of his first wife."

"I told you to stop wearing dresses," Gibbs said, and his voice and eyes were easy. Like he was buying the lie -- or didn't care that he was being lied to. "You have a description?"

Tony nodded. Not an accurate one by any means. He thought about getting Martin arrested for assault, and shoved it away as ridiculous. The first thing out of Martin's mouth would be how many times Tony had bent over for him. How willingly he'd sucked Martin's cock.

"We'll get it to the PD when we get to the office," Gibbs said. "Unless you think it's connected to one of our cases?"

"I'm pretty sure it was random," Tony said, falling into the story. Simple as undercover work, as long as he didn't think too hard he could say anything he needed to say.

Avoid the truth.

"In that case--" Gibbs looked at his watch. "You're going to be late, unless you plan on going to work in yesterday's clothes."

The friendly tone was gone, and it was just his boss, standing there. Tony nodded, quickly. "Yes, boss." He downed another huge swallow of coffee, then set it in the sink. As he turned, he thought -- he would never have a better chance.

But he kept going, didn't look back as he walked out of Gibbs' kitchen and out of his house.

He hoped they'd get a case today. Tony walked down to his car, wondering how quickly he could get home and change, whether he had time for a shower.

Tony stopped beside his car for just a moment, looking back at Gibbs' house. He thought about going back inside and telling him the truth. Gibbs probably wouldn't care one way or the other.

Tony got in his car, and drove away.

He supposed he ought to take a lesson in this. The first man he'd slept with had left as soon as it was over, and never looked back. The second had stayed long enough to give Tony his name.

But all of them had ended badly. Maybe it would be safer to just stop.

Tony glanced in his rear view mirror, preparing to make a lane change. He caught a glimpse of a car, following him. For a second he tensed -- then he recognised the vehicle. As the car turned at a street he'd just passed, Tony forced himself to relax. Gibbs was only going to work.

Tony thought about what it would be like to find a guy who liked him. Someone sane, someone stable, and someone who remembered his name in the morning.

As he turned towards his own home, he thought maybe instead he'd give Teresa a call and set up a dinner date with her. She was nice, and she liked him, and for the most part she was a lot of fun. She loved expensive things, and dating her meant spending way too much money on shiny gifts.

Kate would tease him of course, because she'd been there when he'd sworn never to call Teresa again. But Teresa would say yes when he called, and right now... that was all Tony wanted.