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No Time For Losers

Chapter Text

McGee couldn’t get the words out of his head. It had to have been bright red when it was first written, but now it was turning brown with exposure to air. Liquid enough that the words showed signs of dripping. Looking just like the words scrawled on the walls on TV or in the movies – no doubt Tony would have been listing his top ten movies with messages scrawled in blood. Except this time, the words were meant for him.

”YOUR MOVE, ELF LORD”

McGee was trying not to hyperventilate as he stared at those words. How had it come to this?

It had started out just like any other case. Nothing indicated that this case would turn out this way. Like on any other day, the team was called out to the crime scene, and once they got there they scrambled to get to work. Ziva was photographing. Tony had drawn the short straw and Gibbs’ ire, and was assigned to bagging and tagging. And McGee was interviewing the two hikers that had come across the body of the petty officer. According to Ducky, he had been stabbed to death somewhere else and then dumped here in Rock Creek Park. Which seemed to be the body dump area of choice for poor, murdered petty officers, at least for as long as McGee had been on the MCRT.

The main difference these days was that even though Tony and McGee had driven in in separate cars, they had been awakened from a deep sleep – the kind of blissful relaxation and boneless, dreamless sleep that came from excessively good orgasms – curled tightly around each other in McGee’s bed. They rarely spent the nights apart now, and he’d gotten used to getting called out in the middle of the night while with Tony, and purposely driving to work in separate cars to keep the façade that they had going, despite McGee’s wish that they could just ride to work together.

Mostly, they spent the nights in McGee’s bed, though. Tony’s bed, as it turned out, was way too small for good post-coital snuggling. Someone inevitably fell out of the twin bed. McGee was trying to worm his way into Tony’s heart and convince him to buy a new bed so that they would be able to sleep together comfortably, whether they were at his place or Tony’s. But they hadn’t been in a proper relationship for all that long. So he didn’t want to rock that boat quite yet. He knew how skittish Tony was with regards to relationships. Hell, if Director Shepard wasn’t already dead, he would have had to have a serious talk with her about strengthening the protective walls around Tony’s already bruised and fragile heart with her ridiculous Jeanne Benoit and La Grenouille bullshit op.

Tony had never been the same since then.

But yeah, other than the fact that they had been sleeping together soundly in McGee’s bed, after they’d gone out for a romantic candlelit dinner, and come home to the kind of sex that seemed to only ever occur in pornographic movies, everything else seemed to be business as usual. There was a body dumped. MCRT caught the case because they were on call. And they were all there in Rock Creek Park, business as usual.

It occurred to McGee that ever since he had started hooking up with Tony that all the sex that he’d had with the man seemed to be the kind of sex that only happened in gay porn movies. Not that Tony wasn’t capable of soft and tender sex, but he was always so hot and so ready for action, and always so ridiculously into McGee while they were fucking, that it always made it seem like porn to McGee. He’d never come so hard in his entire life, whether he was fucking Tony, or Tony fucking him.

He’d bit the bullet and confessed that he had actual feelings for Tony one day, and then the man had so adorably blushed and become shy, something he would have never ascribed to Tony. Tony had actually run off and not talked to McGee outside of work for two days after that, before McGee cornered him in the men’s room at work. Tony finally confessed to having feelings for McGee as well. And since then, Tony had become so different with him when they were alone. In private, Tony was sweet and thoughtful, and a complete pushover. He was still sassy, of course, Tony without snark wouldn’t be Tony. But it was never over the top, and it was somehow different. Tony was almost submissive and pliant and, if McGee didn’t know him so well, he would have missed the quiet air of contentment that Tony gave off when they were alone.

Tony was happy to be with him. Tony wanted to be with him, and nobody else. It blew his mind.

But they kept this quiet. As quiet as they possibly could. Just between the two of them. McGee’s family didn’t know. Tony’s father was estranged, anyway. Gibbs didn’t know. Abby didn’t know. Ziva most certainly did not know about them. Breaking Rule 12 was a no no and whatever else Tony was, he was still Gibbs’ Senior Field Agent and he was still someone who firmly believed in Gibbs’ rules. Breaking Rule 12 was hurting Tony’s relationship with Gibbs, and it was something McGee regretted and wished that he could make better. But it was something Tony had to deal with himself.

His devotion to their team lead pre-dated McGee even being on the team. It wasn’t as if it was a surprise to either of them. McGee didn’t really care that much about the rules when it came to being with Tony, but Tony? Well. Tony really did care about the rules. But he also understood that he had to figure this out for himself and hadn’t let it affect their relationship. So far, Tony had been choosing being with McGee over his need to please Gibbs, which did make McGee happy. But he also wished that it wasn’t tearing Tony in half, and that Tony wasn’t so sure that if Gibbs found out about them, that he would be tossed aside. Tony never even considered the possibility that Gibbs might throw McGee off the team instead of him, which would be the more logical option given the number of years that Tony had been Gibbs’ right hand man.

But, Tony was one of the most insecure people that McGee had ever met. He’d known that Tony was insecure, but he’d thought it was only a little. Tony was a talented master of masks. But being with him as much as they had been since they got together, he truly saw how Tony beat himself up for every perceived unkind word from Gibbs. And the mental torture that he put himself through for every case of theirs that went cold was unbelievable, which, thankfully those were few and far between. Because Tony even beat himself up for every case that they actually solved – found fault with himself because he didn’t put together the pieces early enough, didn’t solve it quickly enough, wasn’t in time to prevent someone else from getting hurt, didn’t ever think his performance was good enough. McGee had thought that he was hard on himself, but his Senior Field Agent took it to a whole other level. Tony flagellated himself for everything, every single action, and hid it all underneath his entire snarky personality.

It made McGee wonder at the kind of childhood that Tony had been subjected to and if he could say anything to make Tony feel more secure.

But they weren’t there yet. They weren’t at the point where McGee could openly tell Tony that he loved him, because he knew that the older man would absolutely rabbit it out of there and most probably drink himself into a stupor or fuck the first person that caught his eye, or possibly even both. And then be filled with so much regret, and he would hate himself for torpedoing yet another relationship. McGee didn’t need to add to Tony’s list of Things To Beat Himself Up About, so he kept the words to himself. But even without the words, Tony was blossoming before his eyes. Despite the whole thing about worrying about what Gibbs would say about the two of them breaking one of his goddamn rules, Tony was still opening up so beautifully to McGee. There was no way McGee wanted to risk all this by telling Tony how he truly felt about the man.

All this aside, that morning they did their jobs as per usual, worked the case, and since Tony was bagging and tagging, Gibbs told him to finish up, clear the crime scene and drive the NCIS truck back to the Navy Yard. He was taking McGee with him to interview the victim’s wife, and to inform her of her husband’s death. Ziva had been sent off earlier to dig into one of the items that Tony had unearthed – something that seemed to hint that the petty officer might possibly have some connections to a meth dealing ring that the team was working on cracking on a different case. And Ducky and Jimmy had taken the body back to conduct their autopsy at least an hour ago.

McGee didn’t like leaving Tony or anyone alone at the crime scene like that, but Gibbs seemed to already be in a mood and any arguments or, god forbid, pointing out regulations to Gibbs would be suicide at this time. So he kept his mouth shut. He got into the car with Gibbs after giving Tony’s latex-clad fingers a short, secretive squeeze. Gibbs drove away so swiftly that McGee didn’t get a chance to even get a last look at Tony, still crawling on the ground looking for evidence. He was too busy trying to protect himself from whiplash with Gibbs’ driving.

And then two hours later, when they were driving back and had just arrived at the Yard, after informing the wife, both men watching her reactions carefully, they both agreed that she didn’t seem to know what was going on with her husband, or that anything was even going on with him. That he was just a normal guy, and they were happy together. They had no debts other than the usual shit to speak of, no enemies. They seemed to have a normal marriage and she had no idea what could have happened to her husband. McGee spent over a half hour just trying to calm her down while Gibbs called her sister to come and be with her, as she was so distraught.

When they arrived back at the Navy Yard, Gibbs called up to the bullpen and had Ziva conference in the others to get a status report before he could even park the car. Ziva was apparently at her desk, still unsuccessfully trying to tie their two cases together, Ducky and Jimmy were conducting the autopsy, and Abby was clamoring for evidence to start processing.

“What do you mean you need the evidence, Abs?” Gibbs growled into his phone. “DiNozzo should have been there over an hour ago with the truck.”

“The truck hasn’t arrived, Bossman,” Abby whined.

“Call DiNozzo,” Gibbs ordered McGee.

His heart started pounding when he dialed Tony and it went straight to voicemail. He’d had no text messages or voicemails from Tony since, and they were still in that honeymoon stage where they left each other little secret messages. Just to hear each other’s voices. He hadn’t heard a peep from Tony since they left him at the crime scene.

“Tony. Where are you? Bring the evidence in, man, before Gibbs takes his wrath out on me,” he left the short message after the beep.

It hurt him to hang up without voicing his true concerns and his true feelings. Because he really had a bad feeling about this. Tony might pretend to be dumb and flighty, but he really wasn’t that way at all. McGee knew that Tony not arriving on time without calling anyone or alerting anyone of the situation was a bad thing. Tony wasn’t irresponsible and he wouldn’t have just not completed the task of bringing in the evidence. Evidence was key not only in solving crimes, but ensuring that justice was served and the perpetrator was penalized to the full extent of the law. What mattered was what they could prove in a court of law. Evidence was their life blood. Tony had been the one to drum that into McGee’s thick skull when he started out with the team. There was no way Tony would have flaked out on the evidence and the truck for no reason.

Shit, where the hell was Tony?

“DiNozzo didn’t pick up,” Gibbs was barking into the phone, presumably to Abby. “We’re going to go back to the crime scene and see if we can find him.”

“Lo-jack,” McGee said urgently. “Abs, locate the truck!” he called out loudly.

Gibbs nodded approvingly at him. Gibbs’ driving on a normal day was atrocious, but when he was in a rush? All McGee could do was hang on to the oh-shit handle, and pray that Tony and the truck were fine. He was imagining some horrible weird crash – a squirrel, or a dog, or something jumping into the road and surprising Tony. Maybe Tony had wrecked the truck and was unconscious somewhere.

Abby called back with coordinates a few minutes later, and McGee realized that he could ping Tony’s phone right from his phone and he kicked himself. He pulled up the app and fiddled around with it.

“Tony’s phone is at the same coordinates as the truck,” he told Gibbs.

They made it there in record time and found the NCIS truck off the road a little ways, tucked around a bend in the quiet road, practically into the trees, such that it wasn’t easily visible to vehicles driving by. The driver side door was left wide open. As were the back doors.

McGee gasped, his heart stopping when he saw that the driver’s side seat was bloody, and they saw a trail of blood dripping all the way to the back doors. The floor on the inside of the truck was covered in blood. A lot of it. The kind of amount that could kill a person.

“Tony!” McGee whispered hoarsely.

“He’s not here,” Gibbs was scanning the surroundings, and McGee could see the tracker in him surface. “Someone took him.”

“They hurt him,” McGee couldn’t help the words coming out of his mouth.

“More than likely,” Gibbs agreed. “Although it might not all be his blood. DiNozzo’s scrappy. He wouldn’t have gone easy.”

That was what McGee was afraid of. Tony wouldn’t have just given up and gone with them without a fight. Shit. Shit. Shit!

“Call it in. Get the team out here,” Gibbs was still speaking. “Have Abby come out. We can’t wait to bring the truck in to her.” Time was of the essence in these types of cases. They needed Abby to start working the scene out here to increase their chances of finding Tony as quickly as they could. Unless it was already too late…

“Maybe he’s just crawled into the woods..?” To die… McGee couldn’t say the words out loud. “Should we call in the dogs?”

“No. See? They dragged him and maybe one other person, and the blood trail ends here,” Gibbs indicated to the ground, not that McGee was in any condition to see whatever it was that Gibbs was seeing. Not that McGee would have seen that kind of trail even if he wasn’t too busy stopping himself from hyperventilating about his secret boyfriend being kidnapped in front of his boss. Gibbs was the tracker. McGee was just a friggin’ boy scout.

But it was later, when they went in with full gear, trying to work the bloody truck, when McGee’s blood curdled and he had to literally stop himself from howling with rage and fear. A message had been scrawled in Tony’s blood. Way in the back of the truck, where they wouldn’t have seen it right away. On the wall, past the evidence and supply cabinets, low to the floor. And the message made McGee’s blood run cold and his heart practically stop.

“YOUR MOVE, ELF LORD”

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The first time that they bumped into each other, in the most unlikely of places, McGee wasn’t entirely sure who was more surprised. Well, at least to McGee it was the most unlikely of places. His first thought was that Tony must have been following him, for some perverse and probably soon-to-be embarrassing to McGee reason. But then he saw how Tony was dressed, and his second thought was that Tony had to be doing some kind of undercover op, because sometimes Gibbs lent him out to other agencies for that purpose and that would be why he wasn’t in the loop for what Tony was doing that night. On a night they were supposed to have off. And his third thought was that Gibbs or whoever was running this op for Tony was going to be so pissed at him for being in the wrong place and the wrong time, and his secretly fluid sexuality would have to come to light.

But then when the guy Tony was dancing with pulled him close by his belt loops, glaring viciously at McGee, and possessively kissing Tony right smack on the lips, refusing to allow Tony to be distracted by anyone else at the club. And then Tony was moaning into the kiss, loud enough that McGee could hear it even over the loud bass of the dance music, and he saw that the pair was grinding obscenely on the dance floor, McGee thought, holy shit. Tony’s gay!

Even though he was relieved that he hadn’t accidentally screwed up an undercover op – Tony could not possibly be faking that level of enthusiasm, McGee could see that both he and his possessive partner were hard where they were grinding their dicks together – he felt like he needed a moment to figure this out. Get his head around this new development.

He excused himself from whoever he was dancing with – he didn’t really recall the guy that point – and stumbled through the crush of hot, hard, sweaty, male bodies, to the bar where he gulped down a whiskey sour and ordered another right away, leaning back against the bar, his eyes unerringly finding Tony’s lithe form moving sinuously to the beat. Tony was wearing some kind of black mesh shirt that should have looked stupid – certainly McGee would have looked like a fucking idiot if he’d worn it – but Tony was pulling it off. His tanned skin shone through the mesh, and McGee was almost certain he saw body glitter on Tony’s nipples, as well as a dusting of it down his abs. His actual six pack abs.

Tony had been hiding the fact that he’d been working out again, McGee thought to himself. He went through these phases – he’d gain weight, lose weight, gain weight. It all depended on his emotional state, the state of their cases and how hard Gibbs was pushing them, and whether or not he was in a relationship. Tony seemed to be one of those people who pretended to never be in a relationship, but McGee knew that the man had been in love with Jeanne, for one, and had hidden that from them for a multitude of reasons, the main one of course being that he was involved in an unsanctioned undercover op to seduce the poor woman for having the misfortune of being La Grenouille’s daughter. Even so, McGee had always hated how beautiful Tony always was, no matter what the hell was going on with his life, and no matter how much weight he’d gained or lost. He was always so well put together, and so snarky, so quick with the comeback. And he’d teased McGee mercilessly about being gay.

And now here he was, dancing obscenely with a guy who was easily half a head taller than him and deeply muscle bound. Enough muscles and chiseled good looks that McGee felt incredibly inadequate when the man had so openly staked his claim on Tony. The man was fucking intimidating. Sinewy, bulging biceps, well formed pecs, abs to die for. Seriously, McGee would happily lick the man’s eight pack, were it not for the fact that he was too busy sucking face with Tony. And of course the man was completely shirtless. Because why would someone like that even want to ever wear a shirt to hide his muscle-bound perfection? The muscles weren’t so extreme that it was a turn off. He was not so much the Incredible Hulk. Maybe more Thor than the Hulk. He had blond hair, was built like a brick shithouse, and was apparently incredibly into Federal Agents dressed in mesh shirts. McGee found himself staring at the pair, unable to tear his eyes away from them. Hell, at this point, he was thinking he might also be into Federal Agents dressed in mesh shirts, because if he couldn’t lick Tony’s dance partner Thor’s abs, he wouldn’t mind a taste of Tony’s.

McGee shook his head, trying to dispel that thought. Where the hell had that come from? Out of left field, surprising him. Not that it’d never crossed his mind that that Tony was good looking. Of course he could appreciate Tony’s physical beauty. But it had always been theoretical. Tony was his Senior Field Agent. Tony was the guy who would definitely give him a hard time about everything – from his wardrobe choices, to his hobbies, to how he chewed his food. One time Tony even mockingly imitated how he ate his breakfast and for a week afterwards, McGee hadn’t even been able to look at yogurt, never mind eat it in front of Tony, which meant that he skipped breakfast for a week, and McGee was not one of those people who functioned well without eating breakfast.

But yeah. For the first couple of years that he’d been on the MCRT, McGee thought that Tony’s entire purpose on the team was to make his life as hard as he possibly could. But things eventually tapered off as McGee grew a thicker skin and learned to do the job to Tony’s exacting standards. McGee had a grudging respect for the man now. He had spent a lot of time with him in a professional setting – if one could call occasionally being superglued to things at his desk, or even his desk itself, professional. But he’d known Tony. Or at least he’d thought he did.

After all, he knew how the man danced – like a flailing idiot – which the moves he was busting out on the dance floor completely contradicted now. He knew the songs Tony always butchered if they went out for karaoke, knew his usual pizza order – sausage, pepperoni, extra cheese – , his favorite sandwich. His favorite delis in several different neighborhoods. They’d worked together for years now, in a job that forced familiarity between teammates, given how much they depended on each other during their long, grueling, and dangerous work hours.

But McGee had never even had a whiff of this side of Tony. The side that was laughing coyly, and batting his goddamned eyelashes up at Thor. He’d never seen Tony move his hips so smoothly and so sensuously like that when he danced, looking like he actually knew what he was doing instead of his usual style of awkwardly flailing his limbs as he danced. Thor was absolutely eating it up, and couldn’t keep his hands off Tony’s body.

McGee tried to tear his eyes away from Tony on the dance floor, vaguely smiling when men approached him, but he was unable to focus on anything but Tony. Not that Tony was making a spectacle of himself or anything close to that. Tony wasn’t any more or less lewd than others on the dance floor. He just had never seen Tony seem so openly happy. So carefree. Just dancing his heart out and laughing at his partner, kissing him, running his hands all over the man, rubbing up against him as suggestively as humanly possible.

McGee’s brain was all a-whirl. He absolutely had no idea how he felt about this. Tony was obviously not at all the ultra-straight Agent DiNozzo that he liked to portray at work. Which did kind of make sense, given that they were in law enforcement, and it was kind of still a stigma in their profession. It was one of the reasons McGee had remained quiet about his own sexual preferences. Plus, they worked with the military. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was still in effect. McGee was the son of an Admiral and he knew better than to be openly out in his profession and with his background. But Tony had been teasing him about his sexuality for years now. And to see him so joyously laughing, rubbing himself so obscenely on Thor, it blew his mind.

He turned to the bartender, waited for him to bring him another drink – switching to beer. He didn’t want to be completely smashed before the night was over. He’d come out tonight to have an anonymous hook up. He wasn’t proud of it but yeah, sometimes he just needed to let loose. Not even Abby knew this, that he was sexually attracted to men as well as women. He wondered if Abby knew about Tony’s preferences.

When he turned back to the dance floor, Tony was no longer in sight. McGee sighed and shook his head. If he hadn’t physically bumped into the man, there was no way he would have ever believed that that was Tony out there. He’d stared at him for a span of at least three songs, and yeah, it was definitely Tony. Just a Tony he’d never seen before.

He stood and craned his neck, trying to see if he could catch sight of Tony or Thor again before he gave up and sipped his beer and began responding to some of the men who were flirting with him. He tried not to feel bad about himself that none of them were even slightly Thor-like. He wasn’t in competition with Tony, for god’s sake. But for some reason, twinks loved McGee, and so did men in the older, more Gibbs-esque spectrum. It was rare for him to be pursued by anyone in his age group, and very rare for them to be as overtly sexual and physically intimidating as Tony’s Thor had been.

He was kind of responding to one of the older men – he had that Gibbs look to him and McGee couldn’t deny that Gibbs was hot, definitely a DILF – when someone nudged him gently as they pushed through to the bar. McGee turned his head and saw Tony flashing him a saucy grin. He waggled his eyebrows suggestively at the Gibbs-esque guy, leaned close and hummed approvingly in McGee’s ear. It was instantaneous. McGee felt himself blushing crimson. Tony still had what it took to make him stutter and blush like the probie he used to be, all these years later, even though if anyone should be the one wrong-footed in this scenario, it should be Tony. Mr I Am Strictly And Utterly Heterosexual Tony. But Tony seemed to be completely loose limbed, and relaxed right now.

McGee sent the Gibbs lookalike off after getting his number and turned to Tony who was leaning on the bar, waiting to be served.

“Fancy seeing you here,” McGee told him.

Tony smiled at him, but turned away to put in his drink order, before turning back to McGee.

“A Shirley Temple?” McGee shook his head when he heard Tony’s order. “Seriously?”

Tony laughed and sighed, shrugging carelessly. “I don’t like to drink when I’m looking to get fucked,” he told McGee bluntly.

What?” McGee couldn’t help but stare at Tony.

For whatever reason, even after watching Tony dance with Thor, he’d assumed that Tony would top. Not that Tony was super aggressive or super masculine or anything, but that Tony never relinquished control. Tony was wound tightly and was always so tightly reined. McGee knew that he never liked for anyone to see him at any kind of disadvantage. And getting fucked in the ass was definitely not particularly advantageous, especially for random anonymous hookups.

Tony shook his head at McGee’s reaction. “I like to be fully aware and fully sober when I’m getting fucked, Probie,” he repeated dryly.

“No, no. I mean. Tony!”

Tony sighed. “Let’s hear it…”

“No, I mean. I’m surprised to see you here, for one.”

Tony grinned at him. “And you immediately assume that I would top?”

“Well…” McGee shrugged. Yeah. He did. Definitely. Although suddenly all McGee could think was what a power bottom Tony would be and how lucky Thor was to experience that.

Tony laughed and accepted his drink, pushing cash on the bartender and accepting the flirtatious wink and overlong hand touch with a coy smile before he turned back to McGee. “Well, you know what they say about people who assume things.”

“I’m not making an ass out of you or me.”

“No, dumbass. They say, Gibbs’ll kick your ass for that,” Tony grinned naughtily. “For breaking his rules.”

McGee sighed. He couldn’t help but notice that Tony had eyeliner on, and glitter in his hair and on his eyelids. And fuck it all, Tony looked good. Absolutely delicious. It was messing with his head.

“Aw, Probie. Cheer up. Go call that delicious Gibbs-lookalike that was hitting on you before. I know he gave you his number. I give you my blessing. Go get laid. That always relaxes me,” Tony nudged his shoulder gently.

McGee stared at Tony, who seemed to be completely and utterly relaxed. And yes. Tony was wearing his ‘I just had sex’ expression. “Shit! Did Thor already fuck you?” he gasped.

Tony gave him a mildly curious look before he raised an eyebrow and grinned wickedly. “They do have nice restrooms here. Clean. Big stalls. Roomy enough for shenanigans.”

“I do not want to know, Tony,” McGee whined. “Where’s Thor anyway?”

“Chris? He’d get a kick out of you calling him Thor,” Tony giggled. Tony actually giggled when he talked about Thor, McGee noted. And his name was Chris? As in Hemsworth? “He went home.”

“He went home?” McGee repeated stupidly before he started getting angry.

“Jesus Christ, relax, Probie. He had a hard week, he called me to meet here, we’ve danced, he’s gotten his fill of dominating me on the dance floor, we’ve fucked, and now he’s exhausted so he’s gone home.”

Without you?” McGee was outraged. Did Thor think he could just use Tony just like that?

Tony gave him a surprised look, followed by a sweet smile. “Aw, Probie, are you defending my honor? Chris and me, we just have an arrangement. We both like to keep a low profile about our activities. He likes how I dance and how I look, and you know, he’s definitely easy on the eye and I definitely have no objections to tapping that ass. And turns out, we both like it when he holds me up and fucks me against walls in public places. We like to get our rocks off, and then we both like to go home to our own apartments and our own beds. Without any company. None of that morning after awkwardness, you know? It works great for both of us. He’s a nice guy, and he’s discreet. We’re just friends. With benefits.”

With fucking against walls in public places benefits, McGee’s brain supplied.

Tony yawned. “Besides, I’m beat and I’m going to call it a night, too. Just wanted to come say hi to you before I left.”

McGee nudged him with his shoulder now. “Hi,” he muttered, smiling as he rolled his eyes.

“See you Monday?” Tony asked, raising an eyebrow, eyes crinkling as he gave McGee a fond smile.

McGee nodded.

“Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do,” Tony told him, barely holding back the smirk. He plunked his still-full glass on the bar behind them, leaned over and dropped a soft kiss on McGee’s cheek before he disappeared into the crowd, and McGee kept his eye on Tony’s retreating back until it he lost it in the mass of bodies in the club. And he ended up not going home with anyone or taking anyone home, or hooking up with anyone or anything. Which was disappointing. But somehow, not all that disappointing.

He went home and spent a couple of hours killing orcs, Elf Lording it over the game, and utterly schooling his World of Warcraft archnemesis Hadrian like the Elf Lord that he was before he crawled into bed. But instead of seeing Tony on Monday, he saw the man the next day when they were unexpectedly called out to a crime scene, despite the team not being on call. McGee was tired and sleepy and out of it and he knew that he looked like it, and Tony wasn’t much better. McGee rubbed a leftover bit of glitter off Tony’s eye before Ziva could get a look, and Tony gave him a sleepy smile of thanks and bumped his shoulder with his before they snapped into action, bagging and tagging, and photographing, and interviewing, and all of the usual crime scene activities.

McGee was exhausted by the time Gibbs let them go home, late that night. But the sight of Tony’s sleepy smile, and the way Tony had leaned into his fingers, practically nuzzling his palm, when he was rubbing the glitter off his eyelid warmed the pit of McGee’s belly enough that it kept him awake a long time, lying in bed, thinking of Tony’s completely genuine, not at all bullshitting, not at all masking the inner Tony, sleepy smile. Because it was the most breathtaking thing he’d ever seen.

Chapter Text

Gibbs was barking questions at him, and Abby, who had been called out to the scene to speed up the investigation, was patting him gently, trying to get him to calm down and breathe properly.

“Why the fuck did these people, whoever they are, leave you a message, McGee?” Gibbs was asking. “Why are they addressing you directly? And why did they take DiNozzo to punish you?

All McGee could do was stare blankly at Gibbs. Why did someone leave him in particular a message? He didn’t know. Other than work stuff, he led a boring life. He wrote in his spare time, he played a bunch of MMORPGs, not that that would be a surprise to Gibbs, since he’d even taken his character name from Gibbs’ nickname for him that one time. He really had a quiet life outside of work. Well, other than the whole running around in a secret relationship with Tony behind everybody’s backs thing. And well, of course, the whole being bisexual thing and hiding the fact that even before the whole relationship with Tony thing, he’d been running around with other guys behind everybody’s backs thing. Not that Tony hadn’t been doing the exact same thing. About being bisexual, that is. Although, for all he knew, maybe Gibbs knew that about Tony given that they had been working together much longer than he’d known them.

McGee!” Gibbs was practically apoplectic at this point.

“I don’t know!” he yelled back. “I don’t know! I don’t know why anyone would even know to call me Elf Lord! I mean, you did it the one time, and yeah, it’s kind of what some people on World of Warcraft know me as, but like, nobody in real life knows anything about the whole Elf Lord thing! I mean, just because I play a Night Elf, and I’m a demon hunter, doesn’t mean that people are going to come out of my computer game and kidnap Tony for whatever reason!”

Gibbs and Abby both stared at him.

What?” he demanded.

Abby’s eyes sparkled with humor. “You actually called yourself ‘Elf Lord’ in WoW?” she was hiding a giggle.

McGee rolled his eyes. “I have a real character name – which I am not telling you. But yeah. People address me as Elf Lord. Sometimes.”

“Because Gibbs called you that, that one time?”

McGee shrugged. Tony had totally given him such a hard time about it when he’d first found out, after they’d started seeing each other, but before it had gotten serious. And it was still something that made Tony giggle uncontrollably every time he watched McGee Elf Lord it over people on WoW.

Abby hugged him, her smile wide and happy even though it was wrong to be smiling when Tony wasn’t there with them. “OK, so it’s someone from your game then?”

“I guess?” McGee shook his head. “It just seems so ridiculous, doesn’t it? I mean I don’t put anything in my public profile. Not my real name, or my location. Nothing that anyone would trace back to me. So that means that someone is locating me using my ISP. Shit, I knew I should have masked my ISP. But I mean, it’s just for fun! It’s a game!”

Gibbs was still looking grim now. “Why would someone from your game take Tony because of you?”

McGee sighed. Despite the fact that he’d fought with Tony about why the Senior Field Agent didn’t want Gibbs to know about them, and that the whole Rule 12 thing would be in effect, he didn’t really want to come clean to Gibbs either. And especially not because of this. This was not the way that Gibbs should find out that McGee was in love with Tony.

Fuck. He was in love with Tony! And he hadn’t even told the man. He should have told Tony this. Told him a thousand times. Tony deserved to hear it. All those reasons that he’d told himself to hold off on telling Tony how he truly felt, none of them even meant anything now. He should have risked it. Risked scaring Tony off by confessing his love. Because it would have been worth it if whatever Tony was going through right now, if he knew that he was loved. If he could hold on to that feeling, that McGee loved him and would do everything in his power to get him back safely.

McGee!” Gibbs barked. “What the fuck is going on?”

Fuck it. He couldn’t keep this from Gibbs. Because they needed all the information in order to solve this case and get Tony back. It was his move after all. He needed to figure out what the hell was going on.

“I don’t know who in the game would be able to track me down like this, Boss,” he said, softly but firmly. “I don’t know why anyone would target me like this. Or taunt me like this. But they took Tony because… because I’m in love with him. And we’re in a relationship.”

Gibbs’ eyes practically bugged out of his forehead. “What!?” he bellowed.

McGee sighed. “Whoever’s targeting me knew that Tony’s my b-b-boyfriend,” he said, stuttering a little over the word that he had never uttered out loud to describe his relationship with his Senior Field Agent.

Abby gasped, hands covering her mouth, eyes wide as saucers.

“You’re in love. With DiNozzo?” Gibbs spoke slowly, exaggerating his pronunciation of every syllable.

McGee pursed his lips and nodded. He refused to be defensive about this. This was a good thing. This thing with Tony was good. For both of them.

“Does he know that you think he’s your boyfriend?”

McGee threw up his hands. “Oh, for fuck’s sakes. We’ve been seeing each other since like a month after he got back from being afloat! And by seeing, I mean, actual dates and romance and yes, sex. Lots and lots and lots of sex. Because you know what Tony enjoys? He enjoys fucking. A lot. So yes. He does know that he’s my boyfriend. He has a key to my apartment and he gave me a key to his. I’m even trying to convince him to buy a new bed so we’d be more comfortable sleeping at his place! Because have you seen his bed? It’s fucking tiny! I’m sick of being the one always falling out of his goddamn bed because he’s got a fuckton of issues about love and relationships!”

Gibbs drew back, startled at McGee’s vehemence.

“And now, can we stop focusing on the fact that we broke this one precious rule of yours and figure out who the fuck hurt Tony and kidnapped him right from under our noses?” McGee was yelling now. “Because if he doesn’t come back from this all in one piece, I don’t know if-if…” If he’d be able to go on, the words died before he could utter them.

Gibbs glared at him for a long moment, and he glared right back. McGee wasn’t just going to sit back and take the abuse while Tony was bleeding out somewhere. But Gibbs nodded curtly and Abby went back to working the van while they scouted the surrounding area again. They took careful pictures of tire tracks and skidmarks and Abby combed through the blood and other evidence in the truck to try to figure things out. Since they had discovered the message for McGee, Gibbs wanted to keep him out of the truck. Especially now that McGee had confessed that he and Tony had been in a relationship, Gibbs definitely didn’t want him traipsing around in Tony’s blood.

McGee was kind of glad about that. He’d gotten over a lot of his inability to cope with blood and gore and body parts and goo and everything else that they found at a crime scene years ago, but not wading around in his boyfriend’s blood, his secret boyfriend who had been kidnapped to hurt him, that was actually OK by him. He didn’t need to have the smell of Tony’s blood in his nostrils longer than he needed to. He knew that this whole situation was going to factor into his nightmares for decades to come.

Gibbs sent him back to the Yard to go over all of his gaming interactions. He ended up back at his apartment, going through all of the recordings he had of his game play. Not that he’d kept recordings for his ego as Tony used to tease him. He kept them so he could study his own game play and improve. It was to make him a better player. McGee had even dug up recordings of Tony playing football in college, tracking down his former coaches and getting copies of Tony’s old tapes, the ones that his coaches had used to point out his errors, and also as a way to track his progress and improvements. Tony had spent a whole Sunday afternoon staring at his old recordings, wide eyed and amazed and full of disbelief. And like it or not, even McGee could see how much talent Tony had had, and how good he had been, and he could understand why Tony had mourned the loss of his possible NFL career.

But the best thing about that whole thing? It wasn’t the fact that that night Tony had rewarded him with several of the possibly most intense orgasms of his life. It wasn’t that Tony stopped ribbing him about his own gameplay recordings – because no, if anything else Tony stepped up giving him a hard time about that. No. It was the soft and shy thank you that Tony had uttered, holding him close. The sincere honesty and emotion from the man. It was exhilarating. At breakfast the next day, Tony was telling him about some of his teammates and what amazing players they had been, and which of them were genuinely nice and which were absolute assholes, and how some of them had gone on to the NFL with varying degrees of success. His usual chatterbox way of rambling. It was comfortable and so absolutely Tony, that all McGee could do was listen and watch as Tony spoke, watched the gestures with his hands, the expressions on his face, his lips moving to form words and smile and pout and snarl as his narration continued. Tony was so expressive. McGee would be happy to just sit and watch him all day, like a goddamned lovesick fool.

And after all of that, Tony had laced their fingers together, right there at the diner they were having breakfast at, and he’d said that he never regretted not making it, because he was truly happy with where his life had taken him. And McGee could hear the unspoken words there. That it had led Tony to him.

So there were no two ways about it. McGee would find him and bring him back. He cleared his mind of the image of the words written in Tony’s blood, the metallic smell of Tony’s blood clinging to his nostrils, and cleared his mind of even the slightest possibility that Tony was dead. Because Tony was alive. They would have left him there if he was dead. He had to believe that Tony was alive. No matter how much blood Tony had lost, McGee would never give up on him. Tony was like the little engine that could. He always popped back up, and always came back stronger than ever. Even the plague hadn’t been able to do anything more than keep him in bed for a couple of weeks. He’d been back to the badass motherfucking, if slightly easily winded self that he was not long after he beat that fucking bug. And he’d saved McGee’s and Kate’s lives and outrun a car bomb on his first day back. So yeah. Tony was out there, and he was fine, and he would stall until McGee and Gibbs and Ziva could storm in and rescue him.

So, keeping his mind clear of thoughts of Tony somewhere, alone, hurt, and bleeding, he methodically went through the recordings of his gameplay. He’d been obsessed with World of Warcraft for the past year or so, and rarely played any other MMORPGs. So he went through his server, going back almost a year, when he realized that several of the players he had been playing against seemed to have the same style, and all seemed to say the same things to him, and all seemed to be very good, but not quite as good as he was. One of them that fit this pattern was his archnemesis Hadrian. He even went through the recordings of his other games and found the same style of game play hounding him there. Someone was following him around in several of the games that he played.

He started hacking the game servers and began the work of tracing the players, and all of the ones he’d thought had the same style of gameplay were bouncing around on different ISPs all over the world, leading him astray with all of the subterfuge involved in finding them, which definitely made him suspicious. Especially since they all seemed to have a very similar pattern, landing on specific locales at specific intervals. And whoever this player was, his security was top notch. Normal people didn’t use NSA-level security around hiding their ISPs. Excited about this lead, he grabbed his keys, and was on his way back to work, calling Gibbs to give him an update as he sped through the streets of DC. He went right to Abby’s lab and asked her to begin working in tandem with him to find these players’ locations. Two hours after, during which time the two of them rolled around Abby’s lab, working like crazy on several different laptops and desktops, they tracked all of them to an address in downtown DC not far from the Navy Yard.

Gibbs, McGee and Ziva stormed the address but only found several different computers there, all of them had been wiped down and restored to factory settings. Every surface had been wiped down as well. They found no fingerprints, no DNA, no hair or fibers. Nothing. Worse, there was no sign of Tony at all. Tony might not have even ever been to the address. McGee stomped out of the building and began kicking the wall outside in frustration. Whoever this was had to be taunting him now.

“So it is true, then?” Ziva’s voice interrupted his temper tantrum.

“What?” he turned to his teammate, panting hard with exertion and emotion. He was trying hard not to let the disappointment of not finding Tony crush his spirits.

“It is true, what Gibbs told me?”

“What did Gibbs tell you?” McGee was honestly confused.

“That you are… in a relationship with Tony?”

McGee stared dumbly at Ziva for a long minute, noting her curious brown eyes, her hair pulled into a ponytail and out of the way. Finally he nodded.

“In a relationship? With Tony?” she asked again, her tone partly mocking, partly disbelieving.

Yes!” McGee blew out a breath and growled in frustration.

Why was it so hard to believe that he was in a relationship with Tony? OK. He totally got it. After all, Tony not only projected his straightness at work, but also, Tony was gorgeous. The only women that anyone had ever seen Tony with were also incredibly gorgeous. And McGee was, well, he was McGee. He wasn’t awful, he knew he had nice eyes, and he wasn’t terrible looking especially since he’d lost some of that baby weight he’d been carrying for a while. But he wasn’t underwear model gorgeous the way Tony was. At best he was nerdy geek cute. But as it turned out, Tony had a thing for the nerdy geek cute look. So that was all that mattered.

Ziva was staring right back at him, probably using her ninja skills to read his mind. McGee drew himself up to his full height and glared right back.

Ziva shook her head and sighed. “Tony is a difficult man to love,” she said quietly.

“You think I don’t know that?” McGee spat at her. “I’m the one who sees who he truly is, when he’s at his most vulnerable. I know that Tony is…” is fucked up, his mind supplied, but he wasn’t going to give Ziva the satisfaction of knowing that he knew that, “Tony has issues. But it doesn’t matter. He’s…” everything to me, McGee refused to say it. Not to Ziva. Those words were for Tony. “He’s worth it,” he finished quietly.

Ziva gave him another long look before she nodded. “Tony is a lucky man,” she finally told him, her tone gentle. “You? You could do better.” She winked at him, before she patted him roughly on the back, almost smooshing him into the wall. “Come. We must get back to work. We will find Tony and you can kiss him better, and I will make fun of him for getting kidnapped. Again. Yes?”

McGee couldn’t help but smile at that. He rolled his eyes, and shook his head, but pressed his shoulder to hers before they got back to work. No matter how much he wanted to freak out because Tony was missing, he knew he needed to keep his head in the game and work the case.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The second time McGee bumped into Tony unexpectedly, it was at a different gay club, and it was less surprising. But this time, Tony was standing quietly at the bar, nursing a bright pink concoction glumly. McGee knew exactly how he felt. They’d had a rough week, and their case had involved a murdered child, and those were always extra hard on everyone. Gibbs was no doubt in his basement drowning in bourbon. He’d thought that maybe Tony would have gone to drown his sorrows with Gibbs – he knew they did that, drank together, sometimes. But there was Tony, standing at the bar, looking as if someone had kicked his puppy.

“Hey,” he slipped into the space next to Tony, shouldering aside the guy standing there to make room for himself.

Tony looked up, frowning, mouth open, and McGee could see that he was ready with a glib rejection, when he saw that it was McGee and not some random guy trying to pick him up, and he gave him a small grin.

“You’re drinking tonight?” McGee sniffed the pink drink. It seemed to be made almost entirely out of vodka, although there was a prevalent sweet and fruity smell to it. “So you’re looking for someone to fuck tonight? Instead of the other way round?”

Tony sighed. “Nah, Chris had to cancel on me at the last minute,” he said sadly, sighing again. “I really needed him to fuckin’ punish me tonight.”

McGee nodded. He also understood that feeling, although he was thinking he needed to fuck someone tonight. Hard. A woman wouldn’t have done it for him tonight. He needed the solid body of a man under him, someone who could take it as hard as he could give it.

“You didn’t find anyone else suitable?” McGee asked, scanning the crowd.

Tony turned his body and faced the dance floor. “Nah. Not in the mood to break in a new top. They’re just not going to do it right, and I won’t get what I need out of them, just because I don’t trust them.”

“Not the way you trust Thor?” McGee prodded. Maybe this thing with Thor was serious?

Tony laughed a little at that. “Yeah, well. I know Chris. I know who he is and I know what he likes. And I guess I trust him, at least to fuck me senseless. But tonight? I don’t know anyone here. I’ve been a cop way too long to be able to enjoy being fucked by someone I don’t know or trust.”

Yeah. Tony definitely had trust and control issues. McGee already knew that. It was exactly why he’d been surprised that Tony bottomed at all. But the next thing that popped out of his mouth surprised himself as well as Tony.

“Well, I’m here, you do know me,” he said. It wasn’t blurted out, and it wasn’t breathless or stuttering. It came out husky and suggestive. At least an octave lower than his usual voice.

Tony whipped his head around and stared at McGee, eyes wide with shock. And weren’t Tony’s eyes gorgeous. Beautiful and green and deep. Someone could get lost in them.

“What?” Tony asked. Not his usual smooth and suave self. He seemed genuinely confused.

McGee sighed and raised his eyebrows. “You said that you don’t know or trust anyone here, since Thor couldn’t make it,” he ignored Tony rolling his eyes at his continued use of the Thor nickname but hey, he’d learned the art of nicknames from Tony so if there were any complaints, he would absolutely redirect them right back to Tony. But that was beside the point that he was trying to make here. “But you do know me. And hopefully you trust me. At least a little.”

Tony frowned. “Are you offering…?”

“To fuck you?” McGee didn’t know where the hell the words were coming from, and for the life of him, he couldn’t stop himself. “Yeah. Yeah, I am. If you want me to. I know we’ve had a hard week. But if you’re willing to give me a chance, I can take care of you tonight.”

Tony’s expression changed to something serious. “I don’t do relationships, Tim,” he told him somberly. “It’s not in the cards for me.”

“I know,” McGee nodded. Because he did know it. He’d been there for the aftermath of Jeanne. For how empty Tony had seemed for the longest time after that whole shit show. “I’m just offering some new benefits to our friendship. If you want it.”

Again, his voice was doing that husky, suggestive thing, and McGee wished that he could pull it off on purpose because it would be so cool if he could come across seductive and sexy instead of cute and gawky like he always tended to. But whatever the hell it was, it seemed to be doing something to Tony. McGee could see how his pupils started to dilate, and he was looking McGee up and down with interest, and maybe even a little bit of hunger. McGee resisted the urge to straighten up or suck in his belly or any of the other things that might indicate to Tony that he was insecure about himself. After all, he’d lost the baby weight, and he was wearing his skinny jeans, the ones that made his ass look awesome, and a shirt that made his eyes pop. And he’d been told that his bottom lip was intriguing, in a semi-constant pout. Which was nice, given that it had been the cause for him to be called a ‘cry baby’ in grade school, because he had a perpetual pout even when he wasn’t pouting. Take that, grade school asshats.

Tony was definitely looking more interested as McGee met his eyes calmly.

“Yeah?” he asked again.

“Are you drunk, though?” McGee asked, jerking his chin at Tony’s potent drink. Tony had said he liked to be sober when he got fucked, and there was no way McGee was going to fuck him if he was even the slightest bit drunk.

Tony shook his head. “It’s my first drink,” he murmured. McGee eyed the glass. Tony had maybe had a few sips of it, it was still almost full.

“Good,” McGee hummed approvingly. He felt himself smile when Tony blushed at the praise. “Although I have to warn you that as much as Gibbs has been giving me the boot camp training these past few years, there’s no way I’d be able to hold you up against the wall and fuck you in a restroom at this club. At least not for long, and probably not without either of us ending up in the ER with a concussion when we end up braining ourselves on the toilet. Which, ew. I don’t care how clean you tell me the bathrooms are here.”

Tony’s deep throated chuckle went straight to McGee’s dick. Shit. Tony was sexy. How had he not really noticed this before?

“What are you suggesting then?” Tony’s tone was playful and seductive.

“Did you drive here?”

Tony nodded.

“I didn’t. Why don’t you drive us to my place?” McGee asked. He knew that Tony never invited anyone – not even his work friends – to his apartment, and in all honesty, he wanted to fuck Tony in his own bed because then he’d have that memory in his spank bank, and maybe the smell of Tony’s cum would linger in the bed for days after that. McGee would definitely enjoy that.

“OK,” Tony nodded again, lips quirking up in a shy grin as he took McGee’s outstretched hand and they wended their way out of the club, fingers intertwined, all the way to Tony’s car. McGee didn’t even think it felt at all weird to be holding hands with Tony DiNozzo, of all people. It just felt like a natural thing, as if Tony’s fingers had always belonged clasped between his own.

When they got back to McGee’s apartment, they started it off by McGee pushing Tony up against the front door and assaulting his mouth with brutal kisses, which Tony returned enthusiastically. They eventually made it to his bed and then it was all hot kisses, lips and tongues all over Tony’s body, drawing out moans that made McGee’s dick leak uncontrollably. He spent a lot of time preparing Tony and by the time he finally pushed his dick into him, the man was begging for him. Pleading and begging, ridiculously attractive pleading and begging. The insanity of having Tony DiNozzo begging for his cock wasn’t lost on him, but he was too busy fucking the man to really think it through. Tony was egging him on, asking for more, and harder, and to just give it to him, and well, McGee had gone to the club looking for a body to fuck, and there was Tony just asking to be fucked, so really, it worked out for the both of them.

Amazingly, he managed to fuck Tony through two orgasms before he gave in to his own. After they came down from their highs, he tottered out of bed and came back with a warm, wet washcloth to clean Tony off before he flopped back down with a satisfied sigh. He turned to look at Tony who had collapsed on his belly, arms under his head, face turned towards McGee.

“You good?” he asked, when he saw that Tony’s eyes were open, albeit heavy lidded and still cum-drunk.

Tony’s lips quirked up in a sated, sleepy smile. “Mm-hmm,” he hummed, deep in his chest. He blinked slowly for a few minutes before his eyes remained closed and he fell asleep.

“Who needs Thor’s muscles and the fancy screwing up against the wall,” McGee couldn’t help but mutter grumpily to himself as he slid an arm under Tony and pulled him onto his chest. Tony snuffled in his sleep, but didn’t awaken, nuzzling into McGee’s skin and burying his face in McGee’s neck. “Take that, Thor.”

In the morning, when McGee blinked awake, he was alone.

Right. Tony never stayed the night. Tony was open about this. He never liked the morning after. Preferred to slink out of his one night stands’ beds. Shit. He’d become a one night stand. One in the hundreds of people who became part of the revolving door of Tony’s sexual history. Just fucking great.

He didn’t even have anyone but himself to blame. He was the one who had propositioned Tony, and even agreed to it even when Tony told him in no uncertain terms that he wasn’t looking for a relationship. Technically, Tony had become one of his one night stands, if one were to analyze the situation. It wasn’t that McGee was against one night stands, he’d had plenty of them himself, thank you very much, Tony DiNozzo. But still. This time it wasn’t some random stranger. It was Tony. He sighed noisily and tried to smother himself with a pillow. He wasn’t looking forward to going back to work on Monday.

Strangely enough, or maybe not strangely enough, work turned out to be completely normal. Tony sassed him just the same as he always had, behaved exactly the same as he usually did, and in no way indicated to anyone, least of all McGee, that he’d allowed a teammate to fuck him the previous Friday night. It made McGee wonder how many of the people on their floor alone that Tony might have had a sexual relationship with but remained friends with and had a good working relationship with afterwards. Because McGee couldn’t help but not be upset with Tony. He was so Tony.

He was, however, surprised when Tony called him on their next night off, asking him if he wanted to meet at another club in downtown DC, and he didn’t waste a breath in agreeing as quickly as he could. When they met at the club, they danced for a while, and then ended up at McGee’s place for sweaty and incredibly satisfying sex, although McGee would wake up alone again the next morning.

And so it began. Tony would call and propose a meeting at some club or other, McGee would agree, and they would end up at McGee’s apartment for the ridiculously hot and porn-worthy sex and a quiet and lonely morning after. Over the weeks, McGee learned all of the places on Tony’s body that would make him moan and howl and keen and gasp. He learned where to suck and lick and bite. And he learned how to fuck Tony and make him come helplessly all over himself. Even though it always ended up with him waking up alone in his bed. There were times when he needed Tony to top, and Tony never disappointed him there, seemingly clairvoyant in picking up his body’s cues and fucking him exactly the way he needed to be fucked. And through it all, regardless of who was fucking whom, Tony always threw himself into sex wholeheartedly. He was always present and in the moment and always seemed to be enjoying himself immensely and ensuring McGee’s pleasure as well as his own.

It was perfect. Except for the lonely mornings after for McGee.

For a while there McGee knew that Tony was calling him, but also still meeting up with Thor. They didn’t spend every night off together, and when they went back to work, McGee could tell that Tony was still wearing his ‘I had sex’ face. It was getting to the point where McGee could even tell the difference between Tony’s ‘I fucked someone’ and ‘I got fucked by someone’ face. But even though he wanted to scratch Thor’s perfect blue eyes out for even looking at Tony, he did nothing and said nothing. Thor was Tony’s friendly neighborhood superhero who could pin him up against the wall and fuck the living daylights out of him in semi-public areas. How could he ask Tony to give that up when they weren’t even in a relationship, and they certainly weren’t exclusive. After all, Tony didn’t do relationships. But he was jealous enough to the point where he was ready to offer to have a threesome with Thor and Tony when Tony surprised him by being there in his bed, still asleep, face tucked into McGee’s neck, one arm thrown over McGee’s chest, one morning after a night of dancing and sex.

McGee froze, heart pounding when he realized that this was the real thing. He’d dreamed about waking up with Tony still in his arms enough times that for a long moment he’d thought it had to be another dream. But when Tony sighed and shifted, throwing a leg over his and muttering something he couldn’t quite make out, he finally understood that he was actually awake and this was in no way a dream – except maybe a dream come true. He tensed up and froze, not wanting to wake Tony up, wanting to just be cool and relax, and accept his presence and to not make things awkward. Because if it was one thing McGee knew, it was that Tony hated the awkward mornings after. It was way too late in their… whatever the hell it was that they were doing together, for the weirdness of a morning after. They’d had sex many times, and even before that, they’d been colleagues and friends for years. Slowly, he forced himself to relax his muscles and calm his heartbeat, taking deep breaths and relaxing, calming himself down and allowing himself to actually enjoy the feel of Tony in his arms.

They stayed that way for a good half an hour before Tony stirred and lifted his head, eyes bleary with sleep.

“Hey,” McGee grinned at him, seeing his half open, sleepy green eyes.

“Hey,” Tony replied, voice raspy with sleep. He looked around, blinking and frowning, a little disoriented.

McGee could see it as Tony slowly realized that he was still in McGee’s bed and cuddling the shit out of him, having spent the entire night. But before Tony could begin what McGee knew would probably be a freak out of epic proportions, he kissed Tony’s lips. “Want to go out for breakfast? I know this place that does an unbelievable brunch spread on Sundays.”

Tony pursed his lips, still frowning indecisively at McGee.

“It’s Cajun style,” McGee said, wiggling his eyebrows enticingly. “They make beignets.”

Just the previous week, Tony had been waxing poetic about the time he and his frat buddies went to New Orleans for Mardi Gras and had raved about beignets.

And just like that, there was no awkwardness. Tony’s brow cleared and he was grinning happily, pulling McGee out of bed and into the shower where he rewarded McGee with a blow job in the shower – a first for them – before he made McGee buy him as many beignets as he could eat.

McGee didn’t even mind that Tony didn’t spend every night going out with him after that. He could tell that even if he didn’t see McGee for the whole weekend, he wasn’t getting laid during these weekends. So, ha. Seriously. Take that, Thor. As far as McGee could tell, Tony was only having sex with him. He even sneakily got Ziva to confirm his suspicions on whether Tony might have had sex or not after weekends that Tony hadn’t spent time with him, and she’d independently corroborated what he’d hoped, that Tony wasn’t running off and having sex with Thor or anyone else if he wasn’t with McGee.

He tried not to worry about the specifics of what it was they might be to each other because whether Tony wanted to accept it or not, or name it or not, it was a relationship. They were in a relationship. A very complicated one, to be sure, but the way McGee saw it, if they went out dancing together, came home to have sex and spend the night, the whole entire night, together before going out to brunch the next morning, and this became a pattern of behavior where neither of them were going elsewhere for sex of any kind, then they were in a goddamned relationship. No two ways about it. But he wasn’t going to be the one to point this out to Tony. Well, maybe he would after he managed to weasel his way into taking Tony to Tony’s apartment to have sex and spend the night and have brunch together there the day after.

Yeah. That’s what he was going to do.

Chapter Text

Tony had been gone twenty four hours now. McGee was beside himself with worry. If the kidnappers withheld medical help to him, given how much blood had been found in and around the NCIS truck, chances were that Tony would have died of blood loss by then. He breathed a huge sigh of relief when Abby’s analysis of the blood found in the abandoned NCIS truck showed at least two different blood types, so at least it wasn’t all Tony’s. But the blood found in the driver’s seat as well as the trail leading from the front of the truck to the back doors was Tony’s. Abby had even run a rush DNA test on it.

Tony had definitely been injured. He’d apparently fought hard and bled hard, but Gibbs had also been right in that Tony hadn’t gone down easy. There were two different blood types found at the scene. Hopefully more of the other person’s blood had been spilled than Tony’s. He had definitely not let himself be taken without doing some damage of his own.

The problem was that all the trails seemed to be cold. The NCIS truck and the surrounding area where it had been found was still being worked on by Abby’s techs, but so far they weren’t able to find other trace evidence, nothing other than the blood and the drag marks. Gibbs had been right. Tony had been dragged off and taken away in some kind of vehicle. From the tire tracks, it was some kind of van, but it could be any kind of van. The tires were commonly used for many different types of vans, in various different makes and models. It was too vague.

The abandoned apartment also seemed to yield no clues. McGee was currently going through the wiped computers that had been left there to see if he could find something, and trying to hack into the actual game servers to see what other interactions the handful of players that he’d narrowed down to being the person who had taken Tony had within the game. He was trying to see if he could maybe identify any possible partners who might be the second blood type found at the scene of the crime. Based on what they could recreate at the truck, it looked like there had to have been at least three different people, more likely four.

McGee felt a sense of satisfaction in knowing that it had taken a team of four individuals to capture one Tony. He was one tough motherfucker, and McGee needed to keep reminding himself of that.

Interestingly enough, their first break came from Ducky and Jimmy. The two medical examiners had continued to work the original case, the body that had been dumped way out in Rock Creek Park that the MCRT had basically forgotten in their rush to locate and recover Tony. As it turned out, Ducky and Jimmy had matched the MO of the kill to a known killer. A former marine, dishonorably discharged and who had already done a stint in Leavenworth. His signature move was the use of a sharp needle-like knife coated with a poison that stopped the heart.

Gibbs was in the process of brushing aside Ducky and Jimmy, wanting to concentrate on locating Tony when McGee stood.

“Wait, wait, Gibbs,” he objected.

“What?” Gibbs’ blue eyes narrowed as he glared at his junior agent. His junior agent who had not only broken rule 12 with his Senior Field Agent, but had also somehow gotten him kidnapped. With no sign of a ransom note. Or any other communication. “We’re dedicating all our time on getting DiNozzo back. Let another team work the original case.”

“We’ve been going about this backwards,” McGee muttered. “We’ve been trying to focus on how I would find this guy. He knows that that’s what I would do, and he would’ve hidden his trail. He’s good, too.”

“What are you saying?” Gibbs barked impatiently.

“I’m saying that he knows me. Knows my style. This guy’s obviously been stalking me, if he even knew that Tony and I were in a relationship. We’ve been really discreet about it.”

Gibbs grunted, the blue eyes glittering angrily. Yeah, maybe McGee didn’t need to remind Gibbs of his rule breaking relationship with Tony right then, but whatever. He had a point to make.

“And I’ve been trying to find him by hacking and looking at everything on their computers and traffic cams and all of the usual high tech stuff,” McGee continued.

“And?”

“The thing is, if Tony were here, he’d have been pursuing other avenues of inquiry.”

“But DiNozzo isn’t here, McGee.”

“I know that!” McGee yelled. “And I know that it’s my fault he got taken. But listen. He’s not here so no one here is thinking about this case like he would! And what Tony would want to know is how did these people know that we would be on that road? I mean, it’s not exactly the most well traveled route. How did they know that the NCIS truck would be on that road on that day? This was obviously premeditated! So they had to have planned for this. How else would they have known that Tony or one of us would be on that road on that day?” McGee was almost panting with excitement.

“The body,” Gibbs growled. “The petty officer.”

“Yeah! They used it to get us out there!” McGee yelled. “They killed that person and dumped the body in a well known body dumping area, conveniently with all his identification on him so that people would know to call NCIS, and they somehow knew that we would get called out to it. They were planning on this.”

“Maybe they were planning to take you instead of Tony,” Ziva said quietly. “But he ended up being more convenient?”

“Fuck! It’s all my fault!” McGee rubbed his face. “They took him because of me.”

“Blame game later,” Gibbs told him. “Ducky has things to tell us about how this petty officer was murdered. We work this case and try to find links to you, McGee. Just the way DiNozzo would work this case.”

McGee and Ziva both nodded, and turned their attention to Ducky and Jimmy before they turned their attentions back to their original case, the case of the murdered petty officer found in Rock Creek Park. They had originally suspected the victim to be tied to a meth dealing ring that was part of a different active case they were working. As it turned out, their suspected killer, with the known MO, was the one who had ties to the meth dealing ring.

Abby worked the evidence from the original crime scene that they’d retrieved from the abandoned truck, hoping that not too much of it was contaminated, and they found a lead, also going back to the meth ring. The dead petty officer looked to be a decoy, someone randomly chosen that would guarantee that NCIS would be called in, and possibly murdered and dumped during a time when whoever was stalking McGee knew that he and the MCRT were on call and would be assigned the case. It seemed likely that that the first vic, the poor schmuck, had no connections to meth or stalking McGee or any of this.

The next lead they found was when McGee was able to recover a piece of an encrypted file from one of the laptops abandoned in the site – no doubt left there to taunt him – and it wasn’t so much what the file contained that was the clue, but the encryption itself. What he could recover of the data in the file seemed innocuous in and of itself, but McGee recognized the encryption immediately. He had to think hard before he realized that it tied back to one of the cases he’d work on while he was in the basement with Cyber Crimes, while Tony had been exiled afloat. Dark, dark days, in more ways than one, they had been.

McGee recognized the coding on the encryption as one from the very last case that he’d been working on in Cyber Crimes, before Gibbs plucked him out of there and back onto the MCRT. And while he had been more than ecstatic to be back on Gibbs’ team, he had had to leave that case unfinished. He’d been hot on the case of the hacker who was messing with the US Navy Credit Union. He’d engaged in a challenging game of cat and mouse with the hacker, piggybacking malware and viruses and spyware and Trojan horses and all kinds of other fun stuff, and had also caught quite a few of the hacker’s own attempts at tracking him and had thought himself close to identifying the hacker when he’d been unceremoniously transferred back onto the prestigious MCRT. Maybe the guy had identified him through their interactions somehow and tracked him down, finding him in the games he played?

He’d kind of kept an eye on that last case, but Gibbs worked people to the bone and he didn’t really get a chance to take a very active interest in a case he was no longer working. But when his replacement in Cyber Crimes had closed the case, he remembered not being satisfied with the resolution. Apparently, they had gathered enough evidence and arrested someone, and he knew that someone was sitting in jail right now for that crime. He double checked and made sure that the people they had pinned the crime on were still incarcerated – they were. So why was someone still using this unique encryption?

But what if they had gotten it wrong? McGee had never been happy with how that case had been closed. He always felt like something was off, that they had missed something. That whoever they had imprisoned wasn’t the hacker he’d had so much fun chasing after. It really didn’t say much about his time in Cyber Crimes if the most fun he’d had was chasing after a hacker who was messing with the US Navy Credit Union. But it was what it was.

What if Cyber Crimes had not gotten everything and everyone for his last case? McGee brought the idea up to Gibbs and Abby, giving them the background of the fun he’d had trying to chase this guy down and the guy’s creative ways to counter his attempts, and immediately, Abby was tasked to review McGee’s last case there, the one that he had left without closing it himself. The one with the clever and recognizable bit of encryption coding. The one case that he couldn’t vouch for its closure himself. The one that he always had a bad feeling about.

Abby was able to independently corroborate that the encryption McGee had found on the file recovered on the laptop did, in fact, match the signature of the hacker from that old case. She and McGee began tearing into that case file while Gibbs and Ziva and Balboa’s team continued to work the petty officer’s murder. Gibbs finally made the decision to call in Fornell and the FBI, which made McGee antsy and worried. It made Tony’s kidnapping that much more real when the FBI were called in because they were always involved when a Federal Agent was kidnapped or went missing. Always.

It made it that much more real to McGee that his boyfriend was missing, especially when he had to recount his relationship with the Senior Field Agent to Fornell and his goons as part of briefing them and getting them up to speed on the case. After all the time spent with Tony, even McGee could spot the Feebies out of a lineup. It wasn’t just their awful way of dressing – McGee could hear Tony mocking Fornell’s clothes in his head – but just their whole demeanor. The agents that had never worked with NCIS’s MCRT tended to look down on them because NCIS was so much smaller in scope and breadth than the FBI, and the ones that had worked with them tended to run screaming from Gibbs. And without Tony there to diffuse the tension, it was difficult for them to work together.

McGee tried to put all of the distractions out of his mind and worked that final Cyber Crimes case, trying to narrow down the ISP of the hacker whose signature encryption they were hunting down. It was in the wee hours of the morning, thirty six hours after Tony had been taken, when he and Abby finally managed to crack the case. That last Cyber Crime he’d worked had been a case of embezzlement of funds from the US Navy Credit Union. Cyber Crimes had ended up pinning it on several of the employees of the Credit Union, including a programmer, as well as two others who had no ties to the Credit Union. But upon further review, McGee and Abby realized that the mastermind had not only escaped, but that he or she had not even been detected by McGee’s replacement during the rest of the case. That hacker had managed to make it look as if the programmer that they had caught had been responsible for it all. The Cyber Crimes team didn’t even realize that someone else was behind it, unable to follow up on McGee’s work since the hacker had framed the one programmer they’d caught and evidently disappeared after McGee had to stop pursuing him.

The embezzlement case was really a cover to hide the fact that someone was transferring moderate amounts of money from account to account, not just within the US Navy Credit Union, but also several major global banks, then reversing the transfers, and then erasing these transactions completely from their servers. It wasn’t so much that the transfers were the issue because the dollar amounts of the transfers themselves were negligible and besides, they were reversed so the account owners never saw their balance looking out of sorts, but that all of the fees for the transfers and the reversals – at between forty to fifty US Dollars per transaction – all of these fees were being siphoned into several different bank accounts in the Cayman Islands after the transactions were erased. These fees weren’t charged to the bank’s clients because the transaction had been deleted, but instead they were charged to the financial institutions themselves, and then disappeared. It didn’t sound like a lot of money, forty to fifty bucks a transaction, but they were making a hundred to two hundred transactions every day that McGee and Abby could find, it absolutely added up. Especially since the transactions were still going on now, and had been since a while longer than the year or so since McGee had been in Cyber Crimes.

McGee tracked down the accounts that were making the transactions, and found the back door to several of the largest systems that were used to clear transactions, where someone was deleting these transactions and siphoning all the fees accrued to different banks in the Caymans. This system was used by many huge banks worldwide, and the case ended up even bigger than they had originally thought. It wasn’t just one to two hundred transactions a day, it was easily in the thousands of transactions spread out amongst many different banks and credit unions worldwide.

Protocol mandated that they should get Interpol in and a bunch of other agencies involved once the case got this broad. But McGee gave Gibbs a look, and the lead agent nodded somberly at him, so McGee buried himself in Abby’s lab and began hacking. They didn’t have time to wait for everyone that needed to be brought in involved and briefed and ready to move. Tony’s life was at stake.

McGee knew the play. Gibbs would start the work of getting the joint op together, and McGee would continue working the case and tracking the missing mastermind down, without waiting for the joint op. And they would hope that it all led to Tony. It was illegal as all hell, but McGee was definitely on the ‘can’t give a rat’s ass’ side this time. He would do anything and everything to find Tony and bring him back. If it cost him his badge, then so be it. Tony was more important than any job.

So McGee got to work. Abby brought him donuts with the sprinkles already removed, making McGee miss Tony all the more. Because every so often, Tony would do that for him. But he was on a roll. He’d commandeered four different laptops and was working to chase the transactions to their ultimate source. The mastermind had hacked into the banks’ interconnected clearing system, but they also needed to use it to delete the transactions and transfer the fees out. McGee and Abby worked in tandem to track it all back to its source.

They broke through firewalls and practically cut the Gordian knot of ISP chains to finally get to one server that was the source of all the transactions. The volume of transactions that were going on, it had to be some kind of bot and it would have been wise to have different bots housed in several locations. But six hours later, they found that it all originated from one location. Right in DC. A warehouse by the port.

McGee and Abby reported what they found to Gibbs, and the MCRT and Fornell’s team suited up. They were supposed to be awaiting Interpol and other agents to arrive, but Gibbs was not going to wait. Tony’s life was more important than watching the warehouse for a few days to ensure that they caught everyone involved in this ring. The life of a Federal Agent, kidnapped in the line of duty, was definitely more important than a white collar crime that hadn’t endangered anyone prior to this. But now, they had one dead petty officer, and one missing Federal Agent. This was definitely escalation.

Abby was patched into a satellite and was monitoring the location. She reported that it didn’t seem to be anything out of the ordinary right then.

Not an hour after McGee and Abby made their discoveries, he, Gibbs, Ziva, Fornell and four other FBI agents were scouting the block, silently taking out the two guards posted in the front and rear, and storming the building. There was a brief firefight, but the NCIS and FBI agents returned fire, and overpowered the men there. They went through the building, clearing it, discovering a climate controlled room where complicated computer equipment was working. Usually, McGee would be salivating and raring to dig into the guts of the thing, but that day, he barely paid attention to it, keeping his eyes peeled for one thing, and only one thing: Tony.

They found him in a dark room, behind some crates, next to two dead bodies. He was in bad shape. McGee could barely feel his pulse, it was weak. His skin was cool to the touch, much too much like a dead body, and not his usual blast of heat and warmth. And he was pale. Too pale. His face was bloodied and he had a black eye. But it looked like he’d been knifed in the belly. And several other places. The cuts didn’t seem too deep, but he was lying in a pool of blood.

“Tony,” McGee slapped his face, calling his name repeatedly, his tone urgent and desperate. “Tony. Goddamn it. Don’t you give up on me. Stay with me. Stay with me, Tony.”

McGee wanted to believe that Tony’s fingers gripped his, but he knew that his mind was playing tricks on him, giving him what he wanted to feel instead of what was there. Tony was completely unresponsive. He’d lost a lot of blood. A lot of it.

EMTs took him away, sirens screaming, and Gibbs had to order him to stay and work the crime scene. McGee was desperate to be with Tony, as if his very presence in the ambulance would force Tony not to die. He’d heard the EMTs calling out Tony’s vitals as they worked on him – his pulse rate and blood pressure were both dangerously low. And they’d immediately hung a unit of blood and started transfusing it in. But McGee knew that he’d been left injured and untreated for almost forty eight hours. He’d been dealt wounds that were meant to bleed and not be immediately lethal, and bled he had. He knew it was still touch and go. He needed to be there with Tony. Needed to hold his hand, needed to see Tony’s chest rise and fall as he kept breathing. Because he had to keep breathing, goddamn it.

“He’s a tough motherfucker,” Fornell, of all people, muttered to him, slapping his back – was that supposed to be reassurance? – before walking away, working with Gibbs to coordinate the work of securing the scene and continuing to work it.

McGee stood and breathed quietly for a moment, before Gibbs was in his face.

“I know you want to be with DiNozzo right now,” Gibbs told him grimly. “But I sent Ducky to the hospital. He’ll keep us posted. It’s not gonna change shit if you go there now, McGee. He’s going into surgery and recovery. It’ll be hours before anyone can see him. But you need to stay here and work the scene. We need to find the mastermind of this all. That hacker you were hunting that ended up hunting you. We need to get him. Work this scene and help us find him. That’ll make a difference.”

McGee met Gibbs’ calm, blue gaze, and he swallowed and nodded.

“We need to get the guy behind all of this. The guy who gave the order to take DiNozzo and hurt him,” Gibbs continued, his tone bleak. “He might have been one of the people we arrested today, but he might also have not been here at the time. We need to find him. Or he’ll come back after you and DiNozzo again. And he might be more successful next time.”

McGee nodded and straightened to his full height. Gibbs was right. There was still work to do. They had recovered Tony so now they had to focus on finding the person who was pulling all the strings or this multi-million dollar global scam, and the one truly responsible for taking Tony and hurting him. And besides, there was a whole big room full of new toys for him to play with and take apart and figure out.

“Attaboy,” Gibbs growled approvingly at the junior agent.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

McGee didn’t realize how possessive Tony could be of their time just sleeping together. Sometimes McGee had trouble sleeping. Those nights he tended to spend gaming. After all, even though he was in a pseudo-relationship with Tony and when Tony stayed overnight, he tended to sleep like a baby right through the night, there were times when his old friend insomnia would trouble him. Usually, he’d be up worrying about what the hell things meant, and when would Tony realize that they weren’t just friends with benefits. Things that he couldn’t say out loud to the man without there being panicked screaming and a Tony-shaped hole in his front door.

So when he ended up wide awake after a couple hours of sleep in the bed with Tony, he quietly slipped out of bed, put his headphones on, micced up and went to war. He usually only played for an hour or so, until he felt like he could go back to sleep, and crawled back into bed, without Tony ever being the wiser. But that one night, he was in the middle of trash talking his stupid archnemesis Hadrian as he was absolutely annihilating the guy when he was interrupted by a sharp throat clearing.

He turned and saw that Tony was leaning against the doorway to the bedroom, hair sleep-mussed, arms crossed, one eyebrow raised, his mouth pursed in discontent.

“Oh, hey, baby,” McGee muttered, turning back to his screen. “Hold on a minute…”

“Am I intruding?” Tony’s tone was dangerous. The implication there was clear. Tony was suggesting that he would leave McGee’s apartment in the middle of the night, something he hadn’t done in a while now.

“Oh, no no no. Of course not. Hang on, I’m coming back to bed.” McGee looked up and saw that Tony was only wearing a pair of boxers – hell, it looked like they were McGee’s boxers that they’d discarded earlier.

Tony’s eyes narrowed.

McGee quickly completed the move he’d been in the middle of, yelled some obscenity at Hadrian and gloated about going back to his bed where his absolutely hot sex fiend of a partner was waiting for him before throwing his headphones down and hurrying to where Tony was still eyeing him dangerously, McGee’s boxers riding low on his hips.

“Is the game more interesting than I am, Elf Lord?” Tony asked softly.

“No, no, no, I usually only play when you’re not here. Just sometimes I can’t sleep and I don’t want to wake you and it relaxes me to play a bit and then…”

Tony’s glare stopped him from continuing. He snorted and turned around, heading back into the bedroom. For a moment, McGee thought he was going to get dressed and leave, but Tony shucked the boxers and climbed back into bed. He looked over at McGee.

“Well?” he demanded.

“I’m coming, I’m coming,” McGee tossed his bathrobe off and slid back under the covers, pulling Tony tight against him.

“Did you at least finish off whoever that idiot was you were torturing in the game?” Tony asked softly after a moment of silence.

McGee shrugged. “Yeah. Just one of the guys who keeps trying to beat me. And always fails.”

Tony huffed, a sound that was almost eerily Gibbsian. A sound that conveyed his disdain for the entire situation. “Did you have to call me a sex fiend?”

McGee chuckled softly. “That’s the part you didn’t like?”

He could feel Tony’s lips curl into a smile on his skin. “Seems like you could find a better term than sex fiend. I mean, that doesn’t say anything about my skills in bed, just my sexual appetite. I could just be terrible at it, but just want it a lot, and that would still make me a sex fiend.”

McGee couldn’t help it. He laughed at Tony’s disgruntled words. “I’ll be sure to let Hadrian know that my partner is extremely talented in the art of lovemaking, next time I throw down with his pathetic ass.”

Tony snorted at that. “I feel so reassured,” he deadpanned. “Pretty sure he’s some thirteen year old virgin.”

McGee chuckled at that. Because, true. It could be.

“Besides, I couldn’t just smack him down tonight in the game without letting him know what a friggin’ loser he is in real life because you know he’s going to a cold, lonely bed right now,” McGee grinned with satisfaction.

“Your trash talking needs work,” Tony told him through a yawn. “And I’ll work with you on that tomorrow. Now can you just shut up and go to sleep? It’s the middle of the night and if we’re lucky we won’t get called in to some crime scene at the crack of dawn and can go to that little Portuguese hole in the wall with the awesome buttermilk pancakes tomorrow.”

“Yes, dear,” McGee said facetiously, although he kissed Tony gently. Surprisingly, he fell right to sleep after that.

When Tony told him to drive to Tony’s apartment after meeting up for dinner and going out dancing the week after that, for a moment, McGee wondered if Tony maybe didn’t want McGee to sneak out of bed to play video games and taking him home to his own place would eliminate that possibility. But that thought was trumped by the fact that Tony was asking him to go to his place and not McGee’s. There was no way McGee was going to look this gift horse in the mouth.

However, the first time McGee went home to Tony’s, he realized that Tony was incredibly committed to his refusal to be in a relationship. At first he was taken aback by what he saw. Tony’s apartment was amazing – huge, spacious, airy, ridiculously neat, bookshelves filled with books and movies, and he even had a goddamned baby grand in pride of place in his living room. McGee would have thought that Tony’s entertainment center would have been the focus of his entire home, but no. It was the gleaming, highly polished baby grand piano.

He couldn’t help but raise his eyebrows questioningly and point to it.

“It was my mother’s,” Tony muttered, before he herded McGee into the bedroom and away from whatever the hell else he might have taken note of.

And that was when McGee saw the size of Tony’s bed. Tony’s tiny twin bed.

He gaped at it before he stared at Tony, wordlessly throwing his arms up.

“Shut up,” Tony growled at him, even though he hadn’t actually said anything out loud, having already flung all his clothes off. “Are we doing this or what?”

“Oh, we’re doing this,” McGee hurriedly agreed, trying to wipe the shock off his face.

Tony slept in a fucking twin bed. When he claimed that he never brought anyone home ‘Women prefer to sleep in their own beds, Probie’ he’d cited to him time and time again, he’d apparently been incredibly serious. There was no way some one night stand would walk through Tony’s beautiful and sophisticated apartment – shit, did he actually describe Tony’s apartment as ‘sophisticated’? – and then looked at the tiny twin bed and not wonder what the hell kind of issues the gorgeous man might be hiding. McGee already knew what Tony’s issues were and he still marveled at the bed and for a split second, actually questioned himself on what the hell he was doing with Tony.

But when Tony was naked and asking if they were ‘doing this or what’ – a small part of McGee was snickering at how much Tony sounded like a pouty teenager at that – McGee’s little head told his big head to stop overthinking things and get the hell on the bed and go fuck the man already. And well, Tony was seriously hot, and that night he was even wearing eyeliner, making his green eyes look huge and luminous in the club. So he tossed aside his own clothes and got with the program.

When he was balls deep in Tony, and Tony was on his knees, and grabbing on to the top of the headboard for leverage, pushing back into him as McGee thrusted forward, the size of the bed fell right out of his conscious memory. Tony was making the most delicious noises, and the sound of flesh slapping on flesh and Tony’s moans were the only things that mattered, along with the glorious wet tightness of Tony’s hole surrounding his dick.

Tony came noisily, thick ropes of come spurting over McGee’s hand jerking his cock, getting come on his belly and chest and the pillow under him, his muscles spasming and tightening, pulling McGee over the edge. Figuratively and literally. He fucked in as hard as he could, tensing as he released, and when he pulled out and shuffled back a little, he fell on his ass right off the bed.

“Tim?” Tony peered over the edge of the bed, still dazed from the force of his orgasm.

“Ow,” McGee croaked.

Tony stared at him for a long moment, brain obviously still not quite online yet, trying to process what was going on before he started to giggle. McGee glared at him for a moment before he looked down on himself, splayed out awkwardly on Tony’s floor, stark naked, a filled condom on his dick, hell he was still probably spilling into the condom not quite done with the aftershocks of his own orgasm. And he was flat on Tony’s floor. He started laughing, too.

“You’re so getting a new bed. A bigger one,” he grumbled laughingly, as he slowly picked himself up. He removed the condom, tied it off and looked around, locating a trash bin and tossing it.

Tony was collapsed bonelessly on the bed, tears rolling down his face, laughing his ass off.

“You suck, you know that?” he rolled his eyes, finding his way into the attached bathroom.

“Thought you liked it when I suck?” Tony quipped, breaking off into fresh peals of laughter.

“Fuck you!”

“You just did!”

McGee couldn’t help but laugh at that retort. He cleaned himself up and for a moment considered not bringing a washcloth to clean Tony up, but honestly, it was pretty funny. And he loved it when Tony honestly cracked up. Not the fake laughter or mocking laughter that McGee was more than familiar with after years of working with the man. But good, honest, bust a gut sort of laughter. So yeah. He brought a warm, wet washcloth back to the bed where Tony was still laughing softly.

“Are you done yet?” he asked, trying to sound grumpy, even though the sight of Tony burying his face in a pillow trying to stifle his mirth was making him smile.

Tony raised his head and tried to look sorry.

“I’m not buying that look,” McGee told him sternly.

Tony laughed until he was gasping for breath, turning on his side. McGee immediately began wiping him down gently, ignoring the fact that he broke out into little fits of giggles every so often.

“If it makes you feel any better,” Tony finally wheezed, holding his side, gesturing to the bed with his other hand.

“Yeah, yeah, go ahead and compare me falling off your goddamned bed with you lying on the wet spot,” McGee grouched. “Because it’s not even remotely comparable.”

“In my face in the wet spot,” Tony held up the pillow that he’d jizzed on and then apparently buried his face into when he was laughing.

McGee couldn’t help but laugh at that, even as he tenderly wiped Tony’s face. “You’re such a dork.”

“I’m not the one that fell off the bed.”

They were still giggling when McGee crammed himself back on the bed and settled down to sleep, Tony sprawled across his body. After a moment, McGee raised his head.

“Do you want me to leave?” he asked, suddenly wondering if Tony was going to kick him out. Just because McGee never kicked Tony out of his bed, didn’t mean that Tony wouldn’t kick him out of Tony’s bed.

“Shut up,” Tony murmured sleepily, rearranging himself more comfortably, mostly on McGee instead of on the bed since there wasn’t much room for two grown men on his bed.

“Mm-kay,” McGee kissed the top of Tony’s head and relaxed. He felt Tony’s breath whoosh as the older man sighed loudly. He sounded content. McGee ran his fingers through Tony’s hair and down his spine, caressing him. Tony hummed softly, nuzzling into McGee’s neck, one arm around his neck, and slowly they fell asleep.

The next morning, Tony took him to brunch at one of his favorite diners, a little out of the way place that was an easy walk from his building, and where the wait staff knew his name. He even had a regular table. McGee could feel the eyes on him, even after Tony introduced him to their waitress.

“Why are they staring at me?” McGee whispered across the table after the woman walked away.

“Huh?” Tony was perusing the menu.

“Why are they staring at me?” McGee repeated slowly.

“Oh,” the tip of Tony’s ears were turning red. “I never bring anyone here. They’re probably just a little surprised, is all.”

“What?”

Tony looked up from the menu and glared at him. “Just look at the menu,” he growled, before looking down, scrutinizing the menu as if it was the most interesting thing he’d ever seen.

“Seriously?” McGee couldn’t help but ask. “You’ve never brought anyone here? How many years have you been coming here?”

“Since I moved in to my apartment soon after I started working for Gibbs.”

“Oh.” McGee stared at Tony, who kept his eyes on the menu. Seeing that he wasn’t going to get anything else out of the older man, he grinned happily as he went through his options.

The waitress returned with cups of coffee for them. “I don’t even know why he’s looking at that thing, honey,” the woman grinned and winked at McGee. “He hasn’t touched the menu in five years. Your usual, Tony?”

“Yeah,” Tony was definitely blushing now and handing his menu to the waitress.

“And for you, Tim?” she emphasized his name and winked at him again.

McGee told her his order and she took his menu away, ruffling Tony’s hair as she walked away. McGee couldn’t help but grin at the blush that was rising in Tony’s face as he tried to fix his hair with his fingers. Tony met his eyes, glowered at him, and muttered darkly under his breath, before he rolled his eyes and gave McGee a small smile.

Even though they mostly ate in silence, their feet were tangled under the table, and Tony actually took his hand, lacing their fingers together, as they walked out and with his free hand, Tony waved to the waitress and the kitchen staff who were openly watching them as they left. McGee couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the week.

They were definitely in a relationship, whether Tony acknowledged it or not.

Chapter Text

McGee and a few of the techies from the FBI and Interpol studied the equipment room without dismantling or stopping anything. If the mastermind hadn’t yet been found, they didn’t want to tip their hand by destroying the equipment and stopping the transactions. Yet. In the meantime, Gibbs and Ziva worked to interrogate the perps they’d arrested.

It didn’t take long for Gibbs to break one of them and learn that their big boss would be returning to the warehouse that evening to see if Tony was dead. Prior to being asked to kidnap Tony, they had never seen him in person before. Everything had been done in online transactions. But he’d been the one pulling the strings and ensuring that they all got paid as long as they kept the warehouse going. Their boss had apparently been asking questions, and he had been the one to inflict the additional stab wounds to Tony. Tony had taken down and severely injured two men when he’d been captured – the two bodies lying by him behind the crates. Their boss had then asked his second in command to finish the two men Tony had injured off, so technically he’d had his own men killed.

Ducky reported that both of them had been stabbed in the heart with the poisoned knife, same as the original victim, the petty officer dumped in Rock Creek Park. The second in command had to be the former marine tied to the meth dealing ring. They were also able to get a sketch composite made for both the mastermind and his second.

Gibbs, Fornell, and members of Interpol were stationed in and around the warehouse, awaiting the arrival of the two men after that. The takedown was surprisingly quick and silent. They captured the mastermind, and were forced to kill his second during the struggle – the man refused to be arrested again. But it was worth it for McGee when he was able to personally be there to laugh in the man’s face and gloat about how Tony was still alive. McGee even rubbed it in his face that he’d lost his little financial empire, and that McGee had taken him down and schooled him, just the way he’d been schooling him on World of Warcraft, and that he would’ve taken him down during the Cyber Crimes case if not for the fact that he’d been promoted back to the MCRT.

“How’d you like my move now, huh?” he snarled.

In his head, he imagined Tony rolling his eyes at his posturing, examining his fingernails, looking as bored as he could, muttering “Just come right out and ask him how he likes them apples, McGeek!” and he couldn’t stop grinning in triumph.

“Your next move is jail,” McGee gloated. “The penalty for kidnapping and assaulting a Federal Agent is not one you’re going to enjoy.”

He could tell how angry the man was as McGee listed all the character names that he’d identified to be the hacker’s, naming him Hadrian last of all. Hadrian’s eyes were glittering angrily as he was taken away.

But afterwards, instead of diving into the computers the way that he normally would, he ended up ceding all of the responsibility of it to Cyber Crimes, the Feebies and Interpol’s geek squad, in favor of rushing to the hospital and sitting by Tony’s side. Ducky had called to say that Tony had made it through surgery, and was resting comfortably. His condition had been upgraded to stable.

McGee sat, holding Tony’s hand all night, ignoring Gibbs’ grim looks when the team lead visited Tony, and finally falling asleep with his head on his arms, still clutching Tony’s hand tightly, not ever wanting to let him go.

He slowly awoke to the feeling of fingers carding through his hair. He sighed and stretched, pushing into the fingers, humming softly and happily. Slowly, the sounds in the room permeated his consciousness – steady beeps off to the side, the sound of soft words being murmured. But he would know those fingers in his hair anywhere. They were definitely Tony’s. Blunt fingernails scritched his scalp and he moaned.

And then the memory of the last few days made him bolt upright, dislodging the hand in his hair.

“Hey, sleepyhead,” Tony rasped at him, smiling. That special smile, that soft, tender smile that was only for McGee. Well, McGee had also seen that smile on Tony’s face when he watched cute kitten videos on youtube, but that didn’t really count. He was the only person that Tony ever gave that particular smile to. “Want to go out for beignets?”

McGee blinked a few times, staring at Tony, who was practically sitting up, the bed inclined so he wasn’t straining himself.

“Tony!” he smiled, standing and immediately kissing the man full on the lips. Tony froze for a second before he melted into the kiss, opening his mouth, kissing McGee back. “You OK, baby?” McGee breathed into his mouth. “I was so scared.”

Tony smiled into the kiss. “I’m fine,” he murmured in between kisses. “Besides, Abs here says that you were the one who channeled your inner DiNozzo to come find me.”

McGee froze, eyes flicking to the other side of Tony’s bed, where Abby was sitting, eyes bright with happiness, her hands covering her mouth to contain what had to be her power laugh.

“Oh, hey Abs,” McGee greeted her casually, trying to play down the kiss. But Tony grabbed his shirt and kissed him hungrily, forcing him to turn back to his boyfriend and kissing him to within an inch of his life. When they pulled away, Tony rolled his eyes at him.

“You had to tell Gibbs about us?” he grumbled.

“That asshole took you because of me,” McGee sat back down, scrubbing his face with his hands. “They took you because they wanted to get to me. I had to tell Gibbs. We needed all the information out there so we could solve the case and find you.”

“I know,” Tony’s tone was gentle. “I’m just giving you a hard time. It’s in my job description, after all. It’s fine, Tim. I mean, it’s probably way better that one of your old nemeses got me than one of mine. Because some of the cases I worked, even before I joined NCIS, involved far more violent people.”

“It’s got to say something about us that we’re all like, oh yeah, this could have been so much worse, and be so casual about it,” Abby interjected.

“Right?” Tony grinned at her, nodding his head. “Abby’s caught me up in the story so far.”

“Fornell should be here sometime this morning to take your statement,” Abby told Tony.

The Senior Field Agent made a face. “Fuck. Was Slacks on this case too?”

“Nah. Fornell didn’t bring him this time.”

Tony grinned happily. “Oh yay! Then I’ll get some quality one on one time with Toby and you know how much he loves that!”

“Well, Gibbs might be there, too,” Abby said apologetically.

“Way to harsh my buzz, Abs,” Tony rolled his eyes. He stretched his neck and torso, wincing in pain.

“You need more pain meds,” McGee told him.

“I’ll wait until after I give my statement. I don’t want to be completely loopy for it.”

Both McGee and Abby nodded sympathetically. Tony’s body always had strong reactions to any kind of pain medication. They sat together, chatting about the case and Abby was in the middle of telling them what the techies were finding in the computers and Hadrian’s breakdown during his interrogation – conducted by bad cop Ziva and worse cop Gibbs – and what an absolute nutjob he was with his obsession for McGee, when there was a soft knock on the door, and Gibbs and Fornell walked into the room.

“That’s my cue,” Abby told them. “I have a ton of evidence to wade through, and my babies will have some results for me by now.”

She kissed Tony’s cheek, gently wiping away the lipstick on his face, and hugged him tightly before she left. Leaving McGee and Tony in the room, McGee still holding Tony’s hand. He could feel the heat and anger of Gibbs’ eyes on their interlaced fingers, but when he made a move to pull his hand away, Tony tightened his fingers. McGee understood it, aborting his move, and continued to hold Tony’s hand.

“You staying for this?” Fornell asked him.

McGee nodded. This way not only would he learn what happened to Tony right away, but he would also be right there, supporting Tony through recounting his ordeal. Like a good boyfriend. Regardless of what Gibbs thought about it. And it had been an ordeal.

Tony described how they had left the carcass of a deer in the middle of the road, causing him to stop the truck, and then they’d forced him at gunpoint to drive to the side of the road into the wooded area. He’d gotten the gun away from one of them before they knifed him. They also wanted to retrieve the evidence from their crime scene at Rock Creek Park but unfortunately for them, they had only taken away Tony’s main service weapon and his back up piece, but didn’t realize that Tony was carrying a knife or three, so when they were in the back of the truck, he’d managed to take down two of his captors, despite his own injuries. Hence the bloodbath. It caused them to need to leave immediately instead of taking their time ransacking the truck for the evidence, which ended up saving Tony’s life, as the original case had contributed to the team figuring out how to get Tony back.

Tony picked out four faces from several different photo arrays, identifying the four men that had ambushed and captured him. He also identified several others that had been at the warehouse during his time there. And the cherry on top, he easily identified the mastermind and his now-dead second as the ones who’d come to torture him, without actually asking him any questions. It was mostly the mastermind doing the typical evil monologue about how he was better than McGee, and that McGee would be crippled with fear and worry and be unable to find him while he could do whatever he wanted to Tony. He’d been of the opinion that it was better to torture someone that McGee loved instead of McGee himself, because he thought it would hurt him even more than anything Hadrian could do to McGee directly. It was evident that they hadn’t wanted any information from him. He’d only taken him to hurt McGee.

Tony thought the guy was obsessed with McGee and completely unhinged. McGee had come so close to catching him the last time, and the nutcase had loved their ‘interactions’ – Tony credited the air quotes to Hadrian. He’d been upset that McGee didn’t think he was important enough to work the case to the end. He was full of hate for the MCRT for ‘taking McGee away’ from him. And, as it turned out, he had obviously completely underestimated McGee as well as their entire team, thinking they wouldn’t be caught, and Tony wouldn’t be rescued.

McGee held Tony’s hand throughout the whole conversation, and even when Gibbs’ laser beam eyes and scowl of doom focused on their hands as he and Fornell were about to leave, McGee raised his chin, met Gibbs’ gaze, and deliberately tightened his fingers on Tony’s hand. Gibbs was growling under his breath as Fornell dragged him out of the room.

McGee cradled Tony’s hand gently in both of his, leaning down to drop soft kisses on the back of it, kissing each of Tony’s fingers. “They hurt you to get to me,” he couldn’t help the words. “It’s all my fault.”

“He was obsessed with you, Elf Lord,” Tony agreed. “But I’m OK. Now you’ve got the right guy, and he’ll go away for a long time. Especially since we can get him for the kidnap, assault, and attempted murder of a Federal Agent, on top of the whole global moneymaking scheme he was running. That you uncovered.”

McGee grinned. “Still…”

Tony sighed. “It’ll be fine.”

“You haven’t been scared off from being with me because of this, have you?”

Tony rolled his eyes. “I’m way more scared of Gibbs’ reaction to you outing us than anything from our pasts, McGeek,” he said lightly.

“I know you weren’t ready to tell Gibbs anything,” the younger man groaned.

“I was dragging my feet about telling him, but I was going to do it soon, you know,” Tony’s tone was serious.

McGee looked up, meeting Tony’s calm green gaze. “Yeah?”

Tony smiled. “Yeah. I know I’m bad at this shit, and you deserve someone light years better than me…”

“Don’t even..!” McGee interrupted.

Tony’s smile widened and he put a finger on McGee’s lips. “I’m not finished yet,” he said, and Tony’s voice did things to McGee. Made his cock start to stiffen. “As I was saying, even though you could do way better than me, I’m all in.”

“Yeah?” McGee perked up.

Tony nodded.

“Oh, good. Because you know, I love you.”

Tony’s eyes widened.

“I know that you don’t want to hear it, but I have to tell you this, before anything else happens, before anything else can stop me from letting you know this. I love you, Tony DiNozzo. I’m in love with you. I’m all in, too.”

After a long moment of silence, Tony gave him a small smile. “I know,” he finally murmured.

“Good. Because I wanted you to know that. I wanted you to know that wherever you were, even if I’d never said it to you before. Because I love you and you should know that.” McGee knew that it wasn’t exactly the most eloquent confession of love, it was what he felt.

“Thank you,” Tony was blushing. “I knew how you felt. You always showed it to me in all of the things you did,” he said softly.

McGee smiled and stood, kissing Tony thoroughly.

“Whatever Gibbs does, it won’t change the fact that we’re in this together,” McGee told him earnestly.

Tony nodded. He winced again as he shifted in the bed, and McGee was immediately clicking the morphine button. Tony’s eyelids fluttered and his brow smoothed out, and he relaxed, leaning back against the bed with a sigh.

“Sleep now,” McGee told him. “Rest up. We’ll be back in the thick of it soon enough.”

Tony gave him a loopy smile, squeezing his fingers. And right before he closed his eyes and fell into a drugged sleep, he whispered, “Love you, too, Elf Lord.”