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Title: "I’m more Jack Russel Terrier"
Author: Dhae Knight
Word Count: 11,678

Pairing or Featured Characters:
Warnings and/or Spoilers:
Well... Kate and McGee are with the team. Does that count?
Author's Notes: This is crack. Blame it all on the wonderful SGA fandom with it's dolphins and penguins and goldfish. Oh, and on Gibbs' quote that he's more Jack Russel Terrier.
Gibbs and Tony vanishes and a Jack Russel terrier with a bad temper and an Abyssinian cat with green eyes turn up in stead. Weirdness ensues.

"I'm more Jack Russel Terrier"

The first time it happened, they were damn lucky they were on the way back to headquarters and Gibbs was actually driving at a downright sedate speed. Lucky, because the moment the sun sank wholly beneath the horizon, Gibbs passed out at the wheel. Lucky, because at that time, with the speed they were driving, they didn't flip over and roll 15 times to end in a fiery ball, but rather took a slow turn across the inner lane and coasted to a stop in the grass.

"What the...? Gibbs? Gibbs!" Kate was practically screaming from the back.

"I, uh... think we should maybe check on him?" McGee was nothing if not a polite young man - sometimes even ridiculously so.

Kate didn't refrain from rolling her eyes, but she did get out of the car along with McGee to check on their fallen boss. As she did, she wondered, vaguely, why Tony hadn't said or done anything, but... well, who knew better than her how flaky he could be?

The real surprise came when they reached the front doors, Kate at the passenger-seat, McGee at the drivers seat... and saw, not Tony and Gibbs but a cat and a dog. The small dog - McGee guessed Terrier, more because the size seemed to fit - cocked his head to one side and looked expectantly at McGee. Beside it, on the passenger-seat, the cat regarded Kate through half-closed eyes, then yawned, hugely, showing all it's sharp, pointy teeth.

"What the...?"


"McGee? What just happened?"

"Well, uh... I think... I think Gibbs and Tony turned into these animals."

"Are you crazy? People don't turn into animals! They just.. they just don't!"

"I know!" Kate reared back, surprised that McGee had teeth, and could get angry. "Let's just... let's get them back, okay? I'm sure Ducky and Abby'll, uh... know what to do."

Kate bit her tongue, then said: "I'll drive. You... pet-sit."

As it turned out, transferring the animals to the back took some doing - and once there, the dog - Gibbs, McGee had already started calling him in his head - made it absolutely clear that there would be no further touching him. The cat - and, yes, McGee was calling him Tony - just opened a lazy eye, once he was done scratching and hissing as he was being transferred - looked at Gibbs who were still snarling and barking, yawned, curled himself a little more comfortably, and nodded off. Ha, McGee thought, this was just like watching Tony and Gibbs in the office.


They were lucky it was late. And Friday night. NCIS was practically abandoned, so they made their way through the garage, past the evidence-locker and down the elevator, Kate holding a scratching, angry cat awkwardly, McGee doing his level best to keep hold of a snarling, wriggling dog.

As for Abby... well, she just smiled, the evidence of one too many Caf!Pow's during the day, visible in her eyes.

"McGee! You didn't tell me you'd gotten a dog?"

"Not mine. Abby... could you...?" A head-toss towards the door, made Abby frown, then run and close it before McGee lost his grip entirely, and 15 pounds of snarling fur scrambled across the lab floor - clearly looking for a way out. Eventually, he settled down, back pressed into a corner, mouth still open, just waiting for the slightest provocation to set him off again. At that point, Tony had had enough, too, and twisted enough to scratch Kate across the side of her neck. With a howl, she let go, clapping one newly freed hand to the four claw marks. As for Tony... he landed much more gracefully than Gibbs, apparently content now he had his freedom. With a flick of his tail, he then sauntered in Gibbs' general direction.

"Uh... are you sure you should let them get close like that," Abby asked, nervously, but it was too late. Tony!Cat approached Gibbs!Dog with supreme, if oblique, confidence. For a second, he stood in front of Gibbs!Dog, looking into his surprisingly blue eyes, and the whole lab held their breath. Then he took a step forward, head angled to slide under and along Gibbs!Dog's jaw, until they were practically resting their heads on the other's shoulder. Gibbs!Dog spared the human trio a glare, then started to relax, as Tony!Cat sat down in front of him and began purring.

"Wow, McGee... they're both yours?"

"No, Abby! Look... will you just sit down and listen!"

Abby plonked into her chair, crossed her legs on the table in front of her, steepled her fingers and said: "Okay. Hit me."

Kate patted his shoulder and mouthed "good luck", which really did nothing to make McGee feel better about what he had to do. "O...kay."

With as few words as possible (which wasn't all that few when you got right down to it), McGee explained what had happened.

"So... the dog was sitting in Gibbs' seat, on Gibbs' clothes?"

"Yes," Kate replied with a pained expression.

"And the cat was sitting in Tony's seat, on Tony's clothes?"

"Yeah," McGee said, finally sitting down on the nearest available surface.

"Wow," Abby said, spinning her chair to look at the animals, now lying beside each other quietly. Tony!Catt with his head drooping sleepily; Gibbs!Dog with his head held high, alertly keeping an eye on them. "We have a genuine case of shape shifting, here..." She turned her head to glare at McGee and Kate. "Unless, of course, you're pulling my leg."

"No leg-pulling, I swear," Kate quickly reassured her.

"We wouldn't do something like that, Abby." McGee being earnest was a powerful force.

"No, okay, that kind of thing is more Tony's scene, anyway..." a fond look at the two animals. "So... this happened at sunset, you say?"

"Near as I could tell," Kate said.

"Hmm... Assuming that folklore is accurate, I guess they'll turn back into humans again at sunrise. That would be in about... uh... 10 hours, give or take."

"I... don't think they should be here when that happens..."

"No. Good thinking, McGee! We should definitely get them out of here. But where..."

Kate threw up her hands peremptorily. "Don't look at me. I'm not allowed to have pets in my apartment."

"Sorry, Abbs, same problem," McGee chimed in.

"Well, I guess that leaves my place, then. Ah, ah! You're not going anywhere, mister!"

"I'm... I'm not?"

"Nope, McGee. You get to help me take our fearless leader and his fellow shape shifter home with me - and take care of them all night." Abby's smile was genuinely one of the scariest things McGee had seen in a long time.


Transporting Gibbs and Tony to Abby's apartment turned out to be a bigger problem than first assumed. Neither animal was keen on being captured again, and McGee had to move fast to get his hand out of the way, when Gibbs started biting for real.

But Abby was nothing if not resourceful - and observant. She'd spotted a transport-box meant for a much larger (half a bear, McGee quipped) dog, in a corner of the garage. How it'd ended up there, and why it'd never been moved... well, McGee was quickly learning that those kinds of questions were better not asked.

At any rate, he lugged the transport-box down to Abby's lab, and she placed it, door open, a few feet in front of Tony and Gibbs. Which was pretty much as close as she could get before Gibbs started attacking.

"...uh... how do we get them in there?"

Abby sat down at her computer. "We wait, McGee."

They didn't have to wait much more than a couple of minutes before Tony stretched, yawned, and with a suspicious look in their direction, sauntered towards the box.

He was obviously equal parts curious and cautious, but with that confidence most cats seem to have; whatever comes after them, they can either outrun or outscratch. Gently, head tipped to one side, he started sniffing the box. Around the latch, he suddenly sneezed, and then things happened very fast.

Gibbs!Dog shot out of his corner, grabbed hold of Tony!Cat by the scruff of his neck, and dragged him back to the safety of the corner Gibbs had apparently decided was defensible. Then he dropped Tony, poking him in the side with his nose to keep him down, and positioned himself straddling the cat, snarling at the humans.

"... I don't believe it. He really is Gibbs, isn't he?"

"Oh, yeah, McGee, I'd say he's definitely Gibbs. Now watch this..."

As if he'd just been waiting for Abby to show some faith in him, Tony raised a paw and poked Gibbs in the belly. With a startled yelp, the dog jumped almost a foot into the air, prompting choked snickers from the peanut-gallery of Abby and McGee. With Gibbs retreated into the innermost corner, Tony got to his feet gracefully, glared at Gibbs with his back up and his tail lashing, until Gibbs lowered his gaze. With his control firmly established, Tony then turned and went back to the box, starting his sniffing of it all over again.

"And that was Tony, doing what Tony always does when Gibbs turns into a bear," Abby said, half-choked by laughter.

"Gotcha," McGee replied, thoughtfully.

After that little incident, it was just a matter of time before Tony deemed the box safe, went inside and sat down, looking at Gibbs with just a hint of a smile on his feline face and the very tip of his tail occasionally twitching - practically daring the dog to join him. As for Gibbs, it took a little longer - but eventually he raced across the few feet of floor to join Tony in the box.


McGee was yawning. It was nearing midnight, and Abby had the crazy idea that they should stay up all night to keep an eye on Gibbs!Dog and Tony!Cat. It wasn't that they weren't entertaining, they were... it was just that McGee would really rather be sleeping. But when Abby got an idea into her head, there was no getting around it.

"Oh, go make some coffee," Abby said, currently performing some kind of experiment involving Gibbs!Dog, a feather and a studded leather-leash. McGee decided he didn't really want to know what that was all about, and went into the kitchenette, carefully stepping over the bowls Abby had procured from her elderly neighbor. If McGee had been given to Tony's kind of commentary, he would probably have called her a 'crazy old cat-lady'. Fortunately, McGee had a slightly better instinct for self-preservation.

Although, he thought, when he spotted Tony cracking an eye from his perch on top of Abby's bowl of fruit, at the moment Tony!Cat was really too cute to get annoyed with.

The elderly neighbor had identified the breed of both cat and dog within seconds. "Oh, that's a lovely rough coated Jack Russell terrier. And such startlingly blue eyes as well. How old is he? Oh, and what's this lovely boy? A pure-breed Abyssinian? And such a beautiful russet. You must tell me where you got these lovely animals, Abigail. Ever since my dear old Rupert died, I haven't been able to find a dog to match him." And on and on she'd gone. Tony!Cat had shown remarkable patience with the little old lady, while Gibbs!Dog had sniffed her hand and then decided she wasn't a threat. He'd actually allowed her to pick Tony up and pet him - something neither Abby nor McGee could do without Gibbs!Dog turning into a snarling beast.

All alone in the kitchen, though, McGee was feeling daring, and ran a gentle hand over Tony!Cats flank. Tony!Cat twisted his head around, throat up, baring a single canine in the process, but purring none the less. McGee smiled. Tony was such a hedonist, even as a human. No wonder he turned into a cat.

He turned away from Tony!Cat reluctantly, to get the coffee started, swearing selectively, when he discovered that Abby apparently liked the Ferrari-model of coffee-makers. It had enough dials, knobs and buttons to make it look like it could go to the moon.


"What, McGee?"

"My MIT-degree didn't cover coffee-makers with more than three buttons..." he admitted, then decided that what he'd heard from the living-room had not been a choked-off snigger. Abby would never snigger at someones ineptness.

"Oh, move over, McGee. Feed Tony and Gibbs in stead."

McGee looked down at the bowls on the floor. There was one, now containing fresh water. And one that was currently empty.

"There's only one bowl, Abby."

"Yeah? So? They're both carnivores. Here," she handed him the can of cat-food they'd gotten from the nice lady next door. "Just give them this. It'll be good enough for tonight."

She finished starting the coffee-maker and jumped up to sit on the counter while she waited for it to finish percolating.

McGee opened up the can, wrinkling his nose at the stench while he emptied it into the steel-bowl with the help of a fork. Then he retreated to perch his butt on the edge of the counter beside Abby.

Tony had cracked an eye at the sound of the can-opener, and now he was sitting at the edge of the counter, looking down at the food intently. After a little while of careful consideration (who knew about what), he finally jumped to the floor with all the grace and elegance inherent in felines. He moved to the bowl, where he sniffed the food delicately before he crouched down to eat.

The sounds were apparently what attracted Gibbs!Dog. Not surprising, McGee thought, as the mans bat-like hearing was a legend at NCIS. He skittered around the corner, claws scrabbling on the linoleum floor, and then headed for the bowl. Tony!Cat turned his head at the sound of the dog, but he wasn't intending to share. The moment Gibbs!Dog's head appeared beside Tony, heading for the bowl, Tony!Cat stuck out the nearest paw and planted it squarely on Gibbs!Dog's nose. Where he kept it. No matter how Gibbs!Dog tried to move around the annoying obstacle, he got nowhere.

Gibbs!Dog withdrew after a few abortive attempts to get at the food, clearly thinking things over. Then he approached again. But this time, he didn't give Tony!Cat a chance to use the paw. Gibbs!Dog just lifted his own paw and tapped Tony!Cat on the back of the head. Tony!Cat for his part turned his head to glare at Gibbs!Dog, then moved aside a few inches, in a clear invitation. A few seconds later, they were eating peacefully out of the same bowl.

"Oh my God," Abby squealed sotto voce and grabbed McGee's arm roughly. "Did you see that? That's definitely Gibbs and Tony. No doubt! This is so great!"

McGee yawned and wished the coffee would hurry up and percolate.


Three cups of coffee in half an hour had helped somewhat.

A little.

Abby was reading a book, while McGee had nodded off in the corner of the couch. She hadn't had the heart to wake him. At least, not while Tony!Cat and Gibbs!Dog wasn't doing anything more interesting than licking themselves and sniffing around her apartment for the fifth time. Gibbs was very safety-oriented, even as a dog.

Currently, he was sniffing at McGee's dangling hand, and Abby put down her book to watch him for a while. She was consequently the first to notice the stalking feline, creeping around the corner of her chair and proceeding - one carefully placed paw after another - towards Gibbs' wagging tail.

She didn't dare say anything for fear of alerting Gibbs to the imminent attack - but damn, she would've liked McGee to see this. She'd been trying to convince him that Gibbs and Tony were equals. Just... different. And now, with Tony stalking Gibbs? Yeah, that was definite proof, as far as Abby was concerned.

Tony was proceeding, looking very much like the lions Abby occasionally watched on Discovery, focused as intently on Gibbs' tail as a lion would be on the wildebeest it was about to attack. And then... he pounced. For about a second, he had a firm grip on the tip of Gibbs' tail, while the dog snarled and turned - then Tony was off like a shot.

Through the forest of chairs under her dining table, around the couch once, once around her desk, where she could've sworn he actually ran on the vertical surface for a few steps to get around Gibbs. Then back to the couch again, only this time, he made a brief stop-over on the back of the couch, before he jumped to the higher, safer ground of her bookshelf. There, he skidded to a halt, turned carefully in the confined space only knocking over a single bowling-trophy in the process, and sat down, tail wrapped around his paws. And from that vantage-point he surveyed the battlefield.

Gibbs!Dog was barking like crazy on the floor, jumping up and down on the spot in a vain effort to get at Tony!Cat. McGee was sitting up on the couch, eyes barely open, mumbling: "I'm up, I'm up - what did I miss?"

Abby looked back at Tony, who was looking straight at her, with the most incredible 'these are the morons I work with every day?'-look in his green eyes. Then he started licking the fur on his chest, as if he hadn't been the one to instigate the whole chaos, and Abby broke down laughing.


Things had settled down again. Gibbs!Dog had generously allowed Abby to pick him up and currently he was sprawled across her lap - a very happy dog while she was scratching his stomach. And while he was being taken care of, McGee had been allowed to pick up Tony who was now napping on his lap, the sleepy probie running a hand across his back every now and again. Abby was surprisingly content at the domesticity of it all, and wondered if Gibbs or Tony had ever considered how much they needed this same kind of physical attention, even when they were human. She doubted it.

In many ways, the two agents were much the same. Sure, Tony talked a good game, about all his dates and girlfriends and conquests. Abby hadn't known him very long before she figured out that it was just that. A game. Tony liked women, no doubt about that. She felt pretty confident he liked sex, too. But that was as far as it ever got with Tony. Oh, he'd date a pretty girl, but Abby was sure it never got to the point of lazing around all weekend in bed, just touching.

As far as Gibbs was concerned... he was even worse. Abby didn't just make a point out of touching him because she liked it - although that was a very good reason. No, she also did it because she knew he spent all those lonely nights with nothing but his boat for company. Gibbs didn't date, period. If he had to, for a case, he could - and would - take a beautiful woman out to diner. But he never did it for pleasure. Abby figured that three ex-wives would do that to a person - but it was still a crying shame.

For the longest time, she'd harbored a secret hope: that Gibbs and Tony could figure something out, together. Oh, she wasn't betting they were gay. In point of fact, with all Tony's girlfriends, and all Gibbs' ex-wives, she was pretty sure that was straight out the window. But they could be such good friends, if they'd just take two minutes to think outside of Boss and subordinate.

She scratched Gibbs behind his graying black ear, and bent low to whisper into it: "You know, you could do a lot worse than Tony, Boss-man." The little dog turned his head and gazed intently at her for so long she was beginning to think he might have actually understood her. But when he turned onto his other side, presenting the warm flank that had been pressing into her thighs for petting, she figured it had just been the tickling of her breath.

While she stroked Gibbs, she looked over at McGee and Tony. McGee had fallen asleep again, head tilted backwards to rest on the back of the couch. His hand was resting on Tony, who had raised his head just enough to look through slitted eyes over at her and Gibbs. With a feline sigh, he lowered his head again, and dozed off, apparently unconcerned with his team-mate who was now snoring worse than a buzz-saw due to his uncomfortable position.

"What do you think," Abby asked Gibbs!Dog quietly. "Should we put the two of them to bed?"

Gibbs looked up at her, then nuzzled into her thighs in a clear indication that he was comfortable right where he was, thank you very much.

"No. You're right. We'll let them sleep for a while."


At five in the morning, firetrucks arriving at a near-by fire woke the lot of them. Even Abby had nodded off, curled up in her comfy chair, Gibbs snoring away in the scant space left by her feet. McGee had, at some point, collapsed onto the couch, and Tony had curled up in the corner left between his shoulder and his neck.

Abby yawned awake, stretching carefully after making sure she wouldn't squash Gibbs. Gibbs' ears were perked up, but he didn't move an inch until she swung her feet to the floor and gave him a pat as she stood. Then he stood as well, a little wobbly on the seat-cushion, and yawned hugely. McGee moved around on the couch, mumbling something that sounded an awful lot like: "Just five more minutes, mom," dislodging Tony in the process. The cat fell off the edge of the couch with an indignant mreow! but landed with usual feline grace on all four feet. His dissatisfaction, however, got Gibbs off the chair and over to the couch, where he took position on his hind-legs, front paws on the cushion just behind McGee's behind. He turned his head to look back at Abby with a wicked gleam in his blue eyes, and she had just enough time to realize what he was about to do before he did it.

McGee howled, and jumped to his feet on the couch, one hand rubbing his backside vigorously. "He bit me!"

"It was a little..." Abby re-thought using the word 'love-bite', figuring that would only freak Tim out even further. "It wasn't that bad. He just wanted to make you aware that kicking Tony off the couch? Is not something our fearless leader approves of."

"I did not kick Tony off the couch," McGee grumbled, and Abby chose to let silence be the better part of valor. She went to fix some more coffee without being asked.

She came back with two full mugs, and almost stumbled over Gibbs who was sitting on the floor, looking wistfully up at her mug. "Sorry, Boss," she said and handed McGee his mug before bending down to ruffle Gibbs' fur. "You're kinda the wrong species for coffee right now."

She curled up beside McGee on the couch, mug held in both hands, feet under her to ward off the 5 a.m. cold.

"Hey, look at Tony," McGee said after about five minutes of - successfully - sipping his coffee. He was sounding positively awake! She looked around, and found Gibbs sitting in front of Tony who was standing on his hind-legs, forepaws boxing at thin air. The tableaux held for about a minute, then Gibbs!Dog suddenly had enough and pounced on Tony!Cat. After that, there was plenty of rolling around, mock-growling, a single unsuccessful (deliberately, from the looks of it) escape attempt from Tony and a whole lot of pretend-fighting.

"It's a little like watching the two of them training hand-to-hand, isn't it?" Abby handed McGee the cookies she'd just fished out of a conveniently located drawer.

"Hmm," McGee agreed, mouth closed around the chocolate-chip cookie.


Around six thirty, there was a sound outside Abby's door that made both Tony!Cat and Gibbs!Dog's ears prick up. She figured it was just the guy living upstairs, heading out to work, but the animals weren't entirely comfortable with whatever it was.

Gibbs moved towards the door, but before he got that far, Tony!Cat was standing in front of him, tail and back up, fur fluffed until he looked about twice his actual size, growling up a storm. Gibbs!Dog glared at him. When that didn't help, he growled at him.

For a few seconds, they were standing in front of each other, looking and sounding about ready to start killing each other in another few seconds. Both Abby and McGee were off the couch, and moving towards them, when the Mexican standoff broke. Tony!Cat rolled over onto his back, boxing lazily in the air with his front paws. Gibbs' fur went straight down, and he opened his mouth, tongue lolling out. Then he took the two steps necessary to get to a position where he could nuzzle the cat's belly, Tony's front paws closing around his head as if to hold him there.

McGee cleared his throat after watching this for a minute. "You... uhm. You think we should give them a little privacy?"

Abby shook herself out of the mental image that had been erasing animals and replacing them with their human counterparts, and nodded. "Uh... yeah. I think we should."


That was why, when the sun finally rose, neither McGee nor Abby saw what happened when the animals changed back. The two humans had retreated to Abby's bedroom to catch just a little shut-eye before Tony and Gibbs hopefully became human again.

Tony!Cat and Gibbs!Dog had taken the chance, now the humans were away, to make themselves at home on the couch. Gibbs!Dog had snuggled himself into a corner, but when Tony!Cat had jumped up on the couch and started sniffing around, trying to find a good place for himself, Gibbs!Dog had rolled further onto his side and lifted his legs, opening up a space for Tony!Cat against his stomach.

Tony!Cat had taken him up on the invitation, and curled up against Gibbs!Dog, his back warming Gibbs' stomach, a front-leg and hind-leg of Gibbs' coming to rest across the relaxing cat.

They'd slept like that, the cat and the dog, peacefully and in balance.


Gibbs was the first to wake up. The fact that he was naked was the first thing that reached his consciousness, closely followed by the fact that he was holding a warm, breathing, equally naked someone in his arms. He took a fortifying breath, given that he had no recollection of going to bed with anyone, and cracked an eye to sneak a peak at who it might be.

He was presented with a very familiar neck; short, dark hair that he knew was about twice as soft as it looked, broad shoulders and a pleasantly shaped back that was mostly pressed against his chest. The arm curled around his partner checked cautiously. Nope. No breasts. All pointing to a single answer - and a whole stack of additional questions.

He was sleeping with DiNozzo. A naked DiNozzo, his groin informed him happily, snuggled up close to that amazing ass Gibbs had, occasionally, thought about. Only occasionally. And strictly from an aesthetic view-point.

Back to the problem. That was the answer - but there were more than one question. Like: How had they gotten here, in the first place? Gibbs looked around carefully, and quickly noted the drapes trimmed with black lace. Right. Abby's place, then. He was sleeping - naked! - on Abby's couch with a naked DiNozzo. What the hell had happened?

He asked his groin to please shut up and go back to sleep. He did not need the additional input from a part of him that didn't care about the whys and wherefores, but just liked the situation and wanted him to do something about it in stead of just thinking about it.

Gibbs closed his eyes and sighed. Then took another deep breath, noticing for the first time that he could actually smell Tony. For some reason he refused to examine closer, that made his groin sit up and beg like a little dog. Warm and a little sweaty and a whole lot male. It was a nice smell, Gibbs conceded. Better than sawdust, even. Way better than the gun-oil perfume Abby had been perfecting.

He noticed, slowly, that his right hand was drifting. Down over the ribs. Down to the flat, taut stomach he'd admired more than once in the NCIS communal showers. Down to the subtle ridge of hip-bone that would lead his hand inwards. Towards something he...

He snatched his errant hand away abruptly, making Tony shift and mutter in his sleep. That didn't help, Gibbs discovered, because his groin was still very much interested in the proceedings, and Tony's shifting had made his cock very happy, snugly squashed between Tony's well-formed ass-cheeks. Damn! Gibbs thought ugly thoughts at his cock, telling it that he was way too old for it to be acting like a teenager.

If his cock had been capable, he felt sure it would've stuck out its tongue at him. As it was, it just twitched happily, muscling its way further into its newly discovered happy place.

Okay, okay. Gibbs had to retreat and regroup. He started by moving his hips as far back on the couch as they could go. Which turned out to not be all that far at all, him being squashed between DiNozzo and the back of the couch. Okay. Unless he was willing to wait for DiNozzo to wake up and try to explain why his boss was having a hard-on (which he didn't!), there was really only one way to do this.

'I'm sorry about this, DiNozzo', Gibbs thought, seconds before a well-placed foot and an equally strategically located arm shoved DiNozzo off the couch to land in a grumbling heap on the floor.

"Hey!” DiNozzo said, but Gibbs was too busy fumbling for one of Abby's throws to bother with him right at that moment. Once the throw had been settled enough to preserve his modesty, he looked down... scratch that, up at his agent. Who was standing right in front of the couch, all six feet two of him, hands planted on his hips, unfortunately aiming all of Gibbs' attention to the fact that his groin apparently wasn't the only groin in the room that had been happy to be sleeping naked with someone.

Gibbs' eyes never made it past that fascinating sight.

Well, at least not until DiNozzo went down on his knees beside the couch, a wicked smile on his lips and a lusty gleam in his eyes.

"I think there's a few things we should talk about, Boss." He looked around the room briefly and cocked an eyebrow. "When we're not in Abby's living-room."

Gibbs cleared his throat because he didn't think he could've said anything if he didn't. His voice still came out husky. "We don't have anything to talk about, DiNozzo." He tried for forceful and missed by a mile.

Tony glanced at the throw he'd bunched up across his groin, but nowhere else, and smirked. "Yeah. Right." He looked back into Gibbs' eyes, and his face was nothing but honest. "Look, I'm not as much of a player with the boys as I am with the girls - but no matter the gender, when someone looks at my cock like that? I gotta tell ya, Boss, people don't do that unless I've got something they want."

Gibbs tensed his jaw and ground out: "Well, it's not every day someone waves... that in my face."

Tony leaned in, close enough to be able to whisper into Gibbs' ear. "That's going to change when you're with me," he promised, and Gibbs shivered. He tried telling himself that it was the stimulus of having hot breath washing over his ear. He didn't even buy it himself.

"Now," Tony clapped his hands onto his thighs and stood, belatedly reaching for a throw which he then wrapped around his waist. "How about we figure out how we ended up here. Naked."

Gibbs swallowed and got up of the couch as well, copying Tony's style of dress. "And get some coffee."

Tony nodded. "And some clothes." He leaned back exaggeratedly checking out Gibbs' backside and whistling appreciatively. "At least for a while."

Gibbs couldn't help but smile back, just a little, at the incorrigible grin Tony aimed at him.

"We'll see," he said non-committantly. "You go wake up Abby..."

"And you go make some coffee," Tony completed his sentence.


Lucky for Tony, there were a limited number of doors in Abby's apartment, so the process of elimination was quick. One door opened into a small bathroom, where the dark gray and blood-red towels looked a little bit off among the cheery white-and-cream tiles. Tony shrugged, shut the door and moved to the next door on his list.

Here, he stopped and knocked. "Abby?" He tried quiet at first, then a louder knocking and a more forceful: "Abby!" He was about to try a third time, when the door was suddenly opened by a very sleepy-looking McGee who didn't even dodge Tony's oncoming fist. Which, lucky for McGee, Tony had enough control over to stop in time.

"McGee? What're you doing here?"

McGee just blinked at him, a disheveled and tired-looking Abby appearing behind him, and Tony revised his approach. "Uh... okay. Better question: what are we doing here?"

Abby yawned and rubbed one eye vigorously before pushing McGee out of the way so she could exit. "Coffee first, Tony."

"Yeah. Love to. Gibbs has gone to make some," Tony informed her a little tartly.

Abby made it two steps, and McGee had just managed to stumble out of the door without running into Tony, when they turned to look at each-other, horror in their eyes. "The coffee-maker!"

Abby took off just as Gibbs shouted "DiNozzo!" from the kitchenette.

"Advanced coffee-maker." McGee shrugged, then headed for the bathroom. Tony let him go, more interested in getting back to that very interesting revelation he'd had beside the couch. Way more interested in getting an explanation and then head back to his apartment with Gibbs to... explore the new development.

Tony had always liked people. Younger women were like a drug to him. Pretty bodies, all graceful curves and pert tits. Yeah, Tony liked women. He'd just discovered at a rather young age that he liked men, as well. Older men, usually. Powerful, strong, in control of their world. Pretty much everything Gibbs was.

He'd also discovered that liking guys was a problem. If he wanted to play ball. If he wanted to join the right fraternities. And later - definitely, when he wanted to join the police-force. So he'd stopped. Oh, once or twice, a man had caught his eye - but no one that would make him risk his life. He'd looked at Gibbs, too. If he was honest with himself, he'd wanted Gibbs since the first time he laid eyes on the gray-haired bastard. But they'd been on a case, first, and then Gibbs had become his boss.

And that had been that. Of course, later, he'd learned about the three ex-wives, and there'd been the whole ex-marine-thing, and that had just added layers of protection between them. He had discovered, quite early in their working relationship, that Gibbs didn't care who people went to bed with. Over the first two months, they dealt with a gay-bashing (where Gibbs had come very close to a biblical punishment), a 19-year-old who'd killed himself because he was gay, and a woman who was a suspect because she didn't dare use her female partner as an alibi. All of which, Gibbs had treated like any other case - although, looking back, maybe with a touch more wrath towards a system that would happily let young people risk their lives - but didn't want them if they went to bed with the wrong people. Tony could get behind Gibbs' reaction.

But this morning... now that hadn't been something Gibbs had been able to hide (although he'd tried) or fake his way out of. Knowing he wasn't the only one who wanted... well, that was going to put a whole new spin on things as far as Tony was concerned. And Gibbs was not going to get out of it.

Thinking of - Tony headed to the kitchenette, where Gibbs was trying to glare the coffee-maker into hurrying up, and Abby had her arms crossed in her over sized pink t-shirt, looking very cross with a grumpy early-morning Gibbs.

"Morning, Abbs," Tony said, and gave her a one-armed hug and a fraternal kiss to the top of her head.

"Morning, Tony," Abby said, Tony relieved he'd gotten a smile out of her, although it slipped quickly into a glare, aimed at Gibbs. "Would you tell Grumpy-bear here that my coffee-maker is not some 'fancy gadget that's unable to make a decent cup of coffee'?"

Tony peered at the coffee-maker and instantly got McGee and Abby's reaction earlier - as well as Gibbs' troubles with the thing. "Uh... dunno about the fancy gadget-thing, Abbs, but... well, we can't really judge the quality of the coffee until we actually get a cup, can we, Boss?" He glanced up at Gibbs, who was now blushing. Blushing? Gibbs? Tony felt the Earth tilt on its axis, the way it did every time he heard Gibbs say 'please'. Pinging onto his consciousness a bit delayed was the way Gibbs' blush extended down on his chest. Which made him think...

"Uh... Abbs? Do you think you've got some clothes we could borrow? We seem to be... naked, for some reason." He aimed his very best winning smile at Abby, who finished glaring at Gibbs with a particularly nasty scowl. The expression she turned on Tony was far more friendly.

"Oh, right. Just a sec." She vanished, and Tony was left with a Gibbs who was no longer blushing, but had just started scowling himself. At Tony. Which, Tony admitted, would have had a lot more impact yesterday. He just raised an eyebrow at Gibbs and very deliberately looked the older man up and down. Older, yeah, and oh... so... fit. Tony licked his lips, and was rewarded with another blush from his favorite boss.

"Here you go. They're the ones you wore yesterday."

"Speaking of," Tony said, while pulling on his pants and trying not to lose the throw that was preserving his modesty at the same time. "How did we end up here? On the couch?" He thought 'naked', but didn't say it. From the way neither Abby nor Gibbs was meeting anyone else's eyes, they were thinking the exact same word.

"Uh... actually, I think McGee should explain. McGEE!"

Tony made a face and swiveled a finger in one ear from the decibel Abby had just put out. "Jeez, Abby. I think your neighbors heard that. The ones in Maryland!"

"Look, let me just get the coffee. We'll sit down in the living-room, okay?" Abby was quick and persuasive, and Tony had just finished pulling on his shirt. Looking over at Gibbs, he was now looking disheveled, missing belt, t-shirt and jacket - but he was covered. Tony thought it was a crying shame, but he figured that since the floor show was now definitely over for the time being, he might as well do as Abby said.


Abby's chairs were comfortable. Very comfortable. And the coffee was good. Which was probably why they got a full five minutes to sip their coffee and enjoy the chairs before Gibbs started interrogating.

"Abbs?" Well. Okay, maybe interrogating was a bit strong. "You want to explain this?"

Abby chewed nervously on a strand of hair, something she'd only done two times in all the years Tony had known her. "Uh... maybe not explain, so much as... well... describe."

Gibbs' eyes narrowed slightly, but he leaned across the table, putting one hand on top of the one Abby was currently worrying her coffee-mug with. "Then describe it to me, Abby."

"Okay, well, actually it's McGee who was there when..." A squeeze of her hand got her attention back on Gibbs, and his expression didn't invite tangential explanations. "Uh... right. Well, apparently, when you were driving back to the office from that case last night you... well, turnedintoanimals."

Gibbs shook his head, and even Tony wanted to hear that one a second time to make out the words. "What, Abbs?"

Abby sighed, and looked at McGee. Who was studying his own mug as if it held the key to his next book. "You turned into animals."

"We... what? We turned into animals? Nice one, Abbs, didn't see that one coming. Now... how about you tell us what really happened." Tony got it all out before he even realized he was the one speaking. Freaked out? He scoffed. He was in no way freaked out. He was just... checking his facts. Yeah. That was it. Fact-checking.

"Uhm... actually, she's right." McGee told the whole story - from coasting to a stop and finding a cat and a dog in the car - to going to sleep. He stuttered, and almost faltered a number of times - mostly due to Gibbs' disbelieving glare - but he told all of it without letting himself be glared into submission. Which Tony admitted wouldn't have happened if the Probie hadn't been telling the truth.

He'd turned into a cat.

And Gibbs had turned into a dog.

Tony shook his head. No way. "People don't just turn into animals, probie!" Again, his mouth had said words his brain hadn't sanctioned. Not that he disagreed, or anything, it was just bad form.

"Well you did, Tony." Oh! McGee had a pair - he just had to reach deep to get at them.

"As much as I don't want to believe what you've just told me... I think they're telling the truth, DiNozzo." Gibbs had apparently abandoned Abby's hand at some point, because now his hand was resting on Tony's shoulder. Which would've been nicer if Tony hadn't been freaking out over the fact that he'd apparently spent the night as a cat!

Gibbs blinked, and said, soothingly: "It's okay, Tony." Oh... had he said that out loud? Man, he really had to start looking into a muzzle, if his mouth kept that up.

Tony rubbed an eye exasperatedly and asked: "How is it even remotely okay that I apparently spent the night as a cat?"

"Well, I dunno, DiNozzo," Gibbs said with a crooked smile. "I apparently spent the night as a dog - does that help?"

Tony couldn't help the smile that wanted to answer Gibbs'. "A little," he admitted quietly.

"Good. Now, we need to figure out why this happened, and make sure it doesn't happen again." Gibbs said, then aimed laser-like blue eyes at Tony. "I assume you've never been a cat before?"

Tony's eyebrows rose. "Not that I can remember. But since I can't remember being a cat this time, I don't see how that's going to help?"

"Good point. Any ideas?"

"Well, this time the change happened just as the sun set and rose. So unless you've got mysteriously missing nights going from exactly sunset to sunrise, I think this is a one-time thing."

They both shook their heads.

"Okay. Tonight was a full moon, which we should use as a base-line, if nothing weird happened to you yesterday?"

They shook their heads again, mutely.

"Right. Tell me which weird things happened to you in the last month." Abby was practically bouncing. It was nice to see her alight with the thrill of the chase - but Tony would really have traded that in for his humanity. Although it had had its perks. He glanced at Gibbs, who was guzzling his coffee while keeping his attention on a hyper Abby. Right, weird stuff.

"Uh... you remember that little old lady in Louisiana, Boss?"

Gibbs turned to look at him. "That sailor's mother?"

"Yeah. Lived in this shack in the middle of a swamp. Really creepy. You'd have liked her Abbs. She had skulls and snakes and jars of... stuff, all over the place."

"You think she was into voodoo?" Abby asked, her eyes getting that gleam they only did when she was on the right track.

"Well, I don't know, Abbs, that's usually your area of expertise." Tony leaned back and closed his eyes, knowing that his excellent memory worked better without any current visual input to confuse it. "She said something... something about us being cursed. Or cursing us." He opened his eyes again to find three pairs of eyes watching him expectantly. "To be honest, I don't really remember." The fact that he'd been absentminded because of Gibbs' proximity and scent wasn't really something he felt comfortable sharing with the group.

"She said that she'd make sure we were as trapped by our punishment as her son was going to be." Gibbs summed it up briskly.

"Yeah, that. Of course, she was just talking crazy-talk, right? Right?" Even Tony heard his own voice lift towards hysteria on that last word, and suddenly, that comforting hand was back. Only low on his back, this time.

"When was that?" Abby was tapping two fingers on her lower lip, eyes far away.

"Three weeks ago," Gibbs supplied, but kept his hand right were it was. Tony could feel it burning through his shirt, could feel it relaxing muscles he hadn't even been aware were tense.

"Hmm... Then I guess we can assume it's only on the night of the full moon. And I guess time will tell whether or not it was a one-time thing."

"Hey! I do not want to be a cat again!" Tony would've risen out of his chair, if Gibbs' hand hadn't suddenly changed position. Now it was cupped around the back of his neck, thumb stroking his hair. It had an instant calming effect - if for no other reason, then because Tony didn't want to lose the hand.

"Well, Tony," Abby said and steepled her fingers in front of her. "You can either go back to Louisiana, find this woman and then try to convince her to tell you what she's done and lift the curse. Or you can wait a month, spend the night here, and see if you change into a cat at sunset."

Tony opened his mouth to reply, but the tightening of the hand around his neck shut him up.

"I guess we'll have to think about that, Abby. Right now, I think we'd both like to go home," Gibbs said, then looked at Tony, clearly expecting him to agree. Which he did, mutely.


Abby drove all three of them back to the office, where they retrieved their respective cars. Tony sat numbly in his car, watching McGee drive off, noticing for the first time how weird his car smelled, when the heater was on. The knock on his window startled him, but finding Gibbs outside didn't.

"You're not going to drive anywhere like that, DiNozzo. Come on."

Doing as Gibbs said was a hell of a lot easier than thinking for himself, so Tony followed Gibbs to his car.

"My place," Gibbs asked, so kindly that it snapped Tony at least partway out of his funk.

"Uh... sure."


The drive was quiet, interrupted only by the cursing of other drivers and the hum of Gibbs' heater. Tony noted that his didn't smell so bad. Gibbs' heater just smelled like a car, as opposed to Tony's own, which mostly smelled like a wet cat. He recognized that at a different time, he might have thought that was funny, but right now he didn't care.

Gibbs' house was quiet, too, and didn't smell. Much. It smelled like Gibbs, though, and that was never a bad thing. Tony followed Gibbs into the basement on auto-pilot, then looked at the skeleton of Gibbs' boat and wondered what he was doing there. Gibbs answered the question by handing him a mug that smelled a little like old brushes, and a whole lot like bourbon.

The first mouthful made him wheeze and cough, and brought tears to his eyes. It also made Gibbs take him by the arm and lead him to the only chair in the room, sitting him down before grabbing a low, three-legged stool for himself to sit on in front of Tony. By the time Tony had stopped wheezing and crying, Gibbs had stopped looking at him like he was worried about him. Which was both a relief and something that pissed Tony off a bit.

"You're taking this kinda well," he accused Gibbs, his voice hoarse and sore from the alcohol-burn.

"Nothing I can do about it," Gibbs observed calmly, which didn't improve Tony's mood any. By the look in Gibbs' eyes, he realized that, and offered: "Besides I really think we should do our freaking out by turns."

Tony's eyes narrowed, and he ran it through his Gibbs-to-human translator, and came up with something that made him frown. "By which you mean you're going to do your freaking out when I'm not around."

Gibbs turned to fiddle with some tool Tony didn't know the name of, which was basically as good as admitting Tony was right.

"Right," Tony said, but thought: 'yeah, right', in the privacy of his own head. He cast around for something else to say; something that would get them just a bit further. "So... what are we going to do while we wait for my next round of freaking out?"

He caught Gibbs' glance at his boat, and for a moment he was tempted. Then he thought about his early-morning revelation and figured that there were things he'd much rather do while they were waiting. He also figured that if it was going to happen, he was going to have to take charge. He grinned a little at that. That he could do.

With that thought fresh in mind, he leaned forward until he could reach Gibbs' shirt. He still hadn't put on his customary t-shirt, and the jacket had been shed in deference to the warmth of the basement. With very deliberate motions, Tony reached for the top button.

Gibbs' hands closed around his wrists almost before he knew they'd moved. It took effort to wrestle his eyes away from the button he'd been aiming for, but when he succeeded, he found Gibbs' face tight and his eyes angry.

"What do you think you're doing, DiNozzo?" His voice was low and dangerous, too.

Tony licked his upper lip deliberately, and watched Gibbs' eyes darken as his pupils dilated. Yeah, he thought to himself. You just keep telling yourself you don't want this.

"Well, I was going to unbutton your shirt, and then I was going to run my hands all over your chest - paying special attention to your nipples, of course. Are your nipples sensitive?" Gibbs was still stunned silent, so Tony pressed on while he had the upper hand - so to speak. "Then I was going to run my hands up and around your shoulders, get that shirt off of you, 'cause I got to tell you, I want to see a lot more, and I'm going to spend my own sweet time-"

Gibbs was shaking him by his wrists. "Shut up!" he hissed, uncharacteristically out of control and desperate.

Tony looked at him mildly. "Just because you don't want to think about it, or hear about it, Boss, doesn't mean you don't want it," he informed his irate boss.

Gibbs let his hands go as if he'd been burned, and bolted to the other side of the room. Tony thought it was a little extreme to use the whole boat as a defense, but then again, he had no idea whether Gibbs had ever done anything like that before. Which, come to think of it, was probably something he should find out. Preferably before Gibbs melted down completely.

"Get out!" Gibbs grated out, back against the wall, facing Tony the way you'd face a dangerous animal. Tony decided that he might as well act the part. Gibbs could always kill him - but he had faith Gibbs wouldn't go that far. He got to his feet and started slinking towards Gibbs. Thinking that a little visual encouragement might be a good idea, he lost his own shirt along the way. If the way Gibbs' eyes immediately dropped to his chest was any indication, it wasn't a bad call.

"I don't think so, Boss. I'm not going to quit over this - I think we both know that - and you can't fire me. So what do you think me leaving is going to accomplish? A few days' worth of time to shred this to pieces? And then you think we can go back to work on Monday, and it'll be just like nothing happened? Well, I gotta tell ya, Boss, I can't do that." He rounded one end of the boat, and watched Gibbs backing away, slowly, towards the other end. Tony resigned himself to the fact that this could take some time. Well, nothing like a rock and a hard place to end a stand-off, in his experience.

"So... we can either talk about this, and you can tell me all sorts of interesting things about when exactly your cock started liking guys, and how much experience you've got. Or we can do this, and you can just show me. We can have a good time; you get to wake up at noon and go down here to have your own nice little freak-out, and I promise I won't come find you until you're almost done."

Gibbs stopped backing, and the set of his shoulders told Tony that he thought he'd found a loop-hole. A way to get out of it. The look in his eyes, though, said that he didn't much like the way it was going to go down.

"And if I say no?"

Tony's eyes darkened in anger. "I'm not a rapist, Gibbs!"

"Then I say no," Gibbs said, and squared his shoulders.

Tony glared at him, and revised his strategy. A bright, wicked idea lit up his brain, and it felt a lot like he was falling out of an airplane with a chute on he only had the sketchiest idea of how to use. Knowing that pulling any chord was going to give him better chances than doing nothing. Just the thought of what he was about to do sent a thrill of fear through him, which, for some reason, his cock interpreted as arousal.

Without stopping to think too long about it, he shed his pants; left them in a puddle on the floor, but kept on his shoes and socks. He had no intention of suffering splinters in his feet. Fully naked and half hard, he lifted his eyes to Gibbs, who was looking at his cock like a starving man would look at a three-course dinner. Not even moving to lean his back against one of the ribs of the boat made a difference. He reached down to fondle his balls, spreading his legs a little - both to give himself more room to move, but also to give Gibbs a better view.

"All right, then. I don't suppose you'll mind if I just... entertain myself while we're waiting, then, will you?"

The look on Gibbs' face told him no, when he finally tore his eyes away from Tony's rapidly rising cock to glance at his face. His eyes dropped again almost instantly.

"Good," Tony purred. He knew how to use his body and his voice for the best possible effect, and he knew he had a purr that made the guys twitch and the girls squirm.

By his own count, it took two minutes and some pretty creative moves before Gibbs snapped.

"Christ, Tony," he breathed, and then he was there, kissing Tony like a drowning man gasping for air. They grappled desperately, hands going everywhere in an uncoordinated effort to get Gibbs undressed and get each-other off and touch as much bare skin as they could get - all without giving up the kiss. There would be bruises later, Tony noticed vaguely, and he dove for Gibbs' neck, determined to leave some mark of his own on his prickly, untouchable boss.

They came, sticky and sweet, gasping against each other, coming back to Earth slowly. Tony found himself - still back against the spar, but now sitting on the floor, Gibbs collapsed gracelessly, part-way into his lap. Gibbs rolled his head to the side, until it rested on Tony's shoulder-joint and he was looking side-ways at him. Tony laughed mutely at the utterly spent glare his boss tried his best to level on him.

"Yeah. Think you broke me too, Boss," he confessed easily. Hell, even being a cat for a night, suddenly didn't seem like such a bad trade-off.

Gibbs closed his eyes and rolled his head forward again. "I'm not your boss here, Tony," he mumbled into Tony's collar-bone.

"Yeah. Right. Sorry. Uh... what should I call you, then?"

"Anything but, DiNozzo," Gibbs grumbled.

Tony winced. "Hey, you want me to call you Dorothy, I've got no problems with that, but you'd better not be planning on calling me DiNozzo in bed, or we're going to have a serious conversation about... stuff."

Gibbs rumbled something Tony couldn't make out, but the feel of his voice shivered across Tony's chest, and he wondered when, exactly, his refraction-time had dropped towards what had been his own personal best when he was a teenager.

"What was that?" he asked, to distract himself from the way his cock twitched almost painfully, trying to get hard again so soon.

"I said," Gibbs said and lifted his head enough to speak clearly, "That if you call me Dorothy again, we're going to do more than talk."

Tony laughed out loud at that, and got his feet under him with a monumental effort.

"O-okay, Leroy." The glare and the sudden help in getting Gibbs to his feet were both expected and planned. "How about we head somewhere a little more comfortable. Apparently we were really active last night, and I could do with a little sleep before you have your scheduled freak-out." Gibbs led the way, just as expected, and Tony couldn't resist patting his respectable rear-end. "Maybe do something a little more... strenuous, later?"

He stopped, half-way up the stairs as a thought struck him. It was stupid, he realized, but it didn't change the fact that now he'd had it, he wasn't going to be able to shake it.

"Uh... unless you really meant it when you said 'no'?"

Gibbs didn't stop, didn't even slow down, so he was out the door at the top of the stairs before the answer drifted down to land on Tony like warm rain. "I dunno, Tony. Did you hear me complain just now?"

"Well," Tony said and started moving again, hurrying to catch up to Gibbs. "When you put it like that."


Getting into bed was surprisingly awkward, given what they'd just done on the basement floor - but at least Gibbs had a big queen-size bed for them to share. The 'who sleeps on which side'-conversation was a problem when it turned out they both slept on the right side of the bed. Luckily, Gibbs hadn't entirely lost his initiative, and cut through the BS by taking the left side himself. Tony was actually sufficiently far gone to find that romantic. Yeesh! Getting some with Gibbs was going to be a bad influence on him, if that was any indication of how mushy it was going to make him.

Then again, he thought as Gibbs turned over, huffing and puffing, to snuggle up right behind his back, he could live with that.

They both dropped off quickly, the combination of being active most of the night through, and a great orgasm working better than any drug Tony had ever taken.


Tony woke, batting at an annoyingly warm and bright ray of sunshine that hit his left eye with the precision of a sniper. It took him a few seconds of heart-pounding terror to remember why he wasn't in his own bedroom - but once he did, he relaxed. Some.

The fact that Gibbs wasn't in bed with him was cause for a limited freak-out of his own. Again. Then he grabbed a hold of himself, and went looking.

He really shouldn't have been surprised that Gibbs was in the basement, working on his boat, sipping something from the mug Tony had been handed earlier. Tony remained at the top of the stairs, leaning on the wooden railing for a long moment. Enjoying the view of Gibbs wearing nothing but an old, well-washed pair of jeans. Enjoying the smell of sawdust, glue and just a trace of sweat and bourbon. Definitely enjoying the sound of sand-paper rasping against the wood, and Gibbs humming entirely off-key but enthusiastically all the same.

Tony remained at the top of the stairs for a few minutes, until Gibbs glanced up at him and asked: "You coming down, or what?"

The chair he'd occupied before was still available, and Tony took advantage of that. "So... did I miss your big freak-out?"

Gibbs glared half-heartedly at him. "I'm not going to freak out, Tony."

Tony snorted disbelievingly. "Yeah. Spending the night as a dog doesn't freak you out at all. The mighty Gibbs just takes everything in his stride, right?"

Gibbs sent him a look, that dissolved into a smile that seemed timid about being attached to Gibbs' face. His eyes were warm and alight with humor, though.

"Maybe not everything," he admitted reluctantly.

Tony grinned and walked over to pat Gibbs on the back. "There, there - was that so hard?"

Suddenly he found himself grabbed, turned and pushed against the spars of the boat, Gibbs pressed up against him. "I'll show you hard," he growled, and rubbed against Tony, who let his head fall back with a breathless chuckle.

"This is how you seduce women?"

"Why?" Gibbs asked, never pausing in the rubbing that was starting to have predictable effects on Tony. "You got a problem with it?"

"Uh... no. No. I just..." he gasped at a particularly effective grind-and-twist Gibbs performed to a perfect 10. "Ungh... I just figured out why you've been married three times," he confessed.

Gibbs started laughing. Quietly, almost soundlessly at first, then growing and growing in volume. His head fell forward to rest on Tony's shoulder, and still he laughed.

Tony blinked, and thought: Ooo-kay. He felt a little like he always did when his girlfriends started crying on him. He usually had just as little idea about what had set them off, as he did about why Gibbs was now laughing into his shoulder. Well, hell, he thought - the mechanics couldn't be all that different. He brought his arms up to hug Gibbs, who responded by becoming damn near boneless against him.

Slowly the gasps of laughter began resembling another sound all together, and Tony realized that this was the freak-out he'd been waiting for. One arm around Gibbs' waist helped hold him upright, while his other hand went onto the back of Gibbs' head, stroking his hair. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time.

Apparently it was, because eventually Gibbs calmed down. Tony didn't stop holding or stroking, though.

"I spent the night as a dog," Gibbs said after a little while.

"I know," Tony said inanely - but what else was there to say?

They stayed like that, quietly, until Gibbs apparently decided that to remain would be a bad thing for his masculinity, and moved away. Tony would've been the last person to guess, but he actually missed holding onto Gibbs. Weird.

To get away from that thought, he decided baiting Gibbs was the way to go.

"Freak-out all done?" he asked sweetly, as if Gibbs was three, and received the expected glare for his troubles. The glare, however, melted suddenly and unexpectedly into something a lot warmer and fonder, and once more Tony found himself on shaky ground. He idly wondered if having Gibbs around would ever be unlike a roller-coaster ride.

Silence reigned supreme for a few minutes, while Gibbs went back to work on his boat. Eventually, though, he had to say something.

"I'm going to have to teach you something about building a boat, aren't I?" Gibbs asked after he'd taken a sanding-block away from Tony for the second time.

"Well... if it means I won't have to stand around watching you work, that would be nice."

"Do you have a problem with watching me work, Tony?" Gibbs asked, his voice low and - if it hadn't been for the gleam in his eyes - dangerous.

"Uh... no. But I'd rather help," Tony answered earnestly.

Gibbs looked him in the eye for a second, then nodded, apparently satisfied that Tony was being honest.

"Okay," he said, and picked up the first tool from his work-bench.


They worked for a few hours, Tony asking stupid questions that Gibbs was very patient in answering. At one point, when Gibbs stopped to wash down the sawdust with water, he looked at Tony intently.

"You want to go home," he asked.

Tony looked back, thought about it for a second then nodded. "Eventually," he said. "I suppose I'm going to need some clean clothes at some point."

Gibbs leaned closer and took a sniff. "Well, yeah. At some point would be good."

"Are you saying I smell, Leroy?"

Gibbs leaned in for another sniff, then leaned back with a broad smile on his face. "You're not ripe yet, Tony."

"So... you won't mind me staying for a while?" Tony asked, all his insecurities raising their ugly heads. He didn't mind pushing - but he would like to know that he wasn't pushing his way over the edge of a cliff.

"I don't mind," Gibbs said airily.

When he turned to walk back to his worktable, Tony grabbed him by the arm.

"Hey! There's a difference between not minding me staying, and wanting me to stay, Leroy."

Gibbs took a breath, then placed his hands on either side of Tony's head, reminding Tony of the sewer-smell he'd been sporting the last time Gibbs had touched him like that. "I want you to stay, Tony."

Tony felt some of the tension go out of him at those words, but he wasn't done yet.

"And... this... thing, we've got going... Is that, like - "

Gibbs laughed, and let Tony go. "Tony, so help me... If this is going to turn into a conversation about 'feelings', I'm going to need a lot more bourbon."

"So... it's a one-time thing, then?" Tony could practically feel his shoulders droop, admitting for the first time that he didn't want it to be a one-time thing. He wanted more. He wanted... everything?

"I don't know if you've noticed, Tony. I'm not really big on one-time things. I have this tendency to marry." Gibbs' tone was light, but his expression was serious, and Tony dared hope. "You're the hit-and-run dater."

Tony thought fast, just as determined as Gibbs that he wasn't going to talk about emotions. Well, at least not that openly.

"Yeah, see, I think the problem is that none of the girls I've dated have known that I turn into a cat, once a month," he offered. Gibbs, bless his honed mind, started smiling.

"I already know that," he said.

"See?" Tony said it, trying very hard not to inject any kind of feeling into it. He knew he'd failed, when he realized he was smiling just as broadly as Gibbs.

"Yeah. I guess we're stuck with each other," Gibbs said, his tone tragic, but his face glowing.

The kiss was a number of things Tony wouldn't have expected. It was tender and sweet and slow. It was also one of the hottest things anyone had ever done with his mouth, and he was rewarded when Gibbs grabbed his wrist and started moving towards the stairs.

"What do you say we actually try making it to the bed, this time, Tony?"

Tony had no complaints. When he turned to switch off the light in the basement, he suddenly had a thought.

"You know, if Abby was right about that little old lady, someone should really tell her that her punishment wasn't much of a punishment after all."

"Well, I don't know, Tony. You can either go to Louisiana and try to find her - or you can come to bed with me." Gibbs listed the options dryly.

"I'm on your six, Leroy," Tony said and flipped the switch eagerly.

"Oh, I hope so Tony. I really hope so."

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