TITLE: Sensing Tony
AUTHOR: Lady Ra
E-MAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org
RATING: PG-13, the sex is all off-screen, sorry about that! Sometimes the boys like their privacy.
SUMMARY: Gibbs is having a meltdown.
EPISODE SPOILERS: None
NOTE: This one starts the next week after Sensing Evil ends. I think you need to read that one for this one to make ANY sense. As with the last story, this is a mystical supernatural, good versus evil kind of story, so if that's not your thing, just move along. Oh, and this is in a ‘Kate is still alive’ world.
WARNING: A schmaltzy interlude. LOL.
DISCLAIMER: NCIS is owned and operated by people far richer than I. Honor and praise to the creators. I love playing with these guys.
DISTRIBUTION: My home site: www.visionsofprettyboys.com, and the NCIS archive, and probably NCIS slash, and who knows where else
FEEDBACK: I love friendly feedback. I also appreciate people pointing out typos and continuity gaffes to me, as they are BAD! I have no patience for negative feedback. I do this for fun and I do it for FREE, so if you aren't enjoying the story, channel your inner adult and use the back button.
THANKS: Thanks to my vunderbar alphas and betas. My stories are always so much better for their hard work. For this story that includes: Joolz, Annie, Susan, and JillsJourney.
FORMAT: Available in ebook formats pdf, epub and mobi.
She glanced up at Gibbs. "You will help him?"
"I will," he said, feeling the strength of his words, as if they bound him to Tony.
"He will need you," she told him.
From Sensing Evil
“You,” Tony said firmly, a hint of anger in his voice, “stay.” His hand was held out as if giving the order to a dog.
Gibbs narrowed his eyes.
Tony gave his curious audience, Tim and Kate, a quick look, then leaned in and spoke softer, “Boss, you gotta quit this. I’m just going to the bathroom, and I think I can make it there and back without your help.”
Gibbs knew this was true, rationally, he did. But every time he lost sight of Tony, the hairs on his neck stood up, and his palms started to sweat, and his heart began to race, and none of it stopped until he laid his eyes on the man. He'd expected it to get better, positive it was just a side effect of having Tony vanish from his bedroom, taken by the evil when Gibbs was only feet away. But, instead, it was getting worse. He had assumed Tony hadn’t noticed; after all, Gibbs had always been able to sneak up on Tony. Evidently, Tony had only been ignoring it up until now.
“You are going to sit here, and I am going to walk down the hallway on my own. When I get back, you will still be sitting here,” Tony said quietly but with intent. “Don't follow me into the bathroom again. Are we clear?”
Gibbs' belly knotted in response to the idea that Tony was going to walk away. His hands fisted on his thighs, and his lips tightened.
Tony apparently took his lack of reply as assent, as he pulled back, watched Gibbs for a moment, then turned and walked toward the restrooms.
It took every ounce of control Gibbs had to not immediately leap to his feet and follow him. He glanced up and saw Kate’s curious gaze, and he glowered at her. “Do you need something to do?”
She rapidly shook her head, gaze quickly shifting to the work on her desk. Gibbs turned to Tim only to find him avidly fascinated by something on his computer.
“Damn it,” Gibbs said under his breath. He was losing it. He sat at his desk, hands still fisted on his thighs, and breathed. Tony was not in danger. He was not in danger. He repeated it like a mantra. Tony was not in danger. Gibbs could feel his heart rate skyrocket, shivers of dread crawling down his spine.
He sprang to his feet, the compulsion to follow Tony a stronger need than heeding Tony's warning.
“Boss?” Tim asked in concern. “Everything okay?”
No. Everything was not okay. “I’m going to see Ducky,” he bit out, then stalked off to the elevator, forcing every step, fighting his inclination to run in the other direction. He viciously stabbed the elevator button.
When he started breathing harder, his panic rising, Gibbs slammed through the door to the stairway and threw himself down the stairs pell-mell. "Ducky!" he yelled, as he pushed through the doors of the morgue.
"Right here," his friend said, imperturbably. He took a look at Gibbs. "Good heavens, what's happened?"
"I'm losing it."
"If by losing it, you mean losing your sanity, let's leave the diagnosing to me. What's happened to cause you to make such a statement?"
Ducky smiled a little. "Ah, and what has your senior agent been up to this time?"
"Nothing," Gibbs said. "Nothing. I just can't…" He gritted his teeth and paced the length of the morgue. "I panic if I can't see him. Like right now. My pulse is racing, I'm almost lightheaded with the need to make sure he's all right. I can't do this, Ducky, I can't live this way. And Tony's mad as hell because I followed him into the men's room yesterday." His back hit the wall and he slid down until his ass was on the floor.
"It hasn't been that long since Tony was in mortal danger," Ducky mused.
"And if I'd been this incapacitated, I'd have been useless," Gibbs snapped back.
"Perhaps," Ducky offered cautiously, "it's tapping into some earlier fears of yours. Have you lost someone you care about? Your mum died while you were still young."
"You think I haven't thought of that? Shit, I wasn't this deranged when my wife and daughter died."
Ducky's eyebrows shot up. "What? You lost a wife and daughter? Jethro, you never told me. I'm so sorry."
Gibbs couldn't believe he'd let that secret out. It was just another indication of how he was going insane. "They were shot while I was overseas. And I did go crazy, but not like this."
"But they were already dead when you were forced to deal with their mortality," Ducky mused. "Tony is not. Don't you think if your wife and daughter had come close to dying right in front of you, yet managed to escape the claws of death, that you'd be equally vigilant?"
Gibbs pounded the back of his head against the wall. "Maybe." Gibbs had thought of that, of course. Well, not exactly what Ducky had said, but the overall possibility that this had something to do with Shannon and Kelly. But the point remained that he was going to completely alienate Tony and end up in the nuthouse if he didn't find a way to stop this.
The problem was that he kept trying to find Tony inside. Which was weird, and he knew it, but his capacity for weird had increased a lot over the last few days. Nonetheless, that's what it felt like, and every time he couldn't physically see Tony, he looked inside for him, but whatever the hell he thought should be there, wasn't there. Just a big black nothing that screamed that Tony was gone, that he was in terrible danger. Gibbs could feel it now and started to hyperventilate. Jesus. "Call Tony. Make sure he's okay. Please."
He could feel Ducky's worried gaze on him, but Ducky gamely complied. Gibbs shut his eyes as his friend dialed upstairs. "Tony? Ah, good, I was just wondering if you would be so kind as to send me a copy of your report on that last John Doe case we had. I can't seem to find my copy. You would? Thank you, dear boy. You're a lifesaver." He hung up.
Gibbs felt momentarily better. Okay. Still alive. Fuck. He knocked his head a few more times against the wall. "There's something seriously wrong with me, and I don't ever say that."
"No, you don't," Ducky admitted. He rolled his chair over to where Gibbs was sitting on the floor. "But, I don't believe you're quite ready to be committed. Perhaps you just need time. Maybe you and Tony need to go away for the weekend and simply spend time together. Perhaps a part of you hasn't reconciled to the fact that Tony did survive. The entire week was quite unsettling in many ways. Dealing with the supernatural, all those heinous crimes, Tony's new skills, the clear fixation of all that evil on our poor boy. And you had a front row seat for all of it."
Gibbs knew all that, but he also knew that what he was feeling was a new kind of hell. He'd had lots of opportunities to be worried on Tony's behalf, and it had never felt like this. Granted, they hadn't been together then, but if being together was going to end up with Gibbs this fucked up, it would have to stop. "Fuck."
Tony pushed through the doors, and Gibbs watched as Tony took in the tableau of him on the floor, with Ducky staring worriedly down at him.
"Shit," Tony said. He walked over and sat down next to Gibbs, sitting close, until his right side was snugged tightly against Gibbs' left. Only then was Gibbs able to relax. The comparison of how he'd been feeling, the tension coiling him so tight he'd thought he might shatter, to now, when he felt loose and so fucking relieved, was like night and day, death and life.
Gibbs shut his eyes, allowing the proof of Tony being safe and right here to seep through his senses. "Fuck," he said again.
"What's going on?" Tony asked. He glanced up at Ducky. "Do you know?"
"No," Ducky admitted. "Jethro was just explaining the situation."
"What is the situation?"
Gibbs shook his head, but finally opened his eyes. "I don't know."
Tony sighed. "That thing is gone, it's not coming back."
"Then what's the problem?" Tony demanded. "You tried to follow me into the stall yesterday. You would have done it today, too, if I hadn't stopped you. I love you, Boss, but I don't need you to keep me company when I'm taking a shit."
"I know," Gibbs ground out. "I know it's whacked. I just don't know what to do about it."
"Maybe you have PTSD or something," Tony suggested. "Maybe you need, I don't know, some counseling." He winced at that, as if he knew how Gibbs would receive that suggestion.
Instead of blowing up, Gibbs actually gave it some thought. The thing was, whatever he was feeling, wasn't PTSD, or grief, or something he could work out through talk, or working on his boat. This was different. "I'll figure it out." At Tony's dubious look, Gibbs frowned, repeating. "I will figure it out."
"Okay," Tony said, his doubt clear. "I’m gonna go back upstairs."
Gibbs stifled the instinctive reaction to grab his arm, to beg him to stay. He just nodded stiffly, and stayed still and silent as Tony rose to his feet and left the morgue, with one last confused and worried look in Gibbs' direction, and one 'fix-this!' glance at Ducky.
"He could be right," Ducky said gently.
Gibbs shook his head. If he told a therapist about this hole in his head where Tony belonged, he'd be out on his ass on medical leave. He was sorry he'd come down to speak to Ducky. Ducky would be riding his ass about this even if Gibbs wanted nothing more than to ignore it right now. "I'll be fine." Then, swallowing his pride, and lying to boot, he said, "You're both probably right."
Ducky had known him too long to take that hook, line, and sinker, but he was a good enough friend to allow Gibbs the lie for now. "You know my door is always open to you," Ducky told him.
"I know." Gibbs stood, his feet restless now to get upstairs to where Tony was.
"Would you like some tea before you go?" Ducky asked with a hint of challenge in his voice.
No! the voice inside Gibbs' head screamed. The part of Gibbs that didn't want to be hounded by Ducky incessantly, said, "Sure." Walking in a straight line to where Ducky usually served was challenging, as Gibbs could feel himself swaying toward the exit sign.
Once freed from Ducky's clutches, after doing the best acting job Gibbs had ever done to behave normally and not like something inside was shriveling into a catatonic fetal position because it was sure Tony was in danger and he was doing nothing to help, Gibbs ran up the stairs, taking the steps two, if not three, at a time. He was lucky he didn't break his neck.
He burst into the bullpen, glad no one was around to see his abrupt and somewhat breathless arrival. Taking a deep breath, he walked the distance to his desk, only noticing then that Tony wasn't at his desk. "Where's DiNozzo?" Kate was missing as well. Gibbs focused in on Tim, waiting for an answer.
"Uh," Tim started.
"Now, McGee," Gibbs snapped. McGee had at least gone through the whole shit-fest last week, so might appreciate the fact that Gibbs would want to know where his senior agent was. Kate had been a part of it, too, but she was working a monumental case of denial about the whole thing.
"He, uh, said that he had some errands to run, and that he'd meet you at home later."
Tim didn't seem to think the part about Tony meeting him at home was weird at all, so the Bench Lady's magic about no one noticing their relationship was still going strong. "What errands?"
"Um, I don't know, Boss."
"Is Kate with him?" It wasn't near as good as Gibbs being with him, but it was something.
"Is Kate with whom?" Kate asked, sliding into her chair.
"He took, uh, um, Abby."
"Abby?" The person most likely to get into trouble, after Tony. Terrific. "What errands?"
"I don't know." Tim swallowed, then cleared his throat. "He didn't tell me. He looked like he was in a hurry, though."
Probably trying to get out of the office before Gibbs came back up.
Gibbs grunted at Tim, and then stalked to the break room, ostensibly to get some coffee but, in actuality, to do some deep breathing so he didn't start tearing the office apart.
His phone rang.
"This better be you," Gibbs growled into the phone.
"It is," Tony told him easily. "Calm down."
"I don't want to calm the fuck down," Gibbs hissed angrily, keeping his voice down, not wanting his meltdown to be gossip fodder. "I want you back here."
"No. Gibbs, I'm fine. I am going to my apartment to pick up some more clothes."
"I'll come meet you," Gibbs offered, trying to tone down the desperation in his tone. It was better having Tony on the phone than nothing at all, but this sense of something bad going down was playing havoc with his guts.
"No, you won't. I'm fine."
"I need to be with you," Gibbs bit out, ashamed, feeling his face flame red at the words.
"And you will be," Tony said soothingly. "I will see you at home in less than two hours. Once I get there, you can glom onto me, and we'll talk this through, okay?"
It sounded so reasonable. Gibbs hated it. He hated being so vulnerable. "Fine. Don't be late." Gibbs would probably find himself calling in the National Guard if he was.
"Go home. There's nothing going on, and you have more vacation time than years left to work. Go work on your boat; do something to distract yourself."
That sounded reasonable too. Damn it. "Just don't be late."
"If the traffic's bad, I might be. Don't flip out. If I'm going to be late, I'll call."
"Fine." Gibbs hung up. There was nothing to be gained from any more of that conversation other than making even more of a complete fool of himself. "Fuck."
He headed up to MTAC, advised Tom he was going home, and then told Kate and Tim they could leave early. In other circumstances, Gibbs would have found their incredulous expressions humorous, but it was taking all his energy to keep himself together. Without another word, he headed toward the garage.
The boat wasn't helping. Neither was the bourbon. Pacing didn't help, and a nap was out of the question. Every story on the news ratcheted up Gibbs' anxiety. Gibbs knew grief, he knew fear, he knew every negative emotion intimately, and he'd managed to wrestle every single one of them into submission. He couldn't get his arms around this at all. It was like he'd had his legs blown off and he kept trying to stand. Like if he could only get to his feet, his legs would be there. Insanity. A completely random and, no doubt, idiotic idea crossed his mind.
Gibbs grabbed a beer from the refrigerator, deciding he better lay off the bourbon; he didn't want to be wasted when Tony got home. He glanced at his watch for the fifteenth time in the last fifteen minutes. Tony still had thirty minutes before he was expected home, and Gibbs knew he'd probably use every one of them.
Gibbs' heard the front door open and Tony called out. "Jethro?"
"In here," Gibbs called back, surprised he hadn't heard Tony drive up. More proof, if he needed any, that he was unsafely distracted.
Tony strode into the kitchen looking safe and strong and handsome, and Gibbs found himself moving forward until they had their arms wrapped around each other.
"Glad I'm home?" Tony teased.
"Yes." Gibbs breathed in the smell of Tony, his expensive aftershave, his ridiculous hair products, and underlying it all the scent of just Tony, an earthy and effervescent combination that affected Gibbs like catnip.
"You smell like sawdust," Tony said happily. Tony seemed equally addicted to Gibbs' smells. "Did it help?"
"No." Gibbs drew back, studying Tony carefully. "Listen. I know I'm driving you crazy, I know it."
Tony took Gibbs' hand and drew them both to the kitchen table. He pushed Gibbs down into his seat, then went to get himself a beer. Once supplied, Tony sat down kitty corner from Gibbs, close enough so their legs were touching. Tony took a long swig of beer. "Okay. I'm ready. And yes, you're driving me crazy." He took a smaller sip. "But I see that look in your eyes that says you've got an idea."
Gibbs liked that Tony knew him so well. "I was thinking that it wasn't that long ago that I thought you were completely insane."
"True. Actually, you thought I was on drugs."
"I also thought you were insane."
Tony snorted but then his eyes sharpened on Gibbs. "You think this is something like that? That this is something mystical?"
It hurt to say it, but he muttered, "Maybe."
Tony appeared to give that some thought. "What's it for? What good is it? You know we can't always be together." He brightened. "Maybe we could ask the Bench Lady. She probably did this to you, you know, if it is something mystical."
"The last time I saw her was the morning after the big fight," Gibbs said. "This didn't start until a few days later."
Tony pursed his lips, tapping the beer bottle against them. Gibbs found himself riveted. How he'd resisted Tony so long when the guy was this sexy was beyond him. "Actually," Tony said. "This started the day we went back to work. It was the first day after the big evil showdown that we weren't together every moment."
Thinking back, Gibbs had to agree. Tom had given them time off, and he and Tony hadn't gotten out of bed except to eat and use the bathroom. They had never been more than twenty feet apart.
"Maybe the evil planted it in you like a time bomb," Tony suggested with a grimace.
Gibbs rolled his eyes. "Nice. Thanks."
"Either way, the Bench Lady ought to be able to help, right?" Tony asked, looking pleased at the thought of seeing his spiritual mentor again.
"She doesn't mind you calling her the Bench Lady?"
Snickering, Tony stood. "She thinks it's funny." He put his beer down and moved across the kitchen to the back door. Opening it, he called out. "Bench Lady? You around?" He moved to stand on the porch, and Gibbs slid in behind him, his arms wrapping around Tony's stomach. "Bench Lady?" Tony called again. "Your neighbors are going to think I'm nuts." He turned a little so he could kiss Gibbs.
With little coaxing, Gibbs got Tony turned all the way around, so it could turn into a proper kiss, Tony's tongue sweeping his mouth, his hand on Gibbs' ass. Now that Tony was here, all of Gibbs' anxiety was gone, every bit of it. He couldn't even summon the dread that had been plaguing him intermittently for days.
"Hmm," Tony hummed, nibbling on Gibbs' lips. "Let's move this inside. Hopefully if she shows up, she won't mind waiting." He nudged Gibbs inside, and shut the door after them.
Gibbs woke up from a sound sleep, listening intently for what had jarred him awake. He registered the wind in the trees, and the refrigerator turning on and off. Tony was breathing by his side, occasional shifting causing a rustling of sheets. He could hear a far-off tomcat yowling for a mate. All ordinary expected noises. Then he heard it, a low soft voice singing. Wondering if Tony had gotten up to watch TV and left it on before coming back to bed, Gibbs stood up, drew on some sweatpants and a t-shirt, and quietly left the room.
As he made his way downstairs, he could tell it wasn't so much singing as chanting. He slowly made his way through the first floor rooms, ending up in the kitchen. Outside in the backyard, he could see a glow, and when he peered through the window, he could make out a bench. He debated calling for Tony, then decided he wanted a few words with her before Tony joined them.
He eased out the back door and watched the ground carefully as he made his way barefoot out to her. He stopped once he was standing in front of her.
She grinned up at him, her two front teeth still gold-capped, but her leopard print framed glasses were now pink with purple spots.
"What the hell is happening to me?" he demanded.
She patted the seat next to her. "Sit by me."
He found himself obeying which irritated him. "What's your name?"
"I have many names. The name Anthony has given me amuses me."
"Bench Lady," Gibbs said dryly.
Grinning again, she said, "It has been a long time since I had a paladin with such a rich sense of humor. It is refreshing."
"That's one word for it."
"You have no need to hide your love for him from me," she said kindly. "It lights you up from the inside."
"Do not worry. Most people do not have the eyes to see it, as I do." She gave him a long look. Long enough for her eyes to go unfocused, and Gibbs felt as if she were doing a cellular examination of him. She blinked, saying, "This is unexpected."
He knew right away what she was talking about. "This thing in me?"
"Can you make it go away? It's distracting. I can't function with it there inside of me."
"Hey!" Tony called cheerily from the porch. "I thought I heard people talking." He walked out to join them. "Bench Lady! Long time no see." He put his hand on Gibbs' shoulder. "What's up?"
The look on her face as she looked at Tony was unadulterated affection and love, and Gibbs' throat tightened as he watched her watch Tony.
"Anthony," she said, "come sit before me."
Without argument, Tony sat down, cross-legged, on the grass in front of her. "What are you guys talking about?"
"Work half done," she said cryptically. Her eyes moved from Tony to Gibbs and back again. "Your love is strong. Unusually so."
Gibbs' lips tightened at her pronouncement, not liking his private emotions aired, but Tony lit up like a floodlight. When Tony turned that light on him, Gibbs rolled his eyes, but he smiled back, reaching out his hand for Tony to take.
To Gibbs, she said, "When last I saw you, you made a vow; you said you would help him."
"I will, I do."
"Your love for him has turned that vow into something of preternatural power."
Tony squeezed his hand. "See? Now you have super mojo power too."
"It's incapacitating," Gibbs told her. "It's of no use to me this way. I can't always be with him."
She turned that look of love and affection on him, and Gibbs felt it wash over him like the sunniest of days, when the sky is blue, and there's nowhere to be.
"It is simply uncompleted," she said. "If you wish it, I will finish it."
"What will it do when it's done?" Gibbs asked.
"You will know if he is in danger, and you will know how to find him."
Gibbs was ready to sign up right now. He turned to Tony. "Okay with you?"
Tony nodded. "Is there a drawback?" he asked the Bench Lady.
"You will have the capability of being in each other's minds in times of great danger and possibly in quiet times as well. There could be a loss of privacy."
Tony's eyebrows went up. "It's like we'll have a Vulcan mating bond but without the Pon Farr," he said in delight. "Not that I'd mind that. The Pon Farr I mean. Or the mating bond."
"Was that supposed to make sense?" Gibbs said.
"Your beloved chooses fictional, yet truly mythic, creatures to inspire him. Yoda, Spock of Vulcan." She smiled lovingly at Tony. "Luke Skywalker."
Tony grinned ruefully, and Gibbs wanted to hug him. Tony had told him about his speech to the evil, and Gibbs had intended to watch the Star Wars trilogy with Tony, but they hadn't made time yet.
"And he has you," she added to Gibbs.
"The best of the best," Tony said softly.
Gibbs got lost for a moment in the love he saw in Tony's eyes.
"Understand this," the Bench Lady said.
Both men turned to her.
"There will be danger. Anthony's gifts will continue to pit him against true evil." Her eyes moved to Gibbs', capturing him with their intensity. "Once this is done, once you are bound by your oath, you will have no choice but to fight by his side."
"I wouldn't have it any other way," Gibbs said, without a second of doubt.
Taking his words as truth, she continued, "We are all soldiers of the light. Through our actions we proclaim what is real. Today, you both proclaim what is real. Young Anthony, kneel before me."
Tony shifted off the ground to his knees.
"Leroy," she began.
"Jethro," he corrected. "Or Gibbs."
"Jethro," she amended, with a smile, "stand behind him."
Gibbs moved behind Tony, putting his hands on the man's shoulders.
She stood, barely five feet tall, the gold, beaded, and silver bracelets on her arms chiming as they slid to her wrists. Despite her short stature, Gibbs could feel the power in her, knew he was sensing whatever Tony had seen that had pushed him to accept the charge she laid on him.
Her hands reached up and she put one on Tony's head and one over Gibbs' where it lay on Tony's shoulder. She began to chant, softly, words Gibbs didn't understand. He felt them, though. The sound spread its heat like a good brandy, down his throat to his gut, and out to the rest of his body.
It was hard to describe, as he'd never felt anything like it, but this heat he was feeling, it wasn't just him, it was Tony too. It was like his entire body was being rewritten, welded anew, but with an added tensile strength that sang with the same sparkle as the gold and silver of his and Tony's auras.
In fact, as he watched, he could see their auras merge where his hands touched Tony's shoulders. Not the brief glimpses he'd had up to this point, but a mesmerizing light show, a physical proof of his and Tony's captivating compatibility.
And then, oh, then, Tony was there in that black hole of nothing that Gibbs had been grasping for, finding only terror at the emptiness. Now it was filled with Tony, and Gibbs knew he would always be there.
She stopped chanting and lifted her hands away, smiling at them as she sat back down.
Tony looked up at Gibbs with a grin and a hint of wonder on his face. "I can feel you in my head."
"Okay with you?"
"Yeah. It's just different."
That was a good word for it. They'd have to practice with it, see what they could do with it, how they could use it to keep Tony alive. The frustration he'd been living with for the last few days surged into exultation: he'd know when Tony was in danger! At least he would if… Frowning, he urged Tony to his feet, and said, "No hiding what's going on because you think you can handle it. I need to know if you're worried about something."
"Just because I'm worried about something doesn't mean you need to come in with guns blazing."
True enough. They'd figure it out as they went on. He turned to the Bench Lady only to find her gone. Her and her bench.
"Get used to it," Tony said dryly.
Gibbs had wanted to thank her, but he figured she probably already knew. He started thinking up exercises he and Tony could do to best determine how this bond worked. "We need to test this out," he told Tony.
"No kidding!" Tony said, enthusiastically. He grabbed Gibbs' arm and began to drag him into the house. "I want to see how hard I can make you come when I can feel what you want in my head."
That wasn't quite what Gibbs had had in mind, but as he got swept up in Tony's enthusiasm and desire, he decided it was a good place to start.
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