HERE ALL ALONG
Gibbs finally realizes what he wants has been here all along.
A first time story.
Written: May 2013. Word count: 1,605.
He pours a shot of high-proof bourbon into his coffee mug and takes a long swallow. As always it burns the back of his throat, but after all the years he has been drinking it he barely notices it any longer. Instead he just enjoys the heat as the fiery, sharp liquid warms the back of his throat as it slides down.
A moment later he takes another deep swallow emptying the mug, while at the same time he reaches for the bottle and pours another slug into the mug. He stares around the basement and wonders for the umpteenth time whether he should start another boat.
It'd be a better way to spend his time than dating women he didn't even like, women who all seemed to be only interested in one thing; the one thing he was no longer interested in. Been there, done that - done that four times. Enough was enough. And yet still he keeps on hoping, trying, wondering if this time she would be the one. The one who could replace Shannon.
Except he isn't sure he is looking for a replacement for Shannon any longer. Somewhere down the line he's got past that. He isn't sure when it was, but a moment had come when he finally did let go of his girls, let go of that part of his past.
So what does he want now? Companionship? Sex? Someone to have dinner with? Someone to drink with? Someone to be around when he wants them and not when he doesn't? Someone who doesn't want to make him their every thing? Someone who'll give him space to be him? Someone who doesn't mind the smell of sawdust and strong coffee and bourbon? Someone who understands the demands of his job? Someone who - Someone who wants what he wants from life? Of course it would help if he knew what he wants.
He takes another long swallow of the burning liquid and tries to figure out just what it is he wants and if he's ever found it; if he's ever likely to find it. He knows he never had it with Diane, Alice or Stephanie; he'd been a bastard to all of them and in all honesty he can't blame them for being bitches to him. He'd deserved it; he'd married all of them for the wrong reason. He's probably lucky an empty bank account and being hit with a baseball bat and seven iron and spending months sleeping on the couch were the only things his marriages had cost him.
He wonders, as he's done on and off over the years, especially since she'd died, if maybe things could have worked with Jenny, but he doubts it would have. Maybe he's just destined to spend the rest of his life alone; to die alone.
And he doesn't mind being alone, not really, at least he doesn't mind all the time. But even he's only human (not that the kids would necessarily agree) and there are times he wants, he needs company and not just in bed. He wants, he needs, someone who . . . If he could figure out that part, it might help.
The sound of the front door opening and shutting makes him look up and automatically his hand hovers over the place he keeps his gun. Seconds later he pulls it back as the person appears on the stairs. "Oh, it's you," he says, as he reaches for a jar and tips the screws out onto the work bench and pours a slug of whiskey into it.
"It's good to see you too, Jethro." He manages a half smile and holds out the jar. "Thanks." Fornell takes a sip and grimaces. "Haven't you got anything decent down here yet?" he asks, pulling of his coat and putting it down on the saw-horse.
Gibbs shrugs. "Told you before, Tobias, you want something you consider decent bring it yourself."
Fornell rolls his eyes and takes another small sip of the whiskey; this time the grimace isn't quite so obvious. "Do you treat all your guests this well?" he asks, as he leans against the bench.
For a moment they stare at one another and then they both begin to laugh. Gibbs takes another swallow of the whiskey and stares at Fornell, "You come here for a reason or hadn't you got anywhere better to go?"
Fornell shrugs "I haven't had dinner yet," he says.
Fornell glances away for a moment, then looks back at Gibbs. "I just wondered if you wanted to order pizza or something."
Gibbs doesn't reply immediately, instead he's just goes on staring at Fornell wondering why being with Fornell never seems strained. Why it always feels - well, right.
"Of course if you don't want to, then I -"
Gibbs's hand on Fornell's arm stops him from leaving. "Pizza'd be good."
For a moment Fornell just stares at him and Gibbs gets the feeling he's trying to figure something out. He simply holds Fornell's gaze and says nothing.
Finally, Fornell shrugs, empties the jar, shudders, puts it down and heads towards the stairs. "I'll order - and you can find me a decent drink."
"How do you know I've got anything you'd consider decent?" Gibbs calls as Fornell reaches the top of the stairs.
Fornell pauses and turns around. "Because despite you being an anti-social bastard, I know Ducky visits you from time to time and there's no way you'd make him drink that stuff." He nods to the bottle Gibbs is still holding.
Gibbs frowns as he puts the bottle back on the shelf, glances around the basement and heads for the stairs himself. As he reaches the top and turns off the light he wonders just when Fornell got to know him so well.
TWO HOURS LATER
The pizza has long since been eaten, the plates and the knife and fork Fornell had insisted on using are in the sink, and now they are sitting on the couch with their glasses of whiskey and an almost empty bottle of what Fornell decreed to be decent whiskey on the table in front of them.
They've talked some, mostly about work and their recent cases, especially the on-going, months old, joint one that is frustrating both of them. When they aren't talked they sit in a companionable silence, neither seeming to have the need to say something for the sake of saying something. That is one of the things Gibbs likes best about Fornell, he doesn't need to talk for the sake of talking.
As he sits and looks at Fornell, Gibbs realizes just how much he enjoys Fornell's company, just how pleasant it is, just how natural it feels to be with Fornell. And as he realizes that he lets his mind wonder, just for a minute, if maybe what he's been looking for, has been here all along.
He shakes his head and tells himself he's being an idiot; he doesn’t like Fornell in that way and he's sure as hell Fornell doesn't like him like that. No, it's just the whiskey and the fact he's tired and - And what?
"Another?" He asks picking up the bottle.
Fornell hesitates and then shakes his head. "I'd better not. I'm not sure my director would approve of me being pulled over for drink driving."
Gibbs shrugs. "You could stay here tonight."
"And sleep on this thing? Thanks, Jethro, but I'll pass."
Gibbs shrugs again. "Don't have to sleep on the couch."
For a moment Fornell is silent and not only silent, he's completely still; Gibbs isn't even sure he's breathing. Then he shakes himself and says, "So you're saying you'll sleep here?"
Gibbs takes a deep swallow of the whiskey, wipes his mouth, puts his glass down, looks directly into Fornell's eyes and says, "No."
"Then what . . . ? Jethro, what are you -" Gibbs's mouth on Fornell's silences Fornell, and after a second or two during which he freezes under Gibbs's grip, he relaxes and tentatively at first, but then with apparently enthusiasm, begins to kiss Gibbs back.
And it feels right; for whatever reason kissing Fornell feels right. It's not the romantic love poets write about; it's not roses and champagne; it's not sunsets and hope; it's not weddings and kids; it's not romance and music. It's none of those things; it's none of the things a relationship is meant to be about. It's just . . . It's just right. Him and Fornell are right.
And as he parts Fornell's lips with his own, he knows. He really knows: what he's wanted, hell what he's needed, was here all along.
He finally breaks the kiss and lifts his head. He keeps his hands on Fornell's arms as he stares at him waiting for Fornell to say something, anything. But Fornell is just staring wide-eyed at him; his lips are swollen and red, his cheeks are flushed and as Gibbs glances away for a split second he sees that Fornell's body has reacted, as his has, to the kiss.
And still Fornell says nothing and for the first time ever in the years they've known one another, Gibbs doesn’t want Fornell to stay silent; this silence is not companionable. "Well?" he demands. "Are you going to say something?"
Fornell blinks, Gibbs realizes it's the first time he has blinked and swallows before saying, "And I thought you could no longer surprise me."
"Good surprise or bad?" Gibbs hears himself ask.
"What do you think?" Fornell growls, and this time he kisses Gibbs.
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