Set after Devil's Trifecta.
Gibbs gets a second visitor and takes advantage of his old friend status to ask a question.
A pre-slash story.
Written: December 2012. Word count: 722.
Less than five minutes after he'd heard Diane close the door behind her, Gibbs heard it open again and within seconds he heard footsteps on the stairs leading down to his basement.
Without looking up he emptied another jar of screws and poured some bourbon into it and held it out.
The glass was snatched from his hand. "She really is a bitch."
"And hello to you too, Tobias," Gibbs said, taking a swallow from his own glass as Fornell glowered at him. "And what happened to 'she's the mother of my child'?"
Fornell glowered some more, swallowed the bourbon in one, winced and shuddered before reaching around Gibbs to snag the bottle and pour some more into his 'glass'. "Why do we put up the bit- put up with her? Why do we let her treat us like she does?"
Gibbs took another swallow, emptied his glass and poured some more bourbon into it. He shrugged; "She's the mother of your child."
Fornell glowered some more. "Okay, that explains me, but why do you put up with her?"
Gibbs took another long swallow of the fiery bourbon and just stared at Fornell. After a moment or two, Fornell looked away. "Ah, shit. Sorry Jethro," And he put his hand on Gibbs's arm. "And don't give me the 'never say you're sorry' crap. That might work with your team, but not me; friends know how to apologize - and how to accept an apology."
Gibbs swallowed as he stared at Fornell; still he didn't speak, at least not with words. But Fornell and he had been friends for too many years to need words. Instead he briefly covered the hand Fornell still had on his arm and gave a curt nod before holding up the bottle and asking, "More?"
"Thanks," Fornell said quietly; Gibbs knew the sentiment didn't just apply to the drink he was offering. "But honestly," he said going back to their conversation, "she really was totally out of line this time. She had no business getting involved in the case just because the bar fell in your area of jurisdiction. And look at her and McGee."
Gibbs stared at his old friend for a moment as he leaned back against the workbench. "Yeah, you were a bit jealous, Fornell." Fornell stared at him. "Question is, just who were you jealous of?"
"What the . . . ? Gibbs! What are you . . ." Fornell came to a spluttering halt.
Gibbs shrugged. "Just wondered who you thought was trespassing on what you see," he paused for a moment and then said softly, "or want to see, as your property?"
Fornell stared at Gibbs. "I don't know what you mean, Jethro."
"Course you don't." Then Gibbs shrugged. "You know, if you want her back, you only have to ask. Her and Sterling are -"
"I don't!" Fornell ground out. "I do not want her back in my life."
Gibbs nodded. "Thought as much," he said quietly, as he held Fornell's gaze who just stared back at him, eyes wide and mouth slightly open. "You know, you'll never know unless you ask," Gibbs said just as quietly, standing up and heading towards the stairs. "Pizza okay for you?"
Gibbs rolled his eyes. "To eat." He waited but Fornell didn't move or say anything; so after rolling his eyes again he headed up the stairs calling, "I'll go and order it. I'll even pay this time."
Fornell stayed where he was, rooted to the spot, for what seemed like an age after Gibbs had vanished. He closed his eyes and tried to ignore what Gibbs had implied, hell he'd done more than imply. Damn it, but his old friend was astute; far too astute - Fornell should have guessed that Gibbs would pick up on his, what he'd known even as he was reacting, over the top reaction to finding McGee and Diane asleep on McGee's couch. And it wasn't just his reaction at the time but also afterwards.
He pulled out his cell phone, switched it on and scrolled through his address book; his finger came to hover over the name 'McGee, Timothy'. He paused; then sighed, pushed the phone back into his pocket and headed for the stairs. Maybe tomorrow he'd get as far as actually pushing the button.
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