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Chapter 2: 5 Days Before Christmas
The next day found him fidgeting restlessly, but distracted enough by the newness of Probette Bishop that he’d only been head slapped twice before lunch, which Tony thought was pretty good all things considered. By lunch though, he knew that he needed a brief change of scenery, and a voice of reason that had more experience than Tony in all things love. Standing Tony declared that he was leaving for lunch, receiving only a grunt from the boss thanks to their current case free state. After promising Gibbs he’d bring him something back, Bishop and Tim not needing food brought back, Tony headed down to autopsy to snag Jimmy.
Tony strutted through the automatic doors in his usual way, happy to see no bodies on the tables. “Ducky! I’m stealing your assistant for lunch. Do you want something from the deli when we come back?” Lifting his chin slightly, Tony withstood Ducky’s scrutiny before taking his order and left with a smiling Palmer in tow.
Once they were seated both with their pastrami sandwiches, Palmers on Italian Bread and Tony’s on Rye, Gibbs’ turkey on wheat in the bag next to Tony, Palmer eyed Tony suspiciously. “OK, spill,” Palmer ordered and Tony almost snorted tea out his nose.
Tony had imagined this conversation more times than he could count with a dozen different variations, but somehow all that came out was “I’m in love with Gibbs,” which nearly killed poor Palmer when the bite in his mouth tried to go down the wrong tube.
After they’d both settled back down, and Tony had apologized for almost making Breena a widow, Jimmy sighed as he considered the statement. “I don’t know if I should be as shocked as I am, because when I think about it, it seems obvious.” Tony blanched slightly at the word obvious as it was not the adjective that he’d chose to be connected to the perception of others on his feelings on Gibbs. The big problem was that if Jimmy had noticed, or noticed enough that it was to use Jimmy’s word obvious now that he knew, then who else of the other paid investigators in the building, as opposed to the autopsy assistant who was only paid to slice up dead bodies, had seen signs that he had feelings for Gibbs.
Snapping fingers in front of his face brought him back to reality, and Tony smiled sheepishly at Jimmy who was shaking his head at him. “Do you think anyone else suspects?” Tony asked and Jimmy considered the idea seriously before eventually shaking his head no. “I think because of your reputation no one else would suspect, at least not beforehand I mean, or at the very least certainly not in this manner. ‘Cause like I said now that I know it seems like I should have, and I guess I always knew that you two had a special relationship, which is what I think most will say they are aware of. The idea that you have some big gay love for Agent Gibbs, however never crossed my mind. How long have you…?” Jimmy broke off his last sentence unsure how to ask, but fortunately Tony understood where he was going with his question.
“Seems like forever,” Tony admitted shrugging. “I mean, I was attracted to him right from the start when I stared down into those blue eyes of his in Baltimore, and he is really my type. Aside from the whole ‘Hello, daddy issues thy name is Tony DiNozzo Jr.’ part I’m always attracted to people whether male or female with a more dominant personality than my own. It doesn’t hurt that he’s gorgeous, and actually seems to be able to withstand my more annoying personality traits.”
Jimmy rolled his eyes in exasperation at his friend dig at himself, thinking that between Tony and Gibbs it was at worst a draw as to who had the more annoying personality traits, but kept that thought to himself. He was well aware that you dissed The Gibbs in Tony’s presence only at the risk of your own self confidence. There wasn’t a more certain way to guarantee Tony’s lethal skill with tearing you apart verbally would come out, than to in his eyes unfairly paint Gibbs in an overly negative light. It was like the old ‘I can pick on my sibling, but no one else can’ rule. “So, the ladies’ man things… is it an act, or are you just umm… flexible that way?”
Tony smiled and blushed shrugging. “Flexible, I definitely like the ladies and I’ve been with a lot more of them than I have guys, but that’s more to do with circumstances. I spent my puberty in a military school, so there was some group wank offs, but not too many or anything more or I would’ve gotten my ass kicked.”
“College was more liberal and that’s definitely where I did my experimenting, but I still had to be careful. I was part of two locker rooms, and things were a lot less accepting back then than they may be now. After college though, once I moved to the police academy and then into the PDs I had to be more careful again. I’ve hooked up with a few guys here and there since I’ve come to DC, but nothing more than a one nighter. There’s only one guy I’m willing to come out for and… I just wished I knew for sure if I had any chance.”
Tony took a big gulp of his tea, sandwich forgotten only half eaten in front of him too nervous to risk eating anymore of it. “I… I got him something for Christmas,” Tony started, but paused as he shredded the paper his sandwich had been wrapped in nervously. “If I give it to him, he’s gonna know. Maybe not right away, but for sure the first time Abby sees it.”
Jimmy frowned finishing his own sandwich before asking, “What is it?” Tony bit his lip shoving his food wrapper confetti onto his tray before muttering, “An Italian Horn necklace.”
“It’s a symbol of love, protection and fertility essentially. It was used to protect the wearer from the ‘Evil Eye’, which was believed to be able to bring harm or bad things to nursing mothers and their babies, bearing fruit trees, milking animals, and the sperm of men. The second Abby sees him wearing the necklace and finds out who gave it to him, there’ll be no keeping my feelings a secret anymore.”
Cocking his head to one side, Jimmy opened his mouth to make an observation before closing it and reconsidering. He wasn’t sure how his hunch would be received, but since the real formation of their friendship when Gibbs was gone, Jimmy’s role had been to listen to the things others wouldn’t and make the observations others couldn’t. Tony relied on him to force him to see the forest for the trees. Taking a deep breath, Jimmy tried again speaking carefully and softly to insure he was clearly stating his observation. “I think that you have more answers thank you think, even if you aren’t ready to admit to it.”
When Tony opened his mouth to respond, Jimmy held up a hand for him to wait and then continued with his thought. “Something you have said more than once is what really convinced me that I was right. You said that as soon as Abby sees the necklace then Gibbs will know how you feel. Your assumption thought is that he’ll wear it. Both times when you said it there was no hesitation, no doubt in your words. You spoke without a single doubt that the present will be worn. If you were really as unsure as you consciously think you are, then you wouldn’t be so certain that he’d even wear it. If he isn’t into you, then he isn’t going to wear something as personal as jewelry. If he even kept the gift when he didn’t want it, then it would be thrown in a drawer or jewelry box, if he has such a thing, somewhere and forgotten about.”
“As I said though, you seem to have no doubt that he’ll wear it, which means that somewhere maybe deep down and unconsciously, but somewhere in your mind and heart you believe that he returns your feelings and thus will wear the necklace for others to see it. So, what are you really afraid of?” Jimmy asked watching Tony sit back stunned. His reaction making it obvious he hadn’t considered this fact. “Personally I think that you’re more worried what the others namely Abby, Tim, & Doctor Mallard will say. Taking it a step further, if we are being even more honest Doctor Mallard isn’t really much of a mystery. He’s not going to care as long as you are both happy.”
“That means that the real issue in your mind or subconscious is Abby & Tim, and if you’re that uncertain of their support are they really worth risking missing a chance at a life with someone you’re in love with?” Before Tony could answer, his phone rang, and the two had to rush off to a crime scene, putting Tony’s introspection on temporary hold.
Note: Information about the necklace was found HERE.