Title: Them or Us
Characters: Tony DiNozzo and Leroy Jethro Gibbs
Content: Hidden Marriage, Mild Angst, Non-Specific NCIS Season set during the Ziva years
Author Note: I don’t know where this came from. It popped into my head when I was reading another story, and honestly has nothing in common with it. I don’t know if I will do anything else with it. For now, I am counting it as a one shot. I have a shit ton of other things on my plate and don’t have time for another series. That said… I miss writing Tibbs, so who knows.
Summary: Tony has reached the end of his rope, and needs his husband to make a choice. Tony or everyone else.
Them or Us
“I’m tired of being mad at you,” Tony said softly staring down at the concrete floor of the basement. “I’m tired of us yelling and I’m tired of always feeling like nothing I ever do is good enough for you. I want us back, but when I look behind me I can’t even see how we got here, let alone how to find where we once were.”
Tony shook his head and lifted his eyes to look at the man on the other side of the room. For once leaning against a wall instead of sitting at his workbench.
“It used to be so easy to be us. It feels like you used to trust me so much more than you do now. Somehow between Kate and McGee and fucking Ziva, you stopped listening to me. Then you stopped trusting me, which led to you stop believing in me. There is this huge part of my heart and soul that just wants to say fuck it and be done with the whole fucking thing. The problem is underneath all the noise is this little voice that reminds me you’re the closest thing I have to forever. I don’t know as I’m ready to ignore it yet, but I know I can’t continue the way we have been, Jethro. I know Ziva made you choose once and you picked me. This time I’m the one demanding that you choose. Me or them. Us or them. Which do you want more? Our forever? Or their bullshit hero worship manipulative scheming crap? Do you want love or a pedestal? Because you can’t have both. Not anymore. So, choose.”
There was a time that he could read those eyes easier than a Dick and Jane book, but that time was long past. So, when the other man spoke, and he heard the regret in his voice, he was honestly shocked at the answer.
“The choice is you, DiNozzo,” Gibbs replied softly before sighing and running a hand over his pants. “It’s always you.”
“Then shit needs to change!” Tony bit out before taking a deep breath to try and calm his temper. “Things can’t continue as they have been both in our personal relationship and the professional one. I’m not willing to be your dirty secret anymore, and you’re going to treat me as an equal at work! Vance is going to have to abide by the contract Morrow signed that allows us to work together even though we’re married.
“You’re gonna get McGee and Abby back under control and we’re gonna tell Vance that Ziva doesn’t belong on an investigative team. If he argues we’re going above his fucking head. You want me? You want us? Then you’re gonna be all in. No more of this half-assed shit, and no more letting the rest of the so-called team run over me because you’re too afraid they’ll find out about us if you tell them to back off! I deserve more than this, Jethro.”
“You’re right,” the older man agreed quietly, and Tony was beginning to worry he’d broken the man’s brain.
“There’s one more thing,” he warned and almost smiled at the sigh.
“Of course there is,” Gibbs muttered sounding a little more like himself.
“You’re getting counseling,” Tony insisted quietly and steeled himself against the angry glare the last demand brought out. “And I don’t mean Rachel either. You have her too wound around your little finger. You need help, Jethro. You need to get past what happened to Shannon and Kelly, and you’ve never done that. It’s not a demand, but am going to tell you that I want us to get a place of our own. Not my apartment and not this house. You say you want this marriage between us to work, then we need a chance without so many ghosts around us.”
He saw those two blue eyes he loved so much spitting fire at him and wasn’t surprised. He knew the second that he mentioned Shannon and Kelly that his husband would be pissed and stop listening. It happened every time. It was why he left the counseling and the request to find a home that was theirs for last.
“I can’t imagine what it felt like to lose them, Jethro, but I know what would happen to me if you died.” Tony stood and moved to stand in front of his husband of many years. “But, they’re gone, and I think it’s our time now. Don’t you? Haven’t we waited long enough hidden in the shadows like something to be ashamed of? Isn’t it time we stepped out into the sunlight? Don’t you want to stop hurting? Aren’t we worth fighting for?”
At the last question, he heard a sigh and saw blue eyes soften so that the fear and the pain were evident. “It’s all I have left of them,” Gibbs whispered brokenly, and Tony just shook his head.
“But that’s not true. There’s all those pictures in the attic that should be out for everyone to see. There’s memories to share. I don’t want you to forget them, Babe. I just want their death to stop slowly killing you. If you don’t, I don’t know how we can survive, because there just isn’t enough room inside you for all that pain and me too.”
Finally, Gibbs nodded, and Tony couldn’t take it anymore. Stepping forward he pulled his husband into his arms, feeling better when he felt himself wrapped up in return. “We’ll get through this, Jethro. Together. Like always. You have my word.”