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Mild spoilers through season 6.
When Tim opened his eyes, he saw a familiar profile, burnished gold in the morning sunlight seeping around the edges of his curtains. Reaching out, his hand brushed warm skin, and he smiled as his partner mumbled sleepy, softly unintelligible gibberish, and rolled over to face him, eyes still closed. Tim's first thought of the day was that this was remarkably pleasant.
His second thought was, Oh my God, I'm sleeping with Tony DiNozzo.
The day went downhill from there.
They were on day three of untangling the presumed suicide of a petty officer that should have been resolved in the first twelve hours, and everyone was tiptoeing so lightly around Gibbs that no one picked up on Tim's reluctance to talk to his fellow agent, or in fact glance in the direction of Tony's desk. Tony, for his part, was too busy trying to anticipate the boss's next demand to notice; and whenever Ziva passed between their desks she kept all her trained senses on their senior agent, much as a Mossad-trained mouse might if trapped in the same cage as a cranky, silver-haired tiger.
Still, the best way not to be caught out was not to be around. Which carried its own dangers, however, because the fifth time Tim dropped by Abby's lab it wasn't even 4 PM, and before he could duck out again she grabbed his arm and sat him down in her office chair, hard enough that the wheels squeaked. "What's wrong, McGee?" she asked, looming over him with her crossed arms making it clear that "Nothing," "I don't know what you're talking about," or "Don't you have some blood samples to analyze?" would be unacceptable answers.
"Um, I told Gibbs I'd be back in a minute, he's going to be looking for me?" Tim tried.
Abby's brow lowered. "McGee!"
Tim looked longingly at the fire alarm, but it was a good three yards away, and no matter how hard he stared his Force powers had not noticeably improved since kindergarten. Capitulation was his only course. And this was Abby, after all; if there were anyone to whom he could tell anything, it would be her. Not to mention she knew a hundred different ways to dispose of a body; best to stay on her good side. "It can't leave this room, do you got that, Abby?" he said. "What I tell you, it absolutely, positively cannot get out of your lab."
"Absitively. Got it." Abby nodded. "So?"
"I'm..." Tim coughed. "That is—you have to understand—this is...Imsleepingwithtony."
Abby cocked her head. "What?"
Tim sighed. "I'm kind of. Um. Sleeping. With Tony. DiNozzo."
"Sleeping-sleeping?" Abby cocked her head in the other direction, pigtails bouncing. "Like, you fell asleep on his couch and drooled on his favorite pillow again?"
"Or sleeping?" Abby pressed with keen insight.
Abby's eyes went round like inflated balloons. "Oh my God, you're sleeping with Tony!"
Tim dropped his head into his hands. "I know!"
"How did that happen?"
"I have no idea!"
"Weren't you there?"
"Of course I was there, I just—"
"You don't remember?" Abby asked. "Had a little too much fun last night?" and she mimed drinking from a bottle.
"No," Tim said automatically, because even after this long working with the likes of Tony he still answered questions honestly, being as he was a total moron. A drunken escapade would've been the perfect excuse; he could claim he'd blacked out, didn't even remember the way Tony had touched his—
And no, he was not going to think about this in front of Abby, because Abby was a world-class forensics scientist, practiced at assembling whole pictures from small pieces, and she always knew—and knew it right now, by the way her purple-lipsticked mouth was stretching into a grin approximately as wide as an aircraft carrier. FA-18 Hornets could land on that smile.
"So you guys were both sober? In full control of your faculties and judgment?"
"Well, I'd had a couple beers the first time—" and Tim snapped his traitorous mouth shut, far too late, though at least it was before he mentioned that he'd just opened his second and Tony had still been on his first.
Abby had crouched to look him in the eyes, and now was leaning so close she was practically sitting on his lap. He could see every amber fleck in her green eyes. "How long?" she asked.
"That's not really relevant to the—"
"Honesty is the best policy, McGee. Full disclosure!"
"...About a month?"
"You've been having sex with Tony for the last four weeks?"
Tim coughed. "Actually, more like six weeks."
"I don't believe it! I've talked with you, like, every day!"
"You've talked with Tony, too," Tim pointed out.
Abby shrugged. "Like I could tell with Tony. Reading him is like trying to see through the glass in the interrogation room. While as you're an open book. With pictures."
"Graphic novel?" Tim asked hopefully.
"Dr. Seuss. Aww, don't pout, Tim, I love Dr. Seuss!"
"So!" Abby said brightly, folding her hands under her chin. She was still grinning fit to land a squadron of Prowlers. "What's it like, dating Tony?"
"We're not dating."
Abby put down her hands and stared at him in shock. "You mean he's just using you for sex? That jerk, I'll kill him!"
"No, no, he's not—we're—if anything, I'm the one using him for sex!"
Abby's eyes narrowed like an angry cat's. "You're using Tony? I'll kill you, McGee!"
"It's not like that," Tim protested desperately. "We didn't—it's only—it just...sort of...happened. It'd been a long day, we were bored, you and Ziva had gone clubbing, Tony couldn't rent the Hitchcock he wanted, so I brought over Jurassic Park, and, umm. Yeah. It happened. Right when the T-rex was chasing down Jeff Goldblum."
"Aww, you're turned on by giant animatronic dinosaurs!"
"At least they weren't CGI," Tim said, and then dropped his head back into his hands, because that was just what Tony had said, and what did it say about him that he was not only sleeping with DiNozzo, but quoting him?
"So that was your first date. And after that..." Abby prodded.
Tim could feel his ears burning; if they got any hotter he could light cigarettes with them. "It wasn't a date, it just. You know. Happened. And after that, it, uh...kept happening."
"Really," Abby said, only she drew it out to five syllables: re-a-ee-ah-lly. "How many times has it—"
"Um, hi, Ziva!" Tim shoved Abby out of the way and rocketed to his feet as his other partner entered the lab. "I was just—you were—uh, is Gibbs looking for me?"
"He is, in fact," Ziva said. "He wants to know if you've located the registration for MacDonald's second car."
"Yes, almost," Tim said, "I was just asking Abby if she, uh, knew why the DMV would, um—"
"Relax, McGee," Ziva said. "Gibbs is distracted now; Tony is busy spinning him his complicated and no doubt entirely incorrect theory of what happened to Petty Officer Grayson's pet dog."
"Grayson had a dog?" Abby asked. "That's so sad. What kind of man would suicide and leave his dog behind?"
"One who had lost a million dollars and was going to be arrested for high treason?"
"That's no excuse!"
"So," Ziva said.
They looked at her. Ziva was smiling slightly, dangerously. "What?" she asked.
"What?" Tim asked back.
"This." Ziva pointed between them. "You two. You were talking very closely, and then when I walked in, zip go the lips," and she closed her fingertips together. "Not about the case, then. So, what?"
"We weren't," Tim protested.
Ziva's look was pitying. "One of these days I will sit you down and teach you how to lie, McGee. What is up?"
"It doesn't have anything to do with—"
"McGee's sleeping with Tony."
"Abby! You promised not to tell!"
Abby sketched a boxed space with her hands. "It didn't leave the lab, McGee!"
Ziva pursed her lips thoughtfully. "Our Tony?"
Tim groaned feebly. "No, another Tony DiNozzo I met at the local gay bar. Yes, our Tony."
Ziva's dark eyes lit with a gleam of intrigue might appear mildly curious in another person's eyes. In Ziva's, it looked bloodthirsty. The thumbscrews would be coming out any second now. "Do you often frequent gay bars, McGee?"
"No! I'm not gay!"
"You're just sleeping with Tony," Abby said.
"Yes! No! I mean. I'm bi. Sort of. Sometimes. Apparently. But I'm not—I don't—I haven't—it's not like we're dating, we're just. Um. Sleeping together."
"You mean, sleeping together," Abby corrected. "You have to stop saying it like that, McGee, you make it sound like you're just falling asleep in the same bed together. And this is more interesting than that."
"Much more interesting," Ziva agreed.
"Much, much more interesting," Abby said.
Ziva nodded. "Maybe not much, much, much, but much, much, yes."
"It's nice to know my complete psychotic break is sufficiently entertaining," Tim said, sinking back into the chair as he clapped his hands over his face. It wouldn't do much good; by now his ears must be bright enough red to guide Santa's sleigh. "This is insane. I'm insane. If anyone found out—God, imagine if Gibbs—violating Rule 12 alone will probably get us both—both—I have no idea what, but it won't be pretty—"
"You are having a clandestine affair with Tony." Ziva shook her head. "I am surprised with you, McGee."
"Believe me, I'm surprised," Tim said. "I didn't even know I was bi."
"Not that," Ziva said, shrugging dismissively. "Men, women, we're all adults. But, Tony? Yes, he is good-looking, but he is as obnoxious as he is hot; sometimes he would try the patience of a Satan."
"Of a saint."
"That, too," Ziva allowed. "I thought you had better taste that that."
"So did I," Tim said.
Abby swatted his shoulder and Ziva's. "Oh, come on, Tony's a great guy!"
Tim dropped his hands to glare up at her. "Did you know the day before yesterday he changed my whole desktop theme to the Gummi Bears? Just because I happened to mention I used to watch the Disney Afternoon in junior high. My computer played the theme song on start-up. At top volume!"
"Oh, is that what it was," Ziva said. "He did it to my computer, too."
"You should've told me, I'll switch it back for you," Tim said.
"But it's cute! 'Gummi bears, bouncing here and there and in your hair...'" Ziva sang. Abby hummed and nodded along, pigtails twirling.
"Forget the Gummi Bears!" Tim cried, loud enough that both of them started out of the impromptu cartoon karaoke and looked at him. "Seriously, guys, what am I going to do?"
Abby took pity on him, crouching by his chair to rub his back soothingly. "Really, McGee, it's not that bad. Maybe Gibbs won't find out."
"Yes," Ziva said. "He is getting older, it is remotely possible that he will go completely blind and deaf within the next week or two."
"Ziva," Abby said, in a tone of mild rebuke, "remember what I told you about being encouraging?"
Ziva glanced at her and then frowned. "Ah, yes. I'm sorry, McGee. I meant to say that chances are high that Gibbs will soon be senile enough not to notice two of his field agents are screwing."
"No, she's right," Tim said despairingly. "Gibbs is going to find out, sooner or later, he always does."
"Unless he already has," Abby said. "It has been over a month. Maybe he knows and he just hasn't said anything."
"You've been together a month?" Ziva asked. "Now I am impressed. I didn't think Tony could keep it in his pants for that long."
"He's not," Abby pointed out.
"He's really not," Tim was forced to emphasize, recalling last night. Definitely no pants involved.
"Or rather, keep his pants in his mouth, for that long," Ziva amended. "To make no mention of it, when it isn't an actual assignment..." She considered. "It's not an assignment, is it? You're not undercover?"
"No," Tim said. "We're under covers sometimes, but..."
"And you're sure your father is not secretly an international arms dealer?"
"Pretty sure, yeah."
"Not if you knew my dad. I mean, he's a great guy, but he's not—never mind! The point here isn't that we've managed to be discreet—"
"The point is that you're breaking Rule 12. Never date a coworker."
"That's not the—huh." Tim paused. "We're not actually breaking that; it's not like Tony and I are really dating."
Ziva inclined her head, all smooth and panther-like, as if Tim were a succulent steak and she was trying to figure out why there was a sprig of parsley on top of him. "You're not?"
"They're using each other for sex," Abby explained.
"And that's not dating how, exactly?"
"Because it's not anything serious," Tim said, wondering why desperation seemed to be leaching into his voice. This was perfectly logical, after all. "It's not like we're giving each other chocolate—"
"Didn't you let him steal your donut the other day? With only one token protest?"
"—or going on dates—"
"His place for movies, your place for Halo competitions, Ziva's for dinner," Abby counted off on her fingers. "And you did come to my friend's party together, last week—"
"—or calling each other pet names—"
"McGeek, Probie, Elf Lord—" Ziva began.
Abby picked up, "—Probie Wan Kenobi, McProbius, McGnome, Mc—"
"That's not dating!" Tim denied. "Tony's just an asshole."
"An asshole you're going out with," Ziva said.
"We're not going out! We're both guys, it's just a few no-strings-attached, stress-relieving mutual orgasms—"
"How many?" Abby asked.
"Um," Tim said. "I, um, haven't been..."
"That many?" Ziva looked jealous. Or maybe turned on. Maybe both. It was terrifying either way. "How is he?" she asked.
"How is who what?"
"Tony, in bed."
Tim blinked at her. "You don't know?"
Ziva shook her head. "Tony and I have never, hmm, gone to all the way."
Tim frowned. "Even when you were pretending to be those Canadian assassins?"
"Hah!" This was the best thing that had happened all day. "I can't wait to tell Palmer I won that bet."
"So, he is good?" Ziva pressed.
Tim squirmed. "Um. He's...not...bad?"
"Good enough to make you lose count!" Abby crowed.
"I didn't say—"
"Yours ears did," Abby told him, pinching their burning tips.
Tim slumped in his seat. "Okay, fine. It's good sex. It's good casual, meaningless, no-strings, non-dating sex. That doesn't change the actual problem, namely, that I am sleeping with Tony."
"You know, there's an easy solution, McGee," Abby pointed out, and Ziva nodded.
Tim sat up. "Yes?" He peered between them eagerly. "What?"
Abby shrugged. "You could always stop sleeping with Tony."
Tim slumped back again, dropping his head. "Yeah, I thought of that," he sighed.
"And? If Gibbs hasn't noticed yet, you can quit now. No harm, no foul," Ziva said.
"But if he has noticed, then it wouldn't change anything," Tim said. "And that's not the point anyway."
"So what is the point?" Abby asked.
Tim dropped his head lower, chin on his breast, so he was addressing his mumble mostly to his own belly. "It's actually not just not bad. Tony, he...it's not what I expected. It's really...um...kind of...fantastic."
"Oh my God!" Abby shrieked, hitting a key bats would have to strain to hear. "You like sleeping with Tony!"
"Keep it down," Tim begged, "it's bad enough without the whole building finding out!"
"The lab's sound-proofed," Abby reassured him. "Besides, it's not that bad, Tim."
"Yes," Ziva agreed. "It's quite sweet, actually."
"Oh, yeah? Forget that everyone who has gone out with Tony—which, I remind you, is most of the women under forty who work in this agency except the two of you (and probably most of the men, too, for that matter, since I doubt I was his first, and that does explain why he won't give the names of half the cute blonds or sexy redheads he's slept with, now that I think about it)—would lose the last vestiges of respect they might conceivably have for me—forgetting that, what if Gibbs heard?" Tim demanded. "Or—or what if Tony heard?"
Ziva's brow furrowed. "Wouldn't Tony have already heard? Or are you that quiet in bed?"
"Tony knows that I like it," Tim said, "but he doesn't know that I like it."
"Ohhhh." Abby nodded understandingly. "I hear that."
"So do I," Ziva said, still frowning, "but I do not understand it."
"If Tony knew that McGee doesn't just like having sex with him," Abby explained, "but that he also likes having sex with him—"
"Oh, obviously," Ziva said, with a dismissive wave, "but Tony already knows, does he not? Or we all would have heard a month ago. He is being careful with this, and not because he is undercover."
"He's being careful because of Rule 12," Tim said. "He doesn't want to get in trouble with Gibbs, either."
"But Rule 12 only applies to dating coworkers, yes?" Ziva asked. "Ergo ipso facto, Tony assumes he is dating you."
Tim blanched. "But it's not serious—he doesn't—this isn't—he hasn't—"
Abby laid a hand on his arm. "Think about it, McGee. This is Tony, you have to read between the lines."
"Well, he did call me McSexy a couple days ago." Tim blinked, playing back that memory in his head, then turned around the chair so he could knock his forehead against Abby's desk. "Oh my God, we are serious. I'm dating. I'm dating Tony DiNozzo!"
Abby gave him a quick hug, squeezing his shoulders. "It's okay, Tim."
"Tony! DiNozzo! Who makes fun of my sensitive cuticles while owning more pairs of shoes than my mother and my sister combined! Whose James Bond impression makes Sean Connery turn over in his grave, and he's not even dead! Who once grew a mustache and dyed it black to win second place in a Magnum P.I. look-alike contest, and I know because he showed me the winning photo, which he has framed! I am dating Tony DiNozzo!"
"It could be worse," Ziva observed. "You could be dating Gibbs."
"Yeah, McGee, at least you're not going to become a fifth wife."
Abby snuggled into his side, soft and comforting. "Look on the bright side, you'll have something titillating for your next novel."
"There's that..." Tim shook his head. "I should've just gone to a gay bar. If I was going to figure out I was bi, why couldn't I have just gotten wasted and gotten a blow job in a dirty bathroom like a normal guy?"
"Oh, Tim," Abby said, "it'd be so much less cool if you were a normal guy."
"Your books would not sell if they were about 'normal guys'," Ziva said. "Besides, aren't some things more important?"
"She's right," Abby said warmly. "Think about it, Tim. Okay, dating our Tony is a little..."
"—Mortifying," Ziva supplied, "in a you may want to consider wearing a bag over your head if you go out in public together sort of way—"
"—but does it make you happy?"
Tim thought about Tony stealing his donuts and muffins and candy bars, Tony smacking the back of his head harder than Gibbs ever did just because he could, Tony lecturing for an entire two hour van-ride on the five hundred most famous movies that Tim had never heard of.
Tony with his eyes hot and dark, a rampaging dinosaur reflecting in his irises as he leaned over Tim, his mouth tasting sharply of the breathmint he had just popped, cool and hot at once. And Tony asleep in the morning sunlight, long languid body golden and so warm.
"I guess, if you look at it like that," Tim said, "then this is..."
The phone rang. Abby picked it up, listened, then said, "Sure, he's right here," and pushed the speaker button.
"McGee," Tony's voice came through the speaker, "why are you skulking down there again? Gibbs is looking for you, we finally got access to the suicide hotline database, but every search I've tried, it tells me my syntax is insufficient, which I'm starting to suspect is geek for insulting my manhood. And if the boss takes a crack at it he's liable to crash the system, if not the whole internet. Anyway, he's gone on a coffee run, so you've got six minutes to get your surprisingly curvaceous ass up here, McStudmuffin, we don't have all day."
"Coming, Tony," Tim said, and disconnected before Tony could get out the, "That's what you said last night," that they all knew was on the tip of his tongue.
He looked at Abby and Ziva. It wasn't any joke that Tony hadn't made before, but Abby's grin could land tandem 747s. Ziva looked as composed as always, except for the corners of her mouth twitching like a cat who had swallowed a live canary and was trying to keep it down.
"This is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life," Tim said, and got his surprisingly curvaceous ass moving, before Abby and Ziva noticed his own unavoidable smile.
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