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Alphabet Meme. Gibbs/Fornell. (NCIS)

TITLE: Gut Instinct
AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
FANDOM: NCIS
PAIRING: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Tobias C. Fornell
GENRE: Slash
SUB-GENRE: Established Relationship
SUMMARY: Fornell has apparently left DC by choice. However, Gibbs simply doesn't believe it.
RATING: PG
WORD COUNT: 5,385
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written for sharpiesgal: G - Gut Instinct
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.



Gibbs strode into Vance's office, without knocking as usual.

Vance had the phone in his hand and as Gibbs reached his desk he put it put it down and stared at Gibbs. "I've just had the director of the FBI on the phone."

"Yeah?"

"Yes. He said you'd paid him a visit."

"Yep."

"Gibbs, you may be this agency's senior agent. I may allow you a certain about of," he paused for a moment and glared at Gibbs. "Leeway, shall we say? However, you cannot talk to the director of the FBI as you did."

Gibbs shrugged. "He wasn't listening."

Vance sighed. "According to him you were the one not listening."

Gibbs shrugged again. "I wasn't the one who had to."

Vance sighed again. "Sit down, Gibbs." He nodded to one of the chairs around the conference table.

Gibbs held Vance's stare and for a moment considered disobeying. However, given he'd completely pissed off the director of the FBI, he thought he'd better not have two agency directors mad at him - especially as he might need Vance's support and backing or at least agreement.

Thus, he grabbed a chair and pulled it towards the desk and sat down. "Leon -"

"No, listen to me. Look, Jethro, I know Fornell was a good friend of yours."

"Is."

"What?"

"Is a good friend, not was."

Vance seemed about to say something, then stopped and instead said, "Is a good friend of yours. But that doesn't give you the right to -"

"Fornell did not leave DC by choice," Gibbs said flatly. He'd lost track of the number of times he'd said the words.

"The letter -"

"Was bullshit."

"The FBI don't think so."

Gibbs shrugged. "The FBI is -" He stopped before he said something he might live to regret and instead said, "wrong."

"They're certain. The letter fit in with other documents Fornell had written. The tone was right, everything fitted, Gibbs. Fornell wrote that letter."

Gibbs hesitated and then said, "Maybe. But not by choice."

"And what makes you think they are wrong and you're right?"

"My gut."

Vance sighed. "Gibbs, your gut isn't infallible."

Gibbs glared at him. "It is this time. Fornell did not mean what he wrote in that letter. He did not leave DC, by choice. He was coerced or kidnapped or something. He could be anywhere by now and the FBI just plan to sit on the asses and do nothing. I'm not going to do that."

Vance stared at him. "What are you going to do?"

Gibbs hesitated for a moment before saying more softly than he'd spoken all morning, "Find Fornell and bring him home."

"Jethro -"

Gibbs stood up. "I'll take some of my outstanding leave. DiNozzo and McGee can handle things here." He turned to leave.

"Gibbs!" Gibbs stopped and turned around. Vance was on his feet. "What if you're wrong? What if Fornell doesn't want to come home?"

Gibbs stared over Vance's shoulder for a second or two before looking directly at him and saying, "He'll have to tell me that." And he strode towards the door and left Vance's office.

He went into the elevator and got into it; he waited for it to start going down, before hitting the emergency stop button and leaning back against the wall. "Damn you, Tobias," he said softly, staring up at the top of the elevator, "where the hell are you? What happened?"

It was all very well him telling Vance and Fornell's director that he planned to find Fornell, but he actually didn't know how. He hadn't had time to formulate a plan other than 'find Fornell and bring him home'. He'd have to rely on his gut; his instincts were always good, which is why he didn't care how many so called experts assured him Fornell had written the letter. His gut told him otherwise; his instinct, which had saved his life multiple times, told him otherwise.

He hit the emergency stop button again and the elevator continued its way down. The autopsy doors swished open and he strode inside.

"Jethro, how -"

"Palmer, go and see Abby."

Palmer glanced at Ducky who after glancing swiftly at Gibbs, nodded. "Do as Agent Gibbs said, Jimmy."

"Yes, Doctor. Yes, Special Agent Gibbs, sir," Palmer stammered, before turning and hurrying towards the doors - he only tripped once.

Ducky watched Palmer go and waited until the doors had closed again before he crossed to where Gibbs was pacing and said softly, "Well, Jethro, what exactly is the matter?"

Gibbs stopped pacing and looked directly at Ducky. "Fornell's missing."

"I see and what, may I ask, is the FBI doing to find him?"

Gibbs glared, even though it wasn't Ducky he was angry with. "Nothing."

"Nothing?" Ducky spoke more loudly than he normally did; his surprise was clear.

"That's right, Duck. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Nil. Fucking nothing." His voice had become much louder until he was actually shouting at Ducky. As he stared down at Ducky, he realized he'd moved, without being consciously aware of doing so, closer to Ducky and was towering over him in an intimidating way.

Ducky simply stood his ground and held Gibbs's glare as he looked up at him. "And why exactly is the FBI doing nothing to find their missing agent?" His voice had a hard edge to it as well as still containing more than a hint of surprise.

Gibbs closed his eyes and sighed. "Because, Duck," he said, far more quietly and calmly, he even put his hand on Ducky's shoulder and squeezed it for a moment, "they don't think he's missing."

Ducky blinked. "Jethro?"

Gibbs sighed again. "They think, no they're sure, that Fornell left DC because he wanted to."

"And you do not think that is so?"

Gibbs shook his head. "Know it's not."

Ducky frowned a little. "And how do you know that, Jethro?" Gibbs stared at him. "Ah," Ducky said softly, "your gut?"

Gibbs nodded. "Yeah. Duck. He wouldn't just leave. That's not what Fornell's like. He'd have told me."

"Come and sit down, Jethro, and tell me - Well, whatever it is you want to tell me, and then you can tell me what I can do to help you. Oh, and you can begin by telling my quite why the FBI is so certain Tobias did leave DC on his own accord."

Gibbs followed Ducky to his desk, waited until Ducky sat down before snagging the other chair and straddling it. He leaned on the back and looked at Ducky. "There was a letter giving Fornell's reasons for leaving - none of which are relevant. They ran checks on words or phrases or whatever and are sure it was written by Tobias. It fits, they say, with other things he's written."

"Did you see the letter?"

"Yeah. It was his handwriting; hell, Duck, it sounded like him, but . . ."

"You know it wasn't him. Or at least you know he didn't write it out of choice."

Trust Ducky to get straight to the point and understand him. Why couldn't the damned FBI director have done the same? He nodded. "Yeah."

"And you are going to find him and bring him home?"

Gibbs nodded again. "Yeah."

"What can I do to help?"

Gibbs hesitated for a moment before saying quietly, "Duck?"

"Yes, Jethro?"

"There's something I've got to tell you. Should have told you before, but . . ."

"It's all right, Jethro. I know." Ducky spoke softly.

Gibbs stared at Ducky. "You know?"

Ducky gave him a smile and patted his arm. "Yes, my dear Jethro. I know."

Gibbs swallowed. "Duck, I -"

"You are about to tell me what I can do to help you find Tobias and bring him home." Ducky stared unblinkingly at Gibbs.

Gibbs held the stare, acknowledged what Ducky was saying silently to him, swallowed hard and squeezed Ducky's hand. "Thanks, Duck."

"Any time, Jethro, you know that. And for anything."

Gibbs nodded and said again, "Thanks, Duck."

AN HOUR LATER

"Jethro, are you certain we should be doing this?"

"Got a key. It's not as if we're breaking in."

"Well, yes, of that I am aware. However, should we be risking contaminating evidence?"

Gibbs unlocked Fornell's front door and opened it. "Told you, Duck, the FBI won't believe me. Tobias isn't missing, he's left DC. Now come on." And he led the way inside.

He put his keys back into his pocket and pulled out two pairs of gloves and handed one pair to Ducky. "Reckon it'll be better if we go around together," he said. "It'll take longer, but it's the best way."

"For what exactly are we looking, Jethro?"

"Anything that's out of place. Anything that proves Fornell didn't leave here by choice. Come on, Duck, you know how it goes."

"Well, yes, I do, but. Jethro, I wish to help you, really I do, but I'm not certain I would spot something that was 'out of place'. I have never been inside Tobias's house until today. You're more likely to see something than I am."

Gibbs shook his head. "Yeah, but you know Fornell, Duck. You've spent time with him, worked with him, talked to him. You know him. Hell, I bet you've even profiled him at some time."

"I have not." Ducky sounded a little indignant.

Gibbs shrugged. "Okay, so not properly, but you will have done, if only subconsciously; it's what you do, Duck. I'm right, aren't I?"

Ducky frowned slightly and stared up at Gibbs. "I hate to have to admit it, Jethro, but I do believe you are correct. Yes, I do at least to an extent know Tobias - I just hadn't thought of it in those terms."

"Let's start then. Living room first."

"There is one thing, Jethro?"

"Yeah, Duck?"

"Any crawling about on the floor or climbing on chairs that is required, you will have to do."

Gibbs smiled at Ducky, it was the first time he'd smiled that day. "Sure thing."

They worked methodically together, never once getting in the other's way even though they had never worked a crime scene (because no matter what the FBI said this was a crime scene) together before, not in the way they were doing it now. They found nothing in the living room nor in the kitchen, despite Gibbs crawling around the floor, looking into every corner and climbing up on a kitchen stool to check on the tops of cupboards.

Thus they climbed the stairs and Gibbs led the way to Fornell's bedroom. He was about to go inside when Ducky caught his arm. "Wait," he said, pushing Gibbs to one side and staring into the room. He frowned slightly as he gazed slowly around the room.

"What is it, Duck?" Gibbs looked over his shoulder.

Ducky sighed softly and looked at him. "Something doesn’t feel right - but I can't put my finger on what it is."

"Something you see?" Ducky shook his head slowly. "Smell?"

"No, it's definitely not that. It's - Something is missing, Jethro." Ducky grabbed Gibbs's arm.

"Duck?" Gibbs hesitated, not quite certain what to say. How could Ducky know something was missing? As he'd said he'd never been in Fornell's house before, let alone his bedroom. "I'm not sure -"

"Did Tobias read in bed?"

"Duck?"

"Just answer the question, Jethro. Did Tobias read in bed?"

Gibbs frowned for a moment as he thought back to the times he'd spent in Tobias's bedroom, in his bed. He'd never seen Tobias read then - but then reading wasn't exactly what they'd had on their minds. But - "There was always a book by his bed!" He grabbed Ducky's arm. "Duck, there was always a book on the nightstand."

Together they looked at the nightstand. Apart from an empty water glass and the clock-radio, there was nothing on top of it. And come to think of it, wouldn't Fornell have taken the glass to the kitchen if he really had left DC of his own accord? He wouldn't leave it by the bed, would he?

Ducky clearly had the same thought as he said softly, "And I do not believe that a man as tidy as Agent Fornell could be would have left a water glass by his bed simply collecting dust. He would have taken it to the kitchen, washed it up and put it away."

Gibbs nodded. "He would. I know he would, Duck."

"Jethro?" Ducky's voice was low and a little hesitant.

"Yeah, Duck?"

"May I be permitted to ask a slightly - indelicate, well, personal question?"

"You can be as indelicate and personal as you like, Duck, if it helps us find out where Tobias is."

"Very well. When were you last here?"

"Four nights ago."

Ducky nodded. "And do you by any chance remember what the book was? Even the color or size?"

Gibbs frowned and to his surprise felt his cheeks become a little warm. "Gee, Duck, I was kind of -"

"Leroy Jethro Gibbs, you are a highly trained and skilled investigator. You see things even when you do not consciously see them. Think, Jethro; think and employ those skills now and remember what you saw on the nightstand."

Gibbs looked down at Ducky. He was right; of course he was - but even so. It was one thing seeing a face in a crowd or noticing a bulge under a jacket or all the other things he automatically noticed, but a book . . . Nonetheless, he closed his eyes for a moment and thought back to the last time he'd been in the room. The last time he'd seen Fornell. The last time he'd heard from him.

He opened his eyes again and stared at the nightstand, focusing on what had been there four nights ago. He saw the clock-radio; the water glass, which had been half full and - "It was small, smaller than a normal book; fairly thin and it was -" Again he concentrated. "Blue."

"Hard back or paper back?"

"Duck!"

"Hard back or paper back?" Ducky repeated.

Gibbs thought. "Hard." He stared at Ducky. "We've got something, Duck."

Ducky gave him a faint smile and said quietly, "Of course, Tobias may merely have finished the book and returned it to his bookcase or even taken it with him."

Gibbs shook his head. "No," he said. "There was always a book here, Duck. Always. It was as if he - this'll sound silly, but here goes. It was as if he had to have something there, even if he'd finished reading it. He kept it there until he chose another one to read."

"I don't remember seeing such a book on the bookcase in the sitting room," Ducky said. "Of course I wasn't specifically looking for such a book."

"I'll go and look. You - well, look around the bedroom; see if you can find something else odd."

Somehow, he wasn't sure how, he missed his step slightly on the second from the bottom stair and couldn't regain his balance. He fell to the ground, knocking his hand hard against the radiator and his head against the wall. "Damn it," he swore and then a second later, all hints of irritation and pain fled as on the floor standing upright half under the radiator was the book.

He snatched it up in his still gloved hand and called, "Ducky!" as he turned and taking the stairs two at a time raced up them.

Ducky hurried out of Fornell's bedroom. "Jethro? Are you all right? I thought a heard a noise, it sounded as if someone had fallen."

"Yeah, that'd have been me, Duck. Lost my footing and banged into the radiator; hurt my hand." He didn't tell Ducky he'd also banged his head for fear that Ducky would insist on his sitting down or even going to the hospital or something else doctorish.

"Are you all right? Here let me look at it."

Gibbs shook his head. "It's fine, Duck," he said, even though actually his hand not only hurt, he could feel his glove was wet inside, he appeared to have cut his hand on the edge of the radiator. He ignored the pain and the blood and held the book out towards Ducky. "It's the book, Duck. The one Tobias had by his bed."

"Oh, so he did move it after all." Ducky sounded disappointed and a little despondent.

"No. No, Ducky, he didn't. This book was behind the radiator. It fell out when I hit it. He, - Tobias - must have found a way to leave it there. Before he - Before he was taken away. He knew I'd come here and - He hid it, Duck. He hid it for me to find."

For a moment they both stood in silence and just stared at the small, thin, insignificant book. Gibbs almost didn't want to open it in case they found nothing. He was so close and yet - what if . . . What if there was nothing in the book? Nothing that would give any hint of where Fornell was or who had abducted him?

What if Fornell had only been able to hide it to prove he hadn't done what his letter had said he'd done. What then? He doubted it would be enough for the FBI, but maybe Vance might be persuaded - especially if Ducky was the one to do most of the talking. Hell, Ducky could go on talking until Vance gave in simply to shut Ducky up.

He held the book out to Ducky. "You open it, Duck," he said.

Ducky took the book and stared up at Gibbs. He squeezed Gibbs's arm as he locked gazes with him; not for the first time Gibbs saw quite clearly how much Ducky cared about him and he knew just how lucky he was to have Ducky as a friend.

Ducky hesitated for no more than a second or two before he opened the book. Gibbs just stood, not daring to look at the open book, simply looking at Ducky. And then Ducky raised his head, smiled a brilliant smile and held the book out to Gibbs.

SEVERAL HOURS LATER

Despite Ducky urging him to take back-up with him or even to let him accompany him, Gibbs set off alone. When he reached the small town whose name Fornell had managed to write in the front of the book, it turned out to be laughably easy to find someone who had seen a strange truck arrive four nights ago and where it had gone.

Leaving the car, Gibbs using all his sniper's training and instinct, made his way carefully on foot until the cabin came into view. He wasn't quite certain what to expect, so he moved his back-up gun into his left hand jacket pocket and with his Sig in his right hand he made his way slowly and silently to the cabin.

To his surprise the door was unlocked; it was almost as if it was waiting for him, inviting him to go inside. Now moving even more carefully and just as silently, Gibbs quietly pushed the door open and slipped inside into a small hallway where he stood and waited for his eyes to adjust from the outside darkness to the relative brightness of the hall. He stood and listened as he planned his next move, and then he heard the sound of a throat being cleared and knew which of the three doors which opened off of the hall Fornell was behind.

He counted silently to three and then burst into the room, Sig held securely between both hands and called, "Federal Agent! Drop your weapons!" as he scanned the room.

A moment later he felt almost foolish to discover Fornell sitting on one side of the table staring at him. He wasn't handcuffed nor tied up and the other man, who had jumped to his feet as soon as Gibbs had burst into the room and now stood hands over his head, eyes wide and trembling badly, showed no sign of having a weapon.

"Hello, Jethro," Fornell said, his tone more than a little weary.

Still pointing his Sig towards the trembling man, Gibbs let his glance flicker to Fornell, who was also on his feet, for a moment. "Hello, Tobias," he said. "Is he armed?"

"No - at least not now. Gibbs, this is William Parkinson. Billy, this is Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Billy invited me to come and stay with him for a few days," he added. "Didn't you, Billy?"

Gibbs stared at Fornell and raised an eyebrow as Fornell's look told him not to ask any questions at the moment.

"Come on, Billy, put your hands down and sit down. Gibbs isn't going to shoot you, are you, Jethro?"

Slowly, Gibbs took his left hand from around his right and lowered his gun as he shook his head. "Not unless he gives me any reason to, no. You all right, Tobias?"

"Sure. I told you, Billy -"

"Invited you to stay with him for a few days. Yeah, got that." He nodded to the chair Parkinson had been sitting in when he'd gone into the room. "Sit down," he said.

After a moment or two, moving slowly and keeping as far away from Gibbs as he could, Parkinson obeyed. Fornell sank back down into his chair and Gibbs pulled a third one out, turned it around and straddled it. He positioned himself between Fornell and the white faced, still shaking Parkinson.

"Want to tell me what's going on?" he asked, in what for him was a conversational tone.

"He killed my son." Parkinson spoke for the first time.

Gibbs glanced at Fornell and raised an eyebrow. Fornell nodded. "Yes, I did. But we talked about why I had to kill him, didn't we, Billy? It was to stop him from killing several other people - do you remember?"

Slowly Parkinson nodded. "I guess. I tried to teach him proper. I tried to bring him up right. His mom died when he was three months. I tried, Agent Fornell; I tried."

"I know you did, Billy."

"But he got out of hand and started to do drugs and he drank and . . . I tried. I still miss him though. He was my son. I know he went bad, but he was still my boy."

"Of course you still miss him, Billy. It's only natural. It's so hard lose your child - it really doesn't matter what they did, Billy, you still miss them."

"Is it?" Parkinson sounded forlornly hopeful.

Fornell glanced at Gibbs. "Jethro?"

Gibbs shot Fornell an angry look but said his tone flat, "Fornell's right. It is tough to lose a child."

Parkinson stared at Gibbs. "You know?" Gibbs gave him a curt nod and had to turn away as Parkinson's eyes filled with tears. "What's going to happen to me, Agent Fornell?"

Fornell again glanced at Gibbs. "Well, Billy, that's up to you. If you agree to get some help and treatment then," again he glanced at Gibbs, moistened his lips and said quietly, "nothing. Nothing will happen to you, Billy."

Parkinson's eyes widened. "You mean that?" Fornell nodded. "And him? Agent Gibbs?" he added swiftly.

Fornell once more turned his attention to Gibbs and stared at him. For a moment Gibbs hesitated, torn between demanding to hear the full story before he committed himself, and telling Parkinson he could go to hell as far as he was concerned and if he wanted any help, Gibbs'd be more than happy to give it to him, and agreeing.

Fornell simply held his gaze patiently as he waited. Finally Gibbs sighed, pushed his Sig back into its holster and nodded once. "But you come anywhere near Fornell again and . . ."

"I won't," Parkinson whispered. "Can we go home now?"

They locked the cabin up behind them and Fornell made a promise to arrange for someone to get Parkinson's truck back to DC before they headed for Gibbs's car. Parkinson sat in the back and closed his eyes.

The journey back to DC was conducted for the most part in silence. However, from time to time Gibbs took his hand from the steering wheel and touched Fornell's thigh or hand - just to reassure himself.

They left Parkinson at a hospital, Fornell being the one to fill out various paperwork before they said goodbye and Gibbs drove Fornell back to his house where Fornell took a long, hot shower, Gibbs ordered pizza and they sat still pretty much in silence eating the pizza and drinking whiskey until Gibbs told Fornell to go to bed, adding he'd join him once he'd cleared away and locked up. The fact that Fornell made no comment to the 'locking up' comment told Gibbs quite how exhausted he was. When, less than five minutes later, he went into the bedroom, Fornell was already in bed and fast asleep.

THE NEXT DAY

"You going to tell me the whole story about Parkinson and his son?"

Fornell nodded. "Later - I'll tell you later, Jethro."

Gibbs hesitated and then nodded. "Okay. But at least tell me what happened on the night he - invited you to go with him."

Fornell gave him a partial smile. "There's not a lot to tell. I invited him in - yes, I know. I was tired, Jethro, I'd been working flat out, you know that. I invited him in, turned my back and . . . The next second his arm was around my throat and he had a gun pressed against my side. I'd already put mine away. You saw how tall he was and he's strong; I decided that I'd rather go on living, so I didn't struggle. He told me he was going to kill me just as I'd killed his son, but that he was going to take me out of DC first."

"The letter?"

"Was my idea."

"What?" Gibbs stared at Fornell.

Fornell shrugged. "I knew you wouldn't believe it, no matter who else did. I knew the wording was enough to trip that darn gut of yours and that you'd look for me. I knew you'd know I'd never leave DC, just like that - and certainly not without telling you."

Gibbs gave a small nod. "The book?"

"When we were in my bedroom - I told him I wanted to change before we went. I promised him I hadn't got a gun or knife and I would go with him. I didn't want to anger him, Jethro, I wanted to do just as he said so that I stayed alive. He was nervous enough that I knew one wrong move and he'd shoot me there and then, no matter what he'd said."

"So you were in your bedroom?"

"And he let slip where we were going. He kept going to the window to check the street and somehow I managed to grab the book, scribble in it and hide it against my body. I knew I had to get it out of the bedroom as I knew you'd realize something was missing and -"

"I didn't."

"What?"

"It wasn't me who noticed something was missing. It was Ducky."

Fornell glanced away from him for a moment and then said quietly, "Okay, so I knew you'd ask Ducky to help you. I knew you'd take him to my house to look around. I knew he to an extent profiles everyone and I was certain he'd know I read in bed. He'd mention the lack of a book and that would make you think."

"Gee, Fornell, you ever thought of writing detective fiction?"

Fornell gave him quick smile. "It worked."

"Well, yeah, but what if -"

"It worked, Jethro." Fornell took Gibbs's hand and linked his fingers with Gibbs's. "You found me. I knew you'd never give up, no matter what - I always knew you'd find me, Jethro."

Gibbs squeezed Fornell's hand. "Getting soft in your old age, are you, Tobias?" However, his tone was gentle, as was the look he gave Fornell.

Fornell met the look and held it and for a moment neither of them spoke. They just gazed at one another saying things they'd never consider saying to one another. Then Fornell spoke again, "I'm getting out," he said.

"What?"

"I'm getting out?"

Gibbs frowned. "Of the FBI? DC? Or this?" He nodded at their still joined hands.

"The first two. And the thing is, Jethro, I think you should join me."

"You do, do you?"

"Yes. Yes, Gibbs, I do. Come on, you're fifty-seven in a few months. Why wait? Retire now and we can . . . It was only an idea," he added when Gibbs didn't speak.

"You sure?"

Fornell frowned slightly. "About which bit?"

Gibbs hesitated for a second or two before saying softly, "All three."

Fornell's relief was clear and he nodded. "I am. I'm tired of it, Jethro. I've given my entire life to the FBI. I've been shot at, wounded, abducted. I've killed, I've made widows, widowers and orphans - and you know what the worst of it is?"

"They still keep coming," Gibbs said softly. "No matter what we do, the dirt bags still keep coming."

Fornell nodded. "Yeah, they do. And I've had enough."

"Where do you want to go?" Gibbs asked after a moment or two.

Fornell shrugged. "I hadn't really thought that far ahead. Somewhere else in the States? Europe? England?"

Gibbs stared at him. "What about Emily?"

Fornell sighed and looked a little saddened before sighing and saying, his tone flat, "Diane and whatshisname want to move away, across the other side of America. She said if I didn't object, and I have the right to, that rather than what we have now, I can have Emily for all or at least most of the long holidays."

"You believe her?"

"She's the one who said we'd get it all drawn up properly by a lawyer - some of them can be trusted, you know."

Gibbs gave him a quick grin. "One or two, maybe. But what about -"

"This?" Now Fornell nodded at their still joined hands.

"Yeah. Diane won't -"

"She knows."

"What? You told her?"

Fornell shook his head and then nodded and said hurriedly, "She told me; she said she'd known for - oh, I don't know, a hell of a time. I confirmed it - I couldn't not - and she said that was fine."

"And Emily? Does she know?"

Fornell nodded. "Yes, we both talked to her. She went really quiet, Jethro, my little girl was suddenly my little girl again and then she smiled, nodded and told us she thought it was a really cool idea."

"All this happened when?"

"Two weeks ago. I was just waiting - well for the right time to tell you. To be honest, Gibbs, when it was discussed, I was intent on finishing out my time with the FBI while you did your time with NCIS and then . . . But I don't want to wait. However, I will if you want to. If you want to stay with NCIS for the next few months, I'll be happy to do that. But if you don't - Well - Ducky's always said how nice Britain is, let's go and see."

Gibbs stared at the man he loved (even though he's never actually said the words and probably never would) the man he had never thought about growing old with, but had always known he would. A few more months wouldn't make any difference, would it? It'd probably take them that long to get things sorted out. Yeah, he'd finish his time with NCIS and then they could take off.

He stood up suddenly and dragged Fornell to his feet as well. "Jethro?"

"Going to go to the office and tell Vance I'm retiring early," he said.

Fornell blinked. "Just like that?"

Gibbs smiled, put his arms around Fornell and pulled him nearer to him. "Yeah, Tobias," he said, bending his head and moving it towards Fornell's. "Gut instinct," he added as his mouth met Fornell's.
Tags: fandom: ncis, fanfic: stories, pairing (slash): gibbs/fornell
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