Oh, The Places You'll Go

Don't Care Much For Words of Doom

Notes: Episode tag for 908 (therefore spoilers). The seventh story in the Starting From Scratch 'verse. This is going to seem out of the blue if you don't read the rest first.

"I don't have a mom to fuck, thank you very much," yells Tony out of the car window, flipping the bird to the irate and wildly gesticulating driver he's pulled a u-ey in front of. It's his third one so far and they're getting a little crazier each time.

He slams his foot on the gas, speeding away from Aneurysm-Waiting-to-Pop guy, the sick thrill in his gut telling him that he should probably just pick a direction and be done with it before he winds up maimed or worse, which is so very much not the point of why he's driving across town in the first place. Right now, he's headed home, and maybe that's exactly what he should be doing. It's the sensible option and he's batting a pretty high average for common sense these days.

It's not what he wants, though.

Tony bangs his hand off the steering wheel in frustration, swearing under his breath. Like some kind of pre-Christmas miracle a gap opens up in the traffic across the street and he hauls the wheel down, tires screeching as the car twists left in a tight curve. Tony is practically thrown into the window with the force of it and he chants, "Crap, crap, crap, fuck, crap, fuck, shit," at increasing volume as he points the car into the traffic. His heart is beating a mile a minute and he lets out a whoop of delighted relief as he settles into the flow. He chooses to ignore the horns and the flashing lights. They're clearly encouraging his awesome driving skills and not at all wishing death and dismemberment on his neatly-coiffed head. Pressing a hand to his still-churning stomach, Tony smiles. This may be the wrong choice, but it feels pretty darn right to him.

Parking is tight and Tony jogs the two blocks to the apartment building, jabbing on the buzzer with rhythmic prods, more out of breath than the exertion warrants.

"Get off the buzzer, Tony," says Tim with his dry drawl evident even through the tinny speaker, and it's ridiculous, but the sound of his voice sets off firecrackers in Tony's gut.

He grins, "How did-"

"No one else plays tunes on my buzzer," interrupts Tim. "Come on up."

The door clicks and Tony pushes it open, humming. The elevator is out of order and Tony heads for the stairs. By the time he is two flights up, the humming has faded away, another flight and his palm slides against the varnished handrail and it feels like his heart is trying to eat his tongue. A few steps more and he has to convince himself not to turn around and run back down, out of the door, and not stop until he's safely in his car.

He makes it onto Tim's landing and can see that the door to Tim's apartment has been left ajar. Tim's probably back doing whatever he was doing before Tony interrupted him and expecting this to be the same old same old. They've fallen into a pattern these last few weeks of hanging out in the same space, sometimes watching movies, sometimes doing their own thing. It's pretty relaxed. Or as relaxed as it can get when the sexual tension is slowly ratcheting up like overwound clockwork. This isn't that, though, and Tony needs Tim's attention. All of it.

He knocks on the door.

"'s open," calls Tim.

Tony rolls his eyes. Yes, he does have some observational skills, thanks, McGee. He knocks again.

"Quit fooling around and get in here," shouts Tim. Tony can hear the weird whine of blasters and presumes Tim is in the middle of some epic online battle. He would like to spare a second to feel guilty for interrupting and causing potential havoc to Tim's team and thus ensuring world domination by evil alien overlords, but he doesn't have one. This is too big. He breathes in deeply, lets it out slow and steady through pursed lips, and knocks a third time.

Inside there's a clatter, which could be a control pad hitting the computer desk, and the sound of footsteps. Tony's stomach clenches again. He really hopes that if there's any vomiting about to happen it's of the word kind. The door opens with a violent swing and then there's Tim, looking deeply pissed.

"Tony, I don't have-" he says, but what he doesn't have Tony doesn't care to find out because he's right in Tim's personal space, grabbing his head with both hands and kissing him like there's no tomorrow. And that, right there, is exactly the point.

With a back heel, because there's no way he's letting go, not now, Tony kicks the door closed. He uses the momentum to push forward, unbalancing Tim and making him stumble backwards in an attempt to right himself. Tony uses this to get a kind of shuffle motion going, but if he's hoping to get this done unnoticed then he's not taking McNeedsToKnow into account. Tim is kissing back, but his arms hang by his sides, twitching as if they don't know what they should be doing. Suddenly they come up and press hard against Tony's chest, not shoving him away, but enough of a barrier to break the kiss.

Tim's mouth is wet and shiny and Tony almost doesn't hear the words coming out of it because of how loud his heart is beating.

"Talk to me," Tim says. "I need to know."

And he's right. Of course he's right, but god, this is all such a mess and Tim will see that and he'll apply logic and then it will all be up for Tony. He covers Tim's hands with his own, gripping them tightly and looks down.

"I know," he says, drawing his eyebrows down as he squeezes out the words. He forces himself to look up. "I know, I know slow. I know that. I want that. But with the plane and the…life is short, Tim and I have to do something to remind myself I'm alive and it has to be with you and I can't…" He trails off because it's all too mangled to get out right and besides, how can he talk when Tim's looking at him like that? Like he's the high score on Call of Duty, or brand new tech, or the resolution of a sticky plot point.

This time it's Tim who takes the lead, backwards walking them into the dimly lit bedroom.

"Door," says Tim. "Because Jethro."

"Protect innocent eyes, check," says Tony, and does his second back heel of the evening.

They stand for an awkward second, Tim's hands still trapped on Tony's chest.

"Should we just-"

"Do you think we-"

they say in unison and then stop, laughing. Something between them breaks, and it's as if icy water has been shocked out of Tony's lungs and he can breathe again. He races over to the bed, throwing himself on it, and bounces to a standstill.

"Get over here," he commands, patting the bed beside him.

When they've kissed before it's always been with the constant alarm bells of not-too-far ringing in the background. Now that's gone it should be a relief, but there's still a sense of urgency that Tony can't shake. He pushes his hands under Tim's t-shirt, shivering as he strokes the skin like some jonesing touch junkie. Goosebumps ripple under Tony's fingers and Tim groans, sliding his mouth off Tony's and biting down on the soft flesh just under his jaw. Tony gasps, jerking his hips forward and digging his fingernails into Tim's back. It's a good thing Gibbs and Ziva are flying out to Afghanistan or there'd be difficult questions to answer in the morning.

Tim soothes the bite with a swipe of his tongue and a gentle blow, cooling the inflamed skin. He kisses his way down Tony's throat and then back up, Tony's lips buzzing with anticipation. He's so overwhelmed with Tim's presence, the scent of him, the slow slide of lips and tongue that it takes him a while to notice that Tim is unbuttoning his shirt and pushing it aside. Tim's hand curves around Tony's hip and pushes until Tony is flat on his back. Tony's hand falls naturally to Tim's ass and stays there even as Tim straddles him, and whether the loss of Tim's mouth or the gain of delicious pressure on his groin is the greater shock, Tony does not know or care.

"What are you…what are we…?" he babbles because it's a long time since boarding school and it's possible there have been manual updates he's missed.

Tim grins and it goes straight to Tony's dick. "You want to feel alive," he says. "I think I can do that."

He bends down and sucks one of Tony's nipples into his mouth, the tip of his tongue swirling around the nub, his other hand gently tugging at Tony's chest hair. And, oh, it should not feel this good, but it really, really does. Tony thinks he's going to have to invent a new sex noise just for this.

Minutes later he's realized that there will never be enough new sex noises in the world. His pants are around his ankles and Tim is between his legs giving him the best blowjob he's had in years. Possibly ever. He's holding on with all he's got, one hand thrown out and clutching the sheets, the other unsettled and grabbing on to all parts of Tim it can reach. He can't decide between keeping his eyes open or closed. Closed, the sounds Tim is making—slurping and sucking and these strange little noises of contentment--and the sensations of hot and wet and intense pressure build until he can't take it any more. Open, he gets to see his dick sliding in and out of Tim's hollowed cheeks, fingers wrapped around the shaft, or Tim's face buried in his balls and he thinks, Fuck. He's doing this to me. For me, and he's primed and ready to explode with it.

"And the Rhythm of Life is a powerful beat," he sings under his breath to distract himself as Tim twists his fingers in a way that is too pleasurable to be legally allowed. "Puts a tingle in your fingers and a tingle in your feet."

Tim practically chokes around Tony's dick and he's momentarily perturbed. But then Tim moves his hand with a familiar pattern and it's Tony's turn to nearly choke.

"Rhythm in your bedroom, rhythm in the street," sings Tony as Tim strokes and squeezes in time. The distraction thing is no longer a go. With the last word, Tim looks up at him with eyes that shine with mischief and something more and Tony can't hold it any longer.

He shakes his head wildly at Tim, who only presses his hand flat on Tony's tightening balls.

"Yes!" Tony hisses out as he finally lets his orgasm pulse through him, his whole body thrilling with life and release. He's flooded with a sense of utter peace. This, he reasons, would be the perfect time to get him to agree to anything, like signing over his assets or accepting that Roger Moore was a better Bond than Connery. Luckily for him, Tim's done with his manipulation. The more literal kind.

Tim slips off Tony's dick, flicking out his tongue to lick the last drop welling at the tip. He lets go with a gentle pat and looks up at Tony, eyebrow quirking. "Yep. That rhythm of life is a powerful beat," he says.

Tony says, "Get up here, now." Tim gets. If only it was this easy in the field.

It takes Tony a minute or so to remember he's made of bone, not rubber, but as soon as he does, he's pushing Tim's pants and boxers down around his thighs and wrapping his hand around Tim's dick. It's been so long since he touched anyone's dick but his own he can't quite figure out what to do with it.

Tim says, "Wait," and twists his body across the bed, grabbing a bottle off the bedside table. "No cracks about feminine glows," he says, twisting back, and flicking the lid open. "It's closest. It'll do."

He holds it out and, with reluctance, Tony lets go of Tim's dick. It was already starting to feel familiar in his hand, like it might belong there. Tim squirts some moisturizer into Tony's palm. If it's cool on his heated skin, it's going to be practically ice on a blood-thickened dick. He cups his hand around it, warming it up.

"Stop being a gentleman," says Tim. "God, please."

"Seeing as you asked so nicely," grins Tony. He takes hold of Tim's dick again, the shaft rock solid under the gliding skin as he twists his hand around to spread the cream. Even through the cool, slick layer, Tony can feel the heat from Tim beating against him. He licks his lips.

Tim covers Tony's hand with his own. "Like this," he says, keeping the grip nice and loose. "It won't take much, not today." He looks down and Tony follows his gaze, watching the head of Tim's dick slip in and out of their joined hands.

"You're killing me," he says, the faint stirrings in his groin reminding him that he's in his forties and can he have a little respect for that, please?

"Think that's supposed to be my line," Tim says, gripping Tony's shoulder. He tightens his hand around Tony's and speeds the stroke. "I want to wait," he says, "but--Tony--I…"

Tim makes a quiet sound like he's imploding and comes in four, hard pulses, spattering in warm streaks between their bodies. He drops his head and buries it against Tony's neck, breathing hard.

"You're welcome," says Tony, and thinks at some point he should probably let go.

Tim, like the good Wee Willy Webelos he is, sacrifices his t-shirt in the name of clean up and they lie flat on their backs, pants kicked off in the name of dignity, arms pressed together. Tony likes the warmth of Tim's skin against his; it's oddly comforting, reflecting his own warmth back at him and reminding him that, yeah, he is most definitely, one hundred percent, alive. Something isn't quite right, though, and he fidgets in the silence, tapping his fingers on his ribs to finish off the song that's been running through his head all evening.

There's a deeper quality to the silence—thicker—like Tim's sucking it into himself with unspoken thoughts. Tony turns his head to look at him just as Tim takes a deep breath and says, "You can leave, you know. It's okay."

Tony frowns. That's not it at all. "I don't want…" he starts and then stops, closing his eyes and shaking his head in resignation that the words that are battering out of tempo in his skull are going to come out whether he wants them to or not. "No. I don't want to leave. I want…can you please hold me? And if you ever tell anyone I said that I will end you in ways they'll be talking about in folk legends in centuries to come."

There's a shift beside him and he thinks, Oops, that's torn it, and then he squints through one eye to see Tim holding out his arm. And there's probably a rule somewhere that says wanting this is a sign of weakness, and it's probably a greater sign of weakness that he doesn't care, but there it is. He'd rather be wrapped up in Tim's arms and weak than alone in his apartment and strong any day. He slides his arms around Tim and holds on.

They stay almost motionless for a long time, Tim's thumb rubbing back and forth across the nape of Tony's neck. Tony tries to pay attention to everything, to be truly aware and not sleepwalk through this like he's sleepwalked through so many days. He notices the sharp, sour smell of sex mixed in with the sweeter scents of the moisturizing cream and Tim himself. He sees the way the clothes tossed over a chair over by the window cast shadows that look like some kind of creepy monster and thinks he should probably name it. He hears Tim's soft breathing and Jethro scratching at the door, padding away with a low whine when his attempts at entry are unsuccessful. Sorry, kiddo, Tony thinks. This room is strictly over eighteens. He feels his back and his legs cooling down in contrast to the skin in contact with Tim's body. It raises goosebumps, which ripple across his body and make him curl his toes into the sheets and cause Tim to try to get closer.

"You probably shouldn't freeze to death," says Tim, letting go and sitting up to drag the comforter over them both.

"Forward planning, I like that," says Tony as they settle back together, this time with Tim's arm tucked around Tony's shoulders and Tony's arm and leg cast across Tim's body.

"So, about that bucket list," says Tim after another few minutes have passed.

"What about it McInquisitive? You know you could never write one as good."

"The part where you want to date a Bond Girl or Miss Universe?"

"Oh," says Tony, pinching Tim's nipple. "That."

"Mmm, that."

"Seriously, McGee, you still don't trust me?" Tony raises himself onto an elbow and stares down at Tim. "Really?" There's no response from Tim and it looks like there's a pout coming, so he sighs and continues. "I just want to have one on my arm for an evening. Have you seen them? I don't want to, you know, do stuff with them. Not now. But the stepping out? Awesome. We'd look good in the gossip rags."

The pout changes into a considering expression. "You would. I'd buy a copy."

"Right?" Tony smiles and then frowns, poking Tim in the chest. "Listen. You have to trust me. You promised. I can't keep doing this with you, Tim."

"I know," says Tim. "I know that. And I do trust you. It's just…I think…I don't trust myself to trust you. I'll do better, I promise. Like today, it was all about this one thing for you and that's okay. Whatever happens next is not all about me, it's about you and that's cool."

"Is it?" says Tony. "Because I'm a little confused with the mes and the yous. Probably you should take a break from heavy thinking for a while. Be like me. Do."

"Yes, because what the world needs is another Anthony DiNozzo, Very Special Agent," says Tim, rolling his eyes. But his eyes are doing that thing again, the one Tony really, really likes, so it's all good. Better than, even.

"When you were spying on me earlier, did you not see the item about you on my list?"

"No, I did not. And if it involves superglue I don't want to know, thank you."

"Oh, ye of little faith. You're number fourteen. It says, 'Nail McGee's butt at wrestling.'"

Tim's eyebrows furrow. "Nail my butt at wrestling? What? Where does that even come from?"

"Oh, because 'the luge' is such a predictable choice." Tony purses his lips. "Come on, McTuring, it's a code."

If Tim's eyebrows get any more furrowed he may never be able to untangle them again. "A code?"

Tony's own eyebrows climb as he opens his eyes wide, staring hard at Tim, willing him to make the leap already. Tim stares back and stares back and then it is the clearest example Tony has ever seen of the light dawning. There's practically a sunrise happening right behind Tim's eyes.

"Oh!" he says, eyes like particularly attractive saucers.



Tony frowns. "I don't have a timetable, Tim," he says. "Probably this isn't something I want to mark on the calendar. But, yeah, if you want to, I want to. Sometime."

Tim licks his lip. "Yeah," he says. "I think…yeah."

"Well, okay, then!" Tony grins. His eye catches the clock by Tim's bed. "It's getting late," he says. "I hope the Boss and Ziva are catching some zees before their early bird."

"You can stay if you like," says Tim. "I have to get up early to walk Jethro, but it's up to you. I won't hold it against you if you need to go home. I get it. I told you."

The thing is, he's not avoiding Tony's gaze, he's looking at him like that sunrise he got is shining into every corner and he sees everything that Tony is. Maybe everything that Tony could be. Tony can't lie; it's a little terrifying. But it's also exhilarating in a way Tony hasn't felt in a long time, and he doesn't know if he could sleep if he tried. He doesn't know if he should.

Maybe he's over the blip of his existential crisis, but something else is always out there, looming. Complications breed complications, it's what they do.

"Did I use you?" he blurts out.

Tim doesn't look shocked at the question, which can't be a good thing, Tony figures.

He pushes his lips to one side in thought. "Yes," he says, and it's a soft blow to Tony's stomach.

"But it's okay," Tim adds, hurriedly, putting a hand on Tony's arm. "Look, that's what relationships are about. And this is a relationship, no matter how we're tiptoeing around it, right?"

Tony nods.

"So we look out for each other, it's what we're supposed to do. You needed something from me that I was willing to give. It's the good kind of using."

"So you don't feel like…?"

"Some kind of sex martyr?" Tim laughs. "No. And if you walk out I won't weep into Jethro's fur either." He shrugs. "If all I ever get from you are late night booty calls then we'll have a problem, but I'm doing what you told me to, I'm trusting you, Tony. Don't make me regret it."

Tony is flooded with an immense rush of warmth and formless emotion that thuds his heart against his ribcage and prickles at his fingertips and eyes. He can't help but lean over and kiss Tim. A sweet kiss, not hungry—there'll be time enough for that. He pulls away.

Tim says, "Bathroom," and pushes the comforter off, getting to his feet and wandering out of the room.

Tony watches him go, appreciating the view, and then looks back at the clock, the numbers lazily flipping over reminding him that it's not getting any earlier. He taps his finger against his lips, pondering.

"Okay, then," he says, and stands up.

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