Oh, The Places You'll Go

Writers Block

Notes: So, I had this silly idea and I promised myself I could write it when Big Bang was done. Here it is. Yes, I know it's missing an apostrophe.

For soupytwist because I promised, and because our epic e-mails of glee make me very happy.


This has to be a bad dream, Tim thinks as he stumbles blearily through his bedroom door, eyes seeing the visitor perched on his kitchen counter but his brain refusing to comprehend. He blinks, squeezing his eyes tight shut before opening them up as wide as they can go. Nope, still here.

"You look like an owl when you do that, McGee. I'd say it was kinda cute but owls freak me out. I was stalked by a barn owl one summer in the Hamptons. Never been able to watch the Potter movies without flinching."

Tim blinks again, taking in the sight of DiNozzo sitting cross-legged on the counter like some kind of over-grown gnome. He's in jeans and a dark green hoodie so it can't be a work thing. Then what the hell?

"It's ass o'clock, DiNozzo what- No, wait," he checks his watch, "it's a quarter to ass o'clock. What are you doing here?"

"Ah," says Tony, investigating his nails with the seesawing change in focus that used to make Tim want to mainline Dramamine. "Yeah. So."

"Spit it out, Tony, there's another hour's sleep with my name on the pillow."

Tony keeps his head down but looks up at Tim through his eyelashes, and even in the filtered light through the blinds Tim can see that Tony's eyes are darker than usual. It makes his gut twist and he doesn't know why.

"I had a whole speech prepared but there was this really cool episode of Magnum and I may have forgotten to memorize it--the speech, not the episode because I can probably recite the script for that backwards--but I have the key points--not the episode, the speech--so here they are."

Tony straightens up, uncrossing his legs and hanging them over the edge of the counter. He folds his arms, then unfolds them, then looks at them sorrowfully as if they're letting him down before he shoves them under his ass. He's nervous about something, Tim knows, and it makes him nervous, too.

"One," says Tony, "--and don't interrupt, McGoo--one. It has come to my attention that I- that you like me in an 'Oh no, why must Rule 12 exist!" way." He holds up a hand to stave off a non-existent interruption. "Two. That 'crush' as all the cool kids are calling it, is reciprocated. By me. Which is, of course, what reciprocated means but gimme a break, this is all a bit Oprah for me." He holds up his other hand, showing three fingers. "Three. The writers will never let it happen because they're afraid of losing ratings if there's team romance, especially gay team romance. Four. I thought it was my duty to let you know all of this so we can both move on with our lives." Tony looks at his hands. "Huh, that looks like eight points. Did I forget something?"

Tim says, "Writers?" and Tony stares at him, hands dropping to the counter, forgotten.

"And that's what you got from that?"

"No, really. What writers?" Tim isn't sure why he's fixating on this, but it probably has something to do with how he's standing around in his boxer shorts and Tony a) knows, b) reciprocates and c) looks really, really good in that hoodie.

"We're in a show, McGee."

"Er, I don't think so. What's this alleged show called?"

"NCIS."

Tim takes an involuntary step forward at that one. "That's where we work, Tony. Are you drunk?"

"No, seriously, Probie, that's the show. You're a character, I'm a character--well, I mean, you are a character but also you're a character. I'm just a character."

Tim thinks boggling is probably the appropriate response to that. He boggles.

"All of us, we're all just bit-players in someone else's grand designs. We're like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern only less dead."

"Just as confused," says Tim, wondering if he can revise his earlier decision that this isn't a dream.

"Why do you think you don't have a couch?" Tony's swinging his legs now, banging his heels gently against the wood of the counter. Tim knows there's something deeply wrong when he doesn't feel the urge to yell at him not to leave a mark.

"Because I have no room?" he says instead.

"No, because a couch would make it hard for the writers to stop us making out. It's the perfect halfway house between this-" he raps on the countertop, "-and the bed. Accidental touching. The yawn maneuver. You see how it could go down. The counter is too clinical, and, you know-" he raps again, "-too hard, and the bed is too much, too soon. No couch, no kiss. Simple."

"You have a couch, DiNozzo."

"Yes, I do, McObvious. But we never see in my apartment, just yours."

Tim shakes his head to clear it of the weird buzz that always sets up between his ears when he's been listening to Tony being Tony for too long. "I was there last week. With Abby."

"Were you?" Tony tips his head to one side and widens his eyes. Usually that makes Tim want to punch him, or do other stuff he doesn't let himself think about. Today his mind is totally blank.

"Was I?"

"Look," says Tony, "You're confused. I get it. Let me prove it to you." He slides down from the counter with a disgusting amount of grace and crosses the short distance between them, all liquid moves like a big, sleek cat. Tim only has time to wonder how it's fair that Tony gets to be so good at this stuff before Tony's crowding into his personal space, forcing Tim to back up against the wall. Tony follows, eyes fixed on Tim's, tongue flicking out to lick his lips. Bracing his hands either side of Tim's head he leans in closer, closer until Tim can't focus any more, can only feel Tony's breath on him. He closes his eyes-

BANG BANG BANG!

Tim's eyes fly open. Who the hell is knocking on his door at this time and more importantly, can hey fuck off now?

Tony doesn't move an inch. "See?" he says.

"We could ignore it?" Tim's voice seems to have unbroken since the last time he used it. He clears his throat.

"Can't." Tony slides away from him. "It's the pizza. Can't ever ignore pizza." He opens the door.

Tim presses his palms into the cool brick and breathes deeply as Tony chats with the pizza delivery guy. He dares a quick peek down at his boxer shorts. All is good. As an ex Boy Scout he feels qualified to say that the incipient tent down there would never have passed muster. Tim thinks about Ducky making out with one of his charges just to make sure.

The door slams and he looks up to see Tony grinning at him with raised eyebrows, pizza box in one hand.

"Shut up," says Tim, narrowing his eyes. "Also, it's breakfast time, Tony."

"Yup." Tony puts the box on the counter, flipping it open and taking a slice. "Most important meal of the day? Want some?"

Tim stares. Mock his dinosaur cereal Tony may, but at least Tim knows what constitutes food fit for a grown up--okay, so mostly grown up--breakfast. Tony fits about half a slice into his mouth in one go, chewing with a blissed-out expression. The smell of pepperoni wafts its way to Tim and he's helpless before it. Shrugging, he gives in.

"So what if we tried again?" asks Tim, licking his fingers clean and not at all feeling smug about the way Tony can't stop watching him.

"Gibbs would call and tell us to get our asses into work. There'd be an urgent case that only he could solve with his quiet manly pain. Or Ziva would call instead and say something like 'screwed up idiom I should've learned already, I'm MOSSAD, you know.' Or Abby, saying 'Improbable scientific reasoning has resulted in upside down bowling nuns and by the way I found out that Jack the Ripper was Timothy McVeigh through the power of forensics.'"

"Hmm," says Tim, impressed with the accuracy of the descriptions. "Okay. So what if we skipped the kissing and went straight for the sex option?"

When Tony finishes choking on his mouthful of pizza, he says, "Apartment would probably explode," and accompanies it with his best explosion hand gesture. "On the up side, we'd probably get buried together 'cause they couldn't separate the parts."

They look at each other, shoulders sagging at the exact same moment. "Ducky could," they say, mournfully.

"So," says Tim.

"So," agrees Tony.

"This whole writer thing means we're screwed."

"If by screwed you mean no screwing, yes."

"Of course, it also means loss of self-determination, an existential crisis that could result in some kind of mental break and the faint worry that I really am the plucky comic relief, but let's stick to the important stuff, shall we? Like why did they let us develop-" Tim waves his hand around in an elaborate pattern that's supposed to say feelings because no way in hell is that word coming out of his mouth. "-for each other if they weren't going to let us do anything about it.'

"I've thought long and hard about this," says Tony, steepling his fingers together and looking grave, "and I...have no freaking idea. I mean, they've got me doing the whole UST thing with Ziva, which is just-" he trails off, pulling a face. "So over. But they keep on, every week, flogging the dead horse. Will they, won't they? Does anyone still care? Everyone knows resolving the UST destroys the franchise. Have they learned nothing from Moonlighting?"

Tim snaps his fingers in front of Tony's face. "Focus," he says. "Us."

"I figure they don't know."

"They what?"

"They don't know. They write this stuff for us and it's all me pulling your pigtails and jumping up and down and saying 'Like me! Like me!" or my ongoing obsession with your sexuality, which, you do like boys so I so win, and a whole bunch more stuff and maybe they think it's all good, clean, manly fun. Maybe they are idiots."

"Maybe they're writing what we're saying, right now, Tony, ever think of that?"

"No!" says Tony.

"No, what?"

"You've closed the loop, McGenius. It didn't make sense before but we could have found a way, except you had to go and close the loop, didn't you? We're doomed!" Tony slaps Tim upside the head. "The flaw in the plan was the plan," he says. "Why do I never figure that out?" He slaps himself upside the head, too.

The floor starts to ripple and curl, turning a creamy white under Tim's feet, words chasing across it. He grabs for Tony, whose legs are already disappearing into the paper, thinning out and fading as if they'd never existed at all.

"See you on set," Tony says, with a resigned smile. "I'll be the one supergluing you to something. Also? It was me that stole your apple. Many apples. And other food-type substances."

"Not yet," says Tim, his own legs slipping away from him as he lunges forward, and for a split second his lips touch Tony's before the words catch them and suck them down. So worth it, thinks Tim, as the scene fades to black.

***

"McGee!"

"What do you want now, DiNozzo?"

"Your ass in lederhosen for starters." Michael stops dead, raising his hands and waving his script in the air. "Who writes this?" he says. "Do they know they have issues? Can I state for the record that I'm happy to make out with Sean if they want to make their subtext more texty. Bonus if Pauley's in on it, too. Is it time for lunch yet."

"Again, Michael?" asks the director. And yells, "Get me the writers!"


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