Word Count: 949
Warnings: It's slash, but you won't see any of that here
Disclaimer: They're not mine, pretty as I find them. Go to the producers if you want to talk money.
Summary: AU but following canon events: Our two favorite alpha types have spent the last few days squaring off. A quiet conversation while they unwind from the last case. (begins immediately after the end of Smoked)
“Ok, that is a decidedly creepy thought,” Fornell admitted. “But I'm not sure I care. He's dead. She's in custody. It's over.”
“True,” Gibbs said, sipping deeply from his coffee cup.
“On another note, what do you think the problem is between DiNutzo and Sacks?” Fornell offered after a few minutes of silence.
Gibbs stifled a chuckle at the blatant subject change, not that he could blame the man. Serial killers were the stuff of nightmares. “Might have something to do with Sacks trying to put DiNozzo away for murder last year,” he suggested wryly.
“He doesn't look at me with the same hate in his eyes,” Fornell pointed out.
Gibbs nodded his head, conceding that point. “He knows it wasn't personal for you,” he suggested.
Fornell looked up curiously at that comment. “Why do you think that?” he asked.
“Because he knows you, and because he knows me,” Gibbs explained, “and he knows what I'd do to you if you tried to make it personal.”
“What?” Fornell asked dryly. “I'm family?”
Gibbs smirked. “Something like that. Besides, no one tried to reign in Sacks, and he made it clear he wouldn't listen if we did.”
“DiNutzo didn't exactly make it easy on my man,” Fornell pointed out. “That crap he pulled in interrogation ...”
“That crap,” Gibbs snapped softly, “is part of what makes him a very good interrogator. Throws people off balance. From either side of the table.”
Fornell sighed. “And that's part of the reason I'd poach him if I thought I had a chance.”
“Not a chance in hell,” Gibbs said with a smirk and a sharp look in his eyes. “Maybe Sacks is all too aware of that, though.”
“That's a thought,” Fornell conceded. “Though I've never understood why DiNutzo stays here. No other position has held him, and even NCIS should have given him a promotion by now.”
“He turned it down,” Gibbs replied. “And he likes it here.” He turned to Fornell after glancing around the darkened, otherwise empty, bull pen. “He finally found an alpha he liked.”
Fornell let out a pained groan. “Oh hell, that explains it. Not another one.”
“Another?” Gibbs asked curiously, hiding his delight in Fornell's discomfort.
“That really explains it,” Fornell grumbled. “Sacks saw it as taking down the competition in advance.”
Gibbs rubbed a hand over his face. “You think they realize? It would explain the scene the other morning.”
“Sacks should know better than to steal territory or get that close to DiNozzo's neck,” Fornell said as he nodded.
Gibbs snorted. “You should see how he gets when Ziva gets to close.”
“Think she's going to challenge him?” Fornell asked.
“If she tries, he'll win,” Gibbs said confidently. Not that he had any intention of accepting her if she did win. He liked the pecking order as it stood.
“Ah, the joys of being alpha to an unruly beta,” Fornell said dryly, draining his coffee cup.
“Pretty much,” Gibbs said in a matching tone. “How long do you think you have before Sacks comes after you?”
“I think the FBI will promote us both appropriately before I have to worry,” Fornell said confidently, but he couldn't hide the touch of worry in his eyes. “What about you?”
Gibb shook his head. “We've already had that argument, after I got back from Mexico.”
“I'd wondered if DiNozzo was part of the reason you were holding back from coming back,” Fornell said pointedly.
Gibbs let out a harsh bark of laughter. “Not quite.”
“He took after you pretty well while you were gone,” Fornell said, his words aimed to dig holes in Gibbs' composure, if he let them.
“I expected nothing less,” Gibbs replied calmly, proudly. “But he's made it clear he's not going anywhere. Some people are just natural betas.”
“Ah, one of those,” Fornell said thoughtfully. “Lucky bastard,” he added in an undertone.
Gibbs smirked at his old friend. “Dumb luck. Right timing and it could have ended up the other way around.”
Fornell shook his head. “Nah, you would have stolen DiNutzo out from under me. I don't think I'm quite the right kind of bastard to keep him.”
“Not going to hear me complaining,” Gibbs said with a small shrug.
“And Sacks would be Director of NCIS by now,” Fornell added.
Gibbs chuckled darkly. “Might not hear me complaining about that either.”
Fornell looked over the desk with a raised eyebrow.
“I'd rather not spend time with my exs in general, let alone be under the supervision of one,” Gibbs said by way of explanation.
Shaking his head, Fornell said, “You have the worst taste in women ...”
“Conceded,” Gibbs admitted with a grin. “But don't tell them that.”
Fornell snorted. “Not if I want to keep any custody of my daughter. And on that note, I should be off. With this case settled, I'm taking two days off. Diane said she'd bring Emily over in the morning.” He stood and stretched slightly to work out the kinks that had settled in from sitting so long.
“You're a luckier bastard than you know,” Gibbs said dryly, but he couldn't hide the hint of tears in his eyes as he stood as well.
“No,” Fornell said, shaking his head slightly. “I know just how lucky I am. And if I forgot to say it before, thank you.”
“For her, any time, any where. You know that, Tobias,” Gibbs said softly, offering his friend a hand over the desk.
“But not for me,” Fornell said dryly, shaking Gibbs' hand.
“You're a type A bastard,” Gibbs said with a smirk. “Why would I want to help you?”
“Damned if I know, Jethro,” Fornell said. “See you around.”