The prompt from brilliantomega was Analyse with Tony from NCIS
Warning: Slashy thoughts of a non specific nature
Word Count: 1743
Summary: Tony's got a bit too much time to think while he's on the USS Regan.
Tony hated it on the USS Regan. Not for the lack of pleasurable female companionship, though that was a factor. No, the reason he hated berthing on the USS Regan was it gave him far too much time to think.
That might sound odd at first, sounded a bit odd to Tony the first time he thought it, but it was true. When he was a cop he worked constantly, thinking about motivations, witnesses, evidence. When he wasn't working, which wasn't often, he filled his mind with pretty women, movies, and the occasional job-related research. His time with NCIS based in Anacostia was pretty much the same. The nights when his brain was spinning too fast to let him sleep were turned into a time to do paperwork and everything seemed to line up perfectly.
That was the problem. Everything was perfect, and coasting along in that perfection Tony got sloppy. Now he was stuck on this floating city and in constant search for something to distract him from the contents of his own brain. Even digging through the entire ship, Tony couldn't find enough work to keep himself truly busy. His movie collection was back in Washington DC in a storage locker and he'd quickly gone through everything on the ship. There was no pleasurable company to distract himself with, and he'd caught up on every forensic journal he could find online inside of the first two weeks. Abby was always happy to send him more, but each new arrival didn't last all that long.
Which meant Tony had nothing to do in the dark of night, or even the average afternoon, except think. He thought thoughts that he'd been avoiding for years, about his father's emotional abuse and abandonment, about how he felt about his mother's death (breast cancer was an ugly way to die), about how he'd twisted his own persona to hide from the pain in his past.
He started to analyze every joke he made, every action he took, every facade he projected. He started to think about how everyone saw him, not just as a distraction but as an irritant. He was used to being a bit irritating. His jokes and movie quotes were a great way to break the tension at work, even if it did get him hit a lot, and not just by Gibbs. Kate's elbows had been brutally sharp. But maybe there was a better way to do it, a way to look like something other than a permanent frat boy.
Maybe then the new director would respect him. Hell, maybe then Ziva, Tim, and Gibbs would respect him.
If Gibbs was even talking to him anymore after Tony lost Jenny like that.
That was the point where Tony would throw on his sweats and hit the gym, no matter the time of day or night. One advantage to an aircraft carrier was that everything had to be open all day to accommodate all the different shifts. That didn't mean that when the NCIS agent afloat arrived in the gym at three in the morning he didn't attract some concerned, confused, and bemused looks. But beating himself up on the treadmill or the weights was about the only way he could block that train of thought.
Tony didn't like thinking about Gibbs. He'd made the mistake of going down that road early on in his exile and had tied himself in so many mental knots it hurt. While he was working with Gibbs everything had been just fine. He had found his place, learned to read the boss well enough to anticipate, and distracted himself by teasing the newbies when things threatened to go beyond the safe bounds of work.
McGee was an excellent target. As was Kate. Ziva, on the other hand, had a tendency to twist him around until he was back to the thoughts he was avoiding.
Right now he'd settle for even Ziva as a distraction. Anything for an actual conversation with someone. It wasn't possible, or allowed, for him to really bond with the sailors on board ship. Tony never expected to miss the banter and interplay that had become common between the team. It wasn't something he'd had in his previous jobs, but somewhere along the way it had become part of how he knew the world was ticking over right.
The world was not ticking over right anymore. It hadn't been since Vance broke up the team. No, it hadn't been ticking over right since the Director cut out on them in LA. Any sense it was going right since then was all an illusion.
The problem was, Tony was beginning to wonder just how much of the past had been an illusion too. Especially when it came to Gibbs.
Since the moment Gibbs had walked onto his crime scene in Baltimore, there had been something about the older man that intrigued Tony. He'd followed the NCIS agent through that case, and then to NCIS to try and figure out what had caught his attention. Almost seven years of observation and Tony still didn't know, though he could interpret and anticipate just about any action the older man took.
Maybe that was the problem, Tony had spent seven years analyzing Gibbs when he needed to analyze himself. Tony didn't like analyzing himself, but he couldn't seem to get away from it these days. Once he reached that realization, even running himself ragged in the gym wasn't enough to block it out.
Tony didn't want to think about how much time he spent studying Gibbs. It didn't seem quite proper for two men with just a working relationship. Tony couldn't even swear they could call each other friends, so why did Tony know exactly when to provide his boss with coffee or how to tell which ex-wife was nagging him after work?
It had become something of an obsession, watching Gibbs and now that he was thinking about it, it didn't seem healthy. Why did Tony care if Gibbs wore suits from Sears? Or that the distance from the vee of his polo to the top of his white undershirt was always exactly two point five inches, unless Diane called him the night before? And what was he doing noticing how his boss' slacks had varied slightly in fit over the years? Had the fact that Gibbs' slacks had been noticeably looser after returning from Mexico really been a factor in his decision to turn down the job in Rota?
Looking over his past actions in retrospect, Tony wondered if he'd been intentionally trying to catch so many glimpses of Gibbs changing and showering after workouts in the gym. Or even better, when he was crashing at Gibbs' house because of some stupid problem at his apartment. During any other job, he would have long since moved out of a place with so many issues. He'd had time to go apartment hunting, once in a while. But it had been an excuse to spend more time with Gibbs. How screwed up was that?
The first time Gibbs showed up in his fantasies sent Tony scrambling for the gym and left him unable to sleep for two days. His brain never slowed down the entire time. Was it just Gibbs he'd developed this unnatural attraction for? Or were there other men in his past and he'd just never been left so much time to think? He began analyzing his every action, every thought, every emotion. He couldn't walk down the corridors of the ship without considering every figure that walked past him and wondering.
He collapsed after two days, and his brain began to slow down again after sleeping, but he never did quite find an answer. He did note a few similar obsessions in his past, though none as detailed or long lived as the situation with Gibbs. But what did it mean?
Was he gay?
No, he liked girls just fine. Two days spent carefully checking out the female population of the ship reassured him of that.
Could he really be having a midlife crisis over his sexuality? Was he really lusting after his boss?
For two days he was actually grateful to Vance for sending him to the Regan. Being lost somewhere in the Pacific while Gibbs was back in DC meant that he couldn't do anything stupid. But then Tony remembered he never would have had these realizations if he hadn't been stuck out here, so he was back to happily despising Vance for everything up to and including his very existence.
What was he supposed to do now? Part of him wanted to get home – yes, DC still felt like home – and try and sort this out with Gibbs. Except, he had no idea if Gibbs would even be interested in hearing his ex-senior field agent's thoughts. Actually, four wives kind of hinted he wouldn't be, and Tony could only hope he wouldn't get beaten up instead of just fired. Probably better to just stuff it back in the corner of his mind where he'd been ignoring it all this time. Except he still had too much time to think, so it kept clawing its way back out.
Maybe, he hoped, when the USS Regan's tour ended soon he'd be sent somewhere else and everything could get back on an even keel. That seemed a good plan, until he received his orders to transfer to the USS Seahawk when the Regan returned to port.
Tony was doomed. Vance would never let him return home or go anywhere worthwhile. He'd be stuck on ships until he quit or went mad from too much thinking. Abby's constant enthusiasm that Gibbs would get him called home soon was but a pipe dream, and Tony was no longer sure he could trust himself if he did get called home.
He transferred ships without complaint, settled into his new quarters, and hung the pictures of Ziva in her bikini as a twofold reminder. “You like girls,” he reminded himself whenever he looked at them. “Don't get complacent,” was the other line he repeated. He dove into life on the Seahawk, digging up every possible crime and a practically making a few more up for something to do. “No more thinking,” he also tried to tell himself. That road only led to pain. Just as well he'd probably never see Gibbs again.