Title: Calling Home
Word Count: 811
Warnings: It's slash, but you won't see 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: An update between our boys in the midst of the case.
“Gibbs,” Gibbs snapped into the phone before he was fully conscious. He had noted the ringing and grabbed the phone more on instinct than by conscious thought, a useful trait most of the time.
“You called, boss?” Tony said cockily at the other end of the connection.
Gibbs stared at the wall of his hotel room for a good minute as he rebooted his brain. He knew Tony well enough to know he would wait until Gibbs was ready to reply. “Update,” he finally said. “What time is it?” he added peevishly in the dark.
“0300, boss,” Tony said, sounding far too awake for Gibbs' comfort.
“Hope she enjoyed that dinner,” Gibbs snapped back, finally remembering why he hadn't been upset when Tony didn't pick up earlier.
“What?” Tony asked, now sounding like he was the one late to the conversation.
“Your girl. You had that look in your eyes earlier, like you were planning something,” Gibbs explained. “Used to get that look before you decided to cook dinner.” Damn, he was clearly still half asleep of he would not have said that last bit aloud.
“You know me too well.”
Gibbs didn't know quite how to interpret the emotion in Tony's voice. Loss, surprise, guilt, anger, fear— none of them seemed to encompass what Gibbs heard.
“Did she like it?” he prompted again rather than dwell on Tony's odd mood.
“Yeah,” Tony replied, and this time Gibbs could hear the sad smile. He had been hoping for a happy smile, but it was an improvement over earlier.
“Good,” Gibbs said gruffly, not quite able to hide his jealousy. “You're a good cook when you put the effort in.”
“So are you, boss,” Tony countered.
The silence was filled with cellular static for the next minute, and the soft sound of Tony breathing on the other end. That sound could easily lull Gibbs back to sleep, but that was not where he wanted to go right now. Rather than dwell, he snapped, “Update?”
“Lieutenant Shaheen's CO seems singularly useless,” Tony replied formally, snapping into his professional role with practiced ease. “Either he knows nothing more than he's told us, or he's lying through his teeth.”
“Noted,” Gibbs said, his tone flat as he considered which was most likely. In his experience, lying through his teeth was far too likely.
“Find anything useful in the boondocks?” Tony asked, almost laughing as the words came out.
“Looks like Masoud Tariq might have been building bombs in his garage,” Gibbs replied. “And we still only have one shell casing.”
“Bummer,” Tony said lightly, but Gibbs could hear the undertone of worry. “Glad I'm not there.”
Gibbs growled softly. “Oh, and Abby should have some new pictures to look at. Tariq had a nosy neighbor with a camera.”
Tony laughed. “Ah, small towns, gotta love it. That's probably what Ziva called to tell me earlier.”
“You pick up?” Gibbs questioned, hiding his worry. Ziva had been rather annoying on the Tony front of late.
“Nope,” Tony said, sounding far too smug.
“She's still probably thinks you're ill,” Gibbs warned.
“Tough,” Tony grumbled.
Gibbs sighed. This was not a fight he wanted to have at three in the morning, but this conflict between two of his agents was going to be a problem before long. “If you're going to ignore her calls just to ignore her calls ...” he prompted.
“No,” Tony snapped quickly.
“If you don't want her digging, you shouldn't brag about doing it yourself,” Gibbs added.
Tony laughed. “Yes, I know Kate is up there laughing her ass off at me now that the shoe is on the other foot.”
“Good,” Gibbs said gruffly, stifling a yawn. “But, DiNozzo, if I tell Ziva to get ahold of you ...”
“I'll keep in touch,” Tony promised.
Gibbs grunted, thinking of a number of threats he could throw out there, but none seemed quite worth it at the moment. And Tony probably knew exactly what he was thinking anyway.
“Night, boss,” Tony called, a hint of laughter still in his voice.
Gibbs wasn't sure if he got his own goodbye out before or after Tony hung up. As he put his phone back on the press board bedside table, he decided it didn't much matter. Whether Tony got in the last word tonight, he wouldn't next time. For now, sleep was a higher priority. Especially since he now knew he was going to have to fend off a cranky Ziva as she complained about Tony. Again.
Some days it really felt like he was riding heard on a pack of school children instead of trained federal agents.