Author: Ghost's Writer
Rating: PG (God, I hate ratings...)
Summary: One time is a sin of passion” Tony said, “Twice and three times turns it into principle and everything after that is purpose."
Pairing (Duh!): Gibbs/DiNozzo (shocking)
Author's Note: Today I finally have internet connection on my home computer (I was using my boyfriend's the other day) and it didn't work for a while therefore I couldn't send the fic to a beta. I will try to get it betaed and I'll post it again, so if anyone thinks it's too hard to read, you'll have to wait. At least I did a spell check...
But this had been a sin of passion, not of principle, nor even purpose. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing. ~John Powell
Written for: Kerry_Louise
Any other day and this would have been a completely normal work day, with a completely normal crime scene. A dead Marine in the bedroom, a crying widow in the kitchen. Nothing out of ordinary there. And still, McGee, Ziva, Ducky, hell, even Palmer noticed there was something different. Of course, they all knew that it had nothing to do with the case and all with the way Tony and Gibbs didn't look at each other, but on the other hand, it happened before and would happen again that the two men had some kind of argument or disagreement, and as uncomfortable it made the team feel right now, they knew the two would work it out better if no one intervened with it.
Tony, however, knew it wasn't like those other times and he didn't know if they would work it out this time. What had happened – nearly happened if they hadn't been called here, well, it had never happened before. He wasn't deep enough in denial that it had come as a shock, but it did surprise him that it actually happened – nearly happened, he reminded himself.
The night before, after he had finished his paperwork, he had gone to Gibbs' place. It was something he used to do quite a lot before he had found Elisabeth and before Gibbs had found Sonya, and it was something he still used to do sometimes. He didn't really remember what exactly had happened but he did remember that at some point, he was pressed against Gibbs' latest boat skeleton and was kissed senseless.
Tony wasn't quite sure if he should be happy or pissed off that Gibbs' cell phone ended it before anything more than kissing could happen. However, considering that they were both in committed relationships, he probably should be happy – even if it was just a rational decision and not how he was actually feeling.
Once they had left the basement and went to their cars, they hadn't looked at each other and basically didn't talk to each other either. Tony was Gibbs' second in command long enough to know exactly what he was supposed to do without being told to and so they had started to work in silence. Of course they had both noticed the looks the team was shooting each other and them, but they were good at ignoring them.
Tony sighed slightly and deliberately turned away from Ziva, because he knew she glanced at him.
“DiNozzo, go talk to the wife.” Gibbs said, his tone as grumpy as ever, even if Tony heard a slightly different undertone in it.
“Sure, boss.” he replied and was on his way downstairs. Some medics had been taking care of the wife but apparently Gibbs thought she was up for a statement by now.
“Mrs. Jones,” Tony said calmly, “My name is Special Agent Tony DiNozzo, NCIS, I have to ask you a few questions.”
The female medic threw him an evil looks, which he already knew. He didn't like interviewing spouses who just found their partner dead but it was his god damn job, so quit being such a bitch! He suppressed a sigh and instead nodded to get the medics to give them some privacy.
Mrs. Jones was a 30-something, attractive woman. Tony could tell even through the curtain of dried tears on her cheeks and her pale skin. She gave a shaky nod to make him go on.
“Could you tell me what happened?”
“I- um...I had taken the kids up to my mother's. She lives in New York, and....Steve said he couldn't go away for a week, because he had so much work to do.” She sniffed violently and Tony feared she'd break out in tears again. “I told him he was a workaholic and it shouldn't be too hard to get a week of vacation once in a while...anyway, once we were there, I felt bad about being such a bitch, so I tried to call him. He didn't answer any of his phones. Neither home, nor work, nor cell...I tried a couple of times but he didn't...” she started to sob.
Tony rubbed her shoulder for a moment. “It's okay, Mrs. Jones. Just go on.”
She sniffed again. “I drove back down and left the kids with my mother. When I got here I saw his car in the driveway, so I came in. I called out but he didn't answer. When I checked the bedroom -” she broke off sobbing again.
Tony sighed slightly and waited for her to calm down. “Mrs. Jones, can you think of anyone who would want to hurt your husband? Did he have any enemies? Maybe at work or neighbors? Anything?”
She shook her head. “Steve was a very well liked guy. I know some of his comrades and they all loved him. He was funny and hard-working. A good father and husband.”
Tony nodded. “Thanks, Mrs. Jones.”
“He wasn't such a good husband!” Abby announced when Gibbs and Tony went to check out what she got.
“How do you know that?” Tony asked.
“Well, you guys found a condom in the waste bin in the bedroom.” she said.
“So? For all we know he could have used it with his wife before she left for New York. There was some old trash in there.” Tony replied.
“He could have but he didn't. I found residue of a woman on the outside of the condom and it doesn't belong to Amanda Jones.” Abby raised her eyebrow triumphantly.
“So, you know who it does belong to?” Gibbs asked, obviously already losing patience.
“Not yet. I'm running a DNA test now. I just used the good old blood type method to determine if it was Mrs. Jones or not. And it wasn't. Amanda Jones is A positive, while our Jane Doe is O positive. It'll take a while for the DNA to run through and we'll have to hope for a match.” Abby said, shrugging.
“So, Jones wasn't as good a husband as Mrs. Jones wanted us to believe. And he was murdered in bed. Gives us two suspects already.” Tony summoned up.
“One, actually.” Ziva said, entering the lab with McGee. “Amanda's alibi checks out.”
“You're trusting on mom's word?” Tony asked.
“Nope. We're trusting on a New York traffic camera. Amanda was filmed speeding at 8.34 that morning. Ducky determined Jones' time of death for 9 to 9.30. No way she could have made it.” McGee explained.
“So, our best lead is the lover.” Tony sighed again.
“Maybe we should talk to the wife again. See if she remembers her husband cheating now.” Ziva offered.
“I doubt she knew about it.” Tony shook his head.
“Maybe she just didn't tell us because she didn't want to be a suspect. Maybe she arranged the vacation to drive back early and catch her husband in flagranti!” Ziva argued.
“Or maybe she just didn't know and was truly worried because he didn't answer his phone. If she knew about the affair, if she knew who the lover was, don't you think she'd have told us? It would be perfect to take revenge even if the lover had nothing to do with it.” Tony shot back.
“Stop it!” Gibbs yelled, pinching his nose. “McGee, get me Jones' credit information, phone records and damn, everything. Ziva, I want a full report on everything Jones was working on. DiNozzo, background check on Amanda Jones. Just because she didn't do it herself, doesn't mean she didn't have someone else do it for her.” and so he left the lab.
“He seems more grumpy than usual.” Abby observed.
“You don't say.” McGee said through a sigh, looking at Tony.
“What? You think every time he's in a bad mood it's gotta be my fault? How about future ex-wife #4? Maybe he's had a fight with her!” Tony pointed out and already felt bad about it. Sighing he left the lab for his desk.
The day had crawled on slowly. None of them had found any promising leads and at some point Gibbs actually had agreed to Ziva's suggestion to see Mrs. Jones again. Apparently a bad idea as Gibbs had a really bad mood – well, even worse than before – when they had come back.
Tony was more than happy to finally be home and only wanted to take a shower and go to bed. Glancing at the clock in his kitchen as he grabbed some left over Chinese from the fridge he decided that it was too late to call Elisabeth anyway.
He sat at the kitchen table, poking around the food with his fork, not really hungry although he hadn't eaten all that much. Though, even he wasn't oblivious enough to think there was another reason for his lack of appetite than Gibbs.
“Your parents didn't teach you not to play with food?”
Speaking of the devil, Tony thought and turned to Gibbs in his kitchen door.
“Your parents didn't teach you to knock?”
“Nope.” Gibbs smirked, though it was short. “About last night...” he started but fell silent again.
Tony looked at him for a moment. “Look, I don't know what happened or how or why...but I have a relationship and you have one...maybe we should just call it momentary insanity and leave it at that.” he offered and stood up.
“Sounds good.” Gibbs agreed. “So...we'll just forget it.”
“Works for me.” Tony nodded, although he knew it didn't.
Frankly, Tony couldn't recall how exactly it all happened after he had said that. He had thought Gibbs had moved to the door, and he wanted to go to the door with him, but when he had gotten up Gibbs hadn't moved and they stood really close. Maybe it was that sudden proximity, maybe it was something completely different, but Tony realized that once again, he was kissing Gibbs.
It was around four in the morning when Tony woke up again. For a second he wondered what had woken him, but soon he realized that it had been Gibbs, who was trying and failing to dress soundless in the dark bedroom.
“What are you doing?” Tony asked confused.
Gibbs stilled for a moment. “I'm leaving. I didn't mean to fall asleep...”
“Wait, um...” Tony tried to find the right words. “So...this...?”
Gibbs sighed and glared at Tony through the darkness. “You didn't think this was more than sex, did you?”
“I didn't...I just...I don't know...” He couldn't possibly come up with the things to say just now.
“Look, it was a mistake. It won't happen again and we should just forget it ever happened.” He buckled up his belt and slipped into his boots. “I'll be leaving now. See ya in the office.” And with that Gibbs left.
Three days later
Although Gibbs had made clear that he thought about sleeping with Tony as a mistake, it happened again. Therefore Tony was quite happy that Gibbs had been called away by the director to go to LA to assist the new undercover unit, which happened to catch a case that was related to one of their cold ones.
“Did you listen to me?” Tony heard McGee ask and suddenly realized that he had completely spaced out.
McGee sighed a little. “I said I finally got access to all of Jones' credit card activities and I found a withdrawal for flowers. I crosschecked with the florist and they weren't meant for Jones' wife. They were sent to Miranda Hopkins. I have her address.”
“Good, let's roll.” Tony said, grapping his coat.
“What if the flowers do not lead us to his lover?” Ziva asked.
“I asked about the arrangement and the florist said Jones ordered twelve red roses – for Valentine's day. If they don't lead us to her I don't know what will.” McGee argued.
“Good enough.” Tony nodded and went to the elevator.
“I do not understand why they always run.” Ziva said, looking at Miranda Hopkins sitting in interrogation.
“Human conscience, Ziva. She knows what she did so when she sees cops she thinks they know it, too.” McGee explained.
She snorted. “How many times we would not have a clue if the perps did not run?”
“I really don't have a statistic to that.” McGee replied dryly as Tony entered interrogation.
“Well, Ms. Hopkins. That wasn't very clever, was it? After you ran we had a good reason to check your house and look what we found.” Tony put the gun on the table. “The murder weapon. Or better, a gun that our forensic specialist will prove to be the murder weapon. You killed your lover with his own gun. What happened that you put a bullet through his skull?”
Miranda sniffed slightly. “It was always the same. He would call me up and I would come running. And once it was done he would go back to his wife and kids. He always promised me that it was different this time, but it never was. When he called us a mistake again, I just couldn't take it anymore...” She coughed through her tears. “My mom used to say the only real mistake is the one from which you learn nothing. I guess I should have listened to her.”
“Yeah...probably you should have...” Tony replied distracted. He stood up. “McGee, book her.”
Tony sat on his couch, waiting. He had been waiting for about an hour and slowly he doubted that it would happen. However, the door did open then and Gibbs stood in his living room.
“Heard you closed the case.” he said.
“Yup. It was the lover.” Tony replied. “It was interesting, though. I guess she'll get away with manslaughter. She hadn't planned to kill him. Spur of the moment kind of crime. She seemed to be truly sorry for it.”
“Well, we got her, that's what matters.” Gibbs said, sitting on the couch next to Tony.
“She did say something that made me think, though. She said he had promised her to change all the time but he never did. She said, the only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing. I think there's something to it.” Tony mentioned, hoping Gibbs would get the drift.
The older man raised an eyebrow. “What are you trying to say?”
“I'm saying, you called us having sex a mistake. I did learn something from it. I learned that I cannot be with Elisabeth because if I really did love her, I wouldn't cheat on her. What did you learn from it? You called it a mistake the first time, and the second time and the third and that you show up here tonight tells me that you were gonna call it a mistake for the fourth time. It just doesn't make sense. If you wanna sleep with me, why can't you just be honest with yourself, break up with Sonya and be with me?” Tony stood, trying to keep his temper.
Gibbs sighed. “What do you wanna hear, Tony? That I don't wanna admit that I made the mistake of getting myself into a relationship with another redhead that I'm not that in love with? That I don't know what will happen if I actually admit to what ever feelings I have for you? Well, there you have it!”
Tony sat down again. “One time is a sin of passion” Tony said, “Twice and three times turns it into principle and everything after that is purpose. You can't tell me that you still don't know exactly what's going to happen if you walk through these doors.”
Gibbs nodded slowly. “I guess I do...ah damn, I'm gonna break another redhead's heart.”
“Well, think of it this way, it's the first time you do it for me so that is a sin of passion.” Tony grinned slightly and Gibbs couldn't resist to join in.
“So...what did you say about that principle?” Gibbs grinned outright, edging closer to Tony.
“That's all you heard from my rant, was it?”
“Basically.” Gibbs replied, and then kissed Tony, for the first time without the thought in the back of his head that this was a mistake. Maybe he finally did learn something.