Disclaimer: I'm not Bellesario or CBS, so I don't claim to own them.
Characters: DiNozzo; Gibbs; Abby
Word Count: 1,000
Setting: Post- 06x25 Aliyah
Note: Title of M*A*S*H episode 08x20 inspired this fic...
Series: 10th Story in Letters to Home
Crossposted: ncisfanfic; ncis_fic; ncis_slash; gibbs_dinozzo
Summary: There are many forms of communication. It's just a matter of finding the one that works.
"We need to talk."
It had been two hours since Tony had made his down the stairs to Gibbs' basement and said those words. And in those two hours, nothing else had been spoken. Tony had positioned himself on the stairs, leaning into the wall as he watched Gibbs working with several pieces of wood.
The wood had appeared in the basement when they returned from Stillwater. Tony still wasn't sure what had happened to the boat Gibbs had named after his daughter, but it appeared that a new project was taking root in Gibbs' mind. Tony found it almost hypnotic to watch the man work and he almost let go of what he really wanted to talk about.
"So talk," the sudden yet quiet words took Tony by surprise and he jerked upright on the steps.
"Uh- We have a, um, potential issue, Boss," he started out, thinking back to his rehearsed speech that had just flown out the door. "McGee."
Gibbs just raised his eyebrow and Tony took it as a sign to press on. "He doesn't know about us. Or, at least I assume he doesn't know about us. Which, in some ways, is good because the less people that know, the less room for people who shouldn't know finding out. You know?"
As Tony was talking, he hadn't noticed Gibbs making his way to him until the other man had touched his lips to silence him. Tony leaned into the touch just a bit and then looked up at the older man.
"You think we should tell McGee, Tony?" Gibbs asked him as he held his gaze.
Tony nodded and then elaborated, "I don't think we can afford not to tell him, Gibbs. We've had too many secrets over the last few years. And most of them blew up in our face, literally. What happens if we need him to cover for us and he's too busy being shocked about it to do anything? What happens if he finds out from someone else before we tell him? He'll think we don't trust him."
"We're getting a new team member on Monday," Gibbs added seemingly at random. "Couldn't tell Vance no. We'll need to be more careful. With everything."
"Not sure I'm ready to have anyone we don't know snooping around. Think they're going to be reporting to Vance about us?"
"It's likely," Gibbs said as he maneuvered himself onto the steps behind Tony and sat down. Tony leaned backwards until his head was resting on Gibbs' chest and Gibbs had wrapped his hands around Tony's own chest.
"You think McGee could deal?" Gibbs asked.
"Not sure. But I think it would be worth it to find out. Maybe we could ask Abby for input. She knows the inner workings of the Timothy McGee brain. What do you think?"
"Do it before Monday."
"I take it I'm on my own for this one," Tony said as he wrapped a hand around Gibbs' leg. He watched Gibbs' hand move up and soon there was a tap on the top of head.
Tony tipped his head back and looked up at Gibbs with a question in his eyes.
"You're on your own with Abby. We'll talk to McGee together," Gibbs clarified and that was the end of the subject for the night as they found other things of interest.
"Like this," Abby both said and signed at the same time. Then Tony concentrated on the motions her hands were making so he could repeat them.
"I suck at this," Tony finally said in frustration after making it through his last sentence. "I just wanted to ask you some advice, not take sign language for dummies."
Abby tapped him on the back of the head just like Gibbs did and he placed a hand over the spot to rub it.
"You are not a dummy Anthony DiNozzo. You already know more sign language than the majority of people. You can finger spell and you know some words. We're just expanding your vocabulary beyond the four-letter variety. And if you want to intrude on my Friday night, we're going to put it to use."
Tony watched her with her arms crossed for several moments before realizing that she wouldn't budge. He resigned himself to the fact that if he was going to get advice on McGee, he would be doing it through sign language.
The process was slow as Tony spelled out words. Each time he finished a new word, Abby would show him the sign for the word. At the end of a sentence, he would go back through and string his new words together. Bit by bit, he was able to paint the picture to Abby of his thoughts on McGee learning about his relationship with Gibbs before it was too late.
Once he reached the end, Abby came to life. Using spoken words mixed with signs, she gave Tony her thoughts on the subject of McGee and gay relationships. She stopped periodically to have Tony repeat words back to her and Tony found things coming quicker as their conversation progressed.
Abby gave Tony plenty of evidence that McGee was accepting in general when it came to alternative lifestyles. Some of the things she mentioned left Tony raising his eyebrows and wondering just what it was like to date Abby.
In the end, she concluded that given a few days to adjust, McGee would be fine. And that he would be able to help them cover things should the need arise. With a kiss to the cheek and a hug, she sent him packing back to Gibbs with the promise to give him a kiss for her.
With a smile on his face and feeling more confident that telling McGee was the right thing to do, he made his way back to Gibbs' house. As he slipped into bed, Gibbs blinked his eyes open and Tony signed something he'd wanted to say for a long time, I love you.