Disclaimer: I'm not Bellesario or CBS, so I don't claim to own them.
Genre: Gen; Five Things Fic
Spoilers: Episode Tag to 07x12 Flesh and Blood
Word Count: 1,000
Note: This is written based on the image prompt below the cut I received for picfor1000.
Crossposted: ncisfanfic; ncis_fic; gibbs_dinozzo; picfor1000; ncis_haven
Summary: They never planned it out. It just kept happening year after year.
The first time happened when they both stumbled into the house after the disastrous end to their Jane Doe case. Tony had needed a place to crash that wasn't the office and Gibbs had, as he had always intended to do, offered his guest room. Neither said a word about how things had gone that night and that Kate would need their support for a while, even if she didn't want it. Instead, Gibbs had just grunted a question that sounded like, 'Are you hungry?' and Tony had grunted back in the affirmative.
Nothing else was said as Gibbs grabbed a frozen steak from the freezer and tossed bag of frozen vegetables in Tony's direction. The only sounds in the kitchen were from the clatter of silverware as they prepared the food. Gibbs used a Foreman that Tony figured was left over from the last wife to fix the meat, while Tony settled for steaming the veggies on the stovetop.
When everything was ready, they settled in at the table, each with a hunk of meat and a helping of something green. They ate in silence, cleaned the dishes in silence and went their separate ways to bed, in silence.
The second time was the day Tony was allowed to leave the hospital. Pitt had been reluctant at first, but Tony and every nurse on the staff had insisted he be allowed to leave. And then, he was only allowed at the promise that someone would be watching over him. There was no question that that someone would be Gibbs.
So Tony was ensconced at Gibbs' with more pillows than he knew what to do with. He was still coughing up a lung, but it had been reduced from every minute to every thirty. His breathing was hit and miss, but he was thankful for the vapor machine that Gibbs had pulled out of some mothball ridden closet.
Tony's sense of smell was still nonexistent, which explained why he missed the obvious smell of Gibbs cooking until a plate laden with steak and mashed potatoes was set in front of him.
Tony wanted to be grateful for the first non-soupified food in weeks, but he wasn't sure he could manage it. Gibbs didn't even bat an eye as he took the plate and cut the steak into tiny pieces before handing it back with a terse, "Eat." So Tony did.
The third time took place very soon after the second and this time it involved beer that morphed into some very hard liquor. Kate had been killed and the man responsible for it was treated in kind in Gibbs' basement. After returning from Kate's funeral, Tony had found himself with a very quiet Gibbs sitting on his couch because the other man's house was still considered a crime scene for the night.
Gibbs was a quiet man under normal circumstances, but this time, Tony knew it was different. There was an air of defeat about the man that Tony had never associated with Gibbs. It was almost worse than the surreal kindness Gibbs had demonstrated immediately following Kate's death.
Tony found himself the one preparing the food (he knew a place that delivered steaks, thankfully) and he added some beer to the menu figuring they both needed something to ease the pain. One beer had led to finishing off Tony's supply and then a search for something stronger that Tony usually avoided unless things were really bad. He wasn't sure when the night had ended for either of them, but the next day had been hell when they had awakened.
The fourth time had been years later. After Kate, things had changed on the team and Tony always felt it was for the worst. The feeling of 'team' he used to have had seemingly shriveled up the longer things had went. Then Gibbs had lost his memory and taken off to parts unknown in Mexico and nothing was right.
Tony delved into his undercover assignments with relish and Gibbs had hooked up with Mann. There was no time for them to sit silently through a meal together, enjoying the companionable silence between them. Truth be told, Tony didn't feel he could share that with Gibbs anymore as Gibbs wasn't the man he used to be.
Then Gibbs almost drowned. Technically, he did drown, because Tony knew he wasn't breathing when he got him on that pier. He also knew that something else had brought Gibbs back, because it sure wasn't his efforts.
That night, he found himself at Gibbs' house and it was like a reboot of that first time. What shocked Tony was Gibbs' solemn, "Thanks," as they put the last dish in the drying rack for the night. "Don't mention it, Boss," was the only response he had.
Their dinners became fairly regular after that point. Plans were never made, but they had an uncanny ability to read the other and figure out when dinner was needed. They alternated between locations, being just as comfortable sitting around the sawdust filled basement as they were on the leather couch in front of the flat screen television at Tony's.
Tony's stint as agent afloat had thrown the routine off, but things had gotten back on track not long after his return. After the deal with Rivkin and Ziva's departure, they had even included McGee once or twice, wanting what little team they had left close at hand.
So there was no question that after Tony ended his awkward goodbye with his father that he would head for Gibbs' house. If there was ever a night he needed the normality of steak with Gibbs, it was that night. And a strong beer would not be rejected either.
The only difference was the talking. They never did talking, but this time Tony couldn't stop himself. He found himself telling Gibbs things from his past. It was a new twist on an old routine that forever changed their nights of steak and beer.