Summary: After the events of Nine Lives (6X05), Fornell and Gibbs are given a chance for peace.
“In a day of surprises, I never expected to be here.” Jethro Gibbs arched an eyebrow at his dinner companions and sipped his wine.
“Don’t look at me, Jethro. I’m as surprised as you. Didn’t expect to walk out of the director’s office and see…” Tobias Fornell waved his hand at the elegantly dressed redhead who sat between the men.
“Why is it much easier to think of me as an evil witch?” Diane Fornell’s words were at odds with the small smile playing over her features. She really was quite beautiful when she smiled. Gibbs realized, remembering.
“We don’t, or at least I don’t. What about you, Toby? You think of our host as an evil witch?” Gibbs gave her his trademark smirk and was gratified when she rolled her eyes, squeezing Toby’s hand.
Toby chuckled, shaking his head. “Nah. That went out the door a while ago. Still didn’t expect you to take us out to dinner after our meeting with the boss.”
“Your boss,” Jethro countered.
What had happened in the meeting was a shock to them both. Instead of reprimands, Toby, and Gibbs himself by virtue of the fact that he’d tagged along, had been quietly thanked. Taking Kale out in broad daylight and in front of the ZNN cameras would have been a public relations disaster. But above and beyond that, the ass reaming went more like a gentle seduction and the director had made a not-so-veiled suggestion that Gibbs could have a very productive and long career as a supervisory agent with the FBI.
Of course he’d declined. And he and Toby had been dismissed. When they’d walked out of the Hoover building, someone had tooted their horn. It was Diane, waiting to take them to dinner. She’d quietly thanked them for being the men they were, emphasizing that throughout dinner.
“You know,” Toby began conversationally. “You could end up being my boss if you played your cards right, Jethro.”
“No no and no. Not interested. Don’t play politics and I’m not a diplomat, Toby.”
“You’re doing pretty good tonight,” Diane remarked, taking a healthy gulp of wine. “You’re here with me being the utterly charming bastard I fell in love with.”
“And the utterly charming bastard who broke your heart,” Gibbs reminded quietly. She’d cheated on him, but he’d divorced himself from the marriage emotionally months beforehand.
“That’s in the past, Jethro. I like to think that now I can have a civilized dinner with two men I once loved. Two men who impressed me greatly with their restraint today. That boy will do time but he has a chance to make a difference. You trying to convince him not to shoot was only half the battle, Jethro. You not shooting him was the other half, Tobias. I know we all behaved badly when we were married people, but I have come to respect the both of you and what you do. And this is my way of saying thank you.”
“Still have a kid with a ruined life because of my shortcoming…”
“Tobias! You need to stop that right now. I don’t know the specifics but I do know that a criminal is dead and that marine is alive. Thanks to the intervention of both of my exes.” That old familiar anger made Jethro smile, but he looked away, dragging his fork through something rich and chocolaty and sweet that blended perfectly with the wine.
“You always took being human to heart. You both did. It is one of your most endearing qualities.”
Jethro looked up now, feeling her eyes on him. “And reading us perfectly was one of yours.”
There was something fragile and new growing between Toby and Diane and he suddenly knew he had to go, let them explore it without him there. “Thanks for the dinner, sweetheart,” he said, kissing her cheek. “What we had between us, it wasn’t all bad. Let’s do this again, okay?”
He nodded to Toby and strode out into the night. It may be temporary but right now he was at peace.