Series: Flowery Language #1
Flowery Language
04. China Aster
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Flower Language

Chapter Four

China Aster

“Told Gibbs what?”

All three of them jumped as the man in question walked in the lab with Ziva in tow. Tony anxiously bit his lip. He knew that he needed to tell his lover, but how does one tell someone that they were being stalked by someone who wanted to rape and murder them?

Luckily, McGee and Abby saw his dilemma and, with a understanding 'we'll-help-you-now-but-you-had-better-tell-him' look, they came to his rescue.

“We think the victims were stalked before they were killed,” Abby began.

“Dunnigan's roommate said Mark received a flower the morning he left for New York. A red carnation,” McGee continued.

“Which means that someone was obviously fixated on him,” Abby finished. “Also, preliminary DNA analysis is a match to the previous to victims, so we're definitely dealing with the same guy.”

“So the question is, who is he fixated on now?” Ziva asked, staring at the plasma, which displayed the three victims.

“About that"” Abby started.

“There's no obvious connections between his victims,” Tony was quick to cut in., ignoring her glare “There's nothing from our previous victims to point towards who this guy will go after next. And short of going door to door asking people if they've received any mysterious flowers, when we're not sure Dunnigan's flower came from our killer anyway...”

Gibbs sighed. “There's nothing more we can do tonight. It's late. Everyone go home.”

There were nods of agreement all around, and Tony panicked. Usually during a case, especially one like this, they would stay at Tony's apartment, because it was closer, with Tony going home first and Gibbs following after. How could he tell Gibbs that he was afraid to go home?

The thought startled him. Afraid? He couldn't be afraid. He could take care of himself. Had had to since he was twelve. When his mother, Tessa DiNozzo, died when he was only ten, he was left in the tender care of his father, Emilio De Luca, reigning patriarch of the family, whose name was among the few big names on New York's organized crime circuit. De Luca had been content to raise him as his own, after all, a bastard heir was better than no heir at all, that is, until his wife had given birth to a son when Tony was twelve...

He shuddered at what his father's plans for him had then become. That probably explained why he was so freaked. Add his father's aspirations for him to the creepy display that his corpse would be left in, and maybe his fear was well justified. However, that still left him with the problem of telling Jethro, preferably before he was expected to drive to his apartment and wait there, alone, when some psychopath obviously had no trouble getting inside.

“Tony?” his lover's quiet inquiry broke him out of his thoughts, and he realized that they were standing alone in Abby's lab.

The goth forensic scientist chose that moment to leave her office and walk past them on her way out. “Tell him, Tony!” she cried out helpfully, causing the Italian to cringe and try to avoid the intense blue gaze that was now on him.

“Tell me what?”

“Jethro,” he took a deep breath before continuing. “I may have been misleading before. It is true that none of our evidence points to who the next victim will be...”

“But?”

“But that doesn't mean we don't know who our perp is after,” he replied, trying not to fidget under that stare.

There was a slight pause before Gibbs' became impatient. “Dammit, DiNozzo, who?”

“Me.”

Silence.

Tony gathered his courage and looked into his lover's eyes. He saw a myriad of emotions swimming in those pale blue pools"anger, fear, worry, love, determination. Tentatively, he reached towards the older man, needing to feel the safety he knew his touch would generate. As if knowing his intent, Jethro immediately pulled him into his arms.

“Jesus, Tony,” he breathed, burying his face into the younger man's neck and inhaling his scent. “Are you sure?” he asked after pulling back a bit.

“There was a flower on my kitchen counter when I woke up this morning,” he admitted with a sigh. “Another was delivered here this afternoon with a note that said 'Tonight.' I tried to hold onto the vain thought that it might just a coincidence. That the flowers could be from you or someone else I know, but...”

“I didn't leave you any flowers,” Gibbs confirmed with a frown.

Tony rolled his eyes. “Kinda figured that one out on my own, Boss.”

“You should have told me immediately after receiving the first one,” he growled, pulling Tony closer and tightening his grip.

“Didn't know it meant anything 'til we visited the roommate,” he muttered, clutching Jethro desperately and burrowing his face into the crook of his neck. “And now... Jethro, I'm afraid.”

“Don't worry, Tony,” he soothed, dropping a kiss on the top of his head. “Anyone who wants to touch you is going to have to go through me and the entire team. He will NOT get you.”

And when Leroy Jethro Gibbs tells you that you'll be okay, you tend to believe it, Tony thought with a smile.

OoooOoooOoooO

Tony smiled softly as he glanced over at the man driving. Gibbs had one had on the steering wheel with the other placed on Tony's knee, as if reassuring the former Marine that he was there, safe. The sun was shining cheerily and if it weren't for Gibbs' tense posture and the fact that they never drove to work together for fear of discovery, then Tony could almost forget that someone was stalking him with the intent of causing him serious harm.

He frowned at the thought. No, best not to think of that. Instead, he thought about the previous night. They were barely in the door before Jethro pulled him close and claimed his mouth in a powerful kiss. From there, they lost themselves in each other, kissing, touching, holding, grasping... Gibbs trying to prove to himself that Tony was there, safe from whatever psycho was after him. Tony desperate to be as close as physically possible to the safety of Jethro.

When they moved to the bedroom and Gibbs had entered him so achingly slow... Tony had felt that there was nothing in this world that could harm him. Not with Jethro around. In the light of day, with Leroy Jethro Gibbs at his side, all his previous fears vanished.

However, walking into the bullpen, they all came crashing back to him when he saw the manila envelope sitting innocuously on his desk, a purple flower attached.

McGee, Ziva, and Abby were already hovering around his desk, waiting for him and Gibbs. He felt his lover tense at his side and knew that he was itching to pull Tony close.

“What is it?” he asked, directing his question at Abby, who knew exactly what he was referring to.

“It's a china aster. It stands for jealousy. Should I open the envelope?” she asked, looking back and forth between Gibbs and Tony.

“I'll do it,” Tony replied, reaching into his desk and pulling out a pair of gloves. Settling down in his chair, he took a deep breath before carefully opening the envelope. Reaching inside, he pulled out a black and white 8 by 10 photograph. Gasping in horror, his eyes flew up to meet the grim blue of his lover's.

The picture showed Tony, leaning shirtless against the sofa in Gibbs' leaving room. Jethro, also shirtless, was standing between his legs and pulling him close, their mouths melding together in an obviously passionate kiss.

Tbc...