"If I had sex with someone else," DiNozzo asked, as they pulled out of Gibbs's residential street into DC morning traffic. "Would you shoot them?"
"What?" Gibbs replied trying, more or less unsuccessfully, to juggle his cell phone, a Starbucks cup the size of a small water cooler, and the steering wheel. Since DiNozzo had no immediate death wish, he held out his hand for the phone, and ended up with the coffee. He pulled out the cupholder and shoved the coffee in, careful not to spill. He didn't need to start the morning that way.
"I was just thinking about the Shields case." It was a couple of weeks past now, but DiNozzo had found his mind going back to it. And not only because it had shown him exactly why he never wanted kids. If he'd ever had any doubt.
"That wasn't exactly what happened, DiNozzo."
"I know. But I was just wondering."
"Are you having sex with someone else?" Gibbs asked, reasonably, as he stopped behind a BMW with a Greenpeace bumper sticker.
"No," DiNozzo admitted. "Not for lack of opportunities, of course."
"Then what's the problem?" Gibbs reached for his coffee.
"It's a hypothetical question, Gibbs."
"Ah." The traffic inched forward, and Gibbs balanced his coffee on the steering wheel, exactly the situation DiNozzo had been trying to avoid. He took the coffee back and returned it to the cupholder as Gibbs asked, interestedly: "Am I supposed to say yes?"
"Just forget it, OK?" DiNozzo looked out the window, at a bickering couple in the car next to them.
"OK," Gibbs replied, as near to cheerful as he ever was. There was silence for a minute or so, enough time for them to inch forward another few feet, then Gibbs said: "Is it someone I know?"
"What?" DiNozzo glanced over. Gibbs was looking steadfastly out the windshield, but DiNozzo could have sworn he saw a smile.
"That you're having sex with. Because that would affect my assessment of the situation."
"Then yes, it is."
DiNozzo's first instinct was to say "Todd", but that was a little too close to home. "Ducky."
"Never happen," Gibbs replied easily.
"Why not?" The guy was attractive enough, DiNozzo guessed, in a kind of creepy-cryptkeeper way.
"Because Gerald wouldn't let him."
DiNozzo knew it was one of his less-than-intelligent expressions, but he couldn't help it. His eyes grew wide and he tried not to squeak. "Gerald? And Ducky?" This was good. This, DiNozzo thought, would catapult him way past Abby in the "doughnuts for gossip" hierarchy.
"We are talking hypothetically." This time, the smile was a little more obvious.
"Thank you." There was a break in traffic, and Gibbs changed lanes.
"So what would you do if it was," DiNozzo reached for the most outlandish possibility available. "McGee?"
"Hypothetically," DiNozzo repeated. Very, very hypothetically. Although DiNozzo had to admit, when McGee had been kicking that little shit's ass on the shoot-em-up video game, he'd never been hotter in DiNozzo's eyes.
"So," Gibbs said, "Just to clarify, you're asking me, hypothetically, whether I would shoot McGee if I found out you were having sex with him."
That was exactly what DiNozzo was asking. "Well, when you put it like that..."
"No." That was it. Simple, concise, very sure.
"Oh." DiNozzo could accept that. Hey, he thought, it wasn't like he was some kind of reassurance-needing weepy little whiner. This whole conversation was stupid, and Gibbs's answer was absolutely right. DiNozzo shook his head and turned back to the window. If he didn't watch himself, he thought, he'd end up asking Gibbs if his ass looked fat in these pants.
"I'd rip out his intestines and make him watch while I fed them to a pack of rabid dogs." Gibbs glanced, briefly, away from the road and over at DiNozzo. Then he picked up his coffee cup and sipped appreciatively.
"Guess I'd better tell him to get his stuff out of my apartment pretty quick, then," DiNozzo replied flippantly, but he knew he was smiling. And he kept smiling for most of the day, until Todd told him, in her opinion as a professional profiler, that he looked like an escaped mental patient.