"DiNozzo, you take the back. Kate and I've got
the front. On my count." The words were clipped, terse; no sense in
alerting their suspect. It was a bad situation as it was--too much
cover for Petty Officer Stewart and not enough for them. Add in Kate's
theory that Stewart felt he had nothing to lose...Tony winced inwardly
and made it around the back as quickly and as quietly as he could,
waiting to move on Gibbs' signal.
He didn't get the chance.
Something slammed into his left shoulder and he staggered back, almost
losing his grip on his weapon. He heard ringing in his ears and
wondered if he was shouting something, but his hands didn't seem to
want to work and then the world tilted at an alarming angle and his
head hit something hard and he didn't notice anything else.
He'd know that voice anywhere. Tony blinked, staring up at two Gibbs,
both of whom seemed to be kneeling next to him. "Wha?" he managed,
trying to sit up and failing.
"Easy," Gibbs said, even as he stripped off his jacket and wrapped it
around Tony's shoulder, careful not to jostle him more than he had to.
"Stewart shot you--you didn't even get a chance to fire first. He was
waiting. Sheer bad luck that he tried to make it out the back before
Kate and I got in there."
"Shoulda fired," Tony said thickly, closing his eyes against the double
images. His shoulder felt on fire and his head was throbbing.
"You did, DiNozzo. You got him."
And Tony had to be dreaming because he felt Gibbs' free hand on his
forehead, smoothing his hair back. "Stay with me, Tony," Gibbs said,
sharper now. "EMTs are on their way. Stay with me. You hit your head
and I'm not letting you fade out on me before they get their chance to
deal with you."
"EMTs will be here in two minutes." That voice had to be
Kate's--breathless, more than a little edgy. Tony cracked an eye open
and saw two of her kneeling on his other side. "How bad is it?"
"Through and through. He'll be fine once they stitch him up. He hit his
head, so we don't have to worry about any damage there." Gibbs' tone
was almost even. Almost. "Probably they'll keep him overnight for
"Don' need it," Tony protested. "Hard head."
"You let them decide that, DiNozzo."
Tony groaned and closed his eyes again; the world was spinning too
sickeningly to do otherwise.
He drifted, aware of sharp pain and people talking and then being
lifted and put into what had to be an ambulance. Then there were bright
lights and medicine-y smells and doctors buzzing around him and
needles--God, he hated needles--until eventually he was lying in a
hospital bed, left arm in a sling and bandages wrapped around his
shoulder. His head still felt like someone was playing the steel drums
in it but they'd told him they couldn't give him anything more than
Tylenol until the X-Rays came back.
"You're fine," Gibbs said brusquely, walking into the room. "Concussion'll
keep you out longer than the arm will, and you'll be on desk duty til
the sling comes off. Doctors still want to keep you overnight."
"Any chance you can spring me, Boss?" Tony managed a weak grin.
"DiNozzo, you're the color of the sheets. Not a chance." Gibbs sighed
and crossed over to him. "Take it easy, Tony," he said quietly. "I'll
get you out of here in the morning."
"I've been hit over the head before," Tony protested.
"Yeah, and normally you weren't shot at the same time. Humor me."
"Is this my boss speaking, or my lover?" Tony asked as quietly as he
"Both." Gibbs glanced around before squeezing Tony's hand. "I've got to
get back to the office. Reports won't write themselves."
"I know." Tony smiled. "I'll see you in the morning."
Gibbs nodded. "Call me if you need me." He paused, looking down at
Tony. "If I could stay--"
"You can't," Tony said quietly. "I know that."
"Yeah." Gibbs sighed. "I'll come by in the morning."
With that, he was gone, leaving Tony to lie back against the pillows
and close his eyes. Sleep would be good. Really.
Of course, sleeping in a hospital was pretty much useless. If it wasn't
the noise from outside, or the lights, it was the nurses coming in to
check on him and make sure he hadn't suddenly slipped into delirium or
a coma in the past two hours. Normally he'd have managed to flirt with
at least one of them, but he was tired and in pain and just not up for
He'd finally managed to drift off for a bit when the curtain around his
bed was pushed back and he saw one of the doctors, along with Gibbs.
"Do I get to go home now?" he asked hopefully.
The doctor smiled. "So eager to get rid of us? Let me just look you
over and then I'll sign you out. Your boss has agreed to take you home
so long as *you* agree to rest for the next couple of days. You lost a
fair amount of blood, Agent DiNozzo."
"I promise. Desk duty only." Tony held up his right hand.
"Not quite." The doctor shone a light in Tony's eyes, checking his
pupils. "You're to stay home for the next two days. After that, you can
go into work on restricted duty until the sling comes off, which should
be in about three weeks. Despite what Agent Gibbs may tell you, this
wasn't as clean a shot as we'd like to see. You were extremely
lucky--an inch more to the right and you'd be looking at a shattered
Christ. Tony winced inwardly. From the look in Gibbs' eyes, he'd be
lucky if he got to make it to the *couch* in the next two days. He
sighed and nodded in acquiescence, realizing that he didn't really have
a choice in the matter.
He ended up with a white paper bag full of various prescriptions and a
couple of sheets of instructions before he and Gibbs finally made their
escape. The early-morning sunlight was warm on his face and he closed
his eyes, letting it wash over him as Gibbs drove.
About ten minutes into the drive, Tony noticed that the angle of the
sun felt wrong and he opened his eyes. "Gibbs?" he said, turning
carefully to look at him.
"We're going south."
"My apartment is north," Tony persisted.
"We're not going to your apartment, DiNozzo. I want you where I can
keep an eye on you." Gibbs' voice left no room for argument.
That didn't mean Tony wasn't going to try. "And what if Kate calls? Or
Abby? Or one of them wants to come over?"
"Then I tell them that the doctor said it wasn't safe to leave you
alone and I didn't want to deal with your apartment," Gibbs snapped.
"I'm not letting you go back there until you've got some color back in
your face and you don't look ready to fall over every time you move.
Deal with it."
Great. Now he had a stubborn lover to deal with, in addition to his
bastard boss. Tony sighed and closed his eyes again.
On the other hand, getting from the car to Gibbs' bedroom took about
every bit of strength he had and he was almost pathetically grateful to
lie down. Gibbs helped him get settled under the covers, pillows
supporting his injured shoulder, before leaving briefly. He returned a
minute later with a plate of toast and a glass of milk. "You need to
eat to take the pills," he said quietly.
Tony sighed and reached for the milk, drinking about half of it before
turning to the toast. The concussion was still making him slightly
nauseous and getting the food down was an effort. By the time he'd
finished the last bite, Gibbs had pills waiting for him.
"What are these?" Tony asked.
"Antibiotic and painkillers. We'll see how you're doing in a few
"We?" Tony asked, swallowing the pills. "Um, Gibbs, not to be a downer,
but you've got to go in today. You can't stay here and take care of me.
It's too suspicious."
"I know." But from the look on his face, Gibbs didn't like it. "The
doctor said you shouldn't be left alone for the next couple days," he
said, stroking Tony's hair gently.
"Yes, but..." Tony shrugged his good shoulder. "You're my boss."
"Which is why I should watch out for you. If you die, I've got to find
another agent." Gibbs gave him a wry smile.
"Jethro..." Tony turned his head into the caress, kissing his palm. He
winced a little as the motion pulled at muscles that really didn't want
to move and rested his head back against the pillows. "I'll be fine."
Gibbs sighed. "No, you won't, Tony. You can't get out of bed without
almost falling over and your balance is shot to hell because of your
arm. I can't in good conscience leave you here."
"Then tell Kate to come over. She can work from here and it makes a lot
more sense to have her here than it does to have you stay." Tony
smiled. "And it's not like she doesn't already know."
"Kate's not physically strong enough--"
"Jethro!" Tony cut him off. "Listen to me, okay? As much fun as it is
to watch you get all overprotective here, you have to step back. You
have to be my boss here, *not* my lover. And as my boss, you *can't*
take the day off to nursemaid me. You just can't. You wouldn't do it
for Kate, or McGee. You can't do it for me."
As he'd expected, Gibbs sighed and nodded at that. "I don't like it,"
he admitted. "And if this had happened to Kate, I would make sure she
had someone with her, even if it was you."
"Then get her over here."
Gibbs shook his head wryly and pulled out his cell phone, hitting a
button. "Kate," he said after a moment. "Yeah. DiNozzo needs someone to
stay with him and I've got to get into the office. Can you work from
home?" He paused. "No, not DiNozzo's apartment. My place. You know
where it is? Good. Be here in twenty." He flipped off the phone.
Tony took his hand, reaching across his lap to do so. "I'll be fine,
Jethro," he said quietly. "I'll lie here like a good little agent and
take my pills and I'll only get up to use the bathroom. Okay?"
"I'm going to hold you to that," Gibbs warned him.
"Yeah, I know. You'll get Kate to report on me." Tony grinned. "If I
only knew a way to bribe her..."
"Not a chance, Tony." Gibbs leaned forward and kissed him. "You scared
the crap out of me," he said softly. "I should have known Stewart saw
"I should have seen him before he drew on me," Tony countered.
"He had cover. You didn't."
"Yeah, and if it had happened to you?" Tony raised an eyebrow. "You'd
be saying the same thing, only a lot grumpier. I screwed up, boss."
"Yeah, maybe." Gibbs sighed. "But you're paying for it now."
"No, right now I'm just in pain. I'll be *paying* for it when I'm stuck
on desk duty and you dump mountains of paperwork on me even though I
can't type to begin with and I *really* can't type one-handed." Tony
wrinkled his nose.
"I'm sure I can come up with something more creative." Gibbs smiled.
"You'll find a way to dump the paperwork on McGee anyway."
"Damn, you're on to me." Tony grinned and took Gibbs' hand with his
good one, rubbing his thumb over the back. "And I'll be back at work in
a couple days."
Kate didn't bother ringing the doorbell; Gibbs' door was never locked
and it was unlikely he'd hear her anyway. She shut it behind her and
headed upstairs, knowing where she'd find them.
As she'd expected, Tony was sitting up in bed, pillows piled behind his
back and supporting his left arm. There was a mostly empty glass of
milk on the nightstand next to him, along with a few pill bottles and a
plate with a couple of crumbs. Gibbs was sitting on the edge of the
bed, facing him, shaking his head at something Tony had said.
"Am I interrupting?" Kate asked from the doorway.
"Nope. Just convincing Gibbs to go into work and stop hovering." Tony
grinned. "You should go--"
"Don't even start, DiNozzo," Gibbs almost growled. "Kate's staying. And
I'd make you stay if she were in your place."
Tony sighed. "Could you grab my laptop, then?"
"No." Gibbs stood up. "Kate's working. You're on sick leave until I say
"Don't you mean until the doctor says otherwise?"
Kate winced. She wouldn't want to be in Tony's place right now. Gibbs
was always a bear when one of them got injured and she didn't even want
to *think* about what it meant for Tony now that they were lovers.
That word made her pause. "I'm going to go get my computer set up," she
said hastily. "Gibbs, where's your hook-up?"
"Living room, downstairs, but you can plug in up here if you'd rather."
Gibbs turned to her.
"Might as well," she said, knowing it hadn't been a suggestion.
"Gibbs, for the last time, I'm not going to do anything but lie here
and stare at the ceiling. I can't read, there's no TV, and with the
meds I'm going to be in la-la land in twenty minutes. Give Kate a
break." Tony sighed and shifted a little, pushing one of the pillows
behind his shoulder. "The last thing she needs is to be cooped up in a
room with me all day."
"I didn't know you cared," Kate said sweetly.
"I've already been shot once. I'm not taking chances with your temper."
Tony gave her an innocent smile.
"Fine. Set up wherever you like. I've got to get into the office."
Gibbs snagged his jacket from its spot over the back of his chair and
pulled it on. "Tony--" He turned back, hesitating. "I'll be back later,
"I'm fine." Tony reached across his lap awkwardly and took Gibbs' hand.
"Go on and terrorize McGee for me."
Gibbs smiled slightly. Kate almost missed it; she was stunned
speechless by the way Gibbs crouched down smoothly, kissing Tony's
forehead before standing back up. "Watch out for him," he said, passing
her on his way to the door.
Kate nodded dumbly.
She waited until she heard the door close behind him to stare at Tony.
"Did he just--" She gestured.
"Don't start. I had a hard enough time convincing him to go to work. He
wanted to stay and hover." Tony winced, looking a lot more drawn and
pale suddenly. "God, I hate concussions."
"You should know; you get enough of them."
"Very funny." Tony sighed and closed his eyes. "Probie's going to end
up a wreck by the time Gibbs is done with him, you know."
"That's different from normal how?" Kate sat down in the chair by the
"Good point. Sorry you have to babysit."
Kate shrugged. "You'd do the same for me. Difference is, *I* won't
destroy your apartment."
"No, since we're not *there*." Tony grimaced. "Bastard wouldn't drive
me home. He said he wanted me somewhere he could keep an eye on me."
"Good," Kate said. She knew she'd surprised him when he opened an eye.
"Tony, you're in pretty bad shape. You probably don't remember it, but
you lost a hell of a lot of blood before they managed to get you
stitched up. The doctor said that it was a miracle the bullet didn't
shatter your shoulder."
"I know. He told me, too." Tony made a face. "I'd consider myself
lucky, but I should have been smart enough not to get shot in the first
Kate shrugged. She hadn't been there. She didn't know what had gone
down. "You gonna be okay if I go downstairs and set up?" she asked
"Yeah. I'm probably just going to sleep anyway. Expect some phone
calls--I'm sure Gibbs will check in more often than he needs to."
"Yeah, well." Kate stood up. "You scared him. And it doesn't take a
profiler to figure that out."
"I know." Tony opened his eyes and looked at her. "That's what scares
me. What if someone else finds out cause of this mess?"
Kate shook her head slowly. "I don't know," she admitted. "Let's hope
it doesn't happen."
"How's Tony?" Abby demanded as soon as Gibbs got into the office.
"Complaining because he's stuck in bed for the next two days and I sent
Kate over there to keep an eye on him."
"Well, der. You sure you needed to do that?"
"He can't stand up without falling over," Gibbs said shortly. "The only
reason that he's out of the hospital is that I said I'd have someone
there with him. So yes. I'm sure. Anything else?"
Abby looked hurt and Gibbs sighed inwardly. "He's fine, Abs," he said
tiredly. "He'll be in pain for a bit and he'll need physical therapy on
his shoulder but he's fine."
"I can drop by his apartment later," Abby offered. "I'm sure Kate won't
mind. She'll probably flee as soon as I open the door."
"He's not there."
Abby's eyes widened. "You didn't send him to Kate's, did you?"
"No." Gibbs downed the rest of his coffee and tossed the cup in the
trash. "He's at my place. I wanted him somewhere I could keep an eye on
him. I don't trust him not to try and do something stupid, like get out
"He's that bad off?" Abby asked in shock. "I thought--"
"He's *fine*," Gibbs said in frustration. "Don't you have work to do?"
Abby stalked off, radiating annoyance in every black-clad line of her
body. Gibbs rubbed his forehead and sat down at his desk, deliberately
ignoring the empty desk next to him and the one across from him.
He wouldn't call until lunchtime. He even tossed his cell phone in his
desk so he didn't have to look at it.
Lunchtime just happened to be around eleven, that was all.
"Todd," Kate answered briskly on the second ring.
"How is he?"
"Asleep, last I checked. Hold on." Gibbs heard the sound of footsteps
and the squeaky board on the third stair and leaned back in his chair,
waiting. "He's out cold," Kate said quietly. "You want me to wake him?"
"No, he needs the sleep. How are you doing on the Carson profile?"
Kate had just started talking when he heard a groan from her end of the
phone and she shut up. "Tony?" he heard her ask.
"Ugh." The phone connection was muffled, but it was enough for Gibbs to
hear Tony muttering something.
"Gibbs, I have to go--Tony's being an idiot and trying to get out of
"Sit on him if you have to," Gibbs told her.
"He'd enjoy that too much. I'll see you later." She flipped off her
phone and Gibbs sighed, turning back to his own computer.
No hot cases meant he could leave a little earlier than he'd planned.
Like around three, maybe.
"Would you lie *back*?" Kate asked in frustration. "You're supposed to
be staying *in* bed."
"Kate, amusing as I find it to watch you snap at me like some kind of
terrier, I have to use the bathroom, so you can either help me up
or..." Tony frowned. "There is no or."
Kate sighed. "Idiot." She gripped Tony's arm carefully, giving him
leverage to stand up. Once upright, he swayed a little, paling; Kate
was afraid she'd have to catch him or push him back on the bed before
he regained his balance.
"I *don't* need help for this," he said as he headed toward the
"I should hope not."
She waited, not-quite listening. She was just starting to worry when
the door opened. "I washed my face and brushed my teeth, Mom," Tony
said, seeing the look on her face. "Okay?"
"Just making sure you didn't fall in, DiNozzo," she said, supporting
him with one arm around his waist. It worried her that he didn't
Tony almost fell into bed before managing to get settled; he winced as
he pushed pillows behind his shoulder. "I think I need the
painkillers," he admitted.
Kate picked up the bottle. "You need to eat to take them."
"Just get me some milk, okay? Too nauseous to eat. Stupid concussion."
"Be right back." She picked up the glass and plate and headed
downstairs, finding Gibbs' fridge surprisingly well-stocked. One glass
of milk, one banana, and some toast later, she went back upstairs.
"Eat," she said, giving him the plate. "Or you get no pills."
"Christ. Now you sound like Gibbs." Tony unpeeled the banana and took a
bite, glaring at it. He ate mechanically, like he was forcing himself,
but he got everything down. Kate handed him the milk and two pills and
he swallowed them gratefully, slumping back against the bed. She
frowned, noticing the dark shadows under his eyes and the paleness of
"You look like crap, DiNozzo," she said bluntly.
"Polite as always, Kate." Tony closed his eyes. "It's the concussion.
Once that clears up I'll be fine. Well, until Gibbs kills me for
"You didn't screw up. I read the reports. There was *no* way you could
have seen Stewart."
"I should have been able to see him. He got the drop on me, Kate." Tony
sighed and looked at her.
"We don't shoot first," Kate pointed out. "And you did get him, Tony."
"By sheer luck. I don't even remember shooting."
"Doesn't matter, though." Kate shrugged. "You gonna be okay if I leave
"I'm fine. I'm going to go back to sleep like a good little boy and I
promise to call you for help if I decide to do anything drastic, like
empty my bladder." Tony gave her a wide smile and Kate snorted.
"God help Gibbs when he has to deal with you later," she said, leaving
the door partially open as she went back downstairs.
Focusing on work was pretty much a lost cause. Gibbs swore under his
breath and got up to find Abby, wondering if she'd finished with
Carson's computer yet.
From the way she was glaring at the monitor intently, fingers flying
over the keys, he guessed not. The music was blaring and he didn't
bother interrupting her, just left and went in search of Ducky. Maybe
the ME would have more information.
"I'm afraid not, Jethro," Ducky said apologetically, stripping off his
gloves. "I won't know anything more until Abby's done with the tox
Gibbs sighed. "Yeah, I figured as much."
"Problems focusing today?" Ducky asked. "Tony will be fine, you know."
"I know." Gibbs looked at the X-Rays up on the light board, not really
seeing them. "He should be back at work within a couple days."
"The doctor said two days of bedrest should be enough, but I think he
may have been overly optimistic."
"So do I. DiNozzo looks about two steps better than one of your
'friends' down here."
"Kate is with him?"
"Yeah. She's making sure he doesn't kill himself trying to go to the
Ducky smiled. "I wish her luck."
"If she makes it through the day and they're both in one piece, I'll
let her out early next time she has a date."
"I'm sure she'll appreciate that." Ducky studied Gibbs through the
lenses of his glasses. "Just as I'm sure you'd appreciate being able to
get home to Tony."
"Well, he is at your place," Ducky said reasonably. "Abby told me."
Ducky smiled. "And something tells me he's not in the spare bedroom."
Gibbs stared at him for a long moment before rubbing a hand over his
face. "How long have you known?" he asked finally.
"How long has it been?" Ducky countered gently.
Ducky nodded. "About three."
Gibbs shook his head. "How? And why didn't you say anything?"
"I assumed you would tell me when you felt comfortable enough to do
so," Ducky said placidly. "As for what gave it away? You did, Jethro.
I've known you for how many years now? I know what you're like when
you're in love. Oh, you've been very careful, both of you. No one who
doesn't know you the way I do would have guessed. But...a glance here,
a casual brush of shoulders there..." Ducky shrugged. "It wasn't hard,
once I realized there was something to look for."
In love? No. Couldn't--they'd never said--"I need to go," Gibbs said
abruptly. "Tell Abby I want her results on my desk ASAP." He turned and
strode out of autopsy, his mind whirling.
"How is he?"
Kate looked up from her computer, surprised to see Gibbs there
at...three-thirty? Whoa. "He's asleep," she said. "Or he was as of half
an hour ago. The painkillers knocked him out."
Gibbs nodded and headed upstairs without another word.
"And hello to you too," she muttered, following.
Tony was out cold, head turned to the side and mouth slightly parted.
The shadows under his eyes were dark, more noticeable due to his
paler-than-usual skin. The pain lines on his face had eased a bit,
though, and when Gibbs knelt next to the bed and smoothed his thumb
over Tony's forehead, he sighed and seemed to settle more.
"You can head back to the office if you want, or call it a day. I'll
take care of him from here." Gibbs stood up, looking at her.
She nodded. "I'll go back for a bit. Got some things to tie up." With
Tony out, Kate knew his paperwork would end up mostly on her
desk--well, what she couldn't dump on McGee anyway.
"Okay." Gibbs looked down at Tony before turning back to her. "Thanks,
"He'd have done the same for me," she said simply before going back
downstairs to get her things.
Tony woke up to the feeling of a hand stroking through his hair. He
made a soft sound and turned into the caress, nuzzling against the
callused palm. "What time is it?" he asked sleepily.
"You left early." He blinked his eyes open, forcing them to focus on
Gibbs, sitting next to him on the bed.
Gibbs nodded. "Yeah. About three."
"I would have done it for Kate too, and don't tell me otherwise. I
wanted to make sure you were all right."
"I'd be better if I could stop falling asleep every fifteen minutes,"
Tony grumbled, stifling a yawn.
"Some of that's the meds. Some of that is blood loss. It takes time,
Tony." Gibbs stroked his hair again, gently. "Have you eaten?"
"Kate made me have a banana and some toast before she let me take the
painkillers." Tony made a face. "Are you going to make me eat too?"
"Yeah, I am. Think you could handle some soup?"
"Do I *have* to?"
"Time for the antibiotics. They'll wreck your stomach if you don't eat.
C'mon, Tony, you know the drill."
Tony grumbled. "Think I can go downstairs for it?"
"Not a chance in hell." Gibbs kissed his forehead. "Kate told me you
nearly fell over going to the bathroom."
"I've been stuck in bed all day! I wasn't going to be steady on my feet
just getting up!" Tony looked at Gibbs, hoping his best wide-eyed
innocent look would work.
Damn. Tony glared at him. "Bastard," he muttered.
"Tony, I want you better. And for once in your life, you're going to
listen to the doctor's orders. Or I'll make Ducky come check you out,
and he'll be more cautious than whatever his name was."
Tony sighed and dropped his head back against the pillows. "Fine," he
Gibbs kissed his lips gently. "I'm going to go make you some soup. i'll
be right back."
Tony just nodded, eyes closed.
Gibbs stood and went down the stairs, opening one of the kitchen
cabinets and taking out a can of chicken noodle soup. He poured it into
a large bowl and put it in the microwave, heating it while he got a
sleeve of saltines and some ginger ale. With luck it would go easy on
Tony's stomach--Gibbs had had concussions before and knew how queasy
they made him.
As the food heated, he looked at the microwave door, deliberately *not*
thinking about what Ducky had said earlier. He stared at the green
numbers until they blurred in front of his eyes, blocking out
When the microwave beeped, he put all the food on a tray one of his
ex-wives--number two, if he remembered correctly--had left behind and
carried it upstairs, settling the tray across Tony's lap carefully.
"I feel like i'm seven again and staying home from school," Tony said
with a wry smile, reaching for the spoon. "Of course, my mother never
made me soup."
"Who did?" Gibbs asked.
Tony shrugged and ate a spoonful of soup. "I did, mostly. I was really
good at using the microwave."
Gibbs decided not to push, choosing instead to watch Tony eat. He got
down the entire bowl of soup and about half the sleeve of crackers
before pushing the tray away. "Pill time?" he asked with a grimace.
"You know the drill, Tony." Gibbs moved the tray aside and counted out
the meds--one large antibiotic, one smaller pain pill. He handed them
to Tony, who swallowed them with a gulp of ginger ale. "They should
kick in soon."
"Hope so," Tony admitted. "My shoulder hurts a bit."
That probably translated to it "throbbing in excruciating agony". Tony
was almost as good as he was at hiding pain. "You want me to get you an
ice pack?" Gibbs asked.
Tony shook his head. "I'll be fine once the drugs kick in."
Gibbs brushed a lock of hair off Tony's forehead, leaning forward to
kiss him. "C'mere," he said, kicking off his shoes and sliding into
bed, settling Tony against him. "This okay?"
Tony sighed and let his head rest against Gibbs' shoulder. "Yeah."
The phone rang the next morning around seven; Tony groaned and reached
for it before sagging back with a gasp of pain. "Shit," he muttered,
closing his eyes and waiting for the throbbing to subside.
He heard Gibbs answer the phone. "Yeah. Okay. Get Kate to give you
directions. Be here in twenty." He hung up and turned to Tony. "Abby's
coming over today," he said by way of explanation. "She volunteered, I
"Right." Tony swallowed against a dry throat. "Got any of those
painkillers for me?"
"Right here." Gibbs handed him a glass of milk and a pill and Tony
swallowed them gratefully. "I'll get you some toast so you can take the
antibiotic," he said, setting the glass down.
"Okay." The concussion had to be going away; food was starting to sound
like a good idea. As if proving that, his stomach growled. Loudly.
Gibbs smiled. "i'll see what else I can dig up," he said before leaving
Tony lay back against the pillows, silently willing the pain pills to
work faster. He opened his eyes with an effort when he heard footsteps
and saw Abby standing in the doorway, hair down for once, wearing a
black skirt over black fishnet stockings and black boots with a
long-sleeved tight black sweater. "Hey, DiNozzo," she said, dropping
into the chair next to the bed. "How're you doing?"
"I've had better months," Tony admitted wryly. "You got picked to be my
"I volunteered. Thought I'd spare Kate." Abby grinned. "Sides, this way
I don't have to sit in the lab and pretend to do work. Not much going
on right now."
"I'm touched by your altruism."
"That's me." Abby squeezed his hand. "You scared us, Tony. Don't *do*
"I didn't exactly plan this," he protested.
Before Abby could respond, Gibbs came back in with a plate of toast and
scrambled eggs. "Abs," he said, giving Tony the plate and a fork.
"Didn't hear you come in."
"I snuck in. These actually aren't all that loud." Abby swung one boot
and grinned up at Gibbs. "So what are my orders?"
"Keep him in bed," Gibbs told her, looking at Tony. "Although he might
be able to make it to the couch today--*if* he can stand up without
"Got it." Abby nodded. "We'll play cards or something. You *do* have
Gibbs opened a drawer in the nightstand and tossed her a deck. Abby
caught it and grinned. "Cool. And I've got my laptop, too."
"Abs, the pills knock me out," Tony warned her between bites of the
"I can still play," Abby said with a shrug.
"I've got to get to work. Abs, sit on him if you have to." Gibbs
smiled. "I'll be back later." He passed a hand over Abby's hair and
Tony watched as Abby jumped up, going to the window to watch Gibbs
leave. Once the car had driven away, she turned around, hands on her
hips. "So how long have you two been sleeping together?" she asked.
"What?" Tony stared at her, his food momentarily forgotten.
"C'mon, Tony. I'm not an idiot. You're here, not at your place. You're
in the master bedroom, and the other half of the bed is
rumpled--*someone* slept here last night. And unless Gibbs has suddenly
joined the rest of us in the twenty-first century, that's not his TV
and DVD player in the living room." Abby folded her arms over her
chest. "Am I wrong?"
Tony sighed. "Abs--"
"Don't 'Abs' me. Am I wrong?"
Tony set his plate down. "No. Five months."
"Who else knows?" Abby asked, sitting back down in the chair next to
"Kate. And I think Ducky. Gibbs said something last night but I was
pretty out of it." Tony shrugged his good shoulder. "We've been trying
to keep it quiet."
To his relief, Abby nodded. "Fair enough." She grinned. "I figured
*something* was hinky but I didn't know what. And I wasn't about to ask
"So you took advantage of me in my injured state? Nice, Abs."
"Please. You're awake, the meds haven't quite kicked in yet, and you've
got food in your stomach. You're fine for the moment."
"I'm in pain," Tony said grumpily. "And I'm stuck on desk duty for the
next however long it is."
"Poor baby." Abby kissed him on the cheek.
"Your sympathy underwhelms me." Tony hid a yawn.
"Pills kicking in?" Abby asked.
"What've they got you on?"
"Um." Tony looked at the bottle. "Percocet."
"Ooh. Good stuff." Abby grinned. "No wonder you're loopy."
"Go kill things on the computer," Tony said, fighting another yawn.
"Stop mocking me."
"The two are not mutually exclusive, you know." Abby grinned and opened
her bag, taking out her laptop. She crawled onto the bed on the other
side of Tony, unzipping her boots and kicking them off before sitting
cross-legged. "I can do both. I'm talented."
Tony closed his eyes, deciding ignoring her was the better part of--of
something. The pills were taking effect and he was content to lie there
in the warm sunny room and drift, the throbbing in his shoulder reduced
to a mild ache that would go away soon. He heard Abby laugh quietly and
felt a gentle kiss on his cheek before letting the meds drag him under.
Work was a little easier with Kate there. Not much, but a little. Gibbs
made it until eleven-thirty that day before picking up the phone.
"Talk to me," Abby said cheerfully.
"How is he?" Gibbs didn't waste time on small talk.
"And hello to you too, Boss. It's a lovely day here, although the
bedroom's a bit sunnier than I prefer. But Tony likes it, so I'm
dealing for now. I'd put him on the line so he could talk to you
himself, but he's sleeping. He woke up about an hour ago and made it to
the bathroom all by himself--I offered to help and he grumbled at me.
When's he due for more pain meds? I asked him and he said he didn't
know and didn't really want to take them anyway."
Gibbs ran a hand over his face. "Give him more around one--don't let
him tell you otherwise. And make sure he eats something."
"No problem. And hey, Boss?"
He could *hear* Abby's grin through the phone line. "Is he good in
"What?" Gibbs stared at the device like it had just grown antlers.
Abby giggled. "See you later, Boss." She hung up and Gibbs stared at
the phone for a moment longer before flipping it closed and tossing it
down on his desk.
"How's Tony?" Kate asked, looking up.
"He's fine. Well enough to grumble about taking the painkillers." Gibbs
got up and walked over to Kate's desk, shoving his hands into his
pockets. "Did you know Abby knew?" he asked quietly.
Kate's eyes widened. "She knows?"
Gibbs smiled wryly. "She asked me if he was good in bed."
"I guess she knows," Kate said with a swallowed laugh. "Don't look at
me. I haven't said a word."
"I didn't think you had." Gibbs sighed. "But now you know, and she
does, and so does Ducky. I'm not too happy with this trend."
Kate looked up at him, her eyes serious. "You can trust us, Gibbs. None
of us are going to say anything. We wouldn't do that."
"I know. I'm just wondering how long we can keep this quiet from
"That I don't know." Kate shook her head slowly. "But we'll do our best
to help. You know that."
He nodded shortly. "Thanks."
Kate smiled a little and shrugged. Before she said anything, Gibbs held
up a hand. "I need coffee. You want a cup?"
"Not your stuff. I like my stomach lining the way it is."
"I'll get it milder for you." Gibbs grabbed his keys and his phone and
left, needing some fresh air. Things were just getting too weird for
Around five, he got home to the sounds of music coming from upstairs;
following it led him to the bedroom, where Abby and Tony were playing
some strange card game that he didn't recognize at first glance. "Hey!"
Abby said, tossing down her hand. "What's up?"
"Making sure you two survived the day." Gibbs smiled and sat down in
the chair at the side of the bed, noticing with relief that Tony looked
better than he had that morning. There was more color in his face, he
was awake--if looking a bit groggy--and the shadows under his eyes had
faded. "How're you doing?"
"Better," Tony said, gathering up the cards with his good hand. "I
think I might make it downstairs tonight."
"Don't push it," Gibbs warned him.
"I'm going to forget how to walk if I have to stay in bed much longer,"
Tony complained. "C'mon, Gibbs. Cut me some slack."
"In case you've forgotten, DiNozzo, there's a flight of stairs between
you and the kitchen. I'd rather not have you tumble down them because
you were too damn impatient to wait five minutes."
Abby laughed. "I think that's my cue to leave. Play nice, guys." She
kissed Tony on the cheek, gathered up her laptop and her bag, and slid
off the bed. To Gibbs' surprise--and secret pleasure--he got a kiss on
the cheek as well before she headed downstairs and left.
"You look better," Gibbs admitted, moving to sit on the bed facing
Tony. "How's your head feeling?"
"Much better. Headache's almost gone. Although you could kiss it and
make it better, you know."
He smiled and leaned forward, pressing his lips to Tony's forehead. "Is
"Nope." Tony grinned. "I want a real kiss."
Gibbs stroked his fingers through Tony's hair, sliding his hand down to
cup his face gently before leaning in to kiss him. He'd meant it to be
gentle, but Tony made a soft sound and opened his mouth and Gibbs fell
headlong into the kiss, only pulling away when he had to breathe.
"Now that's better," Tony whispered against his lips. "Be even better
"I don't want to jostle your shoulder," Gibbs said with more than a
hint of reluctance.
"I won't move?" Tony said hopefully. "C'mon, Gibbs, it's been *days*."
"Your sex drive never ceases to amaze me."
"You've never complained about it before," Tony pointed out.
"You're hurt, you're on drugs, and I am not going to risk screwing up
your recovery and having to explain to the doctor that you re-injured
your shoulder by having sex." Gibbs took Tony's uninjured hand and
squeezed it. "Give it a little longer, okay?"
Tony sighed but nodded. "Abby knows," he said after a moment.
"I know." Gibbs couldn't stifle the smile. "She asked me if you were
good in bed."
"What did you say?"
"I didn't get a chance to answer. I was too stunned and then she hung
Tony started laughing, head falling back against the pillows. "That's
Abs for you," he said wryly. "She just came right out and asked me how
long we'd been sleeping together."
"Ducky knows too."
"I thought you said something last night. How'd he find out?"
It took Gibbs a split second to decide against telling Tony about that
particular conversation. "He's known me longer than any of you.
Apparently he's known for three months."
"Huh." Tony shrugged his good shoulder. "Doesn't surprise me, really.
Let's just hope no one else finds out."
"Yeah." Gibbs sighed. "Yeah, that's the trick, isn't it."
Tony tightened his grip on Gibbs' fingers. "We'll manage. Somehow."
Gibbs smiled a little. "When did you become such an optimist?"
"I'm not. I'm pretending I don't have to worry about this. I'm going to
have a hard enough time being stuck on desk duty and watching you go
out on a case without me without having to worry about the whole
concept of being outed." Tony looked down at their hands. "I really
don't like the idea of you going out in the field without me to watch
your back. And don't tell me Kate'll be there, or even Probie, because
it's not the same."
"I know. I know, Tony." Gibbs brushed the fingers of his free hand over
Tony's face. "I wish I could tell you that you won't have to worry
"Yeah. I wish I could tell you that I won't get hurt again, too, so
we're even there." Tony sighed.
"I'd rather you didn't get hurt again either." Gibbs leaned forward and
kissed him again. "I didn't particularly like seeing you lying there on
the ground. You scared the shit out of me, Tony. And I'm not thrilled
about seeing you stuck in bed, either."
"Fair's fair, Boss. You did the same to me when I found you in the
morgue after Ari shot you." Tony touched the spot on Gibbs' chest where
the bullet had hit him. "Our job isn't exactly safe."
"No. And I can't protect you, much as I want to, sometimes." Gibbs
shook his head wryly. "You take too many damn risks, DiNozzo."
"It's part of why you hired me and you know it. You don't play by the
book--you wanted someone else who didn't. Kate's enough of a
rule-follower for both of us."
"Yeah, well. She's learning." Gibbs shrugged. "Are you hungry?"
"Depends. Are you going to let me out of bed to go eat?"
"*If* you can stand up on your own, without wobbling, I'll let you go
downstairs and relax on the couch." Gibbs stood up, watching, ready to
support him if Tony needed it.
It took a moment for Tony to push himself away from the pillows and
swing his legs over the side of the bed, but he got to his feet with
only a momentary stumble. "That didn't count," Tony said with a
mock-glare at him. "My balance is shot to hell."
"I know. Come on."
Tony made it downstairs and onto the couch without a problem, although
he looked content to relax there once he got settled. Gibbs handed him
the remote and ran a hand through his hair. "I'm going to go make
dinner. Find something on that idiot box."
He went to the kitchen, wondering just what he had in the fridge that
was edible. The murmur of the TV was loud enough that he heard sound,
but not loud enough that he could hear exactly what was on. As he
heated water and took out a box of pasta before dumping a jar of pasta
sauce into a small saucepan, it occurred to him that he hadn't been
this domestic in years. Not since...his third wife. If that even
The thought made him freeze.
*'I know what you're like when you're in love, Jethro.'*
Gibbs' hands clenched on the counter. God. He just wasn't going to
think about right now.
He finished making dinner automatically, bringing the pasta bowls out
to the living room where Tony was watching some random football game.
Tony took his bowl with an absent smile of thanks and began eating
hungrily, bracing the bowl on a pillow. "S'good," he said between
"It's just pasta, DiNozzo."
"Still good." Tony swallowed, licking sauce away from the corner of his
mouth. "You gonna let me go to work tomorrow?"
"How's the head?" Gibbs asked.
"It's fine. Shoulder hurts, but that's to be expected." Tony looked at
the sling and grimaced. "I so need a shower."
"You can't get that wet," Gibbs said, nodding at the bandage on Tony's
shoulder. "You'll need help."
"Aw. And I thought you'd never ask." Tony grinned. "I never thought I'd
say this, but I'm almost looking forward to paperwork if it gets me out
of the house."
"If you're saying that, you're better enough to go back," Gibbs
admitted. "Desk duty *only*, DiNozzo. I'm sure I can come up with
enough for you to do. Although I want you to tell me if you need to
leave. I can take you home, or Kate can."
Tony sighed and nodded. "Okay. But for now...shower? Please? I feel
Gibbs smiled and stood up, holding out a hand. "C'mon. Let's get you
clean and back into bed."
"That would be *so* much more tempting if you were offering sex too,"
Tony grumbled, getting to his feet.
Gibbs barely managed to hang up his towel. He should have known better
than to think he could hold out against Tony--especially a warm, clean,
peppermint-scented Tony who wouldn't stop kissing him.
"Bed," he said, pushing Tony's good shoulder gently. "I'm not going to
risk hurting you."
Tony pouted. "But--"
"Trust me. Go lie down." Gibbs kissed him and watched him crawl into
bed, stuffing a pillow under his left shoulder. When Tony was settled,
he padded into the bedroom, pausing at the side of the bed and just
looking at Tony for a long moment.
"Patience." Gibbs leaned down and kissed him, gently and lingeringly.
"If you move, you'll hurt your shoulder."
"I'm beginning to think you have a thing for this," Tony grumbled.
"Taking advantage of me when I can't move. Or when you've made me
promise I won't."
"It's taken you this long to figure that out?" Gibbs asked in
amusement. "Told you, Tony. I like having you at my mercy like this.
I'd rather it wasn't because you were injured, but yeah, I like you
"First chance I get, I'm turning the tables on you," Tony warned him.
Gibbs smiled and moved to kneel between Tony's legs. "I'll hold you to
that." He leaned down and kissed Tony again, deeper, more hungrily,
bracing himself on one arm to run his other hand down Tony's chest. His
fingers skirted the edge of the bandage, ghosting over the injury
Tony wasn't the only one who wanted--needed this. Seeing Tony lying on
the ground, bleeding and dazed, was an image Gibbs wasn't going to
forget any time soon. He wanted to run his hands over Tony, every part
of him, reassuring himself that Tony was alive and all right. He
wanted, badly, to slick his cock and push inside Tony and feel him,
hear Tony moan and writhe and clench around him.
But he couldn't--not without hurting Tony. He'd have to wait for Tony's
shoulder to heal to do that.
He traced a line down the center of Tony's chest, down his stomach,
watching the muscles clench under the light caress. He had to hide a
smile--Tony was so incredibly responsive it never failed to amaze him.
He hoped he'd never take it for granted.
A thought flashed into his head and he closed his eyes, swallowing.
What if the shot hadn't been so lucky? A few inches to the right, that
was all it would have taken. Clean shot to the heart--Tony would have
been dead before they'd even reached him.
Gibbs lowered his head, resting his forehead against Tony's stomach. He
breathed in peppermint and the warm scent of Tony's skin and felt the
muscles move as Tony exhaled.
Forget what would happen if people found out--Gibbs wasn't sure he
could take going through this again.
"It's not going to change," Tony said softly. "Who I am isn't going to
change whether we're together or not. I'm a cop, Gibbs. This is what I
"I know." Gibbs sighed.
"And it wouldn't be easier if you weren't there. You'd drive yourself
crazy wanting to know who my back-up was because no matter who they
were, you wouldn't trust them because they wouldn't be you." Tony
laughed a little. "Did that make sense?"
"Enough, yeah." Gibbs knelt up again. "I still don't have to like it,
Tony. I don't like seeing you hurt."
"I don't exactly like *being* hurt." Tony gave him a wry smile. "And
I'd like it even less if you were the one lying here. For one thing,
you're a worse patient than I am."
Gibbs smacked his thigh. "What the hell am I going to do with you,
DiNozzo?" he asked, shaking his head.
"Right now, pretty much anything you want. I can't move or get up
without help and you're blocking me anyway. So..." Tony shrugged his
good shoulder and visibly relaxed. "Like you said, Gibbs. I'm at your
He leaned up and kissed Tony again, one hand cupping the side of his
face. "Don't move," he said quietly. "Got it?"
"Yeah. I got it." The look on Tony's face said that he wasn't thrilled.
"If you move and hurt something again, you get to tell the doctor why,"
Gibbs warned him.
"You don't play fair."
"Never said I did, Tony." Gibbs kissed his throat, his shoulder,
nuzzling the dip between his collarbones. "In fact, didn't you tell me
you learned that from me?"
Tony snorted, his head falling back against the pillows. "Bastard," he
Gibbs licked a line up Tony's throat, biting down gently. "Yeah. So?"
"N-nothing." Tony shivered under his touch, his nipples hardening
almost instantly under Gibbs' fingers. Gibbs pinched one and Tony
groaned, low in his throat.
He slid down Tony's body, using his hands, his legs, his torso to
caress every part of Tony that he possibly could, just to *feel* him,
warm and alive and breathing. Tony was already half-hard and when Gibbs
rubbed his cheek against the side of Tony's cock, Tony groaned and
Gibbs licked around the head of Tony's cock, sucking it into his mouth,
playing with it. Tony's legs fell apart and his uninjured hand gripped
the sheets. "C'mon," he ground out. "Don't tease me. I'm injured here."
He wanted to draw it out until Tony was whimpering and writhing under
him, until the only sounds Tony could make were moans and gasps. But he
couldn't--not if he wanted Tony to stay still. So he licked a line up
the underside, tasting the pre-come at the head, right before he
swallowed as much as he could.
"Fuck!" Tony's hips arched involuntarily and Gibbs pressed him back
into the mattress, hands on his hips. He raised his head, letting
Tony's cock slip out of his mouth.
"Don't move," he said softly. "Or I'll stop."
"Bastard," Tony groaned.
"Yeah." Gibbs grinned. "We've been over that already." He lowered his
head, taking Tony's cock into his mouth again.
Tony moaned helplessly, legs tensing as he fought to stay still. Gibbs
pressed him down more firmly, spreading his hands wide over the warm
skin, licking at the head of Tony's cock.
"God--Jethro, please, don't tease me," Tony managed, breathing hard.
Gibbs kissed the head of Tony's cock and sucked it into his mouth,
tongue pressing against the the spot guaranteed to make Tony moan. He
slid his hands under Tony's body, squeezing his ass and lifting him
slightly. It was easier this way to take more of him in, to swallow a
little more each time he breathed.
"Oh, fuck--God--" Tony was panting, shivering under Gibbs' hands.
He slid one hand up to Tony's lower back, holding him; the other moved
down between his legs, rubbing against his perineum. Tony made a short
guttural sound; it sounded like he'd bitten off a cry. Gibbs smiled to
himself, closing his eyes to better focus on what he was doing. He felt
Tony's moans as much as he heard them, the vibrations running through
Tony was getting close, his whimpers almost desperate now. Almost--and
as he felt Tony tense and tremble, he moved his hand, pushing one
finger into Tony, hard and rough and dry.
Tony made a low keening sound in the back of his throat and came,
unable to keep from arching up as he did. He sagged back against the
bed, his breathing evening out in seconds. Gibbs looked up and couldn't
hide a smile--Tony was completely passed out, limp against the
mattress. Given the medication and the strain Tony's body was under, it
wasn't exactly surprising...and more than a little flattering.
He got up and went to the bathroom, washing his hands and brushing his
teeth. His own erection had faded enough that he didn't really need or
want to deal with it--one of the few advantages to getting older, he
supposed. By the time he padded back into the bedroom, Tony was sound
asleep, head turned to the side and his good arm stretched out over
Gibbs' side of the bed.
He shook his head wryly and crawled into bed, turning off the light as
he did. He had to shift Tony's arm carefully so he could get settled;
Tony just sighed a little and snuggled down deeper into the pillows.
For a long, long time, Gibbs lay there, watching him sleep.