Title: Sniper's Blood

Summary: Tony's angry, and it's not just at the world. A Bait tag.

A/N: I wrote this as an attempt to write a more realistic take on season 3, including mentions of Kate's departure, Ziva joining the team and the arrival of Director Shepard. Technically AU for the Aliyah and finding out about Ziva's orders to shot Ari and gaining Gibbs trust. Also the mention of Ziva's age, according to her she was born in 1982, which in season three would make her 24 in 2006. Which makes for an 8-9 year difference between her and Tony, which I found amusing.

Word Count: 807

He jabs at the bag; again, no sharper, no harder, more upper thrust, follow through with your body. His eyes cut to the doorway, meets the blue pair watching him before jerking his gaze away once more.

Grunting as the bag comes back to him with a little more force then he anticipated, he smoothly switches his punches into kicks. What he wouldn't give to take that brat of a Mossad officer down in a sparring match. It won't happen; Tony knows that. Gibbs won't let him. He hasn't been allowed to spar with anyone else since that time Reynolds talked trash about Abby in his first year. Sufficing to say the three-day suspension was totally worth breaking the guy's nose and ribs and - okay, he should probably stop thinking about this, before he gets the urge to do a little checking on Reynolds. No. Better to focus on it finally earning him a firm second place on the Abbsters list of love.

A wince passes his lips as a door slams, like the crack of a gun. Like backfire. Like Kate on the ground, eyes still glimmering with her jest. I thought I'd have to die before - bang – hot, wet drops splattering.

He steps away, shaking his head, hands itching to palm at his cheeks. They still burn even months later, warm like -


A snarl escapes. Tony doesn't want to hear it. Mr Captain Ahab. Always has to do everything himself, and look, just look, at the messes he leaves behind.

"Go away, Gibbs."

The older man sighs, before there's a rustle behind Tony and the thump of someone sitting on the ground. And Tony may just hate him a little more for it. For his unending patience, for pushing - always goddamn pushing.

For Wendy. For when the hospital pills had made him slip about Rhode Island Military Academy and Maui and Jason King, least not forgetting Philly and Peoria. And yet never revealing a thing about himself. Oh no, all the information Tony knows about Gibbs are things he's teased from Gibbs' house, his reactions to Tony's picking comments and after months of waiting, snatching a look in the man's file when he found it buried in the personnel archives after finally sneaking past Delores.

"You did good, Tony."

"I know that! Fucking hell Gibbs, do I look like a god-damned probie to you?" Tony shouts, whirling around. "But what - just what were you thinking putting her on our team Gibbs? She Mossad. I don't care what she fucking did to gain you trust. You think it's a good idea to put an assassin for a foreign agency in the midst of our turf? You don't keep the enemy close when you don't know the enemies play!"

Blue eyes narrow. "There is no play, Dinozzo."

"You sure 'bout that? Because David seemed pretty intent on getting me to order the shot at that kid today!" Tony takes some satisfaction in the minute shift in the Boss' posture. "And if David's as young as she says she is, I'll eat my own gut. Because how the fuck would she have time to work Europe ops with our darling Director, in amongst Mossad training and being Ari's handler. Huh, Gibbs? Answer me fucking that!"

By this point Tony's lungs are choking him, reminding him of the still ever-present blue light that slinks along in the wake of his shadow. He looks through his fringe at the other man and feels his rage simmer down a degree as he absorbs some of the calm control rolling off the ex-marine in waves. Those unnaturally blue eyes assessing as they meet his gaze unashamedly.

Then Gibbs stands with the grace of a predator, slinking towards him like a giant cat with all the time in the world and stopping with only an inch between them.

"And why do you think I made you Senior Agent Dinozzo?" Gibbs murmurs, leaning in to Tony's airspace slightly.

Tony frowns, fidgeting against the close proximity. His boss knows he hates people getting too close outside of a playoff. Then the light bulb clicks on. "Oh."

The other's head cocks slightly as a crooked smile crosses his face. "Yeah Dinozzo, oh." The smile turns wry. "You think just anyone gets to watch my six?"

Then before Tony's mind can process the statement, Gibbs steps back and stalks to the doorway, throwing over his shoulder, "You coming Dinozzo? Unless you want to be eating cold Pizza, of course."

It hasn't fixed everything; Gibbs knows that too. But as a brilliant grin lit up his face, Tony finds it doesn't hurt quite as much as it did before. Then, he declares his trust brightly to the world.

"On your six, Boss!"

He'd like to think Kate would appreciate the sentiment too.