Quick note: I don't have any medical training so some of the stuff in here may not be accurate, despite some googling of ER policies, as a lot of the recommendations seemed to differ

He winced as the car hit a rough patch in the road and he was jolted in his seat, the vibration rattling through him and setting off spikes of pain all over. He saw Tony shoot him a glance, and the car slowed,


"Not your fault." He reassured him, almost rolling his eyes as Tony glanced at him again, raising an eyebrow,

"What? Do you want me to blame you for the pot holes?"

"Guess not." Tony agreed. A few moments later they hit another unavoidable dip. He bounced in his seat and couldn't stop the hiss that was forced out of him as his chest flared up, screwing his eyes shut as he attempted to ride it out,

"Sorry, sorry...Tim, you okay?" He waited a moment as the pain calmed to a dull ache before he replied,

"Fine..." He trailed off as Tony shot him a disbelieving look,

"Okay... my ribs are aching a bit." Tony glanced at him again,

"A bit?" He rolled his eyes, pausing as his vision swam with the movement,

"Okay a lot." Tony smiled slightly,

"I may not be a human lie detector like Ziva, but even I could see through that one McGee... how's the head?"

He gingerly eased Tony's tie off of his skull and gently probed the wound with his fingers, hissing slightly at the pain the pressure caused and the unpleasant feeling of blood congealing and drying in his hair.

"Tender?" Tony winced in sympathy.

"Yeah, but I'm pretty sure the bleeding's stopped." He pulled the tie completely away. Grimacing as the material was stuck against the blood for a moment, and tugged on the hair and skin.

"Just keep the tie handy in case it starts up again."

He wanted to smile at the honest concern in Tony's voice. It wasn't often that Tony showed openly how much he cared. He knew he did, okay maybe not in the way Tim wanted him to care, but in a brotherly kind of way. He could live with that.

Tony glanced at him again, and he realised he had been trailing off into thoughts he should not be entertaining while alone in the car with Tony, in a confused and emotional state, and with a head wound that was clouding his thought process...there was no telling what thoughts he would randomly let slip.

He smiled slightly to reassure Tony, before he closed his eyes. He just felt so tired, like he just wanted to shut down and slip away. He felt emotions he had been trying to push down threaten to break out of him, the fear, the horror... he blinked back tears and shivered as the memories threatened to come flooding back.

He tried to focus on something, anything else. He listened to the thrum of the engine, felt the throbbing in his head and ribs... listened as Tony breathed. He focused on that, drew strength from it... Tony was here, he wasn't alone, Tony brought safety and protection. Tony would never hurt him, would try and stop anyone that tried. He remembered Tony holding his gun, looking as if he would kill the men on the spot, the sense of safety knowing how far Tony, or any member of his team, would go to protect him. He was safe.

He repeated those thoughts over and over, feeling the sudden tension and panic evaporate as Tony's mere presence relaxed him and made him feel secure. When they first met he had been nervous around Tony, and in his first few months on the team had always been waiting for whatever prank or joke it was that Tony was going to pull next. Now though... Yes Tony still joked and pranked but he actually... looked forward to it? It brightened his day; Tony was one of the only people who he could relax completely around, who could make him smile and laugh without restraint, and he enjoyed the feeling of the uncontrollable laughter some of Tony's antics would bring. He looked forward to Tony's next prank because he actually fought back now, and the banter or prank wars that ensued always allowed him to just let loose the childish part of himself that he hadn't been able to indulge before, let him feel like he belonged.

But, even as the thought about it, he knew that this had been building up long before he had been an equal participant in the pranks and banter.

When Gibbs had said Tony tested positive, was dying, he had felt like his whole world had shattered, his brain had frozen, unable to comprehend the idea that some disease from history class was taking him away.

As he had stood by Kate's morgue draw, looking down at her body, just Tony being there had made the overwhelming, grief, sadness and guilt seem just that slightest bit more bearable.

In fact, now that he was focusing on his past reactions to Tony, rather than just the current ones, he realised Tony had been a main feature in his world for sometime... and that for almost as long he had liked, and welcomed him being in that role.

"Tim?" Opening his eyes was an effort, and that scared him, he was on the verge of passing out now that the adrenaline had completely worn off. He forced his eyes to remain open, blinking a few times to try and rid himself of the lethargic feeling. He turned to Tony, and saw the concern and slight relief in his eyes,

"I need you to stay awake for me okay?" He nodded, and he saw Tony give him a strained smile as he turned the wheel to pull them into the hospital,

"Good, I need you conscious; you may have lost weight but I still don't think I could carry you in there."

He smiled weakly,

"Maybe you just need to work out more."

Tony smiled back at him, not even bothering to pretend to be offended, or hide his relief at his increased level of awareness,

"Considering that goose egg on the back of your skull, I'll let you off of the head slap this time Probie, but just this once!"

He remembered not to roll his eyes this time and simply let his smile grow,

"So how long is this immunity going to last?"

He saw Tony's smile widen slightly, but the worry was still present,

"I'm not going to answer that, on the off chance that you'll remember even after your concussion wears off."

They pulled into a parking space surprisingly close to the hospital doors, and Tony turned to him, an indecisive look on his face,

"You want to try walk in or want me to go get a wheelchair?"

"Walk in."

His response was probably too quick, and Tony looked to him with concern. But he didn't care. He didn't want to admit it but he knew he was barely hanging on here. Panic kept swelling up inside him, only held at bay when Tony would ask a random question or crack a joke. Because that was normal. And it meant he had someone there that he trusted. Someone who, on many occasions, had proved that he would have his back.

He didn't want to be alone. And if Tony left then he would be. Even if it was just to walk in and get a chair, he'd still not be there.

He knew he could ask for his gun back and sit here with it for protection, but he didn't want to.

Because having Tony was better.

And a small part of him didn't trust he, alone, was good enough. That had been what had started to bother him the most every time the...event, kept flashing in his mind. Maybe he wasn't good enough, couldn't protect himself. Maybe if he'd been better, faster, stronger, then he would have been able to stop it earlier. Would have been able to do something more.

Tony looked at him for a moment longer, before he nodded, opening the door and sliding out, moving round the front of the car to Tim's side and opening the door. This time when Tony reached out to touch him there was no hesitation. He didn't comment, simply slipped his arm around Tony's shoulders once again, feeling the slight warmth fill him at the knowledge Tony was no longer afraid of reaching out to give him the support he needed, and maybe on some level, knew how implicitly he trusted him.

Despite how close to the entrance Tony had managed to get them, walking into the hospital still took a while. As his energy waned and his injuries continued to make themselves known his pace had slowed considerably. Tony supported and encouraged him the whole way, but by the time they reached the doors he was ready to sit down... or just lie down and sleep.

He woke up slightly as a shot of panic worked its way through him when they stepped though the doors and into the building. The brightness and warmth that washed over him in the initial moments were welcomed as, although they caused an increased pounding in his head, it was a pronounced difference from the dimly lit alley. The relief this change in surroundings brought, was, however, quickly overshadowed by the realisation of just how many people there were milling around and how exposed and in the open he was. There were doctors and nurses walking with speed and purpose, patients moving in and out through the doors; a constant ebb and flow of people surrounding him. He knew that none of them were trying to hurt him, but he couldn't help but feel increasingly uneasy at the thought of all the people walking up behind him, people he couldn't see coming.

He felt himself become rigid and tense in response, and saw Tony shoot him a concerned look. He shook his head minutely,

"It's nothing..."

Tony didn't look as though he bought the lie, but didn't say anything. He tried to consciously relax, and thought he was marginally successful.

As they went to move forward towards the desk, a man came rushing past, brushing against him as he did, mumbling a quick apology and continuing on his way. It was a minor event but he couldn't help how he flinched and startled, breath hitching and body freezing. Tony looked at him again, this time with understanding, but still didn't say anything, simply squeezing him tighter for a second in reassurance.

And then Tony earned his eternal gratitude. As they continued towards the desk Tony would gently and subtly twist their path or pause momentarily so that no one came within touching distance, and was always between him and whoever approached them. Following Tony's example he simply tightened his grip for a second and shot him a look of gratitude in acknowledgement.

"Don't mention it." Tony muttered under his breath, giving him a quick grin in response as they finally arrived at the nurse's station.

He watched as Tony turned his attention to the young nurse typing away at the computer. She looked like she'd been on a long shift, was dressed in loose scrubs and was sporting a slowly unravelling bun. She was also, however, pretty, young, blonde, and definitely interested in Tony, if the smile and look she shot him when he tapped his badge on the desk and gained her attention was any indication. Even in his state he felt his gut clench at her approving look, as Tony beckoned her over to where they were standing. He felt bad almost instantly as she quickly made her way towards them. He couldn't think badly of her simply because, even though she'd met him seconds ago, she had more of a chance with Tony that he ever would. He had no claim over Tony and he knew their relationship was never going to develop into anything other than the friendly, brotherly point they had already reached.

And so he pushed back the small flare of resentment the woman had sparked, and attempted to smile weakly at her while Tony took it upon himself to make their request.

"Hi, we're looking for Dr. Pitt? He said someone would point us in his direction when we got here?"

The nurse's gaze immediately slipped into a more professional mask, and he once again felt bad for thinking ill of her. She swept the two of them over critically, eyes locking onto the supporting arm Tony had around him, before studying his face intently. He soon realised this was probably because he had a rapidly forming bruise or two, which was confirmed at her slight wince and grimace of sympathy.

"Of course, he's set up in that exam room there." She turned to point out a door a few metres down the corridor directly behind her, before turning back to the two of them, examining how slumped he was and how he was increasingly leaning on Tony.

"Do you two need any help? A wheelchair?"

Before he could respond, or look to Tony and see if the other man needed a break from taking most of his weight, Tony shook his head in the negative,

"No thanks..." Tony paused and obviously looked at the woman's name tag, " Janey, I've got him."

She nodded, and before she could say anything else Tony had them turned and was encouraging him to move off towards the door. He stumbled for a second, and once again it was Tony that helped him keep his balance and regain his footing.

"You alright?" Tony questioned as they got moving again,

"Yeah...just tired." He muttered back, just as they reached the door Janey had pointed out.

"I'm sure you can sleep soon buddy" Tony assured him gently, "... just a little bit longer okay?"

He was about to reply when the door swung open and he heard Brad's greeting,

"Hey Tim" He lifted his head up and saw Brad with an eyebrow quirked and a concerned expression on his face as he took in his appearance.

"Hey Brad, sorry to make you stay late." He apologised as Tony helped him to make his way over to the exam table.

"Not a problem...now what happened to you?"

He stayed silent until, with Tony's assistance, he had managed to ease his way onto the table, wincing as his ribs pulled. Tony went to move away and without thinking he reached out and snagged his sleeve. He saw Tony's eyes shoot to his and he looked away, feeling heat rise in his face as he quickly let go and turned his attention to Brad, doing his best to ignore what had just happened. Tony didn't comment but slid back towards him slightly before leaning against the exam table.

"I was on a date with a guy... he and his friend had very different ideas to mine as to how far the evening was going to go, we ended up...disagreeing, when they tried to...'have some fun'"

He broke off, ignoring the way Tony had tensed once more next to him, and how he could see his fists clenching until the knuckles were white. He saw Brad's face switch from horror, before relaxing slightly as he processed the wording.

"Tried to?" He nodded slightly in confirmation and the relief became more pronounced.

"You really should see the other guys." Tony put in, and he couldn't resist glancing at him, feeling the now familiar curl of warmth start in his stomach as he caught Tony's proud look, "He tells me there was a knife wound involved."

"A scratch Tony." He corrected his partner, "Just to get him to back off."

"And then you pulled a gun." Tony countered, "I bet you looked badass."

He snorted,

"I bet I looked like I was going to pass out."

He looked up as Tony turned to face him fully,

"McGee, it was two on one, you knifed one of them, pulled a gun, and then threatened them with Gibbs...that's badass." He couldn't help the laugh that bubbled out of him as Tony finished before Tony frowned suddenly, then looked away from him and to Brad, who was watching with apparent amusement as well as concern.

"Wait, you knew Tim was Bi?" He studied Tony, slightly confused at the hint of jealousy...and suspicion in Tony's voice, watching as his eyes looked Brad up and down with consideration, as if he was a suspect. He almost wrote it off to wishful thinking before he reasoned Tony was probably jealous that he'd confided in a doctor he barely saw before the man he worked with every day.

"An ex turned up once while I was here visiting you." He interjects when he sees Brad throw him a questioning glance, silently asking what he should say. "It's not important."

He left the explanation at that. He was too tired for this. His eyes began to slide closed and he blinked blearily, barely registering the fact that he had started to sway and list to the side. Tony saved him by reaching out and steadying him, hands strong and reassuring on his shoulders,

"Easy man, just a little longer, remember?" Tony's tone was gentle now, and he nodded in response to the question. After a few more blinks he managed to keep his eyes more open and felt slightly more alert as he forced himself to register details off his surroundings; the scent of antiseptic stinging his nose, the feeling of dried blood tugging on his skin, the various aches all over him. The concerned look Brad was shooting him.

"You said you hit your head?" The doctor queried, and he winced at the reminder,

"Yeah..." He shot a glance at Tony who was tensing up again, "There were a couple of hits that knocked me back into a wall."

He could have sworn Tony growled under his breath, a theory which was validated by Brad shooting a look at the other man before turning his attention back to him.

"Do you remember how many times?"

He tried to think back, and ignored the slight grip of panic as he thought everything through,


Brad nodded, and made a note on the chart in front of him, before studying him again and pointing to his arms,

"And how bad are your hands and wrists?"

Frowning he looked down. He'd expected the redness on his knuckles but the dried blood on his hands made him remember the slight stinging sensation, and the aftermath of the forceful hold...

"I'd forgotten about that..." He muttered to himself, wincing as he pulled one of his sleeves back to study the raw, scraped, and slowly bruising, skin. Before he could do anything else Tony was pulling the sleeve back and looking over the damage himself,

"There's still grit in these." He said voice hard and cold. Tony looked up at him then, face stressed, "What happened to give you these?" His partner demanded.

He flicked his eyes to Brad hoping for him to distract Tony, who seemed to be getting angrier by the second. When no help seemed to be coming he looked back to his partner,

"It was just as he held me against the wall Tony. I was trying to get away and I scraped them on the bricks alright?"

"I'm going to kill them." Tony muttered under his breath, but he nodded and stepped back, nodding to Brad to continue.

"If there's still grit in there I'll flush that out in a second." Brad informs him, "First though, I want to get a look at that head wound, check we're not dealing with anything more serious than a concussion and we'll take it from there...So have you been having any vision or balance problems?"

"I've felt kind of dizzy." He admits, "And Tony's had to help me walk and stand...vision has been getting blurry as well."

Brad nodded thoughtfully, starting to add more notes to the chart in front of him.

"Is that bad?" Tony questioned, causing him to glance at the man and take in the still tense set of his jaw and the worry in his eyes, "I mean I've had concussions and been out of it but..."

He trailed off and Brad smiled reassuringly as he set the chart down on the side,

"I can't be sure until I've taken a closer look, it could just be a concussion. The symptoms are probably worse because of exhaustion, shock and stress from...everything. But to be on the safe side I'll put you in for a head CT."

While he was talking, Brad had begun to move closer. He felt his chest tighten slightly in response to the other man being almost right in front of him. He fought off the suddenly present flight or fight instinct with all he had, trying to banish it to the back of his mind while he tensed his muscles and made his body stay still. The doctor was looking away from him, searching for something in his pocket and so didn't see the moment his eyes had widened in fear before he had forcibly made his body stand down. This was Brad, his friend. It was over, there was nothing to be afraid of, nothing. He could do this.

By the time Brad looked up again he had managed to plant a tentative smile on his face, hiding the fear that was still pooling in his stomach and making him feel nauseous. He shouldn't feel this way, Brad had never been anything but kind and understanding, and he was already indebted to him for saving Tony. He was safe. He was a friend...and yet his body was trying to convince him of something completely different. That he should run, run, run.

He kept the instinct clamped down, and tried to prepare himself as Brad reached forward, now gripping a penlight. He breathed, trying to keep the pattern slow and even, but all he could focus on was the hand moving towards his face. He tried desperately to hold the ever building panic in; Brad was trying to help. He was good. He was safe.

He thought he was managing, and then the penlight clicked on and was shining directly into his eyes. He snapped them shut against the sudden brightness. It was a natural reaction, instinctive, and normally wouldn't have caused him any issues. But his eyes were now closed, and unfortunately Brad chose that moment to make contact with the un-injured section of his jaw and attempted to tilt his head up.

Not having the visual confirmation that it was Brad touching him, that he was safe, proved to be too much. He immediately flashed back to earlier, everything was too similar and...

And there was a hand brushing up and down his face, cupping his jaw... he knew what was coming... his eyes screwed shut, he couldn't watch...

His body reacted on instinct. He flinched and jerked back from the touch, hearing and feeling a strangled whimper make its way out of his throat as he backed up frantically, trying to put as much difference between himself and the perceived threat as possible. His back soon hit a wall and the panic increased, his breath speeding and hitching even more,

Back against a wall, someone in front of him... threat, threat, threat...

The pulses of fear kept sweeping through him, and he pressed further back into the wall, letting out another sound of pain as he put pressure on whatever bruises were forming there.

He kept his eyes closed as he tried to push the memories back, tensing when he felt two hands on his arms and someone close in front of him...Only to relax when they began speaking in a tightly controlled voice that suggested this hadn't been the first attempt to gain his attention,

"...McGee? Tim? Come on buddy, open your eyes for me." Letting his body unwind and slowly relax fully, he did as Tony asked, immediately locking gazes with him. He could see the worry, but also felt the reassurance and familiarity Tony was giving off in waves as he kept murmuring softly to him,

"That's it." Tony offered him a grin, "See, you're safe. I won't let anything else happen to you, alright?"

He nodded slowly and blinked, keeping his gaze fixed on Tony as he breathed deeply. Once he was taking smooth and regular amounts of air in he gave Tony a weary smile before breaking the eye contact and glancing over his shoulder, noticing Brad silently observing from as far as he could get in the small exam room. He felt a wave of guilt for reacting like Brad was the enemy and felt a blush rising as he thought through what must have happened. He opened his mouth to apologise, but Tony stopped him,

"Hey, hey!" The reprimand in the tone was soft, and he snapped his eyes back to Tony, "What did I tell you Tim? You have absolutely nothing to be sorry for... or embarrassed about. Do you understand me?"

He dropped his gaze and looked away,


Tony purposely moved so he was in his line of sight again, "Nothing!" Tony squeezed his arm lightly where he still held it in a grounding grip, and waited until he looked at him again, "Nothing Tim. It was a natural reaction, and not your fault. You're exhausted, confused, and your body knows it's too weak to defend itself again right now. Instinct, not you okay?"

Tony's eyes were fixed on him, gaze intense and insistent, and he couldn't help but stare right back, drawing comfort from the sincerity. He nodded again, and let out a small sigh,

"Thanks Tony." That earned him a small smile,

"It's what partners do Tim; I've always got your six."

Tony looked closely at him once more, probably making sure he had been heard, before he released one of his arms, turning to face Brad but still maintaining the comforting and supportive contact. He felt guilty again, as, in the moment they had been sharing, he had completely forgotten the other man was even in the room.

"Sorry Tim I shouldn't have..." he shook his head slightly in denial, cutting off Brad's apology.

"It wasn't your fault... I'm just glad I went for flight rather than fight this time." Brad smirked at him slightly while Tony squeezed his arm,

"And I'm very glad you went for fight back then." He looked at him and Tony shrugged,

"What? They deserved it... I'm glad you stabbed them." Tony nodded emphatically, and he sighed,

"Scratched one Tony." He repeated, before offering a small grin, "It was far more satisfying to knee Daniel in the groin."

Tony's eyes widened and he grinned,

"Oh, I can imagine..." whatever was about to be said trailed off and Tony sobered when he blinked and between one second and the next almost fell to the side. It seemed that the adrenaline crash from the rush of fear had come, Tony steadied him and glanced back at Brad,"You okay for Dr. Pitt to keep looking at you?"

Opening his eyes he could see the worry had crept back into Tony's face. He nodded minutely, but couldn't help the small amount of fear that pulsed through him, multiplying as Tony moved his hand off his arm. He instinctively reached out and grabbed Tony's wrist to keep him close. Tony looked up at him and he quickly let go, turning his eyes away, slightly embarrassed, realising the trace of fear probably showed in his eyes.

He looked up in confusion when, after a second of pause, he felt Tony moving closer and nudging him.

"Shuffle forward a bit." Tony instructed him, and he did so, figuring Tony was making it easier for Brad to examine him. He expected Tony to move away once he was satisfied, but instead he offered him a wink and a grin and hopped onto the table himself, sliding back so he was resting against the wall. He felt Tony continue to shift until he was behind him, one leg curled into a cross-legged position while the other stretched out in front of him. Hands appeared on his arms, pulling back for a moment before stopping. It was a subtle but clear invitation, and after a second he accepted it, sliding backwards slightly so that he could feel Tony's folded leg against his back and the other was pressed against his own as they stuck off the end of the table. He felt safer than he had through the alley, the warmth and familiarity from the contact bringing a rush of security.

"Well, now that you won't fall off the table..." Tony commented from behind him, and he felt his lips twitch as Tony simply tried to brush off the action. "Doc, you can still look at him like this right?"

"Right." He glanced back at Brad and saw him looking between the two of them questioningly before he seemed to shake off whatever was confusing him and smiled.

"Whatever makes you comfortable." The doctor told him, eyes flicking back to Tony again, before he corrected himself, "Or stops you falling."

Something seemed to occur to Brad then, and he opened his mouth as if he wanted to ask, but paused as if he wasn't sure how to go about it. He waited for the question feeling slightly uneasy. Tony seemed to pick up on his tension and soothingly rubbed his arm.

"Tim... It was a sexual assault right?" He nodded slightly and tensed as Brad seemed to hesitate again before he continued.

"I hate to ask but... is there any other... bruising." It took a second before he realised what Brad was getting at and cringed, remembering the tight painful grip as a hand closed around him through his pants. How much it had hurt. How badly he'd wanted it to stop, stop stop...

He swallowed,

"There... there could be... it was tight and it hurt... a lot... but...I'm not sure."

He trailed off forcing his brain to not pull him back there, and taking deep breaths. He felt Tony's soothing motions pause for a moment as he listened and heard the hushed snarl before they continued.

"That's alright... It doesn't sound like there's serious damage to worry about but it will probably be painful for a while, especially when urinating... I could tell you more if we did an exam, but that's uncomfortable at the best of times and...It's probably best we avoid it if we can."

He had pushed back against Tony, half of his back resting on Tony's chest as he instantly retreated at the mention of an exam, but relaxed as Brad finished. He nodded in agreement knowing Brad understood his reasons.

"So, head wound." Brad continued, obviously trying to ease the tension building up in the room after the previous topic. "I'm going to take a quick look, decide if we're going to be sending you down for a scan, and then take some photos before and after we clear everything up back there, sound good?"

"Sounds fine." He agreed, and obediently leant forward when Brad produced the penlight again. Tony's hand came to rest on his arm, and he started a random stream of chatter the moment the light clicked on,

"Did I ever tell you about that time I led a drugs raid in Baltimore? It was supposed to be my day off but the guy running the team came down with the flu. It had already hit like, half of the department..."

He focused on Tony's voice and hand as Brad made sure to touch his face before shining the light this time. Brad quirked an eyebrow at him in question, and he nodded, he was ready. The light swept and shined into his eyes,

"...and so they had all of these rookies trying to handle a huge bust on their own..."

The light moved from one eye to the other,

"...so there they all were rock paper scissoring for who would have to go in first, and arguing over who got the big guns..."

The light clicked off and Tony trailed off in his story,

"All good?" Came the question from behind him,

"He has a slight concussion for sure." Brad told them, picking up the chart from the side and adding something before he set it back down and turned to face them, "I need to get a look at the actual wound, see if we need to have a trip down to have some scans done."

He leaned forward obediently as Brad stepped back towards them, almost jumping in shock as an arm appeared around his waist to help keep him steady. There was a sharp flash of pain as Brad probed around the wounded area and he hissed.

"Sorry." Came the apology, and the hands soon vanished. He sat up, and looked at Brad,


"Nasty knock, but I think you'll be fine once I've cleaned and covered it. We'll still do the CT but from what I've seen back here I'm hoping that'll come up clean." Brad reassured, "Just need to get some mementos first." He retrieved a camera from the far corner of the room and gestured for him to lean forward one more. He closed his eyes through the several flashes of light when they caused sparks of pain in his head and spots in his vision.

"All done." He straightened again, slowly blinking his eyes back open. It got harder each time as tiredness seemed to seep into him. He slumped back, barely reacting as his ribs jarred. He ended up pressed against half of Tony's chest again, and let his head fall sideways onto Tony's shoulder so his cheek was pressed against it.

"Tired?" Brad questioned sympathetically,

"He's been bouncing between aware and about to drift off since we got ...there." Came Tony's reply from behind him, saving him from having to formulate a response. He felt the vibrations of Tony talking through the new contact, and allowed his eyes to slip closed in contentment.

As he relaxed even further, he drifted into a sort of dozing state between asleep and awake, his exhausted body doing its best to stay alert but failing. He barely registered as Brad lifted his shirt to check the bruising on his chest. He hissed and jerked slightly as his torso was probed, but even the flash of pain wasn't enough to wake him fully.

He was pretty much asleep by the time his sleeves were pushed back and wrists gently twisted from side to side so photos could be taken of the grazes and bruising from different angles.

"Tim, you still with us?" The words were accompanied by a small squeeze to his arm. Tony sounded slightly worried again, and he suspected he'd once again missed the first attempt at getting his attention. He hummed a small noise he hoped sounded like an affirmative, not having the strength to even attempt to talk.

"Brad just needs to take some photos of the bruises for evidence, and then clean your head and wrists, alright?"

He nodded to show he'd heard, but simply shifted so he was slightly more comfortable and his face was burrowed against Tony even further, nose coming into contact with the warm skin of the other's neck. He couldn't help but notice Tony's scent when he breathed, it was pleasant and familiar, and he couldn't help but compare it to the sweaty unpleasant smell he associated with his attackers. While their scent had brought disgust and fear, Tony smelled... like home, warm, inviting, comforting. He really liked the way Tony smelled. Distantly he realised he probably shouldn't be thinking these things when he already had a massive crush on his partner, and was lying in his arms; right now though he couldn't be bothered to care, and simply revelled in the contact.

He became slightly more aware when hands twisted his head to get better access, and his eyes snapped open at the sting of antiseptic being applied to the cut. He hissed and a hand squeezed his arm,

"Glad you're still with us." Tony joked, hand sliding up and down his arm in a gesture of comfort while he felt the head wound being cleaned. He winced again as he felt the pressure of a gauze pad being applied. Soon though it was done, and he sighed in relief slightly as Brad moved away, throwing away some bloodied gauze pads and setting a bottle of liquid antiseptic down.

"Right, on the phone you mentioned DNA?" Brad quirked an eyebrow, and removed some small sealed swabs from a pocket. "We should probably deal with that and then I can clean up those grazes."

He felt Tony shift behind him, and an arm appeared at his side, silently offering some plastic evidence bags. Brad took them with a nod of acknowledgement, before looking at him questioningly again.

"Right..." He shifted, and made himself leave his comfortable position and reached a hand up to spread the top of his shirt open slightly. He could feel himself blushing again as he explained, "There was some uh...biting...and licking...around my neck and jaw...there might not be anything left but..."

Brad simply nodded, expression unreadable, but the tension emanating from Tony was almost palpable. The three of them were silent as the swabs were run over the skin before being sealed in a bag. The doctor grabbed the camera and snapped some more photos before reaching for the antiseptic. The doctor's gaze flickered to Tony and the other man had obviously asked some silent question because Brad responded with,

"One of the...bites, broke the skin slightly."

He felt Tony tense again, but was ridiculously glad that he was getting somewhat clean of them as the antiseptic was wiped across his skin.

Brad moved onto his wrists next, and despite there being some grit to flush out, and the sharp sting as the doctor worked, it was relatively quick and painless. Finally everything seemed to be done, and after a few, "I'm sure you can sleep soon" reassurances from Tony, he watched Brad move back and snap his gloves off before he seemed to hesitate again,

"I hate to point this out but...your clothing?"

He felt the blood drain from his face before he nodded resolutely,

"Right. Right. I should have thought of that." He chastised himself and felt Tony squeeze his arm,

"It's alright, we don't have to..."

"Yeah we do." He countered, glancing back at Brad, "Think you can scrounge me up some scrubs?"

"Sure thing. I'll fetch some and see if there's a CT scanner free for after you've changed." The other man agreed quickly. Moving as if to walk out the door,

"And..." Brad stopped and turned back to him, and he felt his face rise with colour as he looked away again, "Think I could get a shower?"

His arms crossed over his chest without his permission as he made the request, so he was almost hugging himself. He'd been avoiding thinking about it for the most part, but ever since Brad had mentioned the DNA and the bite marks it had been nagging at him that... that they were still on him. Branded and stained all over his skin and he wanted them off.

"I'm sure we can do something." Brad was quick to reassure him, tone soft, and face understanding when he worked up the nerve to glance at him, "I can work on getting you checked in if you want? You should probably have someone keep an eye on you even if the scan shows nothing, just to be sure. I can probably swing a private room with shower..."

"I..." he hesitated, he wasn't too sure about spending a night surrounded by strangers right now.

"I can do it."

Tony's voice came hurriedly from behind him, and he saw Brad raise his eyebrows slightly, presumably looking at Tony. He watched as the doctor was silent for a moment before he nodded to himself and his lips quirked slightly... almost as if some question had been answered. What was going on? His brain was too tired for this kind of mystery right now, so he didn't bother even trying... if something important was going on with Tony he was sure he would realise eventually.

"He can come home with me." Tony continued. "I have plenty of space and can check on him, wake him up... anything that needs doing."

"Sound good to you Tim?" Brad turned to him, and he realised he'd relaxed back into Tony as he was making the suggestion.

"Uh...sure...if you don't mind?..." Tony quickly cut him off, squeezing his arm again,

"If your head wasn't already mildly concussed you would be receiving one hell of a head slap right now... what did I say about partners Tim?"

He grinned slightly,

"Got it... thanks Tony."

The arm around his waist squeezed briefly in a sort of hug.

"No problem."

He started using Tony as a pillow again, while Brad nodded and slipped out the door with a quick,

"I'll see what I can do about that shower and some scrubs."

"Thanks." He called after him, before settling back into Tony and letting his eyes slip closed. He was going to be fine. He would move past this...after all, as the slight tightening of the arm still placed around his waist reminded him, he had his team and very special agent Tony DiNozzo to watch his six while he did.