Thanks to everybody who stuck with this all the way.
I hope you enjoyed reading it as much I enjoyed writing it g

Title:Desperate Measures Chapter: 07/07 Author: Ceindreadh Email: Website: n/a Permission to archive: Yes to WWOMB, anybody else, please ask first.
Fandom(s): NCIS Genre (general, hetero or slash): Slash/Action/Angst Pairing/Characters: Tony DiNozzo/Tim McGee Rating: FRT Disclaimer. I don't own the NCIS characters, I'm only borrowing them, and I promise to return them in minty fresh condition when I'm finished.
Notes: Thanks to FatCat for her Beta'ing

Previously on NCIS Tony was handcuffed to a radiator in a burning building. McGee had to break his hand to free him. Gibbs knew about their relationship but had no problem with them being together.

Desperate measures

McGee leaned down and kissed him on the lips. "Now you do as Gibbs said and rest."

"Only...only if you rest as well..."

"I promise, as soon as you're asleep I'll go home."

Tony nodded tiredly and let his eyes close. The last thing he heard was McGee saying softly. "I love you Tony."

-------------------------

Part 07

"Is he asleep?" Gibbs asked as McGee closed the door to Tony's room.

"Looks like it, Boss," McGee heaved a sigh of relief, "I thought...I was afraid he wouldn't..."

"Easy there, McGee," said Gibbs, reassuringly. "You heard what the doctor said, Tony is going to recover."

"I know Boss, but his hand...he might never use it again, and it's all my fault. I should have thought of something else. Maybe the axe would have cut the chain, maybe I could have shot it off...he's lying there in that hospital bed and he might never use his hand again and it's all my fault." The words all came out in a rush, "And he thanked me, Boss, he thanked me for smashing up his hand and if you'd been there you'd have figured out a way to save it and..."

"MCGEE!" Gibbs had to resort to yelling to get McGee to shut up. "Do you know what would have happened if I'd been the one trying to get Tony out of there?"

McGee shook his head.

"I wouldn't have wasted time trying to break the handcuff chain. Trust me, it's hard enough even under the best of conditions with plenty of time, let alone when you're trapped in a burning building. No, I would have chopped Tony's hand off without a second thought if it was the difference between life or death. And maybe the surgeons could have sewn it back on again...or maybe he'd have bled out before he'd gotten to the hospital."

Gibbs paused to let his words sink in before he continued, "But I wasn't the one who had to make that choice. For better or for worse, you made what you felt was the best choice, and you and Tony are going to have to find a way to deal with it. I won't lie to you Tim. I've been speaking to Ducky and I know that Tony's recovery isn't going to be an easy one."

Gibbs put up his hand to stop McGee interrupting. "I'm not just talking physically. He's going to be going through a hell of rough time psychologically as well, and your relationship could take a beating. You need to be prepared for the fact that there'll be times when he'll resent you for saving his life, when he'll wish that you'd let him die in that building rather than committing him to a life with a possibly useless hand. It's going to be rough ride for both of you, and if you're not up for total commitment to him while he's recovering to whatever level of fitness he can attain...well then you're far better off telling him now, rather than waiting until he's depending on you and then leaving him a Dear John letter for when he comes home from PT one day." Gibbs caught himself but the look of dawning comprehension on McGee's face told him he'd said too much.

"Boss?"

"Yeah, McGee, ex-wife number 1. You can ask Ducky about her someday, but tell him to give you the abbreviated version otherwise you'll be there all night."

"I...yes, okay Boss."

"Come on then, time to get you home. You'll be no use to Tony if you're not rested."

"I'm okay," McGee started to say, but a yawn escaped him. The last few days, he had been by Tony's side almost constantly, snatching what little rest he could on a hospital chair. The vigil had taken its toll, and now that McGee's patience had been rewarded, his body had decided that enough was enough. He was dimly aware of Gibbs guiding him out of the hospital and to his car.

----------------------

Gibbs was right...as usual. Tony's recovery wasn't an easy one. He was stubborn and impatient and unaware of his own limitations...pretty much as everybody expected. Doctor McNeill had threatened to tie him to the bed if he tried getting up and about before he was fit.
McGee had threatened the same thing...although his threat was less of a stick and more of a carrot.

When he was finally released from hospital, Tony as usual insisted on returning to work long before being cleared by his doctor.

Gibbs hadn't tried to stop him this time, "He's probably better off here anyway," he'd told McGee in between coffees. "Besides, you really want a bored DiNozzo hanging round your place with all your machines?"

Granted, Tony spent considerable periods of time resting on Abby's futon with Bert for company, but being back at work - even if just on desk duty - was more of a tonic than any number of tablets and therapy.

The therapy was not optional. Physical therapy one thing, Tony had known it would be a long road to getting back the use of his hand. But it was the psychological counseling that Gibbs had ordered him to attend...that was a different story.

"I don't need a shrink," he'd complained when Gibbs had dropped the referral letter on his desk.

"That's debatable," said Gibbs, "But these sessions aren't. I don't want you cracking up with undiagnosed P.T.S.D. or crap like that. You do these sessions, get what's inside your head all straightened out and then you get back in the field. It's not negotiable."

"But Boss!" Tony had protested.

Gibbs had leaned over Tony's desk and for a second Tony thought he was going to yell in his face, but instead he just said softly, "These sessions aren't just for you...they're for McGee as well. I've seen enough relationships screwed up because of a traumatic injury to one or other of the partners...I am not going to see you and McGee be casualties."

And that was it, because when Gibbs gave an order like that, you didn't argue. And while Tony still didn't think he'd needed it, he had to admit that sometimes it was good to be able to vent his frustrations on a therapist rather than dumping them on McGee.

And frustrations there were. The physical therapy was hard...and made all the harder by Tony's insistence on pushing himself to the limit. At times Tony would look at his hand, just willing it to magically be as strong and flexible as it had been before the incident...and a part of him would be thinking he'd never be able to fire a gun with it again...never be able to pick out a tune on a piano...never be able to run those fingers all over McGee's body with any degree of dexterity.

There were times when Tony wondered what was the point...why hadn't the doc just hacked off the rest of his hand rather than trying to patch it up. There had even been a time when he had taken his frustrations out on McGee, telling him that he should have left him to die in the fire rather than condemning him to live half crippled.
It had been after that incident that Tony and McGee had started attending joint counseling sessions.

But slowly, little by little, things started to improve. And one day, several months after his injury, Tony's friends and colleagues gathered by his desk to watch as Gibbs handed him his gun, following his successful requalification on the firing range. True, his scores hadn't been quite as good as before his injury, and he was using both hands more often than just one, but he was back.

And yes, his hand was covered with scars, some of which might never fade. Equally true, he was never likely to play professional piano. But he could still pick out a tune without hitting too many wrong notes, and McGee had certainly had no complaints the previous night when Tony had tapped out a lengthy opus of love all over his body...using both hands...his tongue...and other parts of his anatomy.

"Guys," said Tony, "And gals...it's good to be back."

And it was.

-------------------------

THE END