Disclaimer - How can I own them if I haven't even seen past season 1, hmm?

Tony bit back a sigh as he executed a swift right turn on exiting the elevator, expertly balancing the five coffees, a pile of napkins, and a bag of tuna salad sandwiches on top of the extra large Pizza Box. For once the case was going smoothly. Right now their main suspect was cooling his heels in interrogation, waiting for Gibbs to work his magic. Even with writing up the reports, there was every chance that they would be out of here on time tonight.

Just when he would have done anything to pull an all nighter.

"What's the matter, Tony? She turn you down?" Kate's teasing cut into his reverie as she helped herself to her coffee, a napkin, and the bag of sandwiches.

"What?" He blinked at her.

"The blonde in the coffee shop. She turned you down, didn't she?"

"No, Kate. She did not turn me down because I never even asked her out." He explained patiently.

"Come on Tony, we all know you only volunteered to do the lunch run so you'd have a chance to ask her out without Gibbs' breathing down your neck. You were gone over an hour. It's not hard to do the math."

"If you recall, I didn't volunteer. Gibbs ordered me to go."

In truth, he had had a killer headache all morning. He was almost certain his boss had noticed the thin lines of pain and the soft shadows under his eyes and decided a little fresh air might help. Certainly he hadn'tappeared to notice that it had taken him an hour and twenty minutes to fetch lunch from across the street.

"Only because you were being so annoying." Kate was pointing out.

"Its one of my many talents," Tony agreed as he wandered over to Gibbs' desk. "Boss?"

Tucking the phone into his chin, Gibbs continued his conversation as he snagged his two coffees, a napkin and, as Tony flipped the lid for him, a slice of the pizza, with a sharp nod of thanks.

"Admit it," Kate pressed. "You finally found a woman under the age of 25 who was mature enough to be immune to the dubious DiNozzo charms."

Realising that she wasn't about to let this go and deciding that a good offence was the best defence, Tony cracked the lid of his coffee and took a long swallow, before lifting up a slice of pizza and dropping as much of it into his mouth as he could fit, before talking with his mouth full. The look of disgustthat crossed her face was as satisfying as he'd hoped. "You could just save me the trouble and tell me your plans. You know I'm gonna find out."

"At least I have plans for this evening." She sniped.

"Hey, I have plans." He did too. They just weren't the kind of plans he wanted to talk about.

"Really?" Kate raised a brow. "You know calling Mom doesn't count, right?"

Years of undercover work kept it out of his expression. But the subtle shift in his body language spoke volumes to anyone who knew how to read him. When he could speak his voice was smooth and truly dangerous. "You know, Katie .."

"DiNozzo," Gibbs was suddenly on his feet andin his personal space. "Take McGee his lunch and then go and see how Abby is getting on with those fibres."

"In a minute, Boss.." Tony's eyes were still fixed firmly on Kate.

In answer, Gibbs simply loaded him up back up with the one remaining coffee and the Pizza. Box. "Now, DiNozzo."

Tony finally looked at him with eyes so hard and dark that for once Gibbs thought he might actually be about to defy him. Softening his stance he leant over and with a reassuring squeeze to his shoulder leant over and spoke very softly into his ear. "Tony, snap out of it."

In return, DiNozzo stilled under his hand before giving him a quick chagrined look. "Boss, I .."

"Pizza's getting cold." Gibbs let him off the hook.

"Right. On it Boss." With a sharp nod, DiNozzo turned on his heels. Once he was safely in the elevator Gibbs looked over at Kate and favoured her with a hard look.

"What did I do?" she protested.

"Not today, Kate."

"Gibbs, he gets to yank my chain every single day. Since I started working here he's hacked into my computer, been through my purse, he even dated one of my sorority sisters to find out if I really was and I quote "lots of fun in college. Why not today?"

Very deliberately, Gibbs leant over her desk, bending forward until they were almost nose-to-nose and looked her straight in the eye.

"Because, I said so."

She watched as he walked back to his desk and reached over and hit the speed dial on his phone. "Abs? I just sent Tony down to you. Yeah, pretty bad. If he doesn't get there in five, let me know."

"Stupid, stupid, stupid." Tony berated himself as he got into the elevator and jabbed the button a little more forcefully than necessary to take him to interrogation. Usually, he knew better than to let Kate get to him like that. He didn't think Gibbs' would hold it against him. A man who dunked his cell and ripped out his landline knew something about painful anniversaries. Still, it wasn't like him to let his personal problems get the better of him. Giving himself a mental shake he pasted on a careful grin as he exited the elevator and opened the door to the observation room to see McGee peering through the one way mirror with a pinched expression.

"What's wrong, Probie?"

"Um," McGee looked back over his shoulder at him. Biting his lip with worry. "He doesn't seem to be moving."

Dropping the Pizza box and the coffee on the table Tony looked through the mirror to see the body lying inert on the floor, arms and legs sprawled haphazardly as if he had collapsed. His eyes narrowed as he looked for the rise and fall of his chest.

"It's worse than that, he's not breathing."

Going back over to the desk, DiNozzo pulled the keys. "You searched him, right?" He threw over his shoulder, as, with McGee at his heels, he sprinted around to unlock the door.

"Yes, he's clean."

DiNozzo unlocked the door and moved quickly towards the unconscious form, his hand reaching out to check the pulse in his neck, but just before his fingers could make contact, the body rolled. Tony reacted fast, catching the flailing fist and leaning over with his full weight to immobilise the arm.


In the doorway, McGee stood frozen in shock, his eyes wide as he saw a flash of steel, as the Marine brought his other arm around, to revel the knife that had been hidden under his body, and stabbed wildly at DiNozzo. Refusing to let go, Tony twisted as well as he could out of harms way, gritting his teeth in agony as the blade sliced through his shirt and scored across his ribcage.

"McGee!" He looked up to see the younger Agent still hadn't moved. "Get the dammed cuffs on!"

On the floor the Marine continued to struggle, so that Tony was forced to use both hands to restrain him, not even able to reach around to pull his own cuffs. Too late Tony saw the arc of the knife as it twisted through the air. With a certain inexorable slowness the blade descended to imbed itself firmly in his arm.

He couldn't help it, he screamed.

In somehting of a daze he watched ashis own bloodbegan to trickledown his arm and between his fingers, making his grip slick and hard to maintain. The Marine was still struggling and the pain as the knife moved to and frowith each effort was almost unbearable. His senses began to blur, big black spots appearing in front of his eyes.

"Tim." To his own ears his voice sounded thin, weak, hoarse and desperate.

The sound of running feet was quickly followed by a blur of colour and movement. A startled grunt came from the Marine and he lay suddenly still. In the background DiNozzo could hear Kate on the phone, calling for an Ambulance. Then another voice, so close that he could feel breathe on his cheek.

"Alright, DiNozzo. I've got him."

Tony knew that meant he was supposed to let go. But somehow he couldn't get his fingers to co-operate. A soft sigh in his ear was followed, by the feeling of strong fingers carefully prising his grip free. He bit his lip as even that gentle movement jarred the knife, still firmly embedded in his arm. A hand on his shoulder steadied him.

"Kate, get him out of here."

More movement and colour as the blurred form in front of him was hauled to his feet and towed away. His stomach clenching, Tony bit down on a sudden wave of nausea.

"Think I'm gonna pass out, Boss." He managed.

"The hell you are," The sound of material ripping seemed to come from a long way off. "Stay with me, DiNozzo."

Movements, deft and sure bound the knife into place, stabilizing the blade and stemming the blood flow. Steady hands guided him backwards, laying him down with his head resting his on something soft that smelled of rain and sawdust. Gibbs' jacket. A hand under his elbow elevated his arm. Tony turned his head slightly, looking past the wound, blinking as he tried to bring Gibbs' face into focus.

"I thought I told you to search him." Gibbs was glowering at McGee.

"You did. I did." McGee was rooted to the spot, his face white as chalk.

"Then where the hell did the knife come from?"

"Probably in his shoe, Boss," Tony offered weakly. "Easy to miss. Anyone of us could have .."

"Shut up, DiNozzo." Gibbs' tone brooked no argument.

But either Tony was suicidal or seriously spaced out from the blood loss, because he didn't seem to notice. "Come on, Boss," He slurred, almost drunkenly. "S'just a scratch."

"For your information, DiNozzo, it went clean through your arm. You're going to be out of commission for at least a month."

"So, I'll pull a little desk duty. It'll be.. a good chance to .. practice my typing." Tony swallowed, that was harder than it should have been.

"Kate, where's that Ambulance?" Gibbs' tone was terse.

She stuck her head around the door. "Its on it way. There's an accident on .."

"I don't care," Gibbs' voice cracked like a whip. "We need it here ten minutes ago. And getMcGee out of here."

"Yes, Gibbs," Kate collected McGee with a firm tug to his sleeve and walked out into the corridor talking rapidly in to her cell. Tony tried to make out the words, but the pounding of his own blood in his ears drowned her out, even as a salty wash in his mouth warned him of the inevitable.

"B Boss." He managed weakly.

Only Gibbs' sharp reflexes stopped him from choking on his own vomit as the ex-gunny somehow managed to roll him sideways without further damaging his arm. His eyes firmly shut DiNozzo vomited what little lined his stomach, ending in painful gasping heaves.

"Easy." Gibbs' soothed, as he rolled him back.

"Sorry about the jacket, Boss. I'll get you a new one." Tony managed weakly.

It was on the tip of Gibbs tongue to say he didn't give a rat's ass about the dammed jacket. But as he looked down at the hard planes of DiNozzo's taut, grey, face, with sweat standing out in globules on his forehead, he realised something more was required.

"The hell you will. You'd probably pick me out something that would make me look like a dammed gigolo." He teased gruffly.

A soft smile spread across Tony's features as he responded to the banter. "Told you .. before, Boss," He broke off to catch his breath, a thin, pain filled sound that caught at Gibbs' soul. "Brown's a really good look on you .."

"I swear, DiNozzo, if you say one word about bringing out the colour of my eyes." Without comment, Gibbs pulled out a handkerchief and dabbed the acrid sweat from his brow.

"Don't be too hard on, McGee," Tony looked up at him. His eyes flecked with pain but his gaze steady. "There's a reason why they call them Rookie mistakes."

"He froze on you, didn't he?"

"Maybe, a littte," Tony hedged, as close to an outright lie as he dared. "He screwed up, Boss and he knows it. No one's gonna be beating him up over this more than he already is."

"Don't count on it." Gibbs growled.

"It doesn't even hurt .. that much."

"Don't waste your breath, DiNozzo. You're going to the Hospital and that's final."

"Aw, Boss, not the Hospital."

"Tony, you have a knife in your arm. Don't even think about arguing with me."

"C'mon, Gibbs. You know what day it is."

"What day is it?" Kate asked curiously, as she lead the EMTs into the room.

"Tell her, DiNozzo."

"It's the day I'm going to the Hospital, Boss."

"Dammed straight," Gibbs grinned at him. "Don't worry, I'm sure there will be lots of pretty nurses there."