The car ride to Gibb's house was mostly quiet, as Tony had fallen asleep within the first two minutes. Gibbs kept sneaking glances at his senior field agent wondering what the hell was going on. Finally, he made an uncharacteristic slow, gentle stop, as they entered his driveway and leaned over to wake up Tony.
"DiNozzo. DiNozzo…" Tony opened his eyes and groaned, quickly shut his eyes and leaned back against the window, exhausted.
"My arm hurts."
"Ya think DiNozzo? You were shot."
"Why am I at your place?"
"I don't know why don't you tell me?"
Tony's eyes shot open in remembrance of what had occurred at headquarters and actually blushed enough for Gibbs to recognize it through the dark.
"Uhh," Tony was at a loss for words.
"C'mon, we'll talk inside."
Gibbs threw his keys down on a table and led Tony into the kitchen, where he took some painkillers out of the cabinet, and threw the bottle at the younger man. He winced as Tony made a clumsy catch with his good hand, and said "Take two of these now, and you can take another two before you go to bed. It's only 1900, we can work on the boat before you need to sleep."
He could sense the hesitation as Tony followed him into the basement, and pointed to a comfortable looking chair in the corner. "Sit." Gibbs picked up a sander and started long practiced strokes.
"What happened between you and Ducky?"
There was a long pause.
"What happened in the men's room?" Gibbs was getting impatient.
"Relax, nothing went down in the men's room." Tony chuckled. Gibbs responded with a trademark stare. "Oh come on Gibbs. Lucky Number Slevin? Josh Hartnett? Bruce Willis? Well, I guess it's not that famous. You should know it anyway; it's such a good film! When Slevin follows the Rabbi's son into the bathroom the detective says-"
"Tony!" Gibbs stalked over and threateningly loomed over Tony's chair. "Hey, I just want to know what's going on. Help me out here…lets just start with why Ducky was so worried? Or maybe why it looked like, I don't know, you had been crying?"
Tony stiffened visibly and lowered his eyes to the ground. Gibbs threw his sandpaper next to the boat and leaned against it, not taking his eyes off Tony.
"It doesn't matter." Gibbs was surprised at the flat response the other man gave him.
"What do you mean it doesn't matter? Of course it matters! You were upset enough to be affected at the office, it could have interfered with your work-"
"Is that all that matters to you Gibbs? How I act at the office? Well I didn't let it affect me at work. Only after the case I and no one was going to notice anyway if Ducky hadn't followed me up there." Tony stopped abruptly, embarrassed of his outburst.
Gibbs stared, cursing himself. He wasn't good with people, he didn't mean that as it sounded. Contrary to what people thought, he really cared about Tony. He sort of eased the pain that had haunted him all these years after losing his wife and daughter. He knew he had messed up now, just as he had messed up when he abandoned them all for Mexico. He needed time to heal, but he still shouldn't have gone without more than a
you'll do for Tony.
"Is that what this is about? They care about you, Tony, more than you-"
"Yeah, whatever." Tony knew that sounded like he was still a teenager, but he didn't care.
"Tony." Gibbs sighed, he didn't know how to go on with this.
"Gibbs." Tony sighed, a perfect imitation of his boss. The twinkle was back in his eyes.
Gibbs sighed. Unfortunately, the twinkle in his eyes kept blinking out as Tony struggled to keep his eyes open, and were outlined by dark bags underneath. The tension had been relieved only a little, and he was frustrated Tony wasn't aware of how hard this was for him.
"You win, DiNozzo. For now. I'll get you settled in the guest room but tomorrow we are continuing this."
Finally Tony was lying in the guest bed, and Gibbs was quietly picking up Tony's bloodstained clothes he had abandoned on the floor. As he turned to leave he heard Tony put on a small child's voice and say,
"Hey Boss, you forgot to tuck me in!"
Gibbs fought to keep a straight face and failed, responding,
"Goodnight Tony," with an affectionate smile.