Author's Note:

Thank you for the reviews and I'm sorry for the delay in updating.

Here's the next chapter… Enjoy and review soon. Thanks…


Gibbs awoke twice during the night when Tony's fever peaked. He sponged Tony's face with a cool cloth and reassured him when he thought he was a little boy being locked away. Eventually Tony seemed to lapse into a deep, restful sleep.

Gibbs looked at him and prayed that the worst was over. He couldn't understand this overwhelming sense of love he felt for Tony. He knew that there had been a special bond between them from day one, but for it to have grown and developed to this extent was mind boggling. Tony had suddenly become the most important person in the world to him and he couldn't stand to see him hurting like this.

Eventually sleep nudged and Gibbs gave in. At around 4 am, Gibbs jerked awake to find the nurses wiping Tony's body.

"What's wrong?" Gibbs was on his feet in an instant.

"Agent DiNozzo's fever just broke and we're wiping him down to make him comfortable. Unfortunately, we have to administer the Robaxin and we want to give him one more suppository so could you kindly wait outside."

Gibbs hesitated. He didn't want to leave.

"Boss…" Tony murmured his eyes open to slits.

"Tony…" Gibbs took his hand. "You're doing better. The fever's going down."

"Ahem." Tony swallowed passed the nasogastric tube.

"Agent DiNozzo, it's time for your next dose of medication." A pretty young nurse said.

"Agent Gibbs?" She waited for him to leave.

"Stay… Boss." Tony insisted.

Gibbs took Tony's hand more firmly into his and nodded to the nurse to proceed. Tony squeezed his eyes shut as the needle slipped into his stomach and liquid fire once again spread under his skin.

"Okay, I'm going to roll you onto your side now, to insert the suppository." The nurse said. Gibbs sat on the chair, his hand still holding Tony's firmly. Tony kept his eyes shut as the nurse rolled him to his side and lifted his blanket. He clenched his teeth as she inserted the dreaded suppository.

"All done." She chirped, helping him onto his back.

"I'll be back in a few minutes to check on you." She said before leaving the room.

"Boss… you didn't … have to … stay." Tony said.

"I had to Tony," Gibbs said. "Because that's what father's do."

Tony stared at Gibbs and in his semi drugged state he couldn't mask the look in his eyes.

"Love you … Boss."

Gibbs drew a sharp breath at Tony's words. Before he could respond, Tony's eyes drifted shut.

I love you too, Son.


The next morning, Abby stepped into Tony's room closely followed by Ducky, McGee and Ziva. Tony was fast asleep and looked relaxed. Gibbs had also been asleep as was evidenced by his eyes. He looked at the team and waved them to enter. The smell of coffee and food roused him further.

"How is he?" Ducky asked, looking through Tony's chart.

"His fever broke at 4am." Gibbs replied, before taking a deep swallow of coffee.

"Thank God." Abby said moving to stand next to Tony. She caressed his cheek lightly. He stirred and but didn't open his eyes. McGee wrapped an arm around her shoulders. A moment later he directed her to the chair next to Gibbs.

Gibbs watched as Ziva moved to stand next to the bed. She placed her hand on Tony's forehead and lightly caressed his hair. Tony turned towards her touch but didn't awake. Suddenly she turned and looked at Gibbs. Her cheeks turned crimson, before she could stop it. She withdrew her hand from Tony's head, grabbed her cup of coffee and went to stare out the window.

The team ate breakfast in silence. Abby watched as Gibbs' glance constantly strayed towards Tony's face.

"He will be okay now, Gibbs."

"He better be." Gibbs replied. "McGee, have you set up everything at my place?"

"Yes Boss. Tony's clothes, DVD collection, DVD player and his plasma screen have been set up in your living room."

"I've arranged for an elevated toilet seat and a claw for grasping items so that Tony will not have to bend to reach for things." Ducky said.

"We also rearranged your guest room so that Tony won't bump into anything and he will be able to hold onto a bar at the side of the bed to pull himself up." Abby said.

"And I'll stock up your fridge once we know when Tony's going to be out of here." Ziva said.

"I hope it will be sooner rather than later." Tony murmured causing everyone to rush to his bedside.

"DiNozzo." "Tony!" "Anthony" Everyone spoke at once.

"I'm… okay … I think." Tony said answering the question before anyone could ask.

"You said that before and then ended up with a raging fever." Abby accused.

"Yeah … that wasn't … planned."Tony smiled lightly. "So … can I get a … sip of coffee?"

"I'll get your doctor, Anthony. And no, you may not have coffee or anything else for the time being. We need your insides to heal without having to work at digesting your food. You will receive your liquid diet via that nasogastric tube for the next few days." Ducky said before leaving the room.

"Liquid diet… nasogastric tube… Argh… now I'm …. nauseous." Tony closed his eyes and swallowed.

Gibbs was at his side immediately. He pickup a cotton wool ball, and soaked it in water before bringing it to Tony's lips.

"Thanks… Boss." Tony said, feeling self conscious in front of the rest of the team.

But Abby, McGee and Ziva made a point of looking away. They sensed a shift in Gibbs and Tony's relationship and they were glad that the two men were bonding so well.

Moments later Ducky returned with Tony's Doctor and a nurse in tow. The doctor asked the team to leave the room. Gibbs and Ducky remained behind. The doctor opened the dressing on Tony's torso and examined the sutures and drainage tube. He pressed the area around the incision and confirmed that there was no marked inflammation of the surrounding tissue. He then checked on the vital signs which the nurse had just recorded.

"Good. You are doing much better than expected, Agent DiNozzo."

"So when can … I get out of … here?" Tony asked. He was exhausted, in a bit of pain and wanted to go home.

"It will still be a few days. The physiotherapist will be by this afternoon to start your treatment. The sooner you're stabile on your feet and able to more around comfortably, we'll think about letting you go home."

Tony felt like protesting the physiotherapy and the extended stay in the hospital. Gibbs could see it in his face. But instead he nodded his head and said, "Okay. I'll be waiting."

That's my boy!

You're going to be okay.

And I'm going to be right here to make sure that you are...


Authors Note :

That's it for this chapter.

The next sees Tony pushing himself too hard during the physio session and Gibbs having to hold him in check. We also explore Ziva's feeling when she finally gets to spent some time alone with Tony.

So Stay tuned and review soon.