Okay, so, I posted this on my group a few days ago, to build up my confidence. Didn't get any replies, so confidence is not doing brilliantly, but I thought I'd post it here anywhere! This is my first attempt at NCIS fan fiction, but if it goes down well, I've got at least two much longer stories in progress.

Hope you enjoy - any suggestions for changes would be welcomed; I'm particularly dissatisfied with the ending, which I can never get right on fics! Oh, and, one more thing: sorry for any Briticisms - I changed the few I caught, but being English, I really don't see some of them. Please let me know of anything that stands out.

Of all the things that Anthony DiNozzo was prepared to see when he walked into work on the morning after the unidentified terrorist held the inhabitants of the autopsy room hostage, Leroy Jethro Gibbs at his desk was not one of them. The man's arm was in a sling, tightly bound across his chest, and there were deep lines of pain on his face, but there he was, nevertheless, tapping away at his keyboard with one hand. As he watched, the older man paused, scrubbing his good hand tiredly over his face. Tony could see it shaking slightly. Dumping his bag behind his own desk, he made his way over to the other man.

"Uh, Boss?" He kept his voice low in deference to the man's obvious headache. Gibbs grunted, but didn't look up. Undeterred, Tony continued. "Shouldn't you still be in the hospital?" He winced as his boss levelled a steely glare at him, but held his ground when he noticed that Gibbs' eyes were glazed and slightly unfocused, and there was a thin sheen of sweat on his forehead. "Boss, you look like shit."

The glare intensified. "Get to work, DiNozzo" he growled, before turning back to his own desk. Tony blinked, surprised.

"We got a case, Boss?"

"Well, yeah, DiNozzo. You may remember the terrorist that held three of our people hostage yesterday?" Tony opened his mouth to reply, but Gibbs continued. "Find him." It was a command, and Tony knew it. Taking one last worried glance at his boss, he sat down at his desk and reached for the phone.

"Jethro, please tell me that you have not been here all night," Tony looked up, relieved, at Ducky's entrance, as did Kate, who had arrived half an hour ago, but Gibbs didn't even raise his head.

"Couldn't sleep, Duck."

The elderly Doctor sighed in exasperation as he approached Gibbs's desk. "I'm not surprised, Jethro. You left your pain medication at the hospital when you signed out AMA!"

As he raised his voice in frustration, Gibbs finally glanced up, one eyebrow lifted in question. Taking one look at his pale face, pinched tight with pain, Ducky's expression changed from angry to resigned. "Oh, Jethro." There was a little gasp from Kate, and even Tony, who had been expecting his boss's pained face, sucked in a fast breath. Gibbs looked terrible. His face was white, his hair damp with sweat, his eyes dark and glittering with pain. He still managed an impressive glare at Ducky, though, even if it was slightly unfocused.

"I'm fine, Duck."

Tony snorted in disbelief before he could stop himself, earning him a glare of his own.

"Sorry Boss. But…you kinda look like shit. More so than earlier. And you looked pretty bad then."

"Get back to work, DiNozzo." Gibbs turned back to his own computer, ignoring his audience. It was obvious that as far as he was concerned, the conversation was over. Ducky, however, was not so easily deterred. Taking advantage of the other man's distraction, he stepped forward and reached a brisk hand towards his forehead. Gibbs automatically swatted it away with his good hand, but was brought up short a second later as a white hot shard of pain lanced up his injured arm and shoulder at the sharp movement. Having been expecting this, Ducky took advantage of his friend's momentary distraction to place a hand firmly on his forehead, the other reaching for his wrist to take his pulse. A minute later, he drew back and frowned at the still panting man. "Your pulse is racing, Jethro, and you're burning with fever. I'm afraid that I'll have to insist that you return to the hospital, my friend. The wound is clearly infected, and you will require IV antibiotics, not to mention the copious amounts of painkillers that you should already have taken." He pulled a small bottle from his pocket and set it on the desk. "Take two now, and I will drive you to the hospital." He stared steadily at his friend, but the younger man just rolled his eyes and returned to his work, moving even more carefully than before.

"Got work to do, Duck."

"Jethro, I want that bastard on my table as much as you do, but you are making yourself seriously ill." He paused, gathering his courage for what he was about to say, conscious that both Tony and Kate were listening avidly, though Kate at least was pretending to work. "Jethro, I will go to the Director about this if I need to. Do not make me call an ambulance."

Gibbs' head shot up. "You wouldn't dare." If looks could kill, Tony and Kate would have been collateral damage in Ducky's ball of flames. Both agents winced, but Ducky didn't bat an eyelid.

"Jethro, you are no doubt an extremely intimidating man, but I'm afraid that I place your health over your temper, and am therefore temporarily immune to your quite terrifying glare." Gibbs blinked, then chuckled, surprising them all. "I appreciate the concern, Duck." He pushed himself painfully to his feet, grabbing his gun and badge from their drawer. "But I'll be fine. I'll stop by the drugstore later and get some antibiotics or something." Ignoring the astonished stares from his team and the extremely frustrated one from his medical examiner, he tugged on his jacket, carefully settling the left sleeve over his bad shoulder. "There's someone I need to talk to. Might give us a lead. DiNozzo!" Tony half leapt out of his chair. "Yeah boss?"

"You're in charge until I get back. Call me if you get anything. And get McGee up here! He can help with the computer thingy." With that, he nodded to Ducky and made for the elevator. He was obviously not expecting, however, to be blocked by his senior field agent as he tried to leave the bullpen.

"DiNozzo. If you ever want to reproduce, I suggest you get out of my way." he growled.

Tony took a deep breath and braced himself, only just managing to resist the overwhelming urge to cover his crotch. "Sorry, Boss, but I can't let you do that."

The head slap he was expecting never came. Instead, Gibbs murmured "excuse me?" voice soft and calm. It was terrifying.

"You're sick, Boss. Well, injured." he corrected, nodding towards the bound shoulder. "Ducky says you need to be in the hospital, and you know Ducky's never wrong. I…I REALLY don't want to upset you, Boss," his face showed just how much he meant that last comment, "but I won't let you walk out of here unless it's on the way to the hospital." He squared his shoulders. Gibbs looked at him, cocking his head to one side. Tony half closed his eyes in preparation for whatever his boss was gong to do to him, but Gibbs just raised an eyebrow, spinning on his heel and striding in the other direction. He only got as far as his desk, however, before his path was again blocked, this time by Kate and Ducky. He clenched his jaw in exasperation and pain. His shoulder was already making it's displeasure at being forced to move known. Gritting his teeth, he was just preparing to break past them, when a voice from above stopped him in his tracks.

"Agent Gibbs." Director Morrow was coming down the stairs, Abby in his wake. Gibbs frowned at them briefly, then turned to glare at Tony. "DiNozzo…" he growled as he spotted the man's webcam turned towards his desk. Tony just raised his hands, shrugging. "She made me do it!".

Grinding his teeth, Gibbs took a deep breath and turned to face the Director as he reached them. "Director."

"Jethro. Miss Scutio tells me that you should be in the hospital, and I have to say that looking at you, I can't think of a more suitable place." Shooting a brief scowl at Abby, Gibbs cleared his throat carefully. "I'm fine, sir." Ignoring the three snorts of disbelief, the director turned to Ducky. "Doctor? I believe it was you who originally made the recommendation?"

The elderly Doctor beamed at Abby, who was sticking her tongue out at Gibbs behind the Director's back. "Indeed, Director. I'm afraid that Agent Gibbs seems to have contracted an infection in the wound from the gunshot. He will require IV antibiotics as soon as possible, not to mention painkillers of the sort we can only really find at a hospital."

"That seems clear, then." The Director turned back to Gibbs. "Agent Gibbs, you are hereby ordered to return to the hospital and stay there as long as your Doctor's see fit. I will require a medical note before I allow you to set foot in this office again."


"That was an order, Agent Gibbs." The Director's stern tone softened slightly at his next words. "Jethro, the man's vanished into the woodwork. I know you need to find him, but I'm going to have to insist that you take some time to let yourself recover first. I've already lost one employee to that bastard's shooting, I will not lose another."

It was at these words that Gibbs seemed to give in. His shoulders slumped as he couldn't hold in the pain any longer, and he staggered, his vision blurring. He was vaguely aware of panicked shouts and reaching hands, before everything went black.

He woke up in the hospital. The steady beat of the heart monitor told him as much before he even opened his eyes, though he would know the smell and sound of a medical establishment anywhere. He blinked open his eyes and pushed himself into a sitting position, only remembering at the last moment not to put any weight on his left arm. Dizziness washed over him, and he swallowed repeatedly to prevent himself from emptying the meagre contents of his stomach. His shoulder throbbed painfully and his whole body felt weak and drained. The monitor's beeping increased dramatically, and he swore softly before taking several deep breaths, employing the training that let him speedily steady his heartbeat. Once the monitor had calmed down, he raised his head from it's position tucked against his chest, and took in his surroundings in more detail. He was, as he had already known, in a typical hospital room, wearing the standard issue medical gown that he was sure had been designed by some sadist on a power-trip. Thankfully, the room was private, and, equally thankfully, it was empty. Taking in the dimmed lights, he realised that it must be night time, and therefore, visiting hours were over. Time to get out of here. He might have been banned from work, but there was absolutely no way that he was laying around in hospital while that bastard was still out there.

Moving to throw off the sheets, he paused as he heard a rattle and his hand was jerked back. Peering down at his side, he realised that his good hand was cuffed to the bed rail with a pair of fluffy purple handcuffs. Attached to them was a gift tag, which he squinted to read.

"To Gibbs - this will hold you till the nurses get there - love, Abby."

He sighed in exasperation. Part of him was pleasantly surprised at his team's apparent concern over his well-being, but most of him was just pissed. He had a job to do, and they were being ridiculous. He knew his limits, and they were nowhere near reached. And wouldn't be until that bastard was back in Ducky's autopsy room, this time as a more permanent guest.

As his luck would have it, he had just popped open the lock on the handcuffs when a harassed looking nurse hurried into the room. "Agent Gibbs! I'm sorry someone wasn't in as soon as you woke up - there was a bit of an incident with another patient, and it required all the on-duty staff." She paused for breath as she studied his monitor carefully. "Anyway, how are you feeling? Are you in pain? We can give you-"

"I'm fine. Where are my clothes?"

"Your clothes?" She stared at him, puzzled.

"Yes." He didn't see what was so difficult about the question.

"Well…I would assume that they're in your closet," she gestured at said item, before returning her attention to her patient. "But you won't be needing them for a while, anyway. You have a nasty infection; you'll be here for a couple of days, at least."

He shook his head. "No, I'm leaving now."

"I'm afraid that's not an option, Sir. You're much too ill to leave."

He ignored her, and swung his legs over the side of the bed, standing before she could stop him. He managed to stagger the few steps to the closet and flung open the doors. There was a fresh pair of boxers and a pair of scrub pants there, but nothing else. Laid on top of the neatly folded items, there was a short note in Ducky's scrawl.

"Jethro - knowing how much you hate hospital gowns, I have taken the liberty of providing an alternative. You will, however, notice the lack of your everyday clothes. While I am sure that if anyone could escape a crowded hospital with neither clothes nor money, it would be you, I do implore you not to try. Be patient, my friend; your recovery will be swift if you give it a chance, and we shall have a new guest in my rooms soon enough. I will see you in the morning. - Ducky.

p.s. Abigail requests that you be careful with her handcuffs, as they are her favourite pair."

The pain in his shoulder was getting worse, he realised, absently, and he swayed, vaguely aware of multiple pairs of hands steadying him. He blinked back the fog that was clouding his mind and stood straighter. Turning, he met the irritated and concerned eyes of his Doctor, who he realised must have been called by the nurse while he was squinting at Ducky's note, and sighed. Nodding slightly in resignation, he made his way as steadily as possible to the bathroom, grunting out "changing" in explanation as he passed the other man. Minutes later, he emerged, a fine sheen of sweat on his face, hands shaking slightly. Letting his walls slip for just a moment, he admitted to himself that he felt terrible. His shoulder burned and throbbed, his stomach rolled, his head pounded, and he was shivering with fever. He felt light and heavy at the same time, and everything was wavering slightly as he looked at it. Sighing, he grudgingly allowed the nurse to get him settled back into bed, but refused the shot the Doctor tried to give him.

"Agent Gibbs, you're obviously in pain" the man raised his hand as Gibbs opened his mouth to protest. This was by no means the first time the two men had had this discussion in recent years. "Your body needs to rest in order to fight the infection, and to do that, it needs to be pain free."

"I'm fi-"

"Agent Gibbs, if you tell me that you're 'fine' once more, I will gag you, patient or no patient. You. Will. Rest. Do I make myself clear?" Gibbs stared at the determined man for several seconds, then chuckled, wincing in pain as it jarred his shoulder.

"You've been around me too long, Doctor."

The other man smiled slightly as he injected the medicine into his patient's IV.

"I know, Agent Gibbs. Believe me, I know."

As the agent's eyes started close, he gestured to the nurse and they left the room, taking one last look at the man in the bed, famed throughout the hospital for his stubbornness. It was ironic, he thought, but the man probably looked at his most relaxed when injured in the hospital. There was definitely something to be said about sedation.

Hovering on the verge of sleep, Jethro Gibbs listened to them leave. He sighed, wincing. Today, he had been beaten. He had lost this battle. But tomorrow (or maybe the next day, he admitted, as the pain in his shoulder gave a sharp flare), he would win the war. That bastard would rue the day he even considered threatening his team. Slightly more at ease, he let himself slip into a dreamless, healing sleep. Maybe his team would be able to manage without him for a day or two after all.

Well, hope someone enjoyed. It was great fun to write, anyway! Reviews would make me very happy. As a random piece of information, everyone should check out 'the facebook song' on youtube - it's hilarious!

Aqua Mage