Tony shot awake with a start. Taking shuddering breaths he swung his legs out from under the sweat-soaked and twisted sheets, padding downstairs for a glass of water. It was two weeks since he had returned to NCIS, after being 'borrowed' by the CIA, and things were slowly but surely getting back to normal. It was still difficult adapting to the changes that had taken place in the team as well as in himself but he was getting there. His wounds were almost completely healed, Ducky had removed his stitches, leaving him with scars to act as a permanent reminder of his time away. He was letting his hair grow out, the scars were reminders enough of the mission and if he was honest he hated it so short, besides Gibbs had admitted to having preferred it longer.

Director Sheppard had been fired from her position as director of NCIS by the SecNav and, although the official reason give for her sacking was that she hadn't been treating her staff properly and had been using her powers inappropriately, Tony suspected Gibbs had had something to do with it. The older man had promised that she woul pay for loaning Tony out to another agency for an undercover mission without consulting him and Tony being injured on said mission. In all honesty Tony didn't care what happened to her, so long as Gibbs didn't risk his career: he was too important to Tony and NCIS to lose his job.

Since his return Gibbs had been overly protctive of him, even going as far as admitting that he felt fatherly protection for him. He was thankful for it, he was still having difficulties adjusting and Gibbs admission helped him feel wanted and loved, plus the older man acted as an effective buffer between him and the aspects of life he wasn't ready to deal with yet. Gibbs had insisted on him crashing in the spare room in the older man's house, as he had done so so many times before, to keep an eye on him. After so long sleeping in barracks he didn't mind, he really didn't want to be on his own.

Gibbs silently entered the kitchen, watching as Tony tried to get his emotions in check. The young man had been plagued by nightmares since returning from the CIA's mission and he knew something was eating Tony up inside. Crossing the room Gibbs placed a hand on Tony's shoulder to get his attention. He turned seemingly unsurprised by Gibbs' presence - the marine was no longer able to sneak up on him - and he met the older man's eyes. His own were filled with tears and Gibbs pulled him into a hug. Finally he let lose of the emotions he had been kept bottled up inside and let his tears flow. Gibbs simply held him, rubbing his back and murmering soothingly in his ear until he was able to calm himself down and he pulled away, wiping his eyes in embarassment.

"Better?" Gibbs asked.

"Yeah," he nodded. "How did you...? Nevermind you know everything."

Gibbs smiled, "You're strong Tony, I know the CIA's sworn you to secrecy about the specific details of your mission, but I know your stong enough to overcome whatever's bothering you."

"Thanks boss," he relaxed slightly. "I think I'm gonna hit the rack."

"Tony," Gibbs called after him. "You need anything, just ask."

He nodded, "I know boss, I will."

Tony headed back upstairs and Gibbs slumped at the kitchen table. He knew Tony was still hurting from his experience, for such a happy and friendly person five months seperated from everyone he knew and loved couldn't be easy. He also knew that the time away had brought back memories of an abusive childhood and wished he could do more to help the younger man. His senior field agent had had a rough couple of months but was geting over it. The younger man would be fine eventually, and Gibbs was glad that he hadn't immediately bounced back because it gave him the chance to show Tony how he really felt. Sighing he followed the younger man's example, heading upstairs to get some rest. It may take a little longer but everything would return to normal, of that he was sure.