Disclaimer: I don't own NCIs or its characters, yada, yada, yada
Notes: This is my first NCIS fic. Reviews are most welcome and appreciated, but please be constructive.
Leroy Jethro Gibbs' eyes narrowed was he watched his senior agent limp towards the elevator; how in the hell had he missed that? On the other hand, Tony could simply be looking for a little sympathy after being pushed out of a plane a few hours ago.
Tony pulled up short and Gibbs would have to have been more blind than he already was to miss the wince that followed the sudden movement. "Yeah Boss?"
Gibbs' only answer was to glare pointedly at Tony's left leg that the younger man was holding aloft, the toe barely brushing the floor.
DiNozzo followed his boss's gaze down to his leg with wide, innocent eyes, as if this was the first he'd noticed it. "It's nothing boss."
Gibbs just shook his head slightly at the act; there was a reason Tony was the best undercover agent NCIS had. "Doesn't look like nothing," he growled out quietly, letting his agent know that he wasn't in the mood for games. "Rough landing?"
Shrugging, Tony allowed a humorless laugh that quickly turned into another wince as the movement sent a spike of pain through his battered body. He plastered a cocky smile to his face, "actually, the landing was textbook considering the terrain, even if I do say so myself." He sighed knowing that Gibbs wouldn't let this go until he got then entire truth, "-it was the ravine I fell down trying to get my chute out of the tree that was the problem."
Jethro's eyes narrowed further; the recovery team had mentioned that they had found the agent in a heavily wooded area, but nothing had been said about him being injured in any way.
"You get Ducky to check you out?"
"Uh Boss, it's 0200, Ducky and everyone else were long gone by the time we got back."
Gibbs stood immediately and strode past Tony to the elevator, "ok, let's go then."
"Go?" Tony turned in confusion, "go where?" He hurried toward the elevator that Gibbs was holding open for him as fast as his one healthy leg could carry him.
DiNozzo stopped two feet short of the doors, a stony expression with just the barest hint of fear settling on his face. "Boss, I'm not going to the hospital; I told you I'm fine." Considering the highlight of his twenty-hour day was getting tossed out of a plane at 6,000 feet, he wasn't about to cap it off with a memory-invoking trip to the emergency room.
"Damn it, DiNozzo! I don't-"
Gibbs was taken aback by the bite of steel that had entered his agent's voice, and he was rarely surprised. Taking in DiNozzo's defensive stance, he quickly thought back to the other times Tony had been injured since joining NCIS. He'd managed to avoid the hospital all of those times too; if he didn't skip out on getting checked out all together, he would finally consent to seeing Ducky after running through every excuse in the book not to. Thankfully, in the two years he'd worked with Gibbs, Tony had yet to be injured worse than the ME's skills and equipment were capable of handling.
"Then I'm calling Ducky back in."
Tony blinked, unable to believe that he'd actually won that easily, but still not happy about the impending examination. "I'd rather just go home and sleep-" he stopped as Gibbs look-of-death intensified, "-or I could just sleep at my desk until Ducky gets here."
Gibbs didn't move from his place in front of Tony's desk as he watched the younger man gingerly settle into his chair. The frown returned to his face as Tony's eyes slipped closed, seemingly of their own accord, "did you hit your head?"
"Boss, I'm fine." DiNozzo restated his mantra from the last few minutes without even bothering to open his eyes.
"Did. You. Hit. Your. Head."
Tony recognized that tone of voice as the one that usually occurred right before his boss truly lost his temper. Deciding he didn't have the energy to deal with a really pissed off Gibbs, he opened his eyes. "Boss, I was still wearing the jump helmet; I didn't lose consciousness, no blurred vision, no nausea, and nothing more than a mild headache."
Gibbs forced back the smile that threatened to bloom at his agent's statement. "I'll wake you when Ducky gets here."
Jethro commanded himself to relax as he headed back to his desk; Tony may not be fine as he kept trying to assert, but the younger man was alive and in one piece. The fifteen seconds between seeing Tony pushed out of the plane and seeing his chute open had ranked right up there as some of the scariest in his life. He knew he'd never really shown it, but DiNozzo had found a special place in his heart- somewhere between son and best friend.
He felt bad getting Ducky out of bed, but the Doctor should be used to it after so many years of working for NCIS. That and something in Tony's eyes had convinced him that he would be better of getting checked out by the ME than spending a couple of hours in the emergency room at Bethesda. The time stretched on as he watched DiNozzo 'sleep' with a critical eye. The younger agent was about as close to being asleep as he was right now; the slightest twitches and lines of pain around his eyes giving him away to anyone that knew him well enough to see it. And Gibbs was one of the few people that did.
Sighing, Tony didn't even bother to pretend that he was asleep or that his didn't know exactly what Gibbs was talking about. "Got my reasons Boss." Even without opening his eyes he knew Gibbs was staring at him, still waiting for a real answer. He had the distinct feeling that Gibbs knew his background well enough to have an idea why, but apparently he wanted Tony to tell him too. "Too many bad memories Boss, nothing good ever happens there."
Gibbs continued to hold Tony's gaze, waiting for more elaboration.
His extensive background check before hiring DiNozzo had revealed a good chunk of the young man's past, but there were still too many holes in it for Gibb's taste. The DiNozzo family had money; money could make a lot of things go away and Tony too many scars- both emotional and physical- that weren't accounted for in his records.
Tony sighed, knowing that Gibbs wasn't going to let this go. "Take your pick Boss: watching my mom die, finding out that my football season was over two games into my senior year at Ohio State, spending days or weeks in there at a time- without a single visitor…" he finished quietly, realizing suddenly that he'd revealed too much. He shifted in the chair, trying unsuccessfully to avoid his boss's penetrating gaze, and winced as the move intensified the throbbing that seemed emanate from his entire body.
"I was an accident prone kid." The metaphorical shrug was evident in his voice.
Jethro felt a cold ball of fury form in his chest at all that Tony's statement implied. DiNozzo's earlier words rang in his ears as well- he'd been alone all that time.
"Tony, you know we wouldn't-" he was interrupted by the shrill ring of his cell phone. "Gibbs- yeah Duck, we'll meet you there in a minute." Jethro took a deep breath and lifted his gaze back up to the other man, wondering how in the hell he was going to say this without a large amount of alcohol running through his veins. His resolve crumbed at the look of pure exhaustion on DiNozzo's face; there was no way Tony was up to comprehending a revelation of this magnitude right now. That conversation would have to wait.
He held his hand out to the younger man, "come on, Ducky's waiting on us." Gibbs wrapped Tony's arm over his shoulder and they made the silent trip down to Autopsy.