Tony rushed to his partner's side, trying to cope with the mass of wounds and blood on his body.

"Danny! Danny! God damnit Danny you're not allowed to be dead or I'll kill you myself" Tony murmured angrily as he shakily tried to feel for a pulse, becoming ecstatic when he found one.

"Get the paramedics in here! He's alive!" Turning back to his partner and friend he reached for his hand as Doctor Mallard and Gibbs came forward with the FBI agent Fornell to assist.

"I knew you could do it Danny," he whispered, tears falling from his eyes as he held his friends hand, moving with the medics as they loaded him onto a gurney and took him into the ambulance.

There was no dispute who would ride with Elks. DiNozzo hadn't let go of his hand the whole time since he'd reached his side.

Gibbs, Ducky and Fornell looked on silently as the ambulance drove off.

"My boys have got it from here, Gibbs, I'll get them to send the body and the evidence to your HQ. You might not want to believe it, but I was glad to help, Jethro," the man said as he turned to go back to his men.

Gibbs reached out, hand grasping the other man's shoulder, "Thank you Tobias, I mean it."

The two men nodded silently, and moved away from each other.

"Ducky, could you call-

"Abby and let her know. I'll do one better than that, I'll go pick her up and we'll meet you at the hospital, Jethro. I know dear Abigail will want to be there for Tony, and Mr. Elks, too, when he wakes. You get going, we'll be there soon, after I make sure Fornell's men do their job," he added, a twinkle in his eye.

Gibbs grinned wryly and set off.


Meanwhile, at the hospital, a certain Detective Anthony DiNozzo was pacing up and down the waiting room floor, hands wringing together constantly. No one had said a damn thing to him since they'd come in.

How long would it take for someone to tell him what was going on with his partner?!

An eternity later, doors bust open, opnly, they were the wrong doors. "Tony! How's Dan? Is he gonna be ok? He's gonna be ok right? Are you ok? You didn't get hurt did you Are- mmmfffpfpm

Abby's barrage of questions and demands were halted as Ducky covered her mouth with a hand. Taking the hint, Abby calmed down, pulling Tony down into a seat. "Sit down, you look horrible. Have they said anything yet?"

Tony shook his head, confused as to why they were here.

"Gibbs'll be here soon. He'll make them answer" Abby said assuredly.

Tony looked up, confused, "Why are you here?" he asked softly, his confusion evident on his face and in his voice.

Abby head slapped DiNozzo lightly, looking at him as though he were a silly child, "For you of course! And Dan!"

Drawing his brows lower, his eyes clouded in more confusion.

Donald Mallard took that moment to speak, "We're worried for you, my boy, and for Daniel. We're all waiting to see how he is."

The older man smiled at the young man before him, obviously unused to such a show of support. Gibbs will have his work cut out for him if we're lucky enough to get young Anthony, Ducky thought, though Daniel seems to have him doing well.

Just then both sets of doors leading to the waiting room opened, Gibbs and a nurse (or doctor) entered. Tony leapt up, "Is he ok? Can I see him?!"

The nurse smiled softly, nodding, "He's out of surgery. He had some nasty gashes and a broken rib or two, contusions to much of his body but he'll be fine, providing he gets plenty of rest and takes care for a few weeks."

Tony felt his knees go week at the news, absently feeling hands push him into a chair, "Thank God," he breathed before looking up again, "Can I see him?"

The nurse smiled, nodding again, "He's in recovery, and will be rather groggy from the sedatives and pain killers administered, but you can see him, but only one or two of you for now, and only one at a time."

Tony nodded thankfully before being given directions to the room Daniel lay in.

Walking in, he quietly tugged the visitor's chair closer, grabbing for Dan's hand- the one without the I.V. line attached to it. "Hey Danny," he whispered, surprised when the man's hand tightened on his and said man opened his eyes, giving a tired but wry and familiar grin, "Kiddo," he greeted, voice rough and tired but happy to see the young man before him, "It's damn good ta see ya."

Those words were all Tony needed to lean forward and carefully hug the man, who returned the grasp tightly, despite the nagging tug it put on his ribs. He was certainly thankful for the pain meds, that's for sure. "You ok, kiddo?" the older man asked, turning his young friend's face towards him so he could look him in the eyes, slightly surprised to see them shining.

"Yeah Danny, I'm fine. After all, I'm not the one in a hospital bed, old man," he joked half-heartedly.

Dan whacked him on the arm lightly. "Get outta here, kid, come back in the morning when you don't look so crap- or smell so bad."

The two shared a grin and another hug, and Tony left, allowing Gibbs, who was walking towards the room, to pass him and enter.

The two older men sat in silence before Gibbs spoke. "Guess you'll be retiring earlier than planned after this, huh?" he asked.

Danny grinned roughly, "Yep. Reckon they'll let the rest of my time slide as paid sick leave" he joked, before his eyes turned serious.

"But that isn't what you're here for."

"Nope" Gibbs agreed.

Danny rolled his eyes at the man's deliberate and vague reply. "You come in here, like a boy asking a girl's father for her hand in marriage, but you're not gonna say it outright, huh?"

Gibbs allowed a wry grin to pass his lips. "Nope"

"You're gonna have your hands full, boy" the Irishman stated.

Gibbs ignored the 'boy' comment and smiled slightly, "That mean I have your blessings?"

Daniel looked hard at the man before him, "You take damned good care of my boy, Agent Gibbs," he said seriously, his eyes taking on a hard glint to make even Jethro wary despite the fact the man was lying bandaged in a hospital bed, "Or you'll find out just what kind of a man I was in Ireland," he warned, completely serious.

"I'll do my best," Gibbs promised.

"You better. 'Cause you can bet your dog tagged arse I'll be checkin' in on ya- the both of ya"

Silence held the room for several minutes before Danny grinned tiredly "Now get outta here and wrap up that case. Tell the kid he can come see me in the morning, I have something for him"

"Will do"


"DiNozzo you better have a reason you're late on your first day or I'll fire your ass" Gibbs yelled out across the room to where 'Special Agent' Tony DiNozzo was exiting the elevator.

"Sorry Boss, had to wait for the removalists to give them my key and call Danny, won't happen again" he said, grinning widely.

Gibbs grumbled under his breath, "I'll believe that when I see it."

He wondered where he'd gone wrong. All his previous agents- even the good ones- had a healthy amount of fear for an angry Boss, but DiNozzo did away with it with just one thing.

He smiled.