Hit me boss, one more time!
Summary: He hadn't had a head slap in months. He really wanted one. Why wouldn't Gibbs give him one?
A/N - Set in season 6 during the episode 'Road Kill', probably thirty minutes before the final scene where Tony and Ziva are talking and Ziva 'rocks'. Tiny references to 'The Curse', 'Missing' and 'Iced' and a few spoilers for 'Judgement Day', 'Last Man Standing', 'Agent Afloat', 'Cloak' and 'Road Kill'. I should have just said spoilers for Seasons 1-6 really! NCIS characters belong to Bellisario, CBS and Paramount.
Hit me boss, one more time!
Chapter 1 – Ignored
His gaze shifted from his computer screen and over towards the woman sat at the desk opposite to him. She was locked in concentration, her eyes tightly focussed on the report she was completing. Her dark hair scraped back from her face revealed her external beauty. He liked her inner beauty too.
He was staring. Focus Anthony.
Tony glanced at the clock at the bottom right hand corner of his computer screen. 21:15
McGee had gone home and Gibbs had gone for coffee about ten minutes ago. Tony wanted to catch the midnight screening of 'Goodfellas'.
Just need to get this done and then I'm outta here
He'd almost finished his report, it just needed a few finishing touches before he was happy to send it over to Gibbs. It wouldn't take long and besides, he really needed to get a quick look at 'ibeatyou . com' before Gibbs returned. 'StrawDog24' had been ahead in the poll for best 'deep in thought' face when he'd last checked this morning... and he had a reputation to uphold.
He'd have to be quick though... Gibbs would be back in five maybe ten minutes and if he caught him surfing again well he'd...
He'd what? Tony thought for a moment. What exactly would he do?
Tony rocked the scroll wheel of his mouse back and forth and leaned back in his chair.
Take this morning. This morning he'd jumped at the chance of mending a few broken bonds between McGee and himself and when Gibbs had caught them messing around, Tony pulling McGee's eyebrows back in a vain attempt to help Tim find his best 'psycho' face... what was McGeek thinking... best 'psycho' face... Gibbs had... well... all they'd had in response was a "would you two like some time alone together?" Not a sniff of a head slap... nothing. Surely that had warranted one.
Not that he minded not being on the receiving end. After all, some of them stung for a few seconds, they could be a bit humiliating, especially in front of McGee, and they often took him by surprise.
He hadn't been on the receiving end of a head slap for some time now. He tried to think when the last time was. He searched his mind for memories of the last few weeks. He remembered being smacked in the face a couple of weeks ago, his vision turning grey and the room closing in on him before falling into nothingness... and then waking to find the Secretary of the Navy standing over him. He pushed the memory away and tried to go back further... weeks... months... he couldn't remember. He rubbed the back of his head, willing that familiar action to jog his memory... and what he found shocked him.
The last time Tony had been on the receiving end of a swift slap to the back of his head had been when he'd been Agent Afloat... stationed on the USS Seahawk. And Tony had been both provider and receiver of that little gem.
That had been about three months ago.
He did the Math. Three months since he'd been back... four months at sea. It had been seven months... seven months since he'd felt that little sting produced by the swift connection of Gibbs's hand with the back of his head.
Somehow... he wasn't sure why... he thought he missed it.
Tony crashed back to attention and spied the look of concern on Ziva's face. She had tipped her head to her left and the realisation had dawned on Tony.
"Gibbs... boss?" Tony turned to look at the man who was now back at his desk and currently taking a large gulp of coffee from a Styrofoam cup. Tony watched as the cup was slowly lowered from Gibbs's mouth and carefully placed back on the desk. Gibbs had licked his lips and was now looking in his direction.
The eyes were blue... not stern... not glaring at him... just blue.
It had been an order, not a question, but it had lacked its usual ferocity that Tony had been accustomed to. At least before... before... at least before he'd been sent away.
"E-mailing it now boss", Tony responded quietly, an uneasiness beginning to swell in his core. Why wasn't Gibbs pulling him up? He usually did... before.
Tony quickly completed the finishing touches to his report and e-mailed it over to Gibbs. He heard the 'ding' of a new message arriving on Gibbs's computer and heard the familiar 'tap tap' of Gibbs's fingers on the return key.
He struggled for a moment and then braved a brief glimpse in his boss's direction. Gibbs was squinting, his head silently shifting from left to right, trying to focus on the screen in front of him.
"Do you want me to print it for you boss?" Tony piped up, "16 point okay for you boss?!"
There was no mistaking the cheek. That should have got a reaction.
It didn't. Gibbs hadn't moved an inch... and yet he'd had to have heard him. Gibbs had ignored it. He'd been ignored. Gibbs was ignoring him. Why?
He knew why.
Tony let his gaze drop from Gibbs back to his own desk and then wander upwards towards Ziva. Her head was down, concentrating hard on her report... the usual configuration. She was oblivious to the unease, the hurt and guilt he now felt. His eyes darted back to Gibbs before they drifted down back to own desk. He stared in the direction of his monitor. Anyone watching him would have thought he was completely focused on some e-mailed report or case file, but he didn't see... couldn't see the words in front of him.
Before Jenny's death, a crack about Gibbs's sight would have earned him a hard one... like the time they'd been investigating the murder of Lieutenant Mark Schilz and the theft of $1.2 million from the Eisenhower's safe. He'd poked and prodded to see how far he could push Gibbs before he'd reacted. It hadn't been a surprise when Gibbs had finally relented... but he had been surprised that the force of it had made him flinch... for real.
The memory was as vivid as if it had happened only yesterday.
He could recall them all now... every single slap, knock, stroke and gentle touch to the back of his head... side of his head... and front of his head. And there were many.
He felt the tiny sting of each and every slap... he felt the warmth of that single 'Attaboy' and... he felt the reassuring comfort of the sole time Gibbs hands had cupped his neck.
He missed them.
He missed the sting of the wake-up call... he missed the genuine affection of the half-hearted slaps... he missed the physical contact Gibbs openly used to demonstrate his disapproval... or more rarely... his approval.
He missed the slaps... God, how he missed them... they'd saved his life. They were acknowledgments... recognitions of his being. He didn't like not being acknowledged. He didn't like not being noticed. He hated being ignored.
He longed to feel that sting again.
Gibbs hadn't touched him at all since he'd been back. He'd shaken his hand when he'd been reassigned from the USS Seahawk to DC. That had been a big deal. Gibbs didn't usually shake hands with his team... and that had made him feel... well... kinda special really. But since that day there had been nothing.
He wanted Gibbs to react. He wanted him to hit him... slap him... whack him. He wanted him to acknowledge him... to accept him... to give him something he could work with. He wanted Gibbs to make everything right again... he wanted... he wanted forgiveness.
He desperately wanted forgiveness from the one man he deeply and passionately respected... but that wasn't going to happen... not anytime soon... not from Gibbs anyway. And he could understand that. How could he expect Gibbs to forgive him when he didn't deserve it? When hecouldn't forgive himself.
Being told something was not your fault was one thing... but being forgiven, or forgiving oneself was a completely different matter. He didn't know whether he'd ever be able to forgive himself... but he was beginning to learn to live with his guilt.
His eyes, a hint of sadness creeping through the green, swept a path from his desk to his boss. He'd probably never feel that little sting at the back of his head again and, as he watched Gibbs busily tapping on his keyboard, found himself wondering whether it was time for him to move on.
A/N – First venture at a Season 6 issue. Two chapters only. Gibbs point of view and ramblings next. Please feel free to comment/review and thanks for reading.
The boss looked up as SA3466996, blowing his nose loudly, walked into the office.
"You okay?" McColleague asked.
"Dine", sniffed SA3466996, throwing a tissue in the trash and placing a new stack down on his desk.
"You know... if you're not well... go home. We can manage"
"Do... I'm dine", SA3466996 replied from behind the stack of tissues.
The boss looked at SA3466996. He could be an idiot at times. "Cold or Flu?"
"I'm dine", SA3466996 spluttered.
The boss sighed, "Go home SA3466996"
The boss looked up. SA3466996's two blood shot eyes would be no match for the pair of steely blue eyes that he now had trained on him. Nevertheless... he was trying. He held them in a concerned glare.
"McColleague", he said, his eyes firmly locked in combat with SA3466996's, "make sure he gets home"
"Will do boss"
SA3466996 lost the battle.