POST REQUIEM – a drabble

Tony was in the shower, in his apartment, his head tilted back, as the unending spray of hot water washed over him. It felt great. It had been a temperate afternoon, mid-sixteis, but his actions on the pier, diving reapeatedly into the water, fully clothed no less, had left him shivering.

He shivered even more when he thought about his nice suit, and Zegnya shoes. Man, this job was hard on his wardrobe. He'd have to talk to Jenny about getting some sort of clothing allowance, or pretty soon he'd be showing up to work in nothing but his boxers and a tee shirt.

He ducked his head under the spray again, letting the hot water run down the back of his neck and over his shoulders. He was surprised to hear a knock at his front door. Turning off the shower, he stepped out onto the bath mat and pulled a large towel from the rack on the wall to his left. He quickly dried himself, and then wrapped the towel around his waist. The kocking from the front door came again.

"Just a second," he called out as he stepped out into the hall. It was seven-thirty. Who would be looking for him. He didn't have a date. He did have a piano lesson at Ziva's place in about an hour, but she'd have no reason to come to his place ahead of time, a fact he deeply regretted, though he kept that to himself.

Upon reaching the door, he swung it open, and to his deep surprise, he found himself face to face with his boss. "Hey, Boss." He was suddenly very conscious that he was wearing nothing but a large towel. "Sorry, I just got out of the shower. Come on in." He stepped back away from the door.

Gibbs nodded once and stepped inside, allowing Tony to close the door behind them. "I'll just wait here," he said. He wore jeans and a white tee shirt with the logo of some air unit on it, and a dark blue warmup jacket, unzipped.

"Make yourself comfortable, boss," Tony said, scurrying off down the hall. "You know where everything is," he called over his shoulder as he disappeared into his bedroom.

Gibbs took a few steps, into the living room. DiNozzo's apartment was much cleaner than the last time he'd been there. There was a big-screen high-def TV mounted on the wall. That was a new addition since his last visit. It made sense though.

Tony emerged from the hallway again. He had on a pair of blue jeans and a tee shirt, no socks, and his hair was still wild from the quick toweling off. "What's up, Boss?" he asked as he headed for the kitchen. "Get you a beer?"

"Yeah, thanks," Gibbs said. He waited for a few seconds until DiNozzo came back from the kitchen, an open bottle of Heineken in each hand. He handed one to Gibbs.

"Have a seat," Tony gestured to the comfy-looking couch against the wall, underneath a framed movie poster for Casablanca.

"I won't be here too long," Gibbs said. "I just wanted to come by and say thank you, Tony." He extended his hand.

Tony took the offered hand, his grip firm and sure. "Hey, that's what you keep me around for, right Boss?" He wore his usual Dinozzo grin.

"Yeah, that's why I keep you around, Tony," Gibbs said, shaking his head at DiNozzo's apparently inexhaustable cheerfulness. "Seriously, thank you. You saved two lives today Tony. You went above and beyond."

"Thanks, Boss," Tony said, his eyes dropping to the floor, as if he were uncomfortable, or unsure how to deal with such praise from a this man.

"I put you in for a commendation."

Tony looked up, his surprise apparent on his face. Gibbs knew he was tough on his people, but he wondered why Tony would be surprised. He took another pull from his beer and walked over to the kitchen, placed the bottle on the counter. He turned and made his way to the door.

Tony followed behind him. As he reached for the door, Tony said, "Thanks, Boss. I'm glad you're okay."

Gibbs opened the door, turned back and said, "Good job today, Tony. You made me proud." The last thing hew saw was DiNozzo's grin as he closed the door and headed home. He had a time capsule to re-bury.