Tony got up slowly, inching painfully and laboriously towards the bathroom. Still-healing ribs screamed at him and he grunted as he was forced to pause to lean against the wall for a breather. He'd only taken ten steps. Damn. He stood awkwardly, one arm in a sling, the other in a cast that ran halfway up his forearm, cradling his ribs as he took the deepest breaths he could manage. He was staying at Gibbs' house, had been out of the hospital for three days, and on his first day alone he was finding it frustratingly difficult to do anything. Not that he'd been expecting anything else.
Finally deciding that he was ready to take another shot at walking, he gingerly eased himself up the wall to a standing position and stared dejectedly at the bathroom door, another fifteen steps away at least. He could do this. Holy crap, when had he gotten so damn weak? He had only taken three feeble shuffles when the door knocked. Tony didn't even try to bite back the groan he felt coming. The front door was another twenty steps in the opposite direction. He started taking painful steps toward the door, cursing under his breath the whole way. If it was a salesman, he was going to lose it…
"Tony? DiNozzo, you there?" Not a salesman. McGee.
"Yeah," Tony called, but it was breathy and weak. He cleared his throat. "Yeah."
"Are you…are you decent?" What the hell?
"What the hell?"
"Are you…naked?" DiNozzo laughed, winced at the pain in his ribs, and laughed again.
"No, McGeek, I'm not damn naked," he answered with as much strength as he could. Why was Probie so worried about him being naked anyway? Not like he would answer the door in the buff. Scratch that. He totally would, just to see the younger agent's face.
"I'm coming in," McGee called, and Tony raised an eyebrow.
"You're what?" He asked. Crap, he needed to sit down again.
"I'm coming in," McGee repeated, and now there was the unmistakeable sound of a key turning in the lock. The door opened just as DiNozzo lost the little bit of strength he had left and slid gracelessly to the floor, wincing as his shoulder was jarred.
"Well. You look like crap," McGee muttered as he hobbled in on his crutches. He didn't miss the look of utter confusion on Tony's face and shrugged. "I'm not much use at work," he explained. "Gibbs sent me to look after you. Ordered me to take a few more days off and…to spend them with you."
"Well that's just peachy," Tony muttered. "Now I have a babysitter." Tim shook his head.
"Think of it more like a friend to keep you company." Tony didn't look convinced. "I brought movies," Tim said finally, holding up a bag from Blockbuster. DiNozzo narrowed his eyes.
"What'd you get?" He asked suspiciously.
"Taxi and The Godfather," McGee replied, face hopeful as he waited for Tony's response. DiNozzo finally nodded thoughtfully.
"Good choices, Probie," he said. They stood there awkwardly for a minute, Tim leaning on his crutches, Tony looking up at him from the floor before DiNozzo finally spoke.
"So, uhh. Do you wanna help me get up or something?" It was hard for Tony to ask for help, equally hard for Tim to realize that he hadn't offered any.
"Oh, yeah, hold on," he muttered, hobbling quickly towards Tony, depositing the movies on the couch. "This might be a bit awkward."
"Yeah, I figured," DiNozzo murmured. Tim stopped in front of him, carefully dropping one crutch to the floor and holding out his hand. Tony hesitantly looked at it, surprised when McGee carefully gripped his upper arm above the cast and pulled him up. For a split second, both of them were off balance and for a embarassing moment, Tony was actually scared he was going to fall, but then Tim dropped his other crutch without hesitation and grabbed DiNozzo's arm with his other hand. Hopping on one foot, he carefully eased Tony up and grinned at him.
"I wasn't going to let you go," he said quietly, and in that moment, no other words were necessary. The gratitude and affection were obvious and DiNozzo smiled as they made their slow way to the couch. As they settled in to watch The Godfather, both men felt like everything was finally okay. It was a good feeling.
A/N: Thank you so much for the great reviews I've been getting! I really do appreciate them and hopefully I'll have another story out before too long.