A/N: If there's one thing I love, it's an angry, shouty Tony. And if there's one thing I really want to see on the show, it's angry, shouty Tony standing his ground in a painfully emotional fight with Gibbs. Because you know Weatherly and Harmon would bring it. Oh yes, they'd bring it.
The Tony in the below story isn't the sarcastic boy-man we're used to encountering. It's the darker, more exhausted man we're starting to see more of. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the evolution.
Disclaimer: I don't own a single part of NCIS. But if it ever goes to auction, I've already picked out the lot I'll bet on.
With every bullet that echoed through the near empty loft, Tony lost a little more patience. The two suspects the team had been chasing for the murder of a Chief Petty Officer had opened fire as soon as Gibbs had kicked in the door, and they'd barely let up since. The team had provided each other with cover fire as they'd advanced into the room, but they'd had to find shelter from the hail of bullets almost immediately. Tony had been crouched next to Gibbs behind a low double brick wall for so long his calves were starting to cramp, and he couldn't get an eye on McGee and Ziva. He suspected, though, that they were sheltering behind the industrial-sized garbage hopper to the right of the entrance. As a bullet whizzed close enough to his head for Tony to feel the displacement of air, he thought that the garbage hopper had been the smarter option.
"Gibbs," came Ziva's whispered voice through their earwigs. "How long do you want us to wait?"
"Hold," Gibbs returned, missing the wince Tony aimed at his back.
Three shots slammed into the metal of the garbage hopper.
"For how long?" Ziva hissed.
"I can give her cover," Tony insisted, annoyed by the calm on Gibbs's face. He hated it when Gibbs went Zen Master in the middle of chaos, even when it was usually the right option.
McGee's voice broke through the gunfire. "Any time soon would be great," he said nervously, a moment before a barrage of gunfire was aimed in his direction. "Fuck!"
"McGee?" Gibbs hissed into his commlink. "Ziva?"
"Officer down!" came McGee's panicked reply.
Tony and Gibbs locked eyes, and for one moment Gibbs's calm exterior cracked. He saw Tony's face harden, and he knew exactly what his agent was about to do.
"Don't," Gibbs growled, but it was to late. Tony popped his head up over the wall and drew the suspects' fire. By the time Gibbs had popped up and raised his gun, McGee had hit one suspect in the chest. It wasn't clear who hit the second suspect, but the direction his body dropped suggested it was Tony or Gibbs. Tony couldn't care less.
Gibbs followed his senior agent as they approached the fallen suspects and kicked their semi-automatics out of reach. Gibbs felt for signs of life at their necks and found nothing.
"Gone," he said.
But Tony was already rushing to check on his friends. Behind the hopper, he found McGee crouched over Ziva. Upon seeing her eyes open, Tony let out a sigh of relief so strong it brought him to his knees.
"Ziva," he said, his tone half admonishing, half relieved. Quickly, he ripped at the Velcro that held the bullet proof vest around her torso and lifted the front flap over her head. Blood was pooling under her left shoulder, and Tony jammed his hands up hard against the entry wound.
Ziva growled through her gritted teeth and swore in Hebrew.
"I know," Tony allowed, but didn't reduce the pressure.
"David, you okay?" Gibbs asked from over Tony's shoulder.
"Fine," she returned with a tight nod. "Did we get them?"
Gibbs nodded and barked orders. "McGee, radio for an ambulance. And Ducky."
McGee pulled out his iPhone and made the calls and, satisfied that his agent was all right, Gibbs returned to the bodies to search for ID. As he carefully checked the suspects' pockets, Gibbs let himself fume. The suspects had obviously been ready for them and had a small arsenal waiting. That was infuriating enough, but his blood was boiling over his agents' lack of trust in Gibbs's judgement. He was furious they hadn't listened to him. He was mad enough to kick Ziva's ass back to Israel for her impatience, and Tony was going to wish he was still agent afloat after Gibbs was done with him.
"Anything, boss?" McGee asked as he crouched over the other body and started searching.
Gibbs just shook his head, not trusting his voice, and looked over at Ziva and Tony. Ziva still lay on her back, her jaw clenched against the pain but otherwise still as she looked up at Tony. She'd taken enough bullets in her career to know how to handle this. Tony still pressed both hands to her shoulder, his skin now covered in his partner's blood. But to Gibbs's surprise, his eyes were closed, his face stormy.
"It's okay," Gibbs heard Ziva say.
Tony opened his eyes and shook his head. "No. It's not close to okay."
It took just two hours for Gibbs, Tony and McGee to process the scene after Ziva had been taken to hospital and the suspects had been taken to Ducky's morgue. Gibbs had spoken only to bark orders, Tony hadn't opened his mouth once, and McGee knew better than to try to break the silence. Somehow he knew it was preferable to the alternative, even if the tension in the room had his hair standing on end.
It was past eight o'clock when Gibbs finally straightened and sealed his last bag. "Okay. Done."
"I'll load these in the car," McGee said, picking up a box full of bagged shell casings. He looked up, expecting to see Tony pick up the other box with blood samples and sketches. Instead, he saw the senior agent's back as he headed for the door.
"DiNozzo!" McGee called.
Tony didn't turn back as he pulled off his gloves and kept stride. "I'll call you when I've got word on Ziva's condition," he spat, then disappeared into the dark.
McGee frowned, but let him go. He was too tired to argue. Gibbs picked up the box Tony had left, and the two of them made their way out to Gibbs's car.
As soon as they were settled, Gibbs turned on the younger agent with an expression that made McGee want to get out and walk.
"How long?" Gibbs asked, his voice even and utterly serious.
McGee blinked. "Uh…How long what, boss?"
Gibbs narrowed his eyes just a fraction, warning McGee against deception right now. "Tony and Ziva."
McGee floundered as he tried to decipher what the hell they were talking about. "I-I'm not sure what—"
"Damn it, McGee!" Gibbs growled. "How long?"
Finally the source of Gibbs's questioning dawned on him. But McGee didn't have any answers. "As far as I know, not at all."
Gibbs leaned closer. McGee couldn't help moving as far back as he could. "Don't cover for them," Gibbs warned.
McGee shook his head, his eyes as wide as could be. "I'm not! They're not! No one is!" He sweated under Gibbs's glare for a few long moments, waiting to be slapped or fired. But neither came.
Gibbs settled back into his seat and turned over the engine. McGee might've believed what he was saying, but Gibbs didn't buy that it was the truth. "Yeah, they are," he growled, then put his foot to the floor. He was going to kill them.
Thanks to some angry driving from Gibbs, McGee walked through the door to his apartment less than an hour later. His cell was ringing before he set his keys and bag down, and McGee didn't bother checking caller ID before he answered.
"Tony," he guessed.
"Ziva's okay," Tony said, getting to the point. "The bullet went through clean and only nicked the muscle. She'll have a sling, but they'll release her tomorrow."
McGee sighed in relief. "That's good news, Tony. Thanks." He paused. "Did you call Gibbs yet?"
McGee heard barely controlled anger fill Tony's voice. "No. He's next on the list."
Another pause. McGee figured he owed him somehow. Or maybe he owed Ziva. "Tony? Heads up. Gibbs thinks you and Ziva are…" He trailed off, unsure of what exactly Gibbs thought. He'd leave it to Tony to fill in the blank.
He heard Tony sigh, but the anger was gone just as quickly as it arrived. "Okay. Thanks, Tim."
McGee's eyebrow shot up at Tony's use of his actual, given name. Did that mean…? "Oh my God! Are you?" he found himself asking.
"No," Tony said simply, not even bothering to make a pun of his surname. "I'll talk to you later."
The final chapter is already up and waiting for your eyes. Why don't you check it out?