DISCLAIMER - not mine obviously

AUTHORS NOTE - thought I'd try writing a story with this sort of layout, not entirely sure how it turned out but tell me what you think and if you like it I'll maybe try again in the future

Saturday 10th January

Abby had had reservations about Tony going undercover from the start. Gibbs had brushed her off, claiming that the younger man would be fine, that she had nothing to worry about. 'DiNozzo's a big boy, he can take care of himself,' he'd told her. Now he wished he'd taken her worries more seriously. Tony looked so frail and vulnerable lying on the hospital bed, body a mass of cuts and bruises, there was a ventilator breathing for the younger man and a chest tube was drawing out the extra air from his senior field agent's chest cavity as one of the several broken ribs had punctured a lung. It was his fault. He should have gotten there sooner. If he had, perhaps Tony wouldn't have only a fifty percent chance of surviving the night.

Wednesday 7th January

"Boss I think I've got a lead," Tony was practically bouncing up and down with excitement, they'd gotten their case on Monday.

"What is it DiNozzo?" Gibbs would be happy for anything at this point.

"Petty Officer Michaels went to a club every Friday night," the younger man claimed.

"That's not new," the agent growled.

"I know what kind of club," Tony added.

"It was just the gym," McGee piped up, unhelpfully.

"Until you dig deeper," the young agent grinned. "There's a back room boss, you ever seen fight club?"

"You mean that Petty Officer Michaels was involved?" Kate frowned.

"No, I think he got those injuries making himself a cup of tea," Tony deadpanned. "It explains why he wouldn't tell anyone what happened when he was first admitted to hospital."

"It fits," McGee grudgingly conceded.

"I think you'll be going to that club this weekend DiNozzo," Gibbs claimed.

"Yes boss," the younger man moved to sit.

"Now get back to work," the agent growled.

They'd gotten the case of a beaten marine petty officer on the previous Sunday morning. The man had been helped, barely conscious, into the hospital by his roommate and refused to tell the staff what had happened on the Saturday evening. NCIS had been called the following morning and, as Gibbs' team was doing the weekend duty, it had been given to them. Refusing to talk to them the petty officer claimed to have asked for the police not to be contacted and that included 'Navy cops.' There was nothing they could do if the man didn't want to press charges against the attackers. That had changed on the Monday night when the man died from the injuries. On the Tuesday morning the case had been given back to them but there had been next to no evidence.

The team had been working, with only a couple of hours sleep when the drifted off at their desks on the Tuesday night, and Tony's little snippet was the best lead they'd had in that time. Now they just needed something to cement that and find out who'd been the one to kill Michaels. The whole club could probably be done for man-slaughter but Gibbs wanted to pin murder on whomever had delivered the injuries to the petty officer.

Friday 9th January

"Gibbs, I've got a bad feeling about this," Abby hugged Bert to her chest.

"He'll be fine Abs," he assured. "Just suit him up with the bug when he arrives.

"But Gibbs..." she tried to protest.

"Abby, it's our only lead," he reminded. "And we'll be backing him up all the way, we'll be backing him up the whole time. Besides, there's no guaranteeing he'll get in."
"Fine," she reluctantly agreed.

"Hey Abs," Tony entered the lab, dressed in black cargos and a t-shirt. "What d'you think boss?"

"Is that flexible enough to fight in?" he checked.

"Yep," the younger man assured. "So lets see this bug."

"Here you go," Abby handed him a pair of dogtags and a pair of sunglasses. "The dogtags are for audio and the glasses have a camera in them."

"Cool," Tony slipped them both on. "How do I look?"

"Great," Abby smiled weakly.

Kissing Abby's cheek and promised her that everything would be alright. She didn't seem to feel any better after his reassurances but before she could say anything Gibbs led the younger man up to the carpark. Smirking at his boss he slipped into his Mustang and sped out of the carpark, the surveillance van close behind.

Tony reached the club and headed inside. Despite Gibbs' words to Abby it was easy to get into the club, apparently a couple of fighters had decided not to show up after Petty Officer Michaels death. The leader of the club was stupid enough to tell Tony this and promised to pit the young man up against the killer should he managed to win his first bout, against one of the other relatively new fighters. Nodding in thanks - having manipulated the man into that course of action - Tony placed the glasses to one side, so the camera was pointing at the ring. Stepping into the ring Tony took up a fighting stance. From the van the team watched as he fought with the man, who was several inches taller than him and probably doubly as wide. He won, but he took quite a beating in the process.

As promised the man in charge introduced him to the killer of their petty officer. The man smirked and insisted on Tony joining him in the ring. Reluctantly the special agent did so, knowing that the man was dangerous. He'd hit the floor before Gibbs and the rest of his back-up burst through the door. Seeing them, and realising that it had been a set-up, the man he'd just been fighting took it out on his fallen figure. He was unconscious when Gibbs took the kill shot and his boss had him rushed to hospital in the ambulance that had been kept on standby.

He was in surgery for the next several hours. It was getting late by the time he was finally moved up to ICU. Abby and ucky had joined the team at the hospital to wait for news on him. The goth was in tears and, hugging her reassuringly, Gibbs couldn't feel guilty - if only the team leader had listened to her and taken her concern a little more seriously. The doctor told them that if Tony survived the next couple of hours it would be a miracle but the longer he lasted the better his chances of a full recovery.

Saturday 10th January

Gibbs had sent the others home several hours earlier to get some rest but he couldn't leave, not when it was his fault the young man he'd come to think of as a son could be dying. He'd gotten a little sleep earlier when he dozed off in the chair by the side of the bed but now, as it neared lunchtime, he was wide-awake. Tony groaned, the younger man's eyes weakly fluttering open and his heart leaped. It was the first sign the agent had given of stirring and pressing the call button he leant over the bed.

"Hey DiNozzo, glad you could join us," he smiled. "Don't try to talk, the doctor'll be in in a minute."

"Wha'?" Tony blinked at him.

"Happened?" he deduced. "The perp realised it was a set up and began kicking into you as we burst in. He's dead."

"Remember." the younger man nodded. "How dead?"

"I shot him," he admitted. "I wasn't about to lose you to some mindless thug."

"Thanks," Tony rasped out as the doctor entered.

"I'll leave the doctor to check you over and go call the others," he smiled. "I insisted they go get some rest at three o'clock this morning. It's noon now. Okay?"

Tony simply nodded in response and he slipped from the room. Locating the nearest payphone he called Abby and had her call McGee and Kate whilst he called Ducky and updated the director. Telling him that they'd all be at the hospital as soon as they could get there Abby promised him coffee and hung up on him. The doctor was just finishing checking the younger man over when he re-entered the room and offered him a reassuring smile as he moved to his seat - claiming that Tony looked set for a full recovery.

The younger man was asleep again by the time the others arrived but they insisted on staying until he awoke, much to the annoyance of the staff. It was another couple of hours before he regained consciousness. Abby squealed and hugged him, mindful of all his tubes, whilst Ducky simply patted his hand. Stuttering slightly McGee claimed to be glad he wasn't dead whilst Kate asked how he was feeling. Shrugging slightly and wincing he claimed to be ready to get home, earning a chuckle as they all knew of his hatred of hospitals, and asked when he'd be getting out - all the while glancing at his chest tube suspisciously. It was Ducky who explained he had to stay in until his lung healed and the tube stopped drawing the excess air out of his chest cavity at least. He pouted and whined about it but there was no way of getting around it and to be honest the others were thankfull for his complaints as they meant he was feeling better. It was getting late by the time they all left him to get his rest.

Thursday 13th January

The hospital had insisted on keeping him in almost a week, his lung having taken three days to heal, but they were finally letting him go home. Gibbs had decided that he would be staying with the older man until he was a lot better. He did afterall have a pretty long list of injuries - three broken, two cracked ribbs; a fractured collar bone; dislocated shoulder; bruised kidneys; broken wrist; and a world class concussion. That wasn't including the numerous cuts and bruises which littered his figure. The doctors had told him that it would take him six to eight weeks to recover but that his torso may continue to cause him some pain even after that time period. Gibbs was determined to be with him every step of the way, to make up for not having been quick enough to save him the beating. His boss would take care of him.

FIN