Disclaimer: Still, nothing's mine
A/N: Okay, first of all, sorry about that flight to DC thingy. That's where you notice that I'd never been in America. I hope I present you with an aceptable solution for that dilemma.
This epilogue has the sole purpose to set the mood for the sequel "The Day After The Day". You'll understand when you read it and the A/N at the end of the chapter.
A huge thank you goes to AZGirl for once again being the backup beta for this story. I can only repeat that she did an amazing job, just like last time. And, of course, I want to thank Ktwesterna for betaing all the previous chapters. I repeat, send me a life sign as soon as you can!
The airport was buzzing with activity and Ducky wrinkled his nose in irritation when yet another passenger bumped into him. He thought he heard a mumbled apology but the hurried man was gone too fast to be sure. Normally he was a lot more tolerant about things like that: certain that most of the time it didn't pay to get into a fuss about things you couldn't change. And if there was one thing you certainly couldn't change, it was other people's rude behavior.
But today he was a little anxious to get home. His mother's nurse had called and informed him that the old woman was driving her crazy and that she couldn't take much more. Mrs. Mallard tended to constantly aggravate people, but this time Ducky wasn't home to take care of the problem himself so he had to get back to DC as soon as possible.
They would have been home already if Morrow hadn't already booked them a flight, convinced that the return trip would be faster by plane. Sometimes Ducky wondered if Morrow had ever taken a plane himself. The man had obviously never heard about increased safety measures or the lines they caused.
Just like the line Gibbs, Anthony and Ducky himself had been trapped in for the past half an hour.
Ducky glanced to his right and felt his mood brighten a little bit. The first couple of minutes of waiting had been pretty dull and uneventful, but Anthony apparently hated waiting just as much as the regular five year old would. Fifteen minutes into the wait, he had begun to stand on the tips of his toes and sigh dejectedly every time the line moved only an inch forward. This had soon turned into outright jumping up and down with Tony straining his neck to see over the heads of the people in front of him. Upon coming down he sometimes bumped into the people in front of them, an older couple with big straw hats on their heads and layers of sun lotion on their skin. Every time they turned around to glare, Tony would apologize sheepishly, always completely missing that the glare wasn't meant for him.
No, much to Ducky's amusement, they kept glaring at Gibbs, as if the man was responsible for the young man's actions.
Gibbs' eyebrows kept twitching and every time Anthony jumped, he gritted his teeth a bit more. A furious Gibbs should have worried Ducky, but seeing his friend like this actually made him very happy.
After Shannon and Kelly's deaths, Gibbs had shown very little emotion, if anything at all. It had always pained Ducky to see the man so cold, his feelings so completely closed off. But Anthony was managing to bring him back, little by little. For now, it was mainly irritation and annoyance, but at least Gibbs showed anything at all. Ducky was positive that other emotions would soon follow. He'd already caught glimspes of Gibbs ' concern over Tony's well-being, but for now he was just glad to see his friend so, well, alive.
Nonetheless, he could see that Gibbs was losing his patience. It didn't take a genius to realize that Gibbs hadn't said anything until now because he didn't want to give the couple in front of them the satisfaction, but even Gibbs' stubbornness could only last so long. Ducky didn't want to bring back a seriously damaged new Agent so he decided to intervene. He was still thinking of something to say to distract Tony a little bit from his childish antics when his eyes fell on the banndage around the young man's hand.
"Anthony, have you taken your antibiotics today?"
Tony's jumping stilled immediately, and as he turned towards the doctor, surprise was plainly written all over his face. Ducky wondered about that and tried to catch Gibbs eye, but the NCIS Agent only watched the young man.
"Ah no, I didn't, but my hand is all good again so I really don't need them anymore."
Ducky clucked his tongue. "Of course you're feeling better. But antibiotics need to be taken until they are all used up. Have you never heard of that before? Infection can still set in if you don't."
Gibbs saw that Tony was getting ready to get into an argument so he put an end to it before it could start. At least that's how he had planned it. "Take your medication DiNozzo."
But Tony wasn't feeling agreeable today. He screwed his mouth and shook his head rapidly. "I won't. I'm feeling good and they make me drowsy. If I'm drowsy I can't flirt with the nice stewardesses"
Gibbs took a step forward, towering over his new Agent even though they were nearly the same height. "There are gonna be other stewardesses. Take. Your. Medicine."
Ducky was impressed when Tony didn't back down. Instead he flashed them a cheeky grin. "Oh shoot. I think I forgot them in my old apartment. Too bad."
Gibbs didn't bother mentioning that Tony hadn't even looked for them, just produced a little pillbox from his pocket. "Well, I guess you are lucky then that I brought some spares, just in case."
'Ah,' Ducky thought approvingly. 'So that's why he asked me to fill him a prescription earlier today.'
Tony stared at the box like Gibbs had just casually handed him the key to Eldorado. There was wonder and surprise in his eyes, much like when Ducky had asked him about his medication. But, there was also confusion and it saddened the old ME that the boy seemed to have little to no experience with things like this. It was almost as if he'd never received any kind of affection or care throughout his young life. And that saddened him even more because the younger man so obviously needed it. You just had to look at him to know that Tony craved attention, even though he would never say it out loud. He obviously preferred to suffer in silence and hide himself behind jokes and laughter.
And as for Gibbs. Well, Gibbs was much the same but instead of craving to receive some attention or care, he was desperate to give it. Gibbs was one of those people that needed someone they could take care of, that depended on him, and needed him. That's what had made him such a great father and husband. What made him such a great investigator.
And that's why he needed Tony, just as much as the boy needed him.
Now, if only Tony would just stop being stubborn and accept the help and if only Gibbs would just be a little bit more subtle and sensitive when it came to giving it...
"I am not taking them Gibbs. You can't make me."
"Oh, if I pour them down your throat, I sure can. Now take, them before I force feed them to you."
"You are not the boss of me!"
"Actually, I am!"
Ducky was about to interrupt them, but they had finally reached the metal detector by then and the woman operating it beat him to it. Arguing apparently shortens the waiting time. Who would have guessed?
"Please sirs. You need to go through now. You are holding up the line."
DiNozzo and Gibbs continued to glare at each other before Ducky had enough and grabbed Gibbs' arm to drag him though the metal detector. His friend went with him but shot another "This discussion isn't over yet, DiNozzo." over his shoulder.
Tony shrugged and exchanged a flirtatious smile with the woman before he followed them. When he passed the device a lot of beeps and blips accompanied him. He paused and looked at the offending device with a puzzled expression. "Huh."
The woman came up to him while Ducky and Gibbs waited impatiently. "Sir, I need to ask you to empty your pockets and then step through again."
"I could just outright give you my pants if you'd like?"
Before the blushing woman could reply, Gibbs was behind Tony like a flash and whacked him over the head. "Just empty your pockets DiNozzo."
Tony rubbed his smarting head, his other hand going into his pocket. "Man, lighten up Boss. Just trying to have a nice conversation he-... huh?"
That was the first time Tony had called Gibbs 'Boss' and Ducky didn't miss the little pleased smile that hushed over his friends lips.
Maybe, just maybe, they wouldn't tear each other to pieces before they realized that they had the chance for something great here. Ducky could only hope so.
Tony was staring at what he'd pulled from his pocket with an expression of baffled surprise. Ducky sensed that Gibbs was becoming impatient again and came up behind Tony so he went over to Tony to see what had captivated his attention. He himself blinked at the objects for a while before he decided to ask the obvious question.
"My dear boy, why do you have so many paperclips in your pocket?"
News traveled fast in the NCIS building, especially when an overexcited Goth worked there who couldn't wait to meet the new Agent her favorite Boss-man was bringing home.
So it was a given that by the time Gibbs and DiNozzo had their argument about his medication – an argument Tony would lose, just like he would lose a lot of arguments with his new boss from now on – the whole building knew about Agent Anthony DiNozzo who had managed to impress the mighty and feared Agent Gibbs.
Most were curious about that new guy and some even awed by that stranger or afraid for his safety. Despite Abby and Ducky's reassurances, Gibbs' reputation was still that of a bastard who ate junior agents for breakfast.
But, there was also one person who wasn't curious or awed or even worried.
There was one person that felt nothing but hate for the young man and who would make sure that his first and only days at NCIS would be a living hell for the Italian, for the menace that took everything away from him.
He vowed that, when he was done with him, Anthony DiNozzo would wish that he had never met Lerory Jethro Gibbs.
""Now, if only Tony would just stop being stubborn and accept the help and if only Gibbs would just be a little bit more subtle and sensitive when it came to giving it...""
That, is like the perfect summary for the upcoming sequel. TDATD will deal a lot with emotional stuff - trust issues and the like - the boys have to work through, Tony's abuse as a child and the threat I already hinted at or course. I have three weeks vacation soon and will use that time to write my ass off. I decided though that I'll try to finish the story before beginning to post the chapters. Less stressful that way.
WoW! I can't believe this is the end... for now. It is kinda nice to finally complete this part of the series, but kinda sad too. I wanted to thank all of my readers, especially those who took the time to review regularly or sent me PM's when I was feeling down 'waves at Hermione's Shadow and AZGirl'. You all helped me through some tough days with your kind and encouraging words and I'll be forever grateful. I hope to see a lot of you again when I start posting "The Day After The Day". Watch out for it.
Much love and kisses, Melon