Tony ignored the doctor's lecture on proper care of sutures and stared down at the empty space under the blanket where his leg should be. It should be right there, stretched out along side its brother, but it wasn't. It was gone. Gone. Gonegonegone. His fucking leg was no longer attached to his body-GONE.

He still had half his femur, the doctors were quick to remind him, but it didn't change the fact that his leg was no longer there, wrapped up in thick red biohazard bags and shoved into an old, ice-encrusted refrigerator until it was picked up for disposal. The bloody stump end probably had tool marks all over the place, if he out where they'll take his leg, he could have Abby match the marks to the ones on his stumpy, useless thigh and then he'd make those goddamned doctors put his leg back the hell on.

This all started with a gunshot wound just under his knee that needed surgery to remove the bullet lodged in the bone. That day was rainy, however, and the downpour cleaned away the fact that he'd been in a very mucky pond. His luck managed to land him one of the rookie surgeons who decided that after the bullet was removed the wound was clean enough since there wasn't any visible debris. Unfortunately for both Tony and the doctor's newly spawn career, just enough pond water remained that housed some sort of super infection that spread down his leg rapidly. Three days after surgery, despite being on IV antibiotics, Tony's leg from just above the knee down was infected with gangrene and whatever else was in that pond.

So now he sat in his hospital bed missing a leg and more that likely out of a job. NCIS couldn't use a one-legged man. He realized that his room had grown really quiet and looked up to see that his doctor had left and Gibbs was sitting in the chair next to his bed, sipping at an ever present coffee. The older man looked up when Tony looked over at him.

"Hey, Boss."


"How's…uh, how's the team?"

"They're alright. I've got McGee helping Abby with some computer thing, and Ziva's running up a lead on a new case. They say when you can leave?"

Tony didn't doubt for a second that Gibbs had already brow-beat information out of his doctor. He shrugged. "When they're sure the infection is all gone, I guess. The director bugging you about my replacement yet?"

Gibbs frowned. "You've only been out for a few days, Tony."

Tony gave a short, mirthless laugh, picking at the frayed quilt on his lap. "Yeah, I suppose it'll take a while to replace such an outstanding, good looking agent, huh?"

"Tony…" Gibbs stood up and set his coffee on the over-the-bed table. He sat down on the hospital bed, right next to the legless stretch of bedding. "We're not replacing you. Jenny will hear from me if she even thinks about it." Gibbs cradled Tony's cheek.

"Boss…Jethro, I don't have a leg! How am I supposed to chase down suspects? I can't have your six anymore."

A large warm palm gently tapped him on the back of the head.

"I'm going to blame this on your morphine, Tony. The nurses will be here in a few minutes to kick me out, and they'll tell Ducky on me if I don't leave, so when I come back in the morning and I'd better not hear you saying stupid stuff like this again, got it?" Tony looked like he was about to argue and Gibbs kissed him firmly. "An amputated leg is not enough to make me stop loving you, needing you Tony. I'd hope you have a better opinion of me. Now get some sleep." Gibbs picked up his coffee and left the room without giving his younger lover a chance to respond.

Tony ignored the urge to stand up and follow Gibbs and smiled slowly. If the nurse that entered his room heard his whispered "I love you, too, Jethro", she didn't react to it.