Disclaimer: May contain nuts! Sorry Author is nuts, I don't own the characters or the concept of NCIS!
This is the final chapter, great thanks to all those who took the time to review, it is greatly appreciated and I hope I managed to respond to you all!!!!
'Tony, what's wrong?' Gibbs asked hurrying to Tony's side and putting an arm around the trembling shoulders.
'I thought you weren't coming back....I...you..never mind..' Tony trailed off and sagged against his Boss. Gibbs simply hugged his surrogate son to him and pulled the blankets up around them as Tony relaxed against him.
'Tony, why would you think I was going to leave you, you're sick and I am taking care of you?' Gibbs looked down into the glassy tear filled eyes and sighed hugging him tight.
'I'm sorry Boss, I, well, when I was a kid the housekeeper was always in charge when I was sick and she always said she was too busy to coddle me. I was always alone and I always have nightmares when I am sick and ...and..' Tony had rushed out the explanation as if it would hurt less to sound so pathetic if it was over quickly. Tony began to turn away from Gibbs' embrace embarrassed at his outburst.
Gibbs simply held him tighter. 'Nothin' to be ashamed of Tony, what kind of parent would leave their sick child to be looked after by an uncaring housekeeper..'
'But Father was busy.' Tony interrupted.
'Damn it Tony, no father should be too busy to care for their sick child, to love their child. Am I too busy to look after and love you?' Gibbs stiffened slightly as the last sentence slipped out and Tony jolted in his arms. He hugged Tony closer. 'Tony,' he sighed, 'I do love ya you know, like a son, you should never doubt that I care for you Tony, you can always come to me, about anything.'
Tony pulled his head back and sniffed, looking into Gibbs eyes he cocked a half smile and gently snuggled back into Gibbs chest. 'Hmm, I love you too....Dad.' Tony half whispered the last word as he drifted off to sleep.
'Sleep well DiNozzo.' Gibbs said as he pressed a kiss into the top of Tony's head.
Gibbs drifted off himself, trapped as he was by Tony's sprawling hug he had little else to do when he heard a knock at his door again, this time resorting to his tried and tested method of simply ignoring the intrusion in favour of staying close to Tony.
A few moments later he heard even steps on the stairs, confident it was not an intruder as the steps were not disguised he simply stayed where he was and waited for the person to make themselves known. He was surprised to see Ducky in the doorway. 'Nowhere better to be Duck? Trouble staying away?'
'My my Jethro, you must have known I would check on Anthony this morning'
'Morning? I must have fallen asleep, I thought I had just dropped off.'
'How are you both?' Ducky asked pointedly.
'I made my feelings known and they were returned by Tony.' Gibbs shifted the hand around Tony's shoulders to reach further and feel his forehead. 'He also feels cooler than he did and hasn't thrown up since we fell asleep.' Tony stirred under Gibbs ministrations.
'Mmm, morning,' he mumbled snuggling closer, ''m hungry and thirsty.' Gibbs shrugged at Ducky.
'I will get some toast for the lad and some juice, I am guessing from the kitchen you never finished making the soup?' Ducky chuckled leaving the two men in the bed to doze as he bustled off to the kitchen.
As Ducky clattered around the kitchen Tony woke proper, he blinked at Gibbs as he sat up. 'Morning, um, what time is it?'
'Not sure....Son....it doesn't matter you need rest, don't worry about the time.'
'Son huh? That's going to take some getting used to Boss.'
'Not boss here Tony, Jethro, or Dad if you prefer?' Gibbs raised an eyebrow in a tentative question.
'Never got to call my father Dad, sounds nice, sounded nice last night.' Tony smiled at Gibbs just as Ducky returned with some plain toast and a glass of juice for Tony and some buttered toast and coffee for Gibbs.
'Here you are my boys, I trust all is well?'
The men in the bed just smiled and leant their shoulders against one another as they sat against the bed head and ate their respective breakfasts.
Later that day Gibbs was finishing what he had started in the kitchen and he heard footsteps on the stairs and turned to see a pasty looking Tony descending his stairs. He left what he was doing and guided his charge to the sofa, settling him and covering him in a blanket. 'Rest Tony, I know you don't like being alone, I just left you to sleep while I made dinner. I am right here, you can see me over the counter, I will be done shortly.'
Tony grunted and settled back against the cushions, eyes never leaving Gibbs as he continued in the kitchen.
'Why do you care for me so much? Why? In spite of me being such a clown, I am stupid and careless and annoying.'
'Ah hell Tony, who told you that? Your 'Father'?' Gibbs sneered. 'Tony, I love you for being a clown, it keeps me smiling when I feel I could break down in tears. You are far from stupid, you are just unconventionally intelligent. You are a might accident prone but that does not make you careless and those that find you annoying are not insightful enough see the real you. I love you for who you are, not in spite of who you are. You are thoughtful, caring, intelligent and worth more to me than anyone since Shannon and Kelly, never, ever, doubt that.' As he spoke he had walked from the kitchen and was now sitting perched by Tony's side, looking at him with calm sincerity.
Tony melted from the gaze and lay back on the cushions. 'I am sorry B..Dad, it's kind of hard to believe after being so long alone, I have looked after myself since I was 12, the few times I stayed here have been the only times I have felt like I fit in anywhere.'
'Tony, you will always fit in here, always.' Gibbs said opening his arms in an unspoken invite to Tony.
'Thanks Dad.' Tony replied as he sank into Gibbs embrace. Gibbs couldn't help thinking that a lifetime of neglect was hard to override and the young man in his arms would be a never ending source of cause for concern.
Je suis finis! (Je not speak French lol)