Well, ladies and gentlemen, it is finally here! The conclusion of my wonderful, fantastic story "Slaughter House!" I would like to take this time to thank every person who took the time to review this story and tell me how much you loved it. I'd write out your names specifically, but there were a lot and the list would end up being longer than the chapter. So instead I'm just going to send out a collective thank you.
As a heads up, there will not be an Author's Note at the end of the chapter. I know, I know, finally, right? Now, before I run away and hide in a trench or something, I would like to say that I am thinking about doing a sequel to this story, but fair warning, it may take a while for it to come. I mean, I haven't done any realy slash in a while, and I am by trade a slash writer, so I apologize for that. But that's only if you guys even want a sequel, which I don't know if you do. Well, that is it for me, I hope you enjoy the conclusion! *Ducks and hides for cover.*
Tony spent at least a month in the hospital. An ambulance arrived to cart him and Gibbs away pretty quickly, but considering all of the injuries they sustained, they were still pretty touch and go. Fortunately, the two of them were stubborn jackasses; they didn't give up that easily.
Everything screamed at him in agony the first day that he woke up. He was on pain killers, but they only did so much. He didn't want to open his eyes. He wanted to go back to sleep. Sleep sounded much better.
"Wakey wakey Tony boy."
Tony groaned. He knew that voice. "Go away," he whined.
Denny chuckled. "Not a chance. This is the first time you've woken up in two weeks, I'm savoring this moment."
Tony's eyes snapped open. A big mistake, he realized after. The light was way too bright and it caused his headache to increase tenfold. After Kitty pulled him away from Gibbs, she threw him into a wall, his head hit first. "I've been unconscious for two weeks?" He asked, rubbing his eyes.
Denny nodded. "Two incredibly long weeks. Mom and Lea have barely left your side, if that's any consolation."
Tony looked around the room. Sure enough, Mary was sitting next to his bed staring at him like she expected him to code at any moment. Ley was passed out on the empty bed next to him.
"You wanna tell us what happened to you in there?"
Tony looked back to his partner. He was a little hesitant to tell him everything. He didn't want to upset Mary when he didn't have to. But after a while he caved and recounted the majority of what happened in the butcher shop. He explained how Lance and Kitty claimed to be Metro detectives when they first met. Lance's reason for the killings, and above all, the torture. But he left out what Kitty did to him. He didn't need anyone to ever hear about that. As far as he was concerned it never happened.
"That was his motive? Seriously?" Tony jerked around at the sound of Ley's voice. He didn't realize that she woke up. She was staring at him incredulously.
Tony just shrugged. "I don't think he was all together, if you know what I mean."
The girl leaned forward on her elbows. "So what happened after Gibbs got you out?"
Tony continued the story along. "Then after Kitty slammed me into the wall, she came at me with her knife again. Don't ask me how I avoided it, I really don't know. But I knocked it out of her hands and punched her as hard as I could in the face. And her head just slammed into the wall. She was out cold."
Both Ley and Denny were actually smiling. Ley shook her head. "The woman killed at least two men on her own, she tortured you. You could barely stand, let alone walk, and you kicked her ass?"
It took him a second to realize what she was talking about. But when he did, he grinned too. "Well, I mean, she was just a tiny little thing." He said in mock humility. The others shook their heads at him as he explained how he killed Lance.
Nobody asked him how he was doing with that, for which he was incredibly grateful. Truth be told, he didn't know how he was doing. It really hadn't settled in yet. Hell, he just woke up about five minutes ago, he didn't even have his head on straight yet. But he did know something. He didn't regret it. Killing Lance saved Gibbs' life. That was all that mattered. In the two days they worked together, the older man gained Tony's trust and respect. And there was no way in hell he was just going to let him die.
Speaking of which. "Hey, where's Gibbs?" The other three looked at him like he grew a second head. "He still in the hospital?"
"Gibbs checked out five days ago." Denny answered. "Dr. Mallard took him home."
"But he seemed really worried about you. He insisted that he take this bed," Ley pointed to the bed she was currently sitting on. "You really made an impression on him, huh?"
Tony smiled. He was actually a little amused. Gibbs cared about him. How cute.
Two weeks after he woke up he was cleared to leave. He tried to animatedly jump out of the bed when they told him the good news, but instead he almost fell over. He was good enough to go home, but he wasn't nearly back to his old self again. That would still take some time.
Last he heard, Kitty—or Katherine Letter—was sitting in federal lock up, awaiting trial for four counts of murder in the first degree and two counts attempted murder. She hadn't said a word in interrogation about why she did it. But she didn't need to talk. Gibbs and Tony were the prime witnesses for the prosecution. Lance was declared dead by the medical examiner. Cause of death was the big three inch blade sticking out of his back. It was instant.
It was his first day back as work. He still looked like crap, he still needed pain killers and he walked with a limp. Carnec stuck him on desk duty, but it was better than just lounging around at home all day. The majority of the time he was all alone.
"Hey DiNozzo, you look like crap!" One of his colleagues called across the bullpen.
Tony just smiled. "Good to see you too, Hill." He never took his eyes off the paper work in front of him. He couldn't actually investigate any crimes, so he decided to catch up on his paperwork. He had about… a year of files to report.
He groaned loudly before he picked up his pen and started. It was going to be one hell of a long few weeks.
He felt Denny's eyes burning into his forehead. After a while, he couldn't take anymore. "Either say something, or go be useful."
"Are you sure you're ready to be back at work?"
Tony looked up and met his friend's gaze. "Ok, yeah, I almost died, and I appreciate the concern, but so help me if you act like your mother again, I am tossing you out of that window, do you understand?" He said it all with a sweet smile. Denny shook his head with a chuckle before turning back to his own reports.
"Hey Tony!" Carnec called as he entered the squad room. Tony rolled his head in frustration and looked up. "Your boyfriend's here."
A few of the guys catcalled and wolf whistled at him. But he didn't really hear any of it. Standing just inside the entrance was Gibbs. His arm was in a sling and he was perched awkwardly on a crutch. He looked about as bad as Tony felt, but not nearly as bad as he had that day at the butcher shop.
Tony was slow standing up. His leg protested, but he ignored it. He carefully made his way closer to the older man. As much as his body hated him, he figured Gibbs' would complain even more.
"Gotta say I wasn't expecting to see you here. Miss me that much?" He asked with a smile. His first plan was to cross his arms over his chest and lean against the door frame, but his chest mutinied against him and wouldn't allow him to cause any kind of pressure. Instead, he just leaned.
"Wanted to see how you were holding up."
Tony shrugged his good shoulder. "Better than I thought I'd be. But hey, I survived my first torture session, so, all's good."
Gibbs smirked. "That wasn't what I was talking about."
Tony nodded. "I know." Gibbs wanted to know how he was dealing with what Kitty had done to him and killing Lance. He shrugged again. "He was going to kill you. I mean, it still bothers me, but um… it's not as bad as Neil was."
"You saved my life, Tony. You should be proud of yourself."
Tony shook that off. "You saved my life first. As far as I'm concerned, we're even."
Gibbs nodded. "What about the other thing? You talk about it with anyone?"
Tony's smile fell a little. He shook his head. He knew he probably should have told someone, even if it was just his partner or somebody. But he couldn't bring himself to admit it. Gibbs could tell him all he wanted that it wasn't his fault, but Tony had been around the block enough times to know the truth. If word got out, people would look at him differently, they'd say it was his fault. And he wasn't sure he didn't agree with them. "I appreciate you leaving it out of your report."
Gibbs nodded again. They were silent for a while. It was comfortable. Tony always hated silences. He was used to talking and being loud. He was an Italian with Italian friends, they didn't believe in quiet. But for some reason, he took more solace in Gibbs presence than he did in words.
"So why are you here?" He asked after a moment. Truthfully, his thoughts were starting to scare him. "I doubt you wanted to see my pretty face so soon."
Gibbs shook his head with a small smile on his face. "I came to offer you a job."
That stunned Tony speechless. Not many things gave him that reaction, but hearing those words certainly did. "Seriously?"
"You proved to be a very competent investigator who can keep his cool under pressure. I could use a man like you on my team."
"You already have two agents."
"Langer's a Probie. He's about your age, but he doesn't have your potential. Burley isn't gonna stick around forever. And I saw enough of you in two days to tell me that I can trust you."
Tony still wasn't quite sure what to say. Inside, he wanted to accept. He liked working with Gibbs. He liked NCIS. Ducky was great, and he secretly thought Abby was actually pretty cool. He loved that she was so different than what he would expect from a forensic scientist.
But he still found himself shaking his head. "Sorry Gibbs. I'm gonna have to turn you down."
"Rule number six, Tony, never say you're sorry. It's a sign of weakness."
"You know you should think about writing those rules down. It'd make one helluva guide book."
Gibbs smirked again. "Is it because of your partner?"
Tony chuckled. "Fornell tell you that?"
"You turned down one hell of a job offer at the FBI because of Morgan. That why you don't wanna work for me? Or do you not get my charm?"
"It's complicated, Gibbs."
"No it's not. Tony, you have a great future ahead of you. You can't hold yourself back for him."
Tony clicked his tongue. He contemplated admitting the truth to Gibbs. Would he understand then? "Before we came to Baltimore, we worked in Philadelphia for a while. You know why we left?" He waited, as if expecting Gibbs to react somehow. When he didn't, he went on anyways. "I fooled around with my captain's daughter. She just turned nineteen too. I couldn't stay in Philly, but Den could've. He could've risen to Detective all by himself, made a life, had a family, whatever. But he chose to follow me. He gave up his future in Philadelphia for me. What the hell kind of person would I be if I abandoned him after that?"
Gibbs was quiet for a while. "You know I'm not gonna offer Morgan a job."
"Yeah, I know."
They stayed locked in each other's eyes. There wasn't anger on Gibbs' face. A hint of disappointment. But also a strong sense of pride. Tony felt his heart well up at that sight. "The job's yours if you change your mind."
Tony nodded. "I'll keep that in mind."
Gibbs turned to leave. Tony thought of something. "You knew I'd say no." Gibbs looked at him over his shoulder. Tony's smile grew wider. "Was that really just a test, or a real job offer?"
Gibbs shrugged his good shoulder. "Little of both."
"That boat you name after me better be a nice one."
Gibbs turned to the elevator. "I'll paint it rainbow, that'll describe you perfectly."
Tony almost protested, but Gibbs was already on the lift and the doors were closing. Tony just stood there grinning like a fool. He knew that wasn't going to be the last time he saw the agent. He'd have to see him when his boat set sail, after all. And who knows? Maybe he and Denny could manage to wriggle their way into NCIS.
He hobbled back over to his desk. He still had a mountain of paperwork he had to tackle. Denny eyed him curiously. "What did Gibbs want?"
Tony shrugged his one shoulder again. "Wanted to ask me out, but I told him my heart belonged to you."
Denny rolled his eyes and turned his attention back to his own pile of paper. Tony stopped and stared at his partner for a while, that smile still etched on his lips. He knew he made the right call today. And he wouldn't regret it.
Pulling his thoughts back together he picked up his pen again. It was going to take him at least a week to complete all of those reports.