A/N: Happy New Year everyone, and I hope you all had fun. But anyway, here ya go. The 'long'-awaited sequel to Gunning for Gibbs. Hope you like it. Probably won't make much sense unless you've read the other story, though.
After waking up to his father's concerned face, Gibbs had spent a further three horrific, tortuous days in hospital being endlessly poked and prodded, fussed over and tested. Then, much to the Marine's relief, he had been released with a pair of crutches and strict instructions to rest as much as possible as well as to take his painkillers and antibiotics regularly, instructions which, surprisingly, Gibbs decided to follow. After all, Director Vance was already insisting that Gibbs take a whole month off if his knee was not healed sufficiently within two weeks – a prospect Gibbs relished even less than spending two weeks using crutches at home, rather than at work.
Unfortunately, four days after his release from the Arizona hospital, Gibbs had become bored out of his mind. For the first couple of days, his father had stayed with him, trying futilely to keep him fed and watered healthily, make him take his medications and take it easy. But then, after two loud and heated arguments over Gibbs' reluctance to rest, Jackson had left – actually, the younger Gibbs had barked an order at him as if speaking to a young Marine.
The first thing Gibbs did, now with the freedom of his own house, was to slowly make his way to the basement door – an exhausting task in itself, which left him sweating profusely and gasping through the pain in his leg. If he was going to be off work for two weeks, he needed something to keep his hands and mind busy. However, after the first two entirely unsuccessful attempts at descending the stairs to his basement, Gibbs had reluctantly concluded that it would be impossible for him to work on his boat and still be able to climb the stairs again afterwards. Instead, he limped cautiously back into the sitting room and picked up the phone, dialling reluctantly for a taxi. He was not stubborn or stupid enough to drive in his present condition.
The cab driver, upon first glance of his passenger, had asked Gibbs if he wanted to go to a hospital. Typically, Gibbs had stared at him and then given him a destination other than the nearest hospital – the Navy Yard.
Now, hobbling gingerly into the bullpen on his crutches, ignoring McGee's incredulous stare, Ziva's silent concern and DiNozzo's immediate and obvious phone call, Gibbs wondered if his driver had been right in assuming he needed a hospital. He felt awful, his leg hurt like hell and his shoulder was not much better. Slumping into the chair behind his desk, the short journey from the front entrance having exhausted him thoroughly, Gibbs watched wearily as Tony ended his conversation and stood up. "McGee, Ziva, go see if Abby's got anything more on the ID of the men," Tony instructed, giving his colleagues a pointed look. He waited until McGee and Ziva had reached the other elevator before moving towards Gibbs' desk. "Shouldn't you still be at home, boss?" Tony asked softly, studying his boss openly.
Tony was temporarily in charge of the team while Gibbs 'recovered', reaffirming Gibbs' adamant insistence that DiNozzo was a valued and trusted member of his team. Surprisingly, although McGee had been a little frustrated that he had been overlooked when Vance allowed Tony to return to work while still at less than a hundred percent health, the Mossad Officer and Agent McGee had, more or less, followed Tony as they would Gibbs. Ducky, however, had not been so easily persuaded – he still did not believe that Tony was fit enough to be at work.
Thinking about how easily Tony had managed to clear the bullpen for the two of them to speak, Gibbs felt a swell of pride for his senior agent and how easily the man could read him. "Not going to sit on my ass doing nothing for God knows how long while my damn leg heals! Might as well make myself useful while it does," Gibbs explained, surreptitiously massaging around his injured knee with one hand. Taking a step closer, Tony noticed the thin sheen of sweat on Gibbs' forehead and the pinched skin around the older man's eyes, and was instantly grateful he had called Ducky. "Yeah? Vance know you're here, boss?" Gibbs chuckled and then closed his eyes, leaning his head back to rest against the chair.
"Nah, guess Duck'll tell him as soon as he's finished reprimanding me," he whispered hoarsely, knowing exactly who DiNozzo had called despite not having been able to hear the conversation over the rushing in his ears and the pounding of his head. Tony wanted to smile at Gibbs' comment, but the way Gibbs' face paled slightly when he moved forced Tony's expression into a concerned frown.
I wish Ducky would hurry up!
As if reading Tony's mind, the elevator pinged and the Scotsman stepped out, bustling over to the MCRT's area. He could see Tony standing at Gibbs' desk and looking at something on it intensely, but the dividers obstructed his view of whatever it was. "Well, Anthony, what did you need to show me?" he asked, striding past Ziva's desk, and came to an abrupt stop. "Good lord, Jethro, what are you doing here?" Pushing past DiNozzo, Ducky stood at Gibbs' side and placed a hand gently on the man's arm. Cracking one eye open, Gibbs smiled crookedly up at his friend.
"Hey, Duck," he murmured, still shattered from the walk from the cab despite it being ten minutes since he arrived. Before he knew it, Gibbs' eyes had closed again.
I shouldn't be this tired. Jeez, I'm getting old!
Ducky placed the back of his hand against Gibbs' forehead and cursed inwardly at the fever he discovered. "Jethro, have you been taking your antibiotics?" he asked, fully expecting the negative response he received. "They make me drowsy, Duck," answered Gibbs with a slight shake of his head, his eyes still shut. Tony rolled his eyes and Ducky barely managed to hold back a sigh of exasperation. "Is that so bad, Jethro? After all, it is rest that your body needs to heal. What about painkillers? Have you brought them with you, or are they sitting unopened on your kitchen counter?" Gibbs grimaced under Ducky's admonishment and Tony felt sorry, momentarily, for calling in Ducky, despite the knowledge that he could not browbeat Gibbs into returning home without the help of the medical examiner or Abby. Ducky continued to glare at Gibbs.
A wave of pain tore through Gibbs' knee as he tried to sit up straighter and he could not suppress a moan. "You're not fit to be at work, Jethro," Ducky said simply, placing a firm hand on Gibbs' uninjured arm and trying to keep the annoyance from his voice, before turning to Tony and receiving a silent nod. "Young Anthony, here, will be taking you home to see that you rest." Gibbs opened his mouth to argue but Ducky beat him to the punch. "Do I need to ask Abigail to come up, or will you let her work safe in the knowledge that you are at home, resting?" Weakly, Gibbs raised an eyebrow – answer enough for his friend – and then growled another protest (just to make it look like he was not entirely in agreement). He made to stand up but yet another spike of pain had him hunched over and gasping for breath.
Maybe taking it easy for a few days would be a good idea...
Patiently, Ducky and DiNozzo waited until Gibbs opened his eyes again and then they helped him up. Tony slung Gibbs' uninjured arm across his shoulders, much like he had in the desert, and the two of them slowly started to shuffle to the elevator.
Ducky hung back, making sure Gibbs and DiNozzo had reached the elevator before he trotted up the stairs and headed to Director Vance's office. Two weeks was not going to be long enough. And, although he insisted he was fine, Tony needed to rest as well.
Tony paused at the threshold of Gibbs' bedroom and watched as his boss struggled to get comfortable while also avoiding causing further pain. Fortunately, Gibbs had been too worn out when they managed to get him from Tony's car upstairs and into bed to even contemplate refusing his medication, and he had taken them willingly. "Do you want anything else, boss?" Tony asked softly, stilling the man in the bed. Gibbs grunted in response – a pained, indecisive grunt that had Tony instantly returning to the man's side.
Gibbs eyelids were already half closed and Tony could see him fighting sleep with every breath he drew, but it was no use. Eventually, the painkillers and antibiotics would overpower his strength, it was just a question of whether Gibbs went to sleep peacefully or was dragged, kicking and screaming, into the blackness. Gently, Tony placed one hand on Gibbs' forehead, the other squeezing Gibbs' arm soothingly. "You trust me, boss?" Tony asked softly. Gibbs rolled his eyes at the younger man but did not say anything. His expression was enough for DiNozzo to understand.
You had to ask? Of course I trust you, Tony.
"Go to sleep, boss. I've got your six," Tony whispered, smiling, and that seemed to be all it took to make Gibbs relax. His eyes closed fully and his face relaxed, indicating that he was truly asleep.
Snarling as if he were deranged, Tony slammed his phone shut and thumped it down onto the kitchen counter. "Twenty-four million pounds! Crispian inherits twenty-four million pounds, and he's worried about ten thousand dollars!" he growled. He had just got off the phone with his lawyer, trying to find out if the I.O.U. still stood after all these years – if it had ever been official. Unfortunately, there was nothing illegitimate about it.
Angrily, Tony slapped his hands down on the flat surface, wincing as it stung his palms, and then reached into a cupboard, pulling out a glass and filling it with cool water from the tap. Leaning over the sink and pressing his forehead against the cool window pane, Tony sipped from the glass, silently working out how long it would take him to pay the money back. Suddenly, he remembered where he was, who he was supposed to be taking care of and what he was meant to be doing.
After tipping the rest of the water down the sink, Tony grabbed the tray which had a bowl of cereal on it, a large mug of steaming coffee and a glass of orange juice, as well as a box of antibiotics. Sweeping the room to look for anything he might have forgotten, Tony walked into the hall and then up the stairs to Gibbs' room.
Tony had expected it to be awkward looking after his boss and being forced to have pleasant conversation with the man who had betrayed his trust so recently, but, instead, it was oddly reassuring.
Surely if Gibbs didn't trust me then he would have refused my help... He certainly wouldn't have let me see him when he was weak and sick.
Also, Tony realised, if the thought of babysitting Gibbs had been a problem, he would never have led Ducky to assume that he was willing to do so.
Feeling Gibbs' intense blue eyes on him as he walked carefully around the bed, Tony was broken from his musings, and placed the laden tray on the bedside table. Once it was balancing precariously on the wooden surface, Tony tried to plaster a grin on his face to mask his anger and, he admitted to himself, fear over not being able to pay the money back. The look Gibbs sent his way was not of its usual strength, but still Tony felt as if the man he had worked with for eight years could see straight through his façade. Fidgeting uncomfortably with his shirt cuffs, Tony shuffled from one foot to the other as he stood at Gibbs' side. "You... um... You want to sit up, boss?" he asked, keeping his voice neutral – devoid of anything that could be misconstrued as pity by the Marine.
Ignoring his agent for a moment, Gibbs rolled gingerly onto his side and propped himself up onto his uninjured left elbow. Scrunching his eyes shut, Gibbs had to suppress a moan as he put too much pressure on his injured knee, and immediately felt a pair of strong hands pull him up until his back was resting against the headboard. Gradually the pain subsided and Gibbs was able to open his eyes once again without baring all the emotions that threatened to sweep over his mental barriers as he fought the pain.
A pair of dark eyes stared at him in concern and Gibbs smiled wanly back. He made a point to thank the younger man – much to Tony's astonishment – and then Gibbs growled half-heartedly, "I'm fine, DiNozzo," before reaching over to the tray Tony had set down and picking up the mug of coffee. Still Tony watched him in concern, but Gibbs could tell there was something else bothering his agent. "What's on your mind, Tony?" Gibbs took a sip of the scalding hot coffee and watched his agent over the rim.
Slowly, deep in thought, Tony pulled the only chair in the room – a wide, wooden one with faded green cushions – closer to the bed and slumped down into it, wondering how much to burden Gibbs with, or whether to just keep his problems – his weaknesses – to himself. "My lawyers say the I.O.U. I signed is legit..." Tony sighed deeply, staring out of the window and watching the birds swoop from tree to tree. For a split second, his eyes flicked back to Gibbs' face, but then they darted away again. "Where am I going to get ten thousand dollars plus compounded interest over the last twenty years, boss?" Punctuating his question, Tony slammed a clenched fist down onto the velvety cushion of the armrest. "It's not like I have that kind of money to spare..." Again Tony punched the chair he was sitting in.
"Hey..." Gibbs was frowning at his agent now, trying to break through to the younger man before he got even more upset, but Tony continued, listing everything he would have to give up.
"Tony," Gibbs called softly, resisting the urge to slap the younger man on the back of the head, "You don't need to do all that."
Tony's head spun round and he frowned in confusion at the senior agent. "What do you mean, boss? Where else am I going to get the money from?" Gibbs sighed and rested the mug of coffee on his leg, the heat seeping through the sheets. "I owe you my life, DiNozzo... I'm pretty sure that deserves some kind of repayment," he explained with a small smirk. DiNozzo simply stared at him as if a second head had just sprouted from his neck, trying to process what Gibbs had just said. Slowly, a broad grin spread across his features. "I guess, but, I mean, you don't have to. I'm sure I can find the money someplace – get another job or," Tony paused to visibly gulp, to which Gibbs gave an amused chuckle, "sell my car..."
For a moment, Gibbs smiled reassuringly at his agent, then that was replaced with a thoughtful frown combined with an embarrassed grimace, taking DiNozzo completely by surprise. "You've already... I..." Shifting into a more comfortable position, Gibbs growled in frustration – somehow, however, Tony knew it was not directed at him. "I'll make you a deal, Tony. I don't think Ducky's going to be letting either of us back to work until he's satisfied with our matching dodgy knees. So... you promise to take it easy until your leg's healed—" There was a snort of amusement from Tony – it was funny that Gibbs could order his agents to rest but would not do so himself – but Gibbs continued, "—hell, you can even stay here! And I'll help you pay back the money you owe. How's that?"
Once more, there was a grin on Tony's face – Gibbs had, in his strange, roundabout way, just invited DiNozzo to stay at his house. There was no way he could refuse that! Tony nodded quickly and then, noticing Gibbs' eyelids droop suddenly, reached forward to catch the mug of coffee before it spilt. With his eyes closed, it looked as though Gibbs was asleep but Tony knew better. "You get some more rest, boss, and I'll call the director." Tony stood up and walked slowly, allowing his limp to show for the first time since he had 'forgotten' to take his crutches to work one day, to the door. A mutter from the bed stopped him in his tracks. "Thanks, son... But if you touch my boat, Tony, I'll have you pulling desk duty for the next four months!"
Tony smirked back at the figure in the bed and then continued out of the room. One thought alone was running through his mind.
He called me 'son'!
A/N: Liked it? Leave a review.
Hated it? Leave a review anyway and tell me what was so awful about it! :]
Honestly, I don't think this was one of my best pieces, but I'm tired and the story kept changing in my head so many times that I forgot half the stuff I had to start with!
Once again, I have to thank inkpen1 for giving me such a great idea, but also thanks to all the reviewers from the prequel to this, and any subsequent reviewers.
Ooooh ooooh ooooh and, and, and there's lots of snow in Scotland now! :D Supposed to be going skiing this morning but the ski centres are stormbound and the roads shut! Got almost a foot of snow now and it's been here since Saturday the 19th of December! :) 'Tis a good year so far xD