Disclaimer: I own nothing of, or relating to, NCIS. Just having a bit of fun.
Breaking the Rules
By: Vanessa Sgroi
Tony DiNozzo stripped out of his crumpled, bloodied clothing, tossing it all in a pile in the corner of his bathroom. Studiously ignoring his battered image in the mirror, he hobbled into the shower, groaning in both pain and pleasure as the hot water sluiced down his too-sore body. Ducking under the spray, he yelped, the water stinging his black eye and split lip. Some days it didn't pay to be a cop, any kind of cop. Today had been one of those days.
Bad eye pummeled closed and good eye shut against the cascade; he blindly reached for the soap to tend the task of washing away the grime still clinging to his skin. As he gingerly, very gingerly, lathered, Tony thought about the last few hours. Gibbs was going to kill him when—no, IF—he found out how injured Tony truly was. The younger man had no intention of letting him find out. He'd spent the better part of the last two hours hiding much of it while typing up his reports on his run in with, and subsequent arrest of, Spencer Dugan, the man they'd been hunting for the better part of a month. A seat behind a desk and the distraction of two co-workers had helped him maintain the illusion. He'd waited for McGee and Ziva to leave for the day then snuck out of NCIS headquarters when Gibbs got called serendipitously to MTAC. He took a cab home and made his way ever so slowly to his apartment.
Despite his cautious movements, his fingers found a particularly painful spot along his ribs and he gasped then cursed as stars sparkled before his eyes. Palm flat against the tiles, he worked to recover his breath and equilibrium.
The doorbell chose that moment to ring soliciting another curse. Figuring it was his neighbor, Mrs. Genosa, who'd probably heard him come home and was now bearing a plate of the most delicious Italian food this side of Italy, he poked his head out from behind the curtain and yelled, "Just a minute!" The yell was a ghost of its usual exuberance and it cost him as his injuries protested.
Tony haphazardly rinsed and stepped from the shower; barely whisking away any moisture before stepping into the pair of careworn sweatpants he'd left waiting. Mrs. Genosa would have to forgive his bare chest. Very gently toweling his hair, he hobbled from the bathroom as the bell rang again. "I'm coming," he muttered under his breath.
Fully expecting Mrs. Genosa, Tony was already speaking when he opened the door. "Hey, Mrs. G., what's on the menu tonight?"
"How about an ass-kicking with a side of pissed off boss?" Leroy Jethro Gibbs growled.
"Gibbs!" If Tony's voice had a bit of a squeak to it, both men pretended not to hear it. DiNozzo plastered a huge, utterly fake, smile on his face and tightened his grip on the door as a wave of dizziness swept over him. "I mean, hey Boss, what're you doing here?"
Gibbs crossed the threshold and glared. "You think I wouldn't know?"
"Uhh, know what?" bluffed Tony as he shuffled behind Gibbs into the center of the room.
The glare became a full on scowl. Gibbs leaned in close, icy blue eyes assessing. "Did you think I wouldn't know you broke rules 101 through 1000?"
DiNozzo's sluggish mind tried to place exactly what rules these might be but he came up blank. "Um, I don't…I mean…I…"
"Never hide an injury from me," Jethro's gaze surveyed his senior field agent, "Sound familiar? You've hidden plenty just today…"
"Sit down, Agent DiNozzo," the command in Gibbs' voice was unmistakable, "before you fall down."
Also unmistakable was the concern under the gruffness. Tony complied and lowered himself slowly into a chair, leaning awkwardly to take pressure off his sore ribs. "I'm fine, you know. It's just bruises and…" The doorbell rang before he could continue his blithe litany.
"If you move an inch, you're not gonna be a happy camper, DiNozzo." Gibbs stalked off to answer the door.
Tony had a sneaking suspicion who it would be crossing his threshold next and it was confirmed when he heard the Scotsman's voice. Ducky. Shit. I'm in for it now.
"Anthony! What a disappointment to find you had snuck away like a thief in the night without me examining you first."
"Did you really think you'd get away with it?" He made a tsking sound low in this throat. "I told Jethro not to let you out of his sight." Dr. Mallard tossed a reproving glance in Gibbs' direction. "Next time I suggest handcuffs. Now, let's have a look, shall we?"
Tony sighed. "Fine. Have at it, Dr. Mallard." He straightened as much as he could and leaned back, reluctantly submitted to Ducky's examination. It wasn't long before the doctor's fingers pressed a darkly bruised spot on his belly that had Tony gasping. A wave of nausea crept over him.
"Holy shit, doc. What the hell?" Sweat beaded Tony's upper lip.
Ducky's brow furrowed in concern. He glanced between his patient and Gibbs. "I think young Anthony here needs to be in hospital."
"Hospital?" groaned DiNozzo, "No way. C'mon, cuts and bruises…maybe a little concussion…"
"Listen here, young man. You have some rigidity in your abdomen. Now it could just be bruising, but it could also be a slow bleed. I've no way of telling here, and I'd rather we not find that out the hard way."
"Let's go then," Gibbs responded before Tony could say anything at all. "I'll drive."
"No," instructed Dr. Mallard as he rose, "I'd prefer we call an ambulance. As a precaution…"
"Ambulance? Uh uh." DiNozzo shook his head and attempted to rise but was stopped by a firm hand on his shoulder.
Ice blue eyes met green. "Tony." That was it. Just his name. But DiNozzo heard the order. He sighed in defeat. "Fine. Ambulance it is."
It wasn't long before the rescue squad arrived and the paramedics were wheeling Tony out his door and down the steps, Ducky hot on their heels. Just before they loaded him into the back of the waiting vehicle, he locked his gaze on Gibbs and said, "So how much trouble am I in for breaking rules 101 through 1000?"
"Let me think about it and I'll let you know," Gibbs replied. One of the paramedics moved to close the back doors. "Take good care of him," he ordered.
The man gave him a thumbs up. "You know it."
A/N: Many people asked so kindly for this story to be continued that I decided to go ahead and write a second chapter, which I'm currently in the midst of doing. Thank you to everyone who enjoyed this one so much they want more. It shouldn't be too long a wait.