Title: Twisting His Arm

Spoilers: 6.24 'Semper Fidelis' through 7.14 'Masquerade'

Pairings: Could be seen as mild TIVA or just friendship

Disclaimer: Don't own any of it but will have them home before dinner. If you want any compensation for using the characters, send DiNozzo over and then we'll talk.

Author's note: This is my first NCIS fic. This probably isn't what the writers intended, but this popped into my mind after watching 'Masquerade'. I've taken a break from SGA fics as it's hard to be inspired when there aren't any new episodes. However, there are some ideas hovering on my hard-drive. I might be persuaded to write again if folks are still reading SGA ;-)

'Physical therapy… My knee … Kneeling.' – Tony, 'Masquerade'

As soon as the words were out of Tony's mouth, he knew exactly what McGee was thinking. It was obvious that Probie really didn't believe his story about needing physical therapy for his knee, and he knew exactly where the other man's mind had gone.

Funny thing was, Tony's version was closer to the truth.

There were many reasons Tony hadn't told the truth about his therapy, and even more reasons why he didn't want anyone else to know about it. Although he cursed himself for speaking without thinking, he hoped that letting McGee believe he was in therapy in the psychological sense of the word keep the junior agent from passing on the story to the others on the grounds of propriety.

Tony had to admit that he probably could use a lot of therapy: losing so many people close to him, an emotionally distant father, the general horrors of law enforcement, torture at the hands of terrorists. And, of course, almost losing her…

But his bigger worry was his arm. His limb had been causing him problems ever since that fateful night in Ziva's apartment when Rivkin snapped it during their fight. While grateful it hadn't been his neck that had been snapped, the continued pain in his arm made work difficult.

He was the first to admit that he hadn't taken very good care of himself after they left Ziva in Tel Aviv. He didn't take his pain meds and stopped wearing the sling a week before he was supposed to, much to Ducky's chagrin. He hadn't eaten properly, drank too much, and spent most of his nights tossing and turning. Getting kicked around and drugged by Saleem and his thugs hadn't helped matters any, either.

After Gibbs delivered his fateful news – 'There were no survivors' – everything became a blur for Tony. At that moment, his brain had shut down, leaving him feeling distant and numb. The almost-constant throbbing of his left arm was the only thing he felt, the only reminder he had that he was still alive. The pain enough of a punishment, but it was a start. He welcomed it, because it reminded him of her.

After Ziva's return, he had been so busy worrying about her, dealing with his own torture, and generally reawakening to life that he had forgotten about his arm. Sure, it bothered him quite often and occasionally made it difficult to sleep, but with everything else going on, it was the last thing on his mind.

However, everything changed when Ziva started the bar brawl with the 'red-throats'. As he watched the situation escalate, Tony had panicked as he realized his arm might not actually be up to the task of taking on several drunken men. But like watching a traffic accident, he shook his head but couldn't look away as the man couldn't shut his mouth and tried to seduce (very clumsily, he might add) Ziva.

He surprised himself by holding his own in that fight, fueled by a need to protect his partner so soon after her major trauma, until he was tossed onto the pool table and nearly had a bottle smashed on his head. Thankfully, Ziva's ninja skills had come through and prevented any further damage to his person.

Adrenaline had continued to flow through his veins as they subdued the suspect, made the necessary calls, and drove back to NCIS headquarters. However, once he had sent Ziva off to process the suspect with McGee, Tony had nearly collapsed at his desk, the pain struck with a vengeance. Fully aware of what painkillers did to him, Tony managed to survive the day with just some Tylenol, but only just. At one point, the pain was so bad that he actually went to the men's room thinking he might be sick. That night he couldn't get comfortable in bed, even with medicine and a bag of frozen peas on his arm as an ice pack.

Despite his discomfort the next day, Tony didn't mention his pain to anyone, even when Abby playfully punched him in the arm and he fought to restrain a wince. Ziva had too much on her mind right now. Not knowing exactly what her state of mind was, even after Paris, Tony didn't want to burden her with guilt, misplaced though it might be. McGee would probably just think he was angling for attention again. Ducky, and by extension Gibbs, would yank him out of the field so fast his head would spin if they knew he wasn't 100%. He couldn't let that happen: Someone had to watch their backs. He wouldn't leave them a man down.

Still, something had to be done. Tony didn't want one of his teammates getting hurt because he couldn't do his job properly, so he bit the bullet and privately began going to physical therapy in an office that had a dead zone for cell phones. He hadn't meant to let that little fact slip to McGee at the crime scene, but of course McProbie had picked up on it right away. So Tony made a scene of his own, worrying about his 'little DiNozzo makers' and driving his teammates nuts, hoping McGee and anyone else who heard his therapy comment would forget about it.

Still, when Abby jumped up on him, it hadn't hurt as much as he'd expected. Maybe the arm was healing. And then he could move on to fixing other things…