A/N: thank you all soooo much for the reviews. As any writer, they make me very, very happy;D So, I hope you have fun with the next chapter.
I don't know when I can post the next one. Because, I'm about to move out from home and into another city. But I hope, that I can post the next chapter before that happens next week!!!!
But for now.....thanks to lauradaexplorer for beta reading!!........and now......have fun;D

When I woke up the next morning, I couldn't remember the last time that I slept so badly.

When I first woke up - in the middle of the night - I noticed, that someone had covered me up. Jethro. A few hours ago I would have been greatful for that, but now my body felt like it was on fire. So I pulled the blanket off and closed my eyes.

It wasn't long before I fell asleep again and when I woke up the next time I was freezing. My teeth were chattering and my whole body was trembling. My hands were shaking so much that I needed two attempts at grabbing the blanket to cover me again. This went on for the rest of the night.

Now I was on my way downstairs to the kitchen, it was more difficult than it should have been. Perhaps it was because I felt cold, even though I was sweating profusely. My shoulder throbbed almost unbearably, and the wound burned a little around the stitches. On top of the gunshot would my head felt as if it had swollen to twice its size and my stomach was rebelling. The latter was not a particularly bad thing, since because of my sore throat I could hardly swallow a thing anyway.

I had already changed my clothes and now wore gray jogging pants and my blue Ohio State T-shirt. It was already 10:00 and I was glad, that Jethro was at the office. It meant I had at least a few hours to myself. I couldn't simply avoid him today, I had to talk to him. On the one hand, I was quite happy about it, because I hated to fight with Jethro because it meant that I couldn't sit in the basement and watch him while he worked, with deft fingers, on his boat. I hated it when I couldn't talk to him an watch him, while he looked at the floor so I couldn't see his beautiful smile. I hated not being able to feel how he lay in bed next to me and wrapped his arms around me. I hated not being able to feel his heartbeat, while my head rested on his chest. I had spent only one night without him and already missed his hand when it softly slid over my arm. Or the little kisses he pressed in my neck. But, despite everything, I would like to have the conversation on another day.

I had a lot of time to think about the last few days. Ziva definitely had her reasons not to invite me. Sure I acted like usual, so I acted like a childish, narcissistic idiot who can't do his job properly. But maybe this was the problem. Most people didn't know what I really could do and underestimated me. My skills had saved my life several times. But with my colleagues they didn't help much.

I probably wouldn't have invited me either. Also since I was usually the one who picks on everyone, I shouldn't be surprised about the payback now.

And so my choice was made. I had to stop acting like an idiot and show the others that I too took my job seriously.

But this idea has been pushed to a back corner of my mind when I arrived in the kitchen and noticed that it was not as empty as I thought. In the middle of the kitchen against the counter, stood Jethro, who had just made a sandwich "I heard that you had woken up and thought I would make breakfast," he said, and gave me one of his beautiful smiles.

But I couldn't respond to that, because I was far to surprised that he was home "What are you doing here? Why aren't you at the office?"

"I had a few days leave left,"was all he responded, before he took the plate that he had and brought it to the dining room next door. I stared after him for a few seconds before I followed him and sat down at the table. Gibbs let himself down on the chair opposite me and looked at me intently "You okay? You look a little pale."

"I'm fine," I lied, trying not to inhale the scent of the sandwiches too much, because I had the fear I would throw up otherwise. Jethro had made my favorite sandwich, but in my current condition I would have probably vomited at the smell of pizza.

I didn't understand the situation. A few minutes ago I was sure that Jethro was mad at me, because I acted like a five year old last night. But he never took a day off, particularly when he was mad at me. He would have driven in extra early. But instead he was now sitting here with me at the table and had even made me breakfast. This does not exactly looked like an angry lover.

I knew that Gibbs felt guilty, but never thought it was this bad.

"Hey, you can eat it, you know," he suddenly said and only now I realized that I had been staring at my sandwich the whole time. When the smell hit me I pushed the plate away "I'm not hungry."

Jethro looked at me momentarily worried, but said nothing. Instead I spoke shortly after "I think we should talk."

But to my suprise, Gibbs shook his head. I tried to read something in his eyes. Because even if his expression was neutral, you could often see what he really thought in his eyes. But I could see nothing except sadness and that confused me even more.

"I should talk, and you should just listen," he answered, which surprised me again. It was widely known that Leroy Jethro Gibbs was not a big talker.

"I'm sorry, Tony."

I knew that I just stared at him like a complete idiot, but I didn't care. I could have laughed. For the first time since I met the man, I heard him apologize. He apologized. To me.

At the same time I could have started to cry, because I didn't have a tape to capture this unique moment "I thought apologizing is a sign of weakness?", I finally said.

Jethro only smiled sadly "Not in a situation like this", he said, "I screwed up really badly this time and I hurt you. That was never my intention."

So it was not his intention. Yet he had done and that brought me to my main question "Why? When it wasn't your intention, why did you do it? You knew that I didn't think it was very funny and that the approval of my colleagues is impotant to me!"

Jethro rubbed a hand over his face "I don't know."

I laughed without humor. I was tired, I was cold, and every single bone and muscle in my body seemed to ache. In short, I was annoyed "You don't know. Well, then everything's ok," I said bitterly "DiNozzo was just an easy target and the others had so much fun rubbing it in his face that everyone but him was invited to Ziva's dinner, why not you too!?" I would have liked to jump up and storm out of the room. But I feared that I would simply fall over and that was the last thing I needed. I didn't know why I was this mad. I thought I had calmed down overnight. But as I sat here now in the dining room and talked to Jethro, all the emotions from last night came to the surface.

But I wasn't the only one who was mad. Gibbs had his hands clenched into fists so tightly that his knuckles were white. I couldn't see his face because he had bowed his head to the table. He tried to calm himself and control his breathing. But in the next moment the outbreak came. Even if I was ready for it, I still flinched as Jethro suddenly jumped up and tipped his chair over. He came around the table and went into a crouch in front of me after I turned in his direction.

"Tony. ..," he said, stressing each word, while he looked me straight in the eye. I could see that he meant it sincerely. But before I could say something, he went on already. "I do not know why I did it. You and Ziva, you were gone all day. There was scarcely a trace, no one had seen or heard anything from you or about that damn container."

Gibbs took a deep breath an put his hands on my knees. I didn't know why, but his touch felt more than good.

"Ducky, Abby and McGee were constantly asking if we will find you and you know what? I could'nt answer them." Jethro sounded very sad and I suddenly felt the urge to take him in my arms. But I suppressed it. Firstly because I knew that a hug was not what Jethro needed now. And secondly, he wasn't finished.

"I can't tell you how relieved I was to hear your voice on the phone. And then we had finally found you, but you were injured." He brushed again with a hand over his face before he put it back on my knee.

"When you sat all together in the office, laughing....I don't know what has prompted me suddenly. I think I just had to drain the pressure that had been built throughout the day. But it was never my intention, and anything but fair, to use you for it. I love you, Tony, and I'm sorry!"

I couldn't suppress a smile any longer. In my whole life I had never received such a beautiful and above all honest apology "Now you apologized for the second time and I have no tape."

Jethro gave a short laugh and it was like music to my ears. I loved his laugh and just couldn't hear often it enough. But the next second he was again serious "I mean it."

"I know," I said "but I should apologize to you too. I acted like a child an...." I couldn't say more because Jethro laid a finger on my lips, shaking his head "No, you had every right in the world, to react like you did, ok?"

I didn't know what to respond and just nodded. I saw the whole thing a little differently, but had no desire, and above all, no power now to discuss it with him.

Gibbs smiled briefly before he patted my knee and got up. His knee cracked and I laughed as he muttered "Damn, I'm getting to old for that."

I fell silent again, as Jethro leaned down to me and pressed his soft lips on mine. I had closed my eyes already, as two seconds later it was over already. When I now opened, I looked directly into Gibbs' anxious eyes. He had a hand on my shoulder, while he laid the other on my forehead. "Tony, you're quite warm."

I rolled my eyes "Oh, it's nothing. I'm fine," I said. But since I didn't even try to remove his hand from my forehead, Gibbs also knew that I was lying. Normally I would have tried to, but Jethro's cool hand on my too warm skin just felt too good. I couldn't help myself and leaned my head a little further into the touch.

And that was apparently all what Gibbs needed "Ok, that's enough,", he said "You go back to bed an I'll call Ducky."

"Jeth, I'm fine!", I sighed.

Gibbs took a deep breath. I knew that he was just worried and he was slowly losing patience with me. It was not the first time we had been in this situation "You're not fine. You were shot yesterday and have been sitting outside in the cold for about half an hour. Without a jacket!" And before I could respond, he took my hand, pulled me to my feet and dragged me upstairs. I was too tired to defend myself.

When we arrived in our bedroom, I went willingly to bed, which seemed to worry Gibbs even more. But right now I couldn't bring myself to keep my mask on. I was already aware that I had a cold, but I was also sure that this was not the reason why I was so exhausted at the moment.

Meanwhile Jethro had taken the thermometer taken from his bedside table. It was one of those newfangled things that you just stuck in your ear.

Gibbs had bought it shortly after I had the plague, and it has since kept in the top drawer of his bedside table. As a precaution, he said. But I knew it was for his reassurance. The doctors had frightened him when they told him that the plague had scarred my lungs and therefore I had to be careful. Even a cold could be dangerous for me.

A little exaggerated, as I found, but Jethro took it very seriously even today. "101" Gibbs said, suddenly "I'm calling Ducky."

Before I could say anything, he had the phone alredy to his ear. Anyway, I had no intention of argueing with him about it. I also wanted to know what was wrong with me. The throbbing and burning in my shoulder just gotten worse in the last hour.

I had a bad feeling about it. But I had to wait till Ducky came over. So I closed my eyes and just a few seconds later I was asleep.


A/N: I hope you liked it!? See ya next chap;D