Tony's phone rang as he limped out of the elevator into the garage. He sighed wearily. Please don't be Gibbs, please don't be Gibbs, he thought as he pulled it out to look at the display. Jack Harkness. Thank god. "Hey, Jack," he said, bringing the phone up to his ear as he answered the call.
"What's this I hear about you falling out of an airplane?"
Tony didn't even ask how Jack had found out so quickly. Jack was just like that. "I didn't fall. I was pushed."
"End result's the same," Jack pointed out, the poor connection making his voice sound tinny and far away.
"I'll give you that." Tony laughed, tucking his phone in between his ear and his shoulder as he approached his car and dug around in his pocket for his keys. "You in town?"
"Nope, still at work. I couldn't get away, you know how it is. Sorry, son."
Tony laughed as he heard Jack's sigh over the phone. "I do indeed."
"So are you going to tell me why you're limping, or are you going to make me guess?"
"How do you know," Tony began to say before trailing off and looking up at the security cameras. "Tell me you didn't."
"Okay, I didn't."
"Jaaack," Tony drew out Jack's name. "We have something known as a right to privacy over here."
"Privacy? Never heard of it. Is that your boss coming up behind you?"
Tony steeled himself so he didn't turn around to check, no matter how much he wanted to. "Depends. Probably, although I can't say for certain."
"Handsome fellow? Perfect posture and a nice head of hair? About to smack you on the back of the head?" Jack added quickly, a split second before Tony felt the sting of the slap.
"Hang on," Tony said quickly into the phone, before addressing Gibbs. "Hey, boss. Thought you were still at your desk."
Gibbs tilted his head slightly towards Tony's right leg. "You get that checked out, DiNozzo?"
Tony shook his head, willingly admitting to it since he was fairly positive Gibbs already knew that. The plan had been to hide the limp from everyone, but then his leg had stiffened up while finishing the paperwork. He'd realized there was no way he could completely hide the limp as he headed out, but he'd hoped that Gibbs would be too caught up in his own work to notice. Which, come to think of it, was pretty stupid. Gibbs would never miss something like that.
"No need, boss. After I've had a good soak and rubbed in a little Bengay it'll be fine." Tony continued heading towards his car, which he'd stupidly parked at the far end of the lot and was bringing his phone back to his ear when Gibbs head smacked him again.
"You don't have a tub at your place. Get in," Gibbs said with a sigh, before gesturing at his own, much closer, car.
With the phone not quite against his ear, Tony could barely make out Jack teasing him, saying, "And just how does Gibbs know that?"
"Get in," Gibbs ordered as he unlocked his car and opened the door. "And you're seeing Ducky in the morning."
Tony sighed, hanging his head a tad as he headed towards Gibbs' car. "Gotta go," he said into the phone.
"You are so whipped, boy," Jack laughed, adding, "Don't do anything I wouldn't do."
"That doesn't narrow down the field a whole lot, now does it? Talk to you later. Bye, Jack." Tony snapped the phone closed.
"Who was that?" Gibbs eyed Tony over the hood of the car.
"Just Jack," Tony replied, struggling somewhat to the passenger side door without putting any weight on his bad leg.
"Jack Harkness. Long story." Tony gave a quick wave to the security camera before carefully settling into the car and pulling the door shut.
Tony had just stepped out of what was probably the longest shower of his life when he heard the phone ring. "I'm coming, I'm coming," he muttered, wrapping a towel around his waist.
"DiNozzo," he huffed into the phone.
"My, my, my. Aren't we formal today?"
"Jack." Tony felt himself relaxing at the sound of the other man's voice alone. "You heard."
"That my son was missing and presumed to have been kidnaped? Oddly enough, yeah, that sort of thing pings my radar."
"It wasn't that big a deal," Tony said, padding down the hall to his bedroom to grab some clothes.
"You were locked up with a decaying corpse and then chased through the sewers with a murderer on your tail while trying to keep an injured gunnery sergeant alive. Pardon me if I think that might be a big deal."
Tony pulled out a pair of boxers and his old, well worn OSU sweat pants and slipped them on "The case has been closed all of two hours, do I want to know how you got all that information?"
"Probably not," Jack admitted with a laugh. "But did you really expect anything different from your old man?"
"No." Tony dug around in his sock drawer for a matching pair. "I was a little disappointed in my sewer experience though."
"Why's that?" Jack's tone was light, obviously sure Tony was joking around with him.
Jack's deep baritone laugh boomed over the line. "Think you'll have to come to Wales for that, kid. Although I don't think even they can match the smells you had to put up with today. You've showered already?"
"Yeah," Tony said softly.
Tony snorted. "How'd you know?"
"I know you. You're going to want to toss whatever you were wearing today too. Even if you get the smell out, the sensory memory will be there and it'll always remind you of it."
"Already done. Hang on." Tony grabbed a faded blue tee shirt and slipped it on quickly, pulling the phone away from his ear for a moment. "All right, I'm back. Hey, wait a minute, isn't it some ungodly hour of the morning over there? You didn't pull an all nighter waiting for word on me, did you?"
"What do you think?" Jack asked with that 'you moron' tone of his. "I may have put a significant dent in the Hub's coffee supply though."
"Didn't find anyone to flirt with to pass the time?" Tony was teasing. Sort of. He knew his father as well as Jack knew him after all.
"Oh, we're going there, are we? So, how are things between you and the boss?" Jack asked, picking up the teasing gauntlet and running with it, Tony should have expected as much.
"He's my boss. There is nothing between us."
"Not yet anyway, but trust me, there will be. So are you going to invite him in?" Jack asked just as someone knocked, well, pounded on Tony's door.
"One of these days you're going to tell me how you do that," Tony muttered as he headed towards the door shouting, "Coming!"
"Did he bring you pizza? Is it your favorite? Are you two dating?"
"Ja-ack." Tony knew Jack couldn't see his eye roll, but he couldn't stop himself from doing it anyway.
"Ah, he hasn't made his move yet. Just a matter of time then."
Tony released the chain and flipped the deadbolt before belatedly looking through the peephole, not that he didn't think Jack was right, but Gibbs would know somehow if he didn't and would be livid over his lack of caution. And, what do you know, Gibbs was carrying a pizza. And a six pack of beer, which surprisingly, Jack hadn't mentioned. "Hey, boss," he said as he opened the door.
"Brought dinner," Gibbs said as he entered, toeing off his shoes on the little mat by the coat closet with practiced ease.
"I'll let you get on with your non-date," Jack said. "Call you later! And don't forget-"
"Don't do anything you wouldn't do, I know, Jack," Tony grumbled as he ended the call.
Gibbs put the pizza down on the coffee table and turned to look at him, head tilted and brow furrowed, giving the phone in Tony's hand an odd look before seeming to dismiss it to sweep his eyes over Tony, slowly, in a careful appraisal.
"You all right, Gibbs?" Tony asked, a little confused, unable to figure out the look on Gibbs' face.
Gibbs didn't quite turn away, but he lowered his eyes before saying softly, "What I said to McGee. I didn't think. Oh, hell, DiNozzo, I don't even know why I said it, except you looked so damn happy when I said you were irreplaceable and I just-"
"Hey, boss, it's okay." Tony kept his voice soft, forgiving. "I understand," he said, laying a hand on Gibbs' shoulder as he stepped forward, only to find Gibbs had stepped closer at the same time, lifting his head, obviously about to say something. They wound up with their faces just inches apart. Gibbs made a little 'oh' noise before leaning in just that little bit further and Tony's last thought before they kissed was, What do you know, Jack was right.
Tony wasn't about to say anything, but Gibbs' little dismissive aside had really hurt. Killing Jeffrey White hadn't changed the fact that Tony had liked him. Should he have let the man slit his throat instead?
Exhausted and out of sorts, he left the processing of the crime scene to Gibbs and Kate, bumming a ride with Ducky and Palmer in the ME van back to the Naval Yard. A shower, some clean clothes, a decent meal and about twenty hours of sleep were calling his name. Upon arrival though, he was informed someone from an international agency had come in earlier and was waiting for him in the bullpen.
Putting thoughts of relaxing and recharging his batteries temporarily aside, Tony trudged up the stairs, muttering under his breath. After an intensive undercover assignment like this one he needed time to get back into his own skin, not to kowtow to whatever bureaucrat had their panties in a bunch over this stupid Iraqi antiques case. He paused in the stairwell, taking a deep breath and plastering a smile on his face, before waltzing out into the bullpen like he didn't have a care in the world.
And then the smile became real because there was Jack. Jack. Standing out, amid the hustle and bustle of the bullpen, with his stillness and his familiar period military attire. The steady presence that Tony had always appreciated. For a second Tony wondered how the hell Jack had charmed his way into NCIS headquarters, but then dismissed it immediately. The man was Torchwood, after all. And, more importantly, his father. Even if he looked more like his older brother. But, it was all about the genes, as Jack always said.
"Jack!" Tony called out, and laughed when Jack spun around, startled.
Jack wagged a finger at Tony. "You little sneak, I thought you'd come up in the elevator! Come here, you!" he said, and engulfed Tony in a exuberant hug.
Tony hugged back, just as warmly. "It's good to see you, Jack."
"Good to be seen," Jack said when they finally broke apart. His eyes narrowed and he reached over grabbed Tony's chin and tilted his head to the side to get a better look at the slight gash Jeffrey's knife had made when Tony had shot him. "You all right?" Jack's tone was gentle, soft with concern.
"I'm getting there," Tony answered honestly. "It's just been-" he broke off from what he was going to say when he heard the clomping boots of Hurricane Abby approaching.
"TONY!" she screamed as she tore across the bullpen and threw herself into his arms in a blur of motion. "You're back! I lost you when the tracking device went kaput but you're okay. Oh my god, Gibbs was so mad when I lost the signal. And then after they found the body? He went nuts! I mean all Papa Bear growly 'I haven't lost an agent yet and this isn't going to be the first time' and everything. It was kind of cute, except for the way he was driving even faster than usual and poor Kate had to ride with him and, hey, who are you?" That last bit was directed to Jack as she belatedly noticed him standing next to Tony and grinning at the two of them.
"Abby," Tony said, disengaging himself from her overly enthusiastic hug. "This is Jack. He's…." It was never easy, figuring out a way to explain Jack to people and Tony found himself at a loss for words.
"His father," Jack finished, a wide smile on his face. "You must be the inscrutable Abigail Scuito. Tony's told me a lot about you." He reached over and grabbed Abby's hand and brought it up to his lips for a kiss. "You are exactly as Tony described."
Abby spun around and punched Tony in the arm. Hard.
"Hey, what was that for?" Tony protested, rubbing where she'd hit him.
"Why didn't you introduce me to your dad right away? Wait, how can he be your dad? I mean he barely looks older than you! Does this mean you're going to age like he does? Ha! Can you imagine how you and the Bossman will look in another five years then? If you last five years together. Which you totally will because I'm not going to let you break up. Gibbs is so much less grumpy now. Although, I can't say I blame him, after all, he's sleeping with you, and getting laid is a well known way to release endorphins, especially if the sex is good and withi your/i history? The sex ihas/i to be good. And I… I probably shouldn't have said all that in front of your father." Abby blushed a little then. "Because the last thing any dad wants to hear is about his son's sexual exploits, right? I'm sorry Tony. I'm so sorry."
Jack just laughed. "You'd be surprised." Which was true. Somehow it seemed that where ever Jack was, tales of sexual exploits never seemed far behind.
Tony gave Abby a sharp look for a moment before he couldn't contain his laughter anymore and a huge grin broke out on his face as he snickered quietly. "Just how many Caff-Pows have you had today anyway, Abs?"
"No more than usual! Well, maybe a few more, but that's only because I was worried about you, Tony. And what's a few dozen Caf-Pows when they're needed to calm a person's nerves?"
Tony gave Abby another hug. "Sorry for worrying you. And don't worry, Jack already knew all about Gibbs and me. Actually he figured it out before either of us did." He turned to Jack. "And one of these days you are going to explain to me just how it is you do that!"
Jack shrugged, trying for the innocent look Tony knew so well. "It boils down to experience, kiddo. And an unflappable understanding of the human desire to," he cleared his throat, "dance, shall we say?"
"Dance?" Tony ribbed Jack. "Is that what we're calling it now?"
"You'll have to forgive my son," Jack whispered into Abby's ear. "He lacks the decorum that most members of modern society embrace."
"You lecturing about decorum." Tony poked Jack lightly in the side, just above his ticklish spot. "That's rich."
"Hey now, be nice to your old man. I came all this way to check up on you."
"Sorry, Jack." Tony made an attempt to sound properly chastised. Or, at least, vaguely as chastised as Jack expected him to be. Even with Jack's resources, getting to D.C. from Cardiff couldn't have been easy.
Jack grinned, waggling a finger in Tony's direction. "That's more like it. So tell me, Abby? Do you like dancing?"
"Why, Mr. DiNozzo, are you flirting with me?" Abby asked coyly, turning her head and fluttering her eyelashes. Tony tried hard not to snicker at that.
"It's Harkness actually. And yes I am. Do you mind?"
"Not at all."
"I hate to interrupt here," Tony said, trying to break things up before they went too far. "But I am in desperate need of a shower and a shave and a good meal or two. Abby, will you show Jack around while I hit the locker room?"
Abby flashed Tony her biggest smile. "I'd be delighted." She offered Jack her elbow. "If I may, kind sir?"
"Oh, I'd be delighted, my lady." Jack slipped his arm into hers. "Make sure you clean that cut out while you're at it, Tony," he said over his shoulder as Abby led him away.
"Yes, dad," Tony sighed out, exaggerating his pretended frustration with Jack before heading off to get himself cleaned up. Abby would be safe in Jack's company for a little while. Although, the other way around might not be the case. Maybe hurrying wouldn't be that bad an idea. Jack and Abby together. Now that could be interesting.
Nine minutes and forty-seven seconds later Tony skidded a halt in front of Abby's lab, not wanting to seem too worried over having the two of them left unsupervised for any length of time. The trouble they could get themselves into….
He found the two of them, heads together, bent over the mass spectrometer, whispering.
"Hi guys," Tony said, lounging in the doorway, trying for a casual tone, but missing it by a mile.
"Hey, Tony." Abby glanced over at her computer where a timer had been set up. She shook her head. "Damn it! You were right, Jack. You win."
"What was Jack right about? And... what does he win?"
"He bet under ten minutes while I thought you'd last at least twelve," Abby explained.
"Betting on me to, what?" Tony was pretty sure he didn't like the way Jack and Abby were grinning at each other.
"How long you'd willingly leave us unchaperoned," Jack added. "I had the advantage though, I've known you longer."
Tony walked slowly into the lab. "So what does Jack win?"
Abby beamed at the question. "He gets to take me out to dinner and then dancing!"
Scrubbing a hand over his face Tony sighed, asking the follow up question that screamed to be asked, "And if Abby had been right? What would you have won?"
"Then Jack would have won the opportunity to take me dancing and then out to dinner."
"So either way you two are going to dinner and, wait a sec, what kind of dancing are we talking about here?"
"What kind do you think I have in mind?" Jack countered, innuendo dripping from every word.
Abby reached over and snapped one of Jack's suspenders. "Now, now, be nice. Relax, Tony! There's a USO themed swing dance tomorrow night. I have the iperfect/i outfit picked out and Jack's already wearing the right clothes, and looking quite handsome in his period military, if I might add. I can't believe you didn't tell me your dad had such great taste in clothes!" Tony quickly sidestepped to avoid yet another punch to the arm, which got a laugh out of Jack.
"I figured you'd want nothing more than to head back to your place and shake that undercover persona tonight." Jack looked over at Tony to see if his assumption was correct. "I'll cook if you want."
Tony smiled fondly at Jack, trust his dad to know what he needed. "Grilled cheese?"
"What other kind of comfort food is there? I'll even up heat up some tomato soup if you ask me nice."
"Aww,"Abby leaned over and hugged Tony. "Isn't that sweet? Although," Abby giggled, which was never a good sign, "I do have to wonder what Gibbs is going to say about Daddy Dearest."
"Abby," Tony warned.
"Oh, my lips are sealed." She mimed zipping her mouth shut, locking it and throwing away the key. "But youi are/i going to wait for him to get back before you take off, right? Tell me you're going to wait."
"Sorry, Abs. But Gibbs'll know where to find me if he wants to." He turned to Jack. "You didn't get a hotel room or anything, did you? I didn't even ask, do you have business you have to take care of while you're here?"
"Nope," Jack said with a smile. "I'm all yours. Well, and Abby's as it turns out. Lucky her," Jack said in a loud stage whisper, "She's going to see all my dance moves tomorrow night."
Tony couldn't help but laugh, especially at the way Abby was eying Jack. "Oh, will she now? You know, I can't decide which of you I should be worried about so I'm going to be the gentleman here and hope you two have a great time and I only ask, no beg, neither one of you tells me any of the details. How does that sound?"
"Perfect!" Abby threw her arms briefly around Tony again before turning towards her computer. "Now you two get on out of here. Some of us have work to do," she said, making a shooing motion towards the door. "But, I expect to hear all the good gossip, Anthony DiNozzo. The old man meeting the old man." She laughed a laugh Tony didn't find in the least bit comforting.
"I don't know, Abs. I think Jack'll be too busy to meet Gibbs this visit."
"Because you're going to make sure of it?" Abby gave Jack a knowing wink.
"Maybe," Tony admitted as he herded Jack out the door.
"Pick you up at seven, Abby?" Jack threw over his shoulder.
"See you then, Jack!"
Tony waited until they were safely in the elevator before turning to Jack. "You hurt her, I'll kill you. Actually, I'll do worse than kill you. I'll hide your coffee."
Jack laughed, but looked vaguely horrified. "Duly noted."
Jack was listed as an emergency contact in his file, but the man was so notoriously hard to get a hold of that Tony had made sure the team, which of course meant Gibbs, knew never to bother. The last thing Tony wanted was for someone to interrupt Jack when the fate of the world was on the line because he'd gotten some superficial injury.
Usually, Jack managed to find out about the various scrapes Tony got himself into anyway but, Jack being Jack, he instinctively knew when to call and when to let Tony have his space. Not that the three thousand and some-odd miles between Cardiff and D.C. wasn't space enough, but sometimes Tony needed to pull himself together instead of relying on his father to do it for him.
This was not one of those times.
Between the hazy pain and the constant coughing, there was nothing that he wanted more than a cool hand on his forehead and a soft voice whispering that everything was going to be all right. He wanted his dad, but he couldn't wrap his tongue around the words to ask, the mere act of breathing was hard enough.
Tony hadn't thought he'd really get sick. Sure, he'd opened an envelope that was filled with white powder, and the white powder had later been identified as containing pneumonic plague, but, it never really occurred to him that it would really amount to anything. He'd assumed it was like a flaming bag of dog poo left on someone's porch- annoying, but not amounting to anything.
Except it had.
Gibbs had been there, at some point in time, with a phone and a head smack. Not the most typical ways of greeting a lover, but it seemed to work for the two of them. And even through the worst of it Tony had never been alone, not with Kate and Ducky flittering about - not to mention Nurse Emma and Doctor Brad poking and prodding him at every opportunity - but it wasn't the same. He may have been a grown man, but he wanted his dad.
And then, in the middle of one of his coughing jags, suddenly Jack was there, right at his side.
"Hey, kid," Jack said softly, rubbing soothing circles on Tony's back. "I got you."
Tony weakly leaned against Jack's warmth. "Dad," he gasped out.
Jack sat on the bed up against the headboard and helped Tony lay back down. "I got here as quick as I could. I'm sorry, things were hectic and I couldn't get away." Jack ran his fingers through Tony's sweat soaked hair, just like he used to do when Tony was small.
"Saving... the world again?"
"I kind of have to, don't I? Some of my favorite people live on it."
Tony snickered, but it turned into a cough. "Abby call?"
"Yep. She knew you'd want me to be here."
"You didn't-" Tony was about to argue that he wasn't a child anymore and that Jack shouldn't have to drop everything at a moment's notice just because he'd gotten sick, and that Abby should never have bothered him in the first place, but Jack cut him off.
"Yeah, I did. You're my son and I love you." Jack bent over and kissed Tony's forehead. "Besides, I still had to meet the boyfriend. See if he passed muster!"
"Please. Tell me you didn't."
"I was good. Have you ever known me not to be good? What a minute, don't answer that. I can be well behaved. There, that sounds better. Even you have to admit it's possible for me be to good and behave properly. When there's reason to be." Tony let Jack's words wash over him as he drifted off. Jack was here. Everything was going to be all right.