"Boss where are you? This is the longest hour in my whole entire fricken life." Anthony DiNozzo grumbled as he flipped through the limited channels the tv set offered. It was officially his last day at the hospital; Doctor Pitt had cleared him and all that was left was the paperwork. Paperwork Tony was more than capable of signing off by himself, but did not dare for a certain ex-military sniper he knew had informed him-almost cheerfully-should his agent be stupid enough to try set foot outside of his room, he'd break his Senior Field Agent's legs. "I'll be right back, says the man as he receives a phone call only to be gone for more than half an hour. Geesh, walking home myself would almost be faster."
"Did I just hear you say you wanna walk home DiNozzo?" Gibbs smirked as he strode into the room to find Tony waiting on the edge of his bed, just as he had left the agent. "Because it can be easily arranged."
"'Almost' being the key word here Boss," Tony answered smoothly before flashing a grin. "You look happy."
"A call from an old friend," Gibbs deposited his cell phone in his pocket. "You've seen his picture before."
"Ah, is he the sniper from Desert Storm?" Tony nodded thoughtfully. The worn out picture of a younger Leroy Jethro Gibbs staring at the camera with his arms casually draped around another Marine's shoulders was still vivid in Tony's memory. The Senior Field Agent would never be able to forget the confident, easy-going air of the marine in the picture, and that it was the same man Tony mustered so much personal effort into every day for just a smile.
"Yea that's the one." Gibbs carefully draped the soft leather jacket on its owner's shoulders. "Your shoulder okay?"
"Nothing a couple of beers can't fix," Tony assured. "So, is he flying out of his cozy life somewhere down south and into the States to buy you a drink or something?"
"Something like that." Gibbs glanced at his watch.. "And DiNozzo, what did I say about your bags?"
The Senior Field Agent, having recognized the hissed threat froze in his tracks. With his hand still outstretched towards his bag that was innocently lying beside his bed, Tony quickly checked his options and weighed his chances of winning the argument-without involving bodily harm on his half. They were slim. They were painfully, pathetically slim. Under the steely gaze of his boss, Tony straightened up.
"That you'd take them and if I tried to touch them you'd break my fingers. But Boss," Tony waggled his eyebrows. "I wasn't trying to take my bag you know. I was just stretching my poor muscles that are cramped from waiting on that small bed for almost an hour."
"Uh-huh," Gibbs decided to let it slide. "Well don't tire yourself out yet DiNozzo. You'll have to put those muscles to good use later."
The agent's eyes lightened at the meaning.
"Great, what will we be making for dinner?"
"I will be making dinner. You will be setting the dinner table."
"Fair enough. What's for dinner?"
"What do you want for dinner?"
"Chopped cow liver it is."
"Okay, okay okay. I'll stop trying to be polite and, well fake when you know me and I know you know and you know I know you know," Tony winced. "Shutting up Boss."
"Good. Dinner will be a healthy blend of carbohydrates, dietary fiber, protein, calcium, and all sorts of vitamins."
"That sounds… lovely."
"It should," Gibbs grinned. "'Cause it's homemade pizza. Pepperoni, sausage, and extra cheese."
The bright smile that lit the younger agent's features, made all the trouble Gibbs had to go through, finding a recipie, buying ingredients in the supermarket, and making the dough, worth it. Looking years younger, Tony leaped up, pumping his fist in the air.
"Yesss! I knew there was a reason I loved you Boss!" Tony laughed. "I can't wait! I'll be in the car!"
As he watched Tony run down the hallway, Gibbs smiled with affection because the fact that Tony had not questioned his staying at Gibbs's house had not passed unnoticed. The two hadn't discussed it and Gibbs had secretly wondered when Tony would make his usual feeble attempts to refuse help and take care of himself, but for once, Tony did not object. He simply accepted the TLC his boss was willing to give him.
Due to some strange parental habit that had woken up and was kicking, Gibbs swept the empty room one last time for anything Tony might have forgotten to pack. Tony had seemed to have done a good job packing by himself and once he was satisfied, the ex-marine grabbed Tony's duffel bag by the straps and decided to leave. But at the doorframe, he turned around and with his head tipped to one side, the man stood still and listened to the TV set Tony had left on.
And then with a faintest ghost of a smile Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs walked out, without looking back.
"This is Sarah Henderson and we have some breaking news from Panama. Alexander Palas, the multi-millionaire who was recently accused of placing hits on three USA Marines, and an attempted hit on a Federal agent, was shot an hour ago while sunbathing near his private beach house. Alexander Palas has been transported to the hospital but is said to be in critical condition..."