Disclaimer: I don't own NCIS...or anything related to NCIS...or anything at all, so don't sue me, because I'm broke.

A/N: A story...exciting. I haven't uploaded anything in years, but it's time to get back on the wagon. This is my first NCIS fic, so please be kind while reading it. Just a few things before we begin:

1) This will be slash. Tony/Gibbs to be precise. If you don't like that, don't read it. There's really no point in wasting your time getting hot and bothered by something I warned you about in the beginning, and no, you can't change my mind.

2) While it may not seem like slash in the beginning, I can assure you it will be. I like writing and reading slash stories.

3) There may be some Tabby in there, but don't expect any Tiva. I'm not a fan.

4) Don't ask me what he's suffering from, and don't question why science can't help him. I'm not a doctor (yet), and that's not the point of the story. The story is about how he adapts and changes his life because of the ailment that's afflicting him, not the medical stuff.

5) There's no number 5. I just like rounded out numbers.

Chapter One

Finding Out

It was the result he'd been dreading. The result that terrified him. The result that threatened to overwhelm him with so much emotion he wasn't sure he'd be able to drive to work with his head on straight. Since the brain scan the previous week, and the doctor calling him in to review the results two days prior, he'd been nervous about what the doctor was going to say. Was it good news? Was it bad news? It was bad news, and while he'd been preparing for the worst, actually knowing about it was almost too much for him to bear. At least before he'd walked into that bare little room that smelled like antiseptic he could pretend that nothing was wrong.

"There's no treatment?" He asked the question even though he already knew what the answer was going to be.

"I'm afraid not," Dr. Bayler replied solemnly. "It's too deep in the brain for a surgical treatment, and drugs would be ineffective."

"What can I do then?" Tony wondered, gripping the end of his tie tightly between his fingers. "What are my options?"

"We can run more tests, do more scans, but honestly, in my professional opinion, the best thing for you to do now is go home," Dr. Bayler said. "I don't see the point in putting you through endless tests that are just going to tell us the same things. Eventually the weakened artery is going to burst from the pressure, and there aren't any medications that can stop that."

"I just have to wait to die then." It wasn't a question, and it sounded so final on his tongue that it scared him.

"I'm sorry, Tony," Dr. Bayler sighed, standing up from the round swiveling chair that all doctors seemed to have in their exam rooms. "You can stay here as long as you need to. I'll let the ladies up front know not to interrupt."

They shook hands as Tony said, "its fine. I've got to head into work anyway. The boss is going to start wondering where I am."

He didn't let the doctor say anything else before he brushed passed him and hurried down the hallway. He felt like everybody was staring at him as he made for the exit and across the parking lot. It was as if somebody had put a neon sign above his head declaring he was a medical impossibility- that he was waiting for death to claim him at any moment.

Settling into his car, work as the last place he wanted to be. With Ziva and McGee and Gibbs staring at him and wondering when he was going to keel over. He wondered if Gibbs would even continue to let him work. Probably not, so he'd do what he had to. He wouldn't tell them. It would be easier for everybody that way. Maybe he'd tell Abby and swear her to secrecy. After all, he did tell Abby everything. He couldn't honestly hide the most important thing in his life from her.

He called McGee, finding it easier to lie to the younger agent than it was to lie to Gibbs or Ziva. Work hadn't started yet, but it was better to call in early than call in late. He hadn't told anybody about the appointment with his doctor, and he wasn't going to. He told McGee he had food poisoning from some spoilt sushi the night before and was contemplating going to the ER for treatment. McGee had accepted the excuse without complaint and assured him he'd tell Gibbs he'd be in on Monday morning.

Going home was out of the question. He didn't want to sit in his dark apartment all day doing nothing but watching movies and munching on snacks. He did that plenty, and it didn't seem fitting. He'd just been told he was going to die- that he could die at any minute- and sitting around watching television was only going to give him the opportunity to dwell.

Tony needed to get out and do something. He needed to. It wasn't like he was unhealthy, perhaps he'd go the gym. Maybe he'd catch a flight to New York, do a little shopping and come home Sunday evening to show off his new purchases to Abby. Maybe he'd call Abby and persuade her to play hooky with him. They were always talking about doing such a thing. They could take a road trip to the beach- it was freezing cold in the beginning of February, but who cared? They could bundle and have a picnic lunch and come home to do crazy things that night.

His phone was at his ear before he even knew that he'd pressed Abby's speed dial and the phone was ringing in his ear. She answered on the third ring in all of her bubbly, exuberant glory, and just hearing her voice made him smile. For a best friend, she was the best a guy could ask for.

"Tony!" She squealed as a greeting.

"Play hooky with me," he begged her in response. "Let's go to the beach."

It was too easy to persuade her it was a good idea. She'd yet to leave for work, and it was a simple phone call to get somebody to cover for her, insisting that she'd shared some of Tony's sushi and was feeling too poorly to come into work. She'd called him back laughing, and he promised he'd pick her up in an hour for their day of fun.