Chapter 26 – A little gift

Tony fidgeted on the white crinkly paper. He was sitting in just his dress pants, waiting for the doctor to return with the results of his echocardiogram. Gibbs leaned against the wall, flipping through a pamphlet called "So you like greasy hamburgers". Tony looked down at the fading marks on his skin from his heart surgery and the catheter port that had drained the fluid from his heart. He could see the faint outline of his ribs from his recent weight loss and his stomach didn't seem as muscular anymore. It was just going to take time he reminded himself. The door to the sterile room opened and Doctor Wilson stepped inside.

"I have some good news for you," she announced.

"I'm not the father," Gibbs muttered so only Tony could hear.

Tony laughed, causing Doctor Wilson to frown before brushing it aside and continuing.

"I have the results of your echocardiogram and there's no damage to your pericardium and no sign of swelling. You're gonna be just fine, Tony. We will need to monitor you a little closer if you get sick, but I'm sure you are used to that from your bout with pneumonic plague."

"Yeah, that's normal…. Well, normal for me," Tony murmured. "But my heart is okay?"

"Yes, your heart healed quite nicely. You just need to let your collar bone finish healing and you'll have a clean bill of health. It was nice meeting you, Tony. Take care of yourself."

"Thanks Doc."

Doctor Wilson shook hands with Gibbs and left the two alone. Tony was grinning from ear to ear. Gibbs gave him a gentle smack on the back of his head and helped him back into his dress shirt. Tony managed to button most of his shirt, but let Gibbs help him a little. He put his sling back on and stood up. He walked silently to the car with Gibbs, unable to stop smiling at the good news. His heart was okay. It was like he could finally breathe easily again. Tony didn't even notice at first that Gibbs had driven to headquarters and was parked, waiting for Tony to focus.

"Are you ready for a half day of desk work?" Gibbs teased.

"Yes, I'm more than ready."

Tony felt a little nervous walking to the building and stepping into the elevator. It dinged, opening on their floor. Tony could see McGee standing by Ziva's desk and he could hear her laughing at something he was saying. Gibbs put a hand on his shoulder and gave him a little nudge out of the elevator. Tony glanced back at him, meaning to say something but someone crashed into him.

"Tony!" Abby exclaimed, running into him and giving him a bear hug.

"Abby… my shoulder," he grimaced, having not seen her coming or getting a chance to brace himself.

"Oh sorry. Tony, I'm so glad that you're back!"

"I missed you too Abby."

She quickly released him, and took his arm, guiding him into the bullpen. Ziva came over to him and gave him a gentle hug. Probie did the same, ignoring the funny look that Tony gave him. Gibbs didn't say a word, just went to his desk and sat down.

"It is good to see you," Ziva greeted. "How was your doctor appointment?"

"My heart is healthy and I got a clean bill of health," Tony declared, plopping down at his desk.

He quickly noticed that there were two presents on his desk. One was wrapped in a pristine blue paper, smooth and tied with a ribbon. The other was a little bit bigger, wrapped with uneven corners and a little too much tape. It was easy to tell which one Ziva wrapped and which one was from McGee. He picked up the messy box and shook it.

"That's from me," McGee stated.

"I can tell, McSloppy."

Tim rolled his eyes, waiting for Tony to open it. Tony ripped off the paper with his free hand, smiling at the large size box of strawberry yogurt Cheerios.

"For my heart?" Tony clarified.

"Look at the front of the box."

"Oh, complete with Spiderman stickers. Thanks Probie."

Tony grinned at his partner, setting down the box and picking up Ziva's present. He tore it open, revealing a pink swirly Tampon box. He frowned, glancing over and seeing the smile on Ziva's face. Out of the corner of his eye, Tony could see Gibbs biting down on his lip to keep from laughing and pretending to be interested in his computer, which was an obvious lie.

"Ziva, you do realize that men don't use these, right?" Tony inquired.

"Yes, your gift is inside the box."

"Oh, that makes more sense." He opened the box and pulled out a package of eight pairs of black socks. Tony laughed, smiling at his partner. "Is this incase I step in anymore puddles?"

Ziva nodded, laughing at his expression.

"Thanks Ziva. This is a really nice gift. You guys didn't have to do this for me."

"Now, your feet will be dry and your heart will be strong," McGee clarified. "You'd do the same for us."

"Alright, get to work," Gibbs ordered, flipping through the case file on his desk.

It felt good to be back. Tony turned on his computer, waiting for it to load. He checked his drawers to make sure that his Mighty Mouse stapler was still there, along with his GSM magazines and rubber band ball. Tony logged onto his computer, noticing immediately that someone had changed his desktop background from the picture of an exotic beach. It was a seemingly innocent cartoon. He looked a little closer and realized what it was. Tony glanced up and saw that McGee and Ziva couldn't stop smiling. Gibbs didn't seem to know what was happening. In the cartoon, Tony was sitting at his desk with a big pregnant belly and Gibbs was standing beside him with a goofy grin on his face. The caption next to Gibbs read, "I think we should name him Probie." There was a thinking bubble above Tony's head that said, "I shouldn't have listened. I'm not his type." A cartoon Ziva, McGee, Abby, Ducky and Palmer were standing off to the side laughing with their arms around each other. The entire cartoon was titled "Tony's Big Mistake".

"Who did this?" Tony demanded.

No one answered, just continued typing at their computers. Tony rolled his eyes and opened a new document on his computer, deciding to create a list of ideas for revenge on his team. Gibbs came up behind him and closed it, taking a long look at the image of himself.

"They didn't get my nose right."

"Did you know about this?" Tony accused.

"It was my idea," Gibbs stated simply. "You might wanna be a little more careful what you say when you're drugged."

He put a hand on Tony's shoulder before returning to his desk and getting back to work. Tony smiled, looking around at his teammates. He'd missed Ziva's way of thinking and her beauty. He'd missed McGee's computer knowledge and humor. And Gibbs, he would always be there for Tony, watching his six and making sure that his heart was protected. Gibbs was the heart of the team and he could trust him. It was good to be back.


Thank you to all of my wonderful reviewers! This is my longest story to date and it took quite a lot of work to write it, but I'm very happy with how it turned out. Without you guys, it probably would have been a lot shorter. A special thanks goes to Mysteryfan17 for your help correcting my mistakes and always leaving me long reviews! :)

I really wish that someone could draw that cartoon of the cast, but my drawing is limited to stick figures. I've got a couple other stories on my profile that you can read, since I'm not sure what my next story will be. I posted a Memorial Day story yesterday if you would like to read it. And I'm also working on a one-shot about Tony's lost turtlenecks. I'd also be willing to take a few challenges or requests to my private messaging inbox. :)

Thanks again to all of you and please leave a final review!