Leroy Jethro Gibbs was a patient man.

It was his nature to take the time, to do it right, to wait for things to happen. He didn't mind waiting. Not at all. Not if something great and wonderful came of it.

It was what made him a good sniper. He was good at waiting. Waiting for that window of opportunity to present itself, so he could take that shot.

It was also what made him a good father. He had patiently waited for the doctors to help Shannon through her contractions, patiently waited for his daughter to make her grand entrance. Sure he was nervous and jittery as hell, but he patiently waited. And as Kelly got older, he too patiently talked her through every tantrum, every upset, every loss. He waited for her to learn to understand the world as he did.

He also patiently waited for that bastard to drive within range of his rifle.

He had gone through life with that same tenacity for patience – maybe just a little too patient. His ex-wives hated him for it. They hated how he could just sit there and wait for them to run out of steam shouting at him.

At work, he may seem to lack patience for the smallest things, but really it was just the incompetence of others pissing him off. Anyone who'd seen him in interrogation knew how patient he could be. He could sit there patiently for hours, waiting for the suspect to sweat and finally crack.

And then something changed. He, changed.

The 'change' went by the name of Anthony DiNozzo. One Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo.

He remembered sitting by the hospital bed that first time the younger man was in the hospital, waiting for him to wake up – Tony still held the NCIS record for 'shortest time between first day of work and getting hurt on the job'. For the first time in his life, he was impatient. Gibbs wanted, no, needed Tony to open his eyes, to tell him that he was ok.

For the first time Gibbs didn't want to patiently wait.

And that was how he felt, now, as he stood there, outside of the Plexiglas box with blue lights.

He knew that the worst was over. He knew that Tony would live.

But he couldn't bother being patient anymore.

He just wanted his lover back in his arms so that he knew for sure he was safe. So that he could hold him tightly, feeling their hearts beat as one.

He needed it.

Right. Fucking. Now.