All The King's Men: In Sickness and In Health
Established Relationship, Hurt/Comfort, AU
Summary: Tony has the flu, and Gibbs can't help feeling protective.
A/N: Second side!Fic in my President!Tony 'verse. Caught a bug from a coworker couple weeks ago, and was sick for a whole weekend. I was actively avoiding doing anything work related so sick!Tony decided to help me procrastinate. Actually, he barged into my shower and demanded that I write so he could have protective!Gibbs all to himself. Not that I don't like nekkid!Tony in my shower but… *roll eyes*
Beta by the lovely silvertales :)
Gibbs burst into the meeting room with two other agents on his tail after hearing a loud thud and commotion coming from within.
"What happened?" Gibbs demanded loudly with a glare around the room as he came bursting in, but everyone was either too stunned by what happened or too afraid of his glare to speak up.
Finally, after a few seconds of dead silence, someone managed to pull themselves together to speak. "Gibbs, it's the President," Kate looked up from the floor beside the head of the table and spoke, "he just collapsed."
"Mr. President? Tony?" Gibbs yelled as he rushed to Tony's side. After shaking him and getting no response, Gibbs put the back of his hand to Tony's forehead. "Damn it, he's burning up. Kate, call Ducky, tell him get down here NOW!"
While Kate was busy calling Ducky, Gibbs took off his jacket to place under Tony's head and patted the flushed face gently.
"Hey, Tony. Tony, baby," Gibbs said in a low whisper while running a hand from Tony's forehead down to his cheek. There was no need to officially out the both of them even if everyone in that room already knew about it. "C'mon, babe, wake up. I need you to stay with me."
"Mm…" Gibbs finally relaxed his shoulders when a quiet moan came out of Tony's lips. "Jethro?"
"Hey… I'm here," Gibbs' lips were pressed into a hard line in worry, but his eyes were smiling with relief. "How're you feeling?"
"Cold, achy," Tony pouted, and Gibbs had to give himself a mental head slap to remind himself that Tony was sick and they're in public, so that he wouldn't try to devour those too-adorable pouting lips in front of twenty other people.
"You have a fever," Gibbs narrowed his eyes. "Why didn't you tell me or Kate that you're not feeling well?"
"'Cause you guys would make me go see Ducky," Tony looked sheepishly in the direction of his own toes.
"Make a hole," the doctor's voice could be heard from the doorway. "All of you, clear out! Well, don't just stand there. Move!"
"Well, now you're going to regardless," Gibbs stared at the reluctant man, who simply pouted some more and looked away from Gibbs. Gibbs rolled his eyes and shook his head in defeat.
"Now what do we have here?" Ducky knelt down opposite Gibbs at Tony's side. His new resident, Jimmy Palmer, was trying to maneuver the stretcher around the furniture.
"I came in after I heard the noises, and Kate told me that he'd collapsed right in the middle of the weekly staff meeting," Gibbs looked up at the elder doctor. "He's burning up."
Ducky checked Tony's temperature, pulse and blood pressure, and took out his penlight. "Say 'ahh'," the doctor coaxed and peered into Tony's mouth. "Well, it looks like a simple flu – his throat is starting to swell – but I'll run some tests. Mr. Palmer-"
"Yes, Dr. Mallard?" Palmer finally managed to get the furniture out of the way and maneuver the stretcher to their side.
"Will you be so kind as to help Agent Gibbs load the President onto the gurney so we can get our fearless leader back to the medical centre?" Ducky gestured to the cart. "Start him on IV saline and antipyretics, and draw some blood. Send it over to the lab when you're done."
"Right away, Doctor," Palmer answered cheerfully, and began to push the cart towards the door with two nurses on the other end of it. Gibbs followed closely behind them.
"Jethro, a moment, please?" Ducky called out to Gibbs.
"Does it have to be now, Ducky?" Gibbs sighed, his worried eyes trained on the retreating stretcher the whole time. The other two on-duty Secret Service agents automatically followed Tony and the medical staff when Gibbs gave them a nod.
"Mr. Palmer is perfectly capable of providing care for the President," Ducky raised an eyebrow.
"Fine," Gibbs conceded and glared at the old doctor. "Make it fast, you have one minute starting now."
Ducky rolled his eyes. "I just want to make sure that you'll keep an eye on Tony's health, Jethro. He's been under too much stress lately, and it's affecting his health. You know as well as I do that he will push himself until his body can't take it anymore."
"I know, Duck," Gibbs sighed, shaking his head. "I'll try. You know how stubborn he is."
"Yes, I do, that's why I'm asking you!" Ducky exclaimed. "He only ever listens to you, and sometimes Kate!"
"Alright, I'll talk to him."
"Now off you go. I will get those tests started, although I doubt it's anything more than a simple flu, exacerbated by fatigue due to stress," Ducky patted Gibbs' broad shoulder. "I'll have them send him upstairs to his room when the IV's done. Keep an eye on his temperature and fluids for the rest of the day and I'll be by to check on him later."
"Thanks, Duck," Gibbs said with a small, strained smile before hastily heading out the door towards the medical centre.
"Alright. Burley, Pacci, you guys are off rotation in five. I'll stay with the President tonight," Gibbs ordered. "Go home and get some rest. It's been a long day."
"Thanks, Gibbs," Pacci smirked with a knowing look in his eyes. "You sure you'll be ok?"
"Yeah, I'll be fine," Gibbs waved them off.
Pacci and Burley had both been there since the beginning, and they both knew how much of a pain in the ass Tony could be when he was sick. Gibbs had pretty much been the only person who could tame 'the most powerful man in America' when he was in one of his moods – aside from their Chief of Staff, Kate Todd.
This 'thing' that was going on between the President and Gibbs had been an open secret within the White House ever since the assassination attempt six months ago. Pacci would never be able to understand how or why, but it wasn't his place to judge. He respected the man for his principles. Gibbs had been the most amazing boss he'd ever had the opportunity to work for, even if the man could be a real bastard some times, and he never exploited, nor would, the power he could've had being the President's bedmate. That was just the kind of man he was.
And they had been good for one another – anyone who was close to the President could see that. Gibbs was less of a bastard when he was around Tony, and Tony looked… happy – genuinely happy, like his life was complete.
"Alright. Night, boss," Burley made a sloppy salute with a grin before he turned on his heel and left with Pacci.
As soon as Gibbs entered the door, he was greeted by a series of deep, congested coughs. He moved quickly to the side of the bed and sat down after stowing his gun in the safe inside the bedside table. Tony was curled up on his side facing Gibbs, his face burrowed into the pillow as he tried to muffle his coughs.
"Hey, babe," Gibbs gently slid a hand between the pillow and Tony's cheek, turning Tony's head away from the pillow so he could see his flushed face. His other hand was massaging soothing circles on the coughing man's back. "How're you feeling?"
"Stuffed up, achy," Tony coughed again. "I hate this."
"I know," Gibbs brushed the sweat-drenched hair away from Tony's forehead and leaned forward to press a kiss to his temple. "Ducky said it's the flu. He's got some meds for you to take after dinner; they'll make it easier for you to sleep."
Tony nodded reluctantly. He hated taking medication of any sort, but the coughing and the stuffed-up nose and the general discomfort of being sick had pretty much thwarted any will in him to protest.
"Gibbs?" there was three knocks on the door before it was open slightly, letting a small sliver of light into the darkened room. Kate's head appeared in the doorway.
"Hey Kate," Tony managed to greet her with his wheezy voice before going into another round of coughing.
"Kate?" Gibbs looked up from Tony. "What is it?"
"They've sent up some chicken noodle soup," Kate opened the door some more to let the staff push the cart in to the side of the bed. "Doctor's orders. The pills are on the cart as well."
"Got it. Thanks," Gibbs gave a smile before turning his attention back to Tony. Kate ushered the other man out and shut the door quietly.
"I don't want soup," Tony buried his face back into his pillow.
"That's not negotiable, you're eating this," Gibbs said sternly, brushing the back of his hand across Tony's cheek, checking for his temperature. Feeling no unusual heat, Gibbs sighed inwardly with relief. "Cynthia told me you've been skipping lunch again. Ducky said the reason you fainted this afternoon was because of your low blood sugar combined with the fever."
"I'm not hungry," Tony pouted at Gibbs.
"Tell you what," Gibbs took the hand towel that was on the night table and wiped the sweat from Tony's forehead. "You be good and finish the soup and your pills, I'll go take a shower, and after that, we can snuggle and watch a movie together. How does that sound?"
Tony bit his lower lip and frowned, looking like he's turning the deal over in his head before he finally nodded obediently. Because of both of their schedules and the nature of their relationship, they spent precious little time together. There was no way Tony would refuse an opportunity to spend time with his lover, sitting there watching a movie and simply relaxing in each other's company.
Gibbs helped him sit up, got the pillow fluffed so Tony could lean on it while being comfortably seated. The kitchen staff had been smart enough to put Tony's supper – soup and a couple of slices of toast – on a breakfast tray so it could be placed on the bed. After getting Tony settled and making sure he was actually eating, Gibbs stripped himself out of the suit, and quickly showered in the en suite. He came back out in a pair of sweats and a t-shirt, and carrying a small basin with a washcloth.
"Let's get you cleaned up," Gibbs removed the tray and left it on the ground away from the bed, smiling when he saw that Tony had managed to finish all the food.
Leaving the basin on the bedside table, Gibbs wet the washcloth and wrung it dry before he sat down and began to carefully wipe around Tony's face and neck, kissing the younger man's forehead and cheek as he went.
"Arms up," Gibbs lifted up the hems of Tony's t-shirt, pulling it off the younger man, and proceeding with the same care he'd administered on the face.
Finally, after everything had been put away, medicine taken and a movie selected, Gibbs climbed into bed, settling snug next to Tony, and wrapped an arm around the younger man securely. Tony's body relaxed against his immediately, and Gibbs began to run his other hand through Tony's hair and down his face, enjoying the rare opportunity to touch his lover without having to restrain himself.
"What the heck is this?" Gibbs asked incredulously after the first twenty minutes, his hands working unconsciously at massaging Tony's neck and shoulders. "It doesn't make any sense! "
"Jethro," Tony rolled his eyes and mumbled as he enjoyed Gibbs' large firm hands working out the kinks in his shoulder. "It's a science fiction fantasy movie. It doesn't have to make sense."
"What's this one called again?" Gibbs tried to remember but he couldn't. Not that it mattered; he wouldn't be watching it again - EVER.
"'The Fifth Element'. It's directed by Luc Besson – guy's a genius, by the way – and pretty much how Milla Jovovich started in the business after her modeling career. That alien language they were speaking? By the end of the movie they had the entire linguistics down and Milla could literally speak whole paragraphs in that language," Tony rattled off the trivia, only pausing when he began to cough again. He turned to his side so he could burrow his face into Gibbs' shoulder. "Ugh. I hate being sick," Tony whined then said thoughtfully. "But at least I get to have you all to myself."
"You know, being sick is supposed to be bad thing," Gibbs sighed, the arm that was wrapped around Tony began to stroke the younger man's back slowly. He brought his other hand up, carding through Tony's hair. "You scared the crap out of me today. I thought…"
The memory from six months ago began to assault Gibbs' mind. He tried not to think about the assassination attempt that had landed Tony in the ICU for two days, but he couldn't. Gibbs held Tony tighter as a cold shiver ran up his spine.
"What is it, Jethro?" Tony lifted his head slightly when Gibbs stopped mid-sentence to look at Gibbs' side-turned face. "What's wrong?"
Gibbs turned his head back to look at Tony, at his beautiful green eyes. "You know that I love you, right?" Gibbs asked, not at all surprised at his use of 'love'. It had been getting easier and easier to use that word around Tony – in fact, it'd been surprisingly easy for him to admit his feelings to Tony. It was a bit unnerving to feel so strongly about someone, but he liked this change in himself, feeling more at peace with himself. It was something he hadn't been able to do since Shannon and Kelly.
Tony nodded, face rubbing against Gibbs' t-shirt. "I love you too, Jeth."
"I want to spend the rest of my life with you; I want to grow old with you; I want to be able to wake up every morning and see you sleeping next to me," Gibbs peppered kisses into Tony's hair where his lips could reach and then lifted Tony's face with a finger on his chin. "So please take better care of yourself, hmm?"
Tony nodded again. Of course he knew. "I'll try," Tony yawned the words, paused, and then asked hopefully but hesitantly, looking at his own twiddling fingers. "You're going stay tonight? The whole night?"
He hated to be so unsure of himself – he's the President of a country for crying out loud. He's supposed to be decisive and confident. But, with Gibbs, he was never sure, about anything. He never thought he'd love another person like this, so deeply and with the whole of his being, and the thought of losing something so precious scared him.
"Of course I'm staying," Gibbs frowned. Where did that come from? Gibbs looked down at Tony's face, and the look on the younger man's face told him everything he needed to know. Ah, hell. He shook his head. "Silly. I'm not going anywhere. Not now, not later. Not. Ever." Gibbs tapped Tony's chin so the younger man would look up at him as he said clearly. "You're not getting rid of me that easily. Ya got that?"
"Got it," Tony nodded quietly, half burying his head onto Gibbs' chest so he could still watch the movie, although he was having a hard time concentrating on it.
"C'mon," Gibbs shimmied down slightly so Tony could use his shoulder as a pillow comfortably. "Sleep, Tony. I'll be right here when you wake up."