A/N: This fic is inspired by Blue October's "Kangaroo Cry", which is featured on the NCIS official soundtrack. Apparently being sick is a good motivator for angsty fic. Who knew!
Gibbs sat in the dark living room, slouching on the old tattered sofa that he'd promised Tony he'd replace. That had been two weeks ago. And a Naval Intelligence visit ago.
Gibbs sighed as he brought the heel of his hands to rub against his eyes.
He's so tired but he just couldn't sleep.
The younger man was sleeping in the bedroom upstairs. He wanted so much to just go upstairs and dive into the blankets and the welcoming warmth of his lover's embrace. Instead, he sat there, in the dark. And he wondered why he didn't just turn it down.
He knew that Tony was angry with him, but Tony also understood. That was why it was so painful for the both of them, Gibbs realized as he sat there, alone. Tony was angry with him for agreeing, but as his SIC and as a federal agent, he understood the duty and the dire need for Gibbs to go. So Tony conceded. He gave in, and told Gibbs to 'just go'. The 'take good care of yourself' and the 'come back safely' were never spoken, but Gibbs knew anyway from Tony's frowns and his expressive green eyes.
"When do you ship out?" she asked quietly, turning around from the sink to face him, and he just knew that she'd been waiting for this moment since they got married.
"Three weeks," he said, extending one arm to go behind her and hug her tightly by the shoulders. He placed a kiss into her hair. "I'm so sorry."
"I'm not going to tell you how much I hate for you to go, because I knew what I was getting myself into when we got married," she sighed. "Doesn't mean I have to like it."
Gibbs spared a look at the bags he'd packed and placed by the door. His mind was playing back the last few days.
Vance had called Gibbs and Tony into MTAC mid-afternoon a week ago. After the briefing by the Naval Intellegence commander – what was his name? O'Leary? – Gibbs was informed that he's at the top of the list of agents capable of going undercover. Tony was to head up the team temporarily and Gibbs would be going undercover as a Marine Gunnery Sergeant to investigate a possible connection between drug trafficking in the Marine base camp and the Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
It was a dangerous assignment, but Gibbs was the best man for the job – Marine training wasn't something you can fake, and there weren't that many former marines in NCIS with the kind of undercover experiences Gibbs possessed.
He stood by the boarding gate and looked back once more. She stood there, one hesitant hand in mid-air giving him the last goodbye, and the other hand resting gently on top of her swollen stomach that bear their child. He wouldn't see his child's birth, not with the schedules of his deployment.
He sighed. She had to be the most perfect military wife a soldier could ask for. She understood duty, understood that his country needed him. He stood there, sharp ice-blue eyes speaking loudly his love for her, and regretted his chosen calling for the first time in his life.
A shift in the air around him and the close to inaudible footsteps woke him from his thoughts. Tony's familiar shape in the dark room loomed in front of him. A warm hand cupped his face, lifting his head up slightly. Gibbs looked solemnly into his lover's green eyes.
He had always known that with Tony, the truth was written in his eyes. They spoke of love, trust, joy and devotion; they spoke volumes. But right now, Tony had this sad, sad look in those beautiful eyes that he'd only seen twice before and it made him feel sick to his stomach.
It was early, the sky glowing pink with the not-yet-risen sun. He stood next to the crib in the nursery, with his upper body leaning forward to look closely at his baby girl. She's so tiny, yet so full of life. He remembered the first time he saw her after coming back from his last tour. His heart swelled with love as soon as he laid eyes upon her tiny form in a bundle in his wife's arms.
The baby let out a soft wail, so he bent down further and picked her up to rock her gently, holding her against his heartbeat and lulling her back to sleep. He kissed her tenderly on the forehead before putting her back into the crib.
His bags were packed, and in about twenty minutes he'd be off again, chasing some faceless enemies of the state and all he wanted to do was to stay right there with his baby girl.
Gibbs dipped his head back down, and laid it against the flat planes of Tony's torso. He wrapped his arms around Tony's waist, and he held on tight. Tony didn't complain; he simply wrapped his own arms around Gibbs' head and shoulder, and embraced him with equal ferocity.
"Come to bed, babe," Tony said, quietly after a long silence, sinking down to his knees in front of the older man, and kissed him chastely on the lips. Gibbs nodded once, slowly, and pushed himself off the couch. He snaked an arm around Tony's back, and pulled the younger man close so their heads touch as they climbed the stairs to their bedroom.
He knelt down so he's eye level with her.
"Daddy," she said, "why do you have to go away again?" And that almost had him breaking down in tears. He cupped her face in his hands, and kissed her on the forehead.
"Because there are bad people out there, and I have to go help keep everybody safe, baby," he said, after a brief moment, almost choking on his own words. He hugged his daughter tightly. "I love you," he said. "I love you so much. Be good for your mom, okay? I'll see you soon."
"I love you too, Daddy," she whispered with an audible sniff as he kissed her on the cheek. And as he walked away from his front door towards the waiting cab, he could hear the soft whimpers muffled against clothing and he could hear his heart break into a million pieces.
He stripped down to his boxers and climbed into bed behind Tony, where the younger man immediately inched closer to drape himself onto Gibbs' body, his head resting on Gibbs' shoulder, a strong arm around his mid-section and their legs tangled under the covers.
"It's cold here without you," he could hear Tony's moist breath murmur against his shoulder and he couldn't help tightening his arm around Tony, holding him closer.
When he waved goodbye to his wife and daughter all those months ago, he never imagined that it would be the last time. Just as he was ready to rejoin his family and never leave again, they were ripped right from his fingers. He'd wanted to be angry; he'd wanted to be sad. But at the end of the day, he was just numb.
He sat there in the basement, on the cold cement floor, a bottle of bourbon and a mug next to him, and he remembered the soft cries of his daughter as he walked away that very last time. It was like the cries of baby kangaroos that got separated from their mothers. He didn't understand how it could hurt so fucking much if what was left of his heart was just one big gaping hole. He clutched at his chest, his body curled up on the floor, shaking from the inability to breath right, and he screamed and yelled and cried a tearless cry until his voice was rough and raw and broken.
A sudden flash of memory triggered an uncontrollable shiver that he was helpless in stopping and he clutched at his lover's body, turning so he could wrap himself around the younger man as tightly as he could.
"Jethro, what's wrong?" his lover asked, but Gibbs just shook his head and held on tighter to being almost uncomfortable.
He didn't know who started it, but he supposed that they both needed it so desperately it didn't matter either way. The embrace turned into touching, which melted into gentle caresses and tender strokes, giving way to soft kisses and quiet moans, all with a muted urgency that neither of them wanted to think too much about. And when he finally pushed into Tony, gently slid home and climaxed, he began to sob softly against the warm pulsing flesh on the younger man's neck.
"Shh, it's alright," the low tenor of his lovers voice resonated around him, and butterfly kisses were dropped on his forehead and sweat-darkened hair.
"I'm so scared," he said quietly, between uneven breathing, "what if I don't come back? What if-"
What if he came back, and Tony wasn't there anymore?
"Promise me you'll be careful," Gibbs lifted his head slightly to gaze into his lover's beautiful green eyes. "I can't lose you too. I won't survive a second time."
"I know," Tony replied quietly. "I know. You too," he reminded him as he lifted a hand to run his fingers through the silky, silver strands. "I want you to come home safe and sound."
Gibbs could only nod. "I love you," he whispered out.
"I love you, too," Tony replied with a small smile and tucked himself around the older man like he always belonged there. He placed a small kiss where Gibbs' heart was before finally settling down. "Now sleep."
And may your dreams take all your sorrows away.