Disclaimer: I don't own them and I don't make any money off of them.
A/N: I found this while I was going through my computer. I think I wrote it sometime last season or even the season before when I was really missing the Tony-Gibbs closeness AND I actually had time to write. I might possibly add a prequel of what actually happened to Tony later, but right now having to work 4 jobs kind of makes that a long shot. Reviews are always appreciated and I hope you enjoy!
A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth at the younger man's automatic response. "Ducky said bed rest."
Tony's gaze slowly migrated from the television to meet his. "This could be considered resting."
Gibbs shook his head as he snatched the remote from Tony's hand and pressed the power button. "Watching TV is not resting."
"But it's not strenuous," Tony insisted, hesitating only a moment before grinning. "Well, I suppose that's not entirely true. There are certain channels-" A sharp slap to the back of his head cut him off. "Not that I was planning on engaging in such carnal pleasures."
"Damn straight," Gibbs growled. "I put a parental lock on just for you."
"Boss," Tony whined as he flashed his best innocent look. "I'm hurt."
"So was my wallet when I got my cable bill from the last time you stayed here."
The older man set the remote on top of the television set and turned to look at his agent. Tony's hair, normally clean and meticulously styled, was limp and unkempt. His normally expressive eyes were bloodshot and shaded by dark circles. Add to that the presence of two days worth of stubble along his jaw and Gibbs knew his agent still hadn't fully recovered from his latest ordeal.
If only I had been the one who had reached that bastard Alonzo first, Gibbs inwardly cursed.
"I'm fine, Boss." Gibbs quirked an eyebrow in response, prompting Tony to continue. "That stare you're giving me? You're either worried about me or wondering how to ask me out on a date, so I went with the obvious choice." His trademark cocky grin broke through his haggard features. "Unless you've got something to tell me?"
Gibbs barely resisted doling out a second head slap at his agent's sarcastic remark, reminding himself that a joking DiNozzo was always a good thing. And deserved a decent retort. "So, you going up to the bedroom under your own power or am I taking you up there?"
He was certain Tony broke the sound barrier going up the stairs.
Gibbs awoke and sat up in bed, carefully listening to the sounds of his house settling. His keen sense of hearing picked out the telltale squeak of stairs from the normal night-time sounds. So DiNozzo was up again. Not Good.
With a stealthiness learned in the Corp and perfected through years of practice, Gibbs made it down the stairs and found his agent sitting on the couch, television remote in hand. He started to shout but hesitated as he noticed the fine tremors in the hand grasping the remote. He chose to remain silent as Tony settled on an infomercial and raised the volume just enough to tell someone was speaking but nowhere near loud enough to make out the words. The older agent was surprised when, instead of leaning back and relaxing, DiNozzo began stretching his arms and shoulders, even straightening and curling his fingers again and again. Enough is enough.
In the softest tone he could manage, he spoke, "Tony."
"Sorry, Boss. Couldn't sleep." Now he was wringing his hands in his lap. "Too dark, too quiet, too... still."
Gibbs nodded, remembering the way he and the team had found Tony in the storm shelter, bound painfully to a makeshift table with a variety of ropes, chains, and duct tape. For someone as active as DiNozzo the restraint had been pure torture. Once again Gibbs cursed the fact that the FBI had found Alonzo before him. Oh how he would have relished the chance to have that bastard on the same table while he tightened the bindings until Alonzo could no longer breathe. Would have saved the taxpayers a lot of money, too.
A shuddering sigh drew his attention back to the young man who had a suspicious shine in his eyes.
"I'm so tired, Boss."
The quiet desperation in his words made Gibbs' heart ache. He remembered all too well what it was like to come home from a nightmare; that being rescued from your captor wasn't always the happy ending people seemed to think it was. Gibbs knew everyone had to find their own way to cope but at the moment he had only had one thing to offer and he prayed it would bring DiNozzo some solace as it did him. "Come with me, Tony."
The younger man wearily followed him to the basement, offering no resistance as Gibbs pushed a piece of sandpaper into his hand and covered it with his own calloused one.
"With the grain," he whispered as he guided DiNozzo's hand with his own. Tony nodded and sniffed as he poured every ounce of his being into sanding the ribs of the boat, welcoming the ache that began to build in his shoulders from the repetitive movements with which his body was unfamiliar. Each determined pass of sandpaper against wood seemed to erase part of his ordeal, the unpleasant memories fluttering like sawdust to the floor. Gradually he found himself relaxing, startling himself as he let out a loud yawn.
"Ready to hit the sack?" Gibbs asked with a hint of a smile on his face.
Tony felt like a deer in the headlights, not answering as his need for sleep warred with the fear of what awaited him if he gave in.
Gibbs quiet voice suddenly so close to his ear caused him to jump and only the combination of the solid wood against one shoulder and the equally solid grip on his other arm kept him on his feet.
"I thought maybe you'd bunk down here," the older agent said as he jerked his head in the direction of two cots that Tony swore hadn't been in the basement before tonight.
Tony, relieved beyond words that he wouldn't be left by himself for the night, managed to dredge up a faint smile. "I knew you wanted to sleep with me."
Gibbs shook his head fondly and gently guided his agent to one of the cots. As Tony settled in, Gibbs returned to the boat, choosing to work on a section that allowed him to keep a close eye on his friend. After watching him squirm for a couple of minutes, Gibbs gave Tony the first order he had since he'd been rescued.
"DiNozzo, go to sleep!"
And he did.