Okay guys, this is it! (: Sorry, been a little pre-occupied. Apparently I won a nationwide 20,000+ poetry competition and now my work is published...in a book somewhere...and I don't even remember what poem I sent them so I've been trying to figure that out.
You have my best friend to thank for telling me to get off my ass and write something. :P
Tony was scooping a handful of aspirin into his face to relieve the incessant pounding that was still present courtesy of a skull fracture.
He almost choked when his boss announced his presence with a rough cough directly behind him. Tony jumped, scooting his chair back a fraction and blinked owlishly at his employer as if he were sporting a second head. It wasn't uncommon for Gibbs to teleport, but Tony was still a little slow from….He really didn't want to think about that.
Brian had a concussion from the landing, a broken arm and a dislocated shoulder. He'd also bitten his tongue pretty hard when Tony had….God! Why couldn't he get the fuckin' image out of his mind? Then he forced himself to snap back to reality and whined, "Boooooossss!"
Ziva and McGee glanced up in a mixture of shock and their typical amusement. Gibbs grinned broadly at this display from his team, coffee dangling from his thumb and forefinger absently as he thought about his agent's behavior.
Tony was joking again, that was a start. The younger man had barely said a word the following two weeks after the incident and he hadn't made one joke or pulled a single prank. He could read the worry on Ziva and Tim's faces, but refused to acknowledge it in case they asked him what was bothering their friend. Gibbs had finally had enough about 4 days ago.
Since the car bombing it was like Tony had been replaced with a different person. A quiet, deeply upset man who remained passive and oblivious to his surroundings- depressed even for the entirety of two weeks. The other two sane members of his team had seemed to assume that Tony was simply shaken up over it all or even angry with them. After all, this entire situation could have been easily avoided if they'd only listened to his judgement. Instead, Gibbs had barked at him and treated Tony like a probie. If it had been up to the rest of the team Brian would have died.
Gibbs, however, saw exactly what was troubling his agent. It had taken some thinking on the older man's part, but he'd figured it out after the words his partner had said to him at the scene. The tortured look in his eyes….He'd broken Brian's arm to save the kid's life. Brian would have died in a blast of heat and shrapnel if he hadn't been able to pry him from the doomed car, but knowing Tony, the agent didn't see it that way.
He'd intentionally harmed a child.
"Just like my father." He'd said.
Gibbs sighed imperceptibly as he stared at DiNozzo's back. Tony was trying so hard to pretend he was 'fine'. Gibbs saw the bags under his eyes, the hurt and torn expression on his face 24/7. It was clear that Tony hadn't been sleeping lately and from the look of the empty trash can and the lack of complaints about stolen food- he hadn't eaten either.
Even just now, Tony was forcing a grin on his face for their benefit. If the man tried any harder his face would crack.
Fine my ass, Gibbs thought.
He'd been doing plenty of thinking. Plenty. He swapped hands with his nearly empty coffee cup as he straightened and checked his watch. Dropping the grin from his face and replacing it with a serious expression he began marching around DiNozzo's desk, headed towards his own.
"DiNozzo!" He barked. Tony jumped again, this time it was like electricity had shocked him. His mind had obviously been somewhere else and Tony's head jerked in every direction wildly as if he was unsure where he was. Concern raced through Gibbs before he spoke again, more gently this time.
"Someone's here to see you."
He watched Tony's eyebrow raise suspiciously, but before Gibbs could be interrogated the elevator intruded into the one-sided conversation with a high-pitched 'ding' that resounded through the lobby. Gibbs mentally patted himself on the back at his perfect timing.
All three members of his team swung their heads in the direction of the noise. Gibbs allowed a miniscule smile to creep back onto his features.
Tony was staring at the small figure rapidly approaching his desk as though he'd been struck across the face.
McGee's eyes were wide in surprise and Ziva had to lean around her desk to catch sight of the little boy and his mother emerging from the silver doors. Brian looked a little worse for wear, but healthy and alive.
He broke free of his mother's grasp as soon as he glimpsed Tony and flew across the bullpen towards the SFA, who still sat, stunned in his seat with a haunted, guilty look on his face. So many emotions were wrestling inside his agent and Gibbs read the urge to run and hide before it was hidden by a wall- the wall DiNozzo always put up when he could sense his own fragility.
Brian ran straight up to Agent Tony DiNozzo and around his desk to beam up at him from the ground. Tony had swiveled in his seat to observe the sturdy little man in front of him. His eyes, Gibbs noticed, were drawn to the shiny red cast fixed to Brian's left arm. It was dead silent for a couple of moments save for the sound of typing and copy machines in the office area.
The child's mother stood off to one side of the bullpen, a bit awkwardly, gratitude shining in her gaze. Tony's fingers were tangled with each other in a nervous knot with his other hand was still clinging to his desk as if to ground him.
Ziva and Tim, either curious or tense didn't make a sound.
Just as Gibbs' gut was beginning to scream that this was a horrible idea the kid suddenly reached into his pant's pockets, still smiling broadly and withdrew a brand new black sharpie. He thrust it at Tony in his clenched fist.
"Sign it." He demanded.
His tone explained that there was no room for argument. Tony, obviously frozen in shock looked at the sharpie in the boy's hand and then at the boy himself, his brow wrinkled in confusion. The boy impatiently waved the marker in front of Tony hero and suddenly the agent's face broke into a small smile, shoulders and back sagging a little from the tension that seemed to suddenly leave him.
Tony reached out for the marker and gently removed it from the boy's grasp.
Brian bounced on his toes. "I haven't let anyone else sign it yet! I wanted to make sure you were first!" He bragged.
Tony uncapped the marker and grinned. "Oh really?" He said, waggling his eyebrows mischievously.
"Yup, I wanted you to be first!" Brian repeated, nodding his head once.
Tony scooted the chair closer to Brian and leaned over the cast before slowly sitting upright again and looking around. His eyes suddenly lit up with the spark they'd been missing for the past couple of weeks and he bent over the obnoxiously red protective material and scrawling something on it in big black letters.
Gibbs caught sight of Brian's mother smiling softly and begin to make her way toward Tony.
"There you go, kid." Tony said softly. Brian's smile lit up his entire face and Tony couldn't help but return it as he relinquished the sharpie to its rightful owner.
"Thanks!" Brian hadn't even read the words on his cast, but his mother, who had just appeared behind her son spoke them out loud, "You are invincible~ Signed: Agent Tony DiNozzo."
The agent tensed and Gibbs could see the guilt creep up and grip his agent once again as he stared, lost, at the woman in front of him.
" I had to find the right words." He managed.
Her watery gaze met his. "Thank you." She said.
Taking her son's hand Mrs. Detweiler began to lead Brian away, but the little boy wrenched his hand free once again and raced back to Tony, wrapping his good arm around the agent's leg. Startled, Tony stopped, hands in the air and then relaxed as well, returning the embrace and his sanity with it.
Brian and his mother left the same way they came in, by using the elevator. Brian's red cast waving at them and one agent in particular as he made his exit.