A/N: Just a little one-shot. Don't want to spoil you so just read it, though I need to warn that some might need tissues before the end... just saying... No slash in this fic, but a father/son relationship between my favorite guys. Reviews are love, just so you know ;)
Tony wasn't quite sure how he'd gotten here, here being the door to his boss' basement.
He'd been on a long assignment that had taken him undercover on a navy carrier that had been used to smuggle guns into the states and then to South America. It had taken him three months before he'd gotten close enough to the guys running the ring to get any real evidence against them and then he'd ended up having to prove his worth to the head honchos on a delivery trip to Brazil.
The boat they had used for the delivery was old and had been on many waters, but it was still fast and reliable. The delivery went on without a hitch and Tony even had enough time to so some shopping to get something small for his teammates though to his 'comrades' he told the small trinkets were to his girlfriend.
On the way back from Brazil they'd hit some bad weather when a storm hit them full force. Somehow they obviously survived the storm and got back to DC but Tony wasn't sure what had happened during that time but now he was standing in his Gibbs' house and if anyone could help him the silver haired agent would. Besides he had to report that he was back and had managed to score enough evidence so they would be able to throw everyone involved in the gun-ring to the brick.
Reaching forward Tony pushed at the door and stepped to the dimply lit basement. He was surprised Gibbs saw well enough to work in the space that was currently lid by only one small lamp, but the older man wasn't really working on the boat.
Gibbs was sitting on the stool next to the boat with a glass of bourbon in hand, his gaze alternating between staring at the boat and the glass in his hand. Tony couldn't really see his face from the stairs but the man's whole body radiated melancholy and his frame was rigid with tension.
Tony frowned as he tried to think of a reason for the other man's mood, but came up empty. He knew this mission would be hard on both of them especially after they had grown much closer in the resent years so he knew the older man would be besides himself with worry though he probably wouldn't show it to anyone. Maybe that's what made Gibbs a better father figure his own father had ever been, his biological father would have acted all worried in front of an audience, but once alone, he wouldn't have cared less.
"I'm baaaack!" He decided to lighten the heavy mood with his usual upbeat attitude but for some reason the emotion felt hollow and apprehension coiled around his insides like a snake. Something wasn't right.
Tony frowned as Gibbs didn't even glance at him though his grip tightened around the glass so obviously he'd heard the words.
"Boss?" The new softer query got the same reaction as the previous words which made the apprehension worse and now it was joined with irrational fear.
"Please talk to me Boss. What's going on?" The desperation in the words obviously affected the other man as Gibbs closed his eyes tightly and Tony could see his shoulders sag as he sighed heavily.
"Why? It doesn't change anything." The words were spoken so softly that Tony had to strain to hear them but the sadness in them was clear as a day. Something definitely wasn't right.
"C'mon boss, I have no idea what you're talking about! I've been to Brazil and back with our scumbags and the return journey wasn't as nice as I would have hoped." Thinking that it would brighten the atmosphere even a little he added "But I still managed to get something for you..."
"Instead of scouting for souvenirs I would have rather have hoped for you to get home safely."
Now Tony was getting frustrated "But I got back safely!" He growled as he descended the rest of the stairs but all fight left him as he got a good look at Gibbs' face and saw the tears occasionally running down his creased face.
"No Tony, you never did." The agony in those blue eyes made him pause and for the first time he looked at himself.
His clothes were dripping wet and torn, there was blood on his pant leg and his skin was gray and cold.
"How?" The word was chocked as reality set in but Tony had to know, he was hoping he was dreaming and would wake up any minute now.
Gibbs took a deep breath and closed his eyes, more tears leaking from his eyes as he shook his head.
"Please tell me." Tony begged the other man, needing to hear the words even though he didn't want to, oh god he didn't want to hear the words he knew would come out of the older man's mouth.
"The boat you were on hit a bad storm. You were too far from the shore, you hit a rock that caused the boat to sink. No-one survived."
Tony sank to the floor, his head spinning and short gasps escaping his mouth. He remembered the storm, he remembered feeling so cold and then nothing.
He never made it.
"It's been weeks since then, at first we didn't find your body so we were all hoping. We didn't stop searching though every day it seemed we were losing hope. Then the day before yesterday we finally found you and brought you back, Ducky did the autopsy this morning."
The tears were now running freely from both men's eyes but neither cared.
"I just wanted to come home." Tony finally said and he realized that's what led him there in the first place. The last thing he'd thought before going under had been of coming home and seeing his dad one last time. "I just wanted to tell you I love you and that you've been the best father to me I've very had. I wanted to thank you for everything."
Gibbs looked at the shimmering form of the man he loved like a son and a sad smile graced his lips. "I love you too son, I'm so damned proud of you. I just wish I'd never let you go."
"I did my job, you know there was no way for you to know this would happen."
Needing to touch the other man Gibbs got up and moved over to Tony and knelt down next to him, he was expecting his searching had to encounter nothing but air, but surprisingly he was able to touch the man he thought o son.
Grabbing a hold of the younger man Gibbs dragged him to his arms and desperately held on, never wanting to let go because he knew that if he did, the man would be gone forever.
After a long time Tony felt himself starting to shimmer in and out of focus so he knew it was time to go.
"I think it's time."
"I'm so sorry Tony, I should have done something to stop this."
Tony shook his head at the words as he pulled away from the other man.
"Not your fault. Just take care of the others for me will you boss? Tell Abby I love her and tell McGee that he's a good man and was always like a brother to me, and tell Ziva and Ducky that I'll miss them."
Gibbs nodded "I will."
Just before he slipped to the other side Tony hugged Gibbs once more tightly and whispered in his ear. "Thank you dad for bringing me home."
As Gibbs was left alone in the empty room he wiped a hand over his eyes to try and stop the seemingly endless stream of tears and whispered into the emptiness "Semper Fi, son."