Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 1115
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo
Category(ies): Hurt/Comfort, Pre-Slash
Episode(s): 1-04 The Immortals
Summary: Tony is more observant than Gibbs would like.Fourth in the Julia Knows Best series.
Author Notes: Thanks to Anna for the beta.
Written for the NavyNCISFF episode tag challenge. This is fourth in the Julia Knows Best series. Earlier stories, Stranger (episode tag for Yankee White), Houseguest (episode tag for Hung Out To Dry), and Newfound Friends (Epsiode tag to Sea Dog). You can find the previous stories here.
It was somewhere over Virginia that his back started spasming and by the time they landed, he was in agony. He kept himself stony faced by sheer force of will, knowing he didn’t want the team intruding. He’d spent a few days in close quarters with Tony and Kate, and he was more conflicted than ever. He couldn’t believe he’d made a comment about Kate wearing the bikini and then when she’d slapped it into his hands, had said it would never fit him.
At least Kate hadn’t raised herself up to her five foot seven height and given him that repressed, self-righteous look that was quickly becoming her trademark. Tony, however, knew he was really rattled.
And now the explosion had knocked his back completely out. The force of the blow onboard wouldn’t have bothered him as much as it did, but coupled with the flights, his back had locked up, and then protested by spasming. His entire back would clench and relax, then ripple in an endless wave of agony. He needed some muscle relaxants and he needed his bed. A nice firm mattress would help get him back into fighting shape and nobody would be the wiser.
He’d called Julia and left a voicemail, but she hadn’t returned his call yet. There was no way he’d be able to drive until the spasms died down. Was this the weekend of that cruise she was taking Billy Fuentes on? All the days on board the ship had bled together for him and he was slightly disoriented. He hadn’t been able to sleep while flying, which wasn’t helping.
Gibbs muttered a goodbye to Kate and motioned Tony toward the front of the plane with a sharp jerk of his head that sent a shockwave down his back. If Gibbs feigned that he was talking to the pilot before disembarking, maybe Tony and Kate would leave and he’d be able to limp out without an audience.
“Bye, Kate,” Tony called, shooting her a shit-eating grin, before he turned to Gibbs. “Your car or mine, Boss?”
“What?” Gibbs asked, trying like hell to appear expressionless.
“Your car or mine. You’re in no shape to drive home.”
“I’m fine, DiNozzo,” Gibbs ground out.
“Bull!” Tony shot back cheerfully. “I know you, Boss. The skin by your eyes is extra tight and that vein that throbs in your forehead when you’re pissed or hurt is pulsing. What is it? Your back?”
“I’m fine,” Gibbs repeated.
“Liar. But I’ll let it pass ‘cause I got to go to Puerto Rico. The views were oh so fine there, Bossman. I mean, not that I looked, because I was on the job, but I had that two hour window when—“
“Shut up, DiNozzo.”
“Shutting up, Boss!” Tony grabbed Gibbs’ bag as well as his own, hefting them onto one shoulder. “You need to lean on me?” he asked, jokester persona gone and very capable agent in its place.
Gibbs stood slowly, shaking his head. It might be a stubborn move, but he’d walk as much as he could under his own power. “Just need to get home,” he muttered.
“Well, I can drive. Bet you have some Flexeril at home. You can pop the pills and lie down with a heating pad on your back and I’ll take care of everything. You know, I have a degree in Phys Ed and I had to learn about physiology and massage therapy and I learned a lot after the games in the locker room. You have no idea how much you get banged up. I had this groin pull once that—“
“Call Julia,” Gibbs interrupted.
“No can do. She’s on the cruise, remember? She texted me and asked what souvenirs I wanted.”
“She what?” Gibbs asked incredulously. “She’s buying you stuff?”
“Yeah, and Abby. She’s getting Abbs a pair of Mickey ears. How come she and Abbs have never met?”
“Because family and work don’t mix.” The clenching muscles in his jaw were running down his neck and into his back and Gibbs winced, limping slowly.
“Yeah, we do.”
Gibbs stopped, turning painfully toward Tony. “You don’t discuss Julia with anyone, got it? None of my family is to be discussed with anyone at work. Not Abbs, not Ducky. Got it? Have you said a word?”
“What? No! Julia told me that anything that happens at Casa Gibbs stays there. Kate keeps asking me about the mysterious redhead and I tell her I know nothing.” Tony was blinking rapidly, but there was no reason for Gibbs to think he was lying.
Gibbs settled painfully into his sedan and Tony began driving them home in silence, broken only by the question Gibbs had been waiting for Tony to ask.
“Because it’s my past, DiNozzo. Don’t want pity; don’t want to be known for it. Don’t want it used as an excuse for why I’m the way I am.”
“Got it, Boss,” Tony said quietly. Gibbs closed his eyes, hoping to avoid conversation. He was just about to drift off when he felt Tony’s hand settle above his knee, giving his thigh a gentle squeeze. He started to protest, but the human to human contact felt good.
“Get some rest, Boss. I’ll drive real slow and not jerk your back at all.” Tony’s voice was mellow and somehow strangely soothing. The other man started to hum almost inaudibly, the sound wrapping around Gibbs. Even though his back was miserable, he found his head drifting off toward the left, only slowing when it met a muscled bicep. Gibbs knew he should move, that he was resting his cheek against Tony’s arm, but he was so relaxed…
“Hey, Gibbs. Boss, we’re at your place.” The gentle voice brushed over Gibbs’ consciousness and he opened his eyes, lifting his head. Had he really fallen asleep on DiNozzo’s arm as the other man was squeezing his thigh?
And did he have…?
Gibbs blinked twice. Oh yeah, he’d gotten rock hard while sleeping. He hoped Tony hadn’t noticed, but it was really obvious. And would be even worse when he stood up.
Tony came around to his side of the car, pulling Gibbs gently to his feet, eyes flicking downward and then back up, a slight stain coloring Tony’s cheeks. “Come on, let’s get you to bed. Baby steps, Gibbs. You’ll be fine.”
“Baby steps,” he repeated, wondering what Julia would think of all of this.