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Pen Switching Hands

by: ObscuredMemory (Send Feedback)

Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 7711
Rating: TEEN
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo
Category(ies): Action/Adventure, Angst/Drama, First Time, Fluff, Humor, Hurt/Comfort, Romance
Pairing(s): Gibbs/DiNozzo

Author Notes: Spoilers: General ones for SWAK, Hiatus (Part II). Takes place one year post-Season 7 - no spoilers.
Spoilers for the movie Moulin Rouge. I highly recommend it, but all you really need to know about it to understand the references it that it is a musical starring Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman. The story takes place in France in the 1900s, where the Bohemian Revolution has swept over the nation, the themes of which are truth, beauty, freedom, and above all: love. Christian, a lonely writer, is shown at a typewriter. He is writing about his lost love, Satine, and their love that could never truly be. She was a courtesan at the nightclub Moulin Rouge and he was writing the script of a play she was to star in. She was owed to a wealthy Duke holding the deeds to the nightclub and his views of love were so deep they were exaggerated. Their love would never be able to happen, but they still tried. I HIGHLY suggest that you watch this movie, but it's no biggie if you haven't.

Chapters: 1

He felt hands on his body and heard distant sirens and all he could think was, Fuck, not again.

He knew that the risk came with the job, but this was honestly a little excessive. He would run out of hands to count the number of times this had happened. He'd need to borrow one of the hands currently pressing down on his shoulder. Tony was simply tired of getting shot. It just wasn't a pleasant experience! There was the sound and the pain and the hospital was an entirely unpleasant ordeal.

Besides all that, who gets shot on a crime scene? The scene was secured and was not particularly dangerous to start. They were called out of their beds at the tender hour of 0600 to McPherson Square because a dead Petty Officer was discovered by the memorial by a couple on their morning run. The park was wet and muddy because of the previous night's rain and their crime scene was destroyed, which probably didn't matter too much because it probably wasn't the primary crime scene. Four stab wounds to the gut would bleed and there was no blood at the scene.

There was the sound of tires screeching and the sirens neared. Tony still felt the hands on him -- Gibbs' hands, he noted. He could tell by how certain the pressure was. Gibbs was shouting some drivel about staying with him like people always did when they assumed a person was dying.

Tony snickered softly and managed to wretch his eyes open enough to stare at Gibbs. He was pale and furious and concerned -- worse that Tony had seen him in a long time. When he met Tony's eyes, his fury dissipated and was replaced with pure worry.

The pressure on his chest increased at his snicker. It must have come out a little more pained that he'd intended because Gibbs was trying even harder to staunch the blood-flow. He glanced to his right where Tony guessed paramedics were rushing towards him.

What had exactly happened? Oh, well he knew that too well. In fact, he was trying to tell Gibbs to get the fuck away from the area but couldn't bring his lips to move. The bullet, well, bullets, were not meant for Tony. The little red laser dot appeared on Gibbs' back, not Tony's. He'd simply reacted, glancing towards the area where the laser was originating before grabbing Gibbs and jumping in the path of the sniper's fire.

He was lucky that he got the bullets in the shoulder. No -- one was in his shoulder. The other felt like it went in a little more to the right. If he hadn't got in the path in time, Gibbs would be dead. What was it with people wanting Gibbs dead?

"You're going to be fine, Tony," Gibbs said. His usual authoritative tone was cracked slightly with concern. Tony tried to grin up at his boss, who was shouting something about the paramedics not moving fast enough. It came out as a grimace.

"Is that an order, Boss?" he slurred.

He was beginning to feel cold and wondered if it was just his movie cliché mentality. Moulin Rouge was on television the previous night and he never turned down an opportunity to watch it. Sure, he had it on DVD, but there was still something charming and enthralling about watching a movie on a commercial free channel when it happened to roll around on the networks radar. Satine had said that she was cold just before dying, hadn't she? Not that comparing himself to a twentieth century French courtesan was exactly appropriate, it was simply the first movie reference that came to mind because it was the last movie he watched.

"It sure as hell is."

He heard the running footsteps of the paramedics and missed the rest of Gibbs' response. He actually missed a lot because he was fairly sure that he slipped into unconsciousness the next minute.

Maybe he wasn't unconscious. His mind was still working, wasn't it? Yes, yes it was. He was currently trying to go over the details of the incident. Gibbs would want his report as soon a possible.

Well, as soon as possible may have to wait a few days, but Tony was always a quick healer. Even if he did have to stay in the hospital, he could always borrow McGee's laptop and type up the report. Laptops were allowed in hospitals, weren't they? Yeah, especially the up-to-date ones. GWUH was fairly modern in comparison to most. And they were definitely heading to that hospital -- it was the closest.

Tony tried to focus on the task he'd set himself to instead of the pain. He recounted his day.

He was woken up by his cellphone ringing directly next to his ear. He'd gone to sleep fairly late after Moulin Rouge had finished. That was about...0100. Thinking back, staying up just to watch a musical was probably a little girly of him, but he didn't care. It was a damn good movie and Ewan McGregor was absolutely delicious. That was hardly the point. He groaned and flipped over, only to hear Gibbs' gruff and equally as tired voice growling out instructions at him through the phone. He made some offhand comment about Gibbs and a late night and received a dial tone in return. He dragged himself up and got dressed quickly, having had a shower shortly before he crashed earlier in the day.

He got to the crime scene and nothing was off. Besides the obvious dead body that was leaning against the monument, of course. There was no blood at the scene and the four stab wounds appeared to be the cause of death. There was no blood around the wounds, however, so they could have been post-mortem. Either that or the blood was washed away by the rain.

Gibbs and him walked over to question to the couple that found the body and Tony had been walking a few steps behind him. He had been surprisingly quiet, but that was just fatigue playing in. He was absolutely exhausted.

Gibbs had barely started introducing himself when Tony saw the tiny red dot almost in the middle of his back, right over where his heart was. He swivelled around quickly to the general direction of the laser and saw a dark-haired man holding a sniper rifle. He didn't even think. He just grabbed Gibbs and put himself in the way of the bullets. One pierced through his shoulder then, as he stumbled forward, another through his back. He remembered that there was no sound from the gunshot. The rifle had to have a silencer on it because the only sound was the slight thump as the bullet tore through his skin.

Gibbs had shouted an irritated, "What the hell, DiNozzo?" before he realised that Tony was only standing because of the hand he had on Gibbs' shoulder. Tony fell to the ground and Gibbs' tone changed entirely, although he did still shout his last name. Since then, he'd only heard his first name followed by a string of pleadings for him to stay conscious. Which he sort of did, didn't he? He was as conscious as was probably healthy or possible at the moment.

When finally swam back into true consciousness he was in an ambulance and he could still smell Gibbs. Was it odd that he was so accustomed to Gibbs' scent that he could pick it out of a line-up? Yeah, probably.

It was noisy. Someone said something about five minutes to the university hospital and someone said something else about the inevitable blood transfusions. People were exchanging words and there were hands all over his chest and back to stop the bleeding. There was also the familiar growl coming from his right that couldn't be anyone except Gibbs. The ambulance obviously wasn't driving fast enough for him, and Tony had to smile lightly at the thought. Maybe Gibbs would commandeer the vehicle.

Then he frowned. Was he dying? Would he die? There was a bullet in his shoulder and another somewhere in his chest. He was breathing fine so it must have missed his lung. It still hurt like hell. The pain wasn't bearable. It was so painful that he almost couldn't feel it, actually. No -- that wasn't right. He couldn't feel the one in his shoulder. That one could have been a through-and-through shot. The other one did hurt and it must have obliterated the pain of the other bullet wound. He was bleeding and in pain and he couldn't wait for some fucking morphine, despite how much he usually hated taking painkillers.

"Boss..." Tony managed to gasp out. Someone, who he now knew to be Gibbs, tightened his hand on Tony's right.

This was cliché. Tony was absolutely torn. It was so terribly cliché and completely sappy that he couldn't believe he was considering it, but he was. If these really were his dying moments and he'd never see Gibbs again, he wanted him to know.

He chuckled at the ridiculousness of his own thoughts. Someone must have taken it wrong because an oxygen mask was suddenly slipped over his mouth. It wasn't his fault that his attempt at a hearty chuckle came out as a hacking cough. He tried to talk but couldn't, and he couldn't move his left arm. What about his right? He flexed his fingers and Gibbs loosened his grip. Tony tugged his hand out of his grasp and raised his hand to the oxygen mask. He managed to pull it off, only to have it snapped back on. An EMS reprimanded him and he rolled his eyes at her. The circular rotation only gave him a headache.

Gibbs growled at the paramedic and lifted the mask off for him, and Tony smiled. He hated those damn oxygen masks. He needed to tell Gibbs. It was cliché and ridiculous, yes, but he was getting weaker and he wouldn't be one of those people who were too cowardly to confess their feelings before they kicked the bucket. Sure, confessing them on what could be his deathbed was also rather cowardly, but he'd take what he could get. It was too late for him to begin being courageous.

Tony grabbed Gibbs' hand again and squeezed, fighting to stay conscious long enough to tell him. If he did get out alive, he could always say that the pain was making him delirious and that he didn't know what he was saying. That was even more cowardly than the deathbed confession, but he didn't really care. He liked his job. His vision swam again and the darkness threatened to take over his body. He met Gibbs' eyes for what he hoped wasn't the last time.

"I...I love you, Boss."

Then there was black.


Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.

God, what the fucking hell is that beeping sound? Tony wondered. Not out loud, for some reason. That instantly troubled him. He wasn't normally one to keep complaints at annoying beeping sounds to himself. He tried to move his tongue to form the words and found his entire mouth felt too heavy. Too fuzzy. God, when did he last brush his teeth? His mouth tasted disgusting!

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.

Well, at least the beeps are consistent, Tony reasoned. They were paced and steady. If they had been erratic then Tony would have had an even bigger problem with them than he currently had. Maybe if he just opened his eyes he'd be able to locate that goddamn beeping sound and put a stop to it.

...Nope. No such luck. His eyes were not going to open. The lids felt even heavier than his lips. He had to wonder why someone would want to glue his eyes shut. He was trained in the art of getting on people's nerves -- did he push it too far? If that was the case, who the hell did he piss off? It must have been Gibbs. Gluing shut someone's eyes seemed like something he would do. In his case, Gibbs probably should have glued closed his mouth. Tony was a lot more annoying when he spoke than when he stared. Maybe Gibbs did, since he couldn't actually move his mouth either.

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.

All right, the beeping was getting on his nerves. Where could he possibly be that they would have such an annoying and incessant beeping noise as background music?

Oh. Oh. Oh! He was in the hospital. Memories of the day whooshed back into him like a vacuum cleaner picking up particles of dust. He was alive. Well, obviously if he was sitting and being annoyed by the beep of what was probably a heart monitor he was alive. He couldn't do that if he was dead. There wouldn't be a heart monitor around if he was dead.

He did feel a bit of pain, but had to be on morphine. There was a numbing fuzz around the edges of the pain. He felt...tingly. It was probably a good idea that he couldn't talk, because if he could he'd probably sound as high as a kite and sprout bullshit.

Speaking of sprouting bullshit...Tony would have groaned if he could have made a sound. He'd told Gibbs about his completely unprofessional feelings for him. What the hell had he been thinking? Gibbs had ordered him to be fine. He never disobeyed a direct order from Gibbs, what made him think that he'd start by dying? God, he was so stupid. And Gibbs was going to kill him. The very second he recovered and got out of the hospital, Gibbs was going to get his own sniper rifle and shoot Tony in the head. Abby wouldn't help him hide the body but he may have been able to coerce Ziva into helping.

Well...maybe not. He'd saved his life -- that had to count for something, right? Maybe he'd just get fired. Beat up and fired. If he was lucky, just beat up. He liked his job, he didn't want to lose it. He'd rather get the crap beat out of him than try to find a new job.

He wasn't that lucky, of course. If he didn't get killed he'd definitely get wondered if Fornell would hire him. Tony had received a job offer from him before and never bothered to rescind it when Tony told him that he wouldn't work for someone who tried to put him away for murder. That offer could very well still be on the table.

He was a great agent, but working for the FBI...that would piss Gibbs off more than working with an agent who was also in love with him. No, if Tony got out alive he'd need to find an organisation outside of the FBI. He didn't think that he could go back to being a cop after spending nine years of his life working for Gibbs. He'd need to find an equally as ass-riding (figuratively, unfortunately) boss in some government organisation in order to even be satisfied. No pun intended.

Maybe he'd still be able to chalk his confession down to delirium. Pain made people say crazy things, and pain was one of the most common causes of delirium, after drugs and lack of sleep.

He tried to wake himself up further. His still mostly asleep state meant that most of his nerves were also still snoozing under the pressure of the anaesthetic. He had feeling back in his face and mouth, but not yet his eyes. He could feel his right arm, but that was also the one that didn't have a bullet hole in it. After a moment, he regained the feeling in his left arm and...

Oh. There was a hand holding his. Two hands, actually. One was underneath his palm and the other was above. He recognised the hands at the same time as he recognised the scent of the owner of the hands. The rough, gun and boat calloused hands were Gibbs'. The scent of sawdust and coffee assaulted his nostrils and that really made the moment. Gibbs wouldn't be sitting here, holding his hand, if he knew what Tony felt for him. He'd be at NCIS, working on the case and binge-drinking coffee. Instead he was here babysitting Tony for God-knows what reason.

Tony smiled lightly to himself. He didn't care why Gibbs was here. He was just glad he was. Maybe he simply hadn't said what he thought he said. Maybe Gibbs didn't hear him over the noise of the ambulance. He didn't care that it was happy-- he was at least a happy coward. And he was slightly high, but he focussed on the happy part for the moment.

The feeling was back in his eyes and mouth and, after a considerable amount of effort, Tony managed to wrench open his eyes. He recoiled minutely and his heart monitor sped up very slightly. The lights were a little too bright for his liking. After another moment, he reopened his eyes and kept them open. When he glanced to his left, he couldn't help the smile that graced his face.

Gibbs was holding his hand, but he'd already established that. What he didn't know and hadn't expected was that Gibbs was asleep with his head on the too-small bed next to Tony's hip. He knew that his boss hadn't slept well and was just as tired as he'd been getting to the crime scene, but the image was still beautiful.

Tony tried to shift his body to give his boss some more room, but the sniper instincts chose that moment to kick in and Gibbs bolted awake, his head flying up and off of the bed faster than Tony could blink. Gibbs' alert expression softened when he saw that it was just Tony in the room and that he was awake.

Much to his surprise (and glee), Gibbs did not let go of Tony's hand. His grip just tightened as he squeezed his hand. It was a reassuring action and Tony wasn't even antsy to start.

"'R you 'kay?" Tony asked. He had no clue if the sniper had got Gibbs also, but he appeared unharmed. He was also annoyed at how slow and slurred his speech was. He sat up straighter and cleared his throat, which was rather sore because of the tube that was stuffed down his through for the extraction of the bullet. Ugh. He hated surgery. He also wondered where the bullet ended up.

Gibbs suddenly looked annoyed. "Well, yeah, DiNozzo. I'm not the one who got shot." Tony just grinned at him. He loved it when Gibbs was exasperated. He loved it when Gibbs was Gibbs. He loved Gibbs. It was terribly corny, but it was true. Then he frowned. The bullets were meant for Gibbs -- didn't he know that yet?

"Twice. Got shot twice," Tony corrected, still not extremely lucid. He shook his head to clear it and his head just throbbed. Ow. "'M jus' glad you didn't get shot. The bullets were for you, y'know. I saw the...pretty little dot on your back. Evil dot, but it was still shiny and real pretty. The sniper was gonna kill you, Boss."

Oh God. Tony knew how ridiculous he sounded, giggling about how adorable the dot that nearly killed Gibbs was. And him, he reminded himself belatedly. He was the one who lost all the blood.

Gibbs removed the top hand from Tony's and he had to stop himself from frowning. His smile picked back up and his heart monitor did too when Gibbs laced their fingers together instead.

" took those bullets for me?" he asked, sounding surprised. That made Tony annoyed. Gibbs shouldn't be surprised. Who wouldn't take a bullet for him? Well, Tony could think of a few thousand people, but that was beside the point. They weren't important.

"'Course I did. Don' know what I'd do without ya, Boss," Tony said, trying to keep his annoyance out of his voice. He glanced at his right arm where the IV drip was attached. He wanted to pull it out but didn't want to let go of Gibbs' hand. Since his right arm didn't exactly bend that was, he decided that he could live for a few moments sky high. Besids, he didn't know when he'd get the chance to hold Gibbs' hand ever again and wouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. He was just lucky that he hadn't said what he'd thought he said before passing out.

"You'd call campfires and annoy the hell out of McGee." Tony giggled through his annoyance at how flippant Gibbs was. Yeah, he probably would do that.

"Nah. I'd probably end up working for Fornell. I like you way too much to keep working and know you weren't coming back." Tony paused to realise exactly what he'd said. What was he doing? Confessing? Now? No, bad idea. "Ignore me, Boss. I need less morphine."

Gibbs smiled at him in the Gibbsian way that always made his heart beat a little faster. And damn, he was hooked up to a heart monitor, so he heard the increase as well. He blushed and hoped Gibbs didn't notice. What was he thinking? This was Gibbs, of course he noticed.

"I like ya too, DiNozzo. A nurse will be in to check on you in a moment, I get her to turn down the drug supply."

It could have just been the narcotics, but Tony grinned brilliantly at the first of Gibbs' statements. He already knew that Gibbs liked him, it was just elating to hear.

"What happened with the...stabby case?" Tony asked, screwing up his eyes in order to remember what exactly had happened. It felt like it had been days. Gibbs shrugged slightly.

"Open and shut. The vic's cell records showed he made a call to his sister around his predicted time of death. Ziva brought her in for questioning and before she could even ask what they'd been talking about, the woman broke down and confessed. Even told us where she hid the murder weapon." Tony chuckled lightly, his eyes still wide in happiness from Gibbs' earlier comment.

Tony narrowed his eyes suddenly and he tried to ignore the gaze that flashed to him. He was thinking hard through his slight haze. Something didn't quite fit. Not with the case, with his emotions. They were...wrong. His emotions were wrong. Why was he upset? He should have been glad that Gibbs didn't hear him and that he wasn't going to get killed/fired/beat up. Why wasn't he?

On one hand, Gibbs not hearing him meant that Tony would get to keep his job and his life. That was always nice to know. On the other hand, Gibbs not knowing meant that Tony had to go on with his life working next to the man he was in love with and killing himself from the inside out in the process.

What was that hand thinking? What good would come of telling Gibbs? One word about him loving his boss and he was screwed. If he dared to be optimistic, he could be literally screwed. Being optimistic was ridiculous and the sheer idea of Gibbs possibly returning the feelings was as close to impossible as things got. So he was either cowardly and alive or honest and dead. There shouldn't have even been any dispute.

"Tony?" Gibbs asked. The rest of his question was cut off when the (unattractive) nurse entered his room.

They got his morphine turned down and he felt less high, even though he could feel the pain a lot worse now. He didn't mind -- as crazy as it probably sounded he liked to be able to feel how he saved Gibbs. It felt nearly as good as the hand in his hand, which still hadn't let go.

He felt...good. Yes, he had just been shot and very likely almost died. Yes, he was in serious pain. Yes, he would probably be stuck on desk duty for a little while. All these factors did play into his mood, but he was still the luckiest bastard in the world. He'd saved Gibbs' life and he was holding his hand. He was wearing a big dopey smile on his face but he didn't really care. He could still chalk it down to the drugs.

After the (unattractive) nurse left, Gibbs turned back and raised an eyebrow. Oh. So he hadn't forgotten Tony's contemplative and annoyed silent pause. Not that he expected him to -- this was Gibbs, after all.

"Aha, nothing, nothing. Just thinking. Where did the second bullet end up?" he asked. Gibbs noticed the abrupt change in subject but didn't comment. Yet, at least.

"Lodged in your collarbone and missed your lungs. You were damn lucky. Did you see the shooter?" Gibbs asked. Tony cheered internally. They were steering away from the subject of his sudden thoughtfulness.

He made a motion asking Gibbs to give him a moment. The fuzz was fading more and the pain was being pushed to the forefront of his mind, but at least this way he could concentrate without needing to tell Gibbs how amazing he is every ten seconds.

"Barely. He was crouched and far away, so I can't even begin to accurately estimate at his height. He had brown hair and was, if memory serves, fairly gangly. He didn't look like the type of person who would know how to shoot with a sniper's rifle. In fact, he didn't look much out of his teens. Maybe he wasn't. Nineteen? Either way, he was packing heat. Mmh...can't remember anything else. He was far away. Think you can spring me, Boss? I hate hospitals."

The sudden change in topic earned him a slight flinch from Gibbs, followed by then a look of compassion. He knew better than anyone why Tony hated hospitals.

When he was asleep in a hospital bed without the aid of anaesthetics, he always had nightmares about spacey rooms and blue UV-lights. He was always hacking up blood in the dreams and when he woke up he usually looked worse than when he went to sleep.

He still occasionally had those nightmares in his own bed. After really tough cases when he just needed to crash, sometimes he ended up wishing he hadn't. Nightmare after nightmare after nightmare trekked through his brain on nights like those. The plague was just one genre of those dreams. There were ones, memories sort of, from when he got kidnapped or shot or stabbed or almost killed in any number of ways. Kate's death was still a common theme -- he often woke up trying to scrub off blood that wasn't there. There were the nightmares about Jeanne, but those were lessening. They only came around when there was a case of love lost because of lies, and even then they sometimes didn't.

As bad as all those nightmares were, none of them could be classed as the worst. There was a certain genre of nightmares that would always wake him up abruptly. Before that merciful jolt, however, it was pure and seemingly never-ending torture. What was really only a half-hour felt like years. When he escaped he always awoke in a cold sweat. Sometimes there were tear tracks on his cheeks and other times he was screaming, but the cold sweat was consistent.

These particular nightmares were classed as Gibbs-mares. He knew the name was less creative than the plot for Speed 2: Cruise Control. God, what made him watch that movie? No -- that was beside the point. He was speaking of Gibbs-mares, which were even worse than that pitiful sequel.

Gibbs-mares were as wide in variety as they were in the amount of terror they provoked in Tony. Most were of him leaving again. Leaving or dying. At least when he left there was a small possibility of him coming back, but when he died? Not a fucking chance, except perhaps for those who believed in the supernatural. Tony didn't

The worst part about dreaming of Gibbs' death, besides the actual death of course, were the words he said before breathing his dying breath. There were always words and they were always directed towards him. When he woke up it tears, it was because the last words out of Gibbs' mouth before his eyes clouded over were, 'Semper Fi'.

When Gibbs had said, 'Semper Fi,' before leaving NCIS for what everyone (except Tony and Abby) thought would be forever, Tony had needed to excuse himself because he couldn't let himself break down in front of his team. Tony prided himself on being a strong and capable man. DiNozzos don't cry, that was the law. However, when Gibbs looked him in the eyes that one time and said the two words he'd nearly believed to be the last they exchanged, he couldn't not cry. He excused himself and walked towards the elevator. He pushed the button and waited impatiently for the car to drop Gibbs off downstairs. When it reached the bullpen, he stepped in, closed the doors, and pushed the button for Autopsy. Partway down, he pulled the emergency stop lever on himself and sat down and just sobbed.

Those Gibbs-mares may have been another thing pressuring him to tell Gibbs. They reminded him of how fleeting life was, especially in their line of work. Either of them could die any day -- today was just another example of that. To lose Gibbs in his nightmares was one thing, but today he'd almost lost him in real life.

It would have been...agony. Sheer agony to lose Gibbs. If he were to try to measure it out...he'd need to think about it. All right: take his Jeanne fiasco. Multiple that by nine years. Take that new answer and multiply it by, say, 2000 cups of fetched coffee. Take that and multiply it by a million shared secrets, moments and smiles. Then multiply it by the seventeen times he stayed over at Gibbs' house and some five thousand headslaps. Multiple that by the distance in feet between their desks and the number of 'DiNozzo!'s Gibbs had shouted since they met. Add on the gentler, 'Tony's and the number of times Gibbs had his six. Throw in a bottle of bourbon and a bulk box of hazelnut creamer for good measure...

Yeah. The Jeanne fiasco didn't begin to measure up. The mere comparison made his entire chapter with her nearly obsolete. Yes, it had hurt, but he made it through. He was almost certain he wouldn't live through Gibbs' death. NCIS would have ended up losing two agents in the same week.

He must have looked absolutely devastated because Gibbs cupped his face in his hand. Tony very nearly flinched in surprise. His green eyes, which were probably full of despair, met blue ones filled with concern.

He vaguely remembered Gibbs mouth moving and barely remembered hearing words come out, but he couldn't for the life of him recall what it was Gibbs said. It was obviously important enough to merit a hand to his cheek. Whatever Gibbs' goal was in placing aforementioned hand on Tony, he succeeded. Tony would answer whatever question he asked as long as he didn't cut the contact. Now their hands were laced together and Gibbs was cupping his cheek. What did he do to deserve this? Oh...well, he got shot. He supposed that earned him some leeway in the path of life. He'd been shot before and nothing this amazing ever happened afterwards.

"You okay?" Gibbs asked, his voice as concerned as his eyes. It was sort of nice to see Gibbs open like this. It reminded Tony that he wasn't superman, try as he might sometimes. He couldn't save everyone and he wasn't impervious to onslaughts of emotions that everyone else often got struck by.

Feeling bold, Tony raised that hand that was not holding Gibbs' and placed it over the hand cupping his cheek, gently keeping it in place. He did look down shyly as he realised how forward he was being, but Gibbs didn't seem to mind. He met his eyes straight on again. He found the icy blue as calming as it was cooling. He'd seen it as dangerous and murderous, so seeing the other extreme was...well, he was a lucky man. Apart from being shot.

"Yeah. I'm just...glad you're alive," Tony said. He knew how ridiculous he sounded, but at least this wasn't as cliché as his deathbed confession had been. Although it hadn't been his deathbed and he apparently never confessed anything, the principle was the same.

In movies, this never happened. A federal agent throwing himself in the path of a sniper's bullet? That wasn't unheard of. The intended victim was his boss? There was probably a movie with that as a secondary theme, at least. The federal agent being in love with aforementioned and equally as male boss? Yeah, that just didn't happen. Although the deathbed confession was a total cliché, the recovery hospital bed scene never went like this. People didn't say, "I'm glad you're alive." They usually said, "I'm glad you're all right/okay/fine/safe." Nowhere did you hear, "I'm glad you're alive," when matched up with the other elements of this moment. The recovery hospital scene also often included a lot of making out and confessions, and that most certainly wasn't happening.

For once in his life, Tony couldn't relate his predicament to a movie. It felt like freedom. Like he was in his own movie where he was the star, the producer and the writer all at the same time. He could do whatever he wanted. It was him and only him.

Sure, what happened in his movie did depend on the other individual actors' roles, but it was still a moment that was all him. Gibbs could do something totally unexpected right now to throw the storyline off its track and it would still never be able to be compared to a movie!

Gibbs dragged over his chair and leaned closer, and Tony literally heard the heart monitor skip a beat. Gibbs must have heard it too because he smirked lightly at the missed sound. When that missed beat passed and his heartbeat resumed, it continued at twice its previous speed and Gibbs heard that also. He hated those damn monitors. They were ruining his movie!

"I'm glad you're alive too, Tony."

There was a twist in his gut that had absolutely nothing to do with nausea and his heart sped up more when he realised what was happening. Gibbs was about to do something totally unexpected to throw the storyline off its track.

Gibbs was an inch away from him when he paused. He was waiting for confirmation, waiting for an exclamation to protest what was about to happen. Tony couldn't move. He couldn't breathe. Gibbs took the lack of response at face value and closed the distance between them and all Tony could think was, Finally.

This kiss started out as a simple press of dry, slightly chapped, lips. This emphasised how badly he needed something to drink and his rational mind promised to get some water or ice chips once this moment passed. His less rational but completely in-the-moment mind was too busy trying to not go insane because of all the sensations in his body.

Wait -- why was Gibbs doing this? It was completely out of character. He was Gibbs, a straight Marine who was married four times. Why would he be kissing Tony, his male subordinate? Was it out of pity? Was it because he felt bad about Tony taking that bullet for him? Did he feel somehow obligated to at least kiss him off?

Tony let his eyes slip shut and suddenly didn't care why Gibbs was kissing him. Gibbs never did anything he didn't want to do, so therefore he did want to kiss Tony and Tony sure as hell would never turn down an opportunity like this one.

He removed the hand that was on Gibbs and let it curl around his neck. His mouth opened as he felt the tip of Gibbs' tongue swipe across his lips. He pulled the older man closer and their open mouths collided in a kiss that Tony swore moved the Earth into another galaxy. He could hear the heart monitor working overdrive and his shoulder hurt like hell from the physical activity, but when he felt Gibbs' tongue curl around his he couldn't bring himself to care.

Gibbs didn't pull away until several seconds after a shocked nurse gasped at the sight. When he did, Tony snagged his bottom lip between his teeth, eliciting a groan out of Gibbs that no amount of money could ever convince Tony to remove from his mind. He released the lip and memorised the groan, opening up his eyes to meet the familiar icy blue ones.

Gibbs was inches away and smiling in a manner so playful that Tony was instantly hard, even through the pain. His hand was still on Tony's cheek and his other hand was still holding his. Tony didn't remove his hand from the spot he wished it would permanently stay on Gibbs' neck. It was the perfect moment. No movie could begin to compare to that kiss or that moment. And while in movies, kisses tended to end or disturb the plot, this kiss seemed to fit in like nothing in his life ever had before.

It did sort of feel like Moulin Rouge, except without the dying and tuberculosis and heartbreak. There really were no similarities when you looked at the surface, but underneath all the themes were basically the same. He was probably only using this comparison again because it was the first movie on his mind, but it still fit.

They were two people who were not supposed to fall in love. Sure, Gibbs probably wasn't in love with him, but he would grow to because the pen was in Tony's hand now. He was writing the story. The confession of love had been unexpected and almost withdrawn, but it was acknowledged soon enough after to assure the confessor that the feelings were not unrequited. Sure, Gibbs probably couldn't sing and Tony wasn't exactly Nicole Kidman, but it was the principle.

Everything Christian and Satine did wrong, Gibbs and Tony were doing right so far. It felt so good, so...perfect. They weren't too late. Gibbs wasn't left alone in the world to write a book about a love that was never pursued. Not that Gibbs would ever write a book -- again, it was the principle.

He knew he sounded sappy, even in his head, but he couldn't help it. He also couldn't help the grin that bubbled out right from his heart and slashed across his face. Or the tiny giggles that followed the grin. Or the giggles that turned into wholehearted laughter in the crook of Gibbs' neck as he listened to Gibbs' breathy laugh by his ear.

When his laughter finally calmed enough for him to pull away and look Gibbs in the eyes, he still couldn't wipe the grin off of his face. He'd just kissed Gibbs! Technically, since Gibbs started it, he kissed him. The point was that he had just kissed the man he'd been in love with for three and a half years and he hadn't even initiated it.

"I...ha," he let another short puff of laughter escape. "I guess you heard me. In the ambulance," Tony clarified, in case Gibbs didn't get it.

Another press of the lips later and Gibbs drew away. He didn't unclasp their hands, even though he did lower the hand cupping Tony's cheek. In was unromantic but he would have got a cramp in his arm if he hadn't.

"Loud and clear. I'm glad you always knew when to follow orders -- I might have had to kill you myself if you didn't make it and deprived me of this moment." Although it technically didn't make sense (how could Gibbs kill him if he were already dead?), it made more sense to Tony than anything that had happened all day.

"Why Boss, I would never disobey a direct order!" Tony exclaimed in mock disbelief. His voice was still breathy and his heart rate was accelerated, but he honestly couldn't remember a time when he'd been happier.

The nurse who had been frozen at the door finally came in. She wasn't the pug-faced one from earlier. This one was actually very attractive. If he hadn't just had his brain kissed mostly to mush by Gibbs, he probably would have flirted with her. She was clearly flustered (and perhaps a tad bit aroused), but still managed to fuss at Tony about getting his heart rate up too high and breaking the stitches and opening the wounds -- stuff like that.

Once she left, Tony looked back at Gibbs and grinned again. Maybe the grin had never left his face. Gibbs gave him one of his absolutely breathtaking smiles in return that Tony once believed were only reserved for him. Now they might be.

"I should get shot more often if I get kissed like that afterwards," Tony commented. He'd been asking for it and even bowed his head to give Gibbs better access. The infamous Gibbs-slap that he loved almost as much as Gibbs. Except this was more like a tap, because he clearly didn't want to ruin the moment they currently had going on.

When Gibbs stood up and let go of his hand, Tony tried not to look too devastated. His irrational mind was panicking. Was this a trick? Was Gibbs screwing with him? Was this an anaesthetic-induced dream? Gibbs saw the panic and rolled his eyes, leaning over to capture Tony's lips in a chaste yet still romantic kiss.

"I'll go see if we can get you out of here early. The doc probably wants you to stay for twenty-four hours, but a shot of antibiotics and some painkillers and we can be out of here sooner than that." Tony's grin just grew at how well Gibbs knew him. Standard protocol said that he'd need to stay for observation for a full twenty-four hours, but since joining NCIS he learned that bypassing protocol wasn't particularly difficult when you hold the title of federal agents.

When Gibbs' expression switched from cocky and confident to vulnerable, Tony's stomach wrenched in a mostly-good way. His voice came out authoritative, but it still sounded slightly unsure. "You will be staying at my house until you want to leave."

The cockiness was returned to his face the second Tony's grin doubled in size. Was it possible for a smile like his to grow any larger? Apparently it was, and it was beginning to hurt. Still, he couldn't stop. The invitation was unmistakably there. It was palpable. Gibbs was the only person who could ever get away with inviting someone to move in with him after one (mind-blowing) kiss.

"I hope you know that an undetermined timeline like that could very well end up being permanent when it comes to me, Boss," Tony teased, knowing that Gibbs already knew that. The smile he got in return was well-worth any of his own insecurities.

"What if I said I didn't mind?" Gibbs asked, stopping at the door of the room.

"Then I'd say that we need my TV, my DVD player, and a copy of Moulin Rouge."

Gibbs paused. He opened his mouth like he was going to ask, then snapped it shut and shook his head to himself. Maybe somethings were better off unasked. Besides, if Tony would insist on bringing over his television and DVD player, Gibbs might end up being roped into finding out exactly what the non-sequitor meant firsthand.

Tony leaned back comfortably against the pillows as he watched Gibbs walk out the door. He wasn't in pain anymore, as corny as it sounded. He would have stood up an announced to the world that Gibbs' kisses had magical healing powers except for the fact it would make him extremely jealous when everyone wanted to be healed by him.

Gibbs hand pushed open the door and he stuck his head back in the room. His expression was mostly unreadable but his eyes appeared to be smiling as grandly as Tony's mouth was.

"By the way, DiNozzo?" He didn't sound business-like. He sounded playful.

Tony sat up even straighter, if possible. "Yeah, Boss?"

"I love ya too."

When the door swung closed, Tony burst out in giggles again. The pen that scripted his life had changed hands so dramatically that there was nothing to do but laugh.

When he woke up this morning, Tony was sleep-deprived, annoyed, hungry, and forced to drive to a damn crime scene at 0600. He was harbouring secret feelings for Gibbs like he had been for years and knew he'd need to face another day with those weighing down on his shoulders. He had been unhappy and had 'Come What May' still stuck in his head from the previous night. It didn't help at all that he kept singing it in the car on the way to the crime scene.

Now, he was happier than he'd ever been in his life. He was still tired and hungry as hell considering he hadn't eaten since the Chinese takeout McGee brought for them at seven the previous day, but any annoyance he had way gone. He may have been sitting in a hospital bed with two gunshot wounds, a morphine IV drip in his arm, and someone else's blood circulating in his veins, but his secret was out and apparently returned. 'Come Way May' was still stuck in his head, but it was beginning to feel more like background music to the scene than anything else.

Just a room or two away was someone who loved him and who he loved in return. He was going to move in with aforementioned man, obviously permanently because Gibbs was an all-or-nothing, no-holds-barred kind of guy. At work, he had a family that would support him no matter what. They were a fail-proof fallback system and they all loved him as much as he loved them. They had an attempted murderer to catch, but knowing him and his family it would be done in days. He was at the highest point in his life and nothing short of death could possibly bring him down now.

Tony leaned back and fully relaxed, a satisfied smile still lingering on his face. Something caught his eye on the bedside table and he peered over to get a better view. There on the table was a pad of hospital stationary with a cheap ballpoint pen sitting next to it. Tony laughed airily again and closed his eyes.

Who knows? Maybe he'd take up writing.

Chapters: 1

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