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by: YumYumPM (Send Feedback)
Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 004 Word Count: 23955
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo, Ensemble
Category(ies): First Time
Summary: Gibbs has asserted that he's never been sick, but Tony can tell that something just isn't right. Takes place after Season's two 'Twilight'
Author Notes: This is a four part series.
Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
By YumYum PM
Some sixth sense alerted Tony DiNozzo to the fact that something was not right. Considering recent events that was not surprising. He looked toward Gibbs’ empty desk then down at his watch. His gaze moved upward, first to Kate’s desk, now empty, then to McGee. McGee’s return look cinched it, consensus was in. Gibbs was officially late.
Tony narrowed his eyes at Gibbs desk, willing the man to be there. Two seconds later he was rewarded when Gibbs, along with his usual cup of coffee, rounded the corner. Something was wrong though. His footsteps were not as brisk as they usually were.
Tony’s eyes followed Gibbs as he strode to his desk, setting his coffee down before sitting. Gibbs eyes were bloodshot, his face flushed, he looked almost feverish.
When Gibbs pulled out a handkerchief, sniffed and wiped his nose, Tony sat up straight and blinked. Gibbs was never sick. He’d never so much as had a cold, he had said so himself. Tony realized that he wasn’t the only one to have noticed. He looked toward McGee and tilted his head, silently indicating his wish that McGee be the one to inquire. With a slight shake of his head McGee turned away, finding other things of interest to do. Next Tony looked towards Kate’s desk. He could imagine her sitting there, ignoring him and finding better things to do and the thought hurt.
Tony brought his mind back to Gibbs. It might not be serious, but what if it was? Tony was not prepared to risk it. They’d already lost one member of the team, and Tony was damned if he was going to lose another. Something would have to be done and it looked like he was going to have to be the one to do it. Well they always said, if you wanted something done, you have to do it yourself.
Tony, taking full responsibility, stood up and tugged on his jacket to straighten it before he lost his nerve. Then with purposeful steps he walked around Gibbs desk to stand next to him. Reaching out he brushed back the hair from Gibbs forehead, verifying that it was indeed hot to the touch. That did it, Tony got a firm grip on Gibbs arm, intending to pull him up and haul him to Ducky’s office.
Gibbs, his eyes deadly, looked at the hand then up to Tony’s face. Another time that look would have Tony backing away, but not this time. “What do you think you doing, DiNozzo,” Gibbs growled; only it came out more a croak.
“Taking you to see Ducky,” Tony asserted firmly. “You’re not well.”
Gibbs jerked his arm out of Tony’s grasp. “The only way you’ll get me there is by gunpoint,” Gibbs grumbled as he returned his attention to his work.
Tony backed off and walked back to his desk. Gibbs obviously thought the subject closed. Not by a long shot. Tony reached into his draw and pulled out his gun, snapping in the clip with finality. With determination, he walked around his desk and stopped in front of Gibbs, raising the gun aiming it at his boss.
McGee’s gasp of, “Tony, are you crazy?” caught Gibbs attention and he looked up to find gun pointed directly at him. Standing up, Gibbs croaked, “What the hell…?”
His intimidating glare had no effect on Tony, who glared back. “If this it what it takes, so be it.” Tony stated firmly. He motioned with the gun. “Let’s go,” he ordered.
Gibbs jaws tightened and he leaned forward, his knuckles supporting his weight on the top of his desk. “You… wouldn’t… dare.”
Tony didn’t back down. He glared back, raised one brow and simply gestured with the gun once again. They both knew he wouldn’t use it, but he was making a point. Tony was serious about Gibbs going to see Ducky.
Gibbs straightened, glared menacingly at Tony and without a word, gave in. He led the way towards Ducky’s domain with Tony following at a respectable distance leaving an open mouthed Tim behind. They took the stairs, Tony knew from personal experience not to get too close to Gibbs.
Ducky, feeling much older than his years, looked up in surprise as the door to the autopsy room opened and Jethro walked in. His, “What brings you here, Jethro?” changed to, “Oh my,” when Tony followed behind a gun pointed in Gibbs direction.
“Our fearless leader is sick.” Tony said as he put his gun away in its holster.
“I am not.” Gibbs choked defiantly, his voice raspy.
“Hummm,” Ducky said, adjusting his glasses for a better look. “You do look a bit peaked. Sit down here, Jethro,” he said patting the examining table, “and we’ll take a look.” He moved to gather his medical bag. Not the one used on his deceased patients, the one used on the various assortment of ails that the team contracts. He pulled out his stethoscope and stared pointed at Gibbs, who with bad grace undid the buttons of his shirt.
Tony, his arms crossing his chest, leaned against the wall next to the door, just in case his boss tried to skip out on this.
“Was the gun necessary?” Ducky asked as he used the stethoscope to check out Gibbs lungs. “Cough,” he requested.
Tony merely cocked an eyebrow, which the Medical Examiner did not see as Gibbs did as directed. It had been a rhetorical question anyway. Ducky had not liked the sound of the cough, especially coming on the heels of Tony’s bout with the plague. Listening to Gibbs heartbeat he was pleased to hear the thurump, thurump that indicated a healthy heart. He then moved the chest piece over the lungs. Not too bad, he thought, as he had Gibbs lean forward and placed the chest piece in various spots on Gibbs back. Removing the ear piece and leaving it around his neck, he pulled out the blood pressure kit, adjusting it to Gibbs arms and took a reading. Then he reached for the pencil thin holder that stored his thermometer. Rubbing it down with alcohol, he shook it and started to insert it into Gibbs mouth.
Gibbs sudden strong grip of his arm stopped him. “That’s not..?” Gibbs asked.
“Jethro, you know me better then that,” Ducky said with exasperation.
A tiny smile lit across Gibbs face. “Which is why I ask.”
Tony relaxed and leaned back, crossing his arms again, having dropped them at the unexpected move on Gibbs part. Ducky grunted and stuck the thermometer into Gibbs mouth and leaned one hand on the table as he checked his watch. When enough time had elapse he plucked the instrument from Gibbs mouth and checked the reading.
“101,” Tony tossed out on impulse.
Ducky looked at Tony over his glasses. “And just how did you know that?”
“Lucky guess?” Tony’s smiled halfheartedly, then sobered wondering how Gibbs would have reacted if he’d checked his temperature the way their housekeeper had when he was little, using her lips on his forehead, claiming it more accurate than a thermometer. “So I was right.”
“101.2 to be exact,” Ducky stated as he packed away the thermometer. “Congratulations, Jethro. It would appear you are suffering from a common cold.”
Gibbs grunted as he put his shirt back on, “Gotta be some mistake. I never catch colds.” It would have been more effective if he had not sneezed just then.
“Never say never, Jethro,” advised Ducky. “It’s tempting fate.”
“You sure it’s just a cold and not the flu?” Tony asked, a slight tint of anxiety in his voice.
“Fairly certain,” Ducky said, turning toward Tony. “I haven’t heard of anyone having the flu recently.” He turned back to his patient, “My recommendation to you, Jethro, is to go home, get into bed and drink plenty of fluids. Juice, not that sludge you call coffee.”
“Can’t to it, Ducky,” Gibbs said as he buttoned his shirt. “Too much to do.” Gibbs pushed himself off the table and shouldered his way past Tony and out the door heading back to his desk.
Ducky and Tony exchanged looks. They both knew what that meant. Gibbs had spent every waking moment since Kate’s demise searching for that bastard Ari.
Ducky shook his head in exasperation.
“What’s the big deal? It’s just a cold, right?” Tony queried, his brow bunched up with worry.
“Yes, I’m fairly certain that’s all it is. But you have to remember Gibbs, if he is to be believed, has never had a cold. His resistance is bound to be low. It’s sure to hit him harder then it would you or I. Tony, he really should be home resting,” Ducky asserted emphatically. “Not up here working.”
Tony grunted, “Yeah, yeah, I know. You try telling that to Gibbs. You saw how I had to use a gun just to get him here. I doubt very much that trying that again will work.” Then he too was gone following his boss.
Ducky sighed and watched the two leave with some concern. Kate’s death had affected them all. Gibbs was taking all the blame and obsessing over Ari yet again. He, himself, had grown quite fond of her in the short time she’d been with them, though there were times when her and Tony’s bickering had grated on his nerves. Speaking of Tony, he seemed to be holding himself together, but that could all be an act. He had certainly acted out of character when he’d marched Gibbs in at gunpoint. Ducky hadn’t seen much of Abby lately, not having left his work area since Kate’s body had been brought in, not even to visit Abby’s lab, but was sure she was distraught and McGee in all probability was even quieter than usual, though Ducky couldn’t be certain. And Palmer, well he was walking around on eggshells.
Sometimes his job could be so difficult, especially when it was on one of their own. In all his years as a medical examiner, this was the first time he had truly considered calling in another medical examiner to do his job. In the end however he had done his job. Palmer evidently sensing the solemnity of the occasion had not pestered him with his usual questions. He had not said a word, just handed him tissues, when Ducky had to stop to wipe away tears that blocked his vision. His distress over her loss was a relief in a way. It meant he hadn’t lost his humanity, something easy to do in his business.
Tony was right though. Nothing he said would get Gibbs out of the office and into bed. There was only one person Gibbs would obey. With determination, Ducky turned back to put away his equipment and ventured out into the world again.
McGee was still standing, his mouth open, while Tony marched Gibbs away. Two weeks ago, Tony would never have done anything like that. Two weeks ago things had changed. He’d been down on the ground behind the car, trying to keep away from the sniper who was doing his best to kill him. He dropped into his chair, his heart beating faster as he realized how close he had come to being dead. Then he thought of Kate, and his eyes prickled. Why her? Why not him or Gibbs or Tony? He missed her, they had just been on the cusp of getting closer, the two of them teasing Tony, getting back at him for all the times… Tim let out a sigh. No one, not him nor Tony nor Gibbs were acting normal.
The director had ordered each of them talk with the staff psychologist and he’d gone. He wasn’t sure if Tony or Gibbs had. Once there he’d found he couldn’t bring himself to say anything. The psychologist had done most of the talking, telling him that he was probably feeling survivors guilt. He explained that what Tim was feeling was normal. It hadn’t helped.
Tim glanced at his watch, wondering if he had time to slip away and go to Abby’s lab. Boy would she be surprised. Then again, maybe not. Abby had been distant lately, almost as if she were avoiding him. Whenever he’d tried to talk to her she’d managed to find something that she ‘had’ to do. McGee got the idea she was in denial ‘if you don’t talk about it never happened’. He didn’t blame her. He’d like to deny it too.
McGee thought about trying to discuss his feelings about the ‘incident’ with Tony, to sound out Tony’s feelings, but had yet to get the nerve. Even mentally he couldn’t bring himself to call it anything else because if he did the whole thing would be final.
Discussing it with Gibbs, of course, was out of the question. The man was always in a foul mood lately, but McGee had expected that. In a way, it was the only thing that seemed normal. Now Tony, on the other hand, was keeping unusually quiet. Gone was the joking and detrimental remarks at his expense and oddly enough McGee missed it.
He didn’t know how long he’d been sitting there, staring blankly at his computer screen, but it must have been awhile. Gibbs was rounding the corner heading for his desk and you could tell he was not in a good mood. Tim sat there wondering what had happened. A few minutes later Tony followed and stopped at the edge of his desk, watching as Gibbs sat and reached for his precious coffee.
Feeling like a voyeur McGee watched Gibbs glare as well as snarl “Don’t say it,” at Tony. His attention sifted, almost in slow motion to Tony, who with a neutral expression on his face, raised his hands in mock surrender. Tony was moving around his desk and replacing his gun in its draw, carefully avoiding looking at Kate’s desk. Tony’s attention was focused on Gibbs so McGee watched too as Gibbs picked up his coffee. When he looked back at Tony, it seemed to him that Tony was barely controlling the urge to go over and forcefully snatch the cup from Gibbs’ grasp. Then the scene shifted back to Gibbs. The coffee must have been cold, because Gibbs scowled, tossed the cup into the trash, then got up and left the area
McGee shut his eyes, remembering coming up behind Kate as she sat sketching at her desk. Something inside him made him head toward Kate’s desk and stoop to pick something up off the floor. It looked like Kate’s drawing tablet. All Kate’s things were still as she had left them. He slowly flipped through the pages, pausing when he arrived at sketches of one or the other of them. Her sketches had certainly caught their likeness, Tim had known she was good but hadn’t known she was this good. McGee was unaware that Tony had come up behind him until Tony reached out to take the pad from his hands.
“Drop it.” The sharp command from Gibbs resounded throughout the room and Tim instantly obeyed. As the pad fell to the floor the pages opened to the last sketch she had worked on.
“Um, boss, shouldn’t we…?” Tim stuttered quietly after Gibbs had, a fresh cup of coffee in his hand, moved to sit down. McGee noticed that Tony wasn’t paying attention to the exchange. He was staring down at the open pad in shock. The sketch was a sketch of himself. McGee had to turn away. It was obvious that the loss of Kate had suddenly hit Tony again, harder then before.
The sudden lack of background noise pulled his attention away and McGee looked up to see Director Morrow descending the stairs, an apprehensive Ducky close behind.
Morrow stopped in front of Gibbs’ desk. “Agent Gibbs.”
Gibbs stood up. “Yes, sir,” he said respectfully.
“You are hereby ordered to go home and stay there until your fever is down.”
“There is no case at this time that requires your attention,” Morrow insisted, waving aside Gibbs’ objections. “DiNozzo!” he barked.
“Sir.” Tony stood straight and tall.
“Take your boss home and put him to bed,” he ordered. “You’re authorized to use whatever force necessary.” He softened the order with a smile. “I don’t want to see either of you for one week at the very least. McGee!”
“Yes, sir.” McGee was all attention, even if a bit apprehensive.
“You’re in charge,” Morrow ordered. He turned to go back the way he came, calling as he went. “Remember, Jethro, one week – no sooner.”
McGee stood there in shock as Gibbs turned an outraged glare at Ducky, who shrugged apologetically before heading back to his office.
Gibbs slammed his coffee cup down sending coffee splattering all over the papers spread on his desk. He was reaching for something to wipe it up when a bout of coughing fit him. He could sense Tony beside him even before Tony started thumping him on his back. Gibbs knew he wasn’t at his best, but why couldn’t people just leave him alone.
The coughing fit passed and, breathing heavily, he straightened up. “You can stop now,” he ordered Tony with a glare. Tony backed off, his hands raised. Gibbs sat back down ignoring everyone around him and found something to continue to wipe up his desk with. They didn’t really think he was going to leave, did they? He had every intention of finding Ari and making him pay and no damn cold was going to stop him.
Out of the corner of his eye he watched as Tony moved over to McGee and whispered something in his ear. He saw McGee nod and move toward his phone, but chose to ignore it. Tony was sitting there watching him, but he ignored that too.
Gibbs turned to his computer, putting in a search for any intel on the supposed Mossad agent. The man must have a death wish, because he’d certainly been warned of what would happen if he came close to Kate. He’d warned him…Gibbs thought angrily, his breath caught and he choked, turning it into a coughing spell, for once grateful for the excuse the cold gave him. Of all the stupid, idiotic things to get and at a time like this. He slammed his fist on the keyboard breaking several keys, when the reports came back negative.
Tobias was next on his list. Gibbs knew he would get the information out of him one way or another. He had a few secrets he could use, secrets he’d come by thanks to the ex-wife they both shared. Reaching for the phone, intending to confront Fornell, Gibbs was taken by surprise when a needle entered his arm. Faintly as if from far away, he heard Ducky say, “Sorry, Jethro. It’s for your own good.” Whatever he’d been injected with worked fast. Gibbs didn’t blackout, he just….couldn’t seem…to get his body…to cooperate.
Then Tony was there, gently pulling him up and he let him. Tony was talking quietly in his ear. “Come on, boss. Let’s get you home.” Vaguely he heard Tony say, “Thanks, Ducky.” Then he felt himself being slowly led, in an oddly dreamlike state, out of NCIS headquarters. He was floating along without a care in the world. As Tony helped him into the passenger seat of his car, Gibbs couldn’t help smiling at him. Tony smiled back, a little sadly and Gibbs wondered why. As the car backed out of the parking spot, he saw McGee, Abby, and Ducky watching. His brain was working in slow motion. Behind them he thought he saw Kate – but that couldn’t be right? He blinked and she was gone. He turned his head trying to find her as Tony drove the car away.
“Did you see her?” he wanted to ask Tony, but his mouth wouldn’t work. Suddenly it caught up with him and his eyes closed shutting out any further thoughts.
When next time Gibbs opened his eyes he heard Tony’s voice asking, “Are you all right?”
He turned toward the sound and tried to focus on Tony. Gibbs reached forward to pat the side of Tony’s face.
“Tony!” he smiled somewhat crookedly. “Hi!” His head was spinning making him dizzy and he leaned forward resting his forehead on Tony’s shoulder. He can feel Tony’s laughter, the first laugh Gibbs had heard from him in weeks.
“Hi, Boss.” Tony murmured in his ear, using one hand to stroke Gibbs’ hair. It felt good.”
“Jethro,” Gibbs muttered. “Here it’s Jethro.” Gibbs’ head hurt. He hadn’t felt this bad since the time when he was fifteen and he, along with his cousin, had filched some of his uncle’s moonshine.
“Ah…okay, Jethro. Let’s get you into the house.”
“I’m perfucly capab…capa…I can do it myself,” Gibbs said as Tony pulled him out of the car and slung his arm over Tony’s shoulder.
“Sure you can,” Tony assured him as he led him to the front door, got a firm grip on Gibbs’ shoulders and leaned him against the wall. Gibbs began to feel weak, his legs giving out on him and he started to slip down. Fortunately Tony got a firm grip on his shirt pulling him back up again before hustling him inside.
Once inside Gibbs’ strength returned and he made an unsteady a beeline for the kitchen. Tony caught him by the back of his jacket, stopping his advance. “Whoa there, just where do you think you’re going?”
“Nope, no coffee.” Tony was behind him, his hands gripping his upper arms, steering him toward his bedroom. Gibbs stared at his bed, then he was turned around and pushed down on it. Tony had turned away and was rumiching through his dresser drawers. “Where do you keep your pajamas?”
“Don’t have any,” Gibbs said while trying to undress himself, the only problem was his fingers wouldn’t cooperate. In the back of his mind he felt that there was something he ought to be remembering, but for the life of him he couldn’t remember what.
“Yeah, right. Here let me,” Tony said, suddenly there helping Gibbs off with his jacket, then kneeling in front of Gibbs, between his legs, undoing the buttons of his shirt.
All of a sudden Gibbs remembered and wished he hadn’t. “Kate?” Tony looked up and the look of sadness in his eyes cut Gibbs to the quick.
“Kate’s gone, boss,” Tony said quietly.
He didn’t want Tony to hurt but he had to tell him. “I saw her,” Gibbs said around a yawn as Tony pushed him flat, maneuvering his legs up on the bed and started to remove his shoes. “As we were leaving.”
The look of disbelief in Tony’s eyes, as his slipped his slacks down off his legs, disappointed Gibbs and he closed his eyes to shut it out.
Tony pulled up the sheet to cover him and he pushed it away. “Hot,” he said. He felt Tony’s hands on his forehead, then heard the sound of a cell phone being opened.
“Ducky? Tony.” Tony’s voice was low, but Gibbs could make out the words. “His temperatures up and I think he’s hallucinating.” There was a pause. “I’d say around 102, maybe 103.” Another pause. “He thinks he saw Kate.” Yet another pause, then the phone clicked shut.
Gibbs opened his eyes, Tony was leaning over him. “Ducky will be here soon.”
When Tony moved to leave Gibbs caught his shirtsleeve. “Don’t go,” he pleaded, right now he didn’t want to be alone. Any other time he would have preferred it, but not now. He felt a sense of relief when Tony nodded, slipped off his shoes and climbed into the bed with him. He closed his eyes, finally able to sleep when Tony rested a hand upon his chest.
Ducky arrived at Gibbs place much later then he planned, his expertise being needed by another team of N.C.I.S. agents. It hadn’t taken long, just put him behind schedule. Other team leaders left him alone to do his job, not like Jethro who always involved himself in every aspect of his cases. Their cases, however, never seemed as interesting as the ones Gibbs’ team drew. He knocked at the door and when no one answered tried the knob, not surprised when it turned and opened. Everyone knew Gibbs never bothered to lock his door when he was home.
“Hello, anyone at home?” Ducky called. When no reply came he ventured down the hall toward the master bedroom. He couldn’t resist smiling; actually it was more a smirk, at the scene that met his eyes. Gibbs, wearing only a t-shirt and boxers, was flat on his back, his mouth open as he breathed heavily through it. Tony, fully dressed, lay on his side with one hand tucked under his head, the other hand resting protectively on Gibbs chest.
They looked so peaceful that Ducky really didn’t have the heart to disturb them. He walked quietly over to the bedside table and set down his black bag. He was removing his trench coat when Tony’s eyes popped open.
Tony moved to sit up, glancing at his watch. “Just get here, Ducky?” Tony asked, stretching his stiff body and rubbing his hands across his face.
“I’m afraid so,” Ducky said, tossing his coat on a side chair and moving to his bag to retrieve his blood pressure kit and stethoscope. “How’s he doing?” He nodded at Gibbs.
“Sleeping like a baby,” Tony answered, checking his reflection in the mirror over the dresser and combing his fingers through the stray hairs that were standing up on end. “What was in that shot you gave him?”
“Just a muscle relaxant combined with a mild sedative.” Ducky replied as he sat down beside Gibbs and adjusted the cuff around his upper arm. “Why do you ask?”
Tony had turned his back to dresser and was leaning against it, his arms folded across his chest. “Well he’s been acting a little strangely.”
Ducky cocked an eyebrow, silently asking ‘how?’ as he squeezed the bulb inflating the cuff.
“Well, when we got out of the car he had this really weird smile on his face.” Tony’s face was scrunched up with worry. “I’ve never seen him look like that before.”
“Exactly how did he look?” Ducky asked as he undid the cuff and put the kit away. Thankfully Gibbs’ pressure was normal, or as close to normal as it got for Gibbs.
“I don’t know if I can explain it. It was really strange.” Tony gave a slight shiver.
“Strange in what way?” Ducky’s curiosity was up. He’d never known anyone to have that sort of reaction from the medication, but then Gibbs wasn’t just anyone.
“It was kinda like he was inebriated; he acted as if he was happy to see me…really happy…like he liked me.” Tony seemed totally amazed at the notion. “And then there was that hallucination of his.”
“He does, you know. Like you. You may not see it, but he does,” Ducky assured him. “As far as his hallucination.” He paused and shook his head. “That I can’t explain.” He took out his thermometer and placed it in Gibbs opened mouth, snapping the lower jaw shut to hold it in place. Evidently the sedative had been stronger then he thought. Gibbs was showing no reaction to his manipulations and that worried him. When enough time had elapsed Ducky pulled the thermometer out of Gibbs mouth, adjusted his glasses and checked the reading. Gibbs’ fever was up, Tony’s guess was right on the money. He pushed up Gibbs’ t-shirt, put the ear-piece of his stethoscope in place, and checked out his lungs. Not liking the sound, he reached into his bag and withdrew a loaded syringe.
“Help me with this,” Ducky requested, motioning for Tony to roll Gibbs onto his side. When that was done he pulled down one side of Gibbs’ boxers, exposing his hip and aiming the syringe like a dart stuck it into muscle and pushed down on the plunger. Gibbs’ eyes popped open and he grunted, before closing them once again.
“That should take care of the fever and relieve some of the congestion.” Ducky pulled out a pad and pen and started writing. “Do me a favor and go have these filled. While you are at it, why don’t you go to your place and get a few things. I’d rather he wasn’t left alone. Being that this is his first cold, I don’t know what to expect. I’ll stay with him while you’re gone,” he suggested as he handed over a few sheets from his pad.
“I won’t be gone long,” Tony said as took the sheets, straightening his jacket as he did so.
“Take your time. I’ve nothing better to do.” Ducky said as he settled onto the chair beside the bed.
Tony had been gone for a while and Ducky was just starting to doze off when the doorbell rang. Getting up somewhat stiffly he walked to the front door, surprised to find Fornell standing there when he opened it.
“Well, well, Agent Fornell, what brings you here?” Ducky asked, working hard to keep the animosity from his voice. If there was one person he blamed for Kate’s death besides the terrorist, it was this man.
“Dr. Mallard,” Fornell said in way of greeting. “I’m here to speak with Gibbs.”
“Well, I’m sorry but Jethro is indisposed at the moment.”
“Look I don’t care if he’s in the john. I need to talk to him.”
“What do you want, Tobias?” Gibbs asked. Ducky turned around in astonishment, Gibbs was standing in the doorway, holding on to the doorframe. The shot he’d given Gibbs should have kept him out for at least another two hours.
Fornell pushed past the elderly ME. “Look here, Jethro. Let me explain.”
Gibbs cut him off with a look. “Just be grateful I don’t have a gun in my hands right now,” Gibbs said flatly, before turning to go the way he came.
Ducky stood at the open door. “I think it’s best if you go now,” he said making it plain that Fornell was not welcomed.
Fornell looked like he’d like to argue the point, but finally gave in. “Just tell him I’m sorry…about the way things turned out,” Fornell said before giving a nod to a disapproving Ducky and leaving, brushing past a returning Tony.
“What did I miss?” Tony asked, his arms full of packages, as he watched the FBI agent leave, his sixth sense filling him with apprehension. Dropping his packages on the coffee table, he followed an apprehensive Ducky down the hall.
Ducky stood in the doorway to the bedroom looking puzzled. Gibbs was back in the bed and if Ducky didn’t know better he could have sworn he’d never left.
“Hey, did I miss something?” Tony repeated, looking over Ducky’s shoulder.
“No. No, nothing at all,” Ducky said absently. Changing the subject, he asked. “Did you manage to get everything?”
“Sure did,” Tony said pulling a white paper bag from his pocket and waving it in front of the ME’s face.
“Good. The directions are on the bottles,” Ducky said as he retrieved his jacket and bag. “Make sure you follow them. I’ll drop by in the morning to see how he’s doing.” He patted Tony on the arm and gave him a wry smile before letting himself out, leaving a mystified Tony behind.
Tony sat up from his reclining position on the sofa, threw down his book and glanced at his watch. Ten o’clock, time for the big guy’s meds. Bringing his feet to the floor, he got up, stretched then padded toward the kitchen in his stocking feet.
Automatically he went to the cupboard and pulled out a plate and a glass. Then on to the fridge for the juice. Ducky’s instructions had been very specific. Two pills at four hours apart – with juice – no coffee!!! Everything ready he headed down the hall to check on his patient.
Gibbs was sitting up on the side of the bed. He looked better and he wasn’t wheezing. “What time is it?” he asked. At least he was lucid.
“Ten,” Tony answered, putting down the tray that held the bottle of pills and juice. He glance at the humidifier that he’d set up earlier, making sure it was still running.
“Morning or evening?” Gibbs yawned, then stretching lazily, his hands supporting his back as it cracked. Tony merely glanced toward the darkened window in answer.
Gibbs pushed himself up, albeit unsteady. Tony just managed to catch him, as he lost his balance.
“Just where do you think your going?” Tony asked, his arms wrapped around holding Gibbs steady. What really surprised Tony wasn’t that Gibbs seemed a little weak, but the fact that it felt good to hold him.
Gibbs pushed away and tried to get past Tony, he said with determination. “To work on my boat.”
“Ah, I don’t think so,” Tony replied with equal determination, gripping Gibbs by the forearm and turning him back toward the bed.
Gibbs turned back around, moving well into Tony’s personal space, staring him eye to eye. “You think you can stop me, DiNozzo?” he said menacingly
Tony wasn’t the least bit intimidated, though he should have been. He put his hands on Gibbs’ shoulders planning to push him back down on the bed. “Boss, you’re still sick. Now take the damn meds and get back into bed.”
Gibbs glared at Tony. “Can I at least take a shower?”
Tony appeared to consider it, then nodded. A shower couldn’t hurt. “First take your meds,” he commanded.
Gibbs stared him in the eye, then reached over, tossing two pills into his mouth and washing it down with the juice. “Satisfied.”
“Yep.” Tony stood there, his hands on his hips as Gibbs pushed past him. Damn it felt good giving Gibbs orders and even better when Gibbs followed them. Tony smiled as he sneaked a peek over his shoulder, unable to help but admire the man’s physique. Gibbs was certainly in good shape – for his age.
When the water started flowing in the bathroom, Tony, satisfied that his job was done, headed back toward the living room and his book. He was bending over, picking it up from where he’d dropped it when his cell phone rang. Flipping it open, he practically barked into it. “DiNozzo.”
“Is it true?” The voice that came through was Abby’s.
“Just tell me. Is it true?” she demanded.
“Is what true?”
“That you pulled a gun on Gibbs?” Abby, all excitable, was practically screaming. “Are you crazy? You got a death wish or something?”
Tony shut his eyes and remained silent. The phrase ‘death wish’ reminded him of Kate and how much he missed her. Their bickering had been a cover, to keep each of them from getting too close.
“Gosh, Tony. I’m sorry. I…I didn’t mean it.” Abby sounded contrite as if she’d just realized what she’d said and how it had sounded. “It’s just that…you know.”
Tony let out a sigh and said softly. “It’s okay, Abs. How’d you find out?” Abby had been holed up in her lab recently, avoiding everyone and rarely coming out except when absolutely necessary.
“Jimmy. Jimmy Palmer.”
“Palmer?” That surprised Tony and he wondered how Palmer had come by his information. Then he vaguely remembered seeing him in the hallway while on their way to the morgue. The poor kid had looked thunderstruck, his back against the wall as they passed by on the way to see Ducky. But surely McGee should have been the one to inform her? “Look, Abs, have you talked to McGee?”
Silence met his ear.
“Is he gonna be okay?” She sounded like a little kid.
It seemed to Tony that he heard fear in her voice. At least in this he could put her as ease. “He’s going to be fine,” he assured her.
“Good.” Abby let out a sigh of relief. Tony heard the sound of a doorbell ringing over the speaker and Abby said, “Hold on. Someone’s at the door.” She must have set her phone down because he could hear the door open then McGee’s voice. “Abby. We have to talk.”
“So talk.” Abby sounded irritation. Then there was silence and Tony swore he heard Abby going “Mmmmm.” Tony pulled the phone away from his ear and stared at it before bringing it back to his ear.
“I brought you something,” Tim was saying, his voice sounding …low and suggestive. More silence then Abby’s reply of, “Kinky.”
Tony shook his head and flipped his phone shut. At least someone was going to have fun tonight. He settled back on the sofa and opened his book. After awhile he became aware that water was no longer running. He shut his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. It had been a long day and he was running short on sleep. Setting his book aside, he got up and stretched, feeling the muscles of his back as they came together. Heading toward the spare bedroom he stopped in to check on Gibbs.
Gibbs lay sprawled upon his double bed, wearing a fresh t-shirt and clean boxers. One arm rested on his stomach, the other was flung over his head. The sheets were scrunched at the foot of the bed. He shifted and one leg of the boxers road up, his cockhead peaking out. Tony sucked in a breath as his groin responded to the sight. This is ridiculous, he thought, I’ve seen Gibbs naked before, how can I be aroused by this? A shiver of unease went through him as he silently moved toward the bed and pulled the sheet up. Satisfied he turned away to take a cold shower…a long cold shower.
Still slightly damp, Tony stripped and got into the small bed in the spare room. In spite of being narrow the mattress proved most comfortable and almost immediately he fell asleep.
Tony twitched in his sleep. He was dreaming, a most sensual and erotic dream such as he had never had before. He squirmed, a satisfied smile plastered on his face. It felt so real, maybe too real. His eyes popped open, only to find someone’s hands stroking his naked body and a male voice murmuring sweet nothings in his ear.
Startled he twisted around and came face to face with the blue eyes of Gibbs. While Gibbs’ eyes were wide open, they were vacant and unfocused. Shit, he must still be asleep, Tony thought and was just on the point waking him when Gibbs’ mouth swooped down to his. His good intentions were set aside as he melted under the assault and all that escaped was heartfelt and muffled, “Mmmmm.” His heart was beating wildly even as his already throbbing cock stood at attention.
Suddenly Gibbs’ body stiffened and he blinked. His eyes widened and he pulled back. “DiNozzo! What the hell are you doing in my bed?” he growled.
Tony, still half held in Gibb’s embrace looked around the room to verify that, yes, he was still in the spare room and while technically it was Gibbs’ bed, it wasn’t the bed Gibbs had gone to sleep in. He started to point this out, his mouth opening and closing, but all that managed to finally come out was a weak and embarrassed, “Ah.” He tried laughing, but even to his own ears, it sounded fake.
Tony was embarrassed to note that Gibbs was still clothed, at least more clothed then he himself was, while he was most definitely aroused and exposed. He swallowed as he surreptitiously reached for the sheet intending to cover himself while trying to keep eye contact with Gibbs, hoping to god he wouldn’t notice.
Gibbs facial expressions changed rapidly from indignation to disbelief as he looked around the room and realized that it was not Tony who’d been the trespasser but himself. When he stayed Tony’s hand, his eyes raking over Tony’s well muscular body, Tony almost stopped breathing. Neither of them moved, frozen by the implications and time stood still.
“One thing Kate’s death has taught me is that there might not be any tomorrows.” Gibbs said tentatively. He paused before continuing, “Taking a chance, any chance, is better then not and that putting off what might be is no longer an option.” His head lowered once again claiming Tony’s mouth.
Tony let him, not knowing what else to do. The kiss, so sure and full of promise, was so different from what Tony had experienced before. “Boss? Are you sure?” he asked when they finally came up for air.
Gibbs pulled back, a puzzled expression on his face. “Are you saying no?”
Tony looked deep into Gibbs’ eyes and thought hard about what this could mean. Not knowing where this was going and unable to articulate his thoughts, Tony brought one hand behind Gibbs’ head letting his considerable expertise answer for him. They might regret this later, but not now. They were two men seeking solace over the loss of someone close in the only way that made sense for now. Showing each other the caring that they had not dared to show before. And it didn’t hurt, Tony thought with a mental smile as he divested Gibbs of his clothing, to have Gibbs making encouraging noises beneath him.
A full bladder pulled Tony from his sleep the next morning. Gibbs lay still, his body close by, the narrowness of the bed making anything else impossible. Tony reached over and gently caressed Gibbs’ face, not knowing if he’d ever have another chance to do it again. The heat that radiated from him had nothing to do with fever. Gone were all signs of the cold that had sparked their being here together.
Reluctantly, feeling the urgent need to answer natures call, Tony got out of the bed. Gibbs turned over, purring, a satisfied smile on is face.
Humming to himself, business having been taken care of, Tony washed his hands as he studied his face in the mirror. Last nights activities had proven education, Gibbs knowing exactly how to drive him and his body crazy. He just hoped that now, in the light of morning, Gibbs wouldn’t think it a mistake. Standing naked before the sink, he dipped his hands into the cold water and brought them to his face, wiping away the sleep that had gathered. When he opened his eyes he could have sworn he saw Kate standing behind him, a wicked grin on her face, giving him two thumbs up. He swiftly swirled around, but no one was there. He looked back in the mirror. Only his face stared back at him.
Suddenly there was a knock at the front door. A look of panic crossed his face and Tony groaned as the opening of the front door was heard. “Oh no. Ducky!!!”
Tony moved to the door and pressed his ear against it. Just thinking about Gibbs, curled up naked in the spare bed room and Ducky finding him that way was enough to send a wave of panic through Tony. All thoughts of sighting Kate vanished as Tony realized that there was no way he could warn Gibbs of Ducky’s arrival. As the sound of footsteps moved past the door, he opened it a crack to watch Ducky, dressed in his ubiquitous trench coat and hat with his black bag enter Gibbs’ room.
Ducky, never one to stand on ceremony, went directly to Gibbs’ bedroom, his mind a million miles away. Over the past weeks he’d given serious though to retiring. He was now glad that he hadn’t. For him, Gibbs cold couldn’t have come at a better time. It proved that he was needed for something other then cutting people up. He was halfway to the bed when he realized it was empty. Puzzled, he stood frozen, his eyes searching the room. “Jethro?”
Gibbs, who’d been soundly sleeping, sat up like a shot. His first thought was, ‘Ducky!’ his second was ‘Tony!’. A quick glance proved to him that Tony had vacated the bed. Deductive reasoning told him Tony was probably in the bathroom and Gibbs gave a vain hope that he would stay there as he quickly scrambled into his boxers and t-shirt. He could picture Tony coming out of the bathroom in all his naked glory. That they could probably justify, Gibbs thought, but Ducky finding him naked in the spare bedroom…Gibbs didn’t even want to consider. As he headed for his bedroom to climb back into his bed, a naked Tony winked at him as he slipped past.
“Ah there you are, Jethro,” Ducky said, taking off his hat and coat and laying them aside.
“Where else should I be?” Gibbs responded, as he slipped back into the bed, though he knew where he wanted to be.
Rummaging through his bag, Ducky pulled out his stethoscope and blood pressure kit. Ignoring the rhetorical question, Ducky turned back and asked jovially, “And how are we feeling today.”
“Fine. Never felt better,” Gibbs said with a straight face. Truth be told he was having troubles keeping a sappy grin from spreading across his face.
“Let me be the judge of that. Take off your shirt,” Ducky ordered as he brought the stethoscope around his neck. As he adjusted the cuff around Gibbs upper arm, he sniffed, his nose catching a scent he couldn’t quite identify. “What’s that smell?” Ducky asked, distracted from his task.
Damn, Gibbs thought, as he too caught a tell-tale whiff of odor that lingered, ever so faintly, an indication of what he and Tony had been up to. His mind was searching frantically for an explanation, when he noticed Tony standing in the doorway, pulling a muscle shirt over his head.
In his rush, Tony had neglected to put on underwear. He winced as in his hurry to pull up the zipper before Ducky turned around and it pinched him. Thinking quickly he reached for the jar of Mentholatum he had bought on Ducky’s recommendation and moving past Ducky at lightning speed smeared some on Gibbs chest while thrusting the open jar under Ducky’s nose. “This? You said it would help.”
The sudden overpowering smell had Ducky backing away, “Yes, that must be it,” he said doubtfully, unaware of the exchange of relieved glances the two men shared. Thrusting the thermometer in Gibbs’ mouth, he continued with his examination. Blood pressure was normal. Temperature was normal. “Breath in and out,” he requested as he brought the stethoscope to his ears. Chest area clear. Ducky shook his head in puzzlement as he put away his equipment.
“Something wrong?” Tony asked anxiously from his position on the other side of the room.
“No. Nothings wrong,” Ducky said slowly. “In fact quite the opposite. I can find no symptom of a cold whatsoever.”
“That’s good isn’t it?” Tony insisted.
“Oh yes,” Ducky said with assurance, though he still frowned. “But it’s not supposed to work like that. Colds don’t just disappear.”
Gibbs pulling his t-shirt back on didn’t care. “That mean I can go back to work?” he asked. Before he could get out of the bed Tony was there pushing him back down.
“I don’t think so,” Tony said firmly. “Do you, Ducky? He might have a relapse or something.”
“Or something.” Ducky agreed as he gathered up his hat and coat. “I see no reason why you should get back to work unless something important comes up. After all, the director did say he didn’t want to see either of you for a week.” Ducky didn’t see the wicked smile of triumph on Tony’s face nor its quick change to somber as he turned around to face him. “You might want to make sure he stays in bed for another day or two, just in case,” Ducky suggested as he set his hat on his head and headed out the room calling over his shoulder. “I’ll see myself out, Jethro.”
“Oh, I’ll definitely do that, Ducky,” Tony said, his eyes boring into Gibb’s, shown wickedly even thought by that time the ME was out of earshot. Swiftly he followed the ME to the front door, locking and bolting it after him. He turned back to find Gibbs, arms across his chest, leaning against the bedroom door frame.
Gibbs tilted his head and smiled. “So, DiNozzo. You have any plans on how you’re going to keep me in bed?”
With a breathtakingly evil smile, Tony started toward him, chucking his clothing as he came closer. “I’ll think of something,” he whispered as the two came together wrapped in each others arms.
Everything went white. “Shit,” Kate thought, the look on Tony’s face when the knock was heard at the door had been priceless and she’d been wickedly looking forward to seeing how everything played out. She wanted to see how Tony got out of this one.
She’d been shocked and surprised when she’d looked down and saw herself lying on the rooftop, a bullet hole drilled neatly into her forehead. It had been so sudden, so unexpected. She touched her own forehead, stunned to find no signs of a bullet hole. Time moved by at a strange pace and she watched as things played out, rather like a kaleidoscope or stills from a slide show. There was the look on Gibbs face as he realized how futile his chances of getting Ari where. The look of shock and pain that permeated Tony’s eyes as he stared down at her body, his gun drawn and at his side. The look of horror on McGees, when he finally made it to the top of the building. And finally the look of infinite sadness in Ducky’s. Kate couldn’t help wandering what would happen to her now. Where were the chorus of angels, the bright light? Where were the pearly gates? Oh no, she thought, have I been condemned to hell?
She waited and nothing happened. In the blink of an eye, she and her body were back at NCIS headquarters and was Ducky there waiting to examine her and she shuttered at the thought of what was to come. Her heart went out to him as the awareness of his obvious pain and reluctance to work on her cut her to the quick. Standing behind him she consoled him fondly, “It’s okay, Ducky. I won’t feel a thing.” Knowing he couldn’t hear her, and not sure if it were true.
Unable to watch, she roamed the autopsy room, memorizing every detail just in case and concentrating on not listening in. When she heard Ducky pull off his latex gloves, she turned back, afraid of what she would find. She’d been here enough times and seen enough bodies to know what to expect.
“I don’t think we need do anything else. Death is obviously from the bullet wound to the head,” Ducky was saying aloud, to which Palmer nodded agreement. She looked down at her body with trepidation and almost laughed in relief. Ducky, in disregard of all the rules, had left her completely intact; the only thing missing was the blood that had congealed on the back of her head.
Time held no meaning, and she found she could be wherever she wanted. All she had to do was think it. The profiler in her was amazed at how easily she could sense how the others felt. At her funeral she tried her best to comfort all her team mates. Ducky, of course, had taken it hard and she was grateful to Palmer for being so supportive of the older man, especially since he didn’t know her very well.
McGee was showing classic signs of guilt even though he had no reason. Hopefully he’d work his way though it eventually. Gibbs had teetered on the edge of not even showing up at all, but his deep sense of duty won out. Kate could feel the anger, the frustration, and even guilt radiating from the man who’d been her boss, almost like a physical blow and felt like shouting and hitting him. There was nothing he could have done, didn’t he realize that, she thought. She had not expected what happened so how could he have.
Kate worried about Abby …in a way it pleased her how distraught her friend was over her death. It was nice to know that she mattered. Even at the wake, Abby had been unable to bring herself to look at the body in the coffin. But at the funeral, dear Abby had set aside her grief in her concern for Ducky. Letting him comfort her, knowing it made him feel better. At work she started keeping to herself, avoiding the other members of Gibbs’ team. Once though Abby broke down completely and Kate, frustrated at being unable to do anything, was grateful for Palmer, who happened to be there at the time, for holding Abby and awkwardly trying to comfort her, and more then a little surprised that Abby let him.
As for Fornell and Ari, she didn’t even give either of them a passing thought. They were not important…not anymore. At least not to her.
Now Tony was another matter. He seemed to be pulling himself inward, holding back on his feelings. In spite of or because of all the times he’d ragged her, irritated her and in general drove her crazy, she’d never really acknowledged how deep their affection for each other went. In the end she felt that if she was going to miss anyone, it would be Tony.
Looking back, she thought that giving Tony something else to think upon was what had inspired her to give Gibbs that cold. Quite frankly, she’d found it hard to believe when Gibbs had claimed to have never had one. She still couldn’t get over how easy it had been. She hadn’t known what would happen but when Tony pulled his gun on Gibbs and marched him down to Ducky’s she thought she was going to bust a gut from the laughter.
Then melancholia had set in, she’d wiped the tears from her eyes as she sat back and watched everything play out, suddenly she had an uncontrollable urge to look at the drawings she’d been working on. Being dead wasn’t so bad, she realized. It gave her a feeling of freedom she had never experienced before. But one of the most frustrating things about being dead was the inability to touch anything. Still she’d managed somehow to give Gibbs a cold, perhaps…she thought as she looked over to McGee and concentrated.
Seeing her drawings had left her sad and she hadn’t wanted to be sad. A wicked smile lit her face as instead she remembered the shocked look on Gibbs’ face when Ducky administered the tranquilizing shot, and later when Tony had gotten him home, she thought she fall over at seeing the lopsided grin on Gibbs face. It was just too precious and she was glad she’d had the chance to see it.
Even better then that though was the look on Gibbs face when he’d found himself in the same bed with Tony. Now that had been funny. No way had she seen that coming and she wasn’t sure what had brought it on. It wasn’t something she had done, that she knew. She wasn’t really a voyeur, that was more Tony’s department, but she hadn’t been able to resist staying. Her strict upbringing had no way prepared her for what was happening between the two men. She felt she should be shocked and affronted when actually she found that their being together like that pleased her, for now neither would be alone. The thought gave her comfort and she decided to give the two men their privacy.
Suddenly a man, dressed all in white from head to toe, stood in front of her. He held out his hand to her. “You’ve done well, Caitlin. Now it’s time to come home.”
Trustingly she reached out and placed her hand into his, startled when her clothing changed to all white. They started to walk off, when Kate stopped, there were questions she needed answered.
“Was...,” she started then faltered. “Was my death really necessary?”
With a look of amusement combined with understanding he answered honestly. “Perhaps not. But, Caitin, only your death could precipitate the endeavor that will ultimately save millions of lives,” he said solemnly. Then with a mischievous smile, he added, “Besides you wouldn’t have liked the alternative.”
She cocked an inquiring eyebrow. “And that was?”
“You, Anthony…and ten children.”
“Ten!” Kate mouthed silently in horror.
The man shrugged, “Well Anthony is Anthony and you are Catholic.”
Kate looked skyward, “Oy Vay.”
“Exactly,” he replied, his eyes dancing with amusement and a brilliant smile lighting his face.
Kate bit her lip and looked back the way they had come. “Will I…”
“Oh yes.” He assured her, reading her thoughts. “You’ll still be able to check on them from time to time.”
Satisfied with that she let him lead her off.
Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
MTAC - NCIS Fic