Title: Hearth and
Rating: R for adult conversation and language
Word Count: 1592
Spoilers: Boxed In
Disclaimer: They're not mine, pretty as I find them. Go to the producers if you want to talk money.
Summary: AU but following canon events: After what happened in 'The Definition of Home', how would Tony react to Gibbs' teasing at the end of Boxed In?
“You went to Ziva's without me?” Tony growled as soon as he reached the middle of the basement stairs.
Gibbs looked up curiously, cocking his head at his senior agent. “It was that or join your frat brothers watching mud wrestling,” he commented blandly.
“She never even told me she was having a party, not until this morning,” Tony snapped, stopping with the boat between them, though which of them he was trying to protect, he wasn't sure.
“And how quickly did you start telling her about your plans, DiNozzo?” Gibbs countered quickly.
Tony furrowed his brow as he tried to remember how close Gibbs had been when he'd been talking to Ziva. Not that close, which meant the boss was just making connections based on his familiarity with his second. “Rather,” he admitted, frustrated.
“Thought she offered to cook for you tonight. Nice private little gathering,” Gibbs pointed out, his tone suggestive.
“She did. Makes a pretty good lasagna,” Tony said, his eyes brightening for a moment. “However, you could have told me,” he continued, his anger back at the fore. “The others I could have understood. Hell, I've ensured that McGee lives to one up me. But you, boss?” His anger petered out at the end, and he sounded pathetically plaintive.
“How did you get here from your apartment?” Gibbs asked, walking around the boat.
The change in subject barely threw Tony at all. “Called a cab,” he assured his alpha.
“Bring a bag?” Gibbs added, stalking up to Tony, somehow looming over him despite the height difference in the shifter's favor.
“I ... uh ...” Tony stumbled verbally until Gibbs' glare kicked his brain into gear. “Left it by the door,” he admitted.
“Thought you knew, and everyone knew you had other plans,” Gibbs said, switching topics again as he walked past Tony on his way to the stairs.
Tony was silent for a moment, staring after his boss, his alpha, his mate. “You didn't have to sound so smug about it,” he finally said petulantly, following Gibbs to the stairs.
“Hey, you got a private dinner and lasagna,” Gibbs countered lightly. “Should I be jealous?”
“No,” Tony replied quickly, his eyes fixed on the ass going up the stairs before him.
“Good. Neither should you.” Gibbs turned at the top of the stairs, a wicked grin on his face. “But since you've had a bad day, maybe I'll let you nail me through the mattress to make up for it.” He continued into the kitchen. “Coming?”
Tony ran quickly up the stairs. “On your six, boss!”
“How's your arm?” Gibbs asked breathlessly as Tony flopped down on the bed, panting harshly.
“Fine,” Tony gasped.
“You saying that because it is, or because you don't want to think about it right now?”
Tony rolled over on his healthy side, his injured arm curled against his stomach, and looked at his alpha. “It's fine,” Tony insisted. “They gave me pain killers in the emergency room and I took some with dinner.”
“I want you to have Ducky check it in the morning,” Gibbs ordered, looking the bandage over for signs of blood seepage.
“It's just a scratch,” Tony said plaintively, wiggling over until his head was resting on Gibbs' shoulder.
Gibbs grunted his disbelief, wrapping his arms protectively around his mate.
They lay there in silence for several minutes, letting their heart beats slow and savoring the knowledge that they were both still alive. But Tony couldn't keep quiet forever.
“I think I tripped over a verbal land mine in that box.”
“I was teasing her, and she was smiling, almost laughing ...” Tony hesitated a moment before continuing to speak at a very rapid rate. “I asked her when she first realized Daddy wasn't perfect, and she just froze me out. I didn't mean anything, offered to tell her when I realized it. I just wanted to lighten the mood, cheer her up.”
“Tony,” Gibbs sighed disapprovingly. “I told you, Ari was her half brother.”
“Same father, I know,” Tony said, but it was clear he didn't quite get what he'd done.
“Ari said a lot of things that night ... things that gave Ziva a very different perspective on her father,” Gibbs tried to explain without telling tales that weren't his to tell.
“Ouch.” Tony winced. “Yeah, I hit a real land mine with that one.”
“She made you dinner,” Gibbs pointed out. “I don't think she held it against you for long.” He hoped. He did want those two to end up on better terms eventually.
“True,” Tony said slowly. “Though I still wish she'd invited me to dinner last night.”
“You would have given up mud wrestling with your frat brothers?” Gibbs asked in disbelief. Tony had been babbling excitedly about the planning of that trip for weeks.
“To spend the evening with my pack?” Tony countered. “In a heartbeat.”
He looked so sincere, Gibbs couldn't help but believe him. “Next time, don't talk about your plans so fast,” Gibbs suggested, burying his nose in Tony's hair.
“Right, boss,” Tony agreed sleepily.
It wasn't until Tony had begun to softly snore that Gibbs could give in to Morpheus. He was glad that Tony had come over after dinner. He'd spent far too much of the day scared for his second. The scent of Tony in his nostrils and the soft thump of his mate's heart were what he needed to tell him everything had turned out all right, that his loved one was alive, that it was safe to sleep.
Abby was sitting on the edge of Tony's desk, teasing the senior agent about his inability to duck when Ducky stalked into the bullpen.
“Anthony,” Ducky snapped. “I expected you to come to me hours ago. I need to check your bandage.”
“It's fine, Ducky,” Tony protested, crossing his free arm over the one still wrapped in the sling in a defensive pose.
“I'm sure the ER doctor did an excellent job, but I'd like to confirm that for myself,” Ducky insisted, planting himself in front of Tony's desk, glaring over Abby's shoulder.
“But it's just a scratch,” Tim protested, looking highly puzzled by the show before him.
Ducky rounded on the younger agent, but stayed near Tony's desk so the senior agent couldn't sneak away while his back was turned. “A scratch, Timothy? The ER doctors do not order slings to aid the healing of scratches. ER doctors do not use six stitches to close up scratches.”
Tim could only stare back in surprise.
“You already got my medical records?” Tony snapped, drawing Ducky's attention back to him.
“I called them last night. It's the only way to assure I get an accurate report,” Ducky snapped.
“I'm fine,” Tony protested. “I changed the bandage this morning, and you already have the doctor's report. You can take the stitches out in a week or so.”
“I'd like to observe myself,” Ducky insisted.
Amusing as the floor show was, Gibbs cut in. “DiNozzo.” He'd changed the bandage himself that morning, but he had ordered Tony to have Ducky look. He didn't think last night had done any further damage, but neither of them had been gentle in their quest to reassure each other that they were still alive.
Tony glared at his alpha, but it didn't take long for blue eyes to over rule green. The senior field agent stood and followed the gloating medical examiner to the elevator without another word.
The others stayed quiet until the elevator doors closed.
“I thought it was just a scratch,” Tim said, sounding ashamed.
“That is what he told me last night,” Ziva insisted.
“That's DiNozzo,” Abby said with a giggle. “He plays down the bad stuff and plays up the little stuff. Since he told Ziva it was minor, he had to play it up the rest of the time.”
Tim stared at her in confusion.
“Remember when he came back from the plague?” Abby asked. “He refused to admit he should still be in bed, even when he was coughing up a lung.”
“Oh,” Tim breathed, some level of comprehension reaching his eyes. “I remember. He couldn't breath and he still insisted on being the one to make the run from the bomb.”
“How do you deal with him if he's never saying the truth?” Ziva cut in as Abby walked over and wrapped her arms around a depressed looking Tim.
“You learn to interpret,” Abby said offhandedly. “Or you ask Ducky or Gibbs what the truth is.”
“Why them?” Tim asked perking up a little
Abby grinned. “Because Ducky always gets the medical records so he knows the truth, and Tony can't lie to Gibbs.”
“DiNozzo lies to me all the time,” Gibbs corrected.
“Ah, but you always know,” Abby said with a mysterious smile.
Gibbs smiled back at her, but deep down he wondered how accurate that was. Tony was learning to hide his tells after so long. Someday soon he might just get one past his alpha. Gibbs was not looking forward to that day.