Title: What's Gone is Gone?
Word Count: 1934
Warnings: It's slash, but you won't see that here
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: What is Tony's initial reaction to Gibbs' sudden return to full active duty?
Tony took a look around the bull pen, picked his chin off the floor, and fled down the stairs to Abby's lab without bothering to drop off his backpack. He couldn't stay, couldn't face that ... well, that face. Gibbs was back, and all Tony wanted to do was scream.
Abby ran over to him and offered a breath stealing hug as soon as she spotted him coming through the doorway with that expression on his face. “What's wrong, bossman?” she asked in a concerned tone.
“Not the boss,” Tony growled with what little breath he had left.
Abby dropped him, stepping back with wide, excited eyes. “He's back? For reals? To stay this time? Don't you dare be fooling with me, Anthony DiNozzo.”
“If you don't believe me, go check for yourself,” Tony replied, jerking a thumb towards the door. “Just don't tell him where I am.”
“You wait right there, mister,” Abby said, her eyes slit half closed as she glared at him. But she didn't go upstairs. Instead, she walked over to her computer and called up the security camera from the bullpen. Tony let out a self deprecating laugh. He should have thought of that. After all, he'd done the reverse to spy on Gibbs in Abby's lab just the other day. “He's back!” Abby cried cheerfully when she saw Gibbs sitting at his desk. But a quick switch to a camera at another angle showed Tim putting his things away in his old desk and the files piled up on Tony's desk. “Oh, no, he didn't ...” she gasped. “Did you get any warning?”
“Came in to see that not five minutes ago,” Tony grumbled, his eyes fixed on the view of Gibbs' face. His mate, his alpha, was back, and he wanted to rip the older man's throat out.
“Oh, Gibbs,” Abby sighed. “You idiot. He should have known better. Even I know better than to dump something like that on you, especially without a change in orders.”
Tony looked at Abby in confusion, and she blushed slightly when she caught his eye. “Sorry, I didn't mean to let that slip,” she said shyly.
“I have no idea what you're talking about, Abs,” Tony said, though the lump in the pit of his stomach said otherwise.
“Tony,” Abby said with a look of disbelief at his thick-headedness. “You remember that incident a few months ago, when I stayed with Gibbs to get away from my stalker ex?” Tony nodded. “So do I. I also remember the beautiful dog who watched over me all night, the dog Gibbs said was named Tony ...” Tony paled slightly. He hadn't been able to get himself to stay away, and it seemed a safe enough tactic. Besides, Abby had been drunk off her ass. He was surprised she remembered anything from that night.
“I also remember this crazy dream the next morning that when that dog left, he turned into you,” Abby added, then turned and winked. “Cute butt, by the way.” This time Tony didn't pale, he blushed. “I did some research after that case. No way what I saw was a dog, or pure dog. It was a wolf ... and when I asked around a bit more it became clear that he, that you, are a shifter.”
“Hush,” Tony said sharply, stepping closer, crowding into her space. “No one should be slipping you information like that, and you especially shouldn't be mentioning it around here.”
“There's no one here, and no one listening in,” Abby insisted, pointing at an odd window on her computer monitor. “If someone were listening, that would be green.” The window was red. “And why shouldn't someone tell me. I'm pack.” She looked plaintively up at Tony. “I am pack, aren't I?”
Tony cursed under his breath at the insanity of his day but put a reassuring hand on her shoulder, his thumb pressing lightly against her neck under her dog collar. “You're pack, Abby, no doubt in my mind.”
“What about Gibbs' mind?” Abby asked tentatively.
Tony sighed and closed his eyes for a moment, trying to swallow back his anger at the older man. “I don't know,” he admitted ruefully. “Five months ago, yes, he was alpha and you were definitely pack. Now ... I don't know what is going on in his head.”
“So Gibbs is a shifter too?” Abby asked excitedly. “I mean, once I knew what to look for it seemed so obvious ...”
“Abs,” Tony cut her off glancing to make sure that little window was still red. “No, he's not a shifter, just a really good natural alpha personality.”
“Are you sure?” Abby asked, her nose and forehead wrinkling in disbelief. “Because everyone I talked to said he sounded exactly like a shifter, not that I used names, I just described him, but his hearing is as good as yours and his eyes used to be and he just has that strong alpha growly attitude ...”
Tony waved a hand in front of her face to cut her off again. He was in no mood for an Abby babble. “I'm glad you didn't use names. However, in all the time he's known about me, he's never said a word about being one himself,” Tony said. He could say more, like that Gibbs had seen him shift hundreds of times but never done so himself, or that Gibbs never showed signs of the sensory up and down that occurred when someone shifted. He could have said that, but he didn't know how to admit just how much time he'd been spending around his boss without Abby becoming suspicious they were more than boss and subordinate. She might know about shifters, but he was not about to get into a discussion about mates. Especially not under the current circumstances.
“Maybe he just came from a weird family and never learned how ...”
Tony covered Abby's mouth with his hand. “Abby, he's not a shifter. Now, tell me who you've been talking to so I can go give them a talking to.”
“But I'm pack,” Abby insisted, pulling his hand away from her mouth. “That means it's okay to talk to me.”
“If they had confirmed that, then yes. But that usually requires talking to the pack alpha, and since Gibbs has been out of reach and no one has talked to me ...” He trailed off and held his hand out. “Address.”
“Are you going to go kick their asses?” Abby asked uncomfortably even as she turned to her computer and pulled up an old search. On the last page was an address she copied onto a post-it note for him.
“No, just talk,” Tony promised as he took the address and tucked it in his wallet. He'd deal with that later, when he was in a better mood. A much better mood. Right now he'd probably rip their throats out and then where would he be? “And get that search off the NCIS system. You don't go leaving traces where others could find them.”
“It's encrypted,” she responded quickly.
“How fast do you and McGee regularly break encryptions?” Tony countered.
“Depends on the encryption,” Abby volleyed back. “And I used a very good encryption. But I'll get it off the NCIS system and erase my tracks.” Tony glared at her. “Promise.”
“Good,” Tony growled. He stepped back and leaned against the high table, the adrenaline rush of the last few minutes draining out of him, fortunately taking most of his rage with it.
“So, what are you going to do about Gibbs?” Abby asked after a moment of silence.
Tony sighed and tiredly rubbed a hand across his face then through his hair. “I don't know.”
“Do you think ... does he remember?” Abby asked hesitantly. “About you? And the team being a pack?”
“I don't know,” Tony said sadly. “Sometimes he seems to remember most everything, but honestly I think he's still got holes in his head ... and I'm one of them. That, or he lied to me about how much he knew ...” Tony trailed off, his eyes glancing at her computer screen again. Still red. He couldn't bring himself to say it or even to think it, but he couldn't believe that if Gibbs remembered he would have kept silent. Tony had been half waiting for Gibbs to stop by every night since he got back into town. Surely at some point the older man would want to talk to him, if only to repudiate him officially and go back to properly mourning his wife and daughter. What could he possibly see in a broken down ex-cop shifter when he'd had a family like that?
“Then remind him,” Abby said pointedly, pushing at his shoulder with a hand.
“I don't know about that,” Tony hedged. If he didn't remember, and Tony reminded him, then it would just make his repudiation official. As long as he lived in limbo he at least had a chance to hope a little.
“You should have gone after him in Mexico,” Abby said harshly, pushing harder on his shoulder. “You're his second. That's your job.”
“Taking care of the team is my job,” Tony snapped back. “Those were his final orders. Was I supposed to walk away from that just because he did?”
Abby looked at him in wide-eyed shock, but comprehension slowly filled her eyes. “He never rescinded that order, did he? He tells you we're your team, then just waltzes in and takes over again without another word ...” Tony nodded. “Oh, Tony, you have to tell him. You can't just keep letting him run all over you like this.”
“Abby, either he remembers or he doesn't,” Tony growled, closing his eyes
“You need to remind him,” Abby insisted again. “If you don't, I will.”
Tony opened his eyes and glared at her, hard. “Don't you dare.”
“Someone has to,” Abby insisted, refusing to back down.
“If I see the right opening, I will talk to him,” Tony said firmly, sharply. “The rest of you are human, so this is my problem and mine alone.”
Abby wilted a little under his gaze, tilting her head slightly back to expose her throat and looking away from him. Apparently her friends had told her a lot more than how to identify a shifter. “All right. But I'm worried about you.”
Tony fought to relax and took a step back. “I know, Abs,” he said more gently. “I know.”
Abby stepped forward and grabbed his hand putting it back on her shoulder. “That's what pack does,” she whispered.
Tony ran his thumb along the side of her neck, watching as she tilted her head to give him more access. Her friends really had told her a lot. “Next time you have a stalker boyfriend, let me know,” he said, pressing a little tighter on her throat to emphasize that this was more an order than an offer. “I know an excellent guard dog you could borrow for a few evenings.”
Abby grinned up at him and leaned into his touch. “I'll remember that for next time.”
She might have said more, but then Tony's phone rang. He pulled it from his pocket and sighed when he saw the caller ID. “Gotta go, Abs,” he said, turning it so she could see Gibbs' name.
“You gonna be alight?” she asked plaintively, but Tony could only shrug in response. “All right, go,” she said, pushing him towards the door. “But think about what I said.”
“Will do,” he called back, then opened up the phone as he left her lab. “Yes, boss?”