Genre: Gen, H/C-ish, Episode Tag-Alt ending, Sleepy Tony
Summary: Gibbs notices that something is off with Tony—other than his bleeding arm. A very short alt ending to the episode “Boxed In.” Not a fix-it fic.
“Get him out of here, McGee and call the local LEOs to handle the other two.”
With a nod, McGee pulled the Port Officer up off the ground and in the direction Ziva had gone.
“We sure put a damper on his day, huh, boss?” DiNozzo said with a tired grin.
“Yeah,” Gibbs drawled. He gestured at the arm Tony held protectively against himself. “Looks like he almost put an end to yours, DiNozzo.” He pulled a handkerchief from his coat pocket, took the younger agent by the elbow and steered him over to sit down on one of the crates.
“I’m okay, boss.”
“I’ll be the judge of that.”
Tony accepted help taking off his jacket without further comment or protest—which only made Gibbs more concerned. “You with me?” he asked, ripping the shirt open over the wound. It was a decent sized graze that would need stitches.
“With you, boss,” he murmured quietly in such a way that it earned him another assessing glance.
When Gibbs tied his handkerchief around the wound and Tony didn’t so much as grimace, he knelt in front of him to get a good look at his eyes. Gently lifting Tony’s chin with his finger, “Hit your head?” he asked before running his fingers through his hair, checking for anything of concern despite his agent’s negative response.
Tony closed his eyes with a sigh and swayed into the touch. Gibbs smirked. Abby has clocked him falling asleep in less than 90 seconds once fingers start sweeping across his scalp. She was the first to learn of his kryptonite a few years ago while trying to comfort him after a rough case and bad take-out. Gibbs steadied him and finished his inspection as quickly as possible. “Not naptime yet, DiNozzo.”
“Mmm,” he sighed, “then get your fingers outta my hair, boss.”
The older man chuckled, but his eyes turned worried again when Tony opened his. There was a pain there that he was fairly certain wasn’t from his arm. Gibbs studied him a moment. He could give him the classic Gibbs’ stare or a head slap to get him to confess, but he sensed this was one of those rare moments when they wouldn’t work.
Noticing Gibbs’ hesitation, the younger agent tried to smile, but it ended up more sad than reassuring. “Just tired.”
Gibbs narrowed his eyes briefly. There was more to it than that.
“And hungry,” Tony added, perking up a bit. “Didn’t happen to pick up a pizza on your way here, did ya, boss?”
Gibbs snorted. “Had a couple other things on my mind, DiNozzo.” He stood and pulled his agent up with him. Tony swayed into him, but quickly regained his balance. “There’s some of those granola things in the car you can eat on the way to the ER.”
“Aw, not the hospital, boss.”
“It’s either that, or I let McGee stitch you up.”
“Hospital sounds great, boss. Thanks.”
“Uh, huh.” Though somewhat slow and stiff, Tony was walking fine on his own and Gibbs’ worry started to abate. “I’ll get you a pizza once you’re cleared by a doctor.”
“Sausage, pepperoni and extra cheese?” the younger agent asked, hopeful.
“Well, yeah, DiNozzo.”
That brightened Tony up a bit. “Thanks, boss.” He waited a moment. “So, how many pizzas we talkin’? ‘cause I built up quite an appet—”
“Don’t push it, DiNozzo.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it, boss,” Tony answered quickly.
Gibbs smiled fondly at his antics. He knew Tony wasn’t alright—that whatever was weighing heavily on his heart couldn’t be lifted with a pizza; not this time anyway. Sometimes though, Tony just needed time to process what was on his mind.
And if he needed a little help…well, that’s what Gibbs’ basement was for.