Author's note, I was watching this episode a few days back and after John is shot, the look Gibbs gave Tony clearly screamed, "It could have been you." And well it inspired me. I do not own NCIS BUT PLEASE REVIEW
It could have been Tony.
It always seems to be him. This time it hadn't been.
And even though an officer was down he was glad.
He didn't need to watch his man die in his arms.
Didn't want Tony's blood stained on his hands forever.
He didn't think he could bare to bury another one of his agents, let alone DiNozzo.
He was tempted to grab DiNozzo and push his agent behind him, even though it was over.
It didn't feel right.
But perhaps that was just the dying officers blood in the air.
On the drive back DiNozzo was quiet, he squeezed the back of his neck.
For once relinquishing control of the vehicle to Ziva.
He didn't say anything.
What words of comfort could he possibly offer?
Instead he sat back, quietly hiding the fact he was fussing over his agent.
Cause it could have been him.
That's why his heart couldn't relax.
He couldn't tear his eyes off DiNozzo for a second.
So long as DiNozzo was alive he'd remain paranoid.
He'd badger DiNozzo into buying a security system.
Head-slap him into fighting lessons.
Teach him everything he knew.
Because he wouldn't be around to protect DiNozzo forever.
No one would ever know, but that was what he feared the most.
Tonight his senior field agent would be staying with him.
He didn't care.
It had been way too close.
He knew that the dead officer and Tony had gotten along, even if they hadn't the loss of another officer always shook a person up.
But it would be worse for DiNozzo, because the man had been at his six, had been his somewhat temporary partner in leiu of Gibbs.
He had died on DiNozzo's watch. He knew his Senior Field Agent would blame himself, even though it hadn't been his fault. He had followed protocol, he had done everything he could.
But sometimes the bad guys took what they could before they went down and there was nothing you could do about it.
If you spoke those words to Tony right now, he'd be sure to leave you a shiner.
Most people left him alone to deal with these things himself, it was how Tony liked it.
So he could drink himself into oblivion and sleep with anything that had two legs and two tits.
It was a bad way of coping, but he couldn't really judge.
Tony had woman and he had boats.
But tonight had been too close.
Too close to Tony being dead.
Too close to his heart stopping.
Too close to think.
Tonight he wanted his boy with him, and he didn't care what the other man had to say about it.
He finished his report and glanced up. His heart skipped a beat.
DiNozzo was gone. He sighed.
He probably just went home.
He'd collect him on his way to his house.
Grabbing his coat he swept to the elevator.
To his surprise DiNozzo was waiting for him there.
Sitting against the far wall.
He slid down next to him, he didn't say a word.
"Think I'm staying here tonight Boss."
"Is that right DiNozzo?"
DiNozzo looked at him with haunted eyes.
"I can take care of myself boss. You don't have to stick around for me."
"I'm not. I have to finish the paperwork for the officer related shooting."
They sat in silence for quite a bit, ignoring the odd looks they got.
"It could have been me you know boss. It should have been me. I was in the lead position."
"I know. But it wasn't."
His insides were cold.
"It should have been. How many times can I escape before it happens to me?"
"So long as I'm around DiNozzo nothing will happen to you."
"Really boss? Could have fooled me but I'm pretty sure you weren't there when John was shot. In fact you didn't come until after the bastard was blown away."
He didn't say a word. DiNozzo needed this.
"It was the first time you didn't have my six. It was the first time I had to rely on someone else. And they ended up dead."
He closed his eyes. This is why he couldn't die. This is why DiNozzo still needed him. He flashbacked to his Mexican sabbatical and winced. How could he have left Tony so high and dry?
"He shouldn't have died that way boss."
"He went down in the line of duty Tony, he was a hero."
"He was already a hero. Being a federal agent is hard, but being a cop...much harder boss."
He didn't argue, he wouldn't know.
"It's not your fault Tony."
"He had my six Gibbs. He was covering me. I should have done something, should have noticed."
"What could you have done Tony? Gone in there alone and died? No matter how many times you replay this in your head DiNozzo, no matter how many what if's go through your mind, it'll always end up the same. With John dead. And you alive."
He watched as his Senior Field Agent stared blankly at the doors.
"He shouldn't have died Boss."
"I know. But he did Tony. You can't always save everyone. You can't blame yourself because the more blame you have on your shoulders, than the less the bastards who shot him have on theirs. He's the one that killed John, DiNozzo, not you. And we got him. We got him."
"Not all of them."
"No, DiNozzo not all of them. That's why we're still Agents, because we haven't got them all."
DiNozzo remained quiet, he seemed to be thinking.
"Do you ever get...afraid that one day one of us will get you killed or that one of us will be killed?"
"Every day I come in DiNozzo."
He felt the eyes of his Senior Field Agent turn to him.
"How do you do it? How do you deal with that?"
"I don't. You don't. You go day by day DiNozzo, you have each other's six's 24/7 and hope and pray to god it doesn't happen."
"Didn't know you believed in God, boss."
"I don't. But if there happens to be one, I want Him on your side."
He snorted, "Thanks boss. Want some pizza? I mean we both have loads of paper work and all to do, I'm hungry just thinking about it all."
Later on, after the pizza had been devoured and the paperwork finished, he slipped out from behind his desk and over to Tony's. His Agent was asleep in his chair, the air conditioning making him shiver a bit. He took off his suit jacket and draped it over Tony watching him fondly, he rested a hand on the young man's shoulder, squeezing it lightly.
It had been too close tonight.
Much too close.