Part 2

Warning: Language

T.L.C. Gibbs' Style

Part 2

The hand slamming down on his desk millimetres from his face alerted him to the cold stark reality that one - Gibbs was back and two - Gibbs was pissed. Then it hit him that his cheek was up close and far too comfortable with his desk and that there was a dribble of saliva at the corner of his mouth.

Hell no, please don't let Gibbs have caught me sleeping on the job!

Reflex action had him shooting up out of his seat, grabbing his damp jacket and backpack while calling huskily, "On it, Boss!"

Until, that is, he realised there wasn't anything to be 'on'; the case was solved.

Carefully and a little sheepishly, he settled back into his chair, willing the dizziness caused by his missile ascending act to disappear. Reaching for his keyboard, he willed his focus to stop blurring in and out as he attempted to make some show of doing something, anything that might delay the wrath of Gibbs falling on his weary shoulders.

It was hard to ignore the all too dangerously close proximity of one Leroy Jethro Gibbs, NCIS agent extraordinaire who seemed to have the uncanny ability to catch him at the most ill-timed moments (and he really would have to ask one day how Gibbs managed that - one day; then again...maybe not). Tony concentrated all his attention on his screen and hoped against hope that the unyielding presence would move away and bother someone else.

"Almost done, Boss. Just a few more-."

"Did Ducky call you?"

The young agent frowned. He had a vague recollection of a phone call, but couldn't quite put his finger on exactly when it had taken place.

Out of his peripheral vision he saw the hand moving to connect with his head and knew miserably that it would hurt more than normal. Wincing in anticipation of the blow he literally jerked away when the palm of Gibbs' hand came to rest momentarily against his hot forehead.

In his confusion, Tony was aware of a muffled curse and then he was being hauled out of his seat, a firm grip on the back of his t-shirt as if he needed the extra encouragement.

"David!"

The ex-Mossad oficer had appeared as if by magic at her superior's summons.

"Get him out of those wet clothes and into scrubs then get him to Ducky."

Tony could feel himself colouring under the intense scrutiny of both agents and prepared to protest.

"And if he so much as raises a finger to whinge - whack him!"

As the doors to the elevator slid shut, Gibbs heard a hoarse voice state smugly, "What? No foreplay Zee-vah?"

Rolling his eyes, the silver-haired agent promised himself he'd give Tony a good smack later.

Dr. Donald Mallard looked away from the x-ray he had been perusing on the light board, nodding amiably when he saw his guests entering autopsy.

"Ah, Ziva, I see you have brought our reluctant Anthony. Jethro here has just been telling me he thinks you might have a temperature, my boy."

Tony tried his best to look healthy and animated as he extricated his arm from the Israeli's grip and the ex-gunny was left trying to work out whether the heightened colour on his agent's cheeks was from the fever or from the embarrassment of being stripped by David.

"Really?" Tony made it sound as if it were the most outlandish idea ever put forward. There was nothing like being positive, after all.

"Well, if a fever, wet clothes and glazed eyes is anything to go by..." Gibbs sounded bored.

It was the M.E.s turn to scowl, particularly when he'd given his patient careful perusal. He didn't like what he was seeing.

"Oh dear, didn't I tell you it was of the utmost importance to take care of your health after all you've been through?"

Gibbs found himself included in that reproachful stare and didn't like it.

In the course of his lecture, the older man accompanied Tony to an autopsy table and produced a stethoscope.

"Sit yourself down, get out of that top and let's have a listen to those lungs of yours, shall we?...Deep breath...In...Out. And again."

The frown grew deeper.

As Gibbs watched the examination, he asked softly, "And maybe my senior field agent would care to explain why he decided to ignore my order to stay in the Command Post."

Dr. Mallard paused, giving Tony a critical look as he assimilated just what Gibbs had revealed. It was a rare occasion indeed that someone dared to disobey an order of L.J. Gibbs. This should be interesting except...he returned his stethoscope to the spot on Tony's back that he had just been listening to.

"Oh dear."

"Ducky?" Gibbs' head shot up as he directed a hard look at the bare chest of his agent.

"There are clear signs of congestion, Jethro."

"Meaning?"

"Meaning he's off the duty roster as we speak."

"Aw, come on Ducky, just because I've got a-."

It wasn't often the Medical Examiner was short-tempered with Tony; he seemed to have a particularly soft spot for the young agent, but this was one time he felt the need for some harsh reality.

"Meaning, young man, you are on a one-way trip to some enforced bed rest."

"But I'm-."

"You are sick!" Mallard declared emphatically. "There are no two ways of looking at it."

Sitting on the table under the hawk eyes of the two older men and one woman, Tony's vulnerability revealed itself in an unusually sullen attitude.

"It's just a cold," he muttered.

The firm prod in his chest startled him and made him sit up a little straighter.

"Go on like this and you'll be in hospital before I can say Christopher Robin."

The Israeli couldn't help it, she opened her mouth only to see Gibbs shake his head - the message not to go there was loud and clear. She gave a slight nod in acknowledgement.

"Right, Ziva stay with DiNozzo. DiNozzo, stay put!" And fixing Tony with a baleful glare, the ex-gunny stated flatly, "If he tries to move off that table - cuff him to it."

"What if I need the head?" Tony couldn't help the whine in his voice.

Gibbs continued walking.

"Give him a bottle, David."

"Bo-oss!"

It had been a good half hour before Gibbs had returned, picked up a prescription from the M.E. and began to usher a clearly exhausted senior field agent from the building.

"Er...where are we going, Boss?"

"Home."

Tony bit his lower lip feeling the tremor of apprehension.

"That would be my home, right?"

No answer.

He began to dawdle more than he had been, in answer to which the older man lost patience with the stalling tactics and took a firm hold of his arm, marching him past the parked cars at a more respectable pace.

Tony looked at the vehicle they had stopped beside. It wasn't his car. He wanted his vehicle.

Seeing the touch of stubbornness settle on his agent's pale face, Gibbs ordered, "Get in the damned car, DiNozzo."

Dr. Mallard had placed a warm blanket around the sick man's shoulders before he'd been allowed to leave and now as Tony settled into the passenger seat, he gripped it as tremors began to wrack his aching body.

"I...I'm fine to go to my place, Gibbs," he persisted. "I don't-."

"Need a babysitter?" The sarcasm was bone dry. "That's a subject I'm sure Ducky would be willing to debate...I'm not!"

For an intense moment Tony felt his body burned by the infamous Gibbs' glare and out of self-preservation he chose to huddle down in his seat and pray that the remainder of the journey would pass in silence.

The passenger door being opened startled him; he must have dozed off - again, and with a churning feeling in his gut, Tony recognised the door to Gibbs' place.

He wasn't allowed to spend too much time digesting this unwelcome information as he alighted from the car, because he suddenly and inexplicably found himself having difficulty supporting his own weight as his legs chose this unfortunate moment to copy a marionette's awkward movements to perfection.

In the same instant a snort of disdain accompanied one of his arms being guided over Gibbs' shoulders and then he was hoisted up, up, up.

Wanting nothing more than to curl into nothing, he stammered, "Sss...sorry, Boss. Don't mean to-."

"Shut up and concentrate on walking, DiNozzo."

As they entered Gibbs' home and down the parquet floor hall, he would have liked nothing better than to be allowed to collapse on the sofa in the living room, but when Gibbs kept going, Tony allowed himself a small moan of complaint.

It was ignored, yet he had to admit that the bed he was deposited on wasn't as unwelcome as he'd thought. And when his head touched the pillow he had to seriously stifle another moan, uncomfortably aware that his boss wasn't looking all that happy.

Attempting to interpret that particular look, Tony was suddenly, forcefully struck by the deeply unpleasant thought that Gibbs had been forced by the M.E. to bring him here. He squirmed at the notion, his face flushing deeper than ever as he promised himself he'd be out of there at the first available opportunity. No way was he staying anywhere he wasn't wanted!

The cool hand on his forehead again brought him out of his painful musings and he watched the ex-marine place a glass of water and some tablets on the bedside table.

Tony stared at them, but his brain hadn't quite made the connection that pills and water were there to be taken. Thus, when his wrist was grasped and two pills slapped into his palm, he winced, having to force himself not to recoil from the unexpected touch. He didn't see the way Gibbs' eyes narrowed, didn't see his mouth tighten, yet still he sensed he'd managed to piss his boss off.

Snorting in exasperation, Gibbs snapped, "Are you going to take those sometime this month, DiNozzo?"

It was enough to startle him into action and he levered himself up and disposed of the medication, dropping on the goose down pillow with an audible sigh.

When he dared to look up, he was somewhat perplexed to see what looked like concern, etched in Gibb's blue eyes before the man turned away.

"Get some sleep, Tony. I'm going to get those meds."

"Boss, you don't-."

"Did you hear what I said, DiNozzo?" The warning was clear.

Nodding half-heartedly, Tony scooted further down into the bed. He'd made his decision; he'd pretend to take a nap and then, while Gibbs was away, he'd take off.

TBC