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Title: Love Cuts Deep
Pairing: Anthony Dinozzo/Jethro Gibbs
Disclaimer: I don't own, please don't sue.
Summary: Tony reacts to Gibbs harsh words.
Spoilers: Coda to Chimera.
***Gibbs sighed as he closed the door behind him. It had been a long and exhausting day, and after an even longer debriefing he was happy to finally be home.
Gibbs bypassed the kitchen, his usual stop upon returning home, and headed straight towards his bedroom.
He was tired and all he wanted to do was curl up with his lover and sleep.
He stopped in the doorway, a soft smile playing about his lips. Tony was sitting on the bed, completely unaware that he was being watched.
Walking around to Tony's side of the bed to greet his lover, Gibbs stopped momentarily at the sight of the orange duffel bag next to Tony's feet.
Standing in front of his lover, Gibbs tried to ignore the uncertainty churning in the pit of his stomach. "What's with the bag Tony?"
"I'm going to be staying at Lisa's for a few days. I'll get my stuff as soon as I can find a new condo."
Gibbs sat down quickly, fearing that his legs might give out otherwise. His greatest fear since beginning this relationship with Tony was that he'd eventually leave. "What are you talking about? Why on earth would you be staying with Lisa?"
"Because she's my favorite cousin and she said it was ok." Tony sighed heavily, rubbing a hand through his hair. Gibbs noticed he had yet to look at him. "Look, I really don't feel like explaining it, and you'd probably make fun of my reasons anyway."
"What? I wouldn't do that Tony, you know that."
Tony stood up abruptly, anger causing his face to flush red, and finally looked at him. The pure anger and disbelief reflected within Tony's eyes made Gibbs wish he hadn't. "And why the hell would I know that Gibbs?! What proof do I have that you wouldn't do just that? As a matter of fact, I have loads of evidence to the contrary."
"What are you talking about? What evidence?"
"Gibbs, did you forget how many times in the last three years alone that I've almost died."
"No, Tony, I didn't forget. I could never forget. I've come close to losing you too many times." Gibbs sighed as he watched Tony walk further away from the bed, further away from him.
"So, you didn't forget, you just chose to ignore it. Well, I can't ignore it, okay? It scares the hell out of me that I have been so damn close to dying, and sometimes it makes me wonder if I should even keep doing this damn job. But I love my job, and I love that I am helping people. And I always knew that I had your support so it made it easier to get back to work even when I was scared shitless. But on this case, on that ship, I saw a side of you that made me wonder if that's even true anymore."
Gibbs was at Tony's side in a flash, pulling his lover into a gentle hug, "Of course I support you Tony. I love you. Don't ever doubt that."
"I know that Jethro, I really do. But I'm not sure I want your kind of love. I may not have as high a self esteem as I should, but I do know that I don't deserve a love, or lover, that makes me feel like crap for being a little paranoid when we are facing the possibility of dying by some unknown disease. I know I take a lot of crap from you, but I refuse to take that kind of treatment from anyone. Not even you Jethro."
Gibbs sighed; he knew that Tony was right. He'd felt like an ass for saying those cruel words, but at the time it was the only thing that could shut Tony up. And he had to make Tony stop talking because it was making Gibbs more and more afraid. Afraid that Tony might actually be infected with some incurable, unknown disease. Gibbs couldn't handle that. Not and still be able to do his job. "I'm sorry Tony. I was wrong. And I'm sorry for not realizing that it bothered you this much. You seemed fine on the ship and at the office."
"That's because I was still on the job. No matter how I feel about you, I have never let my feelings interfere with how I do my job. I won't start now."
"Isn't that what you're doing now? What I said, that was on the job. Why is it just now starting to affect you?" Gibbs knew he'd crossed the line as soon as the words were out of his mouth.
Tony shrugged out of Gibbs embrace, and grabbed his bag. Stalking towards the door, Tony stopped just inside the doorway, looking back at Gibbs. "Never once did I think you would use the job as an excuse to tell me it was okay for me to die, silently or otherwise. I know you can be a bastard sometimes, but even so, I would never think so little of you. And I refuse to be with someone that thinks so little of me."
Gibbs stood silently as he watched his lover walk out of the room. He wanted to stop him, needed to stop him, but pride made him stand there staring at the closed door like an idiot.
It wasn't until he heard the slam of the front door that he broke out of his stupor. He took the stairs two at a time.
He reached Tony just as he was getting into his car.
"I'm sorry! Okay? I'm sorry Tony, I know I screwed up, and I know I don't deserve it, but please give me another chance. I'll prove to you that I will never hurt you again. I can't promise that I won't be a bastard, but I will promise to never disregard your feelings like I did these past few days. Just… please…don't go. Not like this."
By this time Tony was shaking, lost in the whirlwind of emotions he was feeling at Gibbs words now and before. He wanted to believe Jethro. Wanted it desperately, but he wasn't sure he could anymore. Wasn't sure he should. The cold look and utter disregard for his feelings had hurt Tony more than any headslap ever could. It had hurt to hear those cruel words hurled at him by his teammates, watching as they laughed off his presumed paranoia, but it had almost killed him to have those actions repeated by Gibbs. He'd been able to push it aside at the moment, his main focus being on the case, but as soon as he'd left the office the memories came flooding back. He knew there was no way he could handle going through that kind of hurt again.
It took all the strength he had, but he shook his head slightly. "One chance Gibbs. I mean it. Only one. I love you, but that's all I have left in me. I can't go through this again. I won't go through this again. There will be no explanation. I'll just leave. And there will be nothing you can do to change that. Got it?"
"Yes, Tony. I'm sorry."
Tony nodded again, and Gibbs released him and stepped back. Bending down, Gibbs grabbed Tony's bag and waited for Tony to make a move towards the front door, which was still standing wide open.
When Tony took the first hesitant step, Gibbs just knew he was gonna turn back. Tony waited a moment longer before walking into the house without any further hesitation. Gibbs felt a weight lift off of his shoulders as he closed the door behind them.
He knew he was in no way completely forgiven. It would take time and effort to regain the trust he'd so carelessly tossed aside. But he was up to the task. Tony was well worth the effort. And if it took the rest of his life to make it up to Tony, well, Gibbs was willing to make that sacrifice.
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