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Note: NCIS/The Sentinel crossover
Spoilers for: Dead Man Talking, Missing, and Split Decision.
Summary: There are serious repercussions to the harsh exchange between Kate and Tony at the end of Split Decision.
"You know, these Sentinel abilities of your are coming in pretty damn handy," Gibbs announced, rubbing a hand over Tony's chest.
Tony grinned, staring up into Gibbs' eyes as he replied, "I think so. Although I don't even really know how I knew that Stone was lying. Pretty cool, though."
"Chalk it up to instinct and being a good judge of character," Gibbs answered, dipping in for a long, slow kiss.
Sighing into the possession, Tony wrapped his arms around his lover and opened his mouth to the loving onslaught. Things had been going unusually bad for them at work the last week or so, but their personal lives were more than making up for it. He hadn't been able to help himself from provoking Gibbs into a public declaration the week before, but it hadn't seemed to bother the older man overly much.
Of course, he had gotten back at Tony with that McGee crack just about two seconds later.
Tony groaned when Gibbs' mouth left his and started trailing down his throat to his chest. Though he occasionally got possessive with the older man and pounced on him the second they were somewhere private, for the most part it was Gibbs who dominated their relationship. He grinned at that thought and continued silently, Both in and out of the bedroom. There's a surprise.
"Oh hey, I almost forgot."
Tony snorted in amusement. Right. Gibbs forgot nothing. He just liked to torment Tony when they were right in the middle of making love sometimes drawing out way, way past the time he should. Usually right about the time that Tony started begging. Something irritating about building character.
"What did Kate say to you before you almost knocked me down on your way out tonight?"
The pleasant, relaxed mood vanished with those words and Tony answered flatly, "Nothing."
Gibbs' lips on his body froze in place, then he pushed up onto his elbows and observed, "Doesn't sound like nothing."
Shrugging, Tony said, "I don't want to talk about it."
Frowning now, Gibbs sat up altogether and eyed him for a long moment before ordering, "Tell me what she said, DiNozzo."
Instead of answering, Tony climbed out of bed and left the bedroom.
"DiNozzo! Get your ass back in here!" Gibbs shouted after him.
Ignoring the other man, Tony headed for the bathroom, closing the door behind him and grabbing his sweats from the hamper. A t-shirt and socks were next and by then, Gibbs knocked on the door with, "Tony, come on. Talk to me. What happened?"
Opening the door, Tony said, "I'm going for a run."
Strangely, Gibbs didn't protest. He just looked very closely at Tony and then replied, "I'll be here when you get back."
Which was both a promise and a threat, Tony knew. Gibbs wouldn't leave this alone until he found out exactly what had gone down between him and Kate. And really, he wasn't all that sure if that angered him, or made him feel relieved. Nodding acknowledgement, Tony found his sneakers and shoved his feet into them, grabbed his keys and left the apartment.
He started with a slow jog, deliberately bringing up the stinging words and harsh tone of Kate's voice. He remembered the exact look in her eyes as she'd cut him down, his often too-vivid imagination coming into play.
Yep. It still hurts, he thought angrily.
Kate didn't know about him and Gibbs and now he wasn't all that sure she should be told. Was she ticked because he'd kissed another guy, however accidentally? He hadn't thought that Kate was that narrow-minded, he really hadn't. She'd been pretty merciless in her teasing of him since day one, but he'd given back as good as he'd gotten. There'd been many an occasion where Kate had been left silent and glowering at whatever score he'd hit, but he'd never been deliberately hurtful to her.
Before tonight, neither had she.
Putting on a burst of speed at the painful thought, Tony didn't look before running into the street. He heard the screech of tires as the car tried to stop and that gave him just enough warning to jump high, instead of being slammed into by the car grate and then run over. He hit the windshield and went up and over the top of the car, agony ripping through his body as he rolled off the back of the car to slam hard into the pavement.
There was too much pain for him to even pinpoint the worst of it in any specific location. He heard people babbling in fear and excitement and thought in vague disgust, I hate lookie-loos. Buncha vultures.
Then the darkness claimed him.
* * * *
Jethro knew something was wrong when Tony didn't come back after a half-hour. Pacing the apartment, he roamed back and forth for a few more minutes before deciding to go after him. Knowing Tony's jogging route, and that Tony wouldn't deviate from it in his agitated state, made things easier. He jogged along the same path until he saw the flashing lights of an ambulance. Fear seized his heart and Jethro sprinted the rest of the distance, arriving just as Tony was being loaded onto the ambulance.
"Wait! Stop!" Jethro shouted.
A cop grabbed him and hauled him back, away from the scene. Snarling, Jethro yanked out his badge and rounded on the man with, "NCIS! That man works for me and he has extensive medical allergies! I need to be on that ambulance!"
"Oh, sorry. Go ahead," the cop backed down, letting go.
Jethro ran to the ambulance, catching the door and yanking it back open to hop inside.
The EMT jumped in surprise and demanded, "What are you doing!?"
"I know this man and he has extensive medical allergies," Jethro snapped. "What's wrong with him? What happened?"
Closing the door, the young man replied, "He was hit by a car. He's got a severely sprained ankle, his shoulder was dislocated, his elbow smashed, there's multiple lacerations, some of them pretty deep, and there's possible internal injuries. What kind of allergies?"
Jethro reeled under the list of injuries and stared down at Tony's unconscious, bruised face. "Head injuries?"
"No, he missed that, thankfully," the EMT replied, then repeated, "What kind of allergies?"
Reining back the fear, Jethro held out a hand and ordered, "Give me your med list, it'll be faster that way."
* * * *
Pacing the waiting room while Tony was in surgery, Jethro glared at any of the other people who were waiting whenever they got in his way. No one stayed in his way for very long.
Jethro turned at Abby's call and found her accompanied by Ducky and Kate. His gaze narrowed at Kate, who frowned in return, but all he said was, "Tony's in surgery. They'll reset the broken bones once they've stopped the internal bleeding."
"Dear God, how many broken bones are we talking about?" Ducky questioned, aghast.
Jethro rattled off the list of injuries and when Abby paled even further than she usually was, grabbed her arm and guided her to a chair. "Sit down, Abs, take it easy. Kate, get her some water."
Ducky took the seat beside Abby, placing a hand at the small of her back and assuring her, "He'll be fine, Abby. Anthony is a strong young man in the prime of his life and there were no head injuries, so he'll be right as rain in no time."
"But, but what happened?" Abby wailed, staring up at Jethro.
Jaw clenching at her accusing look, even though he knew she wasn't accusing him, Jethro admitted, "I don't know. He went for a jog to clear his head, and was going to tell me what the problem was when he got back only..."
"He didn't come back," Kate finished for him, returning with a small cup of water.
Taking the water from her, Abby sipped at it, leaning against Ducky as she did.
Jethro pinned Kate with a look and stated, "You and I need to talk. Abs, Duck, we'll be right back."
Not protesting for a change, Kate followed him down the hall. Once he stopped, she asked, "What is it? What didn't you want to say to Abby?"
"What the hell did you say to DiNozzo earlier tonight that caused him to almost knock me down on his way out of the office?" Jethro demanded tightly.
Kate frowned. "What's that got to do with anything?"
"Tony got upset when I asked him what happened and that's when he went out for a jog. The driver kept repeating that Tony didn't even look or stop or pause, he just bolted out into the street. Now, the DiNozzo I know doesn't do something that stupid unless he's too upset to think properly. And the only thing I know of that was upsetting him was you and whatever the fk you said to him tonight. What. Did you. Say?"
Looking like she'd swallowed something unpleasant, Kate replied, "I made a smart remark about him kissing Voss last week. I may have been...a little harsh about it."
"A little..." Jethro took a breath, keeping himself firmly in check. If he didn't, he was afraid that he'd haul off and belt Kate.
She couldn't know, of course, that something about Voss had sent Tony's Sentinel abilities haywire, that he'd felt like he'd been under the sway of something that he couldn't control. Blair had told them that it had been a reaction to pheromones, which had most likely been in overabundance since Voss had been taking hormone pills to get ready for the operation. Despite the logical explanation, Tony had been guilt-ridden about kissing Voss. Not just because it had been cheating on Jethro, but because he'd been kissing Chris Pacci's killer on top of that, and at the time, wanting more.
Exhaling slowly, Jethro informed her, "The next time you bring up Voss in any way, shape, or form that doesn't involve the official investigation, will be the last time you do so at NCIS. Are we clear?"
Kate nodded, sober. "Crystal."
"Good. Go on back to Abby and Ducky, I need some air."
She left without another word, which was good because he was still too close to the edge to trust himself with her. Striding out of the hospital, he wished for a bitter cold wind to brace him instead of the humid DC air, even as late as it was.
The last couple of weeks had been tough ones for them both. Aside from the whole Voss disaster, the kidnapping had shaken him more than Jethro would ever admit. It was difficult for him to admit to himself just how scared he'd been that they wouldn't get Tony back. He'd been running on sheer adrenaline by the time he'd gotten to the sewer where Tony was being kept. It was strange to realize, but his sense of direction had had nothing to do with finding his lover. As soon as he'd arrived on the scene, he'd been able to...feel Tony, for lack of a better explanation.
The Sentinel and Guide thing at work again, no doubt, but he'd been too grateful at finding Tony alive and well to question it.
Closing his eyes, Jethro muttered, "He has to be all right, he absolutely has to. There's no other option, not now, not ever."
"Gibbs, Tony is out of surgery."
Kate's quiet statement jolted Jethro from his thoughts and he walked quickly back into the hospital. A doctor was talking quietly with Ducky and Abby and when they arrived, he was saying, "Should be fine in a couple of months. You're Agent Gibbs?"
Jethro nodded. "What's the situation?"
"One of his kidneys had been cut by a shard of windshield glass and that's what caused the internal bleeding. The EMTs had stopped the external bleeding, of course, by suturing the wound, but it took some time for us to repair the organ."
"He's okay now, though?"
"He's fine," the doctor assured him. "As I was saying, the broken bones will take the usual amount of time to knit, the elbow being the worst of the injuries, but it's being operated on right now by an orthopedic surgeon who is very optimistic from the x-rays. I expect that after physical therapy, Agent DiNozzo will be fine."
Relief made Jethro weak, but he forced himself to remain upright and ask, "When can we see him?"
"Well, he won't be out of surgery for a couple of hours, but I expect shortly thereafter," the doctor replied.
"Thank you, Doctor," Ducky said firmly, offering his hand. "The update is very reassuring."
The doctor smiled and shook everyone's hand in turn, taking their thanks with aplomb before leaving.
"Why don't you guys head home? I can hold down the fort here," Jethro suggested. "Abby, you've been up for forty-eight hours straight, I know that for a fact. Ducky, would you drive her home?"
Nodding, Ducky agreed, "That's an excellent idea. No, no protests, Abigail, or I shall be forced to lecture you on the dangers of sleep deprivation."
Scowling, knowing that she'd been overruled, Abby gave in with ill-grace and retorted, "Don't call me that! And you better call just as soon as you see him, Gibbs!"
Jethro smiled and nodded. "I will, Abs, I promise."
Ducky and Abby left, arguing softly between themselves, and Kate hesitated, hanging back as she said, "Tell Tony I'm sorry about what I said, okay? It won't happen again."
"I think he'd take it better hearing it from you," Jethro replied neutrally, then added, "With an explanation."
Wincing, Kate nodded. "Yeah, that's probably a good idea. I'll talk to you later, Gibbs."
Alone again, Jethro looked around the nearly empty waiting area and suddenly had no strength left. He managed to get to a chair before collapsing, and then bent over, putting his head between his knees and wrapping his arms over his head.
Tony's okay. He's going to be fine.
The reassuring refrain wouldn't do any good until he could see his lover in person, Jethro knew that for a fact.
* * * *
Tony looked way too small and pale in the hospital bed, his normal vitality and animation completely absent. Sitting on the edge of the bed, Jethro took the younger man's hand and brought it up to his lips, holding it there for several long moments. Sighing deeply, he took in the bruised and cut face and whispered, "Don't you ever do this to me again, DiNozzo, ever. You understand me?"
"Got it, Boss."
The words were barely there, but Jethro heard them and watched as Tony's eyes opened sluggishly. Smiling, Jethro greeted, "Hey. How do you feel?"
Clearing his throat, Tony asked, "Why d'people ask that if someone's in th'ospital? Pretty clear, feel like crap."
Jethro grinning at the response and agreed, "That's true. I'm just glad...I'm glad you're here to feel like crap, Tony."
"C'mere," Tony ordered, lifting his hand free of Jethro's and putting it on his shoulder.
Without complaint or protest, Jethro moved closer until his head rested on Tony's chest, slouching over the side of the bed and relishing the feel of his lover's hand on the back of his neck. Warm lips touched the top of his head and Tony mumbled, "Sleep it off, Boss, I'm still here. Not going anywhere."
Sleep sounded really damn good, despite the sunlight streaming in the window. And with Tony's fingers rubbing the tension from his neck, Jethro yawned and slid into sleep, ignoring the awkward position.
* * * *
Tony stiffened warily when the door opened and it was Kate who peeked her head into his room the next day. Cautious, he greeted, "Afternoon, Kate."
She half-smiled and replied, "Hey, Tony. Mind if I come in?"
"That depends on why you're here," he said honestly.
It took him a second to register the words, and his jaw dropped a little when they did. "Uh, sure. Come on in."
Kate entered the rest of the way and dragged a chair over to the bed before saying, "I'm sorry about what I said at the office the other night. It was way, way out of line and it won't happen again. Wouldn't have, even if Gibbs hadn't threatened to fire me."
Tony blinked in surprise. "He threatened to fire you?"
"Yeah, but it's only what I deserve," she confirmed, morose. "I want to explain why I said it, well, if you want to hear it."
"This, I definitely want to hear."
"Right. Well, okay. See, I have this thing about cheaters. Men or women, doesn't matter. You could say I've had a few bad experiences in the past and now I'm a little...jaded when it comes to infidelity."
Understanding began to dawn and Tony guessed, "You were pissed that I was cheating on Gibbs by kissing Voss."
Kate nodded. "Yeah, that's pretty much it. It's stupid, I know, and I'm sorry I hurt you like I did. Really sorry."
Smiling, relieved that Kate wasn't against his relationship with Gibbs, Tony waved it away and said, "No problem. I understand. And if it helps any, I've been kicking myself every single time I think about it."
A little anxious, Kate asked, "What about Gibbs? Are the two of you okay?"
Tony snorted and assured her, "He's in better shape about the whole thing than I am. Put it down to a fluke of hormones which, if you'll remember, she, ah, Voss had an excess of. He knows it won't happen again."
Relaxing, Kate smiled. "Good! So what did the doctors say about you getting out of here?"
"Not for another week, at least. They're keeping an eye on the kidney and want it to get good and healed before I start moving around," Tony answered, irritated. "The worst thing is that I've got nothing to do. I can't even play video games!"
Kate's smile shifted into a grin and she opened her bag before standing and moving right to the bed. Pulling out a gameboy, she announced, "Compliments of Abby, me, Ducky, and Gerald. It's small enough for you to play one handed and you've got plenty of choices to keep you happy."
"Oh, psyche!" Tony exclaimed, reaching for it.
For the next half hour, he regaled her with tales of his video game prowess and, by the time she had to go, Tony could honestly say things were back to normal with her.
* * * *
Jethro helped Tony from the car to the house with an arm around his lover's waist. The arm cast was large and unwieldy, sticking out to the side and propped up by a plastic brace on Tony's hip. The ankle case was a walking cast, which helped since it was on the opposite side. He guided Tony to the bedroom and helped get him out of his traveling clothes and settled into bed. The last week had been insane for him between running a new investigation and checking in on Tony to see if he needed anything.
The strength of the need burning through him to actually physically be in the same room as Tony still took him by surprise. Blair had assured him that it was normal after an injury or crisis, of which they'd had both the last couple of weeks. It was the Guide inside him taking over a little to reassert the bond between them. Jethro was a bit worried about split personalities with the way the cop kept talking about the Guide and Sentinel in himself and Tony, but it didn't seem to worry the other man, so he filed it away for later examination.
The good news was that whatever Kate had said to Tony in the hospital, which the younger man would not divulge, it had cleared the air between the two agents. They talked on the phone every day and, from what Jethro had been able to tell from the one-sided conversations, everything was back to normal.
"I wish I didn't have to go back so soon. You need someone to be here," Jethro complained.
"I'm fine, Boss, honest. You've got enough food and water within reach to supply me 'til Christmas. They need you back at the office."
"You need me here."
Eyes rolling, Tony pointed out, "To do what? Help me watch tv? Take a leak? Not that that couldn't have interesting results, but I can do it on my own now, honest."
Gibbs' lips twitched into a reluctant grin and he shook his head fondly. "All right, DiNozzo, I get the hint. I'll call you if I'm going to be late."
"When you're going to be late," Tony corrected.
"When I'm going to be late," Jethro amended. "Okay, I'm leaving now. Call me if you need me."
Tony definitely seemed to enjoy the soft, lingering kiss he bestowed on the waiting lips, and it took a lot of effort for Jethro to leave the bedroom. Jethro forced himself to get in the car and drive to the office, even though he really just wanted to turn back around and keep an eye on Tony. It seemed like every time he didn't, something bad happened to the younger man.
Shaking the thought from his head, Jethro concentrated on the fact that Tony was getting better and after a couple more months of therapy, he'd be back at work. Sooner, if Jethro could wrangle desk duty for the agent. Everything at work felt off-kilter and even though they were doing okay without him there, McGee was filling in, Jethro knew the team wasn't performing at top level.
From there, his thoughts centered on McGee and the potential the uncertain agent had to become a really good agent. Tony joked about McGee looking up to him as a mentor, but Jethro happened to know that it was true. Partnering them together was a good idea because they complemented each other in much the same way that he and Tony complemented one another. McGee toned down some of Tony's rash behavior, while Tony prompted McGee to think out of the box.
Really, really far out of the box.
Grinning at the thought, Jethro pulled into the parking lot and sat there for a long moment, collecting himself. Putting on his game face, he brought up the current case and forced all distracting thoughts out of his mind, especially those of his lover at home alone. It was time to get back to work, even without Tony, as much as the fact pained him.
Crimes still needed to be solved, after all, and the bad guys to be put away.
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