After Somalia and Ziva’s successful rescue Tony disappeared into a private room in medical and didn’t reemerge for three hours. When he did he was scrubbed clean, bandaged and wearing scrubs. The team didn’t question him, they all knew that his lungs were delicate and had noticed the signs of waterboarding. With the cough and wet clothes there was no doubting Tony had need of a in-depth exam.
Tony acted like his normal upbeat self and informed them that his lungs were clear, so that was that.
With the whole team together again life went back to normal at NCIS.
“Hey boss man, have you noticed Tony being super weird the past couple weeks?” Abby’s question came nearly four months after the team had been reunited and by now everyone they all had noticed Tony’s recent change in demeanor.
For as much trauma Tony had to have been dealt while under Ulman’s control the man was remarkably untroubled by his time in captivity. His bubbly personality didn’t change and his wild card attitude was still firmly in place.
It was only in the last three weeks that Tony’s behavior had changed.
At first Gibbs thought he was sick. The man looked pale, was sweating in a cool room and took frequent bathroom breaks. But when he asked Tony, the man told him he had some kind of stomach bug and that it already seemed to be on its way out.
Since Tony looked much better in the following days, Gibbs didn’t question it.
It was only the last few days that the team started approaching him with their own observations of Tony’s behavior, and they didn’t add up to a here and gone stomach bug.
While changing out of some truly heinously stained clothes from a street chase Tim noticed Tony had gained some weight, not much, just a little less muscle definition in his stomach and chest area. Ziva had observed on multiple occasions Tony munching throughout the day on snacks he kept in his pocket.
Jimmy had even noticed subtle changes in Tony’s behavior. When visiting Ducky in the morgue he was fastidious about wearing a mask and gloves, even when he wasn’t going near a body. Even just a casual visit warranted protective gear these days. And apparently Abby had observed some changes as well.
“What have you noticed Abby?” Gibbs asked as he took a drink of his coffee and set a new Caf-Pow on the table in front of the young woman.
Abby stopped to give a little squeal and thank him for the drink before she continued, “He’s been more tired lately. He spends his lunch in here napping most days. That’s hinky boss.”
That honestly didn’t surprise Gibbs. By lunch time Tony was yawning almost nonstop, but when he returned he seemed refreshed. He had assumed copious amounts of coffee were to blame but apparently not. Now that he thought about it, had Tony even been drinking coffee lately?
“Hey Abs, have you and Tony gone out for coffee recently?”
If Abby was surprised by the non sequitur she didn’t show it. “Sure thing, we went out last weekend. Why do you ask?”
Gibbs hummed before responding, “Do you remember what he ordered?”
She tilted her head a bit in confusion but she nonetheless answered, “Some kind of fruity tea. What’s going on in that head of yours, boss man?”
“I’ll let you know if it pans out. Thanks Abs.”
And with that Gibbs left a very confused lab girl behind.
“Tony!” Gibbs shouted as the elevator opened to the bullpen. He saw Tony’s head peak up over the partition and motioned him to the elevator.
Tony rose from his seat and in that brief moment Gibbs could see that his conclusion was right. Now to confront the man.
When Tony joined him Gibbs hit the emergency stop and turned to him. “You’re pregnant.”
Subtlety was not something that Gibbs was known for but by the shocked look on Tony’s face that was a little too blunt even for him.
“Boss? What are you talking about?” If his voice hadn’t wavered a bit on the second questions Gibbs might have bought his innocent act. But as it stood the barely disguised fear growing in the young man’s eyes was tell enough.
“Tony,” he gentled his voice, “you don’t drink coffee, you nap at lunch, you’ve gained weight and you eat throughout the whole day. You’ve been letting McGee take point and being more careful with your own safety. Tell me the truth.”
Tony looked defeated. He looked anywhere but at his bosses eyes and fidgeted from foot to foot.
After a couple moments of this and a sharp “Tony!” he looked up and stared straight into Gibbs’ eyes. Slowly, telegraphing the move, Tony reached out and took Gibbs’ hand. Taking it by the wrist he brought it to his stomach, curving it low around a very definite bump.
No wonder he was able to hide it for so long. He was carrying so low it was mostly disguised by where his shirt met his trousers. But there under Gibbs’ hand was a noticeable bump.
Instead of removing his hand as soon as he had confirmation like Tony expected Gibbs cupped his every growing stomach and smiled down at it with barely disguised wonder. That was definitely not the reaction he expected from his boss.
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell any of you sooner. I was so torn at first. You can't imagine how many times I made and cancelled appointments at the clinic. Once it was confirmed, it was all I could do to not break down in front of you every day. The regular pregnancy hormones combined with the," here Tony let out a bark of self-deprecating laughter, "unique aspects of my situation made me even more emotional. Once I decided I was going to keep the baby I had worked myself up over your reaction so much that I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t tell you and see your face. I was going to have to leave anyway so why put myself through seeing the disgust on all of your faces?”
Tony looked confused once his last statement was out, and looked down at where Gibbs still had his hand firmly attached to his rounding belly. “But you’re not disgusted,” he said with confusion, “why aren’t you disgusted?”
Gibbs looked up sharply from his hand, “What part of this should disgust me?”
Reaching down and rubbing the spot next to Gibbs’ hand Tony replied in a quiet, almost whisper of a voice, “It’s his you know. Ulman’s I mean. It’s his baby.”
“Tony,” Gibbs began as he reached up to tip Tony’s face toward him, “this baby belongs to you and only you.”
Tony looked shocked and confused at this. Again not what he expected from The Second B is for Bastard Gibbs.
“This baby might have been conceived in fear but it’s going to be born into love. And just know, you are not alone in this. We are all going to be there for you. I bet Abby is going to love being an aunt.”
At Gibbs words, Tony broke down. He kneeled on the floor with a hand on his belly and a hand clutching onto the side of Gibbs’ leg, and just let the tears fall.
He wasn’t sure if they were from relief at finally telling the person that mattered most in his life, or the remembered fear and disgust at the violation, but it didn’t matter because Gibbs crouched down and put his arms around his shoulders and held him as he cried. Tony wasn’t sure how long they stayed like that, just that when he was composed enough his back was protesting and he had to struggle to stand again.
“God boss, I’m sorry for that. I didn’t mean to break down on you. You didn’t have to hold me, I know it probably made you uncomfortable.”
Tony stretched out his legs and rubbed his left thigh. It still hurt sometimes from the burn marks from Ulman’s blade.
While Tony’s head was bent to examine his leg Gibbs shook his head and gave him a fond look.
“You’re an idiot, you know that?”
Tony whipped his head up so fast he got dizzy for a second and groped for the wall to stabilize the spinning room.
“You are one of the best investigators I’ve ever worked with and yet you sometimes miss what’s right in front of your face.”
Now Tony looked truly confused. And more than a little upset. “Yeah I know boss. Its fine, I was going to apply for desk work anyway soon. So I’m sure they can have me do it in another department before I go on maternity leave. I won’t bother you anymore I swear.” His voice sounded so defeated, so lost.
Tony steadied himself and went for the emergency stop button. He had to get out of this elevator. On his worst days he imagined the reveal just like this. They would look at him with disgust and kick him out, saying words filled with hatred and vitriol. On the better days he imagined that his teammates would all rally around him and become a family for this baby like Tony himself never had. In his more emotional and fanciful moments he even imagined Gibbs confessing his love for Tony and becoming daddy to his little one.
Those were his weakest moments, the ones that most people have where they wish for the unobtainable.
And now his worst fear was coming true. Gibbs thought he was an idiot for keeping the baby, for thinking that maybe his family of choice would support him and be there for him.
A few tears leaked down his face, he couldn’t stop them.
Suddenly he felt a hand grip his shoulder, his body tensed for a blow but all he felt was the pressure turning him to face Gibbs once again.
When they were face to face Gibbs slid his hand from Tony’s shoulder down to his bicep and gave it a squeeze. “Like I said, you are so unobservant. At least when it comes to your personal life. Tony, don’t you see, we are your family and we are with you. Giving you comfort, holding you when you cry, was absolutely no hardship for me. You are important to me Tony, important to us all. I just wish you would have told us all sooner so we could have been there for you while you were making these hard decisions.”
Again Tony had to just stop and stare at Gibbs. That was probably the most he had every said in Tony’s presence in the entire time he’d known the man. For a functional mute that was a long ass speech.
Tear tracks drying on his cheeks and a sob stuck in his throat Tony stepped forward and rested his head on Gibbs’ shoulder. When Gibbs strong arms came around the other man Tony sighed and relaxed into the comfort offered.
After a time Tony unburied his face and looked up into Gibbs’ eyes. Slowly, telegraphing his movement incase Gibbs wanted to rebuke him, Tony leaned forward and put his lips against the other mans.
Not only did Gibbs not move away but he cupped Tony’s face in his big palm and deepened the kiss.
It wasn’t a passionate, lust filled smashing of bodies, but a smooth and languid meeting of lips. The kiss was slow and sweet and went on and on until Gibbs broke away and Tony let out a small gasp.
“Please boss, tell me this isn’t just you trying to reassure me.” Tony looked hopeful yet hesitant when he spoke.
Gibbs tightened his arms around Tony’s waist and pecked him on the side of the mouth. “No pity, no agenda, just something that I’ve been resisting doing for years. I’m done restraining myself, if you’re willing.”
Tony didn’t speak, he just leaned in and kissed the other man again. When they broke apart Tony took Gibbs’ hand and brought it to his belly, “If we start this it’s for the long haul, I won’t have two broken hearts when you leave.”
“Do you think we could get Ziva and McGee to help me push the boat over so I’ll have room to start on a crib?”
Tony laughed and smiled like Gibbs hadn’t seen in months. Genuine joy and a spark of hope for the future shone in Tony’s eyes.
Maybe things would turn out ok after all.