A Shot to the Heart
21. -21-
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Tony sat at his desk, long after everybody had left for the day. He knew Palmer used the back elevators to leave. Tony was waiting on him to come up and make his nightly delivery to Gibbs. This usually consisted of the paperwork on whatever findings Ducky had already told Gibbs about during that day.

Jimmy arrived on schedule and was surprised to see Tony at his desk. “Hey Tony.” Jimmy said as he dropped the paperwork on Gibbs’ desk and headed toward the elevator.

“Could I talk to you for a moment?” Tony said, his voice echoing on the now empty floor.

“Sure, Tony.” Jimmy said, stopping in front of Tony’s desk.

“I need to tell you what was going to say.., before.” Tony replied.

Jimmy stared as him for just a second. “You’re OK. I…Dr. Mallard said you were fine. You were down there today. He said you were OK.”

Tony nodded. “I am fine. I’m healing well. No complications.”

“Then...?” Jimmy questioned.

“I wanted to thank you.”

“Thank me?”

“You helped me out so much when Gibbs was gone. I was having such a hard time, and you saw that. Everybody else was so wrapped up in what they were going through. I don’t really blame them though. They had the luxury. I didn’t. I had a team to lead and no clue how to do it. I needed the help you provided. I needed someone to run things by, get advice from. I could never say thank you enough for the help you provided me. I needed a kind word. Someone who ACTUALLY thought I could do the job. You provided me with both. It meant the world to me.”

“Thanks, Tony.” Jimmy said a little overwhelmed. “I saw how everybody was acting. I just didn’t think they realized what you were going through. I knew that you were having just as hard a time as everybody else over Gibbs’ leaving.”

Tony nodded. “Pretty observant for a guy who works with DEAD people all day.”

Jimmy smiled as he and Tony walked to the elevator.


Tony was walking down Gibbs’ basement stairs 45 minutes later. He sat down on the bottom stop and watched Gibbs sand his boat.

‘You should be home.” Gibbs said. He stopped sanding after 5 minutes of Tony sitting there and saying nothing.

“I needed company.” Tony said. He stood up and walked over to the boat.

Gibbs sighed. “Ducky told me you talked to him.” Gibbs paused. “He really appreciated you confiding in him.”

“I know.” Tony said, taking a piece of sandpaper and starting on another rib. “He has taken really good care of me over the years. I just wanted him to know how much I appreciate it.”

“With what you said today, Tony.” Gibbs said, keeping up his sanding rhythm. “He does.”

They both continued to sand for another hour. Gibbs could tell Tony was getting tired. He yawned a couple times. He scrubbed his hands through his hair and over his face.

“You KNOW you don’t have to ask, Tony.” Gibbs said, smiling.

“Thanks, Boss.” Tony said, putting down the sand paper. He then started up the stairs.

“Tony…” Gibbs paused. He wasn’t sure how Tony would take what he was about to say, but after Ducky told him Tony had tried to say goodbye to everyone. He wondered if Tony would have anything to say to him.

Tony stopped turned and looked at him.

“I just…what would you have said to me?”

Tony smiled and came down the stairs. He gave Gibbs a huge Father/Son hug. Gibbs surprised himself by hugging Tony back.

Tony then stepped back. “I would have thanked you for giving me stability, for being my friend, and for putting up with me. I would have thanked you for valuing me for who I am and for what I can do.” Tony stood and stared at him. “I owe you a lot Leroy Jethro Gibbs."

Gibbs nodded, too overwhelmed to speak, tears falling down his cheeks.

Tony smiled at him, turned and started back up the stairs.

“You’re welcome, Son.” Gibbs said as Tony disappeared through the doorway.