Disclaimer: I'm not Bellesario or CBS, so I don't claim to own them.
Genre: Slash; AU
Word Count: 1,253
Beta: All mistakes are mine and mine alone...
Written For: hawk_soaring's April 2013 Prompt and her birthday (hope it was a happy one!)
Summary: When Gibbs' life is threatened, Tony experiences a change to protect what is his.
Time seemed to slow when Henderson pulled the trigger. The bullet was heading straight for Gibbs and he knew there was nothing he could do to stop it. As his life passed in flashes before his eyes, he was happy to know that he would soon be with his girls. But at that thought, his heart clenched. He would be leaving Tony behind. Tony, the man he loved but could never be with. The thought made him want to fight to live, but what could he do against the bullet heading straight for him.
Then he heard a roar reverberate through the warehouse. There was a flash of orange in front of him and then a heavy, furry body was crashing into him, taking him to ground. Gibbs was momentarily disoriented with the weight of the animal on top of him. He heard shots ring our above him and then voices were shouting.
"Boss?" it was McGee, not Tony. That snapped Gibbs back to the present.
"What the hell happened?" he barked as he tried to move out from under the large cat that was lying still on top of him. He froze the moment his hand moved through the soft fur.
"Tony?" he questioned softly. His wolf was telling him that the cat pinning him down was Tony. But Tony was classified a null, the product of a shifter and human that was unable to shift.
"He shifted, Boss," McGee confirmed. "Just as Henderson fired his gun."
Panic set in. Tony wasn't moving and the bullet definitely didn't hit him. It must have hit Tony.
"Help me," he ordered. "Need to check if he's bleeding. The fall shouldn't have knocked him out."
"Found it," McGee was saying just as Ziva came in with Ducky and Palmer in tow. They'd been outside at the scene of a dead Petty Officer, but hadn't expected the shooter to still be nearby.
"Anthony?" Ducky questioned as he knelt beside the cat.
"Yeah," Gibbs confirmed, not removing his hand. He could feel the synergy between him and Tony that had always been between them. Only now it had increased a hundred times, leaving Gibbs yearning to claim his mate. It seemed like an eternity had passed before Ducky spoke again.
"Luck was with him. The bullet just grazed him. I've cleaned the wound, but I want to leave it uncovered until he shifts back again."
"Then why's he unconscious?" Gibbs demanded.
"I dare say that shifting for the first time is the culprit. I have a feeling it was a forced shift to protect his mate," Ducky added with a glance at Gibbs' hand that was still caressing Tony's fur.
"I've known he was my mate since Baltimore," Gibbs shocked everyone by admitting. "Just couldn't claim him since he wasn't a full shifter. Guess I was wrong. Can we move him?"
"Mr. Palmer, bring the gurney in. I'm afraid the dead will have to wait."
"I'll call in a second team, Boss, and let the Director know what happened," McGee added.
"Tell him that we'll be taking some of that leave HR's been after us about. You and Ziva can either take leave too or work cold cases."
They nodded their agreement and then Gibbs zoned out as he kept his focus entirely on Tony.
Hours later, he was still watching Tony as he slept on the couch in the living room, his hand carding through Tony's hair like he had the fur earlier. He had shifted back to human in his sleep and Ducky had bandaged his arm before departing, leaving Gibbs alone with his mate. Gibbs became alert when he felt Tony moving below his hand.
"Boss?" a raspy voice asked as Tony started to open his eyes. "What happened? Feel funny."
"Saved my life by jumping in front of that bullet."
"Not in hospital," Tony stated.
"Nope. Ducky patched you up."
Tony glanced at his bandaged arm and then his eyes widened as he remembered what had happened.
"Did I-" Tony cut himself off. He began looking around the room, blinking his eyes. Then he took a deep breath, inhaling through his nose. A sneeze promptly followed that.
"Everything's sharper," Tony said with wonder. "But I'm not a shifter. I mean, I always wanted to be, but I never did shift. After thirteen, it just doesn't happen."
"Always knew you were special," Gibbs teased as he resumed petting Tony's hair. He felt Tony tense underneath him, but didn't stop.
"Why's my head in your lap?" Tony questioned.
"Couldn't let you do this alone," Gibbs answered. He then moved his other hand down to thread through Tony's fingers. "Feel that?"
"Yeah," Tony said softly as he tightened his hand within Gibbs'. "It's- I felt this when we first met and I tackled you in Baltimore. Haven't again until now."
"I've felt it every day," Gibbs admitted. "Mate," he added with a hint of a growl.
"Mate?" Tony asked as his eyes widened. "But how? I mean, I'm not even supposed to be a shifter."
"Think you've always been a shifter, Tony. Just a late bloomer," Gibbs said with a chuckle.
"But if you knew about this," Tony said, waggling their linked hands, "why didn't you say anything? I know you knew I wanted you. Shifter noses are too good at picking up on that kind of thing. Why didn't you?"
"Couldn't let myself. After Shannon, I didn't want another shifter. I thought Shannon was it for me. We were mates. With the ex-wives, it started out okay and then I couldn't take from them what I had with Shannon. Being mates isn't just a physical thing. After Stephanie, I told myself I wouldn't let myself have someone that I couldn't have completely. Then I met you."
Tony laughed. "I'm going at causing disruption in people's lives. It's why my dad kicked me out. When I didn't shift, my mom's family pack cut me off from her inheritance. My dad had been banking on the money. Without it, he didn't need me around."
"Then your mom's pack wasn't a good pack," Gibbs barked. "And your dad-"
"It's in the past, Boss," Tony said cutting him off. "I got over it a long time ago. I guess if I wanted to, I could petition to get the money back from them now. Damn," Tony said as he sat up on the couch. "What am I going to do with this? I'm a forty-two year-old man who just shifted for the first time. I don't even know how to shift back. Hell, I don't even know what I was!"
"I'll teach you," Gibbs said, tugging Tony against him. "Been shifting since I was ten. I think I know a thing or two. As for what you are, your form's a lion. And your roar packed a punch."
"My mom was a leopard," Tony said with a small smile. "I used to love running my fingers through her fur. Always liked it when she ran her fingers through my hair. That why you were doing that a minute ago."
"Yeah," Gibbs said reaching back up to pet him again. "Your hairs almost as good as the fur was."
"So mates," Tony said as he turned to face Gibbs.
"Mates," Gibbs responded. Then he leaned forward and captured Tony's mouth with his own. "Mine," he growled pulling back to latch his teeth on Tony's neck.
"Yours," Tony answered as he allowed his mate to claim him for the first time.