Disclaimer: I'm not Bellesario or CBS, so I don't claim to own them.
Word Count: 1,170
Beta: All mistakes are mine and mine alone...
Written For: hinky_hippo's April 2013 Prompt (it ended up not being 100% warm and fuzzy, but hope you like none the less)
HC Bingo Square: Exhaustion
Summary: Four months undercover has taken its toll. But no matter how tired he is, sleep is hard to find.
Four months of living a life that was not his own had taken its toll. It had started when a Marine's daughter was found dead. She hadn't been raped, but there had been a cocktail of drugs in her system that was meant to keep her subdued. Ducky's autopsy revealed that she had experienced an allergic reaction to one of the drugs, resulting in her death.
As they dug into the case, they found reports of more missing children around the country that hadn't been connected due to jurisdictions not sharing information. But all the abductions had the same characteristics and all the children had parents that were either active duty or reserves across all branches of the military.
The only solid lead in the case was a gunnery sergeant that had been stationed near where each of the abductions had occurred. Typically, befriending a gunny would have fallen on Gibbs' shoulders. However, their research showed that Chad Evers was more of a party man and it was decided that Tony would be the best fit to befriend him.
He'd gone in, expecting the assignment to last a few days at most. But once he had his in with Evers, Tony had learned that the missing kids were just the tip of the iceberg. The case had led them to a multi-national child trafficking ring. Kids from overseas were being imported into the country, while kids from the US were being shipped out. It had made Tony sick and even worse was the fact that he had to play along with Evers to get enough to make take the ring down.
On the outside, NCIS was no longer the only agency involved. A task force had been established that was comprised of agents from all the alphabet soup. And it was all on Tony to get the information needed and not jeopardize the only shot they had to put an end to the ring.
The night it went down, Tony was running on pure adrenaline. There had been a shipment of fifteen kids set to go out and there was no way in hell he was losing a single one of them. He'd sent the signal out before Evers had picked him up to oversee the transfer. It had been the longest hour in his life, watching the crates with the kids locked inside be loaded onto a ship.
Then the raid had come and in order to keep his cover intact in case it was needed to further the investigation, Tony was arrested right alongside the bad guys. Being processed like he was a criminal by agents that didn't know his cover had been rough.
They'd cuffed him too tight and one agent had 'accidently' kneed him in the groin after telling him not to resist. Being booked was equally disturbing as all the men taken in had been strip-searched. Apparently booking officers liked to ensure that child molesters were given a dose of what they did to the kids. Feeling some strangers gloved finger poking around his ass left Tony feeling near his breaking point.
Once he was placed in an interrogation room with his hands still behind his back, Tony began to panic. So far, no one had given any indication that they even knew who he was. He'd received snippets about the task force from his brief contact, but he hadn't realized how large it would actually be. It appeared that in the shuffle, someone had forgotten to vet the man on the inside.
When the door finally opened, Tony tensed, unsure what was about to happen next.
"Damn it, DiNozzo," the voice sent his panic away, leaving in place a bone deep weariness that he wasn't sure he could shake.
"Hey, Boss," he said softly, there was no humor left in him.
Gibbs undid the cuffs and Tony winced as the blood in his arms started to flow properly again. He watched in silence as Gibbs took his hand and started to rub the marks the cuffs had left behind.
"I've been chewing out as many asses as I could find. They were just supposed to cuff you and put you in a car. None of this was supposed to happen."
"It's okay, Boss. Just want to go home."
Gibbs looked like he wanted to argue about the 'okay' thing, but instead he just nodded and helped Tony to his feet. Tony tried to pull away from him, but Gibbs put an arm around him and walked him out the door.
Tony remained spaced out as Gibbs drove them away from the police station he'd been held at. The events of the last few months were playing on a loop in his head and he wanted nothing more than to close his eyes and make it all go away. Despite the exhaustion that was overwhelming him, Tony was afraid he'd never be able to sleep again.
He blinked when the door opened beside him. Gibbs had stopped the car and was helping him out. Tony saw the hotel and sighed. Home was too far away, even with Gibbs driving, so this would have to do.
He stayed silent as Gibbs booked a room and prodded him into the elevator. He only spoke up when they got to the room and Tony noticed the sleeping arrangements.
"One bed, Boss?" Tony asked. "Don't think I'll be good company for sleeping with anytime soon. Don't think I'll sleep at all," he admitted, to tired to censor himself.
"You'll sleep," Gibbs said with a confidence that Tony couldn't match.
He let Gibbs lead him to the bathroom and didn't protest and Gibbs stripped him and then himself. Tony sighed as Gibbs prodded him under the spray of the hot water. Tony felt like he should be doing something, anything, but Gibbs took control. Tony was held in Gibbs' arms for support as the man rubbed soap all over his body. Gibbs even shampooed and rinsed his hair. Just feeling Gibbs' hands on him had gone a long way in easing some of the tension he still felt.
When Gibbs had trailed soap over Tony's ass, he had tensed momentarily. The memory of that gloved finger was still too close.
"I'm going to get them all fired," Gibbs whispered hotly into his ear. Tony was too tired to argue with him.
Once the shower was over, Gibbs continued his control by toweling Tony off. Then he had Tony lay face down on the bed. Tony wasn't sure what to expect, but Gibbs' hand with oil working into his back was the furthest thing from his mind.
He let out a sigh as Gibbs' sturdy hands pressed him into the soft mattress. Feeling Gibbs work out every knot the last four months had caused led to an inner peace that Tony was afraid he'd never find again.
"Think I'll go to sleep now, Boss," he slurred out just before he fell into his first restful sleep since the whole mess began.