Title: Shelter
Author: Taylorgibbs
Fandom: NCIS
Category: H/c
Pairing: Gibbs/DiNozzo, but barely a mention, so can be read as gen too.
Rating:FRT
Spoilers: Truth & Consequences
Warnings: Major character death, mentions of torture.
Summary: Earlier this month, several of us in the fandom weathered out the El Reno tornado in a storm shelter in Shawnee, OK together. During the long wait for the all-clear, we challenged each other to write a story based upon the shelter. So this one is for [livejournal.com profile] tejas, [livejournal.com profile] ncis_love, [livejournal.com profile] bluefirebird, [livejournal.com profile] cackymn_lj, and Cait, as well as all the others who were there in the other shelter, down the hall in our shelter, etc. :)
Feedback: Any way you want to send it :)
Author Note: Thanks to tejas for the beta!



Tony didn’t like Gibbs to know he was rattled, but this time he figured he was owed one. He glanced over at the other man in the gloomy tornado shelter—in actuality, a concrete bunker of some sort—and chewed his lower lip, half expecting a headslap.

“You’re okay, DiNozzo,” Gibbs said instead, his voice barely more than a whisper. Tony knew Gibbs was aware of Tony’s newly acquired discomfort with closed-in spaces, even Gibbs’ basement sanctuary though he tried not to show that too much.

Hell, Gibbs had dealt with Tony through a lot of the fallout from the event , as they called it. All of them, even Ducky and Abby. They didn’t meet his eyes when they said the words, either.

Only he and Gibbs, and Dr Kate’s sister, who Tony’d allowed Gibbs to call in after his job had been threatened, used the words.

Prisoner.

Rape.

Torture.

They’d gone to Somalia to avenge Ziva’s death, and Tony had been taken prisoner instead. The United States didn’t negotiate with terrorists; Tony’d known Gibbs’ hands had been tied, but it hadn’t made the torture any easier to bear.

Seven agonizing days he’d been kept chained in a room, being worked over by some of the best torture artists around. They’d broken all the bones in his left foot, which now ached in the rain, even though it’d fully healed.

They’d done unimaginable things to him, and when they’d finished him off by tossing Ziva’s head to him, he’d fully broken down, staring into her expressionless waxy face as tears poured down his face.

When Gibbs and some of his Marine buddies had stormed in, aided by McGee, Tony’d barely been aware of what was reality and what was a fabrication. It’d taken seeing—insisting to see—photos of his cell that had shown him what he’d truly dealt with.

And ever since being in that eight by eight by six cell, he’d hated enclosed spaces. But when the tornado sirens had started going off at the casino complex not too far from the center of Oklahoma City, Tony’d moved into action, along with his fellow LEOS. A night spent bowling, playing poker, and drinking after a successful task force convention had quickly turned to a possible fight for survival.

“McGee and Probie’s Probie?” Tony managed, knowing his voice sounded tight.

Gibbs held up his ancient phone, and Tony squinted at the display, the letters so small. “There’s another one of these?” he asked, reading McGee’s message that the rest of their team was hunkered down as well.

“Yep, big building, another head,” Gibbs replied, nodding toward Fornell. They were huddled next to the back wall while Fornell was talking with a blonde twenty or so feet away who Tony swore was from the ATF. Though Fornell had a really hot blonde hanging on his every word, Fornell’s attention tracked to them and Tony looked away, swallowing hard.

The idea that McProbie and Dorneget were okay eased Tony’s mind, and he sighed, leaning against the wall. It had been a hot, humid night, but he could feel a trickle of cold sweat making its way down his neck, his blood humming, muscles trying to contract. He needed to move, to pace, to do something, anything! But the place was too densely packed for that.

“Breathe,” Gibbs coached, and Tony nodded, letting his eyes slip closed. Dr. Cranston had given him some relaxation techniques to do when the panic started clawing its way out, and doing those had helped him get himself out of several dicey situations in the field, after he’d been cleared to come back.

“I’m okay,” Tony said, wincing as his voice came out just short of a whine.

“Don’t.” With the simple word, Tony collapsed against the wall, huddling in and trying not to focus on the stall doors a few inches from his nose. “Gonna be in here for a while,” Gibbs added, a bit more gently. “Pace yourself, DiNozzo. Not there. With me. Listen to me.”

Something was shoved into Tony’s hand, wet and clammy, and he looked up in surprise. “You’re boy doesn’t look so good,” Fornell said, addressing Gibbs. Tony quickly uncapped the bottle of water and gulped down a bit, “PTSD?”

“Tobias…”

“Read the reports, Jethro. I know it wasn’t good. But what you left out…” Tony glanced away as Fornell tried to meet his eyes. “Gonna get you through this, kid,” Fornell added so quietly Tony wondered if he’d actually heard the words. Fornell wasn’t like this, he was the Feeb who needled Gibbs, not the guy with compassion in his voice.

“I’m okay,” Tony said, working hard to keep his voice gentle and even.

“Not right now, but you’re gonna be.” Fornell patted his shoulder and nodded at Gibbs before going back to his blonde. Tony couldn’t help smiling, wondering and half hoping Fornell might score a date.

“He’s right,” Gibbs added when Fornell was out of earshot. “I’m here, Tony, right by your side. Not goin’ anywhere. We’re gonna get through this together.”

Tony mulled over Gibbs’ words, fingers picking at the label of the water bottle. “Never be the same.” He knew Gibbs would understand he wasn’t referring to just this, but everything. Ziva was gone, Ned was on the team. He and Gibbs were a unit now—in and out of the office—and he was dealing with the after-effects of something that had shaped his own new reality.

Tony only realized he’d sunk deep in his thoughts when Gibbs nudged him, barely more than brushing a shoulder over Tony’s. “Been through the plague and a lot worse. You’re in a shelter and the storm’ll pass soon. Not going through this one alone. Got it?” Deep-blue eyes blazed into Tony’s, Gibbs communicating his deeper feelings without words, as usual.

And Tony realized that above all else, Gibbs was his shelter. He exhaled slowly and nodded, knowing he could get through this.

“Got it.” With those words, Tony’s muscles started unclenching. He could get through this. He had Gibbs at his side.
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