Nick and Nora and Cough Drops

Tony closed his front door, dropping his backpack in the entryway.
There were a dozen or so things he ought to do next -- including picking his pack up and taking it to the closet, two feet away, where it belonged. He left it where it was, however, and headed for the kitchen, ignoring all the other things he ought to do as well.

Mail ignored on the table, voicemail -- not really an issue since the only people whose calls he had to return had his cell number. There was a load of clothes waiting in the dryer, which should be folded and put away.

Tony opened the kitchen cabinet and took down a mug, and a box of tea. One mug of tea, a blanket on the couch, and something from his collection -- something from the 40s, maybe, or even 30s. Black and white and plots which focused on characters and dialogue and who cared if there was only one set and no special effects.

The microwave beeped, and Tony pulled out the mug of hot water, dropping the tea bag in. He could hear Maria tsking in his mind -- not the proper way to make tea, and if she'd been here he would have gladly let her do it. But his parents' maid had retired ten years ago, moved back to California to live with a daughter and grandchildren. She was probably glad to be gone, Tony thought, then shoved the thought aside as too maudlin.

It wasn't his fault, he told himself as he carried his mug into the living room. He didn't feel well, and that entitled anyone to indulge in a little self-pity. Grabbing a blanket, he sat down on the couch and wrapped the blanket around his shoulders. He spotted the remote on the coffee table just out of reach, and sighed at having to get back up for it -- realising as he leaned forward that he had to get back up to put a movie in the DVD player, anyhow.

Another sigh, and an effort to stand up again, then he wandered over to the bookshelves and looked for a moment, before finally pulling out _After the Thin Man_.

He'd just got back on the couch, his hand on the remote when the doorbell rang. Hanging his head, Tony wondered if he could play dead -- maybe whoever it was would go away. The bell rang again and his gut told him, Gibbs. Maybe it was the particularly Gibbsian way the bell rang that second time. He could practically hear the doorbell shouting his name, sharp and deep like Gibbs.

Maybe he had more than a slight fever, Tony thought, but he pushed his way upright and headed for the door.

Sure enough, there was Gibbs. "Yes, boss?" Tony tried to shake off the feeling of being sick, forcing himself to focus.

"We need to go over the reports from last month," Gibbs said, stepping inside and pushing past Tony.

Tony turned, staring at him in confusion. "Reports?" He didn't remember -- well, obviously there had been a lot of reports, and two cases in particular which he could imagine the Director would be demanding clarification for. But since when did Gibbs come to Tony's home, after work hours, to go over paperwork?

He realised Gibbs had disappeared into the living room, and Tony hurried after him. "Boss?"

Gibbs was standing beside the TV, holding the DVD case. "Thin Man?" He gave Tony a quizzical look.

"Silly me, I thought I was off-duty. Thought I'd watch some Nick and Nora."

"Is it any good?"

Tony blinked. "Um, yeah. One of the best of the series... why are you asking me about my movie? Why are you here?"

"Like I told the Director, I need to go over some reports with you." Gibbs shrugged, and made no move to actually produce the reports he wanted to review.

Tony narrowed his eyes. "Which reports?"

Gibbs waved a hand. "This is a mystery, right?" he asked, indicating the DVD case in his hand.

"Yes," Tony answered, letting his tone sound just as suspicious as he felt. Maybe Gibbs was drunk? Stoned? Maybe he was the one who was sick, and was wandering around town in a delusional fever?

"Good. That's work-related." And Gibbs sat down in the chair, facing the TV.

Tony stayed where he was, and stared at him. Stared as Gibbs gestured for the remote, then Gibbs shook his head and leaned over for it himself when Tony didn't move. Tony kept staring as Gibbs hit the start button and the movie began to play.

"You gonna stand there all night?" Gibbs demanded.

"No. I'm going to call the cops and tell them there's a crazy man in my apartment." He did go back to his spot on the couch, though, because all the standing was making him feel light-headed. He didn't think he'd made a sound, but Gibbs was suddenly looking at him, sharply.

"You take anything yet?"

"Tea." Tony picked up his mug and discovered it had been seeping all this time. He made a face at the thought of drinking it now. "Or not. You want anything?" He pushed himself back to his feet, then dropped back down in shock as Gibbs reached over and took the mug out of his hand.

"I'll get it," Gibbs said, and Tony stared again, dumbfounded, as Gibbs headed for the kitchen.

Tony suddenly realised he had to be pretty sick, because it had taken this long for the penny to drop. He laid back on the couch, kicking his shoes off and tugging the blanket back into place. He listened to the sounds from the kitchen, trying not to smile. He lost that battle when he saw Gibbs coming back, steaming mug in hand.

"Thanks," he said, as he took the mug.

"It's hot."

Tony gave Gibbs a raised eyebrow. "Really? Hot water, hot mug... maybe I shouldn't drink it just yet, huh?" He almost tensed, half-expecting a headsmack. But Gibbs just rolled his eyes. Tony could feel the heat seeping through the ceramic, and set the mug down on the floor.

Gibbs narrowed his eyes. "You got anything for colds in that overstocked bathroom of yours?"

"Dunno," Tony said, choosing to ignore the dig on his grooming habits. He smiled as Gibbs walked out of the room again, heading down the hallway. After a moment, Tony could hear him in the bathroom and Tony closed his eyes, feeling sick and miserable and exhausted -- but somehow, feeling just a little better than he had before.