AIR AND WATER
Spoilers: SWAK, Requiem, and Undercovers
Kate death angst, big time.
I thought about having Kate come ‘visit’ Tony, it has been done.
Having said that, I love the idea and will probably use it at a later date in some non-episode-related way.
Summary: Yeah, I know it has been done TO DEATH, for goodness sakes, but here is another version of what happened post episode Requiem. ENJOY!
Tony grabbed at his neck trying to loosen his shirt. He pulled his tie loose. He then tugged at the collar of his button down shirt. Buttons went flying across the dock as he ripped his shirt open. It didn’t help. He doubled over as violent hacking coughs shook his body. He then felt himself loosing consciousness. He collapsed onto the pier between Maddie and Gibbs.
Gibbs came fully awake when he felt Tony land on his and Maddie’s outstretched hands. Gibbs heard Tony’s ragged breathing and opened his eyes to see his senior agent lying on his side facing Maddie.
Maddie had propped herself up on her elbow and was shaking Tony’s shoulder trying to get a response. She then touched his face. “Agent Gibbs, he’s freezing.” Maddie called as Gibbs pulled himself up to his knees. She sat up, also. “What’s his name?”
“Tony.” Gibbs said getting slowly to his feet. He came around to face Tony.
Maddie moved her hand to his head, stroking his wet hair. “Tony, can you hear me?” She got no response, so she looked up at Gibbs. “He’s so cold.”
Just then Tony’s eyes flew open. His body began to almost convulse with the force of his coughs. He then vomited dirty water, tinged with blood, onto the dock. Tony passed out again, oblivious to the worried look on Gibbs’ face or the fact that help was on the way.
Tony woke up an hour later at Bethesda. His lungs were badly infected due to dirty Chesapeake Bay water. He had a fever of 103 and was sweating profusely. He had been in and out of consciousness in the ambulance and was still mumbling incoherently.
Emma had been in the ER when Tony was admitted. She was working as a float nurse, but had asked to follow Tony wherever he was being admitted. Tony had been given antibiotics and antivirals by the time he reached the ICU. He was weak, feverish, and he had begun to cough again. Dr. Pitt had been notified and was on his way. Ducky, Abby, McGee and Ziva were all pacing waiting to receive word on Tony and Gibbs.
Maddie had already been examined and released. Gibbs was released about 30 minutes later. He inquired as to Tony’s location and walked into the ICU waiting room. “Any word?”
“Nurse Emma just came out a minute ago.” Ducky offered. “Tony has a massive lung infection. His temperature has come down some, but he is still not out of the woods.” Ducky paused. “Emma said Tony asked where Kate was.”
“He doesn’t know what happened to Kate?” McGee questioned.
“My guess, Timothy, is that in his delirious state he thinks he is going through this bout with Y. Pestis the first time.” Ducky paused. “Kate was with him then, so… .”
“We can not tell him what happened to her, no?” Ziva questioned.
Ducky shook his head. “Caitlyn was such a source of strength to Anthony. I wouldn’t dare want to upset him.
“What do we say when he asks?” Abby piped in, wringing her hands.
“Just tell him…” Ducky thought for a second. “…just tell him that she is being taken care of.”
“Ducky, what will happen if…” Gibbs trailed off.
“Hopefully, he will remember again on his own. If not, it will be like losing Kate all over again.” Ducky said, finishing Gibbs’ thought.
Both Abby and Ducky shook their heads, remembering how hard it was on Tony the first time. They had never told Gibbs or McGee how hard Kate’s passing had really been on Tony. How much he had regretted not thanking her for staying with him at Bethesda when she wasn’t even sick. They had not told anyone how many tears he had wept over her.
Gibbs allowed Abby to go in first time around with Ducky. He knew Ducky was itching to examine Tony and he knew Abby would have a fit if she didn’t get to go in first with someone.
Abby and Ducky entered Tony’s hospital room as quietly as possible. The blue lights were not there, but the lack of light was almost as creepy. Abby slipped her hand into Tony’s and talked softly to him as Ducky listened to his lungs and did a visual examination.
Tony opened his eyes. He smiled up at Abby weakly. “Abby. Ducky.” Tony tried to take a deep breathe which immediately induced a fit of coughing. Abby rubbed Tony’s chest as Ducky pushed the button to raise the head of Tony’s bed. Moments later the coughing subsided. Tony leaned back against his pillows, exhausted and breathing hard. “..need …Kate.”
“Tony, just rest. Close your eyes.” Abby said, moving her hand to run her fingers through his hair.
Ducky lowered the bed to its original position and then they waited for Tony to fall asleep before they left.
Gibbs and McGee were in the hall outside Tony’s room, waiting their turn when Abby and Ducky exited. Ducky shook his head sadly. “Jethro, Anthony is asking about Caitlyn.”
Gibbs nodded and then entered Tony’s room, McGee following. Gibbs touched Tony’s arm and Tim put his hand on Tony’s shoulder. Tony opened his eyes and looked around the room. “Boss, where is she?” Tony asked.
Gibbs didn’t say anything for a moment.
“Boss?!” Then Tony turned his head and looked at McGee. “Tim, where is she? Why won’t you tell me where she is?” Tony craned his neck around Gibbs to see who was in the other bed. The bed was actually empty, but since the room was in shadow it was really hard to tell. Tony tried to sit up in bed, but both Gibbs and Tim both pushed him gently back down. Tony looked at Tim and Gibbs in turn, he was becoming agitated.
“Tony….” Gibbs started.
“Gibbs, I just need to see her. Please tell her….” Tony began to cough violently. He was gasping for breath. Tim and Gibbs helped Tony into a sitting position. Tony suddenly grew quiet and slumped against Tim’s shoulder. He had gone into respiratory arrest. The monitors sounded, bringing Emma, Brad and about several other assorted hospital personnel to the room.
Emma and the other nurses pushed Tim and Gibbs out the door. Ziva, Abby and Ducky heard the alarm sound, heard the code called and ran down the hall just in time to see Tim and Gibbs exit Tony’s room. They all met in the hall outside his door and then proceeded back to the ICU waiting room. Tim fell into the chair beside Abby. “Tony just started coughing; he was upset that we wouldn’t tell him where Kate was. Gibbs and I tried to sit him up so that he can breathe better. Then the next thing I know Tony is leaning against me and alarms are sounding.” Tim paused. “He stopped breathing.”
Brad left Tony’s room 15 minutes later. He found everyone waiting in the ICU waiting room. “Tony’s OK. He’s is resting. He’s still so weak, his getting upset caused him to stop breathing. His temperature is still high. The antibiotics and antivirals we have him on are not working as well as I had hoped. Tony can’t go on much longer with his temperature this high. It could cause permanent brain damage or it could kill him. I will be changing his medications and I will be placing a chest tube this afternoon. That will drain all the fluid away from his lungs, hopefully taking all the infection with it.”
The team members all nodded, trying to take in and process all this information. They were all allowed in Tony’s room that afternoon, before Tony’s surgery. Tony had already been lightly sedated. But they still all took turns holding his hand and talking to him.
The surgery went very well and Tony was back in his room in two hours. He was slow to wake up, however. Emma got the job of staying with him until he did.
“Hi, Nurse Emma.” Tony said. He looked up at Emma and smiled as she checked his IV. She then listened to his chest with her stethoscope.
“Hi, Tony.” Emma had had to lean in close to hear what Tony had said.
“Where’s Kate?” The hospital room was now brighter and he could see that the other bed in his room was empty.
“Don’t worry about Kate right now Tony. She is in good hands. You just need to rest. I am going to let everybody in, in an hour or two. I just want to make sure they don’t wear you out.” Emma said, pulling his bedspread up over his chest and smoothing out the spikes in his hair.
“Where is she?” Tony asked, slightly agitated.
“She’s in good hands, Tony.”
Tony said, trying to sit up in bed. “Did she get the plague, too?”
Emma pushed gently on Tony’s shoulders to lower him back into the bed. He didn’t resist.
“Gibbs is going to kill me.” Tony pleaded with Emma, gently putting his hand on her arm. He raised himself up slightly.
“She is being taken care of, Tony.” Emma said as Tony, suddenly exhausted, fell back against the pillows.
“…not…here.” Tony said looking at the other bed in the room, the empty bed. “…got…sicker? …blue…lights?”
Emma, in an attempt to calm Tony stroked his cheek. “Rest Tony, this getting upset is not helping you. I don’t want you to have to go back into surgery to re-insert that chest tube. Kate is not in the room with the blue lights. She is in good hands. ”
Tony reached up and took Emma’s other wrist. He was still pretty strong, even in his weakened state. “Put…me…with her.”
Emma pushed the button for the nurse. Tony’s grip was like a vice and he was beginning to hurt her, even though she knew he didn’t mean to. Two nurses showed up a minute later one pried Tony’s fingers off Emma’s wrist as the other put a sedative into Tony’s IV line. He released his grip and mumbled something as the effects of the medicine took over.
Emma nodded and rubbed the bruise that was forming on her wrist. Gibbs and Brad were outside Tony’s room when Emma exited.
“What happened, Emma?” Brad asked.
Emma shook her head. “It’s OK. Tony got agitated. He kept asking about Kate. He thought she was in the other bed and was just not answering him. Now he thinks she got sicker and we moved her into the room with the blue lights.” Emma absently rubbed her wrist. “I’ll wait a few minutes and go back in and take his temperature.”
“What happened to your wrist?” Gibbs asked noticing the beginnings of a bruise below the cuff of her blouse.
“Oh.” Emma smiled faintly, still rubbing her wrist. “Tony grabbed my wrist. He didn’t mean to hurt me. I know he didn’t. Beth had to come in and pry his hand off me. Karen gave him a sedative.”
Emma reentered Tony’s room about 10 minutes later and took his temperature. It had gone down about half a degree. Granted, it wasn’t a lot, but at least it was going in the right direction. Brad also checked him over to make sure Tony didn’t pull out the chest tube he had just inserted. The chest tube placement, however, was fine and it seemed to be doing its job. By the time Tony woke up one hour later, his temperature had gone down a whole degree. It was still over 100 degrees, but he did seem to be a little more coherent. Brad decided he would, most likely, remove the chest tube it the next day.
Ziva slipped into Tony’s room. She had not gone in the first few days because she didn’t know how he would react to seeing her. Ziva was afraid that all the memories would come flooding back and it would be too much for Tony to handle. She sat in the chair beside Tony’s bed and slipped her hand into his.
“Kate?” Tony asked squeezing her hand and trying to raise his head.
“No, it is not Kate.” Ziva said, standing so that Tony could see her.
“Ziva?!” Tony stared at her for moment, then the realization hit.
“Tony….” Ziva said, seeing that Tony had realized Kate was no longer alive.
“She’s gone, isn’t she?” Tony asked, tears coming into his eyes.
Ziva could only nod her head.
Tony closed his eyes as tears rolled down his cheeks.
Ziva squeezed his hand and then lightly kissed his forehead. “Tony…I am so sorry you have had to relive this. It is not fair.”
Tony opened his eyes again. He looked up at Ziva. “Thank….” Tony started to say before he erupted into harsh coughing. He struggled to sit up.
Ziva helped Tony into a sitting position. Tony leaned against Ziva as she rubbed his back. His coughing subsided after a few minutes. Tony didn’t move to lie back down and Ziva slipped her arm around Tony’s shoulders. He put his arm around her waist. She ran her fingers through his hair as he began to cry again. Ziva did not realize that Tony had fallen asleep until Ducky walked into the room.
“Hello, Ziva.” Ducky said, bringing Ziva out of her ravine.
“Oh..hello, Ducky.” Ziva said. She stopped stroking Tony’s hair.
“How is Anthony?” Ducky asked seeing Tony’s head resting on Ziva’s shoulder.
Ziva looked down at Tony. “He seemed to have dropped… fallen asleep.” She sighed. “He remembers.”
“All of it?”
Ziva nodded. “I have never seen him…snap down...uh…breakdown before.”
Ducky nodded. “They fought all the time, Anthony and Caitlyn, like brothers and sisters. I think they loved each other like brothers and sisters too.”
Ziva nodded, she understood how caring that relationship could be.
Ducky moved to the opposite side of the bed. “Let’s help him lie down, my dear, so that he can rest.” They gently eased Tony back down without waking him.
Ducky carefully arranged the covers and both Ducky and Ziva went out into the hall.
“Why did Kate stay with Tony when she was not sick?” Ziva asked when they had found a small lounge down from Tony’s room and sat down.
“When Kate found out Tony actually had the plague, she was devastated.” Ducky paused. “But she knew Tony well enough to know that he needed someone to spar with. Someone to keep him distracted from what was going on around him. ”
“Tony acts so…childish. He acts like nothing ever bothers him.” Ziva said, trying to understand this new fact she had learned about her partner.
“As open as Tony is about some things, he is just as private about others. Those are the things that really matter to him. He was devastated when Kate died. Even Gibbs doesn’t know how much Tony grieved for her.”
Ziva nodded. “Someone should be with him when he wakes, yes?”
Ducky nodded. “And I think that that person should be you, me or Abby.”
“I will stay.” Ziva said, getting up from the chair.
Ducky stood up too and they both began walking back to Tony’s room. Ducky nodded. “Please, my dear, don’t press him on this. If he wants to pretend as if nothing has happened, let him.”
“I will not say anything to upset him, Ducky.”
“Very good, my dear, very good.” Ducky looked at his watch. “I will visit with Anthony, again, for a few moments, then I must get back to NCIS.
Tony woke up 2 hours after Ducky left. He looked around the room and saw Ziva asleep on the chair beside the bed. He pressed the button for the nurse. A voice answered in seconds. Ziva mumbled something in her sleep about her ‘hairy butt’ and shifted position. Tony frowned at the use of the unfortunate nickname she had found for him. “Can I see Emma if she is still here?”
Emma showed up a few moments later. “Hey Tony, how are you feeling?” Emma said smiling she slipped her hand into his.
Tony placed his other hand over her injured wrist. “I am so sorry I hurt you. I hope you know I didn’t mean to.”
“I know Tony.” Emma said and Tony gently rubbed her wrist. “It’s OK.” He then let go of her hand. She brushed his check with the back of her hand, smiled at him and then turned and left.
“Ziva.” Tony said looking around and seeing Ziva asleep in the chair beside the bed. “Zee-va.” Tony said quietly. He waited for a few minutes. “HEY, ZIVA.” Tony said, loud enough to be heard in the next room. He then very quickly grabbed a magazine from those left by Abby on his bedside table and started thumbing through it.
“What?!” Ziva said, jerking herself awake.
“We slept together again. I’m surprised at you! I thought you were a woman of virtue.” Tony said grinning.
“Well, I am glad to see you are feeling better…” Ziva paused. “…and we did NOT sleep together.” Ziva said, indignant.
“Me. You. Alone together. Sleeping. Oh, we slept together.” Tony said loving her protests very much.
“Somebody needs to talk to you about ‘the birds and the trees.’
“It’s actually the birds and the BEES.” Tony corrected. “And nobody needs to tell me anything.
“What has happened to your fever?” Ziva inquired, trying to change the subject.
“Nurse Emma came in while you were asleep and took my temperature. I’m almost back to normal.” Tony said grinning.
“There is nothing about you that’s normal, DiNozzo.” Gibbs said, walking into the room followed by McGee and Abby.
“Hey, Boss.” Tony said, smiling when he saw them all there. “Abs, hey. McGoo, I know you missed me.” Tony paused. “I figure I have about a week of practical jokes to make up for, so get ready.” Tony smiled at McGee, he then looked at Abby. “Make sure you lay in a supply of fingernail polish remover.”
Abby grinned broadly and nodded, McGee looked worried, and Ziva laughed.
“Tony.” Gibbs paused for a second. “I just wanted to say ‘Thank You.’”
Tony smiled broadly. “Anytime, Boss, anytime.”
Gibbs stood back and smiled, proud of how his team pulled together to help Tony. Proud of Tony for having his six when he had not asked him to and grateful they had all made it though this one, intact.