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Road Kill

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Gibbs kills Ari and Kate lives to tell the tale.

Author’s Note: Not a spoiler title. This title comes from something Gibbs says in the story itself. Not a medical professional, I just know how to use enough of the words correctly to make me sound like one. If there are things that seem impossible or improbable in this story, I accept that they are. I just said things they way I said them to make my story, aka literary license.

All that aside, the story is good. (I’m not bragging. I just like it better than some others I have written.) ENJOY!

Comments feed the starving artist/writer in me!!

 

ROAD KILL

It was only 3 minutes before Tony opened his eyes. He looked around and tried to pull himself into a sitting position. It was then that he realized the extent of his injuries. His head was throbbing and his chest burned. He didn’t think anything was broken. He put his hand to the side of his head; he pulled it away slowly looking at the blood on his hand. His vision cleared slowly and he saw Kate lying 5 feet from him.

“Kate... KATE!” Tony tried to yell the second time, only it came out as a hoarse gasp. Kate appeared to be uninjured, but she was not moving.

Tony then heard the unmistakable sound of gasoline igniting. He looked back over his shoulder at the huge black pile of twisted metal that used to be their car, about 20 feet away. He crawled the few feet to Kate and pulled her into his arms as much as he could. Seconds later the car exploded, sending smoke high into the air. Debris fell all around them. Tony was pelted on his back and legs by small hot pieces of metal. The metal burned easily through his NCIS jacket and the thin material of the white dress shirt he was wearing, burning him in several spots on his back. His legs fared much better, as the denim material of his jeans did not burn easily. Tony lost consciousness as the last of the debris fell, scorching the area around them. Kate received only a couple of small burns on her legs. The only part of her Tony was unable to cover completely with his body.

Gibbs, Tim and Ducky arrived moments later, unaware who was involved in the wreck. They had heard the explosion first hand and were coming to investigate and offer help. Gibbs had followed the source of the smoke in the air. He parked directly opposite a set of skid marks, which led off road and over the side of a steep embankment. Jimmy followed closely in the NCIS van and parked directly behind Gibbs.

“Gibbs!” Tim said already out of the car and standing on the edge of the embankment looking down. "I see a black car. It's still smoking and I think I see two people.” This galvanized Tim to move and he made his slowly and carefully down the embankment. Gibbs remained on the roadside. He quickly called the ambulance. Ducky moved as quickly as he could, following Tim. But the terrain was rough.

“This looks like a government car, but I can’t see the license plate.” Ducky observed, stopping briefly to examine the car.

By this time Tim had worked his way past the car and was headed to the two people lying in the tall grass about 20 feet away.

“GIBBS!!” Tim yelled, and he took off running. “0MG.”

Ducky looked up when he heard Tim running. The reason hit him. Now he was close enough to read the lettering on the back of Tony’s jacket.

“Its Anthony and Caitlyn!” Ducky yelled up to Gibbs.

Gibbs, who had been slowly making his way to the accident site, picked up the pace. He moved quickly though the low bushes and briars, which tore at his pants and jacket.

Tim fell to his knees beside Tony panting. He pressed his fingers to Tony’s neck and found a pulse. “Tony?” Tim asked, shaking his shoulder. McGee got no response. He removed Tony’s arm from around Kate and rolled him onto his back. He checked Tony’s pulse again.

Kate began to stir when Tim moved Tony’s arm. She moaned softly and put her hand to her head. She opened her eyes and tried to sit up. Ducky was on the scene by then. “Lie down Caitlyn, let me examine you.” Ducky quickly flashed the penlight in her eyes. Her reaction was normal. Ducky did a preliminary exam and after observing blood on her blouse, examined her to see if she was injured. The blood turned out to be Tony’s. He then told her to lie still until the ambulance came.

The left side of Tony’s face was covered with blood. The front of his shirt was soaked in blood and he had large black and deep purple bruises on his chest. They were about the shape and size of a steering wheel.

Ducky knelt down beside Tony. He wiped the blood from Tony’s face in order to check his head wound. “I would guess he has a concussion. He has some bad bruising under all this blood” Ducky moved to Tony’s side, He gently palpated Tony’s ribs. “I would estimate a couple of his ribs are cracked, if not broken. I believe, by the markings on his chest,...” Ducky pointed to the circular bruise. “…that he came into contact with the steering wheel. That means his airbag didn’t deploy.”

Three EMTs arrived moments later. They confirmed Ducky’s preliminary diagnosis, for the most part. They then carried Tony up the hill on a stretcher made especially for hilly terrain.

By this time, Kate had sat up. “Oh god! I had hoped I had dreamed it all, but then I saw the blood on Tony’s face.” She paused, trying to collect herself. “Somebody ran us off the road.”

 

Chapter 2

AN: I have actually had the story written for a long time. I was not sure how it would be received. I was not sure you would buy Tony being heroic and chivalrous and covering Kate's body with his to protect her. And, of course, there is my ever present lack of medical knowledge, though I did do a little online research about the effects for morphine. (That comes to play in a later chapter.) I also was not sure if the car accident could have even happened the way I write it. Though I did write that part a few times. But, I must say, the last chapter is just awesome. And that is not because I wrote it. The story just came together so wonderfully to give me the chance to write an incredible chapter about our fearless leader, Leroy Jethro Gibbs.
(Here's a shout-out to plot bunnies, everywhere!! WOO HOO!)

PS: Gibbs is just generally awesome in this story, anyway.

 

Kate was not able to elaborate as she was then placed on a stretcher and taken up the embankment to another waiting ambulance. Kate received a complete examination in the hospital and was released to go home. She insisted, however, on staying near Tony. She parked herself in the ICU waiting room and waited to get word of his condition.

Tony never regained consciousness in the ambulance. He was examined extensively and found to have a severe concussion, 2 broken ribs 5 cracked ribs. The bruises on his chest and the damage to his ribs being caused by contact with the steering wheel.

Gibbs and McGee remained at the scene collecting for nearly 4 hours. They scoured the hillside down to where the underbrush was too thick to get through. They collected every piece of debris they could find. They photographed skid marks and made mold impressions. They tried to examine the interior of the car, but it was still smoldering and too hot to the touch. They took samples of the blood on the ground where Tony and Kate had been lying; on the off-chance they would find a clue there. They photographed and collected samples from the trail Tony left when he crawled to Kate’s side. Gibbs had the hunk of metal, formally known as an NCIS vehicle, towed to the NCIS evidence garage so that Abby could examine it. Gibbs and McGee left the evidence in Abby’s capable hands and returned to the hospital.

They found Kate in the ICU waiting room when they arrived. She was pacing back and forth the length of the room. She looked up when they entered. “The doctor said he would review the tests they did and get beck to me. That was two hours ago.” She sat down in one of the chairs, but got right up again. “I don’t know if Tony is awake yet. They won’t let me see him. They won’t tell me anything.”

Doctor Angle immerged from the ICU at just that moment and walked over to Kate. “You are Agent Caitlyn Todd right, Agent Anthony DiNozzo’s partner?”

Kate nodded.

Gibbs spoke up. “I’m Special Agent Gibbs, Agent DiNozzo’s boss. This is Agent Timothy McGee.’

Doctor Angle nodded, acknowledging Gibbs and Tim. “We did an EKG to check brain function, all was normal. We did an MRI to check for brain damage. We found a small amount of swelling in the front part of his brain. It is likely that since his airbag didn’t deploy that his head struck the windshield. The good thing is when we did an x-ray of his skull we found no fracture.” Dr. Angle paused, seeing their confusion she explained. “No skull fracture lessons the chance of severe brain injury significantly. If he were conscious at any point before this, that would be a great sign also.”

“He was.” Gibbs said matter-of-factly.

Kate turned and looked at him. “He was?”

Gibbs looked at Kate. “He left a trail where he had crawled or dragged himself over to where you were.”

Kate remained silent; trying to wrap her mind around what the doctor and Gibbs had told her. She looked down at her clothes. The blood on her shirt confirmed what Gibbs said. “I came to for a few minutes when I felt him grab me. I touched his face. Blood was pouring from his head wound. He told me to be quiet and lay still in case whoever did this was still around. He also told me to cover my ears. He then pulled me up close to him. A couple of seconds later, the car exploded. I heard him let out a long sigh, and then he passed out.

“Agent DiNozzo, when I checked on him 10 minutes ago, was not awake. You are welcome to go see him. You have 15 minutes.” Dr. Angle nodded at Agent Todd’s recollection of events. It answered some more of the questions she had about how he had gotten the burns on his back and his legs.

McGee, Gibbs and Kate entered the dimly lit room. Tony looked like he was just sleeping, except for the fact that he was attached to a heart monitor. His chest was uncovered and the circle-shaped bruises stood out. He had a small bandage on his head.

Dr. Angle appeared in the doorway moments later. “Agent DiNozzo also had several burn marks on his back. There were holes in the jacket and shirt we took off him.” She handed Kate the bag containing his clothes. “There were burn marks on his jeans, but no holes.”

“Thank you.” Kate had been standing holding Tony’s hand. She removed her hand from his and touched her shirt. “I need to give this to you, Gibbs, for Abby.” Kate said, remembering that Tony’s blood was on it. She then moved her hand to his face and stroked his cheek. There was no response.

Kate turned to the doctor. “Do you have anything I could wear?”

Doctor Angle nodded, left the room and returned moments later with a green scrub top, like the ones doctors wear in surgery. “She handed it to Kate. I think that size will fit. If not, we have something smaller.”

Gibbs and McGee then both spoke to Tony. While Kate went to the bathroom in Tony’s room and changed her shirt. She was out seconds later and handed her shirt to Gibbs to bag. Gibbs and Tim then left the room with Kate in tow.

“What happened, exactly?” Gibbs asked as they took seats in the ICU waiting room.

 

Chapter 3

Kate started from the beginning…

“Tony,” Kate said, looking at him irritated. “You obviously wrote the directions down wrong.”

“I know what the guy said, Kate.” Tony shot a glare her way. “I wrote it down EXACTLY like he said. Besides, we can always back track.” Tony paused. “Read the directions again.”

Kate looked at the paper again which contained Tony’s handwritten directions. “Take Route 21 out of DC 6 miles. Turn left on Kensey Road, go 2 miles, turn right onto Bordon Street, building on right.”

“Why didn’t he tell me how far to go on Bordon?” Tony slowed the car and began looking for signs of civilization, there were none.

“You SURE you heard the directions right?” Kate asked, she was suddenly feeling nervous.

“Yes.” Tony said. “Something’s not right here.”

Just then, Tony looked in the rearview mirror and saw a car speeding up behind them.

“There is a car coming up on us really fast, Tony.” Kate said, looking out her side mirror.

“I know. I’ll slow down more and let him pass.” Tony slowed considerably, but the car stayed on his bumper.

“Teenagers out messing around.” Kate said.

“Maybe, but I can’t see in the windshield, it’s tinted.” Tony repeatedly glanced into his rearview.

“There is a drop on my side and a hill on your side. This is no place to play ‘chicken.” Kate observed.

The car behind them rammed the back of Tony’s car. Tony managed to retain control of the car. He began looking for a side road.

“Do you see any side road?” Tony asked stepping on the gas. The other car sped up also and remained a foot from Tony’s bumper.

“No.” Kate said, looking desperately for an escape route. She checked her seat belt and put her hand on the dash to steady herself. “I don’t think these are teenagers.”

Just then the car swerved from behind them and pulled up alongside. It rammed Tony’s side of the car. Tony fought, retained control and stomped on the gas. They shot ahead.

“Unhook your seatbelt.” Tony said to Kate.

Kate looked at him panicked and confused.

“The bank is covered with grass. You’ll have a soft landing.” Tony said, as the car rammed his side again.

“YOU WANT ME TO JUMP!” Kate couldn’t believe her ears. “What about you!”

“One of us needs to survive this!” Tony said, fighting to control the car. “Go when I tell you to.”

Tony slowed the car and the other driver shot past them, not expecting Tony’s action.

“NOW!” Tony yelled when he slowed the car sufficiently.

Kate concluded. “I opened the door and jumped. I tried to “tuck and roll.” That is all I remember, until I felt Tony trying to wake me.”

Gibbs nodded, feeling fortunate to have both his agents alive, but pissed off someone was coming after members of his team.

 

Chapter 4

“Someone is trying to kill my people.” Gibbs said, as he stormed, uninvited, into Director Shepard’s office.

Jenny looked up from her paperwork, shocked.

Gibbs closed the door behind him and moved to stand in front of her desk. “Tony and Kate, somebody ran them off the road earlier today. Kate’s OK. Tony, I don’t know what is going on with Tony, except that he is hurt really bad. He’s still unconscious.”

“Jethro!” The director said, at a loss for words.

“McGee and I were heading to a scene when we heard what sounded like an explosion. I had sent Tony and Kate to check out a lead that I thought would be promising, they were then supposed to meet back up with us at the scene. Anyway, we heard this explosion. I followed the smoke cloud and came up on Tony and Kate. It took us a few minutes to realize it was them.”

“When did this happen?” Jenny asked, visibly shaken.

“About 5 hours ago.” Gibbs paused, trying to collect himself. “Anyway, they were lying at the bottom of a steep embankment. There was a smoldering car between us and them. We didn’t even know there was anybody down there at first.” Gibbs paced in front of the director’s desk.

“I assume Abby has everything, since you are in here?” Jenny said.

Gibbs nodded. “She is going over it as we speak. We can’t really expect to find anything on the car. McGee and I scoured the hill side for evidence of any kind. We were hoping to find paint chips from the other car. Kate said the car was a dark blue. She thought it was a Lincoln Town car. She said the windows were tinted.” Gibbs finally sat down in one of her upholstered chairs. “Abby said she would be able to find the brand of tire from the impressions. She might be able to find out which store sold the tire. But she said it was unlikely unless the tire was specially made.”

The director leaned back in her chair and laced her fingers. Gibbs could tell she was angry. “Nobody comes after NCIS.” She looked up at Gibbs as she stood up. “I want this guy, Jethro.”

Gibbs smiled; he loved to see Jenny get passionate about something. “I’ll have Abby recheck everything.”

Jenny stood up and grabbed her purse. “I’m going to the hospital. Where’s Kate?”

“She’s at the hospital. I asked her to keep me informed on Tony’s condition.” Gibbs said, following Jenny out of her office and to the elevator.

“McGee?” Jenny asked, pushing the down button.

“He’s with Abby.” Gibbs said, as both he and Jenny boarded the elevator.

“So, what’s this about Tony’s condition?” Jenny turned to Gibbs as they rode down in the elevator.

“The doctor said there is a small amount of swelling on his brain. She says she can’t determine how much damage there is until he wakes up. I think that all depends when, if the swelling does down. He has bruises on his chest where he impacted the steering wheel.” Gibbs paused, visibly upset. “His ribs are broken. The car exploded. He has burns on his back from the falling hot debris. He tried to shield Kate, so he got the worst of it.” Gibbs sighed. “You go on to the hospital.” Gibbs said as the elevator came to a stop in the lobby. “I need to see if Abby knows more. Call me if he wakes up.”

Jenny Shepard walked into Tony’s hospital room just as Kate woke up. Kate had pushed to be allowed to stay in Tony’s room. She had been with him for the past 2 hours. She hadn’t left his side, except of bathroom breaks, and she stepped out once for food.

“Director Shepard.” Kate said standing.

“Go ahead and sit Kate.” Jenny walked to Tony’s bedside, and took his hand. “I understand you and Tony are both lucky to be alive.” She paused, looking down at Tony.

“Yes, ma’am.” Kate said, making herself comfortable, She shifted the hospital blanket she took from the closet in Tony’s room and covered her legs. “Tony seems to be hanging in there. They rushed him to the OR to check for internal bleeding because of the broken ribs. They did X-rays, MRI’s . I don’t know what else.” Kate paused, visibly upset, voice shaking. “If he doesn’t come out of this... .“

“Tony is going to be fine.” Jenny said squeezing Tony’s hand gently. “He’s tough.”

“Yes, he is.” Kate started smiling as she wiped her eyes. “What did Abby find?”

“Not a lot, Gibbs said that the fire had destroyed a lot of evidence. They did take tire impressions.” Jenny said, watching Tony for any sort of reaction.

“Was I right about the make and model of the car?” Kate asked.

“I don’t… .” The director stopped mid-sentence as Tony inhaled a deep breath.

Kate stood up and the blanket fell to the floor. “What is it?”

Jenny squeezed Tony’s hand. “I think he is waking up.”

 

Chapter 5

Kate pressed the nurse call button then took Tony’s hand and squeezed it. A disembodied voice answered. “May I help you?”

“Agent DiNozzo is waking up.” Kate replied.

“We’ll be right there.” The intercom line went dead.

Two nurses appeared seconds later. They moved to either side of Tony’s bed. By this time, Tony’s eyes were indeed open. Kate could see his lips move. The nurses had to lean in close to hear what he was saying. One nurse went to the closet in the room and brought out a blanket. She pulled the sheet and bedspread up over Tony’s chest and then spread the blanket out over top. The other nurse left the room and returned with a cup of ice and a spoon. The nurse spooned a small amount of ice into Tony’s mouth. “Agent DiNozzo, just hold that in your mouth and let it melt.” She patted his shoulder. “If you can keep that down, I’ll bring you some water later.” The nurse then turned to Kate. “The doctor has been paged. Are you ‘Kate?” Kate nodded and stepped forward, closer to the bed. “He asked for you.” The nurse left, promising to check back frequently.

“Tony?” Kate asked. Tony’s eyes were now closed. But he opened then as soon as she said his name. She slipped her hand into his again.

“You...OK?” Tony asked. His voice was barely above a whisper.

“Yeah, a few cuts and bruises. I have some small burns on my legs, but I’m OK.” Kate squeezed his hand gently. “Director Shepard is here. She left to call Gibbs when the nurses came in.”

Jenny returned. “Agent DiNozzo.”

Tony turned his head to the sound of her voice. “Ma’am.”

Jenny took his other hand and leaned in close to him. “We will find who did this Tony.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Tony whispered.

“Gibbs is on his way.” Jenny said to Tony. She then turned to Kate. “To answer your question from before, Gibbs and McGee found no evidence of the other car. If there was anything on the NCIS car, the fire destroyed it.”

“Lincoln...Town Car...blue.” Tony said, listening to the conversation.

“Are you sure?” Jenny asked.

Tony nodded.

“OK.” Jenny smiled. “Gibbs told me about what you did for Agent Todd.” Jenny smiled at Tony and then looked over at Kate. “That was very brave. I know you were in severe pain with broken ribs. I just wanted you to know that you will be recognized with a commendation for your bravery and sacrifice. Thank you.” She squeezed Tony’s hand and then let go.

Tony shook his head. “Don’t …want….”

“You have been hanging around Gibbs too long.” Jenny said, smiling. “What you did to help your partner was above and beyond. I think you need to be rewarded for it.” Jenny patted Tony’s hand, then looked up at Kate. “I’m sure Kate would agree with me.”

Kate nodded at Jenny and then smiled down at her partner. “Absolutely.”

“I’m really glad you’re awake.” Jenny checked her watch. “I have got to get back to the office.”

Jenny met Gibbs in the hall outside Tony’s room. “Tony remembered the car. It was a blue Lincoln. He said it WAS a Town car.”

“Good, that matches.” Gibbs paused. “He told you what happened!”

Jenny shook her head. “He is much too weak for that. Kate had asked me a question about the car before he woke up and I was just answering her.” Jenny paused. “I promised Tony we would get him, Gibbs, whoever did this.” Jenny took Gibbs arm at the elbow for emphasis. “I don’t like seeing my agents hurt, almost killed. You do what you have to.” Jenny let go of Gibb’s arm and left.

“Tony.” Gibbs smiled as he walked into Tony’s room and over to his bed.

“Boss.” Tony whispered.

Gibbs leaned in close to hear him.

“Voice...Ari.” Tony said. –

Gibbs stood up, instantly angry. “It was Ari’s voice on the phone! You’re sure!”

Tony nodded.

 

Chapter 6

Gibbs looked at a shocked Kate. “Gibbs, I never spoke to the person. Tony took the call. He said the man on the phone had called in with a tip on a case we were working on at the time. I don’t know which one he was referencing. Tony never told me that part. I don’t even know if he knew at the time. He said, we could find him at the location. He said he had evidence for us. I never dreamed... .“

“Didn’t recognize... .“ Tony added.

“I know you didn’t, Tony.” Kate said, squeezing his hand. “It’s OK.”

“Ari was probably driving that car. He KNEW you two would be lost because the place he led you to doesn’t exist. All he had to do was wait for you to drive down the road.” Gibbs said, not bothering to conceal his anger. “He’s a dead man!”

“Why did he go after Tony when I was already out of the car?” Kate asked.

“Maybe he didn’t know that. Maybe he thought you were still in there. Maybe he thought if he made road kill out of both of you he would have his revenge against me. Maybe he also has a personal vendetta against Tony. I don’t know, but he won’t live long enough to hurt anyone else.” Gibbs turned and left.

Gibbs called Jenny and informed her of the possible connection. He then placed a call to Abby.

“Gibbs, we’re working as fast and as hard as we can.” Abby said, before he could even say hello.

“Recheck it again. Tony’s awake. He said it was Ari’s voice on the phone.” Gibbs slid into the driver’s seat of his car and started the engine.

Abby was happy and pissed, all at the same time. “Tony is awake, 0MG. He’s talking he remembers what happened. That’s great. He said Ari did this to him?”

“No, he just recognized Ari as the one who called in the tip.” Gibbs pulled out onto the beltway and made his way towards NCIS. “He and Kate said the windows on the car were tinted.”

“And I thought he was out of our lives for good.” Abby walked around the table where she had the evidence laid out, taking a visual inventory. “I can’t believe you and Tim never found even one chip of paint from the other car. I mean, paint chips.” Abby started gesturing with her gloved hands. “That’s what it does.”

“I don’t know what to tell you, Abby. Tim and I worked 4 hours on the hill looking. We found nothing.” Gibbs parked his car and sat inside it in the NCIS parking garage.

Abby sighed. “Well Gibbs, if you didn’t find it, I guess there was none to be found.”

“No, Abby, if I didn’t find it. That means I didn’t look hard enough.” Gibbs backed the car out of the parking spot. “Have McGee meet me out front. We’re going back to the crime scene.”

“Tim,” Abby said, turning to address McGee. “Gibbs said to meet him out front; you two are going back to the crime scene.” McGee nodded, got up from Abby’s chair and left the lab.

“Is Tony going to be OK? Can I go see him?” Abby asked, afraid Gibbs would tell her to stay in the lab and wait for his evidence.

“He knows us. He knows what happened.” Gibbs paused. “He is really weak though. He can’t talk above a whisper.”

“Is Kate with him?” Abby asked, realizing she hadn’t even asked about her.

“She is. She has been since the doctors discharged her.” Gibbs said and McGee climbed into the car and they took off.

NCIS NCIS

Abby hesitated before entering Tony’s hospital room. She wasn’t sure how she would handle seeing him attached to tubs and monitors. She was surprised when she walked in Tony’s upper chest was uncovered. The bruise stood out, black and purple.

Tony and Kate were asleep when Abby walked in. She debated leaving when Kate spoke up. “If you touch him, he’ll wake up.”

“Oh, hi Kate.” Abby said, startled. She went over to Kate and hugged her. She then moved to Tony’s bedside and slipped one hand into his. She gently brushed his cheek with the other. “Are you OK?” She said to Kate.

“Yeah, bumps and bruises. I have a few burn marks on my legs. Tony has several on his back.” Kate stood up to stretch.

“Hey.” Tony said when he realized who was there.

“Hi.” Abby squeezed Tony’s hand gently. She stared at his chest, namely the big bruise. She placed her other hand, gently, on his chest.

“I’ll leave you two alone for a minute.” Kate said, getting up and leaving the room.

“Tony.” Abby asked. “Are you in pain?”

“Some...I’m sore.” Tony replied.

“You’re killing me, Tony. I can’t take it, the Plague now this.’ Abby pulled Kate’s chair up beside the bed and sat down. “After hearing what happened to you and Kate, and then seeing the car... .“

“Didn’t...purpose.” Tony groaned loudly and squeezed Abby’s hand.

“I’ll get a nurse.” Abby removed her hand from his chest and made a move towards the door.

Tony squeezed her hand, stopping her. “Don’t leave...please...I’m OK.”

Abby stayed. She pressed the call button. The doctor and a nurse appeared in seconds. “I didn’t think I hurt him. I just touched his chest, that bruise.”

Doctor Angle smiled at her to relieve her fears. “You didn’t hurt him. He’s sore. He will be sore for awhile. I’m sure he likes having your company.” She smiled this time at Tony.

“Agent DiNozzo.” Dr Angle said. She pulled the blanket down to his waist and gently palpated his ribs. He groaned a couple of times during her examination. She concluded her examination and recovered his chest. “That is much better than you did when you first woke up. Ribs take time to heal. You will be sore for awhile. You need anything before I go?”

“No ma’am.” Tony shook his head.

The doctor then bent down and whispered something in Tony’s ear. Tony smiled and nodded and the doctor left.

“What was that all about?” Kate asked.

“Yeah,” Abby’s voice took on a mock-accusing tone. “What did she say to you?”

Tony shook his head.

“So you’re not going to say?” Kate asked, needing clarification. She had reentered he room, shortly after the doctor and nurse had come in.

Tony shook his head again

“We WILL find out Agent DiNozzo?” Abby said, in her best stem voice, and then she smiled.

”…tired.” Tony said, as his eyes began to close.

“Rest, Tony.” Abby looked at her watch. “I have to get back anyway or Gibbs will have my head. Oh, by the way, he and McGee went back out and went over the area again. I am guessing he is still out there or I would be getting a call to get my ass back to the lab.” Abby stroked his face and then kissed his cheek. “Get better, Tony.” She whispered.

“Take care of him, Kate.”

Kate nodded and Abby left.

 

Chapter 7

Kate moved to her chair and sat down. She watched Tony for about 10 minutes, until she was sure he had sound asleep. Then she closed her eyes. She was asleep in seconds.

Tony slept 4 hours and woke up to see Kate standing at his bedside, smiling down at him. “...home.”

Kate squeezed his hand. “You are too weak to go home yet, maybe in a week or two.

“You...go...home.” Tony said, looking up at her and noticing the dark circles under her eyes. “I’m...OK.”

Kate stared at him for a moment. “I’m fine.” Kate said, pushing a strand of hair out of her face. She knew she looked like hell and she would have loved to go home. She would have loved to be able to sleep in her own bed, if just for one night. “I don’t want to leave you alone.”

Tony stared at her for a moment.

“What?” Kate asked, starting to wonder what he was thinking.

“..look...tired.”

“I am tired.”

“Go...home.”

“I know Abby is coming in to stay with you, I just don’t know when.”

Tony said nothing. He just sighed and rolled his eyes.

“I will tell her to leave the nurses alone this time.” Kate squeezed his hand. “She is just really, really protective of you, you know that.”

“There is something I need to say to you.” Kate paused and laid her other hand on top of his. “You saved my life, twice.”

“Kate.”

“Let me finish, Tony. I know I give you a hard time. I wouldn’t tease you if I thought, for a minute, it hurt your feelings. I hope you know I consider you to be a good friend. I just wanted to say Thank you.” Kate paused. “I can’t imagine how much pain you were in when you crawled over to me to protect me. I wanted to especially thank you for that. That was above and beyond.” Kate bent down to and kissed his cheek. “If you tell anyone I did that, I’ll shoot you.” Kate whispered in his ear, before she straightened back up.

Tony said nothing, but smiled broadly.

A nurse showed up in Tony’s room with a shot for his pain. “Mr. DiNozzo, I need to ask you this before I give you this shot. Are you allergic to morphine?”

“No.” Tony said, shaking his head.

The nurse administrated the shot and then left.

Abby poked her head in the door at that moment. Her hands full of magazines and DVDs. “Hi, Kate. Hi, Tony.” Abby laid all the mags and DVDs on the counter beside the
sink. “Tony, I didn’t know which movie you would want to see, so I brought several.” Abby pulled another chair up to Tony’s bed and sat down. “You look better than you did yesterday, even.” Abby said, slipping her hand into his.

Tony grip on Abby’s hand suddenly went limp. “KATE, Tony’s not breathing!” Abby said, she put her hand on his chest. It didn’t move. The heart monitor blared as Tony’s heart rate slowed and he went into convulsions.

Kate pressed the button just as the doctor and two nurses arrived. They ushered Kate and Abby out of the room and shut the door behind them. When Gibbs showed up an hour later Kate and Abby were still in the ICU waiting room. Kate was sitting in one of the chairs and Abby was pacing the length of the room.

“Kate?” Gibbs asked sitting down beside her, coffee cup in hand. Abby came over sat down on the other side of him.

“Tony just stopped breathing and went into a seizure. The nurse had come in and gave him some morphine. She asked him if he was allergic and he said no. Then the doctor and nurses came in and pushed us out the door. They have been going back and forth to his room, but no one has come to talk to us yet.” Kate said worry etched on her face.

Abby suddenly stood up. She turned and faced Gibbs. “Gibbs, I wouldn’t usually ask this, especially with Tony involved, but after this....” Abby paused, wringing her hands. “I need to go back to the lab. I can’t take this! I need to go back to work. Please!”

Gibbs nodded.

“Really? Thank you.” Abby bent down and give him a big hug and rushed off.

Gibbs stood up and walked to the door of Tony’s room. He stuck his head in. “Doctor Angle, I need to talk to you.”

“Agent Gibbs, I’m busy right now.” Dr Angle said.

“I need to know what is going on with him.” Gibbs said refusing to move out of the doorway as nurses pushed past him.

“He needs me more than you do.” Dr. Angle was amazed at his gall. Gibbs stood in the doorway, refusing to move.

Dr. Angle stepped away from Tony for just a moment. “I gave Agent DiNozzo morphine for the pain. He is allergic to morphine, severely allergic. I doubt he even knew he was allergic. It was not in his medical records anyway. He stopped breathing. His heart rate slowed and he went into convulsions.”

Gibbs said nothing. He just looked at his agent, who appeared to be sleeping peacefully. He then turned his attention back to Dr. Angle.

“I had to give him something to counteract that reaction and give him something to help with the pain that he could tolerate. That takes time. Like I said, he needed me more than you did.”

Gibbs then did something he rarely does. He apologized. "I’m sorry. We are just really concerned about him. We almost lost him. He’s still not doing that well.”

The doctor’s anger lessened slightly, seeing Agent Gibbs genuine concern. “He is actually getting better. His reaction to the medication will not slow that progress. Like I said, according to his medical history he has had no reason to know he was allergic to morphine. He has not been injured badly enough to take it before. The allergy is so rare….”

“Thank you.” Gibbs said, leaving Tony’s room. He returned to the ICU waiting room. “Tony’s OK now. He had a bad reaction to morphine and the doctor had to watch him. He looks like he’s asleep right now.”

Kate and Gibbs returned to Tony’s room. They took up their stations on opposite sides of his bed. Kate stayed. She didn’t feel any less tired; she felt she needed to stay just a little longer. She stayed another hour, then Gibbs took her chair. Alternately napping, drinking coffee and walking the halls until Tony woke 2 hours later.

Gibbs phone rang. He stepped out into the hall and answered the phone. “Gibbs?” Abby said. “I found something in the evidence. I was debating telling you. I don’t know how you will take it.”

“Just tell me Abby.” Gibbs said, giving her his full attention as he gazed at her over Tony’s sleeping form. “It’s evidence. I need to know.”

“Kate and Tony weren’t the targets.”

“I know that Abby. You know that. Ari… .” Gibbs moved out into the hall and down the corridor to the waiting room. He took a seat in one of the many uncomfortable plastic chairs.

“It wasn’t Ari.” Abby said, waiting for Gibbs to explode. She wasn’t disappointed.

 

Chapter 8

“It wasn’t Ari! WHO WAS IT?!!” Gibbs said, causing several members of the hospital staff and several patients to look at him in surprise.

“That’s just it Gibbs.” Abby said cowering. “I compared the voice patterns of the phone call that Tony received to the voice recording we have of Ari. I even asked Ducky in to verify, since he was with him the most down in the morgue.” Abby paused. “They’re just not the same. Since we have nothing more than a voice, all I can say is that it is not Ari.”

“Why did Tony say it was Ari? He sounded so sure.”

“The accent is the same. That is probably it. He thought this is something Ari might do. And I am not saying Ari is not involved, he could have driven the car. But he didn’t make the phone call.”

“Ari was involved for sure.” Gibbs said, fuming. “He is still out to get me. He is just going through the members of my team to get to me.”

“Gibbs….” Abby started.

“If Tony doesn’t make it, I’ll kill Ari with my bare hands.” Gibbs stated, still angry.

“Tony is going to make it, Gibbs. He is going to be fine. He has to be. He has more lives than an alley cat.” Abby said, hoping to calm Gibbs down. She didn’t like to see him this angry.

“Ari won’t live long enough to hurt another member of my team.” Gibbs declared and then hung up with Abby.

 

NCIS NCIS NCIS NCIS

 

Gibbs phone rang and he quickly flipped it open thinking Kate was calling about Tony or Abby had found more something to help with the case.

“Well, Agent Gibbs I hope Anthony and Caitlyn are well.”

Gibbs almost growled. He recognized the voice immediately. “You BASTARD! Too afraid to come after me, so you go after my team. You have sealed your fate. I just wanted you to know that. I WILL kill you.”

“You, versus a trained assassin…” Ari chuckled into the phone. “…good luck.”

“I don’t need luck, Ari. I don’t make promises I can’t keep.” Gibbs shot back.

“Keep a close eye on Anthony. I would hate for something else to ‘happen’ to him during his hospital stay.”

“YOU STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM HIM.” Gibbs yelled into the phone.

“Please…” Ari said, gloating. “…I have people to do THAT dirty work for me.”

“LEAVE HIM ALONE.” Gibbs reiterated. He flipped the phone closed, too angry to hear more.

Gibbs took a moment to calm down. He then called Director Shepard and arranged for around-the-clock security for Tony.

 

NCIS NCIS NCIS NCIS

 

The dream was horrible. He couldn’t breathe. He struggled. He opened his eyes, and realized that he was not dreaming. That was a man standing over Tony’s bed with his hands around Tony’s throat.

Tony remembered his phone. He grabbed it off the bedside table and flipped it open. He pressed a few buttons, hoping he had gotten the numbers and sequence right. He was beginning to feel a little floaty. He just wanted to close his eyes. But he fought against it. He tried to raise his arms, but found that he was too weak to do so. Tony had no choice but to let the darkness envelope him.

Gibbs flipped his phone open. He expected it would be Ari. But he was greeted by silence on the other end. “I won’t play your games, Ari!” Gibbs said. He was about to hang up when he saw that it was not Ari calling him, but Tony.

Gibbs put the phone to his ear and heard shouting. “Code Blue, SICU-Room 217, Bed A.” Gibbs recognized the room number and ran down the hall to Tony’s room. He arrived in time to see the nurses placing shock pads on Tony’s chest and putting a tube down his throat. Tony’s lips were blue. His face was pale and he was completely unresponsive to what the nurses were doing to him.

It took 4 shocks to get Tony’s heart going again. Gibbs cringed and his heart broke with the first couple shocks. He couldn’t watch anymore. He moved away from the window, but not out of earshot of the doctors and nurses working on Tony. He called the rest of the team and told them what had just happened. They were all at the hospital within 10 minutes.

Hospital security caught the guard as he tried to make an escape down the back stairway of the ICU unit. They were holding him until Agent Gibbs had the opportunity to question him. Gibbs waited until he found out Tony was going to be OK. He visited Tony for a few minutes after the incident. Tony was not awake due to weakness caused by the incident and the effects of his previous injuries. Gibbs then left Tony’s room and went to see the security guard hired by NCIS to protect Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo.

Hospital security had placed the guard, whose name was Emanuel Gomez, into the vault were they placed lost and found items. It was the most secure location they had in the hospital. Gibbs requested Mr. Gomez be brought out of the vault and be provided a chair to sit in. Both requests were granted.

Gibbs bent down within an inch of Emanuel’s face. “Who do you work for?”

“Highland Security.” Emanuel said.

Gibbs noted that that was the name on the uniform that had been provided by the company.

“Who do you work for?” Gibbs asked again. He straightened up and paced in front of Mr. Gomez.

“Highland Security.” Emanuel restated.

Gibbs stared at the man, obviously irritated. “WHO. DO. YOU. WORK. FOR?!” He asked again, fighting the urge to punch the man in the face.

Mr. Gomez was silent.

“You nearly killed a Federal Agent! I can tell you the penalty for attempted murder of a federal agent is an automatic 20 years in a federal prison!” Gibbs stated walking around the chair the man was sitting in.

“I…”

“Who are you working for? That is all I need to know. I don’t care how much he paid you. I don’t care what he promised you. I JUST NEED A NAME!” Gibbs stated glaring at the man in front of him.

“Ari Haswari.” Emanuel whispered his head down, looking at the floor.

“Who? Speak up!” Gibbs requested.

“ARI HASWARI!” Emanuel stated. He raised his head to meet Gibbs’ gaze.

“THAT BASTARD!” Gibbs said, flying into a rage. He looked for something to throw. When he found nothing he balled his fists up so tight that his fingernails cut into his palms.

Gibbs went upstairs again to check on Tony. He was still unconscious and still very weak. The team promised to keep a watch on him and report any changes to Gibbs as soon as possible. Gibbs then left the hospital on a mission. He had cold-blooded murder on his mind.

 

Chapter 9

Gibbs really had no idea where he might find Ari. He checked the café where they had first met. He knew Ari wouldn’t be stupid enough to go anywhere near the hospital. But he thought he might seek out another person to kill Tony or Kate. Gibbs knew his team was safe at the hospital. That was the main reason he had called them all there. They could keep each other safe and they would let no one near Tony who would hurt him.

Gibbs grew tired of sitting at the café and went to his car. He pulled out into traffic. He looked into his rear view mirror and watched what he thought was a familiar looking motorcycle pull up beside him in traffic.

“Tony and Kate are alive.” Gibbs said with a certain amount of satisfaction after he rolled down his window.

Ari sighed. “That’s the problem with hired help, Agent Gibbs. If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.”

The light changed to green and Ari sped ahead into traffic. Gibbs sped up also. He tried to follow, but Ari had the advantage of being able to weave in and out between the other vehicles. Gibbs saw him, but wasn’t able to catch up with him. Gibbs cursed his luck and beat his hands on the steering wheel in anger and frustration. Gibbs moved ahead in traffic, willing himself to calm down. He then had an idea. He remembered a building he had followed Ari to once. Gibbs didn’t know if Ari lived there or just had business there, but it was only a couple of blocks away. Gibbs could see Ari was too far ahead of him to notice what he was doing so he turned off at the next intersection and took the alleyway to the back of the building he remembered. He parked his car where it would not be seen and waited for Ari to show up.

Gibbs got out of the car when he heard a motorcycle enter the alleyway. He waited for the rider the cut off the engine and he emerged for his hiding place.

“Ari Haswari.” Gibbs said. He pulled out his gun and pointed it at Ari’s head.

Ari debated starting up the motorcycle engine and trying to drive away. But he was pretty certain that that action would earn him a bullet to the brain. Ari had a gun on him. But he knew he could not make any sudden moves. He would just have to buy himself some time until he could come up with a plan.

“I assume Agent DiNozzo and Agent Todd are doing well.” Ari stated trying to buy time.

“You assume incorrectly. But I made Tony a promise. I told him I would kill you. I have EVERY intention of keeping that promise.”

“Your loyalty to your team is admirable. But I just can’t help but wonder if it is not misplaced.”

“OK, Ari, I’ll bite.” Gibbs said, never lowering his gun. “Why would my loyalty be misplaced?”

“Would they do it for you, Anthony and Caitlyn, take a bullet, I mean?”

“In a heartbeat.” Gibbs answered without hesitation.

Ari smiled, but didn’t say anything.

Gibbs nodded. “I understand your dilemma, Ari. In the ‘trained assassin’ business, you are loyal to people only as long as you are working for them. After the job is over, you are a free agent again. The problem is you never know when you will be deemed a liability and eliminated. ”

Ari made a quick move for his weapon. Gibbs saw the action and shot the hand that made the move.

“THAT will be your one and only warning.” Gibbs said keeping the gun pointed at Ari. “Anyway, back to what I was saying. You will never know who or why. I wouldn’t like that lack of job security.” Gibbs continued. He changed his stance, but he never lowered his gun.

“Why not just kill me?” Ari said, cradling his injured hand to his chest.

Gibbs smiled. “Ari, you like games. You have been ‘playing’ with me ever since the first time we met. I can understand why you might not be liking this particular game though. You’re not in control. It is a LOT more fun when you are the one calling the shots.”

Ari said nothing, still cradling his hand against his chest.

“But, unlike you, Ari.” Gibbs said. “I won’t play this game too long. You bore me. I have better things to do with my time.”

“Don’t underestimate loyalty, Gibbs. People will find out what happened to me. They will come after you.”

Gibbs took a step forward and Ari automatically took a step back.

Gibbs smiled. “That ALMOST makes it worth all the hell you have put me and my team through.” Then Gibbs pulled the trigger. “Almost.”

Ari slumped to the ground, a bullet wound in the center of his forehead.

Gibbs walked over to Ari lying on the ground. Gibbs’ gun was still in his hand. “I will take my chances on YOUR loyalty.” Gibbs said and then he turned and walked away.

Gibbs called Director Jenny Shepard and Special Agent Tobias Fornell and informed them of the current status of one Ari Haswari.

THE END