It wasn’t so much that Abby didn’t deal with emergencies well as she didn’t deal with emergencies involving people she loved well. She always tried really hard to keep it together but in the end the panic always got her.
Which is why she’s really, really proud of herself for handling what happened that evening so well.
He’d clutched his head when he’d come in, signing for her to ‘shut it off, damnit’ with irritation. Usually she’d give him grief or at least chirp out her pleasure at seeing him but Gibbs looked ill and Gibbs never looked ill.
Watching Gibbs, who was already looking pale and uncomfortable, clutch her lab table with white knuckles, knees nearly buckling as he shut his eyes, lips in a grim line, blood completely draining from his face had brought Abby immediately to his side.
“I just…I think I need to lie down for a minute. Can I borrow your futon?”
“Of course,” she says, noticing him wince at her volume.
She touches his cheek and lowers her voice to a whisper.
“Is it your head?”
“Yeah,” he grunts.
“Ok…um…keep your eyes closed. I’ll turn off the lights in the office.”
She leads him in, sits him down on the edge of the futon and gets two bottles of water from her little fridge and some aspirin from her desk. Once he’s taken the aspirin and chugged half the bottle of water she gently pushes him down, putting the second bottle of water under his neck and smiling softly when he groans. He presses the half-full bottle to his forehead and Abby shuts off the lights as she leaves.
Working becomes nearly impossible. It’s been thirty minutes and Gibbs is still lying down. Gibbs isn’t one for just sitting around on the job much less lying but she doesn’t want to bother him if he needs the rest. He’d been pushing himself hard on this case and was still recovering from a concussion he’d received a few days ago.
Tony finds her peering around her monitor at her office but doesn’t ask why.
“Hey, Abbs, where’s Gibbs? Ziva cracked our case.”
Abby breathes out a sigh of relief but the frown doesn’t disappear from her face.
“Um…Gibbs is um…he’s kind of…not that he’s…but he…”
“Abby! Spit it out!”
“Sshh! Be quiet!” she whispers.
Tony’s eyes widen and then narrow as he glances around, ducking his head.
“Ok,” he whispers back, “Why are we whispering?”
“Because…because Gibbs has a migraine. He’s lying down in my office.”
That makes Tony’s eyes go really wide and he straightens, peering up over her equipment at the office with obvious worry.
“He uh…I’m going to…” he gestures.
“Ok but be quiet.”
Tony nods and strides over to the office, opening the door slowly.
“Boss?” he asks softly.
“Yeah?” Gibbs gasps out.
Giving his eyes a second to adjust, Tony steps just inside the room, closing the door behind himself.
“How’s your head?”
Gibbs is curled on his side, facing away from the faint light coming in through the curtains on the window. Tony kneels down at his side and then jumps back when Gibbs throws up all over the floor. He only hesitates a second, going to the door and gesturing Abby over frantically.
“Get Ducky, tell him what you just told me and then tell him that Gibbs just threw up.”
Abby’s eyes go impossibly wide and she scrambles for her cell phone with shaking hands as Tony goes back into the room, grabbing some paper towels and a fresh bottle of water.
“Hey, Boss,” he whispers, “come on and drink some of this.”
Gibbs drinks messily, water escaping from the side of his mouth. Tony presses the paper towels into his hand and Gibbs’ wipes his chin with trembling fingers.
“You called Ducky?” Gibbs rasps out.
“Yeah,” Tony frowns, squeezing the back of Gibbs’ tense neck.
Gibbs moans lowly and curls in on himself some more.
The rolling slide of the door opening makes Tony look up hopefully and his shoulders relax a little when he sees Ducky give him a comforting smile.
“Watch out,” Tony points to the mess and Ducky nods, coming around to the other side of the futon.
“Help me get his jacket off.”
Gibbs grunts with annoyance and struggles to sit up, obviously displeased with needing their help but letting Tony push his jacket off.
Unable to sit up any longer he sags against Tony who brings his arms up around Gibbs hesitantly.
Ducky rolls up Gibbs’ sleeve and swipes at a patch of skin with an alcohol swab.
“I’m going to give you a shot.”
“Ok,” Gibbs breathes.
He doesn’t flinch or otherwise acknowledge the needle plunging into his arm, just lets his head fall to Tony’s shoulder.
“Some things not even an iron clad will can get you through, I’m afraid,” Ducky says softly, administering the injection, “The pain will subside in a moment, dear Jethro.”
Ducky inspects the vomit which is mostly liquid, probably coffee and clucks his tongue.
“You haven’t been taking proper care of yourself,” he admonishes.
“Solved,” Tony cuts him off, “Ziva figured out it was Commander Franz. She and McGee picked him up already and he confessed on the spot.”
Tony reaches up and squeezes Gibbs’ neck again, eliciting another moan.
“Hey, Ducky? Could you get my sunglasses and Gibbs’ cap from upstairs?”
Ducky nods and taps the side of his nose with a smile. Abby comes in a moment later, wringing her hands.
“Is there anything I can do to help?”
“You got ear plugs?”
Abby points at him and then spreads her fingers wide, eyes flitting around the room.
She strides over to a shelf and grabs a box, holding it up triumphantly, biting her lip to keep quiet. Tony grins at her and takes the two foam ear plugs, pressing them gently into Gibbs’ ears. Gibbs peers at him blearily, tears making his lashes dark. With a sigh, Tony’s mouth quirks up at one corner as he swipes away a tear from Gibbs’ cheek.
“Gonna get you home and let you get some rest, Boss.”
Gibbs grumbles a little but nods, closing his eyes again, swiping at his nose with pinching fingers and sniffling once.
When Ducky comes back some of the tension is gone from Gibbs’ body but he seems a little tired. Tony slides the sunglasses onto Gibbs’ face and hands him the hat, holding out a hand to help the other man to his feet.
“I’ll let the Director know you’re both taking the rest of today and that you’ll need the weekend.”
“Ducky…” Gibbs starts to protest.
“Honestly, Jethro, if you’d taken the time when you needed it we wouldn’t be standing here right now,” Ducky snaps, “you became physically ill and incapable of doing your job. You’re just lucky you weren’t out in the field when this happened.”
Gibbs looks properly chastised by that and nods, gesturing for Tony to lead the way. He puts on his cap and keeps his head ducked down as they get into the elevator, pausing only to gather their things from the bullpen while a confused McGee and Ziva look on – Tony gestures to his head, shaking it and wincing as Ziva nods with understanding.
In the elevator again Gibbs swings his hand back, tapping Tony on the arm with his knuckles.
Gibbs keeps his hand out and Tony frowns.
“You are not driving,” Tony laughs.
“Why the hell not? Head feels better.”
Tony reaches up and snatches the sunglasses off and Gibbs winces, eyes snapping shut. With a sigh, Tony slips them back on Gibbs’ nose and grips his shoulder.
“The sun’s setting; your head would explode before you even got out of the parking lot.”
Gibbs’ jaw works for a minute before he mutters, “Shit.”
That makes Tony snort as they hit the ground floor. Gibbs has been getting strange looks since the bullpen and Tony’s glad the man can’t lift his eyes up enough to see it. He can only hope he’s distracted enough to not feel their gazes either.
The drive back is quiet. Tony manages to convince Gibbs to lie down in the backseat folding his own jacket up for Gibbs to rest his head on.
Convincing Gibbs to eat something once they get in the house takes a little more doing but he tries Ducky’s approach.
“You threw up mostly coffee, Boss, you have to eat something,” he bites out.
Gibbs’ eyes are still lidded, barely narrowed slits but he sits and eats without further protest, sipping at the orange juice and water Tony sets down for him.
Tony doesn’t have to tell him to go lie down at all. Gibbs quietly trudges upstairs as soon as he’s finished eating and Tony leans back in the hard dining room chair, heaving out a sigh and blinking at the ceiling.
“He is going to kill me,” he whispers miserably.
And then thinks, probably by killing himself.
It hurts to watch Gibbs drive himself so hard, to push until he breaks but the man doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘quit’.
When Tony feels like he’s got it together enough he drags himself upstairs too, sitting on the edge of the bed and resting a hand on Gibbs’ side. The other man is curled up again but his body is more relaxed.
“Hey,” Gibbs says tiredly.
“Hey. Wanna tell me why that happened?”
“Yeah, you kind of are.”
With a sigh Gibbs rolls over onto his back and peers at Tony.
“Can you yell at me after I’ve slept for a day or two?”
Tony nods and kicks off his shoes, climbing under the covers on his side of the bed. Gibbs lays his head on Tony’s chest and the last of tension drains out of his body as he falls into a deep sleep.
Ducky comes by with a prescription for the migraines and sets them on the nightstand with a glass of water.
“One a day in the mornings at least for the next week,” he instructs Tony, “How is he?”
“Stubborn. I made him eat earlier.”
“Good, good. Well, I’ll be going. Do try not to kill him, dear boy.”
“I’ve managed not to so far. Think I deserve a medal or something.”
“A testament to your love, I think.”
Ducky pats Gibbs’ shoulder and Gibbs curls in closer to Tony, making a soft noise in his sleep that makes Ducky chuckle.
“Get some rest, Tony. You’ve all had a rough week.”
When Abby shows up the next day with enough take-out to last them for days and a few of the herbal remedies she’s become fond of lately Gibbs looks infinitely better. He’s kicked back on the couch and Tony’s rubbing his feet, keeping up a low stream of conversation that Gibbs occasionally smirks, laughs or frowns at.
It sets her at ease to know that no matter how much Gibbs pushes – himself, Tony, everybody else too but especially Tony – that Tony will always be there to keep him from going over the edge. Sometimes she sees Gibbs start to take the nosedive but Tony’s always there to catch him.
It’s making it a little easier not to panic.