AN: I want to start off by saying thank you to everyone who read and/or reviewed. The first day was pretty awesome because I work in a federal prison and can't have my phone so when I finally made it to my car and checked my messages, I had so many goodies from you guys. So thank you :) It was definitely a crazy start so I'm glad you guys are liking it so far. This chapter is kind of slower but felt necessary to me.
Warning: Same as before... I did my best when it comes to the medical stuff. Also, it is unbeta'd so all mistakes are my own.
That's about it for now, I suppose. Hope you guys enjoy this one as well and if you have a moment, leave me a comment.
The Basement - Part II
Waking up to the feeling of full-body compression was hardly desirable. Tony DiNozzo was positive that his body weighed a ton and he would likely never move again. Although, that may just be the dramatic musings of a dying man.
But was he dying? He sure felt like it. He felt like he was on fire but was also buried in snow at the same time. What an odd mixture, he thought to himself. More than anything, he was exhausted. He considered trying to venture into the land of reality to figure out where he was and why he was there, but that seemed like too great of an effort.
Still, his mind was in a perpetual fog that he knew he needed to wade through. He could feel it in his gut; there was something important to be found out there.
Deciding that his duty to fulfill some unknown task was more vital than his laziness, he made a solid attempt to lift his arm. It barely moved at first but after a few more tries, he managed to lift it high enough to realize that he was restrained. Now, aided by the sudden surge of adrenaline, his eyes snapped open.
The light blinded him immediately as he squinted and tugged at his restraint even more. Despite the fact that his eyes really weren't getting completely used to the light, it no longer hurt to leave them open. Well, it was bearable, at least. He then realized that his other hand, though not necessarily restrained, was being firmly held against his body in some sort of sling.
It didn't take him long to realize he was in the hospital, even with the walls moving and the ceiling spinning. He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to steady his surroundings but it was to no avail. Not until she appeared, that was.
"Hi there, Tony," Caitlin Todd smirked as she stood beside his bed, a deep red bullet hole positioned directly between her dark eyes. Suddenly, he could feel her warm blood splattered all over his face like it was yesterday. If that wasn't bad enough, she then proceeded to step aside to reveal his probie, Timothy McGee, standing behind her with the same exact wound, plus two more on his chest.
Tony felt his stomach churn painfully until bile burned his throat. Before he could register anything else, he felt the hands of faceless nurses rolling him onto his side as he hurled the contents of his stomach into a receptacle bin. He was vaguely aware of voices talking to him and hands clawing at him, but he paid them no mind; his eyes were on Tim and Kate as they were the only things that mattered.
"Looking pretty rough there, Tony," McGee laughed as a thin line of blood rolled onto his nose and dripped to the ground.
"I'm sorry," he whispered, feeling as though he should be crying but no tears would come out. "I'm so sorry, Tim…. Kate."
Kate chuckled and sat down in a chair beside his bed. "Sorry doesn't bring anyone back, does it, Tony? You watched me die years ago and today, you watched McGee die. I'm not sure, DiNozzo, but I think you may be bad luck. Or maybe just incompetent."
Tears finally filled Tony's eyes as he looked at Tim whose gaze diverted to the ground. Tim was disappointed. And as a scene from earlier that day flashed through Tony's mind, he understood why. He had sat there and watched those men fill McGee with led and he did absolutely nothing. Not a thing. The fact that he had been tied up meant nothing to him because he still should have done something, anything, to stop the death of Timothy McGee.
"I didn't save you," he cried to Tim and Kate. "I couldn't…"
He turned away from them as the weight of the world fell firmly on his every fiber. He was in the hospital but he didn't want to be there. He wanted everyone to leave him alone and just let him die. It's not like he could ever face Gibbs, Ziva, Abby or Ducky or even Palmer again, and those were the only people left in this world that he cared to keep close. That he wanted to love him. How could they care about him now that he had lost the baby of the team? The innocent one… One of the only people he had ever met who was truly good.
As a tear rolled down his cheek, the liquid cold against his steaming face, he tried to fall asleep but couldn't get the image of his dead friends out of his head. He knew they were still sitting there, staring at him as though they expected something from him. Anger and frustration began to invade his mind and body until he couldn't take it anymore. He was vaguely aware he was now yelling and then proceeded to fight his hardest against the restraints that were holding his arm and legs down.
He wanted to leave, he wanted to be gone. He kept his eyes clenched shut so as to avoid seeing Tim and Kate anymore and decided that if nothing else, he would eventually wear himself out.
But before that could happen, the faceless medical staff attacked and one needle prick later, his world faded to black.
Gibbs held the phone to his ear and felt his annoyance rise when the call made it to the third ring.
"Jethro?" Ducky finally replied on the other end. "I was actually just about to give you a ring. As it turns out, Petty Officer Malicks was…"
"Duck," Gibbs interrupted as a sigh escaped from his lips. There was a pause on the other end and deep down, Gibbs knew Ducky was well aware that something was wrong.
"Who?" Ducky replied finally, confirming Gibbs' beliefs. "Please tell me there will be no funerals in our near future."
Gibbs half smiled as he thought about the situation. "Not yet," he replied, as he watched the doctors through the glass preparing to move McGee. The young agent looked far from okay with his unnaturally pale skin accentuated by dark circles under his closed eyes. His hair was a mess and still had remnants of crusted blood in it while the majority of his body seemed to be wrapped up with slightly bloodied dressing. Then there were the multitudes of machinery hooked to the kid and half of his face was hidden by an oxygen mask. But, he was alive.
"It's a long story, Duck," Gibbs continued, prying his eyes off of Tim long enough to focus. "But Tony was drugged with something and McGee was shot three times, one in the leg and two in his chest and stomach."
He heard a gasp on the other end, followed by, "Dear heavens…"
"I know," Gibbs replied, shaking his head slightly at how awful it all sounded out loud. "But they've stabilized Tim enough to fly him to Bethesda. They said something about his lungs and apparently there's a surgeon there who can fix him up."
"Yes, yes," Ducky said, his tone troubled. "Dr. Wilcox, I believe. One of the top surgeons in the region, specializing in the pulmonary system. Now, are you sure young Timothy is fit for transport? I should really have a chat with…"
"No time," Gibbs interjected, though he thoroughly wished the medical examiner had been there. "They need to move him now while he's stable enough and they don't have the kind of docs McGee needs on staff. It's a quick flight. But you're closer than I am so I was hoping you could meet him there."
"Yes, of course, Jethro!" the man replied with vigor as though it was silly to think otherwise. "And what of Anthony?"
Gibbs sighed deeply once more and tried to recall what the doctors had said. "The docs don't know what they drugged him with, only that is was some sort of hallucinogen."
"Hallucinations," Gibbs said simply as the image of Tony struggling and shouting played through his mind. But that was nothing compared to what he had witnessed only a few minutes before his conversation with Ducky.
"It was worse in the beginning. He was just yelling and fighting when we first found him," Gibbs recalled, his stomach clenching uncomfortably. "Fought so hard he pulled his arm out of place but it's not as bad now. He was… talking earlier but…"
"It sounded like he was talking to Kate and McGee," Gibbs resigned as he remembered trying to talk to Tony, to tell him that he was alright and was imagining it all, but Tony had never even registered his existence. Instead, he had eventually worn the most broken expression on his face before going into yet another fit.
"Seems to think they're both dead."
"Oh my. That is bound to have chilling effects on the young lad," Ducky voiced gravely. "He will likely spend a great deal of his waking hours trying to distinguish fact from fiction and if he believes his young partner to be deceased…"
"Yeah, I know. But it was like he couldn't even hear me when I was in there."
"Yes, certain forms of hallucinogens can not only create vivid, life-like deliriums, they can alter the reality the patient is already seeing," Ducky explained. "What are his doctors saying in terms of treatment?"
Gibbs ran his hand over his face and replied, "Just that the drug seems to be leaving his system on its own but they are going to keep him sedated for a while. He fights pretty hard while he's awake and it'll be better to transport him that way."
"Is he also being taken to Bethesda?"
"By ambulance," Gibbs replied before noticing more movement in McGee's room. "Gotta go, Duck. I'll meet you there."
"How is he?" Gibbs immediately asked as they rolled Tim's bed into the hallway.
"His vitals are holding steady," the tall female doctor responded tiredly as the nurses led the way through the hall. "The flight will only take a few minutes and Dr. Wilcox is awaiting his arrival. He has a good chance, Agent Gibbs."
He nodded and followed alongside McGee's bed, careful not to touch the young man in fear of messing something up. Tim looked so fragile and if it wasn't for the steady beeping from his heart monitor, the kid could be mistaken as dead.
"This is as far as you can go," Dr. Langley informed him before McGee was pushed through a set of double doors. Gibbs stood there and watched the bed and its entourage disappear through another door before turning and heading back towards Tony's room.
"How is McGee?" Ziva greeted from the end of Tony's bed. Her face was tense with concern as her eyes regularly flickered over to where DiNozzo lie.
"Being put in the chopper now," he replied as he stood beside Ziva and watched the nurse continue to prep his other agent for transport. It hadn't been necessary to move DiNozzo but for the sake of being treated by trusted individuals in a place that housed both of his agents, this was the best move. Besides, Tony was certainly stable enough to be moved so it simply made the most sense to have everyone together and close to the base.
"This is all so wrong," Ziva said after a moment of silence. "McGee bleeding to death, Tony out of his mind."
Gibbs knew there was a joke in there somewhere concerning Tony's normal lack of sanity, but now was not the time. Not until both of his agents were safe.
"I… his face as he was talking to the imaginary McGee," Ziva continued, her eyes firmly glued to Tony. "And Agent Todd. Sounded like he blames himself for McGee's supposed death."
"It's a good thing Tim's not dead then."
Ziva nodded but they didn't speak for another couple of minutes, both transfixed in their own minds. Eventually, Ziva broke her silent observation of the unconscious DiNozzo and looked down at her hands.
"I-I can't get the blood from under my fingernails," she said quietly and Gibbs wondered if she was really talking to him or to herself.
Either way, it was an unsettling statement and one that was also true for Gibbs.
"It'll come out," he replied simply, knowing that the blood symbolized a lot more than either of them could put into words.
"We're ready," one of the nurses informed them. Moments later, Gibbs and Ziva were following the bed carrying Tony into the ambulance bay where he was carefully loaded into a rig. Once Gibbs was satisfied that Tony was in good hands, he and Ziva went to the car and set off towards yet another hospital.
End Note: Like I said, this one was pretty simple but felt right to me. Hope you guys liked it and will come back for more. Happy Mother's Day to everyone :)