It was dark. Cold. Silent.
The only sound was kin to a breeze. The smell...he couldn't make out what it was. He opened his eyes. It was pitch black, but for tiny blurs of white that he soon came to realize were stars. He felt dizzy.
He could tell he was on his back and he rolled his head to one side.
It had been a dream. Gibbs never found them. Night was here. Tony was...
"Tony?" he shot up to sit, tipping from the broken piece of boat frame he'd been floating on and falling into the cold water. There was nothing else around him. Nothing at all. "Tony!" he yelled out. Something caught his eye below him and he looked.
He was sinking. Tony was sinking. He must've let go of him by accident when he'd fallen asleep. "No!" he shouted and dove under the water to go after him. Tony's eyes were open, but Tim could tell he was still unconscious. He was even paler than before, his ever-sinking body lit up by the moonlight rays through the water.
Tim swam harder, faster toward Tony, his arm trying to reach out to grab onto him, but it seemed the harder he swam, the faster Tony sank...
Ellie sat cross-legged on the empty hospital bed beside McGee, biting her pointer fingernail as she was lost in thought. Tim was asleep, hooked up to an IV and monitors. The beeping from the machines was almost hypnotic, Bishop thought, and the exhaustion from the chaotic day was finally catching up with her.
Gibbs had been back and forth between checking on him and Tony. Sometimes when he came to McGee's room he had himself a fresh cup of coffee and one for Ellie. The man refused to stand still for long. It's not that Bishop hadn't seen him like this before, but usually it was an anger thing, and this was clearly worry. She'd try and calm him down if it wasn't such a typical pot calling the kettle black. Of course, her worry was indicate through her eating her nails instead of twelve bags of cheese curls.
She was pulled from her thoughts when the monitor beeping changed. Her gaze traveled to the screen. Tim's heart rate had gone up a bit. Nothing too drastic, but a change nonetheless. She looked at her friend's face for signs of distress, but saw none just yet.
Within moments, however, the beeping got faster, and Tim's face was twitching, his head moving slightly side to side. Bishop hopped off of the other bed and came to his side. It was then that she realized he wasn't breathing.
"Tim!" she shouted and took his face in her hands. "Wake up!" The desperation in her voice must have gotten through to him because his eyes shot open then, and she had to place firm hands on his shoulders to keep him from jumping out of the bed.
"Where am I?" he asked, out of breath. "H-how did I get here?"
"You're in the hospital," Ellie told him with a look of concern. "You don't remember the ride here?"
"I..." Tim's gaze drifted for a moment in the air in front of him.
Gibbs had approached the room a moment earlier, and decided to wait outside the door to give the agent a moment, but it didn't stop him from listening to the conversation.
"I remember it was dark," he said a bit quietly, still looking at nothing in particular. "I remember...Tony!" His eyes widened with the realization. "I lost him!" his voice broke.
"No," Ellie shook her head and tried to explain.
"I fell asleep and I dropped him and he was sinking...but I couldn't get him. I tried! I tried to get to him, but he was sinking so fast, and-"
"You didn't drop him, Tim," Gibbs said, choosing that moment to enter the room. Ellie was grateful. Tim looked up to meet his boss's eyes. "You never let go of him," he continued. "You were still holding onto him when we found you. You're the reason he's still alive, McGee."
"He's in recovery," he explained. "Still unconscious. He was in hypovolemic shock and needed an emergency blood transfusion and they closed up the gunshot wound. They say he should make a full recovery."
"Should?" Ellie chimed in.
"He hasn't woken up yet," Gibbs reminded her. "The amount of blood he lost...well they'll need to do a full neurological examination to check for any damage."
"Brain damage..." she grimly elaborated.
"He's gonna be okay, Bishop," Gibbs stated firmly, conviction clear in his voice. He turned his gaze back to McGee. "How about you?" he asked. "That must've been some nightmare."
Tim let out a breath. Gibbs knew everything. How did Gibbs always know everything?
"I'm...okay," he replied, and he stopped to consider the question a bit more. He hadn't really been concerned with himself at all during the whole thing. Suddenly an ache on the side of his head made itself known, and he raised a hand to touch the sore spot.
"Duck said it looked like you were clocked with the butt of a pistol," Gibbs told him.
"Yeah," he replied in a breath as he recalled being pulled out of the water. All he could see was Tony curled in on himself, soaking with water and blood as a man tied his hands. Then a sharp pain in his head. Then nothing... "I only saw one of them," he told his boss.
"We got 'em. Nothin' to worry about except you and Tony."
"Yeah," Ellie said. "You were dehydrated, so they have you on fluids."
"Can I see him?" Tim asked. "I know he's unconscious and you said he'll probably be fine, but my brain is kinda in need of a visual confirmation..."
He'd tried to insist on not needing a wheelchair, but hospital policy was that he be in one while he was in their care. In reality he was grateful, even if he was embarrassed. His body was exhausted.
As Gibbs pushed the chair over the threshold into Tony's room, the first thing he noticed was that the color was back in his teammate's face. It was comforting to see, especially after the nightmare. "He looks a lot better," he said aloud.
"Definitely an improvement."
Tim got a silly grin on his face. "Not to mention he looks like such a little angel when he's sleeping." Gibbs smirked at that.
"Who you callin' little, McMunchkin?" Tony's weak voice surprised the hell out of them both.
Tim tried to hide his surprise with a comeback. "We're exactly the same height, Tony."
"My very special agent status makes me ten feet tall, probie. Don't be jelly."
Gibbs shook his head. "Good to see you awake, DiNozzo."
"I wasn't sleeping," he insisted. "It was the blood loss. You know how the body shuts certain things down in an emergency."
"Like the brain," Tim said.
"I think yours just might be okay after all," Gibbs said.
"That's the nicest thing you've ever said to me, boss."
"Think I'll go get the doc so they can make sure," he said as he turned toward the door.
"Hey, if it's not, at least I've still got my looks!" he shouted after him.
Gibbs and Tony grinned, as did Ellie as she stood in the doorway...