"Wow, that's seriously trippy. It sounds like a Bourne movie. You know, except that Bourne is agent Sullivan and not me. I mean, I would've liked to be Bourne, but being in a coma and all tends to complicate matters a lot. But if Agent Sullivan is Bourne, then who is Gibbs? Maybe I should choose another movie."
Tony took a breath and studied the wobbly bright pink jello in the plastic cup. He winced.
Kate blinked. "Wow. And you said all that in one breath. For a moment, I thought you were channeling Abby," she said, grinning.
He finally graduated from lying flat on his back to sitting up with the help of a bunch of fluffy pillows behind his back. Nurse Marla, however, refused to grant his request to move on from jello to hamburgers by virtue of him being able to sit up on his own. But Tony was pretty sure that he could strong-arm McGee into bringing him a slab of beef somehow. But first, he needed to find a way to circumvent the security system outside – the gaggle of nurses that have their eagle eyes trained at his room at all times.
He groaned at the thought of another day spent sleeping in this room.
"I'm going stir crazy here, Kate! You'd be too if you've been subjected to The Bold and the Beautiful for nearly two weeks!" he said. With a loud slurp, he sucked the jello from the plastic cup. He smiled broadly. He had worked hard on perfecting that slurp, and he succeeded after attempt number 7. Not a bad feat.
Kate made a face. "That's actually pretty disgusting."
"You just watch me eating it. Try being me," he said.
Just then, something landed on his lap. He jerked in surprise and brightened when he saw that it was a couple of DVDs. Godfather II, Jaws, Terminator ... somebody knew his collection. He frowned ... judging from the familiar marks on the DVDs, they were his collection.
"You gotta hide your keys better, Tony."
He looked up and saw Gibbs with a stryofoam cup in his hand. The smell of coffee wafted through the room ... and his stomach growled.
"I want coffee," he muttered.
"Unless you want to risk Nurse Marla's wrath, I would advise you against it, Anthony." Ducky appeared beside Gibbs, a big smile on his face.
McGee and Abby came in then, which surprised him as Nurse Marla was ever so strict with him not being disturbed by too many visitors. He guessed that meant that he graduated in another area. Perhaps he should work on that hamburger request soon.
The next half hour was filled with Abby chatting up a storm, McGee trying his best to interject, Kate making a face each time he made a remark about the nurses, and Gibbs, standing to one side with a rare, small smile on his face.
God, what would he do without this crazy bunch?
But truth to be said, he was exhausted after the visit and was glad that Nurse Marla shooed them all out, including Gibbs. As soon as he was sure everyone's gone, he reached out to the side table and took out something from the drawer.
It was a simple card. The words inside – "Get well soon" – was written in handwriting he didn't think he'd see again. A man had delivered it to him a few hours before everyone besieged him at once. His hair had turned completely grey, but the gentle, kind smile was still there.
"Hello young sir. You're lookin' so much better," he had said in that Irish drawl he loved so much.
"Liam. How many times did I tell you not to call me that?" he asked softly. He sat up with an effort. Liam anxiously rushed to his side and helped him up, fluffing the pillows behind his back with practiced precision.
Tony grabbed the man's arm. "It's nice to see you, Liam."
Liam looked at him in surprise, then smiled as he continued to fluff the pillows and adjust his blankets. It reminded him of when he was young boy; Liam would do this for him when he had a bad cold, and when his father was as usual, too busy to notice that he was out of commission, and when his mother was too busy wining and dining with fellow socialites somewhere in New York City or Europe.
"And you too, young sir. We do not see each other often enough, unfortunately," he said.
When he handed him the card, and when Liam said that it was from his father, he could only smile. Not because of the card – judging from the impersonal message, and by the fact that there was a message in the first place - DiNozzo Sr must have blindly signed it, thinking that it was for some important client. Liam must have gone to some effort to have him sign that.
Liam updated him on the things happening back home, and he was surprised to know that his father had married again.
"Wife number four, young sir, and he says that it will be the last. Had her sign one of those contract things before they married," he said.
Tony snorted. "That's dad. Always prepared."
"Does he know?" he asked.
There was a flash of guilt on his face before he smiled. "Of course he does. He sent his love."
It was charming and sweet how Liam would try to mend that big gulf between the two DiNozzos.
"Tell him ... I said hi," he said softly.
"I will, sir," Liam said seriously, and he knew that Liam would do so.
"Got a card from an admirer, DiNozzo?"
He jerked in surprise and hid the card under his blanket instinctively. Gibbs merely raised an eyebrow. Weird, was it just half an hour ago that Gibbs was here, or was he suffering from one those time lapses the doctors said that he could get.
Tony frowned, puzzled. "How did you escape Nurse Marla?"
Gibbs grinned ever so slightly. "Told her that you went sight seeing."
He snorted and laughed. "I should try that sometime."
There was a brief silence, then Tony said, confused: "Did you forget something, boss?"
Gibbs looked up as if trying to recall something, then smiled. "Yeah. Good job, DiNozzo."
"Uh. For what again?"
"Sending Paula Cassidy as messenger. She didn't screw your message up."
Tony laughed shortly. "Did it help?"
Then another brief uncomfortable silence where Tony fiddled with the card beneath the blankets.
"You didn't come back just for that, did you?" Tony finally asked hopefully.
"Nope. Got a request from an FBI agent."
Now it was his turn to be surprised. "What did I do?"
"It's Agent Sullivan. Wants to talk to you. I think he owes you an apology."
"Oh." He shrugged. "He was just trying to do his best. Though I have to say - that guy is a damn good actor. I really thought he was a schlub. He should try Broadway if the FBI thing doesn't work out."
"He'll come around four today. And Tony?"
Tony looked up in time to see something flying towards him. He grabbed it quickly and grinned when he saw what it was.
"Reflexes still sharp. Guess that the knock on your head didn't rattle anything much in there," Gibbs said.
Tony threw Gibbs a grin.
"You've got 10 minutes before Nurse Marla returns from the rooftop. She's gonna figure out fast enough that you're not there to take in the view," Gibbs muttered on his way out.
He smiled as he unwrapped his hamburger. Boy, Nurse Marla is gonna have a fit, he thought.
It was a good day indeed, he thought as he bit into heaven.
I want to thank everyone for leaving comments and reading this story. I did notice all the comments asking for updates, and believe me, each one sent a stab of guilt through me. So I worked hard to complete the story, with the little time I have. I travel quite a bit, and was in Australia when I wrote the ending :)
On another note, writing this story has made me miss Kate even more. RIP Caitlin Todd.