disclaimer: I don't own NCIS or its characters...

Author's Note: I finished it! (does a dance) I had fun. I hope that you did, too. Even if the characters weren't in character, etc. I have an excuse (other than the crappy writing skills)...

The next day...

"The seals were faulty," Abby announced to the team of agents gathered around her lab. She enlarged the images on her computer screen. Tony tilted his head but was still unable to interpret what he was looking at. "There really should be a recall. I mean, a lot of people could have, could still die." She paused for a second as a thought occurred to her. "Or at least suffer a severe case of the giggles."

"But you're sure that's what killed the petty officer?" Gibbs asked one more time, just to be sure. HE highly doubted that any death wasn't a result of another person's malice.

"Uh-huh," Abby answered in the affirmative. "These tanks were being stored in the closet of the operatory where he was found. Apparently, the doctor gave him a shot of Novocain and left to see other patients. The concentration of Nitric Oxide was so high that twenty minutes was enough to render the petty officer unconscious, and kill him. It was lucky for everyone else that the tanks had only been delivered that morning. Not to mention how lucky we were. A few more hours' exposure would have knocked us out for good. Talk about dying from hysterics..."

"Thank you, Abby I get the picture," Gibbs cut her off. He surveyed the agents that he had almost lost in the most ridiculous way he could never have imagined. McGee and Kate looked at him nervously. They were still embarrassed by their laughing gas induced insanity. Tony only smiled.

"You know what this means," he said smugly.

"No I don't. What does it mean, Dinozzo?" Gibbs said curtly, knowing some stupid comment was soon to follow.

"Sardines saved the day," Tony informed them, still smiling. "And who's idea was that?" he paused dramatically, waiting for the credit he deserved. None came. "I believe that it was mine. That's right. I saved all our asses. Like Abby said, if we hadn't left the lab, we'd all be dead right now. It was all thanks to-OWW! Boss!" Tony's self-proclamation of grandeur was cut short by a slap to the back of the head from Gibbs' firm hand. Tony shot the others a 'what-did-I-do?' look as Kate and Gibbs rolled their eyes simultaneously.

"Case closed, Boss?" McGee asked timidly.

"Not until you all finish processing the evidence," he told them matter-of-factly. They all turned to look at him with wide eyes. Kate made the mistake of being the one to object. "But he was poisoned accidentally by Nitric Oxide gas. We know what hap...pened..." she trailed off as she was given an intense Gibbsian glare.

"I gave you an order and I expect it to be completed," he said before taking a sip of coffee.

"But Boss," complained Tony. "We only didn't finish it because we were hopped-up on laughing gas." It was his turn to receive the glare. "Unintentionally, of course. Unintentionally hopped-up on laughing gas," he tried to save himself, but the glare failed to fade away.

"Which is no excuse for not following orders!" he snapped at them all. They all knew he cared about their well-being. He had ordered them to the hospital after all. But they also knew that he cared more about having people to follow his orders. If they weren't going to obey him and do his every bidding, then they might as well be dead for as much use they would be to him.

"I want this done by the end of the day," he shouted at them as he left the lab. The elevator doors closed on a very satisfied Gibbs sipping coffee from a Styrofoam cup.

The fours agents left in the lab begrudgingly set to work. This was their punishment for letting themselves goof-off for a few hours, even if it was against their own free will.

"Hey, it could be worse," Kate said trying to cheer up her co-workers turned fellow slaves.

"How?" McGee asked, thoroughly depressed.

"He could've killed us," Kate said, slipping a dental pick into a plastic bag.

"True," Abby conceded from where she sat leaning over the table, tapping metal instruments together. "But I'd rather be dead than this bored!"

"I got an idea," Tony said. They all turned to look at him warily. "We could play a game of Sardines"! He had to duck as an array of dental tools, pencils, and pads of paper came flying through where his head had been.

They all laughed as they tried to complete their task, but not as much as they as the day before.


Author's Final Note: I never named the petty officer/victim, probably because I'm lazy. Also, I am not sure what the real effects of Nitric Oxide poisoning are (or even that I spelled it right), and how much would be needed to poison that many people. However, I do know that anything can be poisonous, it just depends upon the amount.