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She hung precariously from the balcony. He had pushed her over before going back into the building and trying to escape by foot. McGee and Gibbs caught him. They were leading him back to the car. Neither knew she was hanging off the balcony. Tony knew. It was the last story of the apartment building, but it was high enough it gave her a fifty-fifty chance. Fifty percent she would fall and sustain injuries, the other fifty she would sustain serious injuries which could paralyze if not kill her. Either way the situation was bleak. Tony repeatedly asked her if she could swing her legs over. She made a few attempts, but to no avail. He positioned himself under her after radioing Gibbs to get back to the apartment balcony. He could increase her chances of avoiding injury. He didn't want to see her hurt. He didn't like to see any of the girls he worked with hurt, not even a paper cut. All he had to do was catch her if Gibbs couldn't get there in time. The way her hands were shaking it didn't seem likely Gibbs could come to her rescue.
"Ziva, try to hang on Gibbs is coming."
She always had a way of directly disobeying orders. As soon as Gibbs' feet touched the balcony she lost her grip. Gibbs made a lunge for her, even though it was too late.
Ziva crossed her arms in order to brace herself. Tony took two steps back and held his arms out. She landed hard in his arms. The force of her body weight sent Tony on to his back. He didn't let go of her during his fall. His body cushioned her from hitting the ground full force. Tony had one arm under her neck and the other under her legs. She was lying sideways across him. He got the arm under her leg free then turned so that Ziva would be on the ground beside him. He didn't let go of her neck because he wanted to move it as little as possible. After her head was securely on the ground he used his free hand to hold her forehead still as he burrowed his arm out from under her neck.
"Stay still," he told her firmly once he got his arm out.
Tony remained in the same position with her until the EMTs showed up. He kept one hand on her forehead and the other on her stomach.
She remained tense for a few minutes. It was her way of controlling the trembling that threatened to take over her body.
"She'll be alright," the EMT assured him. "We're going to take her to the hospital to be sure, but everything is working how it should.
Gibbs came around from where he and McGee were babysitting the suspect.
"She's fine, they're just making sure," Tony said.
"Are you alright?" Gibbs asked.
Tony only stared at the EMTs putting Ziva's backboard on a gurney, and strapping her in.
"I'm fine," Tony fibbed; never taking his eyes off Ziva.
Gibbs patted Tony's shoulder and went into the ambulance with Ziva.
Gibbs called Tony from the hospital to confirm what they already knew. Ziva was going to be fine. In fact she was being released that night.
"Glad to hear it," Tony said, "our suspect confessed to the murder. I'm charging him with that, and an assault on a federal agent."
"Good," Gibbs said, "You'll probably be home by the time I come back so good night," the boss said.
"Night," came the reply.
Gibbs walked Ziva to the cab waiting for them outside the hospital.
"Gibbs I think you should check on Tony," she said sincerely.
"How come?" Gibbs asked.
"Except when he told me to be still, he never spoke a word to me. The Tony I know would make dumb jokes, and I could have named movie scenarios that would be fitting," she sighed.
Gibbs didn't say whether, or not he would see Tony. Instead, he waited silently for the cab to pull up to the NCIS building.
Jethro walked in with Ziva. McGee was still at his desk.
"What are you still doing here?" his boss asked.
"I was waiting for you," McGee replied.
Gibbs gave him an annoyed look when he didn't elaborate quickly enough.
"Oh…um…I was thinking you should check on Tony," he suggested.
"What's wrong?" Gibbs asked again.
"I don't know he's just been…"
"Quiet," Ziva filled in.
"Yes, very quiet. Unnaturally quiet. The car ride back he didn't say a thing. The last hour of the day he didn't go through any of his usual banter," McGee shrugged then looked at Ziva "Oh, I'm glad you're okay," he smiled lightly.
Ziva smiled back, but her thoughts were on Tony as much as McGee.
"I will think about it. Both of you go home," he ordered.
McGee escorted Ziva out.
"You really are okay right?" he asked her.
"Not a scratch on me," she assured him.
Gibbs listened for the elevator door to shut.
He heard voices coming down the stairs.
"Hi Gibbs," A bouncy goth said.
"How is Ziva?" The doctor asked.
"I just got back with her from the hospital," he told them.
"Was Anthony released as well?" Ducky asked.
"Yeah?" Abby bounced in.
"Tony wasn't in the hospital," Gibbs said confused.
"You let him come back to work?" Ducky asked shocked. "I thought Timothy told me that Anthony caught Ziva to save her from the fall?" he was confused.
"He did," Gibbs assured wondering what he was missing.
"Jethro, you realize that all of Ziva's weight came crashing onto Anthony's arms and chest. Then he fell backwards, as Timothy told me, and all his weight combined with hers hit the ground."
Gibbs cursed and grabbed his keys.
"Where are you going?" Abby asked.
"I think fate has it in store for me to see Tony," Gibbs growled and walked to the elevator.
Gibbs parked his car in the driveway and made his way up to Tony's apartment. He was going to knock, but the door was slightly ajar. Gibbs figured it was as good as an open invitation. He kept his hand on his gun for a second until his eyes determined that the apartment was not a crime scene. Gibbs walked in the living room, but stopped as a wave of cool air hit his face. He looked to find where the air was coming from. In front of him was an open balcony door. Tony stood with his back towards Gibbs. Both of his hands gripped the guard rail, the young field agent's head was sunken low to his chest. For a moment Gibbs feared the worst. It was hard not to. His agent stood in front of him with no shirt. Dots of bruises littered his back from when he had hit the ground. Gibbs heard Tony take in a sob.
"Tony," Gibbs said with a gentle firmness.
Agent DiNozzo visibly stiffened at the sound of his name. He vainly wiped some tears away but didn't look at his boss. Gibbs wondered how Tony thought he could keep the gesture a secret.
"Tony face me," the order was still gentle but left no room for disagreement.
Tony did so slowly.
"How did you get in here?" Tony asked.
He was still trying to figure out whether to be mad or not.
"You left your door open," his boss answered.
"Oh, I guess I did," Tony shrugged.
Gibbs filled in the distance between him and the young agent.
"You told me you were fine," Gibbs accused.
"I am fine," Tony assured.
"Go inside and sit down," he ordered.
"This is my house, you can't order me around," Tony argued even though he did as he was told.
"You don't listen to me, you'll have to deal with me tomorrow," Gibbs told him.
Tony sat on his couch. Gibbs sat in front of him on the coffee table. He put on his latex gloves and probed around Tony's chest. There was a bruise in the middle, and tenderness all around, but nothing was broken. After the chest, he checked his arms. Tony was a little more reluctant to give him access to his arms. Ultimately Gibbs got what he wanted. Tony's right arm was just fine, but when Gibbs felt down his left one, Tony retracted quickly.
"Did that hurt?" he asked.
Tony gave him a look that said 'good job detective.'
That gave Gibbs enough reason to grab his arm for the second time and feel it for injuries.
"Ouch," Tony cried when he got to a certain spot.
Tony wanted to reclaim his arm, but Gibbs held him still and kept probing.
"You strained the muscle," he confirmed, "you'll live."
"Good gives me time to take you out of my will," Tony said as he leaned back and cradled his arm.
Gibbs smiled and took his gloves off.
Gibbs went into Tony's bathroom to check out his medicine cabinet. Tony never finished his prescribed painkillers. Gibbs took note of which ones he had. He called Ducky with his findings. Ducky told him which painkillers to give him and how to treat Tony's injury. Neither man felt Tony was injured bad enough to be admitted. Gibbs grabbed some medicine along with a glass of water.
When Gibbs got back to where his agent sat, Tony had the most vacant of looks in his eyes.
Gibbs sat back down on the coffee table. He put the pills in Tony's hand. Tony looked down at them as if assessing them.
"I didn't give them to you to study," Gibbs lovingly patronized.
Tony looked at Gibbs then the pills again. He didn't want to take them. The physical pain felt much better than the emotional pain. Instead he just stared at the objects in his hand.
Jethro impatiently moved Tony's wrist to his mouth. All Tony had to do was put them in. When DiNozzo still contemplated his next move, Gibbs wrapped his hand around Tony's wrist. It was his way of warning Tony he'd get more physical if there was no cooperation. Tony shut his eyes and took the medicine. Gibbs gave him the water and he swallowed a few gulps.
Jethro got up to get Tony some ice for his arm.
Tony figured if he couldn't have the physical pain to distract him, he'd put on a movie… his other form of escape. Tony turned on the TV and put on a movie that was already in his DVD player. He did so as if Gibbs were not there, because essentially, he wasn't supposed to be. Gibbs mildly surprised him by sitting on the couch next to him and watching.
After Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Gibbs took the remote from Tony and turned off the TV.
The medicine had kicked in just like Gibbs wanted. Jethro removed the long discarded icepack. He resumed his spot on the coffee table and looked at Tony square in the face.
"I heard you were quiet the whole day. Tell me what's going on." The last part was not a suggestion.
Tony was too out of it to think of a believable excuse.
"There was nothing to say," he said.
"Not with you DiNozzo," Gibbs stated.
His agent yawned and leaned further into the couch. His stare was blank. He blinked hard a few times. There was a long moment of silence.
"I didn't catch her," he said simply staring past Gibbs.
"Yes you did. Ziva is perfectly fine. She was released from the hospital hours ago," Gibbs tried to assure DiNozzo, but he was only met by a shaking head.
"Not Ziva. Kate. I didn't catch her."
There was another long pause. Tony wasn't going to volunteer any more information.
"When?" Gibbs prodded.
"The day she died," He said after a moment.
"Tony, that wouldn't have…"
"Saved her? I know. She was dead before she hit the ground. She didn't have to land in an undignified heap like that."
Tony stared past Gibbs, past the room, and back to the day Kate died. The memories were sharp and pierced him hard. He could still see her smiling as she was about to make a joke towards Gibbs, and suddenly she was gone. Her blood splashed on his…Tony wrestled with the memory; forcing it to the back of his mind.
"I drew back as far away from her as I could. I didn't even," Tony stretched out his arms as he had done to catch Ziva.
Anger and grief boiled the innards of the young field agent. He got up to go to bed figuring Gibbs could find his own way out. Tony was stopped before he was halfway off the couch. Gibbs had anticipated his movement and was able to use his leverage to push Tony back down. Tony didn't quit. He tried to push his boss away, but he only had one good arm. Gibbs put a hand on each side of Tony's neck to restrain his head.
"Enough," he said firmly to Tony's face.
Tony feebly tried to pull one of Gibbs' arms down. He was met by a smack in the head.
"Enough," Gibbs said again placing his hand back on Tony's neck. "Listen to me," he ordered, and waited for Tony to do so. "Kate did not die a dishonorable death. She died in the line of duty just after saving us. You not catching her didn't change anything. She was dead before she hit the ground like you said. Ziva…Ziva on the other hand was not dead before she hit the ground. You caught her. That did change things." Gibbs let Tony go. "Ziva is perfectly fine."
"And me?" Tony weakly smiled.
"You're no worse for the wear," Gibbs got up to leave.
Tony reached for the remote, but Gibbs grabbed it from him.
"Get some sleep," he told his young friend before throwing the remote to the other side of the room.
Tony stretched himself on the couch and put a throw over himself.
"You're still out of my will," Tony told him tiredly.
"Tony you don't have a thing I could possibly want," Gibbs said at the door.
By that time Tony was fast asleep. Gibbs shook his head and locked Tony's door after showing himself out.
A/N: Thanks for reading. Hope you liked it. This is actually my first non-sci-fi-fan-fic. Pretty awesome :)