100situations #94, grim

"Go away, Gibbs. You're not needed here." Abby's words hurt, but it was the hate in her eyes that killed him. He's gone over this moment a hundred times since he received the call, and never did the Abby of his imagination look at him the way the real one did.

"Abby, I..."

"Out, Gibbs." She stood up from the chair and left the room, knowing that he would follow. When they were in the hallway she closed the hospital room door behind her. "What ever you have to say make it brief. I don't like leaving Tony alone for too long."

Her eyes were red and puffy, and he could tell that if she's been getting any sleep at all it wasn't much. The pig tails he's used to seeing are gone; her hair hung loose and straight. A stand of hair fell in her face and he has the urge to tuck the stray behind her ear. He knows without asking that she won't tolerate the familiarity.

"I just found out this morning," he explained. "The director tracked me down."

"Well good for you. Now you can turn around and go back to wherever hole you were in when she found you." It hurt, that after all the attempts she had made, it was the director who had found him. She wondered if Shepard had known where he was all along.

"I'm not leaving." For just a moment his words brought her comfort, but she squashed it down. She didn't need him.

"Why not? It's what your good at." Gibbs winced at her words, and she was just spiteful enough to be glad. Turning away from him, she reopened the door to the hospital room. She hoped that Gibbs would leave, but he insisted on following her. When she sat in the only chair in the room, he stood at the foot of the bed.

"His lung was punctured by one bullet, his thigh by another. His arm was broken when he fell. Their keeping him pretty well sedated for the pain, but he's not in a coma, just sleeping." Abby's voice was flat and clinical, but as she spoke she grasped Tony's hand in hers. "McGee and Ziva weren't so lucky. They..." her voice broke and she fell silent.

"I know," Gibbs said. He still couldn't believe it, though. He had been sailing for a month in the Gulf of Mexico. When he had returned this morning there had been a message from Jen, less then a day old. He almost didn't call her back, but he figured that if it was important enough for her to track him down he should find out when she wanted. He could always say no. The new she imparted had him booking the next available flight to DC.

"...drive by shooting...wrong place at the wrong time... Ziva DOA... McGee died on the operating table...Tony in the hospital..."

It took almost twenty-four hours to get from Mexico to DC, and the whole time Gibbs tried to shake her words from his head. She had to be wrong, had to be lying, had to be hallucinating. There was no way two members of his team could be dead. They were his team still; just because he had left didn't mean they weren't. Ziva, such a spitfire. He could see her, arguing with him about her brother's innocence and painfully accepting the truth; teasing Tony and McGee; pleading with him to remember and grabbing his hand to hit her on the back of the head. She couldn't be dead. McGee either, with his politeness, his techno babble and his thoughtfulness. More then anyone he ever knew McGee desperately wanted to be a field agent. He had worked so hard to prove himself. And for what?

Gibbs called Jen again when he finally landed, demanding the name of the hospital where they were treating Tony. She tried to tell him about the funeral arrangements, but he hung up on her. He called a taxi and tapped on the floorboard as they drove, as if it would get them to the hospital any sooner. When they pulled up to the entrance he threw forty dollars at the driver, not caring if he had over-tipped or underpaid. The nurse at the admitting desk told him where to find Tony.

"Only two visitors at a time, and that odd girl is with him. The doctor usually comes about this time, so you'll have to figure out who stays in the room," she warned.

Hearing that Abby was in with Tony, Gibbs felt the faintest spark of hope. It was dashed the moment he entered the room.

II

"Abby, I'm sorry I'm late. Mother was..." Gibbs wasn't sure how long he had been standing there when Ducky broke the hostile silence. Abby gives the doctor a look that he seems to understand but Gibbs can't read, and leaves the room. Ducky squeezes her hand as she leaves.

"I'd say welcome home, but this isn't really a welcoming sight, is it?" Ducky wearily slid into the chair just vacated. "Though in Anthony's case it is not as bad as it looks. He should fully recover, with the exception of a couple of scars. The arm will be in a cast for a while, but he'll be able to go home in a few days."

"Does he know?" Gibbs studied the man who always promised to watch his back. He hadn't returned the favor. When he turned his attention to his old friends, Ducky slowly nodded.

"He was still conscious when medics got to the scene. He was performing CPR on Timothy, and was the first to know that it was too late for Ziva. The first time he woke up he asked about McGee. The doctor was worried about his lack of emotion when they told him McGee didn't make it. He's been asleep ever since."

The two men fell into silence, watching Tony's chest rise and fall, listening to the beeps of the machines in the room. It wasn't until a nurse came in to check on him that they left the room.

"McGee and Ziva are both in my... in autopsy," Ducky said softly as they stood in the middle of the hallway. Then he turned his back and walked the dozen feet to where Abby is leaning against the wall. He touches her cheek and she falls into him, welcoming the hug that he gives her. Gibbs watches for a moment then opens the door to the stairwell and heads for the parking lot. Ducky and Abby will take care of each other, and of Tony. They neither need or want him. Turning the key in the ignition he pulls out of the parking space and heads for the Navy Yard to say goodbye.