Disclaimer: I don't own the characters from the show. This story is for entertainment purposes only, no money is being made.
A/N: It seems I can't break the habit of putting Tony through the wringer, so I'm trying a different style of writing. This story is complete and a chapter will be posted each day. Thanks go to Rinne for cleaning up the punctuation and helping with the tense in the last part. Any punctuation errors are probably in sections I added after she checked the story. Thanks to Kate for helping me when I wasn't sure how the story was going.
I don't know what happened. One minute I was answering the door to pay for my pizza, the next I was on my back, and not in a good way; there was no beautiful woman in sight. I recognized the pizza delivery guy, young kid, so I was caught off guard when the two guys muscled past him. I felt a prick on my neck, and bam, I was down.
Things are a blur after that. I remember being dragged into my living room. Then I heard someone begging not to be hurt and I realized it was the kid. I struggled to move - yell, do something, but it was like I was encased in cement. I couldn't even close my eyes. The goons never said a word, at least not that I heard. There was a shot and no more begging. The bastards shot him. The next thing I heard was the door closing and then there was nothing.
I don't know how long I've been lying here, but my eyeballs feel like they're drying out. I wonder how long it'll be before someone checks up on me. I'm not due in to the office until the morning; thank God it's not the weekend. Yeah, but how long will it be before Gibbs gets pissed and sends someone over? And what did they give me to paralyze me like this? Maybe it's progressive, maybe pretty soon it'll paralyze my lungs and I'll suffocate.
Wait a minute. I can't tell if I'm breathing. Maybe I'm dead. Maybe this is what death is like, no white light, no chorus of angels; things just stop. The Sisters at the boarding school would be upset to hear that.
Someone's knocking on the door. For some reason the Wings song comes to mind. I start singing it in my head – 'Someone's knocking at the door; somebody's ringing the bell...' – except no one's ringing my doorbell, just knocking. No, make that pounding on the door. I can hear Gibbs calling my name. Finally, I'm so happy I could cry. I think I may be crying, but there are no tears. I can hear the door being kicked in. Great, the building management is going to love that. I hear Gibbs yelling clear, then Ziva and McGee letting him know that the other rooms are clear too.
I still can't move, so I can't turn my head to look at them. Gibbs' face moves into my line of sight. The look on his face – it's just like it was on the roof, when Kate was killed. He says my name and I swear his voice cracks a little. I can feel his fingers on my neck, checking for a pulse. McGee says his name, his voice sounds like he's about to cry. Gibbs never takes his eyes off me; he looks older all of a sudden. I can barely hear his voice, it's so soft and sad, but he tells McGee that I'm dead.
I'm not dead! Gibbs, look at me. Look into my eyes. You have to see – I'm still alive. I hear him tell McGee to call Ducky. Ziva comes up behind Gibbs. She looks really pissed. She tells Gibbs that the pizza delivery kid is dead. Gibbs is still next to me. He can't take his eyes off me and I can't look anyplace other than his face. I see Ziva look at me and I think a see flash of emotion, something behind the anger - grief, maybe, but then she pulls the mask in place. She starts to reach over to close my eyes but he stops her and tells her not to touch me. He tells McGee to get the camera and start shooting the scene. He tells Ziva to go wait for Ducky and Palmer and bring them up to my place.
It's just the two of us now. I wish Gibbs had let Ziva close my eyes, they feel like sandpaper. Plus, I can't stand the look on his face. He looks so tired; it's killing me to see his emotions out in the open, so raw and painful. I knew he liked me, even if he didn't show it; tough old Marine. I didn't know he cared this much; that he would get so broken up if something happened to me. I didn't think anyone would care that much. He's talking to me, so softly that I can't make out all the words. I strain to hear what he's saying and can't believe my ears. He's apologizing for not protecting me. I don't know what he thinks he could have done, but I don't want him blaming himself for this. He's got to know how important he was to me, how big a role he's played in my life.
Okay, now I'm talking about my life in the past tense. You're not dead, DiNozzo, snap out of it. Somehow Gibbs will see that you're still alive. Try moving your fingers and toes. Try blinking. Try anything; don't just lie there like a, well, a corpse. I don't think my attempts to move are working, because Gibbs doesn't show any sign of noticing anything. I hear Ziva come in with Ducky and Palmer.
Ducky's face moves into view and he's incredibly sad. "Oh, Tony," he says softly. "Who's taken you from us?"
"I need a time of death, Ducky."
Ducky moves out of my line of sight and I feel someone pull my shirt up. Then there's this white-hot pain in my stomach – he stabbed me, he stuck that liver probe into me. I want to scream but I can't. It hurts just as much when he pulls it out.
"It must have just happened, his temperature is almost normal."
"I want to know what killed him, Ducky,"
"Of course, I'll start the autopsy right away."
Autopsy? Oh my God, Ducky's going to cut into me and I'm not even dead yet. I will be, though, when he takes my heart out to weigh it and inspect it. I don't even want to imagine what that's going to feel like; getting stabbed with the liver probe was bad enough. Now I'm getting really scared and desperate. I have to find a way to let them know I'm still alive or Ducky's going to kill me.
Finally Ducky closes my eyes, but now I don't want him to. I want to see what they're doing, where I'm going. I hear plastic rustling next to my head and I assume that Palmer's laying out the body bag.
"Doctor Mallard?" Jimmy's voice is loud, almost a yell. "He's bleeding."
"What?" I hear Ducky's voice closer to me. "Get me a stethoscope." I hear Palmer rush off.
"What is it, Duck?" Gibbs' voice is anxious.
"The hole from the liver probe is oozing blood." Ducky's voice is grim. "If his heart had stopped there would be no fresh blood moving." I feel my shirt being torn open and something cold is placed on my chest.
"You mean he's alive?" McGee sounds amazed.
"Shhhh, I need to listen." There's silence, and then Ducky sighs, "There's a very faint heart beat. It's extremely slow and weak, but it's there. We have to get him to hospital immediately."
I'm so relieved, but I still can't cry. I let myself drift off to sleep, listening to Gibbs' voice saying, "You're going to be all right, Tony. Just hang in there, you're going to be fine."