Disclaimer: NCIS and its characters do not belong to me. Fan fiction is just for fun and my own perverse pleasure. Definitely not for profit.

Spoilers : None that I can think of apart from subtle reminders of 'Twilight'

Summary: An old vendetta proves near fatal for one of the NCIS team - placing him in the care of someone surprising from the past. While Gibbs sets out to find those responsible and exact his own unique brand of retribution.

Chapter 1

"Code Trauma Now!"

The alert from the overhead pager resounded throughout the emergency room as the gurney came crashing through the double doors. Almost immediately the Trauma Team was on scene and surrounding the patient as he was quickly and efficiently transferred to one of the bays.

With his attention fully focused on his bloodstained and battered patient and the flurry of activity from his team, Attending MD Kurt Kruger, was only vaguely aware of the fracas going on behind him as one of the nurses physically barred entry to a couple of individuals who had been trailing right behind.

"You can flash that shiny Federal badge of yours all you want Special Agent Gibbs, but you still need to wait outside." Nurse Latoya Stone ignored the angry flow of invective from the tall silver-haired Federal Agent and fixed him with an uncompromising gaze; the one she'd honed to perfection on her teenage children.

Gibbs had long since given up trying to jostle his way past the big black woman and now resorted to scowling at her instead, though if she were bothered Latoya didn't show it. Her nickname around the department was 'Stonewall', and she hadn't gotten that by being some timid wallflower. When it came to the efficient running of the emergency room and the well-being of her patients, she would stand her ground come what may.

Above the melee came a voice of calm and reasoning. "Jethro, if we want to help young Anthony, then we really do need to stand back and let these good people do their jobs. The last thing they need is us under their feet."

"You should listen to…" Latoya arched an eyebrow inquisitively at the dapper elderly gentleman who was standing just behind and to Gibbs' right.

"Donald Mallard, Doctor," he reached out for her hand and introduced himself with a gracious half-bow that almost had Latoya blushing.

"…Doctor Mallard," she continued in a much warmer tone. "We'll keep you updated on his condition. In the meantime, it might be a good idea to contact Anthony's next of kin…"

"I have full Power of Attorney for Special Agent DiNozzo," Gibbs cut in curtly, earning himself a frown from Ducky. "So I guess that makes me his next of kin."

"All I meant, is that maybe his family should be contacted," Latoya added pointedly. She had only caught the barest glimpse of the patient as he'd been rushed into Trauma One, but she knew his condition was critical.

"We're all the family he needs."

Knowing full well that the nurse wasn't going to budge, Ducky Mallard reached out and placed a firm hand on Gibbs' shoulder, gently guiding his friend of many years back outside, where a very subdued and anxious Ziva David and Timothy McGee waited for news.


Once the Paramedic had completed his methodical report, Dr. Kruger stood back and listened attentively as one of his Residents began her own verbal assessment of the young man's injuries.

Around him the trauma team worked like the well-oiled machine they were; using scissors to rapidly cut away already torn and bloodied clothing and bringing any necessary equipment to the bedside. His vitals - heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure - were all checked, then a nurse was accessing a vein on his right forearm with an IV catheter, followed by another on his left wrist.

With his clothing removed, it was blatantly obvious that Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo had been the victim of a brutal and prolonged assault, though at first glance his numerous injuries seemed comparable to those of the victim of a high-speed motor vehicle accident.

His head was swollen and his face bloody and bruised, with deep cuts and contusions literally covering his entire body. His right arm looked broken and there was some dark ominous bruising across his chest and abdomen.

"The cranial swelling is consistent with severe blunt force trauma, there could be a skull fracture," the young female resident was reporting efficiently. "And the abdominal bruising might be indicative of internal bleeding."

"Have the Neurology team been alerted?" Kruger asked and got confirmation from one of the senior nurses. "Okay, let's try to get him stabilized…"


He had no idea how it happened or exactly how much actual time had elapsed; but Tony had a vague-ish memory of lying prone and helpless in the back of an ambulance, and the next thing he knew he was standing in an emergency room witnessing a particularly gory tableau.

Although he winced at the sight of his corporeal self surrounded by an impressive array of life-saving machinery, with tubes and catheters covering and snaking out from various parts of his other body, watching it from afar didn't feel weird at all. Which wasweird. Shouldn't he be really freaked out or something?

"Hey! I'm having one of those out of body experiences." A grin spread slowly across his face as realization dawned.

And just to make absolutely sure, he shuffled over to one of the doctors and waved a hand several times in front of his face. No reaction.


"Only you could put a positive spin on a near death experience DiNozzo." The familiar glib retort came unexpectedly from right behind and he spun around in shock, nearly falling on his ass in the process.

"Kate?" he just about managed to stutter out in awed disbelief.

And there she was, looking every bit as beautiful as he'd remembered. Caitlin Todd in the fleshwell, sort of. She was dressed in diaphanous virginal white and was perched elegantly on the edge of a gurney in the next bay, with her legs swinging idly to and fro. Her gaze left him for a moment and when it returned he could sense an intense sadness, which she covered quickly with a withering glare.

"How do you manage to get yourself into these situations?" she snapped accusingly. "What are you, a psycho magnet or something?"

"Hey don't blame me," was his defensive response, feeling slightly wounded that his former partner didn't seem as happy to see him as he was her. "I was just following orders…I think."

Tony frowned as the significance of that statement hit home. The truth was, his recollection of the events leading to him ending up badly injured and in a hospital were hazy, to say the least. And any hopes he had about his condition were crushed when he caught a fragmented comment about his head injury from one of the medical team; something about inserting a catheter to relieve intra-something pressure.

I'm gonna die!

He had no time at all to dwell on that disturbing thought, because suddenly Kate was standing right there beside him and the virginal white had been replaced by a tight form-fitting black PVC jumpsuit - ala Emma Peel.

Tony so couldn't help the admiring leer and a feral growl as his gaze raked over her. Kate just rolled her eyes in disgust.

"Oh please!"

"I can't help it," he shrugged, smirking unrepentantly "You look kinda hot for a…"

"Dead person," she finished for him. "Go on, you can say it."

"Guardian Angel," Tony corrected.

"Am not."

"Are too. And I'm truly flattered that you are mine."

"Oh, get over yourself, DiNozzo. I was just in the neighborhood."

"Were not."

"Was too."

The bickering trailed off as something unfathomable passed between the pair, triggered by that old familiar teasing banter. God he'd really missed this - missed her.

"Kate, if I ask you a question, will you answer honestly?"

"If I can."

"Is this how it ends for me?"

"I don't know," she responded gently. "It's not supposed to be your time, but the fact that you're here with me now probably means that your fate hasn't been decided yet."

"S'okay," he said after an agonizing pause, and looked so vulnerable that Kate just had to reach over and clasp his hand in hers.