Support Group

by channelD

spoiler warning-warning-warning! Major spoiler for the season 5 episode Corporal Punishment. Don't read this story if you have not seen the episode and don't want to be spoiled!
written for: as an NFA hangman prize. The winner won this shortly after the episode Corporal Punishment first aired, and requested a missing scene from that ep; set in the hospital.
rating: K plus
genre: missing scene, drama
characters: Tim, Tony, Ziva, mostly
words: approx. 2100

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Disclaimer: I still own nothing of NCIS.

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She sat with her hands over her face, gingerly, trying to force the pain out of her head. All the sounds of the busy emergency room entered her welcoming ears, which were being just too helpful right now. Quiet, and a cold compress is what I want right now. It didn't appear that either would be coming her way soon, though.

"Miss? Do you need medical attention? Have you been checked in yet?...Oh, my."

Ziva looked up with her one still-good eye at the young nurse, about her own age. "I do not require attention," she said stiffly. "There are others worse off than me."

"Oh, I don't know about that," said the nurse, looking at her face carefully. "You really must have a doctor look at your eye. You could—"

"Thank you, no," said Ziva. "If it still troubles me tomorrow, I shall return. Right now I am more concerned about my…friends."

The nurse gave her one last look, and then went away, shaking her head. Ziva lowered her head again. How could things have gotten so out of hand, that all three of us have gotten hurt?? It was Corporal Werth who mowed us down: First McGee, when he tried to handcuff Werth: I shall never forget the excruciating pain on McGee's face when Werth pulled his arm out of its socket. Then when Tony dove in, Werth broke his nose. Two down. I jumped in, and he hit me so hard and fast I could not believe it. Me! A trained fighter!

And now we are here…but Gibbs has left us…

- - - - -

Owwwwwwwwwwwwww…The pain filled Tim's body, emanating from his right shoulder. He cried out from his gurney and grabbed for his shoulder, as he had done several times already. Touching it didn't help, and he withdrew his hand until the next time that a particularly large stab of pain hit him, and he would grab for it again.

"Agent McGee? Agent McGee? Yes, it may be dislocated. Touching it won't help, so try not to do that." The voice finally got Tim's attention. "I'm Dr. Kasawi. We'll get you into X-ray in just a few minutes and see where you're at."

"Hurts—" The understatement of the year. He had to clench his teeth to keep from screaming.

"I know, and I'm sorry. But as soon as we treat you, you'll feel much better. I promise."

The doctor left, and Tim felt alone. Where's Gibbs? Abby? Ziva? Anyone? NCIS always stuck together, when someone was hurt. Tim was accustomed to having a support group present (even when he didn't want them to be), and without them now, he felt uneasy, and afraid.

What did that guy do to them? he wondered. Are they worse off than I am?

Are they all still alive?

- - - - -

"That's it, Agent DiNozzo. Keep your head tilted back; that'll slow the bleeding."

There was no justice in life, Tony thought, somehow overriding the pain in his head and his nausea. I need medical help, and instead of some pretty female doctor—he dismissed thoughts of another—I get a male doctor who looks old enough to be Ducky's father. He turned one eye on the doctor. Make that, grandfather.

"Fix it," Tony mumbled, though it came out sounding like "Fih sit."

"Oh, we'll fix it, don't worry," said the old doctor, who was evidently fluent in broken-nose-ese. "Let's see if we can slow the bleeding first, then we'll get you back in alignment. A fine-looking fellow like you needs a good schnozz when he goes after the ladies."

Despite himself, Tony smiled a little. The doc might be old, but he understood what was important.

- - - - -

"Excuse me," Ziva said, standing at the waiting room counter. "Excuse me," she said, a little more forcefully.

Finally, a nurse turned her way. "Yes? Have you filled out a form, miss?"

"I am not waiting to be treated," Ziva said firmly. "I am waiting for information on two people in the treating area. Anthony DiNozzo and Timothy McGee."

The nurse eyed her as she typed at her computer. "I hope they look worse than you! Let me see…DiNozzo…McGee…still in treatment. That's all I have. Are you sure you don't want to see a doctor?"

"Yes, I am sure. Thank you." Ziva turned away, and wondered if she should wait around or not. If I do not wait, there will be no one here for them. If only Gibbs were here…

- - - - -

"Jethro, if they're all in the hospital, why aren't you there?" Jenny's voice was accusatory on the phone as Gibbs strode in the front entrance of NCIS.

"They'll be fine. I need to see that our corporal is done right by. He needs me more than they do."

"You're sure about that? Jethro, are you sure you're not getting too close to this case, because our young man is a Marine?"

"Ziva's on her way back; I've got to go." Not exactly an answer, and both of them knew it.

- - - - -

"I think they are not badly hurt, Gibbs, though I have not been able to see them," Ziva had said on the phone.

"How about you?" he asked. "You took quite a hit to your face." He could almost hear her shrug on the phone. Don't be so brave, he wanted to say to her. It's not a sign of weakness to accept medical help.

"I am fine," she said.

"Then are you coming back to NCIS? We still have work to do."

"I…alright, I shall have to take the Metro, so I will be there in about an hour." She hung up and briefly considered getting treatment so she could wait for her teammates. Why is Gibbs being so inflexible about this? She knew, though, that it all came back to Corporal Werth.

Ziva slipped her coat back on, reluctantly. She considered asking for a cold cloth for her face, then decided all the paperwork wasn't worth it. A cold can of soda to hold against her face, obtained on the way, would be fast and inexpensive; there were probably a dozen places to buy one between here and the Metro stop.

- - - - -

"The X-rays have reasonably good news for you, Agent McGee," said his doctor. "There's no fracture around the joint, and no nerve or blood vessel damage."

"Thank them for me for the good news," Tim said, wincing from the continued pain.

"Yes, well. You still have a dislocation, which needs to be seen to. We'll give you IV anesthesia and put you out for a few minutes while we pop your shoulder back into place. When you wake up, the pain will be almost entirely gone. We'll put your shoulder in a sling, and as soon as the anesthesia wears off, you can go."

"That simple?"

"That simple. I'll be back shortly, and we'll do it."

When the doctor had gone, Tim reached for his cell phone, and thumbed down the buttons to Gibbs' number. He stopped himself before actually placing the call, however. What would he say? I'm all alone here—where are you? Or maybe, Did all of you die? Well, if you're answering this, I guess you're not dead…

Don't you care, boss?

- - - - -

The old doctor examined Tony's nose for the third time. "Yes, good, good, Agent DiNozzo. The bleeding has just about stopped. I'm going to lightly put gauze packs into your nostrils to get the rest; don't blow your nose, and come back to see me in two days and I'll remove them. But we do need to straighten that handsome nose of yours out. I'll give you some painkillers and once you're on your way to Happyland, I'll splint your nose for you."

Tony started to grin, but the pain made him think better of it. "You're okay, Doc," he said. "How will I know when I'm in Happyland?"

"When your fingers start finging."

"When my—?"

"You'll know. Do you have someone to drive you home? You're not going to be in shape to do it yourself."

It occurred to Tony that he hadn't seen any of his teammates since Gibbs had dropped him and Ziva off here at the hospital. Tim, he dimly remembered, was going to be arriving in an ambulance, since he was in too much pain to sit up in a car. Did Gibbs leave us here? It seemed an un-Gibbs like thing to do. He was always there for them, like a parent for a child. Tony didn't particularly like the analogy, but it was apt.

"I guess I'll take the Metro," Tony said, starting to feel he was on the approach to Happyland in a brightly-colored cartoon train.

The doctor tutted. "I wouldn't advise that. You might become disoriented. Call someone to get you, or take a cab."

"Okay…Doc, could you find out about my teammates, who came in with me? Ziva David and Pro—Timothy McGee? They should be being treated here somewhere."

"I dunno. It's a big hospital. Finding them could take days! Oh, I'm just joshing you. I'll find 'em."

"Thanks…" Tony settled back, hoping his friends weren't having too tough a time.

- - - - -

When Tim woke up, he was amazed at how he felt—the pain really was gone! Well, almost entirely gone. It was down to the level of a mild ache, as from a touch of sunburn. He could live with that.

"Your shoulder's back in place, Agent McGee," said the doctor. "How does it feel?"

"Good. Really good! Thanks!"

"Excellent. Now, just one more set of X-rays to be sure that it's properly in place, and no more damage has been done…"

Within half an hour, Tim now had the arm in a sling, had been given ibuprofen, and was ready to leave. He wasn't sure where he'd go, though. Driving would be out of the question for at least two weeks, and his car was at NCIS, anyway. Should he just go home?

A nurse peeked in. "Oh, Agent McGee? Agent DiNozzo was asking about you; wondering if you were ready to go. He's ready."

Tony's still here!! "Yes! Where is he?"

"In the waiting room. I'll show you the way."

- - - - -

They decided to share a cab. It would still be costly, but it was the best transportation in their condition, without bringing anyone up from NCIS.

"Gibbs didn't wait around for us," Tim said, and had to repeat himself to get Tony's attention. Tony was staring wide-eyed at the traffic lights.

"Red…green…yellow…why is it never purple/blue/orange, huh? You ever wonder about that, Probie?"

"Not really. Do you know why Gibbs didn't wait for us?"

A glimmer of sense passed through Tony's eyes. "Yeah, I called Ziva. She's being the brave warrior, I understand. Wouldn't accept treatment. Wanted to wait for us."

Tim's heart warmed. At least someone cared about us…

"But Gibbs called her back," Tony went on. "She thinks he's more concerned about Corporal Werth right at the moment. He's got no one to look out for him. We at least have each other." He very gently touched the splints on his nose. "No, Officer, I haven't been drinking too much. I can touch my nose. See? Ow…"

- - - - -

Gibbs saw Ziva come in, and grimaced when he saw her face: the blackened eye, the swelling and bruising that covered almost the entire right side of her face. In her hand she held an unopened can of soda, and before she saw him, she brought it up to touch her face.

"You should have stayed for treatment," he said gruffly. "Sit down." He left the room, and in a minute was back with a bag of ice, which he handed her.

She understood. He couldn't be in all places at once.

When Tim and Tony arrived by cab about an hour later, Gibbs was there. "You two doing okay?" he asked, his eyes running all over them.

"I guess so, boss," said Tim.

"My fingers are finging," Tony announced happily. "Just like the old doc said they would. He's Ducky's grandfather; did you know that?"

"They gave him painkillers," Tim explained, unnecessarily.

Gibbs smiled fondly. "No, DiNozzo; I didn't. But I need you two to get to work, if you're able. Welcome back."

- END -