A/N: My first try at a short fic. It started as a one-shot, I quickly realized that it was going to need two parts. If things go as planned the next chapter will be up tomorrow. Hope you enjoy it as much as the long fic I am working on. This would just not leave me alone so I decided to see how it goes.
I do not own NCIS or any of the characters. It is not my lot in life to be so lucky.
"So McGoo…do anything interesting over the weekend?" Tony asked with his usual cheeky manner.
"Actually yes I did." McGee said as he watched the senior agent stash his pack under his desk.
"Really!" Wagging his eyebrows at Ziva, he continued. "Do tell."
"Yes, McGee please do. For no other reason than to save us from having to hear some story about the big breasted limbo Tony picked up somewhere." Ziva requested strolling over to his desk.
"Bimbo, Ziva, it's bimbo. Limbo is a game, although playing with a well endowed female is a rather enjoyable pastime too." Tony corrected. "But back to the Probie. Please McGee continue." He said scooting his chair right up to McGee's desk
Blushing furiously Time said. "Uh…well not that it's any of your business, but I spent the weekend…" He was cut short as Gibbs came strolling down from the Director's office.
"Not that I wouldn't love to hear about McGee's trip to Vegas, but we've got a body."
Scrambling to get their gear, they all responded without hesitation.
Tim caught the keys on the fly at the order to gas the truck.
Ziva picked up the phone to notify Ducky and Palmer.
Tony, being Tony stared wide-eyed at McGee. "Just what were you doing in Vegas, McCard Counter. Surely they didn't let you gamble….No, no let me guess. You were there to take in the majesty of the Hoover Dam!"
"You coming DiNozzo?"
"On your six Boss!"
On the long drive out to crime scene Tony continued his interrogation of McGee.
"So how much did you lose? Meet any girls? OH! I know you got married to some random girl who just loves Thom E. Gemcity!"
"I didn't lose anything Tony, and I didn't get married. So Boss what've we got?"
"Body of a dead sailor. Couple of hikers stumbled across the body about a mile off the main hiking trail." Gibbs said.
"Back on topic McGee. VEGAS!" Tony persisted.
Laughing at his stubborn antics Ziva teased. "Tony you are like a dog with a bone."
All three of the men turned to stare at her.
"What? Is that not correct?" She asked, thinking that she had once again mixed up her idioms.
"Actually Ziva that was the perfect use of that phrase." McGee said giving her an encouraging smile.
"Do not be so surprised. I do get them correct sometimes." She said glaring at Tony who had continued to stare at her. Then she just did what Gibbs would have done and head slapped him.
"Ow! Boss are you going to let her get away with that?" Tony whined.
"Yes." Gibbs stated.
"Fine. So Probie…" Tony continued to ramble and pester McGee until Gibbs threatened to pull over and put him in the back instead of McGee, with the window to the cab shut.
Once they were at the crime scene, they all set about their assigned duties. Tony was busy snapping pictures. Ziva, much to her dismay, was questioning the hikers that found the body. Unfortunately for her they were two college age girls, who promptly kept dissolving into tears. Gibbs had assigned McGee to bag and tag what evidence could be found at the scene. Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard, their medical examiner and his assistant Jimmy Palmer were busy with the body.
"Can you give me a cause of death Duck?" Gibbs asked.
"It seems Jethro that our young sailor here was killed by any one of several stab wounds to his upper chest and back. I'll know more when I get him back home." He replied congenially.
"How about a time of death?"
"Oh, yes." Ducky said inserting the liver probe. "It would appear that he died some 10 to 12 hours ago. Now Mr. Palmer if you please, let's get him loaded in the van. I would appreciate if you could refrain from getting us lost this time."
"Yes, Dr. Mallard. I mean I won't Dr. Mallard." Jimmy said nervously side stepping Gibbs as he brought over the body bag and gurney.
During this exchange Tim had been searching the area for any signs of a murder weapon, or any other trace evidence that they could take back to Abby. Remembering what had happened the last time he was being extremely careful. He made sure to have his gloves cover the cuffs of his jacket, and not to touch his face. If there was poison ivy around here he was not going to fall victim. Having gotten as many pictures as he could of the body Tony was bored. Then he noticed McGee's careful behavior. Oh this was too good to pass up he thought as he pranced over.
"Hey! McGee, make sure that you cover the area actually in the woods."
"I am Tony." Came the exasperated reply. "I am just being thorough."
"Sure you are. You just don't want to end up looking like a leper again! Afraid your Vegas wife will dump you when she sees what can happen to you in the great outdoors?" Tony said walking over to where he was kneeled in the dirt.
Pushing back a particularly stubborn branch Tim just sighed. "I already told you. I did NOT get married in Vegas!"
His irritation caused him to lose his grip on the branch rewarding him with a face full of pine needles. Tony who had seen what was happening had the camera and managed to start snapping pictures before Tim could push the branch back out of his way. Having gotten some of the needles in his mouth he began to cough and spit trying to rid his mouth of the foul taste. Pulling in a deep breath he must have inhaled some of the dirt or whatever happened to be clinging to the sap. Choking he backed up out of the undergrowth. He couldn't seem to get rid of whatever had managed to lodge itself in his throat, giving him an annoying tickling sensation. Tony was of course laughing with delight.
"Gotta love McGee in the wilderness. The fun never ends."
"Har-har…(cough) Tony. Would you (cough) mind getting (cough) my water out of my (cough) pack?" Tim said stripping off his gloves and carefully putting them in a plastic bag before sticking them in his pocket. You never could be too careful where poison ivy was concerned.
"Sure thing McGee." Tony said as he bounded off only to call over. "Hey! Probie! You don't have any water in here!"
"Crap." McGee muttered.
"Here McGee." Ziva said coming over to him and handing him her blue water bottle. "It is not water, just some juice, but it should do the trick."
"Thanks Ziva." Tim replied taking a long drink.
A slightly familiar taste filled his mouth, and he turned to look at Ziva. "Umm…what kind of juice is this?"
"Kiwi Mango. I made it myself from fresh fruit. It is good yes?" She said smiling.
"Oh, no…" He said as familiar tightening began in his throat.
"What! You do not like it?" Ziva pouted, looking offended as McGee began to walk away from her without giving her an answer.
Trying to keep his breathing under control, Tim called out to Tony. "Tony throw me my pack." In and out he thought. Just keep breathing. Dizziness was beginning to settle inside his head, although from experience he knew it was going to get worse.
Tony who had walked away to get a photo of an errant footprint on Gibbs order teased back. "Why? You can't make it the 10 extra feet to get it yourself?"
Knowing it was useless to try and make it on his own Tim sank down to the ground on his knees and replied through clenched teeth. "No…I…can't…"
Seeing him go down Ziva sprinted to his side calling out. "Gibbs!"
Turning to see what McGee was about Tony saw him on the ground with Ziva running towards him. Rushing to his side as well he asked. "Hey! What's going on McGee?"
"Allergic reaction…get…my…pack…" Okay now breathing was becoming a real effort.
Ziva tried to ease him back and he grabbed her hand. "No…gotta stay…upright…"
"Okay, McGee. Just lean against me." Ziva said positioning herself against his back. "Just breathe McGee. In and out. That is good." She soothed.
He could feel his throat closing and the swelling intensify. It had been so long since this happened. He had managed to forget how much it hurt. You never forgot the terror, but the pain was something easily looked over.
In the meantime Gibbs had come running when he heard Ziva yell for him, leaving Ducky and Palmer about halfway up the trail. What he saw almost made him stop cold. Sitting on the ground supported by Ziva, McGee was struggling to pull in oxygen. Already red in the face, Gibbs knew something was seriously wrong, but he couldn't see any obvious signs of injury.
"What happened Ziva?" He questioned reaching them about the same time Tony came over with McGee's bag.
Ziva just held up her hand for them to be quiet. "What McGee?"
Gibbs and Tony couldn't make out what he was saying, but she managed to catch three words. "Epi-pen…front pocket."
Tim could feel his blood pressure dropping. Soon he was going to become disoriented. His face covered in sweat; courtesy of the fever in combination with the effort it was taking him to even draw the most shallow of breaths.
Quickly she grabbed the bag from Tony's hands and dug into the front pocket. As she did so she explained. "He is having some kind of allergic reaction. Tony go get Ducky." Seeing him hesitate to leave she yelled urgently. "NOW!"
That seemed to snap him out of his reverie, and he bolted up the path desperately hoping that Ducky and Palmer hadn't left yet. At the same time Ziva's tiny hand closed over the syringe.
"Where does it go McGee?" She asked urgently.
"Thigh…" Came the barely audible reply.
Handing it to Gibbs she instructed him to stab it into his thigh, like he had told her.
"It will all be over soon Tim. Just hang on." Ziva continued stroking his hair off his sweaty forehead.
Knowing he had to get through not only his pants, but into the muscle tissue Gibbs swiftly brought down the auto-injector. "It's in McGee. Just keep breathing. It'll get easier now." He said to his youngest agent. The swelling of his neck was visible, but that didn't frighten him near as much as the cloudy unfocused gaze of his normally bright searching green eyes.
"I'll be right back." Gibbs said moving quickly away from the pair.
"It is easing up now, I can hear it. Just keep breathing. Tony will be back soon with Ducky and we can get you to a hospital." Ziva just kept talking to him.
Worried about the lack of response she was getting, she looked over to where Gibbs had gone. He had crossed over to where their equipment was stacked talking rapidly into his cell phone, and was returning quickly with a bottle of water and an ice pack. Unscrewing the lid he handed Ziva the opened water. She helped Tim get a few small sips down while Gibbs cracked the pack and shook it to get it cold. He relaxed slightly as he noticed that McGee's breathing was becoming less labored.
"More water?" He asked.
Tim shook his head, his eye growing heavy with exhaustion. He only winced slightly when Gibbs pressed the pack to his throat.
"Should help with the swelling." Gibbs said.
Ziva had noticed how hot McGee had become during the ordeal. It wasn't just his face as she originally assumed. Heat seemed to radiate off his entire body. Pulling a bandana out of her pocket she handed it to Gibbs requesting that he wet it with the water bottle. Seeing where she was going with this he did so and handed it back to her. Gently she wiped down Tim's face, making small soothing noises as she did so. He was trying to stay awake, but currently that was proving to be quite an effort on his part.
Looking straight into his youngest agent's eyes Gibbs asked. "You okay McGee?"
Seeing the slight nod he got in return, some of the tension in his gut lessened. "Okay Ziva let's lay him back."
"No…" Tim rasped, every breath was an effort, but speaking was agony.
"That is right Gibbs. He told me at the beginning to keep him upright." Seeing McGee's eyes begin to drift shut she spoke somewhat sharply. "Do not think of sleeping McGee. We need you to stay awake okay."
"Sorry...always makes…me…sleepy." He said giving them a small smile. "I'm…okay Boss…promise…" Tim continued seeing those steel blue eyes still filled with worry.
Nodding at his agent Gibbs realized what a strong testament it was to how much McGee had grown into his own skills, that he was now the one giving comfort to them in a scary unfamiliar situation.
At that moment two familiar figures came tearing through the undergrowth. Surprisingly Ducky was in the lead, Tony following closely on his heels. Palmer, however, was nowhere to be seen.
"What on earth happened Jethro?" Ducky said as he kneeled down beside them. Panting slightly he began to take McGee's vitals.
"Anaphylaxis…" Tim wheezed.
"I see. I take it you had an Epi-pen on hand Timothy?" Ducky questioned, but before he could answer Ducky continued. "No, don't try and talk right now. I know that must be very painful. Just nod or shake your head for now."
Tim nodded at the older gentleman. As Ducky continued his examination, he let his head rest back against Ziva's shoulder.
"Well, Timothy judging by the relief on everyone's faces I'd say that your respiration rate is better than it was. You heart rate is a little fast for my liking. Do you normally develop a fever during these episodes?"
Tim nodded again, still straining to keep awake and alert.
"Okay then, Mr. Palmer is on his way down with the spare gurney. I take it someone has called for an ambulance?" Ducky said looking at Ziva, Tony and Gibbs.
"Oh, I didn't…" Tony began, trailing off at his own stupidity.
"Don't worry Tony. I took care of it. They are on their way here now." Gibbs reassured his senior agent, knowing that if something had happened he would have blamed himself.
"Good." Ducky replied. "We can meet them up at the road, that is providing that Mr. Palmer manages to not get lost on his way back to the site. Timothy, he is also bringing down the emergency oxygen tank from the truck. I dare say that will be welcome."
Smiling back at him, Tim nodded emphatically. There was a small hitch in his breathing that had everyone at attention in a heartbeat.
Struggling he said. "It's…okay…happens…" Pulling a deep breath, well deep in comparison to a few minutes ago, in through his nose and letting it out his mouth Tim regulated his own breathing.
A crash from the woods made everyone turn their heads and snapping to attention. Suddenly a gurney came rambling, seemingly all on its own, into the clearing. Followed a few moments later by a red faced Palmer carrying a large tank and Ducky's medical bag.
"Ah, Mr. Palmer. You made good time I see." Ducky chuckled at his assistant's antics. "Tony if you would be so kind."
Pulling himself out of his own thoughts, Tony looked up and realized the ME was gesturing for him to go and get the gurney. "Sure Ducky."
The walk over gave him time he needed to pull himself together. Seeing McGee like that had really shaken him. Of course it didn't help that he could imagine what it must have been like. Sure the two situations were completely different, but he couldn't help but briefly flash back to when he had the plague. Back when just pulling in a single breath had taken every ounce of strength and concentration he had. Righting the gurney he quickly made the journey back to where everyone sat surrounding his friend. The friend they might have lost today, but they didn't. Thank goodness for McGee's be prepared mentality.
They got him loaded onto the gurney, and Palmer secured the oxygen mask over his face. Ziva still kept a tight hold on McGee's hand. She seemed to need it as much as he did. From there the motley crew began the long climb to the road where they would meet the ambulance. Things seemed to move fairly quickly after that. They got McGee off to the hospital, Ducky going along with him in the ambulance. Mr. Palmer went with the dead sailor's body back to NCIS, and Gibbs, Tony and Ziva awaited the replacement team so they could head to the hospital. The only thing that no one could seem to figure out was what had caused the reaction. Tony insisted that it must have been something in the woods, because that's when Tim had begun coughing. Ziva thought that it might have been something in the juice she had let him drink, and that thought alone was causing her endless guilt. She may have been cold sometimes, but she would have never intentionally caused McGee any harm, Tony maybe. Gibbs just stood and waited. There wasn't anything or anyone he could take his anger out on. So he did what came next. He made Tony and Ziva go and collect their things, and then…he called Abby.