Chapter 1

"Tony? Tony do you hear me? Come on Tony I need for you to answer me."

Tony blinked his eyes a few times, then grimaced in pain when he tried to shift his body.

"Tony are you with me?"

Tony whispered, "Boss is that you?"

"Yeah, it's me Tony."

"What happened, where are we?"

"Bethesda, you were shot, the Danford case. Do you remember?"

"Shot, no, I don't remember. Did you get the guy?"

"No Tony, you did. You managed to get a round off before you passed out. You saved McGee."

"Too bad I didn't save me while I was at it. How long have I been out?"

"A week. You've surfaced a couple of times, but this is the first time you've been able to talk. I've sent for your doctors. Come on Tony open your eyes again. If you want to get out of here any time soon, they're going to want to see you awake and alert."

"Just resting Boss. I hurt all over. Where did he shoot me?"

"Once in your right thigh, once in your side and once in the head. You're hurting because you've been to surgery a couple of times. We almost lost you. But you know you don't have my permission to die. You're going to be okay".

Two doctors and a nurse entered the room then. Gibbs stepped back out of the way and leaned against the wall as they started to examine Tony. While the surgeon was checking Tony's wounds, the other doctor was checking blood pressure and heart rate.

"Okay Agent DiNozzo, I want you to open your eyes again. I need to check them."

As the doctor waved a pen light in front of Tony's eyes, he noticed from the monitor that Tony's heart rate and respiration were increasing.

"Agent DiNozzo, I need for you to calm down. Are you feeling any pain? Come on, calm down and let me know what you are feeling."

"I want to know Doc", Tony gasped. "I want to know why I can't see anything."

At that Gibbs shot straight up and moved closer to the bed. "Tony?"

Tony started thrashing about in the bed. "Boss? Boss, where are you? I can't see you."

The doctors quickly sedated Tony, and once he was sleeping again, they gestured for Gibbs to leave the room with them. Out in the hallway they found Director Vance.

"Gibbs, Doctors", Vance nodded. "I heard that Agent DiNozzo was conscious. How is he doing?"

"He can't see anything". Gibbs glared at the doctors. "What's going on with him?"

"We don't know yet, we'll get an MRI and a Cat scan. There would have been some swelling in the brain from the trauma and the surgery. That may be affecting his eyesight. The neurosurgeon didn't see any damage to the optic nerve. It could be that once the swelling goes down, he'll be fine."

"Could be?"

"Agent Gibbs, we'll know more when we get the test results. The neurosurgeon is on his way in now. Hopefully we'll have some answers in a few hours. In the meantime I'm going to keep Agent DiNozzo sedated, it's important that he remain calm. Does he have any family? Nobody's come to see him yet except for his co-workers. It can be important to his state of mind to have family here to support him."

"Tony usually doesn't want his family here when he's injured." Gibbs ran his hand through his hair, looking frustrated. "Damn, I need coffee", and he stalked off.

Director Vance turned to the doctors after watching Gibbs retreat. "I'll take care of informing Agent DiNozzo's family. In the meantime I'd like for you to call me when you get the results of those tests."