A/N: Set present time (unless I change my mind). Enjoy.
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"Argh!" Tony flailed about in the dark, trying to find his phone – he squinted at his alarm clock until the fuzzy red digits came into focus – at three in the morning. Finally, he found his cell and, without checking the caller ID, opened it in mid 'bzzzzt'.
"Ah, Tony, I'm glad you answered. Look, I know it's early, but I need you to come to Bethesda, right away." Ducky's tone, although unhurried (as per usual) was tinged with worry. Tony knew that if he could discern that with his sleep fogged brain, something was really, REALLY wrong.
"Yeah, Duck, I'm on my way." Tony was already struggling into a pair of jeans and searching for an acceptable T-shirt. "What is it, Ducky? Is it Jethro?"
"I'm afraid so, Anthony…" The elderly MD seemed hesitant to continue.
"Well, what is it? He wasn't shot again, was he?" Tony demanded. The early hour, combined with this new, un-known threat/worry, made him cranky.
"Goodness, no! It's his heart. He had a heart attack earlier this morning. He managed –thank God – to dial 911 and let them know what was happening. He's fine, for the time being. The resident on duty said that it was a relatively minor attack."
"And –" Tony prompted, knowing that there was more.
"Well, it seems that during his phone call he lost his grip on the workbench he was leaning on –"
"He was working on that damn boat!" Tony interrupted, lashing out at Gibbs' night-time obsession. He didn't know much about heart-attacks, but he did know that stress (and little sleep) could be just as inviting as a bad diet and high cholesterol.
"Yes, well, as I was saying." Ducky sounded annoyed at the interruption, but continued without comment. "He slipped and hit his head. He was unconscious when the EMT's found him – they suspect he has a concussion. We won't know how serious it is until he wakes."
"He's unconscious? What time did they bring him in?" Tony was already out his door and flying down the stairwell – he hadn't been able to wait for the elevator, even though he lived on the seventh floor of his apartment building.
"They got him to the hospital around 2:15 am, and called me shortly thereafter. I called you as soon as I'd spoken with the doctor."
"Alright, Duck. I'm on my way. See you in a few."
"Yes, Anthony. Do be careful – I would hate to have to explain to Jethro why you were in a car accident."
"Yeah, Duck, I'll drive safely. Call me if he wakes."
Without waiting for a response, Tony snapped his cell shut and gunned his mustang.
Please make him be alright, he thought frantically as he peeled out of the parking lot and sped towards Bethesda Military Hospital.
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The early morning emergency staff of Bethesda Military Hospital flinched as one very worried Anthony DiNozzo stormed down the hallway. The old hats knew DiNozzo – he was there often enough – and they also understood that it was actually far, far worse we he walked in of his own accord. That meant that someone he cared about was hurt. There was an especially unlucky doctor on duty at the moment – and they were about to find out just how unlucky. Pretty soon, all the nurses and residents knew to cross their fingers and hope that it wasn't their doctor that patched up DiNozzo's loved one.
I wonder if this is how Gibbs feels all the time, he thought, watching yet another skinny intern cringe as he passed.
"Athony, I was just about to call you," Ducky exclaimed as soon as he caught sight of the younger man. "Dr. Mansfield has just informed me that Jethro is awake. He's still a bit fuzzy, but Dr. Mansfield says there is no sign of excessive trauma or extreme disorientation. He thinks the concussion is just a mild thing. He's going to be alright, dear boy! Well, come on, let's go see him."
"Duck, wait," Tony sighed. He was extremely relieved that the boss would be okay, but he knew that the 'trouble' had only just begun. "Where is Dr. Mansfield?"
"Um," surprised, Ducky spun around trying to spot the missing doctor. "Ah, there is his, talking to the nurse in the yellow scrubs."
"Okay, Duck. You go see Gibbs, but don't tell him I'm here." The M.D.'s eyes widened incredulously.
"Why ever not? Surely you know –"
"Yes, Duck, I know. Just trust me on this, okay? I'll tell you more after I talk to Mansfield."
Dr. Mallard hesitated and Tony could practically hear his misgivings. But there was something Tony had to know first, something that had him more worried than Gibbs' heart attack concussion combination. He tried to give Ducky a reassuring look which didn't appear to have much effect. Nonetheless, the elder man nodded and shuffled away to visit his friend.
Squaring his shoulders, Very Special Agent DiNozzo turned to face Dr. Mansfield, who was still deep in conversation with the yellow nurse.
"Mansfield!" he barked, smirking when he got an immediate response. Yup, Mansfield was definitely ex-military.
"Can I help you?" Dr. Mansfield was a tall serious-faced man in his late thirties. If Tony had to guess, he would bet the doctor was of Irish descent.
"Leroy Jethro Gibbs: male, mid-forties, heart attack and concussion. Report."
Barking orders was not Tony's usual style, but he was too wound up to smile and play nice. Mansfield unconsciously stood at attention and opened his mouth to respond – before remembering that he didn't have to answer the cranky stranger. Tony almost laughed at his indignant expression.
"Only family –"
"Yeah, yeah, I am."
"Are you his son?" Mansfield sounded more than a bit skeptical.
"Doc," Tony growled. "Just tell me how he's doing."
"Ahm, well." Mansfield paused to fiddle with the papers on his clipboard. "He's stable. Heart attack was mild. He was slightly disoriented when he woke, but was still able to answer all the standard questions. The concussion is very slight. We'll want to keep him here for a few hours' observation, but he'll be free to go sometime today. Barring any unlikely complications, of course."
"Of course. Aftercare, doc?"
"Right, well he'll need to take a few days off from work – or is he retired?"
"You new here or something?" Tony shook his head, not giving him time to respond. "He's head of the Major Crime Response Team at NCIS. Retirement didn't work out too well, last time he tried it."
"Uh, right. Well, he'll want to take it easy for a few days. He'll also need to watch his cholesterol and blood pressure. So, basically what you would expect. Less stress, more healthy food, less unhealthy food. Regular exercise." Mansfield went down the list matter-of-factly.
"Caffeine?" The doctor's eyebrows rose.
"Is that a problem?"
"He prolly drinks more than ten cups of coffee a day. That couldn't have had anything to do with his heart attack, could it?" This was the crux of the matter and Tony really, really wanted the doctor to say no.
That one word made Tony's stomach lurch. Mansfield wasn't finished, though.
"That would be unhealthy for anybody – and especially for someone like Mr. Gibbs - older, high stress job, family history of heart problems, and high blood pressure."
"Damnit!" Tony swore under his breath. He looked back up at Mansfield. "Recommendations?"
"He needs to dramatically reduce his daily caffeine intake. One or two cups a day won't hurt, more than three would be a little excessive."
"Right, doc. So all I have to do is get Gibbs to drink less coffee, get more rest, eat right, and not stress." Tony's voice was starting to take on a hysterical edge.
"Yes, if you want him to stay healthy. Even a mild heart attack can weaken the heart. Now that he's had one, he's at a much higher risk to have another. In fact, I would recommend a week off of work – and off of coffee. It'll be easier for him to settle into a new routine after that."
Tony stared at the doctor. Make Gibbs go a week without coffee, on leave? How in the hell was Tony supposed to pull that off?
Ducky could handle the healthy food stuff. As phys ed major, Tony knew what was healthy and what was not, but Ducky would definitely have more luck getting Gibbs to listen. Tony decided to talk to Ducky as soon as he was through visiting with Gibbs.
That left Tony with the resting and the coffee. Joy.
Tony thought fast. He had expected the leave time, but knew from experience that it wasn't a good idea. Gibbs would spend his time working in his basement drinking coffee and bourbon getting less sleep than he should and living off of take out. He would also worry about the team since Vance would most likely refuse to take them off rotation for a week.
So, Tony would have to make sure that Gibbs rested at work. Well, if they were lucky they wouldn't get a new case. If they did, Tony would just have to improvise.
Coffee – well that was a different story. The only thing to do was play it by ear.
"Uh, Mr. Gibbs?" It took Tony a minute to realize he was being addressed. That's right, he thinks I'm Gibbs' son.
"Sorry, Doc. And thanks. I'll make sure he does everything you've just said."
"Good. I'll talk to him, too, before he is released." Mansfield smiled and moved off.
Fat chance, that, he thought, watching the doctor walk back over the the nurse in yellow. Gibbs has probably already checked himself out AMA.
Checking his phone, Tony saw that he was right. 3 missed calls, Ducky, it read.
This is going to be a fun week, he thought sarcastically.
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A/N: I know absolutely nothing about medicine and doctor stuff. If you see an obvious, glaring error, let me know and I'll fix it. (BTW, story is based on new research that shows coffee may trigger heart attacks.) Thanks for reading, and please review!