This is another of my 'Moments & Fragments' expanded into a multi-fic. It has my usual emphasis on Tony and Gibbs, and there is also a case to solve. Hope you like it. I've reposted M&F as Chapter One as not everyone will have read it. Love, Zan XX
PS: There are no actual babies in this story, just in case you were wondering!
Tony didn't want to disturb Gibbs. In fact he had even contemplated leaving his Boss's house and driving himself home, but the pain in his mid-section had become so intense that he doubted his own ability to get into the car, let alone drive. Now, as he hovered in the doorway of Gibbs' bedroom, clutching his middle with one hand and bracing himself against the doorframe with the other, he wondered if collapsing and waking Gibbs that way was better than asking for help.
As Tony moved forwards, his body refused to co-operate totally. He found himself on his knees. He crawled to the bed and shook the blanket edge with a trembling hand.
'Boss,' he managed to croak.
Gibbs was woken by a movement and a noise. Instantly on alert, he sat bolt upright and swung his legs over the bed edge, nearly kicking his number one filed agent in the side of the head.
'What the hell?' he barked before noticing that something was definitely very wrong with Tony. Even in the half light he could see how ashen Tony's face was and the way that the younger man was hunched over.
'Sorry Boss,' came Dinozzo's rote response. He knew this had been a bad idea.
'Stop apologizing,' grumbled Gibbs as he sprung out of bed. 'What's hurting?' he asked directly.
'Stomach. Side,' rasped Tony through gritted teeth. 'It's bad.'
Gibbs placed one arm across Tony's shoulders and gripped his elbow.
'Let's get you off the floor,' he said, gruffly, masking his concern. He had never known Tony to complain about pain before. Once Tony was on the bed, he immediately curled into a fetal position, his arms folded across his mid-section. Gibbs was alarmed to see tears of pain streaming from beneath his agent's tightly closed eyelids. The ex-marine picked up his cell and rang 911 as he gripped Tony's shoulder.
'I need an ambulance at this address!' he barked into the phone.
'What's the problem, Sir?' asked the operator.
'He's in his early thirties. Severe abdominal pain. Just send an ambulance, dammit!' growled Gibbs.
'Dispatching now, Sir. Try to keep the patient calm and safe.'
Gibbs ended the call and immediately pressed speed dial.
'Ducky. I need you at my place. Now. I know it's late. It's Dinozzo. Yeah, Ambulance is coming, but I want you to check him out. Thanks, Duck.'
Gibbs gave Tony's shoulder one more squeeze before pulling pants and a sweater over his shorts, all the while keeping a watchful eye on Tony's face. He was really concerned now. Tony had not objected to the ambulance or Ducky. Dressed, Gibbs knelt beside Tony on the bed and placed his mouth close to the younger man's ear. Tony still held his eyes tightly shut and his body was trembling.
'Hang in there, Tony,' he told him. 'Help's coming.'
Tony could hear the sound of a voice but it seemed to be coming from far away, over the noise of his heart pumping and the rush of his blood in his ears. He felt a hand stroke his forehead and again heard the murmur of the distant voice. As another wave of pain hit, he tried to focus only on the soothing hand and the reassuring murmur.
Ducky let himself in and called out to Gibbs.
'In here!' shouted Gibbs from the bedroom. Ducky hurried to the main bedroom at the sound of the anxious reply. Gibbs seldom sounded stressed. He found Gibbs half kneeling/half laying next to Tony who was obviously in a lot of discomfort.
'My dear boy!' exclaimed Ducky softly as he approached the bed. 'What happened?' he asked Gibbs.
'I was asleep. Next thing I knew, Tony was on the floor trying to wake me,' Gibbs explained, still stroking Tony's forehead. 'He couldn't say much – just that his gut and side hurt and that it was bad.' As Tony suddenly clutched more desperately around himself as another wave of pain assaulted him, Gibbs channeled his worry into anger.
'Where's that f***ing ambulance?!' he growled.
At his change in tone, Tony began to moan in distress. Ducky knew he needed to take charge.
'Jethro, ring again,' he suggested. 'But keep your voice calm. Tony's only semi-conscious. He's just sensing your mood without understanding what's leading to it.'
Ducky was just starting to take Tony's vitals when the paramedics arrived. Gibbs threw down his cell and scowled at them for daring to let his senior field agent suffer unnecessarily.
'Rapid pulse. Clammy. Shallow breathing,' Ducky informed them. 'Severe abdominal pain radiating from or to his left side,' he continued.
'Cause?' asked one paramedic as he ran his eye over Tony.
'Unknown,' replied Ducky.
The paramedic turned to address Gibbs directly.
'Does your son take drugs?' he asked.
'He doesn't take drugs,' Gibbs told him with confidence, ignoring the assumption the man had made. There was no time for unnecessary explanations.
The paramedic rested a hand on Tony's shoulder.
'Sir, can you tell us what you're feeling?' he asked calmly.
Tony heard the gist of the question through his misery.
'Like…like crap,' he whispered, hoarsely.
'We need to examine you,' the paramedic continued. 'We're going to roll you onto your back.'
With Ducky and Gibbs helping, Tony managed to lay on his back, his arms still held protectively across his stomach.
As the paramedic lifted his t-shirt, the small movement caused Tony to hiss with pain.
'Try to breathe, Tony,' Ducky told him gently. Gibbs continued the rhythmic stroking of Tony's forehead.
'Some local swelling,' said the paramedic as he conducted his examination. 'Could be appendicitis. We need to get him to the hospital for ultrasound.'
As the stretcher was being assembled, Ducky gently pulled Tony's t-shirt back down over his abdomen. Tony opened his eyes a crack and looked fearfully at Gibbs.
'Tony, you HAVE to go,' Gibbs told him. At that moment, a fresh wave of pain seized Tony, causing him to curl sideways again.
'Ahhh!' he groaned, unable to stay silent. This hurried the paramedics who efficiently lifted him onto the stretcher and out of the building, Gibbs keeping physical contact the whole way. As Tony was loaded into the ambulance, the paramedic motioned for Gibbs to get in too.
'We'll probably need to ask you some questions about your son, especially if he loses consciousness completely,' he explained. Gibbs nodded and entered the ambulance, sitting on the opposite side to the gurney.
'Better if you sit with him.' said the paramedic as he lifted the com to radio in the details. 'It would be a help if you remove his watch, any jewellery and any other personal items. He'll feel more comfortable knowing that a family member is looking after them.'
Gibbs had a brief moment of panic before reminding himself that he was probably the closest thing that Dinozzo had to a father. Hell, Dinozzo Senior hadn't even shown up when his son had the plague!
Taking a position beside Tony as the ambulance traveled towards the hospital, siren blaring, Gibbs placed his hand over Tony's.
'Just taking off your watch,' he told Tony, quietly. 'I promise I won't let McGee wear it.'
Tony barely grunted a reply, absorbed in fighting the pain. Gibbs removed the stylish watch and slipped it into his pocket. A quick glance confirmed what he already knew: Tony wore no bracelet, chain or rings. Gibbs took the metallic blanket the paramedic passed to him and covered Tony with it. He was unsure of whether Tony was conscious or not. The younger man's mouth was set in a tight, thin line of pain and his eyebrows were low.
'Tony,' he whispered.
'Umm?' was the reply.
'Just seeing if you're still with us.' said Gibbs, relieved.
'What and when did he last eat?' asked the paramedic, pen poised over the chart.
'Pizza. About 2200 hours,' said Gibbs. 'Salami, hot peppers, extra cheese.'
'You have some too?' he questioned.
'Yep,' said Gibbs, smiling faintly at the memory of Tony telling him the pizza was the food of the Gods.
'And you're sure he doesn't do drugs,' added the paramedic.
'Look,' said Gibbs. 'Tony has some issues like everyone does from time to time, but he's clean. I guarantee it, 100%.'
The man made a note and then started another line of questioning.
'What about family history of appendicitis, kidney stones, gallstones?' he asked.
Gibbs was stumped. How would he know? Tony rarely talked about his family, and all Gibbs pretty much knew was that Tony's mother drank herself to death and that his father was a heartless bastard who disowned his only child at the age of twelve. About to admit that he wasn't related to Tony at all, Gibbs was stopped by a sound from Tony.
'No. No history,' he whispered.
'How's the pain?' asked the paramedic as Gibbs processed the fact that Tony had been listening all along.
'Still there,' grunted Tony.
Tony shook his head slightly.
Again there was slight shake of Tony's head.
'Okay. We've arrived at the hospital,' said the paramedic. 'I'll leave you with your dad while I get your details lodged.'
With that, he left the ambulance, leaving Tony and Gibbs alone together. As concerned as he was about Tony's health, Gibbs also felt awkward. Even though it had begun with a misunderstanding, he had no right to carry on with the charade that he was his agent's father without Tony's permission.
Tony opened his eyes to see Gibbs hovering and looking very unsure of himself.
'How are you holding up?' asked Gibbs, tentatively.
'Scared,' Tony admitted, his eyes glistening. Gibbs was a little shocked by the admission and gripped Tony's shoulder.
'You'll be fine,' he told him, hoping he was exuding more confidence than he felt. 'They know what they're doing. I'll make sure Ducky keeps them on their toes.'
'Okay, we're ready for you. We're gonna take you straight into pre-op,' said the paramedic as he returned. Gibbs gave Tony's shoulder a last squeeze before getting out of the way.
'Wait,' Tony managed to call out, his voice hoarse. The paramedics paused as Gibbs came back to the gurney.
'Thanks for looking after me, Dad,' whispered Tony, his eyes shining and a slight smile gracing his lips.
Gibbs could only nod in response. He watched and waited until Tony had been whisked through the doors, into the hospital. He was grateful that he had some time to compose himself before Ducky arrived.