A/N: Last chapter! I hope y'all have enjoyed reading this as much as I've enjoyed writing it. Please review and let me know what you think of the ending! -abby
"Finally!" was the first thing DiNozzo heard upon awakening some 14 hours later. He opened his eyes to find Abby happily grinning at him. "How's it going, Rip van Tony? I was beginning to think you'd never wake up, but I was going to stay right here until you did. Are you feeling any better?"
Tony blinked and took stock. He was definitely still sore, but his throat was not throbbing nearly as much as it had been the night before. A definite improvement. He smiled and gave Abby a thumbs-up.
"Yay!" the Goth clapped her hands and took off for the kitchen. "Come on, then, how about some breakfast?" At the mention of food, Tony realized that he was actually quite hungry and willingly headed for the table. Abby was an excellent cook, and he easily put away every bit of the eggs, bacon and chocolate chip pancakes she whipped up.
After a decent meal and a shower, Tony felt mostly back to normal. Well, almost. Wish I had my voice back, he thought. He was thoroughly confused by how the previous day's events had played out. How did Gibbs know West was going to attack me again? Or that he was the one who attacked me in the first place? Tony remembered West jumping across the table, but after that his memory got a little fuzzy. If things had been explained at some point he certainly didn't recall the details.
DiNozzo ventured back into the kitchen, where Abby had just washed the last dish. She turned around and exclaimed, "Perfect timing! I'm ready to go. Gibbs is expecting us back at NCIS. I think he wants to keep an eye on you, Tony. He was really worried about you yesterday. You should have seen how fast he ran out of my lab! I didn't even know his bad knee would let him go that fast!" As usual, Abby started rambling. Tony gently placed his hands on her shoulders to halt the monologue. "Oh! You're right! Let's go!" She grabbed her coffin-shaped bag and the keys to her hearse and led the way out to the parking lot.
After arriving at the Navy Yard, Abby went down to her lab and Tony headed for the bullpen. Gibbs looked up as his senior agent stepped out of the elevator. "About time, DiNozzo," he said gruffly. Gibbs was pleased to see that Tony looked none the worse for wear after the second attempt on his life. The bruising on his neck didn't seem quite so severe now that DiNozzo wasn't so pale. Abby must have gotten him to eat, Gibbs thought, not realizing that his own words from the night before had done the younger man far more good than even the chocolate chip pancakes.
-What happened yesterday, Boss? How did you know that West was the one?- DiNozzo didn't waste any time getting to the point. He was tired of being out of the loop. Gibbs understood Tony's frustration and explained, "You knew the bastard was lying just as well as I did. Then once Abby discovered that the other blood at the crime scene came from West's wife, it was really the only thing that made sense. Kara West killed Staff Sergeant Ramsey - it was all part of her plan to frame her husband. She wanted to get rid of him without incriminating herself, so she figured sending him to prison for murder would do the trick. Something having to do with an insurance policy."
Ziva chimed in, "Which must be how he knew her plan in the first place, between her request to see the policy and his suddenly missing security baton, West managed to piece it together." Ziva paused. "Clearly he is smarter than he looks. Anyway, he then had a friend spy on her until he knew where and when she planned on murdering the Staff Sergeant. We got a full confession this morning - he admitted to killing his wife after leaving his shift. She killed Ramsey, then he grabbed her and beat her to death with his own baton."
McGee finished up, "He was planning on cleaning up the scene and planting evidence to make it look like Kara fled the country after killing Ramsey, but you interrupted him in the middle of hiding her body. The MPs searched the woods this morning and found her in a shallow grave."
DiNozzo looked thoughtful. -That's very twisted. I'm just glad you figured it out when you did, Boss.- A smile ghosted across the lead agent's face as he thought, Me too, Tony.
Just then Gibbs' phone rang. After a brief conversation he hung up and said, "Ziva, you're with me. MPs at Quantico need us to tie up some loose ends. McGee, DiNozzo, write up your reports. I want them on my desk by the time we return." As they headed out, Gibbs shot a look at McGee that clearly said Keep an eye on him. Tim nodded as the elevator doors shut. He didn't need to be told.
The morning passed very quietly without Tony's usual irritating comments and obnoxious jokes. The two agents worked in companionable silence, interrupted occasionally by the ringing of DiNozzo's phone. Tony ignored it the first four or five times, but after several calls he finally picked up out of habit and annoyance. It was only when he put the receiver to his ear that he realized the error.
Tim immediately noticed Tony's dilemma and rose from his desk to take the phone out of the senior agent's hand. After finishing the call, McGee pressed a few buttons to access Tony's voice mail. He waited for the beep and then said "You've reached the voice mail of Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo. Agent DiNozzo is currently unavailable to take phone calls, so please contact Special Agent McGee at extension 573." Tim programmed the phone to forward all calls to his line, then replaced the receiver. As he straightened up to return to his desk, he felt a hand on his shoulder. "Thanks," Tony mouthed, a sincere smile of gratitude on his face. Tim returned the smile. "No problem, Tony."
An hour later, McGee was nearly done with his report when he suddenly realized that he could no longer hear Tony's laboriously slow two-fingered typing. Tim looked up in concern, and was greeted with a classic DiNozzo grin as a wadded piece of paper bounced off his head. Tony waved cheerfully at McGee and grabbed for his next piece of ammunition. Tim could only roll his eyes in response.
Here we go again, McGee thought. But somehow, this time, a few paper missiles didn't seem like such a big deal.