Run. His mind screamed
He ran through the snow storm, his feet covered in nothing more than sandals. His legs pumped in soaking blue jeans. His arms were uncovered; he was only wearing an undershirt.
Run. He demanded to himself again.
He could hear his pursuer coming closer.
"Stop," the pursuer ordered.
For some reason, his legs slowed down without directions from his brain to do so.
No, He begged himself. He took a quick glance at his watch. I only have 18 hours.
That made him start running again. Only he wasn't fast enough. He was tackled by his pursuer from behind. He was roughly turned on his back. Now he was staring directly at the man who was running after him.
Great, an old man was able to catch me, he grumbled internally.
"Why were you running?" The old man demanded out of him.
"You were chasing me," he ground out through clenched teeth. If he opened his mouth he would shiver.
"Do you know who I am?" The man asked.
He tried to squirm out of his captor's pin. It was a no go. The only movement he was making was involuntarily shaking from the cold.
"Yes, I know you. You are the man who was chasing me."
He couldn't keep his teeth clenched any longer. He started shivering in earnest. The man gave him a hard stare. He was no longer sure if it was only the cold that was making him tremble.
The old man who had been pinning him down now helped him sit up. His face was gripped, so that he was looking directly in the strangers eyes.
"DiNozzo, I'm you're boss, Gibbs," the blue-eyed man said gently.
He didn't recognize him at all.
Gibbs yanked his freezing agent
to his feet. He walked him out to the main road where a car was waiting for him. Tony's legs moved stiffly against the storm.
Fornell came out of the driver's side of the car.
"Is it him?"
"It's him," Gibbs said.
They had been searching for 30 hours when the ransom request was made. The ransom was to be paid by Tim McGee. The consensus around the agency was that somebody was trying to cash in on Tim's celebrity status.
Something seemed wrong to Gibbs and when he looked at his youngest field agent, he knew that McGee was feeling it too.
McGee and Gibbs still went along with the ransom drop, but they were able to gain the upper hand and arrest the kidnappers. There was an unexpected turn when the kidnappers both took suicide pills and died
instantaneously. All the evidence leading to a rescue died with them.
5 hours later, Fornell called Gibbs to tell him he spotted DiNozzo 25 miles outside the D.C. area. Fornell told him it wasn't a positive ID because the man didn't acknowledge him, he only kept walking with a purpose.
Gibbs gave Fornell specific instructions to follow him at a safe distance. Even in a snowstorm he was able to find Fornell in 15 minutes with McGee sending him direction from the office.
Gibbs parked his car and went after Tony. DiNozzo didn't even have to turn around. Gibbs knew it was him just by looking at the back of him.
Tony turned around took one look at him and started running. Gibbs had no choice, but to run after him while Fornell drove after them.
Gibbs put Tony into the back of Fornell's car.
"I have a blanket and some clean clothes in the trunk," Fornell said and went around getting them.
After turning on the heater full blast, Gibbs made quick work of checking Tony's pulse. It was slow, but beating steadily. He then did a visual assessment of DiNozzo. His hands were clinched trying to get warm.
His body was racked with tremors from shivering. His wet clothes were doing nothing to help warm him up.
"DiNozzo, what do you remember?" Gibbs asked as he reached down and took off his agent's sandals. Tony's feet were starting to show tell-tale signs of frostbite.
"Besides you tackling me to the ground?"
Gibbs gave him a pointed look.
"I only have 18 hours." Tony showed him a watch he had that was counting down. It was around the 18 hour mark.
Fornell opened the door handing Gibbs some dry clothes and a blanket. The ex-Marine wrapped Tony in the blanket as Fornell drove them away.
"18 hours for what?" Gibbs asked
"I don't know."
Gibbs started taking off Tony's wet clothes.
"You know," DiNozzo said as his boss took off his jeans, "I think I liked you better when you were chasing me."
The older man had to bite his lip not to smile at how in character Tony was, even when his memory was shot.
Fornell pulled the car over and left the engine running.
"He's settled in here, give me your keys and I'll meet you at the NCIS building."
Gibbs handed him his car keys.
"Thank you Tobias," he said with open sincerity.
The boss got into the drivers seat.
"Get up front," he told Tony.
Gibbs lost him once he wasn't going to let him out of his sight this time.
"What's NCIS?" he asked the man who claimed to be his boss.
"Try to remember," he was told.
Images flashed through his mind of badges, guns, crime tape, but also boats and military uniforms.
"It has something to do with the Navy and crime."
"You're a federal agent DiNozzo."
"That makes sense…you say you're my boss. I didn't think you'd be chasing me in a snow storm, so that I could work the night shift at McDonalds."
A glimmer of amusement sparkled in the older man's eyes, but quickly disappeared. His boss looked at him as he was blowing warm air into his still clinched hands. The blue-eyed man helped him into a
sweatshirt, but he was still wearing his boxers and his legs were covered with the blanket. His hands were taken and moved toward a heater vent.
"Gibbs, right?" he looked to the older man for confirmation, "and my name is DiNozzo?" again a look for confirmation.
"That's your last name."
"How come I can't remember anything?"
"I don't know, you had your memory when I last saw you," Gibbs replied.
"When did you last see me?"
"Thirty –six hours ago."
DiNozzo wondered if his boss was always this direct.
"I would ask where I've been, but I'm guessing you don't know that either."
His warmed hands were now able to open. He was holding a necklace. Gold. Star of David. He had been holding it so tight there was a perfect impression on his hand.
"Am I Jewish?" He asked Gibbs.
"Not hardly," was the gruff reply.
His boss looked over at the necklace he was holding.
"Don't lose that," his boss told him.
"This is so embarrassing," DiNozzo said walking into the elevator. The sweat pants Fornell had given him were too short and were practically pulled up to his shins. Fornell left to get back to his agency before the
storm got worse.
"You have a change of clothes in your locker," Gibbs assured him.
Gibbs led him to the middle of the bull-pen. McGee got up from his desk and hurried over to meet him.
"Tony you're alright," McGee quickly hugged him.
"Tony?" he mumbled to Gibbs.
"Your first name," he whispered.
"Yeah, I'm okay…"
"Tim," Gibbs said louder, "His name is Tim McGee. He can't remember anything" Gibbs told McGee.
McGee stood looking concerned.
Tony stood looking confused.
"Which desk is mine?" he asked
Tim led him to the right one. McGee stood at his desk and Gibbs stood by his.
"Who sits at that desk?" Tony asked Gibbs.
"You tell me," he answered.
Tony stared hard at the vacant desk.
"Kate," he said.
Gibbs watched as Tony's eyes shifted with memories. Suddenly, Tony recoiled and rubbed his face where imaginary blood had been sprayed.
"Not, Kate," Tony whispered.
The young field agent took out the Star of David necklace and looked at it. His eyes danced with new memories.
"Ziva," he said "Where is she?"
Gibbs and McGee exchanged looks before looking at Tony.
"She went missing with you, Tony" McGee filled him in. "You're the only one who knows where she is."
Tony remembered her raven hair, olive skin and contagious smile. She was gone. He had to find her. He didn't know how he was going to do it when he couldn't even find his own desk without directions, but he
would find her.
"Tell me the last thing you remember before we went missing," Tony pleaded.
"Ziva came in and she was very sick," Tim started.
"You told me you were going to drive her home," Gibbs finished. "DiNozzo, come on, we're going to have Ducky check you out. He's a doctor."
Gibbs led Tony back to the elevator and went down to the basement. When the autopsy doors opened Tony jumped back.
"It's cold in there," Tony said suddenly self-conscious.
"Ducky, I need you to look at DiNozzo, do you think we could do this in Abby's lab?"
"Jethro, you failed to tell me you found the young lad," Ducky said coming out hastily.
"Aw, Anthony, it's good to see you" Ducky hugged him warmly "Where is Ziva?"
One look from Gibbs and he knew that was the wrong question.
Tony's mind was starting to conjure up memories of what had happened.
Ziva had come into work looking unusually pale. Gibbs took one look at her and told her to go home. Tony jumped up and said that he would take her. When she and Tony were alone in the elevator, Tony gently put his
hand on her forehead. She was feverish. Ziva let out a low groan and leaned into his touch.
He couldn't help himself. He pulled her into a hug.
"You'll be alright," he told her.
Halfway back to her house Tony's car was hit from the side and he was pushed into a concrete building. Tony and Ziva were trapped between a building and another car. Two men jumped out of the second car and grabbed
for Tony and Ziva through broken windows. Tony knew it was an abduction and tried to protect the unconscious Ziva, but he was too dizzy from hitting his head to do much of anything.
Ziva was picked up out of the car first. He could see that her leg was bleeding badly. He was taken out second and both were put into a dark van.
When the memory ended, Tony found himself sitting on a chair in the middle of a lab. His shirt was off and the doctor they called Ducky was looking at him.
"He has a pretty bad concussion. I also see two injection marks on his arm. I can tell some of the bruising was caused by his wrecked car we found. There's more around his ribs and stomach which is inconsistent
with his accident."
Even though the doctor was looking at Tony, DiNozzo knew he was talking to Gibbs.
"How did you get the other bruises?" Gibbs was finding that the direct questions were working the best.
Tony's eyes suddenly darkened.
"They were touching her," he snarled. "She was sick and injured and they were groping her. I charged them and got them off her, but the fat one threw me down and kicked me."
Tony's breathing drastically changed and he shot up, "oh, Lord, Gibbs, I didn't leave her there with them, did I?"
"Listen, Tony, two of them died when they were in custody," Gibbs nodded to McGee, who Tony didn't even realize was in the room. McGee put a picture of the men on the plasma.
"Yes, that's them, that is definitely them. I didn't know all their names, so I called him the fat one and him the skinny one."
Gibbs took Tony's shoulders and sat him back down.
"Ducky is going to take some of your blood; I want you to tell me if there were any more people involved than the fat one and skinny one."
Tony's head started to throb with a concussion. He was trying to keep his mind focused on the task at hand. When Ducky approached him with a needle he gasped and pulled his arm away. That was something
he was getting sick of…reacting to situations without knowing why.
"Hey, it's alright, Ducky's a doctor. You can trust him."
The feel of calloused hands on his bare shoulders made him ease up a bit and give Ducky access to his arm.
"There were two more," he remembered. "One I called 'the doctor' because…well he was a doctor… the other I called 'the statue' because I never saw him move. I think I trusted the doctor."
"Why?" Gibbs asked.
"They sedated me after I rushed them. I didn't want them anywhere near her so I put her against the wall and slept in front of her. That way they would have to pass me to get to her. He woke me up to tell me
he was going to work on Ziva. He was careful and let me watch everything he was doing.
'They shot him. They shot the doctor and the statue. The fat one told the doctor to give me a stronger sedative before he left. After the cell was relocked both were shot."
He was having a hard time sequencing the chronology of his memories.
The young man rubbed a hand down his face.
"Wherever she is, she's alone"
Gibbs watched his senior field agent shrug into his change of clothes in Abby's office. He walked out and only slightly more like the Tony that had come into the office yesterday morning. Tony looked physically
exhausted and he was much quieter than usual.
"Why would I leave her alone?" Tony asked.
"Like you said," the doctor jumped in "she was sick and injured. If you dragged her with you do you think she would have made it?"
"No," he whispered.
"You brought plenty of evidence with you, we can find her," Gibbs jumped in.
"Speaking of evidence," he heard Abby approaching, "McGee you called me and told me that you had…Tony!"
A whir of black pigtails rushed past Gibbs and straight in to Tony.
"Tony, Tony, they found you. Are you okay? What am I talking about, of course you're okay, you're Tony. But you really are okay right?"
"Uh, Gibbs?" Tony squeaked through Abby's fierce embrace.
"Abby," Gibbs carefully extracted the young forensic expert from his senior field agent.
"Something happened to his memory. He doesn't know who you are."
Abby turned around and socked Gibbs in the arm. Gibbs looked at her inherently shocked.
"Darn it Gibbs, why did you have to set such a bad example for him. You know he tries to be like you."
"Abby, I lost about 15 years, Tony didn't know his own name."
Abby turned to McGee and punched his arm. "You should have told me he was found!" she admonished McGee.
Then Abby walked up to Ducky. She looked at him hard for a minute then leaned over and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
"Why can't Tony remember anything?"
"I don't know, but I was just about to run his blood up to my lab."
"Tony," she turned to him and held each side of his neck, "you're name is Anthony DiNozzo, you love movies, hot women, fast cars…"
Tony grabbed her arms "Not important right now. We are trying to find Ziva."
"She wasn't with you?" Abby turned around ready to hit again.
"Abby, I have the clothes Tony was wearing here with me," Tim interjected, "can you please help us find her."
"Okay, but I'm only doing it for Tony and Ziva," Abby stipulated.
Abby spread out Tony's clothes. She emptied his jean pockets and displayed the contents. She also took scrapings of dirt.
Tony looked at his clothes and the contents on the light box. There was a key and a piece of folded paper as well as a watch.
"That's my watch," he said. He looked at the watch currently on his wrist. "This one belonged to the doctor."
Abby looked at the watch on his wrist. "What happens in 17 hours?"
"I don't know," the frustration was evident in his voice.
"Can you tell me about any of these other items," Gibbs tried to placate him.
Tony looked at the key.
"The doctor gave me the key so that I could escape."
"I thought the doctor was shot," McGee said.
"We decided not to split the ransom," he heard before two shots fired.
Tony saw the statue dead on the floor. The doctor was on the ground groaning. The sound of cars taking off sounded in the distance.
Tony was drugged with sedatives, but he fought them and crawled as close to The Doctor as the cell would allow.
"Hey," Tony called, "hey" he tried again.
The Doctor sputtered and gasped.
"You okay, man?"
"No, they got my lung. It's going to fill up with blood real soon."
Even with his message of doom, he pushed himself up and grabbed some keys. He fell back down and gave it to Tony. Tony opened his prison and went to The Doctor. The Doctor gave him his cell phone. Tony grabbed the
phone and stared blankly.
"I don't remember…" he left the sentence hanging.
"Listen, you are fighting some pretty powerful sedatives. It's not surprising you're memory is affected."
The Doctor took the phone back. "It's not working anyway."
The Doctor weakly took out a prescription pad and pen from his pocket. He wrote something down. "These are the coordinates to where we are. You find help and show them these coordinates. They took the only two cars,
so you'll need to walk. Head north and keep heading north until you see a city."
Tony put the coordinates in his pocket and ran to Ziva to shake her awake.
"She's too weak. You have to leave her here." The Doctor was quickly fading.
"I can't," Tony cried. He could hardly remember her name, but he knew he had to save her.
"I'm sorry," The Doctor whispered.
"How long does she have?" Tony asked desperately.
"She's in the beginning stages of bronchitis and there is no heat in this building. I would say 20 hours."
"Hey, hey wake up," Tony called to Ziva.
Ziva opened reluctant brown eyes.
"I have to go find help for us. I need you to stay here and move as little as possible. Just rest okay. I will come back for you."
"Stay," she let out a hoarse whisper.
"I need you to fight. No matter how dismal things get. Keep fighting. I will come get you."
Ziva took off her gold necklace and placed it in Tony's hand.
"I want this back," she whispered.
Tony leaned down and kissed her on her lips. Ziva smiled faintly and fell asleep. Tony took off his jacket and wrapped it around her legs. He also grabbed the jacket of the man he dubbed The Statue and secured it around
her head the best he could while keeping her airways clear. Tony shivered as the snow came in from the broken windows.
The Doctor held out a hand to him as he started to leave. Tony kneeled down and looked at him. The Doctor gave him a watch that was counting down from 20 hours.
"In case your memory continues to fail you."
Tony replaced his watch with the one The Doctor gave him.
"Thank you, for everything," Tony said sincerely. "What is your name?"
"James," he said with his last breath.
"The coordinates," Tony cried. "The Doctor, James, he wrote down the coordinates of where we were held on the prescription paper."
Abby unfolded the paper with tweezers. The writing had been bled out by the snow.
"It's okay," Abby assured a wide eyed Tony.
"I can get an impression off of it."
Abby put the paper in her computer and ran the program.
"Okay, I can only get out half the coordinates, Tony I need you to tell me anything you can remember about the location."
Tony told her everything. McGee started pounding in scenarios and queries in the computer. Abby helped McGee and Gibbs tried to ask the right questions to get Tony's mind on the right track.
Abby and McGee looked at each other and smiled.
"I think we know where she is. An abandoned factory 30 miles south of here," Abby cried gleefully while Tim put a picture of the factory on the plasma."
"That's it. I remember looking at it as I left. We need to get her," Tony said to Gibbs.
Gibbs took out his cell phone. "Jen we know where Ziva is. We need to mobilize a team to get her."
Gibbs face suddenly fell. "How long," he said urgently. "They better be ready to go not a second later."
His boss snapped the phone shut.
Three scared faces waited for bad news.
"An unexpected blizzard hit. Nobody will be able to get out of D.C. for ten hours."
They looked at Tony's watch, Ziva had seventeen hours, but the doctor James didn't factor in a blizzard when he gave Tony a number.
Tony's eyes flashed with mutiny. He grabbed Gibbs' car keys before the older man could stop him and started running out of the building.
He was running again, only this time he knew who the man chasing him was. Tony ran the stairs and rounded the corner where the parking garage was. He only managed to get Gibbs car keys out before he was
tackled a second time, by the same man in the same day.
"We're you a quarter-back in your past life," Tony wheezed out from Gibbs being on his chest.
Gibbs got up and once again yanked Tony to his feet.
"What the hell do you think you are doing?" He grabbed his agent's shirt.
Tony had run out without a jacket and without shoes, hoping to ride off in a blizzard.
"In media res, Gibbs, it's a film term for when a scene starts in the middle. That's how I feel, like I woke up in the middle of my life and I don't know how I got here, or where I'm going. All I know is that I have to
find Ziva and even though, I can't remember who I am, much less who she is...I have to find her. Because every minute she is not here beside me, I feel a piece of myself chip away…Gibbs, I think I love her."
"Tony, you spend half your time with her..." Gibbs knew what Tony meant, but he wanted to hear his agent say it.
"No, Gibbs. I think I'm in love with her."
"Then don't do anything stupid like going out and getting lost in a blizzard. Ten hours, on the dot, we will mobilize a team and get her."
Gibbs smacked Tony in the back of the head careful of his concussion.
"Now get back inside and for God's sake eat something. You want to keep up your strength for when we get her."
2 hours later
He stared blankly at the vending machine. This was where he and Ziva were when she asked him about soul mates. He gave an arrogant answer even though he knew what she meant.
"Idiot," he scolded himself. If only he realized then how precious his time was with her. He would have told her his honest answer.
No. He didn't believe in soul mates, that is, not until he met her.
This was going to be the longest ten hours of his life.
"Ziva where ever you are please hold on. I won't break my promise to you." He whispered to himself hoping against hopes she would hear it too.
3 hours later
"I got the toxicology reports back on his blood work. That boy should be in a medically induced coma right now, but he is fighting those drugs," Ducky told Gibbs as they watched a restless Tony from a distance.
"He's fighting for her Duck," Gibbs said paternally.
"You think he'll last five hours?"
"He'd wait for a hundred years if he had to."
"Why Jethro, I never took you as a romantic."
That got a rare smile from Gibbs as he patted his friend on the face before walking over to comfort a restless agent.
5 hours later
Gibbs almost panicked when he came in to the abandoned factory. Everything was covered in almost a foot of snow. He didn't know where to start digging for Ziva. Tony came in from behind him and put his hand
on his shoulder. Gibbs looked over at his senior field agent who was pointing up.
Tony had somehow hung his shoes and socks from the rafters to point in the right direction. Tony button-up shirt was hanging directly down pointing at where the Mossad agent should be. Tony might not have
been able to recite his own birth date, but his brain was hard wired to think ahead like a true investigator.
They both dug out snow as paramedics made their way through. After a couple of scoops with their hands the snow uncovered Ziva's face. She was pale and her lips were blue, but Gibbs could feel a heart beat
on her pulse point.
Tony pushed his arms through the snow and lifted Ziva to his chest.
"Ziva, I told you I would come back. You told me you would fight, so don't give up now," he said to her.
A paramedic took Ziva out of Tony's arms and put her on a neck board. Vital signs were called back and forth in medical vernacular.
The paramedics addressed both agents in the factory. Her vital signs are low, but they are steadily rising as she warms up. Your girl's going to be fine. A broad smile crossed Tony's face before he collapsed into
Gibbs' awaiting arms.
Three days later
They both slept solidly for sixty hours. Tony woke up first, but only for a short time.
"Boss, how long do I have to stay here?" he asked wearily.
Tony didn't call him 'boss' when he had no memory. Gibbs knew that Tony's memory had come back in full.
"You'll be out before your birthday," Gibbs couldn't help, but test his theory anyway.
"My birthday is in seven months," he sighed and fell back asleep.
Gibbs smiled. He would be alright.
Ziva woke up second three hours after. She woke up scared.
"Is Tony alright?" she asked sitting up on her own.
Gibbs pointed her towards the second hospital bed that occupied the room. Tony was in it. Snoring.
Ziva instantly calmed down.
"When I was there, I could feel this darkness trying to surround me, trying to take me away. It was so tempting to just give in and let go. Tony promised he would find me. Even when it was tempting to let go, all
I could think about was Tony…Gibbs, I think I love him."
Gibbs couldn't help himself, "Ziva you spend half your day working with him…"
"No, Gibbs, I think I'm in love with him."
Gibbs gently shepherded Ziva back to lying down.
"You know what Ziva? Tony said those exact same words about you."
Ziva smiled and closed her eyes.
Two days later
Gibbs watched from the door. Tony was lying on Ziva's bed. She had her head resting on his shoulder and her hand holding the Star of David necklace that was put back on her neck. Tony read to her from a book
that McGee had brought for Ziva. It was a collection of Greek myths and Tony was reading about Orpheus and Eurydice. Orpheus had fallen in love with a nymph named Eurydice. On their wedding day Eurydice
was running away from Apollo's son Aristaeus, in doing so she was bitten by a poisonous snake and died. Orpheus charmed his way into the underworld and convinced Hades to let him have Eurydice back. Hades
allowed him to do so as long as he took Eurydice by the hand and did not look back at her until they had reached the sunlight. As Orpheus left the underground with his wife in hand, he grew more and more
agitated that Hades had played a trick on him and did not give him back Eurydice. Finally he could not take it any more and turned back. He then realized, he was in fact holding Eurydice's hand and he had to
watch her vanish from his grasp.
Gibbs thought about the story and then thought about Tony's relationship with Ziva. If Tony had been put in the same situation, he would have gone through the bowels of hell to bring Ziva home. If he were
given the same condition as Orpheus, Gibbs would have bet good money that Tony wouldn't have looked back. He probably wouldn't have looked until they were two or three miles into the sunlight just to be
sure. Gibbs laughed softly to himself; maybe today would be a good day to redefine rule 12.