A/N: Sorry for the delay! I've gotten bogged down with homework and my hours are changing at school; that's not to mention the wedding plans and the major house cleaning I've been doing! I'm tired! Seriously, it's 3:47 AM and this is the first free time I've had in awhile so…here it is! The last part:
After seeing the agitation of those in the waiting room Hawkes decided it was better to have them visit after Mac had been settled into his own room. He had gotten a lot of argument but there was nothing they could do. The ME had kept that fact that Mac wouldn't be getting his own room until he woke to himself. 'Some things are better left unsaid' he mused to himself.
It was for that reason that the only ones in the room for the past two hours had been himself and the NCIS agent. He'd just started for his third cup of coffee when he heard stirring behind him.
"Doc," Gibbs turned his focus to his friend as he ordered, "Open your eyes Mackenna."
Hawkes appeared at his side in an instant, echoing the order, "Mac, open your eyes for me."
Gibbs stepped to the other side to allow the ME to do…well…whatever it was a doctor did. He watched at the younger man expertly got Mac to open his eyes.
"Mac, do you know where you are?" Hawkes voice was soothing to other man's pounding head.
Mac looked around and grimaced, "The hospital."
"Afraid so," The ME agreed as he brought a light out to look at his boss's pupils. "Do you remember what happened?"
"I was dizzy," Mac closed his eyes forcing the man to turn the pen light off, "I remember talking to Stella and nothing."
"You passed out Detective Taylor," Dr. Ellison walked in, nodding to the other two, "Scared your partner, ME, and you even got the Gunny to make an appearance."
"Gunny…" Mac's voice trailed off as he saw the man who had moved into the shadows of the room. 'Oh crap,' he fretted to himself. He opened his mouth to say something but changed his mind. Sometimes it was safer to stay silent.
After a quick once over Ellison smiled, "We're going to keep you for observation for a night or two. You'll be moved to a private room in about ten minutes. Do you have any questions?"
Mac shook his head while Gibbs gave the doctor a nod of thanks. Hawkes walked into the hallway to talk to the man. The two remaining didn't talk.
"An orderly is coming," Hawkes walked back in ten minutes later, "I'm going to have the others start upstairs. Gibbs, if it's ok, I think we should let them in right away; they're anxious and I don't think I can hold them back much longer."
"Fine," Gibbs gave a one word answer.
Minutes after he managed to situate himself comfortably on the bed, two bodies fairly fly into the room.
"Mac!" Twin voices called out.
"Don, Danny," Mac greeted trying to seem better then he actually felt. He gave them a soft smile, "What are you doing here?"
"We've been waiting to see you," Flack answered, a hint of 'duh' in his voice that made the visiting agent smirk.
An eyebrow rose, "How long have you been here?"
"Since you came in," Danny supplied, his eyes showing his thoughts, "We were worried."
"I'm fine," Mac gave a smile, "You need to go home and sleep. We'll have a busy day tomorrow."
"Mac," Flack and Danny spoke as one again, both ready to protest the thought of their boss coming back to work so soon.
"I think he met to say you'll have a busy day tomorrow," Gibbs interrupted from his corner, "He needs to rest."
The boys nodded their nodded their heads as they started to say good bye. Gibbs watched fascinated. He noticed instantly the connection his friend had with the two young men.
Flack was nodding at whatever his boss was telling him, a calm look finally entering his eyes as he started to laugh; it was obvious that with Flack the relationship was more of a big brother, little brother one than anything else.
Danny on the other head was still fretting. He anxiously straightened Mac's pillow and then blanket, nodding his head at what he was being told by his boss. The fear didn't leave his eyes though it did diminish slightly when Mac poked his stomach gently; as he let out a burst of laughter Gibbs saw instantly the father, son connection.
His anger at his younger friend grew stronger. How Mac could put himself in danger when there were, at the very least, two people who needed him he didn't know. What he did know was this: it would never happen again.
"It's good to be home," Mac murmured as he allowed his friend to help him inside his apartment.
"I'd imagine," Came the soft response.
The CSI said nothing. He knew that the Gunny was still upset with him. Hell, he'd be upset too if the tables were turned but still…
"I said I was sorry," Mac tried not to snap.
Gibbs shook his head, "Sorry doesn't always make things better."
"Gunny…" The younger man's voice trailed off, "Why is Hawkes here?"
"Your ME is staying with you for awhile," Gibbs sat opposite the CSI, "I have to leave tomorrow which means I can't make sure you're following his…whatever he called it."
"I don't need a babysitter," The words came out angry.
"Could've fooled me," Gibbs stood and nodded to the man in the doorway, "You want to explain what's going to happen?"
Hawkes nodded, taking a seat next to the visiting agent, "Sure thing." He turned to his boss. "Somebody dealing with exhaustion is normally recommended to take a leave of absence from work. Since I know how you feel about that, I figured we could come up with a different plan." He waited until Mac nodded his approval. "Because of the long hours you work I've changed some things around. For one, you need one day off a week. On that day off you will have eight hours of sleep; no more, no less. When you are working a long case you will be required to nap while the tests are running. Even if it means a hot dog from a vendor, you will have three meals with a small snack between lunch and dinner, and a second small snack between dinner and bed."
"I don't eat that much on a normal day," Mac protested.
"You need to gain at least fifteen pounds," He was informed firmly. "I've seen you drink up to a cup of coffee every hour. I'm not going to stop your caffeine intake but I am cutting it down to one cup every three hours."
"Hawkes," Mac started.
"Mac," The ME simply stared, not saying another word.
"I think I know how much coffee I can tolerate," Mac tried to be calm.
"I'm not saying you don't," The younger man refuted, "The more caffeine you put into your system the less sleep you'll get. You're body collapsed on you Mac. You need to sleep and eat. You can't do that if you have that much sugar in your body."
"My system," The Lead CSI tried to keep an indignity squeak out of his voice, "You should see Gunny. I think he bleeds coffee."
"That's enough Mac," The Gunny was firm.
"What," The CSI protested, "I don't need to be told what to do and when to do it." He turned to his doctor, "I'll be fine on my own so you don't need to stay and you don't need to hold my hand."
Hawkes sighed but before he could talk he was interrupted, "Hey doc, why don't you go get some lunch for all of us; you can show Mac what exactly he can and can't eat."
Hawked nodded and took the proffered money, "Remember our deal."
Gibbs nodded his head, he remembered and he would keep his word. By the time the ME came back, Mac Taylor would agree to his staying over to supervise what he ate and when he slept. It would happen, one way or the other.
As the silence stretched Mac couldn't help but squirm in his seat. He hated the child like feeling he had in the pit of his stomach. He wouldn't give in to this though; he just wouldn't.
Another tense minute passed and with a roll of his eyes the CSI stood and started for his room. If that was the game his Gunny wanted to play that was fine, but he wasn't going to join. He was an adult and as such he could make his own choices.
He looked at his bed and suppressed a sigh. He really was tired though he'd never admit it. As he made his way to the bed he was so deep in his thoughts that it took him a moment to realize that instead of his intended position of laying on his back, ankles crossed, on hand on his stomach, the other arm thrown across his eyes (as was his way when he lay down to rest) he was on his stomach, his upper body on the bed, his lower half over something….or should he say someone.
"I don't know what the hell kind of game your playing at Mackenna Joseph but let me tell you now," Gibbs had snuck up on the man, using his unawareness as leverage to get him over his lap, "That I'm sick and tired of your games."
"What are you talking about?" Mac demanded to know, trying to get himself up right. The fact that he wasn't even causing a strain on the older man let him know just how exhausted he really was. He didn't even let himself think about the fact that he'd just been called by his first and middle name. Surely things weren't that bad.
"What do I mean?" Gibbs pulled his hand up and let it fall with a harsh resounding smack. He continued, "You passed out at work because you weren't sleeping or eating."
"It was one meal and a few hours of sleep," Mac protested trying harder to get out of the predicament he'd gotten himself into as he realized that yes, things were truly that bad.
Gibbs didn't dignify the response with one of his own. He let out a slight growl before sweeping down the Mac's jogging pants, leaving him only in his boxers and began to let the swats fall harder. If Mac wanted to do this the hard way…then the hard way it was.
"Damn it Jethro, I'm not a kid," Mac was finding it harder and harder to keep silent.
"No?" Gibbs scoffed, "You didn't eat." *SWAT, SWAT* "You didn't sleep." *SWAT, SWAT* "The consequences of that were you landed in the hospital." *SWAT, SWAT* "You scared your team." *SWAT, SWAT* "Your ME got hired as your doctor in the matter of seconds." *SWAT, SWAT* "You scared me half to death." *SWAT, SWAT* "And now you want to lie about." *SWAT, SWAT* "Am I missing anything?" *SWAT, SWAT*
"Just your mind," Mac managed to ground out. He let out, what he considered to be, an undignified yelp as Gibbs suddenly lowered on knee and raised the other, letting the swats land on the part of the bottom that let Mac know that sitting would be painful for a little while.
"Ok," Mac backtracked, "Jethro, I'm sorry!"
"You better be," Gibbs announced. "Those boys look up to you." *SWAT, SWAT* "Do you realize what would happen to them if something happened to you?" *SWAT, SWAT, SWAT, SWAT*"Do you realize what Stella went through?" *SWAT, SWAT, SWAT* "Do you know what I went through?" *SWAT, SWAT, SWAT* "It better never happen again Mackenna!" *SWAT, SWAT* "If it does I will take a leave of absence to stay with you while you take a leave of absence." *SWAT, SWAT* "Got it?"
Mac nodded his head, "Got it!"
Gibbs aimed the last of his swats on the fuller part of the backside, he could feel the heat radiating through the boxers and knew he needed to finish fast.
"You are going to let Hawkes stay here." *SWAT, SWAT* "You are going to listen to him." *SWAT, SWAT* "You will do everything he tells you without complaint." *SWAT, SWAT* "You are going to let him call me with updates." *SWAT, SWAT* "If you don't agree to any of this let me know now." *SWAT, SWAT* "Do you agree?"
"Yes," Mac nodded frantically, silent tears pouring down his face, "I-I agree! Stop, Jethro, please!"
Without another word Gibbs stopped his assault on the up turned backside. He gently eased the jogging pants back up and helped the man stand up.
Neither man was big on hugging but sometimes a hug was just needed and so Gibbs pulled him into a tight embrace.
"I'm sorry," Mac worked out through his still silent tears.
"I was terrified Mackenna," Gibbs admitted, "Don't scare me like that again."
Mac said nothing, allowing himself to hug the Gunny tighter for a few moments. His eyes felt heavy as he allowed the other man to guide him onto his bed, laying on his side.
"Go to sleep Mac," Gibbs pulled the covers over his friend's shoulder, "I'll be here when you wake up."
Mac let himself fall asleep. Maybe now, things would get back to normal.
Mac woke up two hours after he'd fallen asleep. He'd gone into the kitchen where Gibbs and Hawkes were waiting. He eased into his seat, trying not to show how uncomfortable it was for him to sit on the hard, wooden chairs. With no prompting from his Gunny, Mac apologized to his ME and thanked the younger man for agreeing to stay with him until he got better. Gibbs left an hour later with the promise that he would call often.
For the next three weeks, Hawkes stayed over at Mac's place, making sure the older man slept and ate properly. He kept the NCIS agent up to date of the CSI's progress. It took Mac two months to gain back the ten pounds he lost and the additional five pounds that made Hawkes happy.
Even though he'd suffer through insomnia, Mac learned to at least lie down and let his body relax. Sometimes he'd fall asleep without even realizing it. Always, would Mac remember the consequences of his folly and vowed to never let it happen again.