A/N: I wasn't expecting to post this story so soon after Heartland Connection, but last Saturday my beloved 18yo cat died after slowly fading away for hours and I need to keep myself busy in order not to think about it. Also getting reviews always make me smile, so…here you go.
By Gunnery Sergeant
Sequel to "Reconnection, Tony Version" and "Heartland Connection"
Thanks to Finlaure for the betareading!
Everything had happened so fast Gibbs barely had the time to understand what happened.
One moment, Tony, Ziva, Abby, Ducky, McGee and he were walking in the tunnel that led from the NCIS building to the parking garage, talking about the upcoming Easter lunch they were organizing at his place. The next, just after his brain registered the smell of gas in the air, he found himself slammed against a wall, his breath knocked out by the force of the impact.
He barely had the time to lie down and cover his head with his arms before parts of the ceiling over him collapsed in a cloud of dust and debris.
When calm returned, Gibbs rose to his knees, coughing, and assessed the situation.
They were trapped inside the tunnel. The ceiling had collapsed both in front and behind them, blocking them in a windowless rectangle of concrete and bricks. The emergency lights were on and one of the lateral walls had lost part of its facing, baring a water-leaking pipe.
He could see his people laying or rising on their knees a few meters from him and he called, "Are you all right?" before he started coughing again.
Gibbs walked toward the pipe and cupped his hands to collect the water. As hoped, it was clean and pure, and he drank it to free his mouth and throat from all the dust he had breathed in.
"Yes, Boss, we are," McGee answered, coughing, "at least Abby and I."
"I'm fine too, Gibbs," Ziva croaked. "But I think my left arm might be broken."
"Let me check you, my dear," Ducky replied, brushing the dust away from his suit. "I'm fine too, Jethro."
"Good. There is clean water here, if you need it." Gibbs answered before realizing something. He hadn't heard Tony's voice.
"Are you okay DiNozzo? Where are you?" he asked aloud, as he scanned the tunnel looking for the younger man.
"I am…here…Boss," was the feeble answer, coming from behind a heap of debris, and Gibbs ran there, followed by the others.
He felt the blood chill in his veins when he saw his mate's condition. Tony was sprawled on the floor, almost nailed to the ground by a one meter long piece of broken metallic pipe. The ugly thing protruded from his chest, moving up and down with each of his raspy breaths.
"Ducky!" Gibbs called urgently, as he fell on his knees near Tony. He wanted to help his mate, but he didn't have any idea of what he could do.
"Don't…feel…too…good…," Tony whispered, as a bloody foam appeared on his lips.
"Move away, Jethro! Let me see him," Ducky ordered, and Gibbs did as asked and sat down at his mate's other side. He looked on with anguish as Ducky took a pair of scissors from his ever present medical bag and cut away the shirt around Tony's wound.
Gibbs heard Abby's cry and McGee's gasp as they saw the extent of the wound revealed. The piece of pipe had penetrated deeply into Tony's torso, and looked to have caused massive internal damage.
Ducky raised his anguished eyes to meet Gibbs' and shook his head. "I can't do anything to help him, Jethro. I can just give him something for the pain."
He just stared, as near him Abby started to sob.
It couldn't be happening. His lover couldn't be dying.
"Boss…" Tony rasped, and Gibbs looked down at him.
"Yes, Tony?" he answered and leaned forward.
"Don't…stop…living…again…after…I'm…gone…Remember? You…promised…" Tony gasped slowly in pain.
"I did, but it's not the time to talk about it. Help is coming."
"Not…a…good…liar. Love it…in you…Love you…Love you…so much…."
"I love you too, Tony," Gibbs answered, taking his mate's too cool hand in his own, uncaring of their audience.
"Kiss me...want to go…with the taste…of your lips…on mine…" Tony rasped, the look in his eyes almost feverish.
"No," Gibbs shook his head. "You aren't going anywhere. Do you hear me, DiNozzo? You. Won't. Die." He repeated the same words he had said when Tony had been fighting against the plague, and just like that day, he lightly smacked his mate's head to reinforce his order, even if it was more a caress than a slap.
Tony smiled weakly before he grimaced, "Will do…my best. Now kiss me…please…"
Fighting back his tears, Gibbs leaned over the younger man and kissed him softly, with no pressure. He felt Tony's tongue press against his lips, asking for entry, and he opened his mouth, ready to receive it. But his mate's head lolled away before he could complete the gesture.
"Tony!" Gibbs cried anguished, then sighed in relief when he saw the younger man still struggled to breathe…but for how much longer?
He turned his head toward the garage end of the tunnel. His acute hearing could perceive voices and noises.
"Rescue has arrived outside," he said to Ducky. "How long can Tony hold on?"
"A few minutes, Jethro. No more than ten," Ducky answered sadly.
"You have nothing to help him with?" Ziva asked, her eyes two dark pools of pain.
"No. I just have some morphine, a stimulant, bandages, antiseptic, the necessities to apply stitches…and nothing of this can help Anthony now."
"But I can," Gibbs said, and his voice echoed as loud as a bang in the silent tunnel. What he planned to do went against everything he had been taught by his mother first and Bill Hendricks later, but it was the only thing he could do.
"Of course you can help him, Jethro. Stay near him, hold his hand…It's clear you two love each other very much – I can't believe I've never noticed it – and love can give him the strength to hold on…" Ducky smiled weakly, first at him, then at the others, but Gibbs could see in his eyes it was a hopeless lie.
"No, Duck. I can help him with more than love…" Gibbs let go of Tony's hand and slapped the unconscious man on his cheek.
"Tony!" he called loudly, "DiNozzo! Wake up! Open your eyes!"
Ducky's hand reached out and grabbed Gibbs by the wrist before he could slap Tony again.
"What are you doing, Jethro?!" the M.E. hissed, "Anthony's pain is excruciating! Let him pass away in peace."
"No. He must be awake! I can't help him if he isn't conscious!" He freed his arm and slapped Tony again. "Come on, DiNozzo!"
Gibbs saw Ducky give a look to Ziva and McGee and then tilt his head in the direction of the hysterically grieved man.
"Don't even think to try and take me away from my mate. It would end badly for you," he growled, almost animalistic, and stared hard at his two agents.
Ziva and McGee nodded and Gibbs turned toward Ducky. "Give him the stimulant."
"What?! Jethro, you are out of your mind! I know this must be terrible for you, but there is nothing you can do to help him! It is not humanly possible!" Ducky cried with his voice full of despair.
"Humanly, that's the key word here, Doctor. 'Cause, you see, I'm not human…" and before Ducky could say a single word about his mental state, Gibbs raised his upper lip and bared his fangs.
The second and last part will be up soon. Please review!