"I am so very sorry. There was nothing we could do. He's gone."
Sara McGee screamed.
Gasping on air she didn't have; she bolted upright in her bed; waking up. With tears streaming down her face and her body covered in sweat; she remained lost in the reality she'd just dreamt; for all of thirty seconds; before it dawned on her; blessedly; that it had only been her worst nightmare.
Looking at the clock by her bed; she was shocked to see 1:00 AM. Feeling a gnawing in her gut that something was seriously wrong; that the nightmare was; in actuality; a dire warning; she dialed her brother's hospital room; knowing Agent Gibbs was sitting with Tim; keeping his normal nighttime vigil.
"Yeah, Gibbs." his rough sleepy voice answered the phone on it's 6th ring.
"Agent Gibbs; it's Sara. I've just a horrible nightmare that Tim died while we were sleeping! PLEASE check on him; now!" she cried.
"Okay, Sara. I'll call you back." Gibbs practically dropped the phone and checked for Tim's pulse; sure enough; it was almost not there! Reaching over his agent; Gibbs slapped down on the call button and used his other hand to brace himself. Part of his brain wanted to shake the boy awake; make him talk; but part of his brain was afraid if he did that; it would make the situation worse.
Staggering back in shock; as the nurses came running and instantly began working on Tim; Gibbs desperately worked to calm himself down and send up a silent prayer for his agent. Please; don't let it be too late to save him! Please; don't take him from us!
It seemed like forever; but in reality; it was just 10 minutes later; his angel in the nurse's uniform approached him and smiled at him with relief on her face. "Agent Gibbs; he's okay now. You probably just saved his life! He had an allergic reaction to the new pain meds we put him on last night. His heart rhythm was dangerously low If we hadn't caught it when we did..." she left it unfinished.
"Wasn't me; his sister called me. Gotta call her back." he replied almost on autmation; responding to a voice that was speaking to him. His mind still seemed numb; his body frozen in place. Nurse Johnson; his 'angel' took pity on him; knowing the sister's # was in the file; she retrieved the information and a fresh cup of coffee for the man; came back with both; giving Gibbs the coffee and going round the bed to make the call.
"Yes? Oh, my God; you're not Agent Gibbs! My nightmare was real? My brother's gone?" Sara began becoming hysterical.
"NO! Ms McGee; your brother is okay. Thanks to you warning Agent Gibbs. We were able to catch the problem and fix it. Your brother is okay now. He'll be fine after some rest. We've put him back on a heart monitor just to be on the safe side."
"Oh, Thank God!" Sara cried in total relief.
"And you; Ms McGee." Nurse Johnson said kindly.
"Agent Gibbs okay? I mean; I figured he'd be the one to call me back." Sara explained her concern.
"He's recovering. It was quite a shock for him. He'll be fine."
"I'm coming down there!" Sara declared.
"Ma'am; you need your sleep and your brother needs his. It would be wiser for you just to go back to sleep. I promise you; Tim is okay now. Besides; Agent Gibbs doesn't look like he's going to even think about closing his eyes again. He'll be here for him."
"Okay. And thank you!"
"You're welcome, Ms. McGee. See you later."
As Nurse Johnson hung up the phone; Gibbs finally seemed to regain his equilibrium. Shaking his head slightly; as if to clear the remnants of the horrible shock he'd just recieved; Gibbs looked over at Tim. Stepping up to his bed; needing to feel that correct pulse; get the wrong one out of his head; Gibbs sighed in relief when he did feel the normal pulse in Tim's neck. Coming back around the bed; he pulled his chair back up to the bed; where he could reach out and touch Tim and keep watch on his now re-attached heart monitor.
Nurse Johnson smiled encouragingly at him. "He may wake up in some serious pain; we're not able to give him anything for a while. And when we do; it'll only be tylenol." she warned.
Gibbs silently nodded his understanding as he; with the parental instincts of someone who'd just damn near lost another child; reached out and affectionately smoothed Tim's hair; needing to feel the warmth of his life underneath his own hand. God, that had been too close! Thank you for not taking him away from us! his heart rejoiced.
It had been a long and exhausting night. Gibbs' eyes felt like they were on fire; they'd just endured the longest tennis match in history; going from Tim to his heart monitor countless times; for hours now. Thankfully; the young man hadn't been in enough pain to wake up yet. The more sleep he got; the better off he'd be; especially since his heart needed to recover from the events of the night. But even as that thought crossed through Gibbs' mind; Tim began to grow restless; his eyes began to flutter and Gibbs scrambled to disengauge his brain and return to comforting his waking agent; placing his hand on his arm:
"Easy, Tim. Take it slow." Gibbs soothed.
"Boss? What happened, my chest hurts; everything seems to hurt." Tim quietly asked in fear and physical pain. He hadn't felt this bad since he'd first woken up in the hospital.
"We almost lost you a couple of hours ago. The pain meds they put you on last night; slowed your heart down almost fatally."
Tim's face lost all color.
"Hey, you're okay now. Relax. It's a small setback. You're back on the heart monitor and you're not on any pain meds right now; won't be until after you eat breakfast. And then it'll just be Tylenol for you."
"But, I almost..." Tim's ashen face only slightly relaxed.
"Yeah, Tim; you almost left us a couple of hours ago. In fact; it was Sara who saved you. She had a nightmare that turned out to be the warning we needed to catch the problem before it was too late. Damn good thing she acted on her instincts like she did." Gibbs explained.
"Oh, wow!" Tim breathed out. "What? I mean where..."
"Where was I; your supposed nightwatchman? Gibbs asked dryly; not entirely hiding the guilt he was feeling. "Sleeping on the job."
Tim now felt more than physical pain. He hurt for Gibbs. He knew how horrible he'd feel if the shoe was on the other foot. "Boss, don't. Please! What would you be telling me right now if the shoe was on the other foot?" Tim demanded quietly but with spirit.
"I know, Tim. I'm just glad you're okay. It's early; you think you can go back to sleep?" Gibbs asked.
"No, I think I need to start trying to move around. Isn't this thing portable?" Tim asked.
"Yeah. Take it easy; though. Your body's been through hell." his boss warned.
"Yeah, I know; I just need to get it movin again; or they'll never let me go home." Tim explained.
After helping him get out of bed and onto his feet; Gibbs let Tim work his way to the bathroom; listening for any signs of trouble.
When Tim made his way back to bed some 10 minutes later; he was exhausted and seriously hurting.
"Just rest until they bring you breakfast; all right?" Gibbs directed in concern.
Silently nodding in pained agreement; Tim gladly laid his head back and closed his eyes under the watchful eye of his boss.
Gibbs silently moved closer to the door; determined to head off any and all intrusions that weren't dire; and to keep all that were necessary; quiet.
When Tony arrived with an anxious Sara in tow; Tim was had only managed to fall back asleep a short 15 minutes ago. Shushing them; Gibbs then let them take up his post by Tim's bed; as he left the room in search of coffee.
Twenty-four hours later; Tim McGee was cleared to go home. Now only taking Tylenol for pain as needed; his body was feeling much less battered and his team had finally recovered; mostly; from his near-death. Tim; however; was still trying to cope with it. It seemed like his brain had gotten stuck in the horror of the idea of dying while he was sleeping; and now he was afraid to sleep. It had taken him getting beyond exhausted and his body shutting down on its own; before he got any sleep after waking up for breakfast the previous morning. He was privately working at overcoming the fear.
Once Ducky had arrived and been apprised of Tim's near fatal situation; he'd planted himself at the young man's bedside. With Ducky in attendance; Gibbs had finally taken his leave; and went home for some much needed sleep Neither Tony nor Abby approached Tim about anything personal all afternoon; wanting instead; to focus on his recovery first; their relationship second. Gibbs; when he'd rejoined them in Tim's room at dinner that night; silently agreed; and only kept his attention on Tim's health.
Sarah and Abby talked over lunch the day before; both determined that coming that close to losing him had been a wake up call; fences needed mending and if Abby expected to be able to mend hers with Tim; she'd need the practice and the sisterly advice of his little sister.
Tony; however; hadn't waited very long before he'd made his amends to his Probie; After dinner; the night before; Tony had cleared the room; for a while; wanting to talk to Tim alone; and they'd talked things out; made peace with each other; and started back on the road to cementing their brotherhood. Gibbs had smiled with pride when he came back in the room; seeing the mended relationship.
Ziva had come by earlier in the day; taken her shift as his watchman and apologised for her aloofness; explaining that it had been her fear of losing him; that had shocked her into not knowing what to say or do around him. Tim had taken it in stride; understanding where she was coming from; knowing her background and the losses she'd suffered; well; what she'd shared of them; anyway. Their relationship had been put back on track with no trouble at all.
Abby had left word that she'd be available to talk to him when he was ready.
Tim; acting on Gibbs' order; to for once in his life; look out for himself first; kept his relationship with Abby on ice; not wanting to deal with her until after he was out of the hospital Somehow he didn't feel "out of the woods' as long as he was here. So; it was a hugh sigh of relief when Tony wheeled him out of the hospital to Gibbs' waiting car; and even though he slept in the car; he felt a huge sense of relief when he saw the house in front of him. Wait! Gibbs' house? Why?
"You didn't think you were going back to your apartment; staying alone yet; did you?" Gibbs asked dryly.
"Well, yeah; I guess I did." Tim admitted.
"Thanks Boss" Tim grinned at him
Gibbs smiled back.