Well I hope I know what I am doing! I have had the first few chapters of this written for a year at least but, because I like to stay as close to canon as possible, I have had to rewrite parts of it following the incredible 'Flesh and Blood.' For that reason the story will be AU but ONLY to the extent that I ask you to imagine the events of 'Leap of Faith' take place in season 7, everything else is true to canon events. I hope.
Thanks to Miss VP for the beta and to everyone who has encouraged me, both to start writing again and by reading and reviewing my Masquerade snippet. Hope you enjoy this.
Disclaimer: NCIS and its characters do not belong to me and I am making no money from this.
DiNozzo twisted on the bed trying to get comfortable. His body ached for sleep but every time he closed his eyes he was back, hanging from the seventh floor of that damned parking lot. Glancing at the bedside clock he grimaced as the display taunted him with its cheery 03:05. He had managed to fall asleep when he first got to bed yet his head had barely touched the pillow before he found himself in the grip of a nightmare, his subconscious coming up with countless heights for him to fall from, his hand always slipping from the Probie's grasp before he could be pulled up to safety.
Worse still were the times that his team mates were the ones hanging over a drop waiting to be rescued only to slip from his grasp.
Sighing he rubbed at his eyes giving up on sleep. He winced as the pain in his shoulders and back attacked anew. It hadn't seemed so bad earlier coming down from the adrenaline high. Then, back in the squad room, he had slipped easily into his accustomed role, masking his aches with practised ease. Now though his shoulders burned, especially the left one. That arm had taken the brunt of his fall, he reflected, remembering the mind numbing terror of hanging there with one hand until he could manage to grasp the wall with the other. Until yesterday heights hadn't particularly bothered him, only time would tell if his experience would have a lasting effect.
Tony shook his head gently to clear it and went into his bathroom in search of some painkillers. He caught sight of himself in the mirror as he opened the cabinet and grimaced, his left shoulder was definitely swollen, the skin taut and red. Damnit, the last thing he needed was desk duty. Sighing again he decided to try another shower, the hot water had helped to ease the aches when he first got home, it couldn't do any harm to try it again.
Half an hour later he turned off the water as it began to run cold and tried a few gentle stretches. White hot pain lanced across his back, taking his breath away. He closed his eyes to ride it out cursing the stiffness that was aggravating the injury. As soon as he was able he quickly swallowed a couple of the strongest painkillers he had before heading into his kitchen for coffee. Waiting for it to brew he looked at the clock, 04:10. Shaking his head ruefully he tipped the drink into a travel mug then carefully dressed and headed out. He might as well head into the office, plenty there to keep him busy, then, if he didn't feel any better, he could see Ducky when the elderly ME got in. Smiling to himself he decided that he must be growing up but he certainly wasn't going to put any of the team at risk by not being able to back them up properly and, right now, he doubted that he'd be able to hold his gun, let alone pull the trigger.
07:30 hours: Squad room.
"Where the hell is DiNozzo?" Gibbs barked as he strode back to his desk, coffee in hand.
"I haven't seen him Boss," McGee spoke up quickly, recognising the ex marine's mood. "But he must be here; his car was in the garage when I got in."
"Well I know that McGee," Gibbs' reply was caustic. "My car is next to it."
McGee took a breath, marvelling anew at how Tony seemed so ready to go head to head with Gibbs when he was in one of his moods. Fortunately for him Ziva chose that moment to enter the bullpen, diverting the older man's attention. Gibbs eyed her looking over at DiNozzo's empty desk then without a word turned and headed for the elevator and Abby's lab.
As he entered he marched straight over and silenced her music before turning to her indignant look. "Hey Abs, you seen Tony this morning?" he asked, an uneasy feeling settling in his gut.
"Not this morning Bossman." Abby looked at him assessingly, noting the coffee in his hand and the absence of the usual CafPow. "What's up?" she asked after a moment, her usual exuberance noticeably lacking.
"Probably nothing," Gibbs allowed.
"But you have a feeling?"
"Yeah," he sighed. "His car is in the garage, he got in before me but no-one's seen him."
"Normally he goes home to change if he comes in at night." As she spoke Abby's fingers danced over her keyboard calling up the information from the security cameras in the garage. "What time did you get in Gibbs?" she asked. "I'll work back from there."
"06:45," he replied. "Tony's car was here then but I went to get coffee and had a video conference in MTAC before going to the squad room. His things weren't at his desk."
Abby remained uncharacteristically quiet as she scanned the footage as quickly as she could. When she had gone back two hours she suddenly stilled.
"What?" Gibbs was at her side instantly.
"This is not good," she said anxiously. "This is so not good."
As they watched Tony got out of his car moving stiffly, causing Gibbs to frown, recognising instantly the reason the younger man had likely arrived so early. He'd done it often enough himself after all, what he hadn't done though was what happened next.
"How the hell did he get in?" he growled, watching as DiNozzo suddenly reached for his gun, his movements hampered by his obvious discomfort. His target was a black clad figure whose face was hidden behind a balaclava. The figure raised his hands calmly enough, turning as Tony clearly instructed him to do before heading over to put his hands around one of the support pillars lining the cavernous space. No sooner had he done so allowing DiNozzo to reach for his cuffs than a second figure appeared from behind the pillar and, without a moments pause, shot without hesitation. DiNozzo dropped like a stone, his gun skittering from his hand to lie unheeded at the base of the pillar.