AN: Last chapter! Thanks for all the support. I really tried to make this sequel live up to the hype, even though my muse fought me the whole way. But I think it turned out all right. Please review and tell me what you thought of the story!
Shout-outs: Meilea2010, Rubywolf, diana teo, Gaddkzmp, TinTin11, combatcrazy, Tiffany331, Tango Eight
"Agent DiNozzo is out of surgery, and the anesthesia should wear off in a few minutes. He's allowed visitors, but don't overwhelm him. He needs rest for his body to recover. He's in Room 14," the doctor said kindly. Gibbs, Abby, McGee, and Ziva all breathed a sigh of relief before heading down the hall. Ducky lingered behind to discuss Tony's condition in more detail with the doctor.
Sprinting ahead of the others, Abby rushed down the hallway into Tony's room.
Tony was laying still, the only movement being the small rise and fall of his battered chest. Both his ankles had been repaired in surgery, and were now casted and propped up on a few pillows, poking out from beneath the white sheet.
Careful to avoid his many injuries, Abby crawled in bed next to him, and began her regretful apology.
"Oh, Tony, I'm so sorry. I was right here, right next to you, and let that jerk take you away. I looked him right in the eye! You'd think he would have this sinister gleam or something, like in the movies, but he didn't. He looked nothing like Hans Gruber or Alex DeLarge or any of the classic bad guys!" Abby cried, expecting Tony to be only half-conscious. "I'm sorry, Tony," she whispered.
"It's fine, Abs. I know what you mean," a voice said groggily. Abby's eyes widened in surprise. "He had more of a Verbal Kint vibe. Didn't know he was bad until he wanted us to know."
McGee strolled in behind Abby, followed by Ziva. Grinning kindly at his friend, he said, "Ok, I only got one of those references. Yes, I know I'm not as cultured as you. Explain, please?"
Tony opened his mouth to begin, but Abby cut him off. "You, shush. You need to rest." Then, tuning to McGee, she continued. "Hans Gruber was the villain from Die Hard. Alex DeLarge was the villain from A Clockwork Orange. And Verbal Kint-"
"A.K.A. Keyser Söze, is the stutterer-turned-conman from The Usual Suspects," McGee finished proudly.
Tony raised his eyebrows. "McKind-of-cultured! I'm impressed!" His voice was scratchy and raw, but everyone was grateful just to be hearing it at all.
McGee shrugged, still smiling. "I did my homework."
"Think you can help me out here?" Tony asked, embarrassment tingeing his bruised cheeks. "Sitting up makes me feel like I have more of an advantage." Abby reached around the side of the bed and held down the button which inclined the bed. They all noticed how Tony held his breath at the movement, and let it out shakily when the motion stopped.
"So, what's the verdict?" Tony asked with good-natured impatience. He tried to shift in the bed, but fell back with a wince of pain. Abby frowned and rubbed his arm comfortingly. Tony continued, his question coming out much weaker than he would've like. "Can I leave yet?"
Gibbs, who'd entered the room unannounced as usual, snorted.
"Tony, you just woke up," McGee said incredulously. "You were nearly beaten, electrocuted, and stabbed to death, then kidnapped from the hospital and roughed up some more. You were rushed into surgery, which you just got out of, and you haven't even heard what's wrong with you! You'll be lucky if they let you leave in the next week!"
Tony sighed. "Chillax, Probie. I was just asking," he said quietly. There was a short silence in which everyone just stood, examining their friend. Tony broke the awkwardness with a soft inquiry. "What exactly am I in here for anyways? Well, besides the obvious," he stated, gesturing toward his heavily casted lower legs. Looking at them brought a shadow of pain to his eye, but he blinked away the unpleasant memory and waited for an answer.
"Well, my dear boy, it's quite the list," Ducky said, walking into the room with a smile. "Where would you like me to start?"
Tony considered this for a moment before answering, "Let's go top to bottom."
Ducky chuckled. "Top to bottom it is…As far as the concussion you already had, you've managed to up it from Grade 2 to Grade 3. That should heal up with time, as you already know from experience. Your face is still bruised, more so than it was when you were last here. But being the lucky lad you are, you sustained no fractures to either the jaw or cheekbones. You also have extensive bruising on your torso and abdomen, some of which was bone deep. This isn't inconsistent with a fall down a flight of stairs, but it will be painful for quite some time. And in addition to the 3 broken ribs you already had, you've managed to crack 2 more in your tumble.
"Now, your knife wound was slightly infected, which caused a low grade fever. They've put you on antibiotics, which should clear up the infection in the next few days. But they'll be checking it periodically after that to be certain. You had a hairline fracture on your left hipbone, but it was very small, so that shouldn't bother you too much. Your legs from hip to lower calf, while severely bruised, are relatively unharmed. Which brings us to the bottom…"
Tony grimaced and took a deep breath. Ducky continued sympathetically.
"There was severe damage to both ankles, as I'm sure you know. How you managed to climb those stairs is a great wonder. You see, you have not only multiple fractures on both, but also immense ligament and tendon damage. The talented surgeons spent a few hours pinning the joints back together and repairing the damage best they could. The injuries were not an easy to fix, but the doctors believe you'll regain full mobility, albeit with months of physical therapy."
Tony allowed relief to seep into his system. "So…I'm gonna be ok? One-hundred percent?"
Ducky smiled. "If you don't rush things and obey your limits, you should be just fine, my boy."
Tony put his hands casually behind his head. "That's great news. I'll be back to work in no time!" Tony said with a triumphant grin.
"Think again, DiNozzo," Gibbs growled. "You're staying on sick leave until I see fit. And until then, I'm not letting you out of my sight."
"Boss, surely you can't be-" Tony began indignantly.
"I am serious," Gibbs said sternly. Then, with a smile, he added, "And don't call me Shirley."
Tony's grin widened. "Boss! I had no idea you'd seen Airplane!"
"Haven't," Gibbs replied. "But it's amazing the things you can learn from a concussed agent." Tony inwardly groaned.
The group talked and laughed for a while, all immensely grateful for the normalcy.
. . .
"Boss?" Tony rasped quietly. It was late at night, and Gibbs was seated in the chair beside Tony. The others had gone home hours ago, and Gibbs had hoped Tony was sleeping.
"Yeah, Tony?" Gibbs said gently, blue eyes catching Tony's in a concerned gaze. The hazel was sparkling with unshed tears.
After a few seconds, voice thick with emotion, Tony replied quietly, "Thank you."
Gibbs smiled softly, and reached out to ruffle Tony's hair. "My pleasure, DiNozzo. Just wish I could have gotten to you sooner."
"Not your fault," Tony murmured. He blinked away the moisture in his eyes. "You think I'm gonna be ok?" He asked, utterly vulnerable.
Gibbs held his gaze for a moment before firmly replying, "I know you will be."
"Th'nks, Bosss," Tony slurred, sleep luring him in.
"Rest up, Tony. I got your six."
And with that, Tony's eyes slid closed and he fell into a peaceful, uninterrupted slumber.
Gibbs watched his agent through admiring eyes, knowing he'd be ok. They all would be. Just another roadblock, Gibbs thought to himself. He leaned back comfortably, content in the fact that his agent had fought through and survived another day. With a last long look at the sleeping man, Gibbs made a silent promise. To his agent and to himself. That's the last time I let you get caught in the middle. I've got your six, Tony. Always.
In his deep slumber, a soft smile graced Tony's lips. Even in sleep…he knew.