Taking Turns

Shellie Williams

Disclaimer: I do not own the characters or places of NCIS.

Rating: K+

Summary: Tim and Tony taking turns getting hurt. H/C. One shot.

Tim followed close, keeping Tony in sight. Tony broke to the left. After a short pause, Tim went right, checking out the rest of the corridor. The bulky bullet-proof vest he wore chaffed beneath his arms. He considered stopping and adjusting it, but knew Gibbs would have his head if he happened to check in and figured out what he was doing, or if Tony ran into trouble and he needed to be there for backup, so he ignored it.

Surveillance video had clearly shown O'Connell entering this abandoned building and not leaving. Their Intel was less than 30 minutes old, and with eyes on the structure 24/7, there didn't seem to be any way possible O'Connell could slip through their fingers this time.

Tony's footsteps grew faint and faded behind him. Still, McGee had the earwig and knew he could call for help at any instant, or be back at Tony's side if he needed him. Gibbs and the other agents were setting up the perimeter - all he and Tony had to do was flush O'Connell out. Front door, back door, side door, roof - any exit would do.

Adrenaline played with his nerves and left his skin feeling tingly and clammy with sweat. Tim swallowed, eyes searching for any movement or telltale shadow to give O'Connell's position away. He rounded the corner and found himself facing a large alcove with doors spaced in even positions along the walls. He blinked and a man dressed in black dove out of one of the open doors. Before he could swing his weapon around, a force rammed hard as a pylon driver into the center of his chest.

Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam!

Each blow drove him back until he stumbled hard against the wall, arms splayed open wide. Air pushed from his lungs, he succumbed helplessly to red-edged blackness. Nerveless fingers opened and his gun dropped forgotten to the floor. Head turned to the side, eyes squeezed shut in unrelenting pain, McGee slid down the wall and folded as if his strings had been cut.

The five shots whipped Tony's head around, and he was shouting into his mic before instinct pushed his feet to run. He rounded the corner. McGee lay against the floor, crumpled like a discarded toy. He skidded to a stop and dropped to his knees, reaching for McGee all at the same time. McGee rolled pliant to his back. Swallowing fear that rose like bile in his throat, Tony gripped the vest and ripped it open. Five raised nubs marred the inside panel. Tony sank to his haunches and released a huge breath, feeling dizzy with relief. He straightened and leaned over McGee, rubbing his knuckles hard against McGee's sternum.

McGee's spine arched and his mouth opened, sucking in a loud gasp of air. His eyes opened wide and his arms flailed, reaching for something.

Tony caught his hands and pressed them down to his chest. "Easy, McGee. Take it easy - just breathe." Tony kept his hands wrapped around McGee's hands, pressed to his chest, making sure he kept breathing.

"I - he shot me."

Tony couldn't help but grin, despite the serious situation. "Yeah, he did." He could be standing over McGee's dead body right now. But he wasn't. Instead, he was watching him breathe and grinning like a fool.

McGee finally seemed to notice. "What's - what's so funny?"

Tony's grin widened. He shook his head. "Nothing."

McGee's breathing seemed to be slowing down. "Then why are you smiling like that?" McGee's mouth twitched. "You're happy I'm alive, aren't you?"

"No." Suddenly turning serious, Tony let go of McGee's arms and sat back. "I mean, yeah. Of course I'm happy you're alive, McGee. Don't be stupid."

Still a little winded, McGee shifted halfway up, bracing his weight on his elbows. "You were worried about me. Admit it. You care."

"Of course I -"

White fire exploded all around them. On instinct, Tony dove over McGee, shielding him from the blast. A roar swept across them, hot and putrid. Tony screamed, his fingers clawing into McGee's vest. Objects pounded against his back and head and legs in rapid succession. He couldn't catch his breath between punches. Darkness carried him away with wide wings.

McGee coughed, trying to breathe through the thick, smoky air. His lungs were on fire, and each hacking cough sent shards of pain deep into his chest. He couldn't breathe! Something heavy pressed against his chest.

Coughing, he tucked his chin against his chest and looked down. Tony lay across him, and memory returned.

"Tony?" Struggling to sit up, McGee noticed bloody scrapes and cuts crisscrossing Tony's face. Shifting, one hand pressed to his chest in a futile attempt to hold in his own pain, he worked his way out from under Tony. On his knees, he pushed against Tony's shoulder and rolled him to his back. At least he was breathing. McGee gently slapped his cheek, and when that didn't elicit a response, he slapped a little harder. The loud smack of flesh made McGee wince. "Sorry," he mumbled.

Overhead, a beam creaked ominously. McGee glanced around, noting the slowly drifting dust and the way the walls seemed to be leaning against each other for support. The realization that he needed to get Tony out of the building hit him with sudden clarity.

Groaning, one arm braced around his chest, McGee pushed himself to his feet. He wrapped his other hand around Tony's wrist and pulled. At first, nothing happened, but then friction relented, and Tony began to slide. Sharp stabbing pain drove through McGee's chest. He lowered his head, focusing on pulling Tony, and breathed as shallowly as he could. Sweat rolled down his face and stung his eyes. It felt as if he were running a marathon.

He didn't even notice when he broke through. His pumping legs locked and he couldn't coax any more movement from them, no matter how hard he tried. Whimpering, he dropped to his knees and collapsed face down. "I'm sorry, Tony."

Gibbs paced near the pile of rubble that had been Warehouse #217A. Phone pressed to his ear, he waited to hear some good news, resisting hanging up on the Director. What he wanted to do was take out his gun and shove it in one of the FBI agent's face, demanding –

That satisfying image was shattered when someone called his name, a frantic edge to his voice.


Gibbs looked and found the caller, then followed his pointing arm to see McGee, dragging Tony out of the building. He broke into a run almost before his brain could command his feet to move.

He was within an arm's length of his men when McGee collapsed. He dropped to one knee and bent close in time to hear McGee whisper, "I'm sorry, Tony." Hurriedly, he checked on Tony and was relieved to find him breathing. "Medic! I need some help here!"

He rolled them both to their backs. Tony's eyes blinked open and he squinted at Gibbs. "Boss?"

"You're okay, Tony. Just be still."

"Where's McGee?"

"He's here, too."

"He alive?"

Gibbs grinned. "Yeah. He just pulled you out of the building."

With a groan, Tony rolled to his side. He reached out and grasped Tim's arm. McGee gave a low groan. His head lolled to the side and his eyes opened. A tremulous grin played on his lips.

"We made it."

Gibbs shook his head. "Barely." Standing, he moved out of the way as paramedics began to arrive and assess Tony and McGee. Hands on his hips, he took a deep breath, realizing how close he'd come to losing both of them. He picked up the two discarded bullet proof vests the paramedics had removed. A quick examination revealed five bullets lodged in the front of McGee's vest. He stood froze, even after Tony and McGee had been taken away.


He didn't acknowledge the call, but the speaker continued, anyway.

"We've got O'Connell."

Dropping the vests, Gibbs reached for his 'cuffs and walked to where the agent directed. No one said anything as Gibbs read O'Connell his rights, handcuffed him, then leaned close and hissed something in his ear. Agents found other things to hold their interest as O'Connell blanched white, and no one protested as O'Connell was shoved roughly into the waiting car.

The knotted muscle in Gibbs' jaw seemed to ease a little as he watched the car drive away. Not giving O'Connell another thought, he got into his own car and drove to the hospital. Time to check on his boys.

The End