A/N: So, this is the last chapter guys. Thanks so much for sticking with me this long! I'm sorry you guys didn't get to actually see my regular updates in action… It kills me to not be able to update at least every other day… Ah well.
I'm glad you shippers and non-shippers were happy w/my decision. I think a follow-up/sequel is the best way to quell my muse's annoying rants and give everyone what they want.
I hope you guys enjoy this chapter, I know I didn't focus much on the whole 'healing' bit, but like I said, I'm not quite adept at those parts and the shows tend to skim over that too (the physical healing at least) so I'm not really doing you too much of an injustice (I hope)
Anyways, thanks for your support, reviews, favorites and alert adds, comments and constructive criticisms. I really enjoyed meshing these two teams together and who knows, maybe I'll eventually get Ziva's character down and bring them together for a little reunion later on. Of course, that's only MAYBE … and it would also be slash considering the follow up for this is slash.
So, I apologize for the irregular updates, thank you all for your patience and endearing support and offer you another quick apology for this long author's note… onto the final chapter!
WARNING: This story may not be suitable for children under the age of 13 due to graphic violence, mild language, blood and possible gruesome crime scenes. Parents strongly cautioned… Wow. I can't believe this is the last time I'm gonna type that. Feels weird, ya know?
REVIEW PLEASE! COMMENTS AND OPINIONS ARE MUCH LOVED!
QUANTICO, VIRGINIA - HOSPITAL, TONY'S ROOM 5:34 P.M. EST
"I'm fine, Boss, really." Tony insisted. Ducky, Gibbs and Kate were all surrounding his bed. McGee and Abby had gone on a quick coffee run and to get a report on Dr. Reid, which was really the only thing Tony was interested in at that moment. He hadn't seen Reid since they'd been wheeled away to separate rooms upon their arrival and all his team could tell him was that he had recently come out of surgery.
It was incredible irritating, being confined to some uncomfortable hospital bed, his leg in a heavy cast, tubes and wires tangling their way around his body like an unwanted set of chains.
"Really, DiNozzo? You're fine?" Gibbs's voice brought him out of his silent thoughts. "Get up and walk around then."
Tony huffed and leaned back against the pillows. Ok, so maybe he wasn't totally, one hundred percent fine. That didn't mean he was shattered by an stretch of the imagination. Still, Gibbs was right and he really didn't want to push the point anyway. His boss looked about ready to murder someone. For the second time that day.
He sighed, "Alright, I'm a little busted up. I'll be back to normal in no time." Tony assured him.
Kate let out a little half-snort and smirked down at her injured friend. "Unfortunately." She murmured. "Do you think they could fix your personality while we're here?"
Tony shot her a glare, but there wasn't any real anger in it. Ducky chuckled listening to the two of them bicker like brother and sister. It was oddly comforting to hear the two of them arguing. It was just like everything was completely normal. Aside from the hospital room and the FBI agents that they'd somehow grown closer to over the course of the past couple of days… Still, mostly, everything was entirely the same.
Abby and McGee returned moments later, carrying two cardboard containers with coffee and chattering quietly, apparently having a small argument as they passed coffee around to everyone. Except Tony, who grumbled his disappointment at the lack of caffeine, but was quickly abashed by Gibbs and Kate, who told him the doctor said no coffee just yet.
"Have you heard anything about Dr. Reid?" Tony asked. It felt odd, after two days of calling him 'Doc' to say 'Dr. Reid' but he ignored that and set his eyes on Abby, somehow pleading with her to give him good news.
"Hotch and the other profilers are going to visit him as soon as the doctor says it's ok. Which should be soon," Abby glanced at the clock on the wall. "And Penelope wants to meet you after she sees 'her baby'," she added with a quick grin.
"Penelope?" Tony raised a brow.
"Garcia," Abby said. "Their technical analyst."
"Oh…" Tony frowned. "Why does she want to meet me, exactly? … Heard stories of my amazing abilities and mind blowing skills?" He felt a smirk light his face and Kate swatted him on the shoulder, rolling her eyes. At least Gibbs hadn't - And he thought too soon as Gibbs's hand swiftly made contact with the back of his skull. Damn, that was the one part of him that wasn't aching.
He rubbed his head with a small frown and waited for Abby, who had paused to giggle for a moment, to respond to his question.
"She said she wanted to meet the man who got her 'baby boy' out of 'that hell hole'." She raised her hands and made tiny quotations around the distinctly Garcia-like phrases and smiled. "Apparently, things like this happen a lot to dear Dr. Reid, the danger magnet."
Tony felt a faint smile stretch his face at those words, remembering when Reid had confided in him that he'd been kidnapped before… The fear in the younger man's eyes hadn't been comical, honestly, but somehow when Abby put it the way she had he got a strange mental picture of the young doctor tied to a set of railroad tracks, a train fast approaching, and some dark-clad, cackling villain standing feet away, watching hungrily for his doom.
"He did mention that," Tony remarked thoughtfully, trying to rid his mind of the strange, somehow hilarious image as he watched the rest of his team drink coffee and talk, about Fidel, about the case, about his injuries and about the FBI team that had slowly become more than just a necessary evil… Somewhere along the line, they'd become, dare he think it, friends.
QUANTICO, VIRGINIA - HOSPITAL, REID'S ROOM 5:57 P.M. EST
Reid had woke from his grueling surgery about a half hour ago, surrounded by doctors and a bustling, kind faced nurse, but totally alone. He felt odd, not seeing Tony anywhere nearby. For the past two days Tony - and pain - had been his only real constants. And now all that remained was the pain, a dull, aching and familiar throb in his knee. He glanced toward the IV stuck in his arm and tried his best not to think about it.
He'd beaten it before and he would again… Besides, it was only morphine, which wasn't as potent as Dilaudid. And doctors were careful not to put anyone on a high dose of the drug anyway. They knew what they were doing. He had only half listened as his surgeon explained, in detail, the damage that Fidel's hammer had done to his already injured knee, but he really only comprehended the part about crutches and the promise that with physical therapy - ugh - he would regain almost total use of his knee.
He, unfortunately, already knew that he would never be able to get the mangled thing that he currently called his knee back to one hundred percent, but he'd settle for ninety, or even eighty percent, as long as he could walk again and could - eventually - get back out in the field. He really hated being left behind at the station or with Garcia (despite how much he did love the insane technical analyst). It made him feel incredibly useless to not be able to do the things an FBI agent was supposed to do… But with his track record, it was probably for the best that he would be out of the field for a while. It gave the bad guys less opportunity to kidnap him for whatever reason they saw fit…
He was sitting up, propped up against a mound of stiff pillows, with his mangled right leg stretched out as much as the doctor would allow, when his team was finally allowed to visit him. Garcia and JJ were the first to enter, taking chairs and yanking them as close to the bed as they could. Prentiss and Morgan came in behind them, followed closely by Rossi and Hotch, who stood near the foot of his bed.
Garcia, never one to ponder personal boundaries, immediately reached out and pushed a fallen strand of hair from his face. "How are you feeling, Reid?" she asked. Her voice was strangely somber and he wondered briefly if she had seen the video that Mason had sent the teams. He sincerely hoped not, but didn't want to press that issue just yet, so he offered the team a weary smile and for one moment locked eyes with Hotch, who seemed to understand, oddly enough, just what he was feeling and who nodded slowly and sharply in his direction.
Though Reid wasn't entirely sure what that nod meant, or why Hotch had nodded at all, he felt his smile get a little more genuine as he answered Garcia. "I've been worse…" he said slowly. "…And better." He added at her raised brow. "But mostly, I'm just sort of worn out."
"Anyone would be worn out after hours trekking through those woods," Prentiss commented slowly.
"Are you sure you're ok, Spence?" JJ asked. She took his hand carefully in hers and met his eyes. Somehow, JJ's wide blue eyes made him feel a bit safer than he had when he'd first woken up. She's always been the kind supporting older sister to him… Prentiss was the protective, upfront and sometimes bluntly honest, but totally loving older sister. Morgan the irritating, overly-protective older brother and Garcia the insane cousin everyone loved, but secretly thought should be committed to some obscure institution. Hotch and Rossi… They were like the parents of their strange little family, he supposed. Though, he wasn't really clear on who was the mother and who was the father… That thought brought a strange smile to his face.
"I'm sure," he answered JJ's question, squeezing her hand gently. She smiled at him and released his hand, sitting back slightly in her seat.
"How's Tony?" Reid asked suddenly, surprising the silent team.
"…He's fine. He's got a broken leg and bruised ribs, but his doctor said he should be back on his feet in no time." Morgan replied.
"Lucky," Reid muttered under his breath, bleakly thinking about the long, immobilized future he had ahead of him. He had barely survive the medical leave the first time, he wasn't sure he could do it all over again.
Hotch chuckled slightly from where he stood at the foot of Reid's bed. "You'll be fine, Reid." He assured his subordinate. "And this, no second opinions, alright?"
Reid huffed slightly, but nodded grudgingly. "Yes, sir."
The rest of the team laughed lightly, remembering Reid's half-hearted excuse for lying to the Unit Chief - and also slightly amazed that he'd gotten away with it scratch free. The somewhat tense air in the room dissipated as they began to have a lengthy discussion about the perils that poor Reid had been forced to suffer through while working with the BAU. Much to Reid's annoyance, it seemed that where his bodily injuries were concerned, they too had eidetic memories and didn't mind laughing at his tendency to fall into dangerous situations. Eventually, he had to admit it was slightly humorous though, and Garcia and Morgan's smiles were too infectious for him to remained stone-faced, but a small voice in his head was wondering what was going on with Tony and his team, somewhere down the hall in another room.
He was amazed to think it, but it almost seemed like the unmoving Agent Gibbs and the unemotional Hotch had forged some sort of half-friendship, along with the other members of the two teams - Garcia and Abby especially - in the days he and Tony had spent in terror-filled captivity. Odd, he thought. He never recalled a case bringing his team and whoever they were assisting so close, but then again, he couldn't recall a case where he and a member of the group they were helping had been kidnapped for some twisted revenge fantasy either…
So, maybe there was something to be said for tough times bringing people closer together, even the most unlikely groups of people like the bureaucracy-hating NCIS team and the family-like team under stoic Aaron Hotchner's supervision… Reid sat back and listened to his team mates babbling about his inherent ability to attract psychos and smiled slightly to himself at the uniqueness of it all, the odd contrast between his last few pain and terror filled hours spent fumbling through the woods with Tony and these few minutes spent laughing at himself with his team.
He held on to that happy trail of thoughts as a small voice in the back of his mind nudged him into feeling another surge of worry about the condition of the NCIS agent he'd spent the past two days suffering with and getting closer to. They'd told him he was fine and until he was allowed to get out of this accursed bed, he would have to take their words for it. He couldn't help but find himself hoping that that time was very, very close in deed.
E/N: For you non-shippers anyway, LOL. Hope you guys enjoyed it! I feel like I got a little philosophically deranged writing this chapter… and that image of Reid tied to the train tracks… priceless XD
And 22 glorious chapters without a hint of slash (sighs dejectedly) my muse is feeling murderous right now, so you non-shippers better love me for this (JK, you don't HAVE to love me… but I'd appreciate it if you did… lol)
So, it's been a long and slightly bumpy ride, but I hope you enjoyed it! And for all of you Tony/Reid shippers, the slashy goodness you guys crave so much has been posted as well! (cheers loudly) Look for it on my page or search the title "Ahead of Ourselves" I hope you guys enjoy it!
Also, I don't know how many of you read my story "A Place to Call Home" (it's been several months since it was completed) but I just posted a companion piece to it, "Invisibly Shaken" if you're interested. It'll be a short story, probably not more than 10 chapters… Anyway, that's all for now! Shippers and Slash-lovers check out the follow up!
Reviews are much loved! That little button down there says he'll give you a cookie if you click him and drop me a comment or two! (…please…?)