Disclaimer: Still don't own them, but when I borrow them I cannot be responsible for the condition they are returned in (especially Tony!)

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Previously on What Hurts The Most…

Rick Jacobs had been a paramedic for seven years. As soon as he had made it through medical school he realized where his calling was. He had seen some of the worst injuries in the DC area so he knew as he saw his patient it was bad. The placement of the stab wounds and the amount of blood loss pointed to a ruptured abdominal aorta. The problem was; most cases like this usually ended in the patients' death.

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There was a white hot stabbing pain shooting through his stomach. The muscles the blade had sliced through screamed and his mind numbed slightly.

Hot breathe sawing through pinched lips as he felt the breath of his attacker by his ear, saying nothing.

Just when he thought this attack couldn't get any more painful than it already was, he was proven wrong.

The second time getting stabbed was even more painful than the first. This time, it stole his breath completely. It felt like somebody had forcefully removed all the air from his lungs, pulled his lungs out through the new holes in his stomach only to begin beating him with them.

That was a strange concept, Tony thought as his brain lost all perception of pain when his attacker twisted the knife in his gut and pulled it out.

Somebody was screaming his name…Ziva!

What were they going to do with her now that he could no longer help her? He could taste something coppery in his mouth; it slowly slid out from the corner of his mouth down his chin.

All of a sudden, the arms holding him up were gone. He brought his hands up and clutched his burning stomach, hoping to alleviate some of the pain. As soon as the support was gone, he fell to the ground limply after his legs refused to support his weight.

The pain hit him in waves and he closed his eyes tightly, he could hear Ziva saying something near him but he knew she wasn't speaking to him.

"Yes, he's bleeding severely….Two stab wounds….Mugged…..Please send help immediately….No, I am not injured….Thank you…"

Ziva's words, her voice, he realized gave him something to hold onto. She was the voice through the fog, reminding him what he was holding on for. He decided, no matter what, he would survive. She was the reason he needed to stay.

Then his mind numbed again as there were suddenly hands pushing into his burning stomach, he tried but failed to suppress the groan that escaped his pinched lips. He felt more blood fill his mouth, absconding down his chin again.

"Tony, look at me." That was Ziva again, she sounded so desperate. He hated hearing her sound like that. He opened his eyes slightly, waiting a few moments for his vision to clear.

"Z…Ziva?" He asked quietly, since when did talking become so difficult.

A tear trickled down the side of her face and Tony wanted nothing more than to be able to lift his hand off the cold pavement to wipe it away, but that didn't seem like it was going to happen. He compensated by going half way and gripping onto one of her wrists with his right hand.

"Yes, Tony. I'm here." She pressed her hands further into his stomach, and he wanted to scream it hurt so badly.

"H…Hurts." He gasped, he let his hand slacken falling on top of the hands trying to stanch the blood flowing from his abdomen. He was surprised at how much blood was seeping through her slender fingers.

"I know; the ambulance will be here soon. Just hang on a little bit longer." He wanted to hang on for her so badly but he was steadily becoming colder and the edges of his vision were closing in on itself. He had to, though.

"Any…Anything for you," he coughed, and he meant it. It looked like she was about to say something but stopped, it took him a moment but he finally heard the sirens.

As soon as the paramedics came into his line of sight he knew he was safe, he knew they would save him so he could do what he was fighting so hard to do, live.

Hands were replaced with what could only be pressure bandages, and he was quickly transferred onto a slightly warmer surface then the pavement.

As they lifted the gurney, he couldn't suppress another groan from escaping his lips. One of the paramedics looked down at him professionally but apologetically. Dark sky was replaced with bright lights; he assumed he was now in the ambulance. Ziva was there too, he turned his head just enough so he could see her.

Everyone was thrown forward slightly as the ambulance lurched forward with great speed. Tony hissed through clenched teeth at the movement.

He felt a pinch in his hand and the pain started to dissipate. Voices came in and out of focus as he started to lose awareness.

"BP 80/50 and falling….O2 is at 85 on room air, do we need to intubate…No, let's just get a mask on him for now." Tony could feel the oxygen mask being placed around his nose and mouth; he was breathing heavily, the mask fogging up with every breath he took.

"Losing too much blood….Possibly nicked the abdominal aorta….Steve, step on it…"

Tony figured he must have blacked out because the next time he was aware of his surroundings he was no longer in an ambulance but being wheeled through the ER at George Washington University Hospital.

All he could do was look up at the lights that lined the ceiling, making him dizzy. The oxygen mask on his face felt as heavy as his eyelids as he slowly blinked. The pain was still there but it was only a whisper of what it had been at first.

Doctors were surrounding him, shouting vitals and orders to each other. He half-heartedly listened, paying more attention to the fast beeping coming from the heart monitor they had connected him to. It gave him something to hang on to, something tangible he could use to hold on.

"His O2 stats are falling, 80 on room air. We need to intubate…BP 78/45…If we don't stabilize him now he's going to crash…"

Tony could feel his head and neck being straightened out when he started to panic. The heart monitor began beeping even faster and more erratically as he fought against their hands trying to keep him down. He could feel straps being wrapped around his wrists and could just barely see them injecting something into the IV in his hand.

"Mr. DiNozzo, you need to calm down. This is going to help. We can't let you go to sleep because you have a concussion but please calm down." A young, attractive female doctor said; Tony stilled.

They repositioned his head and neck before speaking to him again.

"You're not getting enough oxygen so we need to insert this tube down your throat to help you breath better." They said; Tony nodded feeling the tightness in his chest from the exertion from just trying to breathe.

"This will feel uncomfortable for a moment." The same doctor told him, looking at him sympathetically.

They opened his mouth and sprayed something down his throat, it went numb immediately. He felt something cold slid down his throat keeping the air way open as the tube was snaked down his throat. The metal was eased out of his mouth and the guiding wire was removed before the tube was connected to the ventilator and they taped it in place. The oxygen burned at first as his lungs tried to fight the intrusive object but they soon found the rhythm.

"Good, your oxygen level is already looking better." She said softly.

Just then, the pain spiked drastically. The alarms went crazy on the heart monitor and before Tony knew what was happening, his eyes rolled back into his head and he instantly lost consciousness.

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Beep….Beep….Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep…

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"When is he going to wake up?" What the…. Tony had no idea where he was anymore. The darkness surrounded him so completely he feared he would never know anything else again. He could hear voices trickling down into the depths of his consciousness, voices he recognized from somewhere.

"He better wake up soon, I didn't give him permission to die yet." Well, that was definitely Gibbs.

"Wait, I think he's waking up." Was that, McGee? The first voice must have been Abby that only leaves Ziva unaccounted for.

As soon as he was able to open his eyes he quickly regretted it. The light was blinding and felt like it was burning his eyes. He closed them again tightly.

"Tony, can you hear me?" Gibbs again, Tony knew he should answer but couldn't form the words yet. He merely listened for a moment trying to take in his surroundings. He could hear a steady beeping noise coming from somewhere on his right side. He could feel something taped to the back of his hand and his abdomen felt heavy, there was a dull throb there and he realized he must be on the good drugs.

Slowly he opened his eyes again and found that this time it didn't hurt as badly.

"B…Boss?" He asked in a scratchy voice.

"I'm here, DiNozzo." Gibbs said softly.

"Where's Ziva?" He asked scanning the room for his missing crazy ninja chick.

"In a private room, they're keeping her here overnight for observation and releasing her in the morning." Tony was surprised at that; he didn't think she had been that injured. Gibbs sensed hi unease because he quickly answered, "She only has a slight concussion they're just being cautious. She's fine, very worried about you though. They almost had to sedate her so they could check her out. She wouldn't leave your side." Tony thought about that for a second and smiled to himself.

"So, what's the damage?" Tony asked. Gibbs looked like he was about to punch a wall when he finally answered.

"Two stab wounds, one hit your pancreas. They said they were able to repair it, and the other nicked your abdominal aorta. You nearly bleed out before they even got you here. They lost you once on the table. You also have a slight concussion."

"So when can I go home?"

"Geez, slow down DiNozzo, you just got out of surgery to repair life-threatening injuries. You're not leaving for a while."

Tony visibly deflated; he hated hospitals with a burning passion and didn't want to spend any more time in one than was absolutely necessary.

He was about to argue when his eyelids got heavy. He tried to keep his eyes open but they wouldn't cooperate. Gibbs noticed his senior field agent fading, and fast.

"Get some sleep, DiNozzo." He said, "Can't have you out of commission for too long, I need my senior field agent back in the field to watch my six."

Tony nodded with a slight smile before falling asleep.

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The next time he woke up it was morning. He was slightly disoriented at first when he didn't recognize where he was but then the previous evenings events played over in his head.

He could feel something soft and warm in his hand and when he looked over he saw Ziva sleeping in the chair beside his bed holding onto his hand. He smiled and lifted his empty hand, touching the top of her head softly.

She woke up instantly, ready to fight as if they were still in danger.

"Hey." Tony said with a smile.

"Hey." Ziva said back, returning his smile with her own. "How are you feeling?" She asked him.

"I'm fine." He answered and she looked relieved, she also looked like she was near tears.

He slowly began moving towards one side of the bed, a making room for Ziva even though it caused him pain. He patted the bed next to him, inviting her to join him which she accepted. Being very careful of his battered body she laid down next to him, laying her head to rest on his chest. They were silent and he could feel the thin hospital gown becoming damp from her uncharacteristic tear. He wiped them away with his hand that did not have the IV protruding from it.

It didn't take long before they were both asleep on Tony's hospital bed. Gibbs had been watching the exchange from the doorway unnoticed. At first he wanted to chastise them for breaking rule 12 but thought against it.

He left the hospital, knowing Tony was in very capable hands. As soon as he got to his house he went into his bedroom and took out the box he kept all his rules written down. He found a clean piece of paper and a pencil in the box and quickly scribbled,

Rule 52: Some rules are meant to be broken.

The End

Told ya it was a short story! So how did you like it? Please let me know with a wonderful comment! Thank you! =)