Tony was feeling really bad on that morning. His head was spinning and aching, his throat was dry and his muscles were giving him hell. His eyes were blurry, but somehow he managed to sit up and go to the bathroom. The first thing he did was throwing up the contents of his dinner. Then he brushed his teeth and took a shower.
He was feeling a little better after the shower, but something was still off. He went to the kitchen and made coffee. While the coffee machine was working, he went back to the bedroom and got dressed. He picked out his gray suit and light blue shirt with dark blue tie. Then he went back to kitchen poured himself a cup of coffee and took a leftover pizza from the fridge. He ate a slice of pizza, but he couldn't keep that inside. He ran to the bathroom and emptied his stomach. He felt like all of his inside came out. Back to the kitchen and he threw his coffee away, put pizza back in the fridge and took a couple of pills for his headache.
Somehow he managed to get to work without crashing his car. The bullpen was empty, when he arrived. That gave him more time to pull himself together. He knew that Gibbs would murder him, if he wasn't on top of his game. Ziva and McGee would make his day like hell and never forget it, so he had to be on top of his game and give no sign of weakness. He had to be strong. He couldn't give them that satisfaction.
The elevator stopped on Tony's floor. He looked up and saw Gibbs coming with usual coffee on his hand.
'' Good morning, boss, '' Tony greeted his boss.
'' Morning DiNozzo, '' Gibbs said and walked to his desk. He threw his jacket off and turned on his computer. Gibbs locked his eyes with the screen and Tony was not one of his concerns and Tony was happy.
Tony looked up and saw McGee and Ziva coming in together. He forced his eyes open and tried not to look like he was in hell. Or that he looked like hell.
'' Good morning, '' Ziva and McGee greeted.
'' Morning, '' Tony and Gibbs mumbled in return.
'' What's wrong with this picture ? '' Ziva asked.
'' We have no case, '' Gibbs said.
'' No, it's not that, '' McGee said.
Ziva and McGee turned their eyes to Tony.
'' What ? '' Tony snapped.
'' You have been drinking, '' Ziva said and flashed a wicked smile.
'' No, I don't drink on school nights, '' Tony said and fought the nausea that hit him.
'' Liar, '' Ziva said and she was victorious.
McGee smiled the and kept on looking at Tony – it was only the matter of time, before he would confess. He always did.
Gibbs seemed to be in his trance, so he didn't hear anything or even if he did, he didn't let others know about it.
'' I... have to go, '' Tony said. He wanted to give them an explanation, but his non-existing breakfast wanted to come out. So he stood and walked fast towards the restroom. He managed to close the cabin door before throwing up, again. He was in hell, seriously.
After making sure that he was not throwing up any more, he left the cabin and drank some water. He looked his reflection in the mirror and he thought that he looked pale and crappy. He splashed some water on his face and it felt refreshing to him. He closed his eyes and stood there for a moment. Then he needed to go back.
When Tony went back to bullpen, there was a pile of files on his desk and a notice letting him know that he had to work through them before others come back. They found a dead marine, but comes out that Tony took his time in the restroom and others didn't want to bother him. The notice was written by Ziva. Now she thinks that he went to the bathroom to satisfy himself. Gosh !
Since there was nothing to do anymore, he opened the first file on his desk and started working. He had to. He tried to read the words written on that paper, but he couldn't make it out. His eyes were blurry. He blinked fast, but that only got tears in his eyes, but not a good sight. He cursed himself under his breath. It really was a great time to catch a cold. Just perfect.
Tony had managed to fall asleep behind the desk. His legs were on the desk and the file he had been reading on his lap. He was deep asleep. It was peaceful and relaxing. The team was still out in the field, but Tony was not alone in the bullpen. Director Leon Vance had decided to go out for a lunch, but instead found Anthony DiNozzo sleeping behind his desk. To be honest, then Leon has been looking for a reason to sent Tony somewhere away again, but so far he had no reason and Gibbs was keen on Tony. But now he was asleep, while he should have been working and that is a good reason actually.
'' DiNozzo ! '' Vance shouted.
'' Yes, boss... um director, '' Tony said as he snapped awake and saw director there instead of Gibbs.
'' Why are you sleeping instead of working ? '' Vance asked. Anger was clear in his voice.
Vance's words were loud, but Tony's head made it much worse, felt like he had been shouting right to his ear. That strengthened his throbbing headache.
'' Um... I am not feeling too good and I guess I fell asleep. It won't happen again, '' Tony explained and tried to look good.
'' No, it won't. Take it as warning, if you don't finish your papers today, you can pack things and leave this for good, '' Vance explained.
'' Yes, sir, '' Tony said.
Vance sent Tony a disgusting look and walked away.
Tony waited until Vance was in the elevator before letting out a breathe. He was screwed. Gibbs, Ziva and McGee were thinking that he was drinking last night, Vance might fire him if he does something wrong again. It was a bad day and it was getting worse.
Tony looked up and saw Gibbs and Ziva coming back. Then he looked at his desk and realized that he had tried to read just one file, and he hadn't even finished that.
'' How was your reading Tony ? '' Ziva asked and smiled wickedly.
'' Very enjoyable. How was your dead... man ? '' Tony asked.
'' Dead, '' Gibbs snapped.
'' Oh... '' was all Tony managed to say. He grabbed the bottle of water from his desk and drank it.
'' This time you're not using your hangover remedy ? '' Ziva mocked.
'' I'm not having a hangover Zivaaa, '' Tony said and turned his attention to the papers.
Gibbs' phone rang. It was Abby letting him know, that she and McGee had something.
'' Ziva, Abby has something, '' Gibbs said to the Mossad officer.
'' Coming, '' Ziva said and jumped from her desk.
She followed Gibbs to the elevators and took a ride to Abby's floor.
Tony sighed. Seems like he is invisible to Gibbs, but others find it amusing to tease him, while he is having double visions and a bad headache. Maybe he should have stayed home... Maybe...
He made a couple of attempts to read, but those ended with blinking his eyes open. Somehow his eyelids seemed to be very heavy today. Without even noticing his head fell to the desk on the file and his eyes were closed. Tony fell asleep. This time it was not peaceful and relaxing, it was exhausting and confusing instead. He saw Vance kicking him out of NCIS, and his co-workers laughing, except Ducky and Abby. Then images of Jenny and Kate appeared. They looked sympathetic and sad. Then he someone slapping him on the back of his head. He opened his eyes. The headslap was real – Gibbs' hand crashed with his head.
'' If you wanna sleep, then you can leave NCIS, '' Gibbs said. That was the first thing Gibbs said to him on that day. It wasn't nice, but it's Gibbs.
'' I'm sorry boss, it won't happen again, '' Tony said and gave Gibbs a look.
'' No, it won't, '' Gibbs said and went to his desk.
Ziva and McGee laughed.
'' Abby wants to see you. Act normal, '' Gibbs snapped at Tony.
'' Yes, boss, '' Tony said and stood up. His first impression was to fall down, but he held onto his desk. Then he staggered to the elevator. His world was spinning around. The laughter in his ears let him know, that others noticed his unstable walking.
Elevator saved him from the embarrassment for awhile. He pressed Abby's floor and leaned on the cold metal on the back of the elevator. Then it stopped and the doors opened. He could hear the music from Abby's lab already. Tony took a deep breath and entered the lab, where a cheerful goth greeted him.
'' Hey Tony, '' she said.
'' Abby. You wanted to see me ? '' Tony asked and leaned on the doorframe.
'' Ziva and Timmy were making jokes about you being drunk or having a hangover. I didn't believe them, but I wanted to see you just in case, '' Abby said and turned around. Then she saw Tony pale and shaking.
'' I'm fine, '' he said, but Abby wasn't buying it.
She came to him and wrapped her arms around him and gave him one of his famous hugs. She buried her face on his neck and felt that it was warm. Even hot. Tony was always warm, but not so hot. She pulled away in realization. She felt his forehead and that confirmed her suspicion – Tony was sick.
'' Are you sick ? '' she asked.
'' No, I'm fine, '' he said casually.
'' I don't think so. But it's time to visit the doctor, '' Abby said and dragged Tony to the elevator. He kept on protesting and saying that he is fine, but still Abby won and they were on Ducky's floor in no time.
They walked through the doors. Abby was still dragging Tony, who was still protesting.
'' If you're fine then Ducky will say it, '' Abby said.
'' I don't need Ducky's confirmation, '' Tony said.
'' What Ducky will say ? '' Ducky interrupted since he overheard Tony and Abby fighting as they came to the autopsy.
'' Tony is sick, '' Abby said.
'' I'm not sick. I don't get sick, '' Tony snapped back.
'' My dear boy, let me say it. Sit down, '' Ducky said and pointed to a table, where Tony crashed.
Jimmy came with the thermometer and other equipment.
Ducky gave Tony a small smile before placing the thermometer in his mouth. Tony tried to protest, but he was given no choice. Abby sat beside him and held his hand, while Ducky was standing in front of Tony with Jimmy. Ducky had felt Tony's forehead and confirmed that Tony had fever, but how high, was still not clear. Though Ducky guessed, that its high.
The thermometer beeped – it's the moment of truth. Ducky took it and shook his head.
'' What is it Ducky ? '' Abby asked.
'' Anthony has very high fever. It's up to 104 already, '' Ducky said.
Tony's head fell back. He was so screwed now.
'' I'll give you some pills for fever and then Abby will drive you home. You will fluids preferably water or tea. And you'll have to rest. I'll talk to Gibbs and the director, '' Ducky said and went to look for the pills for fever.
'' No, I got work to do. Vance promised to fire me if I don't get the job done today, '' Tony said and hopped up from the table and Abby did the same.
'' I said I'll talk with them, you have nothing to worry about Anthony, '' Ducky assured Tony and gave him a glass of water and a tablet.
Tony took it and drank the water.
'' My things are up, so I have to go there anyway, '' Tony said
'' I'll come with you, '' Ducky said. Then he turned to Jimmy. '' Finish the autopsy, sew the poor fellow up, '' he said.
'' Of course doctor, '' Jimmy said and took out the things he needed.
Abby, Tony and Ducky went to the elevator and took a ride to Tony's floor. When they arrived, Vance was also there talking with Gibbs.
'' I thought we had an understanding DiNozzo, '' Vance said, when he saw Tony coming.
'' Yes, we had, '' Tony said.
Tony went to his desk and started taking his things.
'' Tony ? '' Gibbs asked.
'' I told him if he can't finish his work today, he is fired. I guess he gave up, '' Vance said and grinned.
'' I guess even Tony can't work with a hangover, '' McGee smirked.
'' Director and Timothy, I think you might reconsider your thoughts, '' Ducky said and caught others attention.
'' Anthony has flue. He is sick and he is going home in my orders. He won't be here for some days for sure and if you still want to fire him, director, then you might wanna start looking for another job too, because you can't fire a man, because he has flue. Anthony's temperature was over 104 and it's rising. I'm surprised that he came to work and managed to stay here for so long. And just so you know, accusing him of drinking and treating him badly, doesn't make things better. And Gibbs, where are your trained eyes, because it's visible that this boy is sick. And others too – you are investigators and should see everything, '' Ducky said. His voice was louder than usually and it was filled with anger.
During Ducky's speech, Tony and Abby had sneaked out and so Tony was not there to hear Ducky defending him. He didn't want to hear it, because he can stand up for himself.
'' I'm sorry Ducky, he is just Tony and you expect him to be hangover not sick, '' Ziva explained after a short pause.
'' I am the wrong person to apologize to. Abigail is with him and I expect none of you to visit him until he comes back to work. Anthony has had enough. No-one is expected to come to work with 104 fever and then work. I think he deserves some kind of credit or prize for that. Sickness is very serious thing, you might not know it since you have been shot and have killed people, but diseases kill people just the same. Take a moment and think about it. I believe Jethro and Timothy remember the last time Anthony was sick – he almost died. Now take that minute, think about being sick and Tony and no-one says anything negative or mocking about this to him, after his return, '' Ducky said and walked away.
Ducky didn't give others chance to say something, but they had nothing to say anyway. Just one feeling was with them – embarrassment. Ducky gave a little smile to himself. Yes, they were special agents and they saved lives and took them, but they had to think about being sick. It is not nothing and embarrassing, it is serious. He hoped that Tony will be fine in no time and everything goes back to normal.
Ducky stepped into the elevator with a smile on his face. And he got a glimpse of others' shocked expressions before the elevator door closed.