Disclaimer: The characters belong to CBS, and the rest of those great people who act, write and direct.
Description: Spoiler Warning. This is a post episode follow up to Nature of the Beast. Just a quickie one shot.
Dr Cranston was worried, Tony looked exhausted.
Gibbs also saw what Rachel was seeing and he decided that his second had experienced enough for one night. "DiNozzo get some sleep." he gave him a firm squeeze to his right shoulder, knowing that the left shoulder was probably in a world of hurt.
He then turned and left, he had to notify Fornell of Stratton posing as a federal agent and to get a BOLO out on the man who had murdered Cade and probably EJ. He also needed to get a security detail at DiNozzo's door, if he was correct then Tony's life might be in danger.
Rachel closed the door as Gibbs left the room, she was worried. Tony looked pale, exhausted. "Tony, you need to get some sleep, tomorrow is going to be a long day." She knew Tony would have to repeat the story to the Sec Nav and the Director.
Tony stood silent, not moving, starring out the window, the cast of the lights off the buildings causing a dark shadow to cross Tony's face, or was it caused by what Tony had suddenly realized? The realization that he had been used again.
He shook his head and turned, the tear tracks on his pale face evident even in the dimly lit room, the tears that had threatened to fall all night. Tony had finally succumbed to the pain that had eluded him all night, the memory of EJ dying before his very eyes.
He had seen her get shot, he could visualize the blood stain on her jacket, that even in the dark alley he could recognize as a kill shot. The bullet had entered just beneath her left breast.
" Tony, you need to sleep." Dr Cranston's voice was low and caring. She was worried, the amnesia, the concussion was taking a huge toll on a man whose emotions were already on edge.
"I am tired." his voice barely audible, a matter of fact tome to the words he had just spoken.
She knew he was not talking physically tired, but mentally. Though he was probably both given that he had spent months tracking down Cade and EJ.
His body slumped as he moved towards the bed, it was as if suddenly Tony had realized the inevitable truth, he had realized, that he had been used again by the people who call themselves leaders at NCIS, the people he trusted the most. ' I guess Jarvis was right, he does own me.' he thought to himself, not speaking the hated words aloud.
"Tony." her voice just barely above a whisper. She was concerned, afraid for the man whom Kate had cared so much about so many years ago.
" They used me Rachel they used me to set up Cade and EJ. They would still be alive if I hadn't convinced EJ to assist me in getting Cade to return." he paused a few minutes, his hands rubbing furiously at his face, a small voice inside his head stating what he was feeling inside, " I killed them."
"That's nonsense. They set up not only Cade and Agent Barrett but you too Tony." she walked over to him and placed a gentle hand on his shoulder, encouraging him to sit down on the edge of the bed. " You could have died too."
" You don't get it, I caused their deaths, they used me because I don't think with my head but with my..."
" Tony stop! You know that isn't true, but it is what they want you to believe." she corrected him.
"I allowed it...again." a look of pain crossed his face, his mind flashing back to Jenny and how he had suffered after that mission, he not only lost Jeanne but a part of his soul. And for what? So Jenny could get her revenge?
"They shot you and as a afterthought they attempted to frame you for the murder but what they didn't take into consideration is that you work with the best team around, they figured it out and it didn't even take them that long." Dr Cranston continued, wanting to convince her patient that he had no control over what had occurred. He had been used.
"Ducky and Abby are the best at what they do." He stated it as a matter of fact.
"Especially when one of their friends is involved." Rachel responded.
Tony sat in silence for a few minutes, then he spoke again, " It was too easy. Abby could have went through the forensics with her eyes closed and one hand tied behind her back, Ducky could have easily ascertained that my bullets weren't the kill shots. It doesn't make sense." he was suddenly back on his feet, pacing the room again.
"Tony, you need to rest." Dr Cranston's eyes followed his nervous movements around the room. A new concern for her patient starting to make her worried about Tony's well being, his concussion was probably the cause but his agitation was raising flags, he could have a bleed or swelling of the brain, she needed the nurse to assess him. Her fingers found the call light and she pushed the red button.
" Why move Cade and EJ's bodies, if they wanted to frame me for their murders? It doesn't make sense, they would have figured it out too easily. They would have known that I didn't move the bodies. What were they doing? Who called 911?" he was rambling attempting to make some kind of sense of what he was thinking. "It doesn't add up. Where's Gibbs?" he asked nervously, acting as if he suddenly realized that his boss was missing.
"Tony, listen, I will get Agent Gibbs if you will lie back down." Dr Cranston kept her voice firm and in control. She was worried about Tony's emotional state, and his physical well being, his body had been through a major trauma, he had to be in pain but his adrenaline was still flowing and she had to figure a way to convince him to rest.
He nodded then walked back to the bed and laid down, his robe had been placed in a white bag after he had thrown up on it earlier, the nurse had told him vomiting was a side effect of the concussion and so was the disequilibrium that he was experiencing.
"I need to talk to Gibbs." he looked up at the woman who had assisted him in remembering, but now he needed to make sense of what had happened in that alley. Why had they used him to get to Cade and EJ? Did they think he was that stupid, that he was that bad of an agent that he wouldn't figure it out? Hell, he hadn't.
"I will call Agent Gibbs but I need you to close your eyes and rest while we wait for him to come back." she gave him a smile, hoping that he would comply.
Tony nodded and closed his eyes, but the unpleasant thoughts still raced through his mind, he needed to know why they felt he was so incompetent that they knew their plan was assured to succeed. He was a good agent, his skills were excellent but his weakness had always been that he cared, that he got to close sometimes.
The doctor walked across the room and dialed Agent Gibbs' number, she would need his assistance in getting Tony to rest before he caused himself to have a seizure or even worse.
Tony watched as the doctor dialed the number and listened as she quietly talked to Gibbs. He was so tired, so very tired. He closed his eyes, he would rest until his boss returned.
The nurse entered the room, a look of concern on her face, her patient was not resting, he seemed more restless than the last time she had seen him, "Agent DiNozzo are you in pain?" she asked as she brought in the vital sign machine.
"I'm fine." he mumbled as he eyed the nurse suspiciously, not really wanting to be bothered.
She nodded and then started taking his vitals noting both his temperature and blood pressure were elevated. She then proceeded to assess his neuro status. "Can you tell me where you are?"
"Not again." he groaned.
"This will only take a few minutes, so can you tell me where you are?" she asked again, she needed to make sure the restlessness she was seeing wasn't anything to be concerned about.
"A hospital." he went the quick and easy route, truth was he couldn't remember the name of the facility.
"Okay, can you tell me your birthday?" her eyes assessing her patient's avoidance of answering her questions, just as he had the last few times she had done her assessment.
He hesitated, searching his brain for the answer, but for some reason it wouldn't come, "I don't remember." he came clean, ,maybe being honest was the best way to go.
She gave him a small smile and nodded, "One last question, can you tell me your name?"
"Tony DiNozzo." he gave her a look that could be construed as one to see if he actually got it right.
"Very good. I'm going to get you something for pain and nausea." she could tell he was having problems by the color of his face, and the grimace when he attempted any movement.
"I am sure Agent Gibbs told someone that Agent DiNozzo is very sensitive to drugs, especially narcotics." Dr Cranston wanted to make sure that they knew, she had heard how bad of a reaction Tony could have to even the simplest of medications.
" Yes, he did Dr Cranston , I'm going to give him Toradol and Zofran, they have less side effects than most of the pain medications and emetics as I know you are well aware.
The doctor nodded and gave the nurse an approving smile, at least someone was watching out for their friend.
As the nurse started to exit the room Gibbs entered, he was responding to Rachel's call, Tony was having a difficult time.
"How is he?" He asked the smaller statured nurse.
"He is still having some difficulty remembering. I'm going to talk with his physician, I'll be back in a few minutes with something for his pain and nausea." she smiled and gave him a pat on the shoulder then left the room.
"Is he sleeping?" Gibbs asked Rachel as he started to make his way over to Tony's bed.
"Pretending." she stated matter of factly, the man couldn't pull a fast one on her, she had been a psychiatrist for too long.
"Just resting my eyes boss." he kept them closed, wanting to talk to his boss, without someone there to analyze his every word, though he liked and trusted Dr Cranston he wanted some alone time with his boss to discuss the case, he needed to let Gibbs know what he had figured out.
Gibbs turned and gave the doctor a look, one that communicated that he needed to talk to Tony alone, again.
"I need some more coffee, I'll be back in a few." she smiled and exited the room.
Gibbs walked over to stand by Tony, "She's gone."
For a few moments Tony was quiet, but then when he knew he had his emotions under control he opened up his eyes and saw concerned blue orbs starring down at him, his voice cracked when he started to speak but he recovered quickly, "They used us boss. Well, actually, they used me, again. I must have a huge bullseye on my forehead that says 'I'm an idiot'. He remained quiet for a few more seconds then continued, "Boss, please, just kick my ass, I need it."
"Oh I plan on it DiNozzo." he reached over and pulled up a chair. "At least we have the microchip."
"But at what cost boss? Cade and EJ died for it, that was too steep of a price." his head turned towards the window, he found it difficult to face his mentor at the moment, he had willingly taken the assignment, willingly taken the mission that ended up in two NCIS agent's deaths, and that made him just as culpable.
"It was DiNozzo, but it could have been worse." Gibbs responded.
"How's that Boss?" he asked, the emotion straining his already tired voice.
"It could've been you." he spoke the words keeping his emotions intact, he hoped that Tony didn't see through his mask, see that he cared about him like a son, but he did, and he was glad that Tony was alive, even though he was still mad as hell at him for getting shot.
Tony nodded, he understood.
The door opened and the room lit up suddenly, and the nurse who had just minutes before performed his neurological assessment had returned with a syringe and a doctor.
"You might not remember me Agent DiNozzo but I admitted you in the Emergency Room tonight." he reached out and shook Tony's hand.
"I'm feeling better." he wanted to make sure that the man knew he was improving, it possibly could assist the serious look on the man's face, and might keep the nurse with the syringe away from his behind.
"I have some concerns, I just want to take a look at you if I may." he reached over and pulled out a pair of gloves from the wall holder and stepped closer to his patient, Gibbs stood to exit the room, wanting to give the doctor and DiNozzo some privacy.
Tony was compliant as the doctor asked him questions, of which he still was having difficulty answering and tolerant as he shined a very bright light into his very sensitive eyes, he hated the routine, but he knew it was necessary if he wanted to leave.
"I'm going to get a follow up scan. I just want to make sure that we aren't missing anything but Anna is going to give you a shot of pain medication and something for nausea, hopefully it will assist you in getting some sleep also." the doctor ungloved and started to leave but he took the chart lying on the table and wrote several orders and then handed it to the nurse, a serious look crossed his face, he seemed concerned.
The doctor left the room as the nurse gloved and pulled out the medication and her scanner. She scanned his bracelet and asked him his name which he answered without a problem but he hated needles. He had requested that the IV be removed as soon as he awakened, now he regretted that action, that request.
"I need you to roll on your side Agent DiNozzo." she requested but seemed a little surprised that her patient didn't comply right away.
Gibbs had reentered as the doctor exited and knew that Tony had a problem with needles, so he stepped forward and grabbed Tony's shoulder with a firm grip, to Tony it was the same as someone holding his hand, he then complied with the nurse's request and rolled to his side, feeling the gown being pulled away and the cold wet swipe of the alcohol pad as it touched sensitive skin, the needle quickly entered and the medication made its way into the muscle.
"I hate needles boss." he said it low enough for only Gibbs to hear.
"I know Tony. I know." he gave his second another squeeze to his good shoulder.
" We're going to take you on over to CT." Anna started removing the call light and unplugging things from the wall, they would be taking him down in his bed.
"I'm going with him. " Gibbs announced, knowing that Stratton could still be in the hospital.
The nurse nodded, seeing the close relationship the two men had, there was a bond there, a father /son or a big brother/ little brother, Regardless of what it was, it was nice to see. She and a CNA started moving the bed towards the door, Gibbs at their side when Dr Cranston reappeared.
"Where's he going?" she asked, coffee for her and Gibbs in hand.
"CT." He gave the short answer and took his coffee, it was going to be a long day.
She nodded and followed Gibbs out the door and as they approached CT they noticed a man standing in the hallway, facing the door, Gibbs pushed his cup into Rachel's hand and pulled out his gun, it was instinctive.
" Turn around!" Gibbs commanded the man who stood still, not moving. Gibbs raised his gun, now standing in front of Tony's bed, his patience waning for the man to respond.
The man, after a few minutes, turned, and lifted his hands into the air, " So he is alive, who would have thought, he looked rather dead in that alley."
" Place your face against the wall!" Gibbs commanded, but at that moment a loud bang came from the other end of the hallway, which made Gibbs turn, just in time to see an exit door closing on the other end of the hallway, a distraction, because when Gibbs turned back to the man against the wall, he was gone. The man and his accomplice was gone.
Gibbs pulled out his cell and dialed quickly, he would not leave Tony's side, if they were capable of this diversion, then they might have other things planned for his second and he couldn't take that chance, he would not take that chance.
The nurse and the CNA had crouched over their patient protectively as did Rachel, now emptied coffee cups laid on the floor with their contents making a small puddle.
"Should we do the scan?", Anna asked Gibbs, looking for some kind of confirmation.
"Yeah, but we do not leave him alone." Gibbs answered as he continued a conversation on the other end of the phone line. They needed back up, the team needed to be there for their friend.
They nodded and proceeded towards the scanning room, Tony was asleep on the bed, oblivious to what had just occurred, oblivious to the fact that they, whoever they were, wanted him dead.
This is where I am going to end it for now unless the readers want another chapter. Hope you enjoy. I for one, think they still want Tony dead as well as EJ, if she isn't dead already.