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"DiNozzo's been shot."

Tim's fingers went white as he clasped his hand around the handset he'd nearly dropped picking up, "Boss?"

Tim pushed away from his computer, leaving the game to find his clothes. He listened to Gibbs filling him in on the details while he struggled one handed into his pants.

The instructions where simple enough, call Ziva and get their butts to the crime scene but there was a burning question he knew he should ask, "Is this about his secret assignment?"

The answering clunk of disconnection gave him the unwelcome truth. Tim dropped the phone into his pocket then fumbled through the mess of drinks cartons and takeaway wrappers on his desk, to find his keys, fleeting thinking about the teasing he'd get from Tony if he could see the mess. The thought made him stop dead, almost as if being frozen to the spot meant nothing else bad could happen. The sensation had him wishing furtively for a shout of 'Probie' or a 'McNickname' to snap him out of it. Tim closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Gibbs trusted him to take the lead, and he would. Tim grabbed a clean shirt from the ironing pile, shrugged into his jacket, secured his weapon and badge and flew out the door pulling out his cell to make the call to Ziva.



Abby was still in her lab listening to the sounds of 'Zombie Death' and their new set when her phone vibrated and jumped off her shelf.

"Bossman!" Abby shouted into the receiver, music still at full volume.

She ran over to the system and slammed her hand on the CD lid pitching the lab into stony cold silence. "Gibbs I didn't hear you right, I couldn't possible have heard right, because if I did that would be terrible and you wouldn't ring me and give me terrible news would you Gibbs?"

The softly spoken 'Abby' she got in response sent her heart plummeting to her toes. She listened carefully to her instructions, nodding her understanding.

"Gibbs?" Abby asked when he asked if she was okay. "Take care of him."

The line went dead and left her feeling empty and as silent as her lab. Abby stood in the centre looking around at her machines, her babies, remembering how many times they had provided the much needed answers to help solve a case. Then she remembered just how many times these machines had been required to prove Tony's innocence. Taking a minute to centre her mind Abby pressed her index fingers into her temple and let out a shout so loud and angry if anyone else had been there so late they would be running for the fire escape.

Anger and frustration temporary released Abby jumped to it flicking the switches on her machines, the sounds of 'Zombie Death once again filling the lab. Abby was ready to work.



Ziva dug out her keys and opened her apartment door to the sound of her phone ringing. She dumped her bag on the floor and grabbed the receiver on the third ring. She didn't get a chance to offer a greeting before McGee was shouting down the line asking where she'd been and why she'd not answered her cell.

"McGee calm down, what is the emergency?" She'd meant it as a joke, one of the few sayings she believed to have gotten correct. Then McGee told her the emergency. "I knew it! I told you he was in trouble. I told Gibbs. I knew he'd end up doing something stupid and get himself hurt, when will he learn-"

McGee interrupted her tirade with a yell that stunned her into silence. In the back of her mind a small voice was telling her she would never have acted so hysterically when she was an officer of Mossard. She ignored the taunting voice and focused on the details McGee was giving. She looked out the window and saw McGee's car pull up outside her apartment. She threw down the receiver and ran out the door, grabbing her bag on the way.



"Jethro, to what do I owe the pleasure at such a late hour?" Ducky listened to the unusual hesitancy of the man on the other end of the phone and immediately went on high alert. "Jethro what has happened?"

The softly spoken words 'its Tony' had Ducky pulling out his desk chair and falling heavily into it. He listened carefully picking up on the worry bleeding through his friends words. Ducky knew Gibbs had seen this coming, had tried to prevent it and now was going to be berating himself for not trying hard enough to do just that. Ducky also knew there was nothing he could say to make him feel any better.

"He's going to be alright Jethro." He added once Gibbs had filled him in on what metro had found.

His statement was met with silence on the other end. After hanging up Ducky contemplated the difficulties involved with such a close and dependant relationship as he reached out to dial Mr Palmer.



It was late and Gibbs was in his basement. He'd poured himself a bourdon and was looking over his worktable which was littered with bits and pieces of off-cut wood and sawdust. He hadn't been down there in a while, not so long ago as Mike's funeral, but definitely close to it. What had him down there tonight was none other than DiNozzo. Since his recent visit with Agent Barrett Gibbs' gut had been in overdrive, sensing Tony's assignment was coming to a head Gibbs felt ridiculously helpless knowing that when whatever happened, Tony was going to deal with it alone. He needed a distraction.

His phone rang as if on cue, "Gibbs."

Gibbs fell silent as he listened with an attentive ear to the NCIS switchboard operator on the other end of the line. Thinking it was a case Gibbs wasn't surprised when he was patched through to an old acquaintance from metro homicide, Lt. Cheney.

"What you got Lieutenant?"

"Gibbs, I'm sorry…"

Those two words sent him cold, Cheney was a man just like himself, they didn't apologise.

"We found your boy."

Gibbs' grip slipped on the full glass he'd been holding, it hit the table with a clunk.

"He took one in the chest."

The brown liquid flowed like a river, soaking small bits of wood and mixing with the saw dust. Gibbs didn't move or speak.

"Must have taught him well though, he was wearing a vest."

An image of Kate sprang unbidden into his mind.

"Medics are taking care of him now, he's still breathing… you want us to hold the scene until your guys get here?"

Gibbs resumed his own breathing the minute he heard those magic words. "Yeah, I'll have McGee to you within thirty."

Gibbs took down the crime scene location and the hospital DiNozzo was being transported to. Hanging up on Cheney Gibbs wasted no time in dialling as he ran up the stairs, leaving the forgotten glass to idle on the table where it fell, the stench of spilt alcohol filling the air.

McGee picked up on the first ring, "DiNozzo's been shot."