It had been a long evening. Soon after Gibbs learned from Vance that DiNozzo was missing, he received a phone call that DiNozzo was brought into the emergency room. Gibbs spent the night at the hospital, working with Dr. Cranston, as they both tried to get DiNozzo to remember what happened. He worked the crime scene indirectly with Metro PD, Abby, and Ducky handling the evidence and bodies also found at the scene.
DiNozzo had finally fallen asleep after members of the team visited and finally left. Now, Gibbs was sitting next to a sleeping DiNozzo. He had a concussion and skinned his forehead on the pavement when he fell. He was also suffering from amnesia and was extremely rattled from the situation. The vest protected him physically after getting shot in the chest; however, it did nothing to protect his emotional state. He looked over at DiNozzo wondering if he should call anyone for him. He knew his father was nearby. Gibbs thought back to the lecture he gave Senior again about not being there for his son, when he had the plague. Then he remembered the second lecture he had with Senior about staying away from DiNozzo altogether. After remembering Ducky's wise comments about interfering when it was not welcomed, Gibbs reached over and picked up DiNozzo cell phone.
"Ugh no this isn't Junior." Gibbs said. "This is Gibbs. Your son is in the hospital. No, no, he will be all right. Mr. DiNozzo, please listen to me, sir. He got knocked out and has a concussion. I can tell you the rest of the story when you get here. Where are you exactly? Perfect. I will text you the address."
DiNozzo started to stir when he heard his father's voice in the hallway.
"He was wearing a bullet proof vest, but he was shot in the chest. No, that doesn't mean that there is any type of damage. The vest protected him." Gibbs argued with Senior. "He just has a concussion and his forehead has been skinned from the fall." Gibbs repeated, starting to get frustrated with how frantic Senior was, as he asked Gibbs questions. "No, the doctor said it was okay for him to get some sleep. The nurses are watching him."
DiNozzo sat up in the hospital bed listening carefully to the conversations. Gibbs finally directed Senior into the room.
"Hey, back in bed now." Gibbs ordered, when he saw that DiNozzo was awake, out of bed, and approaching them.
"Anthony, what happened to you?" Senior asked strongly quickly approaching the bed, as Gibbs had grabbed DiNozzo by the shoulders and was directing him back to the bed. Gibbs shook his head as he pushed DiNozzo back down on the bed, as Senior began to ask DiNozzo directly the same questions Gibbs had just answered for him in the hallway. As Gibbs was doing this, Senior was literally right behind him, almost tripping over him. When Gibbs stood over Tony in his bed, Senior had practically gotten into the bed with Tony.
"Hey, you stay in that bed." Gibbs ordered Tony softly.
"And you are coming on way too strong. Sit in that chair and just talk to him." Gibbs ordered Senior pushing him back into the chair. "I'll leave the two of you alone."
"No Boss, please don't leave." DiNozzo pleaded grabbing a hold of Gibbs arm pulling him back so that he would not leave.
"I'll be right outside Tony." Gibbs said with a slight grin. DiNozzo looked to him with his pleading eyes shifting uncomfortably, as he released his hold on Gibbs' arm. "I will be back, all right?"
Gibbs sat in a chair just outside DiNozzo's room. He could hear their conversation. He listened as DiNozzo continued to redirect his father's attention away from his injuries.
"So, what have the Paddingtons decided as far as selling the estate?" DiNozzo asked, trying to distract his father from asking questions about his injuries.
"Shouldn't you be lying down, Junior?" Senior asked. "Gibbs said that you are allowed to sleep."
"I did sleep, so is everyone getting along okay?" DiNozzo asked.
"Did they put any Neosporin on your forehead?" Senior asked. "That stuff works wonders." DiNozzo moaned from the constant questions.
"Dad, yeah they did something to it. I don't know. I wasn't paying attention. I had amnesia, and I was trying so hard to remember what happened. So, what did the family decide to do with the mansion dad? Are the Paddingtons keeping it or selling it?"
Gibbs continued to listen to the conversation, having a hard time not laughing. The smile dissipated quickly when Senior came out of the room and stood next to him.
"Leaving already? You have spent a whole fifteen minutes with him?" Gibbs said sharply, as he stood up, looking him over very judgmentally.
"No, I have to make a phone call. I have to cancel a lunch date that I had set this afternoon. I will be back." Senior said walking off.
"Boss, Boss, . . . why did you call him?" DiNozzo said in a panic. "I hate him when he is like this, and I am not used to it. He is just all over me."
"Settle down, Tony." Gibbs said trying to contain a smile. "I called him because he is your father and because you never told him you were sick when you had the plague."
"The plague was different. Well, at least, he won't come back." DiNozzo said.
"He told me that he just stepped out to make a phone call." Gibbs said in a much more serious tone.
"Trust me, he won't be back." DiNozzo said confidently. "And, the plague was different."
"How?" Gibbs asked almost mad.
"Boss, . . ." DiNozzo started. Gibbs watched him waiting for him to continue. "That guy, Stratton. . ."
"Yeah." Gibbs said forcefully, pushing DiNozzo to talk.
"I think that he was the guy that attacked me back when you were still in Mexico." DiNozzo explained. "I am pretty sure that he was the guy that I was trying to hide from when you visited me in my apartment."
"What do you remember exactly?" Gibbs asked leaning in closer. DiNozzo shook his head and looked away, trying to pretend as if he did not remember.
"Oh, no you don't. Talk to me, okay." Gibbs said.
"Don't you believe me that it was him?" DiNozzo asked.
"I believe you, but answer my question." Gibbs said forcefully, becoming irritated with how DiNozzo was trying to dodge the question.
"It was at E.J.'s apartment. I was in her apartment trying to find clues as to where she and Cade could be." DiNozzo nodded, as if trying to agree with himself that the statement was accurate. After seeing this gesture, Gibbs stopped questioning him in realization that DiNozzo's mind was still fuzzy.
"Stratton attacked you in Barrett's apartment then?" Gibbs asked.
"Yeah, I think it was him, but it definitely happened in E.J.'s apartment." DiNozzo said.
"So what is going with your Dad and the. . ." Gibbs started to ask, when they heard Senior reenter the room.
"Dad, you are back?" DiNozzo said in total shock. Gibbs looked over at Tony. Tony nervously shifted from Gibbs' stare.
"He is all yours." Gibbs said with a smile going back to the hallway.
"Boss. . ." DiNozzo pleaded again.
"Just so you know, Gibbs. . .I told some family members that Junior was in the hospital. Some of them have a different last name - Paddington." Senior said.
"How many did you tell?" Gibbs asked.
"Word gets around fast, so it is hard to say." Senior said. Gibbs eyes widened. He looked back at an unsuspecting DiNozzo in the hospital bed. DiNozzo's choice to not call his father when he was sick with the plague was becoming clearer.
"Anyway, I could understand, if you didn't want to stick around and deal with all of these people. DiNozzos and Paddingtons in the same place is never a good thing." Senior said. "You will find that these family members are even more annoying than me or even Junior." He said in a light tone, laughing slightly.
"Ah, well, Tony is still my responsibility. The man that tried to kill him was in this hospital-just last night-trying to finish the job. I'll get you a photo of the guy from the hospital surveillance. Let me know, if you spot him anywhere." Gibbs said. Gibbs watched as Senior reentered the room all of the way to see his son. Gibbs waited to hear DiNozzo's reaction to the news.
"You what!" Tony yelled. Gibbs started to laugh. He sat back down in his chair, wondering if he needed backup to supervise DiNozzo's family. Gibbs did feel confident that Stratton would not be revisiting the hospital, while DiNozzo was trying to recover.
Thank you so much for reading. Thank you for your wonderful feedback.
This should conclude the Pandora's Box Series. However, I hope to still do more with Tony's family and the Wendy story arc.