Title: DiNozzo Redux
Category: TV Shows » NCIS
Language: English, Rating: Rated: T
Published: 08-26-09, Updated: 08-26-09
Chapters: 1, Words: 939
A/N: I'm re-posting this because I want to move all my stories under one pen name.
Chapter 1: Chapter 1
Gibbs jerked the car's steering wheel and took a right that almost lifted the left side tires from the asphalt. He was pissed, he was beyond impatient and he was terrified. Clenched gut, cold sweat, scared shitless. Only one person on earth could scare him that way.
Thirty-two minutes ago, he'd answered the call from old Mrs. Gilroy. Once he'd snatched the bullet points from the near hysterical, sobbing jumble of words-head injury, unconscious, Bethesda-he'd snapped the phone closed and hit the gas.
Not for the first time, he cursed DiNozzo and his bad judgment. Tony had chosen wrongly. He had set the stage secretly, hadn't asked Gibbs' permission, hadn't given him right of refusal before the fact. After the fact, Gibbs couldn't refuse. He felt bound to honor Tony's choice, whether he had chosen wisely or not. He'd never before felt the weight of that decision like he was feeling it at this moment.
Finally, he pulled up to the hospital's emergency entrance and raced inside.
"DiNozzo, he's here with a head wound." he demanded of the nurse behind the counter.
Another nurse approaching with a chart in her hand overheard him and spoke.
He followed her down a corridor into a treatment area and held his breath as she pulled the curtain to reveal the patient.
"Hey, Gibbs. What took you so long? I'm starving. Can we stop for pizza?"
There was the wide grin, the familiar green eyes looking back at him. A split second of wrenching, wishful deja vu was quickly overridden by relief. He was alive. Alive and fine.
Gibbs stood, still and silent, letting the relief wash over him with enough force to weaken his knees. He gripped the foot bar of the bed and leaned into it while taking a deep breath.
What's wrong, he asked, looking up at him as if he was clueless of the turmoil roiling in Gibbs. As if he was sitting at home on the couch watching Magnum DVDs instead of sitting on a hospital bed less than an hour after he'd been unconscious and unresponsive. As if Gibbs hadn't spent every second since he'd answered that phone call trying and failing not to relive the last time Tony had scared him this way. The chaos, the blood, the final realization. The last time.
"Dammit, DiNozzo!" The words escaped without thought, more a response to the past than the present.
"You're supposed to be happy I'm okay, not pissed. "
"Watch your mouth!"
"You cussed first."
Only force of Gibbs' famous iron will kept his hands by his side. His palm had a mind of its own, begging to connect to the back of the patient's head, head injury or no. It was an ongoing, almost daily struggle fighting the compulsion. Helping to maintain control of the mighty urge was a countdown he'd begun over two years earlier. Down now to six years, eight months and twenty-two days. Forestalled but, oh, so inevitable. If Gibbs survived that long, which, considering the pace at which his heart still jackhammered against his breastbone, was questionable. He was too old for this.
He took a couple of seconds to run a hand across his face, trying to calm his temper and heart rate, then asked "What happened?"
"I hit my head."
"Well, Cathy Atkinson, you know Cathy Atkinson, Gibbs-blonde hair, blue eyes, sixteen with a navel ring and likes to wash her dad's car on the front lawn in Daisy Dukes and a tube top, just like Lucille in Cool Hand Luke. Mrs. Gilroy doesn't like her, she says her mother ought to be ashamed letting..."
Gibbs moved to sit and lean back into the footrail of the bed as the prolonged explanation droned on. Gibbs let him ramble. He didn't bark at him, as he usually did during his typical drawn out attempts at deflection and subterfuge, to cut to the chase. He was just so damn relieved, he'd have happily sat there hours listening to him beat around the bush to avoid saying what he didn't want to tell him.
Gibbs patiently waited through the convoluted recounting, enjoying the sound of the voice and immensely grateful for the chance to hear it again, until it was done. Then Gibbs spoke, summing up all he'd heard in one sentence.
"So, long story short, you were riding your skateboard without a helmet-ignoring rule number three which is never, ever ride a skateboard without a helmet-got distracted and wiped out."
Gibbs nodded. He scooted down the bed and threw an arm around eleven year old Dylan DiNozzo's shoulders to pull him into an embrace, his chin lightly resting atop Dylan's head. The boy reached around Gibbs' waist to return the hug, settling his cheek against Gibbs' chest.
Gibbs took a minute to just hold him there, thinking maybe Tony hadn't made a mistake after all. Gibbs might be too old, might not be best suited in a lot of ways. But, nobody else could love the kid more than he did and the thought of losing him...
He banished that thought along with the images of Tony's death that lingered in the back of his mind. Tony was gone but Dylan was here, alive and safe and Gibbs would do everything in his power to keep it that way.
He tightened the embrace and said "You're grounded."