Thank you so much for all the reviews, alerts and favourites.
I'm loving this story and am thrilled that you are too.
Below find the next chapter…. Enjoy and Review soon.
Tony felt as if he was stuck in a slab of concrete, unable to move, unable to breathe. Time seemed to stand still and the noise in his ears threatened to split his eardrums.
He was suffocating.
He was dying.
He didn't want to die.
A shock of sensory awareness raced through his body, jerking his head up, blowing his eyes open and forcing his chest to inflate with a ragged, gasping breathe.
Tony gasped breathe after breathe. He just couldn't seem to get enough air into his lungs. His body, every inch of it, ached. His mind was a jumble of utter confusion. Images flashed through his mind's eye.
Gibbs barking orders…
Ziva, naked in his arms…
What the hell…
The only thing that was clear to Tony was that nothing was clear.
He was lost, alone and in agony.
His body was not his to control and his thoughts made no sense at all.
Make it stop… He felt hot tears roll down the side of his face.
He was alone.
No one was with him…
Where are you…
I need you…
Then he started to make sense of the sounds around him.
"Thank God that's over." One nurse stated.
"His got a long way to go yet." Another nurse started as they worked on Tony. "Agent DiNozzo, can you hear me?"
"He's BP's 142 over 95, temp's at 40.1 and pulse is 125." The first nurse said.
Tony took another ragged breathe and coughed. He blinked rapidly, struggling to keep his eyes open. His vision was blurred and the lights were blinding. He was taking deeper breathes now, and this irritated his chest, making his cough repeatedly.
"He's coming out of it now, his vitals should stabilise some." The second nurse stated as she wiped Tony's face with a soft cloth. The other nurse wiped down his body. It was sleek with sweat and some muscles in his legs, arms and abdomen still jerked and pulsed. He was shivering again and his eyes fluttered open and snapped shut again.
"Agent DiNozzo, can you hear me?" the nurse repeated close to his ear. But he was confused, cold and his chest hurt so bad, that he couldn't respond to her.
I want Ziva…
Where is she…
"Everything's going to be okay Agent DiNozzo. You had a fever induced seizure." The nurse said. "Can you feel my hand in yours?"
Tony tried to focus on what she was saying.
He felt her hand in his but he couldn't respond.
I want Ziva…
His tongue was dry and seemed to be stuck to the roof of his mouth. His body was heavy, weighing him down and he felt so weak and disorientated. His limbs didn't work as they should have and he was afraid that this meant worse things were to come.
God he had never felt so much pain.
This is hell, he moaned in agony.
His mind centred on one thought, I am alone.
No one cares about me enough to watch me die.
I am alone.
I don't want to die…
"Agent DiNozzo?" the nurse questioned.
Tony's eyes flashed open and he glimpsed the nurse's frowning face. Ziva…? His eyes fell closed and he was once more lost in the ever present confusion and the pulsing pain.
"He's none responsive Doctor." The nurse stated, still running the cloth over his skin.
"Get me a cranial MRI with the CT scans. I want him observed 24/7. I want to ensure that there isn't a physical or neurological cause for his seizure."
"Will do Doctor."
"We've got him a bed in the ISO-ICU ward." Another nurse stated.
"No sedation, no pain meds. Keep him on fluids and Ofirmev 1G every 2 hours. Call me immediately if he has another episode. We'll make a call on his treatment plan once all his test results are in." The doctor ordered.
"Okay Doctor. By the way, his partner's in the ER with a head injury. She wants to see him. What should we tell her?" the nurse asked.
"He is in a critical condition and not allowed any visitors. We are doing all we can to stabilise him." The doctor stated as he left the room.
The nurses spoke amongst themselves, discussing Tony's condition. They got the ER pathologists to draw blood for all the tests ordered. A nasal canula replaced the oxygen mask on Tony's face. A nurse talked to Tony as the others worked on him. He didn't respond, only coughed and took shallow, painful breathes. He cried out and twitched violently when a nurse inserted a catheter. But the relief as his bladder emptied was almost enough to make him pass out.
The nurses covered Tony's shivering and still twitching body with a light sheet. They enclosed him in an isolation curtain and rushed out of the ER. Through all the chaos and noise around him Tony felt like an invisible observer. He was so tired and so sore. And he was all alone.
Where is everyone?
He suddenly felt an intense sense of abandonment, of betrayal.
Where are they?
He couldn't remember what had happened.
They left me to face this alone…
He became unbearably angry.
This led to a coughing fit of mega proportions that made him feel as if his insides would be exiting his body via his mouth. The nurses helped him turn to his side and one rubbed his back as he coughed and coughed.
"It will pass soon, Agent DiNozzo. Just take shallow breathes and don't worry. We've got you. You're going to be okay." A nurse encouraged as the cough took its toll and left Tony trembling in agony.
A stray thought occurred to him, of him making love to Ziva.
Her whispered words, "I love you," burned in his memory.
Ziva, where are you?
Hurt of a different kind rippled through is consciousness.
If you loved me,
Anger mounted again and his body tightened.
YOU would be here, with me!
He started coughing again.
Then another thought materialised.
What about you, Boss?
I was at your side more times than I can remember.
How come you're not here to take care of me?
You're a damn bastard, Gibbs!
No, both you and Ziva are…
You're selfish, heartless bastards…
Tony felt all twisted up inside. He was so angry and so hurt. He didn't understand what had happened and how things could have turned so bad.
It serves me right… he coughed.
Hell, how can they be there for me… He choked, gasping for air.
When they weren't there for their own families… their own flesh and blood?
When Ziva arrived in the ward, she found McGee asleep. She was glad to see that he was okay.
The nurse helped Ziva to the bathroom and stayed outside the door while Ziva took a bath. As she washed the dirt and grime off her body, she remembered every touch and caress she had shared with Tony. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she relived the moments of being intimately and totally at one with Tony. She regretted waiting so long to take that step, to admit her feelings and to make love to him. But she would make up for it. And Tony would make it through this, because she needed him.
"Ziva, are you okay?" the nurse asked from outside the bathroom door.
Ziva responded by turning off the water and grabbing a towel. She dried herself, her body warm and fresh from the bath and from her memories. She pulled on the thin cotton hospital gown, tied it in the front and left the bathroom. The nurse got her settled in the bed and told her to rest.
"How is my partner doing?" Ziva asked, grabbing the nurse's arm.
"He has been moved to the ICU. The doctors have requested a lot of tests…"
"I want to see him." Ziva interrupted and stated getting out of the bed.
"No, Ziva. I'm sorry but his doctors have forbidden any visitors. Aside from the fact that he needs rest, there is a risk of infection and his body has been through a lot already. He is in an isolation unit with a strictly controlled environment."
"But I just want to see him."
"I'm sorry but it's not possible." The nurse said pushing Ziva back against the pillow. "Maybe you'll be able to see him in a day or two if his condition improves."
Ziva's head was pounding. She processed what the nurse had revealed about Tony's condition and admitted how afraid she was. His condition will improve.
If you let yourself die I will …
She brushed the tears away from her face and looked away.
Gibbs and Fornell arrived at the hospital just as the sun was setting.
"I'll get an update on Dearing while you check in with your team." Fornell stated.
Gibbs headed over to the inquiries desk and was told where Ziva and McGee were. When he asked about Tony, the nurse said that he was in isolation and not allowed any visitors. Gibbs' blood ran cold.
Just how bad is this going to be?
"I want to speak to his doctor, now." Gibbs demanded.
"I will page him for you, Agent Gibbs, but he is busy in the trauma unit and may not be available for a while yet."
"Then get me someone else who can give me details about my agent's condition." Gibbs slammed his hand on the desk. The nurse took a step backwards and a security guard moved forward.
"Sorry about that miss." Fornell stated as he came up to the desk. "Agent Gibbs is just worried. Will you give him or me a call as soon as one of the doctor is available to speak to us. We will check in on his other agents in the meantime."
Gibbs glared at Fornell, but walked with him to the elevator.
"Easy, Jethro." Fornell said.
"Don't." Gibbs warned.
"If you want to get yourself barred from entering this hospital, go right ahead and make a scene."
"Shut up, Fornell."
When they arrived at the ward, they found Ziva and McGee talking.
"Boss, Agent Fornell." McGee stated, sitting up and grimacing. Fornell nodded and moved to the side of the room.
"You okay, Tim." Gibbs patted his cheek.
"Yes. I still can't believe that I didn't feel any pain initially."
"It was the shock." Gibbs replied. "I'm glad you're okay."
Fornell looked up at that. Well done, Jethro.
"Thanks Boss." McGee replied in surprise.
Gibbs turned to Ziva next. She looked angry and tense.
"Ziva," He went over to her and gave her a gentle kiss on her forehead. "How are you feeling?"
"They won't let me see Tony." She replied.
Gibbs suppressed his own worry and anger over that and said, "They're taking care of DiNozzo. Let them do their job."
"Did they let you see him?" Ziva demanded. "Is he okay? Is he conscious? What's wrong with him?"
"Shh, Ziva." Gibbs took her into his arms as tears glistened in her eyes. "He will be okay. You hear me? He will make it through this."
Gibbs said it with such calm conviction that Ziva relaxed against him and returned his embrace.
"I'm okay, Gibbs." Ziva whispered as she withdrew from his embrace.
"Good. I want you two to focus on getting well."
"What about Dearing?" Ziva asked.
"Fornell and I will handle Dearing." Gibbs replied.
"So this is a joint operation now." McGee said it for his own benefit.
"This is a priority case and has multiple agencies involved." Fornell said.
"Dearing has to be stopped, Gibbs. I don't think his done with us." Ziva said.
"Neither do I Ziva." Gibbs replied.
And that was what worried Gibbs the most. What would Dearing's next move be? Where was he planning to strike and who would be his next victim?
Fornell's phone rang and he left the room to answer it. He returned a minute later and said, "We need to go Jethro. We've got a lead on Dearing."
"Be careful out there, Boss." McGee said as Gibbs headed out the door.
"Always am." Gibbs replied.
A few moments later Ziva sat up and looked at McGee. "I can't sit around doing nothing."
"I know what you mean." McGee replied. "Maybe…"
"Maybe what, McGee?"
"Maybe Abby can bring over a few things and we can start working the case."
"Gibbs might object."
"McGee, just do it. Please."
Ziva needed to focus on something other than Tony and how much she wanted to be with him. Her fear for him was as intense as her hatred for Dearing. She would channel all her emotions into finding Dearing and making sure he paid for what he had done to Tony.
That's it for this Chapter…
Let me know your thoughts…. Thanks…