A/N - I want to thank everyone who have been reviewing this story. I appreciate all the encouraging words you have been giving me. I do apologize for not updating sooner. Real life takes over sometimes and you get behind. So I hope an extra long chapter will help to smooth things over.
Jimmy parked the rental car and raced into the emergency entrance of the hospital. After Brenna's call, he had bolted out of the hotel and driven as fast as he dared to the hospital. He was so worried about his mentor and friend. He spied the nurses' desk and made his way over. He placed his hands on the desk, staring intently at nurse on call.
"Please, I'm here to see Doctor Donald Mallard. He was brought in about a half an hour ago."
The nurse looked up at the man standing in front of her. "May I ask who you are? Are you a relative?"
"I'm Jimmy Palmer, I'm his power of attorney. My wife Brenna is with him right now."
"Oh yes, she told me you were on your way. You can go on back. Dr. Mallard is in room number three," the nurse said, pressing a button so the door opened.
"Thank you!" Jimmy exclaimed, pulling away from the desk and running through the open door. He dodged a few carts, nurses and doctors as he made his way down the hallway. He checked every room before he skidded to a stop in front of room three. He cautiously opened the door, but before he could enter he was plowed into.
"Jimmy!" Brenna exclaimed, flying into her husband's arms. She had been watching for him, knowing it wouldn't take long for him to make it to the hospital. She had been in a state of panic ever since she had found Ducky lying on the beach near the water.
Jimmy wrapped his arms around her and kissed the top of Brenna's head as he looked into the room. It was when he saw Ducky for the first time. A few stray tears fell down his face as he watched the doctors and nurses start IV's, taking blood for tests and tying him in for an EKG. He could feel Brenna's hot tears falling down her face and onto his shirt as she cried in his chest.
"Oh Jimmy! I was so scared," Brenna said, looking up into his worried eyes. He leaned down and kissed his bride. "I found him on the beach. He was lying there unconscious. His cell phone still open in his hand."
Jimmy smoothed Brenna's hair back as he looked again into the room. He could see that the doctor was checking tests results. "God baby, I am so sorry that you had to find him like that. But I'm glad he had a familiar face with him."
She looked up as a nurse left the room, "I just hope he'll be okay."
"Me too baby. I'm worried about Ducky and I'm terrified for the others. The only person I could reach was Abby and I still don't really know how anyone is in DC. And I have to be on a plane in two hours…"
Brenna put a finger on Jimmy's lips, "Breathe babe. It'll be okay. I'll stay here with Ducky and you go to DC. I don't mind."
He wrapped his arms around her tighter again as he replied, "I love you so much Brenna. You are my rock. I am so glad you're my wife."
They were still hugging when the doctor stepped out into the hall. He noticed Jimmy and Brenna standing near the door.
"How is he?" Jimmy asked the doctor, scared for Ducky.
"He's holding his own for now. He's had a serious myocardial infarction. It seems that it has been building for a little while. But it looks like he is through the worst of it. You can go in if you would like. We are getting ready to wake him up," the doctor replied, motioning for the newlywed couple to enter the room.
Jimmy and Brenna entered the room, holding hands. The doctor clapped his hands loudly, causing Ducky to start.
"Doctor Mallard, are you with us?"
"Am I in purgatory?" he asked, slurring his words slightly.
"You're in the hospital."
Ducky looked away, "Same thing."
"You've had a heart attack. Your lucky. Brenna Palmer found you and she and Jimmy have been here with you since you were brought in."
Ducky looked around, his eyes scanning the room until he found the Palmers. "Are they alright?" he asked, his voice low.
"Let's focus on you for now."
"Are…they…al…right?" Ducky asked, sliding the oxygen mask down, barely able to breath, but his deep distress for their friends evident. He locked eyes with his friend.
"I…I don't know. The only one I could reach was Abby, but she ended up hanging up on me," Jimmy replied, watching as his mentor's eyes slid shut, a single tear rolling down his face as the nurse returned the oxygen mask to his face.
Jimmy looked down when his phone started vibrating in his back pocket. He grabbed the phone and did a double take when he saw the caller ID. He hurriedly answered, walking away from the bed so as to not agitate Ducky any more.
"Director. I apologize for not getting back with your secretary sooner."
"Its alright Jimmy. I know you and Dr. Mallard will be here as soon as you can."
Jimmy left the room, running a hand through his hair before he replied, "Yeah that's the thing Director. Its going to be just a little longer. I didn't know if anyone called you or not, but Doctor Mallard had a heart attack." Jimmy heard the sharp intake of breath coming from the other side of the phone.
"No, no one called me. How is he?"
"Stable for now. My wife is going to stay with him. My flight leaves in less than two hours. It was the earliest flight I could get."
"That's okay Jimmy. I understand. I will have a car waiting for you as soon as you land."
"Thank you sir. How…how are the others?" Jimmy asked, petrified at what the answer was going to be.
"I know you heard partly about Gibbs. He has a head injury, a severely broken finger and a piece of glass in his broken leg. He had a seizure before he stopped breathing. Believe me when I tell you he was breathing when I sent him and Abby to the hospital."
"She told me about her broken arm."
"That's not the only injury she had. She had a piece of glass embedded in her neck that nicked her carotid artery It shifted and she started bleeding profusely."
"Oh my God," he whispered, finding a row of chairs nearby and sinking down in the closest one. He lowered his head into his hand and closed his eyes. "Is she okay?" He asked as Brenna walked up. She sat next to him and started rubbing his back.
"She was still conscious and talking when they took her and Gibbs to the hospital. The paramedics think she's going to be okay."
He sighed before he wrapped his arms around his wife as he continued, "What about the others?"
"We haven't found Tony or Ziva yet. Tim should already be at the hospital."
Jimmy squeezed Brenna tight as he asked, "What's wrong with Tim?"
He could hear the sigh again on the other side of the line, "He was in the squad room when the bomb exploded and was thrown quite forcefully. Jimmy, he can't feel his legs."
"Oh my God, he's paralyzed?" He asked, his voice breaking with emotion as he ran a hand through his hair and squeezed his eyes shut. Brenna's eyes widened as she saw tears falling down her husband's face. She hugged him closer. She had know Jimmy for a while, but this was the first time she has seen him cry.
"Yes he is. But don't lose faith son. We have to be strong for all of them, Ducky included."
"I know, your right. My flight is only supposed to be about an hour and a half, so I should be on the Navy Yard around 7:30," Jimmy replied, standing.
"Okay Jimmy. I'll make sure the car is there so you can be escorted on the Yard."
"Thanks Director. I'm going to check on Dr. Mallard before I head to the airport," Jimmy said, standing with Brenna as the doctor came out of the room.
"Be careful son." Vance responded before hanging up. Jimmy closed his phone before giving his undivided attention to the attending physician.
"We will be doing a few more tests on Dr. Mallard before we move him upstairs. By all accounts he is a very lucky man."
"Thank you doctor. My wife Brenna will be staying with him. I have to fly back to DC in about an hour and a half," Jimmy replied, taking Brenna's hand into his.
The doctor nodded, "That will be fine. Until we are ready to do the tests, you both can sit with him."
"Thank you," Brenna said, leading her husband aside as the doctor headed down the hallway. Jimmy collapsed into a nearby chair, sobs begging to rack his frame. "Oh Jimmy. Is it that bad?"
He looked up at her, his tear stained eyes speaking volumes. "Abby has a broken arm and a piece of glass in her neck, Gibbs has a broken leg and finger, head injury and glass embedded in his leg, Tim is paralyzed and the director said they still had not found Ziva and Tony. Its not good."
She sat down next to him, soothingly rubbing circles on his back and he leaned heavily against her and cried. Her heart was breaking for the man who was normally so strong, but was now showing is vulnerability and emotions that he tended to keep hidden beneath the surface.
A few minutes later, Jimmy straightened up and wiped the remaining tears away, taking in a deep cleansing breath. He then stood, silently taking Brenna's hand before leading her into Ducky's room to stay with him until he had to leave.
Vance closed his phone before letting it fall into his back pocket. Talking to the M.E.'s assistant had been difficult, to say the least. Finding out Ducky had had a heart attack had nearly sent him over the edge. But he knew he still had two agents to find, resolve filling him. He left what was left of the forensic lab and made his way down the hallway. He made sure all emergency response teams would check all corners of the building without disturbing those who would never go home again or walk the halls of the agency.
He took a deep cleansing breath before carefully picking his way back to the staircase, noting the markings of the firefighters, paramedics and police officers that had already been down the hallway. He made it to the stairs and went up a floor. It was his guess that David and DiNozzo had been trying to evacuate the second floor, since McGee had been on the third and Gibbs had been in the basement.
He picked his way back up to the second floor, carefully opening the door. The smell of acrid smoke was more prominent on this floor than it had been on any other one. He guessed that it was because it was where they had a lot of offices. He noted check marks on the doors, grateful that some of the first responders had been working the floor already.
He stopped when he heard a faint noise, one that caught his already alert senses. He was standing near the stairs and the elevator shaft. A lightening bolt hit him as he realized the sound was coming from the elevator,
"They didn't," he mumbled to himself as he climbed over some of the ceiling to the elevator. He stood stock still when he heard low moaning coming from the other side of the doors. He tried to pry it open with his bare hands, which didn't work. He looked around wildly before his eyes fell on a sturdy piece of metal that had been ripped from the ceiling. He grabbed it and began to pry the doors open.
It took him close to fifteen minutes before he was able to get the doors open enough to look in. What he saw caused his heart to leap into his throat. The pulley system that brought the car up and down the shaft had been wrenched loose from the roof and had fallen on top of the car. The car was crushed to about half of its size and was settled on top of a mound of dirt.
A low rumble started before the ground beneath Vance's feet began to shake. He leapt back, not wanting to be caught in anything coming down. He watched in horror as the pile of debris the elevator car had been on shifted, causing the car to fall a few more feet down and sending the huge pulley careening toward him.
A/N - Ha ha! Left you at a cliff hanger again! Let's hope Vance gets out of the way and fast…..