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PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:29 pm 
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Name: Valerie
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Life’s a Show (Open up our Hearts)

Disclaimer: I do not own or make any claim on NCIS; it is the property of its respective creators.

Author’s notes: This story was written for Jennie (colorguard28) in the 2013 NFA White Elephant Exchange. I chose to use her second prompt: "Get busy living or get busy dying." Jennie, I hope you enjoy this! :D Thank you for such a wonderful prompt.

Thanks to sondheimmcgeek and tigyr for beta-reading this story. You were both so helpful. :)

As far as I know, no such bakery as the one I made up exists, but if it does, I don’t own it.

Story title comes from the song “Something to Sing About” from the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s musical episode Once More with Feeling. Which was written by the amazing Joss Whedon, who also owns it, which is to say that I don’t.

Summary: A cannon based A.U. that asks what if Tony DiNozzo and Jeanne Benoit met each other soon after Gibbs left, before the Director ever had a chance to put her plan into action. Well, in keeping with the DiNozzo Luck™, their first meeting gets rather explosive, and the fallout triggers changes in more lives than just theirs.

Rating: F15

Chapter One: When Tony Meet Jeanne

Chapter title inspired by the movie When Harry met Sally, which I do not own.

This very well might have been one of the worst weeks of his life, Tony DiNozzo thought. He’d just pulled up in front of his favorite guilty pleasure coffee shop, Sweets and Treats Café & Bakery, after a long, horrible meeting with the Director. He needed a reward for behaving so well while having to listen to her tell him he had the week off while she considered whether his ‘promotion’ by Gibbs ‘was in the best interests of the team, himself, and the agency.’ Best interests of the team? That would be to have Gibbs, but he’d left. His own best interests were not going to be to take him from his friends and his job, his life. If she wanted to fire him, she should have just told him that flat out. He knew very well she didn’t like him, didn’t think he was a good enough agent. The story of his life, not a good enough son, not a good enough athlete, not a good enough cop, not a good enough fiancé, and the one person he’d been busting his ass trying to please for the last four years, the one person, since his mother, who he thought believed in him, saw something in him, and all he got as praise was a “You’ll do!” He left him with “you’ll do!” It was his father all over again. He slammed the car door just a little too hard.

Well, he was Tony DiNozzo, and he was used to abandonment. He’d learned long ago once someone left, it was no use hoping they’d come back. And even if they did, you couldn’t trust them when they said they’d never leave again, when they swore they’d be there for you. If they left you once, they’d do it again. He just never thought he’d have to use these lessons with Gibbs. He’d never thought he’d leave. But then, he’s not really sure he knew Gibbs at all anymore. He knew himself, though. He was used to being abandoned, to being left behind, either by choice or death. He hadn’t let it break him before, and he wouldn’t now, and he wouldn’t leave his people behind, employed or fired, injured or healthy. When he loved someone, he loved for life; he was there for them for life, standing right next to them or a phone call away.

He took a deep breath. He’d come here to get away from these thoughts, not bring them with him. He was alive. Everyone he cared about was alive, well, of those on the list of who he loved; there’s been no need to have to switch anyone from “Living” to “Dead”, always a good thing; the list under “Dead” was entirely too long already. They’re not okay, not by a long shot, but right now he’s just going to enjoy being at his favorite coffee shop. Gibbs would say their place was an insult to coffee everywhere, but Gibbs can go to hell. Oh, wait, he might have already been there, and dragged the rest of us with him, he thought wryly.

As he opened the door to the café, his chaotic thoughts were cut off by the heavenly scents of chocolate, coffee, cakes, things that all combined into an aroma that made his stomach growl and reminded him of home, when his mother used to bake. A grin broke out over his face. This was just what he needed. He headed for the line. The girl behind the counter raised her head and grinned.

“Tony! What can I get for my favorite federal agent today?” Ashley, as written on her name tag, not that he needed it, asked him. Her blonde hair was up in a bun, and she’d dyed a couple strains pink. Her brown eyes were grinning as much as the smile on her face. He grinned back at her as he scanned the display case.

“Hello, Ashley. I’m fine, and how are you? How are your classes going? Are you enjoying learning about the wonderful world of business and finance? How’d you do on your exam?” He knew she wanted to open her own business one day, and that she loved numbers. They’d spoken about things she learned in class. Just because he hadn’t followed dad into the family business didn’t mean he didn’t know it.

“I love it! And I aced it! That example you gave me made so much sense!” she all but squealed, beaming.

“That’s fantastic! I’m so happy for you! And I’m going to make my blood sugar go sky high, and have a blondie with a vanilla cappuccino with double shot of caffeine, with sprinkles,” he ordered, knowing Ducky would give him hell on his next checkup. If Ducky does give me my next checkup, said the little voice in the back of his head, which he told to be quiet.

“Bad day?” asked a woman’s voice from behind him. He turned around and his eyes met gorgeous blue eyes in a heart shaped face, with deep brown hair with lighter high lights held up in a messy bun on top of her head, belonging to a woman with pale skin wearing a doctor’s coat, and green scrubs. She was smiling at him.

“More like a horrific week, almost two. How about you?” He smiled back at her.

“A very long shift, I’m dead on my feet. I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had such a bad week. I’m Jeanne.” She held her hand out to him. He took it in his and kissed it, like a prince did a princess.

He heard a laugh, and saw another woman in scrubs standing behind Jeanne, grinning. She had curly brown hair, matching brown eyes and tan skin, with a lovely smile. She waved a hand at him.

“I’m Carly, this one’s friend, just off the same shift. Please, don’t mind me, continue.” She was smiling, so he decided she meant it.

“I’m Tony. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Dr. Jeanne.” She blushed prettily, and tugged her hand out of his.

“And it’s lovely to meet you, Agent Tony, but I usually like to know someone’s last name before they kiss me.” She grinned at the look of surprise on his face. “I overheard you talking to Ashley. So, how about I order, and then you can tell me about your horrible two weeks, and maybe your last name?” Ashley came over with his drink and blondie at this point, and grinned at the two of them.

“Okay, but only if you tell me about your shift and your last name in return, Dr. Jeanne. I don’t usually go around kissing pretty girls without knowing their names, after all,” he teased, taking out cash to pay for his order.

“Oh? So am I special then?” she said, raising an eyebrow.

“I’m sure you are,” he replied, grinning. She blushed, and Carly rolled her eyes. He reached to take his order and let Jeanne have her turn. She gestured Carly to go ahead, and reached her hand out again, and grasped his.

“Benoit. It’s Dr. Jeanne Benoit. And you are, Agent Tony?”

“DiNozzo. Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, NCIS,” he told her, returning her hand shake, and meeting her gaze.

“NCIS?” she asked, letting go of his hand.

“Naval Criminal Investigative Service. I’m a navy cop.”

“Sounds interesting. Have anything to do with your bad weeks?”

“It is. And yes, but it’s-“

“Classified. I was engaged to a cop once. I know the drill,” she said, rolling her eyes.

“Was?” What was the breaking point, he wondered, she didn’t like the hours, couldn’t deal with the secrets, some of most common reasons civilians divorced law enforcement officers going through his head.

“I called it off with him because when he refused to get help for his alcoholism, I came home to find him in bed with my now former best friend,” she said with a bitter smile on her face.

“I’m sorry. He was an idiot,” he told her, dead serious.


“For letting you get away? The alcohol must have rotted his brain,” he assured her. He couldn’t believe how forward he was being, couldn’t believe how much he meant what he was saying.

“Thank you. Well, you still owe me a conversation about the parts that aren’t classified,” she replied, blushing.

He smiled at her. So, this very well might have been one of the worst weeks of his life. Gibbs got blown up, was in a coma for three days, woke up with amnesia and thought it was fifteen years ago, I found out he had a first wife and a daughter that no one knew about that were murdered. There was a terrorist on the loose, I was team lead and none of the team was behaving or listening to me. My government killed nineteen of its own people and covered it up, causing Gibbs to quit NCIS and leave me with a measly “You’ll do”; abandoning us to go off to who knows where, which left us stuck behind to clean up this mess. I might not have a job, Abby’s having a nervous breakdown, the Director hates me, and more things I’m probably forgetting, but right at this moment everyone’s alive, I have my favorite coffee, a beautiful doctor seems really interested in me, and I have a week off, so these horrible almost two weeks are looking up. And of course, in following with the Anthony DiNozzo Luck™, as soon as he finished thinking that, that was when the guy wearing a ski mask and holding a gun walked in and screamed for everyone to do as he said, or he would start shooting.

To be continued; Please post all questions and :jumpgreen: in the discussion post

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:41 pm 
Intel Analyst
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Name: Valerie
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Chapter Two: Of All the Coffee Cafes in all the World (You walked into mine)

Chapter title inspired by the quote “Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine,” said by the character Rick Blaine in the movie Casablanca, which I adore, but do not own.

Tony immediately went into cop mode. Jeanne was on his right, Carly was next to her, Ashley was behind the counter, there were two other patrons in the café, and one other employee in the back. So, that left one federal agent to protect six civilians against one robber with a gun. How does he always mange to get into situations like this? If the other employee stayed hidden in the back and called for help, or the two other patrons could text 911, or if Ashley had a panic button beneath the counter then it might not be just him to protect them for long. But he couldn’t count on outside help, and turning this into a hostage situation wasn’t a good idea at all. He had his knife hidden in his belt, and his personal weapon concealed in a shoulder holster beneath his jacket, since he wasn’t about to risk carrying his service weapon when he was probably going to be fired, but he didn’t want this to get to the point where anyone started shooting.

It looked like everyone was getting down on the floor, and the employee in the back hadn’t come out or been found, which was good, because that was one less person he needed to worry about as much right now. He put his hands up slowly, making eye contact with the hostile; he was tall, around 6’ feet, wearing a black outfit and mask, jittery, the gun looked like a .22 caliber or smaller, and his hands were shaking. God, I hope he isn’t high.

“Alright, we’re getting down. What do you want, money?” Tony asked him. If he was high he probably wanted a fix, and he wouldn’t be interested in logic. Let him just want our money, Tony pleaded silently.

“Shut up!” He focused his attention on Tony, which is what Tony had wanted.

“I can’t do that. You obviously want something, so let’s see if we can get it for you without anyone getting hurt, okay? Can we do that? I’m a federal agent, I’m sure whatever it is, we can figure it out, just put down the gun.” He kept his voice calm, hands held out in front of him, the robber’s grip on the gun was pretty shaky, but Tony didn’t think that was from inexperience. An addict or someone having a breakdown, those are the worst, makes reasoning with them impossible. Where the hell’s the help someone should have called by now? He thought to himself. He really hadn’t wanted to tell this guy he was a federal agent, but maybe that would scare him straight, and it’s what every station he’d ever been with and NCIS said you’re supposed to do when off duty and dealing with a criminal.

“You could be the Queen of England, and I’d still want you to sit down and shut up!” The man came at Tony, who pushed Jeanne and Carly further behind and away from him, and swung the gun at his head. Tony rolled his head away from the gun’s impact, giving himself whiplash but mostly saving himself from a concussion. His vision swam in front of him, but he blinked his eyes closed for a second, held himself still through the dizziness and opened them again. Not too bad a hit, it only made everything a little blurry and nauseous, I’ve felt worse from a Gibbs-slap, was his assessment of his injuries. He straightened to his full height, he could feel and hear Carly holding Jeanne back from checking on him right now, regardless of the man standing there pointing a gun at them, whispering to her furiously in Spanish. He looked the would-be robber in the eye, determination filling him, it was cold like ice had replaced the blood in his veins, making him feel calm and very aware.

“You just made a big mistake,” Tony told him.

“Oh?” The robber sneered at him. “What? That I didn’t hit you hard enough to knock you out?” He laughed as if this were the punch-line to a great joke.

“Exactly; I’m gonna give you one more chance to give me the gun and let us go. Do it, make it easier on yourself,” Tony said. The man laughed in Tony’s face, his spit landing on it, and Tony felt a jolt of anger. He didn’t like being laughed at.

“Give up? Why would I do that? You don’t seem to get it! I have the gun here, and you need to do what I say!” By the end of his sentence he was shouting and waving the gun around, and as if to demonstrate, he fired the gun at the ceiling, causing parts of it to fall, narrowly missing him and Tony. He could hear Ashley crying softly, and the sounds of sobbing, whimpering, gasping, and whispering. Tony motioned with his hand for Jeanne and Carly to get behind the counter with Ashley, and for the other patrons to get under the tables, and hoped they understand what he meant.

“Because you assaulted a federal agent! NCIS! Now put down the gun!” Tony barked as he reached for his gun in its holster under his jacket. The other man was faster, putting his gun on Tony’s right arm. Tony reached for the side his gun was actually on, his left, and grasped it. He pulled it on the robber, who gave a shout of rage and pointed his gun away from Tony and to the counter where the women were huddled beneath. Tony leapt forward and tackled the man, using his body to get in the way of the gun’s path to the ladies, and reached to grab it. He got ahold of the gun aimed at them just as it went off, causing him to drop his own weapon as he felt pain spread through the side he’d been using to hold it like fire, burning and relentless. He ruthlessly pushed the pain aside. He distantly heard Jeanne shout his name, Carly cursing in Spanish, Ashley crying, and two more voices, one pleading and one yelling, but he wasn’t listening. He had a job to do.

He raised his good arm, and punched the man, who had just shot him, in the face. The man screamed, and Tony did it again, and again, and again, until he heard the man finally let go of his gun as it dropped to the floor, and his shooter went to follow it as he toppled backwards. Tony started go with him, since his shooter was the only thing keeping him upright, but then he felt other arms holding him up. He fought them until he heard a friendly voice over the rushing sound in his head.

“You can relax now, Tony. You’re okay. We’re safe. You saved us,” the voice reassured him.

“Jeanne?” he asked. He was so tired.

She helped him lie on the floor. He could see and hear Carly shouting for the first aid kit, and for someone to watch the shooter, the bastard, and hit him silly if he so much as blinked, and find out where the police were for God’s sake, and shouting that they needed the paramedics. He found her taking charge to be soothing; it reminded him of Kate, Abby, Ziva, and his mother, the women in his life who knew what they wanted and who’d burn the earth down for those they loved.

“Yes, it’s me. I need you to stay awake, Tony. This is going to hurt. I need to put pressure on the wound,” she warned him, before she pressed down with the towel Ashley had just brought her.

“Mother of…!” He held back a scream. Ashley grabbed his good hand.

“Hold on as tight as you need to. You’re getting free coffee for life, you know that right? Mr. Bellonna will probably make a plaque in your honor,” she whispered to him, letting him cut the blood flow in her hand off as he squeezed it. Her lovely brown eyes were red from crying and fear, her face was far too white, and her lip was bloody from where she’d all but bitten through it, and she looked so scared, but she was trying so hard to be brave for him. Jeanne lifted the pressure.

“I’m sorry, sorry.” She looked so guilty that he smiled at her, or tried to, attempting to forget the horrific pain rampaging through his body with no relief, just increasing in its severity. It felt like that bullet had blown a chunk of him away.

“You do what you have to, doc. Am I gonna live?” She gave him a strained smile.

“I think so, Agent. You’ll be saving more people again in no time. Are you allergic to anything? Is there anyone you want me to call?” He could hear her words, but they sounded so far away. He could finally hear sirens in the distance, and he wanted to sleep. He felt her put pressure back on the wound and it hurt, but not enough to really wake him.

“Tony! I need you to stay awake!” He heard Jeanne order him. It wouldn’t work though, she wasn’t Gibbs.

“Not allergic to anything, though I had the plague. I want Gibbs but he left, so call Abby. She’s #2 on my phone.” Tony raised his head to look at Jeanne, who look flabbergasted, mouthing ‘the plague’ to herself, and loosened his vice grip on Ashley’s hand, who gave his a gentle squeeze and let him loosen it, but didn’t let go.

“This is some date, huh? I hope the next one isn’t like this.” He could feel sleep beckoning him, and he let it take him away from friends who left him, a job he was likely fired from, crazy high robbers, the lovely, beautiful Doctor Jeanne, sweet, kind young Ashley, sassy, take charge Carly, the pain of the bullet wound, and his shitty DiNozzo luck. But first; “I think I saw this in a movie once…”

To be Continued... :bwah: Please post all throwing of rotten tomatoes & screams in the discussion thread. ;D

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:28 pm 
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Chapter Three: I want your love (I don’t want to be friends)

Chapter title taken from Lady Gaga’s song Bad Romance, which I do not own.

Something was ringing. She wanted Gibbs to shoot it. She just wanted to sleep, try and forget that-

Abby sat up with a gasp, wide awake at the return of the memories of Gibbs leaving and why. The Director had insisted that they all take some time off, and she’d rebuffed Timmy, Tony and Ducky’s offers to stay with her. She’d wanted to be alone when she had the meltdown she’d known was coming. She wanted to be able to scream and cry and rant and rave and throw things and be silent without anyone trying to calm her down, telling her that it would be okay. She knew they meant well but she couldn’t deal with hearing that right now. Everything she felt was so raw, she felt like an open wound left to bleed and fester, one not ready to heal and she was afraid that the others, though well- meaning, might say something that would cause that wound inside of her to burst, letting everything out and that she would say something unforgivable to her friends who were still here in the mist of her pain. Better to weather this alone for a while.

Harshly wiping away the tears running down her face, she grabbed the phone.

“What?” she snarled. The part of her that her mother had raised to be respectful and polite was horrified, but most of her just didn’t care. It wasn’t like the team, the most likely people to be calling her, wouldn’t understand. And she didn’t talk to her parents over the phone, obviously, and Luka was fine when they talked last week, and the nuns were in Colombia for the past week and the next month and three weeks doing their annual missionary foreign aid trip there this year. For one second she hoped it was Gibbs calling, and she felt a little bit of the pain from that wound lessen like she’d already heard his voice, and felt it return at the sound of the unfamiliar young female voice speaking.

“Is this Abby?” the girl’s voice asked.

“Who wants to know?” she replied, cautious, because usually only her friends called her that, and all of Gibbs’ and Tony’s horror stories and warnings were flashing through her mind, though she dismissed them. A deep breath was taken on the other end of the phone.

“My name is Ashley Morris. I work at Sweets and Treats Café & Bakery. You don’t know me, but I’m calling for Anthony DiNozzo. Something bad happened. He’s hurt, and he asked that someone call you.”

Abby felt as if the world had just frozen in its tracks, and it’s a good thing the girl had stopped talking, because all the blood in her body seemed to be rushing through her head, and she couldn’t hear anything over the pounding of her heart. This couldn’t be happening, Tony couldn’t be hurt, couldn’t be dea-

She cut that thought off brutally, for maybe if she didn’t think it, it wouldn’t be true. She had buried Kate, had just seen Gibbs live through being blown up, in a coma, have amnesia with no memory of the past fifteen years, of NCIS, of the team, of her, had seen him get part of his memory back and had watched helplessly, unable to stop him, to be enough to keep him, as he left.

Tony had already had the plague; he had barely pulled through that, a fifteen percent chance. She thought it was only Gibbs telling him he didn’t have permission to die that kept him here. They’d taken turns being at his bedside for weeks; she’d held him up-right as his lungs gasped for air and he couldn’t breathe in that hospital bed, she and Kate had waited until Tony was sleeping to cry together over their fear that they were losing him. But he’d lived, and he’d come back to work early, and in doing so had saved Kate and Timmy from that bomb, but no one had been able to save Kate when it mattered. She knew Tony thought he should have died on that rooftop instead of Kate. Is today the day he would die? Was she going to have to track Gibbs down to tell him Tony finally met a near death experience he couldn’t out-maneuver when she’s not even sure he remembers which one of them Tony is? Would his last words to Tony be “‘You’ll do?’”

What if her last words to Tony were telling him to go away because she needed to be alone, when he was only trying to help? When she had sent him away because she was trying to make sure she didn’t say something to hurt him, had she done so anyway, just in a different way? When was the last time she had really spoken to Tony outside of work? She couldn’t remember their last movie night, or when they last went clubbing together, only that it was before Ziva joined the team, before Kate died, before Tony got the plague, before things changed. When was the last time she had really done anything with him, really had time for him at all? She felt tears running down her face, and she did not try to stop them. Why was she treating one of her best friends like nothing more than a very friendly acquaintance?

It hurt so much when Kate died; it had felt like Kate took some part of her with her into the next life, and it still felt like that, she didn’t think the feeling was ever going to go away. She had sworn to herself that she wouldn’t lose the others like she had lost Kate. So why was she pushing them away? Did she unconsciously bury Tony when they buried Kate, because she had become so used to thinking of them together, as TonyandKate rather than Tony and Kate? She had been so fearful for him because he’d just been so sick, and he still had not recovered from the plague. If Kate took some part of Abby with her when she died, she had ripped a piece of his heart from Tony, a piece he would never get back, something that will never heal, always raw and bleeding, like her blood on his face. Since Tony had and still did hurt so much from missing Kate, then maybe she had felt it was only a matter of time before Tony physically followed Kate into the grave.

Did she withdraw from Tony because of that, or as a punishment for forming a partnership with Ziva, feeling like he’d betrayed Kate by smiling at his new partner, when she still wakes up with tears on her cheeks most mornings from dreams where she tries and tries, but can never save her? She doesn’t know, and that bothers her. It bothers her that she forgot that just because Tony wasn’t showing his grief like she was didn’t mean it wasn’t there, that he didn’t miss Kate as much or more than her but that he was most likely trying to be brave for them. How had she forgotten in the mist of her grief that Kate was Tony’s friend too, more than that she was his partner, that he missed her too, that she wasn’t the only one grieving? Kate would be so ashamed of her, she realized. And she would be right to be, I’m ashamed of me, she thought.

“What happened? Is he okay? Who are you? Why isn’t he calling and telling me this himself? Is he alive?” She asked each question back to back, not giving a chance for answers. She held her breath and prayed to Kate, Pachi, Tony’s mother, God, Buddha, Allah, anyone who might be listening to let him live. I can change. I’ll treat him like the wonderful best friend he is, I’ll never take him for granted again, I’ll never take anyone I love for granted again, please, just let him live, she thought fiercely and fervently.

“I’m Ashley. I work at the coffee shop. Tony is a regular customer. He was here, and this man came in with a gun, and Tony tried to reason with him, but the guy got really angry and hit him on the head with his gun. So Tony told him he was a cop and the guy laughed at him and Tony brought out his gun, and tackled the guy, and the bad guy’s gun went off, shooting Tony. It hit his shoulder and he dropped his gun and just kept punching the man until he dropped his gun, too. One of the others hostages is a doctor and she worked on Tony’s shoulder and Tony asked us to call someone named Gibbs but said he was gone so to call you, that you’re #2 on his cell. There was so much blood, and he was so brave. He mentioned he had had the plague. Why did he say he had the plague?” The girl, Ashley, said this all so quickly, that if Abby hadn’t been a champion babbler herself, she’d have had no clue what she’d said. She sounded like she was barely hanging on, and more than a bit hysterical, but determined to do this for Tony.

All Abby really heard or cared about was that Tony was alive. Thank you, I won’t waste this chance, she thought to whoever might be listening. Then the full impact of what Ashley had said hit her, and Abby felt like laughing; it was either that or crying. Only Tony could go for a cup of coffee and end up being the Big Damn Hero because the shop gets taken hostage by a robber that he stops, and of course he gets a nice bullet wound to go with his heroics in the process, she thought, resigned.

“The police need to talk to me, and I’m not supposed to be on this phone, its evidence.” Ashley interrupted Abby’s thoughts on Tony’s ability to find trouble anywhere.

“Wait! Thank you for calling! Just one thing, do you know which hospital he’s going to?” Abby was already throwing her clothes on; she could always call Timmy and tell him to start checking hospital admissions while she told him what had happened from the car.

“The EMT’s are taking him to Monroe University Hospital, its right near here. I really need to go now, look after him!” And she hung up right after Abby’s fierce reply of “I will!”

Abby grabbed her to go bag, picked up her car keys, locked her door, and hit speed dial #2 on her phone. (She was #2 for Tony! That made her so happy! He was #3 on hers, first Kate had been, and now Timmy was #2 for her, and Gibbs was number one) She waited until she heard the click signaling the call had been picked up, then started talking.

“Timmy! You need to get to Monroe University Hospital, right now! Tony went out for coffee, stopped a robber there, and he got shot!” she told him before he could even say hello.

As she listened to Timmy sputter, she thought that maybe, after Tony was well again (because he would be well again, there was simply no other option), that she’d talk to Timmy about giving the two of them another shot. If she was going to not take the people she loved for granted, that relationship was a great place to start. She hadn’t been ready when he had been, but she wanted that now, she wanted to be equals with him, wanted to spend her life with him, and maybe she’d never be “normal” but Timmy seemed to love her as she was, and she loved him, and she didn’t want to die with regrets. She’d lost too many friends this past year, had seen too many near misses to waste time because she was afraid. She could get run over by a bus tomorrow and then her plans for ‘later’ wouldn’t mean anything. She’d rather be happy and loved than alone and safe; yes, after Tony was better, she and Timmy were talking about throwing rule 12 out of the Team Gibbs’ rulebook for good (Hmm, they needed a new name, maybe team #1, or team made of awesome?).

As she thought about really trying this time with Timmy, about being a better friend to Tony, trying harder to welcome Ziva into the team, she also adjusted her car mirror, and for a second she swore she saw Kate smiling at her, and blowing her a kiss from the corner of her eye. When she checked the back seat, no one was there, but that didn’t stop her from smiling the whole way to the hospital, because, even with all that was wrong, Kate dead, Gibbs gone, Tony hurt, she just knew, deep in her bones, for the first time in far too long, that things would be alright.

To be Continued... :hug2col: Please post all thoughts and comments in the discussion thread.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:16 pm 
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Name: Valerie
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Chapter Four: Mother Knows Best

The first hint he had that something strange was going on was the pink sky located below him, filled with puffy multi-colored clouds, shaped like letters of the alphabet, and his mother, healthy as he remembered her before the cancer ravaged her beauty, dressed in a green ball gown, playing the piano in the middle of the NCIS bullpen.

“I Have No Regrets,” he placed the song she was playing. “Oh, the irony.” She looked up at him, clicking her tongue at him like she had when she thought he was misbehaving. God, he missed that sound.

“I don’t, you know.” At his disbelieving look, she took one hand off the keyboard, which continued playing as if she’d never lifted it, and waved it, as if she could wave his disbelief away. “Oh, do I wish some things had turned out differently? Yes, of course, but not enough to not make the same choices over again. Those choices gave me you.” She smiled at him, and patted the spot on the bench next to her. “Come here, darling. We need to have a little chat.”

He walked over to her and put his head against her shoulder like he had from when he was three on, until she was too sick to play anymore, and she wrapped her arm around him, and he fit, just like he had then.

“Am I dead?” he asked. Her arm tightened around him.

“No, darling. Not even kind of, like when you got the plague. And really, Anthony, the plague? You almost gave me a heart attack! You’re got to start being more careful. I’d rather not have you here for a long while yet.” He could smell her perfume, that and the scent of the flowers from the garden she’d so lovingly tended. She felt so real.

“I miss you, mum.” She kissed the top of his head.

“I miss you too, dearest. But I need you to listen, this is important. Life is a series of notes.” She put her hands on the keys. “Good notes,” and she played a beautiful, long high note, “Bad notes” and the keys screeched. “Some people have lives that notes are cut short” and she stopped mid song, “And some people who love each other simply don’t make the right music together. But you can’t let that stop you from trying. Open your eyes and your heart, darling. There are a million combinations of notes simply waiting to be played. Don’t spend your life repeating the same dull sound over and over,” and she hit one key three times, which made a ‘dunk, dunk, dunk,’ noise.

He stared at her, and remembered why his mother had been able to give him a headache like no one else he’d ever met.

“That’s your advice? No one will hear me if I don’t play, so stop being afraid and just do that?”

She beamed at him.

“Exactly! I wasn’t sure you’d pick it up so quickly, but you did, my brilliant boy!” He put his head in his hands and groaned. She sighed and ran her hand through his hair.

“I never wanted to leave you, you must know that, darling.” He glared at her.

“Well you did. And this is just some stupid dream my mind made up from the effects of blood loss.” She shook her head, putting their foreheads together.

“It’s as real as you want it to be, dear, it’s a dream, a message, a visit from your dear old mum from beyond. But if you take nothing else from it, know I love you, and that you don’t deserve to be alone. If this really is your subconscious mind dreaming while dealing with the effects of blood loss, than you know that, and you’re trying to tell yourself that.” He had to concede that one.

“Why did he leave us, mum? We would have helped him. We would have done anything for him; I would’ve done anything for him.” She sighed, looking sad at his question.

“I think he felt it was the only thing he could do. I don’t understand or condone it, but it’s not your help he wants, so he can’t bear to accept anyone else’s. Whatever his reasons, it’s not your fault.” He snorted.

“That’s a stupid reason.” He said, not touching the second part of what his mother said. Based on the look she gave him, she didn’t miss that, but chose to let it go.

“Grief follows no logic,” she replied with a wry smile, one he returned. He looked down at the lightening sky below him.

“Can you just hold me before I wake up?” he asked her in a small voice, and if it cracked, well, there was no one there but them. And she gathered him into her arms and hummed softly under her breath like she had when he was young and happy, and she was beautiful and healthy, and he cried into her shoulder until he had no tears left, and felt no shame. The dead told no tales, after all.

To be Continued... :'( Please post all Awws's and comments in the discussion thread. :kisscheek:

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 7:16 pm 
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Chapter Five: Round up the Usual Suspects

Chapter title inspired by the quote “Major Strasser has been shot. [pause] Round up the usual suspects,” said by the character Capt. Louis "Louie" Renault in the movie Casablanca, which I adore, but do not own.

Multiple POV's this chapter. There's a lot of people to round up. ;)

Timothy McGee liked order, codes and logic. He looked at the world with the outlook of someone trying to solve a puzzle. He preferred computers, really all machines, to people, because machines you could always figure out. It might take a while, you had to be patient, but it was just a matter of breaking the code to understand what they were saying. Machines were easy to understand, to fix, they were straight forward. They did as they were programmed to do, and if there was a problem, you only had to reprogram the parameters to fix it. Machines were easy to fix, to understand, nothing like human beings with their emotions, and all their lies and truths covering secrets and hidden agendas. So even though people were nothing like machines, that didn’t stop him from wishing they were.

These were the facts that had made up the people in his life, that were true and constant; that he was hopelessly in love with Abby, that Ziva was scary awesome, but mostly just scary, that Kate had been his friend, his superhero, that Tony would be the first person to pull a prank on him and the first to defend him if anyone else even looked at him wrong, that Gibbs was the most wonderful, horrible, best, worst Boss you could ever work for, Gibbs had three ex-wives, Tony didn’t do relationships, Abby hadn’t been nearly as invested in their ‘fling’ as he had been, Sarah was always going to be able to annoy him like no one else could, and now it seemed like everything had turned upside down and all his data was wrong.

Gibbs had had another wife, before all the ex’s, and a daughter who were murdered. He was a widower; he’d been in a coma and when he’d woken up he’d left them, Leroy-leave no man behind-Gibbs. The government he’d spent his whole adult life in service to, that he believed in, had killed nineteen of its own people, innocent people, because that was ‘better’ than letting the truth out, and covered it’s actions up. Abby was hiding out in her apartment, Ziva had disappeared, Tony was stuck in meetings with the Director, and he just kept hitting the keys of his type-writer, hoping something he wrote would make everything make sense again.

And then Abby called, and still nothing made sense, but now in the usual kind of way. Really, Tony, you got shot in a coffee shop? Kate would be having a field day with this. The more things changed, he thought, shaking his head, as he ran out the door.

Ziva felt lost, adrift and confused. And she hated it. She prided herself on being in control, on knowing her emotions, but not letting them rule her. It had hurt her deeply when Gibbs left them behind going to mourn his dead, far away from them. She, unlike the others, was not surprised by the news of Gibbs’ lost first wife and daughter, but she was disappointed in his actions. They are ghosts, she wanted to tell him. Grieving them will not bring them back to you, nor will it take your pain away. You have your memories of them, they are not gone. She had all these things she wishes to tell him, and no way to do so, yet another reason why she was angry at him.

Tony had to be alright. He was her friend, and she didn’t have enough of them to be allowed to lose any. He understood her in a way she wasn’t comfortable with, instinctively and very much… on the cash. Yes, that was it. The phrase had to do with money, so on the cash was it.

When she had joined the team, she had gotten Gibbs’ okay, (late, but better than not,) and McGee had been the first to try and befriend her, but she’d known that Tony was the key, that how he reacted to her was very important, that the others would follow his lead on this. It was his partner she was replacing, and Gibbs might be the leader, but that didn’t make this team any less Tony’s responsibility. She knew her final judgment would be through him, and it would mean she’d fail all the others’ tests if she could not gain his trust and acceptance. And she had, and she was glad, because she’d never had a friend like him.

Tony would be alright, he was not allowed not to be. And she had someone that she needed to have a little chat with. No one messed with her friends and came out unscathed. She walked up to the police detective, showing him her badge.

“Detective Morris? I’m Officer David, NCIS. We spoke on the phone. I’m here about Nick Kerry, the shooter at the Sweets and Treats Café and Bakery. The agent he shot is my partner.” And as the detective told her what he could, she thought to herself, Tony has to be alright, or else this piece of dirt will beg for death before I’m done with him.

“Director Shepard?” Cynthia Sumner called her boss over the intercom again, for about the fourth time in as many minutes.

“I’ll just be a second.” She heard her boss say. Then Director Shepard threw the door open. “Cynthia, unless the world is ending, whatever it is can wait. I’ve got SecNav, half the Joints Chiefs and the Vice President all wanting to know ‘what caused the Cape Fear incident.’” She quoted, hands all but flailing. Cynthia nodded to show she understood, trying to appease her agitated boss. “No more interruptions,” Director Shepard ordered, and hurried back into the lion’s den before Cynthia could tell her about what had happened to Agent DiNozzo.

Well, I’m pretty sure this doesn’t fall under the end of the world. I need coffee; it’s going to be a long day. We can’t all block our calls and have someone else answer them, she thought, very much wanting to stick her tongue out at her boss’s door. She sighed, and got back to work.

Donald Mallard maintained he was getting too old for shocks like this. First Jethro, now Anthony; they must have taken ten years off his life with these respective most recent crises, and that was not even getting into past ones. He felt so very tired; every one of his years, and the hospital tea Mr. Palmer had been kind enough to fetch for him unasked tasted liked dishwater. Really, he should know better by now than to try to drink any tea but his own, especially hospital tea, but he just didn’t have the fondness for coffee Jethro and the younglings did.

Jethro; his lips firmed as he held back the things he dearly wanted to say to that man, the person he wanted to vent his ire on was God knows where, and the others did not deserve it. He’d checked his friend’s house shortly after he quit and again after getting the news about Anthony, but it was still empty. Jethro was long gone to parts unknown, and he had more pressing matters than tracking down someone who did not want to be found.

He looked around the waiting room. Abigail was pacing, muttering to herself while wringing her hands, Timothy was following her every move with his eyes, Mr. Palmer was sitting looking very uncomfortable, he believed Ziva had gone to ‘politely inquire’ about what was being done about the man who had shot Tony with the Detectives at Metro, and no one could reach Jennifer, only a sympathetic but harried Cynthia. An African American nurse walked in, her name tag read Annie, and everyone turned to look at her.

“Family of Anthony DiNozzo?” she asked.


“That’s us!”

“How is he?”

The nurse looked bemused at the odd group of people all shouting their questions over each other at her.

“I have an Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Ms. Abigail Scuito and Dr. Donald Mallard as Agent DiNozzo’s next of kin and medical proxies. Are they here?” she asked them.

“I’m Dr. Mallard. How’s Anthony doing?” he demanded.

“I’m Abby Scuito! Is Tony okay? Please, he has to be okay!” Abigail all but begged the nurse.

“Agent DiNozzo was very lucky. The bullet missed his lung and all major blood vessels. It bruised his clavicle, and he has some soft tissue and muscle damage. He’ll need a lot of P.T. to regain full strength in that arm, but there’s no reason with some hard work and a bit of luck he shouldn’t make a full recovery. He should thank the doctor who was in the shop with him, she really kept the bullet from moving and doing any more damage,” she told them with a smile.

Abigail squealed and hugged Timothy, who was laughing with relief, and Mr. Palmer looked like he was trying not to cry. He felt like a huge weight had been lifted from him. Anthony would be alright. Their strange little family wasn’t losing anyone else, not today.

“Can we see him?” Timothy asked. He noticed Abigail hadn’t let go of Timothy’s hand.

“Two at a time. He’s still sleeping; we made it so he shouldn’t be waking up for a while yet. We want him to stay still and let his body heal a bit before he starts moving around.”

Timothy turned to Abigail, “You go in, I’ll stay and call Ziva, tell her the good news. Metro probably needs to be saved from her by now, anyway.”

“You go, Doctor. I’m just glad Agent DiNozzo will be alright,” Mr. Palmer said, smiling at him. He felt a rush of affection for his shy, socially awkward assistant, who cared for others deeply and so very hard to do his best.

“Thank you, Mr. Palmer. And thank you for the tea.”

Jimmy beamed as if he’d just been given a compliment beyond compare.

He and Abigail followed Nurse Annie through the hall, into the elevator, up a floor, and down a wing of the hospital until they reached room #400. “Here he is,” she told them. They walked in and there were two other women already there.

“Dr. Benoit! Carly! You should be resting after your ordeal; you’re not working this week, we’ve all picked up your shifts.” Annie looked between the two of them, sounding worried and rather exasperated. Ducky looked at Abigail, who looked curious. The brunette haired-woman in the blood-stained doctor’s coat blushed, and the Hispanic nurse, Carly, laughed.

“No, I just wanted to see that he was okay before I went home to rest. He saved our lives, you know,” Dr. Benoit replied.

Nurse Annie smiled at her, indulgently. “And you kept the bullet from moving where it could do major damage, so I think you’re even.”

Abigail walked towards the doctor. “That was you?” she asked her.

“Yes,” Dr. Benoit replied, looking like she felt rather trapped. Abigail threw her arms around her, giving her a long hug.

“Thank you, thank you! You saved him.”

“He mostly likely would have been fine even without my help, but you’re welcome,” Dr. Benoit replied, hugging Abigail back gently. Abigail went and gave Carly a hug next, who laughed and hugged her back.

“We’ll get out of your way, and come back when Sleeping Beauty is awake. And when the police are done with him,” Carly said. She pushed Dr. Benoit toward the door, who went willingly enough, but not before giving Abigail a teddy bear dressed in a sailor’s suit. She shrugged at Abigail’s quizzical look.

“It was on sale in the gift shop,” she told her, smiled at them both, and let Carly drag her out of the room. Nurse Annie followed them out.

Abigail went and held Anthony’s hand. He looked peaceful; he would have just thought he was sleeping if not for the sling keeping his arm immobilized and the bandages wrapped around his chest, already showing blood soaking through, and hints of stitches peeking out beneath the mostly white cloth.

Abigail stroked Anthony’s hair. “You need to wake up, Tony. You’re got an admirer, a doctor, and she’s really pretty. And I need to slap you for scaring me, Mister. You’ve got to stop doing that.” She turned towards Ducky, which he saw out of the corner of his eye, but he was engrossed in reading through Anthony’s medical chart.

“Duckman?” Abigail called.

“Yes, Abigail?” he replied. He saw her grimace at hearing her full name.

“Does it look like’s he’s smiling to you?” she asked him. He looked up at his patient, and he was really quite tired of treating his friends, and indeed, Anthony’s expression was peaceful in a way he’d never seen before, almost youthful in the innocence he saw there. Abigail nodded.

“That’s what I thought,” she looked back at Anthony and squeezed his hand. “I hope you wake up soon, Tony. But in the meantime, sweets dreams; there’s no hurry. None of us are going anywhere.” Abigail kissed his forehead, and dragged her chair next to Anthony’s bed.

He left to go tell the others how well Anthony seemed to be doing, and in his last glimpse of the two of them, Abigail’s hand was still holding Anthony’s tightly, anchoring him here, to come back and stay with them, and away from the peace in the world where he dreamed.

To be concluded... ;D Please post all of your :yesyes: at Tony being okay and comments in the discussion thread.

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Last edited by SongBirdie-101 on Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.

PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:04 pm 
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Chapter Six: Nothing that I wouldn't do (To make you feel my love)

Chapter title comes from the song To Make You Feel My Love by Adele, which means, I do not own it.

He wasn’t with his mother anymore. And damn, he hurt. “Urg.” He heard movement.

“Tony? Come on Tony, open those pretty eyes for me,” someone… Abby, asked. Wait, Abby, robber, gun, protect Abby. He sat up and held back a scream. He fought the arms trying to hold him down. “Tony! You’re safe, Tony. Everyone is safe.”

Safe, could rest then.

“That’s it, lie back down, Tony,” Abby told him.

He opened his eyes and saw Abby standing over him, looking tired. He gave her hand a squeeze. She was crying.

“I’m so glad you’re okay, Tony,” she said, smiling at him, but she was still crying.

He was fighting to keep his eyes open, he was so tired, but he couldn’t go to sleep, he didn’t want Abby to cry.

“It’s alright, go back to sleep, Tony. I’ll stop crying, I promise.” The last thing he knew was her kissing his forehead, and then he fell back down the rabbit hole.

The next time he woke up, some of the cobwebs in his mind seemed to have cleared. He instantly realized he was in the hospital by the harsh, too bright overhead lights, the smell of the disinfectant used on everything that made him want to sneeze, the feeling of the air-conditioner on full blast creating goosebumps on his skin, the sound of the steady, loud, annoying beeping of the heart monitor and pulse ox machine, and the feeling of a IV in his arm. He hated hospitals.

“Water?” he croaked, not ready to open his eyes to the too bright lights. His throat felt like something had died in there. He was beyond thirsty. He felt a straw being held to his lips.

“Small sips,” the voice cautioned. He drank greedily but slowly.

“Thanks, Ziva. Can you lower the lights, please?” He heard her get up and felt the piercing ray of bright agony disappear from its place in front of his eyelids. He slowly opened them, and was greeted by the sight of his ninja, looked exhausted but relieved. She reached over and gently bobbed him on the head.

“We cannot let you go anywhere unsupervised, hm?” She raised her eyebrow at him. He stuck his tongue out at her in response.

“I didn’t ask for the crazy high robber to come into the coffee shop and shoot me!” He told her, indignant. She seemed amused at his reply.

“We know you didn’t, that is rather the point. And that is very mature; I see what Abby meant about you on painkillers.” Speaking of his gothic princess, she appeared as if summoned. She probably had been, by a certain ninja.

“Tony! Ziva was right. If I left for a bit then you’d wake up while I was gone! I’m so happy to see you up!” He was very gently enveloped in an Abby Hug™. She drew back and wagged her finger at him, though he saw three of them, and wondered how she managed that. “You and I need to have a long chat, Mister. You’ve got to stop scaring me like this; you’ll turn my hair grey!” He looked back at her face.

“What’d I do? Hey! You stopped crying!” he noticed, delighted. He hadn’t liked seeing Abby sad, he said as much. She laughed at his comment, and squeezed his hand.

“Yes, I did. And you are very, very, loopy,” she observed. But he wasn’t paying attention to her anymore, but instead looking over her shoulder, or rather looking at someone.

“Tim! Mc-name here! My probie! My bestest buddy! The computer whisperer! Are you Robin or am I Batman?” he greeted his McGoo with, who was blushing as red as Elmo’s fur. Abby and Ziva were laughing uncontrollably, both women all but leaning on the other to stay up straight.

“Wow, you are high right now, Tony. I’m never going to let you forget this,” McGee swore with a wicked smile. He put a bag on the bedside table. “I went to your apartment and got your portable DVD player and picked Casablanca, The Fugitive, the complete TV series collection of Magnum, It’s a Wonderful Life, and The Matrix from your movie collection. And I went and rented The Sound of Music for Ziva, and picked up Abby’s Buffy DVD’s from her place, so we’ll each have something to watch while we take our turns staying with you.”

Tim looked up from listing what he’d gotten for Tony at the sound of his protest. Tim glared at him. “We’re taking turns staying, we already agreed. We want to do this, we need to do this, we all need to know that you’re safe while you heal, Tony. And you can get mad at me for going through your stuff when you can move your arm and dress yourself.” Tim’s glare softened at the look on his friend’s face. He reached over and squeezed Tony’s good hand. “We were here for you when you were recovering from the plague, Tony, and we’re here now. Let us help.” Abby nodded vigorously and Ziva simply nodded once, sharply. Tony sighed, realizing even in his drugged up haze that he wasn’t going to win this one, and to be honest with himself, that he didn’t really want to, either.

“Okay. Thanks,” he told them. Tim smiled at him.

“It’s what family does for each other,” he said simply, as if that explained it all, and maybe it did.

“Anyway, I also got you some of your own pajama’s, your toothbrush, comb and laptop. Now you can’t say I never did anything for you.” Tim teased, finishing listing his offerings, and trying to lighten the mood. It worked. Tony beamed at him.

“McCaregiver, you do love me! I’d hug you if I could move my arm!” Tony enthused, and Tim looked horrified.

“Please, don’t try.” He was saved from an attempted one armed hug by the arrival of Ducky and Jimmy.

“Anthony! It’s so good to see you awake and alert! You gave us all quite a scare. We’d have been here sooner, but Mister Palmer got us lost,” Ducky chattered at him as he bustled over to give him a through look-over. Jimmy gave a good-natured shrug at ‘him’ being the one to get them lost, again. Abby was trying to hide her giggles at that idea, and Ziva was rolling her eyes. No one was going to challenge Ducky’s story though, certainly not today. Jimmy waved at him.

“I’m so glad you’re okay, Tony. We were worried,” Jimmy told him. He smiled back at Jimmy.

“So am I! Is everyone else okay? The people in the shop?” He suddenly remembered them, and was instantly concerned. Abby was quick to reassure him.

“They’re all fine, no injuries except some bumps and bruises from part of the ceiling falling when it was shot at, and when they dived for cover. Mostly they’re shaken and upset, but they all want to say thank you.” She smiled at him, which turned into a smirk. “In fact, you already had two visitors.”

“Who?” He asked her.

“A Dr. Benoit and a Nurse Carly, the women who stabilized you at the cafe. Apparently they work here, and they came straight from being questioned by the police at the scene to see how you were. They left you this.” She handed him the bear in the sailor’s suit. He took it, and though he’d deny it to the day he died, gave it a little squeeze.

A nurse came in, and looked shocked at seeing him up. “Agent DiNozzo! No one let me know you were up!” She glared at the group of people in the room, who shifted guiltily and didn’t look at her. She came over to him, introduced herself as Annie, and told him that she’d be his nurse for the rest of the night. She looked at his bandages, which were fine for the moment. She asked him if he knew where he was, which he did. She asked him how much pain he was in, he said a lot. She listened to his heart and lungs, which sounded fine, but she said they were keeping a close eye on them, especially his lungs, and that she needed to know if he had any trouble breathing, immediately. She told him to call her if he needed anything, and that she’d be checking on him frequently, while she gave him another dose of pain meds. She seemed pleased.

“Well, you seem to be doing well. With the pain you’re in though, and the dose of meds I just gave you, the police are going to have to wait to talk to you. Your friends tell me you get hyper, talkative and a bit confused on pain meds. Do you feel that’s true?” He nodded.

“Can’t stop talking, and things become double, and loud and everything fuzzy. I only take Aspirin for pain when I hurt if I have to, hate being fuzzy,” he tried to explain. She nodded, seeming to understand.

“Well, you tell me or your doctor if the fuzzy feeling gets to be too much, we’ll try a different pain med. I’m going to put a note that’s how you feel in your chart,” she told him. He decided he really liked her; she was right after Nurse Emma, who was number one, on his favorite nurses list.

She looked at the team. “I don’t want the lot of you staying much longer, he needs rest. One of you can stay with him over-night. I need to go call Dr. Pitt back and tell him Agent DiNozzo-“

“Tony, I want to be called Tony,” he cut her off. She looked back at him, and he blushed. “Sorry, sorry.”

“No problem, dear. I’ll call Dr. Pitt and tell him Tony’s lungs sound fine, he’s been calling every couple of hours, wanting to know how you were, through four separate shifts, for the past two days. I’m pretty sure he’s going to show up here soon regardless of what we say.” She shook her head, rather impressed. She didn’t know too many doctors that dedicated to their patients. She walked out of the room, Ducky following her to talk to Brad himself about what he’d observed about Tony’s health since he’d woken up, and while he’d still been sleeping.

Tim got up from where he was sitting, crammed on the small uncomfortable couch that could also be a bed with Jimmy and Ziva. “I’m going to tell Det. Sparr she’ll have to wait to get Tony’s statement.” He looked at Tony. “I’m really glad you’re okay,” he told him and hurried out before Tony could reply.

As Tim was leaving, a familiar face appeared in the doorway. “Can I come in?” the voice inquired quietly.

“Jeanne!” Tony called out, thrilled. She came in further, dressed in a creamed colored sweater and blue jeans. She smiled at him.

“I heard you had woken up. I wanted to see how you were doing.” She stopped a little ways from his bed.

“You got me a bear!” he said, because he knew this was important. She nodded.

“I did, I mean Carly and I did.” She looked at Abby, the only one of the three people there she’d met, and Abby mouthed ‘painkillers.’ Her eyes widened in understanding.

“Do you want me to come back later?” She asked him. “I really only wanted to thank you. You saved my life,” she told him, blushing. He looked at her, and remembered what his mother had said, and he decided to stop pretending, stop going through the motions, stop trying to protect himself at the cost of not connecting with other people, and to start living.

“Will you do me the honor of going on a date with me?” he replied. “After all, I hear you saved me just as much as I did you.” She looked shocked. “I don’t want you to feel you have to,” he hurried to assure her. “But I was having a really good time talking to you before that crazy crashed the party, and I never did get to tell you about my horrible two weeks.” She looked unsure. “I’ll ask when I’m not high on painkillers if that’ll make you feel better,” he compromised, knowing his feelings would be the same. She took a deep breath.

“If you still want to go on a date with me when you’re not stoned on painkillers, I’d love to go on a date with you,” she promised, smiling at him, and this time it was her who picked up his palm and kissed it. “Rest up. I’ll visit again soon. Amanda and Carly both want to see you, too,” she told him, nodded at the three incredulous people on the other side of the room, turned around with her head held high, and left with a smile on her face. She couldn’t wait to tell Carly about this.

As soon as she was out of earshot, Abby, Ziva and Jimmy all starting talking at once, their voices over-lapping, each then speaking louder to try to be heard and none of them being heard in the resulting ruckus. As he watched them all do this, and saw McGee blocking a woman who was clearly a cop from her body language and the gun concealed on her hip from coming into the room, and saw Ducky and nurse Annie join him, he smiled. Gibbs might have left, and he was still angry about that, and he wishes the man was here for him right now, because the Boss had been there for him for years whenever he needed him, but mostly he hoped that Gibbs found what he needed wherever he was looking for it, and once he did, that he’d come home. With his family around him, a date with a woman he could really see himself falling for, and the fact he was alive to have them, he was pretty sure he himself had found both home, and what he was looking for. And he knew his mother would be happy for him; he was.

Completed on June 28th, 2013
Finished posting on June 30th, 2013

Finished! ;D I'm going to work on the projects I put to the side to finish this story on time, but I do want to come back to this 'verse. Jennie, I hope you liked this. :D I had a wonderful time writing it. Thanks for such a great prompt! Thanks again to sondheimmcgeek and tigyr for their help. Comments go in the discussion thread, please. :)

Words in this post: 2504

Last edited by SongBirdie-101 on Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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