Chapter 57. Alive
The next morning they head to the hospital. Ducky, Jimmy, and Breena are on vigil in the waiting room.
"How is he?" Tim had asked that about nine times now. On the phone when he called Jimmy for an update. Of Abby, each time she checked in over the course of the night. And now of Ducky, who is sitting with Jimmy and Breena, looking to be in a good humor.
"He'll be fine, Timothy. They're keeping him here until tonight, maybe tomorrow morning, just to keep an eye on things, but he's going to be fine."
Tim nods. "Where's Gibbs? In with him?"
"No. Jethro is home. Once I had him thawed out, I called Fornell and told him to hold a gun to his head if necessary, but to make sure he rested and stayed off his feet, and then I came here."
Tim smiles a little at that image, and adds going to visit Gibbs to the to-do list. "Can we go in?"
"They were resting when we left, but yes, I think you can go in," Ducky says. "Room 211."
They head down the hall, and find the room. The door is shut, and Abby knocks softly. They hear Ziva say, "Come in."
Tony's sleeping in the bed. For someone who is going to be just fine, there are a lot of bandages on him. His fingers and ears are wrapped in soft white gauze. But there are no tubes in him, and he's breathing, and his color is good, so maybe he really is going to be okay.
Ziva's laying on her side, next to him on the bed, her hand on his chest.
She gets up slowly and gently when she sees it's them. As soon as she's clear of Tony, Abby wraps her in a massive, and quiet, hug. Tim hangs back for a second, hoping she's not pissed at him, either for treating her like a doll in need of extra protection, or for not doing more for Tony, but she looks at him over Abby's shoulder and gestures for him, and in another second he's wrapped around both of them, too.
After a few minutes, Ziva pulled back and looked at him. "You are all right?"
He nods. He's as all right as he can be. "You?"
"Has he woken up?" Tim asks.
"Yes. They've got him on strong pain medication, and it's making him sleep."
"Okay." Abby sees him staring at Tony, and knows what he needs.
"When was the last time you got something to eat?" she asks Ziva, who looks exhausted.
"I do not know."
"Come on, let's get you some food, and we'll pick up an extra-large whatever you think Tony would like."
Ziva sees Tim watching Tony, and agrees to go. Abby leads her out, arm around her waist.
He drags the chair, quietly, next to the bed. He'd take Tony's hand, but they're covered in bandages, so he gently holds his wrist.
He can feel Tony's pulse under his fingers, see the slow rise/fall of his chest, and for the first time since Tony said, "Yes, Ma'am." Tim really believes he's alive. He sighs at that, starting to really relax.
"Ziva?" Tony doesn't open his eyes when he says that.
"Abby took her to get some food."
"McGee?" He turns his face toward Tim, but still has his eyes shut.
"You've got really soft hands."
Tim smiles a little. "Thanks."
"Is Gibbs here?"
"Ducky tells me he's got Fornell holding a gun to his head, forcing him to stay home and rest. His feet were pretty badly frostbitten."
"Yeah. They tell me I'm short a few toes, now, and the top of my right ear."
"Shit." He needs to have a chat with Ducky as to what constitutes fine. Missing body parts is not "fine."
"She says she's fine. Is she, really?"
"I think so. No frostbite, and Palmer wasn't going to let her come until she was warmed back up."
"You don't think she killed Palmer and came here anyway?"
"He and Breena are in the waiting room."
He sits there, holding onto Tony's wrist, not sure what, if anything, to say.
Tony opens his eyes and looks at Tim. "I kind of remember you telling her not to switch places with me."
Tony's eyes are half closed, and not very focused, but his expression is intense, and Tim knows whatever he says next, he means with every fiber of his soul. "Thanks."
"I hated doing it." He doesn't wipe away the tear that's creeping down his cheek.
"I know." Tony's eyes slide shut again.
Tim squeezes his wrist. "I'm really glad you're alive."
Tony drifts back to sleep after that, and Tim sits there holding his wrist. He dozes a little as well, but he hears it when the door opens, and turns to look.
Gibbs is standing there, pale, in pain or high as a kite on painkillers,—Tim can't tell which from this far away.—and swaying a little.
He stands up fast and goes to Gibbs, wrapping an arm around him, letting him rest his weight on him, trying to get it off his feet. "You shot Fornell, didn't you?"
"He's okay?" Gibbs is staring at Tony as Tim basically carries him to the sofa on the side of the room.
"Ducky says he is. But he's lost some toes and part of his ear."
Gibbs nods, letting Tim put him on the sofa, feet up. Tim really looks at him, and decides high as a kite on painkillers is the correct answer. His eyes are dilated and not focusing well.
"You should be in bed."
"Had to see him."
"I know, me too."
Gibbs stares at Tim for a long time. He's laying on the sofa, and Tim is standing next to it, watching Tony.
Tim sits on the edge of the sofa and Gibbs sits up and hugs him, tight. "You got us all home, Tim."
He thought, after last night and this morning, that he was cried out, but apparently he wasn't. Tim hasn't been hugged, not like this, not by a dad, since his grandfather died, and he'd forgotten how good it felt and how much he needed it. And eventually he felt Ziva and Abby join them, wrapping around the two of them, and it felt so very good to have people to hold when you're hurt and scared.