Description: "Well... looks like... I've... finally... run out... Boss," he gasped quietly in the direction of the small opening. "And what is it you've run out of DiNozzo?" The gruff voice sounded just that bit scared, and rightly so. Tony smiled grimly. "Al...mosts." Set after 'Chimera', Season Five.
A/N: So, I'm back. And poor Tony, it seems that I'll be picking on him again, multi-chapter style this time. Can I help it if the man just works so well as the team's resident punching bag? :) – Maybe I'll try a comedy out next time around, just to give the guy a break...
Anywho, R&R, pretty please – as with most authors around these parts, I'm thoroughly and irrevocably addicted to reviews... and I could really do with a fix :P Thanks in advance, and enjoy the show! And I apologize for the shorter length of this first chapter – it's more of a teaser really, the next one will be longer, I promise :)
P.S: One last thing, just in case anyone wants to know, this piece is set in the actual NCIS universe, and is entirely unrelated to my previous NCIS fic and sequel. Also, there is no pairing intended, although if you'd really like to, you could probably squint and get a smidgen of Tiva. And I'm pretty sure I've invented a few more credentials to add to Gibbs' already relatively impressive collection... couldn't resist :P
P.P.S: I'm telling you all right now that I'll be flexing and bending the rules of science and certain emergency protocols a little in here to suit specific aspects of the plot that cooked itself up in my noggin. So, I'll just apologize right now if randomly any engineers, emergency rescue workers, or experts on the can's and cannot's of radio signals through certain... ahem... obstacles just happen to end up reading this one.
It was a beautiful night, at least from what little he could see of it. The sky was actually clear for once and he could see a couple of bright stars set against the black. At some point along the line in his varied existence, he'd thought of actually taking the time to learn the names of the constellations, partly out of a curiosity for most everything that he carefully hid away from anyone he was going to be around more than once.
Largely because women loved stargazers.
He never had though. Pity. Could be he never would now.
He huffed a quiet sigh, wary of repeating the previous mistake of taking too deep a breath, and quietly took stock of his rather bleak position for a moment before instead thinking back to the deceptively innocuous events of that evening.
It'd been going on eight o'clock when the team finally made it back to the bullpen after the raid that had closed their latest case... which strangely he couldn't manage to recall the details of. It didn't really matter, he supposed; he remembered the important things about those moments: making a stupid joke to McGee, grinning when Probie laughed in spite of himself, and pretending to be surprised by the head-slap that followed it and to not see the smirk almost hidden behind Gibbs' coffee cup as he passed by on his way to his own desk; using an obscure movie quote to ask Ziva out for celebratory drinks, and honestly surprising himself with the brightness of his own smile when she laughingly agreed...
Those were the tragically short-lived minutes that remained the clearest in his mind, before his memory became a blur of motion and noise; an alarm sounding throughout the building, lights flashing... running, chaos, trying to keep track of three people in particular, but losing sight of them in the melee... a muffled explosion, the building quaking... screams... nearly out, but going back for something... his world erupting with a deafening roar, the ground falling away, and then... nothing.
Until he opened his eyes and realized where he was... and how repetitively terrible his luck seemed to be these past few years. Really, it sometimes felt like he sashayed out of the hospital, always just in time to earn himself a ticket right back in. Thank God for government agency benefits. And hey, at least he hadn't been kidnapped, poisoned, or bludgeoned this time; those were probably his least favorite ways to end up on a stretcher. Although, in all honesty, his current predicament might well bump 'kidnapped' out of the top three, provided he lived long enough to see it through.
A sudden cascade of dust from overhead had him squeezing his eyes shut, losing sight of that precious patch of sky nearly a thirty feet above him, though he wasn't quick enough to hold his breath and ended in a lungful of dirt that wrenched out a series of bone-jarring coughs that left him shaking from pain and exertion once they'd finally subsided. For a while afterward, he couldn't begin to guess how long with his head spinning and throbbing as it was, all he could do was lay there and focus on the rhythmic, albeit tremulous breaths being pulled in and let out. With the sheer amount and size of the debris that had struck him during, and buried him after the explosion and subsequent collapse, he could be fairly certain he'd cracked a large portion of his ribs, though he would bet his month's salary that nothing was actually broken; there wasn't any overt shifting going on as he attempted to breath, just a hell of a lot of pain and the feeling of stretching like a handful of frayed rubber bands. If he moved as little as humanly possible, he just might manage to keep each of those little bastards in one piece, which would sure as hell make recovery a little easier... assuming once again, of course, that he survived to endure it.
As a general rule, he was not an overly pessimistic person, which was no small feat considering his track record, but this one was a real doozie, and he didn't need to be a doctor or, for that matter, a structural engineer to know that even the infamous DiNozzo luck might not be enough to pull him outta this pot without dropping his ass into the fire. Time simply was not on his side in any respect; even if they managed to find him and get to him in anything less than five hours and up, he held no illusions about how hard it would be to actually extract him – to get the necessary equipment down here, never mind finding the room to operate it, would take longer than either himself or the building had left.
With a grimace, he opened his eyes once more and slowly turned his gaze down to settle on the protruding steel rod and the slow but steady stream of blood, visible even in the relative dark, that had saturated the cloth around it and likely begun to pool in the rubble beneath him. The pain that radiated outwards in all directions from the wound outshone even that in his ribs, threatening to scatter his thoughts and rob him of what little calm he possessed, here, lost in the ruins of NCIS.
Even listening to the sporadic, distinctly ominous creaking and groaning of the destroyed building, and the hiss and crackle of gas lines burning with a shelf-life of their own, he couldn't help thinking quite seriously that this building might just outlast him.