I do not own NCIS or its characters.


Sunnypelt- Sorry I didn't reply to your reveiw last chapter in the author's note! I didn't see your review until I had already posted the chapter. Thanks for reviewing, and I will definitely continue.

Buckeye am I- I'm surprised so far I have not misspelled Cleo to Cloe :) Thanks for reviewing!

DS2010- Yeah, me too. Keep reviewing please!

Meilea2010- Maybe, maybe not *smiles evilly* Thank you for reviewing!

Sue Dooley- The name is SO okay. I don't even care, but you weren't the only one so I wanted to make sure I hadn't spell it wrong or something. Thank you for reviewing so many times and being so encouraging!

peggyal- I know I'm so evil, aren't I? Thanks for reviewing.

bobbieturn- Thank you so much! Your review was so nice! And I think the dialogue was so fun to write.

Tony's POV-

After five hours of faking it, I finally fell into a light slumber only to wake another half hour later when my fever increased once again. When my eyes fluttered open, three nurses were hovering over me. Two had wet cloths and were attempting to cool me down, the other fidgeting with the knobs on my IV. I could see past them, at the edge of the room, Gibbs was sitting in a chair sipping coffee. His face was blank, but after many years of working for him, I could see beneath his cover. He was concerned, frustrated, and maybe most importantly disgusted with his coffee. When he observed I was awake, he stood up and progressed to my side.

"You okay?" he asked quietly. I gave him a cynical look; it was rather obvious I wasn't okay.

"Fabulous and feeling astonishingly glorious," I told him with my million dollar smile. He rolled his eyes, but with my desired effect he was smirking. "What's my temp at?" I queried only mildly concerned.

"High," Gibbs stated the obvious..

"Really now?" I asked with my eyebrows up. Wow, Gibbs must be really distracted if he is being this obvious.

I tried to sit up, but with the movement came burning fireworks of anguish. I locked my jaw that trapped my shout and denied it life. Instead, I allowed myself to groan quietly, yet Gibbs still noticed. "Hurts," I muttered nearly incoherently. I hadn't meant to say it, but my delirious mind seemed to be disconnected from my muscles.

"I think that's kind of apparent," Gibbs told me while half smiling, but in contradiction to his sarcastic words, his hand gently rested on my shoulder. I was grateful for his support, but I was at least a little embarrassed at my current condition.

As time progressed my vision and thoughts swirled together and the room developed to be spinning wildly. I knew I was muttering words, but I had no way of stopping them or finding out which ones they were. I could see Gibbs lips moving, but the sounds were lost in the distance between his mouth and my ears. With the movement of lips I determined he was trying to comfort me, but I could not find the energy to reply within myself. More nurses materialized, all of them holding copious things that potentially bring down a fever. One positioned ice packs on the back of my neck while another refilled the water basin. A third was pulling off the thin sheet that had previously been laid over me and a fourth folding it crisply. With all of the buzzing nurses, though, Gibbs was forced to the back of the room where I could no longer see him. I did not particularly care for this new development, but no one really seemed to bother themselves with my opinion at the moment.

I felt a thermometer being jabbed without much bedside manner beneath my tongue, causing me to nearly pull away instinctively. A forty year old women brought the thermometer closer to her eyes, provoking her to wrinkle her face. Once again her words were lost before they could reach my ears, but once again my skilled eyes followed her lip movement. Half of her head was turned away from me, facing Gibbs, but I still made out the spoken number 106. That doesn't sound very promising, I mused. And it wasn't considering death from fevers usually occur at 107 or 108. I had experienced my share of fevers and I knew more than an average citizen would about them. I knew often a fever was part of your body's defence system. While my leg infection had been relatively severe, I was still unsure if I should believe that it could cause this much damage.

My eyelids were becoming heavy as the past day's event took their toll. They drooped like a flower in mid-day sun and then slipped close. No sooner than they did, though, I felt Gibbs slap my cheek gently but firmly.

"Tony, I know it's hard, but you have to stay awake," he told me quietly and I was surprised to find that he was decipherable. Not only that, but his voice was fatherly and gentle which both terrified me and delighted at the same time. It reminded me of the way a dad was supposed to act, the way I imagine he would of with Kelly. But, it also was very un-Gibbs, and gave me the impression that for once I may actually be in a tedious battle between life and death. My brain told my body to retort with a witty comment like 'I knew you cared', but I couldn't be too sure I replied at all. My heart was hammering forcefully against my broken ribs, and I couldn't prevent the racking cough from spilling out of me. "Deep breathes, DiNozzo." I attempted to do what I was told, but that only brought on another onset of hacking when my inhalation hitched. After a minute of them not subsiding my swirling vision was tinted the color of smoke rising from a fire. After the next minute my eyes were squeezed shut in pain and I could hear Gibbs yelling at a young nurse who sounded helplessly petrified. In the third minute I ceased to be aware.


When I opened my eyes Ducky was slumped next to me in a position that was sure to cause a pained neck and back in the long run. His head was tilted back, facing the ceiling, and his glasses looked ready to fall off his nose. He was snoring quietly with his mouth opened slightly, and while I felt bad to wake him, I knew he would very much want me too.

"Ducky?" I asked feebly. Even though I had been nearly silent, he shot up from his chair looking quite startled. When his eyes confirmed that there was no intruders they meet mine, and he allowed himself to slowly settle his aching body back into the chair.

"Good morning, Anthony."

"Morning, Ducky." I told him with a stronger voice. Much like my tone, my entire body was feeling better. I was still unsure that if I stood I would not fall down, but I was nearly positive my fever had died down.

"You seem to be feeling better."

"Are you ready for visitors?"

"Yep. That is, if they're ready for my awesomeness."

"I'm quite sure they are used to it," Duck replied with a beam. "I'll just be a minute to retrieve them." He eased himself out of seat and then left. I took a minute to recuperate and evaluate myself. My suspicion of being on heavy drugs was confirmed from lack of pain, which was quite a feat considering my sustained injuries, and my thoughts were sluggish. My limbs felt heavy and I knew any movement I made would be vigorous and fruitless. I was debating whether or not standing could be a good idea, but I had notion that my legs would not support any weight. I was about to settle for elevating the cot when in strolled what Ducky had called my 'visitors'. Seeing all of them crowded in my small room in made them look much closer to a small army. Ducky, Abby, Gibbs, Ziva, McGee, Gerald, Cassie, and most astonishingly Fornell occupied every free inch in the room.

"I'm sure we are breaking some sort of fire law having this many people in here," Abby remarked truthfully. "But you know, the nurse did say we could have up to three people in at the time, so we only, what? Doubled what we promised?"

"The nurse isn't cute anyway," I told her with a grin that she matched.

"You've got your usual charm back, Tony." McGee told me.

"I never lost it, McGoo." I retorted. When I called him 'McGoo' his face relaxed and in that moment I realized that he had been worried about me during this ordeal. Speaking about this ordeal… Where had McGee been? "Elflord, where were you during this whole time?" At my question his cheeks flushed with embarrassment and he lowered his head a fraction of an inch.

"Uh, I kind of got lost."

"Seriously? Come on. You must have come across at least one of the fights."

"No, Tony, I missed them all." His head dipped further.

"Probilicious, that is a depressing skill." I probably could have gone on teasing him, but (A) His head was already parallel to the ground and (B) My body was fatigued from being social. Gibbs must have somehow noticed- or read my mind, I'm not sure- because he glanced at his phone and announced, "We have a dead marine. Grab your gear." And I knew full well right there and then that if Gibbs wanted he could easily demand to be taken of the roaster because they were a man down. I also knew that meant he was sparing me from having to keep up my appearances for a least a few hours and I was immensely grateful.

"Bye, Tony." Ziva told me and then was echoed by a few similar farewells.

"Thanks for visiting," I told them with a weak smile. On Gibbs' way out I gave him a curt nod that meant so much more than most people could express with thousands of words. The corner of Gibbs' mouth quirked up then he returned it.

"You did good, DiNozzo."

Thank you to everyone who read this! It has been a great pleasure and if anyone has any idea for my next story I am open to suggestions. Reviews are AMAZING!