Author's note:- Ok I had to get this out of my system- I've been very good, and as soon as I had time to write I added a chapter to each of the other stories first- Anyway I had this scene in my head since watching the last episode and it had to be written down I hope that you don't hate it. Let me know- J.
Ps Mary is this what you had in mind?
Post Twilight: Episode tag- one shot- complete
Spoilers for Twilight and SWAK
Synopsis:-Kate may be gone but there's still danger on the roof- will the day claim any more of the team.
Disclaimer:- I've borrowed the characters and the synopsis and I write this as an homage to a series I love in the hope that nobody minds.Seaspray
"McGee," the call was abrupt, he expected that, what he did not expect was the slight shakiness that appeared to be in Gibbs' tone.
"Here boss," McGee answered.
"Kate's dead," Gibbs hated being so abrupt, it should take more than two little words to express the enormity of what just happened, but Gibbs had a more immediate problem on his hands. "And I need you up here now or we may lose Tony too."
Yes, a definite shakiness, but, given the words, McGee now wasn't surprised, wasn't even sure that he had heard right. He couldn't have heard right. "Boss did you say. . ."
"I need your ass up here now," Gibbs snapped, the tone nearer to panic now. "And get us some backup."
"Yes, boss but. . ." McGee realised that the line was dead. He stood and ran for the building, debating rapidly with himself which would be the quickest way up as he simultaneously tried to suppress the contents of Gibbs message. He pulled out his cell and hit the speed dial that would get him the lab. "Abby!"
"Hey McGee did my little gizmo work, did you manage to jam. . ."
"Abby shut up," it was completely out of character for McGee but he had to concentrate on running, on finding the elevator or stairs that would take him to the top of the building, on dealing with passing on a message that he didn't want to believe, let alone pass on.
If Abby was shocked by the abrupt tone McGee used with her, it paled into insignificance at the shock of his next words.
"Gibbs says Kate's dead." He had to state it as hearsay, couldn't, wouldn't state it as fact until he'd seen some evidence of it himself. "He says we might lose Tony too."
Abby struggled to form the words, struggled to force breath into lungs that suddenly didn't seem to want to inflate, tears formed spontaneously in her eyes. "How?. . . Why? . . ." She pushed the words past the tightness.
"I don't. . ." McGee started the sentence and cursed himself, unlike Abby who did not normally have problems with speech, he did; it was a problem that was exacerbated by stress, and this definitely qualified. He forced himself to take a deep breath and closed his eyes. His hand hitting the call button for the freight elevator while part of his mind debated once again if it would be quicker to use the stairs. "I don't know, you'd better get Ducky and the paramedics and some SWAT units, the FBI, anyone you can think of, just get them out here now."
"But what. . ."
"Don't question it Abby," McGee stated, he'd just about decided to move for the stairs when the light on the panel in front of him clicked to green indicating that the elevator was there. With one hand he awkwardly pulled the handle that split the doors up and down and they slid apart. Silently he wished for Gibbs commanding, no nonsense, brook no arguments tone . "Just do it." He climbed in through the doors before they were fully open and pulled them shut behind him. "I'll call you back as soon as I know anything else." He heard Abby stifle a sniffle and closed his eyes again. "I promise," he said softly into the phone before snapping it shut and letting his hand drop to the side.
He would have sought strength by leaning against the walls, but this was the type of elevator that didn't have any. Instead he stared at the brickwork slowly moving past and cursed himself for not taking the stairs. He could have run faster, maybe; at least he would have been doing something. Instead he bounced silently on the spot tensing and relaxing the muscles in his arms, in an attempt to control the pent up energy, while he watched the slow ascent, and attempted to quell the turbulent thoughts that ran through his mind. What had happened? Where had it all gone wrong? Could Kate really be . . .really be dead? What about Tony? Why. . .?
There was nothing but a swirl of questions, questions he didn't have answers to, questions he didn't want answers to. The elevator shuddered to a stop and he had his hand on the opening sash, long before the light clicked to green. He pulled the doors apart and once again climbed through rather than wait for them to fully open, and then he was running again, gun in hand, oblivious to the fact that he was out of ammo, and that he was holding it for nothing more than show. There was one more flight of stairs to the roof; he took them three at a time, the adrenaline pumping now as he forced himself to slow by the approaching door. All of his instincts told him to keep running, all of his training told him to be more cautious. He stopped and moved up to the open panel and peered through but he could see nothing, not from here. He swallowed, took a deep breath and pushed open the door.
The sight that greeted him took his breath away. Kate's body lay on the ground about ten feet away, open empty eyes staring up at the sky, a neat round hole in her forehead and blood pooling around her matted hair. There was his proof, hearsay no longer an option; Kate was dead. He wanted to turn away, wanted to throw up, wanted to get down on his knees and pray for a reversal of time, but he did none of those things; there were too other figures standing on the roof that now drew his attention.
Gibbs turned anguished eyes towards him; he seemed to have aged, dark creases lining his normally smooth features.
McGee stepped forward and Gibbs slowly raised a hand to stop him. "No sudden moves McGee," he stated quietly, just loud enough to be heard against the brisk wind that blew across the rooftop. "Just step forward nice and easy, and if it looks like he's noticed you stop." Gibbs turned to look back at Tony and that was when McGee realised for the first time the reason for Gibbs' panicked call.
Tony stood at the very edge of the roof, at least one foot was actually resting slightly over the edge, the slightest movement backwards, hell, even a strong enough gust of wind would be enough to push him over. Worse Tony's expression was glazed, his eyes staring out into oblivion; he seemed completely unaware of his precarious position.
"He's in shock," Gibbs stated, "I've been trying to get through to him, but every time I move towards him he steps back." Gibbs swallowed. "If he takes another step. . ." Gibbs didn't need to complete the sentence, it was all too obvious what would happen.
Tony had made it to the top of the fire escape only with some considerable effort. If he'd been one hundred percent, at the top of his game, then it would have been no problem, but he was below that, way below that. His lungs still hadn't recovered fully from the complications the plague had left behind. That nasty little virus had wreaked havoc with most of his systems. Abby had shown it him under the microscope and he'd remembered noting that even magnified a zillion times, or however many times she'd told him it had been magnified, he hadn't really been concentrating other than to note that it was a big number, it looked so innocuous, a little pointy blue tipped blob that had nearly, oh so nearly, killed him. He'd stared at it for a while, imagining millions of them replicating in his blood stream, attacking his body from the inside. He'd stared until Abby had turned off the plasma and unsubtly changed the subject. The doctors had said it would just take time, too much damned time as far as he was concerned, so he'd tried to push himself, tried to accelerate his return to fitness, but his body just wasn't cooperating. He was nowhere near back up to a full workout yet and he got tired so easily.
Then of course there was the explosion, getting caught in that hadn't helped. He had bruising covering most of his body thanks to that little lesson in how not to outrun a bomb. It made parts of him that already ached ache even more, made him feel lousy, but he wasn't going to give up, wasn't going to give into the temptation to find a dark room and lie down for, oh say, the next month. Not with Ari after Gibbs, not with what was at stake. So he'd ignored his body's protests, ignored the slight wheezing sensation in his lungs, hadn't complained about being asked to run up a fire escape to a roof when he was in no real condition to do it. He'd just sucked it up, and done his best to get to the top as fast as he could, and he'd made it too, made it fine; if you didn't count ignoring the bout of dizziness as he stepped off the ladder. Amazing stuff adrenaline, it could keep you going even when every muscle in your body should be righteously screaming at you to stop.
If there had been anyone around to check his blood pressure at that point they would have been able to point out that it was too low, that maybe taking a lie down now would be a good idea.
Seeing Kate shot gave him another unneeded bolt of adrenaline, wreaking havoc in a system that was already weakened by illness, by injury, by exertion and now by a shock that it didn't need, a system still running with painkillers and drugs to combat the symptoms of his recent traumas. The relief as he helped Kate back to standing caused his brain to release more chemicals to add to the cocktail, and then there was the spray. . .
At some level Tony saw what no friend should ever have to see. He saw what the impact of the bullet did to the back of her head. He knew that she had to be dead. It registered in his mind for a fraction of a second before he closed his eyes, his mind screaming denial, his last reserves shot, and then he felt the warm spray of the ocean settle across his face. The light ocean breeze rippled his hair and as he stepped back and opened his eyes, all he could see was the sparkle of light off the water, all he could feel was the cool breeze. A small part of his mind tried to hold onto reality. It's not seaspray it's blood, Kate's blood. Kate's. . .No! The voice of denial was stronger, his blood pressure dipped further as the adrenaline wore off, his oxygen starved brain did it's best with the confusion. The beach, he was at the beach, the warm breeze rippling his hair, the ocean spray settling over his face, that's what he'd felt. He took another step back.
That's when Gibbs noticed the danger.
He'd screamed at Ari, his head almost exploding with the frustration, the anger, the hatred, the denial, and then he'd turned, to see Kate lying on the floor, and a giant hand reached into his chest and squeezed his heart, constricting it as he felt every beat, and the shroud of despair settled around his shoulders. It should have been him not her. She didn't deserve this; the bastard wanted him. He'd been the one doing the provoking, it should be him lying there in a pool of his own blood, not her. He'd almost lost himself in the swirl of negativity when some slight movement had caught his eye, that's when he'd looked up and seen Tony.
That's when Gibbs noticed the danger.
"Dinozzo," he shouted the word, hoping to pull Tony's focus back. At the same time he took a step towards the younger agent, but he'd stopped as Tony took another step back. Vacant eyes looked back at him, there was no sign of understanding, no sign of recognition. Gibbs swore softly and tried again. "Tony, can you hear me?" He took a step forward again, this time more slowly.
Still there was no sign of recognition from Tony but frighteningly he took another step back. He was near the edge now, too damn near.
"Tony," Gibbs tried one last time, trying hard to edge just a little closer without provoking a reaction. It took every ounce of self-control he had not to just dive forwards as Tony took one more step back towards the edge of the building. Part of his foot was now off the edge and another step would be one too far. Gibbs swallowed hard his jaw clenching as he spoke into his neck mike. "McGee,"
Gibbs wasn't sure how long it had taken McGee to get up there. Probably no more than five minutes but it seemed like the longest five minutes of his life. He was well aware that they were all now sitting ducks. Targets in a shooting gallery, if Ari was still out there, he could easily pick them off one by one, but somehow he knew that he wasn't. A few minutes ago when he'd screamed at Ari across the rooftops he wouldn't have cared if another bullet had taken him out. Aside from the fact that he wouldn't have been able to take his revenge; a part of him would have welcomed not having to carry on, not having to face the pain and the guilt and the self recrimination that was to come, but his priorities had changed. He damn well wasn't going to lose another agent today.
"Suggestions McGee?" Gibbs asked, not taking his eyes off Tony.
"I. . .er. . ." his mind scrambled around for some sort of answer but this really wasn't his territory. Computers, gizmos, machines, that's what he was good with, not people psychology, that was Kate's department. Kate. . .the thought made him look down at her, swallow, want to throw up all over again. Come on focus, think of something. "I. . ." he repeated. "We need a distraction, one that's likely to make him move towards you rather than away."
Gibbs bit back the sarcastic reply that drifted to mind; he'd got that far himself. "Like?" he asked.
"Have you tried stepping back?" McGee asked.
Gibbs took a deep breath and planted his foot backwards, quelling the scream of anxiety that the movement might still make Tony move in the wrong direction. He swallowed and took a step. Tony did not move. There was no reaction, which was at least better than the wrong reaction. He let out a sigh. "Any other suggestions."
McGee shook his head slowly. "Only to approach him from the side, that way if he does move then it's likely to be sideways too, but it's the only way we have any chance of getting close." He took a deep breath as he looked towards the edge of the building. "And it'll mean walking along the edge." He took another breath looking back across at Gibbs. "Plus if we do manage to reach him there's a chance he could pull one of us over with him."
Gibbs nodded. "You'll have to do it," he stated. "He doesn't seem to have noticed you but if I move in his direction. . ." He tried to keep the frustration out of his tone. It was the only logical solution, but dammit he felt helpless, asking another member of his team to risk his life. He could lose all of them. The whole damn team, and yet, if they just did nothing, just stood there and waited, the chances were high that Tony would step backwards, or pass out, and that would be two of them gone. They were short on time and low on options.
McGee licked his lips nervously and nodded. "OK, wish me luck," he said and began to tentatively move towards the edge.
"I don't believe in luck," Gibbs stated quietly, forcing himself to ignore McGee's movement and concentrate on Tony.
Tony was watching the waves as they lapped gently on the shore in front of him; the ocean was a clear greenish blue, with white tufts that crested the waves. The sky had similar little tufts of white cloud dotted around, the sun a bright yellow disc high above the horizon. He relished the gentle breeze that tugged at his hair. The only thing spoiling his idyllic view was a dark shadow, shifting on the periphery of his vision; it scared him. When it moved he backed away. Muted sounds, drifted around, he wasn't sure what they were, where they came from, so he chose to ignore them.
He turned his head; he wasn't really sure what had alerted him to the fact that he wasn't alone, although he didn't remember hearing anyone approach.
McGee froze as Tony turned to look at him. The walk to this point had him terrified, his knuckles clenched white with fear as he inched along the very edge of the building and tried not to think about the drop to the concrete below. It hadn't seemed pertinent to mention his mild fear of heights to Gibbs, not that it would have made any difference. He was the only one who could save Tony, and he knew that in a heartbeat Tony would do the same for him. Even if it meant facing his greatest fear, and this was only a mild fear really just a minor one. He looked up to meet Tony's gaze. The next few moments would determine whether it had all been for nothing.
"Beautiful isn't it," Tony said, with a small smile.
"Beautiful?" McGee asked.
Tony indicated the vista in front of him with an open handed gesture. "The ocean Probie, the magnificence of the sea."
McGee looked in the direction indicted, there were only rooftops as far as the eye could see; the ocean was behind them. "Yes, it's beautiful," he agreed.
Tony closed his eyes for a moment, leaning his head back a little. McGee caught his breath and prayed that he didn't lean too far. He tried to calculate his chances of being able to grab Tony and pull him back from the edge, but he wasn't quite close enough, wasn't sure that he could do it without sending them both over.
"Just feel that sea breeze, breathe in that ocean air," Tony said, taking in a deep lungful. He turned back to look at McGee opening his eyes. "Doesn't it make you feel alive?"
The irony of the comment almost made McGee weep. He tried hard to force a normal reply and that was when Tony disappeared.
It took another few moments for his brain to register what had happened, to confirm that Tony hadn't just dropped into oblivion over the edge. Gibbs had somehow approached from Tony's blindside whilst he'd been talking. He'd grabbed him and literally fallen backwards onto the rooftop using his bodyweight to pull Tony with him, wrapping arms and legs in a tight cocoon that stopped the younger man from being able to struggle out of it, as they rolled over and over on the concrete until they finally came to a stop with Gibbs underneath Tony, arms and legs still wrapped round him.
Tony struggled weakly as McGee ran over to join them.
"Dinozzo," Gibbs tried hard to get his attention again. To pull him back to reality before he did anything else that might put them in danger. "Tony," he tried again, shifting himself and Tony into a sitting position, but not releasing the vice-like grip that pinned Tony's upper arms to his side.
The impact had done more than push Tony away from the edge physically. Reality came crashing back into his mind with the same amount of force. The images of the calm ocean disappeared to be replaced by the cold harsh reality of the rooftop, of his dead friend. His hand moved awkwardly to his face and he touched the skin, pulling it away to reveal the tiny drops of congealed blood and he had to acknowledge the horror, the reality, it hadn't been seaspray after all. "Oh God!" he said quietly.
McGee knelt down in front of him. "Tony?"
Tony looked up, met his gaze. "I wanted it to be water, spray from the ocean," he looked down and back up again, "but it wasn't, It was. . . I saw. . ." He broke off, unable to put it into words, unable to cry, unable to deal with the emotion on any level. He bowed his head forwards.
McGee looked back towards the body and swallowed, he looked back at the spray of blood that coated Tony's clothes, his face and realised how close he must have been standing. He looked up and this time he met Gibbs eyes, read the same anguish there only his was tinged with a deeper emotion, an anger that would be let out later.
Gibbs eased off his grip but continued to support Tony. Grateful, for the moment that today's tragedy hadn't been worse; he slowly allowed a release of some of the tension. It wouldn't last long, soon he would go hunting for the bastard who had done this to them, but for the moment they needed to rest and regroup, they needed the medics for Tony, and some damn backup to secure the scene and. . .He stared over at the body of someone he had grown to care about, and he needed Ducky to come and look after her. He too bowed his head.
In the distance they could hear the approaching sirens.