Previously On The Long Flight Home: "Hey Dr. Mallard, Gibbs sent me in here to see if Tony remembers me when he comes around again. How's he doing – really?"
"Please I insist that you call me Ducky. Everyone else does so it's only fitting that you do as well. Yes he's still much sicker from whatever they gave him in that additional IV but, his vitals are improving at a decent rate so I suspect he should awaken again in short order, I'd say 30 to 45 minutes if I were to venture a guess."
"Great thank you Dr. - Ducky"
Ducky laughed quietly at the slip. "Dr. Ducky – hmmm has a nice sound to it doesn't it?" he teased. Danny grinned. He liked this man, in fact he liked all of the people Tony worked with. No wonder he left Baltimore PD he thought to himself.
The Long Flight Home
Waiting Room – Gibbs talking to the team . . .
"Everyone listen up, I have already alerted security to the breach. Someone was able to sneak into this hospital and get to Tony and I wanna know HOW and WHO!"
McGee took initiative since he felt obligated to try and think like Tony since temporarily he was the acting Senior Field Agent. "I'll go check security monitors and speak with head of security about the lock down. I will also make sure they post two guards at Tony's room with strict instructions they are not to let anyone in without triple checking credentials."
"That's good McGee and while you are doing that see if they need us to call in any military assistance. It's a big hospital and I want everyone exiting and entering in the next 48 hours checked and re-checked thoroughly – no exceptions!"
"On it boss." McGee uttered hoping to calm his boss by uttering Tony's familiar saying.
"You think Mossa- . . . my Father . . . has something to do with it, am I right?" Ziva tentatively questioned.
"Hell yeah Da-veed – I do!" Gibbs put extra emphasis on Ziva's surname but didn't mince the rest of his words either, he knew in his gut who was 100% responsible!
"Let Ziva and I go and track down some of our own local informants to see what Intel we can gather." Hadar asked Gibbs.
He still wasn't sure of just how far he could trust Hadar and Ziva but he needed answers so he caved in. "Fine, but you only have 90 minutes - no more! I want to know everything you uncover the second you uncover it! Call the hospital from a land line or payphone and have me paged. We can't risk someone possibly tapping into our cell phones right now."
With that the Mossad duo departed quickly leaving Gibbs alone for the moment. He knew Ducky was probably on his way back from Tony's room so he would await his arrival so he could ask him what his autopsy on the plane hijacker uncovered. He knew Abby was still working hard in the lab so she would be his next stop to get an update from her as well. He wondered for a moment if the hospital cafeteria had Caf-Pow.
Meanwhile Across the Seas At Mossad Headquarters . . .
Eli David hung up the phone and turned to look out his massive window that gave him the most magnificent view of Tel-Aviv. An evil grin broke out on his face as he relished the update he was just given by Rafael – one of the agents he had strategically placed in Baltimore solely for the purpose of dealing with NCIS, or more specifically, Agent Anthony DiNozzo Jr.
"I hope you know how lucky you are Agent Gibbs – I could just as easily have ordered the precious second in command to be given a lethal dose of that substance. I chose to merely cause him some agony and memory loss just as a warning to you." Eli muttered to no one, as if Gibbs could actually hear him. He knew that Gibbs was intuitive enough to have gotten Eli's warning loud and clear but what he couldn't be sure of – was what kind of retaliation or reaction his newest attack on Agent DiNozzo would provoke from the silver haired, Lead NCIS Agent – not to mention how it might affect his diplomatic relationship with NCIS Director Leon Vance. A relationship - that was hanging by a bare thread to say the least.
The longer Eli had to ponder how Tony had not only murdered Mossad operative Michael Rivkin, but he also made Eli look like a fool during his interrogation, and that second act made Eli's blood boil even more so than Rivkin's death had. In fact he struggled with the decision whether he should have DiNozzo killed and be rid of him forever – or whether it would be better to merely scare the agent's entire NCIS team so that they would be nervously waiting for the other shoe to drop. He had decided to prolong the agony until perhaps he himself could go the US and personally watch the arrogant agent take his last breath while Agent Gibbs was watching.
His thoughts immediately turned to his now rogue daughter and Hadar whom had been on his way to becoming the Assistant Director before he chose to apparently leave Tel-Aviv with Ziva. He had also sent some other operatives to the US but with a different type of mission. A mission to locate his only surviving daughter and Amit Hadar – they were under strict orders to report to him immediately upon finding any evidence that the two were near DC or even worse – if they had made contact with anyone at NCIS.
So far he had yet to receive any updates from them whatsoever and that was unacceptable. Briskly walking back over to his desk phone, he decided to take the proactive approach and demand an update from them ready or not. If the operatives he had already sent out hadn't found them yet - he just might have to punish the current operatives and send out some more qualified people to finish that task.
Tony's Hospital Room – ICU . . .
Ducky had made his exit leaving Danny alone with his former partner. Ducky didn't want anyone in the room with them since Tony didn't seem to remember anyone he had worked with in the past few years, so the only way to truly test his long term memory – it wasn't a good idea to have any of Tony's current friends in there to confuse him even further.
The test was to see if Danny triggered Tony's memory from that past time frame.
Danny had pulled up a chair near the head of Tony's bed, staring at his friend with intense worry. He had been through a lot in the past week according to what Timothy McGee had shared with him. He hoped that his old buddy would recognize him since they had a lot of catching up to do.
His thoughts were disrupted when he heard Tony starting to shift more and more in his bed – he was definitely coming around again. Danny slid forward so that he could lean in a little closer to his friend, waiting for his eyes to open and praying that his close proximity didn't scare Tony in anyway. Just as he was contemplating moving back a bit he found himself staring into the old familiar green eyes of his buddy but remembering Ducky's instructions not to say anything until he see if Tony remembers him on his own – he quickly refrained from yelling out his nick name for his friend – Tino.
Tony opened his eyes but still felt very groggy and now only slightly nauseated. Blinking a few times trying to clear his eyesight a little more he could swear he was looking right at his former partner . . . 'Danie- nooo that wasn't right . . . Dino! Yeah that was it!' He noted that his buddy appeared to have aged a little bit then again who hadn't? The change was minimal though – sure he appeared to have put on a few extra pounds and added a few more "lines of character" on his face – but both factors still somehow managed to enhance his former partner's natural good looks.
'Wait, what the hell is Dino doing here?' Tony pondered. 'Where was here anyway? Hospital?' Tony's mind was spinning as he tried to recall what he was even in the hospital for. Unfortunately when he finally thought he remembered what happened, he thought it was the bullet to his back that he had endured by a perp they were trying to catch. But if that was the case, Tony pondered further, then why did Dino seem older and look a little different?
Danny watched as Tony just blinked and started at him, he could almost hear the wheels turning in his friend's mind as he fought to recall what had happened and why his former partner was here with him now. He couldn't take it anymore, he had to say something without giving too much away.
"Tino my man! Is that all you're gonna do? Just stare at me and blink? C'mon buddy since when are you quiet and speechless?".
A small grin started to appear on Tony's face as he heard the all too familiar voice. "Di-nno w-whhat th' hell?" Tony finally spoke even though his voice sounded much rougher than normal. "Whatthehell'rr you doin' herrre?"
Then before Danny could respond Tony added, " Buddy . . . ya look good but I have'ta ssay you look a little uh. . . older'n well-ll . . . a lit'l biggerr." Tony started to chuckle but then stopped himself as his ribs, surgical site and busted arm announced their intense dislike for the sudden movement.
"What? That's all you have t' say t' me man? That I look old and fat?" You aren't as young and skinny as you used to be either DiNozzo!" he teased – all but forgetting that he wasn't supposed to mention anything related to any time having passed. He quickly attempted to make up for the slip.
"Do you remember why you're in the hospital this time pal? I sure hope your remember cuz - I ain't gonna tell ya."
Tony felt confused and dazed as he struggled to remember what happened. It couldn't be the shot to the back he had received because it was obvious that time had passed since that incident. He slowly remembered that he had left Baltimore PD and gone to work for . . . for . . . damn! Why couldn't he remember?
"Fine ya-a bass'trd - I uh . . . r-rr'member it'ss been too damn long since I've sseen ya partner – tha-at I know." Tony was unaware of how slurred his words still were. "If I recall correctly.` it wass your fault we lost touch." Tony teased, enjoying falling right back into the sarcastic ribbing that he and his partner had down to a science back in the day.
"Oh so that's how its gonna be huh? Well good t' see you haven't changed that much! You still don't have your facts straight and you still try to shift the blame on me – just like old times!" Danny threw back a retort to his sorely missed friend.
"Seriously man, what the hell happened to land you here? I still work for the Baltimore PD as a Homicide Detective 1st Class so I got wind of you bein' brought in here."
Tony fought hard to recall the recent events but nothing was coming to the forefront of his mind.
"I . . . I – uh I dunno Danny. B-been wr-rackin' my brain tryin' ta remember-rr but . . . I got nothin'. Tell me what you know, maybe that will help jog my memory." Tony pleaded.
"Sorry pal, I'm under strict orders not to do that. They say they need you to remember organically - otherwise you might just pretend to remember or it could also be too traumatic for you to handle if you try to force your memories. Believe me, I wish I could. But they think you will remember everything in no time if that helps. Is there anything else I can do for you man? Water? More Drugs? Hot nurse? You name it!"
Tony let out a deep breath of air as he absorbed Daniel's words. 'Damn!' he thought, couldn't they just tell him something? Just to get him started? Realizing he would get nowhere if he pressed the issue he decided to answer Dino's other questions.
"Well water sounds good I guess. Definitely no more drugs for a while – please." His words were becoming less slurred the longer he remained awake but Danny noticed that he was starting to look pretty tired and worn out already. Grabbing the nearby pitcher he poured a small amount into the matching cup and held the straw out to his friends' lips.
"Need me to raise the bed a little?"
"Nah, my body seems to protest any semi-upright position. Just be careful ya don't spill that on me!" Tony teased.
"Ye have little faith my friend!" Danny joked back as he held the straw to Tony's dry lips and allowed him just enough small sips to satisfy his thirst and dry mouth.
Soon Tony's eyes lost their battle against gravity as he fell asleep almost immediately after sipping the water. Danny sat back in the chair, moving it closer to keep tabs on his friend and said a silent prayer that his buddy would get his memory back soon but that it wouldn't cause him any added trauma.
To Be Continued . . .
A/N - Not as long as usual chapters but I am just trying to get updates out faster on all my fics so we can get back on track! Please review even though the story didn't move leaps and bounds ahead just yet! Haha thank you all!