Perchance to Dream

By Visage

A/N – I'm trying a new idea out in the style department (hence the strange wordings and fragmented sentences...) I'm not sure how well the idea of it comes across/how dumb it makes me sound, so if there are problems with it please let me know (as nicely as possible? ;)) so I can go back and rethink some things. Suggestions would be appreciated! No infringement it intended!

Little Anthony DiNozzo sucked in a deep breath to calm himself. He took comfort in the cool sheets beneath his warm body. Lying on his side, he hugged his knees closer to his chest. He squeezed his eyes tight, refusing to let the tears fall.

His pride and backside still stung from the encounter with his Father. He knew better than to rush into his father's study, especially after seeing the mood Anthony DiNozzo Senior barged in the door with that afternoon. But for a boy of eight, there was nothing more he wanted than to share the new game he and his friends played during recess. It wasn't exactly his fault if the boy was a magnet for breakable items, such as windows, record players and brandy glasses.

After a swift lecture, a 'necessary little talk' as his father usually called them, used to correct the improper behavior of a thoroughly rambunctious child, Tony was sent upstairs to think about his actions. After what Tony thought was an acceptable time of reflection, he turned his thoughts to anything but the original sin that landed him in there in the first place. His punishment made him think of the latest Batman Comic. He wondered if the Joker really thought he could get away with his crimes. Someone really ought to tell the poor guy that he wasn't going to win against the brilliant Bruce Wayne.

He moved to the morning comic strip, wondering if Charlie Brown would ever beat Lucy and get to kick that football. That girl always seemed to be the problem in that friendship. Girls were a whole lot more trouble than they were worth. He wished someone was around that he could make a pact to swear off women with at that very moment.

Instead, the idea reminded him of a movie. Han Solo, Captain of the Millennium Falcon never let anything get in the way of his mission, not even Princess Leia. She would try everything she could to distract and flirt with Han, but he was smooth. He never let her know he was on to her game.

His thoughts wandered to the opening lineup for the Yankee Game scheduled the next day. He thought about Jacob Farthington bragging that afternoon about how he was going to Yankee Stadium early with his father to watch the players warm up. Anthony wished that his father would take him to see a game, but knew how the Senior DiNozzo felt about image and being seen at a common baseball game.

Tony sighed. He tried to picture Yankee Stadium, the rows of seats filled with fathers and sons. A sea of blue and white Yankee Caps stretched out before him.

Thurman Munson was at the plate with a 3-2 count in the bottom of the 9th. All the Team needed was one run to make it into the playoffs. If anyone could pull the team through now, it would be Tony's hero, the Catcher for the New York Yankees. He could hear a murmur in the crowd, a collective excitement building. Tony looked up under the brim of his cap seeing his Father's broad grin.

There was a loud crack of the bat as it connected with the pitch. Tony's head snapped around, following the ball as it soared through the air. He watched the arc, the ball coming straight for their section. Time stood still as he reached out his glove, a perfect nest for the ball to land. There was a soft 'pat' as ball connected with leather. Tony clamped his other hand over the ball, holding on with everything he had.

The world melted away as his father's arms enveloped him. He closed his eyes, drinking in his father's scent. In that moment, he felt safe pressed tightly against his father's broad chest.

Tony felt a dull ache, the disappointment and sadness mixing into a hard lump at the pit of his stomach. He wrapped his arms tightly around himself, trying to recapture what he could only dream about.

He only succeeded in burying his face deeper in his pillows and allowing the tears to fall.

The familiar and comforting scent of coffee and sawdust snuck into his dreams while the rest of his world was still dark. Trying to take in a deep breath was a mistake, making him aware of a deep ache in his chest and lungs.

His eyes fluttered as he attempted to open them, his lids feeling as if they were attached to weights. It was then that he heard the mechanical beeping of a heart monitor and the soft snore to his right. Memories flooded back.

The Team was on the hunt, within inches of catching their man. They were at a warehouse by the Potomac. Why was it always creepy, abandoned buildings by the river?

Shots rang out. Orders shouted. The Team ducked under boxes, machinery, any bulky item they could find. A full minute of volleying followed. Someone cried out from the opposite side, one of the Team must have winged the guy.

He walked out, his gun aimed steadily ahead. The rest of the team began to crawl out of hiding. He ignored the small distractions; the itch of Velcro under his arm from the NCIS issued bullet proof vest, the bead of sweat dripping into his eyes.

A movement to the right caught the corner of his eye. There was a brief glint of sunlight on metal as he turned. Did this guy have a partner?

His chest exploded in pain, knocking the wind completely out of his lungs. He felt himself flying backward in slow motion.

Water splashed all around him, roaring in his ears. Fire burned in his nose and throat. Time seemed to stretch as he drifted farther and farther down. Tiny particles in the murky green water danced around him. How clearly he could see each individual speck. He could imagine life coming from those; the beginnings of civilizations.

Black began to swim before his eyes.

He was aware of a strong arm around his chest, hooking under his arms and pulling him up. They broke the surface. He coughed and sputtered as the arms drew him close, holding on for dear life. He could feel a hand on his back, a whisper in his ear as he allowed the darkness to overtake him.

"You're okay now, Son. I've got you."

The force of the bullet must have sent him flying into the river. Gibbs would have been the one to dive in after him.

Tony smiled, for the first time noticing the feet propped on the edge of his bed. There was a take-out coffee cup on the hospital night stand, long cold from a night of waiting. He allowed his eyes to drift shut. He had one last thought as he welcomed the pull of a healing sleep.

So this is what safe feels like.