Chapter 1: Waking up
Anthony Dominic DiNozzo woke up in a cold sweat he had be having another nightmare about that day. At first he didn't know where he was until he looked down at the blanket covering his body and realized his legs were not there. It wasn't a dream, it was real and he remembered every detail. He had even tried to kill himself the day before but the doctors found him moments after the first cuts were made. They moved him to the psyche ward for the evening and called his doctor.
Later that evening he awoke and realized I am alive, now I have to deal. He even remembered where he was, he was in Ramstad army hospital, and what had happened to him, he started to cry, there was an older man sitting at his bedside, telling him everything would be ok now, that he wasn't alone, and how could he Anthony DiNozzo be so stupid as to try and take his own life. He had spent hours after crying on the old man's shoulder and he comforted him and told him that all would be well with time and that he would not leave him alone.
He woke up again in bed, this time it was daylight, and he saw and old man at his bed side, at first he thought it was Gibbs, grey hair, almost the same build but this man was a more muscled, also the eyes were different, it wasn't until he noticed the calloused hand took his own that he recognized the voice that said, "Another bad dream lad" he wanted to say no but knew better. "Yes grandpa, it was really bad, I could see my legs flying in the air and landing beside me. Then they got up and walked away without me…"
"It's ok Bambino, I am here" said his Grandfather, moving to the bad to hold his shaking grandson.
Three weeks before back in DC NCIS headquarters he was called into Vance's office for a special assignment.
"You wanted to see me Director"
"Yes sit down DiNozzo. I have special assignment for you."
"Ok, may I ask what it is?"
"I need you in Afghanistan one of our operatives went missing and one of our local contacts knows where he is being held, I need you to get to him, assist in getting him out and get the information he has back to us."
"Why me sir? Tony asked surprise he was being considered for this type of mission.
"Because you are an unknown in the region, we don't want these guys to know we are on to them and the other agents available are known to the guys have already been killed. It is going to be danger Anthony I won't lie to you, but I know you can do it."
"What kind of information is it?"
"One the new head of one of the Taliban cells forming here in the states, we think he was able to get access to the new leaders and where they are located. Here is the file with all the information we have and who your contacts will be."
"Does Gibbs know?"
"Yes and he approved you for the assignment. You leave in 3 hours. So get your things."
"And be careful Anthony. I would like my agent back in one piece"
"Thanks sir I will"
Back to reality – hospital room Germany.
He had been in the hospital for two weeks now. All he knew was that his grandfather was taking care of everything and that made him happy, because he didn't know what to do, what the future would hold. It was a boon to him to have the old man there. He listened to him rant, rave and go ballistic. Sal just yelled back at him like one of his raw Army recruits.
Tony continued his quiet talk to this grandfather, semi-retired General Salvador Castel his maternal grandfather. Sal was visiting the base to report on operations and to catch up with his old cronies from back in the day. Vets like himself who had seen enough fighting to last a life time. He had a good relationship with Sal, and he knew like Gibbs he would never turn him away, unlike his father. He also knew that of all people he would understand the nightmares, depression and fears for the future he was experiencing.
Sal sighed and looked at his grandson he was so like his mother, he thought, stubborn and never letting his true self out for fear of getting hurt. Very few saw the true Anthony DiNozzo, Sal counted himself one of the lucky few who knew what lay underneath the masks his grandson showed the world. Tony continued talking about the dreams and it made him feel good that he was at least talking about how he was feeling and what he was experiencing. Dr. Barnes had told him exactly how to deal with these mood swings from good to bad and so far so good. They had decided to that Sal would notifying NCIS, first he called an old friend Admiral Wayne Fitzgerald at the Pentagon to find out who at NCIS should be notified of the events that past these last three weeks. Anthony just wasn't up to it. He even said so. So Dr. Barnes agreed to give Tony time to deal with what had happened to him. For awhile they thought they would have to put him in the psychiatric ward because of his fits, or screams and ranting. But, Dr. Valerie Shelly Barnes and expert psychiatrist in trauma and war wounds, she said give him time. He will come around, for now just be there for him. He thanked the doctor and went back to Anthony's room.
The next day, Tony was finally fitted with his new legs and it was time to learn to walk. Drill Sergeant Henry "Hank" Henderson or the TANK as his patients called him walked into his room and introduced himself to Tony, and proceed to tell Tony what he expected him to do today during physical therapy. The first thing Tony thought was he was reminded of Gibbs when he was in full marine mode, he even told him so. This just made the man laugh out loud and say I'm worse.
And he was, but he had also got Tony using his new legs, standing and walking some, even a quick walk on the tread mill. He was surprise he could even jog a little.
After the grueling session that morning, they discuss sports and Tony found out he could join the basket ball team but he would need Doctors approval. Which Hank said would not be a problem. Most of the guys at the facility got involved in some kind of team activity. Keep them from going to a funk and realizing that they can and not can't.
He told him that is what his grandfather the General had said.
"He's right you know." Hank told him as he showed him the locker room and showers.
Chapter 2 - NCIS headquarters the same day Tony learns to walk again, that afternoon.
Admiral Fitzgerald just arrived and was looking around and saw a familiar face. "Gunny, good to see you again." He said to Jethro.
"Admiral it's good to see you too, it's been a long time, how have you been, how are those grand babies."
"Getting bigger every day, Vanessa is three and Seth is 5," he smile and then turned serious. "Walk with me Jethro, I need to see Leon and you should be there too."
"What's up Wayne."
"Boss" McGee looked up "still no answer from Tony, his cell is going to voice mail, and not answer on this land line, he was supposed to be back from Afghanistan, a few days ago. Do you think he was delayed on the mission?" Tim asked.
"I don't know McGee, try the GPS on his phone."
"On it boss" Tim is typing away at his computer it's coming up now Boss" hitting a few more keys to put it on the plasma. "Looks like he is in Ramstad, Germany sir on base."
"What the hell is he doing in Germany?" Gibbs fumed and turned to the Admiral.
"Jethro, that's why I am here, just come with me, we need to talk and in private about Anthony."
"You do, what's going on Wayne" turning a little angry, and a lot concerned.
"Out with it Wayne" glaring at him.
"Just follow me, Gunny" returning the glare for glare, "I need both you and Leon to hear this first, then you can tell your team and his friends." Getting worried stares around him as everyone stopped, "please Jethro, let me explain first but not here. Some where a little more private please, besides Leon will need to know as well."
"Ok." Gibbs said flatly, walking with the Admiral to Leon's office. He was looking at Ziva and Tim who were looking scared for their friend and dying to know what happened he gave a them a look of when I know so will you.
As they watched Gibbs and the Admiral walked away Ziva and Tim, start talking at the same time that are babbling and yelling at each other.
"Do you know what is going on?"
"NO" Ziva snapped, worried about Tony.
"Have you heard anything?"
"McGee, I know as much as you do"
"Should be call Abs and Ducky?"
"Call me about what Tim" Ducky ask as he comes into the bull pen looking for Gibbs
"Let's wait until Gibbs gets back."
"I hate waiting"
"Would one of you two tell me what is going on?" Ducky ask again.
So they feel the ME on what they know which isn't much.
NCIS Directory Leon Vance's office
Leon Vance is sitting at his desk, reading reports when his secretary Cynthia rings to say Admiral Fitzgerald and Agent Gibbs to see you sir. He answers send them in. He wasn't surprised to see him, given the report he just read. "Admiral" getting up to greet the older man, "good to see you."
"You too Leon, I wish it was under better circumstances."
"I assume this about DiNozzo, I just read his report and that of the doctors"
"Report, What Report!" Gibbs shouts angrily"
"How's he doing?" Vance continues ignoring Gibbs for a moment longer.
"Taking it day by day when I spoke to him yesterday with General Castel."
Gibbs interrupts "would somebody tell me what the hell is going on? What happened to DiNozzo?"
Wayne takes up the tale and Gibbs takes it all in.
A half an hour later they are on a MTAC feed to Germany from Vance's office, talking to the man himself.
Tony looks horrible, pale and gaunt and his voice soft and thick with emotion as he tell the tale of what happened two weeks earlier.
Flash back Two weeks earlier:
He boarded the plane at the Navy airfield and hunkered down for the long trip. He fell asleep about half way through hand woke up about 10 minutes from landing.
"Agent DiNozzo, where almost there." Yelled the co-pilot Lt. Jones "buckle up"
"Right and thanks"
Three days he was getting in the hummer with the rest of the convoy. He was a little nervous about the mission, no scratch that a lot nervous. The convoy was driving right into the heart of enemy territory as it were. As they continued to drive the group in his hummer started joking and it made him feel good to be included in the banter.
A few hours later they were raiding the camp. Rushing the buildings where the hostages were being held and looking for the captured agent. The hostages included various women and children from several local villages. What a mess this is going to be Anthony thought.
Soon it was all shooting, running and screaming as the teams entered the building and secured the area. Hours seemed to have passed but it was only 10 minutes. Tony thought it seemed like a life time when he turned to the Major in charge. John Keller. "Hey Keller, did you find our man" as he help one of the villagers to the trucks that had arrived. "Yeah, he's dead and so is your other contact." "Great, did you find anything on him?" "Yeah this" handing DiNozzo a flash drive. "Well at least something good came out of this. I better notify HQ that I got the drive but not the guy. They'll be analyzing this for week." Pulling his phone out and then called Vance on a secure line and told him the news.
Vance was pleased that he got the information and transmitted it for analysis. "Ok DiNozzo I except your butt on the next transport back to DC."
"And good work"
"Thank you sir" hanging up as the Major came to tell him the convoy was getting ready to go and the trucks will be sorting out the villagers and returning them home. During the ride back to base the guys continued to banter about the day's events. It was getting dark and they wanted to get back to base before full darkness set in when he realized something didn't feel right all of the sudden the sky lit up with flashes of lights and bombs were exploding everywhere. Men were yelling and the driver was trying to make the vehicle go faster, while trying to dodge missiles and rockets flying at them. All of the sudden there was a loud bang, the hummer in front of Tony's was hit, his hummer emptied as the group ran for cover on the side of the road, when another missile landed right in front of them. All of a sudden he was in agony lying on the ground a hundred feet from the road. He tried to get up but realized he couldn't as he saw a medic race to his side.
"Don't move Tony." It was Lt. George Fresco leaning over him, taking his vitals and ordering immediate evacuation to the near hospital.
In a panic Tony, looked down at the remains of his body and realized his legs were gone. "Oh God" he whimpered, "NO"
"I am so sorry man, but at least you are alive. Count yourself lucky"
"Yeah really lucky." He said as the medics put him in the chopper. "The Lt. followed and said at least the blast cauterized the wounds otherwise you would be dead. He heard the man saying. But all he could think was his legs were gone forever, he would never walk again, he was literally half a man. As tears ran down his face as he finally passed out.
Four days later…Ramstad US military hospital.
Waking up in the hospital in Germany he kept hoping it was dream, a nightmare that he could wake up from. But, as he looked down and found his legs were really gone, he was in pain but there was nothing he could see that would cause it. He sort of remembered one of the docs mentioning phantom pain, he guessed this is what it was.
A short time later his doctors walked in to see how he was doing. Dr Noel Parker neurosurgeon and Dr. Burton Conner orthopedics. He didn't understand at first why he needed either until the explained about his new legs. He would get the latest models with new technologies that would make them feel like his old ones. Except Tony exploded "I don't want new ones, I liked the ones had." Both doctors nodded their understanding as they continued to explain. Turning to see a man at the door.
"Looks like you have a visitor" at first he thought it was Gibbs, but upon seeing General Salvador Castel enter the room all of sudden he broke down and cried "Grandpa, my legs are gone." Sobbing as the older man sat carefully on the bed next to his grandson. As he watched the doctors leave the room. Tony told him everything that happened.
Over the next two weeks, as he and surgery for his new legs, got fitted and started physical therapy as well as seeing Dr. Barnes to help him deal with what happened, his depression, dark moods, and rage, she put up with it all being his psychiatrist and all he felt he could tell her anything and usually did, the other thing that helped him through this was his Grandfather Sal and his Grandmother Sophie were by his side.
Rehabilitation center Ramstad base
He worried about work and his friends, but Gran promised his Grandpa was handling it. That he contact Vance personally and told him what had happened and that he need a time before telling anyone. "Grandma, he asked quietly, will you call my dad?"
"Sure Bambino, I assume you don't me Senor" she always called him that and made him smile. "No." he replied softly, "not him, though I did speak with him yesterday and he promised to come, but..." leaving the sentence hanging. "Jethro" and she understood, she liked Jethro Gibbs and still approved that he had adopted her Grandson and made him his son. He had been good for Anthony she thought. They were good for each other. An hour later he was on an MTAC feed and Jethro, Vance and Admiral Fitzgerald filled the screen.
NCIS headquarters Director Leon Vance's office
After he told his tale, answered all their questions, and before he turned off.
"Dad" looking at Gibbs
"Yeah son" answered Gibbs with a slight smile. "What do you want Anthony?"
"Will you come?"
"You bet, let me make the arrangements, and I'll call Sal with the details, ok."
And the connection closed.
"Son?" asked Vance
Gibbs looking directly at Vance said "Yeah, I adopted Anthony when he was 13. His father Senor is a real a bastard. Read the reports its all there." Taking a piece of paper from the desk, "here's the file number, and access codes, it's an interesting read."
"I'll bet it is." Watching Gibbs turn to leave the admiral and Vance. "And Gibbs, I'll process your vacation papers. Will a month do?"
"Yeah Leon, thanks" closing the door.
Chapter 4 – The team
The moment Gibbs got back to his desk he was assaulted by his team, they wanted to know everything, everyone including Abby was taking over one other to be heard. Finally he said. "If you shut up a moment I'll tell you what I know." For the next few minutes he explained and it was Abby who broke the silence. "He will be ok Gibbs won't he" "Yeah Abs he will, he just need a little time. Oh and I'll in Germany for the next few weeks so don't cause too much trouble." Grabbing his things from his desk, as he turned to leave Ducky stopped him. "Is he really ok Jethro? Why aren't they shipping home there are some excellent rehab facilities here."
(The rest of the teams starts chattering in the background as Gibbs and Ducky go off to the side to continue the conversation slightly out of ear shot of the rest of the group).
"Duck, he asked in Germany because he grandparents are there
Salvador and his grandmother Sophia,they are helping deal him a great deal right now, they are very protective of Athony since they found out about their former son-in-law."
"True, but are you sure about the arrangements Jethro, wouldn't he be better off here in the states" sounding skeptical about the arrangements,
"Duck, I also spoke with his doctors as well as his psychiatrist Dr Barnes and she said him adding he needed help and that he wanted where he was is a big step. So let it be. Besides he called me dad"
"He admitted? That is unusual for him. But I am glad, the elderly man smiled. "Now that is a big step isn't it, then I won't keep you Jethro, keep me posted on his condition will you."
"Of course, Duck"
Give him my best will you", As he walked away, the others heard that part.
"He called you Dad, Jethro" Duck said quietly to Jethro, "Good, he hasn't called you that in years." Smiling to himself remember all the times before he started working for the agency that he called Gibbs Dad.
Gibbs gave Ducky a smile and left.
The team looked on confused as Jethro and Ducky were talking in private and Ducky was smiling as he walked back to autopsy.
Back to Germany and Tony's room
He is sitting with his grandpa Sal and it is early evening. They are watching the sun set and discussing the day's events when his phone rings. Sal got permission to take him to his house for the night. Recognizing Jackson Gibbs number he picks up.
"Hello Tony, I got your messages, what's up?
And for the second time in as many hours he tells his other grandfather what happened. Once he finishes, Tony is surprised by the next words from Jack, "I'll be on the next plane lad," you hang in and he hung up.
"Tony, are you ok, why are you crying?" looking concerned and wondering what the phone call was about.
"That was Grandpa Jackson, Gibbs father, he said he was coming"
"Well isn't that something, now you will truly be surrounded by family Bambino.
"Yeah" he nods through tears and a broad grin that his grandfather hadn't seen in weeks.
"Come lets go before they change their minds and you have to stay, your grandmother is making Ravioli."
"Yum I love grandma's ravioli. Let's go" and they leave the room, heading for the car.
Sal though as he walked out, finally healing, finally getting back on his feet, this is good, and having family around is better.
His cell phone rings just as Gibbs is finally leaving the office. He made all the flight arrangements with the Admiral. Now what he thought as he answered the phone. "Gibbs"
"Leroy" recognizing his father's voice.
"I just got off with your son, I'll be on the next flight to Germany, just got to call the travel agent."
"You going to Germany?" Not surpised that his father called but was suprised he would drop everything.
"He's my grandson Jethro. It's family." Gibbs thinking yes family.
"Can you get down to DC tonight, I am on a military flight at 10 tonight, and I can get you on."
"Sure, where do I meet you?"
And they worked out the details.