AUTHOR'S APOLOGY NOTE: I know you all probably resigned yourselves to the fact that I abandoned my stories and I apologize for making you think that. IT IS NOT TRUE – I have said before that I will NEVER abandon ANY of my stories and I am really trying to get back into making regular updates. It has just proven hard with my current job due to working 10-11 hours 5 days a week which leaves my weekends slammed catching up on life and housework, etc, etc.
I made this chapter longer to make up for lagging upates and I really hope you enjoy it. Please send me a PRIVATE MSG if you catch any inconsistencies in this chapter. For reviews use the review button but I prefer any errors or other feedback is sent privately like I do for other writers out of respect.
As an extra treat for your patience I also gave you lots of Papa Gibbs comfort to our hurt YOU for sticking with me. Updates coming soon for all my other fics.
~ Enjoy! ~
Previously On; A Deadly Phobia (end of Ch. 19): Gibbs asking Tony about how he came to be in his current situation . . .
"You think Jesse recognized you? That could be why they came up with the plan to kidnap you – thinking how impressed their boss would be if they delivered on the debt."
Tony had turned his head forward again, dropping it down onto his chest again in fatigue.
"Yup . . . you got it. Uh - boss? I'm really starting to feel woozy now . . .'m not sure how much longer I c'n keep from falling asleep" he had been wriggling his hands behind him off and on for the past twenty minutes trying to loosen the bond. He wondered if Gibbs had faired any better.
"Any luck with those cuffs on your end boss?"
"Yeah I'd say so DiNozzo." Gibbs whispered now kneeling down with his mouth close to the level as Tony's ear.
A Deadly Phobia
Hostage House – Basement Level
"Holy hell Gibbs!" Tony yelled out after he caught his breath enough to speak. Not realizing Gibbs had even gotten free it nearly caused his heart to stop when he was startled by the sound of his boss' voice. His mentor was close enough to Tony that the weakened agent could actually feel the man's breath on his ear and neck.
Tony's pain level spiked right back up after have subsided briefly, all due to the physical jolt his body had suffered due to the shocking of seeing boss kneeling right next to him when only seconds earlier he had been several feet across the room.
"Geez Gibbs!" he ranted, reaching up to wipe away a bead of sweat that was trickling down his cheek as his adrenaline and pain level started to calm down a little.
"Are ya tryin' ta kill me before we even escape – or did you think it would be funny to scare the living daylights outta me?"
"Ya lookin' for some kind of apology DiNozzo? You know how I feel about those." Gibbs smirked. The fact that he was literally biting the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing outright, has not escaped Tony's attention.
"Of course not, expecting an apology from you would be like expecting . . . Santa Clause to become real." He deadpanned. "-'m jus sayin' . . . a little head's up would have been nice!"
Gibbs immediately noticed how Tony was breathing cautiously as he spoke and also how he hard he was trying to hide the pain he was in – Gibbs knew from past experience that his agent would bend over backwards to keep his boss from seeing him in a weakened or vulnerable position even if it was due to injuries that would bring most men to their knees, bitching and moaning.
"Alright - we can talk about this later. Right now we need to come up with a plan to get outta here, but before we do that I need to check you out and make sure you aren't going to pass out on me as soon as we get half way up the stairs."
Tony's head snapped up as he turned to look at Gibbs, "What? Pass out? How many times I gotta tell everyone - DiNozzo's don-"
"Yeah yeah I've heard it. Well whatever you wanna call it Tony, I am going to make sure you stay with me. Ya got it?"
"Okay okay, I got it. Just be gentle okay boss?" Tony always resorted to joking whenever any attention was directed towards his own well being, Gibbs knew enough to know that the unusual behavior stemmed all the way back to childhood insecurities that he had developed thanks to his selfish and uncaring Father. What he wouldn't give for ten minutes alone with the man who all but neglected his own Son to the point that even tough as nails Gibbs had trouble reprogramming his best agent's overcompensating and people pleasing ways.
Pushing those thoughts aside before the anger took his focus away completely, Gibbs proceeded to carefully assess Tony's injuries starting with his leg. Upon seeing that the make shift splint had loosened somewhat from Tony's recent movement and last escape attempt, Gibbs gave Tony a quiet warning to make sure he didn't yell out too loudly before he made fast work of tightening the bindings again to better support the broken bones.
Glancing at his agent's face before continuing with the rest of his assessment, Gibbs saw eyes that were clenched so tightly shut that it caused each line of pain that was etched in Tony's suddenly bone white face, to deepen even further. Gibbs knew the pain had to be intense for Tony to not even be able to continue with the façade that he was 'fine'.
He paused before continuing with his injury assessment knowing that he needed to offer Tony some non-physical support as well, something that he admittedly wasn't very good at, but that he knew Tony rallied from like water to a dry sponge.
Lightly cupping his hand around the back of Tony's neck and squeezing - Gibbs offered some additional encouragement. "Listen Tony, I just need you to hang in there a little longer. The sooner I can get you out of here, the sooner so we can get you something for the pain. Okay?" . . .
" Tony - you with me?" he added gently after not getting any reply or reaction beyond heavy breathing.
"Yeah . . . " Tony paused to take in another deep breath, "Y-yeah I'm - okaayy boss." Tony finally opened his eyes and looked up, Gibbs was pleased to see some color had returned to his face. "I don't know why the pain got to me so much just then, I mean you barely tightened the bindings. Guess I don't have as high of a tolerance for pain as I thought I did." Once again resorting to self deprecation, much to Gibbs chagrins.
"Tony listen to me, you have more tolerance for pain than even I have had in the past - so I do NOT want to hear you say that again!" but after feeling a severe flinch from where he still held onto Tony's neck, he wanted to head slap himself for being so gruff. Easing off on the tight grip he had on Tony's neck, Gibbs softened his voice before continuing.
"You don't have to play tough guy with me Tony, in my opinion, it takes a real man to admit when he's hurting.".
"Rii-ight. Just like you always admit when you are in pain right boss?" Tony was being sarcastic, he had never once seen his Marine trained boss ever complain about pain even when he was shot in Ducky's autopsy lab or nearly blown up while undercover on a Navy ship.
"Well, maybe you didn't witness any of those times Tony but trust me, there were plenty. Shannon was the only one I ever let see that side of me for some reason – then after she died I just started keeping it to myself. So you are right, I don't admit to pain like I should – or like I used to. I guess you aren't the only one who needs to break some old habits."
Tony's jaw dropped open in awe of what Gibbs had just confessed to. Did the almighty Leroy Jethro Gibbs just admit to having a fault? A crack in the armor? No, he couldn't have – he wouldn't have.
"Cat got yer tongue DiNozzo?"
"Uh . . . yeah I uh . . . boss I . . . well I must be dying for real if you are telling me something so – uuh . . . personal. I mean, you don't do that. I must be in worse shape than I thought. Did I just hallucinate that?"
The familiar light slap that Tony suddenly felt on the back of his neck was Gibbs way of letting him know that he wasn't hallucinating.
"You repeat that to anyone DiNozzo and you'll be wishing it had just been a head slap when I get done with you." Gibbs warned him, just before shooting his agent one of his rare half smiles that said more to Tony than words could ever have conveyed.
"Lips sealed boss." Tony replied as he reached up and affectionately rubbed the spot on his neck that his boss had just smacked – essentially letting Tony know that he cared.
"Okay now sit still!"" Gibbs commanded, back to his usual gruff self, "I still need to take a look at that hand, your ribs . . . oh and also that infected tooth and jaw you think you are hiding from me."
"Okay fine but what about you? That eye of yours is now twice as swollen as it was when you got here. You could have a concussion of your own ya know . . . d'ya think about that? Maybe I shou-"
Enough said, Tony thought to himself. He had tried to shift the focus off of his own injuries to no avail.
The only reason he gave up so easily was because he felt as though nothing could hurt him at the moment anyway mainly due to being on such a high after the man he put on a higher pedestal than Superman – had admitted to being human and actually feeling pain at some point. Tony felt almost giddy from the admission as well as from finally realizing that the man actually did care about him and respect him as a person.
Gibbs proceeded to peek under the wrapping on Tony's hand to make sure the bleeding hadn't started up again, he avoided mentioning the infected fluids that were just starting to appear at the edges of the wound. He then moved on, hiking up Tony's dress shirt to expose the now multicolored rib cage and abdomen. He immediately tensed with anger upon seeing the clear pointed shape of what could only be a man's boot tip where someone had obviously kicked his agent severely enough to fracture the underlying rib or ribs. He had enough cracked & broken ribs himself that he didn't need to put Tony through the agony of physically feeling for the shifting bones to confirm the diagnosis. Lightly easing the shirt back down he swallowed back his rising anger and moved on to take a look at his senior agent's mouth.
All the while Tony had been engaging in a long winded dialogue about things that had nothing to do with their current predicament. Gibbs laughed to himself as he realized that even if half of his tongue had been cut out, Tony would somehow still find a way to keep on talking. What was it that Kate's Sister mentioned in Tony's hospital room after he was admitted for a concussion and chest injuries caused from a bullet that had hit his bullet proof vest at close range? Something about nervous responses . . .
Shaking off the bad memory of yet another time he had nearly lost the man who had become so much like a son to him, Gibbs reached up and moved his hand towards Tony's jaw.
Tony abruptly stopped talking as he realized where Gibbs was headed, he immediately started to protest what he knew was coming.
"Naahh Gibbs it's fine – really so just stop. Seriously, my mouth is the least of our worries, it's fine . . . really."
"Uh-huh. Whenever you use the words 'really' and 'fine' that many times in one sentence Tony, I know you are lying. All you have managed to do is make me curious and even more intent on taking a look. Now shut up - and open up."
Tony rolled his eyes dramatically before he reluctantly obeyed, knowing he had no choice at this point even if he tried.
Gibbs visibly cringed at the sight of the lightly bleeding and heavily infected gum line he was looking at, he had his own share of root canals and abscess teeth in his past but this was ten times worse than he had imagined making it all the more clear that Tony was either the most stubborn human being on the planet – or the strongest, having been able to even function with what had to be incredible pain and discomfort.
Not wanting to alarm the injured man with what he wanted to say, Gibbs settled for telling a little white lie in order to keep them both going so they could get the hell out of there.
"Okay DiNozzo – you'll live. I've seen worse."
Tony found himself slightly puzzled by the words since the dreadful pain in his mouth and the associated pain along his jaw line, had nearly surpassed that of his busted limb. Yet he felt relieved at the same time, happy to be done with the scrutiny of which he knew Gibbs was using to check each and every injury out.
"Good, now can we please get going? It will be easier to overtake Cal while Jesse is gone – especially since I won't be able to help much."
Leaning down, Gibbs reached one are around Tony trying to get under his arms to help him stand. "Okay Tony, lean on me until I can get you up, then I will grab that crutch you were using and bring it to you."
Nodding, Tony bit down slightly on his lower lip and started to brace himself for the movement that he knew would be exacerbate his pain.
Meanwhile Across Town At The Drop Off Spot . . .
McGee waited nervously inside his NCIS standard issue dark blue sedan watching for any sign that his cargo was arriving. He had no idea when they were set to arrive since there was no way of knowing - although Gibbs had told he and Ziva they were to wait as long as 5 hours – but beyond that – all bets were off and they were to follow the back-up plan, Plan B Gibbs had briefed them on before he left.
Tim had already been waiting for 2 hours and was getting very bored. For a few minutes he even missed having Tony and his never ending stream of chatter to keep him awake and alert. 'Hmmm, was that always your ulterior motive DiNozzo? Purposely talking to keep me on my toes throughout long stakeouts?'
"Sir? Did you say something about Special Agent DiNozzo sir? Do you see something?"
McGee physically jumped in his seat upon hearing the quiet voice from the ear wig hidden in his ear. He sometimes forgot he was even wearing one and in this instance he also wasn't even aware that he has spoken those words aloud.
"No!" he responded too exuberantly, "I . . . uh, I mean everything is fine Officer Richter. Have you guys picked up on anything?"
There was one local LEO and one other NCIS agent inside a van that was painted to resemble a Plumbing company, the van was parked a block near a business so as not to look suspicious. They were monitoring the streets using video surveillance and every vehicle that came along was photographed and sent to Abby where she was running them through a program to check out each and every one of them thoroughly.
Another NCIS Agent, Special Agent Warren Coombs whom Vance had let Gibbs borrow from another team, was waiting in another sedan around the corner awaiting instructions from Special Agent McGee whom was in charge of this particular assignment.
McGee's car was parked directly across the street from the drop off spot which was an abandoned Espresso Stand – per Gibbs of course.
"Nothing suspicious yet si- wait . . . hang on, we got a truck coming closer and they seem to be slowing down. I think this is it Sir, seems they have covered up some of the numbers on the license plate with mud.
McGee's adrenaline soared, he was nervous as hell since this was the first solo assignment that he had been given, sure there were men in the van nearby in case things went South, but for the primary pick up it was all up to him. Just as he spotted the truck they had mentioned and started to get out of the car – closing the door behind him as he started across the street when suddenly he noticed the passenger door of the truck opening and realized that the driver was not even planning to come to a full stop!
The driver hit the accelerator and took off down the street as McGee swiveled on his heel while pulling his weapon free from the holster and then fired off a couple of shots aiming for the truck's rear tires. Hitting one tire but not causing enough damage to stop the speeding vehicle.
Yelling into his hidden microphone he ordered, "Warren! Go-go-go! We need to apprehend that truck before he has a chance to get back to where Gibbs and Tony are! Our cargo was thrown from a moving vehicle – someone call for an Ambulance NOW!"
McGee was running across the street towards the victim the whole time he was simultaneously yelling out commands. He couldn't help feeling proud of himself for a brief second as to how well he was handling things so far. Coming to an abrupt halt near where the man had rolled and skidded along the pavement only stopping when he came to rest up against a curb, The man was trying to rise just as McGee arrived at his side pushing him gently back down to prevent him from rising.
"I'm Special Agent Timothy McGee with NCIS I'm here to help you sir so just take it easy and don't move until I can check you out a little bit, okay?"
"Uh . . . uh-yy-yeah okay." Kincaid replied.
McGee started making a visual inspection of the shaken dentist, cringing at the realization that the man's arms were tied behind his back, essentially preventing him from breaking his dramatic fall. After noticing that one of the man's arms also looked to be bleeding from road rash and appeared to be broken as well judging by the way it looked hanging at an abnormal angle, Tim realized that the man was more than likely in shock as he had yet to acknowledge the pain that the injury surely would have caused.
"Am I correct to assume that you are Dr. Michael Kincaid?" Tim asked, all business - while trying to keep the man from passing out or falling deeper into the throes of shock.
"Yea- . . . yes Sir. . . th-thaat I am. Oww ohhh my arm, oh Lord help me my arm hurts like hell." Kincaid started rolling on the ground from the pain, not being able to grab onto his damaged limb until the agent released his hands.
"Take it easy, take it easy. Please you have to calm down. Getting upset is only going to make you hurt worse – trust me, I've been there!" Tim soothed the now safe former captive even though he felt torn between a mixture of complex feelings regarding the shady dentist. One part of Tim wanted to like the man even though he hadn't even known him for more than a few minutes. There was just something about the man that Tim's gut was telling him he could trust – but on the other hand, this man may have been heavily responsible for Tony being kidnapped and injured. There was just too much information still missing to allow him to know one way or another so he decided to just focus on the job at hand, protecting the man on the ground from suffering any more harm until more details could be uncovered. Right now they needed him to help lead them to Tony and now also Gibbs.
While Tim very carefully helped the man lean forward slightly so he could reach back and untie the rope that was tightly holding Kincaid's chafed wrists together, the dentist seemed to rally a bit as he immediately started asking question after question.
"Agent M-McGee was it?" Kincaid asked before pausing to grimace from pain caused by the release of his trapped arms, causing the pain of his fractured arm to throb heavily in rhythm with the fast beating of his heart.
"Uhm . . . so d-did you wo- I mean do you work with Ton- uh Agent D-DiNozzo?"
"Oh, uh yeah I - do." McGee answered with emphasis on the last word. He still wasn't sure he could trust the man or trust himself not to go off on the man for his role in this current nightmare.
"He's a tough man that Tony, a good man. Look . . . I . . . I'm sorry. For getting him mixed up in all this – Agent uhh . . . McGeary was it?" Michael closed his eyes taking a deep breath and slowly blowing it out in an effort to control the fiery and stabbing pain flaring up worse than ever just above his elbow.
"No – its McGee." Tim replied in a very straight forward and almost monotone manner, wondering for a brief second if Tony had put the man up to that name confusion – hoping silently that his partner was in good enough shape to be up to his usual pranks.
Kincaid noticed the intense look of worry and sadness that came over the young man next to him causing his feelings of guilt to intensify.
TO BE CONTINUED . . .
A/N - I mean that! ALL OF MY STORIES WILL BE CONTINUED AND I PROMISE TO WORK ON GETTING THEM ALL UPDATED FASTER AND MORE FREQUENTLY! You have my word. Stay tuned and please review if you are all still with me.