AN: I just wanted to explore the idea here of Tony having a full-blown relapse with the Y. Pestis/pneumonia story. I hope you guys like. Jackie
“Doctor DiNozzo!” Shelly Ellis called. She stuck her head in the doctor’s lounge door. “We need you out here.”
Tony nodded, and he began to stand up, but had to sit back down quickly. He was so glad Shelly had not seem him, that she had already closed the door. Tony made almost made it to the door before his legs gave way and he collapsed, unconscious, to the floor.
Shelly came back to check on Tony when he didn’t follow her out of the lounge. This time she met resistance when she tried to open the door. She called for get help when she saw what, or better yet, who was blocking the door. She automatically bent down and checked Tony’s breathing and pulse. She was very relieved to find he had both.
Tony opened his eyes a couple of hours later. He had not been taking care of himself. But it was not entirely his fault, between a couple long weeks at NCIS and busy shifts at the hospital, he was tired. He was not eating properly or resting enough. And he was under a great deal of stress. His body finally told him that it had had enough. It couldn’t take anymore.
Dr. Pitt and Ducky were in the room with Tony when he woke up and neither was happy.
“You’re supposed to be taking care of yourself better than this.” Brad told Tony.
Tony nodded. “…was working so many hours… just thought I was tired….” He managed before the coughing began.
“Anthony…I’m sure you know what we are going to tell you here.” Ducky said.
Tony nodded. “Pneumonia.”
Brad nodded his head. “This is bad, Tony.”
“Your lungs are congested. You’re wheezing.” Ducky explained.
“…as bad as before?” Tony asked coughing a little.
They both nodded.
“I know how this is gonna progress. I just…I don’t want to go through this again.” Tony replied.
“Tony, even with strong antivirals, it’s…you going have some problems. It’s not going to clear up overnight.” Brad replied.
“We will start the breathing treatments as soon as possible. Actually the respiratory therapist will be up in a few moments, Anthony.” Ducky added.
“That’s not….” Tony had a coughing fit. “That’s not what I meant.” Tony paused, feeling another cough coming. “I might not survive this. I….”
Brad and Ducky both shook their heads. “Let’s not….”
Tony shook his head, again. “You know I might not survive this. I might…” Tony began to cough again, but quickly recovered. “…I might fight as hard as I can and not make it. You two need to know when it’s time to stop, when I want you to stop.” Tony handed Ducky a sheet of paper Brad read it over Ducky’s shoulder.
Tony had outlined, in medical detail, what measures he wanted and did not want taken during this illness.
Tony knew the look on their faces. “Who then Ducky? Who gets to make that decision, Gibbs…Abby? Do I leave it up to Kate or Tim? How can I do that to any of them? Do I leave it up to you, Ducky? You can’t separate yourself from this, and I don’t expect you to.” He somehow managed to get through his speech without a coughing fit.
Ducky opened his mouth to speak.
“I’m doing the responsible thing. We all know how bad this could get.” Tony replied, referring to himself, Ducky and Brad. “It’s not fair to any of you to have to make those decisions for me.”
Brad and Ducky finally nodded. They knew he was right. They hated to admit it even to themselves, but it was possible Tony might not survive this.
Tony knew what he would be going through. He remembered the horror of not being able to draw his next breath, the feeling of drowning in his own body fluids. He just closed his eyes and sighed, knowing the battle he had ahead of him.
NCIS NCIS NCIS NCIS NCIS
“Sit up, Tony!” Kate said, putting her hands under Tony’s back and trying to pull him into a sitting position. “Come on! You have to sit up!” She said, encouraging him.
Gibbs was standing on the other side of the bed. Gibbs clapped Tony on the back just as Ducky had instructed him. Kate supported Tony as he coughed to clear his throat.
Tony leaned against Kate, exhausted. “Can’t…do this…I…not again.” He managed to say.
Gibbs took Tony’s hand as Kate rubbed his back. They looked at each other fearing they understood exactly what Tony meant.
“You’re strong enough to make it, Tony.” Kate said, she tried to keep the worry and fear out of her voice. “You’re gonna be okay.”
“…hurts, so much…chest…my back.” Tony wheezed out.
“We’re here, Tony.” Gibbs replied. “Tell us what you need.”
“So… tired…” Tony broke into a coughing fit. “…can’t do this.”
Kate didn’t want Tony to hear her crying. She just put her arms around him and hugged him tightly. She didn’t trust herself to speak.
Gibbs was going through his own hell. He had never heard Tony talk like this before. And he was truly afraid Tony didn’t have the desire or the energy to fight this time. He was terrified of what that could mean to him, to the rest of the team. They could not lose Tony.
The team members took turns staying with Tony. It pained them all to watch him struggle. It hurt to watch him try so hard to breathe and not be able to. It hurt that they had all seen it before. They had all seen it and, unfortunately, they still remembered it…too well.
Abby wrapped her arms around Tony as he leaned against her. She resisted the urge to rub his back and chest; she didn’t want to add to his pain. He couldn’t stand the touch, he hurt so much.
“Can’t….” Tony said, shaking his head.
“You can and you will, Anthony DiNozzo.” Abby replied. “I don’t want to hear you talk like that.”
Tony struggled to speak again. “…love…you.”
“This is not goodbye. I love you, too. But this is not goodbye.” Abby said with tears in her eyes. She lightly kissed his head. She pulled him closer to her as gently as she could.
Tony slowly improved over time. Weeks later Tony got to where he could have long conversations without breaking out into coughing fits.
Brad had not known Tony had gone to medical school. He was shocked that his former rival had been able to fit it all in and still manage to get good grades. Brad and Tony had started to have conversations. Brad and Ducky talked with Tony about his medical condition and his prognosis. And those conversations happened often. But this was not at all like that. This was just talking. Yeah, Brad and Tony talked about Tony’s condition, but there were a lot of other things thrown in there, too.”
“I wondered how a physical education major knew so much.” Brad replied as he sat beside Tony’s bed. He was referring to the comments Tony had made during his battle with the plague.
“I was so shocked to see you. I had no idea you were a doctor and it just…. Nobody at NCIS knew at the time, and I didn’t want that to be the way they found out.” Tony admitted.
“You’re kidding me, nobody knew?”
Tony shook his head. “I worked on the weekends I wasn’t on call at NCIS. It worked out pretty well.”
“How did they find out?” Brad asked.
“I let it slip with Ducky in Autopsy one day. He had misnamed something, some body part, and I corrected him. Then Ducky accidently told Jimmy. Jimmy had been bugging Ducky to help him study for a test. Ducky told him to ask me for help. And Gibbs, when he first realized something was up, tried to follow me to work. I lost him in traffic.”
“Really? I bet he was happy.” Brad said, imagining how angry Gibbs would have been.
“They all found out a little while later. There had been an accident. We all had injuries, but Jimmy’s injuries and my injuries were the most minor. Ducky had injured his hands, so I had to step in. Jimmy helped me give everybody first aid.”
“That was a shock.”
“That’s not the word for it.” Tony replied. “Kate and Tim just didn’t believe it. They couldn’t get past the frat boy image.”
“I’m Agent DiNozzo who just happens to work as an ER doctor on the weekends.” Tony replied.
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