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Moving Forward

by: ksl (Send Feedback)

Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 030 Word Count: 111544
Rating: ADULT
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo
Category(ies): Alternate Universe
Pairing(s): Gibbs/DiNozzo
Episode(s): 4-03 Singled Out
Summary: An AU where Tony accepts the position in Rota, Spain when Shepard offered it in season four.

Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30

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Tony hated waking up in the hospital.

He didn't mind it so much when he was aware of what resulted in him being there in the first place. Unfortunately, most of the time when he woke in a hospital it was with no clear memory of how he got there or why he was there. That was disconcerting enough, but adding in the scent of antiseptic, pain not entirely dulled by medication, a feeling of lost time and worry about his teammates, it was down right frightening. This time was no different.

Tony blinked hard trying to get his eyes to focus. Various body parts were reporting in letting him know they weren't happy, but his head hurt too much to untangle the messages. He couldn't tell what hurt or how badly. And he had no clear idea of why he hurt in the first place.

The last thing he remembered was a third bomb and his team going to deal with it. He vaguely remembered finding their suspects, a possible chase and a timer counting down. He remembered a feeling of urgency, running while making sure everyone else was ahead of him. He thought something powerful slammed into him, but it was more a vague impression rather than clear recollection. He didn't remember anything after that.

"You with me, Sir?"

Tony turned his head to see Miri sitting by his bed reading something. He hadn't expected anyone to be in the room with him. Other than the time he'd gotten the plague, and Kate had stayed with him the first night as he recovered, no one had ever been by his bed when he woke up in the hospital. Oh they might have stopped by to visit, but they hadn't stayed or held a vigil. He was on his own more often than not.

From the look of it, Miri had been sitting by his bed for some time. There were several cups nearby, and her clothing was rumpled. She looked tired, but otherwise unharmed. Still, Tony couldn't assume that she was fine just because he didn't see any obvious injury.

"You okay?" Tony asked, his voice surprisingly hoarse. He remembered her being with him. Mouse too. Whatever the hell got him could have gotten them too.

She winced, hearing him speak. Miri put down whatever she'd been reading and got up. She reached for a small cup on the nightstand. She gently lifted his head, and helped him drink. If not for how damn good the cool water felt and tasted, Tony would have been embarrassed about needing her help.

After only two swallows, Tony was disappointed when the cup was empty. He hadn't even realized how thirsty he was until then. Miri refilled the cup from a small pitcher on the nightstand.

Even as thirsty as he was, Tony wanted an answer to his question more than he wanted another drink. "Miri, are you okay?"

"I've got a lot of bruises, and I might have cracked a rib, but nothing major." Miri smiled at him, offering him the cup again. "I'm faster than you or Mouse--just like I told you. So I was further away when the damn thing blew."

"Mouse?" Tony asked between sips, trying to be careful and not take in too much at once. He'd made that mistake before when he'd had the plague and had nearly choked himself unconscious. Fortunately only Nurse Emma knew about that embarrassing moment.

"Mouse broke his collarbone. Blast took him right off his feet and was none too gentle when it put him down." She clucked her tongue. "He won't be surfing for a bit, but he'll be fine. And since the cute little nurse taking care of him was impressed by his heroic efforts, not too mention his scars, I'm thinking he'll at least get a date out of all this."

She grinned. "Hell, he might even get laid, so for him, not so bad."

Tony smirked. "We betting on that?"

"Nah." She shook her head. "Wouldn't want to jinx it for him."

"Big of you."

"Very." She nodded solemnly but the laughter in her eyes gave her away. "You want more water?"

Tony considered that. He was okay for now. "No, thank you."

"No problem." She stepped back. "You want the rundown on you?"

"Please." He was reluctant to even try moving on his own until he had some idea of how much damage had been done.

"You've got one hell of a concussion, but no skull fracture or bleeding on the brain. They're planning to keep an eye because you've been unconscious for most of the day."

Tony grimaced. That meant he was stuck here until they were satisfied he hadn't suffered permanent brain damage. It also meant at least half a dozen tests. He hated getting CAT scans.

"Shit."

"Yeah, I know." She sat down, her hand reaching out to hold his, squeezing gently. "You also got hit in the leg with something heavy enough to put a hairline fracture in your right femur. It was sharp too. You've got thirty stitches to your credit and will probably have a new scar to add to the collection."

She sighed softly. "You lost a lot of blood before they got you stitched back together."

Tony could easily hear the fear and concern in her voice. The lingering stress had left a mark. It couldn't have been easy on her to have been the most able bodied of the team left to deal with what happened. Miri wasn't used to seeing stuff like that the way Ziva was.

There was no way Miri could be as prosaic about it as Ziva was prone to being. She hadn't grown up in a country constantly on alert and exposed to danger. She hadn't been trained on how to create explosives or defuse them. She wasn't trained for combat and dealing with multiple casualties wasn't exactly a standard part of FLETC. And she'd likely never lost anyone to a bomb or dealt with the aftermath before.

"I'm sorry," Tony whispered.

Miri frowned. "For what?"

Tony wasn't quite shore how to articulate what it was he was sorry for. Sorry he hadn't been there when she needed him? Sorry she'd been exposed to all of that in the first place? Sorry there were people out there who thought nothing of hurting others? Really, none of that was his fault. But he was still sorry. And from the look on her face, Miri understood. She lightly slapped his arm and rolled her eyes.

"Don't be greedy about taking on more blame than anything you've done warrants. Nothing about any of this was your fault, Sir. Besides, life may have succeeded in cracking me once or twice," she smiled grimly, "but I'm not the type to end up shattered."

"Tough as nails," Tony parroted back how he'd heard her describe herself on more than one occasion.

"Damn right." She nodded. "I come from the same genetic stock that kicked Rome's ass. No pansies allowed."

Tony snorted, amused in spite of himself. He'd come to appreciate his second in command for more than just her ability on the job.

"I should be thanking you," Miri told him.

Ton frowned. "What for?"

"You took out two of our nut jobs."

"I did?"

"You did." She sounded impressed. "Damn good aim too."

"I don't remember doing that."

Miri shrugged one shoulder. "Concussions can leave a few gaps."

Tony scowled. He hated missing details. "Report."

Miri nodded. "Can do, Sir." She proceeded to fill in the gaps, telling him everything that had happened from when they got the call until he woke up.

The local police had alerted them when Martinez took her Greenway Lawn Care van on a course that deviated from what they knew to be the scheduled route. She'd picked up a few friends long the way. Clearly something was up. The police suspected another bomb, and as per the agreement Tony had with the Chief of Police, NCIS was notified.

No one was supposed to engage the suspects. Tony wanted to make sure the suspects had space to do something blatant that would allow them to be called in for questioning. He also wanted to make sure no one got hurt. The bomb which had detonated early and the one they'd defused had both been wired incorrectly. If their suspects hadn't realized their mistakes, it was possible they'd blow themselves up and anyone nearby. Better to err on the side of caution and not have anyone move in until the danger could be better assessed.

All bets were off when it became apparent that the target wasn't just a playground this time but a school. The school was attended by both American and Spanish children. Clearly their suspects were upping the ante.

That's when Tony felt they had to move in. He wasn't sure if they'd intended to use the van as a suicide bomb or if they were hoping to actually place the bomb somewhere in the building itself. School was in session, so either way, his team and the local cops had to stop them. They made their presence known via flashing lights and sirens. They forced the van to veer away from its obvious destination.

They'd tried to herd the van away from well-populated areas, but they hadn't been able to box them in completely. A missed timed run through a red light had the van coming to an abrupt halt when truck clipped the front end, spinning the van into a light pole. That it hadn't exploded immediately was a small blessing. One that was negated by the suspects leaping from the vehicle waving guns and firing indiscriminately at people gathered around the accident scene.

Efforts to get them to stand down were in effective. Trying to talk only drew their fire. Having their suspects focus on them at least meant the civilians who hadn't fled the scene weren't being targeted.

According to Miri, Tony had dropped two of the suspects while hiding behind the open door of their car. When Martinez broke and ran, the local cops gave chase. Miri, Mouse and Tony had converged on the van, kicking away the guns from the downs suspects and checking for proof of life before cautiously opening the back door of the van.

Tony vaguely recalled seeing numbers counting down and realized that the timer had either been inadvertently triggered by the accident, or the suspects had set it to explode before leaving the van. He remembered the feeling of panic and need to get away.

"You told me and Mouse to run. You were yelling at everyone to get back. Wasn't but a few seconds later the damn thing blew up." Miri shuddered. "I don't know if the first two were a test run or what, but they definitely used a lot more explosives in this one. There aren't any parts of that van left any bigger than a shoebox."

"Were there any casualties besides us?"

Miri hesitated for a moment. Tony knew the answer was yes. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath and released it slowly. He opened his eyes to look at Miri again.

"How bad?"

"Three people were close enough to get second degree burns. At least a dozen ended up with lacerations and broken bones."

Miri sighed softly. "Worst is a kid and his mother. They were hiding behind a car when the shooting started. They thought it was over when the shooting stopped. They were totally exposed when the bomb went off. The blast slammed both of them into a building. She died instantly. He's got a fractured skull and spinal damage. If he wakes up, it's likely he won't walk again."

"Damn."

"Yeah." Miri raised a hand to rub her forehead, covering her eyes for a moment and physically shielding her feelings.

Tony gave her a moment to collect herself. It wasn't like he didn't need it too.

"Did they catch that bitch?" Tony asked when Miri was looking at him again.

Miri nodded. "She's in police custody."

Police custody? That wasn't the same as locking her ass in the brig on the base.

"I want her--"

"I know." Miri nodded. "Believe me, Sir, I know."

"Then why the hell--"

"We'll be able to interrogate her in two days."

"Two days?!" Tony glared at her. "Jesus Miri--"

Miri held up a hand before stopping Tony's rant before he could really even get started. "Sir, I know you'd prefer to question her immediately. I would too, but everyone other than us who got hurt is Spanish. It's there right to have first crack at her."

Miri sat back in her chair. "It is worth remembering that the laws here in Spain are different than ours. Here, they don't have to charge her right away. And they don't have to be nice. She's not going to get a lawyer. She's not going to be allowed to make a phone call. She's not going to be in a reasonably well appointed cell. She's not going to get a good meal. She's not going to be allowed to shower. She's not going to be allowed to go anywhere without shackles, even in her cell."

Miri's expression hardened. "She put a lot of people in danger today. She caused a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering. And if they been allowed to do what they'd planned, a lot of innocent people could have died. Two days will giver her time to reflect on that."

Tony's eyebrows rose. "Reflect?"

Miri smiled. There was nothing friendly about her expression. It reminded Tony of a shark.

"I'm thinking all her self-righteous fury will be exhausted by then. She's not a hardened criminal. I doubt she thought this course of action through beyond how good getting revenge would feel. She didn't see the end game. She will now."

Tony's eyes narrowed. Miri sounded a bit too sure of herself. "What did you do?"

"I suggested to the Chief that he not ask her any questions, but show her the photos of the people she has hurt. Tell her the names of each one. Tell her about their families. Don't let her talk. Don't let her defend her actions. Don't give her a chance to spout any slogans."

Miri's expression hardened. "I told him to place the blame for every injury squarely on her shoulders. I told him to show her people bloodied and broken, and let her know they mattered to someone who would now like to do the same to her."

"By the time we get to talk to her, I'm thinking she'll have a hell of a lot to tell us."

Miri cocked her head to one side, studying him. "And they are going to keep you here for at least another day, Sir. You wouldn't be able to talk to her anyway, so the two days isn't really a bad thing."

Tony glared at her. "Callahan, I don't need to stay here."

"Not your call." She shrugged nonchalantly. "You made me your medical proxy, remember?"

Tony had asked Miri to assume that responsibility a week after he'd started working in Spain. He'd always used someone on his team. It just made sense. It wasn't like any of his biological family would be shouldering that burden. Hell, half the time his father didn't even take his calls. It was doubtful he'd respond to anyone else calling on Tony's behalf.

Tony tried really hard not to think about how the person who used to fulfill that role had run off to Mexico. He'd kept Gibbs has his emergency contact and medical proxy for four months, never knowing the man was coming back or not. In hindsight that had been a stupid thing to do. If he'd been incapacitated or needed surgery, Tony didn't even have a number to call.

And really, Gibbs made it clear without ever saying a word that he didn't give a shit about Tony. He hadn't come back to DC for Tony. He'd put a stop to whatever it was they shared. He'd never given Tony's thoughts or feelings consideration when he waltzed back in and summarily demoted Tony. He never bothered to stay in touch after Tony left for Spain. Tony might have been carrying a torch, hell he was still carrying it in some ways, but he wasn't stupid. He needed someone he could trust to look out for him. That wasn't Gibbs any more--if it ever had been. Miri had been a good choice.

Tony shook his head. That didn't matter at the moment. He needed to address Miri committing him to more time in the hospital than he felt was needed.

"Miri, that medical proxy thing was only for you to make decisions if I couldn't make them for myself."

"And when you got here, you couldn't," she pointed out reasonably. "Until fifteen minutes ago, you weren't even awake. So when I agreed to the test they wanted to do, and have already scheduled, I was well within my right to do so."

"Damn it, Callahan--"

"No." She cut him off firmly, blue eyes fierce. She poked him in the arm hard with two fingers. "You were unresponsive and bleeding like a stuck pig, DiNozzo."

Miri rarely used his surname. Between the look, the hard poke and his last name, he knew she meant business.

"I put a tourniquet on your leg and prayed to a god I don't even fucking believe in that you'd live. So if they want to keep you here for another day, you will damn well stay here and let them do whatever tests they feel are necessary. Are we clear?"

"Clear." Tony caught her hand and held it for a moment. "I didn't mean to scare you."

"I know that." She smiled and squeezed his hand before pulling back. "But you did, so you get to deal with the fallout. Suck it up and take it like a man."

Tony sighed. His head hurt. His leg hurt. Hell his whole body ached. "Yeah, okay. But just for you and only this one time."

"Thank you, Sir. I appreciate that."

Tony flipped her off, getting a chuckle in reply. "Did you report to the Director?"

"Not yet. Figured it could wait until we'd had a chance to interrogate Martinez. By then we might have something concrete to tell her. And Caleb will have something definitive on what was left from the bomb. So far the best guess is that it was damn near seventy five pounds worth of explosives used."

That was still a lot less than what was discovered to have been missing. Hopefully, Martinez would have some answers for them on how much her group had, who they bought it from and how it had gotten to Spain in the first place.

"I need to get back to the office." Miri stood up.

She pulled a black bag toward her that Tony hadn't noticed before. "I brought your cell phone." She pulled it out of the bag and put it on the night stand within easy reach. "Yeah, yeah, I know, you aren't supposed to use those in the hospital, but I figured you could play Tetras or something if you get board. And it's not like you are life supports so I doubt you'll screw up anything vital if you call for an update or I call you."

Tony grinned. "Well done, Callahan."

"Thank you, Sir." She pulled out a laptop and set on the small bed tray. "I also brought this. If the staff here gives you shit about the phone, you can still check in via e-mail. I'll send anything I get to you."

She ran the power cord from the laptop to an outlet. "You can amuse yourself by surfing the internet or reviewing the case notes until I have something to send you. Or if you are feeling particularly ambitious, weed through the ever-growing pile of crap the spam filter catches. I think I liked that best when Mouse was bored and started experimenting with the filters. He tightened them up until everything coming in went into the spam folder."

"When did that happen?"

Miri shrugged. "A couple of days before you started I think. He fixed it a few weeks later. I doubt you would have noticed because you didn't even have a password to log in as you until the powers that be deigned to give you one. Should have just had Mouse set you up but some anal retentive idiot in the cyber division doesn't want to give us too much authority."

Miri rolled her eyes. "Shame they gave Mouse shit about the filter and made him turn it back. I sort of liked having an empty inbox. Was probably a good thing he turned off the auto dump feature. I'm sure some incredibly important interoffice memo would have lost to posterity otherwise. Come to think of it I'm not sure he ever turned that back on."

She laughed quietly. "You might have a ton of spam to sort through. Six months worth at least. That should keep you busy until they come take you way for whatever tests they scheduled."

"I hate you."

"No you don't." She patted his arm. "I'll bring you something good to eat when I come back."

"You're coming back?" Tony blinked. He hadn't expected that.

"Of course, I'll be back. And if I can't make it, it'll be Mouse. Or Caleb." She tossed the collection of empty cups Tony had noticed earlier into the trash. "Don't know how it is in other places, Sir, but here we look out for each other. That includes on and off the job."

Tony smiled. It was such a little thing, but damn it made him feel good to know his new team understood teamwork was more than just getting the job done.

"Watch your back, Miri."

"Will do, Sir."

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