Gibbs arrived at George Washington Hospital and immediately went up to the surgical waiting room. At that time of the night it was almost deserted and he quickly found Palmer dozing in the corner, his head tilted back and resting on the wall.
"Palmer, status report."
Jimmy shot straight up, almost falling into Gibbs who grabbed his arms and prevented him from falling. "Oh, umm, hi Agent Gibbs."
He didn't roll his eyes, but it was close. "No second call and you're still here. What went wrong?"
Still blinking owlishly, Jimmy pushed his glasses back up on his face. "The surgery itself went okay, but the anesthesia made him really sick – sick enough that he popped a few stitches when he was vomiting. The medicine they gave him to calm down his stomach put him back under so they're keeping him in the recovery unit until he's awake again."
"But the surgery itself went all right?" Gibbs studied him closely, but Jimmy was very honest in his answers.
"Yeah, the doctor was pretty pleased. He said that they were able to scrape the bone spurs, repair all of the tears and tighten the ligaments to stabilize his shoulder. It'll take months, and a lot of hard work, but he could make a full recovery."
"McGee's not afraid of hard work. He'll make it back. Can we see him?"
Palmer looked over to the nurse at the desk, who nodded. "Yeah, sure. I'll take you back there."
Recovery was quiet, most of the day's patients having been moved to regular rooms hours ago, and Jimmy took Gibbs to the room across from the nurse's station. Through the large window the nurses could keep an eye on the sleeping man, even as his vital signs were streaming across their screens. Gibbs frowned at the sight of his still agent and then followed Jimmy into the room.
"Hey, Tim." He whispered, but even a brass band wouldn't have made a difference. Brushing back the limp hair, Gibbs took a good look at his injured man. He was pale, which was to be expected, Gibbs assumed, but his tone was slightly gray, which worried the older man. The surgical site hadn't been re-dressed after the stitches were repaired and the angry looking tracks of black stitches over McGee's shoulder made him wince.
Still nervous around Gibbs, Jimmy started to babble the moment he saw Gibbs' reaction to the wound. "The damage was too severe to repair using an arthroscopic method. It's too bad, because he would have just had to have an outpatient procedure and would already be home."
Gibbs nodded, his attention on the subtle movement he was starting to see, showing that McGee was starting to wake up again. Tim's eyes fluttered slightly as he frowned and Gibbs leaned closer, returning his hand to Tim's forehead. "Easy, Buddy, ride it out. Shallow breaths, let your stomach settle.
A nurse came in and Jimmy picked up one of the emesis bags, but neither was necessary as Gibbs quietly cared for his man. Tim never woke fully, but it was obvious that he'd gotten past the violent nausea the anesthesia had caused. After a quick check from the resident on duty, he was moved to a private room and no one argued with the silver-haired man that staked out a chair in the new room and refused to move.
"Morning, Ziva." Tony smirked as she threw her backpack under her desk. "Did our ninja get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.
"I cannot believe it."
"Umm, believe what?" Poking the bear was fun, but to be safe, Tony stayed behind his desk.
"McGee has never let me drive his car."
"He doesn't let any of us drive his car. Believe me, I've tried." Putting the pieces together, he frowned. "Wait a minute, he let someone drive his Porsche?"
Ziva jabbed at the power button on her computer and then glared at it when it didn't instantly turn on. "I saw Palmer parking it this morning."
"Palmer? Probie let the Autopsy Gremlin behind the wheel of his Porsche? No way." He looked over at McGee's desk and his silent computer. "Where is McGee anyway?"
"He must be here. His car is here."
"Unless he traded cars with Palmer yesterday."
Moving from her desk to his, Ziva leaned against the corner. "Perhaps he let Palmer drive the car to impress a woman."
"No way." Glaring, Tony leaned back and crossed his arms. "McGee wouldn't do that to me."
"Why would it have anything to do with you?"
"Because I'm his best bud."
"Perhaps, but he still let Palmer drive his Porsche." Ziva gave him a smile and started to return to her desk. "Where is Gibbs?"
Tony wouldn't look at her. "He's here, there's a coffee on his desk."
Ziva looked closer at the logo on the cup and shook her head. "No, that is his cup from last night."
That got Tony up onto his feet and he stepped over to Gibbs' desk to look for himself. "You're right; it's still full and cold. Where in the heck is he?"
"Maybe he's waiting for his turn to drive McGee's car."
"Not funny, Ziva." At the reminder of Palmer and the car, Tony changed direction and headed for the elevator. Realizing where he was going, Ziva jumped up and followed.
"Morning, McGee." Gibbs felt the corner of his mouth twitch as green eyes suddenly opened wide.
"Boss? What are you..." McGee winced as the sudden movement caused a stab of pain to hit his shoulder and Gibbs pressed against his chest to keep him still.
"Probably shouldn't move around too much quite yet, McGee."
"Yeah, I figured that out." Despite his words, Tim was fumbling with the bed controls and raised himself up enough to look directly at Gibbs. "Nothing personal, Boss, but why are you here and where's Jimmy?"
Gibbs leaned forward, resting his arms on the bed rail. "I sent Palmer to work, promised him that you wouldn't wake up alone. How you feeling? You had a pretty rough night."
"I did?" Tim looked around, spotting the daylight through the window before looking at the clock and realizing how much time he'd lost. "What happened? Is my shoulder okay?"
"Doc's pretty pleased with the repair job he did on your shoulder, but you had a tough time with the anesthesia. You were sick enough that you popped a bunch of your stitches open and they had to re-do them." Gibbs handed Tim a plastic tumbler of water with a straw in it and helped him steady it. "Little sips until you know how your stomach is going to take it. You remember any of last night?"
Tim took a few small sips as he tried to sort out the memories from the strange dreams. As Gibbs had warned him, his stomach rolled with just that little bit of fluid and he handed the glass back to Gibbs. "Not really, just bits and pieces. I could have sworn that I told Jimmy not to bother you last night."
"You did and he didn't." Gibbs enjoyed the confused look on McGee's face for a moment before filling him in. "Palmer left a voice mail for me to find this morning, but we didn't get back to the Yard until about 0200, so I got it then. He promised a second message when you were out of recovery and there was no second message, so I came down here."
Taking a closer look, McGee saw that Gibbs was still in the same clothes he'd worn the day before and had that intense look he'd get after working way too many hours. "You haven't been home yet."
"Not the first all-nighter I've pulled, probably won't be the last. I'm glad Palmer stayed, but he was right, one of us should have been here."
Tim wouldn't look him in the eye as he fiddled with the edge of his blanket. "It wasn't anything life-threatening and you guys were in the middle of a case. I knew when Jackson ran into me that I wasn't going to be able to put it off any longer, but I didn't know that it was going to have to be last night."
Jimmy had already filled him in. "Even if you'd waited for Dr. Yang to get back, you'd still have a place on the team. Don't worry, no TAD is going to get comfortable in your chair. As soon as you're cleared for desk duty, I expect to see you instead of whatever bozo Vance sticks us with, understood?"
The shy smile told Gibbs that McGee understood, even what hadn't been said. "Understood, Boss."
"Good." Gibbs patted Tim's leg and stood. "Try to be awake the next time your doctor comes around, will ya? And prepare to be inundated, but I'll try to send them in shifts, okay?"
Gibbs nodded, squeezed Tim's foot through the blankets, and was out the door, leaving the younger man with a great deal to think about.
Jimmy had just finished bringing Ducky up to speed when the door opened. "Jimmy, you traitor. How'd you talk McGeek into letting you drive his car?"
"Anthony, really? Timothy just had major surgery and all you care about is who drove him to the hospital?"
"Surgery? What do you mean, he had surgery? He was fine yesterday." Tony looked to Ziva to see an equally astonished look on her face.
Palmer was just tired enough to have temporarily lost his ability to be intimidated. "His shoulder was dislocated when Jackson ran into him yesterday. Didn't you notice?"
"What? Why didn't he say something then?" Tony felt instantly guilty at the joke he'd made at the time. "The longer you wait to have it reduced, the more damage can happen."
"He popped it back in, himself." When Tony just looked at Jimmy in horror, Jimmy took pity on him and explained. "Haven't you noticed? Every time he takes any kind of a hit it's to that shoulder. Every time it causes more damage to the ligaments and tendons."
Sometimes that Physical Education degree came in handy. "They had to go in and stabilize his shoulder?"
"That and repair a torn rotator cuff and a couple of bone spurs and actually reattach one of the tendons and repair a bunch of tears and remove some scar tissue. Once they got in his shoulder, there was more damage than what showed up on any of their scans, so it took a lot longer. Then he had a reaction to the anesthesia and was puking so hard it tore a bunch of his stitches out and, and it was just a very long night."
Anyone could recognize the worry on Tony's face. "Is he okay now, Jimmy?"
"Yeah, the doctor seemed to think so. They're going to keep him a little longer than they'd planned, but he might be able to go home tonight. Agent Gibbs would probably know more about that since he was talking to Tim's doctor when I left."
"Thanks, Jimmy." Tony left at a full run, but Ziva waited long enough to ask one final question.
"What was it like, driving the Porsche?"
Jimmy didn't say anything, but the dreamy look on his face told her all she needed to know.
This entry was originally posted at http://emerald-green37.dreamwidth.org/24