NCIS: Jethro's Secret

"Curtains Close."

The hospital was lit by hundreds of blinding lights. Through the curtains you could see people move very fast; fighting the time, trying to save precious lives.

Gibbs and two of his disciples ran in gasping.

“Special agent, Gibbs,” he said showing the badge. “And special agents Todd and McGee,” he continued, looking at a nurse who was distracted by the polished, shiny badges.

“Was I talking to you over the phone?” Gibbs started his questioning season.

The nurse nodded.

“You said that special agent DiNozzo was hospitalized?” he continued. His heart was thumping with anticipation.

“Where is he? Can we see him?” Kate jumped in, tinged with fear.

“I’m afraid it’s impossible, miss.” The nurse answered, catching a glimpse of McGee. “Special agent DiNozzo is in surgery,” she added.

Silence and anguish of the hearts wrapped up the hospital reception.

“What happened?” Gibbs asked in a loud manner, dashing the silence.

The nurse twitched on Jethro’s tone, sporadically glancing at the people that were passing by.

“Special agent DiNozzo…,” she began. “…walked in slowly, wincing, cringing in pain. He looked worn out. He pressed his hand firmly on his stomach, trying to pause bleeding. Special agent DiNozzo was scuffing; he couldn’t walk properly, he was dragging his left feet along the ground. As he came in, all covered in blood, dripping down his legs, dripping on the floor, I called the doctor and ran towards the agent to help him. As much as I can say, special agent Gibbs, he was shot twice; in his leg and stomach; his facial area was bruised badly and dizziness occurred, which I deducted from his posture."

Gibbs, Kate and McGee were gaping at the nurse, still perceiving the true meaning of her monologue. DiNozzo was shot twice and that image was pounding on their brains. Minds and hearts wreathed in silence, girdled by anguish and anxiety, felt lost; standing in front of the reception desk, waiting for someone’s pinch to end this dreadful dream. Nightmare.

“Did he say anything?” Gibbs asked as the nurse took a deep breath in.

She giggled saying:

“Yes, as a matter of fact, your agent asked me out.”

Her fast beating heart and unexpressed thoughts tinged her cheeks with light, pink color.

“DiNozzo,” Gibbs said quietly, letting Tony’s craving for women’s attention make him smile.

“Anything else, besides his Casanova tricks?” Jethro added looking at her, leaning the palms of his hands on the reception desk.

Despite a recognizable confusion on her face, despite a tangled expression; the one that McGee performs most of the time, she said in a clear voice:

“The agent mumbled something like ‘He spit on me’ and then he collapsed. This little contact card,” she continued, holding the card covered in blood, “he held clutched in his hand. It’s your card, special agent Gibbs. That’s how I got your number.”

“Thank you,” Gibbs said politely, turning to Kate and McGee. “John must have dumped him somewhere nearby the hospital. You heard the-head-over-heels-nurse whose mind’s still playing DiNozzo’s charming moment; he’s been shot twice, bruised, he wouldn’t have made it from a distant place. The crime scene is somewhere near the hospital. Go find it. And keep me posted,” Gibbs said, taking his steps away from them, determined to find DiNozzo’s doctor.

The lights have made the hospital look like a shopping mall; but they couldn’t hide, they couldn’t mask its grueling yet gruesome spirit. Nurses, dazed by impaired, dieing people were changing the sheets, moping the blood off the floor, sympathizing with people they’ve never met.

Only two blocks away, between the queued street lights, one languished, half bent street light was broken. Its lampshade was damaged; preventing a bulb from spreading its glorious beams. Small, furry yet speedy nocturnal animals were inclined to dig out chunky food; standing on the edges of garbage cans, they were incisively reaching for unidentified portions of rubbish, leftovers, putting them in their tiny mouths, chewing them loudly, making the growling sounds. Drab yet noisy spot grabbed Kate and McGee’s attention. As they were approaching, a batch of lively animals sensed a danger. Within a minute, the spot of dozens pounding hearts, became a bewildering yet glumly place.

Nocturnal food diggers impaired the crime scene. Tiny footsteps and lashings of rubbish were scattered around; yogurt cups and a nylon bag smudged with blood were hiding DiNozzo’s badge. By pointing their flashlights up and down, left and right, Kate and McGee were astonished by the damage that puny animals had caused. Streaks of light made the blood glow, giving it a polished look.

Growling and hissing sounds were still reverberating through the darkness. A meter above the ground, on the cold building wall, a symbol drawn with blood was reflecting in their eyes. It was a circle shaped symbol divided into three parts; looking a lot like a PEACE symbol that “hippies” used to draw.

“DiNozzo’s a hippie?” McGee said overwhelmed with confusion, pointing the flashlight at Kate’s face, making her cover her eyes with a hand.

“McGee, you’re making me as blind as a bat,” Kate said trying to avoid the blinding flashlight beams.

“Sorry, Kate,” he said humbly.

“I don’t think it’s a symbol of Tony’s nostalgic times, it’s a clue, a puzzle. We have to figure it out, McGee.” Kate said scratching her chin, keeping the flashlight pointed at the symbol.

An intensive effort and incessant stream of thoughts surrounded by flashes of camera and squeaking sounds of swabbing the blood, disguised their true emotions – fear, anxiety, anticipation and anguish.

“Mercedes,” McGee shouted. “It’s a Mercedes sign!” He repeated, dashing his own perplexity.

Kate grabbed a cell phone and dialed Gibbs’s number.

“Gibbs…” she began. “…the crime scene, impaired by dingy, nocturnal hobo animals is only two blocks away. We found Tony’s badge. It must have plumped down when John shot him. This place is full of blood, scattered by mischievous mammals. I think that John persisted in watching Tony suffer; his pertly, discourteously behavior was uncontrollable. He was probably standing above Tony until he had passed out. DiNozzo mast have spent some time lying here, amount of blood is inconceivably huge. And, Gibbs, Tony drew us an incisive symbol on the wall; I mean, he was trying to tell us that Nettles drove a Mercedes vehicle. Also, we bagged and tagged a bullet, probably from John's gun.”

Kate's fast monologue made all poignant doubts dispel, inundating her heart with hope. And an explicit optimism.

“I know, Kate”, Gibbs interrupted, behaving infantile. “I know, the surgeons found only one bullet, in DiNozzo's leg, the other one only grazed his stomach. Abby analyzed the famous bullet and it matched the bullet cases that doctors found in Tony's pocket. And his shirt… John really spit on it. The DNA on the cigarettes stubs we found back in the basement matched the DNA on DiNozzo's shirt. It really was damned John Nettles.”

McGee was gaping at Kate, imitating her face expressions. She turned to him surmounted with joy saying:

“Tony will be OK.”

McGee stretched a smile from one ear to another, restraining himself from jumping around. The glorious beams pervasive in the air, tinged his porcelain eyes with gloss; tinged his heart with a titter.

“Gibbs,” Kate continued. “DiNozzo picked up the bullet cases and placed them in his pocket; he drew us the symbol on the cold wall; he muttered 'He spit on me' at the hospital… All of that just in case he never sees us again; in case John tries to cover his tracks. DiNozzo was leading us, helping us help him…”

“I know, Kate,” Gibbs said gulping, overwhelmed with a sudden outburst of joy and satisfaction.

“I love him, Gibbs. I love that charming annoyance,” Kate talked back, sensing her heart pound with happiness.

“I do, too,” Gibbs said smirking, taking another sip of coffee.