The quiet hum of unidentifiable equipment was the only sound in the room as Jethro stood staring blindly out the window at the parking lot below. So much had happened in the last two days that he could barely comprehend it all. His exhausted brain was refusing to fire on all synapses, and he knew he needed to rest. But there was just too much for him to do for that to happen.
A soft moan came from the bed behind him. Turning quickly, Jethro moved to stand beside the prone figure.
"Mama? Can I get you anything?"
"Oh, Lee, I'm fine. Just because I'm old doesn't mean I'm made of glass." She paused. "Have you heard anything yet about Tony? I've been so worried about him."
Jethro hesitated before answering, "Tony's in intensive care, Mama. He was lucky that the rebar didn't pierce his heart, but it's still touch and go." He drew a steadying breath before continuing, "Mama, I need to talk to you about Tony. Are you up to it?"
He wasn't certain how much he wanted to share with his mother at this point, but Jethro needed her to understand that he would be splitting his time between her bedside and Dinozzo's. Both needed emotional support, but Gibbs knew Tony's need was far greater than his mother's right now. Dinozzo needed a reason to keep fighting, and Jethro intended to give him one.
"Of course, Lee. What about him?"
"Firstly, I knew – know - Tony. He was my Senior Field Agent for several years. Still would be, if I wasn't an ass."
Ellinor sighed. "What did you do to the poor boy? He seemed like a fine young man to me. I'd bet he was very good at his job, but you didn't appreciate him. Is that what happened?"
Jethro withstood the urge to squirm under his mother's intent scrutiny. "Well, partially. Tony . . . told me something, and I reacted badly to it. It was completely my fault; I know that now. But that's not the point."
"Then what is the point, Lee? I must say I'm a little confused."
Jethro sighed heavily before replying, "Tony hasn't woken up. The doctors aren't certain why, but I think I know. I think he . . . he may not want to wake up." He raised a hand to forestall any potential disagreement. "From what I've been told, he's been pretty isolated since he's been here, spending most of his time alone with Clarence. And I – I hurt him pretty badly. I think he believes he's better off where he is rather than coming back to me – us."
Ellenor eyed her son critically. "Well, then, you just need to convince him he has a lot waiting for him when he wakes up. I assume he told you he was in love with you, and you acted like an ass?"
The blush on his face and chastised expression confirmed Ellenor's hypothesis. She shook her head in consternation at the blindness and obstinancy of her offspring. She hadn't even seen the two men together, but she could tell that Jethro was hopelessly in love with the other young man. `Young and dumb,' as her mother would have said.
Jethro tried to cover his reaction with surprise. "What makes you say that? Why would you think Tony told me he was in love with me?"
"Because that nice young man told me that he had found the one for him, but `the one' didn't want him back. He also told me how honorable this man was. Who's more honorable than my boy?" She rolled her eyes at him. "Or more dense?"
"Mama – "
"Oh, hush now. That boy needs you more than I do at the moment, so what are you still doing here? You know I only want what's best for you, and by the looks of it, that's Tony. So, scoot – go see our young man and make sure he understands that you need him just as much as he needs you."
Shooting her an uncharacteristically endearing grin, Jethro hugged and kissed his mama before heading off to see about waking up one Tony DiNozzo.
end part 9