Time’s Arrow

By: lila-blue

Pairing: Gibbs/DiNozzo

Summary: A lot can happen in a minute. In this one, Tony watched Gibbs go down.

Just a quick fic in response to a plea for a hurt Gibbs and frantic Tony. Best I could do in an hour.


The scene played out in front of him in a warped slo-mo, his brain forensically categorizing the pertinent details. The width of the asphalt in front of him. The make of the pistol and the small number of feet that separated Gibbs and the gun when it fired.

The inane conversation he was having with McGee, frozen in mid-word.

The estimated velocity of the slug crossing its distance in less than a second.

The strike of it, low in the chest, in all likelihood striking a rib and adding bone fragments to the disintegrating lead projectile already destructively dispersing its kinetic energy through the soft tissue of the lung.

The light shirt Gibbs was wearing spattered, first, then washed in a concentric flooding of blood. The cavitation causing the cloth to be sucked toward the wound, which would look smaller than the projectile had actually left it, the elastic property of the skin naturally closing it, drawing inward.

The two or three seconds Gibbs somehow kept his feet before he folded.

What did not require thought was done in an eye blink: the drawing of his weapon; the adoption of the firing stance, left hand wrapped around right with all the fingers below the trigger guard; the front siting; the requisite deep breaths then the one that was held as trigger was pressed.

Neither did it require thought to kick the gun away from the shooter’s reach once he was down.

For thought was again busy elsewhere, running through memories of Ducky’s interminable lectures of the dirty half-dozen wounds that may kill within minutes: pneumothorax – tension and open; hemothorax; cardiac tamponade … One quarter of the victims of chest injuries die, often after reaching the hospital.

Falling on his knees did not require presence of mind, nor did stripping off his shirt to bend barebacked and press the makeshift pressure bandage against the wound.

There was a slight spring breeze and, as it swept over them, Gibbs shivered, his eyes fixing on the face above him. His lips moved silently.

It took no thought to lean down and listen.

"You … ‘kay?"

And then the world crashed back in: the hushed silence of the stunned onlookers; the panicked call being made by a shaken McGee; the pained hitching of Gibbs’ breathing as the air he took in flowed out the torn lung and into the cavity of his chest.

And he stopped thinking.

And all the things that didn’t require thought: his hands damming the threatened hemorrhage; the tilting of his ear in the direction of the intersection the ambulance must cross; the clinical observation of the body he was forcing to hold on to life – these things went on.

But some other portion of time simply … stopped and left Gibbs and him alone.

"You’re not going to die on me when I haven’t said it."

The softly whispered "it?" left Gibbs’ lips reddened.

"I think I love you."

And Gibbs whispered "oh" and smiled.

And time went on.