When the President Calls

Chapter 22

Friday April 19th, 2024
NCIS Headquarters
4:36 p.m.

“I can’t believe you did that Tony,” Ziva said as she walked through the door Tony had opened for her.

“I can’t believe Jethro let him get away with it,” countered Jen with a laugh as Jethro opened the door for her.

“Who said I let him get away with it?” asked Jethro as he followed Jen out of the building, along with Tony, catching something out of the corner of his eye. “Jennifer get down!

“Did you hear that?” Warrick frowned, looking up from the computer, he and Abby were in the squad room with Tim, going over lab results and looking at their suspect’s picture

"Gunfire?" Abby frowned. "Oh crap...they just left."

Warrick looked at her then Tim before turning and running towards the stairs, the elevator going to take too long. Abby and Tim arrived just as he reached the lobby though and they reached the doors at the same time. "Shit," he whispered. "Abbs call 9-1-1. Tim...see if you can see any sign of the shooter, if he's still out there or if we can get to them..." he ordered lightly, already reaching for his cell phone. Hitting the speed dial he waited for her to pick up. "Gina..."

Friday December 20th, 2024
Bethesda, Maryland
Bethesda, Naval Hospital
11:49 p.m.

Seven hours after Sara got the call, she was sitting in Bethesda Naval Hospital once more in her life, her feet pulled up on the chair next to her as she leaned back against the corner of the wall. Around the room was the rest of the 'family', waiting for news...anything...

Immediately after Warrick told her there had been a shooting, she had called Kevin and Pat, and they said they'd pick the boys up from Fork Union Military Academy where sixteen-year-old Nicky and twelve year old Toby went to school nine months of the year. She had then called Jed and Abbey, and they said they'd tell Zoey and Charlie, while she called Alicia and asked her to get the girls there. Jackie and Shanti were still on permits and couldn't drive on their own, and Sara needed to get there A.S.A.P. but the girls were at the library doing research for school.

By the time she arrived, Warrick was there, as was Abby and Ducky. Tim was leading the hunt for the shooter. And Jen, Jethro, Tony and Ziva were already in surgery...they had yet to see anyone in all the hours they had been there. Alicia, Thomas and the girls arrived; Kevin, Pat and the boys...Abbey, Jed, Zoey, Charlie and their two had arrived as well.

Glancing around once more she saw all of the kids out cold for the moment, though she knew it wasn't a deep sleep. Jed as well had nodded off, Abbey sitting with her head on his shoulder. Zoey had crashed, her head in Charlie's lap while he dozed lightly, his head tipped back towards the ceiling. Abby was pacing then sitting down, only to stand and pace once more. Tim who had arrived an hour earlier, Fornell having taken over the manhunt sent him there, had long since given up trying to get her to stop.

Ducky meanwhile was across the room, what looked to be like he was counting the tiles in the ceiling since no one was really awake he could ramble to. And on the chair next to her feet was Warrick, also managing to doze lightly. Turning her attention towards the clock she sighed once more. Two hours after the shooting, when Kevin and Pat had arrived with the boys, they had a message from Vegas. The shooting had of course made the news...and Nick and Carrie were on their way out to be with the family, whatever the outcome. Not to try and do anything, simply to be there to support Sara, Warrick and the others in any way they could. And they would be landing in an hour, hour and a half at most...

Sighing, Sara let her head fall back to rest against the wall and stared at the ceiling for twenty minutes before the door finally opened to reveal not one, but four doctors. Three men she didn't recognize, and one woman she did. "Dr. Gayle?" she asked as she stood.

"Mrs. Peters," Dr. Gayle smiled slightly. "We really need to stop meeting like this..."

"After sixteen years...yeah," Sara sighed.

Dr. Gayle nodded, "These are my colleagues, Dr. Montgomery, Dr. Rizvi, and Dr. Dvorszak."

"Hello," Sara nodded glancing at the three. "What's going on?" she asked softly while Ducky made his way over to join them, Abbey following suit. Noticing the others were somehow still asleep, the seven made their way over to the far corner of the room.

"Okay, Dr. Rizvi and I are in charge of Mrs. Gibbs and Mr. Gibbs respectively. We both know that you are the contact on their files..." Dr. Gayle began.

"The contact for Mr. DiNozzo and Ms. David is a Dr. Mallard..." Dr. Montgomery spoke up.

"Present," Ducky replied.

"Alright," Dr. Gayle nodded. "Of the four, Ms. David was in the better condition when she came in..." she continued before Dr. Dvorzsak stepped forward.

"We patched up her left arm which was hit with a through and through, and got the bleeding under control from the shot that grazed her head, fortunately it didn't need any stitches. We were also able to remove the bullet from her left leg, and right now she is in stable condition though we are keeping an eye on her. She lost a great deal of blood by the time she got here. If all goes well, she should be able to leave ICU tomorrow or the next day at the latest."

"We were able to extract the bullet from Mr. DiNozzo's chest, fortunatly it was two centimeters to the left of his heart. He does have a collapsed lung from the second bullet that hit and passed through his chest, but we have him on a ventilator. As for the shoulder wound, we were able to extract and repair much of the damage from the bullet, he is still in serious condition but we have high hopes," Dr. Montgomery explained.

"What about Jen and Jeth?" Sara asked softly.

"Mrs. Gibbs was in critical condition when she came in, she had one bullet in the chest, another in the abdomen and a third just managed to bounce off her skull. She has a collapsed lung and extensive internal bleeding that we were able to get under control," Dr. Gayle explained softly, and both Ducky and Abbey reached out to hold Sara's arms and keep her from collapsing. "She's still in critical condition...the next forty-eight hours will tell us if we were able to completely stop the bleeding, at the moment she is unconscious, whether it's from the medication or her injuries we won't know until tomorrow."

Sara took a moment to process that before looking towards the last doctor. "And Jethro?"

"Mr. Gibbs took the worst of the attack," Dr. Rizvi began sadly. "He was shot a total of five times, one in his left thigh, one that shattered his ankle. The other three hit him in the back, one that shattered the ribs on his right side, and his right lung collapsed. The fourth bullet lodged near his heart and we were able to extract it. The final bullet is the one that gives me the most concern; it is lodged near his spine next to the T-11 and T-12 Vertebrae in the Thoracic region."

"Dear God," Abbey whispered.

"Paralysis?" Sara asked.

"That's what I'm worried about Mrs. Peters...at the moment he's still unconscious like his wife, we're also not sure if it's due to the medication or his injuries. If he does wake up...there is a possibility he will be paralyzed. That particular region, the most common prognosis is that he may be a paraplegic," he continued softly.

Sara closed her eyes and swallowed back the fear for the moment. Opening her eyes she nodded slowly. "What do we do now?"

"We wait I'm afraid... we're doing everything we can but it's in their hands and God's now," Dr. Gayle answered softly. "I'd suggest sending some of your family home or perhaps to a local hotel so you can get some real sleep. We'll notify you if anything changes immediately."

"Thank you," Abbey spoke up for the three of them before the doctors nodded and left.

"I think I need to sit down," Sara began before her legs gave out and they managed to get her to the floor without dropping her. "Jesus Christ...what am I going to tell the kids," she whispered, looking up at the two.

Wednesday April 24th, 2024
Bethesda, Maryland
Bethesda, Naval Hospital
4:23 p.m.

It took Jen five days to wake up, by then Ziva and Tony had both been moved out of ICU and were in a room together, Tony driving them all insane being confined to a bed. They had caught the shooter on the third day, and Fornell had joined the rest of them in waiting whenever he wasn’t at work. Jethro had shown no signs of waking so far, and they feared he was in a coma but were still holding out hope…

Sara had been the mean Aunt and mother and sent the girls and Johnny back to school, Kevin and Pat kept Toby and Nicky busy during the day. They didn’t want the kids to just sit around all day at the hospital. The others had returned to life as well, only Sara, Nick and Carrie remained at the hospital during the day and night.

When Jen finally woke up, Sara was by her side, and had the heartbreaking job of telling her Jethro’s condition…and the possible prognosis. Sara eventually left her sister’s side, to get Ginny and Nicky who Jen had asked to see. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it, but something was just…off with Jen. But she didn’t push, instead she went and got her niece and nephew, leaving them to go in and see their mom on their own while she went to see what the latest on Jethro was.

“Mom?” Ginny called quietly as she and Nicky sat down next to Jen’s bed, taking her mother’s hand in hers.

“I’m here honey,” Jen replied, her voice hoarse and quiet as she opened her eyes.

“Aunt Gina said you wanted to see us?” Ginny said.

“I do. There’s something I need to tell you, tell the both of you,” Jen said. “It’s about your father.”

“Oh no, Dad’s not…” Ginny trailed off, panic in her voice.

“No honey, it’s not Dad. His condition hasn’t changed any from what Gina’s told me,” Jen reassured. “Honey, you and Nicky know that Jethro adopted the both of you when you were four.”

“Of course,” agreed Ginny.

“It’s not Jethro I’m referring to. Jethro’s your dad, the man who raised you. I’m referring to your father, the man who gave you life,” Jen said by way of explanation. “God, how do I say this…”

“Just say it, Mom. Just tell us what you wanted to tell us,” Ginny said.

“The man who fathered you…he’s alive,” Jen said as tears starting falling silently down her cheek.

“But you said that your first husband Michael Garrison was our father,” Ginny said. “You said he died in a plane crash in Italy.”

“I know and Michael did die in a plane crash off the Italian coast…” Jen trailed off. “But he was never your father.”

“Then who?” asked Ginny in confusion.

“What does it matter Ginny, she’s lied to us for years. How do we know we can trust her to tell us the truth now?” snapped Nicky angrily.

Nicky,” Ginny hissed in annoyance before turning back to face her mother. “Mom, do you know who fathered us?”

“I do,” Jen said, a sob catching in her voice.

“Who is it?” asked Ginny quietly, her voice barely above a whisper.

“Nick,” Jen said.

“Mr. Stokes?” asked Ginny in confusion.


“Does he know?” wondered Ginny.

“He does,” Jen replied. “He’s known since you were ten. He found out that Christmas they came by after Rick moved here to be with your aunt. He hasn’t approached either of you about it because he didn’t want to disrupt your lives. He knows that Jethro is your dad and that you’re very close to him and he didn’t want to come between that.”

“Oh,” Ginny said. “Did you always know he was our father?”


“Why didn’t you tell us?” asked Ginny, no recrimination in her voice, just curiosity.

“I was afraid,” Jen admitted. “When I met Nick I was still grieving for my husband, Mike. I was a mess. Nick and I were together that way only once and I thought to never see him again until I ended up protecting him for a week while we were in Vegas with Zoey and Charlie. It wasn’t until months after I returned home that I learned I was expecting the two of you. I hardly knew Nick and I wasn’t about to ask him to give up his life in Vegas for a woman he barely knew who was now carrying his children. I did what I thought was best at the time and named Michael as your birth father and then when Jethro and I married, I could finally give you what you needed. A father. Jethro loves you like you were his own…”

“But we’re not,” snapped Nicky. “I can’t believe you’ve lied to us our entire lives. Did you really think I wouldn’t notice the odd resemblance between us?”

“Nicky, you were never supposed to know, let alone meet each other,” countered Jen.

“Then why are you telling us this now?” he demanded.

“Because…because if something happens to your dad and I, I wanted you to know that you had family out there you could turn to other than just your aunt Gina and uncle Rick. Nick and Caroline will do anything they can to help you, both of you. I’m not saying you have to have any kind of relationship with them. If you don’t want anything to do with them that’s your choice and they know that.”

“I hate you,” Nicky snarled as he jumped to his feet. “I hate you and I hope you die,” he said as he ran from the room.

NICKY!” Ginny cried out after him before chasing after her brother, only to crash into Nick and Caroline in the hall. “Oh excuse me,” she said.

“Is everything alright, Ginny?” Nick asked in concern having seen his son tear past them and then to have his daughter crash into them as she chased after her brother.

“No, it’s not,” Ginny said. “Mom just told us about you Mr. Stokes and Nicky didn’t take it too well. I’m afraid he said some things he may regret if Mom…his words hurt her Mr. Stokes, they hurt her badly.”

“Go after your brother, Ginny, we’ll look after your mom,” Nick said.

“Thank you,” Ginny said before running after her brother. By the time she caught up with him, she didn’t have time to call out a warning before he ran smack into Sara, who nearly ended up on the floor from the force of it.

“Whoa, where are you off to in such a hurry?” Sara asked with a frown once she was steady. “Nicky? Ginny? What’s wrong?” she asked concerned when she got a good look at them.

“Nicky, how could you? How could you say something like that to her?” Ginny demanded.

“Because she deserved it,” Nicky snapped back.

“Nicky, she could die. Do you really want her to die believing you hate her?” asked Ginny in concern.

"Okay, back up the argument here," Sara ordered lightly. "What is going on? Why did you tell your mom that you hate her?"

“Mom told us the truth about who our biological father is and Nicky told her that he hates her and that he hopes that she dies,” Ginny said, ignoring the death glare her brother was sending her.

"Well, that happened a bit earlier than planned..." Sara sighed, "Nicky, Baby, I know you're angry but Gin's got a point, do you really want to risk your mom dying believing you hate her?"

“You knew?” he demanded.

"Honey...I was there in Vegas..." Sara answered softly, mentally kicking herself for opening her mouth.

“I can’t believe this,” Nicky said. “I hate all of you!” he cried before turning and running off.

"That so didn't go well," Sara sighed. "Come here Gin, let him go...I'll send your Uncle Warrick after him in a few minutes, okay?"

Ginny nodded; finally letting her tears come as she stepped into Sara’s arms.

"Shh, it's going to be alright, Sweetheart," Sara whispered as she brushed a hand through Ginny's hair.

"Code Blue, Code Blue, Room 4789!" came over the loudspeaker a moment later, causing both Sara and Ginny to look up.

"Oh God," Sara whispered.

No!” Ginny cried in anguish as her knees started giving out on her.

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