Warnings: Dark Imagery
Characters: Tony DiNozzo, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Aaron Hotchner
Relationship: Yes M/M
Word Count: 2000 exactly! Woot!
Summary: Is it a nightmare, or is it reality?
His head hurt so bad. He was sure any second his brains were going to start running out his ears, because they were being scrambled inside his skull. Stumbling through his apartment, he fell into his bed, and without even bothering to move, closed his eyes and fell asleep.
When he woke, he was standing in what looked like a dry lake bed or some other former large body of water. The ground was grey and cracked, and off to his right was what must have been at one time a magnificent tree. Now though, it was nothing but an eerie dead omen rising from the parched earth.
As far as he could see, there was nothing but death and destruction. Randomly picking a direction, he started walking. He was hoping, maybe in vain, that he would find another living soul in this bleak vast nothingness. His throat felt parched, as if he hadn’t had anything to drink in days. He knew that he needed to find water or he’d die.
As he wandered, he couldn’t help but think what this would look like, if it hadn’t been destroyed. He imagined how gorgeous it must have been before everything died. He wondered what happened to suck the life and vitality out of the very earth. He knew that it must have been something terrible.
He felt like he’d been walking for hours. He still hadn’t found any sign of anything that still lived. There were no animals, no birds, no lizards, not even an insect or a plant. There was just miles upon miles of death. He refused to give up hope though. He refused to believe that something beautiful hadn’t survived whatever happened to this place he was trapped in.
Throughout the day he wandered walking forward, and refusing to look backward. He knew what was behind him, and there was no reason for revisiting the painful reminders of destruction. He had yet to find water, and wondered how much longer he’d be able to continue without it. Off to his left in the far distance, he could see what appeared to be a rundown shack. He was too far away to tell much about it, but at least it was a goal.
As he neared the structure, he could see that it looked like it was going to fall down any second, but he had to check. There was always a chance that inside was better than the outside. There was hope that there was something of beauty inside. He wasn’t sure why that was important now. He just knew that it was.
Reaching the building, he put his weight against the door forcing it to open. The hinges screamed in protest, rusted from time and exposure. Inside it was almost empty, with the exception of a table with a pot like you’d put a plant in resting in the middle.
Taking the few steps needed to reach it, he studied the dirt inside amazed to see that, unlike the hard crust of earth he’d been walking on outside, this wasn’t quite as hard and cracked. Even more miraculous was the tiny bit of life rising through the soil. It, like himself, needed water or it was going to die. That couldn’t happen. He didn’t know why it was so vital that this little spark of life survive, but it was.
In vain, he looked around the empty, dirty, and worn down interior of the shack hoping that he’d somehow missed the liquid lifeblood that a bottle of water would be, only to find nothing new in his search. Feeling a weight on his belt, he let his hand fall, and touched the knife resting at his side. He hadn’t remembered it being there before, but thought that it must have been. Hunting knives didn’t just appear out of nowhere.
Taking the knife out, he studied the sharp blade that seemed to shine even in the darkness of the inside of the hovel he was in. The blade itself seemed to have writing on it that made him think of the Elven script in the Lord of the Rings movies. ‘Peter Jackson should have won more than one Oscar for those movies, in my opinion,’ he thought to himself, but then shook his head chasing away the thought. There wasn’t time for that now. He had a quest to complete.
It was maybe somewhat appropriate that those movies pop into his head, because he kind of, sort of felt like Frodo must have in his quest to destroy the ring and save everyone from Sauron. There was no water. There was not going to be any water. He wasn’t going to find anything else living, because it didn’t exist. All that remained, the only hope for this place he was trapped in, was this little sprout fighting to survive despite what was happening around it.
It had to survive. In order for him to survive, this little whatever this plant would be had to survive. Looking once more at the knife, he knew what he must do. Wrapping his hand around the blade, he quickly pulled the sharp edge over the flesh of his hand, and then quickly held his palm over the pot letting his own lifeblood flow from his body down into the soil in the pot.
The second that the dirt in the pot soaked up the blood, he felt a burning sensation in his back, and screamed from the pain. He’d been shot. He’d had bones broken and muscles torn. He’d suffered through feeling as if his lungs were filled with water, while he gasped for breath. He’d been tackled by men twice his size and weight, but he’d never felt a pain like this.
Through the windows of the shack, he could see a light growing in the distance. He considered checking it out, but something told him that he’d be safer inside. Picking up the pot, he crawled underneath the table, shielding the tiny sprout with his body. It must survive. The beauty must return. When the pain in his body exploded beyond even his tolerance, he screamed one last time and passed out. His body wrapped around the little potted sprout protectively.
When he came to, he was back in his apartment, hiding under his kitchen table. He would have thought it a dream, except for the burning in his back, the torn flesh on his hand, and the flower pot that he knew he didn’t have before nestled against his chest. Briefly he wondered if he’d been sick, but none of the typical post fever symptoms were present. Groaning as he uncurled his stiff body from beneath the table, he crawled out. After standing, he carefully placed the pot in the middle of the island, then went to take care of his hand.
When he came out from his bathroom, his hand wrapped up enough until he could get to an ER, he crossed through his living room to water that plant, wherever it had come from it still needed water, when he realized he wasn’t alone.
“What the fuc… Gibbs! What the hell are you…”
Tony stopped, and studied the man sitting calmly on his couch. He looked the same. He had the same ornery expression on his face, and the same coffee and sawdust scent. There was something about him though. “You aren’t Gibbs.”
The person on his couch tilted its head to one side, and gave a half smile. “I am him. He’s just more than you realized. Until now, you didn’t need to know more about him.”
“But now I do?” Tony questioned, and the man he’d always called Boss nodded.
“Something happened didn’t it?” He asked getting another nod. The burning in his back was intensifying, and he considered going to his bedroom to check his back in his full length mirror before the creature spoke.
“Something did happen. An old evil has reached a point of power that we hoped would never happen. It has set off a reaction that can no longer be stopped.”
His boss stood, and began taking off his suit coat, and the polo shirt underneath. “Boss?” He questioned, as the pain in his back grew. The man just held a finger to his lips though, and Tony fell silent watching. He wanted to believe he was having another crazy dream, but knew this time everything was truly real.
Stunned, he watched a set of large wings spread from the man’s back. They weren’t quite angelic, even though they did have something resembling feathers, but looked to be made of a different material. At the tips were deadly looking claws that he imagined would be advantageous in a fight. Before he could speak though, he felt like his back was exploding, and the world turned dark once again.
This time when he came to, he was curled up on his floor, with something wrapped around him. When he opened his eyes, he saw a set of wings similar to what his boss had wrapped around himself, but these were pure white, with blood red tips.
“Boss, I don’t… what’s going on.”
“You were the only one, DiNozzo,” Gibbs said calmly sitting back on the couch, again. His wings resting against his back.
“There were a few others who understood the importance of the plant, but you were the only one who was willing to give your lifeblood for it to survive. I’m not surprised though. I knew it would be you that would lead them. I’ve always said you were the best young agent I’ve ever worked with. Remember that I believe in you, Tony and, take care of the plant. It’s important to your survival. As long as it lives, so will you. They’re gonna need you now. For a long time. Go on now. They’re waiting for you outside. That man of yours has gathered the few who survived, and didn’t give into the temptation.”
“I don’t… Are you an angel?”
Gibbs smiled faintly cocking his head to one side as he stood. “Christianity… well religion on general is a very human concept. I suppose the Christians would call me angel, but what I am is really much more complex. Don’t lose faith in yourself, and don’t forget how important that the beauty is.”
Before Tony could ask another question, Gibbs was gone. Growling faintly, he pushed himself up, glad when the wings settled in a resting position on his back. Wandering to the kitchen, he watered the plant, then once more cradled it to his chest wandering out of his townhouse. When he walked outside, he was surprised to see his partner Aaron Hotchner standing there with mostly friends and co-workers of theirs. However, there were a few unfamiliar faces. They all had wings like his of varying colors and sizes.
In Aaron’s hand was a long sword that appeared to be made out of a black shiny material. Tony couldn’t see it, but he knew the blade was covered in blood. He saw his partner take a pair of earbuds out, and put them in his pocket. Glancing at others in the group, he realized that they all had earbuds in. The horizon behind them was an unnatural blood red, and everything seemed darker like they were trapped in that moment when the sun set.
“Tony! Thank God you’re alive,” Aaron sighed, and rushed forward pulling him in. Closing his eyes, Tony let himself pull comfort from the man as his mind sang ‘Mate!’
He knew that somehow this man, this mate, this warrior would be a vital part of their survival. He would be the one to lead the armies against the hordes who hadn’t resisted the song of evil.
Pulling back, he looked at Aaron and the meager remnants of their friends surrounding them, one thing was for certain. He would never be the same, again.
None of them would.
Read the companion story The Music