Author: Cirroco DeSade
Summary: What happens if somebody important to the team is badly injured?
Rating: I'll be safe and say M
Spoilers: There are definite spoilers for several eps between 3x01 and through most of season six. They are random.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to DPB, CBS, Paramount, et al. No copyright infringement is intended.
A/N This was kind of an experiment for me. It shifts back and forth between the present and memories plus the memories are not linear throughout the story.
A/N#2 Special thanks go to jaina47 for being a sounding board and also betaing. Mistakes are still mine.
Donald Mallard had made excellent time on his journey downtown to get to the hospital where Jethro had sent him. He had managed to convince the nurse at the emergency desk to give him enough information to know that Ziva was currently still in surgery and that Abby was most likely in a family waiting room that they kept for those waiting on these types of surgeries. He had followed all the correct lines around the halls of the hospital until he found the main waiting area and from there it was a matter of figuring out which one of the small rooms near that one which held Abby. After peering in two windows, he found her.
“Abigail,” he said as he entered the room and shut the door behind him. She was pacing back and forth quickly, her arms wrapped around her stomach. She had obviously been crying, her mascara was smeared and streaky.
“Ducky,” she cried and launched herself at him. He was not as good as Gibbs was, but he was close.
He held her lightly for a moment, patting her on the back. “There, there, dear,” he said soothingly. “Come, let’s sit.” He guided her over to a small couch on the far wall.
“I said I wasn’t going to freak out anymore when you guys got injured,” she said and sniffled. “But she had to go and,” Abby said then choked it back. “And there was so much blood.” She looked down at her hands. One of the nurses had bullied her into washing them, but she still had blood in the margins of her nails.
“Ziva is strong and healthy,” Ducky replied. “That will help her.”
“They said they’d send somebody out with an update as soon as they could,” she looked up at him.
“I will wait with you,” he patted her shoulder. They lapsed into silence and he hoped the update was good and it came soon.
“You know, she calls me Abigail too,” she said after a while. “But only when we’re alone.”
“No, I did not realize that,” he said conversationally, as if it were any other moment in any other day. “How long have you been involved?”
“A little over five months,” she said, smiling weakly.
“I guess I am losing my touch in my advancing years,” he said. “I had not even noticed.”
She shrugged. “We wanted it that way,” she answered. “It’s better for the team.”
The door to the room opened and a young man in scrubs came in and introduced himself as a surgical resident. He described what the surgeons had done thus far and what still needed to be done.
“We still have a long way to go,” he said, “but we’ve already jumped some major hurdles.”
“How much longer will she be in there?” Abby asked plaintively.
“I can’t really say, ma’am,” the young man answered, twisting his cap in his hands. “The cardiothoracic specialist stabilized the damage to her chest but needed more time to explore before moving on and closing up. She was able to do it without opening her chest. And our chief is taking care of the stomach wounds. She’s in good hands ma’am.”
“You said your neurosurgeon repaired damage,” Ducky asked gently, trying not to upset Abby, but wanting to know. “Was there penetration?”
“Actually, not really,” he answered. “She had a depressed skull fracture and a subdural hematoma from the fracture. But it looked like whatever hit her just grazed off her skull. The bleeding you saw at the sight was mostly the scalp wound.”
“Did he have to perform a craniotomy?” Ducky prompted.
“Um, she did, but it pulled the depression back as well as drained the hematoma,” he answered. “The bleeding stopped after the bone was pulled back and the pressure relieved. She’s optimistic that there shouldn’t be any lasting damage.”
Donald nodded knowingly, relieved. “Thank you,” he answered.
“I’ll come back as soon as I have anything else to report,” the young doctor spoke, obviously relieved to go back.
The NCIS medical examiner led his friend back to the seats and sat her back down.
“There,” he said softly. “That was good news, really.”
“But, he didn’t really tell us what was happening in her guts, Ducky,” Abby lamented. “They have their chief in there in her guts.”
“That’s excellent as far as I am concerned,” he said, patting her hands. “It means they are taking very good care of her.”
“They better,” Abby said. “I can’t lose her.”
It was the middle of summer and incredibly hot under all the gear they had to wear. She had tied her hair back before putting on her helmet, but now she wished she had taken her friend’s advice and worn a bandana around her head as well, as sweat was running down her forehead from the line of her scalp. It was irritating to say the least.
Her squad was patrolling Gaza today as a routine exercise. They walked down the streets in six troop units, fully armed and in full armor. This area was a consistent mix of Arabic Israelis and Palestinians, so there were not many friendly looks coming from the shops and homes they were passing. Ziva did not enjoy this part of their week, but knew it was a necessary exercise to keep the peace in the area.
A child, a little girl, came running up to them holding out a flower, even as her worried mother chased after her, scolding her for getting loose. Ziva squatted down to take the flower from the little girl’s outstretched hand and smiled, not wanting the girl’s experience with the defense forces to be a negative one.
“Thank you,” she said gently to the girl in Arabic. “And what is your name?”
Before the girl could answer, the sound of gunfire erupted and Ziva watched in horror as two of her team went down. She picked up the little girl, grabbed the mother’s arm, and ran into the doorway of a nearby shop. She handed the crying child to her mother and yelled at the woman to get them into the shop and find cover.
Coming back into the street cautiously, she found the two men pinned down where they lay, one of them obviously dead while the other was trying to drag himself to the side. She looked around and saw two of her other teammates returning fire from a secure position, while the third cowered behind a barricade. She cursed at him and ran out to their injured teammate. He was much bigger than she was but she reached down under his arms and hauled him up enough to drag him back behind cover.
“Jerad!” she shouted at the man who was currently hiding. “Come here, I will cover you.” He looked at her in terror. “Do it or I shoot you myself!”
He decided she was not bluffing, so he ran over to where they were while she provided a blanket of fire.
“Tend to him and radio in our problem,” she ordered. Technically, none of them ranked the others, but few ever debated with her in the field. He nodded, so she left him to go scout the situation further. She took a turn behind the shop and climbed an old set of stairs leading to the roof of the deli next door.
When she got up there, she had a clear sight of the three gunmen who had pinned them down. Unfortunately, they were almost out of the range of the Micro Uzis that they carried. She had a side arm that she knew she could hit more reliably with at this range, but she would never get three shots off before they could turn and find her. However, if she simply sprayed them down with the Uzi and hoped they were hit, she may hit some of the people in the homes nearby.
Deciding to go with honor first, she pulled her side arm and took careful aim at the nearest gunman. She was able to bring him down with a headshot and even disable a second shooter before the third realized there was somebody shooting at them from another location and turned to her. She dove down to the dubious cover of the small ledge along the top of the roof and watched as a bullet trail danced across the top of the roof behind her. She waited until she heard his gunfire stop, hoping her teammates could somehow take advantage of his distraction and take him out. When all shooting had ceased, she peeked over the edge and saw that he was down with the other two, she got up and retraced her steps back to her team.
When she made it over, she stepped over to her fallen teammate and shook her head. A lucky shot to the neck had struck him and he had bled out. As she stood, she saw the small flower on the ground nearby, covered in his blood. Even as she watched, his blood was trailing off the sidewalk and dripping into the gutter. Something about it made her so sad and angry that she had to take deep breaths in order to stay calm.
She turned back to the shop and noticed the mother leaving hugging her crying daughter. The mother had thanks in her eyes for Ziva; however, the little girl looked at her unit with fear now.