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.
“Ma’am,” the nurse said, gently placing her hand on Abby’s shoulder.
“What? Is she okay?” Abby asked as she startled awake. She had dozed off holding Ziva’s hand, her head lying next to Ziva’s arm on the bed.
The nurse made shushing sounds. “She’s fine, but visiting hours are over and I can’t let you stay here in the room,” she hesitated. “I would if I thought I could get away with it, but if the night supervisor came in here, she’d kick you out of the hospital altogether.”
Abby blinked away tears. She really didn’t want to leave her girlfriend’s side. “Okay,” she finally responded. “Can I have another minute, just to say goodnight?”
The other woman smiled and nodded, leaving them alone.
“I don’t know if you can hear me in there, Zee,” Abby said softly next to Ziva’s ear. “But I’m going to believe you can. You just rest and get better. I’ll be here when they wake you, so I can look at your beautiful brown eyes and fuss at you for worrying me.”
She reached up and pushed a lock of curly brown hair away from where it had fallen back down over the smaller woman’s face. Abby thought she looked so small hooked up to all the tubes and wires. She never seemed small at work or at home. Ziva always carried herself as if she were bigger than everybody else around, except maybe Gibbs. Yet here, covered in bandages, shadowed by the harsh hospital lighting and unearthly still, Ziva seemed young and fragile to Abby. She leaned in and kissed her forehead ever so gently.
“I love you, Ziva,” Abby spoke into her ear. “I’ll be back when they let me.”
Standing, she retrieved the bag of personal items the nurse had brought in earlier. She fingered the gold chain that Ziva always wore where it currently rested below her collar. They wouldn’t allow Abby to put it back on Ziva, so she wore it, feeling a little closer to her because of it. She clutched the bag of Ziva’s stuff close to her chest and walked out of the room, nodding at the nurse as she went.
When she got out into the hallway she dialed Gibbs on her cell phone.
“Tell me we have some evidence I can process,” she said as soon as he answered.
“Abs,” he said gently. “You don’t have to,” he started.
“Gibbs, don’t make me get mad,” she growled. “I want whoever did this to hang. And I am the best you have.” She paused and wiped her cheeks. “They won’t let me back in her room for another ten hours. I need to do something. I don’t want to leave her alone, but I can’t just sit here and stare at the walls, Gibbs.”
She heard him sigh.
“I’ll send Tony to stay in the waiting room,” he said. “He’s currently drooling on his desk anyway. You can drive his car back here and I’ll show you what we’ve got.”
“Thanks, Gibbs,” she said.
“Anything for you, you know that Abs,” he said and hung up.
Ziva had felt stressed out for days, upset that Gibbs was in the hospital and she felt powerless to help him. She felt like if she could somehow help solve this case, if she and Tony could just lean on the Captain harder, they might get somewhere. She was currently down in Abby’s lab to bring her the photos she had taken.
“Whoa,” Abby said when she looked at them, “This is definitely going on my wall.”
“I should be a professional photographer,” Ziva replied smugly.
“The Director hasn’t called,” Abby said almost hysterically, shocking Ziva with the subject change.
“About?” Ziva tried to follow.
“About?” Abby replied incredulously. “Gibbs?”
“Oh!” Ziva said catching up.
“She didn’t call you, did she?” Abby said to Ziva accusingly.
“No,” Ziva replied confused again.
“’Cause, you know, the way you’re acting, you might have just, I don’t know, forgotten to tell us!” Abby accused. It hurt Ziva that Abby thought this about her, but she hid the feeling. Abby sometimes reverted back to treating Ziva like an outsider when somebody on the team was hurt.
“Ziva,” McGee prompted, “Do you notice anything different in here?”
The two of them would drive her insane, she was sure. She tried to figure out what McGee was speaking of and then noticed it.
“No music,” she replied.
“That’s it!” he replied. “No music. You know, you usually play music in here.”
“What if those were Gibbs’ guts smooshed all over that room?” Abby said getting hysterical again.
“Oh, for God’s sake, Abby,” Ziva replied getting upset. “They’re not.”
“I said, what if they were?” Abby got in her face.
Ziva tried to defuse the situation with a joke. “The color would be more coffee brown than red,” she replied.
Abby promptly slapped her hard. In shock, Ziva slapped her back. Abby responded by slapping her again and Ziva did the same. It made her angry that this woman could hurt her so badly, after so much time. She was just as worried, just less inclined to show it with ridiculous displays. Turning on her heel, she left the room sure McGee would take care of Abby.
Ziva couldn’t believe Abby was freaking out like she was at this moment. Nothing she was saying was getting through to her. Everybody on the team had taken some hits, yes, but they had convinced the poor man finally. They had him in custody and were trying to figure out why he was behaving this way.
“Are you defending him?” Abby asked incredulously. “He attacked for no reason. The guy's a killing machine.”
“He's a marine,” Ziva said in disagreement, “who was willing to give up everything for his country. We have a responsibility to him.”
“Oh, spare me the samurai code of honor,” Abby said.
“Noble respect for your combatant,” Ziva said. “It's admirable”
“But he tried to kill Tony,” Abby said “And he tried to kill McGee. Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God...”
“And me, too,” Ziva added. “Believe me, we are fine. Calm down.”
“Ziva,” Abby said annoyed, “can't you just let me get it out for a second? I mean, I'm not like you. I'm not some totally emotionless perfect warrior. God!” She said and stomped off.
Ziva sat there stunned, feeling more pain from Abby’s words than anything Worth had done to her.
“I understand now,” Abby said later that day, to Ziva, but in front of the guys. “No true warrior should be felled by invisible forces. It's dishonorable.” She looked at Ziva. “And that other thing I said-- I know that's not really true.”
Ziva felt something release in her, as if there had been a tight band around her chest and it was suddenly gone. How did this woman affect her so much? Then she was promptly drawn back into a conversation by Tony and McGee.
They had just buried Jenny, and when the team entered the bullpen, they were somber. Before they even had a chance to settle, the new director, Leon Vance, called the four of them up to his office. He had certainly taken over Jenny’s space quickly, Ziva noticed.
“Officer David,” he said as he looked at her. “The liaison position with NCIS is being terminated. You're going home.”
She stood there stunned by the pronouncement as he listed his reassignments for the whole team. She had not expected any of this. It made little sense to disband the whole team, but she supposed they were to be punished for letting a NCIS Director die on their watch. As they left the room, she took each step deliberately, holding in her anger and the sense of betrayal.
He had not just said the position was done, but that she was going “home.” However, this felt more like home than anywhere she had ever been and her choice had been taken away from her. She had no doubt, he meant for her to be sent out of country now. Nothing would make her father happier than to have her back in his domain.
The problem was it was as she had told Gibbs two years ago. She was no longer just a killer, she was an investigator now.