Disclaimer: Nothing. Still. But Christmas is coming.
Summary: Things happen. Mostly bad things. Maybe a few good things; for example, the rating will be going 'M' at some point. I feel like I'll need to justify a lot of things, but if I do it in the summary, I'll be spoiling things. The first chapter takes place after other events in the story that you'll be reading about eventually. Just bear with me if you care to. Excluding this first chapter, the Tiva elements in the ensuing chapters will actually decrease as the plot thickens, so if you're not down with that, it won't be the main focus of the story.
Spoilers: Locked and Taking it for Granted. Find them in my profile pasture. I won't be so presumptuous to suggest you read those first, but this one is continuous with those. I have my own canon, and I may shoot you with it in spite of its homonymic nature.
A freezing wind swept through the Parisian night, carrying the distorted sounds of traffic and late revelry. Ziva's dark red silk robe billowed around her, exposing her bare feet and legs to the cold. Her matching nightgown clung to her back, tacky with perspiration. She could feel sweat trickling down her forehead also, but her tight grip on her Jericho 941 never wavered. She kept it steady and level, right hand squeezing the textured grip, left hand supporting the right. In spite of the cold and her state of undress, the only place she felt a chill was around the platinum band on her left ring finger.
Dmitri stood at her side, almost casually aiming in the same direction she was. He leaned toward her, placing his free hand on her lower back and whispering in her ear, "They will not dare shoot me, not without the code. But you? They will use you against me. We must leave."
She glanced over her shoulder, her view partially obstructed by her wind-whipped hair. She could probably survive a fall into the water from this height, but the river was too far. She would die in the street if she jumped. "How?"
He pressed his lips against the hair at her temple. "I will make a deal."
"Impossible. They'll never allow us to get away." She turned her complete attention back to her targets.
Across the rooftop, Tony, Jen and Gibbs blocked the only viable escape, pointing their own weapons in her direction. They wouldn't hesitate to fire any more than she would. Tony looked especially determined; the white splint on his nose made his eyes and the bruising under them appear more vivid.
Their eyes locked for only a moment. She looked away first.
Dmitri was shouting to be heard over the gusting wind. "You will never find the bomb unless I tell you where it is, and you will never disarm it unless I give you the code."
"What do you want?" Jen asked, the tension obvious in her body bleeding into her voice.
"Safe passage for Ziva and I. You will transport us to the private airfield where my jet, which you will not track, is waiting. I will give you location of the bomb when we arrive at the airfield. "
"And the code?"
"I will call you from the air."
"Not good enough, Tushkevich!" Gibbs yelled. "We can't trust you."
"Perhaps not," Dmitri replied, "but you will know where it is. That at least gives you a chance to prove how good your munitions teams are. Do you still have Smerdyakov?"
"Yes." Jen narrowed her eyes. "You can have either Smerdyakov or her, not both."
"Don't be a fool, Shepard." Dmitri laughed, pulling Ziva closer to him. "What would I want with that weasel? You can keep him. He is a traitorous devil. I just wanted to make sure he won't be bothering us."
Without taking her eyes off the group of NCIS agents, Ziva whispered, "You'll really give them what they want?"
"Why? That bomb is worth millions. If they get it you gain nothing."
"And if I don't tell them where it is they will kill you, and I will still have nothing." He kissed her temple again. "You are worth more to me than anything I could ever sell." She drew a shaky breath as her eyes flicked toward him. She nodded once, almost imperceptibly. He raised his voice to ask, "What is your answer?"
Jen slowly lowered her weapon. "We accept your terms. You tell us where it is in exchange for safe passage."
Ziva didn't look at the people she'd called colleagues as she and Dmitri passed between them. Tony's gaze would be especially painful right now. The situation had been out of her control from the very beginning; she was willing to admit that now that it was too late. She had promised herself she wouldn't hurt anybody. She had failed miserably.