This is one of my favourite stories, so I've redone the first chapter to improve the flow.
I hope you enjoy reading it, as much as I enjoyed imagining and creating it.
Crouching in the darkness of the shadow of a tree I can see Gibbs lying flat on the ground, his gun at the ready
Crouching in the darkness of the shadow of a tree I can see Gibbs lying flat on the ground, his gun at the ready. He's in the undergrowth, I can only see him because of the moonlight filtering through the leaves of overhanging branches. He's watching a group of men through the dense greenery. He looks so natural in that position, it's as if he were born to do this.
They're Hamas, the men I mean, at least that's what Ziva's intelligence says. Gibbs didn't 'invite' her along because she'd probably kill them all without any provocation. Understandable seeing as her sister Tali was killed during a Hamas suicide bombing. I'm his back up tonight instead, not that I'm complaining.
He does not signal to me, he just moves forward. I'm unsure whether that's because he doesn't want to give his or my position away or whether he just doesn't care if I know or not. What the hell are we even doing out here just the two of us? This is definitely insane, or in the very least it isn't on the books. I try not to shift from one foot to the other in the cold. This is meant to be a simple reconnaissance mission. Why is he moving forward?
I have my orders, "Watch my six." he'd said to me. Does he even have permission for this mission? I suddenly doubt it. Gripping my gun tighter I want to move forward to stop him but know that will be damaging for my health. i.e. he'll murder me. So I stand and wait for... some sort of signal. He disappears from view and I wonder what he wants me to do.
How the hell am I meant to watch his ass if I can't see it! I grit my teeth and after careful examination of my surroundings I move forward as noiselessly as possible, my eyes going in every direction at once, picking up even the slightest movement through the trees.
I feel like I'm being watched but I know I'm responsible for him and I can't see anything or anyone so I sidle up to where he was positioned and crouch low trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. The moonlight is enough to give away my position and it unnerves me to feel so exposed.
I look behind me, trees and branches as far as the eye can see, I muse. I hope I can find my way back. I turn to look through the underbrush and start as I come face to face with Gibbs.
Fuck, I almost shot him. I breath a sigh of relief because I didn't. I give him a glare, but at the same time I admire his stealth.
He doesn't look particularly surprised that I followed him, but I can tell he knows that he spooked me. There's something in his face that says he knows I almost shot him and he's glad that I'm not trigger happy.
He looks me straight in the eye and I wonder if his knees are aching like mine. Jethro signals to me that we're leaving and I can't help but be damn glad that we are. I nod my acknowledgement and wait for him to take point. I wait several seconds so to anyone watching it looks like he's alone and then I follow keeping to the shadows, my gun at the ready. The warmed metal is like a security blanket in my hands in the cold uncertain night.
I've lost him but I can see the way we came in and I tell myself that it's not yet time to panic. No matter how many missions I've been on the exhilaration is always fresh. I love being out on the job. Great, now I'm smiling while in a potentially dangerous situation. If Gibbs can see me he probably thinks I'm nuts but I can't help but love this job.
I drop to my knees behind a tree. I hear a footstep and then another. Far too heavy to be Gibbs' and it was coming from the wrong direction. Praying he doesn't see me I wait patiently for him to reveal himself. I'm sure its a he. That footstep was far to heavy to be a woman, unless it was a six foot weight lifting woman. I'm also praying that my analysis is wrong but I know after this long the sound of Gibbs' footsteps are etched into my memory. Still, there is no movement. Where the hell is Gibbs? Where's my backup?
It feels like I've been waiting forever, I can't see anything. How long should I wait? Much longer and my legs will give way and I won't be able to run if I need to and staying here might give me away. I rise up slowly hugging the tree with my back and hoping against hope that he can't see me. I look out into the vast expanse of tree trunks, its not only impossible to see but also to move quietly through it. My breathing is slow and I wonder if my brain is getting any oxygen. Can you collapse your lungs if you breath out too much? I wonder. Totally irrelevant right now.
I still don't see anyone, time to go. I take a cautious step to my left and try to get my bearings. But I take too long and my heart leaps in my chest as the business end of a gun is pressed under my chin. I'm overcome by a strange calm which is perhaps creepier then panic or fear.
"Drop your gun." The man says loudly. He obviously thinks I'm alone, otherwise he would have been quieter. My neck hurts as I strain away from his weapon as he presses I firmly into my skin.
I don't hesitate to do what he asks, I know better. I scan the trees for others and find no sign of anyone. Gibbs will know by now that I'm in trouble, it's been a long time since he saw me last.
I was right it is a man, I knew I wasn't wrong, perhaps now isn't the right time to be full of glee at my personal little victory. I couldn't help myself, figuring that if he was going to kill me he would have done it already I asked the question. "What gave me away?" I could swear he smiled before answering though I couldn't see his face. "The birds." he replied and I laughed softly.
He lowers his gun to the back of my spine and pushes me forward with it. Here's my chance. I pretend to trip over an exposed branch, sprawling on the ground and rolling forward I manage to release my knife from its hiding place. I get on all fours and moan. Then I take a look at my captor, he's huge! I ignore my perceptions and wince in fake pain.
"Could you at least help me up?" I say sarcastically and he reaches out grabbing me by the arm. In doing so he lowers his gun and is caught momentarily of balance as he leans forward. I bask in the opportunity; allowing him to give me upwards momentum I then surge forward and knock his gun sideways stabbing him in the chest.
Bang! He lets off a shot. "Shit!" I spit the words, grabbing my gun and his before snatching my beloved dagger from his chest. I run fast through the woods; after all there's no point in hiding in the shadows after that deafening shot. Felt like it was right in my ear.
I'm lost I know I am! Desperately I look for a landmark or place of reference as I barrel forwards. Suddenly it hits me that a man just held a gun to my head and could have killed me and I feel the fear I should have felt moments ago. My throat feels red raw from breathing so heavily as I run.
Bam! A man leaps out of the trees and I have no room to stop. I run straight into his chest, my gun drawn. He'd moved to intercept me. I press my gun into his ribs and look him in the eyes. I'm out of breath, sweaty and damn glad to see that it's Gibbs. That's the second time in one night I almost shot him, I think we need some kind of bat signal. I immediately pull my gun back.
His face is concerned. "You hit?"he asks "No" I gasp trying in vain to catch my breath, "I'm lost." I inform him not caring if I sound stupid, I just want out. He glances at my arm and tugs my shirt pulling me after him. He runs forwards and I follow him closely. I won't lose him this time.
We finally reach his car and we both jump in. I thank God that Gibbs is driving because I'm shaking and light headed. I look over at him and hold onto the door as he accelerates crazily until we're miles away. Only then does he let off.
I'm finally catching my breath. "You alright?" He looks over at me. "Yeah." I sigh, still catching my breath. "Yes" I repeat thinking that that sounds more professional. Finding myself tense I force myself to relax.
"I lost sight of you but I knew where I was," I told him, leaning back into the seat thankfully. "I heard footsteps so I stopped and waited when..." he cut me off,
"You're hurt." He said looking away from the road and looking at my arm again. What?! I look down and now I know why I'm feeling light headed. I say nothing and pretend not to be worried. Now that we're out of danger I'm back to caring what he thinks of me. I roll up my sleeve but that doesn't work so I tear off the blood sodden cloth.
"I didn't think he'd got me" I said in wonderment, staring at the hole in my arm. I was so sure he'd shot at the ground. Suddenly I was strangely calm again, compartmentalising the screaming woman in my mind.
"If I hadn't pushed his arm away at that exact moment, I'd be dead." I reasoned aloud, almost philosophically.
Gibbs took his attention from the road again and grabbed my arm, he made an assessment and returned his gaze to the road. I put pressure on the wound.
"It's lodged in the humerus." he informed me. I'd already figured it out and I returned my gaze to the road making an effort to stay alert.
He looked at my face again and I got the distinct impression he's trying to work out what I'm thinking, as usual.
"How far is the hospital?" I say rather calmly.
"About five minutes." he replies.
I nod and hold my arm tightly. I'm already resigned to my wound but it was as if now I knew that it was there it was bloody painful. I stare out the front window, watching the lines on the road pass under the street lights. How could I not love this job? I think as I rest my head lightly against the seat.
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