Disclaimer: NCIS is not mine.

A/N Here's the next chapter folks. Sorry about the delay, I've been working on my other fics and real life in general has been quite busy lately. And then I went on holidays … again. Enjoy. Thanks to Kandon Kuuson, my lovely beta.

"A good friend is a connection to life - a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world." - Lois Wyse

Chapter Sixteen: Tears and Rain

Present Time - Bethesda Naval Hospital

A young woman hurried down the corridor of Bethesda Naval Hospital. Her black pigtails whipped back and forth as she tottered down along the linoleum. Abby had begged, pleaded, threatened, cried and all but sneaked out of NCIS Headquarters to see Ziva. She was determined to see her friend, just as Gibbs and the others were determined to restrict her access to Ziva, unwilling to make her upset. Luckily, Abby was a smart girl, and had Gibbs wrapped around her finger, so she managed to "convince" Gibbs to let her visit Ziva at Bethesda.

As she was rounding the corner to Ziva's ICU room, a young doctor slammed into her, making her stumble backwards.

"Oh, oh …" the young doctor looked horrified, whether stunned due to the collision or due to the fact that the woman half-standing in front of him was dressed in a red mini-skirt with a black and white skull shirt, studded dog collar, platform boots and black pigtails tied up with miniature skulls attached to her hair ties.

"Oooh, I'm sorry," Abby apologised as she righted herself. "I wasn't watching … you see I'm going to visit my friend who was injured, badly injured when someone hit her over the head. Only there is ony an hour of visitor's hours left and I need to see her. I would have come earlier, but my … my…I mean Gibbs told me I couldn't because I was needed at NCIS to run some evidence. So I had to stay, I mean, I'm the only forensic scientist there and the last time I had an assistant he tried to frame Tony and kill me, so I work alone. So I don't have anyone to cover for me, but I really, really wanted to see Ziva, but I had to run the evidence so I did. Then I finally managed to get permission to leave so I drove straight here, but my hearse broke down along the way so I had to get a cab and then there was only one hour of visiting time left so I was walking really, really quickly so I could see Ziva …" she finished in one big breath.

Dr Bartholomew Winchester-Diggins blinked and stared at the Goth with a look of pure confusion. "Um …"

"Where are my manners?" Abby suddenly chastised herself before sticking out her hand. "Abby Sciuto, NCIS, forensics actually."

"Ah, Bartholomew Winchester-Diggins, Bethesda Naval hospital, doctor," Dr Winchester-Diggins quoted Abby, taking her hand warily.

"Aren't you a little young to be a doctor," she inquired, her green eyes staring intently at him. "Not that being young is a bad thing. I'm young … kinda. Well, not young younglike as in teenager, but I'm not old old either, like … like Gibbs. Not that he's old, he's olderthan me, but not as old as Ducky …" she trailed off as Dr Winchester-Diggins looked at her as if she was a little bit crazy.

"Um, okay, Ms Sciuto …" Dr Winchester-Diggins started warily. "You said you were looking for a Ziva … that would be Ziva David of NCIS?"

Abby looked at him as if he was the crazy one. "Didn't I just tell you that?"

"Erm …" Dr Winchester-Diggins looked conflicted between telling the truth and simply nodding his head. He went with the latter, as the Goth girl standing in front of him scared him more than his boss did.

"Can you tell me her room?" Abby asked, and then added as an afterthought, "Please."

"Room one-oh-two," Dr Winchester-Diggins replied promptly.

Abby smiled brightly and pulled a bewildered Dr Winchester-Diggins into a hug. "Awww, you're such a nice doctor," she cooed.

"Ah, thank you?" Dr Winchester-Diggins uttered, looking like he wanted to run far, far away.

Abby let go of Dr Winchester-Diggins, smiled brightly and started to totter off in the direction she came in. She stoped suddenly and turned back to Dr Winchester-Diggins.

"Um … which way is room one-oh-two?"

Once Abby reached room one-oh-two, she stopped and went to push on the door handle. She hesitated, her hand hovering over the slim handle.

'Maybe Gibbs was right, maybe I shouldn't be here,' she thought to herself.

'No,' she voiced. 'Pull yourself together, Abigail. Ziva is your friend and she needs you.'

'Right,' she nodded to herself. 'Okay, Ziva needs me.'

She grasped the door handle determinately and pushed the door open. It swung open and Abby got her first look at Ziva since she'd been admitted.

Abby gasped. "Ziva!" The sight of Ziva lying still and pale on the bed brought back memories of Gibbs lying similarly after being blown up on a ship and even more memories of Kate lying in Autopsy.

"Ooh, Ziva, Ziva, Ziva," she chanted worriedly, hurrying into the room. She circled Ziva's bed, pacing back and forth.

"Ziva, oh, Ziva," she muttered as she paced. "You're okay, Ziva?"

Obviously Ziva didn't reply.

"Yes, I am fine Abby," Abby replied to herself, using a bad imitation of Ziva's voice, the last traces of caffeine from her last Caff-Pow kicking in.

"Of course you are," Abby said in her normal voice. "You're a super Mossad ninja."

"It will take more than a little coma to defeat me," Abby-Ziva agreed.

"Exactly, that's what I keep telling myself," Abby said brightly. "Ziva is not going to be overcome by some little coma like this."

"That's the spirit, Abby," Abby-Ziva encouraged.

Abby's pacing came to an abrupt halt and she lent over and pulled Ziva's hands in her own. "You'll be okay, won't you, Ziva?" she questioned softly.

"Of course I will, Abby," Abby-Ziva replied tearfully.

"Okay, good," Abby sniffled. "Because you can't die … you just can't … not like Kate." A tear dripped onto Abby cheek and she quickly brushed it away, her face slightly streaked by the eyeliner.

"Because after Kate … you're my best friend," she inarticulately as she took Ziva's hand in hers. "I mean sure, there's McGee and Tony and Gibbs, but you're a, well, you know, a girl …" Another tear fell down her face and she made no moved to brush it away. Her face became even more streaked with eyeliner.

"I know I was mean to you when you first arrived," Abby sniffed. "But we … I … had just lost Kate. I was upset, it was like part of me had been ripped away. And then there was Gibbs and Tony and Tim and they were just all so sad. I was worried, especially about Gibbs. I thought … I thought Ari would get him too, you know …" More tears trickled down her face, causing more streaks of eyeliner.

"But then Ari shot at me and … and I thought I'd be next," Abby whimpered. "It's selfish and mean and … but I didn't want to die, especially become a victim of Ari's … like Kate." Abby let go of Ziva's hand and slid down the side of the bed so that she was resting her head on it.

"Ari … Ari was going after women close to Gibbs," she continued tearfully. "He ... he didn't miss and hit Kate instead … he was aiming at Kate. Then he was aiming at me and then Ducky …"

"Gibbs told me he was going to keep me safe," Abby mumbled. "He did … but how could have he protected me Ari decided to pop me off like Kate? I mean … Ari was smart, he avoided capture for like forever. He even managed to infiltrate autopsy for goodness sake!" The tears were falling steadily now.

"Then Kate went, just like that." She made a gun shape with her hand and pressed it to her forehead. "No warning, no nothing … just gone …"

"McGee called me, you know," she sobbed. "He was crying. I … I knew something was wrong. He wouldn't tell me … he couldn't tell me. But then he did and I think I dropped the phone. Kate was … dead … I didn't believe it … I didn't want to believe it."

"Then Ducky came to see me and I knew it was true," Abby finished sadly, the caffeine wearing off, showing Abby for who she really was … fragile. "Kate was dead … and then you came."

Abby sighed. "I … I was angry and hurting. I thought you were replacing Kate. I was mean and hurtful and you were just trying to be nice, but I threw it back into your face." She sniffled and wiped some tears off her cheeks.

"Kate … my best friend … was gone and you were … there," Abby whispered tearfully. "I know you didn't deserve all that stuff I shot at you, but I didn't know you and you were kinda Kate's replacement and it was just … easier to direct my anger at you …" Abby paused.

"I guess I was angry at myself for not being there," Abby muttered. "And at Gibbs and Tony and Tim for not, you know, saving her. I know that there was nothing they could do, but still …"

"I'm sorry," she suddenly burst out as she stood up quickly and turned to the bed. She reached over and hugged Ziva tightly.

"I'm sorry for everything I said to you, for being mean, for thinking you wouldn't be as good as Kate, for you being here, for getting so emotional …" Abby sniffed as a few streaky tears dropped onto Ziva's face.

"Please wake up, Ziva," she sighed tearfully, wiping them off Ziva's face. "I need you to come back … the team needs you to come back. They … I … couldn't handle another Kate."

Abby let go of Ziva and stood up proudly. "I'm not gonna stop until I get this guy, Ziva. I promise, pinkie swear. He'll wish he'd never been born when we get him …"

Abby beamed at Ziva. "I can, you know, kill without leaving forensic evidence. But I guess you could do that too, but anyways …"

Abby turned to head subconsciously to the window. She looked outside and then smiled brightly. "Look Ziva, it's raining."