Ok, I know this story was complete, but I've had so many reviews asking me to write more, my muse finally complied… I'm posting it as a new story because the writing syle of the last one didn't suit this part of the story, and if you haven't read critical condition, you need to before reading this one. I also fulfilled the requests for more tiva… I'm not sure how good it is, but I tried. I just hope it isn't too soppy.
My French is limited, and I don't speak Spanish or Italian, so all mistakes are courtesy of Google languages.Oh, and many thanks to my awesome Beta, Jess.
Ziva's recovery was long and hard, with little progress happening very slowly. Even after the drugs had worn off, her muscles were still weak, and at first she couldn't even talk or feed herself. Jenny gave the team a week off, and they insisted on feeding Ziva, although it took three meals to work out that only Ducky or McGee should do it; Tony took the opportunity to tell Ziva about every movie he had ever seen, while Gibbs was continuously wiping her mouth even when it was clean. The first major progression was during Abby's turn feeding her; Ziva had become so frustrated with Abby's choo choo trains and aeroplanes that in anger and frustration, she had sent the bowl flying with a swipe of her hand. Although Tony and Ducky had rejoiced at the return of some of her strength, Abby was less than pleased with her white-turned-orange shirt. Ducky, on the other hand, kept her entertained with his stories, and McGee was careful enough that she didn't even need a napkin or a bib when he fed her, which made her feel much less juvenile than Abby's attempts.
After about a week, she was strong enough to feed herself and even hold a book or newspaper, and had begun physiotherapy on her legs. The good news was that her brain signals were not significantly impaired, however she remained physically weak. It took her only two days to regain her balance and strength enough to walk on her own, despite the therapists insisting that she should stop and rest, that she was doing too much too quickly. To every one's surprise, it was towards Tony that she took her first steps, and him that caught her as she tripped on his foot. Clutching her to his chest, it was second nature for him to kiss her head, and she had leant into his chest, although afterwards he decided that he had imagined that. Tony later had to explain the kiss when he was confronted by a very angry Gibbs citing rule number 12. However, the therapists had been right; she spent the next two days back in bed with strained leg muscles and painkillers. Gibbs had even spent the first night afterwards with her, holding her hand as she struggled to cope with the pain and frustration.
It took two days for her to speak again, but when she did, it was in a mix of Hebrew, Arabic and Turkish. It took continuous phone calls to Jen and a couple of bilingual dictionaries to interpret every thing Ziva tried to say. The situation slightly improved when she remembered Spanish and French, at least then there was more people to interpret. The first time she spoke English –to call Tony a jackass- was a welcome relief, until everyone realised that she was no longer mixing two languages together, she was now mixing six together, with a little Russian, Italian and German thrown in. This worried the neurological team, who suspected that, given Ziva's evident frustration, she knew what she wanted to say, but the signals were getting mixed up somewhere, resulting in the use of multiple languages. Gibbs and Abby started trying to teach her ASL, with the doctor's recommendation, hoping that the physical requirements of the language would minimise the confusion in her head, but it was too slow for Ziva's liking; she soon got bored and learnt very little.
The accident had also affected her long-term memory-she had trouble with memories resurfacing at random times, as fresh as if they had happened yesterday. Gibbs had stuck his head in to check on her at midnight one night to find her curled up sobbing into her pillow; she had dreamt about killing Ari, every little detail perfect, and had woken in a strange place wanting her brother. Gibbs sat with her for the rest of the night; holding her hand when ever she whimpered in her sleep, whispering to her, trying to alter the memories she was re living but knowing, ultimately, he could do nothing about it, and that only increased his own frustration and anger.
Finally, about two weeks after she had woken from the coma, she snapped. A fortnight of pent up anger and frustration exploded when the doctor recommended not using any firearms for at least 6 months, probably more. She had cursed at him in every language she knew, thrown a knife at him, and knocked over the tray table, until he had quickly left the room to phone for backup- Tony. Despite being back at work, Tony had driven like a madman to reach the hospital, where he ran to her room to comfort her.
She was sitting up in bed, bent over her knees, sobbing. Tony rushed in, and stopped at the doorway, startled by the tears. He quietly walked over to her and put a hand on her shoulder. "Hey there Delilah", he murmured, and she looked up at him, eyes rimmed red, and held out her arms. He sat on the edge of the bed and wrapped his arms around her, rocking her and murmuring that it was all going to be alright. "Non," she sniffed. "Il ne sera pas bon." Tony didn't need to understand the French, her expression said it all. It wasn't going to be alright. "Tony", she whispered into his arm. She paused as she tried to remember the right word. Peur? No. Miedo? Angst?
"Scared." She finally whispered to him. He held her closer and whispered right next to her ear. "Don't be scared. You're strong, you're determined, you can get over this. We're all here to help you, we'll look after you. Don't worry. I love you, you'll be ok." He closed his eyes and swore silently as he realised what he had just said, but Ziva didn't seem to have noticed. "No puedo tener un arma de fuego. Non riesco a buttare un coltello. Je suis intile." Tony had to stop and switch his brain from English to Spanish to Italian. Finally he reassured her "You don't need a gun. From what the doctor told me, you're regaining your skill with a knife." She smiled weakly at the memory of the doctors shocked expression as a knife was hurled towards him. "I didn't understand the last bit. French?" She whimpered "I'm useless," and broke into fresh tears.
Tony couldn't stand it. He put a gentle finger under her chin, raised her face to see his, and whispered "You're not useless." He kissed her gently on the lips, and murmured "You're never useless. You're pretty and smart and, and gorgeous and intelligent and determined." He pulled away slightly so that she could see his eyes, so that she could see he was telling the truth. "Remember what the doctor said, about not walking for a few weeks? It took you two days because you practised and practised." He put a finger to her lips as she was about to speak. "No, just listen. And I know that you hurt yourself, but it was hurting the whole time you practised, and you still kept trying. And you're talking and eating by yourself, and even your language is becoming more consistent. I mean, at least now you finish the sentence before you switch. 'Cause that whole changing languages between words thing…" he chuckled quietly. He looked back at Ziva, and she was smiling. "Tony?" she spoke quietly, slowly and precisely. "Thank you." She leant up and, equally softly, kissed him back.
Suddenly, Ziva's personality seemed to change. She was equally frustrated with her lack of progress, but made an effort now to slow down and work more carefully. Her language improved as she took her time finding the right words to say, she smiled more, and she was carefully to let everyone around her know that she appreciated the effort and sacrifices they were making for her. Going more slowly, she seemed to improve much faster. It was another week before she was able to walk confidently and when ever she liked, but she was cautious not to do too much and create more harm to her strengthening legs. She could also conduct an entire conversation in one language, although it was still unpredictable as to which or the six she knew fluently would be used.
When, only a month after coming out of the coma, she was ready to go home, the doctors were amazed at her progress. Although it would be awhile before she was allowed back in the field, the neurologists had suggested desk work and helping with investigations in order to aid her mental recovery, and Ducky had said that he would be more than happy to have her help him when Gibbs had nothing she could do. She was also told to slowly work on her combat skills and hand eye co-ordination, although McGee doubted the ball exercises suggestion by the doctors would be used; he thought he saw Ziva eyeing off a butter knife when target practise was mentioned.
No, the real question was, seeing as she wasn't allowed to go home on her own yet, where would she stay…?