AN: I decided to try my hand at an alternate ending. One that always stuck out in my mind was the ending of Silver War (so much potential, left to the imagination...). As you can guess, this contains minor spoilers for said episode, but since this is my remake of it, its not that spoilery (I know, thats not a word!).
Ziva glanced across the cemetery, weighing out the odds. Behind her, a deranged woman with a firearm in hand; in front of her, grave robbers toting rifles. Despite the weapons being from the Civil War era, she had no doubt that they could still be as lethal now as a hundred and fifty years ago.
Dr. Elaine Burns stared intently at Ziva, "Drop it." she hissed, "We don't want any trouble now, do we?" the woman glanced over at her accomplices, "Keep her in your sights!"
Ducky, standing beside her raised his hands, "Ziva, just shoot her. She'll only kill us both anyhow." he glared at the woman, "Now I realize why I blocked you from my memories." he told her coldly.
Reaching to her waist, slowly lowering her weapon, Ziva whispered, "Ducky, do not do anything until I say. Trust me." she knew of course that Ducky had no reason to trust her, but he obeyed none the less. She kept her eyes trained on the Dr. Burns, a menacing gleam in her eye, "Things may get a little...fuzzy here Doctor Mallard."
A shot rang out through the graveyard. Tony jumped, following his boss toward the sound, drawing his weapon. Gibbs cursed as another shot rang out, following the first by little more than a second. A third shot soon followed. Fighting their way through the weeds and up a steep hill, they came to a stop in a clearing overlooking a bloodbath.
Tony stood back, shocked at the sight. Dr. Burns' body lay prostrate on the ground, a deep red circle growing from the wound in her chest, a knife piercing her heart. The two grave robbers had also fallen, a single wound in the head of each. But the sight that disturbed him the most was that of Ducky laying on the ground, clutching his bleeding shoulder. Ziva was squatting down next to him, a gun in hand, holding him down. Acting on instinct, he fired. First Kate, now Ducky? No, not again!
A small shriek of pain immediately followed the shot as the Israeli fell to the ground. As she sank to her knees, she stared back at him in disbelief. The cry tore at his heart, forcing remorse into him. Gibbs was right, I am a bad shot. If I'm gonna kill someone, they at least deserve not to suffer...
Gibbs rushed by Tony, who was watching in shock, joining Ducky in checking for signs of life, "DiNozzo! She's on our side, remember?" he barked, "Get over here, now! McGee!"
The shy Probie wandered over, watching the drama unfold from a few feet away, "Yeah, boss?" his face paled at the sight of the massacre.
"Call paramedics!" Gibbs quickly checked Ducky's wound, "How bad is it, Duck?" the bullet didn't appear to have gone in too deep, but it did a considerable amount of damage to his shoulder
"I'm fine, Jethro." Ducky assured him, more concerned with the blood flowing freely from Ziva's belly, "Oh, dear Lord! Ziva? Come on now, stay awake..." he patted her cheek, making her eyes open, "Good, good, dear. Keep your eyes open..."
Gibbs placed a hand over her wound, trying to ignore her grimaces of agony, "Hey, DiNozzo!" he called, "Keep pressure on her stomach!"
Tony bolted over, throwing his Sig to the ground. He took over for Gibbs, pressing hard on the woman's small frame, wincing when he saw her eyes widen in fear and pain. "Like this?" he wasn't used to playing doctor. At least not in this context.
Ducky wheezed a little, fighting the pain, "That's it, my boy. Just like that. Tighter, Tony!" he encouraged, "Jethro, help me turn her over, lets see if it went through?" rolling her onto her side, they could see that the bullet from Tony's weapon hadn't gone all the way through
McGee paced nearby, waiting for the medics. He glanced over occasionally, until the pulsations in his stomach forced him to turn the other way. He felt useless, "Is there anything I can do?" he asked
"Yes, Timothy!" Ducky called, "Come, come!" he could feel the effects of the blood loss as he started to feel disorientated. The younger agent nervously obeyed
"What do I need to do?" he asked sincerely
"For starters, don't shoot any of us!" Gibbs ordered, throwing Tony a look. Tony already knew there would be repercussions, and he didn't really need reminding of it.
While he still had the energy, Ducky explained to McGee, "We have to keep her from going into shock. In order to do that, we have to keep her warm. Take off your jacket." he grabbed the thick coat off of McGee's shoulders, wrapping it around Ziva, who was now trembling weakly, "Anthony, keep firmer pressure on her wound! I know it seems like you're hurting the poor girl, but she'll thank you later!"
Tony reluctantly pushed harder on Ziva's body, feeling her tense under his hands. Yeah, I'm sure she'll love me for this! She'll throw me a damn parade!
The sounds of approaching sirens in the distance put all their minds a little more at ease.
"Ducky!" a voice squealed, "You're awake!" the medical examiner was enveloped in a bone crushing hug, "We were so worried about you! You got shot!" Abby refused to let him out of her vice-like grip, fearing that if she ever let go, she might lose him.
"Abigail, I'm fine," Ducky promised, "But please loosen your grip a little! I have precious little blood left, and I'd like for it to be able to circulate!"
Releasing Ducky, Abby took a step back, smiling, "Good to have you back, Duckman!"
Looking around his hospital room, Ducky smiled at the pile of cards, flowers, and gifts left by his comrades. Gibbs, McGee, Tony, and Abby all stood valiantly by his bedside. "Good to see you're awake, Ducky!" Gibbs told him, "Feeling better?"
He smiled, "Well, I can't possibly be feeling worse! How long have I been out for?"
"Two days." McGee told him, "Most of yesterday you were in surgery for your shoulder."
Nodding in understanding, he glanced down at his splinted arm, "Hopefully it will heal up soon." he looked around, realizing a face was missing, "Where is Ziva? How is she doing now?"
Tony quietly excused himself from the room, adding to Ducky's worry. "Jethro? Is she alright?"
"She's down in the ICU." Abby told him casually
Tony pushed Ducky's chair through the halls, navigating the maze-like ICU. Coming up to a door, he knocked gently, "Can I come in?" Tony called
Not hearing an answer, he quietly pushed the door open. Ziva stirred a little when she heard the intrusion, "Hello Tony, Ducky," her voice was soft and weak, "What are you doing here?"
Ducky moved to her bedside, which he noticed lacked the gifts and get well cards which littered his own room. "How are you feeling this morning?"
"Like I got shot." she answered simply
Tony shuffled his feet, "Yeah, probably because...well, you got shot." he sat down on the bed next to her, "I'm sorry, Ziva. I heard the shot, and then I saw Ducky on the ground, and you were standing there. With a gun?" he sighed, "I just assumed the worst."
She nodded, "You were only trying to protect your friend. In your situation, I would have acted similarly." she lowered her head and her voice, "Especially if I did not trust or like that person."
Ducky placed a hand on her shoulder, "I know you feel a little out of place here, but that feeling will pass." he assured her, "They will grow to trust you, it just may take them a little while to adjust. These past few weeks have been very stressful, as I'm sure you know, my dear. You're not as alone as you have convinced yourself." he gave her a knowing smile. Does Ducky know about that?
Tony reached into his jacket, "Here," he handed her an evidence bag, containing a nine millimeter, "This is yours."
Ziva stuffed the weapon under her pillow to hide it from the staff, "Thank you, Tony." she looked him over, "Once I am out of here, I will have to show you how to use one of these things properly, yes? You are a terrible shot!" she laughed, clutching her sore stomach
The door to her room flew open as Gibbs strode in, dragging a protesting Abby along by her earlobe, "Do you want to tell her what you said, or should I?" he asked her
"I meant it Gibbs! She doesn't belong here! She wouldn't even be here if Tony wasn't such a bad shot!" she turned to him, "You'd think with your 'reputation' with the ladies, you'd know how to aim!"
Gibbs dragged Abby over to Ziva's bedside, still tightly holding her now bright red ear, "What do you say?"
Abby took a deep breath, calming down for a moment, "Ziva, I wish that you were never born, that you never came here, that I never met you, and that Ari killed you instead of Kate." she hissed
"Abigail!" Ducky admonished angrily, "Hallway, now!"
Tony and Gibbs stood back, allowing the two to leave the room. Neither of them had ever seen Ducky get that angry before.
Ducky pushed the door open, letting McGee in and leading Abby out. McGee rushed in, seemingly terrified of the upset M.E. "I don't want to be in the middle of that, do I?"
The three agents all shook their heads.
"Abby, not only did that woman save my life, but she's saved Jethro's as well," he scolded her to little avail, "Didn't you ever wonder why I had you run ballistics on the bullets from Ari's body? Why I had you check the bastard's DNA?" he couldn't believe that such a brilliant mind had ignored so much
"What about it?" she threw up her hands in frustration, "She was related to that bastard, I figured that much out. And what did she do? Nothing! She could have saved Kate!" she was on the brink of tears, "She defended him, protected him! She deserves to die, just like her brother."
"Abigail, your grief has left you blind!" he slapped the back of her head in a very Gibbs-like manner, "The bullet that killed Ari Haswari was from Ziva's gun, not Jethro's. You believed Gibbs' report without a shred of evidence supporting it! Ziva, not Gibbs killed Ari. She avenged Caitlin's death. And what does she get in return? Scorn, contempt, death threats, and a lifetime of guilt." he shook his head in disbelief
Abby began to shake a little, "No! Gibbs wouldn't lie to us! Not about something that big!" she refused to believe this, "No, it can't be right. The bullet that killed Ari was from a 38 special, Gibbs owns one!"
"Ziva owns several, and you didn't even check ballistics Gibbs' gun! You didn't include that in the report." Ducky told her, "Whether you accept it or not, the truth is that in the short time that we've known her, she has proven her loyalty to us twice. The least she deserves is to be treated humanely."
Abby peeked in through the small glass window into Ziva's room. Tony was talking to her; Abby couldn't tell what he was saying, but it made Ziva roll her eyes, made McGee blush, and gave Gibbs reason to slap him. "They seem to be getting pretty cozy." Abby muttered coolly
Ducky sighed, "Do you remember your first few days here? How hard it was to adjust?" he probed gently, "You told me that you felt that no one would ever come to accept you, and that you had no place, remember?"
Her eyes softened at the memories, "Well, that was different! I actually..." she trailed off, peering into the room again. The others were all conversing happily while Ziva lay back, sullen. Maybe she's not so cold...
"Why don't you at least go apologize?" he offered, "If nothing else it will clear your conscience."
Abby held the door open, letting Ducky roll back into the room. She followed him in, taking in a deep breath, "Ziva, I'm sorry I said you deserved to die, and that you don't belong here. 'Cause whether I like it or not, it looks like you're here for a while, so I'd better get used to it. I also know what you did, Ducky does too. That took, like a lot of guts, and I'm sorry...we all owe you." she blurted out all on one breath
"And?" Gibbs prompted
"And I didn't mean what I said about how Ari should have killed you; if he'd killed you, he'd have killed Gibbs, and all of us too, including Kate. So...thanks. I think. Forgive me?"
Tony and McGee exchanged glances, both baffled by the revalation.
Ziva gave Abby a lopsided smile, "I do not hold grudges easily. I find they rarely provide anything but more contempt in the world."
Tony knocked on the front door of Gibbs' house, knowing that his boss disconnected the doorbell years ago. He waited a few minutes before calling him on his cell phone. He's probably down in the basement, working on that boat...
On the third ring, the door opened. He hung up the phone, his eyes wide, his jaw slack. Ziva stood in the doorway, wearing only an over-sized T-shirt, with the USMC emblem decorating the front. "What do you want?" she grumbled, leaning heavily against the door post, "Gibbs is down in his dungeon, brooding. I will tell him that you are here."
She headed toward the stairwell, limping slightly. He rushed over, sensing that her balance was off and caught her before she tumbled down the steps. "Actually, I came here to talk to you." he told her, leading her over to the couch in the living room, "First of all, you shouldn't be out of bed, should you?"
A quick glare told him not to press his luck. She'd only been released from the hospital yesterday, and the only reason the doctors let her go was the fact that she threatened them with disembowelment if they didn't. She was obviously still weakened and in pain, though she'd never admit to it, even if her life depended on it.
"So," she started, staring across the room at nothing in particular, "What do you want to talk about?"
"You." he answered simply. The perplexed look on her visage prompted him to continue, "We both know that things between us...are a little tense."
She chuckled, "A little? You shot me, Tony! I believe that qualifies as more than a little tension!"
He couldn't help but grin, "Yeah, I know. I'm an idiot, I'm a crappy shot, I'm an idiot-"
"You said that once already." she interrupted
"Yeah, but I can't seem to stress it enough," he cocked his head to the side, "Look, I know things have been rough lately. Everything has changed so fast, its hard to keep up. All I know for sure is that you're here, and whether we're ready or not, you're part of our warped, dysfunctional, overly-protective, possibly incestuous family now."
"Possibly incestuous?" her confusion blatantly obvious.
"McGoo and Abby." he explained, "They've been all cozy for months."
Ziva's eyes lit up in recognition, "Is that why Abby hates my giblets?"
"Guts. And it can't help. And yes, Gibbs knows."
"Gibbs knows what, DiNozzo?" Gibbs asked, standing in the stairway, eavesdropping in on their conversation.
"Nothing, Boss!" Tony amended quickly, already sensing the impending slap. When it came, he winced, "I'm gonna have a concussion one of these days, and you're gonna feel really bad about all the times you hit me!" Abby's right! He's like Santa!
Moving into the lounge, he saw Ziva reclining on the couch. He sighed, "David! Bed, now!"
Ziva rolled her eyes, forcing herself off the couch, "You said I had to 'take it easy', not act like an invalid, coped up in bed!"
"Cooped, Ziva." Gibbs held out a hand to help steady her, leading her into the guest room down the hall, "Tony, there's a bottle of codeine in the fridge; bring it." Tony nodded, heading toward the kitchen
"No!" Ziva protested, "I have eaten maggots, drank from the Ganges, and lived for months off of military rations. None of those things comes anywhere close to being as disgusting as that medicine, which I do not even need!" she hated the medication. The taste, the effects, the whole thing.
"I don't care, Ziva." he forced her down onto the bed, rolling up her shirt a little to check her wound, which had soaked through its dressings, "You need that cleaned. Lie back, and don't complain or I'll make you run laps!"
She smiled. While running was a hobby of hers, and she ached for the feeling of freedom it gave her, it wasn't something she was looking forward to right now. And she wasn't entirely sure if Gibbs was serious or not...
Tony came in, carrying an armload of medicine and bandages, "I come bearing drugs!" he sat down on the bed, drawing in a breath sharply as he saw Gibbs remove the bandages from Ziva's stomach. The wound, about the size of a quarter, was red and swollen. He leaned in closer for a better look, "Does it hurt?" he whispered, not even realizing his tone had softened
"No, Tony. It feels like a tiny little puppy is licking at it." she muttered sarcastically, grimacing as antiseptic was poured onto the tender wound
"Sarcasm is the refuge of a shallow mind, Zee-Vah!" he told her, receiving another slap, "It works for you though, boss! Very macho!"
Once Gibbs cleaned her wound and forced the vile medicine down her throat, Tony was left alone with Ziva again, "So, you're staying with him? Voluntarily?" he sighed, "Tough break."
She lay back, her eyes closed. The medication was working wonders for the pain, but her energy was depleting quickly, "Most of my things are still being shipped from Tel Aviv." she explained, "All I have here is an empty apartment and a duffel bag of clothes for the next week. Gibbs owed me a favor, and he offered me his spare room temporarily."
He had an idea, "Hey, you could stay with me? You know, if you're not afraid I'll shoot you again." he teased, "What do you say?"
Ziva considered it for a moment, "I would like that Tony," she smiled, "Just let me rest my eyes for a moment..." she trailed off, letting healing sleep claim her
"I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." he murmured, quietly shepherding over his fallen friend
AN: Flames aren't cool. I do love to hear from you all, please review! Thanks for reading!