Chapter 3

The Unknow Factor

Ziva was very nervous. She knew they had seen the tapes that were found after they knew where Ari's last hide out was after he had kidnapped Kate Todd. When she saw the entire team leave MTAC her first reaction was to run, hide and never come back. She was afraid of their reactions, would they still talk to her. She didn't tell them she met Kate, she didn't tell them that she was the one that got Kate out of there, gotten her killed. Ziva still regretted that decision, she felt that if she hadn't done that Kate Todd would still be alive. She should have know that Ari never left any lose ends behind, she should have warned Kate that Ari would come after her simply because she got away. She had bruised his ego even though he knew Ziva had lend a helping hand, but he couldn't kill his sister so he had killed he next best thing which was Kate Todd.

Gibbs entered the bullpen walked up to Ziva and before she could even say or do anything he removed part of her hair away which revealed a thin white scar running all the way along her hairline. Mmmm, he said, turned around sat at his chair and just continued with the paperwork that he was handling before the Director had called them in. The others just stared at her. Gibbs looked up, " don't you all have work to do"

The team not knowing what to do with the information they received from the director went their separate ways. Ziva had to get to Abby's lab in order to drop of some evidence that was found at a crime sence they had visited earlier. She knew that Abby was the one that had been the most hostile towards her after she replaced Kate and she dreaded to go down there. She quietly entered the lab dropped of the evidence, and while Abby signed for it she slowly turned around and started to walk away when she heard a soft voice saying. " thanks for getting Kate out"

Ziva turned around, looked at Abby " I did more harm than good with that". Slowly Ziva made her way to the elevator, she pushed the button to go up when all of a sudden she was pulled into the mother of all hugs by Abby. "it's not your fault, stop feeling guilty"

" Don't you get it Abs, I never should have gotten her out of there, Ari wasn't the type that would let anyone get away from him, in that way he was like our father. You can run but you can never hide".

Ziva tried to push Abby away, she couldn't deal with this, she hadn't expected this. She thought Abby would be angry, mad, filled with rage that she had gotten Kate Todd killed but instead she got love.

Tony and McGee were waiting in front of the elevator when it revealed the two woman in a sort of dance like struggle. Ziva was trying to get out of Abby's hug and Abby was holding on to Ziva for dear life."Although I am pleased to see this kind of girl on girl action but Gibbs wants us on a case" Tony said." This is more important than any case you will ever deal with Tony, this is about friendship"

Abby gave Tony a headslap which in turn gave Ziva the opportunity to get away from Abby's hold on her. She quickly moved to the other side of the elevator so that Abby couldn't just grab her again. McGee saw Ziva's discomfort and moved between Abby and Ziva and sighed, there once was a time that Abby couldn't stand the little Israeli woman but that didn't seem to be the case anymore. McGee knew Abby had a hard time dealing with Kate's death, but he didn't think she would react to this morning's revelations in the way that she just did, hugging Ziva to death wasn't the kind of response he thought she would have. Ziva must have grown on Abby more than she would dare to admit, but then again the entire team cared more for Ziva then they would dare to admit.

The elevator rode to the basement in silence. McGee, Tony and Ziva left the elevator and Abby went up to her lab again. McGee handed over Ziva's backpack and after a not so loud "thank you" on Ziva's part they decided all three of them were to go in the truck. Tony made sure he was the one to drive since almost getting killed by Ziva on the last three rides to a crime sence. He didn't know what to say to Ziva after this morning, she saved Kate but never told anyone about this, why not. He thought they were friends, or weren't they.

" why didn't you tell us" Tony mentally headslapped himself, why did he have to bring that up now, on the way to a crime sence. McGee looked stunned and didn't know what to do, was it too late to jump out of the truck, was the truck already at full speed, could he get out. He didn't feel save sitting in the middle. " because I got her killed" Ziva stared out of the window, trying desperately not to show any weakness. Tony hit the break and the truck came to fast stop. He got out walked around the truck, pulled Ziva's door open and yelled " what made you think that, you got her out, Ari would have killed her right then and there, don't be so goddamm stupid woman"

Ziva jumped out the truck and went after Tony when he made his way back to the driver's seat. " If I hadn't gotten her out he would never have gone after her, the fact that she got away made him angry, she got away from him and he couldn't deal with that. So yes, I got her killed, I got you team member killed, are you happy now that I have admitted that, I feel guilty"

Tony looked at her, he couldn't believe she felt responsible for Kate's dead. " did you pull the trigger, Ziva, did you aim the rifle at Kate's head. I don't think so"

Ziva fell to her knees, " no, but I should have seen it coming, I should have stopped him, I should have……" McGee had gotten out of the truck as well, he kneeled beside her and decided just to hold her, he now understood why Abby had hugged Ziva in the elevator. Abby had seen the guilt but most of all she had seen the fear in Ziva's eyes. Fear for being left all alone again, she had found a family in NCIS but now she could lose it all and she was afraid of doing so.

Tony saw what McGee did, kneeled down as well and the three of them all hugged each other. " If any of you mention this to anyone at NCIS he or she will regret it for the rest of his or her live" Tony stood up and looked at his team members. " Do I make myself clear"

" Oh, god, Gibbs………….. he is going to kill us" All three of them jumped in the truck. " Ziva, you drive" Tony was hoping he wasn't going to regret this, but the moment she hit the pedals he already knew that he would. Gibbs looked at his watch for a third time, even Ducky's truck had beaten them to the crime sence, where the hell was his team. Gibbs heard the truck before he even saw it, it came around the corner on two wheels and stopped just inches from Gibbs. He watched them get out and knew something had occurred on the ride over here. All three of them ran to the back of the truck and got their gear out. Without saying a word all three of them got to work, silently knowing what the other one would do, nothing was said but they all knew what to do. Gibbs saw his TEAM at work and knew, they may have hit a rough patch, but his TEAM would pull through, because after all they were family.

The END.

This final chapter almost got the better of me. I wanted some humor in it, but not to much since it's a serious issue. I am not entirely satisfied with it, but on the other hand it was the best I think I could have without compromising to much.