In the Dark

Chapter Twelve

Part I

Earth A (Ziva David and Tony DiNozzo)

When last we left Ziva David and Tony DiNozzo, they had witnessed what they thought was a car jacking of a green Malibu.

Tony then started to follow the car, and had instructed Ziva to sit close to him, so that they could pretend to be a couple cruising the highway, rather than two law-enforcement officials following a suspected crime-in-progress.

Ziva David had been on Earth A for some time, and had met the actors in NCIS who were portraying their counterparts on Earth B. She believed that Tony was in actual fact an actor, Michael Weatherly, although she had at one point harbored hope that the actor actually had been Tony, simply brainwashed into thinking he was an actor.

Tony, on the other hand, believed that he was Tony DiNozzo, but that he was in Los Angeles, California on a mission with Ziva, probably helping the NCIS: Los Angeles crew. He also thought that he had partial amnesia, though, because he couldn't remember how he'd gotten to Los Angeles or what that mission might be.

He drove along behind the other car, feeling the warmth of Ziva at his side.

"This is nice," he said. He felt Ziva's body shift as she gazed up at him, but she didn't say anything, as he'd half-expected she would. Something was going on with her…he wish he could remember what had happened in the last 24 hours.

Instead, Ziva said, "I'm beginning to wonder if I was wrong. The driver certainly isn't acting like a car-jacker."

"Yeah…we're going 40 on a 35 mile per hour stretch of road," Tony commented. "Nothing unusual in that. I can't really see how the passenger is behaving…if it was a car jacking you think he'd be cringed over as far as he could go, but he's sitting up in the seat normally."

"Perhaps the passenger is a she," Ziva mused. "She picks up her boyfriend, and he insists on driving, so she has to move over so he can take charge of the wheel."

"Maybe so," said Tony. "So what do you think, should we keep on following them?"

"For a little while, anyway," said Ziva.

Tony noted that even though she was having doubts about the hypothetical car jacking, she had not moved away from him. She certainly fit together quite nicely, snugly against his side, his right arm draped over her shoulder.

Finally, the car in front of them came to a halt. The passenger got out of the passenger side door…it was a man, not a woman, Ziva confirmed. But he certainly didn't seem to be under stress. He came around to the sidewalk as the driver de-carred.

"Looks like we were on a wild-goose chase," Ziva said.

"Wait a minute," Tony snapped. "Do you see that? They've both got guns!"

And indeed, Ziva had seen the driver take a gun from inside his jacket and hand it to the other man. He then flourished a gun of his own. The two men turned and went up into a building.

"Let's go," Tony said, but Ziva was already getting out her side of the car.

"Uh…wait a minute," said Tony. "I don't have a gun."

"Nor do I," said Ziva.

They looked at each other.

"You'd better stay out here," said Ziva, finally, thinking that the actor would be relieved to do so.

But he just stared at her. "Don't be silly, Ziva. If you're going in, I'm going in. But maybe we better stay out here and call for backup. We don't know what's going on in there."

"We can find out," Ziva exhorted him. "The element of surprise. We go in at speed, and I guarantee to have the two men disarmed within a few seconds."

Tony shook his head in admiration. "Okay, let's go for it."

They crept quietly into the hallway, which ran the length of the building, with two doors on either side. They split up, Tony taking the left hand side, Ziva the right hand side. They continued to creep along the hallway, but stopped at each of the doors, resting their ears against them to see if they could hear anything within.

Ziva found their quarry first. Loud voices were emanating from within her door. She turned and signaled to Tony. He joined her at the door. She jerked her head at it, and he nodded.

Taking a deep breath, Tony faced the door, settling himself, then lifting his leg he kicked right under the door lock. As he regained his balance, Ziva rushed in. He was right behind her.

And, now.

Part II

Ziva David and Tony DiNozzo burst into the Russian's apartment room, guns drawn, to find that Ludmilla Kropotkin and Vasily had things well under control. Two men were on the floor, one bleeding copiously from a bullet wound, the other clasping a gashed neck.

The two duos stared at each other, then Ziva and Tony holstered their weapons. They both glanced at each other…and the memories of how ZIva had spent the last several days and Tony the last several hours faded away…to be replaced my memories from Cote and Michael as the two energy streams merged briefly before being returned to their own particular worlds.

As for Cote de Pablo and Michael Weatherly, they burst into the room to find a crowd of people. The two men they had followed were brandishing weapons, but they had struck poses and were obviously acting. They had obviously walked into some kind of mystery game.

Everyone in the room turned and stared at them as they burst in.

"Oh my God," said one of them. "It's Ziva and Tony from NCIS!"

They were surrounded, hands extended to shake hands. Cote and Michael grinned appreciatively but bewilderedly…

And the next morning when they woke up in their own beds…the memories of the events of the last few days had faded away as if they had never been.

They showed up at the set, to be greeted by Mark Harmon, Sean Murray and Pauley Perrette, and began filming the next episode of NCIS.

But somewhere, in the backs of their minds, they remembered that they had stared into the fire and emerged without stain.

THE END