A Helping Hand
Disclaimer: NCIS is not mine; I've just borrowed them
Parings: Giva, tiny, tiny hint of McGiva `
Genres: Hurt/Comfort, Angst, Friendship
Summary: Something's up with Ziva and Gibbs wants to find out.
A/N Written as a NFA hangman prize for Sherry (smackalicious) who requested a fic with the following prompt: Leroy Jethro Gibbs / Ziva David / elevators.
The bullpen was silent. Ziva was staring off into space and Tony was sneaking her worried and furtive looks every couple of seconds. Tony had just completed his twentieth look when Ziva's head snapped around and her eyes narrowed in on Tony. He flinched.
"Is there something you want, Tony," Ziva snapped.
"Uh, no?" Tony blushed slightly, only slightly.
"Then stop staring at me," Ziva hissed, glaring at Tony.
"I wasn't staring," Tony protested. "I was looking out the window!"
Ziva rolled her eyes. "From that distance?"
Tony shrugged sheepishly. "Yeah?"
"Just . . ." Ziva looked frustrated. "Just stop it."
Tony took a deep breath and said hesitantly, "Look, I'm just worried . . ."
"Worried that your shirt will not match your tie," Ziva cut in harshly, remembering an earlier conversation where Tony and McGee were debating wardrobe choices. "For you date with Jasmine, yes? She is what? Seventeen?"
Ziva smiled harshly. "Even I thought you were above underage girls."
"That was mean, Ziva. And frankly I'm appalled you'd even think that." Tony looked hurt, but the look on Ziva's face showed that she didn't care.
Tony threw up his hands in annoyance. "Fine," he huffed. "See if I care. At least I have feelings," he shot back.
A look of hurt flashed across Ziva's face, but it was gone within a second. Tony glared at Ziva before turning back to his computer. He didn't bother to shoot her concerned looks again.
They sat there in silence until Gibbs stormed into the bullpen, startling both Ziva and Tony. He gave Tony a pointed look before coming to a halt in front of Ziva's desk.
Ziva looked up from where she was picking at her nails. "Yes?" she asked bluntly.
"Ziva, with me," he said, impassive.
When Ziva didn't respond, Gibbs barked, "Don't make me order you, David."
Rolling her eyes, Ziva stood and stepped out from behind her desk. She said nothing.
"Don't roll your eyes at me, Ziva," Gibbs snapped and ushered her out of the bullpen.
He marched her over to the elevator and jabbed the button. When the elevator arrived, he ordered, "In." Ziva shot Gibbs an uninterested look and stepped into the elevator.
As the doors closed and Gibbs pressed the emergency stop button putting the carriage into darkness, Ziva said in a clipped tone, "Yes?"
Gibbs glared at her. "Don't take that tone with me, Officer David."
Ziva shrugged. "You are not my father."
"And at this moment, I'm very glad I'm not," Gibbs shot back. "You are acting like an insolent child."
"So?" Ziva said flippantly.
Gibbs looked frustrated and annoyed. "Damnit, Ziva! Talk to me!"
Ziva eyes narrowed. "What do you want me to say? That is was my fault? Because it was not. McGee was an idiot and he paid the price."
Gibbs glowered at Ziva and actually looked livid. "McGee," he hissed, "is in hospital with a bullet hole in his chest. Show a little respect."
"These things happen." Ziva looked bored and played with her fingernails.
"Look at me when I am talking to you!" Gibbs roared. Ziva looked up and met his eye, staring at him emotionlessly.
Gibbs sighed and gripped the railing in the elevator. "Christ, Ziva. What's wrong with you today?"
"Nothing," Ziva replied in a flat voice. "I am fine."
Gibbs closed his eyes and breathed deeply, trying to control his anger. "Ziva . . ."
"I did nothing wrong!" Ziva yelled, pulling back from Gibbs.
"I'm not here to tell you off, Ziva," Gibbs said quietly. "I'm here to see if you are okay."
"I am fine," Ziva repeated curtly and a flicker of emotion passed across her face. "What do you want me to do?! Abby is doing enough fretting for the entire NCIS body. Why dwell on something that has already happened?"
She shrugged. "I am fine."
Gibbs rolled his eyes. "Then why are you still wearing your bloody clothes?" Gibbs eyed her blood stained outfit.
Perhaps, for the first time, Ziva realised that she was indeed still covered in McGee's blood that had soaked into her as she had tried to stem the bleeding only a couple of hours ago.
Her eyes widened and she stumbled backwards, jarring her back into the elevator wall. Gibbs' hand shot out to steady her.
"Whoa, steady on," Gibbs said calmly as Ziva clutched at his arm.
"I am okay," Ziva said weakly, trying to detangled herself from Gibbs' grip.
Gibbs looked at Ziva's pale face and shook his head. "Try again, Ziva."
Ziva's eyes flashed dangerously. "I have seen worse," she snapped, resorting to bitter words rather than show weakness.
"I don't doubt that," Gibbs said calmly, unflinching at Ziva's dramatic mood change.
"Then you will know that I am fine," Ziva said coolly, pulling away from Gibbs. "I have seen strips of flesh burnt off colleagues and friends that have been reduced to nothing more than a bloody mess. It is nothing new."
Gibbs sighed. "It's okay to be upset."
"I am not upset," Ziva yelled.
"Could've fooled me," Gibbs retorted dryly and then said, "Want to try again?"
"We are done here," Ziva announced. She flicked the emergency stop button and the elevator sprang back to life.
Gibbs slapped her on the back the head and pushed the emergency stop button, throwing the carriage back into darkness. "We are not done until I say we are," he growled.
Ziva scowled and crossed her arms defiantly.
Gibbs shrugged. "We can stay here for as long as you like."
Ziva stared him down before saying flatly and slightly sarcastically, "Fine. I am upset. We screwed up and McGee got shot. It is all my fault and for that, I am going to hell. Happy now?"
Ziva huffed. "I gave you what you wanted."
"Exactly," Gibbs pointed out. "And don't think I didn't notice your tone of voice. We have all day and all night. Your choice."
Ziva turned away from Gibbs and stared defiantly at the darkened carriage walls. Gibbs waited patiently, staring at Ziva's back. He watched as Ziva tensed, sighed and turned around.
"Is McGee okay?" she asked finally, gazing at the floor.
"He's fine," Gibbs said calmly. "It was a through and through. Besides a little blood loss, he'll be back at work in no time."
Ziva nodded and murmured, "Good." She paused and asked softly, "Did I screw up, Gibbs?"
Gibbs softened. "What makes you say that?"
She shrugged. "I do not know. Perhaps if I had . . ."
Gibbs reached out to Ziva and placed a hand on her shoulder. He used his other hand to force Ziva to look at him. "You didn't screw up, Ziva."
Ziva looked pained. "But . . ."
"No, you said it yourself." Gibbs shook his head. "You did nothing wrong." He paused. "I talked to McGee at the hospital. There was nothing either of you could have done to prevented it. It wasn't your fault."
"Then why do I feel like this?" Ziva asked, looking like a lost child.
"Because you care, Ziva," Gibbs replied gently. "And that makes you a good person."
"But I was mean to Tony," Ziva blurted out.
Gibbs shrugged. "He's a big boy. He'll get over it. He knows you didn't mean it."
"I did," Ziva said softly. "Kind of."
"That was the shock talking," Gibbs said and when Ziva opened her mouth to protest, Gibbs shook his head.
"You didn't mean it," he repeated.
"I guess not."
Gibbs smiled. "See, not so hard."
Ziva offered Gibbs a weak smile and then hesitated, "Milk or dark?"
"What?" Gibbs looked confused.
"Chocolate," Ziva said shyly. "Do you know what McGee prefers? When I visit him in the hospital?"
"I'm sure he'll appreciate anything you get," Gibbs replied.
Ziva grinned wickedly. "Even porn magazines?"