Hey yall. Sorry this took so long to get up but i really had no idea on how to end this story. I had thought about making it longer going through all the stuff but i thought it would be kinda boring while Tony is in the hospital. And i am sorry if this chapter sux but i really had no idea on how to end it. I hope that this is okay and if not please let me know. And i am SOOO sorry i screwed up the last chapter so bad. While writing it i guess i just kinda zoned out and forgot that he had a ventilator in. I really hope that didn't irk you all off too much. This is my first fic after all and i can only hope not to screw up like that in the future and thank you to all who pointed out that error. And finally This is the final chapter and i want to thank all of you who reviewed this story. It kept me motivated to keep writing it and is helping to increase my skills (not that i have much) But seriously thank you all so much. And without anymore gilding the lilly, the last chapter.
Four months later Bethesda Hospital
Tony was constantly fidgeting in the wheelchair, grumbling under his breath. He turned to the beautiful woman pushing him and said, "I have been in a wheelchair for two months. Last week I got crutches and could walk on my own. Now I get to leave and they put me in the damn chair again." He turned back towards the front with a scowl on his face.
Ziva just kept pushing him and said, "Calm down you drama king. You have to sit in the chair for a total of ten minutes until I get you outside the hospital. It is a small price to pay to get to leave here, yes?" Tony dropped his scowl but still wasn't happy with the situation. "Drama queen." He muttered under his breath. Ziva still heard it and a small smile crossed her features.
She had been visiting Tony everyday since he had been admitted to the hospital. Their relationship had blossomed in that time and she and Tony both could not wait for him to be home. She loved their hospital dates as Tony had called them but there is only so much that can happen within the confines of a hospital. Plus the fact that she was relishing the idea of an actual date at a restaurant. Hospital food isn't very romantic even if Tony let her have his pudding every night.
Tony's recovery was going extremely well from what the doctors had said. His ribs had healed nicely and his lungs were back to the way they were before the explosion, not that they were all that great but still no lasting damage had occurred. And all of his bones were mending nicely. His leg cast would be off in less than a month and his arm in two. Then all they had to look forward to was the physical therapy he would require to get his arm and leg back into field agent condition. The director had even said that when Tony was ready to come back his spot would be waiting for him.
In the meantime a temporary agent had been placed on the team and they hadn't really had any major cases. All in all everything was working out just fine. Tony was healing well, his and Ziva's relationship was going strong even though they could not wait until they could take things to a more physical level. They had tried once considering she liked to be on top but a very awkward moment when a nurse came in to check why Tony's heart rate had spiked had ruined the mood so to speak and they hadn't tried again since.
Kort was being sent to Guantanamo Bay for terrorism. Tony had loathed the fact that the hospital would not release him for the trial but he felt that at least justice had been done. Tony had an idea that when he was fully healed he would take a bump down to Cuba to check in on his old friend. That thought always brought a smile to his face.
But all that led up to this moment. Tony being discharged and staying at Ziva's house. He loved the idea of being there when she got home from work and asking about her day. But he still had a bit of the chauvinist in him and kinda thought it should be the other way around. He never mentioned this to her because even though they were doing really well she could still hurt him in many painful ways, he knew what she could do with a paperclip but just thinking what she could do to him with one of his crutches made him shiver.
They finally made it into the elevator and Ziva placed her hand on Tony's shoulder. He reached his own hand up and gently laid it on top of hers. He looked back and up at her and said, "I love you and I don't deserve you." She smirked down at him and said, "I know. But I like the fact that you know it too." He chuckled at her joke smiled brightly at her. Still keeping his hand on hers he said, "Your apartment first or mine to pick up some stuff?" She looked up at the closed doors of the elevator and said, "My place. Me and Abby have already been to your apartment to pick up some of your stuff." He opened his mouth to say something but she interrupted by saying, "Do not worry. Your TV, DVD player, and a large collection of your movies were the first on our list. They are at my house already connected and waiting for you."
A huge smile was plastered across his face at that. She continued, "But we have to get you changed and I have been instructed to take you somewhere." This caused his smile to falter and frown. "And where may I asked are you taking me?" She leaned down so her lips brushed against his ear as she whispered, "It is a surprise." Then she kissed him on the cheek and he didn't dread what the surprise was after that.
"Okay Ziva? You know I love you and everything but why did I have to put on a tux?" Tony asked as they were on the freeway headed to Arlington. Not that Tony was complaining but he had to cut an extra whole in his belt so the extra large pants that his cast wouldn't fall down. Plus his other cast made him extremely self-conscious. Black tux offset by stark white cast was not a good look for him.
He glanced over at Ziva behind the wheel and thanked his lucky stars that she was his. She was wearing an amazing red dress that reached right above her knees and had a low neckline. Tony loved that they were dressed up but he was starting to get nervous now.
She weaved in and out of traffic every time that Tony had asked a question about where they were going so Tony once again shut his mouth. She was being extremely careful, well her version of extremely careful, about her driving which added up to going only ten miles over the speed limit and only cutting people off when her exits came up.
She reached over and rubbed the back of his neck and taking a small amount of pity on him said, "We are going to a party Tony. And our presence was not requested it was ordered." She turned her attention back on the road while Tony absorbed this information. He thought to all the party's that agents were obligated to attend and he could only think of a few reasons they would be ordered to come. Anyway he pushed it to the back of his mind and said, "Fine. But can we leave a little early? I want to get back home and see if we can finish what we started in the hospital." He wiggled his eyebrows at her and she smiled seductively and said, "If you are a good boy." She lightly slapped him on the cheek.
Clarendon Ballroom, Arlington, VA
Tony and Ziva walked into the elegant ballroom. The place looked amazing. Tables littered half of the floor while the other was reserved as a dance floor. On the side with the tables stood a small raised area with a podium on it and a curtain across the back. On the dance floor side there was a stage with a band playing softly. The tables had white tablecloths and fancy silverware with a small centerpiece of candles.
Off to one side was a bar and a small buffet style or'durve table. The room was filled with people either sitting at their tables or milling around conversing with each other.
They walked into the room and met a small man there who asked, "Can I help you?" Tony not knowing exactly what to do said nothing while Ziva said, "Agent Tony DiNozzo and Officer Ziva David." The man looked through a list he was carrying and smiled at them. He said, "Table four. Near the front." Ziva smiled at the man and lead Tony through the area.
Tony knew almost all of the agents here and was greeted warmly by all of them. Warm praises of welcome back and glad your ok or can't wait 'til your back followed the pair as they reached their table. Tony gave Ziva a fowl look as she attempted to help him into his chair until she backed away with a smirk on her face. Tony eased himself into the chair watching his team member's eye him suspiciously waiting for the moment he would ask for help. When he was seated he gave them all a smile that said, "See. I can do it myself." To Gibbs and Ziva it looked like a small boy who rode his bike for the first time with no hands.
The conversation was freely flying around the table as the food was brought out for all of them to eat. Abby and McGee were discussing the differences between PC and Mac, Ducky was trying to regale Gibbs and Palmer with a story of a woman he met at an event similar to this one. Tony and Ziva were trying to get Abby and McGee off their subject and switch it to something that the entire table could possibly relate to, or as Tony put it, "Come on guys. I have been listening to medical mumbo jumbo for months and the day I get out I gotta listen to tech mumbo jumbo? Enough with the geek speak."
Finally there was a loud thumping from the speakers and the table looked up to see a man standing at the podium. After a few moments the crown quieted down to listen to the man. He said, "Hello to all of you and thank you for being here tonight. My name is Charles Conklin. I am the new assistant director for NCIS. I am sure a lot of you do not know what you are doing here tonight and I am going to try to alleviate some of the confusion. Four and a half months ago we lost some fine agents. But more to the fact we lost something more. That day we lost coworkers, mother's fathers, sons, and daughters. We lost friends."
Tony's eyes were carefully memorizing the small patterns of the tablecloth. His mind raced back to that particular day and tears started to prickle the back of his eyes. He felt a hand close around his and he looked at the hand and followed up it's arm to Ziva's face. A small sad smile graced her features as she squeezed his hand reassuringly. Tony let a small smile cross his face as he squeezed back.
Assistant Director Conklin continued, "We all know the risk that comes with this profession. Our friends who lost their lives in this tragedy knew that as well. But they accepted that risk everyday with no apprehension. For what some might ask. What is worth the risk? And I can't honestly say I have the right answer to that. But I do know is that all it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing. And our fallen comrades took up the fight. To try to make this world a better place. To make others feel safe and protected. I might not be a smart man but I know that that amount of courage and bravery is nothing short of heroism."
The entire crowd standing and clapping interrupted the speaker. Tony looked around the room while he was clapping himself. The room was truly taken by the mans words and there were more than a few teary eyes in the room.
The man at the podium was using his hands to try and quiet the crowd. After a few moments the clapping subsided and the man continued, "Our fallen friends are truly hero's. And another thing I know is that we must all honor our hero's. And to that affect ladies and gentlemen I give you the secretary of the Navy."
The crowd started clapping again as the assistant director moved back from the podium and turned to where the SecNav was coming out from behind the curtain. The SecNav shook the A.D's hand and then turned to the podium. The applause died down and AD Conklin took his seat behind the podium.
The SecNav turned to the A.D and said, "Thank you Assistant Director Conklin. Truer words have never been said." He turned back to the crowd and said, "We can never truly ease the pain and suffering that comes from losing a loved one. No amount of platitudes or speeches made can ease it. Nor can we express how much we will miss them for our heartache would never reach the depth of yours. But we can honor them. Honor the sacrifice's they made and honor the ideals that they held close. The families of our fallen friends could not be here tonight. But they each have received one of the highest honors that this agency can bestow upon an agent. The meritorious service cross."
The crowd again erupted into applause at the knowledge that the fallen agents would be receiving their due.
He began to speak again after the crowd had died down. He said, "I have one more honor to give tonight. This agent has shown all of us what bravery and courage truly is. Through his actions innocent lives were saved. A homegrown terrorist cell was revealed and able to be taken down to never harm this country again. He placed himself in grave peril to save other agents of his team and through his actions made the arrest of the mastermind behind our agent's deaths possible. Could Senior Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo join me on stage please."
The crowd erupted into thunderous applause. Tony looked around bewildered with wide eyes. Everyone in the room was standing and applauding. He looked around the table at his friends and they too were clapping and smiling down at him even Gibbs. Tony made no move to get up. Ziva leaned down and placed a chaste kiss upon his lips and whispered in his ear, "You should not keep the secretary of the Navy waiting." She stood back up and winked at him. Tony smiled and shook his head but attempted to get up. He slide back into his chair and said to Ziva, "I hate to do this really but could you help me up there?" His face was bright red from embarrassment but Ziva just smiled and nodded. With her help Tony made it up out of his chair and up onto the stage. Once he was set Ziva took a step back towards the other side so she was not in the limelight.
Tony just stood there on stage not quite believing what was going on but he stood at attention like he had seen others do at these ceremonies.
The SecNav turned back to the podium and said, "Agent DiNozzo you have shown the best what our agency is capable of. During a time of tragedy you stood up and showed keen intellect, bravery, and unmeasured courage. For your actions you are also awarded the Meritorious Service Cross." Tony beamed with pride and cast a look at Gibbs. Gibbs smiled at Tony and nodded his head to show that he believed every word the SecNav just said.
The SecNav continued, "I wish I could award you this myself but someone else came forward who I thought could do it better than I could. Miss Becca James."
The crowd began clapping again as one of the curtains on the right side of the stage began to flutter. Tony turned towards the right confused as to who this person was. His breath caught in his throat as he recognized the blond hair and blue eyes of the girl that had seared itself into his memory. Tony had the most genuine bright smile on his face as the girl shyly walked up to him. She was holding the medal in her hands by the ribbon that connected to it. She came to a stop in front of him and she motioned for him to lean down. He leaned down towards her and she placed the medal around his neck. When it was secured she wrapped her arms around him and whispered, "Thank you." He held her for a few moments until a few tears started to fall. They released each other and smile brightly at the other. Tony took her hand and smiled around the room. He turned to look at Ziva and she had tears running down her face and she mouthed the words, "I love you." Tony had never smiled so big in his life.
The crowd never stopped applauding.