Chapter 2—Major Tom

McGee had described what had happened to Ziva as best he could, but Abby only half took it in, wondering what sight awaited her at the hospital. At the desk McGee flashed his badge and asked the nurse, "Has Ziva David been moved?"

"She is still in room 355," the nurse replied. "However I will need to call ahead to inform them you're coming."

Abby was shifting impatiently while the nurse dialed the appropriate person.

"Agent McGee plus one here to see patient # 355," the nurse said. "I'll send them right up," she replied, and hung up the phone. She looked back up at McGee and Abby and informed them, "You can go up now."

As McGee guided Abby to the correct elevator, Abby spun round and stated sternly, "Patient #355 has a name. Ziva."

If the nurse heard it, she didn't respond.

McGee said calmingly, "Easy Abby. Ziva's just a little banged up, she'll be fine."

Abby was silent the whole short elevator ride.

Tony was pacing in the hallway, on the phone to somebody, clearly preoccupied. "Abby," he said with a nod.

Abby burst into Ziva's room, not giving a thought to the possibility that Ziva may be asleep, or may just want quiet, in her eagerness to see her favourite Mossad officer. As she neared Ziva's bed, seeing her lying there pale and covered in bandages she all of a sudden remembered where she was and stopped short. The way she automatically flung out her arms for balance would have been comical if the situation wasn't so serious. Her face betrayed the question she could not bring herself to ask.

"She lost a fair amount of blood," Gibbs stated straightforwardly. "Most from the bullet she took. Some of the crates in the warehouse exploded and she and I took some shrapnel from that as well."

For the first time Abby took a good look at Gibbs, surveying his face and what she could see of his arms and hands. Whatever thought she had of taking Gibbs to task for not keeping her in the loop flew out the window. "Oh Gibbs!" she exclaimed sadly. She rushed over to where he was sitting and gave him a hug, a little more enthusiastically than his sore body appreciated, but he didn't complain.

"It's okay Abs," Gibbs said. "You know Ziva's strong. Doc said she's not going to be in here long anyways, just some rest to let herself heal." He smirked and added, "Though between you and me who wants to bet she'll find a way out of here sooner than advised?"

Gibbs was rewarded with a smile. "Oh she will," Abby agreed. "Probably drive the staff insane within two days." She withdrew from him, and, gesturing to him and McGee, ordered, "Get out."

They both sent her puzzled looks. "What?" McGee asked.

"Girl time Timmy," Abby stated. "No boys allowed. Go get some coffee or something." She followed after them and closed the door behind them. She turned back towards the bed, hands on her hips. She wasn't sure if Ziva was conscious or not, but she wasn't going to let that stop her. "Now Ziva," she lectured. "You are NEVER to do that to me again." The harshness of her words was tempered by the hurt looking pout on her face. She pulled the chair Gibbs had been sitting in over to the side of the bed. Looking at Ziva she was filled with an odd sort of feeling of protectiveness and something approaching, was it, selfishness? Sure Ziva had been in danger before, both before and during her time with NCIS, but something about this was different. The tension caused by the long wait for news had broken something inside her. What if it happened again? She couldn't very well stop any of them from doing their job, and wouldn't if she could, but it seemed impossible to go on as if nothing was amiss. She let words tumble out of her mouth, not worried about coherency with the lack of an audience (besides the hopefully unaware Ziva). "What am I to do with you, huh?" she asked. "I need someone to balance all that testosterone. And as much as you'd probably protest that you're more like one of the guys anyways, I know you're not." She cocked her head, and added, "Well you're not a frilly girl. And thank goodness you're not because I don't know how I'd take that. You wouldn't be half as interesting if you were afraid of getting dirty or always worrying about breaking a nail. But you remember the important little things." She smiled. "I like that." She glanced behind herself, wondering when the guys were going to return. "I'd better finish this up before they get back then huh?" she said. She gently ran a finger along a small cut on Ziva's face. "Wonder if this is going to scar…" she postulated. "Even if it does I wouldn't worry about it. Not that you will, but…it's very you. You're not perfect, and I can't tell you how refreshing that is. Which I guess means you are perfect. For me anyways." She stopped, oddly ashamed of her rambling. Odd as she rarely was ashamed, especially of her feelings. Her chest started to tighten, and she realized that she hadn't taken a single breath through that entire rant.

"You really should breathe," a faint voice said.

Abby breathed in sharply at the shock, not expecting Ziva to come to so soon. She looked at her speechless in happy surprise.

"Mission accomplished, no?" Ziva asked weakly with a bit of a smile.

Abby grinned enormously, replying, "I suppose so." Her face changed instantly as she sternly reprimanded Ziva. "Do NOT make me worry like that again."

"You need me to balance out the testosterone," Ziva stated.

Abby continued, not realizing what Ziva had just said, intent on working up a head of steam to barrel into another rant. "Or else," she threatened, "I will…tie you to my bedpost and not let you out of my sight! And I—" Her brain finally caught up with her ears. "Wait, you were awake for all that?" she asked slowly, knowing what the response was going to be, but refusing to believe it until she heard it.

"You seemed like you had something to get off your chest," Ziva replied in a tone that indicated it would have been accompanied by a shrug of her shoulders if she was physically capable at that moment.

"But you just let me ramble on like that," Abby stated petulantly.

"Think nothing of it," Ziva said, waving it off. "Now what was this about tying me up somewhere?" she added teasingly.

"I didn't mean like sexually," Abby explained. She minutely cocked her head as if considering something and continued, trying to save the conversation, "Anyhow. When you get out of here—"

"That would not be so bad," Ziva said softly, matter-of-factly considering the situation in light of Abby's recent revelations. "Though I think I have been tied up far too many times in worse circumstances to enjoy it."

Abby's brain came to a screeching halt at Ziva's words yet again. "What? You mean?"

"I think that I will need some help when I get out of here, yes?" Ziva stated.

Abby grinned. She was about to respond when the door opened loudly and a nurse strode in.

"Visit's over, sorry," the nurse stated, though she didn't seem very sorry. "Doctor's coming in to assess her, and then she needs to sleep."

Abby glared at the back of the nurse, muttering under her breath, "Just when we were finally getting somewhere."

Ziva smirked a bit at Abby's reaction to the intrusion.

Abby sent her a look meant to communicate that they'd talk later, and left the room with a bounce back in her step that had been noticeably absent when she had arrived.