McGee and Abby have not been behaving for me lately, so I decided to try something a little different. I realize about a hundred "Ziva is rescued" fics have been written already, but here's my take... whole team/family, with a hint of Tony/Ziva at the end. Enjoy!

She drifted in and out on the trip home.

She had been mostly conscious when the doctor had examined her. "Nothing life-threatening that I can see," he'd said gruffly, sounding detached. Vaguely, she wondered if he had seen too many torture victims, or too few. "Make sure you check her into a hospital for observation when you get her back to the States, but she can travel."

On the plane, she kept waking up with jerks and whimpers, until Gibbs and McGee took turns holding her while she slept. She would still wake every once in a while, but she immediately felt Gibbs' hand, gentle on her hair, or smelled the clean scent of McGee's soap, and she was comforted.

Once, she woke as McGee was asking someone a question. "No, she won't want me," a familiar voice answered. "You stay with her." Tony's voice, in that carefully blank tone he used when he was trying not to feel anything.

She was not sure if she wanted him or not, but she was glad to know he was there. Clinging a little closer to McGee, she felt his arm tighten carefully around her in response, and drifted back to sleep.


The hospital was a little less fuzzy. "Two days," the doctor decreed. And she was too tired to argue, so she lay on the scratchy sheets and was tested and monitored and observed for what felt like weeks instead of days.

They rarely left her alone, but she didn't mind. Ducky came and told her half a dozen stories, holding her hand around the finger splints and always giving her a light kiss on the forehead before he left. Palmer never stayed long, but he beamed at her so cheerfully that she could not help trying to smile back, even though it hurt the cut on her lip. The first time Abby came to visit, she rushed through the door at top speed. McGee caught her around the waist and said something quietly – but firmly – in her ear, and she slowed down. No force, natural or otherwise, could stop Abby from hugging someone when she set her mind to it, but it was a very, very gentle hug. After that, she chattered happily away, overjoyed when Ziva made small noises of agreement or encouragement at various intervals. Eventually, she saw that Ziva was getting tired, and headed home, but not before another careful hug. And when she left, Bert the hippo stayed behind, resting on the edge of the bed.

Sometimes while she was dozing, Ziva would reach out to touch his soft grey fur.

McGee sat contentedly for hours with his laptop. He seemed lost in some world of his own, but his attention came immediately back to her every time she shifted, or her breathing changed. He would watch her for a moment, making sure she didn't need anything, and then return to his computer.

And when she woke in the middle of the night, Gibbs' profile was silhouetted against the dim light from the hall. He sat close enough to her bed that she could reach out and touch him, sipping from his ever-present cup of coffee.

She closed her broken fingers awkwardly over a fold of his sleeve. "How did you –" she croaked.

"Shhh…" Gibbs murmured, brushing her hair back from her forehead. "Later, Ziver. Just sleep, now."


The morning she was being released, she opened her eyes and found Tony sitting in a chair by the door. His face was as carefully blank as his voice had been on the plane.

"McGee and Abby are getting you some clothes and stuff," he told her, once he saw that she was awake. "And Ducky has an extra bedroom ready for you, and he and Gibbs are taking care of all the paperwork to get you discharged. Abby's going to stay with you too, until you can get around better on your own. They wanted to keep you another day, but Ducky says if you're going home with a doctor, he should be able to talk them out of it. If that doesn't work, Gibbs will stare at them. We figured you'd want to get out of here as soon as possible."

They figured right. "How...Why am I here? Why did they not send someone from Mossad to take me back to Tel Aviv?"

A muscle shifted in Tony's jaw. "Short…ish version is that until we got you back here, they weren't entirely sure where you were. We'll get you on a plane as soon as you're a little more mobile, if you decide that's what you want."

If that's what you want. She tried to remember the last time she had done something simply because she wanted to do it. "And the long-ish version?"

He sighed. "McGee and Abby got worried when they never heard back from you. Me and Gibbs, that was one thing. But you had no reason to stop talking to them. And they kept at Gibbs until he started to worry – well, actually he was already worried, but they made him more worried – and then he started on Vance, who talked to your father to try and just get confirmation that you were okay, except your father wouldn't say anything, so we started doing some digging, and then some more digging, the kind that requires backhoes and earth moving equipment, and eventually tracked you down." Tony paused, and part of her wanted to know exactly what miracles they had performed to find her.

Most of her was just grateful.

"Vance wanted to pass the info over to Mossad," he continued, "but Gibbs threatened to quit if he did. Vance was probably tempted to take him up on it, but then McGee and Abby said they'd quit too, and the director thinks McGeek hung the moon, for some reason, and if Abby quit he'd have to hire about three people to replace her, and did you know our team has one of the highest solve rates in the agency? So they let us come get you."

"What…" Her voice was still scratchy. "What about you?"

Tony shifted uncomfortably, and glanced to the door, as if hoping for a timely interruption. "I was down at my desk," he admitted. "Vance threw me out when I started yelling at him right after he suggested we turn our intel over to Mossad."

A tiny smile tugged at the corner of her mouth. She could just picture the whole scene. She wished she had been there to see it. "You have not been here before," she said quietly.

"Yeah, I have." He nodded towards the hallway. "Out there. I've been bringing everyone food, hanging around. I didn't know…" His gaze flicked to her face, their eyes meeting directly for the first time. "I didn't know if you'd want to see me."

Ziva sighed and let her eyes fall closed. "I do not know either."

They sat in silence for several minutes. "I'm sorry, Ziva," he said, his voice low. "You know I would – at least, I hope you know that I would never deliberately do anything to hurt you. Not like that."

"You should have stayed out of my life," she said, her eyes still closed.

"Like you've always stayed out of mine?" he snapped, the words sounding loud and harsh after two days of quieter, soothing tones.

She squeezed her eyes more tightly closed, then forced herself to relax when the action pulled at muscles that were still healing. They were quiet again, and she heard him stand up and start pacing.

"I wanted to love him," she said finally. "I do not know if he was sent by my father to try and lure me back to Israel, or secure my loyalty or if he really loved me. I will probably never know. But I wanted to love him because loving Michael would have been simple. Shared background, shared sense of duty. I would go back to Tel Aviv, and my father would be happy. Someday he would have perfect Israeli grandchildren to spoil the way he never spoiled his own children, and I would have a family like everyone else, the kind of family I wanted when I was a child." She opened her eyes in time to see him lean his head back against the wall and let out a tired breath. "I wanted to love him," she said. "But I do not know that I ever truly would have."

Tony seemed to be studying the pattern of acoustic tiles on the ceiling. "You have a family, Ziva," he told her after a moment, and finally that horrible blankness in his voice was gone. Instead, he sounded impossibly sad, but tender. "It's not really a normal family, and we don't come in the standard package, but you have people who love you, no matter what."

Ziva smiled as best as she was able. "I know that. Especially now."

She did not tell him about the other life she thought about sometimes, where she was always torn between her duty to her homeland and her attachment to her adopted country and agency and family. Where she had the love of her family, but the distant disapproval of her father. The life she had seen sometimes when she looked at him, with intense fights that ended in great sex, children falling asleep in their laps on movie nights, loud, crazy dinners in English and Hebrew and Italian, and a menorah next to a tinsel-filled Christmas tree.

It was not a simple life. But it was one that she could never quite get out of her head.

A small sound drew her attention, and she twisted her head carefully and saw Tony with his hand on the doorknob. "Tony."

He turned at the sound of his name on her lips. "Yeah?"

"I do not want…" …to be alone, she thought, but could not quite admit. "Please do not go?"

His eyes softened, and he gave her a small nod and sat back down in the chair by the door.

There were many things she was still not sure about.

But she was glad he was there.