Hi all, this is the sequel to Save Us, that I promised. We've jumped ahead in time here, Shai (pronounced Shy) is now five years old and he's got a baby sister, Rhia (pronounced Ree-ah). But, as always in my stories, something is challenging our family and it's up to them to find out what, and stop it before it can destroy everything. I hope you all enjoy this as much as you enjoyed Save Us :) Let me know what you think
I'll sing it one last time for you
Then I really have to go
You've been the only thing that's right
In all I've done
The squad room was silent, which was more than could be said for the rest of the NCIS headquarters. Already exhausted, Gibbs' team were too busy thinking about the numerous theories and vague 'what if's that had already punched too many holes in their case; a case which had been so closed to being solved only seconds before it had been plummeted back to square one. It was barely even midday, and in the five hours since they had started work the team had followed three separate leads, narrowed down the main suspect and approached him. However, they were not the only ones. Somebody else had the same idea, the same reasoning as them, and had approached him first. Unfortunately, this had happened to be a certain someone whom they had no means of identifying, but this someone also had some access to some hard chemicals and knew how to use them - or more specifically, they knew how to use them to poison their target.
Undetectable, Ducky had informed them. Whichever drug or chemical had been used in the murder of the suspect, it hadn't been picked up on the toxicology screens he had run. It was only when another lead turned up that he had performed further tests and discovered the toxins still lingering within their victim. With a sample on the way to Abby, Ducky had covered up the body and instructed Palmer to store their dead Petty Officer away while he spoke with Gibbs. At this, the rest of the team had been sent back upstairs, wordlessly ordered to find out who the hell was behind this before somebody else had to die for it. One look said it all, and Gibbs needed no words to get what he wanted from his agents. They knew that a killer on the loose was far more important than running out for lunch or coffee, no matter how desperately they craved it.
The team had changed in four and a half years. Ziva had returned from Israel four and a half years ago now, which seemed to have jumped forward a lot quicker than Tony thought as he collapsed into his desk chair. Right beside his monitor was two photograph frames, one made of silver, typically displaying the closest thing to a wedding photo he'd ever own; a photograph he considered to be one of his favourites. It had been taken in Ducky's house when they had been dancing for the first time as man and wife. Ziva was wearing that green dress that showed off all her child bearing curves, curves that he adored and was glad that she had never lost. Cradled against her chest in this photograph was their son, Shai, who was six months old at the time. So tiny, so fragile, so perfect.
The second photograph was more recent, taken only a year ago. It had been taken exactly five hours after his daughter had been born. It had been a long time before Tony and Ziva had even considered having another child together, mainly because Ziva still had an underlying fear that her father would come for Shai, let alone have another child to place in such danger. The conception of their daughter, however, had been an accident, yet remembering that smile when he had returned from a run and found her seated on the side of the bed, he knew instantly what it was she was waiting to tell him. They had named their daughter Rhia, and in the photograph beside his wedding photo was the first place tie for his favourite snap. Sure, you could blatantly see the arms of Abby and Tony in the photo, but it didn't change the fact that it was clearly Shai holding his newborn baby sister in his arms, a look of such excitement on his face was the little girl grabbed onto his little finger.
Ziva no longer worked as an agent at NCIS. He couldn't deny that he missed looking up and seeing her opposite him, even though it had been almost six years since she had sat at that desk, but that made no difference to him. She was, and always would be, his favourite partner. Agent Jessica Saunders was an excellent agent, to be sure. There was no doubt that she belonged on their team with her intuition and skills, but she would never be Ziva, and Tony would never even attempt to have the kind of relationship with his new partner that he had with Ziva.
Tony was already exhausted when he arrived at work, considering that Rhia had decided that she didn't want to sleep the night before, and that everyone in the house needed to be awake with her. It was strange, considering she had always been such a good sleeper, but she had been a bit feverish, which explained it. Fighting back the sigh clogging in his chest, he stood up, pacing around the squad room to try and clear his mind.
"Right, what do we know?" he asked, immediately falling into his 'I'm the boss when Gibbs isn't here' routine.
"Three murders, all poisoned," McGee started.
"One of whom was our main suspect," Jessica pointed out.
"Our killer has to have access to chemicals, especially to make this so undetectable," McGee elaborated.
"So, we're looking for a professional," Tony nodded. "What do the victims have in common?"
Jessica looked down at her list. Checking, double checking, triple checking…
"Well?" he asked.
"Nothing," she concluded reluctantly.
"There has to be something," he insisted. "We have to be missing something."
"There's nothing," she confirmed.
"First victim was Petty Officer Claudia Roberts," McGee recited. "Husband and two teenage daughters. She was found dead by her car in her daughters' school parking lot."
"Second victim was Lieutenant Peter Mitchell," Jessica read off the service record before her. "No wife, no kids. Discovered by his neighbour, face down in the garden roses."
"And our third victim was our suspect," Tony finished. He ran his hands over his face, trying to force some energy out of nowhere. "There has to be something," he repeated.
Tony's phone rang and he grabbed it, leaning over the front of his desk. "Special Agent DiNozzo," he answered.
There was no mistaking the voice, but he was shocked to hear such an emotional tone to it.
"Ziva?" he asked. "Everything okay?"
McGee watched as Tony dropped the confident exterior he had just adopted. Suddenly things didn't seem so much about the case anymore. It didn't take a rocket scientist to work out that something bad had happened from the way that Tony answered stoically and with a hand running through his already dishevelled hair, but he just didn't know what, and from Tony's reactions and words, he wasn't sure he wanted to ask.
"What?!…What do you mean, is everything okay?…What happened?…When did this start?…Okay, calm down, it's okay. I'm on my way right now. I'll be there soon….okay, just stay right there, I'm coming. I love you."
With that, he put the phone down, staring at the desk in front of him. He let out one single, shaking breath, and McGee got up from his desk going over to him. "Tony, everything okay?" he asked.
Tony shook his head, actually biting his lip as he raised his eyes to that of the younger agent, his Probie - even after all these years. There was something in his eyes, something that scared him…something that told him that whatever Ziva had said to him on the phone was something that he definitely didn't want to know. Then, just like that, Tony jumped into action, sweeping everything into his bag in one swift, well-practiced motion.
"Tony, what's going on?" he asked again, realising after a moment that it could have only been one thing, especially when Tony stopped for a moment to look at a particular photograph frame on his desk. "Is it the kids?"
Tony nodded. "Hospital," he said, his voice rushed and anxious. "I have to get to the hospital, now."
"What happened?" he asked.
"I don't know," he shook his head. "Ziva doesn't know. Whatever it is…no one knows."
"Shai or Rhia?" he asked hesitantly.
"Both of them," he mumbled, his eyes looking down at the photograph for answers that he hadn't been told.
"Where's DiNozzo?" Gibbs asked as he entered the squad room thirty minutes later. McGee looked up, his expression saddened and panicked for a moment, but he was saved from answered when Gibbs' cell rang. "Yeah, Gibbs," he answered.
"Boss, it's me."
"DiNozzo," he greeted gruffly. "Where the Hell are you?"
"At the hospital. Bethesda. Our killer found his next victims."
"Victims?" he repeated. "It's a multiple."
"The parents been informed?" he asked.
"Yeah, the parents are here," Tony whispered. "We're here."
And then, he just knew. He stopped what he was doing, and just stared at the desk before him. "Tony…"
"It's our kids, boss. It's Shai and Rhia…" Tony's voice changed somewhat, and he started to sound rather desperate. "They've been poisoned, boss. We don't know how, but….but they keep crying for us, and Shai's not even trying to be brave like he normally does. They're crying for us, really screaming, but the doctors won't…they won't let us go to them. They won't even tell us what they're going to do…"
"Tony," he cut him off.
"Stay where you are," he instructed softly. "I'm on my way."
Tony hung up the phone, staring at it for a moment before he reacted. Gibbs was on his way. That was good. Gibbs would know what to do. He'd take one look at the situation and have an answer for everything. He put his phone back in his pocket, remembering how the nurse had glared at him when he first dialled Gibbs' number, angrily pointing to a sign that read 'no cell phones'. A flash of his badge had sorted that out, even if the nurse hadn't looked that please about it.
He went back into the emergency room, or rather, the hall outside it which he and Ziva had been forced to wait in. He'd barged in, found his wife sitting there almost hysterically as she filled out forms, endless forms about their children's health, height, weight, allergies, any medications, full medical history. He'd taken one look at the pile of paper beside his wife and headed to the reception desk, demanded to know where Shai and Rhia were, and what, exactly, had happened to them. He'd been told to calm down and that someone would be out shortly to explain what was happening. Of course, this wasn't good already, but it had been worse when he had sat down beside Ziva, relieved her of the forms and drawn her into his arms just as they heard what sounded like Shai coughing up that morning's breakfast and begging for his mother. This had only made Ziva more distressed because she couldn't go to him.
A doctor came out moments after to explain it to them. A foreign toxin in their bloodstreams. More than likely ingested, although they couldn't be certain at this stage. Poisoned. Their young son and baby daughter had been poisoned.
Now, Ziva was sat in one of the waiting area chairs, one of the more uncomfortable ones with plastic covered seats. Beside her was a pile of magazines and books for very young children, but she was paying them no attention unlike the man at the other end of their row of chairs. That man was sat flicking through a celebrity glossy as if he had really been seated in the park, whereas Ziva was perched on the edge of her seat, clutching tightly to her star of David necklace and staring into nothing. Tony approached her, sitting beside her, but she didn't notice him. In fact, she didn't even move until he placed his hands over hers, if not to ease the trembling then to prevent her snapping the chain on her necklace.
"I called Gibbs," he told her softly, when she finally reacted and grasped his hands tightly.
"Is he coming?" she asked, not taking her eyes off the door before them, the door that they weren't allowed to go through. The door that prevented them from taking care of their sick children.
He nodded. "He's on his way right now. Did the doctors tell you anything more?"
She shook her head, fighting to keep her lips from trembling. "They will not tell me anything. They…they will not tell me," she told him, determined not to break down as she rested her head on his shoulder.
He immediately wrapped one arm around her shoulder, holding her tightly to him whilst still gripping her hand. His lips found the side of her head. "They're going to be okay," he assured her, desperately attempting to keep his own voice from wavering.
She took a shuddering breath against him, and he could tell that she was holding back sobs. "Somebody has hurt them, Tony," she half-whimpered, a sound he had not heard from her since she first walked back into the squad room with Shai at six months old, begging him to save them. "They are just children. Somebody has done this to them deliberately. Why?"
He settled for saying nothing, and just kissing her hair once again, if only because he couldn't bare to tell her that this was more than likely a revenge attack against them.