The usual disclaimers apply.

Super quick author's note: This story was started literally years ago. It sat on my hard drive in bits and pieces for a very long time with only a minimal amount of effort going into the completion of it. It's still not finished but I believe it's nearly there. And while I may well be a hurt/comfort junkie, I don't go for detailed descriptions of the hurt in question.


Claustrophobia was imminent, but that wasn't so unusual given the fact they had been on stake out detail for three days already. Three shifts spent in the panel van with just one other person for company, too much coffee and far too many doughnuts were enough to drive anyone insane. Had Ziva been more of the talkative sort, Tony thought that the evenings spent in the surveillance van might not have been so bad.

The panel van was not exactly where Tony had intended to spend his weekend. Unfortunately, no amount of complaining or pleading could save him from the duty, nor could it alter his stakeout partnership. He leaned back in his seat, headphones clapped over his ears, and grinned at Ziva. She studied the surveillance video screen with far more intensity than he thought was truly necessary.

Their stakeout detail had, thus far, been wholly uneventful. The mark had not budged from the townhouse they had traced him to since early the previous evening and then only to pay a quick visit to one of his neighbors who had appeared to be entertaining the entire DC metro area at an ear-splitting party. The wire tap on his phone had proved that he was not a popular fellow and the bug they had placed in his home only relayed to Tony that the man had a serious and quite possibly dangerous obsession with Russian composers.

Lifting one earphone, he asked, "So, what did you have planned for this weekend before we got pulled for this?"

Ziva didn't lift her eyes from the video screen. "Things I had to postpone."

"You know, the time would go a lot faster with a little conversation."

That did cause her to glance at him, if only for a second. "And what conversation topic would prove the most effective, in your opinion?"

He grinned. "I've always been fond of taboo topics…"

"And obscure movie references," she added softly.

He glared half-heartedly, deciding to change the subject rather than take the bait she dangled so easily. "When is McGeek supposed to bring us dinner?"

She glanced away from the screen again to check the time. "Another hour."

He dropped his head back further and spun his seat as much as was permitted in the cramped space. He was still twisting the seat from one side to the other when a quick rap at the rear door of the van snapped his attention back to the present. "Ah, McGee!"

Ziva cast a look of vague disgust his way before reaching to open the door. "You're early--"

Unless McGee had morphed into a half-dozen, gun wielding, masked men, it wasn't dinner that had called.

It was the gasp and thud that pulled Tony fully erect in his seat. "Ziva?"

Ziva was no longer in the van and the rear door was open, the space filled with the intruders. His gun was in his hand and pointed at the would-be intruders before he had finished assessing the situation but the trio of weapons that pointed down toward the road behind the van prevented him from acting further.

"Weapon down unless you want to see the woman dead."

He eased his finger away from the trigger. Not knowing exactly where Ziva was stopped him from trying anything more heroic than preventing retaliatory gunfire. Gently, he set his firearm on the floor of the van, sliding it toward the rear when he was directed to do so.

"Now, out of the van. Don't try anything or she'll be the one to regret it."

When the intruders had struck Ziva, they had used enough force to not only knock her unconscious but to also cause her to fall from the back of the van and into the darkened street. It was an odd thing, seeing Ziva, of all people, lying unconscious on the rain-drenched pavement. It was too film noir to be real. But unfortunately it was very real.

The man pulled back his foot, obviously angling a kick Ziva's way, and Tony hurried to exit the vehicle before any additional harm could befall her. He scrambled to his feet just as the man's well aimed kick made contact with Ziva's temple.

"Hey…" Tony would have said more had the man seemed inclined to listen. As it was, he jabbed another quick kick in the direction of Ziva's ribcage. "I'm cooperating," Tony demanded, raising his hands in surrender.

One more kick and Tony was mentally running through any number of ways to prevent Ziva from being injured any further. He knew the last assault had caused more injury than the others, the dull crunch told him that much at least, reverberating in his skull with a sickening nauseous understanding he wished he could ignore. be continued