Feeling the Heat
Disclaimer: All names and trademarks recognised as "NCIS" do not belong to me; I've just borrowed the characters.
Characters: Ziva, Tony
Genres: Drama, Het
Warnings: None, but set sometime pre-season six
Summary: Trapped in an abandoned mine, will Ziva and Tony succumb to their feelings?
A/N Written as part of NFA's 2009 White Elephant Exchange for StarvingScriptWriter.
"It's like the middle of the bloody Sahara," Tony complained as he staggered theatrically along the dirt path.
"It is the middle of summer; what do you expect?" Ziva rolled her eyes.
Tony and Ziva had been ordered by Gibbs to follow a lead about the disappearance of a Petty Officer. This lead, unfortunately, had forced them into the middle of an old, abandoned and deserted mining complex that had now been overrun by weeds and foliage. The mining complex was now, according to Gibbs, a crime scene. Despite Tony's protests that the area was unsafe, here they were in the midday heat.
"We're going to die of thirst or hunger or dehydration or . . ."
"Me. Stop complaining like a child or I will kill you myself," Ziva snapped. She was getting very tired of Tony's complaining.
Tony looked indignant. "Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed." He grinned cheekily. "Or maybe it's that time of the . . ."
"If it was," Ziva finished through gritted teeth, "I would have left you hanging in a tree half an hour ago."
"Ooh, touchy." He raised his hands and took two steps backwards.
Ziva growled in frustration and tried her best to ignore Tony. She shuffled forward and unzipped the regulation NCIS jacket she was wearing. Tony was (for once) right; it was hot. Ziva cursed NCIS and their crime scene regulations.
"I'm hot," Tony whined after they'd walked about another hundred metres.
Ziva was ready to bang her head against one of the trees. "Suck it up, Tony. What are you? A girl?"
"Hey, no need to get personal." Tony looked laid back and had a casual grin on his face.
Ziva closed her eyes and counted to ten slowly. Most days, Tony was just irritating. But today, he was downright annoying.
"How much further," Tony complained and Ziva had to restrain herself from slapping him in the face.
She sighed. "You are the one with the map, Tony."
"Oh." Tony looked down at the map and grinned sheepishly. "Right. My bad."
He studied it for a moment, then announced, "If we take the right here, we should find the pot of gold at the other end of the yellow brick road, or in this case, the dirt road."
"Right. Are you sure?" Ziva questioned. She didn't fancy getting lost out here.
"Absolutely." Tony nodded firmly. "I have the map after all."
"That's not saying much," Ziva muttered.
"What was that?" Tony called.
"If you say so, Zee-vah," Tony replied cheerfully. "The fork should be just up ahead." Tony pointed to the point just ahead where their dirt path diverged either to the left or the right.
"You are sure?" Ziva asked again as she veered to the right, ready to take the right branch.
"When have I ever been wrong?" Tony said confidently.
Ziva still looked unsure. "Maybe I should . . ."
Tony looked defensive and slightly put-out. "Are you saying I don't know what I'm doing?"
"Noooo . . ." Ziva's drawn out 'no' wasn't very convincing.
"Well, thanks a lot," Tony huffed, sounding hurt. "Thanks for the vote of confidence." He sped up and stormed past Ziva.
She sighed and massaged her temples. If she didn't know any better, she'd say she was getting a migraine. It was a stupid idea to send the pair here in the first place, and now Tony had gone all stroppy with her. Could it get any worse?
"Tony, I . . ." she called after him, but Tony had already disappeared down the path and around the corner. She was a little annoyed by his slightly immature take on the situation, but pushed it out of her mind and concentrated on the task at hand.
She finally caught up to him after he'd decided to slow down. He was panting and sweating, and Ziva couldn't help but smirk a little.
"Tired, are we?" she teased as she walked up along side of him.
"No," he panted.
Ziva gave him a 'I don't believe you look' and said, "It cannot be far now."
"Right." Tony looked grateful as he stopped to peer at the map. He studied it for a moment, turned slightly worried and tipped the map upside down.
"Um, Ziva . . ."
"What?" Ziva asked impatiently. She was tying up her shoelace and couldn't see Tony's face.
"I think I had the map upside down," he finished meekly. He held the map out in front of him.
"What?!" Ziva exclaimed, yanking the map out of his hands. "You are joking, yes?"
Tony shook his head weakly. "Nope. We should have taken the left back there."
Ziva advanced on Tony angrily. "Are you saying we walked all that way for nothing."
Tony took a step back and went on the defensive. "Hey, anyone could have . . ." He took another step back. ". . . Made that mis –"
As he took a third step, Tony suddenly felt nothing under his foot. He flailed and stuck his hands out blindly, as if to steady himself. His foot disappeared through the crack in the ground, and as Ziva lunged for him, the ground underneath them gave way and they plummeted through the ground.
Slowly, Tony became aware he wasn't in Kansas anymore. Wait. That wasn't right. He groaned and brought his hand to his head; it hurt. He stuck out his hand and found himself pushing against dirt granules. At least they'd made it to the bottom. They . . . Ziva . . .
"Ziva?" he rasped as he tried to clear his head of the fog. "Ziva?"
There was a quiet moan somewhere above him and it finally registered that there was something heavy on him, crushing his chest.
"Yo, Ziva," he coughed. "Mind moving there? You're kinda heavy."
Tony struggled to sit up and Ziva rolled harmlessly off his back with a groan. Slowly, she sat up and rubbed her head.
She looked around, slightly confused at first and then muttered, "What on earth have you done, DiNozzo?"
"I wasn't the one who built the bloody thing, was I?" Tony snapped back, wincing. He had probably cracked a rib or two.
Ziva looked up and saw a faint patch of sunlight way out of either of their reach. "We are stuck." She gingerly started to test her joints, starting with her wrists.
Tony rolled his eyes and tried to stand up. "No kidding," he said sarcastically. "I . . ."
Tony yelped in pain as he stood and put weight on his right foot. Immediately, he tumbled back to the ground and lay in the dirt.
"I think it's broken," he remarked childishly.
Ziva sighed and once she had found nothing broken, shuffled over to where Tony lay in an unceremonious heap. She reached out and pushed up the pant of his trousers before tugging at his sock.
Tony winced violently and exclaimed, "Ouch!"
After a moment, Ziva gently put his foot back on the ground and announced, "Stop complaining. It is sprained, not broken. You will live."
"Are you sure?" Tony asked, bending over to rub his ankle protectively.
"I have seen many broken ankles," Ziva replied, "and yours is not one of them. It is sprained."
"Well, it hurts like hell," Tony muttered and Ziva shot his a small, sympathetic look.
"There is not much I can do," she said, slightly apologetic. "All you can do is stay still and elevate it."
Ziva glanced around and her eyes fell on the backpack she'd been carrying on one shoulder. It must have slipped off during their fall. She plucked it off the ground and made Tony shuffle backwards so that he was propped against the wall.
"Keep still and don't move," she ordered as she elevated his ankle and rested it on the backpack. "There, that will have to do."
"Feels better already," Tony announced cheerfully. He grinned, but he soon discovered that grinning hurt his head. And really, his ankle did not feel any better.
He watched as Ziva stood and rubbed the back of her head. It might have been his imagination or the position he was sitting in, but Tony thought he had seen Ziva sway on the spot as she stood. But now, she looked perfectly fine. But still . . .
"You okay?" Tony asked.
Ziva looked down and saw the concern on Tony's face. It was kinda sweet. She gave him a reassuring smile and said, "I am fine."
"Really?" Tony didn't look convinced. "I mean, I thought I . . ."
"You saw nothing," Ziva snapped irritably. "Now be quiet. I need to think."
"Yes, ma'am," Tony saluted.
"Right . . ." Ziva started to mutter to herself. She started to pace up and down the abandoned mine they'd fallen into.
Tony was quiet for a few minutes as he watched Ziva's rhythmic movements. But then a bolt of pain shot up his leg and he winced.
"Ouch," Tony complained. "This it slightly uncomfortable."
Ziva shot him a look, but ignored his complaint. She was trying to figure out a way for them to get out of the mine. Climbing was out of the question, as was tunnelling, but Ziva was sure she could figure something out.
After another ten minutes, Tony looked up at the faint patch of sunlight. It definitely wasn't getting any cooler down there (despite being "underground") and Tony felt a feeling of dread wash over him. There was no way they could climb out, and they were not stupid enough to try and dig through one of the sides. It could bring the whole thing down on them, drowning the pair with dirt and debris.
"I take it that the situation is not looking too good, huh," Tony commented warily and Ziva responded with a 'what do you think' look.
"So . . ." Tony started after a few beats. "Got a plan, Miss Mossad Ninja?"
Ziva looked down at him irritably. "I am working on it."
"Then work faster," Tony muttered, sounding harsher than he'd wanted to. They'd been in this mine for less than an hour, but he wanted out. Preferably sooner rather than later.
There was another few minutes of silence before Tony remarked, "How many people die in mine shafts each year, do you think?"
"Am I supposed to know?" Ziva replied, distracted.
Tony shrugged. "I bet McGeek would know. Him being that scout-y thing and all that."
"I am not McGee, am I?" Ziva glowered. "How should I know? Just be quiet and don't move."
"Couldn't if I wanted to." Tony gestured to his elevated leg.
Another minute passed and Tony announced, "You know, there was this movie I saw once. Can't remember it's name, but a bunch of people were trapped down a mine and . . ."
Tony trailed off and cocked his head to the side. "And . . . I don't think I saw the ending. I was a kid and got scared by . . ." He trailed off again.
"Never mind," he muttered.
Thirty seconds passed and Tony shrugged off his NCIS regulation jacket. He undid his tie and loosened his shirt.
"Is it just me, or is it infinitely hotter down here," he complained. Tony looked up at Ziva and though she didn't respond, he could see beads of perspiration on her forehead.
So it wasn't just him. It was like a bloody sauna, but a sauna that kept getting hotter. Tony sighed dramatically and wished he had some water. He'd kill for some water.
Finally, Tony got sick of the heat and the silence, so moaned, "We're gonna die of starvation or heat or a collapsed . . ."
Ziva cut him off. "Can you please stop sounding like a doomsday clock," she snapped. "It's not helping."
"I don't see you doing anything helpful," Tony retorted, wincing as his ankle cramped. "All you're doing is making me dizzy."
"I am trying to find a way out of here," Ziva replied stiffly. "Unless you want to stay down here forever."
"With you in that mood, no thank you."
"Then shut up."
"Fine," Tony huffed, crossed his arms and moaned, "I'll just die of pain over here."
"Die quietly," Ziva muttered and rolled her eyes. "You have a sprain, Tony. You're not going to die."
"How do you know?" he pouted.
"I just do," Ziva replied, trying to force reassurance into her voice. "Now just sit still and I will figure out a way to get out of this mess."