Part Three

Dawn was breaking when Ziva finally awoke. Groggily, she opened one eye, then the other. She shifted slightly and bumped against another warm body. Shaking the fog from her mind, Ziva glanced next to her and cursed. She was pressed up against Tony's body and suddenly, a rush of memories came back.

She didn't, did she? Oh, crap. Had they . . . Yes, she concluded, they had. She groaned and detangled herself from Tony's arm. They hadn't . . . Well, apparently they did.

"Tony, wake up," Ziva hissed, shaking his shoulder.

He mumbled something incomprehensible and cracked open an eye. "Wha . . . Is it morning already?"

"What do you think?" Ziva all but snapped as she reached for her discarded shirt. She was, thankfully, still in her underwear and trousers.

"Wha-what happened?" Tony rubbed his eyes and sat up.

Ziva glanced at him with a 'what do you think happened' looked. Tony's eyes widened in apparent shock and he exclaimed, "We didn't?"

Ziva nodded grimly. "We did."

"But h-how?"

"You remember it just as well as I do," Ziva replied, slipping on her dusty shirt. "How do you think it happened?"

Tony cursed and scrambled for his own shirt. He winced painfully as he put pressure on his injured ankle. "This is a mess," he muttered, mostly to himself.

"Too right it is," Ziva agreed.

Tony struggled with his shirt for a moment before managing to get it over his head. He fell back against the wall and collapsed to the ground.

"Ouch," he moaned, leaning against the wall.

"Careful," Ziva hissed. "We do not want to cause another collapse. Look where the last one got us."

"Good point." Tony gingerly shifted away from the wall, wincing theatrically with each movement. "How's the head."

"Fine." At Tony's look, she amended, "Better than yesterday, anyway. It is just a headache."

"If you're sure . . ." Tony looked uncertain.

Ziva waved away his concern. "My head is fine. I am fine. What we need to do is concentrate on a way to get out of this."

"Exactly," Tony agreed enthusiastically as his tummy rumbled. "Don't suppose we could order some room service?"

Ziva just shook her head.

---

It was fully light when Ziva heard the first sounds of movement above them.

"Shh," Ziva muttered, holding up her hand to signal Tony to shut up about the movie he was prattling on about. "Do you hear that?"

"What?" Tony strained his neck.

There was a muffled yell from above them and Ziva replied, "That."

They looked at each other, and Tony grinned. "Our rescue party, do you think?"

"Let's hope so," Ziva replied, almost grimly. "We would not want it to be some else, I think."

They listened again, and this time they heard the unmistakeable calls of "Tony" and "Ziva" coming from somewhere above them.

"Is that . . ." Tony asked.

"I think it is . . ." Ziva replied.

"McGee," they said together as their colleague's voice became even clearer.

"Ziva! Tony! If you can hear . . ." they heard McGee call.

"Down here, Probie!" Tony called back, though his voice was quieter than a normal shout and slightly husky from the dust they'd breathed in.

Tony and Ziva heard the people above them stop, and heard McGee say to the others, "Did you hear that? I thought I heard something."

"Down here, McGeek!" Tony called again.

"Tony?!"

"We're in a mine!" Tony shouted.

"You're in a what?" McGee shouted back. "It's hard to make you out. Can you repeat . . . oh."

Suddenly, Ziva and Tony looked up to see the face of Tim McGee hovering over the small opening. Tony yelped and jarred his ankle against the ground. Ziva smirked at his reaction and McGee was barely concealing a grin.

"Tony? Ziva?" he called down, half amused, half worried.

"It's us, Probie," Tony sighed, rubbing his foot.

"Are you okay?" McGee asked. "Didn't anyone tell you that it's unsafe to go mining without the correct equipment?"

"Does it look like we just decided to go on a little jaunt in an abandoned mine?" Tony retorted. "Of course not. And we're fine . . . mostly. Ziva has a concussion and I've screwed my ankle."

"Okay," McGee called. "Just hang on. We've radioed for the rescue team. We'll have you out in no time . . . though you might want to stay down there once Gibbs gets his hands on you."

"He's that angry?" Tony asked meekly.

"He's that angry," McGee confirmed and added as an afterthought, "He's worried, really worried, actually. And I think that's just turned into anger. You know Gibbs."

"Unfortunately," Tony muttered and then said louder, "Is he . . ."

"Nope." McGee shook his head. "He's with another team. But he's on his way now."

"Fabulous," Tony groaned, not wanting to face his boss, especially when it was his stuff up that had gotten them into this mess in the first place.

"How did you get down there in the first place?" McGee queried, looking both amused and slightly upset.

"Do not ask," Ziva grumbled. "Or at the very least, ask him." She pointed to Tony who shrugged innocently.

"I coulda guess," McGee grinned. "Abby was certain something awful had happened, but I was going with someone stuffed up and read the map upside down."

Tony looked sheepish. "You thought of that, did you."

McGee nodded. "Yeah. Gibbs' idea. He had the inspiration last night, actually, but we had to wait until daylight to pursue it. Sorry about that. I'm sure you found something to pass the time with."

Ziva coughed loudly and Tony blushed a faint red. McGee just looked confused at their reactions and instead called, "I think the rescue team is here. And . . ."

"What the hell did you get yourself into this time, DiNozzo?" Gibbs barked.

Tony winced and it wasn't because of his ankle. "Hey, boss."

McGee's head disappeared and Gibbs' appeared in its place. He looked down at the pair and sighed. "Why is it always you two?"

Tony shrugged. "I guess we're just unlucky."

"Or you just attract the trouble," Gibbs sighed. He looked across to Ziva. "You okay, Ziva?"

"Fine," she called back. "But glad to see you."

"I bet." Gibbs looked amused.

"You gonna get us out of here anytime soon, boss?" Tony asked hopefully.

"Thinking about it, DiNozzo. Might have to let you sit and think about what an idiot you've been."

"I'm fine," Tony huffed. "Thanks for asking."

"I can see you're fine," Gibbs replied. And thank God too, he thought.

"The rescue team's ready," McGee announced from the top of the mineshaft. "Who's first?"

Tony glanced quickly at Ziva before announcing, "Ziva."

Ziva made a move to protest, but Tony cut her off with a firm, "Ziva's coming up first."

McGee and Gibbs looked over to Ziva who shrugged. "As long as I get out of here, I do not care who goes first."

"Excellent," McGee replied. "The rescue team is lowering the rope now. Just attach yourself to it and we'll pull you up. Easy."

As the rope was being lowered down, Tony turned quickly to Ziva and said is a hushed whisper, "What about . . . you know. What do we . . . do?"

"Nothing," Ziva snapped back quietly. "Okay? Nothing. As you say, what happens in the mine, stays in the mine."

"Right. Okay." Tony nodded quickly. "If that's what you think is for the best."

"It is," Ziva muttered. "What happened was a result of many different things. It would have never happened otherwise."

Tony looked slightly crestfallen at that statement, but agreed quickly. The rope finished its descent and Tony (slightly awkwardly) helped secure Ziva in it. Just as he was about to send her up, he commented quietly,

"What happens in the mine, stays in the mine," he repeated. "Got it."

Then he called to the rescue team, "She'd good to go."

---

"What took you so long?" Tony asked as he winced in the bright daylight. Until now, he hadn't realised how dark it had been down that mine.

"No one thought you were idiotic enough to read a map upside down," Gibbs replied dryly as McGee helped Tony clamber out of the mine.

"Well . . . I guess I can take that as a compliment." Tony finally put his feat on solid ground again and immediately toppled sideways.

"Ouch," he complained.

McGee said nothing, but swung Tony's arm around his shoulder to help keep him upright.

"Where's Ziva?" Tony questioned as he looked around for his partner.

"Getting checked out by a search and rescue guy," McGee replied, nodding to a tree that was sheltering Ziva and an unknown medic.

"She okay?"

"She'll be fine," Gibbs answered curtly. "Which is more than I can say for you." He looked down at Tony's ankle. "You're gonna be out of the field for at least a month. Ziva for a week."

Tony groaned and winced. Great, just great. This was all he needed.

"Just think about it," Gibbs commented cheerfully (well, cheerfully for Gibbs), "imagine all the paperwork you can get done in that time."

Tony groaned again and McGee smirked. "Maybe you should read the map the correct way around next time."

Tony sighed and leaned heavily against McGee. "I'm never going to live that down, am I?"

"Probably not," McGee grinned and then mused, "I wonder if I could use that in my next book. Might make a good story."

---

One week later, and Ziva was back at work. Tony had been back for a few days already, after being told by Gibbs and the Director to have a couple of days off to recover. Other than the ankle and the concussion, the pair had been fine. Hungry, but fine.

"Oooh," Abby squealed as she raced across the bullpen. "You're back!"

She flung her arms around Ziva who had just exited the elevator. Ziva was slightly bemused, but hugged Abby back.

"It is good to be back, Abby," she said, absolutely meaning it.

"But you're back and okay," Abby exclaimed, removing her arms from Ziva. "You and Tony both. I don't know what I would have done if you weren't."

She sniffled a little and Gibbs strolled in, saying, "They're fine, Abs. Feeling a little sore and silly, but fine."

"I know that," Abby replied and hugged Ziva again before racing over to hug Tony who was sitting behind his desk.

Gibbs smiled slightly at Ziva. "Nice to have you back, Ziva."

"It is nice to be back." Ziva returned the smile. "I was going crazy at home."

"I bet," Tony grinned from his desk. "Nice to see you, Zee-vah."

She sighed and said in good-nature, "Wish I could say the same about you."

Tony childishly stuck out his tongue and Ziva laughed, prompting Tony to scowl. The phone rang and Gibbs picked it up. He listened for a moment, before replying, "On our way."

"Gear up," he said, directing his comment to Ziva and McGee. "We've got a dead naval officer. And no, DiNozzo, you stay here."

Tony harrumphed and looked put out, so Abby took pity on him and hugged him again. "You can help me," she offered brightly. "Major Mass Spec and I would be glad to have you. Providing you don't touch anything, that is."

"Geez, thanks," Tony muttered. "Way to make a man feel loved."

Ziva smirked as she followed Gibbs and McGee to the elevator. As the doors closed, Gibbs called back, "Make sure you don't destroy the place while we're gone. And don't touch a map."

---

Later that same day, Tony spied Ziva entering the female bathroom. Picking up the crutches the doctors had forced on him, Tony slowly hobbled over to the bathrooms and leaned against the orange walls. Since it had take him awhile to make his way over to the bathroom entrance, he only had to wait a minute before the door opened and Ziva stepped out.

"We need to talk," he muttered as she walked past.

Ziva stopped in her tracks, turned around and sighed. "Okay, but not here."

She walked back over to Tony and marched him into the men's bathroom. She locked the door behind her as Tony propped his crutches against the wall and leaned against the hand dryer.

Ziva folded her arms and looked at Tony. "Talk."

"We need to, erm, talk about what happened down the mine," he said finally and Ziva didn't look surprised.

"I guessed as much," she replied quietly.

"It's just . . ." Tony started awkwardly. "I know we said what happens in the mine, stays in the mine, but it's just . . . I can't stop thinking about it, no matter what I do."

Ziva showed no emotion as she replied, "So, what do we do?"

Tony sighed. "I don't know."

"Me either," Ziva sighed back. "It is not as if we planned for that-this to happen."

Tony shrugged. "Oh, I don't know. I've always thought that, you know, there was something between you and me."

"We flirt a bit," Ziva clarified. "It's what we do."

"What if we made it something more?" Tony said hesitantly, bracing himself for some backlash. "After all, I think we'd work okay together."

"Really?" Ziva looked sceptical.

Tony nodded. "Well, yeah. Maybe. I don't know. I guess we'll never know if we don't try."

"I guess," Ziva replied.

"So . . ."

Ziva sighed. "What do you want from me, Tony?"

"I don't know," Tony hissed. "A chance, maybe? I know I don't have the best reputation, but still."

Ziva said nothing so Tony exclaimed, "You can't honestly say you felt nothing when we, you know." He gestured his hands.

"We were both under a lot of stress," Ziva replied logically, after a moment. "And we were scared. The mine had just decided to have a mini-cave in and we were just there. It happened because we needed some comfort."

"So? Despite how it happened, it happened and I can't forget about it," Tony snapped. "Maybe you can, but I can't."

"I never said that," Ziva replied in a barely audible voice.

"Then what do we have to lose?" Tony retorted, but under Ziva's glare, backtracked and amened, "Okay, so maybe we could lose a lot. But what's life without a few risks?"

"Do you really think it would work? You and me?" Ziva still looked doubtful.

"We'll never know unless we try," Tony replied honestly. "One drink. We can try and be normal people for a change. What do you say?"

"One drink?"

"One drink," Tony repeated firmly. "And then we can see where it'll go from there. We can go forward, or back to the way it was. Either way, I don't want to lose you from my life."

"You won't," Ziva murmured.

"So . . . one drink?"

"One drink?" Ziva asked again and Tony nodded.

"Deal."

Finis