A/N: Please, nobody keep count of how many in-progress stories I have going! I just had to get this out tonight -I've had writer's block for the past week and now it's like somebody opened a floodgate. The lost bunnies are back! So here is the product of sudden musing. Let me know what you think, Kit.
DISCLAIMER: Yeah, it doesn't ever change, you know?
"Ziva? Um, Ziva?" frantic shaking of her shoulder roused her from a Nyquil induced nap and she blinked fuzzily up at one concerned Tim McGee.
"McGee?" she rasped, struggling to sit up straight in the molded plastic chair she was currently slumped in. Her efforts, however, were rewarded with a incapacitating dizzy spell, McGee barely steadying her before she toppled over. "Toda."
He eyed her warily, deciding to keep an firm hold on her slender forearm, "Are you okay?"
"Yes," she said, though conviction was promptly contradicted with an assault of coughs. McGee passed her the hankie from his back pocket, pressing the cloth into her hand gently. She nodded her thanks, burying her nose in the white cotton, blowing loudly.
He waited patiently until she was done, smiling at him weakly, falling back against the wall, limp. "Are we gonna need to admit you too?" he joked, timid. Ziva fixed him with a look that clearly conveyed incomprehension and it took her a few minutes before his words actually registered with her.
"Tony!" she exclaimed, standing up, McGee anticipating this and bracing her slight weight against his chest.
"Calm down, he's fine," McGee soothed, depositing her back in her chair. He smiled reassuringly to an orderly in blue scrubs that was eyeing them, worried.
Ziva rested her pounding head against the stake white walls of the emergency room, letting out a shaking sigh, "What happened?"
"Er, I'm not entirely sure . . . . I was clearing the back when I heard the shots. Gibbs says the perp was hiding in the pantry, shot through the door and hit Tony. Took a bullet to the shoulder -nothing serious, more of a flesh wound to be honest. . . . Lot of blood."
Ziva opened her mouth to ask something else but was interrupted, again, by another coughing fit -this one attacking with a vengeance. "Sorry," she said, words warped with congestion.
"McGee," a gruff voice acknowledged from the corridor to their right. Gibbs came forward, blue eyes tired, pushing a wheelchair full of a sleeping DiNozzo.
He had spent the last four hours waiting, impatiently, for some resident to sew up his senior agent, repairing damaged muscle -nothing drastic- and putting enough staples in the kid to set off a metal detector. And now he finally gets the paperwork squared away, tomes of release forms signed, sworn on his grave that he would not leave Tony unsupervised. Yes, he would make sure Tony took it easy for the next few days. No, he would not allow his top agent to work in the field for two weeks, at least. And yes, someone would bring him back Friday to make sure everything was mending properly. And as a result of this, Gibbs was particularly annoyed. Annoyed that McGee had vanished, leaving him alone to deal with a broody matron and a dopey Tony, who had, unfortunately, been given an ample dose of pain killers.
And now here was McGee talking up some strange woman who upon closer inspection was not really as unknown as he'd previously thought. Because the pale girl relaxed in the chair beside McGee, was none other than his probationary agent that had called in ill at 0736 earlier that morning.
"Ziver," Gibbs said, abandoning Tony, head lolling against his chest, a few feet away, but out of foot-traffic. "You look like hell."
She gazed up at him blearily, sniffling softly. "Thank you, Gibbs," she replied coolly, dark eyes teasing.
Gibbs patted her arm gently, turning to his junior agent. "She's your reinforcement, Tim?"
McGee gulped, "Well, boss, Abby is in court and we've still got an open case and, well, Ziva made the most logical sense-" but the rest of his argument was drown out by Ziva's coughing.
"I am perfectly capable of taking care of Tony and myself," she wheezed, unconvincingly.
Gibbs sighed, determined not to admit that McGee was right -again- or that his very ill ex-Mossad assassin was really the only available babysitter. Instead he growled, reluctantly, "Go get DiNozzo. Let's see if we can't get him into the car."
"Whose car, boss?"
Ziva piped up, "I can drive us back to my place."
This was met by two are-you-kidding-me glares, one courtesy of the master, the other source surprisingly McGee. "Ziver," Gibbs placated, quickly realizing that she firmly intended to back up her previous statement, "you can barely stand up. Let us take you two home. If it makes you feel any better, it's an order." The last three words effectively quelled all her protests.
Gibbs accelerated and McGee hazarded a glance at the backseat.
Ziva was leaning up against the window, the cool glass soothing her aching skull. She was dressed plainly -as plainly as McGee had ever seen her- in faded jeans and a worn pullover sweatshirt, the black fleece making her pallor seem extra grey. Her nose was red, her lips chapped. She restrained her hair in a loose bun and even now ebony tendrils were escaping the confines of their rubber band. He could hear her breath rattle in her chest.
Tony was slumped against her, his head in her lap, secured there by her palm resting on his face. His injured shoulder was limp against his side, bandaged in white gauze and tape, shrouded in a navy sling. Sandy brown hair mussed up and dark stains that rivaled Ziva's blossomed beneath his eyes. He was snoring softly, but Tim was glad for this. It was much better than him being awake and rambling analgesic induced words.
They were quite a pair, Tony and Ziva.
And it was a wonder she didn't cause him another readmission to the hospital. As Gibbs and McGee struggled with Tony's deadweight, trying to force him into the backseat, the patient decided to regain consciousness briefly. Ocean eyes unfocused on Ziva, who had been watching over Gibb's should with wry amusement, and proudly proclaiming, "I know her. . . . I love her!" To which Ziva blushed, before another fit of hacking, McGee nearly stumbled backwards, and Gibbs' hand connected with the back of the injured man's head.
Rather if it was the pain medication that reclaimed DiNozzo's consciousness or the Gibbs-induced concussion, McGee wasn't entirely sure . . . .