Tim opened his eyes after being jolted awake by a noise he couldn't exactly comprehend at that point. So he waited, hoping to hear it again. And then he heard a knock at his door and shot up from his bed and went to answer it. Expecting it would be Ducky, he was surprised to see Ziva standing there in his door.

"Hey, Ziva," he said as she walked past him into the apartment. "What are you doing here?" he asked as he closed the door. "Everything okay with Tony?" he asked with sudden concern. She turned to face him.

"Tony is going to be fine," she said. He stood there, slightly uncomfortable. "You were sleeping," she realized, "I am sorry I woke you," she looked down at the floor.

"No, it's fine," he said taking a few steps forward, "I needed to get up anyway." He was surprised when Ziva hugged him; her arms wrapping around his middle and her face laying against his shoulder. His hands were out by his sides, uncertain as to how to react. "They told you what happened..." he concluded.

"I am so sorry, McGee," she said in a low voice.

"Ziva, I should be the one apologizing," he said, finally settling his arms lightly around her shoulders.

"I am the one who touched you," she said, "And forced you to touch me..."

"I didn't exactly resist," he added after a moment, blushing at the recollection. He felt her laugh against him before she pulled gently away, and he noticed the pink that blushed her own cheeks.

"The point is, you are my friend, and I should not have assumed that you would not need to talk about it."

"I... didn't really know I needed to," he half-smiled. They stood there for a moment, silent. Then Tim walked away toward his closet and pulled out a light jacket. "Ducky's gonna want his car back, so I'm gonna take it over to NCIS and swap back for mine," he said as he put the jacket on and headed toward the door. Ziva followed him out as they headed for the cars.

She got to her driver door and opened it before hearing Tim speak again, "Hey, Ziva?" Her head turned toward his voice. "Thanks." She smiled at him...


2 days later...

The suspect ran when he spotted the three agents following him. They tore up the street after him. Gibbs signaled McGee to keep going up the walkway as he and Ziva cut up the alley. "Keep going," he shouted to Ziva as he tore up the fire escape toward the roof.

She only glanced up once before she headed around the corner in hopes to cut the suspect off. She ran fast, scanning the area ahead of her; her gun in her hands, ready if he should come around the corner. But then she saw McGee come into her view.

"Where'd he go?" he yelled to her. "I saw him come around this way!" She looked up at the building and saw another fire escape. Then they heard a gunshot...

Sharing a quick, nervous glance with each other, they tore up the fire escape toward the roof where they'd heard the shot. They were picturing the worst possible scenario in their heads as they climbed...

Ziva reached the top first, aiming her gun around the empty space before her. Tim was soon at her side. "Boss?" he yelled out. They both spotted a tall cinder wall in the middle of the roof and quickly moved toward it, splitting up to go around on either side with their guns drawn out in front of them.

"What took ya so long?" Gibbs said when they met on the other side. The agents were relieved as they holstered their weapons. Gibbs had shot the suspect in the leg, and had him cuffed on the ground.

*~.~*

As the EMTs loaded the wounded suspect into the back of the ambulance, Gibbs cell rang. He looked at the caller ID then glanced up at his agents, "You two ride with him," he said, "I'll follow you." Ziva and McGee climbed into the back of the ambulance as Gibbs got into his car and answered the phone.

"Yeah, Gibbs."

"Mr. Gibbs, I'm calling for Doctor Wilson at Bethesda. You're listed as Anthony DiNozzo's emergency contact."

"Yeah...something wrong?" he asked as he started the car and pulled out behind the ambulance.

"No, sir. We're preparing to take out the chest tube, and we wanted to have someone here that would be comforting to him, as it's an uncomfortable procedure for the patient. Often, we end up having to sedate, but if we could avoid that, he would be able to go home afterward."

"I'm on my way," he said and ended the call.


"Do ya really have to restrain my arm?" Tony asked the nurse as they fixed his right arm up on the bed over his head.

"It's not that we don't trust you, Mr. DiNozzo," the nurse said with a small grin, "But it's almost impossible for a patient to restrain themselves during such a delicate procedure."

"So, you're telling me this is gonna suck?" he tried not to show his anxiety.

"I promise you, this only takes a few seconds," she assured him, "And I'll be numbing the area. We'll have to sew you up once it's out." Somehow, her words gave him no comfort. He laid his head back and tried not to completely freak out.

There was a light knock on the door, and his eyes went to it as he saw Gibbs come into the room. "Boss?" Tony was surprised to see him there.

"Hey, DiNozzo," he smirked as he approached the bed.

"Made it just in time for the second round of medieval torture," he let out his infamous nervous laugh. Gibbs watched the nurse as she injected some numbing agent around the area where the chest tube was. Then he looked up at the restraint, and back at Tony's nervous face.

"At least you get to go home today," he tried to reassure him.

"If your chest x-ray is clear, yes," the nurse said. "And you'll need to come back in forty-eight hours for a second one, to make sure everything is still clear. I assume there's someone who can keep an eye on you at home?"

"We'll take care of him," Gibbs told the nurse, and Tony glanced at him.

"Great," the nurse gave Gibbs a small smile. "If you can hold onto his arm," she told him, "So he doesn't try to pull my hand away during the procedure..."

Tony swallowed, knowing what was about to happen, and he started to panic; the memories of them cutting into his chest to insert the tube, flooding into his mind. He couldn't scream then...

"Tony," he heard Gibbs and felt his boss's hand around his wrist, and the other grasping his hand when he'd seen him begin to panic. His eyes went to his boss's.

"I need you to take a deep breath and hold it for me," the nurse said. Tony complied without looking away from Gibbs. And as he felt the pain at his side, his eyes clamped shut and his hand gripped down on Gibbs'. Gibbs looked up at Tony's other hand as it struggled against the restraint, and looked at the tube that was being pulled from Tony's chest.

"It's out," Gibbs told him, "It's done." Tony opened his eyes and let out his breath. He looked down at where the tube used to be as the nurse was stitching him up. He had to admit, the absence of the tube was relieving. The few moments of torture was well worth it being over now. He felt the grip around his wrist loosen up and he realized he was still squeezing Gibbs' hand.

He looked over at him as he loosened his grip and let him have his hand back. "Sorry, Boss," he said.

"When you get him home," the nurse said as she secured the stitched incision with butterfly sutures, "He'll need to leave the dressings on. No showers or baths. No lifting anything over ten pounds..."

"I think I get the picture," Tony said. "Nothing but bed rest."

"Until I see you for your second chest x-ray, that would be excellent." Tony turned to his boss.

"Sure you wanna spend your weekend at my place?"

"Never said that," Gibbs smirked. Tony looked confused, as if he'd misunderstood him. "Question is, you sure you wanna spend the weekend on my couch?"


Two weeks later...

"Sure you're ready to come back to work?" Gibbs asked Tony as they drove into the parking garage.

"As much as I've appreciated the hospitality, I don't think I can spend another day on my ass watching reruns," he replied. Gibbs smirked. "Besides, the doc said I'm good to go."

"The team misses you."

"They've all been by to see me." Gibbs cocked his head as he put the car in park.

"Missed you being part of the team."

"Really?" he looked at his boss with a hint of disbelief. Gibbs smirked again as they got out of the car.

"Well, it has been quieter without you around," he said as they walked to the elevator. "And...we've managed to actually get things done during work hours."

"That's probably why it's been so quiet," Tony smirked as the elevator doors closed with them in it. "Probie's tryin' to make me look bad," he squinted.

"McGee's been pickin' up half your slack, DiNozzo," he said. Tony bit the inside of his cheek. "Ziva's been pickin' up the other half."

"They didn't have to do that," he said with a hint of regret in his voice.

"They know," Gibbs said. It was quiet for a moment.

"I'm usually back in the office after hours to finish my work," he said. "And they got all of that and their own done during work hours? Guess maybe I don't even need to be here," he looked down at his feet, sheepishly.

"Didn't say they did your work during work hours," Gibbs said. Tony looked up at him. "They came in every night after they knew I went home." Tony furrowed a brow at him. Gibbs smirked, "I had Abby run through the surveillance tapes," he told him. "They weren't tryin' to make you look bad. If anything, they made me realize just how much you actually do," his gaze went back to the doors as the elevator dinged and came to a stop.

Tony felt a tinge of happiness at his boss's words. It felt, almost, like he was proud of him. They exited the elevator and walked toward the bullpen. But Ziva and McGee were grabbing their gear as they approached.

"Got a call, Boss," McGee said. "Dead Marine at the pier."

"Let's go," Gibbs turned around and they followed him back to the elevator.

"Welcome back, Tony," McGee grinned at his partner.

"Thanks," he replied. His gaze shifted to Ziva who was grinning at him as well.


"Local fisherman pulled him outta the water about half an hour ago," the boat rental manager told the team as Ducky examined the body. "Guy's name is Jack Orsin. Him and a couple of friends rented a boat from me about four this morning. Never came back."

"Do you have his friends' names?" Gibbs asked.

"Yeah," he walked over to a filing cabinet and opened the drawer.

"What kinda boat did they rent?" Tony asked as he looked out over the docked boats along the pier.

"Just a small SUV. I'm guessing they were going fishing. Although, I didn't see any gear." Tony pulled out a pair of binoculars as he made his way out of the front of the store, and looked down the pier.

"You're Marine hasn't been dead for more than two hours," Ducky said as he walked into the store.

"What is it, Tony?" Ziva asked as she walked up beside him. Tony spotted two men about four docks over, and they were looking at them through their own set of binoculars. When they spotted Tony watching them, they panicked and started out of the boat.

"Boss! Think I found them!" Tony took off up the dock, turning to chase after them at full speed. Gibbs saw him, and all three agents took off after him.

Tony got a good amount of gain on the men as they had to run off the dock before getting any lead. But Tony was faster. He dove at them, taking both men down, and they all flipped at the sudden impact. He stood and pulled out his weapon, aiming it at them. "Guess you shoulda swam," he told them.

Gibbs, Ziva and McGee caught up to them and the two younger agents cuffed the suspects. Gibbs and Tony holstered their weapons. "God it's good to be back!" Tony said with a big grin. Gibbs smiled and shook his head...


The end! Woot! Yay :)

I'm relieved to be done with this one, I hafta say lol. I wanted to address relationships a bit more, but it seemed redundant. So...off to start a new one! Hope u enjoyed :)