Ziva was pressed so close to the maple tree she could almost taste the sap glistening from it's open wound. The bark had been ripped or eaten off, exposing the sticky, smooth insides. It almost masked the thick scent of sulfur, freshly fired weapons, which was more familiar scent to her.

Two shots whizzed by and hit the tree behind and to the left of her. Her heart pounding in her throat, but her hands iron steady, Ziva chanced a peak at her target. Two seconds was all it took to see him fighting with the jammed hunting rifle. She took aim just as quickly, and squeezed the trigger once, twice. Both bullets entered his forehead, one dead center, one above the left eye.

She was getting dusty. Rusty? Which was it McGee had said?

She whipped around at the sound of a yelp and a hiss, just in time to see Tony hit the ground. The other shooter was still mobile, still firing on the Tony and McGee. Ziva hit the ground, and used her hard earned skills to maneuver over to Tony in almost complete stealth. Her heart jumped in relief at the sight of him breathing, and clutching his upper left shoulder. Gossamer tendrils of smoke emanated from a small hole in the oak he'd take refuge behind.

He nodded silently. I'm alright.

She responded in kind, and stepped over him, heading toward where McGee was crouched hiding behind a thickly foliaged pine. She kept low to the ground, and still unnoticed by the shooter, who unlike his companion was using a handgun. Since Tony still had a shoulder, it was likely a small one at that.

Ziva twisted silently through the tall brush and grasses, watching for the tell-tale flare of the gun to see where the shooter was hidden. Bam! Not even five meters away. Unfortunately, so low to the ground, her best choice of shots was the gut. Maybe the chest, if she aimed really well. It was easy to aim too high when you were barely two feet off the ground. There was a tendency to overcompensate, and she had to fight that.

Once. Twice. One was definitely a gut shot, the other she was pretty sure was close to the heart. McGee's head whipped around, trying to figure out where the hell she came from. She rose from the crouch, her knees protesting having held the position so long. McGee started at her in shock, trying to figure out how he'd missed her moving there. She ignored him, and turned back to Tony.

"I guess that was the other guy, not Probie that took those bullets?" He asked when she appeared before him.

"Both shooters are dead, or will be soon." She crouched beside him, and removed his hand from his bloody wound.

This was not good. They were so far off the trail they'd used, she didn't know what direction it would even be in. When their assailants started firing, they'd run like hell through the forest, shooting back, not really caring where they ended up. They were lost, well and truly lost. No path to follow, and no hope in hell of finding their crime scene. No idea how to get back to the car.

"I like a woman that can save my ass in gunfight in the middle of a nature preserve." Tony commented.

"And, you know so many women who fit this description?" She snorted.

"Only need to know one," he grinned.

"Jesus, Tony what happened?" McGee crouched by his other side, face pale at blood pouring from his friend.

"Nice of you to join us, Probie. Dr. David is examining me now."

"We are going to have to spend the night here, can you get wood for a fire, McGee?" Ziva moved Tony's hand back over his wound, and looked at the junior agent.

"Are you crazy? We need to get him out of here and to a hospital!" McGee flailed his arms for effect.

"We are lost, McGee. We have no phone reception, no idea how to get back to the car, and no idea how far it is. I can take care of the wound here, enough to keep him alive." Ziva, of course, seemed unfazed. She'd had a lot of practice.

"And, if we walk, we can find a way out and get him to a hospital!"

Her calm broke. "You do not know that! If we walk, his heart pumps faster and faster, which means he bleeds out faster, McGee! I will not risk that!"

Struggling to calm down, McGee asked, "What about a tourniquet?"

Ziva shook her head. "The wound is in the top of his shoulder, McGee, where would you suggest we put it?"

"So, what are you going to do to stop the bleeding?" McGee stood with his hands on his hips, MIT degree demanding he at least pretend he knew how to treat bullet wounds.

"Remove the bullet, and cauterize the wound."

"What!" Tony demanded, staring at her, face gone pale.

"It will keep you alive, Tony, and if we are lucky, stop an infection from developing."

Tony was surprised to see worry in her eyes, and that really freaked him out. "Have you ever done that before?"

God, was he actually thinking of letting Ziva take a knife to his flesh? Was it weird that that sounded kind of erotic to him?

"Once, sort of."

"What the hell does that mean?"

"It was shrapnel, not a bullet, and it was...on myself." Both men's eyes widened, and eyebrows shot up. "My partner was being squealish, and it needed to be done."

"Squeamish." Tony corrected.

"Whatever. I got the shrapnel out, and he cauterized it for me." Ziva avoided their eyes. They were giving her that look. That look that said she was absolutely nuts, and they'd forgotten about it until that moment.


She looked up startled. Tony was staring straight into her eyes, silently telling her that he trusted her. Ziva swallowed, suddenly nervous.

"I think the blood loss is making you woozy, Tony. You just agreed to let Ziva stick a knife in you." McGee's voice was completely deadpan.

"Better her than you, McGee."

"We need to find a place to safely build a fire, and move there. And, I need to examine the crime scene kit for any supplies I can use." Ziva gave directions, her voice thick, scared to death at what she had to do.

"You heard her, Probie. Be caveman. Make fire." Tony banged his chest with his good arm for emphasis.

McGee looked between the injured Senior Field Agent, and the rather scary former-Mossad Officer, before shaking his head and heading off into the woods.

How did re-examining a crime scene turn into impromptu surgery?

An hour later, Tony lay on his good side, inhaling the scent of pine and spruce, as he watched his partners at work. McGee was building the fire, not yet worked up to full size logs, still adding the larger kindling, and Ziva was pulling apart the crime scene kit, occasionally pulling something out with an 'Ah hah!' look.

"What've you got there, Ninja-Probie?" His head lulled toward her.

"Not much. Sterile pads, tape, tweezers, distilled water, and whiskey."

Tony's head shot toward her, and then McGee. "Probie!"

McGee rolled his eyes. "It's not one of our kits, Tony. Abby's inventorying ours, this one's a back-up last used when Clinton was president."

"Well, that should be a standard item in our kits, hand it over Ziva!" He grabbed for it with his good hand.

Ziva pulled it away, shooting him a look. "Not yet."

"What? I'm in pain here!"

"And, it will only get worse. Settle down." She turned to McGee. "The fire almost ready?"

"Just got two big logs burning." He said poking it with a stick, and coughing as the smoke hit his face.

Ziva moved closer to Tony, and pulled off his windbreaker, his dress shirt, and finally his white undershirt, leaving him feeling very exposed. She took off her own windbreaker, earning a raised eyebrow and a highly suggestive look.

"I cannot work in a jacket. It would get in the way."

He shrugged, and winced with it. "You could work naked if you want, Zee-Vah. I'd be fine with that."

"I am sure you would, Tony. Would it take some of the pain away?"

"Oh god, yes."

Ziva leaned in real close to him, so he could feel her breath on his lips. "That is too bad, the whiskey will have to do."

And then he was suddenly gulping down an airplane bottle's worth of whiskey. It burned all the way down his throat, to a sizzling puddle in his belly. Then Ziva pulled the knife concealed in her belt, and suddenly, he was having seconds thoughts about the whole thing.

"Uh, Ziva?"

"Try not to think about it, Tony. Close your eyes." He did as told, and heard her turn to face McGee's fire. She was disinfecting the knife, he knew that. All he could think about was that hot blade coming at his shoulder, and how he really didn't want to piss his pants in front of Ziva. Or, McGee. But, mostly Ziva.

"Tony, you must relax." He jumped, she was suddenly right beside him again.

"Easy for you to say." He kept his eyes squeezed shut, he didn't want to know anything about what she was doing.

A soft hand brushed through his hair, and he heard her shifting beside him. He was surprised when her hands wrapped around his torso, and pulled him into her lap. She stroked his hair again, her delicate touch surprising him. Soft and slow, she moved her hands at a steady rhythm, and Tony actually felt the tension easing from his body. Was there nothing she couldn't do?

Ziva watched Tony's face as his jaw finally began to loosen from the cringe in had been stuck in. She could feel his body releasing in her lap. She wasn't completely convinced it would help, but she thought it better to try than not.

"McGee." He nodded and handed her, her knife and tweezers. His was just starting to toast in the fire, what she'd use after she was done. He watched Ziva hold her knife above Tony, and took in the worry in her face. She suddenly looked at him again, and nodded her head, motioning him over. "I need you to hold him down, it is going to be very painful, and moving will make it more difficult for me to get the bullet out without damaging nerves."

"You sure you can do this?"

"The bullet isn't in too deep."

"That didn't answer my question." He said.

"It will be fine, just hold him for me." But Ziva didn't look sure, she looked terribly conflicted.

"I can hear you two, ya know," Tony mumbled.

"Then we will stop talking. Think of something that makes you happy, Tony."

"How about you naked?"

"Tony!" McGee admonished.

"She doesn't mind, Probie. Besides, I'm in agony here, and it's only going to get worse. I'm damn well going to think about whatever's gonna put a smile on my face." He offered then a big grin as an example, his eyes still squeezed shut.

Ziva snorted. "Whatever works, DiNozzo."

She didn't bother to wait for a response, before picking up the distilled water, and squirting some over the wound, cleaning it, so she could see what she was doing.

"Oooo, cold." Tony shivered.

"Stay still, Tony," Ziva warned.

The bullet was almost at the surface, so she used her knife to gently loosen it. Blood continued to ooze from the wound, covering her hands as she worked the knife around the small, half crushed bullet. Tony whimpered and moaned, but remained still without McGee's assistance. Then she worked the tweezers around the bullet until she got a solid grip. Ziva turned to McGee, who added more pressure to his hold on Tony, and nodded at her. She gave one good, solid tug, and pulled the bullet clean from his arm.

"Ahhh! Shit! Ziva!" Tony rocked toward her, and finished with an agonized moan, his face against her stomach.

"McGee, the other knife." Ziva handed him the tweezers and bullet, and tried to mop up the blood with the sleeves of her sweater top, but now it was bubbling free, and she had to cauterize quickly. He swallowed and quickly passed her the blistering hot knife, dropping the bullet into an evidence jar.

"Tony, put your arm around me," Ziva directed him.

"What?" He asked, not moving his face.

"You need to grip something, this is not going to feel good. Quickly!" She felt his right arm wrap around her, and wasted no more time. His wound was facing her now, and Ziva gripped his shoulder with one hand. Biting her lip, she pressed the hot blade into her partner's wound.

Tony screamed and screamed, his grip around Ziva tightening, his face burrowing deeper into her abdomen.

She moved the knife to the lips of the wound, holding the edges together in hopes of sealing it with raw, burnt flesh. Tony continued screaming into her stomach, and she could feel her top growing wet where his face was buried. Almost covered by the screaming were McGee's wet heaves as his stomach decided lunch really wasn't important enough to withstand the torture scene.

Finished, she squirted the rest of the water over it, and took the sterile pads McGee had ripped open. It took three of them to cover the wound, and then Ziva held them in place while McGee wound the blue marking tape around his shoulder. She could feel Tony's whole body hot, wet with sweat, and trembling, as he continued to moan and weep into her stomach. His grip hadn't loosened any.

Obviously, this will be continued. Two more chapters I think. Thanks for reading, and please review!