Takes place 18 months after Devastating Flashbacks
Can be read alone, though this will make more sense if read that story first.
Episode Tag: "Smoked" & "Twisted Sister"
Inspired by Ziva driving with the intent to hurt Tim as he sat in the back of the truck in "Smoked"
AND By the fact that she got away with doing so.
TONY: Comfortable back there, Gore Vidal?
MCGEE: For the last time, Deep Six is fiction!
ZIVA: Fiction based on us, yes?
MCGEE: No! Look, if you don't believe me, read the disclaimer in the front of the book.
TONY: Are you buying that… Lisa?
TONY: Didn't think so. Nice knowing you, Probie.
(SFX: CAR TIRES SCREECH)
(SFX: MCGEE FALLS BACKWARDS IN THE VAN)
MCGEE: Ziva! It's just a book
The ride had been horrendous and even when Tim had regained his balance enough to keep his seat, things had only gotten worse. He'd barely been able to hold on to his position as he desperately reached out and just barely managed to snag onto the edges of the stationary drawers in an effort to try and hold on to something. He lost his tenuous grip, again reached out for something to hold onto, and once again came in contact with the shelving unit, only to lose his grip on them yet again. Ziva's driving was erratic enough that he continued to get tossed around again and again; the memories of last time she'd driven like this becoming brought back in his mind with every sharp twist and turn Ziva took. As the truck hurtled through traffic, weaving sharply back and forth across lanes and cornering dangerously, time and time again, his anger steadily climbed right along side the returning memories.
There was no excuse for this kind of behavior. No one should have the right to endanger someone else's life like this just because they were pissed at them. Hadn't she learned her lesson the last time? Damn it, it had been over a month since they'd found out about his book. They should be over it by now! They always expected him to 'just get over it' when they pulled stuff on him. The kicker of this was, that Tim hadn't even been trying to be mean or vindictive, like Tony usually was.
When they finally arrived at the crime scene, Tim breathed a sigh of relief as Tony and Ziva bolted out of the truck with their own gear on their shoulders, leaving him to carry only his own. At least they were leaving him in peace, even if it was just for the moment. His neck hurt like hell. Tim wasn't the least bit surprised to have an injury after that ordeal. When he thought about it, he found himself both shocked and relieved that he didn't' have anything worse to show for it than this jarring pain in his neck. Tim counted himself extremely lucky that nothing was broken; so far as he could tell. Maybe he'd have Ducky confirm that later, if anything else started to cause him pain during the course of the day. Coming down the stairs with his gear bag in one hand and an ice pack held to his neck, he passed Gibbs who was on his way back up the stairs.
"What happened to you?
"Uh… creative differences with my co-workers, Boss."
"A lot of that going around these days."
And so the day wore on and when they'd all finished working the crime scene, Tim had begged Palmer and Ducky to let him ride back with them. The fear of having to endure Ziva's driving had left him willing to ride in the back with the body if it came to it, but at least Tim hadn't been thrown around during the ride back. He'd known without a doubt that Ducky would have had Palmer's head on a stick if the M.E.'s assistant had driven recklessly, the way Ziva drove as a rule. He had to admit though, this morning she had taken it to extremes and enjoyed doing it. It had been wonderful to have that time of peace and quiet and it had given him the space for his anger and resentment to cool just enough to get through the day without him losing control of the situation.
Once they'd gotten back to work, Tim had steadfastly stuck to working on the case and refused to get bogged down by the crappy way his so called 'team mates' had treated him.
He'd let this one slide; but damn it, they'd better knock it off real soon. Enough was enough! There was only so much B.S. he was willing to take.
Thankfully, Tony and Ziva seemed to have reached the same idea and just as thankfully, they'd done it silently, both turning their focus solely onto the case at hand. The day seemed to drag on and on but at least the fact that they were all continuing to work without horseplaying or sniping at each other or even talking unless they had to, meant they'd gotten as much done on the case as they could in one day. They'd have to wait for Abby to finish doing what she could to find a print or a way to id the guy to get any more results on the case.
As the team began actively packing it in for the night, Tim seemed to gain momentum in his motions and surprisingly enough to anyone who'd happen to be watching, he soon had a head start on leaving the squad room without company or even being noticed; one that was made possible by his sudden rush to be away from NCIS. He smoothly headed down the back stairs away from the elevator and soon made it down to the parking garage where he knew he was parked well away from both Tony and Ziva. There hadn't been anything obvious in what he was doing…..unless you were watching for it that is. And since no one was watching, he was free and clear to leave with no audience, for which he was profoundly grateful.
The problem he'd had all day of trying to hide how tense he'd been feeling was becoming a lost cause. He knew that he was beginning to lose his grip on the lock that held it all in. Afraid to let anyone see that some of his anger was escaping his control and suddenly not comfortable getting behind the wheel of his own car, Tim headed for the coffee shop closest to NCIS and called a cab to take him from there to a metro station where he could catch a bus the rest of the way home. If he'd walked to the closest bus stop from the office, he'd never live it down, should either of his teammates see him before he got there While he waited for his taxi, Tim couldn't help but think Thank God the day was over. Now, he didn't' have to keep the superhuman hold on his control, leaving him with the freedom to simmer quietly to himself.
As Tim settled into bed for the night, he found his anger from earlier that morning, returning with a vengeance. Now he was pissed. No! He was beyond pissed and had moved all the way to livid. Damn it, it been a month already, when was Gibbs gonna rein Tony and Ziva's bullshit about his book in? Was he really going to sit by and let them continue to treat him like crap over it forever?
Tim knew that Gibbs had a tendency to get tunnel vision when solving a case so it hadn't surprised him that the boss had almost completely ignored the fact that he'd gotten hurt because of Ziva's maniac driving just because she felt like getting back at him. Other than asking him what had happened to him because he'd seen the ice pack, the boss had said nothing. But, Tim was okay with that; for now. After all, things were still pretty dicey around here since Gibbs had only been back from Mexico for a couple of months. Heck, even Ducky was still acting pissed at Gibbs, so it was no wonder the boss wasn't completely focused on what was going on with his agents.
Obviously, Ziva had a short memory. Come to think of it, apparently that they all did. Tim had to admit that was most likely his own fault. When Ziva's driving had damn near killed him the first time she drove them anywhere, 18 months ago, he'd been willing to drop it and never bring it up or think about it again. In fact, he'd pushed for everyone to drop it like the hot potato it had been for him.
He'd felt as though his position on the team was tenuous enough as it was at the time and he'd needed their focus to get off of him and back on the job so he could work to firm up his place that Gibbs had promised no one was taking from him. They'd honored his wishes and had never brought it up again. Even their driving seemed to gradually return to normal with their initial caution when driving with Tim in the car, fading away bit by bit.
Gibbs had been so pissed about the whole thing at first, that he'd demanded that Ziva take Safe Driving Classes and been the one to enforce the fact that she wasn't allowed to drive them anywhere until he decided otherwise. Eventually though, Ziva had once again been allowed to drive them to and from trips off the Navy Yard.
The first time that had happened it had been almost without notice and she'd simply reached for the keys and taken them from Tony. The fact that his mind was somewhere else and he'd distractedly let go of them, with the rest of the situation just falling into place was the only reason Tim had kept his mouth shut. No one had noticed the alarm that had flashed in Tim's eyes or the worry that had his face pinched with what had looked like a headache.
As a matter of fact, apparently that's what Tony had attributed the look on his Probie's face as he'd silently handed him a couple of Tylenol and kept going toward the car. Tim had let it go, willing to let his fear remain private unless something came from it. It hadn't and so he'd let it go completely.
Tim realized now, in hindsight, that he'd been wrong to write his book based on them without first asking them. It had been damn amateurish of him as a writer, but in truth, there was nothing he could do about it now that it was published. Sure, he could admit that he'd royally screwed up, but the fact of the matter was, he'd already apologized to each one of them until he was blue in the face. Frankly, he was tired of groveling for their forgiveness. He hadn't meant to be mean or cruel with what he'd done and it wasn't like he'd set out to deliberately hurt them, like Tony was always doing to him and had been doing to him since the day Tim was promoted to the team.
Enough was enough. Wow, it really had been a long day if his thoughts were back to almost exactly the same point where they'd been earlier in the day.
Tim found it near impossible to turn his mind off for the night and started to get frustrated about it. Thankfully, after a little while longer of allowing his thoughts to run free; he managed to rein them in enough to fall asleep.
Hey, not so fast!
I always drive fast! It's the best way to avoid possible IEDs and ambushes.
You're in America now. I wouldn't worry about it. How about this? Slow down or I'll puke on you.
Slow down, we're taking the next left.
CAR HORNS HONK/TIRES SCREECH
Ziva, car! Car! Car!
Sorry. First time behind the wheel after a six month mission in the U.K.
Flashes of blinding light; screeching tires; honking horns; screaming people; both from a distance and up close; even his own screams; all surrounded him now; he can feel the panic rising up in his chest; can feel his breath begin to have trouble finding its' way in and out of his lungs. He's in serious trouble and he can't find the breath to cry out for help; or form the words necessary. His eyes roll back into his head and blackness overtakes him.
Sucking in a huge gulp of air, Tim catapulted from his vivid nightmare into wakefulness and bolted upright in his bed blinking owlishly until his vision cleared and his brain got rid of the thick sludge that sleep bought with it and came online, he sat there panting and took a couple of minutes to gain some semblance of control over his breathing before he hyperventilated. He finally managed to take some calm breaths and get his breathing back on track from where the nightmare had attempted to steal it from him.
When he finally regained full control, he became cognitive of the here and now and lay back against the headboard with his eyes closed. He was attempting to get something that resembled rest since a glance at the alarm clock told him it was still the middle of the night.
Tim hauled in a deep strangled breath to try to calm the shaking that wracked his body. He realized that he was trembling from head to toe as his mind surged away from the carnage of the accident he'd lived through as a teenager and had revisited a year and a half ago when Ziva had just joined the team.
Damn it, he didn't wanna be re-living this crap again! He'd worked hard to get everyone to put it behind them the last time it had become an issue; and he'd thought it dead and buried…. gone.
But now, Ziva's stupid need for retribution had just ripped that wound open all the way down to the nerves. No! that wasn't right! Even he had to admit that the wound definitely was not there solely because of her driving; it was her driving that had just brought it back.
Damn it to hell!