Title: In Dreams
Summary: A companion of sorts to Moving Forward, only this is the what if Ziva gets in the path of that explosion except Tony. Plus we get a little Tony/Eli confrontation, which a reviewer requested on my fic Break.
AN: Reviews are ALWAYS welcome and appreciated and since this is a one shot, Thank you in advance for leaving one.
Dreams pretty much come in three versions; the normal, pleasant kind, the nightmare kind and then the kind you don't talk about in mixed company.
This was a certifiable nightmare; and a waking one at that.
Nothing good could come of Eli David showing up in DC for a conference, Tony knew that the second he saw the other mans smug face and then watched his partner slowly fall apart for the better part of two days. Sure, she had started strong, a professional to the core, but something happened between Ziva and Eli in the basement of NCIS and he could tell that since then her emotions were turning against her. It was killing him to see her like that.
And it almost killed her.
In her endeavor to be the ever consummate professional, when a threat to the conference was received, she had ushered Vance, Hadar and her father into the hotel kitchen in an attempt to get them out of harms way. Which was exactly what the bad guys expected them to do and had a bomb planted under one of the prep tables. After laying down gunfire to get the group to stop moving, the assassination team had exited the area seconds before the explosion ripped through the kitchen.
Maybe it was providence, or plain out poor planning, but the location the terrorists had forced the group to the ground was right next to the bomb and Ziva had spotted it the second she bent down. Quickly ushering the group back the way they came, she had been the closest when the blast went off.
Thus started a very real nightmare for Tony; which brought him to pacing the waiting room at Bethesda ER while his partner was being treated in a trauma room. The brief glimpse he got of her while being loaded in the ambulance gave him hope. She had been conscious at least, though with blood covering the right side of her face from what looked to be a pretty severe laceration on her forehead. Until a relief team could come and secure and process the scene, they had to wait to follow her. By the time they got to the hospital it had been nearly an hour.
It was shortly after Gibbs, Tony and McGee got there that Eli David and his entourage arrived, immediately sending tensions between the two groups through the roof. And that was without even talking to each other, communication was strictly non-verbal. Tony was certain the poor nurse behind the counter thought a fight would break out at any second.
Another lap through the aisle and Gibbs finally stopped him with a hand to his forearm. "DiNozzo, cut it out, you're making us seasick."
Sheepishly he sunk into the chair across from Gibbs and next to McGee, leaning onto his knees to close the gap between them. "It's been two hours, boss."
Gibbs allowed a glance toward the large double doors that led back to the trauma area. "It was a pretty big blast Tony, and she took the brunt of it."
Rubbing his hands across his face Tony nodded and leaned back, closing his eyes briefly. Why did her father even have to show up? Tony put the blame for this squarely on his shoulders, since the Director of Mossad was the target of the attempt.
Without realizing it, Tony had started bouncing his foot up and down on the carpet in an attempt to get out the nervous energy that threatened to overwhelm him. Two hours they had been waiting with no word on her status. Though maybe that was a good thing, if she was dead they would have come out immediately. At the thought of her dead Tony's stomach rolled and a wave of nausea overwhelmed him.
Not now…please God. You cant take her from me now, he thought.
Sitting back up, he caught Gibbs' annoyed glare and stopped his foot motions. Daring an incident, he looked at Eli - who's face was something between annoyed and concerned – and sent him a look that conveyed Tony's displeasure with his presence. The director's expression did not change so he moved onto the rest of the group, Hadar looked distinctly bored and Liat – who Tony had come to call Ziva-lite – was standing at the door, keeping her eye out for any more attempts. They had cordoned off the waiting area when Eli had arrived.
Just as he was getting ready to get up and ask the nurse at the counter – who kept sending the group nervous glances – what was going on, a doctor holding a chart opened one of the double doors and called out Ziva's name.
In the same instant Gibbs and Eli stood, glaring at each other for a second before turning back to the doctor, who had the classic deer in headlights look going.
"I am her father," Eli said first.
Clearly this confused the doctor further as he looked at the paperwork then back up at him. "You're Leroy Jethro Gibbs?"
A swell of amusement flowed through Tony as he watched Gibbs restrain a smile while Eli looked lost. "No."
"Ok then. I have Leroy Gibbs or an Anthony DiNozzo listed as individuals I am allowed to release information to."
Tony looked as shocked as anyone that his name was on there, but he got up swiftly and stood next to his boss, as they both showed the doctor their badges to prove their identity.
"I am Doctor Warren, I treated Agent David when she came in. Would you come with me and we can speak?"
"It's all right, doc, Director David can hear this," Gibbs said and indicated the other man with his head.
Obviously the doctor did not want to get into the middle of whatever was going on and so he agreed. "All right. She is stable and doing fine, the worst of the injuries include a severe laceration to her forehead, dislocated right shoulder and a mild concussion. Everything else is superficial. She was extremely lucky. I'm just waiting for the CAT scans to come back to confirm no internal bleeding and as long as that is clear she will be released today into someone's care. The concussion, while mild, still requires someone to keep an eye on her for twenty four hours."
"Can we see her?" Tony finally asked, the anxiety clear in his voice.
"Give me ten and she is all yours. One of the nurses will come get you."
Dr Warren merely nodded and disappeared through the doors.
For several minutes there was silence in the room and no one moved from their spots.
"She is very fortunate, indeed," Eli finally said, turning to Gibbs.
"Yeah, fortunate…" Tony spit out, anger clear in his voice.
"Agent DiNozzo, do you have something to say to me?"
"Oh, I have a lot of things to say to you, most of them, however, are not suitable for a hospital."
The older man looked amused. "Go ahead, Anthony, I can tell you have something on your mind."
Despite the look he was getting from Gibbs and his brain screaming not to engage this man, Tony spoke his mind. Eli David did not scare him, not by any stretch, as their last meeting in Israel had proven and no way was Tony letting this man get away with psychologically torturing his daughter – and Tony's partner – like he had been.
"Why are you even here? Honestly, of all the conferences in the world, you came to this one. The one that your estranged daughter would be assigned to."
"Not that I owe you an answer, but did it occur to you that I came to make amends?"
Now Tony snorted and looked to Gibbs. "Have you seen him make amends? Cause I sure haven't. Seems like most of your time here in DC has been making nice with attendees and making Ziva's life hell."
"What goes on between Ziva and I is none of your concern."
"That may be, except that your being here almost got her killed. And that is my concern because she's my partner."
Tony watched as Eli eyed him carefully. "Are you sleeping with her?"
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"It speaks to your motive, Agent. Are you sleeping with her?"
Tony narrowed his eyes at the man and saw an opportunity. "That depends. How bad would it chap your ass that Ziva was sleeping with me? Just a little, or a whole hell of a lot?" Anger flared through the older man and Tony could see it was getting to him. "Do you want the details?"
A sudden string of Hebrew came from Eli and Tony smirked. "You asked, Director."
As suddenly as the anger showed on Eli's face, it was gone. "You are very good, Anthony, making me believe such a thing."
"What makes you think it's a lie?" Tony's voice was controlled, smooth, so much that Gibbs even had a moment of uncertainty regarding the personal nature of his agent's relationship. "It's not like you know anything about your daughter to start with."
"Who do you think you are to question the relationship I have with her?" Eli asked, finally frustrated by Tony.
"Who am I?" Tony quickly appraised the room before indicating McGee – who looked just this side of terrified for being called out. "Well let's forget me a moment and start over there…that's the guy who used his brain and technology to find Salim. And that…" Now he indicated Gibbs. "…is the guy who put a bullet in his head. And me? I'm the guy that cared enough about her to pull her out of the hell hole you left her in. All the while you sat on your ASS in Israel doing nothing, knowing she survived the Damocles sinking. What is the matter with you?" Tony took a step closer to David who looked shocked by the outburst. "You were too busy cleaning up the mess to be bothered with actually finding her. Was that her penance, Director? Her…punishment for not being a good enough soldier? There is something seriously wrong with you to do that to your own flesh and blood, no person should have to endure what she did."
"Tony…" Gibbs started as a light warning, but the younger agent ignored him.
"That woman in there, your daughter, who risked her life for a piece of crap like you is a good person and a good agent and you're being here is messing with her head. She was happy until you showed up; she finally was free of you."
"Tony…" Gibbs finally interrupted more forcefully. "Enough."
Finally the young agent spared Gibbs a glance, nodding. "No, wait…one more thing. Accept the fact she wants nothing to do with you as a father. We are her family now. Just…leave her alone, for the love of God, leave her alone."
And with that he turned away from them, clenching his fists at his side to keep himself from flat out punching the Mossad Director. Which would clearly be a poor career move.
Taking deep breaths he almost missed the door opening and a nurse calling his and Gibbs' names. At the last second he turned and followed the older man down the hall silently. Halfway to the curtained area that Ziva lie in Tony sidled up to his boss and whispered, "We haven't slept together, just so you know."
"Oh, I know DiNozzo. Though some days I wonder why the hell not."
He stopped in the middle of the hall for a few steps before his brain could process what Gibbs had just said before he quickly caught up as the nurse pulled back the curtain just enough to allow them entrance into the small area holding Ziva.
She was lying on the bed – atop the covers - her arm in a sling, head titled back on the bed, eyes closed, she appeared to be asleep. None of them wanted to speak for fear of waking her so instead they stood in a vaguely uncomfortable silence until her voice broke through.
"I can feel you staring at me."
"We weren't staring…" Tony started but was cut off as she lifted her head toward them and they got a full view of her injuries.
Tony's urge to punch her father became stronger as he took in the right side of her face, most of which was swollen and starting to turn deep purple from bruising. The skin around the bandage covering her forehead was particularly mottled with color, her eye was almost swollen shut and her lip was split and puffy. It wasn't hard to figure out that her face had obviously hit something with brutal force. Picturing where they had found her, Tony suddenly remembered an industrial sized refrigerator near where she had been thrown.
"They tell me the swelling should go down in a few days."
"We weren't…"McGee started to stammer before a look from her cut him off. Tony just continued to stand silently staring at her.
Finally Gibbs moved toward her side and kissed her uninjured temple. "How do you feel?"
"Like I got the crap kicked out of me."
Their boss nodded. "That's usually what catching the tail end of a bomb feels like."
"Everyone is…ok?" She asked and Tony noted she did not ask specifically about her father.
Tony finally spoke. "Yeah, but the bad guys got away."
"Do you want to see your father?" Gibbs asked. "He is in the waiting room."
Surprise covered her face and to Tony the fact she had not expected him to show up was heartbreaking. Finally she shook her head. "Not right now."
Twenty minutes later Gibbs and McGee left to head back to the scene, leaving Tony alone with Ziva. As he left, Gibbs asked again if she wanted to see her father and again her answer was no, and she indicated maybe it would be best if the elder David went back to the hotel, using the excuse that the hospital was not exactly secure. Gibbs nodded and said he would take care of it.
Shortly after Gibbs and McGee left, Tony moved toward her, sitting on the edge of the bed at her waist. Absently he picked up her good hand and played with her fingers.
"Are you really ok?" he finally asked, hoping that she would be more honest with him alone.
"I will survive, it could have been much worse."
"That's for sure, that bomb made a hell of a mess in the kitchen. You saved a lot of lives today."
She didn't respond to that, instead staring at their twined hands. He could tell something was on her mind and remained silent until she was ready to talk.
"So my father actually showed up to check on me?"
"Yep," he said before leaning closer to her and whispering conspiratorially. "You should have seen the look on his face when the doctor called for Gibbs."
A small smile flitted across her face. "I believe I have seen that face before."
"So…I'm your emergency contact?" he asked, his voice light.
She looked at him seriously. "No, Gibbs is. You are a…back up." Now she smiled. "In case Gibbs is dead."
He took the hand that wasn't joined with hers and placed it over his heart. "Oh, you wound me."
Ziva watched as Tony stared at her, a worried look on his face.
"I told you the swelling would go down in a couple days."
"It's just…scary." He meant more than just the injuries to her face and she knew it.
"I know," she said softly as the grip on her hand tightened.
Before the seriousness could overwhelm them Tony spoke, "You need someone to stay with you for twenty-four hours or so cause of the concussion. I'll even let you choose…McGee or Gibbs."
Ziva, however, refused to take his out and pulled her hand from his, placing it gently on his face. "I choose you."
"Yeah, thought you might. Soon as they spring you from this place I'll take you home."
She nodded tiredly and placed her head back on the bed. The remaining time until the doctor came in releasing her was in silence, as was the car ride back to her apartment with the exception of the call he made to Gibbs letting him know what was going on.
Now sitting on her couch - the volume down on her TV as a movie he wasn't really paying attention played – Ziva's head in his lap as he gently stroked her dark tresses, Tony felt relief for the first time in nearly twelve hours. Five minutes ago he had heard her breathing even out and at last Tony allowed his head to drop back and drifted off into sleep. Thankfully, a dreamless one.