Ziva sat calmly in the waiting room at the hospital. She had expected it to be busy, but not this busy. There were people with injuries from backyard fireworks, people who had gotten too much sun, people who had had too much to drink and fallen… Metro had accompanied the arrival of several ambulances half an hour earlier, probably to keep track of the belligerent suspects in what appeared to be a fairly serious drunken brawl. Tony had gone over to show off the bat to an officer he'd recognized, who had reciprocated with the broken beer bottle he'd pried away from one of the suspects during the ride in the ambulance. Ziva was content to wait with her ice pack and the x-ray Jimmy had taken after finding out why they'd declined a post-fireworks ice cream sundae. It was just as well; she felt like she wouldn't need to eat again for a few days after everything she'd consumed today.

On cue, Tony arrived with two cups of coffee and a brown paper bag. "I couldn't find the cafeteria, but they have a Dunkin Donuts down near the gift shop. I was gonna get you a balloon too, but they were closed."

"Thank you," she said, taking the coffee but waving off the donuts in the bag and not mentioning that she would prefer flowers. "How can you still be eating?"

"What? I've had three meals today and this is dessert." He finished his donut and licked jelly from his finger. "Can I see your x-ray again?"


"If Donnelly comes back through I'm gonna show it to him. That'll top his broken bottle."

She shook her head but handed over the envelope with the film inside. At least the coffee was okay. She had finished the cup by the time she was finally called to have her hand examined.

A surly nurse blocked the way as Tony tried to follow her through the double doors. "Is he with you?"


The nurse was eyeing him suspiciously. "Family?"

"He is fine to come in."

He juggled the coffee, bag of donuts and bat in his hands to hold up the large envelope. "I brought her x-ray!"

"Mm hmm. And why are you holding a piece of jagged wood, sir?"

Ziva sighed. "He has not put it down since this afternoon."

"She caught it," he added proudly.

"She caught it?" The nurse made a move toward a phone on the wall. "Sir, are you saying you hit her with that bat?"

"Me? No! The bat hit her!"

"Ma'am, please step away from your boyfriend. Bats don't hit people on their own. I'm sure Metro PD would be happy to come over here so you can file charges."

Unable to come up with another response, Ziva burst out laughing, leaving Tony to flounder. "No, it's not like that! We were at the Nats' game this afternoon and Ryan Zimmerman broke his bat on a foul into the seats, the bat came at us and Ziva caught it! And we're just friends!"

Ziva had finally recovered enough to offer some support. "He is telling the truth. Apparently it has been on television and everything."

The nurse was still wary. "And why, if the injury happened this afternoon and you had a radiograph taken did you wait until almost midnight to seek treatment?"

Ziva lied, "I had not realized how serious my hand was. I thought it was just sore and bruised until a doctor friend of ours saw it during the fireworks. He was kind enough to take the x-ray." She omitted any mention of Autopsy; the nurse was skeptical enough.

When she had finished asking questions and taking vital signs, the nurse reluctantly left Ziva and Tony alone in a curtained examination area. "So the Autopsy Gremlin has been promoted to 'our doctor friend' now?"

It wasn't what she had expected him to mention. "I do not see the problem."

"It makes us sound like the new couple at the country club or something. Speaking of which, why did that nurse automatically think I was your boyfriend? Or that I would whack you with a bat then bring it when I took you to the hospital?"

There it was. "I am sure she has seen worse in cases of domestic abuse."

"Clearly, that lady has never met ninja Moussad warrior or she'd know that me with a bat is not a threat. She'd be asking me the battered spouse questions." He pushed himself up onto the gurney beside her. "Although I can't complain that they take that kind of stuff seriously."

She grabbed his hand with her good one to stop him from eating a second donut. "Have I ever hit you hard enough to send you to the hospital?"

"Well, when we were sparring that one time…"

"Oh, please. You had a padded helmet and I barely grazed you. You just faked a concussion to get out of sexual harassment training that afternoon."

"This is going to be a good one, I can tell." The both looked to see who had interrupted them and saw a middle-aged woman in a white coat. "I'm Dr. Berg. The nurse tells me we're dealing with a broken hand? Would that be an excused absence from, what, trust falls at the team building workshop?"

Before Ziva could stop him, Tony, donut forgotten on the gurney, was again launching into his story about the bat. This was going to be a long night.

"Oh, come on. You must have a Sharpie somewhere in the house!"

Ziva was about to risk a cast on her right hand. She counted to five in her head using at least seven numbers and felt her fist relax. Tony could rummage through all the kitchen drawers he wanted if it distracted him from questions about how she planned to shower without assistance while her left hand and forearm were immobilized. For some reason, he wanted to write on her cast. He wasn't going to find a marker tonight, but it was going to be difficult to stop him at work tomorrow. Resigned, she sat on the couch and built a small tower of pillows on which to support her left arm. The painkillers she had gotten at the hospital were still working quite well, especially whatever was in the pill bottle; she'd taken two during the car ride home. It didn't even seem odd that Tony was now looking in the refrigerator for his marker.

He eventually plopped down beside her. "You've got way more knives than any one person needs for strictly kitcheny things. Pretty much makes the gun under the dishtowels superfluous." He took a swig from the bottle of beer she'd just noticed he had.

"You could have offered me one."

"Nope. You got the pills, so I get all the booze."

That was hard to argue. "Donuts, beer. Do you ever stop?"

He grinned. "I'm a growing boy." He waited for her to reply with an expectant look, but all she could do was blink at him. "That was an opening for you to mock my supposed love handles." She continued to blink uncomprehendingly as she tried to place the idiom. He patted her head. "Yeah, I think it may be bedtime for you. Want me to hang around?"

"May as well. You are going to have to pick me up for work in a few hours anyway. I cannot drive with this hand."

"You can't drive when you've got two good hands." She had the vague notion that she should take offense to the insult, but it seemed like too much effort. He was looking at her again. "You should be staying home sick tomorrow."

She tried to change her voice to a deeper register. "Day off for a broken hand? Which one? Well, you're not left-handed are you, David?"

"That was a terrible Gibbs impression."

"You obviously do not remember Gibbs' sling."

"Good point. Hm. Well, you're gonna have to sleep on the couch, then, because as I established this morning, it's not going to be comfortable for me."

She yawned. "Bring me a blanket."

"I was kidding, Ziva."

"And I will try not to kick you in my sleep."

He stood eagerly when she rose. "Need help putting on the PJs? Or even just taking off those clothes but not replacing them with other ones?"

"Do not make me change my mind about the couch."

He sank back into his seat. "As long as I'm allowed to sleep with no pants. Lemme know when it's safe to go to bed."

She was half-asleep under the covers when he walked into the bedroom some time later.

"Way to tell me I had the all clear."


She watched him strip to his boxers with no comment as he said, "I was watchin' SportsCenter. Caught the highlights from our game. They were all impressed with you. Top play and everything. Holy reflexes, Batman!"

"You do not seem happy about it."

"Nah, it's not that. Just…I really was making a stupid face."

She yawned through a giggle.

"Yeah, yeah. Sweet Vicodin dreams, my ninja."

She decided to let it go. She could kick him when the alarm went off in a few hours.

The End