N.C.I.S. does not belong to me in any way shape or form.

Author's note – I kind of shut down for the last year or so. Didn't write at all. My muse popped her head out a few times but quickly ran screaming from the chaos that was my life. Things settled down a bit and my muse returned. She laughed evilly and dumped an unbelievable amount of ideas into my lap. I started writing again. And started watching TV again (missed quite a few episodes of NCIS but think I'm all caught up, if I miss something well….)

and once this started flowing I couldn't get it to stop. So I didn't.

Special thanks to the sites listed below for all their assistance. If you haven't checked them out yet, please do so

.com/ .com/shows/ncis/

.com/ and .com/wiki/NCIS_Database

This starts sometime after "Safe Harbor" and "Engaged 1&2". Spoilers up to that point may exist.

Finding Serenity

By Jen S.

x

Ziva: Are you lonely, Gibbs?
Gibbs: You're never alone when you have kids. (kisses her on the forehead) Night, kid.

x

Fate will find a way – Virgil

Rule #39: There is no such thing as coincidence – Gibbs

x

Friday – November 4th 1300 hours

It was supposed to be lunch. Just lunch. But when was anything 'just' with them. They'd blame Abby. She'd been the one who'd wanted it. And as usual with her, it was hard to say no. For any of them, but especially for him. And once he'd decided to give in he'd simply told the others they were going. And so they came to this place, at this time. If they'd gone to another restaurant or on a different day, how different would things be?

But some days are just the difference between fate smiling on you, crying for you, or laughing her ass off.

Lunch was actually great. The restaurant was fairly new, and on a street filled with small shops and cafes. In fact across the street was a café slash coffee barista trying to be French with outdoor seating. But this place was pure American. The food was excellent. It was a sunny fall day. Not too cold, but definitely getting there. And his kids were happy. Talking, joking, laughing. Happy. He was content to sit back in his seat and just watch them.

Abby was next to him at the table, with Tim at the far end. Tony was across from Abby, with Ziva next to him, sitting across from Gibbs. Ziva was wearing a V-neck t-shirt and he found himself staring at the skin exposed. More specifically at the necklace she wore. Her usual Star of David was there. But above it lay a diamond charm on a thin chain. A butterfly in gold, with diamonds on each wing. He recognized it instantly. He'd bought it himself. For Jenny. In Paris. It had been an impulse buy, expensive as all hell. But well worth the smile it brought to her face. When Jenny had been killed, Gibbs had been the one to go through her legal papers. Two months before, she'd opened a safe deposit box at a local bank. The box had contained some of her most prized possessions. Most had been left to him. But the jewelry had been divided among her mother and sister. And Abby and Ziva. Abby frequently wore the pieces left to her. Ziva rarely did.

Flashback

In the director's office. She was sitting. He was looking out the window. "Why?"

"Why what Jethro?"

"Why her? Why on my team?" he turned from the view. To focus on a better one.

She'd given him one of her patented looks. Combined admiration and pure exasperation. "How many times are you going to ask me this?"

"As many times as it takes, Jen," he replied leaning over her. "Until you give me a straight answer."

"You need her. And she needs you. And my decision is still final." She said firmly but there was something in her eyes this time.

He moved back out of her personal space. "You really have a soft spot for her."

"Give it time Jethro. So will you."

He scoffed and turned away. "Love the necklace Director." She reached up and covered the necklace with her hand and a smile crossed her face as she remembered Paris.

end

"Gibbs will agree with me," Abby insisted.

Tony laughed loudly, "No he won't. He's smarter than that."

"Am I DiNozzo?" Gibbs asked as he tried to tune back into the conversation.

"Sure boss. I mean of course. You're smart. Very smart. Brilliant even. Some might even say… Help me out guys."

"Sure," Tim chuckled. "I'll buy you a thesaurus for Christmas."

"What do dinosaurs have to do with anything?"

Then she caught his eye. Just as she passed the window on the far side of the restaurant.

Petite. Young. Blonde. Jeans. Leather jacket that looked big, probably not hers. Sunglasses covering her eyes. Ear buds in her ears. Black backpack slung over one shoulder.

Nothing remarkable about her. But there was something familiar in her profile. She reached the corner and stopped. Her face turned slowly as though she was doing a sweep of the area. Or looking for someone.

"Is something wrong?" Ziva's voice cut into his thoughts. She turned to look over her shoulder to follow his line of sight

"Nope," Gibbs shook his head then reached out and snatched a piece of her pie off of her plate.

"Hey," she complained. "I thought you did not want dessert."

"Don't," he said around the bite.

"Who is she?"

"Who?"

She just looked at him.

"Don't know."

The girl stepped to the curb and waited for the traffic to clear. Then she crossed the street to where another teen stood on her cell phone. The other girl was taller, long dark hair that she tossed back over her shoulder. She turned away still talking on the phone as the small blonde joined her.

He was still watching her. Still staring. When the van pulled up. The driver and the front seat passenger were wearing ski masks. And his gut twisted.

"Tim?"

"Yeah boss?"

"Stay with Abby. Call for backup. Tony, Ziva, with me."

"What is it?" Tony asked.

Just as all hell broke loose.

Hold on
Hold on to yourself
for this is gonna hurt like hell (1)

The side door of the van was thrown open and four men leapt out. All dressed in black, faces covered by ski masks. And each carried a gun. One opened fire, spraying bullets through the air, slicing holes in the café's awning. Screams as people dove for the ground. Horns blared. Tires screeched as people fled.

"EVERYBODY ON THE GROUND!"

Gibbs raced across the street with Tony and Ziva right behind him.

"FEDERAL AGENTS!" Gibbs shouted as he dodged a car.

Two of the men had grabbed the dark haired teen and were dragging her towards the van.

A third turned at his yell and began firing. Gibbs ducked to one side behind a parked car. Ziva landed next to him, with Tony pushing her down and covering her body with his own.

Gibbs stretched up to look over the car trunk, just in time to see the blonde girl swing her backpack up catching the shooter at the base of the skull and knocking him to the pavement. The gun slid across the sidewalk and down under the car.

With a roar, the fourth gunmen advanced towards her. Bullets sprayed the concrete near her. She dove against the wall and yanked something from the backpack. Gibbs came around the back of the car and dropped the guy with a single shot to the head while he was firing on the girl. "GET DOWN!" he shouted at her.

Hold on
Hold on to yourself
You know that only time can tell (1)

The dark haired teen was screaming at a non-stop high-pitched wail. The men had her almost to the van. Then a large pickup truck slammed into the back of the van shoving it forward several car lengths out into the intersection.

"FEDERAL AGENTS," Gibbs yelled again. "Drop the gun! Let the girl go!"

The answer came as a barrage of gun fire. And the continued screaming.

Ziva got the next clear shot and took down one. His fall took the brown haired girl down to the sidewalk. The last of the four abandoned the girl and leapt towards the van. Tony fired several shots and he dropped down into the street.

"DiNozzo, get the girl," Gibbs ordered.

Tony didn't reply but raced over to the brunette and he stooped to scoop her up, getting her to the doorway and covering her.

what is it in me that refuses to believe
this isn't easier than the real thing (1)

The van's passenger came out firing. Gibbs and Ziva hit the deck, pinned down by the gunfire. Then the van roared off with a screech of tires and a shower of sparks. The passenger screamed out in a foreign language. He continued to fire as he advanced from the street. Gibbs rolled over, grabbing Ziva to his chest with one arm, then rolling them both further towards cover, firing at the man as they went.

The man continued to yell. Then his gun either jammed or he ran out of ammo. With a fierce scream he tossed it aside.

Gibbs was lying on his side, with Ziva still cradled to his chest. He aimed from the awkward position as the guy took a step back to run.

"STOP RIGHT THERE!"

Then the guy reached down and grabbed the little blonde. He had her in front of his body with a knife to her throat. "STAY BACK" the would be kidnapper screamed in heavily accented English. "Or I will kill her."

My love
you know that you're my best friend.
You know that I'd do anything for you (1)

.

Gibb's eyes locked onto the girl's. Blue met blue. There was no fear in her gaze. Just a flash of recognition. And absolute trust. Then a stoic mask slipped back into place. Her eyes flicked down to her side then back to Gibbs. He couldn't see her hand but Ziva could.

"Rule 9," she whispered.

and my love
let nothing come between us
my love for you is strong and true (1)

"GUN ON THE FLOOR." The man yelled. Then without warning he swiftly brought the knife out then back, thrusting it into the girl's shoulder all the way to the hilt. Then he yanked it back out and put it back to her carotid. "NOW!" then his voice went deadly quiet, "or I will slit her open like a runtlet pig." The knife was now covered in red dripping blood. The girl was clenching her jaw but otherwise still and silent. Her eyes stayed on Gibbs.

Gibbs nodded and started to lower his weapon.

The girl brought her hand up to the knife at her throat, then her other hand arched out. There was a snick as her hand came up, then she plunged it down to the man's leg. He screamed and reached for his leg. She shoved the knife from her throat and dropped face down to the pavement.

Ziva and Gibbs both fired several shots and blood spilled across the sidewalk.

Gibbs took a steadying breath, then he looked to Ziva still sprawled across him. "Hi."

"Hi."

"Want to move?"

"You grabbed me," she reminded as she pushed herself up. She went quickly to where the girl was rolling onto her back. She dropped down. "GIBBS!"

Blood spurted out rapidly from the girl's shoulder. Gibbs moved in behind her to sit her up.

The pickup truck driver leapt out. He was dressed in desert camouflage with one arm in a sling. He yanked a tablecloth off, dumping most of the place settings to the ground. "Damn. That always works in the movies." He knelt down with the cloth and he and Ziva wrapped it around the girl's arm. "I'm Staff Sergeant Nelson. Sorry I didn't do more sir, I'm not armed at the moment."

"You did plenty, Marine, thanks for the assist," Gibbs replied.

"What in the hell…" the girl said.

"He stabbed you," Ziva replied.

"Yeah. That part I figured out, ma'am," she said. "Kinda was confused by the whole 'slit her like a runtlet pig' comment." The other girl was still shrieking. "God won't she shut up?" Then silence fell abruptly.

"DiNozzo?"

"Fainted boss. Eyes rolled up. And she just went out."

"At least she is quiet," Ziva said.

"Ambulance is on its way, Boss," McGee said as he raced up. "Eight minutes out."

The Staff Sergeant shook his head.

"We are less than eight minutes from the hospital," Ziva whispered.

Blood had completely soaked the tablecloth and was still spurting.

"I would really rather not die here, sir, ma'am," the girl said.

"Name's Gibbs, don't call me sir. And you are not going to die," he said firmly. "Not here. Not now."

Ziva was face to face with the girl and saw her expression change. Relax.

"McGee, stay here… where's Abby?"

"Restaurant. The other… where we were."

"Stay here and brief the locals. We're going to transport. Ziva you're driving. Go get the car. DiNozzo, stay with the other girl. Put her in the ambulance when it shows. Who is she?"

"Didn't get that far boss. Unless she screamed it at some point."

"Mary Beth," the blonde said. "Mary Elizabeth Jarvis."

"J… Jarvis?" Tim said.

"New Sec Nav's youngest daughter," the girl replied.

Ziva cursed low in Hebrew. Then she leapt up to go get the car. She was back quickly. The injured Marine helped Gibbs lift and carry the girl to the car. Gibbs slid across the back seat with her, keeping firm pressure on the wound. Ziva sped away from the curb as soon as the door was shut.

"What's your name?"

"Sara."

"OK Sara, just stay with us OK. Keep your eyes open. Talk to me."

Sara coughed and sucked in a gasp of air. "About what?"

"Last name?"

"Reilly."

"Sara Reilly. How do I get in touch with Mom or Dad?"

"Mom's gone. Dad's… away."

"Deployed?" Ziva asked as she steered around cars at a red light then slipped through the intersection.

"Mish…. Training exercise. Out of town."

"Marine?" Gibbs asked with a quick shake when she faded for a second. "Eyes OPEN. Is he a Marine?"

"Navy. 703 555 1025. Leave a message."

Gibbs heard rather than saw Ziva quickly type those numbers into her cell phone. Then she dropped the phone into the center console to drive through another red light. Then a siren roared up to the side of the vehicle. A DCPD unmarked car was alongside. He waved and sped up to pass them. They had an escort the last two minutes of the drive. Sara was drifting a bit by the time they arrived. Ziva followed the cop to the emergency entrance where they were met by a fleet of doctors and nurses with a gurney.

"Agent Gibbs? I'm Doctor Jacoby, ER. Your Agent Mackey called us."

"McGee," Ziva corrected automatically.

"Sorry," Jacoby replied as he helped slide Sara out of the back seat. "We've got a female. Approximately five foot nothing, maybe ninety pounds. Stab to left upper chest region. Looks like it hit the artery. We've got substantial blood loss, let's move. We need her in surgery now."

"I've got a med alert bracelet here," a nurse called. "Allergies. Iodine and morphine. Blood type B neg."

"Shit that's rare," Jacoby swore.

"I'm B negative," Gibbs said as he ran alongside the stretcher.

"This your kid?"

"No."

"What do you know about her?"

"Name is Sara Reilly. Father is military."

"And?"
"And she's a fighter."

"She better be. Anything else? No. OK. You have to stay here."

The nurse took the ID bracelet off and handed absently it to Gibbs. She ran her hand quickly over the girl's neck. "No more jewelry at first glance."

And they disappeared through the swinging doors. Gibbs stood staring as the doors closed in his face. His hand fisted over the metal.

Fade out…

Am I in heaven here or
am I...
At the crossroads I am standing (1)
– song quoted throughout – Hold on by Sarah McLachlan

And no I don't know Gibb's blood type, why would I? I just picked a rarer one