Disclaimer: I like Times New Roman. There, I said it. Also, I find fonts with no serifs disconcerting.
Spoilers: Newborn King. From right near the end until things that happened after the credits rolled, and therefore never happened.
Summary: Fighting hurts. Ziva and Tony enjoy/endure Gibbsian holiday cheer.
Ziva groaned as she pushed herself into a sitting position against the counter in the market of the service station, annoyed that it had come to blows. She was going to have to spend a lot more time on the range if she couldn't score a single hit in twenty-one chances. At least the creep was unconscious now. He should probably be restrained before he woke up. Same for the one lying in the snowy parking lot. She would need Gibbs' handcuffs for that. Well, one step at a time.
The first jolt of pain hit her as she reached for the cuffs clipped to her belt. Why did an adrenaline rush have to wear off so damn quickly? She attempted a deep breath and immediately regretted it. An exhalation relieved the majority of the pain, but some lingered. Rib injuries were among her most hated. She hadn't felt anything crack during the brief struggle, but she hadn't exactly been focused on herself at the time. After a more tentative breath, she determined that it was her right side. On the fifth night of Chanukah she would finally be receiving a gift – painkillers and icepacks. From herself or possibly an ER doctor.
The man on the floor moaned softly, interrupting her self-pity, so she delivered a kick to his temple to silence him. The action caused her a disproportionate combination of discomfort and satisfaction. She noted as she pulled her leg back that there was a small pool of blood forming around his arm. Twenty misses out of twenty-one shots was still bad, though. She might have to put off that time on the range, but at least she'd inflicted more damage than she'd sustained.
Putting off major movements for a few moments longer, she turned her head toward the open door leading to the garage where she could hear the baby crying. Had she left that door open? She blinked as Gibbs suddenly knelt beside her. "You okay?"
She nodded. "Fine. Just some…bruises. How is…?"
"Both fine. I'm sure you can hear her complaining about the cold from here."
The hitch in her breathing was more the result of surprise than pain this time. "A baby girl?"
"Yep. Beautiful." It was hard not to smile back at Gibbs' obvious delight. It didn't last long as his gaze drifted toward the unconscious man. "Just him?"
"There is another one by a black SUV in the parking lot. I did not get a chance to restrain him, but it should not be a problem for another few minutes, at least."
"I'll take care of it. You get this one." He stood and took a few steps toward the door before turning. "You sure you're okay?"
"As I said, just…"
"We gotta take Reynolds and the baby to the hospital."
"I'm just sayin' it's a good chance for you to get checked out. Since we're goin' anyway…"
He turned again before he pushed the door open. His smile had returned. "Amira will be upset if you aren't there tomorrow…"
She sighed, not wanting to fight anymore tonight. "I will get an x-ray."
"Good. I'll be back in a minute. Cuff that dirtbag."
A cold breeze blew through the store as the door caught on a pneumatic hinge, causing her an uncomfortable shudder. She held her breath as she hurried through the process of restraining the unconscious man. She didn't bother to turn him onto his stomach, but moved his arms awkwardly into position while avoiding the expanding blood pool. She had to complete only one agonizing cycle of inhalation before she was able to return to her former position against the counter. If only there were a simple way to stop breathing that didn't also involve dying. Or a knee pressed to one's larynx until one lost consciousness.
She was thinking long and hard about standing up when Tony and McGee burst through the door, weapons drawn. Their aim jerked toward her as she rose with some trepidation. "It is just me."
McGee immediately lowered his SIG, but Tony changed his target to the man at her feet. "Where's Gibbs?"
"Outside in the parking lot with the other mercenary. You did not see him?"
Tony jerked his head toward the door. "Probie, go check on him."
Ziva was about to protest when she realized he was talking to McGee, who was already running for the exit. Tony continued to watch her while maintaining an unwavering grip on his weapon. She eventually said, "Lt. Reynolds and her baby are safe."
"Yeah, I figured Gibbs wouldn't have left the pregnant lady unless everything was…okay. Is that guy dead?"
"No." She raised an eyebrow. "I am sure he will wake up at some point."
"Just checking." He smirked at her.
She realized that the baby was no longer crying and there was no reason for Tony to know she had been born. "Lt. Reynolds had a girl. She appears healthy."
Tony's smirk was replaced with shock. "You delivered a baby then kicked a guy's ass?"
"No, Gibbs delivered the baby and I…kicked two guys' asses."
"I'd say it was a Christmas miracle if I wasn't so used to you and your ass-kicking ways. Gibbs the OB, though. That's a new one."
"All I had to do was catch, DiNozzo. The lieutenant did the hard work."
"Course, boss. Didn't mean to, uh, disparage the, uh, watermelon through the straw."
Ziva made the mistake of giving a snort of laughter as Gibbs leveled a stare at Tony. "Call a rescue for Lt. Reynolds. Ziva and I can take her to the hospital while you and McGee get our suspects back to NCIS. And call Maryland State Troopers to secure the scene."
Tony gave Ziva an odd look, but nodded. "Sure, boss. Should we let the EMTs take a look at…right. Back to NCIS with the bad guys. No problem. Guy outside unconscious too? Of course he is. I'll go help McGee. You'll sign off on my chiropractor visits, right, boss?"
"Helping McGee, boss!" He didn't look back again as he bolted for the door.
Two hours later, Ziva was half-dozing on a gurney behind a curtain in a fairly inactive emergency room. She didn't open her eyes as she heard shoes squeaking on the tile approach her bedside. As far as she was concerned, anyone who wanted blood or vital signs or whatever could have them. After a few minutes, she recognized Gibbs as he cleared his throat. She reflexively muttered, "I am fine."
"X-ray says different."
"Hm." She kept her eyes closed.
"Even I can see something wrong with at least three of 'em on here."
She finally looked where he was pointing and grimaced. The ER doctor had indicated the same spot when she'd been in some time earlier. Ziva knew didn't have a flail chest, which she'd learned more than enough about during her last serious rib injury, so she had ignored most of what the doctor had said about atelectasis, suction and surgery. She was really just waiting for a prescription for painkillers and a ride home at the moment. "Gibbs…"
"I'm not goin' anywhere. Leyla'll understand."
"No, I just need some rest."
"That's why they have rooms with beds here, Ziver."
"I am not staying in a hospital."
She tried to sit up to confront him more effectively, but ended up gasping in pain while he prevented her from falling off the gurney. She gritted her teeth. "Tonight I am going home and tomorrow I am watching Amira open her presents. I did not wrap them for nothing."
"You do know she can open them later, right?"
She fought against Gibbs' resistance as she tried to stand. "I just want to go home."
"You're all set to go," the doctor said, appearing around the curtain. "You can get this prescription filled at the hospital pharmacy or at a 24-hour place if you're headed closer to the city."
Gibbs took the slip. "You're sure she doesn't need to stay?"
"No, she just needs to take it easy for a few weeks while she heals."
Ziva bit back the urge to mention that she was still there while Gibbs shook hands with the doctor. He turned toward her. "Well, let's go."
"You are not going to…"
"If you need help walking out of here, I'm just going to go find that doctor and convince her to admit you."
She stood and took a few careful steps. "All right. Let's go."
Gibbs did help her into her jacket so she didn't have to raise her arms too high.