Ziva watched quietly through the window as the doctor tended to Tony, flashing the light in his eyes, making him walk in a line across the room. He seemed normal; a little shaky and unsure in his movements, perhaps, but otherwise he looked rather well. She knew he was covered in cuts and bruises - she had not even been allowed to search for all the damage while he'd still been sleeping in the hospital bed, calmed by sedatives. Even when he'd woken up, there had been no recognition given to her face, and she had felt her heart drop into his stomach.
"Retrograde amnesia is fairly common." The voice beside her made her jump. She had begun to stare into space and hadn't noticed that the doctor had left the room to come stand beside her. He gave an apologetic smile, but pressed on without much interruption in his train of thought. "Though usually not quite so severe. Usually patients only forget a few minutes, maybe a few hours, and it comes back within a couple of days. It might be psychogenic, but he certainly shows signs of having suffered a few concussions."
She had seen plenty of men lose memories from severe physical trauma and she knew full well how rare it was to have them return. Glancing back to her partner, she placed a hand at her throat, toying with her necklace to calm her nerves. "Will he... I mean, do you think he'll ever...?"
"We're going to keep up hope," he said with a small smile, reaching out to place a hand on her shoulder. The touch was steadying - comforting. She nodded slowly. "There was a patient written about in an article some time ago that suffered severe retrograde amnesia, forgetting nearly everything except the faces of famous politicians. A year later, he laid down for some sort of surgery, remembered having done so nearly twenty-five years prior, and everything came flooding back. Another patient playing tennis had similar results when he realized he was making the same mistakes during a tennis match."
"Our boss had a much similar thing happen to him as well. It did not take him long, I was able to help..."
She tried to ignore the sympathetic look on the doctor's face, the way he clearly saw her struggling and wanted to tell her to not get her hopes up. He sighed slightly. "Try introducing him to things he should find familiar slowly and we might just get lucky."
Ziva continued to watch him flirt with the nurse who was adjusting his pain medication. The same old Tony. It was hard to think that he could have forgotten so much already.
"When will he be able to go home?"
The doctor folded his arms over his chest, following her gaze to watch the injured man for a moment. "We'll want to keep him overnight for further observation. Hydrate him, make sure he can eat properly, that everything is working the way it should. Minus the healings of a broken nose and somewhat deeper abrasions to the chest and back, everything else seems to be healing up quickly. I'd say he should be able to leave tomorrow morning, if all goes well. So long as he has someone to keep an eye on him."
"Our team will care for him," she said immediately, not breaking her gaze. "I will be sure that we are here to bring him home."
There was a hesitant pause before the doctor nodded. "I'll make sure the paperwork is ready and waiting first thing."
He left her there to watch him. It wasn't too long after that the nurse left, leaving Tony alone in the rather barren hospital room. The steady beeping of the machines monitoring his vitals made him give a glare of annoyance over his shoulder, before he began to adjust the pillows, wincing and whimpering as he tried to make himself comfortable. He was slowly becoming more like himself in his mannerisms and facial expressions and Ziva found herself heavily relieved.
Finally, she took a deep breath, letting herself into the room. The creak of the door caused him to stiffen considerably, his eyes widening and she could see that sense of fear on his face - one that would never leave, she imagined, whenever he was confronted with triggers of his time in that disgusting basement. She knew how long trauma could stay with a person, how long the ice cold terror could stay in your veins. She gave him a smile of understanding. He relaxed.
"Uh - Tifa, was it?"
"Ziva," she muttered quietly, going to sit down in the chair by his bed, holding her shrug close around her, hands almost clinging to the fabric for support. His green eyes never seemed to leave her, studying her, clearly trying so hard to remember.
"Right," he grumbled, disappointed by his failure to remember properly. "Ziva. And the other guy - Tim?" He waited until she nodded, finally managing a small smile at remembering something right. "Is he with you?"
"He is at the squad room with Gibbs. After they finished his stitches, the two went back to do the reports. They will be back later tonight to check on you." While he nodded in understanding, Ziva could tell her had been able to only barely follow her words. Squad room and reports... These were things he no longer knew off the top of his head. Gibbs had not even brought a glimmer of recognition.
She found herself remember when their boss had been in such a similar situation. The memories stopping after the death of his family, only slowly returning as the more familiar situations began to show themselves to him. Hot dogs, shaving his head - Franks. She felt her throat tighten and forced it down. A headslap had been enough to bring back most of it. A familiar action. She wondered if there would be the same miracle cure for him as well, as there had been for Gibbs and the men the doctor had brought up to her before
"So are we dating or something?"
The question startled her, nearly making her drop her purse as she looked up at him in surprise. "What?"
"You and me. I mean - you just seemed a little more, you know... put out, I guess, than Tim or that uh - the grumpy, grey haired one - I don't..." His forehead wrinkled, his hand reaching up to pinch his nose as he tried to grasp for a connection. Seeing him struggle to remember his boss, the man who had been like a second father to him all these years, made Ziva's heart nearly shatter in her chest. "I don't think anyone told me his name."
"Gibbs," she said slowly, her eyes falling to the ground. "His name is Gibbs."
He nodded, letting the name sink in, trying to keep it there so he could recall it later. "They don't seem to be quite so... affected."
She could feel her cheeks heat under his stare, keeping her eyes on the tiles at her feet. "They are affected," she said, her voice low. "Gibbs finds hiding his emotions far easier - masking his worry and burying himself in work. McGee, he - ... I think you just have not seen him much yet. His worry is all over his face. He wants you to get better as much as the rest of us."
"So why's it you who's sitting with me all night and not one of them?"
She smiled a little, shrugging. "I drew the short straw."
He snorted, looking towards the monitors, watching his heart rate. "I'm that loved a guy, huh?"
"You are an acquired taste." She finally looked up from the floor, reaching out to take his hand carefully in hers. "One that we have all come extremely attached to." Giving his hand a squeeze, she smiled as their eyes met again.
"You didn't answer my question, you know."
Her brow arched. "What question?"
"Are we dating?"
She rolled her eyes, pulling her hand back and folding her arms over her chest as she leaned back into the chair. The florescent lights felt suddenly blinding and she closed her eyes, shaking her head. "I would kill you within a week."
"Mm, that's a shame," he muttered. She could practically hear the smirk on his lips, not having to open her eyes to know it was there. "I'd be one hell of a lucky guy to have a girl as hot as you."
"Charming." She pulled herself up from her seat, eyes opening again, reaching out to brush his hair from his forehead. "You should get some rest. If you are cleared in the morning, I will be taking you home." The smirk stayed in place and she could see the slight, typical mischievous Tony glint in his eyes. "To rest, you idiot." She shook her head, pulling the blanket up farther for him. "Even with brain damage, you can't keep your mind clean."
"Part of my charm, I assume."
"Hn. Charm. I think that gene skipped over you." Tapping his nose gently, she turned to leave, only to feel the weight of his hand around her wrist, keeping her still. She stopped in her tracks, spinning enough on her heel to get him in her eye sight again. His eyes seemed wider than usual, fearful once more, and almost pleading. "Tony?"
He swallowed softly, letting his hand fall and going to play with a loose string in the blanket. "You're coming back, right?" He tried to sound more nonchalant about it, as though he didn't truly care either way, but she knew him well enough to know better.
"I'll be here when you wake up again," she said softly, going to pat his hand. "I promise."
Nodding softly, he went to readjust himself on the bed, wincing at the movement. She waited until he was settled, leaning over to place a gentle kiss against the top of his forehead. It was strange to see him so worked up, so afraid, so jumpy - but she knew full well he had reasons. Brushing her hand through his hair, she waited until she was sure he was on his way to sleep, heading out of the room to get herself a cup of coffee.
It was going to be a very long night, she was sure.