„Your plan didn't work out. They are both alive." Gibbs said as he entered the interrogation-room where Joffrey was waiting.
"Well, I never intended to kill both of them. The one who drank my poison should have lived." Joffrey answered.
Gibbs sat down. It was almost 6 am. He had left the hospital after making sure, that Abby was alright. He was tired but he needed to confront this man. He knew Ducky and Vance were in the observation-room. And the camera was on.
Joffrey laughed: "Think of it. The girl who you ordered to die for the other one, would have lived. She'd always known, that you choose another person over her. Yes, she would've been alive but you'd be still dead to her. With the poison I intended to kill you in a special way. Think of the feeling that it would cause inside your heart. Shannon dead, Kelly dead, one of your substitutes dead and the other one hating you. Pity that didn't work out. Kelly is disappointed."
"Kelly is dead."
"Oh but she is talking to me. She wants her 'sisters'." Joffrey chuckled; it sounded crazy.
Gibbs shook his head: "It's over Joffrey."
"Really? Did you find my accomplice? Told him to run. And you still believe it's Mr. Finnigan." Joffrey said laughing.
"Only a matter of time."
"We'll see. And I'm sure the jury will pity me, the poor disabled man. I'll be back sooner then you think."
Gibbs shrugged and got up. Without another word he went out of the room.
The next days showed that Ziva and Abby were getting better. They needed to stay in the hospital for observation but both were allowed and able to walk by using crutches. However Abby was having way to much fun in speeding down the corridor with an automatic – and tuned - wheelchair, making doctors, nurses and patients jump out of her way. Her stuffed hippo Bert always at her side.
Ziva was having constant nightmares but they would go away as soon as she was at home or together with Tony.
"DiNozzo, you're late." Gibbs said as Tony was entering the bullpen.
"I know, sorry Boss." Tony said placing a stuffed ice-bear with green gloves roughly onto Ziva's desk, then went to sit at his own.
"Got a call from the hospital this morning."
"Everything alright?" Tim asked worried.
Tony seemed not to be happy: "Well, you probably know, that Ziva used to sleep with a gun under her pillow?"
"Used to?" Tim asked, wondering about the past tense.
"Yeah, I convinced her that it was not necessary at home. But … I don't know how she did it but she took my gun before I left yesterday. And this morning a nurse woke her up while she was having a nightmare…. Ziva pulled the gun at her… Of course she didn't shoot but the nurse freaked out anyway." Tony explained and tossed a paper-ball at the ice-bear.
Tim knew it wasn't funny but he had a hard time not to grin.
"And what's your problem with the bear?" Gibbs asked annoyed seeing that Tony already formed another ball.
"Ziva asked me to get it for her out of her apartment. Said she'd feel save around it." He tossed the ball and hit the bear's nose: "Makes me sick, I think she got it from an ex-boyfriend."
Gibbs got up and took the bear before Tony could continue.
"His name is Charlie, and she got it from me for Christmas two years ago." He informed him.
"Ziva doesn't celebrate Christmas." Tony said confused.
"I know, but she accepted the gift. Anyway, I'll head to the hospital at lunchtime. I'll bring her Charlie."
Tony wanted to ask if he could come with him but somehow he had the feeling that Gibbs needed a moment alone with his girls.
When Gibbs arrived at the Medical Centre he was informed, that Ziva and Abby were now in one room. The doctors thought that it could make Ziva feel save to have Abby around. Gibbs doubted that. It would just set Ziva on alert in order to keep Abby save.
As he looked through the window into the room the girls shared, he smiled. Both of them were sitting on Abby's bed. Abby at the head-end and Ziva on the other side, playing a complicated looking card game.
"Now, I attack you with these two. That means even when you block you'd lose 4 life-points and you lose the game." Abby said while pushing to cards into Ziva's direction.
Ziva shook her head. "I don't block and I don't loose, because the 'Platinum Angel' says: 'You can't lose the game and your opponents can't win the game'" Ziva read from a card she had just picked up from a line of card in front of her.
Abby twisted two cards and played one from her hand: "There! Destroy target artifact, now you lose."
Ziva looked at the card for a moment: "Am I ever going to win this game?"
Abby grinned: "Not against me."
Gibbs tried hard to steel himself for what he had to do. It wasn't easy, when they were so happy. A few days ago he had comforted Ziva and afterwards Abby who had been worried about her. But today he had to straighten them out. He hesitated but in the end he opened the door. Passing Ziva's bed, he placed Charlie onto the pillow and walked over to Abby's bed.
"Gibbs!" Abby called happily as she saw him.
"Put the cards away." He simply said.
Ziva and Abby did as they were told.
"I need to talk to you." Gibbs said to Ziva.
She knew she was in trouble. "Gibbs, I know, I shouldn't have taken Tony's gun but…."
"I'm not talking about the gun! What the hell were you thinking, by drinking the poison!" Gibbs suddenly shouted. He could see the shock in her eyes and for a moment he wanted to comfort her but this was something he needed to say.
"I… I wasn't…I didn't want to… I thought that you…" she stuttered.
"You thought I would say your name?" Gibbs was now really angry.
Ziva looked down. She was ashamed.
"Gibbs…" Abby said softly.
He turned to her: "As for you, when I tell you to stay where you are and not to move, you obey!"
Abby was just as shocked as Ziva. Gibbs had never yelled at her before.
"There was no time left, I had to drink it." Ziva suddenly said in defense.
Gibbs grabbed her shoulders and shook her, not really hard, because of her broken ribs but he wanted her to understand.
"We were near. McGee said there was no way Joffrey could've electrified the water."
"I didn't now that! Are you angry because I tried to save Abby?" Ziva didn't understand why Gibbs was behaving like this.
"NO! I'm angry because I almost lost a daughter." Gibbs said and then hugged her. Anger gone.
It took several second until Ziva understood the meaning of his words but she did in the end. She wasn't used to a fathers care. Eli had never been angry with her when she had put her life in danger. No, he even ordered her to do so. He was never worried about her and he only became angry when she refused to do something he wanted her to. But now, she thought, she had to get used to a father like Gibbs. But somehow she knew it would be easy. Abby crawled over to them and Gibbs laid an arm around her to.
"Never do that again." He said to both of them and kissed each girl onto the forehead.
She heard the cracking of a fire and smelled burned flesh. When Abby stepped outside into the backyard of Gibbs house she noticed that McGee was cursing. He stood at the barbecue and tried to rescue this burnt burgers.
"I told you, you need to wait until the fire is burned down. That reminds me on a barbecue almost 20 years ago…" Ducky said and started a story.
Abby went over to Ziva who was sitting on at a table watching the two men.
"Where are Tony and Gibbs?" Abby asked.
"Don't know… they went inside a few minutes ago." Ziva answered.
"So, what did you want to tell me?" Gibbs asked as he and Tony went into the basement.
"Um.. I more like to as you something… Well… uhm… since you are something like a father to Ziva I would ask you for the hand of your daughter."
Gibbs looked at him, not believing what Tony had just asked.
"DiNozzo, do you have any idea in how much trouble we are if Ziva ever finds out, that you asked another man for permission to marry her?"
Tony thought about it for a moment: "Right, then I think I better go out and ask her…" he said and headed upstairs.
Tony had just went down to his knees and asked the question as Gibbs cleared his voice before Ziva had a chance to answer. Everyone looked at him. He stood next to the barbecue holding up a card that said: 'Rule #12' Then, with a smile and a swift movement he threw it into the fire.
Well, thank you for reading and all those wonderful reviews. I still can't believe that so many of you liked this story to much. Thank you, thank you, thank you.