I'm not sure where this came from.
It's strange, sometimes, how things can sneak up and take a person completely by surprise.
In all of his life, Tony DiNozzo had faced a lot of danger. He had been in situations where if precautions hadn't been taken, he or another member of his team could have easily been killed. He never imagined that a so-called witness in a simple case would threaten to take him out of this world.
It isn't a complicated murder. There's a witness saying they could possibly identify someone they saw leaving the scene, so the individual is brought in. They're waiting on the sketch artist to arrive when the witness goes crazy, pulls out a gun, and fires once before she's apprehended.
Tony feels the bullet pierce his skin, feels it rip into muscle in his upper abdomen, feels it ricochet off of something. He falls, the room already spinning and getting fuzzy. He hears Ziva scream his name, sees her blurred face. The last coherent thought he has before the lights go out is that he can't die, because he has Ziva to think about. Ziva and their daughter.
"He lost a lot of blood, and the bullet never exited his body. We have to do surgery to get it out. It isn't looking very good."
Ziva nods as the doctor tells her this information, barely keeping herself together. "Okay," she says quietly, listening as the doctor tells her more details and says they'll get started right away. She just keeps nodding, half of her mind processing the information while the other remains blank, still in shock that this is happening to them.
Apparently, their witness hadn't been a witness, after all, but instead was a suspect. A guilty suspect. Ziva supposes that was just their luck.
She sits down in a chair by the white, bleak wall of the hospitals, putting her head in her hands. She had sent Gibbs to check on Eden, and make sure that she was taken care of for the night. She hadn't heard from him yet, but she was sure she would soon.
She tries not to look around too much. Hospitals always give her a bad feeling, and she knows that no matter the outcome of this situation, that feeling will only worsen. She hears a nurse somewhere telling a doctor that they have a patient with a broken arm that needs the bones to be set. She tells him that the patient won't stop complaining about the pain. She recommends a stronger sedative. Ziva feels herself get angry. Whoever that patient is, she's sure their pain is nothing in comparison to what Tony could be feeling. Tony didn't just have a few broken bones. He was fighting for his life. There was a bullet lost somewhere in his body that a surgeon was currently trying to remove. People should count their blessings, she thinks to herself bitterly.
Gibbs walks in then, and Ziva stands to meet him. "Eden?"
Gibbs nods. "She's fine. McGee and Abby are going to watch her for a little while." Ziva's eyes ask the question that she can't get past her lips. "She doesn't know anything other than that her mom and dad are working late."
Ziva feels her lower lip tremble, and the dam finally breaks. A sob escapes her, and she clamps her hand over her mouth, tears falling down her cheeks. Gibbs pulls her to him and she cries into his jacket. "I cannot lose him. Eden cannot lose her father, Gibbs. She's only four," she chokes out, her voice broken and her body shaking.
Gibbs holds her tightly, letting her cry for a few minutes before speaking. "He's going to be okay, Ziver. He has you and Eden to fight for. If anything gets him through it, it'll be you and that little girl."
Ziva nods, squeezing her eyes shut. This can't be happening. They had found a normal that worked for them. They'd settled into a pattern that they were all happy with. Things were good for once in her life, but it seemed that any time she had any happiness, it never lasted long.
"What are they doing?" Gibbs asks, letting her pull back but staying close. The proximity is comforting.
"The... the bullet did not leave his body. They have to get it out, and..." She takes a minute, collects herself. "He has already lost a lot of blood, and they have blood to give him, but..." she swallows, sitting down in the chair nearest to her and wrapping her arms around herself. "It does not look good."
Gibbs sits down beside her, stays silent for a long time. The only sound is that of beeping machines and nurses moving around on the floor.
Ziva takes the ring on her finger and turns it around. It's a good enough distraction to watch as the light plays off of the diamond in the center. She smiles slightly when she thinks back to Senior's reaction to seeing it on Ziva's finger five Christmases ago. He'd smiled at both of them, nodded in approval, said he'd "known it all along". They'd let that comment slide because it'd been one they'd gotten a lot after they got engaged. Ziva had already been pregnant when they got married on a beautiful spring morning in April. They'd brought Eden into the world six months later, and that day had remained the happiest day of her life. Eden had both of her parents wrapped around her finger from the day she was born, so luckily for Eden, Tony and Ziva had decided that one child was enough. Eden was enough for them.
A phone ringing breaks the silence, and Gibbs pulls his out of his pocket. "Yeah, Abs, what is it?"
Ziva doesn't hear what Abby says, but then Gibbs is looking at her with skeptical eyes. "I'm not sure if that's a good idea, Abby."
"What is it?" Ziva asks. "Is Eden okay?"
Gibbs hesitates and covers the receiver. "Eden's fine. Wants to talk to her mom."
Ziva's mouth falls open slightly, but then she nods and reaches for the phone, clearing her throat and sitting up a little straighter. "Let me talk to her. I will be fine."
Gibbs tells Abby to put Eden on, and then hands the phone to Ziva. Ziva takes a breath before she puts the phone to her ear. "Hello?"
"Mommy!" a small voice says, and Ziva can't help the small laugh that escapes her.
"Hey, baby. What are you doing?" she asks, noticing that Gibbs is watching her closely, anticipating her to break, looking ready to take the phone from her at even the slightest notion that she can't handle this.
"McGee's playing with my toys, mommy! And he's not doing it right!" Eden explains, and Ziva hears McGee and Abby chuckling in the background. The sound is off, though. Ziva knows their humor is for Eden's benefit alone. They're worried about, Tony, too.
"Maybe you should show him how to play with them, sweetheart," Ziva tells her, smiling when her daughter struggles to figure out what she should say to that.
"They... They're girl toys, mommy. I's not for boys." Eden's tone is normal for her. She's an only child, spoiled completely rotten by her parents and every single member of their team. Gibbs is in love with her. Abby and McGee are her permanent babysitters and always give her what she wants. Jimmy and Breena let her go to their house and play with their little boy all the time, and they all swear that one day, the two will get married. Then, any time she wants, Ducky tells her stories, outlandish ones that she always finds funny.
"Eden, McGee can play with the toys if he wants. You should show him how to do it the right way. Okay?" Ziva glances up at the clock. It's been almost an hour since the doctor went into surgery with her husband.
"Okay, mommy. Are you and daddy going to come get me soon?"
The look that Gibbs shoots her way says he heard the question the four year old asked, and he raises an eyebrow, waiting to see how Ziva answers. "I'm not sure, Eden. But... me and daddy will be home as soon as we can, okay?"
"Okay." Eden's curiosity is satisfied, and Ziva relaxes just a little. "I love you, mommy. Tell daddy I love him a lot."
Ziva feels tears stinging her eyes, and she blinks them back. "I will, sweetie. And I love you, too."
There's shuffling on the other end, and then Ziva hears Abby say "keep her distracted", and so Ziva waits, knowing what's coming. "What's going on?"
Ziva takes a deep breath. "He is in surgery. That's about all I know, but I will keep you updated."
"Thanks. Love you, Ziva. It's going to be okay." Abby's assurances do little to still Ziva's nerves, but she thanks her anyway and then hangs up.
She leans her head against the strong shoulder next to her and closes her eyes. She knows it's going to be a long night.
"He isn't awake yet," Gibbs tells Ziva when she opens her eyes the next morning. Once the doctor's had finished Tony's surgery, there had been a period of trying to get him stable. Eventually, they'd got him breathing on his own and replenished some of the blood he'd lost. It was only then that Ziva actually rested, on the couch in Tony's room.
"Okay," Ziva says, casting a glance over at Tony's still form. "They let you back here?" Gibbs shrugs, and Ziva lets a small smile pull up the corners of her lips. "Of course they did. Have you heard from McGee and Abby?"
"Eden had a lot of questions last night when you two didn't come home. She wants to see you." Gibbs sits down beside her on the couch.
Ziva feels tears stinging her eyes and she looks at Tony. "What do I tell her, Gibbs? How much should she know?"
"I don't know. It's up to you," Gibbs tells her.
She nods, rubbing a hand over her face. "Yes, I know."
When they do bring Eden up to the hospital, Ziva meets them in the lobby. Eden runs to Ziva and wraps her arms around her mother's leg, smiling up at her. "I missed you, mommy. Where's daddy?"
Ziva looks at the two sets of eyes watching her closely, and then she sits down and puts Eden in her lap. She can tell that the four year old knows something is wrong, because her expression goes somber. "Sweetie, daddy is... sick. He isn't feeling well. That's why he's in the hospital."
Eden seems to take a minute to process this information. "Are the doctors gonna make him better?"
Ziva pauses just for a moment. "They're doing all they can and taking good care of him."
Eden nods. "Can I see him?"
"He's sleeping, baby. He's not awake." Ziva lets Eden slide out of her lap, watching her daughter closely.
"I can still see him," Eden insists, and Ziva sighs, looking at Abby and McGee, who simply shrug.
They do take her into Tony's room, and the first thing Eden does is sit in the chair by her father's bed. "Mommy, if I talk, can daddy hear me?"
Ziva looks at Gibbs, feeling helpless. She sighs and turns back to her expectant little girl. "Maybe he can, Eden."
"Okay," Eden acknowledges, and then she's talking to Tony. "Daddy, Mama told me that you're sick, but you're going to get better, because you promised to take me out for ice cream one day and you are still gonna do that."
Ziva feels tears stinging her eyes and she turns her face away from her daughter, letting a few tears slip down her cheeks. She chokes back the sob that wants to escape her throat, and after a moment, she feels Gibbs put his hand on her back. "Stay strong, Ziver. For Eden."
Ziva nods, swallows and takes a moment to compose herself before turning back to her daughter. A gasp escapes her, because Tony is opening his eyes, blinking into the bright light over his head, squinting slightly.
"Daddy?" Eden is the first to speak. Tony looks at her, and Ziva just does see the hint of a smile grace his lips.
"Hey, sweetie." he says, his voice rough.
Ziva's crying again now, but for a different reason. She walks over to Tony and grabs his hand, leans down and presses her lips to his forehead. "You scared me," she whispers into his hair, and he squeezes her hand.
"Sorry," he whispers back, but she shakes her head.
"It's fine," she tells him, and he smiles at her.
"Daddy, I stayed with McGee and Abby last night, and..." Eden keeps talking, and Tony focuses all the attention he has on her as she talks while a nurse comes in and starts messing with machines and putting fluids in bags and a lot of other things that Ziva is clueless about. But just before she leaves, the nurse pulls her to the side and tells her that everything's looking better now that he's awake and coherent and that he'll probably recover just fine. Ziva thanks her, and before she heads back over to her family, she takes a moment to appreciate the fact that Tony could have died, but didn't.
He was still here.
Later that day, when Gibbs takes Eden to go get some lunch, Ziva sits down on the edge of Tony's bed, his hand held firmly in hers. "Nurses say you're going to recover well."
He smiles at her, starts playing with her fingers. "Yeah, well, I have two really good reasons to get better. As long as I have you and Eden, I'll get through anything, because nothing is more important to me."
The way he's looking at her urges her forward, and she kisses him gently "I love you," she tells him once they've separated.
"I love you," he reciprocates, giving her that charming smile she fell in love with. And she knows that he's going to be okay.
Gibbs brings Eden back a few minutes later, and upon receiving permission, she climbs up in bed with her daddy on the side lacking any wires or tubes. She starts talking to him again, and Ziva watches from where she sits, admiring the sight in front of her.
She looks at Gibbs, and he's watching the scene, too. His expression resembles awe, and Ziva stands, walks over to him, the man who she's looked at like a father for so long. He smiles at her and wraps an arm around her shoulders, pressing a quick kiss to her head.
Eden giggles at something, and Ziva looks back at her daughter. "Told you he'd make it," Gibbs says in a low tone. Only Ziva hears him. "Because he has something to fight for."