Together, Not Apart
He is already a bit aggravated. They’d done all this work. He’d pissed Tony off to no end. And it was all for nothing.
Not nothing, but Yaniv Bodnar certainly isn’t what he thought all his sleepless nights filled with Ziva couriered Thai food would yield. I mean, the little brother accomplice? He could’ve written something better that.
He picks up his backpack and slings it over his shoulder. Reaching up to turn off his desk lamp, he is interrupted by the buzzing of his cell phone in his pocket.
“Bethesda.” He says. And then there is a beat because he knows in his bones that it isn’t a dead body but he doesn’t want to ask whom. “Your partners were hit by a truck.”
“Both of them? What do you mean?”
“Car crash.” Gibbs provides.
“McGee, you coming or not?”
“Yeah. Yeah I’ll be right there.”
So Gibbs is both of their secondary emergency contacts and he takes up third. But the thing is, if he were one of them, which most days he is thankful he is not, he wouldn’t have the guts to accept a position as emergency contact.
Because standing here with Gibbs, McGee is oddly glad that both of them are in surgery. He is glad that both of his partners are in serious condition, because imagine if something had happened to only one of them. Imagine if just Ziva’s insides had been impaled with shards of the front windshield or God forbid it was just Tony with a possible brain bleed.
He’d have to deal with the other. The other would have to deal. And he really just doesn’t think that any of them could handle of that. None of NCIS’s most famous Agent trio had it in them to deal with that. Certainly not one half of the whole of their dynamic duo.
So if he is going to be the only one left – that’s fine. Whatever they did, they did together and over the years, McGee has grown accustomed to that. So if one of them went today, then both of them were going to go.
Of course, fate isn’t kind to them. Never has been, never will be. That’s how he found himself standing next to Ziva. A battered Ziva, one he might even dare to compare to Somalia Ziva and that was something he had swore he would never see again.
But here she is. Breathing labored. Hand clutching her bandaged abdomen. And tears silently streaming down her face.
She cuts him off with a swift shake of the head and a sharp swipe below her eye. “Don’t, McGee.”
“I was just going to ask if I could get you anything.” Blatant lie. He was going to try and say something comforting. Something like, he’ll be okay, Ziva.
“Oh.” She looks over at him. “Could you pass me that water?”
He does without comment, mostly because she looks so much like a scared little girl that it makes him sick to his stomach.
He holds the water as she sips.
“Is Gibbs with –“
He cuts her off with his own nod this time, mostly because he doesn’t want to hear the way her voice catches when she speaks Tony’s name. It had pained him enough earlier.
She looks down then. And he feels terrible. He doesn’t know what to do. So he takes a step back and pulls the chair over towards her bed. They never talk about it. None of them. It is this unspoken understanding between the three of them that despite the fact that all of them would give their lives for each other, something is different between Tony and Ziva.
And that difference has only been growing since Dearing blew up the Navy Yard.
He’s not sure what other people define them as, but he would say fatal opposite attraction. But maybe fatal is the wrong word. They’ve saved each other before and he hopes, he knows they’ll save each other again. Maybe not today, but hopefully tomorrow.
“You and I…” he begins, “We can talk…if you want.”
She is a little stunned by his admission.Like she’s taken a back that he knows who she’s thinking about. He can tell by the way her shoulders stiffen and her eyes jerk towards him.
“I am…tired.” She responds.
He nods and though he doesn’t believe her, he gets up, rubs her shoulder and walks out of the room.
“How is he?” He comes up beside Gibbs and peers through the glass into his other partner’s Intensive Care Unit room.
“Stable enough.” His Boss’ eyes stay fixed on the monitors in the room. He watches Tony’s steady heartbeat and the knowledge that he’s getting enough oxygen through the tube down his throat.
“Any idea as to when they’ll wake him up?”
“Not until the swelling goes down.”
McGee nods. And then looks at Gibbs. “She wouldn’t really talk to me.”
Gibbs turns and regards him. And then he shrugs. “Eh,” he says, “She’s Ziva, McGee. Bodnar’s still out there and then there’s this. What’d you expect?”
“Are you going to try?”
“If she’s ready.” And then Gibbs walks away and he’s left just staring at Tony. Willing him to wake up. Because, if he was left with the functional mute and some grief stricken – revenge driven Ziva, things would be so ugly.
Eventually, he leaves Tony’s window and makes his way back to the step-down unit. He watches Ziva sleep for some undetermined period of time. He feels like he’s stuck somewhere in a Deep Six fanfiction – McGregor watching Tommy and Lisa. It wouldn’t be real Deep Six because he’d never put his characters through this much pain. And even if he did, Tony and Ziva would castrate him when it went to print.
She mumbles a lot in her sleep and winces and her heart rate accelerates and levels many times. The nurse comes back and forth and she wearily regards him each time so he flashes his badge and then she asks if he needs anything.
After sunset, she wakes. He gives her a few minutes before going in. Silently, he sits down in the chair beside her bed.
She shakes her head at him. “How long were you there?”
“Just watching making sure you don’t need anything.”
“I’m fine, McGee.” And her tone leaves no room for negotiation so he nods and gets back up and it’s just as he’s made it to the door that she speaks again.
“I was happy.”
He turns back and cocks his head to the side. He purses his lips and waits for her to continue because evidently she’s ready and she wants to talk.
“Right before we crashed, he was holding my hand and I was happy.” She looks up at him, tears streaming down her face, but a smile coming across her mouth. “That’s all I remember.” She shrugged.
He gives a solemn nod because he’s sure she only wants validation. He pushes off the door and, rather, than sitting back in the chair, he sits beside her on the bed. “He won’t leave you alone, Ziva.”
Because that’s not how they’re made.