The ambulance pulled up outside the Emergency Room and Gibbs and DiNozzo were helped inside. Much to the annoyance of the medical staff, Gibbs refused treatment until he had news on the condition of Agent David. He stormed over to the reception desk and stood there unsteadily until he found out what he needed to know. Tony was wheeled into a treatment area before being taken to have his ankle x-rayed.
By the time Tony returned to the curtained area, Gibbs was seated on a bed having the gash over his eye stitched.
"Hey, Boss! Any word on Ziva?" Tony wondered.
"She's in surgery. I've asked them to get a message to Ducky and tell him that we're here," Gibbs told him. "How's your ankle?"
"No fracture, just severe bruising. I'll be back in work in no time," Tony promised.
"There, you're all done," the pretty young doctor said looking up into his piercing blue eyes.
"Thanks," Gibbs said smiling kindly at her and shifting sorely to get off the bed. Just then Ducky appeared through the curtain.
"Good Lord, look at the pair of you," he exclaimed when he saw the bruised faces and bloodied clothes of the pair. "Are you alright?"
"We're fine, Duck. Any word on Ziva?" Gibbs asked eagerly.
"She was taken straight to surgery when we got here. I haven't had any word since," he told him. "I have heard from Abby though. She tells me that Timothy is being released from hospital in the morning. She was not impressed to hear that you were involved in this hostage situation. I won't repeat what she threatened to do to you when she next sees you," he laughed.
Gibbs couldn't help but smile. He could just picture Abby's fury on hearing that he had placed himself in danger once again. Yep, he was in for an ear bashing when he saw her, he thought. His smile faded quickly when he heard a familiar voice booming from the other side of the curtain. It was Director Vance.
"What the hell is he doing here?" Gibbs whispered, clearly not in the humour to deal with a reprimand from his boss at the moment.
"I'm sorry Jethro, I had to call him. I thought he should know that some of his agents had been injured," Ducky apologised. He knew when making the call that Gibbs would be unimpressed but he also knew that as Director of NCIS, Vance had a right to know what was going on. He felt it was his duty to inform him.
Gibbs shook his head, visibly disappointed with his friend. None the less, he realised that he would have to face the music sooner or later. It looked like it would be sooner. As he sat back onto the bed, the curtain was pulled back and a furious looking director appeared.
"Hello Director," Tony chirped cheekily, a stupid grin on his face. He was amused to see Gibbs sulking like a bold schoolboy. He was expecting fireworks. Vance looked like he was ready to explode.
"Gibbs! Why the hell did I hear about this from the doctor?" he demanded, as he stood tall over the two injured men.
"I was a little tied up," Gibbs replied curtly.
"It's true, Director. Handcuffed," Tony said, adding his two cents worth. Gibbs threw a lethal look in Tony's direction.
"Shut up, DiNozzo. I'll talk to you later," Vance snapped. "Where do I start? Agents taken hostage and wounded, appointing yourself negotiator then offering yourself as a hostage, almost kill yourself, the suspect and Agent DiNozzo in a car crash, not to mention wilful damage of naval property! Jesus, Gibbs that was just in the last few hours! Is there anything else?" Vance roared.
"We did crack the case," Gibbs replied smartly.
"Well I guess I should be thankful for small mercies then," Vance conceded. "So, are these two genuises gonna live, Doctor Mallard?" he asked as he started to calm slightly.
"Oh, they'll be fine in a week or two," Ducky replied. As he did, Gibbs got off the bed and began to put back on his jacket. "Where are you going, Jethro?" he wondered.
"Surgery," he replied as he brushed past Ducky and then Vance. Ducky trotted after him.
"I'll wait here then, shall I?" Tony shouted after them. He smiled awkwardly at Vance, a little humiliated that he received no reply. Vance just shook his head thoroughly bemused.
"Slow down, Jethro. Do you even know where you are going?" Ducky asked.
"Following the signs Duck," came the reply.
Gibbs and Ducky took the elevator to the fourth floor and Ducky directed Gibbs to the doors of the operating theatre where he had been instructed by the doctors to wait for news. They found a couple of chairs and sat. Gibbs was still a little mad at Ducky for calling the Director so there was little conversation between them.
"Okay, Jethro! For how long do I get the silent treatment this time?" Ducky asked, starting to get peeved by Gibbs' childishness.
"I would have called him, Duck," Jethro told him crossly.
"I know you would have. But I didn't know how things would turn out. For all I knew he had shot you both. Now imagine if I had to break that sort of news to Director Vance," Ducky explained.
Gibbs nodded and allowed himself a wry smile. He knew he was right. Ducky patted him on the back, glad that all was forgiven. The two friends sat restlessly waiting for news on Ziva. Eventually the double doors opened and a surgeon emerged from the theatre.
"Are you relatives of Ziva David?" he asked.
"Well not ….." Ducky began to say before Jethro interrupted.
"She's doing fine. The bullet lodged close to her femur but managed to miss the bone. She lost a lot of blood but I'd expect her to make a full recovery. We'll be moving her to a room in a little while, so I'll get one of the nurses to come get you when she's settled in," he told them.
"Thank you, Doctor," Ducky said, relieved that the news was good. He had seen how weak she was as they travelled in the ambulance but deliberately neglected to tell Jethro of his grave concerns. As the surgeon left them, he turned to Gibbs. "That's good news, Jethro, isn't it?"
Gibbs never replied, he just sat back down on the seat and held his head in his hands.
"Are you feeling alright, Jethro?" Ducky asked knowing that Gibbs was concussed. Gibbs nodded. The truth was that he was struggling with his emotions as a wave of relief swept over him. Ducky realised what was going on and didn't push any further. He knew the man too well. Feelings, problems, things of a personal nature, Gibbs just didn't discuss. He had learnt to accept that a long time ago.
After sitting for close to an hour a nurse finally approached them and escorted them to Ziva's room. They entered quietly, fully expecting her to be asleep but to their surprise she was sitting up in bed. She looked a little groggy and pale but considering what she had just been through she looked much better than expected.
"My dear girl, it's good to see you up," Ducky exclaimed as he walked over and kissed her on the forehead. "How are you feeling?"
"Not too bad. Better than when I last saw you," she smiled, glancing over at Gibbs. She wondered why he stood off at the end of the bed. Their eyes met for an instant but he broke the connection. She felt a pang of disappointment although she didn't really expect anything else, especially with Ducky standing beside her.
"She looks good, doesn't she Jethro?" Ducky said turning towards him.
He noticed an expression on Gibbs face that he had never seen before. It was as if he had switched off Gibbs the NCIS agent and just become Gibbs the man. He was still staring at Ziva, not passing any remarks on what Ducky had said. Then he suddenly walked to the other side of the bed and without warning put one hand behind Ziva's head, leaned in and kissed her passionately on the lips. Poor Ducky nearly fell out of his standing. Ziva just melted into the kiss. It felt right. It was what she had hoped for. However surprised by his actions Ducky and Ziva were, no one was more surprised than Gibbs himself. As he withdrew from the kiss he stood back and observed the reactions. Ziva, although shocked hadn't physically harmed him, so that was positive he thought. Ducky just stammered and struggled to find the words.
"I didn't…, I mean I don't….., when?" he uttered before giving up. Gibbs had to laugh and Ziva joined in. Eventually Ducky saw the funny side and also joined in. As the three were recovering their composure, the door to the room opened and in entered Tony on a wheelchair pushed by Director Vance.
"Hey, what did I miss?" he asked cheerily when he saw that they had all been laughing.
"Should we tell him?" Gibbs asked Ziva.
"Nah, let's play with this for a while," she said deviously.
"Oh fine, I will find out, won't I Ducky?" Tony said with a wink. Ducky shook his head and chuckled.
"So Officer David, how are you?" Vance asked instantly quelling the humorous atmosphere.
"Fine, thank you Director," she replied.
"Well it looks like I'll have a pile of paperwork on my desk tomorrow with agents looking for medical leave. I don't think I've ever had seen such a banged up team as yours Agent Gibbs. You must be so proud," Vance quipped sarcastically.
"I'm always proud of my team, Director," Gibbs replied with a nod of his head.
"Yes, well, I'll look forward to your report on this one when you get back," he said. "I hope you're feeling better soon, Officer David. I'll see you in a week," he said turning back to Gibbs. A smile remained on Gibbs face throughout. He had never seen Gibbs with such a broad smile and found it disconcerting. As he left he was still trying to figure out what was going on.
"You know what, Boss? I feel a vacation coming on. Aruba sounds good," Tony said pushing himself closer to the group.
"You know, DiNozzo, for once you're making sense," Gibbs replied looking over at Ziva. "I'll book two tickets."
"Eh, boss, I didn't exactly mean you and me together," Tony stammered horrified at the thought of spending a week or two of vacation with Gibbs.
"Neither did I, DiNozzo," Gibbs laughed. "Neither did I."