Author's note:

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Here's the next chapter… Enjoy…


Gibbs got more agitated as it seemed to take forever to get to the safe house. He was worried about Zara, knew that she was unconscious and feared that moving her out of the hospital to the safe house was a big mistake.

As they pulled into a driveway that led to a double garage, he turned to look back.

"Where are you, Ziva?"

"Seven minutes out Gibbs." Ziva replied on the coms.


"Sorry Gibbs. She's still unconscious." Ziva replied.

"Poor Zara." Abby whispered as she looked at Gibbs.

"Ducky has started her IV again but her fever is getting … worse." Ziva finished.

"Damnit." Gibbs growled as he ran a worried hand over his face. Abby took his other hand in hers as she tried to offer what little comfort she could.

"Dr Mallard, should we divert to the closest hospital?" Vance asked worry lacing his words.

"No, Director." Ducky replied. "I think the sooner we get her indoors and comfortably settled in a warm bed, the sooner she will start feeling better. I have requested additional equipment to be brought to the safe house so that I can monitor her better."

Tony pulled the SUV into the garage and once the door closed, Gibbs swung his door open and stepped out. Pain radiated through his right shoulder and he was forced to lean back against the SUV to steady himself.

"Boss." Tony called out as he reached his side and waited.

Abby and Vance looked worriedly from Gibbs to Tony but Tony indicated that they should continue into the house. Tony took in Gibbs' ashen complexion and slight trembling and he was worried that his Boss was about to pass out.

Gibbs closed his eyes and gritted his teeth as he said, "Give me a second, DiNozzo."

"Sure Boss. I'm here for you."

"I know you are." Gibbs took a steadying breath. "I appreciate it." That said he took another deep breath and stepped away from the SUV leaving Tony stunned for a moment.

Ah Boss….

You're being nice to me…

Now you have me really worried.

Tony rushed behind him, ready to reach out and support him if needed. But Gibbs held his own and made it to the lounge where he carefully sat down into the nearest couch. He cradled his arm as he took in his surroundings.

The house was a double storey suburban family home. It was fenced around the perimeter and had a large open plan lounge, dining room and kitchen. There was a guest bedroom and a bathroom on the ground floor. The lounge had glass double doors that opened to a covered patio and led out to a neat back yard and a swimming pool.

"This place is huge." Tony commented. "How is it that the FBI can afford a place like this and we only get to use one star, dingy apartments?"

"There are three bedrooms, each with their own bathrooms and a lounge with a balcony upstairs." Abby stated.

Gibbs didn't say anything. He just tapped his fingers on the armrest of the couch, looking like he was ready to burst with agitation.

Vance took a seat on the couch next to him.

"You need to calm down." He warned. Gibbs glared as him but didn't say anything. But Vance was not intimidated by Gibbs.

He turned to look around the house and said, "There are eight FBI agents, two in the front, two in the back, two in the kitchen stocking the fridge and cupboards with groceries and two helping to carry all the medical equipment Mr Mallard requested upstairs."

"I'll start working on supper. I'm sure everyone will feel better after eating a nice hot meal." Abby said as she headed into the kitchen.

"Can I get you anything, Boss?" Tony asked worried at how quietly furious Gibbs was.

His response was to speak into his coms, "Ziva?"

"Pulling into the driveway now Gibbs. Tony we need you." Ziva stated.

Gibbs stood up and followed Tony back to the door that led from the house into the garage. As soon as Ziva parked the SUV and the garage doors closed, Tony stepped forward and opened the door where Zara lay unconscious.

"Careful Anthony." Ducky warned as Tony reached into the car to lift Zara into his arms. Ducky held her IV bag as he exited the SUV behind Zara. Gibbs waited and watched. Zara looked pale and she was shivering. As Tony and Ducky passed him, he followed them up the stairway to the second story of the house. McGee and Ziva followed him, exchanging a look of concern as Gibbs looked furious.

Once they got into the largest bedroom, Ziva pulled the covers open as McGee positioned the IV stand next to the bed. Tony lowered Zara gently onto the bed and Ziva covered her while Ducky hung up her IV bag.

Gibbs sat down on the bed next to Zara and took her frozen hand into this. He placed her hand onto his thigh and rubbed it in an effort to get her warm. He heard Ducky giving orders and through his peripheral view he watched as his team moved all the medical equipment around the bed. He watched as Ducky asked the team to leave the room but he did not leave Zara. He didn't move when Ducky attached various electrodes under Zara's scrubs and as he placed a nasal canula around her face to assist her breathing. He didn't move as Ducky affixed a blood pressure cuff to her forearm and replaced her IV bag. He heard the soft beeping of her heart monitor and turned to look at it.

"Jethro, you should also lie down." Ducky stated.

"Is she going to be okay?"

"I really hope so. She just needs time to heal." Ducky replied.

"She saved my life." Gibbs said remembering everything that had happened on the ship.

"I know." Ducky replied. "You care very deeply for her, don't you?."

Gibbs blinked and coloured. He didn't reply. He simply stood up and moved to the other side of the bed, where he stretched out next to Zara. Ducky shook his head as moved around the room and extract the bag of medication that that hospital had given him. He opened a bottle and removed a few pills. Filling a glass of water, he walked around the bed and held his hand out to Gibbs.

"Drink this and get some sleep." Ducky ordered.

Gibbs did as he was told, because he was in pain, because he was tired and because he was worried, and because he knew Ducky wouldn't leave him until he took the damn pills. Ducky recorded Zara's stats, made a few adjustments to her monitors and then did the same to Gibbs. Moments later he drew the curtains and left the room.

Gibbs stood up and lifted the covers before slipping back into the bed next to Zara.

"Come on Zara." He whispered close to her ear. Taking a hold of her hand, he looked at her and said, "You need to stay strong and… you need to wake up. Wake up … for me."

He kissed her forehead and then held her hand as the meds did their job of lulling him to sleep.


Eslam cried out as Josh dug the bullet out of his thigh. At the same time, Fakir entered the warehouse and swore.

"What happened to you?" Fakir gasped.

"How could you lose them?!" Eslam growled as he pressed a hand to his bleeding thigh.

"I'm sorry Eslam. They split up and I didn't know which car she was in. I tried to double back, but was too late." Fakir replied.

"You imbecile!" Eslam growled as Josh wrapped his thigh to stem the bleeding.

"Where's Harry?" Fakir asked as he looked around.

"Dead." Josh replied. "That bitch has cost us too much. When we find her, I'm going to…."

"When we find her…" Eslam sneered.

"What will you do to her?" Fakir asked.

"Rather ask, what won't I do to her. By the time I am done with her she will wish she was dead!" Eslam promised.

Josh and Fakir exchanged a look of glee.

"We will give her what she deserves and then I will kill her." Josh stated.

Fakir nodded as Eslam glared at Josh.

"We'll see about that. That bitch is mine." Eslam warned.

Josh looked ready to argue but then thought better of it.

"Okay Eslam. Rest now and then we can plan our next move." Fakir stated trying to defuse the tension.

"Yes, rest Eslam. We will get you some medication and extra dressing for your wound." Josh stated.

Eslam laid back on the table and closed his eyes. He imagined finding Zara and smiled as he thought about all the torturous things he would do to her.


Author' Note:

That's it for this chapter…

Let me know your thoughts.