“So how long do you think we’re going to have to play newlyweds?” Danny asked as he parked the car out of sight, requiring them to have to walk around the building.
“However long it takes. We need to speak to the hotel manager,” Ziva said as she walked half a step ahead of him, the wheels in her head turning with suspicion.
He looked at her for a second. “Aside from getting security footage – why do I have a feeling that I don’t like what you are thinking?”
She glanced back at Danny with a smile. “Because you have worked with Steve McGarrett long enough. Come on. I’m just going to see if he could put in a fake reservation that shows we arrived yesterday morning to cover our stay. We’ll get a room on the same floor, have some room service and see if we can get someone to bring us some equipment later if necessary.”
The man froze as he stared at the woman as she continued walking. “I’m a dead man. Yep. You are going to be the catalyst that makes Super SEAL Steve to actually snap and kill me finally.”
“Steve will not hurt you,” Ziva laughed. “He knows how it is to be undercover and the necessary methods to maintain covers.” When she finished talking, she quickly called McGee with a smile. “McGee? Can you create background profiles real quick for Danny and I? – Yes, it is just as a precaution. You can call Abby to help. – Monitor them and try to backstop any searches for I suppose five years? No, make it ten. Blackadder may be paranoid enough to insist on more. – Names? – Nice McGee. Really nice. You better pray that Gibbs is there to protect you when I see you again. Goodbye.”
“What did you do?” Danny asked as he pulled his badge from his belt and shoved it into his pants pocket.
Ziva smiled sweetly. “I had McGee create aliases for us in case Blackadder or someone else tries to run background on us. Even facial recognition software for the time being will come back under the new names until this is over.”
“Okay…so – what is our new names, Dear?” he asked.
She let out an irritated breath and looked around, avoiding the man’s eyes. “Jason and Aracely Tibbs. McGee decided to play with the names he had in mind for his new book. Unfortunately this now makes me even less thrilled over the concept he may have finally come up with for him to say that.”
“Do I really look like a Jason?” he pulled a face. “Aracely I get, very exotic, very you. But Jason?”
“Which is why it has me more than a little concerned over the book idea he has because Steve is very much a Jason,” she replied with a strained smile. “So – it is not like we have much time to call and debate names with McGee now. Let’s go talk to the manager and get in place.”
“Alriiiight,” Danny replied as he followed her to the desk. Fortunately the receptionists must have changed shifts because the girl they dealt with originally was replaced by a native man. “Hello – Maleko. We were just wondering if we may be able to speak with the hotel manager please?” he asked nicely.
“May I ask what it is in regards to Sir?”
Danny looked to Ziva who only smiled and winked before he took a breath. “Well my lovely bride and I arrived yesterday and we enjoyed the cafe outside for lunch and well – our trip was very -”
“Improvised,” Ziva offered as she sidled up beside him with her arm around his waist. “We eloped. Isn’t he so sweet?”
The man chuckled with a hint of nervousness behind it. “Yes well, we enjoyed the service we received and would like to book a room but I have a few questions for the manager regarding security. I – just want to make sure my lovely lady here is safe if I have to make a run to the store or deal with some business.”
“Sir, I assure you that this resort is one of the safest places on the island. Our security rating is so high that the Government has allocated this building as a Tsunami Shelter,” Maleko explained as if reading it from a receptionists training manual.
“That’s all well and good,” Danny smiled, “And I appreciate that. But I’d -sorry honey- we’d really like to see your manager as there are more questions that we have just to be sure if this is the place for us.”
Maleko looked between them before nodding with a smile. “Of course. Just have a seat and I will get him for you,” he said before picking up the phone to call the office.
A few minutes later, a portly white gentleman walked into reception and was pointing in the direction of the Tibbs’.
“I’m Walter Harris, the manager here. How can I help you folks?” he asked with a bored smile.
“Yes,” Ziva smiled as she stood up and reached for Danny’s hand. “Do you have some place private that we can address our concerns before we book a suite?”
Walter frowned for a moment before thinking it over, hopefully he could convince them to stay in the Honeymoon Suite. At $2800 a night, he would kiss their feet to secure the booking. “Come on up to my office.”
She smiled as she followed the man, her eyes taking everyone in that was in the lobby and that they passed on the way. “How long have you been manager here Mr. Harris?” she asked conversationally as the trio walked.
“Around six years,” Harris replied happily. “Back then we didn’t have the cable tv hook-ups in every room. 1500 channels, including an extensive sports and leisure package.”
“Oooh, baseball?” Danny asked, his interest in the conversation suddenly piqued.
“Oh yes sir, we have major and minor league feeds from the US and Asia,” Harris added, his smile broadening. Almost got ’em.
“That sounds simply delightful. I lose my new husband not to another woman but a television,” Ziva sighed playfully as they reached the office doors.
“Well Ma’am we have a wide variety of activities here at the resort. How about a couple’s spa treatment? Or perhaps a candlelight dinner at the rooftop restaurant?” Walter smiled as they entered his office. Sitting behind his desk, he directed their attention to the two office chairs on the other side of it “Please, why don’t you have a seat.”
The couple followed him in and settled in the plush seats across from his desk with a plastered smile on their faces. Each of them had their hands on their badges, ready to turn the tables so that at least one person in the hotel was aware of the investigation in some way. Ziva waited for the older man to take his seat before they broke the man’s bubble.
“Mister Harris,” she began as she pulled out her wallet badge. “I am with NCIS and working with the Five-0 task force on an investigation that involves one of your guests. We are – asking for your discreet cooperation in this matter.”
“Do you have a warrant?” Harris’ shoulders slumped. So much for the $2800 a day…
“We do not require one under the Patriot Act, however we can have one signed by a federal judge within five minutes if need be,” Ziva replied. “The woman we are following has been linked to a number of terrorist groups. All we require is a room – which will be paid for I assure you – and discretion in the matter. Any records regarding our stay would require to reflect our arrival of yesterday morning under specific names.”
“And if I choose not to cooperate?” Harris replied, “Our guests are entitled to their privacy.”
Danny not so surreptitiously pulled out his hand cuffs. “We arrest you for hindering a federal investigation. You may or may not end up on a one way trip to Gitmo, although I hear the weather is lovely there this time of year. We have no need to bother anyof your guests. We just wish to follow one. One that we have confirmed been meeting with known operatives in a very high level group in your very own hotel and has been trading sensitive information about your own government to the bad guys. Now you can be grouped with them or you can be considered a hero at the end of the day for assisting in catching these people. The choice is up to you.”
Harris considered Danny’s words for a few moments before turning to his computer and logging in. “Can I have the guests name?”
“We will be staying as Jason and Aracely Tibbs,” Ziva shared with a smile, reaching over to pat Danny’s hand for a job well done.
“Would Mr. and Mrs. Tibbs be requiring the use of the honeymoon suite or a regular room?” Harris asked, taking his last shot.
She looked over at her partner for the task and shrugged a shoulder. “It would sell our cover to her should she get suspicious.”
Danny knew that the room was expensive and wasn’t sure if he could get that kind of approval to the Governor to expense, although she was quick to put up the NCIS team at the resort. “Sure,” he said, praying silently that Steve wouldn’t kill him again.
Ziva chuckled as she pulled out a black credit card that Vance had given her before she left, for emergencies. It had no limit on it and no name which often was known for being issued to someone of great importance by the credit company. “You can use this card on the account in case our suspect attempts to have your system hacked for information.”
Harris paused for a moment and went wide eyed. That was the last thing the resort needed. “T-th-thank you,” he said simply. “Will the happy couple require assistance with their luggage?”
“No thank you. If we are lucky, we won’t be here for more than two days,” Ziva answered. “Of course we do expect discretion. Do not speak of the situation to any of your staff. We are simply another pair of guests.”
“Understood Mrs Tibbs,” Harris smiled before tapping his nose. Picking up the phone, he dialled the receptions extension. “Maleko, would you be so kind as to prepare the Honeymoon Suite key for Mr and Mrs Tibbs, and have Shona show them to their room.”
The drive out to the docks was a quiet one. Every so often Steve would catch DiNozzo giving him the evil eye from the back seat and Kono could cut the tension in the truck with a knife. Steve could understand that the man wanted to protect his partner, it was his job and they were friends as well as colleagues, but he felt that there was more to it than Tony wanting to make sure Ziva didn’t get hurt.
Tony on the other hand was comparing McGarrett to Yoko Ono at that moment. For the longest time he had sensed a change in Ziva. Even before the problems with Rivkin, they had drifted further apart. That’s not to say that they hadn’t had their moments. Since returning from Somalia, there were times when he’d almost broke the rule and he knew that she had come close to doing the same.
Kono wondered whether or not she’d have to attempt to break up a fight if they came to blows. She figured she could knock DiNozzo on his ass, but holding back a trained SEAL was another question.
“So uh, how long have you worked for NCIS?” Steve asked, hoping to break the ice.
Tony clenched his jaw before answering tensely. “Going on eleven years,” he said.
“Where you a LEO before that or did you come from the Forces, like Gibbs?” Steve asked, wanting to be anywhere else but his truck at that particular moment.
“I worked with Baltimore PD before Gibbs recruited me,” Tony replied briefly. “Look, you don’t have to make nice. We’ll all be out of here soon enough.”
Don’t be so sure of that, Steve thought for a moment as the truck pulled up to the dock gatehouse. “Fair enough, let’s just do what needs to be done, then you and your team can get back to D.C.”
“Sounds good to me,” Tony muttered before the truck was waved through.
It wasn’t long before the HPD powerboat was cruising up the coast with Steve at the wheel. Kono and Tony sat on the passenger bench to the rear of the boat in silence yet again.
“You’re not as talkative as you were when we first met,” Kono said suddenly. “Is something wrong?” She hoped that the sound of the boats engines would mask their conversation from McGarrett’s ears.
“Not with you,” he replied, staring at the back of McGarrett’s head as if he was hoping it would burst into flames.
“You know, McGarrett’s a good guy. If you’d stop pounding your chest long enough to realise it, the two of you might actually get along,” Kono shook her head. “He’s been nice enough with you.”
“Sure he has, because Ziva probably asked him to,” Tony flashed her a smile. “I’ve done this job long enough to know when someone wants to take me on but can’t.”
“You’re imagining things,” Kono sighed. “Do you get this jealous with everyone Ziva chooses to see.”
“Jealous! Ha! Don’t make me laugh,” Tony lied. “Ziva’s a grown woman, she can date whoever she wants.”
“You just wish she would date you,” Steve said as he powered the engines down. “We’re almost there.”
“Almost?” Kono frowned, exchanging looks with both men.
“Before we go snooping around, I need to know that you have our backs,” Steve spoke to the man specifically.
“What the hell kind of question is that?” Tony said, standing. “Of course I have your backs.”
“You sure? Because the moment you realised Ziva and I are close, you’ve been looking at me like I’m your worst enemy,” Steve argued. “Right now, I can’t trust you to have my back or hers if shit hits the fan so until we get passed whatever problems you seem to have with me, we’re not going any further.”
“Are you serious?” Tony growled, “We have a job to do, if Gibbs were here-.”
“He’d be saying the same thing, now we can either talk about this or you can stay behind while Kono and I get the job done,” Steve snapped.
“Boss, can’t this wait?” Kono asked as she stood between them. “He’s right, we have a job to do.”
Steve glared at Kono for a moment and she backed away. He turned his attention back to Tony and said “Ziva and I are close. I care about her more than you’d ever understand. I get that you’re trying to protect her but-.”
“No, you don’t get it!” Tony scoffed, “She’s my partner, but she is also my friend and a whole lot more besides. For the longest time I thought that our relationship would never be as strong as it once was and just when we started to find some common ground again, she flies out here and into your waiting arms.”
“Tony, I’m sorry, but from what I understand, you had your shot, you had more than one shot and look where you are?” Steve stared him down, “You say she’s important to you, and I believe you. But unless you can show her that you’re happy for her and move on, she’s better off without you.”
Kono pursed her lips as she watched the argument fly from one man to the other and even she knew that if their new friend was there to witness this, Ziva would not react so nicely to both of them.
“You son of a bitch!” Tony balled up a fist and threw it in Steve’s direction but the SEAL’s reflexes, coupled with the choppy waters rocking the boat sent the NCIS agent toppling to the deck.
“Look brah. I just want Ziva to be happy. She deserves as much. Whether it be here in Hawaii – with or without me, or in D.C., it’s up to her. I’m not your enemy,” Steve sighed as he watched the man for a moment before extending his hand out. “I would think that we are alike there.”
Tony thought about it for a moment before taking his hand and getting to his feet. “I just don’t want to lose her. I mean, look who I’m up against. You live in paradise, you have your own team… I just don’t want to lose her…”
“I know you don’t. This is the first week I’ve seen her since we worked together years ago. If she just wanted to be friends with me, I’m cool with that. I can live with it – as long as she and I remain friends and keep in touch this time. And – and you wouldn’t lose her. I can see it whenever she speaks of you and the team. She loves you all. You’re her family. I highly doubt that she would just cut you all out of her life again. Not after all you’ve done for her.”
Tony took a seat and mulled over what Steve had said. So maybe she hadn’t made any firm plans after all. He knew at that moment that he and Ziva would have to talk and it wouldn’t be the most pleasant conversation. “Can we just go now, please?” he asked. “I’ve got your backs on this, I promise.”
“Alright,” Steve nodded before taking the helm once again. He debated whether or not to tell Ziva what just happened. If he did, he would leave it to Tony to tell her his side, of course. But the two of them fighting over her wouldn’t sit well with Ziva David, not by a long shot. “I think right now, aside from our own thing here, we should be more concerned about my partner’s safety. He’s playing her boyfriend or whatever on their tail.”
“Of all the people Ziva could be partnered with for that assignment, Gibbs had to pair her with Williams. The guy looks like he’s gonna pee his pants whenever she looks at him,” Tony smirked.
“Oh that’s because he couldn’t keep his eyes off her legs when she first got here. She threatened to break them if he didn’t,” Kono grinned, relieved that her boss managed to reach some sort of middle ground with the guy.
“Oooh… rookie mistake,” Tony visibly winced. “Even McGee wouldn’t make a mistake like that… more than a couple of times anyway.”
“I’m wondering what pictures Gibbs was talking about at the office,” Steve admitted. “Of course though, I believe it was Ziva who would have initiated whatever happened, knowing her.”
“If its anything like our first stakeout together, your boy’s in trouble,” DiNozzo sighed, caught up in the memory for a moment. “But never mind him, I wonder how Gibbs and Chin are getting on.”
“Exchanging stories about the teams,” Steve and Kono replied similarly before laughing. “Chin is probably giving all the scoop on us knowing him. You ready for the hike Haole?” Kono grinned, slapping Tony on the back in support as he eyed the trail that the group previously trekked the day before.
“I am so going to die,” he complained as he pushed forward, praying that Gibbs would let him have the night off when they got back so that he could ice down his feet later.