Steve moved up toward the house that their detainee had indicated as a place of interest. Even on the rough terrain he was closely followed by Kono, DiNozzo however was having trouble.
“Why couldn’t I go with the Chin guy? Gibbs would have done much better with you guys here than me. I feel like I’m going to die,” Tony complained as he stopped to catch his breath in the elevation and humidity.
“You’re not going to die, DiNozzo,” Kono grinned, “It’s just your body’s way of telling you that you need to do more cardio.”
“No. What I need is an air conditioner and a bath of ice because I am going to be hurting a lotif I live through this,” he replied as he sucked in gulps of air. “God if Ziva does choose to stay, I’ll have mixed feelings about visiting. Big time. See on one hand, I’d hate seeing her with you, but all the hot chicks on the beach…very promising.”
Steve didn’t respond, he crouched down and drew his weapon. “We’ve got company,” he whispered as he observed several locals leaving the house.
Tony instantly shut up and pulled out his Sig to ready himself. He kept his eye on McGarrett as he didn’t have any angle on the property from where he was. “Number?” he whispered back as quietly as he could.
McGarrett held up four fingers before pointing in the direction of some dense foliage. Keeping an eye on the four locals as Kono and Tony moved away from them, he slowly made his way toward the hiding spot.
“So what do we do now boss?” Kono whispered as they made it to the safety of the bushes.
“Bigger question is how much more armed are they to us? I only have my Sig and two clips aside from the one already in my weapon,” Tony commented softly.
“We’re outgunned, I saw an AK, and a 12-gauge. We’d be nuts not to suspect that the others are seriously packing. If I had my gear I could maybe thin out the herd but I can’t put you two at risk,” Steve replied as he took another cautious look at the group.
“So we need bigger guns or reinforcements,” Kono said. “I doubt even Chin could arrange back up that quickly.”
“Take Tony and call McGee, see if he can get us some support,” he told Kono, passing her his sat-phone. “I’ll keep an eye on our friends.”
“Nah man. We can’t leave you here by yourself. I may not like you very much right now but I still wouldn’t do that. Let’s back off as a group and call for help,” Tony suggested. “We’ll come back.”
Steve considered what Tony said for a moment before slipping his phone back into his utility belt. “Alright, stay low and watch your step. Kono, take point.”
The girl nodded as she began to make the hike back quickly, taking to the trees and rocks like a pro. Tony set on after her with McGarrett on their six. Heading downhill was much easier for the east coast man than fighting with gravity. He almost took a tumble a couple times but easily righted himself up and pushed on with the release of a few choice words about the terrain.
Once they made it back down to the shoreline, they boarded the powerboat. “I don’t like leaving like this,” McGarrett sighed. “But I guess if they didn’t kill me, Ziva would have.”
“Gibbs would bring you back from the dead to kill you himself for hurting her like that,” Tony added with a smile at the thought. “Maybe I should have just not said anything…” he continued thoughtfully, but with a small smirk that let the man know he was clearly joking.
“Your hilarious, really,” Steve shook his head, “You sure you’re not from Jersey?”
“Close enough – New York,” he grinned back.
McGarrett piloted the boat away from the dock slowly so that the motors wouldn’t alert the armed men, but once they were out of range he poured on the speed as he wondered just how Ziva and Danny were getting on.
“McGoo! How you doing all comfy up in the office with the air conditioning and shade?” Tony greeted as the group returned to the Five-0 office and went straight for the water cooler before collapsing into one of the plush leather chairs.
“So, how did your trip go?” McGee asked with a smile as he double checked the computer for everyone’s locations.
“It was…” the agent started to reply before making a face.
Tim smiled lightly. “That good, huh?”
“Once Tony and Boss stopped beating their chests everyone got along pretty good. Until the people that are at the house we went to check out came out heavily loaded,” Kono said as she sat herself.
“So we’re going to need need to arrange for a lot of back up and gear up with something that packs a lot more power than a Sig,” Tony added. “McGarrett said the ones he saw had AKs, but I wouldn’t doubt that is all.”
“Well, there are a number of military groups that train on the island. I can see if Director Vance can get us authorization to call in one of the SEAL teams training,” McGee said as he reached over the table to pull the phone closer to him to make the call.
Steve had just walked back in at hearing McGee’s suggestion and nodded approvingly. “Sounds good. How good are you at hacking?” he asked.
“He’s only the best,” Tony smirked. “Tell him McHack. Tell him about hacking the Pentagon, FBI, Homeland Security, CIA and the Mossad.”
McGarrett and Kono turned back to the man with wide eyes. “Wow – that’s – a lot,” he said. “And you never got caught?”
“I got caught, once, or twice. But the CIA one was sanctioned,” McGee pointed out, glaring at his teammate. “Where is it you want me to get into?” he asked as Steve scribbled the address of the house they were checking out earlier.
“I don’t need to know,” he said, patting his back. “Just get me what you can. Do you know how the others are doing?”
“Uh – they are at a coffee shop in Holualoa,” Tim replied, refreshing the GPS tracker.
Steve looked at him with a frown. “Holuakoa Cafe?”
The computer specialist double checked and nodded. “Yeah. How’d you know?”
McGarrett only smiled as he scratched at the corner of his mouth in thought. “Hey DiNozzo. You in the mood to do a coffee run with me?” he asked.
Tony frowned, unsure of whether it was a good idea. It wasn’t the fact that he didn’t like McGarrett. Under different circumstances they probably could have been good friends and they were coming to some sort of common ground with regard to Ziva. The problem was that if Blackadder was to catch DiNozzo at the coffee shop, things could get messy. “Uh, you sure?”
“Sure thing. Let’s go. We’ll bring some back and I’m sure your boss would like some as well,” Steve said as he went into his office. “I just need to change my shirt.”
“See, that’s another reason why I couldn’t live out here full time. I’d go through two or three shirts in a day!” Tony grinned before checking his own sweat-soaked frame. “But now that you mention it…”
“Boss keeps a drawer full of fresh shirts. Usually they end up ripped or bloody from kicking ass,” Kono chuckled as she pushed herself up to help with coordinating information with HPD.
Steve grabbed an extra t-shirt that was still in its packaging and tossed it at the man. “You get used to it. I don’t notice the heat anymore,” he grinned.
“Thanks,” Tony replied with a genuinely grateful smile before slipping off his current shirt.
“Bring me back an iced coconut cafe blend?” Kono asked as she watched her friend and boss double check his pockets.
He only grinned at her in response before turning back to DiNozzo. “Almost ready?”
“Yeah, I’m good to go,” Tony replied as he covered his weapon with the shirt. “Kono, you sure you’re gonna be okay stuck here with McGruff the crime dog?”
“We’ll be fine,” she laughed. “Have fun you two. Oh wait! Here,” she added as McGee held up ear wigs.
“What channel?” Steve asked as they took their wigs and slipped them inside their ears.
“Four,” McGee said. “Back up is channel twelve.”
“Thanks,” Steve nodded as he and Tony made their way out. “What do you want from the cafe?”
“I’m good, but thanks,” he smiled. “Just ah – don’t kill each other. Please.”
“Come on McGee, if I killed him I’d have your boss to deal with. I’m good, but even I have my limits,” Steve joked, lacking any reassurance for McGee. Before the computer wizard could respond, they were out the door.
“They’re not really gonna kill each other, right?” McGee asked seriously
“They’ll be fine,” Kono said as she made her way over to eye the data on his computer. “How do you plan on hacking into that house’s network?”
Tim frowned as he thought about it. “I actually don’t know yet. Might need to call Abby in to help,” he sighed as he reached for his cellphone.
Danny watched as Malachi and Blackadder were in deep conversation about what they couldn’t tell. Thankfully Gibbs and Chin were in the van recording every word.
“So tell me about you and Mossad boy over there,” Danny said in a low voice as he placed an arm around Ziva’s shoulder. “I get the feeling the two of you were pretty close.”
“We were once friends,” she said softly as she watched carefully. “He – is unpredictable depending on the mission. Tuvia on the other hand, is very. She will do anything to assure the completion of the mission. It does not matter who gets in her way.”
“So she’s ruthless,” Danny nodded. “I bet you could take her though.”
Ziva shrugged a shoulder as she recalled their first formal meeting. “That had yet to be determined. My father ended up arriving thus ending the fight to see,” she smiled thinly.
“He saved her ass, that’s all,” Danny grinned as he pressed his lips against her neck just as Blackadder looked in their direction when the cafe’s door opened.
Steve made his way in with a smile on his face as he glanced around quickly. He noticed the people in the rear of the sitting area where it was quiet and relatively private before his eyes found his partner and friend. The smile faltered as he stopped to look at the menu and muttered quietly enough to not move his lips. “Having fun Danno?”
“What’s happening in there McGarrett?” Tony asked from outside having had just turned on his own ear wig finally.
“My partner’s lips pressed against your partner’s neck,” Steve muttered, hiding it with a cough.
Danny instantly tensed at the new voices in his ears as he sat straighter. Ziva only laughed as she picked at the muffin they were sharing to feed the man it, mostly to keep his mouth occupied to avoid making a comment that might blow their cover. She readjusted the tourist map as she pointed idly at different areas on it. “You are jealous?” she asked with a smirk, turning slightly to get a look at Steve.
“No, I’m just surprised he immediately went for ‘the spot’,” Steve teased as he almost reached the counter.
“Your partner is a quick learner,” was all she said, smiling up at Danny again who was afraid to say anything.
“Spot? You have a spot Ziva?” Tony asked from the truck, his curiosity piquing.
She rolled her eyes. “You would know my little hairy butt,” she commented.
“Oh that’s a story for later,” Steve grinned as his turn came. “Yes uh, how’s your pan fried cat fish today?”
“Eww,” DiNozzo commented at the visual he got of the order.
“You’re right Ziva… he didn’t go for one of the many delicious lookingspam dishes on the menu,” Danny said as he moved his arm from around her and put as much distance between them as he could, which was a feat given that he had the window seat.
“Zivaaa…” Steve grumbled, afraid to know what she may have said to the man during their day together.
“Don’t worry buddy, your secrets are safe,” Danny replied. “I’ll need them for bribes later.”
“Get your minds back on the assignment,” Gibbs interrupted.
“Uh, there are two guys about to come in,” Tony said, cutting his boss off. “Dark suits, one with a briefcase.”
“I see ’em” Steve said as he sat down at an empty booth. “Chin…”
“Running their pictures through facial recognition now,” he nodded from his seat at the van’s computer. “Just don’t hold your breath.”
“Danny, see if you can snap off a couple of shots when they sit down, I’ll do the same from my end,” Steve whispered from behind the menu.
“Yep,” was all the man said as he pulled out his phone to place in Ziva’s waiting hand as she had the better position.
“They’re not local, whoever they are,” Steve said as the waitress brought him his order. Quickly switching his phone from the camera to Angry Birds, he looked up at the young local girl and grinned. “This game is so addictive.”
The waitress chuckled with a nod. “It is. Let me know if there is anythingelse I can do for you,” she said with a wink as she set the plate and coffee mug down for him.
The provocative bend she made was enjoy to cause Ziva’s eyes to shoot the woman a death glare she had only ever given Liat in the recent years. “Enjoy your food Steven McGarrett,” she warned carefully as Danny hid his own smirk behind his drink.
Tony’s ears did not miss the tone his partner used. “Oooh…the full name. Sounds like someone is in the doghouse tonight.”
“Wouldn’t be the first time,” Steve whispered as he cut a healthy forkful of food. “The last time, I took a bullet for her.” With that, he shovelled the fish into his mouth and made certain to give Ziva a big smile as he did so.
“Do not make me come in there and headslap every single one of you – damn it! Blackadder’s making us,” Gibbs growled causing Ziva, Tony and even McGee back at the office listening in all flinch.
Undisclosed Location, Vietnam, 21:00 hours local time, 24 August, 2001
As they settled in the cave, safe from the rain and the militia, they took the time to catch their breaths and let their feet rest before having to focus on their needs for immediate survival.
Ziva and Michael had left the American as they went to try to find enough wood and large intact branches to cover the cave mouth and somehow start a fire for some warmth. It wasn’t long before she returned, dumping the armful of wood just inside the rain line where it could dry some before they would figure out a way to make it burn.
Looking over, she frowned as she could see the man’s skin growing increasingly more pale as compared to earlier. Pulling out her knife and letting it flip open she slowly made her way over to him, pulling at the impromptu bandage she had tied right after he was hit initially.
“Whoa… wait, what are you doing?” Steve said, his voice a little shaky.
“I am going to remove the bullet,” she said simply, pulling out a small piece of wet bamboo she salvaged. “You will need to bite on this. It will hurt.”
Placing the bamboo in his mouth, he hoped that Sam and the rest of the team would find their position soon as he knew he’d need antibiotics and a proper dressing for the wound as well as some rations for him and his new friends.
Ziva had to keep a hand firmly over his shoulder to help hold him still as she worked the tip of her knife in to get the projectile out. It was not an easy thing to do, but when she was done, she held her hand over the reopened hole until her partner returned to help as she wanted to tear more of her under shirt, knowing it was the cleanest they had to use as a bandage. “Breathe through it,” she said softly. “I do not believe it hit any major blood vessels so that is good.”
“Drop the knife!” an American voice ordered from behind her. The sound of an assault rifle being cocked echoed throughout the cave.
She turned her head slightly towards the voice. “Who are you?” she demanded as she readjusted to balance herself to maintain her pressure on the shoulder better.
“I’m the man with a rifle pointed at your skull, my buddy here has your friend in his sights, now you can either drop the knife, or it’s gonna get real,” the bald-headed African American growled.
“Pham?” Steve looked up, breathing heavily with the bamboo still between his teeth.
“You okay Lieutenant?” he asked with a frown as he kept his rifle trained on the girl.
Spitting the wood out, Steve sat up and winced. “Sam where’s Daniels?”
“Stay down. The wound has not yet clotted,” Ziva growled at the impatient man, moving with him to keep her hand firmly over the bleeding.
“He’s on his way,” Sam stepped forward, lowering his rifle momentarily. “Caplan, tell Daniels to move his ass, the Lieutenant’s been shot.”
“On it, Chief,” the SEAL named Caplan said, lowering the weapon he had trained on Michael and reached for his radio.
“I can’t leave you alone for a minute can I, L.T.?” Sam asked with a grin as he retrieved his own field med kit from his equipment pack and placed it beside McGarrett. “I take it that you two are the people we were sent to the ass end of hell to meet?”
“Ziva David,” she said with a curt nod, saying her name for the first time. “Do you have a dry bandage? I just finished digging out the bullet when you so kindly interrupted.”
“CPO Sam Hanna, US Navy SEALS,” he nodded as he handed her a bandage, “I see you and the Lieutenant already met. Who shot him?”
She didn’t say anything as she shot him a glare before tying the clean bandage tightly around the man’s shoulder. “I do not care for names. It was the a rebel sect of the local militia,” she said eventually after she double checked to make sure that the wound was secured. Falling back on her heel she rubbed her face with the back of her bloodied hand as she eyed the group more closely for the first time. “How did you find us?”
“Got wind of some trouble at the bar, moved in to check it out. Caught you and your boy there heading back here,” he explained simply.
“It was you that was following us in the woods?” Michael questioned, having believed that he had heard things as they ran.
“Caplan and I watched your backs while Daniels, Hawkins and Fredricks doubled back to keep an eye on the Militia’s movements. Don’t worry, they’ve got no idea where you are,” Sam replied as Steve tried sitting up again.
“Yes well, it is best that we stay here and ride it out. It is the safest until the storm is over. It will only get worse,” Ziva said, hearing the wind picking up and pushed the American back down again. “You need to rest. Do not move.”
“What gear do you have with you?” Sam asked as Steve gave Ziva the evil eye.
“I have my sidearms and a handful of knives,” she replied, as she saw her partner pull out his own weapons to double check his own ammo. “And whatever he has left.”
“Great, I guess well have to share sleeping gear,” Sam frowned. “This storm’s gonna rage on until morning so we may as well make camp. What do you say L.T.?”
“Make camp, two-man watch shifts. Our friends here can borrow the empty bags,” Steve nodded. “Now will you get a fire going before we freeze to death. I need to talk to Ziva.”
“You got it L.T.” Sam smiled, giving Steve a knowing look before checking out the firewood that Michael and Ziva collected.
“Thanks,” Steve told Ziva in a low voice. “I guess we’re even now.”
She raised an eyebrow as she opened her knife again and inspected the blade. “I did not get shot,” she muttered.
“Because I took the bullet for you,” Steve replied with a small grin.
“You did not have to do that. You could have gotten yourself killed,” Ziva sighed with disapproval.
“It was a risk I had to take,” he replied. “When Agent Shepard briefed me on the assignment, she educated me on just how important relations between the US Government and the Mossad are these days. Not only that, but I don’t want your blood on my hands.”
“Like I have yours?” she questioned as she held up her hand for show. “I came into that meet with no expectations. You should have done the same.” Ziva avoided looking at the man in any way that she could, focusing on her knife, or the others as they moved around to set up in the confined area.
“No expectations? At all? It’s an attitude like that, that could see you dead before your time,” Steve replied as he noticed that she was avoiding his gaze almostcompletely.”
“Not every exchange results in useful information,” she replied from past experience. “Stay down. I am going to assist with the fire,” she said as she stood to go over to one of the men that was trying to get it started.
It wasn’t long before Sam rejoined his friend and team leader with an odd look on his face. “That girl is a whirlwind of trouble,” he said as he thumbed in Ziva’s direction just as she was pushing Caplan out of the way of the fire he had failed to start. “You sure know how to pick ’em L.T.”
“And just what is that supposed to mean?” Steve asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Did you just seriously ask me that question?” Sam shook his head. “Come on man, I know that look.”
“What look?” Steve asked just as Ziva started a small fire. He gazed at her and smiled as she fed the fire some more wood and glared at their teammate.
“The look you give someone when you like them,” Sam grinned. “Only she’s female and pretty attractive.”
“Really?” Steve shook his head. “I hadn’t noticed.”
Sam’s grin grew as he noted just how insincere McGarrett sounded at that moment. “Uh-huh. Look, you heard what Shepard said. She’s Mossad, which means sea-monkeys are more emotional than she is. They’re trained to be stone-cold in everything they do,” he whispered. “And you’re in no position to go starting something with her anyway. We’ve got a job to do, remember?”
“Yes,” Steve nodded. “But that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun while we’re doing it.”
“That’s the problem, there’s fun, and there’s fun,” Sam grinned. “Just watch your ass L.T. I don’t want to have to go saving it like I did when we were aboard the Enterprise. You and that chick of yours almost got us all court marshaled.”
“Who?” he asked innocently as he tried to sit up again. “Help me up man. While she’s not looking.”
“Ensign Rollins,” Sam said as he held his hand and pulled Steve to his feet.
“Catherine?” Steve asked. “It was a one time thing. I doubt I’ll ever see her again.”
“Whatever you say L.T.” Sam grinned as he steadied his friend. “Daniels’ll be here soon. Until then you should eat a ration bar.”
The man nodded absently as he leaned against the stone wall and closed his eyes. “Still – she’s good,” he said after awhile before growing unsteady again.
Ziva heard the commotion and turned around from helping sort out what supplied they were inventoring. “Get him on the ground. Why was he on his feet?” she demanded as she crossed the cave. “I believe I made it clear he needed to rest while we had the opportunity. His pressure probably dropped due to the blood loss,” she grumbled. “Get some water for him to drink.”
“Caplan, go out and find Daniels, move!” Sam growled, prompting the other SEAL to head back out into the storm. Grabbing the canteen from his pack, he poured some water into his friend’s mouth slowly.
“I’m fine,” he mumbled as he began to come around again. Opening his eyes, the first thing he saw was a scowling Mossad operative.
“Next time, you will stay down,” she said simply. Looking up at the man’s friend, she nodded sharply. “I will sit with him to assure he does not do something stupid again.”
“Someone’s in the doghouse,” Daniels said as he entered the cave. “Let me check you over L.T. Can someone set up his sleeping bag, we need to get him comfortable by the fire.”
Ziva stood quickly, volunteering herself before anyone could say a word. She went over to the bald one who held out the large sleeping bag with a smirk, earning a glare from the woman.
Hawaii, present day
Blackadder, Malachi, Liat and the two new faces ended their conversation with an exchange of handshakes. Before they all headed out to their vehicles.
“They’re on the move,” Chin said over the comm. “They’re heading for the docks.”
“They’re probably heading up to that house then,” Steve replied as he stood to go pay for his food and order up drinks to bring back. “As long as we have that GPS fix on Ziva’s friends, let them go. If we follow now, they will know that we’re on to them.”
“We’ll gear up to take ’em out back at your office. Now I know what’s in that suitcase and what its intended for, I wanna nail that traitorous bitch and her friends and then go home.” The rest of the team didn’t have to be in the van to know that Gibbs was glaring at Blackadder at that moment but they were curious to know just what was in the case and how everything fit together.
As Steve paid at the counter, Ziva and a very relieved Danny to have the acting part over finally, joined him. “Well that was – interesting,” he said, looking around anywhere else but the two.
“Don’t say it… just don’t say it!” Danny shook his head. “I already know I’m going to hell, I don’t need you to give me grief.”
“Oh would you relax Danny, it’s not like you had to sleep together. It was for a case,” Tony said as he walked in then and smiled at Ziva.
Steve had been about to open his mouth when he heard that. “What?” he asked, eyeing her.
“We were undercover as assassins that had died in a vehicle accident. Nothing had happened, despite Tony’s attempt to make you believe otherwise,” she replied, glaring at her partner.
“Ahh, see, not so fun now that the shoe’s on the other foot,” Danny grinned as Steve got their coffee order and the four of them headed out to the unmarked van to find Gibbs and Chin going over everything.
“We had McGee setting up our reinforcements. Hopefully he’ll have more information when we get back,” Steve informed Gibbs as he handed the man a coffee.
He nodded as he sipped the hot drink slowly. “Let’s get back to the office then. Get everything set up to take down Blackadder during the night.”
“Yes! Then maybe we can spend the next two days actually relaxing before our flight back home!” Tony exclaimed, earning a glare from both Ziva and Gibbs. “What?”