Chapter 14

After the steak dinner that DiNozzo had begrudgingly paid for, the group spent some time socialising, exchanging stories of past cases and generally getting to know each other some more. Time quickly passed and it wasn’t long before they were at the docks gearing up to seize the house where Backadder and her terrorist cell connections were holed up with Malachi and Liat.

True to his word, McGarrett had broken out his tactical bow for the occasion. They had to take the guards out quickly and quietly.

While Danny wasn’t going to be involved in the assault, he joined the group for support until they headed out on the boats. He couldn’t help but pale slightly at the way that Ziva studied each knife that was laid out across the hood of the trunk of the car, balancing them in her hands with her eyes closed. He tried to put it off as just the need of the mission and ignore the deadly truth in the appearance. “So – DiNozzo, McGee and I will be in the mobile ops van watching the feed. Everything you guys see, we’ll see as well,” he said, turning back to McGarrett who was gearing up without a blink next to his ‘girlfriend’ as she packed on the weapons as well. “Are you sure it’s fine for you to go Ziva – no offense, but really you’re a…”

“A what?” she asked with a smile as she tucked a smaller folding knife in her breast pocket of her vest.

“Well, I mean, you’re a… well what I mean to say is-,” Danny was tongue-tied.

“A girl,” Steve smirked. “Danny, believe me if I didn’t believe in Ziva’s abilities, I’d fight her tooth and nail for her to stay back as well.”

“This isn’t Ziva’s first turkey-shoot,” Gibbs said as he checked over the sniper rifle that Chin had procured for him. “Plus I don’t see you being so concerned over Kono here.”

“Well that’s because she’ll be with a dozen SWAT team members and her cousin,” Danny replied honestly. “You and McGarrett are gonna get pretty close to some stone cold killers. I just wanna be sure you’ll be alright.”

“She will,” Gibbs interjected, “I’ll be watching over them both.”

“I don’t see you being so concerned for me either, Danno. Should I be flattered or upset that you’re worried about my friend’s wellbeing?” McGarrett teased.

“Of course, you’re right. Good luck to all of you,” he said before dashing off to the mobile command unit.

She smirked at the man’s retreating back. “Are you ready?” she asked, looking up at Steve.

“As I’ll ever be,” Steve smiled, looking intently at her for a moment. “Be careful out there, won’t you?”

“You do the same,” she replied, her eyebrow twitching with an unfamiliar emotion running through her. “Of course, though, we will only be maybe 50 meters apart from one another.”

Steve nodded, silently vowing to keep her in view at all times. “Comm check.”

Loud and clear McGarrett,” McGee replied back instantly.

“McGee, make sure you keep the Red Bull away from Tony,” Ziva added as her own check.

Hey! I’m nowhere near as bad as Abbs and her Caf-Pow,” Tony replied, confirming her clarity.

“McGee and I have seen you on a caffeine high. I would not wish that on Detective Williams.”

Thanks Ziva, but I do have a young daughter, I’m sure I’d be able to handle it,” Danny replied confidently.

I repeat. Hey!” Tony growled.

“Enough!” Gibbs growled, his attention completely focused on the mission ahead. “We’ve got work to do.”

That’s a positive comm check boss. HPD SWAT are green across the board,” McGee said quickly. “Good luck..”

With that, the trio joined Chin, Kono and the SWAT team on the two HPD boats that would take them to the housing complex. As they got closer to the docks, the group had to kill the engines and keep an eye on the safety of the coast before approaching it.

Through the night vision scope, they could see a handful of men seemingly patrolling the beach area. “What do you think?” Ziva whispered. “Should you and I swim ashore from here to clear it for the boats?”

“You know me, I’m always happy to go swimming with you,” Steve said with a raised eyebrow before retrieving some snorkeling gear from the equipment on the boat. The fact was, the first time they went swimming together, clothing was optional. Then again, it was a quiet river where it doubled as bath water.

She laughed as she began pulling the gear off that she had put on before and shoved her shoes and weapons into the waterproof bag as she stripped down to her bathing suit. “Just keep your hands to yourself,” she reminded him as she pulled her earwig out of her ear.

“I’ll wait till later,” he grinned as he slipped on a dry-suit over his tactical gear and also placed his equipment and communications devices into a waterproof bag. Leaving him armed with a divers knife and a harpoon gun, just in case.

Ziva climbed up on the back of the boat, securing her goggles over her eyes. “Ready to go,” she said, checking the mini oxygen device before biting down on the mouth piece.

“You know, the lens on those goggles really bring out your eyes,” he said finally before placing his own re-breather and slipping on his goggles.

They both slid into the water quickly and quietly and made their way toward some dense foliage by the beach.

“The SEAL can swim,” Gibbs said as he peered through some nightvision goggles, watching for any sign of them and only catching sight of the pair every so often.

Quickly making her way behind the large tree and bushes with Steve, Ziva pulled her pants and boots on silently. When she was done she put on her own night goggles again and slid in her earwig. Making eye contact with Steve to let him know she was ready, she nodded with a familiar hand signal that was shared only between them.

Steve nodded and was the first to move, With his bow strapped to his back, he snuck up behind one of the men who was brandishing an AK-47 and put him down quickly and quietly, knocking him out with a sleeper-hold.

Several yards away, Ziva had one of her knives in hand as she made her way to the next guy. Her eyes narrowed on his back from where she was hidden in the woods. Slipping out, her hand slapped over his mouth from behind silently before bringing her other hand up with her knife and slid it across his throat, causing him to instantly fall limp in her arms. Dragging him back into the leaves of the overgrown brush, she looked back out to make sure that no one else was in sight before covering the drag marks in the sand and burying the blood tainted sections with more and shooting McGarrett a sign that she was clear.

McGarrett drew his bow as he spotted one of the three remaining beach guards branch off from the others. Once the guard was out of the others field of vision, he drew an arrow, aimed and let it fly. Skewering the back of the guards head and puncturing his brain, Steve quickly moved up to cover the body while Ziva had her fun.

Once the last two of the patrol were taken out, Ziva pulled her mini maglight from her bag and flashed the signal for the boats to come in. Knowing that they did not have much time left, as the house would likely realize that their people would be late in checking in.

As soon as their back up was docked, she was pulling her gear back on. “Don’t speak unless you have to. Try to maintain radio silence as much as you can,” Ziva said quietly. “We will let you know when to take the house.”

Gibbs headed off to the ridge to cover Ziva and Steve along with one of the SWAT snipers, while Chin and Kono took the rest of the SWAT team and held the beach. Meanwhile Steve and Ziva assessed the situation around the house. Six more guards, all carrying high-powered weapons. Two guarded the door to the house while the other four patrolled the perimeter in a diamond formation.

A few significant motions of her hands, she wordlessly told Steve her idea for approach. Only problem she had was Steve’s reception to it. She knew he would not.

Steve paused and sent a negative signal, but it was too late, Ziva had already disappeared into the foliage as she prepared to enact her plan.

What is she doing?” Gibbs whispered over the earwig. He was in position and was watching them like a hawk.

“Stand by,” Steve replied as he prepared to fire an arrow just as Ziva emerged from the foliage looking disheveled. No longer was she wearing her tactical gear or her weapons. Her legs were scratched by branches and she was acting as if she’d been walking and running for hours.

Ziva stumbled up to one of the men that had stepped out of sight of the others as she cried out of breath. “¿Hola? Por favor? ¡Ayúdenme! Estaba acampando con mi amigo y un animal atacó el campamento!” She continued on babbling in Spanish about being separated and lost as the creature chased them away and going into hysterics for the character.

“Down on the ground, DOWN ON THE GROUND!” the guard screamed and aimed his gun at her. “Guys, we’ve got an intruder!”

“¡Por favor, ayúdame! ¡Tengo sed, tengo que encontrar a mi amigo!” Ziva cried as she turned towards the direction that she knew that Gibbs and the other sniper was situated and help up two fingers.

The three perimeter guards joined the fourth and kept their weapons trained on her, but their futile attempt was short lived as a pair of silenced bullets each took out a guard and an arrow sliced through the air and impaled him through the skull.

With three down, Ziva smiled devilishly at the fourth as she sent her fist flying into his face, knocking him out cold after a second blow to the temple. “That was much easier than I had thought it would be,” she mumbled as she brushed her hands clean.

“An animal attacked our camp… really?” Steve shook his head as he joined her.

“You had a better idea? Don’t you have large boar or something?” she asked as she went back for her equipment.

“You didn’t have to go scratching yourself up like that though,” he said, noting the state of her arms and legs.

Ziva looked down and shrugged a shoulder. “If we get through this, then I have you to play nursemaid tomorrow,” she smirked. “We have a mission.”

“Only two guards left,” Steve whispered as he looked out at the house.

Make that no guards,” Gibbs whispered over the ‘wig as the final two guards were dropped like sacks of potatoes. “Chin, move your team up. Ziva, Steve, prep to breach.

Dropping to her knee behind one corner of the house after she suited back up, Ziva frowned. When Steve made his way behind her, she looked over her shoulder at him. “Something is wrong. Did that not seem too easy?” she whispered.

“Way too easy,” Steve frowned. “Stay here, I’m gonna check the perimeter.”

Ziva turned, her back against the house as she looked at him. “That is not a good idea,” she replied. “We should -”

“Put your hands up,” a deep and dangerous voice spoke up. Ziva raised her eyes from Steve to a figure behind him with an MP fixed on them, but the voice that spoke came from behind her so she assumed that there was another gun on her back as well.

“I guess we could put our hands up, what do you think?” Steve asked Ziva with a small smile before he raised his hands.

“Strip your gear and call off your sniper,” the deep voice growled. “Or this bitch’s brains will decorate your face!”

Hesitating for a moment, he held up his right hand and signalled Gibbs to stand down before removing their weapons.

“Good, now come with us!” the deep voice ordered, jabbing the muzzle of his gun into Steve’s back.

“Who are you?” Ziva questioned as she stood with her hands up and tried to get a good look at the men’s faces.

“The men with guns to your backs,” the other guard snapped. “The question is, who the hell are you? Because you’re too tooled up to be cops.”

“Do you honestly think we’ll be stupid enough to answer that?” Steve replied.

“Well it would save us the trouble of beating it out of you, pretty boy,” the deep voice chuckled as they reached the door of the house. Knocking heavily twice, followed by 3 quick raps, the door to the house opened.

A dark haired woman that appeared to be local opened the door and raised an eyebrow. Stepping back she made room for the group to enter. “Boss is in the study with the others,” she informed the gunmen. “He will wish to see these two.”

“No kidding,” the deep voiced guy said. “We’ve got big problems. Keep away from the windows.”

“Like that’s gonna help,” Steve scoffed.

“Shut up, pretty boy!” the deep voiced guy growled before slamming the butt of his rifle into the back of Steve’s skull, sending the SEAL to the groundhard.

Ziva instinctively turned to raise her arm to defend her friend that fell but was quick to find herself eye to eye with the barrel of a .45mm. “That was unnecessary,” she said evenly.

“Unnecessary?” a very familiar voice said from the shadows of the darkened office they were being led toward. “I wouldn’t say that taking out a dangerous opponent is unnecessary. Especially one with SEAL training.”

She narrowed her eyes as she looked at Steve curiously before turning to the voice. “Who the hell are you?”

Stepping into the light, the bald headed man smiled fiendishly at Ziva before he reached up to scratch beneath the black patch that was covering his left eye socket. “You may call me La Grenouille.”

Ziva eyed the man as her mouth fell open slightly. Quickly, she let her facade of ignorance cover her face as she made like she did not recognize him. A quick glance at his henchmen she turned back to him. “What do you plan to do with us?” she questioned, her eyes assessing the rest of the room.

“Now that is an interesting question, my dear,” his smile faded a little and he pulled a gun on Ziva. “Mr Remmick, will you be so kind as to escort our unconscious guest into the back room. And have our Israeli friends join us.”

“Yes sir, what do you want us to do with the pretty boy?” the deeply voiced Mr Remmick asked.

“Have Ms. Blackadder treat his wounds. He is not to be harmed unless I wish it. Understood?” La Grenouille ordered.

“Yes sir.” Remmick replied, as he and his colleague grabbed Steve and went off to find Blackadder and the Israelis.

During the short time alone, Ziva took advantage of the privacy. “What the hell are you doing Kort?” she hissed as she stepped up to him. “The CIA must have seriously lost their minds!”

“As Agent Gibbs would say, that’s above your pay grade,” he whispered. “Now just what the hell are you doing here? NCIS was supposed to leave this alone!”

“I am not operating as NCIS on this,” she replied equally hushed. “My friend that your guard knocked out is Five-0. What the hell have you gotten into? Nevermind that – you know who killed our agent, don’t you?”

“Yes, a casualty of war I’m afraid,” he sighed as he sat down behind the desk in the office. “I would have divulged the information once my business here was concluded. In the interests of cooperation of course.”

“Of course,” she repeated. “Who killed Agent Owens? Was it you?” she asked bluntly, knowing that the guard was an idiot and hadn’t removed her ear-wig.

“No,” Kort answered honestly. “Agent Owens was killed by Vivian Blackadder. On the orders of Mr Remmick. It was her trial to prove her worth to me.”

Sighing, she rested her hands on her hips as she paced the floor, knowing Gibbs would be cursing a storm. “Who is Remmick?” she continued to try to get as much information while she could.

“Before he was killed, René Benoit was working toward doing some business with a man named Victor Hesse. Our friend Mr. Remmick was brought into Rene’s organisation because he and Hesse had once been partners. The business deal Rene was looking to set up could lead us to an organisation that is responsible for a significant number of arms deals with the worlds most dangerous terrorist groups,” Kort explained quietly just before there was a knock at the door. “Enter.”

~o.O.o~

Outside, to say Gibbs was pissed, was an understatement. McGee and Tony did not say a word unless something was said that demanded an answer. Danny was silent also for awhile once they heard Ziva draw out the information from the Kort guy before he broke the uncomfortable tension. “Shouldn’t we find out who this Remmick guy is?” he asked.

“McGiggles,” Tony said simply, prompting McGee’s hands to dance across the keyboard that’s in front of him.

“Running a search, but without a picture, or a first name, I doubt we’ll get very far,” McGee replied as he connecting to several criminal databases.

Just do what you can McGee, you found Ari, you can find this guy,” Gibbs growled over the ‘wig.

“Yeah Boss,” McGee sighed as he set himself to looking. “What is Ziva doing now? Is her backup camera working?”

Ziva, if you can hear this, we need a shot of Remmick for an I.D.” Gibbs hoped she was okay. Chin, Kono and the SWAT team had surrounded the house and got eyes on her at the back of the house.

Inside the house, Ziva glared at Kort as the door opened to reveal Malachi and Liat. She said nothing as they walked in because the man they had met in the coffee shop was with them.

“I thought you told us that this house was secure!” Kalib growled, pushing his way into the office. “Now we have a sniper and two unidentified intruders to deal with!”

Kort smiled as he made his way over to the liquor cabinet and poured himself and Ziva glasses of scotch. “Relax Mister Kalib. Zofia here is former – competition, I hope. I was just trying to offer her a job, one that pays more than the one that brought her to my home here. So what do you say?” he asked Ziva, a small nod of his head and smile as she took the glass from him.

“I have not decided,” she said through gritted teeth. “I am still strongly considering shooting you.”

“I wouldn’t have been doing my job correctly if you weren’t Zofia,” he joked. “Now why don’t you go and update your associates on your new job while Mister Kalib and I conclude our business. And pass on my regards to your sniper. Tell Mister Leroy that I look forward to seeing him again.”

Ziva took the scotch in her hand and spilled it into the lit fireplace. “I want to see my partner first. Make sure that your people do not cause him any more harm,” she said, shooting a glare at Kalib.

“You seem very familiar to me… Zofia was it?” Kalib asked as he noticed her glare.

“Yes. However I do not care who you are. I have my own job to work,” she nodded towards Kort. “I wish to see my partner before I consider your offer La Grenouille. Now.”

“Very well. Mr Remmick!” Kort called out. A moment later, Remmick stepped inside.

“Ms Zofia wishes to see her partner before she considers my job offer. Please take her to him,” he ordered as he watched Kalib closely.

“You offered her a job?” Remmick was taken aback. “She and her partners almost killed you and you offered her a job!”

“They’ve proven their worth by getting this far Mr Remmick. Do not question my orders,” Kort snapped.

“I’m sorry sir, forgive me,” Remmick conceded. “Please come with me Ms Zofia.”

Watching them leave, Kort looked to Malachi, Liat and Kalib. “Let us get down to business.”