Chapter 17

“I don’t get it Boss,” Tony said as the group waited for their plane bright and early at 0730. “Why did you tell her our plane leaves for 10am?”

“Gibbs is giving Ziva forced vacation. Duh,” Abby replied happily. Gibbs had woken her early to help him bring all of their friend’s bags to drop off at the Five-0 office after they checked out of the hotel’s resort, a plan she was happily willing to participate in.

Tony wasn’t quite so happy with the idea however but he remained quiet. “She could always come back when we actually didn’t have work to do at a later time,” he mumbled.

“Anthony, Ziva’s almost as obsessed with working as Jethro is,” Ducky chimed in. “In my medical opinion, she needs a vacation.”

He wasn’t so convinced. “I hear you Ducky but every time she takes a vacation, something bad happens.”

“She’s gonna be with McGarrett,” Gibbs replied nonchalantly. “And we’ll be a plane ride away if something happens. So stop worrying DiNozzo, you can partner up with McGee till she gets back.”

McGee barely could keep back from cringing at the thought of how terrifyingly annoying the man would be until their friend got home. Abby only smiled and hugged his arm reassuringly. “It’s just for a week,” she whispered.

“But where is she gonna stay? The Governor’s secretary said that the resort was only paid up until today,” Tony asked, grasping at straws.

“You’re joking, right? The same place she been staying since they arrived,” she laughed. “You really can’t be that naive to think that she only camped on his couch.”

“I didn’t want to presume,” Tony replied defensively. “The last time I made a presumption about Ziva’s love life, she stapled my tie to my desk – while I was wearing it!”

“Appropriately so,” Abby nodded. “But I think she would be okay with it this time – a little bit. Just don’t go accusing Steve of being a terrorist and you should be fine.”

“Can we go home now Jethro? I fear I am developing a headache…” Ducky sighed.

“You and me both Duck,” Gibbs shook his head. “Grab your gear, we’re boarding.”

~o.O.o~

Arriving at the offices of the Five-0 Task Force at 07:30, Steve and Ziva walked in to find the luggage she didn’t take to Steve’s all packed and waiting for her along with an envelope taped to it.

“Kono, where is everyone?” Steve asked with a frown. “We were supposed to meet at 8 to say goodbye.”

“Agent Gibbs told me to pass on a message to Ziva. Open the envelope and don’t bother calling,” Kono quoted with a puzzled look on her face.

Ziva frowned as she shrugged at Steve, ripping the sealed envelope open and pulled the paper that was in it out. Reading it over she sighed. “He faxed a vacation form to Director Vance for the next week off and it was approved. He forges my signature pretty well – probably had Abby do it,” she said as she held up the paper up for him to see as she dropped her purse on the table with a sigh.

Steve smiled and wrapped his arms around her. “Hey, this is a good thing. You needed a break. What better place than here, with me?”

“Yes but it would have been nice for him to talk to me first before doing this. I would have told him that I already had intentions of planning a trip back out here soon,” she replied.

“Soon,” Steve repeated. “He saved you the trouble of paying for your own airfare.”

“Maybe but I had other work that I had intended to get done as soon as I got back. There was a victim from a recent case that I wanted to follow up with to make sure that she was adjusting from her ordeal,” she smiled. “I’m not complaining – please understand that. I – will accept this forced vacation but surely you can understand why I am upset.”

“Baby, I know you. You would have gone back, done your work and planned to come back this weekend, but knowing how busy NCIS gets, you’d get a case and wouldn’t be able to say no to Gibbs if he asked for your help. And you know he would have,” Steve replied. “This way he can call on another agent if he needs to and you can follow up with the victim when you get back. Or you can call her from here.”

She couldn’t help but pout as she refused to admit to his points. “She doesn’t have a phone. Took up residence out in the middle of nowhere in Virginia to get away from people in general. Well – a week. What am I going to do with a week off, especially if you have to work?”

“You’re kidding right?” Kono asked, “The boss hasn’t taken a vacation since he formed Five-0.”

“Yes! I so believe that to be true! Which makes me amused at everything he just said about my needing time away,” Ziva smirked as she sat up straighter, pointing at Kono.

“I’ll take a break, I’ll take a break right the hell now if you stop busting my balls!” Steve grinned as he dug into his pocket for his cell phone. “You think you’ll be okay without me till Ziva goes home?”

Kono smiled as she sat with her mug of coffee. “Yeah sure, of course barring the Governor’s expressed orders to call you in, we should be able to survive a week. I’m not so sure about Danny though. He might get too used to not being shot at.”

“Well I’m sure you and Chin will happily take a couple of shots at him for me, just in case he starts to miss me,” he joked. “Take it easy Kono, see you next week, if not sooner.”

“Yeah yeah,” she laughed not believing for a moment that he’ll be able to stay away. If anything she was sure that Ziva would want to help with any case that might come up simply for the sake of excitement. “If you want to go surfing at all Ziva, just give me a ring. You can steal my number from his phone.”

“Sure. Sounds like fun,” Ziva smiled as she stood and started to load up on her bags. “I do not know how to surf but am willing to learn.”

“Hey hey hey!” Steve interjected and took her bags from her. “You’re on vacation.”

“I am a big girl. I can carry my own bags. I already let you carry them from the airport when I wasn’t on vacation,” she protested.

“I know you’re a big girl, and I know you can carry your own bags. I’m still sore from the ass kicking we gave each other yesterday,” he said with a grin as he held onto them. “Consider this all part of the McGarrett resort service.”

Ziva stared at him, her expression even and unchanged. “You’re not that funny. You know that?”

“Your appointment for the full body massage has just been cancelled,” he replied as they headed out. “You want to cancel your mid-afternoon swim too?”

“That’s fine. I am sure I can find someplace else to book one,” she laughed as she made her way out the door, leaving Kono laughing. “As far as the swim – it only counts if there is no bathing suits.”

“Well the swim does usually follow the full body massage,” he grinned. “Why waste time getting dressed?”

As they got closer to his truck, she hummed as she thought about it. “Indecency laws maybe? You’re talking broad daylight. I’m on vacation as you said. How about doing the tourist thing?” she asked, smiling up at him as she slipped her sunglasses on.

“Your wish is my command,” he smiled, “We can see some of the local sites? Maybe go hiking? Go offshore?”

“You’re the guide. I’m at your whim – within reason,” she smirked. “We can drop off my bags and then go from there?”

“Great. Do you want to drive? I have a few calls to make,” Steve suddenly found himself hoping that her driving skills had improved from the last time he let her get behind the wheel.

She raised an eyebrow. “I don’t know my way around the island like that. And for you to interrupt your call to tell me where and when to turn, you may as well drive already. How about we drop my bags off then go get something to eat. You can make your calls then.”

“Alright,” he smiled as he loaded the truck with her luggage, “But you’ll have to get used to driving here eventually. I plan to have you stay over more often.”

“Yeah, yeah,” she replied with a laugh as she climbed into the truck and set off on their day together.

~o.O.o~

She could not help but to look at him suspiciously as she eyed him across the room where he quickly escaped to make a call while she waited on their food at the local diner of sorts. The nodding he made as he spoke, followed by the grin he had on his face made her not worried, but concerned while she sipped her tea.

“Excellent, thanks brah, I owe ya,” he ended the call and returned to the table just as the waitress brought their food over.

“I am almost afraid to ask,” Ziva commented as she eyed him before working on her lunch. “What do you plan to do with me next?”

Steve raised an eyebrow, “Now that is a very interesting, very tempting question.”

“Keep your thoughts out of the gutter McGarrett. That is for much later tonight,” she pointed out, her eyes glossing over him suggestively.

“Well, I just got off the phone with a buddy of mine. I’ve arranged for a private airtour of the island which will end by the docks. From there we’ll board a boat and head out to a hotspot for dolphin sightings. You looked a little disappointed that Abby got to see some and you didn’t,” he explained, taking her hand for a moment.

“Sounds like a great time,” she smiled. “Yes, I was disappointed but I also figured that there would be plenty of opportunities with the trips I would be making to come back. Thank you.”

“Thank you,” he squeezed her hand. “I’m really glad that you’re here.”

“I am too,” Ziva replied, laying her free hand over his. “Let’s eat. This food smells amazing.”

“It sure does,” he nodded and they began to eat, talking about their plans, telling stories , generally enjoying each other’s company without having to worry about a case.

Unbeknownst to the pair, a pair of military grade binoculars was watching them from the grassy area across the street from the diner. Notes were being scribbled down on a pad in pencil and a smile formed on a pair of unknown lips.

~o.O.o~

Soaring high above the island of Honolulu, an airtours helicopter carrying Steve and Ziva passed over some of the smaller, less imposing mountain trails.

“So, what do you think?” he asked as he squeezed her hand, watching her as she peered out of the window at the island below.

“It’s lovely,” Ziva grinned as she spoke into the microphone of her helmet. “That area there would be an awesome landing site for sky-diving.”

“Oh really? It’s been a while since I’ve made a jump. Maybe we can do something about that sometime this week, what do you think?” he asked as he took a mental note of the site that she was pointing toward.

She nodded. “Sounds like a plan. I am sure there are a great deal of activities on this island and the others that we can do.”

“Activities are fun and all, but I want you to relax too,” he smiled, “What do you like to do to relax these days?”

Ziva raised an eyebrow in response. “I will answer that when we do not have to yell into a microphone up in the air here. And for the record – I do relax.”

“I’m sure you do. You looked pretty relaxed last night, and again this morning before we left the house,” he teased.

“Yes, as did you,” she chuckled before turning to look back out the window for the rest of the tour.

After it was over, Ziva fluffed out her hair from the helmet as she waited for Steve to rejoin her after saying his thanks and goodbyes to his friend. “To answer your earlier question, I read a lot. We also have movie nights with the team although it is usually just Abby and or Tony and myself.”

“What are your favourite movies?” he asked, “We could stop by a rental store and pick some DVD’s up?”

“My partner is like the biggest movie buff. I will watch just about any movie once but really – you’d laugh at my favorite all time movie,” she answered, blushing slightly.

“Danny’s favourite movie is Finding Nemo,” Steve grinned, “He loves watching it with Grace.”

“He watches it with his daughter. There is nothing wrong in that. Well, as long as he doesn’t go and watch it by himself. I however will still watch my movie alone. Child or no.”

“He recently bought it on blu-ray, while Grace was on vacation with her mother and stepfather,” Steve added. “So come on, tell me your favourite movie.”

She looked at him and considered it. “Promise not to laugh?”

“I promise,” he smiled. “I’ll even tell you my favourite movie.”

“Okay,” Ziva said taking a breath. “The Sound of Music.”

“And what’s wrong with that? That was my mother’s favourite movie,” the smile softened. “We used to watch it every thanksgiving. I guess its one of the reasons why I decided to join the navy.”

Ziva frowned. “You miss her, don’t you?”

“Every day,” the smile faded a little more. “I mean, she never got the chance to see me become an officer, or to become a cop. Or to meet the special someone…”

Ziva’s blush deepened as she shook her head. “Steve…I…”

“She would have adored you, y’know. So would’ve my Dad.”

She looked up at him and smiled softly. Letting out a sigh she reached up to kiss him softly. “I wish I could say the same of my parents. I don’t remember my mother as much anymore, not that I could find myself believing anyone’s stories about her after everything. And my father… Well you know.”

“I like the family you have now,” he replied before kissing the tip of her nose. “Even Tony. They care about you for you, not what you can do to help them succeed.”

“Hmm…” she hummed as she wrapped her arms over his shoulders. “And you? What was it about me that made you trust me back then, to – share what we had?”

“Would you believe that it was something in your eyes?” he asked. “A kindness that I felt that people rarely got to see.”

She looked at him again with slight confusion as she tried to think about how she regarded him all those years ago. She was young and trusted in everything her father told her.

“I was – naive in a lot back then,” she admitted quietly, letting her forehead rest against him.

“You loved him and wanted to make him proud,” he replied as he wrapped an arm around her shoulder and held her to him. “Part of you still loves him. There’s no shame in that. He helped you become the woman you are today, don’t forget. But it’s you that had the courage to find more for yourself.”

“Not love Steve. Disappointment, hurt maybe. Anger definitely. Gibbs is more a father to me than Eli,” Ziva said bitterly as she straightened herself. “No more about that. It is lunch time. Do you have a favorite place?”

“There should be a picnic waiting for us on the boat,” he replied with a soft smile.

“Oh? And just what else do you have planned for tonight?” she slowly grinned. “You do know that I have a whole week here with you. We do not have to do everything right away. I would be content just staying in bed with you all day as well.”

“That’s for another day. I remember how much you’ve wanted to see some dolphins out in the ocean, or even up close,” he explained. “I know some of the best pod spotting areas along the coast. So let me do this for you and tomorrow we can stay in bed all day.”

“Promise?” Ziva whispered as she dropped a kiss on his lips.

“You keep kissing me like that and I’ll promise you anything you want,” he groaned before kissing her back.

She hummed and laughed before pulling away. “Come on. Otherwise we’d never make it and we’d just have to head back to the house…”

“And we wouldn’t want that…” he grinned, only half serious.

~o.O.o~

When they finally returned to the house, it was pretty late. After their boat trip, they went on to see some of the local art galleries, museums and gift stores before finally calling it a day.

“So you’ve got presents for Abby, McGee, Ducky, his assistant, Tony and Director Vance… why haven’t you bought something for Gibbs?” Steve asked as they reached his porch and he dug through his pocket for his keys.

“I do not know what to get him,” Ziva admitted as she set the bags she held down as they were feeling a bit heavy. “The only actual present I got him that he seemed to enjoy was a chissel after he got me out of Somalia.”

“Why don’t you buy him another tool, or maybe a coffee grinder,” he suggested as he opened the door and ushered her through, picking up the bags she was carrying in addition to his own. “He doesn’t strike me as someone easy to buy for.”

“He has every tool imaginable in his basement. He likes to build boats,” she explained. “And for all the coffee he drinks, I think he has a coffee grinder already. If he did not I would really be shocked.”

“Does he like to drink anything other than coffee?” Steve asked as he set the bags down in the living room for her to go through.

“Bourbon. And he has a lot stashed around his house. Almost always an open bottle in his basement whenever I was there,” she sighed as she collapsed onto the couch. “There is still time to find something. Maybe I’ll find some inspiration over the week.”

“Maybe,” Steve smiled. “So, did you have a good day?”

“Yes. Very much so. Now how about that glass of wine you promised me. And that special dinner,” Ziva smirked and stretched her arms over the back of the couch.

“Coming right up,” he replied before leaving her to her bags to go wash up and start dinner. Steaks, mixed vegetables and each other for dessert, what more could they ask for?

~o.O.o~

The next day, up the street from the McGarrett residence, a beat up truck had eyes on the house. Lifting their cellphone, the occupant made a phone call to a pre-programmed number. “Yes sir. The target is confirmed in the house. All appearances indicate that the two are not leaving today. What are your orders?”

Keep following them. The strike team should be able to move in within two hours,” the masked voice replied. “Be sure to update them on the targets current whereabouts at 10 minute intervals. And if you fail us in any way, you will take their place. Do you understand?

The person nodded even if the person on the phone couldn’t see. “Yes sir. I understand. Ten minute check-ins.”

With that, the line went dead, just as Ziva and Steve emerged from the house.

“I’m sorry about this, but Governor Jameson’s back in town, and since she didn’t get to personally thank Gibbs for the work you guys did, you drew the short straw,” Steve said as he watched her check her hair in the wing mirror of his truck. “But I promise, as soon as the meeting’s over, we’ll head straight back here for that lazy day I promised you.”

“Yeah, that is fine,” she replied, adjusting her blouse. “I do not mind. I’m sure it’ll be fast as long as she doesn’t try to ask us to join her for lunch or something. You did tell her that I technically am on vacation now, yes?”

“I told her we both are,” he replied as he started the engine. “And don’t worry, we don’t earn enough to have lunch with her.”

Ziva chuckled. “We do not earn enough to be able to turn down an invite if she offered it,” she pointed out.

As the truck pulled out of the driveway and headed toward the city, a few moments later, the beat up pickup began to follow, keeping McGarrett’s ride in clear sight while maintaining its distance so not to arouse suspicion.

“Do you want to do something with your friends for dinner tonight?” she asked, looking out the window at the scenery.

“Sure, we could get together and grab a bite to eat. Maybe see a movie or go bowling or something afterward?” Steve replied as they got onto the freeway. “Do you want to give them a call?”

“When we are finished with your governor friend,” she laughed. “Actually, I would need your phone to do that then because I do not have yourfriends’ numbers.”

“They’re your friends too Ziva,” he replied, “I’m surprised that you guys haven’t swapped numbers already.”

She shrugged and smiled at him. “Later I will get the information from them. I promise. One thing at a time. No rush. Vacation remember?”

“Yeah,” he smiled. “So, what else would you like to do on this vacation? Apart from… well… me.”

“You’re the local. I could go through tourist brochures if you would like me to. Really, I am fine with shadowing you wherever the entire time. I do not require much to remain entertained.”

“Shadowing me? Ziva, this is your vacation, I want you to do anything and everything you want to do while you’re here,” he replied. “We can pick up some brochures if you want.”

She rolled her eyes as she shifted in the seat to look at him better. “I also do not wish to do every thing in this visit. It would not leave much to do – other than you – when I come back again.”

“Well that’s the thing about Hawaii… there’s always something new to do,” Steve replied as he switched lanes. Checking his rear view mirror to do so.

Ziva’s eyebrow raised at his reply but said nothing of it. Turning back to the window, she took in the sun and scenery along the drive, simply enjoying the time despite their destination being work related.

Frowning, Steve switched lanes again, keeping an eye on his rear view.

“You okay?” she asked, glancing out the back window to see what he seemed to be preoccupied with. “Something wrong?”

“Check your six,” he said. “Blue pick-up 4 cars back. Switched lanes when I did.”

She looked back and sighed. “I don’t have my gun with me. Do you know another way to throw them off to be sure?” she asked. “Who did you piss off this time to have someone tailing you?”

“That’s a long list, Ziva,” he sighed as he picked up a little speed. “Hang on.”

“It seems you been keeping things from me. You have a lot of explaining to do,” she grumbled as she pulled her seatbelt down and secured it tightly. “I am expecting a lot of mojitos tonight followed by a long night of romping.”

“I aim to please,” he said as he looked back. The pick-up had increased speed to keep up with the truck, but still kept a fair distance. “Can you make out the plate?”

Ziva spun around to look again and tried to focus on the bumper but shook her head. “No. They are still too far away and it looks like its covered with mud. I doubt it would matter anyway. The vehicle is most likely stolen.”

“Take my phone, call Danny and see if we can get some back-up,” he replied as he pulled onto the off-ramp and slowed down. “Tell him we’re heading west on Paq’ua Way.”

She quickly grabbed the cell phone and searched for the man’s name and dialed, leaving it on speaker phone. Making a face at the greeting the man had made, she made a mental note to deal with it later. “Steve and I are west on Paq’ua Way and being tailed by a blue truck for at least the last two miles,” she reported to the man. “Steve asks to have back up.”

Where are you two going?” Danny asked in between of updating Chin and Kono.

“We were, are, on our way to meet with Governor Jameson,” she replied.

They could hear the man let out a groan. “Lovely. Chin is calling around to get traffic feeds from the area. I got to say it though. If this person has the balls to try to follow you like this Super SEAL Steve, then he probably is smart enough that now that he’s made he’s going to dump and trade out his likely stolen car for something else.

Steve rolled his eyes and was about to respond when a black GMC Topkick rounded the corner they were approaching and plowed right into the front of the truck, halting it in its tracks. As if on cue, the airbags deployed, saving both Steve and Ziva from serious injury, but they were both shaken and dazed from the impact.

STEVE! STEVE! ARE YOU THERE? WHAT HAPPENED?” Danny screamed frantically into the phone that had fallen from Ziva’s hand to the floor. “IF YOU CAN HEAR ME WE ARE GETTING EMS TO YOU! HANG IN THERE!

An unmarked van pulled up alongside the Topkick and four men got out of each vehicle. “Grab the girl,” the driver of the Topkick growled from beneath a ski-mask. “Kill the guy.” Three men ran up to the passenger side and opened the door. Cutting Ziva’s seatbelt with a knife, they went to pull her from the truck with a rag over her face as a fourth man went over to the drivers side with a suppressed 9 millimeter.

Placing it to Steve’s temple, the SEAL snapped into action, breaking the assailants wrist and taking his weapon from him. Unclipping his belt, he put a bullet in the guys leg and took out the two men rushing to his aid.

The other men that had been assigned to Ziva dragged her sedated body into their truck during the commotion and as quickly as the accident occurred, they were driving off, leaving their own people and a breathing Steve McGarrett behind at the scene. Almost as soon as the black SUV was gone, Danny and Kono pulled up right behind the ambulance that had been dispatched.

“What the hell? What happened?” Danny called out to a somewhat dazed McGarrett as he threw his door open to make his way over to the man.

“Ziva…” Steve groaned as he tried to shake the accident off. “They were after Ziva.”

“What? I thought you said they were after you? Why would anyone want her?” Danny replied as he went to check on the masked men, finding most dead but one still alive but not likely to walk any time soon.

“She’s a federal agent, she’s a former Mossad officer. Whoever’s behind my father’s murder wants her for leverage… take your pick!” Steve snapped as the man with the broken wrist and broken leg cried out in pain from Kono’s assistance.

“Take it easy man,” Kono said trying to calm her friend down. “Let’s get you checked out. We’ll find her. Then you can get all the information out of this one as you want.”

“Call Chin, tell him to put out a BOLO for a black GMC Topkick with front-end damage,” Steve snapped before he lent against what was left of his truck.

She nodded as she walked with the EMS crew and their patient cuffed to their stretcher while she made the call. The entire time, she randomly let her hand fall on the man’s injured leg to remind him of just how far into it he was at that time.

Danny had started poking around the area, finding no identification on the downed men. “This is a mess,” he sighed.

“This was planned,” Steve replied. “The blue pick-up tailed us from my place. Must have kept the van and the SUV updated on our location, struck fast. I’m thinking ex-military.”

“Possible but we need to follow up whatever we know. Run a full background on your girlfriend just to be sure that she’s not just collateral. Get your head checked out now, please? We’ll regroup at the office and call NCIS to let them know when you’re done,” the man replied with concern.

“She’s my girl, Danny. My responsibility,” he replied as he began walking toward the ambulance. “I’m not bringing NCIS in until I have something concrete to tell Gibbs.”

“We’ll find her,” Danny said, turning to look back at the totalled truck with a frown. “We will.”