The rest of the day had been spent in comfortable relaxation. Steve and Ziva were both disappointed and relieved to not have been left alone long enough to risk another intimate session. Deeks had stopped in with dinner, insisting on his new friends to try his favorite chicken place and brought a banquet of a selection of barbecue sauces and glazes to dip wings in that had the three agreeing with his assessment.
The nurses brought around Steve’s medication, antibiotics to avoid infection and some lighter pain medication as he wanted to avoid the use of the morphine pump as much as possible.
The following morning after a rather solid night’s rest, Ziva woke to find Gibbs sitting back in the armchair at Steve’s bedside, sipping on his coffee. Groaning, she dropped her head back to the mattress and groaned. “You’re here already?” she mumbled, scratching the back of her mess of hair.
“Mornin’,” the man replied. “Can’t stay out of trouble long. What am I going to do with the two of you?”
“I been asking that since she showed up in Hawaii for that agent’s murder,” Danny’s voice sounded across the room where he was stretched out on his cot, his back to them.
“Shut up,” Ziva replied as she shifted to sit up and looked over at Steve who was still out cold, jaw slack in his sleep.
“Coffee?” Gibbs asked, gesturing to the cups sitting on the table beside Steve’s bed.
“Thanks,” she said more softly as she reached over and stretched. “Sorry Gibbs.”
“For?” he asked, looking her square in the eye before taking a long, drawn out sip of the still scolding hot beverage.
“For you having to come out here like this. I know you dislike Los Angeles.”
“I’m not a big fan of Somalia either, but I still came after you,” Gibbs explained. “Don’t ever apologize for that or I’ll have to start smacking you upside the head again.”
“Yes Gibbs. Has the LA team filled you in yet? I am sure someone will be here soon.”
“I was read in on the trip over,” he replied. “Hesse is one nasty SOB. McGarrett was crazy to go after him alone.”
“Could you remind him of that when he wakes up? Maybe he’ll actually listen to you,” Danny grumbled as he sat up, scratching his head sleepily.
“I can hear you, y’know,” Steve grumbled as he began to shift his position carefully.
“And yet you still find trouble,” his friend replied before stumbling into the bathroom.
Ziva turned on the bed and smiled as she sipped her coffee. “Sore night?”
“Yeah, this isn’t as comfy as our beds,” he replied, finally sitting up. “Have you heard anything new from Hetty and the others?”
“No,” she answered slowly. “But Gibbs is here.”
“I can see that,” he yawned, only to hiss in pain as his movement agitated his injury.
“I would ask how you’re feeling,” Gibbs said as he got out of the chair and stood at the foot of the bed. “But I have a pretty good idea.”
“I’ve felt better,” Steve replied. “You didn’t have to come all this way you know.”
“Vance disagrees, as does your fairy godmother,” he replied. “You should know by now that it’s hard to say no to Hetty Lange. I’m going to go into the OSP and find out what’s happening. Ziva, Abby packed some changes of clothes for you. And Tony thought some weapons might be an idea. You’ll find your SIG and some clips in there somewhere.” With that he hoisted a medium sized duffel bag onto the chair he had been sitting in.
She smiled and nodded her thanks. “She did not have to do that, and I will be sure to send Tony a fruit basket. It will be nice to have imy/i weapon with me now,” she answered as she reached over for the bag to dig through.
“Call if you need anything,” he told her as he backed his way out of the room.
“Fried chicken,” they both replied in unison with innocent eyes.
“I’ll see what I can do.”
“Thank you Gibbs. Oh, and Miss Lange mentioned something about some dishes you owe her. I do not know what she meant by that,” Ziva added as he reached the door.
“She’s still griping about that… It was years ago…” he shook his head, a smile breaking his usually stern features. “Director Morrow offered to replace them…”
When Hetty came under threat from a Serbian crime family, Gibbs was assigned to her protection detail, only to find her in the middle of a shootout with the Serbians in her own dining room. He joined the fight, forcing the Serbs to breakout automatic rifles which resulted in the destruction of Hetty’s priceless china collection which was given to her by a member of the British Royal Family.
Ziva chuckled as she checked her Sig and pulled out a change of clothes. “I will be out shortly. I am in need of a shower desperately,” she said as Danny exited the bath with a grumpy face. “Detective Williams,” she greeted in her usual manner to him as she passed.
“You got your weapon back?” Danny asked as Gibbs left the room with a grin. “Great…”
She only grinned as she closed the door behind her, but not before flashing a wink to Steve.
“Tell me she was joking…” Danny mumbled a prayer.
“I’d love to, but I wouldn’t want to lie to you Danny,” Steve replied as he shifted in the bed once again. “So come on… Out with it…”
Danny eyed his friend and shrugged a shoulder. “Out with what? We just need you to get better so that we can go home where at least your trouble can be contained to the island.”
“Oh no… I know that look Danny, don’t let the fact that Ziva’s armed and in the next room stop you from speaking your mind,” Steve replied with a knowing stare.
He went over to his cot as he debated while he straightened up. When he heard the shower start he sat down with a loud sigh. “Where is this going with her? Because after all this I would think that you would have asked her to move in with you by now.”
“At least…” he muttered. “What I did… Going off unarmed, almost losing Ziva… It’s made me think about the future.”
“More like her almost losing you. Just think about what you want with her because I have the feeling she wants more but won’t admit it. You told me enough that I doubt she even believes its a possibility.”
“I’m gonna ask her to transfer to Hawaii. As the NCIS liaison to 5-0,” he replied. “I want her in my life full-time.”
Danny’s head shot up. “You want her to work with us? Are you crazy? I got a kid – I don’t want a death wish, just my partner to be happy,” he hissed before calming down. “I can see needing a liaison with all the squid we got here. But wow…”
“NCIS need good people in Hawaii. Ziva’s perfect for the job. And as for your safety, wouldn’t you feel better knowing Ziva has your back?” Steve asked.
As the men continued their conversation, Ziva listened in reluctantly from the bathroom. After she had turned on the shower, she had realized she forgotten her bath products that Abby included in her bag but when she heard their voices, she stopped. She didn’t know what to make of it, even knowing how much Steve did want her to come work with him. It was the first time that she had, however, heard him discuss their relationship in any context with someone and it made things just feel all that much more real.
She went on to take her shower, using the hospital supplied soaps before returning feeling more refreshed. Steve and Danny seemed to have finished their conversation and she let it settle in the back of her mind as she returned to Steve’s side to give him a kiss. “I was thinking that maybe until the doctors clear you to return to work, that you might be willing to come back to D.C. with me. You can do your rehab at Bethesda before going home. What do you think?” she asked, careful about her reference of which local was home.
“That sounds great. So long as you keep visiting,” he smiled softly as Danny rolled his eyes.
Her smile brightened as she realized she hadn’t heard him say no. Cupping his cheek, she leaned in to kiss him gently before shifting on the bed to lay her head on his good shoulder to watch the television with the two.
Hours turned into days and the threat of Victor Hesse quickly passed, as he was spotted on several CCTV camera’s boarding a private flight out of LAX. While Vance was hopeful that the jet would be tracked to Europe and Hesse successfully incarcerated upon arrival, Steve knew better. He was gone for the moment, but his days were numbered.
Ziva was helping pack their bags while Steve tried stretching out his arm. “You need to take it easy. I do not wish for you to injure yourself further, not that I would truly complain as you’re staying with me for a while.”
“Just so long as you don’t let me get too comfortable for to long, I’m still needed back home. Danny says that he doesn’t have the same ‘rapport’ with the governor as I do,” Steve smiled.
“No, I suppose not but I know you. If you went back you would jump head first into work despite doctors orders. You are not some 20-something hotshot anymore after all,” she teased as she approached him and gently pulled his arm down. “You’re my hotshot and I want you in one piece.”
“Then I guess I’ll have to be on my best behavior then,” he grinned before kissing her gently. “What time did Sam say he’d be by to drive us to the airport?”
“Before lunch. He wants us to try some Indian place before leaving now that you are free from the hospital. I’d assume in about 20 minutes otherwise we would miss our flight.”
Steve was about to respond when Ziva’s cellphone rang. She narrowed her eyes at him as she answered. “Hello?” She greeted. Nodding her head a few times she acknowledged her caller before hanging up. “Sam is not far so we should head down. Miss Lange arranged for our flight to depart at 3:00pm and will send the information on the way. How – how are you?” Ziva asked carefully, taking in his expression and posture.
“I’m being careful if that’s what you’re asking. Pulling my stitches once was bad enough,” he replied as he carefully lowered himself into the wheelchair by his bed.
She didn’t bother to hide the amount of concern she had for him as she moved to pull his face to kiss again. “I believe you. I’m just relieved to have you out of here,” she admitted. Handing him the two bags to hold she moved around to push his chair. “Finally…”
“What? You didn’t like the food? The company?” he teased as he was wheeled out.
She was quiet for a moment before answering as she gathered her thoughts. “I loved the company, of course. The food was fine but I am not a fan of Los Angeles. Too much – just too much.”
“Too much what?” he asked, a nervous knot forming in his stomach. “Too much sun?”
“Too many bad memories involving the city. Please do not make me speak of it again,” Ziva very nearly begged of him. She had told him before about how things ended with Michael and that storm had begun in the city. Deciding to change gears she was more cheerful as she added, “Director Vance granted me the rest of the week off when we get back.”
“Are you sure its okay? Taking all this time off I mean,” he inquired. “What with the trips we’ve been taking and such, you must have burned through your holiday time by now.”
Chuckling lightly she shook her head. “Yes and no. We are able to get compensated for overtime either monetarily or with time off. I prefer to take the time over money to spend it with you. And you know that there is always overtime with Gibbs.”
“Okay… But we’re gonna have to figure something more permanent out eventually,” he said, nodding to one of the nurses as they passed.
“I know,” she answered simply, smiling where he couldn’t see. She hadn’t known when but at some point during their isolation at the hospital she realized it wasn’t a choice. It was what she wanted but just was afraid. Still, she also decided that she would get her affairs in order before surprising him with that news.