The weather was perfect, just the right amount of heat tempered by a soft cool breeze as the group began to gather on the beach behind the McGarrett household. It was a relatively small group. With Gibbs, Tony, McGee, Abby, Palmer, Ducky, Vance and his wife seated on the left, they all seemed happy, save for Abby as she kept shooting looks at McGee, whose eyes kept drifting to where Steve’s Navy friends Sam and Catherine were seated, and he sure wasn’t looking at the SEAL.
Sat in front of Sam and Catherine were Kono and Chin, Joe, Max and Kamekona, and finally Danno, Grace and Mary.
Standing nervously at the altar, Steve looked back to find Ziva, dressed in a white flowing dress and clutching a small bouquet of flowers in front of a developing baby bump. She began to walk toward him, a soft smile on her face, he began to think of the journey they had taken to get to this point. The roads not travelled didn’t matter anymore. He wanted to solve his father’s murder, he wanted to bring the case that affected his entire family to a close, but he wouldn’t risk his or Ziva’s life. He wouldn’t sacrifice their happiness, their family.
As Ziva reached the altar and the priest began to speak, time seemed to slow to a crawl. All he could focus on was Ziva’s smile, her beautiful eyes staring back at him. He had never felt so happy.
That happiness ceased however. What could only be described as roaring thunder ripped their attention away from one another. The priest crumpled to his knees as a bullet burst through his forehead, splattering them both with a river of blood. As they span around to see what had happened. They could only look on in horror as one by one, their friends were shot where they sat, joyous smiles still on their faces.
With Ziva and Steve the only ones still standing, Steve fought hard to move, to protect Ziva from harm, to do something… anything. He finally looked back toward the house to find Hesse holding the weapon that had killed their friends… their family. Two more shots rang out and Hesse’s face morphed in to that of his father.
Steve looked down to find Ziva clutching at the two bullet holes in her stomach. He couldn’t believe what was happening. As he cradled Ziva in his arms as she bled to death, he looked back to his father who was now walking up the makeshift aisle toward them.
“You have to keep going son… you have to…” John McGarrett said in a cold, detached voice before he held the gun to Steve’s head and pulled the trigger.
Slick with sweat, Steve darted upward, gasping for breath as the events of the nightmare shocked him awake. He looked down to find Ziva sleeping soundly beside him, her hand resting carefully where the life was growing inside her.
Gently swinging his legs out of bed, he went into the bathroom to splash some cool water on his face. Staring into the mirror, he tried to tell himself that it was a nightmare and meant nothing, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that was knotting in the pit of his stomach.
After a few minutes, he headed back to the bedroom to find Ziva awake and talking on Steve’s cell phone.
“No, he’s busy at the moment,” she answered the unheard question on the phone. Ziva let out a tired groan. “I will tell him. We will meet you at the scene within the hour. I do not know! You ask him later. I am not getting in the middle of that Danny. Good bye.” Hanging up, she fell back to the bed before turning her attention to the shadow that was casted over the bed from the bathroom light. “A body was found out on Lanikai Beach. Evidently the police desk did not receive the memo that you have returned to duty.”
“Let me guess, they called Danny?” he asked as he went to find a towel so that he could take a quick shower.
She smiled sleepily at him. “And you know that he did not care to be woken by HPD’s desk officer.”
“Danny doesn’t like to be woken by anyone,” he yawned. “I’ll be done in a minute, unless you want to join me?”
Ziva chuckled as she pulled herself from the warm covers. “I would, normally. But you know as well as I that if I get in that shower with you, we would be much later than I just promised Danny. If it was just a breakfast meeting with him, perhaps, but this time it is work. I will just slip on a suit under my clothes as he too complained about the night tides where the body is located.”
“Yeah… get used to the complaints,” he grinned. “Start grabbing your gear, Agent David. You’re on my team now.”
She grinned as she went over to the dresser to get dressed. “Don’t forget who you have to go to bed with at the end of the day Boss,” she warned with a suggestive waggle to her brows.
“How could I forget, I still have the scratches and bite marks,” he replied, his earlier feelings of anxiousness and trepidation, gone.
“I did not hear you complaining,” she shrugged as she secured her sig sauer to her belt. “Coffee?”
“Oh yeah, I have a feeling today’s going to be a long one.”
And right he was. As they pulled up in Steve’s truck, only to be met with a very uncomfortable looking Detective Williams, Steve knew this case was going to be difficult.
“What crawled up your backside?” Ziva asked as she eyed their friend and his shifty behavior.
“Uhh… I figured it was best to wait to tell you guys in person instead of over the phone. Max identified the body. A 19 year old girl by the name of Marissa Jameson…” he trailed off, looking Steve square in the eye
Stunned into silence, Ziva blinked as she let the name register. “Any relation to the Governor?” she questioned much softer.
“The Governor’s niece…” Steve leant against his truck. “The governor introduced us at a press meet and greet soon after we formed the team… she uh… she said she was sorry about what happened with my father.”
She smiled at him as she took his hand briefly. “Then we should get to work to solve this.”
“What do we know?” Steve asked Danny as they proceeded toward the crime scene.
“Max and the CSU boys are still going over the scene. Chin and Kono are there now, talking to the lifeguard that spotted her while he was on the night patrol,” Danny explained. “Two GSW’s to the head, two to the heart. She looked as if she’d had a night on the town…”
Ziva shook her head at the news. Pulling her gloves on as they walked she eyed the area. “Two in the head and chest says she was targeted. Assassination possibly, but definitely not likely a case of mistaken identity.”
“Danny, I want you to work with Chin, Kono and Max on the scene,” Steve stopped in his tracks. “Call me as soon as you know ‘anything’, no matter how small. Have Chin call HPD and have them ramp up the Governor’s security. Let them know that Ziva and I are on our way.”
“Sure thing,” Danny murmured, glancing over at Ziva. “Just be careful. Both of you.”
“Hey… SEAL, Mossad trained Federal Agent… we’ll be fine,” he reassured his partner.
“Hey. Human, parents to be with another cold blooded assassin dumb enough to go after the Governor’s family. Be careful. We’ll all have to be watching our asses on this one I think. Just a bad feeling I guess. Humor me already!”
“I will watch out for him, Danny. And he will not let anything happen to me if he can help it,” Ziva replied, offering the Jersey born detective a reassuring nod.
Danny nodded, looking back at his friend again before turning back to the others and helping with whatever was needed. She turned back to Steve and poked him in the side. “Humor him. He has the right to be concerned for us as well. Let’s go notify Governor Jameson.”
The drive to the governor’s mansion was quick and quiet. Breaking the news that Governor Jameson’s Niece had been murdered would be one of the most difficult things that Steve would have to do since burying his father. The governor was his strongest supporter, a friend even, he knew that 5-0 had to find Marissa’s murderer, no matter what.
Pulling up outside the mansion, Steve and Ziva were greeted by Jameson’s security chief.
“Commander McGarrett, I’d like to know why HPD are insisting on buzzing around the Governor’s home like hornets, and that Detective Williams insists that we disturb the Governor’s rest so that you can see her.
“Police business, Billy. It’s important,” McGarrett dismissed the bodyguard, strolling right by him.
“Damn it McGarrett, has the Governor’s life been threatened!” Billy growled, chasing after the SEAL and his new team member.
Ziva was silent as she stood behind Steve, allowing him to handle the situation. She knew that his emotions would be flying high and was prepared to pull him back if need be.
“Damn it Billy, just go back to doing your job and leave me to talk with the governor!” Steve snapped. “She’ll brief you when she’s ready. In the meantime, don’t interfere with HPD or anyone from 5-0.”
“I’m calling Denning, McGarrett. If you won’t tell me, you’ll tell the deputy governor!” he snapped, storming away to make the call.
Steve and Ziva found the Governor in her study, yawning into a freshly poured cup of coffee, and still in her nightgown and robe.
“Steve, would you mind telling me why I was woken up at this ungodly hour to be told that HPD are beefing up my security?” she asked, clearly unhappy.
“Governor,” Ziva greeted with a small smile. She hadn’t met the woman yet but she had heard much about her from Steve and the team. “We apologize for the disturbance but if it were not necessary, we would not have resorted to such measures.”
“Agent David, I presume… I see he wastes no time in putting you to work,” her annoyed expression faltering. A soft smile crossed her lips. “Welcome to Hawaii.”
“Thank you ma’am,” she replied then glancing back up at Steve, who stood appearingly lost in his thoughts. Nudging him with her elbow, she raised a brow in concern.
“Governor… I uh… I’ve got some bad news. Earlier this morning, the body of a young woman was found on Lanikai Beach by a lifeguard on night patrol. She’s been formally identified as…” he trailed off for a moment, knowing that he was about to hurt a friend.
Ziva continued as he trailed off, pulling the woman’s photo from the file that she held that was given to them as they left the beach. “Marissa Jameson,” she reported softly.
“M-Marissa…! I don’t understand. There must be some mistake…” a full spectrum of emotions seemed to crack the governors usually strong, determined features. As she slumped in her chair, her coffee forgotten. “Tell me that this is a mistake, Steve!”
“I can’t do that ma’am… Max personally identified her at the scene. He doubled checked his findings to be sure… there’s no doubt,” he explained. “I’m so sorry, governor.”
“How?” she asked suddenly. The determination and strength seemingly returning. “How did she die.”
“She was shot, ma’am. I won’t go into detail but we believe that whoever killed her was a professional. I made a point to increase your personal security in case an attempt would be made on your life,” Steve replied. “My people are scouring the scene with CSU now, ma’am. I’ve told them to inform me of any developments, no matter how small.”
“I… she came to visit me for a few weeks. When my brother called to ask me if it was okay, I insisted she come out as soon as possible… I planned to take her to some museums today if my schedule permitted it…” the more frail, empty governor had returned.
“Ma’am, I need to know why she went out last night, and where she went, and with who,” Steve asked as gently as he could, but he also had a job to do.
“Uhh, she said she was meeting some of her old high school friends who are going to college out here. I think one of them was Amy… Amy Sheridan… she goes to UH.”
Steve looked to Ziva, who immediately began taking notes while trying to find her phone. “Can you tell me where Marissa said she was going? Any bars or clubs in the area?” he asked the governor.
Jameson only shook her head as she sat in her chair and stared out the window in her state of shock. “I don’t know. She knows the island well enough to navigate it on her own. She spent summers out here with my brother…”
“Do you have any enemies that might be bold enough to get to through your family?” Ziva asked, memories of the first trip out to the islands striking her. “Any legislature that some group may not find favorable?”
“I’m a state governor Agent David. If I’m not making enemies somewhere, I’m not doing my job correctly,” Jameson replied.
The agent could do nothing but chuckle initially. That was something that Gibbs often said to her as well, although he did not particularly care for politicians in general. “I can certainly understand that ma’am.”
“My people will give you whatever help you need Steve. But I have to make some calls right now. Could we talk later?” Jameson almost pleaded as she got up and moved around her desk.
“Of course Ma’am. I’ll be by to update you in a few hours,” he replied with a nod. “Again, I’m so sorry.”
“Just promise me you’ll catch the son of a bitch?” she asked as she stood by her antique cabinet and crossed her arms.
Ziva nodded slightly, unwilling to commit to a full answer but her senses were throwing her off for the situation. “We will do everything in our power and abilities to capture those responsible. If there is anything else that we might be able to do for you…?”
“I’ll be fine, Ziva… thank you. Just do what you do best, both of you,” a small, grateful smile crossed her lips.
As Steve and Ziva left her office, she scrambled to unlock the cabinet with the key on the chain around her neck. Rifling through it’s contents, she pulled out a cell phone and dialled the only number stored on it.
As Steve and Ziva headed back out to the car, he gently grabbed her arm and pulled her into the reception area. “What do you think?” he asked in a low voice.
She looked over her shoulder at the security milling about, two of the men watching them. “Not here,” she murmured, deliberately turning her back to the men so that they could not try to read her lips. At a normal volume, she continued, “Let’s get back to the office and look up the friend that the Governor mentioned.”
Nodding, Steve led Ziva out of the mansion, the way they came in to find Billy waiting for them. “I called Denning, McGarrett, he’d like to be kept in the loop,” the bodyguard said with a smug grin.
“And Jameson just told me that I’d get full cooperation from her and her staff, which includes Denning and you Billy, so let me and my partner leave so that we can do our jobs and you can do yours.
Pulling the passenger door open for Ziva, Billy shook his head and muttered, “How can you work with this jackass?”
“I could ask the same of Governor Jameson putting up with you,” Ziva commented before she climbed into the truck and pulled the door closed before Steve had the chance to. She glared at him through the window, wishing to leave the property already. Her gaze shift to Steve to express her desire just how much she wanted to get away from there as he continued to deal with Billy.
“Just call the office if anything out of the ordinary occurs!” Steve snapped as he opened the drivers side door and climbed in. Starting the engine, his phone rang and the truck’s hands free function activated.
“McGarrett,” he said as the truck pulled away, his hand taking Ziva’s briefly.
“Hey, it’s Danny. We just got back to the office. Max said that he’ll have a full report by 10:00am. Chin and Kono are going over what the lifeguard told them and CSU are going over the evidence found at the scene,” he said as he, Kono and Chin entered the office and made their way toward the computer table.
“That’s good Danny, you covered all the bases,” Steve replied.
“How’s the governor?” Williams asked.
Ziva sighed audibly. “Sufficiently distraught but I don’t know. She appeared to be rather defensive after we told her and more so after we asked about her potential enemies.”
“She’s a politician, they’re always defensive,” Danny offered as he leant over the computer table and placed his phone on it, putting them on the speakers. “You’re on speakers.”
“I understand that, but if you pay attention to body language, she was hiding something. Almost immediately she seemed to go to that cabinet and almost guard it. The way she crossed her arms is defensive. If she wrapped them around herself, then it would be grief. I’m telling you from the training I’ve had in Mossad and all the interviews I’ve done over the years at NCIS. She is not telling us something,” she insisted.
“I’m with Ziva on this, something was off. There was more to it then just grief,” Steve added. “Look, Jameson gave us a name to one of Marissa’s friends. They apparently went out last night, Jameson isn’t sure. Ziva’s sending the info now.”
She pulled out her phone and forwarded the information to Kono. “Also, I would look into the Governor as a possible suspect. While she may not have went out of her way to murder her niece, something is may be involved in could have backfired. If anyone asks, we’re just looking into Jameson as the probable target.”
“Alright, I’ll put in a call to the D.A. But keeping tabs on a Governor isn’t something easily signed off on,” Danny sighed.
“It shouldn’t be difficult. Her schedule is probably a busy one. It’s a matter of getting her appointment list which I would recommend doing later in the day, even tomorrow after we let the dirt settle. She does need to contact the rest of her family and arrange services so I doubt she’ll be running off anywhere. Jameson is too much of a public figure to just go off radar.”
“Plus she offered to cooperate. When we get back to the office, we’ll work out a schedule for keeping someone with her,” Steve explained.
Ziva grimaced. “Not one of us. She and her people know our faces, names. I have no doubt that they would have dossiers as well. Do you have any contacts that can remain relatively conspicuous? I could always see if any of my old resources is willing to go on – vacation.”
“Joe… or perhaps Catherine?” he said carefully.
She frowned at the name but kept her eyes on her phone as Kono relayed data back to them. “I need coffee,” she muttered to herself before looking out the window as the sun was starting to rise.
“We’re making a quick stop for coffee. I’ll get the usual early morning order,” Steve said. “Danny, call Joe and see if he’s available to assist. I’m gonna call Rollins and see if she’s free.”
“Uh… you got it… but uh… are you sure Catherine would mind? I mean it’s been awhile since you guys… well uh… she might not be on leave…”
“Daniel. Shut up,” Ziva sighed, throwing her head back against the seat and closed her eyes.
Oh she was pissed, Danny could tell. The only woman to ever call him Daniel was his mother, and she only did so when she was angry with him. Ziva was the second woman in his life, besides his mother, to actually scare him when angry. “Uh… hanging up.”
Ending the call, Danny looked to Chin and Kono, who were both smirking. “Real smooth brah…” Chin shook his head. “You so do not get women.”