Chapter Nine (ICU) --
Gibbs, McGee, Ziva, Abby, Ducky, and Jimmy stood in the waiting room at Bethesda Naval Hospital.
As they sat and waited in the waiting room time seemed to almost stand still.
"What's taking so long?" Abby fumed, quietly.
Gibbs shot the pig-tailed Goth a glaring look.
"Sorry." Abby mumbled, as she looked down at her feet.
A red-headed nurse finally stepped into the waiting room.
"DiNozzo?" she said, reading off of the chart that she held in her hand(s).
Gibbs and the rest of the team stood up, and moved forward.
"The DiNozzo family?" the red-headed nurse asked, as she looked the team over.
"Yeah. That's us." Gibbs replied.
"You sure?" the red-headed nurse questioned them. "I mean...I'm not really seeing the resemblance."
"We're pretty damn close." Gibbs told her, with a nod.
"Fine." the nurse finally said.
"So, how is he?" Ziva asked, quietly.
"Yeah. We'll he be okay?" Abby chimed in.
The nurse took on a more serious expression as she stood before the team.
"He's been moved to ICU." she told them. "He's unconscious...for the moment." she added.
"But he will recover." Ducky said.
"Dr. Pierce seems hopeful." the red-headed nurse told them.
"That is good news indeed." Ducky said with a nod.
"When will he be awake?" Ziva asked.
"It's hard to say." the red-headed nurse replied. "His body is completely, physically exhausted--it'll take some time...that much we know."
Ziva nodded, and said that she understood.
"Now, I can take one of you back to see him--but only one." the nurse told them.
Everyone looked at Gibbs.
"Let Ziva go." Gibbs said.
"But Gi-" Ziva started to protest.
"No buts," Gibbs said, with a knowing look. "Give him our best."
Ziva nodded. "I will." she said quietly.
"Hey Ziva," Abby called, as Ziva started to leave the room with the nurse. "We'll be right here waiting for you."
"Thanks." Ziva replied, with a small smile through tear-filled eyes.
The nurse led Ziva to where Tony was in ICU.
"I'll give you a moment alone." the nurse whispered to Ziva.
Ziva nodded, swallowing a lump that had formed in her throat.
"Be back in a few minutes." the nurse said, as she turned to leave.
Ziva approached the side of Tony's bed, and stared down at the unconscious brunette.
She pulled up a nearby chair, and sat down facing Tony.
She took one of his hands in her own, and held it gently--caressing it gently.
"It is hard to see you like this." she said softly, looking up at his face. "Especially since it is because of me that you are in here." she added, with a sigh.
"You...We should be at work right now." she said. "You would be teasing McGee, and annoying me with one of your film scenarios."
As she sat there she reminisced about all the times that Tony used to tease her and McGee (and everyone else for that matter) with one of his movie jokes.
She laughed at herself as she wiped her face with the back of her hand.
"I owe you my life." she said quietly. She snorted as another set of memories flooded her thoughts. "How many times have you saved me now?" she whispered, half-jokingly.
"You know," she began. "Three days ago I wanted to throw myself at you, tell you I was in love with you, and then we would live happily ever after." she remembered with a small chuckle.
"But now I realize...that it wouldn't be fair, when you could have any woman in the world, to ask you to settle for 'me'--the 'broken' girl." she said quietly, as tears rolled down her cheeks.
She stood up, as she heard footsteps coming from behind her.
She leaned over, and planted a gentle kiss against his lips.
"Still...my heart will always belong to you." she whispered softly.
The nurse re-appeared soon after.
"How're things?" the nursed asked quietly.
"I am ready to go." Ziva said, as she tried to wipe the tear stains from her face with the back of her hand(s).
The nurse nodded, and then led Ziva back towards the waiting room area.
--Three Weeks Later--
Tony was out of the hospital for two weeks, and now he sat in the passenger seat of Ziva's car--eyes closed tight.
Ziva had volunteered to supervise Tony's recovery, and that included driving him to and from Rehab.
They finally made it back to Tony's apartment.
Ziva unlocked the door, and guided Tony inside. She helped him over to the couch and lowered him down into a sitting position.
"Rest up." she told him, as she stood and headed for the kitchen. "I will see what I can find for supper." she added.
"Z." Tony called after her. "Wait."
Ziva stopped, and turned around to face him.
"Thanks." Tony told her, the words he had been planning to say to her failing him yet again.
Ziva nodded. "You are welcome." she said, and then resumed her course for the kitchen.
"Damnit." he swore quietly under his breath. After a second or two more he had made up his mind to try again.
He forced himself up off of the couch, and using the furniture as a guide made his way towards the kitchen.
Ziva was busily rifling through the contents of the pantry trying to find something that she could fix Tony for supper. Suddenly she heard a loud thud coming from behind her.
She spun around and saw Tony leaning against the counter at the edge of the kitchen.
"Tony!" she cried out. "What are you doing. You shouldn't be up!" she said, as she moved quickly to his side.
She helped him to stand up straight.
"Come on," She said. "Let's get you back into the living room."
"No, Ziva wait." Tony insisted.
Ziva stopped. She looked up at Tony as they stood there.
"What!?" she demanded.
They stared into each others' eyes for a long moment before either one them made a move.
Tony quickly seized her lips with his own, and kissed her deeply.
After a few minutes she pulled away.
"T-Tony," she breathed heavily. "What are you doing!?""
"I can't help it Z." Tony told her, steadying himself.
"I think I love you." he admitted.
"No. Stop." she said, shaking her head. "You can't."
"Why not?" he asked.
"I'm not good for you Tony." she said, fighting back tears.
"I don't care." Tony replied.
"You can do better." she insisted.
"Sure I could." he agreed.
Ziva turned her head away from him--her heart breaking a little bit more.
"But there's only one you, Ziva." He continued. "I want YOU." he told her softly.
She shook her head.
"And I know you feel the same." he pointed out.
"No, I don't." she lied.
"Then why did you kiss me at the hospital?" he asked.
"How do you--b-but you were-" she stammered.
"Look me in the eyes Ziva," Tony said, seriously. "And tell me you don't feel the same."
But Ziva couldn't do that.
Instead, she pulled Tony down into another long, passionate kiss.
After a minute or so she pulled away ever so slightly, and looked up into his eyes.
"I-I love you Tony DiNozzo." she whispered softly, her eyes moist with emotion. "I always have." she added.
Tony chuckled. "Now that we've got that out of the way," Tony said, with a smile. "How about helping me to the bedroom."
Ziva grinned. It felt as though a huge weight had been lifted off of her shoulders.
"I think I can handle that." she replied, as she slipped underneath one of his muscular arms.
The couple slowly made their way down the hall towards the bedroom, as the next chapter of their lives unfolded before them.
Author's Chapter Notes:
Ziva vows to stay by Tony's side through every step of his recovery.
Chapter End Notes:
Hope you guys are still enjoying the story... :)