Friday, March 29, 2013

Shards To A Whole: Chapter 43

McGee centric character study/romance. Want to start at the beginning? Click here.

43. Ziva

Pizza and laser tag just wasn't as much fun without Ziva.

They all wanted to make sure she had space and time to mourn. But it had been three months, and she kept saying she's fine, but she hasn't been coming to play, and they miss her. And even if they weren't dating, yet, it's not like Tim, Abby, Jimmy, or Breena couldn't see where this was going to go eventually.

So, it was fairly natural when four sets of eyes turned to Tony, after Abby asked him, "So, what is Ziva busy with?"

"I don't know," Tony answered.

"You don't know?" Jimmy asked.

"She's not talking to me about it. She's just busy."

"Do you have an idea?" Abby asked, taking a bite of her pizza.

Tony didn't answer for a moment. His expression looked guarded. "Yes."

Once again, four sets of eyes stared at him, so he kept talking. "She said she wanted revenge. She has not gotten revenge. I'm going to assume getting revenge is what's keeping her busy."

The four of them were quiet for a while, it's not like that idea is much of a surprise. Anyone who's even marginally familiar with Ziva can do that math.

No, what has them quiet is what to do with it. Finally Breena said, "You mean she's tracking down the man who killed her dad so she can kill him?"

Tony nodded.

"Then we should help." This time the four sets of eyes included Tony's and they were staring at Breena.

Tony looked like he was about to say something, then he didn't. He stared at Tim as well, who also looked like he was about to say something but couldn't make his mouth form the words. Because while it's true that, should the need arise they will help Ziva with something like this, they don't TALK about it.

Finally Abby said, "We should."

Jimmy stared at the girls, and then at Tim and Tony. He also seems to get the whole, for-God's-sake-we-don't-talk-about-things-like-this concept. He swallowed and said, "If we're going to talk about this, I'm thinking in public is a bad idea."

Tim nodded at him, really fast.

Tim and Abby drive back to Jimmy and Breena's. They don't live particularly close, but if anyone has a secure space to talk, their backyard is probably it.

On the ride, Tim thinks about something that's been hinted about, but he doesn't know for sure. He's fairly certain what the answer is, and he thinks Abby does know.

"Gibbs killed the man who killed Shannon and Kelly, right?"

She doesn't answer, but the expression on her face as she looks away from the traffic at him says it all.

"That's all I needed to know."

They get to the Palmers' place about twenty minutes later. Tony, Jimmy, and Breena are already on the back porch. Honestly, it's a bit cool to be out there, but unless someone has a directional mic on them, and that doesn't seem likely, it should be safe to talk.

For a long minute they all stare at each other, and then Tim says, "Just, for the record, we're cops, so we're not even supposed to be thinking about this, let alone talking about doing it."

"Tim, we're family, and if she needs help, we're gonna give it," Breena answered.

"I'm good with that. I went to Somalia to get her back; I'm in on this, too. I want you to know how serious this is. We"—He gestures to the four of them.—"are all officers of the court, so just talking about this can get us at least fired or tossed in jail. We have a legal obligation to not look the other way when we see someone breaking the law or planning to, and conspiring to murder someone is way off in break the law land.

"Assassinate," Tony says. "This is personal for us, but it's political as well. We do this, it's an assassination."

"Fine, still completely illegal," Tim replies. "Breena, you get caught talking about this, and almost nothing will happen to you. Jimmy gets caught, and he goes to jail. You two still think this is a good idea?"

Breena and Jimmy look at each other. "We're in."

"Great." says Tony dryly, and Tim can see him thinking that Jimmy and Breena aren't exactly the first people he'd call in for help killing someone. Though, as Tim's thinking about it, they're more or less the poster couple for good alibis, and that's always useful. And Breena has access to a funeral home with a crematorium, and that's probably better than an alibi. "But the thing is, I don't think Ziva wants help. She's not talking to me about it. She's telling everyone she's fine. Happy as happy can be. Frolicking about in meadows of pleasantly busy."

"Does she know that help, real help, is not only available, but on offer?" Abby asks.

"I've already offered."

"How did you offer?" Breena asks.

"I told her whatever she needed, I was in for. She told me she needed revenge, and then we didn't get Bodnar, so no revenge. She hasn't said anything about it, or anything along those lines, since."

"Which probably isn't a bad idea. You want to do something like this, and get away with it, not having anyone else helping is a good plan. Especially if you're Ziva. If anyone knows how to do this..." Abby says.

"Yeah, but she has to need some sort of help, right?" Breena says. "If nothing else, she's got to find this guy. And having someone cover those tracks," she's looking at Tim as she says this, "would be good."

"I'll check her computer, make sure anything she's got on it is clean and impossible for someone else to find."

Abby looks at Tony. "Gun or knife?"

"I don't know. Gun?"

"If she goes with a gun, I can make sure, that no matter what, it's never traced to her or the bullets."

"If we get his body, anything too incriminating will vanish," Palmer says.

Abby shakes her head. "No body. A guy as connected as Bodnar needs to just vanish. You and I'll make sure nothing of him is ever found."

Jimmy nods at that.

"Which leaves you with the hard work," Brenna says to Tony. "You're the one who gets to tell her we're here for her, and convince her that if she's going to do this, to not do it alone."

Tony stares at them and says one word, "Gibbs."

"If we do this, we'll bring him in. He'll understand," Abby says.

"Vance," Tim says it.

"Will want to help, too. Hell, that's probably her plan. Her and Vance. Two people, who are really good at what they do. She'll be the knife, and he'll provide the cover. Rule Number Four," Tony replies.

"Rule number four?" Breena asks.

"Best way to keep a secret, keep it to yourself. Second best way, tell one other person. There is no third best," Tim answers.

"So, should we be letting her keep her secret?" Jimmy asks.

Tony sighs, they're all looking at him again. "For now. I'll find out what's going on, and if need be, we'll back her up."

The others nod.

They're getting ready to go, when Tim decides that secret or not for right now, Ziva's not all that great with a computer. "Tony, would you give Abby a lift to my place?"

Both of them look at him.

"No matter what, if we actively help or ignore it and let her do it on her own, she needs someone covering her digital tracks. I've got to get into her computer. Depending on how she's looking, she might be letting Bodnar know she's on his trail."

"I'll come with you," Abby says to him.

"It'll look weird enough if I show up at work at 1:00 AM on a Saturday when we're off. You show up too and..." his words trail off. They could be going there because having sex at work is kinky and fun. Except he should get on Ziva's actual computer to do this, not the lab computers, and they'd be in the lab if they were going to do that. "Home. It'll work better if you're at home."

"You sure?" He can see she's thinking of the same cover he is.

"Yeah. I shouldn't do this from the lab."

"I fit under her desk."

Tony looks really bothered by that, while Tim says, "Even we don't play that far out of bounds."

Abby nods. Yeah, there's already enough scuttlebutt about the two of them without tossing extra gasoline on the fire. "Okay. I'll see you in a few hours?"

"I hope so." He kisses her, and turns towards his car. After two steps he stops and turns back to her.

"You know the burner phone I keep on my workbench?"


"Go home, attack my work computer with it. Then kill it and get rid of it. That'll be my excuse for going in at one in the morning, making sure all of our computers are safe."

"On it, Boss." He smiles when she says that, and heads off.

One in the morning at NCIS is not nearly as deserted as he would have hoped. It's not that it's crowded, but there are people around.

He gets into the bullpen and turns everyone's computers on. If his computer got "hit," then he'd make sure everyone else on his team was secure, too.

He runs a fairly advanced sweep on all of their computers. Making sure everything is nice and tight. Abby had hit his computer with a pretty spiffy little worm. Enough that if it had come from someone else, it would have gotten his attention. Not so much as to get into anything interesting.

Then he sits down at Ziva's desk and gets to work.

She's leaving tracks like an elephant charging through a cornfield. It's not that she's particularly bad at this, it's just that there are so many people who are so much better at it.

It takes him close to three hours to get it all wrapped up and hidden.

He's standing up, stretching, turning off her computer, when he hears the elevator open. Shit.

It's Vance. Fuck!


"Director Vance."

"Working late?"

Lie or assume he's in on it? The knife and the shield. He can't quite read Vance's look, but he thinks Vance knows he's not here at four in the morning for kicks. "Security sweep, sir. Someone tried to hack my computer tonight, so I'm making sure we're all good."

"Uh huh." Vance does not appear to believe this, and he's wondering if he really is that bad of a liar. "And Agent David's computer was in need of extra security?"

"I worked on all of our computers."

"That doesn't answer my question, McGee."

He stares Vance right in the eyes and puts his trust in the idea that Vance is the shield for this op. "Yes. Badly."

Vance smiles, slightly. "Then I'm glad you were willing to come in on your off time to tend to it."

"Thank you."

"Are you done, McGee?"

"For now."

"Then I'll see you on Monday."

It wasn't until he was in his car, driving back to his place that he began to wonder why Vance would be in the office at 04:00 on Saturday.


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