The man seemed to be thinking along the same lines; he looked over his shoulder, firing off a couple of rounds and forcing the agents to duck, momentarily impeding them. Ziva was the first to straighten and prepare to shoot, only to hear another gun blast as the man beat her to it. And suddenly she was tackled from behind, pushed down out of harm's way. She was already preparing her gun before she'd fully hit the ground, and fired a shot of her own; the bullet hit true, burying itself in the man's leg and causing him to go down with a shout of pain.
Ziva smiled triumphantly as she rolled onto her back and sat up, her eyes searching Tony out. She cut herself off abruptly when she realized he was the ground as well. On his back. A blood stain forming on his jacket. Gibbs was just coming up from the basement when Ziva finally returned, nearly three hours after she had left.
They stopped for a moment, looking at one another, each with unreadable expressions. Gibbs swept his eyes over his agent, taking in her tired expression, the pallor of her skin which was downright odd considering she'd clearly been runningand the vacancy in her eyes where a spark of life use to reside.
Ziva was in action before she'd fully registered the blood; she got on her knees, crawling over the short distance separating her from Tony. The jagged bullet hole glared up at her dead center in Tony's chest, accented by the muddy stain of blood painted across his formerly gray jacket. No, no, noZiva panicked silently as she pressed one hand as tightly as she could over the wound causing Tony to wince and grabbing her cell phone out of her pocket, dialing nine-one-one and rattling off the situation and location before the dispatcher could say even half a word.
The phone was quickly abandoned when Tony raised a hand, resting it over the one Ziva had against his chest. Panicked mahogany eyes bet quickly fading green, and Tony smirked a bit.
You think this is going to kill me? Ziva winced when the laugh turned into a harsh, painful-sounding cough. Who wants to deal with that kind of hassle? He was trying to make her feel better. Ziva kicked herself as the fact hit her hard. He shouldn't have been worrying about her. He should be worrying about himself. She felt Tony's fingers wrap themselves lightly around hers.
Ziva felt as if she was running on automatic as she dragged herself up the stairs, stopping in her designated room long enough to get a change of clothes before disappearing into the bathroom, locking the door behind her.
She turned the water on as hot as it When It All Comes Down go, ignoring the obvious pain of it hitting her cold skin as she climbed in. After only two hours of sleep Ziva was up and awake, moving around and getting ready to leave before Abby — who had slept on Ziva's couch after half-dragging the woman out of the hospital — was even aware that the sun was starting to rise.
Go back to bed. Ziva sighed, trying not to sound annoyed. She wouldn't deny Abby her Caf-Pow. And there was really no reason to rush to the hospital, Tony was finethe doctor had promised he would be fine, the surgery had gone perfectly, the bullet was out of him, he was going to be o kay.
There was no need to rush. Ziva quickly busied herself with pouring another cup of coffee. I do not need reassurance. An offer. Ziva smiled sadly as she stepped forward, letting Abby envelope her in a warm hug. The sound of knuckles against Ziva's front door broke the two apart. Ziva looked between Abby and the door, the bewilderment she was feeling clear in Abby's eyes. Her stomach dropped when she looked through the peephole and saw Gibbs standing on the other side.
Abby was standing against the wall across from the bathroom door when Ziva finally walked back out into the hall. They looked at each other for a long time, Abby expression barely controlled, her eyes overflowing with emotion; a complete contrast of the apathy Ziva knew was expressed on her face. Suddenly Abby moved, When It All Comes Down, closing the space between them in two steps and throwing her arms around Ziva's neck, as she had felt the need to do every five minutes since that day.
Ziva barely managed to raise her arms enough to return the hug; it was a weak attempt. It was very likely Abby didn't notice. He died earlier this morning. The words rang unforgivingly in her head as she found a hair tie, pulling her still damp hair back into its usual ponytail. Somehow she found herself looking into the mirror attached to the bureau. Empty, unemotional eyes stared back at her from glass. Ziva watched the mirror for a long time, taking in her reflection.
The vacant eyes, the pale skin, the dark circles that were the only sign that anything was amiss in her life. Ziva stared at the bag while Abby looked up at Gibbs through red-rimmed eyes.
Ziva sighed, realizing how not in the mood for an argument she was. Instead she detached herself from Abby, standing up, running a hand through her hair. She didn't see why Gibbs didn't want to leave her alone. She wasn't the one that had spent the last four hours sobbing hysterically.
In fact, all things considered, she thought she was handling this fairly well. So why was she being forced to relocate? Abby and Gibbs both jumped as the sound of breaking glass echoed through the house. A moment later Ziva came down the stairs, looking composed as always.
Ziva looked between the two of them before dropping her eyes to the floor. The ride to the cemetery was unsurprisingly quiet.
Abby climbed into the back seat with Ziva, resting her head on her friend's shoulder and sniffing occasionally, trying hard not to cry. Ziva automatically took Abby's hand in her own, squeezing her fingers lightly. Gibbs watched the two of them in the rearview mirror, wishing there was something — anything — he could do to make what they were about to do easier. Abby instantly threw her arms around McGee's neck, hugging him tightly. McGee returned the hug, burying his face in her hair.
Ducky rested a hand Ziva's shoulder, giving her a sympathetic glance that she hurriedly and pointedly ignored. They walked through the cemetery, Abby still clinging to McGee, who kept an arm around her shoulder the entire time.
Ziva walked a little behind the group, making it impossible for them to continue shooting her the concerned glances she was so sick of receiving. In the middle of the cemetery, a small group had already gathered around a simple, light brown casket. Despite the fact that they were clearly the last to arrive, there was still room up front for them to sit. Ziva barely noticed when the priest stood up and began speaking.
She stared past him, past the casket containing Tony's body, past the headstones of those already passed. Random clips of what the priest was saying — loyal, strong, an exemplary man — drifted into Ziva's ears.
They sounded wrong. Not wrong as in Tony wasn't all of those things. But wrong because they were coming from the mouth of a stranger, of a man who had probably met Tony before in his life. A stranger would not know how passionate Tony was about everything he did. A stranger would not know that behind Tony's ever-present humor was a solemn, serious man who would have gone to any end to help someone he cared about. A stranger would not know that Tony, for all his useless bluster, had been the damn strongest person Ziva had ever met.
A stranger wouldn't know any of this. How could a stranger talk about Tony as if he'd known him? Gibbs shifted his eyes to look Ziva, who was standing on his left. She didn't seem completely aware of the fact that she was even at a funeral; she was staring past everything, her eyes distant, echoes of pain reflected in her mahogany orbs. It worried Gibbs, how distant Ziva had become since Tony's death. He knew at this point she would go one of two ways: either she snapped and broke down, unable to handle the strain When It All Comes Down having to work so hard not to care.
Or she continued to distance herself from her emotions until she was completely lost to all of them. Damn it, when was this priest going to stop pretending he knew the first When It All Comes Down thing about what Tony was? Ziva was tired of listening to it. She was tired of this whole god damned charade.
She wanted to go hometo her own apartment, away from the prying eyes of Gibbs, the sympathetic, tearful eyes of Abby. She wanted to just lock herself away in her apartment with a glass of wine and forget about this whole thing. Ziva looked up from her computer, smiling at Tony, who was leaning When It All Comes Down the bullpen wall, trying to see Ziva's screen. He could have easily dodged, but let hit instead so he could pretend to be wounded. Tony laughed. Ziva swallowed hard as the unwarranted memory presented itself at the forefront of her mind.
Tony's laughter, his voice saying Zee-vah in its teasing way echoed in her ears, blocking out the voice of the priest. This was all she had now. The thought slammed into her like an eighteen wheeler. Corbin Burnes takes the ball in the series opener against the Cardinals on Thursday night, and there's probably no one the Brewers would rather have on the mound at this point than their National League Cy Young Award candidate. The right-hander enters the game on an incredible roll, having gone with a 0.
Burnes is also allowing an average of just five hits per nine innings, a figure that leads the major leagues. He last faced St. Louis on Sept. Milwaukee won the series,splitting a pair of twinbills with an annihilation of the Cardinals that included a dustup featuring Counsell, Cardinals manager Mike Shildt and Yadier Molina coming in between. His pitches were a career high. If we can go out there, always getting the first one in the series is huge, i'm going to go out there and do what I can and hopefully pitch the way I've been pitching and get us a win.
Right-hander Josh Lindblom will pitch one of the two games Friday, with Milwaukee going with a bullpen game in the other. The order won't be announced until Thursday, most likely. Lindblom returned to the rotation against the Cardinals on Sept. The right-hander didn't earn a decision, but he did make his best start of the season by pitching five shutout innings and limiting St.
Louis to three hits with six strikeouts. Woodruff against the Cardinals will start Saturday and Anderson Sunday.
Andante - Allegro Vivace, Clean The Scene - Dead Infection - The Lethal Collection (CD), Cicha Woda - Various - 40 Tylko Polskich Piosenek (CD), Come Into My World - Kylie* - Fever (CD, Album), Finans - Various - Det Man Hører Er Man Selv - Latter 1997-2004 (CD), Hurry-Up And Marry Me, El Congo Valiente - Rastus - Rastus (Vinyl, Album, LP), Daniel Kandi Feat. Sarah Russel* - Change The World (File, MP3)