Just over four weeks later…
Ziva sat alone by Tony's bedside. It was the middle of the night and everyone else on the team was at home asleep, except for Gibbs. He had disappeared days ago without giving word to anyone about where he was going, as far as they knew. Each of them had been working hard on the cases given to them during the days and if they weren't at work, they were here.
Dr. Pitt had taken Tony off the drugs that kept him in the coma days ago, but he had yet to wake up. His fever had finally broken, the blue in his lips and on his fingertips disappeared, and the trembling became less and less as the days went on. Tony was already at home taking it easy within the fourth week when he was sick before. As everyone expected, this time around was much worse, but it didn't make it any easier to see him this way, especially for Ziva.
She was scared for Tony. Like Gibbs, she wanted to see Tony's father, as well as everyone else responsible for this to pay. She didn't understand why Sayif would go through all this trouble to kill Tony, just to try to hurt his father for something so small and insignificant. However, her own father had a tendency to hold a grudge for things such as this as well, though things didn't blow so far out of control.
Ziva didn't cry often, but she was doing so now. In fact, the last time that she did was in Somalia almost a year ago when she saw Tony tied to the chair in front of her. She was relieved to see him again after hurting him so badly, but she was also afraid that he would die trying to protect her. Now, she watched her partner fight to live from an invisible force that no one else could help him with.
She stood up from her chair to stretch her legs, when she suddenly turned around to the sound of someone walking into the room. It was Gibbs. Ziva wiped the tears from her eyes and cheeks and smiled as he walked over toward the bed.
As he did so, he asked, "How is he doing? How are you doing?"
Ziva answered, "I am fine. Tony's fever has finally broken, but he has not woken up yet. What about you? Where have you been?"
"I needed to find Kort," Gibbs replied. "I got a lead on where he was staying and needed to leave immediately. I informed Vance of my plans from the air and Kort is no longer going to be a problem for Tony."
"Did you kill him," she asked?
Gibbs looked down at Tony and responded, "He left me no choice. I planned on bringing him in thanks to some strings that Vance pulled with SecNav. Kort and I fought and I had to kill him, end of story. I don't feel bad about it though."
Ziva nodded and said, "You did what all of us wished we could do. I am sure that Director Vance will have to face some consequences for what happened."
"He'll deal with it just as he deals with everything else," Gibbs replied.
Just then, Tony stirred and opened his eyes. Both Gibbs and Ziva pulled up a chair on each side of his bed as he looked up at them. Ziva took ahold of his hand, while Gibbs placed a comforting hand on Tony's shoulder.
Gibbs was the first to speak as he asked, "Tony, how are you feeling? Can I get you something?"
Tony slowly shook his head and answered, "I'm fine, Boss. Have I missed anything? Is everyone all right?"
"We're fine, DiNozzo," Gibbs replied. "It's good to see you awake finally. You've been sleeping way too long."
"Yes," Ziva added. "McGee, Abby, Jimmy, and Ducky have all been worried about you."
"And you weren't, Ziva," Tony asked? "Come on, you must have been worried a little bit. You don't have to admit it. I know you were."
Ziva leaned down to kiss Tony on his forehead and responded, "Yes, Tony. I was worried very much. Despite your childish ways and your incessant movie quotes, I missed you. Do not worry us again or I will kill you myself."
Gibbs smiled and said, "Not if I kill him first. You hurry up and get better; before McGee gets used to being senior field agent. Ziva, are you staying?"
She replied, "I think I will go home to try to get some sleep. I think that I will be able to do so better tonight. Goodnight!"
Ziva smiled and walked out of the room. Gibbs turned back to Tony and watched as he closed his eyes and then reopened them. Gibbs asked him if was in pain and Tony stated that the pain was not bad. Gibbs picked up the button that pumped the morphine into Tony's system, but Tony reached out and stopped him from doing so.
"I'd rather you didn't do that, Boss," Tony said. "I've been sleeping long enough and the longer I am on the drugs, the longer I will be stuck here. I'm tired of feeling weak. Did you find out who kidnapped me?"
"Yeah, Tony," Gibbs answered. "We found out about everything, including the multiple murder attempts against you. You should have told us you were in trouble. We could have protected you."
Tony turned away and replied, "I couldn't tell you. Our team has been through too much already. I couldn't be responsible for someone else getting hurt because of me again; first Jenny, then Ziva. I wasn't going to let that happen again."
Gibbs responded, "Tony, as I've told you several times. You are not responsible for what happened to Jenny or Ziva. They both made the choices they did that got them into trouble. Jenny gave you orders to stay away and Ziva chose to be with Rivkin and stay behind with her father. You did what you could to protect her. Eventually, she saw her mistakes and came back to us. You did nothing wrong!"
"You're avoiding answering my original question, Boss," Tony said. "Did you find everyone responsible?"
"We found everyone who tried to kill you before you were kidnapped, as well as the two men who were responsible for the kidnapping," Gibbs answered. "We found out that someone put a contract on your head and two guys wanted more money. Then, we discovered that Trent Kort killed one of the guys to keep him from blackmailing the man responsible for the contract."
Tony looked at Gibbs in the eyes and replied, "There's something you're not telling me. What is it?"
Gibbs responded as he took ahold of Tony's hand, "Prince Sayif was the one who put the contract on your head. We found out that when your father went to Monte Carlo for a visit, he conned Prince Omar into investing a large amount of money into a new business that never took off. Your father never paid him back and Sayif felt that your father shamed him and his family. He put out the contract on you in hopes of making your father pay for his mistake. Tony, your father is in prison and he will be for the rest of his life."
Tony turned away and quietly replied, "I knew that my father was a lot of things, but I never thought he would do something like this. I am so sorry."
"Tony, listen to me," Gibbs said as he watched Tony close his eyes and tears begin to fall down his face. "Your father is responsible for this, not you. You are not to take any blame for this. Just because you are his son, does not mean you are responsible for his actions. Do you hear me?"
"I hear you," Tony answered. "What will happen to him?"
Gibbs replied, "He will remain in a protected prison cell for the rest of his life. I won't allow him to get away with anything less. He crossed the line the moment he found out about you being kidnapped and did not report it to anyone."
Tony looked at Gibbs and said, "I won't argue or try to fight you on this Gibbs. I am tired of trying to protect or defend him and I won't let him try to hurt anyone else with one of his cons. Can you do me a favor? Tell Prince Omar that I am sorry for what my father did to him and that I will work to pay him back the money my father stole."
"We will find another way to pay him back," Gibbs responded. "Your father's house and possessions should cover it. Get some sleep now, Tony. I will be here when you wake up."
After a few minutes, Tony was asleep and Gibbs sat back in his chair. The marine looked down at his protégé and smiled. He was proud of the man before him. He was proud to be able to see him as his son and right now Tony needed a father. Gibbs made a promise to himself that he would be there for him as he always was.