Chapter 07

The rest of the week, after the Air Force colonel had disrupted their computers and the team’s routine with it, McGee had called it a ‘slaughter’, had been ridiculously tiring for Gibbs. He had been verbally sparring with Vance about the matter, that Homeland’s actions had been over the top and then some, while McGee and Abby tried to get the system back up and running.

Gibbs had been forced to a nearly entire low-tech approach for their last case, much to DiNozzo’s dismay.

When the weekend was over, Gibbs felt relieved that when he walked into the bull pen that everything had turned back to normal; his team was bickering and talking about their weekends, and Gibbs had a stack of messages waiting for him at his desk.

Tony walked in from visiting Abby in the lab after she had called with some test results she’d started. “Hey Boss. Abby ID’d our John Doe. He is Staff Sergeant Matthew Burleigh,” he reported as he went to pull the marine’s information up on the plasma. “He was on liberty for two weeks visiting family before he was to be transferred to Texas. Get this, he was last attached to the Air Force at Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. Remind you of anyone recent? Couldn’t get any information, clearance not high enough. Some kid named Chuck kept giving me the run around.”

Gibbs rolled his eyes. “Bank statements? Phone logs? Anything else?”

“A number of calls to family members. A couple in and out of Quantico with the office that is handling his transfer orders but that is about it,” Ziva replied.

McGee added, “He got some serious hazard duty pay while being over in Colorado, but other than that, no activity, just deposits and a routine transactions for food, gas, run of the mill stuff.”

“I’ll go talk to Vance,” Gibbs said, getting up from his desk and pointed at McGee. “You help Abby with the evidence found at the scene. And get me more information – I don’t care how!”

“Got it Boss,” he said making a face. He really did not want to try hacking into the Air Force again.

“Colonel, I understand your orders, I do, but I can’t guarantee that the team – Gibbs – will accept it, he doesn’t like being scrutinized.”

Sheppard looked at the Director and could only nod. “Who does?” he replied. “Orders are orders, Sir, but if it makes it any easier, I don’t want to scrutinize anyone. I just need to keep an eye on things, and provide the information that I can without compromising the security of the mission the Sergeant was involved in.”

Vance nodded after a moment before hitting the intercom for his receptionist. “Get Gibbs up here now.”

“Yes sir,” came the disembodied voice of the young woman outside the door.

“Don’t bother, I’m already here,” Gibbs said gruffly as he opened the door of Vance’s office, seeing the same colonel that had caused mayhem just the week before.

“And after the case?” Vance asked Sheppard.

“Well, I’ll just stick around until Homeland decides otherwise, if that’s okay with you, Sir.”

“Oh hell no,” Gibbs replied and looked at the Colonel, who without his dress uniform didn’t look that impressive.

“Sorry Gibbs, he has orders,” Vance sighed, knowing full well that his senior special agent wasn’t happy at all. “As do I. Colonel Sheppard must work with us on this one.”

“I can help you with your dead marine,” John pointed out, looking up to Gibbs from the chair he was sitting in. “Let me prove my worth to you.”

Gibbs looked between the two men. “Who’s orders?” he asked, staring Vance down.

“From the top…”

He smirked and shook his head. “I doubt SecNav would be so willing to pull the Air Force into its business.”

The Director stood and shook his head as he handed over the written orders he received with the Colonel’s arrival. “Our orders come from higher…the President wants Colonel Sheppard on this case. Like it or not, you will have to work together.”

“Friends with the president or not, I don’t want your help.”

John rolled his eyes. “You think I want to be here? For one I didn’t even vote for the guy. I’d rather much be in California hitting the waves or back home raising my nephew. But no, I’m stuck here with you. So can we just please get along long enough to get the guy’s murderer behind bars?”

“My case, my rules,” Gibbs responded after a brief consideration.

“Of course,” John replied. “Just get me a desk in some dusty corner or something and I’ll be out of your way.”

Gibbs glared at Vance before walking out of his office, with John following the man. “You’ve caused us hell last week.”

“I know.”

Gibbs stopped in his tracks and turned around to look Sheppard in the eye, trying to stare him down. “I don’t care who your friends are, but do something like that during the case, and I will-”

“I know,” John said lightly and smiled at Gibbs. “Done with the pissing contest?”

“I haven’t even started yet,” Gibbs smiled playfully and continued his way down the stairs.

As he followed the older man he caught sight of that woman, David, walking out of the area. He could not help but let out a sigh of relief that he would be able to at least give himself a few more moments to get his head in the game and not think about her. Looking around he grinned at the other two agents. “Hello there. Miss me?” he joked.

“Boss?” Tony asked with a slight panic in his voice.

“Oh don’t worry, I’m not here for your computers,” John said and pointed at the screen. “I’m here because of him.”

“Orders,” Gibbs said simply as he grabbed his coffee to sip while staring at the screen.

John walked up behind the team leader and studied the images for the first time. “Where did you find him?”

“Abandoned hotel room,” Tony answered carefully. “Abby’s still processing most of the evidence found in there, but like I said, hotel room, they don’t get cleaned that well.”

John nodded. “He was on leave.”

“We know.”

“What did you find that made you think that hacking into the Air Force again would get you anywhere?” he smiled at McGee.

“Uh…” McGee stammered. “The lack of information on the guy?”

“Agent McGee, there’s nothing in his personnel file that could tell you what happened to this staff Sergeant,” John said, squinting at the screen.

“It could tell us why he received such high hazard pay,” McGee offered, fishing for more information.

John chuckled and shook his head. “Because his job was hazardous?”

Gibbs didn’t even fight the urge to smack the Colonel up on the head, which resulted in a deadly glare coming from the other man. “I hate wise asses,” he warned.

“Smack me on the head again, and you’ll be out of a job,” John threatened, realizing that Gibbs was probably used to pushing people around. “I get it that you like people to follow your orders but I’ve dealt with far more deadlier people than you. I don’t scare easily.”

Gibbs stared back at the Colonel. “Hazardous pay, why?”

“He worked on a classified project that required him to be exposed to highly toxic materials.”

“He was a soldier, not a scientist.”

“Security,” John glared back still irritated by the man’s attitude. “What else do you have? I’m sure you’ve checked his phone records and money trails and it’s lead you to a dead end.”

“We’re waiting for the evidence to be processed.” Tony said, not knowing whether or not he should be amused by the spectacle between Gibbs and the Colonel, or afraid.

“How did he die?”

“So far it appears to be a stabbing but our ME said that whoever did it knew exactly where to send the blade,” Ziva said from behind Sheppard. Continuing her report to Gibbs, she walked around the man and passed the folder over. “Ducky believes it is a 7 inch blade and it went straight between the victim’s ribs striking right in the heart severing the vena cava that pumps blood into it completely.”

John took a deep breath and tried to keep up his front of being okay with the fact that the woman looked like Elsa, and that he wasn’t about to freak out. “I take it you want more background information on him?” He asked Gibbs, who nodded a response. John fiddled his cellphone out of his pocket and called General Landry to find out what information that he would be able to give. Managing to get Chuck on the phone, he gave him the guy’s name and waited.

From behind John’s back, Gibbs signaled to McGee to find more information on the Colonel, without breaking any laws. He was grateful that his team knew exactly what Gibbs wanted without words.

John turned back to Gibbs as he hung up the phone. “Expect a fax coming this way, however, they told me that nothing in his past suggests that he got into trouble whatsoever. Burleigh was an outstanding citizen, born and raised in small town Ohio. Served at Cheyenne Mountain with honor and transferred out when his contract was up choosing not to renew it.”

Ziva raised an eyebrow and looked back at Gibbs for his next order. “Keep looking. You,” he pointed. “That’s your desk for now.”

John nodded and shoved his hands in his pockets as he went over to look it over – not like he was actually going to use it as they record all their incoming and outgoing calls so he would be depending on his mobile phone issued by the SGC. He barely made it across the floor when it buzzed with a text from Chuck.

Shaking his head he grinned and rested his arms on the partition that separated the space between him and the young Agent McGee. “If you wanted information on me, you could just ask.”

McGee’s eyes darted from the Colonel to Gibbs and back again and closed all the programs running on his desktop. “Sorry,” he apologized.

“No problem. Let’s see, I was born and raised in San Francisco, I attended Stanford University to annoy my father, he wanted me to go to Harvard, you see. Economics major. Signed up for the Air Force against my father’s wishes. Spent most of my years serving and killed my marriage because I was never home and always dealing with assignments. Been assigned to a classified expedition for over five years until an attack that left me in a coma for nearly three months and the following year going through therapy and retraining before I got shoved here to deal with nosey NCIS agents. Anything else you need to know?” John smirked.

“Uhm…” McGee shook his head. “Thanks… I guess…”

“Not a problem, you could have saved yourself some time researching me and focusing on the case by just asking.” John shrugged. “I’m not the bad guy.”

Ziva chuckled from her desk as she began typing and shook her head. She liked this guy. Question was how long it would be before Gibbs broke his neck however she suspected from his last visit that he would be able to hold his own quite well.

Tony didn’t like Sheppard at all. He was a smart ass and there wasn’t room for two on this team. He also seemed unfazed by Gibbs, which was going to be a problem. Gibbs never liked people who dared to look him straight back in the eye with matching intensity. And if that wasn’t bad enough, he could tell that Ziva was amused by it all and mayeven be attracted to him to his own dismay. Tony knew, that if the Colonel would show his face in Abby’s lab right now, she’d kill him for hurting her ‘babies’.

“Boss,” McGee said and looked up from his computer. “I just received an email from Abby, one of the prints of that hotel room belong to an Eli Wallace.” He said as he pulled the driver’s license on big screen.

Sheppard looked up from the flyer on the wall at the name. It was familiar from reports he read but he couldn’t pinpoint it right away. He walked over to look at the screen and shook his head. “What can you find about this kid?” he asked.

“What did I say? My investigation. You know this guy?” Gibbs glared at him.

Shrugging he wasn’t sure. “Sounds familiar. He’s Canadian…”

“That doesn’t mean he didn’t do it despite the fact that Canadians are supposed to be pacifists,” Tony pointed out.

John rolled his eyes as he opened his phone to call Chuck back again. “…are you sure? Yeah I got it. I’ll call back if I need anything else.” Looking at the team, he smiled. “Can’t be him. He’s working with the Air Force and has been out of the country for almost two years now. I think that is a pretty good alibi, don’t you?”

“Air Force… again.” Gibbs looked at Sheppard with an incredulous look. “Are you sure?”

“What do you want from me? Supposedly he’s a boy genius that cracked some code. That’s all I know,” he replied innocently, but with genuine sincerity.

“Then how did his prints get into the hotel room?”

“I don’t know. You’re the investigator…Investigate,” John said tiredly. “All I can assure you is that it isn’t that kid. He probably visited there before leaving. I’m surprised that the prints held out for this long…”

“I’m going to see Abby,” Gibbs said and walked out of the bullpen.

John shrugged and booted up the Angry Birds game on his phone while the rest of Gibbs’ team were chasing whatever they were. He was glad that the partition between his and McGee’s desk obscured his vision of Ziva, it made it a lot easier not to accidentally flash back or trigger a memory and zone out again.

As there wasn’t anything else for him to do at NCIS, he excused himself and went home, receiving glares from the team. If there was one thing he liked about this assignment was that he could keep an eye on them from home thanks to the laptop that the SGC had set up for him. “They hacked us, we’ve hacked them and installed this crap so that… blahblahblahblahblah.”

John could basically see every keystroke the team made on their computers and felt as if he was some random pervert. However, on his first day at NCIS, he had made it clear that they couldn’t get away with anything so he was certain he didn’t have to boot up the laptop (for which he was grateful as it was still a computer and a security risk nonetheless).

He parked the car in the garage and grabbed his set of Rattan sticks, that he and Teyla had purchased over the weekend to continue their training sessions. They weren’t exactly the Bantos he was used to, but they would serve their purpose. He didn’t even want to bother changing out of his work clothes, he just wanted to do something to get his mind off of things while he did some repetitive movements with the sticks as he stayed in the garage.

Give it to me!” Elsa squealed as she jumped around John who was holding her last bar of chocolate above his head. “Come on, John! The Daedalus isn’t arriving anytime soon and I need that bar to barter for something special!”

No,” John grinned. “You need that bar to share it with me.”

But I want Rodney’s twinkies!” she groaned, “I have to dip them in custard and then drink Zelenka’s horrible moonshine.”

I can get you those,” John shrugged. “I know where he’s hidden his stash. And that’s not a tasty combination, at all, you’re losing points, doc.” He frowned, realizing what she had said. “You want Rodney’s twinkies? And dip them in custard?”

I’m not pregnant, it’s a bet I lost,” She sighed.

I go off world for a couple of days and you’re losing a bet? You’re slipping, Elsa.” John grinned as he started to unwrap the chocolate bar.

She glared at him before sighing and collapsing to the couch in her quarters and watched him. “Couldn’t you have like sprained your ankle or something like you usually do?” she whined. “Every other damn time you or Rodney come back injured. This one time I actually bet, you manage not to find any trouble for yourself!”

You bet against me?” John let himself fall onto the bed laughing as he took a bite from the chocolate bar. “I’m hurt!”

Elsa glared at him before smiling devilishly. “I can make it up to you,” she purred as she started to pull her shirt off…

A loud bang echoed through the wall and into the garage pulling John out of his memories. Heading into the house, he looked around for what the cause was, gun drawn. “Teyla?” he called out.

“In the kitchen!” she called back. “Torren knocked the box of dishes off the counter…” she explained as she was carefully cleaning up the broken glass that was scattered while the young boy sat on the stool looking guilty.

“You nearly gave me a heart attack there,” he said, walking to the safe to lock up his gun.

“I sowwee Uncle John,” Torren said sadly before trying to get down off the seat as Teyla had her back towards him picking up large pieces of the plates.

“Stay on that chair, buddy,” John said calmly. “Don’t want you to get hurt, you’re not wearing any shoes.”

“How was your day, John?” Teyla inquired as the man made his way to the kitchen to help clean up the shattered plates.

“Interesting,” John replied and managed to smile.

She looked at him carefully feeling as if he was holding back. Nodding slowly she went to dump the pan of slivers in the trash. “What would you like for dinner? The neighbor came over and offered recommendations for local delivery when he introduced himself.”

“You didn’t let him in, did you?” John asked suspiciously.

Teyla smiled and rested her hand on his arm. “No, we sat on the porch and talked. I made sure that Torren was within sight through the window indoors. You needn’t worry for us.”

“Well, I do.” He nodded. “I know you can take care of yourself, but we’re in unfamiliar territory here, Teyla, it doesn’t hurt to be extra careful.”

“John, relax.” Teyla smiled warmly. “General Landry said that this is a safe neighborhood.”

“Still, even rich people can be creeps.” He nodded. “We could go to McDonald’s for dinner.”

“YAY!” Torren cheered as John ruffled his hair. “Please mom?”

She smiled at him and nodded. “Let’s get you washed up while Uncle John gets our transportation ready,” she said as she picked him up and carried him out of the room.

He went to bed early that night, exhausted from the day and all the impressions and the pretense. Oh he knew that he was going to stay on longer than the duration of the current case, he just didn’t want to break the news to Gibbs yet and had asked Vance not to do so either. Like John had told Gibbs, he wanted to prove his worth, then maybe Gibbs and his team would tolerate having John around for a while longer. If not, he’d tell Gibbs that he didn’t have a choice in the matter.

He had already made a mental note about the head slap Gibbs had given him; next time, John would slap him on the head too.

John stumbled through the corridor looking for survivors and kill any Genii that would cross his path. He checked every body and was shocked to find Sam Carter, or what was left of her anyway. It looked as if she was at the center of an explosion, her torso separated from her legs and he couldn’t help but vomit next to her body. “Sorry, Sam,” He said softly as he continued his way through the corridor.

Carter’s gone,” his own voice echoed while the image took him to another corridor, shooting at the fuzzy people who were shooting at him, he might have been hit, but he didn’t care, he needed to do something, if only he could remember what that was. He felt the need to panic but managed to stay rather calm, especially when another explosion rocked the floor beneath his feet, damn that had to be close.

He woke up in cold sweat and on the floor. He hadn’t had such a bad nightmare in a while, or not that he could remember and hated the sick feeling that he had in his stomach. He groaned as he got up and felt dizzy and nauseous. John sleepily walked to the bathroom and started to throw up the little he did eat at McDonald’s earlier.

The next two days of the case went slow with little leads. John didn’t know why the kid’s fingerprints showed up in the victim’s room and the only suggestion he got from his own people had little to offer. Until there was a reason to take over, the SGC was fine with allowing NCIS continue with investigation.

All in all, his mind was slowly beginning to recognize that Ziva was not Elsa. The way she held herself and spoke did make things easier. As much as he intended to avoid her, somehow she was always around. John suspected that Gibbs ordered her to keep an eye on him as they still butted heads over things.

On day four of the case, Agent McGee managed to dig up a lead that sent the team leader and his second out on the road to check it out. While the geek did whatever he did on the computer – which unnerved John as all he could think about was Rodney when the guy started on explaining something in a way that no one else understood, he grew restless. He paced the length of the bullpen a few times as his mind raced with everything, stopping occasionally to look out the window. Ziva watched him for awhile before getting up to join him.

“You do not enjoy this type of work, do you Colonel?” she asked conversationally.

He glanced down at her as he debated on whether it was safe to open lines of communication or not. Sighing, he shook his head. “Not really, no,” he answered. “I’ve always been more for strategic maneuvers and things.”

She nodded with an expression of mutual understanding. Ziva looked back at McGee who was busy typing away at his desk before looking back at Sheppard. “I suspect that Gibbs and Tony will be some time. Would you like to get coffee or lunch? The cafeteria here is not particularly the best.”

“Sure, why not,” he replied casually after a moment’s debate in his head.

Smiling, she nodded before going back to her desk for her coat and purse. “McGee, we are going to lunch. Would you like us to bring you back something?” Ziva asked as her friend appeared to be in some sort of trance with what he was doing.

McGee didn’t answer and John chuckled. “We should just bring him some coffee when we get back,” he suggested.

Ziva and John rode the elevator down and let her lead the way as he quickly put his sunglasses on his face before exiting the building.

“Okay so you’re the local here. Is there somewhere on the Navy yard or should we drive somewhere?” he asked as he looked around a little uncomfortably.

“It is up to you. There is a small coffee and sandwich stand at the promenade but a lot more choice off base,” Ziva answered.

“I was asking you, don’t give the choice to me,” John countered, wanting her to choose because he would go for the safe option; the Navy Yard promenade, despite being with a trained special agent.

She looked at him as she thought. “Are you a picky eater?”

John had to chuckle at that, if he had been, he would have starved the last six or seven years. “I’m a guy. Which means, I’m a trash can. You can feed me anything.”

Laughing Ziva turned back in to head off to the parking garage. “I know a place not far from here that has great falafels. Would you prefer to drive? I highly doubt you would be comfortable in my vehicle…Mini Coup. I can give you the directions.”

He fumbled his keys out of his pocket and showed her to his SUV. “Sure, why not,” he replied as he unlocked the car from the passenger’s side and opened the door so she could get in first.

She settled into the seat as she secured her seat belt. Unable but to glance to the back, Ziva noticed a car seat for a young child. It was actually quite surprising to her as she hadn’t thought of Sheppard to be the father type. “You are a parent?” she asked curiously when he got in himself.

“Sort of,” John responded. “Didn’t you listen when I told McGee my life’s story?” he teased as he secured his seat belt and started the car. “I’m raising my nephew together with his mother. He’s almost three years old now.”

“Hm,” she hummed thoughtfully. “I can’t imagine it being easy for you.”

“What do you mean?” he asked as they drove off the yard.

“Raising a child that is not your own?”

“Oh, his mother does most of the raising,” John answered. “I’m just the goofy uncle.”

Chuckling, Ziva changed the subject and started giving him the directions to the diner she liked. She wasn’t sure why, but she found herself slowly becoming more fascinated by him. It was not hard to see that he distanced himself from her since he first appeared at NCIS but she was pleased that he was willing to speak to her more – or at least appear to. The thing that seemed odd to her was that John appeared to avoid saying any more about his ‘family’. Not their names or how they came to be together and was afraid to know if he may be more than a simple friend and uncle to them.

He found a parking spot in the street where Ziva had directed him to and parked the car. He then exited the car and walked around it to open Ziva’s door to let her out. He actually liked the street they were on. He hadn’t seen it before, but then again, ever since he and Teyla had moved to Georgetown, they shopped locally and avoided downtown DC.

“Here it is,” Ziva said as she headed into the shop. She greeted the owner who was behind the counter in Arabic before exchanging a couple light jokes and placing her order. “Fawzi, this is John. He is a friend from work and new to the area.”

John wasn’t surprised that Ziva spoke Arabic, having had read her file that week. Maybe it wasn’t entirely fair that he knew all about her and her team and he only shared superficial information, but he didn’t feel safe enough to share, yet. The owner greeted John happily and nodded a greeting in return.

“What would you like?” Fawzi asked in broken English. “Friend of Ziva is friend of mine!”

Yeah, John thought, and maybe kill me behind my back. Maybe it had been a better idea to stay on the yard after all. He looked at Ziva and decided to be brave. “I trust her in making the right choices as to what to eat.”

She looked at him for a moment. It did not miss her attention that he was nervous as he eyed the place. Nodding slowly, she ordered the same as hers for him. “I am sure you will enjoy it. Tony was skeptical himself when I brought him here and he is still alive.”

“Like I said,trash can,” he reminded her. The Athosian cuisine had been something to get used to back on Atlantis, but eventually it had grown on him. Although he never really grew a liking to Tuttle root soup.

After their order was ready, Ziva was quick to pay for John before carrying the tray out to the chairs in front of the shop. “My treat,” she insisted sitting down and opening her bottle of tea to sip.

“Uh, thanks,” he said slightly uncomfortable as he sat down. “You didn’t have to do that.”

“Nonsense. I suspect that you will be with the team for awhile to come so you should get used to the fact that we take care of each other,” she pointed out as she looked back at him. While she did not know the details of the man’s assignment, she had her own intuition that rarely failed her. This instance, she had a ‘gut’ feeling that he would be a permanent attachment much to Gibbs’ dislike.

“How do you know that? I only told your Director that.” John said surprised.

Ziva smirked as she bit into her sandwich. It was easier than she thought to get him to say something.

“You’re an investigator,” he realized nodding. “And a woman, which is a dangerous combination.” He chuckled.

“When are you telling Gibbs?” she asked, unfazed. She didn’t mind another person on the team and was even considering about approaching Gibbs about changing regular partners if Sheppard did stay.

“After the case. I don’t want to give him another reason to want to throw me out of the window just yet,” John took a bite of his sandwich and smiled, it was as good as Ziva made him believe it was.

She shrugged. “He doesn’t need a reason. With him, its whether he trusts you or not. When he knows if you can be trusted then you will be fine. I would be more worried about Tony if I were you. He gets jealous easily.”

John looked at her with a smirk. “Really? I haven’t noticed that the past week,” he said. “That with pulling faces out of my vision and that…” he shrugged. “Sadly for him, I see more than I let on.”

“He is – an acquired taste. A good agent and friend regardless.” She fell silent as she ate unsure of what else to speak of to keep the conversation going. Ziva found that once he started to talk, that she liked hearing what he had to say and smiled at the thought.

“I know how to deal with people like Tony,” John replied as if remembering someone. “I had this friend, he was my best friend and on my team, who liked to get into people’s faces and remind everyone that he was the smartest person in the room.” John continued, “He always was.”

She thought about and disagreed. “I don’t think Tony is like that. He is one to admit when he has done something wrong or does not know how to do something.”

“I meant the acquired taste thing.”

“Ah, yes,” Ziva nodded. “Still, once you have him on your side, he will have your back no matter what. Even if you do not think so at the time…”

He didn’t say anything, and instead finished his sandwich. He hadn’t expected any less of NCIS’ premiere team, but he wasn’t entirely ready to adopt a whole new group to do his job with.

After they finished eating, she glanced at her watch. “We should get back to the office soon. It may be a good idea that we bring Gibbs coffee as well since we do not know the mood he will be in if that lead does not go anywhere.”

“It would be very strange if that lead doesn’t lead anywhere, you’ve looked everywhere else,” John said as he got up to bring their trays inside, only to nearly trip over a bag that he hadn’t seen on the ground. Taking a deep breath, he set the trays on top of the bin and turned to Ziva. “I’m ready to head back if you are.”

Ziva nodded slowly as she eyed Sheppard. “Are you alright?” she asked, referring to his stumble.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” he said. “Didn’t see the bag, that’s all.”

She continued to look at him as it was quite obvious to her that the bag was there. Leaving it alone, she got back in his truck and remained quiet as she attempted to process their conversation and things she learned.

On their drive back, his thoughts were racing in his head. Ziva had been right, he would be part of their team for a longer period of time, he knew that, heck, the Air Force even gave him and Teyla a massive house. He needed to start trusting people, and knowing Ziva’s background, she would be an easy start. Not to mention, she was sort of the only familiar face around.

Right before they would drive up to the Navy Yard, he stopped the car at the side of the road and sighed. He had to give one of them something so that they understood where he came from if he were to get any kind of support there. “If I tell you something, promise me you’ll keep it to yourself for now? At least until I’m ready to share it with more people.”

Ziva slowly nodded her head confused. “Okay…”

Taking his sunglasses off to look at her, he started to tell some of his story. “I was stationed at a base that got attacked from the inside by refugees we considered to be fairly neutral. Little did we know, they had their attack all planned out, and they managed to…” he took a deep breath before he continued. “Neutralize almost everyone on base. The ones that did made it out were badly hurt. In my case, I spent two months in a coma. Had some sort of head trauma, don’t really know the specifics, don’t really care, but anyway, it basically rendered one eye pretty useless.” He said. “I have been working on getting back in shape for work the last year, even retraining myself to shoot my gun, I didn’t see that bag earlier because the light outside is quite a hinder to me when my eye is still trying to adjust to the changes. Walking around in NCIS is even worse without sunglasses on my head, which is why I stay out of Abby’s lab or haven’t gone down to Autopsy to follow Gibbs.”

“Well that certainly explains a lot. I promise that I won’t share anything,” she nodded as she sat back in the seat, digesting the information. “I will speak to Gibbs about you and I partnering up. Knowing what I know now, it would certainly make more sense that way you have someone to watch your back when you need it.”

“Just wait with asking Gibbs until I break him the news that I’m staying a little longer, okay?” he chuckled. “And you really don’t have to do that.”

She shook her head. “I don’t have to, no. Let’s get his coffee so that we are on his good side for a little while. Hopefully they found something we can work with.”

John put his sunglasses back on his face and smiled. “Yes, the amount of head slaps I’ve seen Gibbs give DiNozzo can’t be that healthy, maybe he’ll spare him for the rest of the day.”

“Doubtful,” Ziva replied simply, smiling.

He started the car again and drove onto the yard after showing his ID to the security guard. “Thank you, Ziva.”

“No problem.”



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