Chapter 1

“I know this is difficult Ms. David, but we need to get as much information on the guy as possible,” FBI Agent Evan Lorne said as he set a fresh cup of their bad coffee in front of her.

“It’s Agent David,” Ziva corrected as she glared up at the man.

Evan sighed as he sat at the table across from her. “My apologies.”

“It’s not that I don’t want to tell you anything, it’s just that I don’t have the information that you want,” she explained again. “The men had ski masks on. Only one of them talked but I doubt that I would be able to identify him from a line up.”

“Okay,” he said, shuffling through the papers in the folder he brought back with him before she asked her own questions.

“Where are my people? NCIS? I’m sure that we can help with finding them. Maybe then it’ll give the man they took a chance.”

“One thing at a time, okay? Now, I’m going to show you a number of photos and I want to know if you recognize anyone.” Lorne set the glossies on the table where she glared at them.

Shaking her head, Ziva sighed. “They were masked -”

“I know. I’m hoping to identify the man they were holding with you before you escaped.”

She took a deep breath and nodded before pulling the pile of photos closer, rubbing her arm where her attacker injected her with some drug over the course of her confinement. Coming across the familiar face, the kind hazel eyes and easily recognizable hair that had a life of its own, she held it up. “This is him. He is the reason that I am sitting here talking to you now.”

Evan looked from the number on the photo to the reference list he held. “Thank you Agent David. If we need anything else we will contact you -”

“Wait! Can’t you tell me his name at least? I was never able to talk to him like that,” she asked, nearly begging in her eyes.

The FBI agent looked at her before pulling the page back out. “Air Force Colonel John Sheppard,” he said. “I will see if Agent Fornell could give you a ride to wherever you wish. I still insist you should go to the hospital and get checked out.”

Ziva considered it, and after a few moments she nodded. “Fine. That’s fine. Just make sure someone calls NCIS to help. Please. He was a good man.”

“I will see what I can do. That I can promise. Now lets get you some medical attention,” Lorne smiled weakly as he held out his hand to help her up and out of the office.

Well at least she was out and no doubt she’d be well taken care of once she alerted the authorities of the situation. Ziva, was her name, and she had been so very brave during the last few weeks, months? He didn’t know. He did know that they were in some sort of residential area, as he and Ziva had been kept in the basement of a home. There weren’t any windows, and since they, whoever they were, took all of their belongings including watches, cell phones and their shoes for some weird reason, John had no way of telling the time.

He wasn’t even supposed to be in that bank when these guys came in, guns drawn, ski-masks on their heads, but he needed to take care of some business. Nancy had been threatening to sue him over unpaid alimony and that was the last thing he wanted. It was bad enough already that he still had been suspended for trying to save his fellow soldiers in Afghanistan and definitely defying orders while doing so.

That had been last year.

Not that he had money problems. He had never touched the trust fund his father had set up for him when John went to college. He had always worked for his own money, to pay for his own tuition and his first car. Sure, he had been a complete asshole towards his ex-wife, but that didn’t mean she’d have to threaten him to give her some money.

Not that he had told Ziva. She was feeling bad enough as it was, and scared. He wasn’t scared. Hell, he had nothing else to do anyway. Ziva had been talking most of the time. Telling him about her job, she worked for NCIS, and about her co-workers whom she clearly missed. Then some things about her past. And her boyfriend problems. “Whatever I do, whomever I choose, they always end up hurting me. I’m done,”she had said, and John felt more guilty about the way he had treated Nancy. Mostly exactly the same as the guys Ziva had described to him.

It wasn’t for a lack of trying on Ziva’s part that he didn’t talk about himself. He couldn’t even remember if he had told her his name, but he didn’t feel like he had to. He had always been a private person, and he actually liked listening to Ziva’s rambles. It made him stop thinking about the pain in his leg that the bad guys had broken out of boredom.

Now the reason why he and Ziva ended up in the asshole’s grasp were that neither of them were willing to sacrifice the people present in the bank. She, being an NCIS agent, was valuable and he, being an Air Force Officer, was equally valuable. He just didn’t tell them that he was suspended for unauthorized heroics and that they probably wouldn’t care.

For all the time being locked up in the basement with Ziva, the men never came downstairs without their ski masks. They never told them who they were, and what they were going to do with them. Meals weren’t that frequent; it was as if John was back being ten years old, and often forgetting to feed his pet rat. Only this time, he was the rat. And currently an even more drugged rat than the past round of dosages he had received from them to keep him quiet.

He and Ziva, mostly Ziva, had come up with a plan to get them both out of there. However, John, due to his sloppily set broken leg, was too slow with getting out of the house and had to stay behind while he urged Ziva to make a run for it. And she did. He was glad she did. Brave Ziva.

No doubt that they were going to move him soon.

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