The Woman in Red

NCIS Fan Fiction Series - Story 6

Previously, on NCIS

As the David sisters look at the pictures, Tessa turned to Tony. "So, are you ready for tomorrow?"

"Of course, mini-ninja," Tony answered. "I've had it circled in red since you told me about it."

The wheelchair exploded, directing shrapnel towards the front door.

After several minutes of silence, the gunmen in the school finally spoke over the school intercom. "This facility is now under the control of the Alathad Al'ereby. Do not attempt to leave this building. Anyone attempting to do so will be shot on sight. Any law enforcement agent who breaches the premises will be shot on sight."

"So, what do you want me to do?" Tony asked.

"Do what you do best," Ziva answered, "be the wild card."

"You know, assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups," Tony noted, borrowing a line from Under Siege 2.

"And just who the hell are you?" the terrorist leader replied.

">I'm just a fly in the ointment. The monkey in the wrench. The pain in the ass." Tony shifted from quoting Die Hard to quoting himself. "I'm the wild card."

"Zh beshebyelk, Ziva." Without a second thought, he immediately pulled the trigger.

Ziva listened as she heard the exchange of fire in the school office. She could discern at least three different weapons had been fired, meaning that her mate was outnumbered two-to-one. She heard a sharp thud from the earwig. "TONY!!" she screamed.

The ambulance landed on the helipad of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda. "What have we got," the doctor asked as the patient was rolled into the hospital.

"Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, NCIS," the EMT stated. "He took multiple gunshots. He's lost a lot of blood and his lungs have collapsed."

"Put him on a ventilator," The doctor ordered as he looked at his charts. "He has scarred lungs from an encounter with a nasty strain of Y. pestis. Contact Dr. Pitt in Pneumology, he knows Agent DiNozzo's history. I'll likely need to consult with him." As the ER nurses scattered to follow his orders, the doctor turned to the fallen agent. "Don't worry, Agent DiNozzo. You're in good hands."

All Tony could see was a blinding white light. The last thing he could remember was shooting a group of terrorists with a stolen AK-47. Is this the afterlife, he wondered to himself. If this it, where's the pearly gates?

As if the man upstairs was listening, a woman placed her hand on the lost soul's shoulder. "I'm proud of you, Tony," she stated to him.

"Mom?" Tony inquired.

Although Talia David was normally a careful driver, her driving reflected her sister Ziva as she raced her way up the George Washington Parkway toward Bethesda. Even though they had only met three months ago, Tony DiNozzo had become like a brother to her. She easily saw just how much he and Ziva loved each other, and she had a hand in setting their relationship in motion. When she picked Ziva up at the Navy Yard, her eyes were swollen with tears. DiNozzo, Tali thought to herself, if you die, I swear, I will head slap you so hard, your spirit will feel it in the afterlife.

Once the David sisters arrived at the hospital, they immediately entered the emergency department. "Talia and Ziva David," Tali stated to the nurse on-duty at the reception desk. "We're here for Anthony DiNozzo."

"Agent DiNozzo is currently in the Trauma ward," the Nurse indicated.

"Is there a waiting area?" Tali knew that there were no visitors allowed in the Trauma Ward. There was no way, however, Ziva would leave the hospital anytime soon. The nurse pointed out the location of the waiting area for the Trauma ward. "Thanks," Tali answered.

"Is there anything else I can help you with?" the nurse asked.

"I could use some help to make Ziva comfortable. She's 12 weeks along, and I'm sure the stress of having the baby's father seriously hurt is not helping her."

"Of course."

Ziva was resting her head on her baby sister's shoulder when Gibbs and McGee arrived at Bethesda. "Any news?" Gibbs asked.

"Not since he was admitted," Tali answered. "He's still in the Trauma ward."

Gibbs sat down besides Ziva. "Hey," Gibbs stated.

Ziva's eyes were still red, and tear streaks were readily apparent across her face. "Gibbs, I love Tony so much. I do not know if I can live without him."

"It's okay, Ziver," Gibbs replied as he wiped her cheeks with a handkerchief. "I know. Just remember, we haven't lost him yet."

Before Gibbs could say any more, a familiar face walked into the waiting area. "Agent Gibbs," Doctor Brad Pitt stated.

"How's he doing, Doc?"

"He's still in critical," Brad replied. "He's lucky that the bullets missed the vital areas. We've repaired the damage, but he still has a concussion and a collapsed lung. Given his encounter with the plague, It's going to be a longer road for him to recover."

"Thank you, Doctor," Tali said as she paused. She was the only one that didn't know his name.

"Doctor Brad Pitt," he responded. "I'm not related to that other guy, though I did finally get to meet him when he visited Bethesda."

"Tali David. Needless to say I'm Ziva's sister. I think we've taken enough of your time. Thank you for your update."

Gibbs updated Abby, Ducky, and Vance on DiNozzo's condition, then drove Ziva home, while Tali took McGee back to the Navy Yard. Tali decided to make some small talk with Tim as she drove. "So, how did Tony get the plague?"

"He opened up an envelope that was sealed with a lead-lined kiss. It happened to contain a genetically engineered bacteria. Turns out the woman who sent it thought the navy was covering up her daughter's rape."

"So, was there a cover-up."

"The daughter admitted that her sexual encounter with a sailor was consensual. Unfortunately, her partner had been killed in a traffic accident, leaving her in a bit of a compromising position."

Tali giggled at the revelation. "Have you had any other interesting cases?"

Tali and McGee continued to chat as they made their way back to Tim's car. "So, Tali, I was wondering, when things calm down, maybe you and me could go out for coffee or something."

"Tim McGee, are you actually asking me on a date?" Even with all that had happened that day, the young David still maintained her natural spunk. "I'd love to, Timmy."

Tony was once again surrounded by the light. Eventually, the light faded to reveal his childhood home. The lights focused on the piano in the center of the main room.

Tony sat down at his prized instrument, where he saw that the sheet music had been laid in front of him. As he began to play, he noticed a woman coming down the stairs. He did not recognize her, yet he was intrigued by her long, flowing brown hair, framing a perfect, piercing pair of chocolate-brown eyes. She was wearing a red sequined dress, which DiNozzo thought to be absolutely stunning. As she strutted toward the piano, she began to sing along to the song that Tony happened to be playing.

"Never know how much I love you.
Never know how much I care
When you put your arms around me,
I get a fever that's so hard to bear"

"You give me fever, when you kiss me
Fever when you hold me tight
Fever in the mornin',
a fever all through the night"

As the woman in red continued to accompany Tony's performance of "Fever," Tony continued to wonder what was going on. She's very beautiful, Tony thought, and she's got great chops. Who is she?

"You don't recognize her?" Tony's mother said, startling Tony momentarily.

"Should I?"

"She's the harmony to your melody," Mrs. DiNozzo noted, "You two bring the best out of each other. She is your soul mate."

Before Tony could ask his mother another question, she disappeared as suddenly as she appeared. As Tony finished his performance of "Fever," the woman in red turned to the dreamer and flashed a coy grin. Before DiNozzo could ask the woman her name, everything faded to white once again.

The next morning, Tali stopped by Ziva's apartment to see her big sister. "Hey," Tali said as she opened the door. Tali could tell that Ziva was still crying. "I take it that there's no word on Tony's condition."

"He is still in critical," Ziva answered. "The doctors still have him on a ventilator."

"Well, he is on the road to recovery," Tali noted. "All we can do is pray for him."

Ziva clutched her Star of David pendant as she followed Tali. As the sisters walked to the car, she recalled the final exchange of words between Tony and the Alathad Al'ereby cell leader. The terrorist spoke of a 'Jew Cancer,' deliberately using a derogatory term for members of the Jewish faith. She had not been bothered by those words as much as it had affected Tony. Ziva recalled the words that Tony had said to that terrorist in "There's only one force on Earth that can short circuit a man's better instincts, put fire in his veins, makes him dive head long into danger with no regard for his own well being. You have just found it. Zh beshebyelk, Ziva."

"You okay?" Tali asked.

"I am okay," Ziva replied. "I am just remembering what Tony said before he was shot."

The sisters took their seats on the couch. "You want to talk about it?"

Ziva collected her thoughts before commenting. "The terrorists openly proclaimed their antisemitism to Tony. When he took part in that gun battle, he wasn't thinking of the schoolchildren or the country. He was thinking of me. He was defending my honor."

"It sounds like he's a keeper," Tali noted.

"The thing is, it's not the first time. Four years ago, I lost my trust in Tony as a partner. I took on an assignment in Somalia. I was captured and tortured. Everyone thought I was dead. It was Tony who finally rescued me. He was ready and willing to die, and to kill, for me."

"Needless to say," Tali commented, "he still is."

"I know, and it scares me," Ziva answered. "When I found out I was pregnant, I told you and Tony I wasn't ready for marriage."

"And now, with Tony in critical condition, you're thinking that maybe you might be ready to take that leap?"

Once again, the Woman in Red haunted Tony's dreams. This time, he was in a run down compound in the middle of the desert. He was bound to a chair, with a middle eastern man holding him captive. The man placed another captive in the room and removed her hood. "Why are you here?" she asked.

"Couldn't live without you, I guess," Tony instinctively replied.

"So you will die with me. You should have left me alone."

The room turned into a white glow once again. "You don't remember that day?" Tony's mother asked as she approached him from behind.

"No, should I?"

"It is the day that took you from your darkest hour to your finest. It was the day you rescued your soul mate and brought her home."

"Mom, how do you know she's 'the one?' How do I know she even exists outside of this vision?" Tony queried.

"Perhaps you need to revisit what happened before you got shot," Tony's mother explained.

The white light faded until Tony was once again in the school's main office, facing down the terrorist leader and two of his lieutenants. "You talk about reality, in that case, tell me what you think of this," he recalled the leader say. "You our outnumbered, and we are more skilled with these weapons than you are. We may be killed in battle today, but there are others like me, and we will not rest until the Jew Cancer is stricken from this earth."

Tony felt a searing pain. He knew those words were hateful, yet could not remember how he felt response to the hate. He instinctively knew that he had fired his AK-47, and that the gunmen did so in response. As he relived these moments, he felt the motions, but could not draw an emotive response.

Tim came by Ziva's apartment to check up on his teammate. He was not surprised to find Tali there as well. "Hey," he said as he was invited into the apartment.

"How's he doing?" Ziva asked.

"He's still in a coma," Tim replied. "The doctors are indicating that his brain is active, and he's starting to breath normally. He's off the ventilator, and on supplemental oxygen."

"In other words, he's getting better," Tali answered. "Thanks, Timmy."

Ducky and Jimmy were autopsying the terrorist cell leader when Gibbs entered for an update. "What do you got, Duck?"

"Our uninvited guest died of a single gunshot wound to the heart. Fir the first time handling an AK-47, our Anthony had done exceptionally well."

"Anything to identify where he came from?"

"His stomach contents indicated that he had been sustaining himself on Beltway Burgers," Jimmy added, "those things would have killed him if Tony hadn't got to him first."

"In other words, this guy's been in DC for a while?"

"I've also sent prints and DNA samples up to Abby for analysis."

Next stop for Gibbs was Abby's lab. "What do you got, Abs?"

"Enough white vans to start a mobile forensics franchise," Abby replied as she took a sip of Caf-POW. "I've gone through all of the stolen vans. I found traces of motor oil in two of them."

"So, the vans were used to disable the police cars."

"That's not all," the forensic scientist continued, "I also found traces of Ammonium Nitrate on the same vehicles."

"A fertilizer bomb?" Gibbs inquired.

"The FBI found two bombs. One was used to destroy the hard lines to the school. The other was supposed to do the same at the 911 dispatch office, but it turned out to be a dud. Bomb squad disarmed it and got a serial number off the detonator cap.

"Good work, Abs," Gibbs said as he headed out the door.

Abby pressed a button to lock the special agent in. "I've already given everything I've got to Fornell. FBI will take lead on finding the cell, Vance's decision. You, on the other hand, need to get your butt over to Bethesda. Someone has to be there when Tony wakes up from his coma."

The monitors beeped an alarm in Tony DiNozzo's hospital room, signaling the nurses to rush in to check on him. They found him as he was regaining consciousness. "Agent DiNozzo," one of the nurses inquired, "do you know where you are?"

"Bethesda Hospital," Tony answered. "When did I get moved out of isolation?"

"You were never in isolation."

"What are you talking about? I was brought here because I contracted the plague. I don't know if I'm still contagious."

"Contact Dr. Pitt," one of the nurses indicated.

A few minutes later, the pneumologist arrived to tend to DiNozzo. "I see you're awake," Brad noted.

"Yeah, I know," Tony replied. "When was I taken out of Isolation?"

"This may seem like a stupid question, but I need to know. What is the last thing that you remember?"

"I was suffering from the plague, and Gibbs came in to order me not to die."

"Tony, that was nearly eight years ago. You were shot and suffered a concussion, and clearly, you're having a case of amnesia. I'll contact a neurologist and have you check you out, and I'll let agent Gibbs know that you've regained consciousness."

As McGee was talking with a worried Ziva and Tali, he received a call. "Yeah, boss," McGee answered. McGee listened to Gibbs's status update, then he spoke again. "I'll let them know." As he hung up, he turned to Ziva and Tali. "Gibbs has good news and bad news. The good news is, Tony's come out of his coma."

"And the bad news?" Ziva inquired.

"He's suffering from amnesia," Tim answered. "He can't recollect anything that happened to him after contracting the plague." McGee watched as tears began to form in Ziva's eyes. "I'm sorry, Ziva."

Tali wrapped her arms around her big sister as Ziva started to cry. "Do you think he will get his memories back?" Tali asked.

"It's hard to tell," McGee replied. "The doctors are advising against visiting him tonight. Gibbs and I will be checking on him in the morning."

Later that evening, Gibbs came over to Ziva's apartment. Tali opened the door upon his arrival. "How is she?" he asked.

"She's very depressed over Tony's amnesia," Tali answered. "She's afraid that Tony will never remember her, or that he couldn't love her."

"Not gonna happen," Gibbs replied, "if I have anything to say about it. Why don't you let me talk to her."

"I'll leave you two alone for a while, then. Timmy, you think we can give Gibbs some time alone with Zi?"

"Sure, Tali," McGee answered. "Hey, boss."

"McGee," Gibbs answered.

"Why don't we go for that coffee you promised," Tali suggested.

"You two dating now?"

"Don't make me give you a taste of your own medicine," Tali warned. "Besides, I don't work for you, so rule 12 doesn't apply to me. Besides, it's only our first outing together."

"Just don't break his heart," Gibbs advised.

"Wouldn't even think about it."

As Tali and Tim left, Gibbs reached out to Ziva. "Hey, Ziver."

"Gibbs," Ziva cried as she leaned on his shoulder.

"It's okay, Ziva. DiNozzo will always love you, even if I have to slap some sense into him."

"I hope you are right," Ziva answered. "I do not know if I could live without him."

Tony found himself back in his childhood home, with his baby grand in the center of the living room. Tony walked carefully toward the piano. Somehow, he thought, I feel like I've been here before.

DiNozzo sat down at his piano and began to play. For some reason, he instinctively started to play Fever. As he played the opening measures of the song, he sensed a presence.

A sense of déjà vu came over Tony as the Woman in Red descended the stairs. As she sang along to Tony's music, she walked alongside the piano where the dreamer could admire the vision.

Tony took notice of the Woman's jewelry. She wore a pair of golden loop earrings, along with a gold chain necklace.

Tony noticed the pendant on the necklace. It was a Star of David.

The living room suddenly vanished in a white glow. As the glow faded, Tony found himself in a school office, holding an assault rifle, facing three armed men. "You our outnumbered, and we are more skilled with these weapons than you are. We may be killed in battle today, but there are others like me, and we will not rest until the Jew Cancer is stricken from this earth."

Tony was starting to pull things together. He quickly realized that the pendant was a symbol of the Jewish faith. If the Woman is real, Tony thought to himself, the terrorist would want to kill her.

He recalled once again pulling the trigger.

Monday morning, Gibbs came to Bethesda to check on his Senior Field Agent. He brought along someone he thought could help Tony out. "Hey, Boss," Tony stated. "Hey, Ka" Tony stopped mid-sentence. Although the woman that came with Gibbs resembled his former partner, he had been told about her death.

"I expected you to do that," Rachel noted. "Kate and I do resemble each other."

"I take it you're not her just because of that resemblance."

"No, I'm not," she replied before formally introducing herself. "Doctor Rachel Cranston."

"So, Rachel, are you here as family, or as a doctor."

"A little of both, actually," she replied. "I know you've suffered being shot at, as well as a nasty blow to the head. I'm here to try to help you with your memory. Have you been able to recover any pieces of your recent memory."

"It's hard to tell when you don't know what you're looking for. I did, however, have a strange dream."

"That's a good start. Tell me about your dream."

"I have this dream where I'm in my childhood home. In the middle of the room is a baby grand piano. I sit down and start to play. As I do, this woman comes down the stairwell as begins to accompany me on vocals. I don't recognize her, but there's just something about her. She's like Kelly LeBrock in The Woman in Red. Hell, she's even wearing a red dress herself."

"Can you tell me anything else about her?"

Tony closed his eyes to recollect his Woman in Red. "She had long brown hair, with as slight wave to it, chocolate-brown eyes, and a slightly olive-tan complexion. She wore a gold Star of David on her neck, so she's Jewish. For some reason, I'm thinking she may be Israeli."

Gibbs and Rachel were hopeful about Tony's memory. They knew exactly who the Woman in Red was. "DiNozzo, do you remember anything else."

Tony flashed back to the gunman. "Before I shot him, the leader said 'we will not rest until the Jew Cancer is stricken from this earth.' Sounds like someone wants to start the Fourth Reich."

"Do you remember pulling the trigger?"

"Yes," Tony recalled. "I don't know what it is, but his antisemitic comment somehow made me resolve to take him out."

Since the team was still off the active case rotation, Tim had a chance to go out on a lunch date. He met his date at a small cafe near the Navy Yard. "Hey," Tim noted.

"Hi, Timmy," Tali replied.

"So, how's Ziva doing?"

"She's a little better. She hopes that Tony will recover his memories."

"You know, Gibbs went to see him with Rachel this morning."

"How did that go?"

"Well, he remembers shooting at the gunman, but not much else. However, he has dreams about a woman in red."

"I take it that Tony is Gene Wilder," Tali quipped. "Who has the role of Kelly LeBrock?"

"Actually, both Gibbs and Rachel think it may be Ziva."

Tali thought of something before replying. "Tim, you know that Tony and Ziva have moved in together, right?"

"Yeah," Tim noted.

"How much of a shock do you think it would be to him if he found out he's living with his girlfriend."

"I never thought of that," Tim noted. "You're right, that would be a shock. After all, before Ziva, he never let anyone into his personal space."

"Any chance I could talk to Rachel?"

"Sure," McGee answered, writing down the doctor's cell phone number.

"Thanks, Timmy."

Rachel met up with Tali at the dance studio later that afternoon. "Thanks for coming," Tali replied.

"I hope I didn't catch you at a bad time."

"You've caught me at the perfect time. I have an hour before my next class."

"So, McGee told you about our progress with Tony."

"Pretty much," Tali replied. "I had a crazy idea that I'd like to run through your head. It's something I thought might help fill the holes in Tony's memory.

"What sort of idea do you have?"

Tali quietly explained her plant to restore Tony's memory of Ziva.

Ziva was surprised when she heard a knock on her apartment door the next morning. She opened it to find her baby sister. "Hey," she stated. "Gibbs said I could steal you today. Apparently, you still have quite a bit of comp time built accumulated."

"What are you up to, Tali?" Ziva inquired.

"Either Tony's going to get his memory back, or he's going to fall in love with you all over again."

"So, what does Gibbs think of this plan?"

"Both Gibbs and Dr. Cranston think that it's crazy, but that it just might work."

Tali brought Ziva to a boutique dress shop. "Can I help you," the store clerk asked.

"I'm looking for something in red for her," Tali replied, pointing to her big sister. "Something that will turn her boyfriend's head."

"Something to knock 'em dead, I take it," the clerk commented.

"I do not wish to kill him, especially since he is just about to be released from the hospital," Ziva replied to the clerk's idiom.

"We'll settle for 'turn his head,'" Tali continued. "Also, my sister's 12 weeks along, so we will need a little wiggle room for her baby bump."

"We should still be able to help you find a dress that fits."

Ziva spent all day trying on dresses. Most of them were too uncomfortable for Ziva, or did not look flattering on her. "This is the last one," Tali noted. "If this isn't the one, we'll try again tomorrow."

When Ziva emerged from the dressing room, Tali was mesmerized. The crimson dress perfectly accented her body. It wasn't too tight, but it did show a little bit of her baby bump. More appropriately, it did not feel to tight. "Zi, that's the one."

"I agree," Ziva answered as she looked in the mirror. If this does not attract Tony's attention, Ziva thought to herself, I do not know what will. "We'll take it," she said to the sales clerk.

The clerk arranged for some alterations to accommodate Ziva's pregnancy. "The dress should be ready on Friday."

"That will be just fine," Tali responded as she presented her credit card to make the sale.