Hi, after a long break, I'm back. Sorry, but I had lost a bit of my usual enthusiasm for this story line. I had said that if one reader asked, I would continue: One did, I will finish this story. Hope you like this chapter, don't hesitate to review!
Chapter 4 - In preparation of….
Gibbs refocused the team,
"People, if you think you are not up to working this op, now would be the time to take a bow and excuse yourself. This is not a typical NCIS crime case. The work expected is more on the 'spy' side. That is why Director Vance recruited Eyal Lavin and Sharon Welby. Ziva will be called into sharing her old way of life. Who would prefer to opt out?"
As expected, no one stepped forward.
"OK, we will face this shit head on. Tim, pull what we have on screen and those concerned, by all means, read us in!"
First up were Max Hunter and Wallace Fox. Sharon took the floor.
"Wallace Fox was MI-5 and was 'thought' dead two years ago. Looked at his personal MI-5 file and he wins the prize for 'Sir nobody'. Did his job and never dealt with classified intel. He was a computer programmer for day to day regular office work in Human Resources. His biggest secrets were planned layoffs!
Max Hunter was a senior field officer and specialized in Navy matters. He had absolutely no interest in new technologies or computer programming. Two very different persons.
Looking at both, side by side, I now see the resemblance.
I have a hunch; Abby/Tim, I'll give you a file with over 1 000 MI-6 employees. Max and Wallace are present. With that morphing software could you make a reverse search of sort? Meaning take those 1 000 photos and match them up with a possible look-alike. Create 'twins'."
Eyal spoke, "Like where you're going! They don't clone but can morph people."
Abby pulled the USB key out of Sharon's hand and explained.
"Our aging morphing software won't cut it but I have access to CIA's face recognition and that program can do the job…."
She stopped, opened her eyes wide and bit her lips at seeing Gibbs wincing while pointing at Annie Walker and Auggie Anderson from CIA!
She whispered sounding like a scared child, "Annie, Auggie, I didn't hack the program. CIA sought my forensic knowledge and I was successful in helping one of yours; Mr. Trent Kort. He didn't ask for me to return the software… I kept it."
Auggie smiled, "Lose the Mr., Trent Kort is CIA but not Mr..! Abby, I would have done the same. Don't fret, we won't tell if you don't use it against us, deal?"
Abby fidgeted, "Well, I might need to… Two of your officers were killed. The DPD is in lockdown because they possibly leaked sensitive information. If Sharon's idea pans out, we will need to test it on CIA's identified rogue agents to see if we can find more 'twins' then we'll try to convince Mossad to do the same."
Again, Auggie reassured Abby, "If and when you need to scan through CIA's file, I'll be breathing down your neck. This is a multi-agency mission, remember? We can share tools of our trade!"
The fast searching software identified 17 possible 'twins', Max and Wallace included.
Gibbs looked at Auggie. "CIA you're up!
Sharon explained to Auggie. "Auggie, start with your two dead officers, get their personal information and scan the CIA's personnel files in the country where they were posted. They were killed in Spain, I think."
Auggie looked at Sharon, "Girl, that a good idea, but how do you think I'm going to get our Spanish office to simply send me over their personnel files! Not going to happen till I get the proper clearances and that will take some time."
Tony looked at Tim, "Agent McGee might be able to help. If you give him an inch, he'll take it the whole nine yards!"
Annie pressed Auggie, "Hey, seen you hacking numerous times, what's with the prudish act?"
Tim heard Annie, "Ms. Walker, I understand the dilemma Auggie is facing. Hacking is illegal, but we do it when ordered. I'll hack in CIA files with Auggie's help. If we need to hack NCIS's, he'll hack, I'll assist. In that way, we'll feel less like moles."
Gibbs added, "Play good cop - bad cop if you must, but get it done…. Now!"
The two got to the job at hand.
Auggie concluded, "Sorry, Sharon, dead end. It was fun seeing CIA personnel's 'twins'. See here, our own Ms. Walker has a Spanish look alike!"
Eyal whistled, "I will need to check that girl out!"
Sharon had her head down and was playing with a pen at Tony's desk.
"Auggie did you include the deceased personnel in the last two or three years. Remember a 'dead' Wallace replaced Max."
Auggie swore and Tim's face reddened a bit. It took no more than 15 minutes to find a match for the two CIA officers; two office personnel that had 'died' two years prior and who had no access to sensitive information. Again, two regular John Doe paired with two CIA case officers.
It was Eyal's turn to swear, "Damn, it's their MO! Using a face-recognition software, they identify targets (person of interest and their matching Mister Nobody lookalike). The time line of their mission is two maybe three years. For you guys to follow my line of thoughts, I'll identify the John Does as the Zombies and the field officers as the Agents. This is one complicated situation. If you want to add or correct my take of it, please do. Their first act is to have the Zombie die–I'm guessing in the same manner I made Annie Walker die."
Abby asked, "What did you use?
Eyal smiled at Annie, "You care to answer that one?"
Annie replied, "A cardioplegic drug and lots of ice!"
Abby replied "Chilling indeed! It was a controlled clinical death by hypothermia. Typically performed by lowering body temperature to between 18 °C and 20 °C (64 and 68 °F) and stopping the heart and lungs. This state is called deep hypothermic circulatory arrest. At such low temperatures, most patients can tolerate the clinically dead state for up to 30 minutes without incurring significant brain injury. Longer durations are possible at lower temperatures. Downright dangerous especially when you attempt to reboot the heart and lungs!"
Annie whispered, "Tell me about it!"
Eyal put on a sly smile, "They don't care if the Zombies dies. They start at square one again."
Abby's face went blank as she said, "You guys often deal with such wickedness?"
Sharon, Ziva and Eyal nodded.
Eyal continued his theory, "The 'dead' is resurrected but they play with his brain. He's no more a person … a Zombie. Now Zombie trains to become the designated Agent. This part is sketchy but I prefer getting it out for you guys to have your say; the targeted agent must be mind-controlled in some way. They set up the Agent to turn on his agency and the important part–make sure one of his colleagues witnesses it all. Sharon, I'm beginning to realize that we played right into our enemy's hand! The objective of their ploy; the colleague (Sharon and I) is forced, at one point, to kill the Agent. The end … he was caught red-handed in divulging his agency's intel. The agencies ask themselves why he did it but, the facts are there, the damages assessed/corrected and the case is closed. That were we erred; it's not the end but the beginning. That Agent gave more than what agencies thought; his life, secrets and persona were coerced out of him."
Sharon had a question, "But why go to all that trouble if they have 100% control of the Agent? Their time line is two to three years, expensive and a lot can go wrong!"
"Good question! An Agent (spy) is on most agencies' radar. Don't want to burst your bubble, but Sharon Welby, you are a known spy. Enter Israel and you will be followed. I enter England and I will be followed. It's a fact of life. At this time, CIA has eyes on us both that I can guaranty! When one of us goes rogue, we usually don't last long. We might cause some damage, but it's a sure death in the end. The Zombie, on the other hand, can work freely; he's dead, a Mister Nobody and on no agency's radar. But that Zombie is in fact the Agent's twin. The final mission they task the Zombie with will be executed with the 'face' of the dead agent using Botox like drugs as Officer McGee explained. I'm sure there is more to the morphing part, but that's not my specialty. When the action goes down, agencies think one of their 'supposed dead' pulled a fast one on them. Then, the face of the dead agent disappears revealing the Zombie, who in turns dies... again. Agencies are busy unraveling the Agent morphing in Zombie or is it Zombie morphing into Agent… Hell, it's a nightmare and we don't 'get' the real danger. In NCIS's case; your admiral - when and what intel did he give the Zombie? My guest; it's being sold on the market as we speak because nobody asked or was drilling down on the real crime! At Mossad, I killed three of my colleagues, my guess, the Zombies are a couple of months from resurrecting and executing their mission with the face of their twin. CIA, you're also up next."
Sharon asked, "Eyal, do you know of your colleagues' specialties? For Max is was the Navy and his twin (Zombie) was tasked with hitting on a US Admiral. If we want to get ahead of the threat Mossad and CIA might be facing, we need to know the dead agents' specialties."
Eyal answered, "Sharon, that line of thinking is too obvious. Our bosses got caught in the same kind of open and shut conclusions. The suits were sure they had them figured out and failed. Déjà vue, don't you think, Officer Welby? We need to figure out what they are up to by getting ahead of them, identifying the targets, integrating them … spy training 101! We have three Mossad officers and two CIA agents that are going to resurface at one point."
Tony whistled and Tim said, "Boss, can I still opt out? I'm way over my league and barely following Officer Lavin!"
Eyal clarified, "Hey, you are all qualified for this mission. Tim, I can't hack into CIA's databases and it's not important because it's not my job. You'd describe to me how it is done and, believe me, I'll stop you before you are finished because I would not understand a word you're saying. We are a multi-talented skilled team; that is the reason CIA, MI-6, NCIS and Mossad are teaming us up. We need to combine our skills to counter a very capable and technologically advance terrorist cell. My hat goes off to Director Vance for his way of thinking!"
Ziva interrupted, "Eyal, if I'm following you; our Admiral, who was killed by Wallace morphed as Max, could have handed over some sensitive intel before the obvious and I'm presuming, planned last encounter. We (NCIS) don't know and didn't drill down if the Admiral gave away some sensitive intel because we are trying to get to the bottom of the Wallace/Max morphing. Those 'Zombies' must have permanent eyes and ears on them and once the wanted intel is obtained… Zombies are disposed of! The concerned agencies are left with trying to explain why a dead body is not the one that fits the name tag … and nobody investigates the real 'crime'. The terrorists are at liberty to sell or expose the damaging data to whomever they want with no one targeting them. Damn, this is mind-boggling; they use a colleague to kill the spy and agency personnel to kill the Zombie; Agencies are in a way working for the terrorists! Another side we need to explore; what country are they going to show up next? Wallace and Max were British citizen and the targeted country and agency was the US Navy (NCIS). 'Where' and 'who' are the next hits. They won't stay 'local', the Mossad officers and CIA- DPD agents will hit far away from home."
Eyal nodded his approval.
Gibbs also nodded and added, "Damn good debriefs; Sharon, Eyal, Ziva well done."
Gibbs lifted his coffee to the trio and continued,
"I need to read in Vance. That admiral was Chief of Naval Operations, meaning he had the highest security clearances and knew the possible and impossible secrets of our Navy! CIA's DPD might not be the only agency in 'lockdown'"
A red face Tony spoke, "Boss, Eyal, I owe you both an apology. The teams, I get it."
Gibbs replied, "Good! Care to explain to the others, Dinozzo?"
"Eyal and Annie analyze data as spies not investigators, Tim and I are 100% investigators, Ziva and Gibbs are both - spies and investigators. As team leaders Eyal and Gibbs balanced the teams; one of each specialty–Eyal, and Ziva versus Gibbs and Annie. Tim can dabble into Forensics; team US has Abby meaning team Eyal needs Tim. That leaves the other investigator, me, on team Gibbs. Sharon and Auggie are Jacks of all trades; they are foremost spies but also extraction specialists. They can work a problem without being directly in the field. Can't explain the choices for those two, but one is needed on each team."
Eyal and Gibbs gave Tony a mock standing ovation and the man took a bow. That got all laughing. Director Vance came out to see what was causing such raucous. Gibbs rapidly joined him and signaled that it was urgent that they talked. Before closing the door, he called to Eyal,
"Lavin, tell them what Tony missed and read them in for the next 48 hours. Believe me they want to know!"
Eyal smiled and spoke to a very attentive crowd,
"Ziva and Annie being linguists was another reason to separate them. Sharon and Auggie are quick thinkers and can work a problem in very imaginative ways. Each team will need that kind of wits to succeed when team members get stuck in some dire situations. (He whispered to them–it might happen.) Sharon and Ziva have the same background and know how the head of an agency thinks, better to have one of them on each team. Ziva and Auggie being with me, Sharon was put on team Gibbs. Are there questions?"
As expected, no questions, Eyal continued, "We have 48 hours before we 'officially' start our mission. Gibbs and I need to put the final touches on our protocols. You guys should take that time to settle affairs or warn friends that you'll be MIA for some time. Your close family will be read in. Gibbs and I will give you directions on how to notify them of your absence. Tim, Tony, if you need help for settling things–the appropriate lies (a smiling Eyal added), Sharon and Auggie will help. We spies could all help but I prefer those two handle the lies–better to keep 'lies' in a close circle! For the duration of this mission, we will be bunking in a safe house."
Sharon lifted her hand, "Eyal, we will be ghosts? This is an off-book mission?"
Eyal smiled, "Very good, Officer Welby. Yes, we will disappear from the face of the earth and chatter of our whereabouts will be dire! People, in 48 hours we will become ghosts! A team will be replacing Gibbs' NCIS team."
Sharon looked at Eyal sideways as she spelled out, "R.u.m.o.r. will be that you went rogue or crazy after killing three of your colleagues. Since CIA and MI-6 had the same kind of moles in their ranks, at Annie's get-together, you neutralized us thinking we had intel of some sort. Gibbs and Tim were also 'hit' because they tried to rescue their teammates. That 'party' was a set-up for our agencies to put in place our covers and disappearances, wasn't it?"
Eyal smiled while Annie and Auggie faces went blank. "Officer Welby, your father must want to hit you at times! Yes, you got it right. Swear to all that I learned of the 'set-up' and my role in it after the facts. It was Joan (CIA), Robert (MI-6), Rivka (Mossad), Gibbs and Vance's (NCIS) doing. Sharon, want you to know that I did not play you that night!"
Sharon's face turned a slight shade of red and Annie jumped at the moment and said with a cocky smile,
"And you guys said it wasn't a date!"
They laughed but it was a nervous one; For Tony and Tim, this was a first ghost mission, Ziva and Sharon had a lot resting on their shoulder and Annie and Auggie had a trust issue for working with MI-6 and Mossad. This conjoint mission was a first for them. They trusted Eyal but Mossad….
Annie came up to Eyal and Sharon and teased, "I can see you two made some progress. What's the next step? You don't have much time."
Eyal rolled his eyes at Annie, "Neshema, please don't rock the boat! Sharon and I had a date, one enjoyable date. We agreed that it is not the time or place to start a relationship. There! That's the only scoop you will be getting!"
Sharon decided to stop the bantering, "Annie, I don't have time for your child-like games. Grow up girl. This mission is more important than us having sex! Eyal, how can we hack Mossad's personnel database? We need to look for 'twins' as we did for MI-6 and CIA's."
"Girl, when you are in mission mode, you're in mission mode–from sex to hacking in the turn of a head! Look, I'm not a computer tech. I have high-level security clearance, but our personnel database is not something I can 'hack' into. Tim and Auggie tried their hand at it and happy to announce that they struck out."
Ziva sent Tim, Tony, Annie and Auggie to Abby's lab to talk about DNA analysis. All knew it was for a 'Mossad' moment and didn't argue.
Eyal whispered, "Ziva, you just cleared the house, what's up?"
Ziva turned towards Sharon, "You still have Daddy Eli's skeleton key?"
Shooting Ziva a pair of smiling eyes, she said, "Guessing you cleared it with the man? (Ziva nodded)."
In less than 15 minutes, Sharon was in Mossad's database. With Eyal's help, she narrowed it down to about 1 700 people and it took a mere 10 minutes to get multiple hits and, as expected, a three on three hit for the designated targets. The three Mossad officers had 'twins' in the Mossad ranks. One was a supply officer, another a recruiting agent and the last, a cafeteria worker. All had died of a massive coronary some 20 to 36 months prior.
Eyal swore, "It's definitely their way of operating. Well done girls! I need to speak to Rivka. Mossad also has a breach of security we didn't completely drill down on. I'll join Gibbs."
Taking Ziva by the shoulders, he warned, "Ziva, you exposed your friend. I won't be able to fence off Rivka for Sharon's doing. Find a solution for me not be forced to give Sharon away to the upper ranks. She's going to lose that skeleton key if I do. Would prefer we keep it might be useful in this mission."
Ziva rapidly replied, "Don't worry, Rivka won't ask, it's way over her head. Sorry, but you will not be able to play with that tool, ever! My father chose 'a guardian' for a reason. Sharon is, in a way, Mossad's safe person as I am MI-6's. Let's say we are, as Tony would say, 'Designated Survivors'. (Eyal's eyes rounded in surprise.) Our agencies trust us to use that tool in dead-end situations only. This mission has the needed factors, we both did our due diligence. Don't worry Eyal; if I came out with it, I had the necessary authorizations to go ahead. You, Mr. Lavin, are now in a circle of trust not many at the Mossad have… You've just climbed over Rivka's head! She's still your boss, but you have access to proprietor information in your agency."
Eyal shot Ziva a quizzical look, "Can I…"
Both girls replied, "Need to know, you don't need to know!"
He knew better than to further the discussion. Those two were a special project of the late Eli David and Chief Jackson. They held secrets he'd never be part of. Strangely, Eyal liked that Sharon was at his level as a spy. The woman was growing on him. Sadly, there was a huge stumbling block; she was MI-6 and he Mossad. 'Well, we might be sick of each other after this mission is finished. I should not lose time dwelling of what could be and the problems it could bring!'
With Abby as head of the train, the rest of the group returned. Looking up, Annie winked at Eyal! Shaking his head and his finger at her but still, he playfully winked back before joining Vance and Gibbs. Leaving the kids to question and play!
It was supper time when Gibbs and Eyal rejoined them.
Gibbs spoke, "Go home and take the time to settle your affairs and covertly prepare your entourage (except close family) of your possible absence. Not a word about the cover Eyal previously mentioned. Your respective agencies will settle matters with your families, do not read them in. Make the most of these 48 hours, sadly, my gut is telling me it will be needed."
Tony whispered to Sharon, "The Gut never lies!"
Tony and Ziva left hand in hand as did Auggie and Annie. Tim, Abby and Gibbs escorted Sharon and Eyal out.
Gibbs asked, "You two have plans for the night?"
Sharon spoke, "I have kids that I need to speak to. Robert gave me permission to tell that them I'll be missing in action. Can't give them details but they will know I'm going dark. It's been a long time since they had to deal with that sort of mission. I'll be spending my downtime with them."
Gibbs approved as he said, "Family must always be a priority. Do you need a ride?"
Eyal rapidly added, too rapidly, "I'll get her home, don't worry!"
Gibbs smiled, "I bet you will…"
Pushing Eyal away from Sharon, Gibbs added, "Lavin, get her home. She has kids to prepare for her absence, now is not the time to cash in that 'raincheck' you have!"
Surprised by the fact that Gibbs knew of their raincheck an annoyed Eyal answered,
"Gibbs, I'm not a teenager blinded by love! I know damn well what her priorities are and I don't plan/expect to be part of the equation!"
"Oh, Lavin, it won't be your move to call! Just be careful how you handle these next 12 hours. I'll be waiting for you in MTAC at 0700, don't be late."
Gibbs left with a smile that irritated Eyal. "That guy seems to know more about my future than I! Tony must be right about 'The Gut'. Lavin, guard yourself. Gibbs words annoyed you, but he's right; don't mess with Sharon's head. She has her kids to prepare for her absence and you don't fit anywhere in that picture. Give her a ride home and retreat to your apartment. A good book and a glass of wine are waiting for you!"
Closing the door to their home, Tony and Ziva let themselves fall into the sofa.
Tony was the first to speak, "Ziva, how are you coping?"
Looking at him, she decided that it was time she shared her fears,
Tony face fell, it was a first. He had expected her usual answer, 'Been there, done that. I'll be OK.'
He responded, "Ziva, I don't want to rock the boat and you to clam up, but could you tell me why 'the Ninja warrior' hasn't resurfaced?"
"Because I value and want to keep what I/we have worked hard to obtain. Tony, I still need yours and Gibbs support to accept that I can have some kind of normality in my life. I'm scared, no … I know that if I join Eyal's team in Europe; I will again become the Kidon Ninja Warrior. Tony, I love you and have succeeded in simplifying my life. Maybe baby steps but you, Gibbs, our team/family are my boundaries'. I still need all of you."
Tony was lost for words. For Ziva to admit that she didn't feel ready for an assignment was a huge step forward. That made him remember Gibbs and Eyal's words, 'If you have a valid reason for changing the teams, we will listen.' Not wanting to keep his thoughts from Ziva, he admitted,
"Ziva, think you have a valid reason for us to go to Gibbs and ask that you be assigned to team Gibbs."
"Tony, I can't. Gibbs and Eyal did a great job of balancing the two teams. Mentally I might not be at my best, but my place is with Eyal's team. It won't be a first for me entering a mission with a blurred mind. I can perform, just have to shut…"
"I don't want to risk losing the Ziva I'm getting to know. I like what I'm seeing and would love more. You, going to Europe might stop that progression…. maybe permanently. Ziva, I can't/we can't risk that. Leave me talk to Gibbs, please … for us?"
Ziva hesitated, but finally agreed, "OK, but we go together. I prefer seeing Gibbs and Eyal's faces. If I detect that my demand is a problem, promise to permit me to back track."
"Don't like it, but I agree. You feel you are putting them in a bind, the teams stay as they are."
Tony knew the step Ziva had taken was huge and he, in return, had to give her some leeway to control the outcome of the discussion they were going to have with Gibbs and Eyal.
"Promise to follow your lead and to do my best not to argue if Gibbs doesn't see it our way."
Ziva shot Tony a pair of warning eyes!
Tony called Gibbs and they agreed to meet at Gibbs home. On the way there, Tony knew Ziva was having second thoughts. He risked asking,
"You thinking about changing your mind?"
"Yes, no … just don't know. Never thought being 'normal' could be this hard. It's easier just accepting a mission and forging through it!"
"At what cost? Yes, making life decisions can be hard and even frightening. It's called living your life, Ziva. A robot executes orders…"
"Still, not at all at ease with changing a mission protocol … it's a first for me, Tony."
"And I hope not a last. Ziva, you have a right to express your opinions, your fears and needs. Gibbs, on the other hand, has a right to accept or deny your demand. Eyal told us that if we had valid reasons, changes could be made. Love, your request is, in my opinion, a number one priority! We are talking about your … our life."
Gibbs was waiting for them. As he was guiding them towards the living room he said,
"Eyal will be here shortly. Think my call sabotaged his plans or shortened them!"
Ziva's eyes opened wide and she was about to speak when they heard a knock at the door. Gibbs called out to enter. Eyal wasn't alone. Sharon Welby was by his side.
Sharon spoke, "Mr. Gibbs, we were caught in traffic when we received your call. Easier/simpler for Eyal to take the next exit and for me to call a cab."
She was about to do just that when Gibbs took her hand and guided her to sit near Ziva.
"Don't bother, your approval might be needed at one point. Ziva, do you mind if Sharon stays."
Ziva shyly answered, "She part of our team, it's OK."
Eyal looked at Gibbs, he explained, "Eyal, Ziva wants to speak to us. Ziva?"
Ziva explained where she was at and her need for boundaries at this time. When she asked to stay with Gibbs's team, Eyal advance and held both her hands as he said,
"Ziva David, this is quite a coming out!" He pulled her towards him and whispered, 'Admire your courage, wish I could do the same at times! Well done little sister!'
Eyal's words brought tears to Ziva's eyes. Gibbs kissed her forehead and added,
"Never regret taking decisions for your well-being. You need your family/team around you, we will be there for you!"
Turning towards Sharon, Gibbs asked, "Sharon, you are Ziva's 'twin'. Do you accept to switch teams? You two know firsthand how heads of agencies operate. We might need that experience at some point. Prefer having one director's daughter on each team."
"Yes, don't see any reasons not to. Ziva, you did well to speak out. I'm 100% behind you and proud of my friend! It's time you stood up for yourself. First time I've ever witnessed you putting 'YOU' first!"
Tony put his arms around Ziva and she cuddled into him. Gibbs closed his eyes and asked Eyal to step out with him.
"Eyal, I asked Sharon's opinion. Do you have a problem with having her on your team?"
"None whatsoever. We need one director's daughter on each team. They have proprietary information that, I'm sure, we will, at one point need."
"OK, that's settled. How do we deal with the lovers' pairing this move is creating?"
"Gibbs, I can guarantee Ziva and Tony being lovers will not interfere with the work that will need to be done."
Gibbs smiled and looked sideways at Eyal, "Not talking about Tony and Ziva… I'll be watching Tony; Ziva, I trust will be up to the task. You, on the other hand, I don't know how you'll work with Sharon."
"Gibbs, Sharon and I are not an item."
"YET, being the missing but operative word. Eyal, need to hear it from the horse's mouth; Can you objectively work with Sharon Welby?"
"Yes. Have a question; why are you not worried about Sharon working with me?"
"Simple; it won't be a problem for Sharon. She's worked with her daughter, sister and father. I know she can pull it off. You, on the other hand, will protect your loves ones at all cost. You're not ready to admit it but, Lavin, you are falling for her. Take it from experience, once a red head gets into your mind, it's hard to flush her out."
Eyal looked at Gibbs and asked, "From experience?"
Chuckling Gibbs answered, "Married four, dated many. What can I say, they have much of what I look for in a woman. Eyal, I trust you have enough experience to navigate your boat to port, just wanted to warn you that it might, at one point, be hard for you to take the helm."
"Thanks for the advice, I'll keep it in mind." He smiled and added, "Four…"
Gibbs smirked and answered, "Yes ... four and if ever there's a fifth, it will be a red head. Eyal, I'm not kidding … in a way there was a fifth; a spy, as Sharon. I got involved with her and let my feelings for her get in the way of the job at hand. It took some years, but my negligence caught up to us…"
"You talking about Director Jenny Shepard?"
"Yes, you knew her?"
"No, only what Ziva told me of her and the rumor of her 'death'." Eyal shot Gibbs an 'I know' look and Gibbs nodded.
Gibbs concluded, "Eyal, just be carefu."
As Eyal pulled into Sharon's driveway, he stopped the car, caught her hand and gave it a quick kiss. She surprised him by pulling on his jacket. They kissed but he rapidly broke it off,
"Sharon, don't. You have 48 hours to smother your kids with motherly love, don't waste time with me."
"Eyal, I lied to Gibbs. As you know, MP is a spy and already in the loop on what I'm facing. Robert saw to that. She'll be acting as a worried daughter. My daughter was tasked with the mission of fortifying our cover and badmouthing you in the process! She'll be the one putting the chatter in the different agencies grapevine. MP is part of our mission. That's how I knew so much when you were preparing the team for the next 48 hours. Gibbs will be read-in by Vance and Robert, probably tomorrow. Kevin is presently with my uncle John in our country home. He's safe and far away from any action. He knows his mother is in some sort of mission and we had our goodbye moment. Eyal, I come from a spy family plus my father is head of MI-6; we've been down this road before."
"Sharon, we … not the time for us to, damn…"
"Hey, why not? I'm attracted to you and by what I'm feeling, you are to me. I have 48 hours to settle the homefront and most of it has already been taken care of. I would like to take this evening and maybe the night for us to 'get it out of our system'. Promise, no strings attached. We both know it will happen at one point, better now than in Europe."
"Your father is head of MI-6, I can't… Sharon, I/we cannot let this happen … want to… You know if I enter there will be no turning back."
"My father is not my keeper. Je suis majeure et vaccinée, cher Monsieur ! (old enough to take care of myself)"
"You, Mrs. Welby, are subverting the devil in me. Hell, straight facts; you're MI-6, I'm Mossad!"
"Don't tell me you never slept with a spy from a foreign agency!"
"Yes, and you damn well know it! I'm a player but…."
"I can't explain why in the hell I'm having this conversation with you. I'm not in the habit of second guessing my actions, maybe because your father is Chief of that 'foreign agency', I don't know…."
"He's not my biological father … but he's Robin's! You didn't ask questions with her… Maybe it's me… I can accept that I'm not your type, Eyal."
That was enough. He opened the door, closed it and practically assaulted Sharon. She seemed to want to speak but it was MP who interrupted them.
"Gees, second time for me to be your voice of reason! Guys, know you two are on a tight schedule, but can it wait a couple of minutes? Eyal, I need to speak to mom before I leave for my 'weekend'. Would like to read her in on my protocol concerning this strange mission of yours. Promise, I'll give her back in the same 'mood'."
Eyal closed his eyes and bowed his head as he whispered to Sharon, "Why didn't you tell me your daughter was waiting for you!"
"Tried but you jumped the gun. It's all or nothing with you as I can see!"
Turning towards MP, Sharon pointed to a room, asked Eyal to make himself comfortable in the living room while she joined her daughter.
Alone, Eyal thought of leaving Sharon a note and retreating to his apartment. It would be the proper thing to do, but again his devil was winning against his logical angel!
'Damn, Gibbs's warnings are playing with my mind and he's right; my emotions are getting the better of me. Lavin, guard yourself, red head or not, Sharon is affecting your usual way of being! Will need to talk more to Gibbs!'
Sharon returned with a platter of cheeses and wines.
He tasted the wine and approved. "See MI-6 has taught you the art of choosing the right wine and pairing it with appropriate cheeses… Good techniques for honey-trapping, Officer Welby? Damn, I can't make as if nothing happened. How did MP react to her witnessing me practically rapping her mother?"
Sharon smiled, "Eyal, it takes two to tango. My girl is a junior spy and saw that her mother was part of the action she witnessed. Don't get me wrong; I'm not in the habit of displaying my love life in front of my kids. Please don't laugh, but since Dave and I divorced a bit more than a year ago, no date has been invited to my home. MP was more surprised at my actions than yours. She's been pushing for me to get back on the dating scene. She and Annie are on the same mission, they pair up at times!"
Laughing at Eyal's face, she continued, "She said: It took you long enough, but be careful, he's the kind of guy that will need to be kept on a short leash! Leave it to you to take your good old time to finally hook up with a stallion from a rival herd!"
Eyal bit his lips, "Oh that statement is doing wonders for me getting back in the 'mood'. Think I should move out and settle for a book and a glass of wine, solo, in my apartment."
"MP is gone! You surely 'performed' in worst situations! Am I that bad or again … just not your type?"
Taking her hand and placing it to his heart, he admitted, "You're right; you are not my usual type, but for some reason, I'm attracted to you! Sharon, let's get this straight; I'm a player. I'm attracted to women and women are attracted to me. Always respect my dates, but never plan on sticking around long enough for strings to get knotted. My profession doesn't mix well with relationships and at this time in my life…"
"Eyal, I'm somewhat in the same situation. I'm not a player, never was, but as you, don't want a lover at this time. My way of life ruined one marriage and hurt a wonderful man. Surely not going to let that happen again. But you, Sir, are playing with my mind in such a subtle way. Just can't explain how and why!"
He interrupted her, "It's not voluntary, please…"
Smiling, she lightly touched his face, "I know. Look, I don't want to enter this mission with my head as fuc_ed up as it is now. Why don't we leave our feelings get the better of the wall we built, just for one night? Can't do much harm in exploring unknown territories, we're 'spooks'!"
He took her glass of wine and deposited both glasses on the table. Turning towards her, he whispered,
"Care to guide me to a safer place? Keep looking over my shoulder for MP or a friend to show up!"
Laughing, she guided him to her room as she whispered, "Now you're talking…"
Taking her face in his hands, he whispered, "Sorry, no talking in my plan!"
It was early morning when Eyal's phone rang. Rapidly picking it up, he looked at the time. It was Gibbs.
"Gibbs, it's 0500, what's up. We were to meet at 0700!"
"Get up, get dressed and tell your red head partner to do the same! Robert Jackson just landed and hell just froze over. All are notified, sorry to disturb your afterglow!"
And that was the end of the call. Turning, he came face to face with a worried Sharon,
"My father just landed and dropped a load of tosh on the situation. Eyal, we are expected at MTAC, ASAP!"
"Gibbs just told me. Your father always keep you this rapidly looped in!"
Smiling, she admitted, "Yes, and it may help us at some point."
Turning towards him, "Hey, it happened … how are you feeling?"
It was his turn to smile, "Good enough for me to want it to happen again, but for now; work is calling, get dressed!"
He quickly kissed her as he went to look for their scattered clothes.
To be continued.