Disclaimer: I own nothing
A/N: Hey guys this chapter is twice as long as the last one so I hope you like. A word out to you guys this story is not going to be like all of the other NCIS fics roaming around, it is going to be case oriented not just Tiva all around, don't get me wrong Tony and Ziva will play a major part. And so all of you know, as it will become apparent in this chapter Ziva did NOT leave NCIS because of Tony or because she was pregnant, she left for different reasons and in my opinion, more realistic ones.
Chapter 2: She's got a Secret
While the rest of NCIS was gossiping over the turn of events and Ziva's return, Gibbs was going about business as usual with the first stop: autopsy.
"What do you have Duck?" Gibbs asked as he walked into the morgue, coffee cup in hand. The body of Lt. Manderson was laid out and cut open to reveal the organs of the dead Marine.
"Jethro, won't you even give me a courtesy 'hello' before you ask me about the case?" Ducky asked, still bending over the body.
"Hello, what do you have?" Gibbs asked again deadpan.
Ducky smiled, "Well, as I suspected our Lt. Manderson died from a gunshot wound to the head, it hit the optic nerve before shattering the back of his skull and hitting the wall behind him. Death was instantaneous." He turned back to his friend, "Is it true that this man is suspected of kidnapping a child?"
Gibbs nodded, "It looks that way."
"Yes well that would explain the little pink barrette I found in his pocket," Ducky explained, "I had Mr. Palmer bring it down to Abby."
"Beyond the warning signs of high cholesterol I'm afraid Lt. Manderson isn't telling me anything else relevant to your case, at least nothing apparent yet," Ducky told him, "Is it true that the missing child is Ziva's daughter?"
Gibbs smiled, "I forgot how quickly word spreads around here."
"It isn't that Jethro," Ducky began, "the situation just reminds me of a time in Scotland Yard when an investigator returned after a few years absence…"
"I've got to run Ducky," Gibbs told him as he left autopsy in a hurry.
"Oh," Ducky muttered disappointed turning to the body, "perhaps you'll enjoy this, you see this investigator's, now ex wife, had been keeping a little secret from him…"
Music was blaring as usual from Abby's lab, dressed in black from head to toe; the forensic scientist was looking at the picture on her computer screen while McGee was on another computer looking through files.
"She looks just like Ziva," Abby exclaimed, the picture of Tali was illuminated in front of her, "they have the same hair and eyes."
"I know," McGee said, "it doesn't give us much to go on."
Abby laughed, "Don't tell me, you and Tony are analyzing the picture to figure out who the father is."
McGee looked at her sheepishly and then asked, "She didn't tell you anything did she?"
Abby shook her head, "in fact, I e-mail her once a week and she never even told me that she had a daughter."
McGee's eyebrows rose, "Maybe she has something to hide."
"Are you two done gossiping?" Gibbs asked, "Or do I need to smack some sense into both of you?"
"Aw Gibbs, we're just talking," Abby smiled.
"Why don't you talk about what you've found?" Gibbs suggested.
"Okay," Abby began, "I ran the blood on the Band Aid against the DNA I found on the toothbrush Ziva gave me, the results will be back in a few hours. But, I can tell you that the blood type on the Band Aid is AB positive which is Tali's blood type."
"The bullet that Tony pulled out of the wall was a .22, it's in good shape so if you give me something to compare it to I can match it."
"I found a print on each of the glasses that you gave me but…"
"What is it Abs?" Gibbs asked.
She looked at him apologetically, "my connection to AFIS is down so it will take me a while before I get a match…but my MIT grad is working on the problem." She turned back to Gibbs, "I can tell you something weird about the prints though."
Abby held up one of the glasses, "You see this, there is one perfect thumbprint on here…but there aren't any other prints or DNA. That's impossible Gibbs, when you pick up a glass to drink you have to leave prints from your other fingers," Abby explained and then she smiled, "Unless you do this." Abby used one of her gloved hands to pick up a glass; she then pressed her thumb on the glass and then set it back down.
"The prints were left there deliberately," Gibbs finished before her.
"Abby I need those prints run now…"
"I told you Gibbs, it's going to take a while, and I'll probably get the DNA results back before I get them."
Gibbs looked her in the eye, "Abby if they are deliberately leaving prints it means they are in the system, they want us to know who they are."
Tony was busy at his desk, tossing paper balls into McGee's wastebasket. Ziva was standing at her old desk pacing, every few seconds she would stop and sit and flip through some papers only to stand back up again. Tony grinned, "You really are a mother, look at you standing there all worried; it's nice to see some emotion."
"Really, I can see you haven't changed at all," Ziva remarked, "how can you sit there amusing yourself when my daughter is missing?"
"Easy, Gibbs is on the case," Tony explained, "you know Gibbs would never let anything happen to your daughter."
Ziva softened, "I know, it doesn't keep me from worrying though."
"Stop it," Tony told her, "it will give you wrinkles…or so my stepmother said."
"This isn't a joke Tony."
"I know that," Tony said, "I also know that worrying isn't going to get you anywhere, it is the actions you're taking now that counts."
Ziva smiled at him a little, "Thanks Tony."
He smiled back at her, "I'd offer you a hug but with our history…that might be awkward."
"It's alright," Ziva told him, "I'll be fine."
"Are you two done?" Gibbs asked, both of them turned around to see him, "Good, DiNozzo did you…"
"I checked his phone records and found something interesting," Tony began, "he's been talking regularly to Brandon Wistern of the Wistern family. His grandfather is the guy who invented the twist ties for garbage bags and bread."
"Well boss, he has a private plane and I checked and it just returned from Israel."
Gibbs tossed the keys to Tony, "Gas the truck and we'll go talk to him."
Ziva stepped in front of Gibbs, "I know what you are going to say but let me speak first, I want to go and you are going to tell me that that is impossible, yes? This is my child involved here and I want to do something besides sit around," she continued, "I promise that I will not hurt anyone."
"I know you won't," Gibbs told her, "because before you come with us, you are going to give me your weapons."
But he just gave her his infamous stare; Ziva sighed and handed over her side arm and her back up. "At least let me keep my knife."
Gibbs smiled, "Fair enough."
An hour later the three of them were getting out at a plush mansion, "For the last time Tony, yes I have pictures from when I was pregnant and no, you cannot see them!" Ziva yelled.
"I just want a visual," Tony explained, "You see I can't picture you pregnant and I need proof."
"I had morning sickness for three months and craved apples, is that enough for you?" Ziva asked annoyed.
"You just want to see if you can find some blackmail," Ziva said, "Abby told me about that picture you found of Kate."
Tony grinned, "Yeah that was a good picture."
"She also showed the picture that Kate had her make of you," Ziva shot back.
Now Tony sobered, "That never happened."
Gibbs was fed up, he slapped Tony on the back of the head, and "DiNozzo get back to work."
A maid answered the door when they knocked and led them outside to the pool, already Tony was drooling over the establishment. "Did you see the entertainment system? Spielberg would be jealous!"
"Tony, shut your pot hole!"
"Its pie hole Ziva," Tony corrected.
She shook her head and followed Gibbs to the young man lounging by the pool, "Brandon Wistern?" Gibbs asked.
"Depends on who's asking," he replied, he lowered his sun glasses to get a better look at Ziva, "for you I'll be whoever you want me to be." He flashed an arrogant smile at her. Ziva was obviously not amused.
Gibbs showed him his badge, "I'm Special Agent Gibbs, NCIS, and this is Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo and Officer Ziva David"
"We're here to talk about your friend Lt. John Manderson," Tony explained.
"What's happened to John?"
"He's dead," Ziva told him frankly.
"Dead? How?" Brandon asked clearly surprised.
"He was murdered yesterday," Gibbs told him, "We saw that he was talking to you on a regular basis."
"We have been best friends since we met at school," Brandon explained, "My dad sent me to a military school to 'learn something', he continued on with Navy after graduation but we were still close friends."
"Close enough for him to borrow your private plane?" Gibbs asked.
Brandon leaned back suspiciously, "Why do you want to know?"
"Lt. Manderson is under suspicion of kidnapping an Israeli child." Gibbs told him, "and your plane has just returned from a trip to Israel."
"You see where we are going here?" Tony asked.
Brandon sighed, "Alright, I let John borrow the plane; he said that he needed it for something important and I didn't see anything wrong with it." He turned to Gibbs, "If I had any idea that he was planning to kidnap a child I certainly would have stopped him." Brandon looked back to Tony, "Is that all."
"Just one more question," Gibbs asked, "Where were you around 8:00 last night?"
Brandon leaned back confidently, "I was on a yacht with about 20 other people celebrating a friend's birthday, I can give you their names if you'd like?"
Tony nodded, "You do that."
Later at Abby's lab Tony reported the results of his interviews, "Wistern's alibi checked out, I stopped after ten people reported seeing him on the yacht."
"I'm not surprised," Ziva said entering the lab, "he's too soft to have committed murder."
"Ziva!!!" Abby shrieked and hugged her friend, then pushed her away, "I talk to you every week how could you not tell me you had a daughter?!"
Ziva sighed, "I know and I'm sorry Abby, I just wanted to avoid uncomfortable questions."
"Who's the father?"
She shook her head, "Questions like that."
"Under any other circumstances I would be mad at you," Abby explained, "but right now I feel bad for you so it's okay." Abby hugged her again, "It will be okay Ziva, because Gibbs will find her."
"I know Abby," Ziva told her, "and thanks."
Tony grinned, "All we need now are some candles and edible body lotion."
"DiNozzo," Gibbs chastised as he slapped Tony on the back of the head. He turned to Abby, "You got anything for me?" he asked as he handed her a Caf-Pow
"I sure do," Abby said, "First the DNA results are back and the blood on the Band Aid defiantly came from Tali. Next, my wonderful McGee fixed my connection to AFIS."
"Does that mean you have a match?"
"Relax Gibbs, matches take time, it'll be a couple hours."
Gibbs looked at her, "Do you have anything new?"
Abby smiled at him, "Yes, something that will make you happy," she turned to her computer and pulled up a video on the plasma. "Mossad sent me the security video of Tali being kidnapped," Abby explained.
The grainy video clearly showed a uniformed Lt. Manderson half dragging Tali onto the private plane. Ziva bit her lip and looked down at the ground, hating what she was seeing.
"Alright, tell me what I'm seeing." Gibbs told her.
"Well, if you look through the open door of the plane you can see a shadowy figure waiting inside," Abby continued, "I enhanced it and look who is sitting on the plane."
The enlarged clip showed a rough image of Brandon Wistern looking out of the plane door.
"Obviously he knew something about what his friend was doing with his plane," Tony said, "but what would he want with Tali?"
"I don't know DiNozzo, why don't we go ask him that." Gibbs suggested, "Get the truck ready so we can bring him in for interrogation."
The Tony, Ziva and McGee left for the elevator and Gibbs was about to join them when Abby called out, "Gibbs wait…I have to tell you something, it's important."
"What is it Abs?" He asked walking back to her.
"Alright, well I was curious and I know it isn't right but Ziva was hiding something and I knew it had something to do with Tali," Abby explained.
"What did you do?"
She looked at him sheepishly, "I ran Tali's DNA in CODIS to see if there were any close hits, you know how kids will have half of their parent's DNA."
Gibbs nodded, "And?"
"Well I got a hit," Abby told him, "I got this."
Abby pulled up the screen and showed him the perfect match. Gibbs studied the results, his eyes betraying no emotion. Understanding where her secrecy came from.
"What do I do Gibbs?" Abby asked painfully.
"Don't tell anyone Abby," Gibbs told her, "just keep it to yourself for now."
Unfortunately for Gibbs bringing in the heir to multimillion dollar fortune brings in the director's interest and he still need to report to her even if she was his wife.
Ziva was as anxious ever now, "That bastard helped kidnap my daughter and we have to wait for politics!"
"I know it sucks doesn't it," Tony agreed, "You have any idea why this guy would want your daughter."
"No Tony, I don't," Ziva explained, "I never met the man before today."
"Could he know someone you know?" McGee asked.
"Yeah, like say…Tali's father?" Tony asked hopefully.
Ziva covered her face with her hands and shook her head frustrated, "Not this again!"
"I'm just curious."
"No, you're obsessed," Ziva explained, "You're not going to give up until I tell you are you? You're like one of those annoying gnats I can't seem to get rid of!"
"Nice analogy," Tony said sarcastically, "but yeah something like that."
"Alright!" Ziva exclaimed, "I'll tell you." McGee and Tony surrounded her in a split second, "Tali's father is another Mossad Officer, he and I were in a relationship before I joined NCIS. After I returned to Tel Aviv we rekindled our romance and Tali was the result," Ziva told them sadly, "he died four years ago in a Hamas suicide bombing; Tali doesn't remember him." She turned back to her friends, "Are you satisfied now?"
"Ziva I'm so sorry," McGee told her.
"So am I Timothy," Ziva said, "Now can we please move on?"
Tony turned to McGee, "Probie, go get the truck ready for Gibbs when he comes back," he said tossing him the keys.
Once he was gone Tony turned to Ziva, "So this guy…how long after you got back to Israel did two start things up?"
"I don't know the exact number of days Tony," Ziva explained annoyed, "but I'd say within a month."
"Did you tell him about us?"
"What us Tony?" Ziva asked, "If you are referring to that one mistake then no I did not tell him about us. Why, have you told every girl you've dated since I left about us?"
"That's different," Tony explained, "you're not supposed to tell casual dates about your past women."
Ziva looked at him, "Does it bother you that I had another relationship? Or are you just arrogant enough to believe I pined for you for the last five years?"
Tony smiled at her suggestively, "Did you?"
"Yes," Ziva told him, "not a day went by where I didn't think about jumping on a plane and coming back to America so I could do this." With those words Ziva grabbed the hand on the desk and gave a slight twist, and suddenly Tony was on his knees in pain.
"Unhand my agent Ziva," Gibbs told her coming down the stairs from Jenny's office, "I'll need him to pick up Wistern."
"I'll need my weapons if we're going to bring him in," Ziva told Gibbs.
"No you don't," Gibbs replied.
Ziva couldn't hide her surprise, "Gibbs if he tries to run…"
Gibbs interrupted, "You won't need your weapons because you're not coming with us."
"No Ziva," He explained, "You will not be going there as an officer working a case, you will be going there as a mother confronted the man who helped kidnap her child. You can't go with us Ziva."
"McGee's with the truck," Tony explained, "We can meet him down there."
"Yeah," Gibbs acknowledged his senior agent. He turned back to the disappointed Ziva, "I need you to check for any suspicious activity concerning Wistern."
Ziva knew he was giving her desk work to keep her busy; she appreciated his concern, "Alright Gibbs," she said without protest and sat down at her old desk.
Gibbs met up with Tony at the elevator, when he stepped on Tony spoke, "Good job keeping Ziva at bay, otherwise he'd be dead before he could stand up."
Gibbs didn't respond, he pushed the stop button on the elevator and turned to Tony, "Why don't you tell me why you broke rule twelve."
Tony's eyes widened realizing what Gibbs meant, "You overheard Ziva and me talking…"
"No, DiNozzo," Gibbs told him, "You two can't look each other in the eye, I've seen that look and I know what it means."
Tony sighed, "It was a one time thing boss, the night before she left," Tony explained, "I went over there to try and stop her from going back to Israel, we got into a fight and it just happened…I don't know maybe… I was just trying to give her a reason to stay."
"It wouldn't have worked," Gibbs told him, "I could have told you that."
"Well I know boss, she still left." Tony flinched expecting a head slap.
"No," Gibbs explained, "She had to leave; she felt it was her obligation to go. Nothing you could have done would have stopped her. What you did was give her a reason stay away."
"What should I have done then?"
"It doesn't matter now," Gibbs told him and restarted the elevator. Then he spoke up, "You see this is why rule twelve exists."
Tony was confused, "to keep me from screwing up?"
"No," Gibbs exclaimed, "to keep me from talking with my team about their love lives!"
"Mr. Palmer," Ducky said to his assistant, "please make sure that Cpl. Harrison's remains are loaded unto the truck, don't let the mortuary just throw him into the back like last time."
"No problem Dr. Mallard," Jimmy answered, looking up from his text book. His finals were next week, as graduation was coming up next month.
Ducky looked down at the body on the table, "Don't let him know this but I will miss him when he goes, I do hope he'll keep in contact."
"I'm sure he will," Ziva asked from the doorway, "a wonderful friend like you is sure to be missed."
Ducky smiled at the young woman, "Well I suppose all of those postcards from you were lost."
"I'm sorry Ducky, I just…I was afraid if I kept too close of contact I would realize what I missed," Ziva admitted.
"Well my dear, you were sorely missed by everyone here," Ducky explained shutting the drawer, "and I hear that we missed some important events in your life as well…your daughter is quite lovely."
"Thank you Ducky," she smiled but became somber, "I actually wanted to see Lt. Manderson's body."
"Why would you want to do that my dear?"
"I wanted to see the face of the man who took my daughter," Ziva explained.
"To make it real I suppose," Ducky finished, he walked over to a particular drawer and pulled it out to reveal the Lieutenant, "He's going to the crematorium in the morning."
Ziva stared at the dead man's face for a long time; with his eyes closed he looked almost peaceful and asleep. She'd been denied the chance to ask why, to seek revenge or even fully understand this man's motivations. To Ziva's surprise seeing the man dead did nothing to stop the ache in her heart, the pain she felt ever since she learned that Tali had been ripped from her. How could she, Ziva David, let this man take her daughter away? Against her will, a tear slid down her cheek only to be brushed away quickly, but not fast enough for Ducky not to see.
"Oh my dear, what is wrong?" he asked grasping her hand.
"It's nothing," Ziva told him, "I'm just tired."
Ducky stared at her quizzically, "You feel responsible don't you? That all of this is somehow your fault."
Ziva smiled a little, "You still know how to psychoanalyze me Ducky." She looked around, "Everything looks the same but so much has changed, Abby and McGee, Gibbs with the Director…I missed all of it."
"Then why did you stay away?" Ducky asked, "I understand why you left, you believed your father needed you and it was a noble act indeed, but you could have come back, why didn't you?"
"I just couldn't, not with everything that happened, in Israel I was…free," Ziva explained, realizing too late that she might have said too much.
"Free from what?" Ducky asked, Ziva didn't say anything just looked at him with fearful eyes and Ducky knew exactly what she was escaping from. "Oh, I see." He looked into her eyes, "You shouldn't run and hide from him Ziva, even if it hurts you to be so near, you cannot sacrifice what is right just for the sake of your own peace, those are the thoughts of a selfish child."
"I didn't do anything wrong," Ziva told him, even though her conscience nagged at her for lying.
"Yes my dear," Ducky told her, "I believe you did."
The first thing Brandon Wistern did in interrogation was ask for his attorney. Gibbs sat down and opened the file in front of him, "Sure, but first I want to know why you kidnapped a five year old girl."
"I didn't do anything," Brandon said, "I had no idea what John was doing, I just let him borrow a plane, is that a crime?"
"No, but aiding and abetting in kidnapping is," Gibbs told him.
"I didn't do that!"
Gibbs pulled a photo from the file, "This is your friend Lt. Manderson kidnapping an Israeli child."
"Alright, I'm sorry that my friend was involved," Brandon told him, "but it is not my fault!"
"Our forensic expert was able to enhance the tape, she found something interesting," Gibbs pulled out another photo from the file, "you sitting on the plane as your friend brought on that little girl."
"This is some sort of trick," Brandon said, "I mean I didn't…"
"Yes you did," Gibbs interrupted, "you didn't let your friend borrow the plane, you went with him. Was it your idea? Just something fun to do on the weekend?" Gibbs leaned in close and whispered, "Her name is Tali, and her grandfather is the director of Mossad. Her mother is a Mossad Officer who specializes in assassinations and right now I am the only thing keeping her from coming in here and performing acts that you've never dreamed of, pain beyond your imagination. Now tell me where is Tali?"
Brandon glared at Gibbs, "I want my lawyer."
At that moment Tony poked his head in, "Boss, I need to speak with you."
Outside Gibbs confronted him, "DiNozzo, what is so important that you had to interrupt my interrogation?!"
"Abby found something, she says it is important, she says it may help," Tony explained.
A few minutes later they were all assembled in Abby's lab, "Gibbs I have a 'whoopee' and an 'oh no'."
"What is it Abs?" Gibbs asked a little exasperated.
"Whoopee, the results from AFIS came back," Abby explained.
"Oh no, you are not going to like them," Abby continued as she pulled up the results on the plasma, "One is Abdul Hakim…"
"I know him!" Ziva announced, "he's a terrorist from Hamas, he's suspected of blowing up the market in Tel Aviv, he kill twenty-three people. My father almost caught him in Pakistan, but he escaped they believe to France. He's behind this?"
"Maybe," Abby said, "but there is more," she pulled up the other result, "The other one is…"
"Matthew Seaver, converted to Islam in prison and changed his name to Mohammed Kader," Gibbs finished, "I caught him trying to destroy a cruiser bringing men home from Iraq four years ago…he escaped to France."
"Both of them were in France," Tony said, "both of their fingerprints were at the scene."
Gibbs voiced aloud what they were all thinking, "They're in this together."
A/N: I had to end it on a cliff hanger, it's just one of those moments where the foof is so apparent. Next chapter the search for Tali heats up with heartrenching results