Author's Note: Hey guys, it's been a little while since my last fic. It's very different from my other fics. Here's the deal on this one:
This fic contains spoilers and theories for the last 4 episodes of season 7. Possibly major spoilers if Shane Brennan and Assiello are giving us the straight truth. After reading several articles and opinions and such, this is my theory for the last 4 episodes. If you don't want to know about the spoilers, I'm telling you, don't read this. I'm not liable for anything. :) It's likely that everything I'm about to write doesn't show up in the finale episodes.
Disclaimer: I don't own NCIS or any of its characters. I don't even own the possible spoilers that may be revealed in this.
"What I wouldn't do for a pizza," Tony muttered as he stood blankly at his computer screen.
"Mmm… I am crazing a Philadelphia cheesesteak," Ziva added.
"Craving, Ziva," Tony corrected, looking over at her with his famous smile.
"Whatever," Ziva said, eyeing him. It was then that her phone rang.
"David," It was late night, or rather early morning, as they worked in the bullpen. They had been working an arms dealer case for the past three days, and the outcome wasn't looking good. A mysterious arms dealer had suddenly shown up on the market as the most powerful player in the illegal game. It wouldn't have been an NCIS case were it not for the petty officer who had been shot after asking too many questions of the dealer who he had a random encounter with at a shipping dock. The dealer had been working under the cover of a nonexistent import/export business. For all of the three days, Ziva had this strange feeling in her gut and uneasiness in her mind. Their primary suspect, Jacob Raviv, had suddenly disappeared as quickly as her had appeared.
"You have a visitor," Director Vance said.
"Who is it?" Ziva asked. It was nearing two in the morning and she hadn't been expecting anyone.
"Does the name Jacob Raviv mean anything to you?" Ziva nearly dropped her phone as she tried to call Gibbs who had gone out on a coffee run. Tony sat across from her, dozing peacefully as he longed in his chair. On the other side of the room McGee was typing slowly, trying to keep his eyes open as he stared at the screen.
"Gibbs, you will never believe who is here,"
Ziva walked up the stairs to the second floor, heading to the Director's office. Tony and Tim followed, now much more alert than before. Gibbs would meet them there, ready to interrogate the suspect who had fallen into their laps. It seemed too good to be true.
Turning a corner, Tony walked ahead of her, opening the door. He nearly choked when he saw who was standing in front of him. It couldn't be…
"Tony, move," Ziva snapped and she and McGee walked inside. An Israeli man stood on the other side of the room beside Vance, Gibbs having taken a seat on the couch. His face was less than friendly. "Michael?"
"Ziva," Michael rushed forth, placing a kiss on either cheek and took her hand.
"I thought you said Jacob Raviv was here," Ziva looked at Vance. A forced smile was on her face, and she was obviously flustered for many reasons
"He is," Gibbs said as he walked over to the group.
"Michael Rifkin," he offered his hand to Tony who shifted uncomfortably. This was the man he had found in a photo on Ziva's desk, just before her second trip to Israel. The man he had been jealous of. The man who had made him pull away from Ziva. The man Tony hated.
"I have been impersonating Jacob Raviv for a month now,"
"But Jacob Raviv hasn't even existed until three months ago. What happened to him?" McGee asked, confused.
"Mossad was running an investigation on Raviv nearly as soon as he made his first deal. The products were being used by someone much more powerful than he was, but we needed to find out who. Two months later, we discovered his location. Things escalated," Michael cleared his throat, as everyone knew what "escalated" meant. "Someone needed to play the part so we could find his buyer. I was chosen to do it; outside of the agency, that is,"
"Strange, Mossad isn't usually afraid to get their hands dirty," Tony remarked.
"We could not be publicly involved. Not in this one," Ziva's eyes widened and heart quickened. Tony could tell she suspected something, something more than what Michael was saying.
"So you were undercover?" McGee asked.
Michael coughed nervously. "Not exactly," Tony eyed him suspiciously, much like Gibbs was doing across from him. "You see, no one knew about this. I was the only one who knew that Raviv had died,"
"Wouldn't they know when they saw you?"
"You know how arms dealers are," Tony coughed nervously, recalling the La Grenuille operation from a year previously. McGee looked down. Ziva tried to make eye contact with Tony. "Public image is not a priority. Raviv was a bit of a… shut in. No one had seen him. Most of it was done through computers and such, but right before he died, he had been planning several public… appearances. If we lost Raviv we would lose the buyer," He explained. He looked over at Ziva with a smile. She grinned him in a way that made her look like she was in pain.
"Why did you come here?" Gibbs finally spoke up.
"I could not take the blame for Raviv's faults, especially not from the United States government. I had heard that NCIS was looking into things, and I knew Ziva would understand," He looked over at her with an endearing sort of expression. Ziva stared at the ground, refusing to make eye contact with the man beside her.
"And who exactly is Ziva to you?" Gibbs asked. Tony wondered if he was being an investigator or protector, but he was more than grateful that someone asked the question that had all been wondering for the past hour.
"Ziva, is my fiancée," He said, putting an arm around her shoulders.
Tony walked out of the room, rather, ran out of the room as fast as he could, claiming he needed to visit the head. He was surprised to make it even that far before he gave way to the nauseous feeling that had taken over him when Michael had explained his relationship to Ziva. He threw some water on his face and looked in the mirror, only becoming angrier as he did. He paced back and forth for a moment before punching a hole in the wall, a bit of design he was sure Vance would appreciate. He walked out of the restroom but didn't make it far before he saw Ziva. He could feel the anger boiling inside him.
"Hey," he snapped. "Thanks for telling us about your engagement. I'm so glad I'm invited to the wedding," He said sarcastically.
"Do not do this, Tony," Ziva said. She looked over to see a group of trainees heading towards them. They were rushed away with a glare, having full well seen her capabilities in the past.
"It's kinda late for that, dontya think?"
"It is not my fault!" She defended.
"Um, yeah, I think it us, Officer David. Why didn't you say anything?"
Ziva was silent for a moment. "You get orders, Tony. You may not like them but you follow them," She said, mirroring their conversation aboard the Seahawk.
"Oh don't give me that crap about orders, Ziva! You and I both know you could have told me. I'm your partner!"
"Which is exactly why I did not tell you!"
"What are you talking about? Since when does a full-grown adult get forbidden to tell her partner that she's getting married, hm?"
"I do not want to explain,"
"Then perhaps you'll explain why you fiancé is currently the world's most powerful arms dealer?"
"He is not an arms dealer!"
"I recall he told us otherwise!" Tony cried.
"Michael is undercover,"
"No, he's impersonating an international arms dealer, the most powerful guy in the business, Ziva,"
Ziva became silent as she stared off past Tony. His choice of words had struck her to the heart. "You are right," She said simply. Tony's expression softened. "He did not tell me,"
"He didn't tell his fiancée that he's an arms dealer?" Ziva shook her head with a small sigh.
"I do not understand," Tony looked over at her as she slumped down the side of the wall, one knee pulled to her chest. She looked frustrated, confused. Tony was felt similarly.
It felt like a bullet had struck him straight through the heart as soon as Michael had said Ziva's name in the Director's office. This is what he got for waiting so long. How can I ever trust her again? Tony wondered. It doesn't matter. She'll be married soon and out of our lives… out of my life. Feelings of bitterness were soon flooded over with compassion for the woman he loved sitting on the floor, defeated. He had to put his feelings aside. As much as he hated the man who stood upstairs and obviously held Ziva's heart, he wanted her to be happy. She was probably feeling just as betrayed as he was at this very moment, maybe even more.
"Maybe he had a good reason," Tony said after a moment as he joined her on the floor. The whole squadroom was dark, only a few lights on here and there, as most of the building was empty. But despite this, he could see her face clearly in the dim light.
"Like what?" She said skeptically.
"He took on the identity of a guy with a lot of enemies. He was probably just trying to protect you,"
"It explains why he has not called," Ziva said, not making eye contact again. "But he never called much before,"
"I'm sorry," Tony said. She gave him a small smile, but what she didn't know was that he was apologizing for not calling at all last summer. Maybe if he had, things would have turned out differently. "How did you meet?" Ziva was an unusually silent fiancée. Most women Tony had known would be showing off their engagement rings and telling the story to the strangers in the grocery store.
"My father," Ziva paused for a moment, unsure if she should continue. "It is an arranged marriage, although Michael would like to think otherwise,"
"I thought they didn't do arranged marriages anymore,"
Ziva laughed a little, the sort of laugh that one only uses when they're angry. "They do not. But my father… You do not want to mess with him. If Michael chooses to opt out of the engagement he will not face consequences. But I must. Orders," Ziva explained.
"Well that's not fair," Tony could think of nothing else to say. "Why didn't you say anything?"
"Would you want to tell the world about your forced engagement?" Tony nodded in understanding.
"Have you told Michael?"
Ziva sighed. "I have tried, but he does not listen," Much like my father, Ziva thought. "I am a grown adult. I should be able to make my own choices. I don't need my father or Michael to tell me what to do," Ziva seemed to be speaking to herself more than anything. "But it does not matter. Whether or not I want to marry Michael, he still should have told me. If he wants this so badly he would have told me,"
"So what are you gonna do?" Tony asked after a moment. Her eyes hadn't left the panoramic view of D.C. in several minutes.
Finally she met his gaze. "Follow orders," Tony closed his eyes in pain, hoping Ziva wouldn't notice his weakness. Or his need.