Truths and Covert Lies: Chapter 1--Opening
Disclaimer: Sadly enough, nobody offered me NCIS for my birthday, so I still do not own any of the characters, the agency, the Navy Yard, or just about anything else. I will soon own a parking pass in the staff and physician lot at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, though, so that has to count for something (that sentence will probably make more sense after chapter 2...or not. I'm sleep-deprived and typing things that don't really have anything to do with anything).
Summary: Takes place about six weeks after the conclusion of Of Jews and Gentiles. Mossad Director Eli David has been hiding a secret from the rest of the world, and asks for his daughter's help in keeping that hidden. She doesn't agree with his plan to do that, which sends the David family and everyone they're associated with into a whirlwind of events that test loyalties across the globe. Oh, and since it follows Of Jews and Gentiles, there is quite a lot of Tiva.
A/N: Unlike most of my stories, I haven't written the first twenty or so chapters before beginning to post (I like to make sure I'm going to be able to finish it before getting you interested in the story line thus far). However, I do have every confidence in my ability to see this one to the end, and in celebration of surviving my very last night of call as a medical student, I decided to start posting with what I have so far. My point is that I won't be giving you the usual chapter-a-day pattern of all of my previous stories, but don't think I'm abandoning you. Like I said, it will be finished. Oh, and on another note, any political figure who makes an appearance (such as the PM of Israel in this chapter) is completely fictional and not in any way based on their real-life counterparts.
And onto the story...
Eli David already had his BlackBerry out of his pocket and in his hand as he exited the building. His attention focused on the small device and the messages it contained, the director of Mossad paid no attention to the three men in sunglasses and suits, two in front of him and one behind. As his bodyguards, it was their job to make sure that the rest of the world noticed them while remaining unobtrusive to the man they would give their lives to protect, if necessary.
He glanced up from his emails and registered the familiar sight of his armored car illegally stopped in front of the building. Well, it would have been illegal, had the car belonged to anyone but the highest ranked intelligence officer in Israel. "Where to, sir?" the driver asked in Hebrew as he held the rear passenger door open.
David stifled a cough deep in his throat before answering. "I have business with the Prime Minister," he replied, stepping into the vehicle without another glance at the driver. The kid—he should probably stop thinking of employees as such, which was difficult, as the driver was probably the same age as his daughter—gave a perfunctory nod, closing the door behind his boss. He had known the director's schedule, of course. The whole protocol of asking for a destination was some sort of security measure that the driver didn't understand, and didn't need to. Knowing how Mossad protected its director wasn't his job; his job was to drive said director wherever he needed to go.
Inside the car, Director David was composing a quick reply to one of the emails that he had received while meeting with—who was that he was just speaking to? He shook his head slightly, not that concerned. The meetings seemed to run together these days, and nothing had been accomplished in that last one. He felt the newly-familiar pressure in his head, and before he could stop himself, was massaging his temples with his hand, his eyes closed and an expression of pain on his face. "Are you okay, sir?" one of the bodyguards asked, concerned.
"Fine," David replied, annoyed. "It is only a headache." He didn't need someone who was essentially hired muscle asking about his health. It was probably just the stress of that last meeting, anyway.
Except it's not, a nagging voice told him in the back of his mind. He frowned and cleared his throat slightly before returning his attention to his BlackBerry, choosing to ignore the thought. If he wanted to be dwelling on the state of his health, he'd have to write it into his schedule. He was far too busy for that.
The ride to the parliament house was blessedly brief, his driver having been very well trained on how to get from point A to point B quickly with no regards for traffic. David smiled slightly at the thought as he waited for someone to open his door. Although his driver was good, nobody could handle traffic like his daughter. She had been taught well.
The involuntary thought of his one living child brought the familiar wave of melancholy, the regrets of a parent who knew that he hadn't done enough, and what he had done, done poorly. He didn't have time to dwell on his regrets, however, and that thought was quickly replaced by the concentration required to get his muscles to respond to his brain's commands to exit the vehicle. He covered up the struggle with another glance at his BlackBerry as he finally managed to coordinate the actions of his legs. He somehow kept his posture straight as he followed his bodyguard into the parliament house, one of his aides rambling about one thing or another as he rushed to keep pace with the seemingly-tireless Mossad director.
"Aaron," David finally interrupted, holding up a hand to stop the younger man's rants. "I do not think that is any concern of the Office of the Director."
The young officer blushed fiercely, much to David's amusement. There was no doubt that he had a good amount of European blood in him, with his sandy hair, blue eyes, and fair skin that flushed far too easily, never a good thing in a Mossad officer. It was also amazing he wasn't perpetually burnt from the desert sun. "Of course not, sir. I'm sorry I brought it up, sir."
David nodded as they stepped into a waiting elevator. Thinking about the upcoming meeting, he didn't even notice the slight tremor that had started in his left hand. His aide did notice, however, and subtly backed away. "Maybe you should go to a doctor, sir," he said, slightly nervously. David imagined him to be wondering if there were infectious causes of tremors. There was a reason the young man had been assigned a desk instead of a field position; there were no places for nerves and hypocondriasis amidst weaponry and espionage.
"I have seen my doctor, Aaron," he said coldly, briskly shaking out his hand. "Do not worry; it is nothing contagious." He smirked inwardly when he noticed the young man's cheeks pink again, giving away that that had been his primary concern. "He said it is nothing to worry about." That wasn't technically true; the Austrian physician had run an entire battery of tests, from head CTs to MRIs to blood tests and nerve biopsies. He had said that the tremor was a sign that the disease was getting worse, despite the new treatments they were trying, and encouraged the Mossad director to take things easy. David had nodded his agreement to the words while he had been mentally rolling his eyes; taking it easy wasn't a possibility while running one of the largest intelligence organizations in the world.
He straightened as the elevator stopped at the floor of the prime minister's office and strode easily down the hall, his carefully blank expression giving away none of his thoughts or concerns of his health. As expected, they had about a minute to wait before the PM's executive assistant led them into the inner office. People didn't keep the director of Mossad waiting long.
"Ah, Eli, good to see you, my friend," the prime minister greeted, standing from his chair to shake David's hand. With a flick of his wrist, he excused the majority of his staff, and David's as well, leaving only Director David and the young Mossad officer Aaron, as well as one his own aides. David was temporarily blanking on her name. Rachel? Naomi? It was something out of the Tanakh, but that didn't tell him much—there were about a million Israelis with names from the Tanakh. He mentally scanned his memory while beginning the standard small-talk that all meetings seemed to begin with. Ruth. That was it. Ruth Gelden, the latest in a seemingly-endless line of attractive young women who had held that position. David had to resist the temptation to smirk at his knowledge of some of her less-publicized roles as the PM's assistant. He had to admire the man gumption, talking about his wife and small children while sitting next to his mistress.
"And your family?" the prime minister inquired politely after answering David's question to the same with the obvious pride of a doting father.
"Ziva is well. She is still working with NCIS in Washington," David replied. It was his standard answer, which he assumed was still true. The last update he had received from Officer Bashan, six weeks ago, she had had her ankle broken by a rabbi's wife at the conclusion of a long undercover investigation, but he didn't say anything about that; he knew the prime minister didn't care about such things. He also elected not to share the intelligence Bashan had gathered regarding his daughter's Italian-American boyfriend.
"And your recent trip to Austria?" It was both a polite inquiry and a subtle reminder to David that not even the director of Mossad had any secrets. Knowing that this was what the PM was implying, David smiled slightly. If only you knew, Mr. Prime Minister, he thought snidely.
"It went well," he replied with a nod. "If there is one thing that can be counted on, it is the guilt of Europeans when it comes to the State of Israel." That was related to a lesson he had unintentionally taught Ziva at an early age. She had asked why he was doing more household chores than he usually did. He had replied that power is something that is given by somebody else, and for a variety of reasons. Some people gave power to others out of respect, some out of fear, some out of guilt. In his case, it was a little bit of fear and a little bit of respect—his wife had recently given birth to their youngest daughter, Tali. He had told Ziva that no matter the reason for someone giving power, you should never hesitate to take advantage of it. In that innocent manner that only six-year-olds could manage, she asked why her mother was taking advantage of power over him, and he never took advantage of power over her. He didn't think she would have understood his reasonings for that.
They were in the middle of a discussion about Russia when the pressure in Director David's was again too much for him to bear. He brought his right hand to his forehead and rubbed his temples as the prime minister continued to drone on before the other man noticed his lack of attention. "I hope I am not boring you, Eli," the prime minister commented dryly.
"I apologize," David replied. "Headache. An occupational hazard these days, I believe." They both chuckled slightly at the words.
"If it is too much—"
"No," the Mossad director interrupted. "Please, continue." The prime minister picked up where he left off, but David found himself unable to follow the man's words, almost as if he were speaking a language other than Hebrew. He tried to concentrate further to see if he could figure out what language the man was speaking, but it sounded unlike anything David had ever heard—a difficult feat, considering he was fluent or nearly so in nine languages and had a rudimentary knowledge in six others. He blinked hard a few times in efforts of focusing, but it seemed to have the opposite effect, as his vision also began to swim. Well, that's new, he thought, just before losing consciousness.
He came to when the paramedics were loading him onto a gurney. His mouth felt extremely dry, and it took swallowing a few times to work up the ability to speak. "Aaron," he rasped. His aide immediately rushed to his side.
The look in David's eyes was intense. It was the same look he used to interrogate terrorists and spies when still working in the field, the same look that made his daughters burst into tears when he had caught them misbehaving as children. "You must hide this," he ordered. "If there is any record of the director of Mossad being admitted to the hospital, there is no saying what will happen."
The young agent nodded solemnly; the events of the Gaza Strip from several months ago still fresh in his mind. If Hamas was that bold with a perfectly healthy Mossad director watching them, there was no saying what they would do if they knew he was out of commission. "I will take care of it, sir."
Director David nodded before shifting subtly on the gurney, bringing his again-trembling arm under his body. "And Aaron… There is one more thing."
"Ziva… My daughter should know what is happening. My secretary has her number in Washington."
"And what should I tell her, Director?"
"Just tell her… Just tell her the truth. She deserves that much, at least."