A/N: Not mine, NCIS belongs to Don Bellisario and CBS. I'm just borrowing them for the moment.
Spoilers: 6X22 Legends Part 1 and a brief mention of Kill Ari. Also, any recognizable dialogue came from Legends Part 1.
So I hope that I managed to get Ziva right, she's difficult for me to get down. Also, un-betaed so any mistakes are mine.
Tel Aviv - 8 months ago
"I have spoken to Director Vance, your position as liaison officer at NCIS has been reinstated; you leave tomorrow evening," Eli David told his daughter. He couldn't help but notice how her face had brighten at the news, Ziva had been happy in America, happier than she had been in years, and he could only hope that despite what he would ask her to do she could still be happy. "There is something that I wish for you to do for me, Ziva, while you are there," he told her handing her a file and watched as her expression harden after reading it. "You understand why I'm asking this of you, correct?"
"Good, Officer Rivkin will be your contact; he will fill you in before you leave. Now go, Ziva, you have much to pack. Good night, child," Eli said kissing her affectionately on her forehead.
"Good night, Papa."
Ziva was not at all surprised to find Michael outside her door later that night. If he found how messy her apartment was amusing he kept it to himself.
"I suppose your father has told you about the mission," he said as they sat enjoying a glass of wine. Ziva smiled, Michael was never one for small talk choosing, instead, to get the point of the visit or conversation.
"You realize that they can't know anything about it, you'll have to lie to them if they ask."
"Will that be a problem?" he asked looking her straight in the eye.
For a long time Ziva didn't answer Michael. Could she lie to them, the people she had grown to see as a sort of odd, slightly dysfunctional family? It was different in Mossad, lying and secrets were seen as part of the job and even spouses had come to expect half truths and lies of omission when it came to the job. Ziva had seen first hand how far reaching the repercussions of a secret could be at NCIS, could she put them through that again? Glancing at her coffee table she saw the newspaper she had picked up earlier today, the front page detailing the last suicide bombing that Hamas has orchestrated and she knew that even if she did not want to lie to them she would do it if her mission demanded it. She, after all, was still Mossad.
Ziva collapsed unceremoniously on her couch, the past two days had been tiring. Michael's arrival had been unexpected, as was the news that the mission could soon be over. Getting up she flipped through her music collection before finding the correct CD and soon classical music filled her apartment. As she hastily put together a quick dinner she let her mind wander to the last conversation she had with Michael.
"I do not want to lie to him, Michael," she told him.
"A small lie," he replied.
Ziva was tired of all the small lies. It had been easy to keep McGee from getting suspicious and Abby was usually too busy to get properly suspicious. She had done her best to not make Ducky suspicious as well, it was not as hard as she thought it would be, she just didn't go down to autopsy a lot and she kept herself on task at crime scenes. Gibbs and Tony were the two that she worried about the most. There were only a handful of people that could tell when Ziva was lying or hiding something and two of them worked with her at NCIS. If Gibbs was suspicious he kept it to himself but she reasoned that he was still too preoccupied with trying to figure out what the director was up to notice anything off about her. Tony, however, was a different story. Despite all outward appearances he was sharp, observant and excellent at reading people and somewhere along the line, Ziva was still not sure when or how it happened, he had learned to read her and could tell when she was lying. It was while they were on the Seahawk where she got the inkling that he would be the hardest one to deceive and that's when she knew that the only way she would be able to keep her secret from him was to not interact with him as much as they used to.
"Your father sends his love."
"What else does he send?"
In response Michael placed his hand on top of hers. "Me."
Ziva sighed. "Michael," she began.
"Look, I know, Ziva, but your father really did send me. I am, after all, still your contact."
Partially satisfied Ziva left the rest of her statement unsaid. When she had returned to Israel that summer she had made it clear to Michael that their romantic relationship had ended years ago and he had been fine with that, the two of them picking up where they had left off professionally and had proved why they were two of Mossad's best operatives. Against her better judgment the two of them had begun a 'friends with benefits' type of relationship, it was wrong, she knew that, and he deserved more than what she was willing and capable of giving him but the longer she was away from NCIS the easier it was to slip back into the habits she had formed while she was full time Mossad agent. On the eve of her departure he asked where that left them and she told him that she didn't think it was wise for them to continue their physical relationship saying that he deserved someone who loved him, not someone who was merely fond of him. As the year progressed she learned that he had met a young woman, Helen, and she was happy for him. In the end they had agreed to not be exclusive and if Helen could make him happy then she would gladly step aside.
"I am leaving for LA tomorrow," he told her breaking into her thoughts.
"I am going to meet Liam and with any luck this mission should be over by month's end."
Her dinner finished she placed the dirty dishes in the sink, she would clean them later, and made her way to the desk in the corner of her living room. Taking the key out of one of the books on her book shelf she took everything out of the drawer before she removed the false bottom. Inside was a fireproof box that held the details to the mission her father had given her all those months ago. Ziva made herself comfortable on the floor as she flipped through the file, normally she would have destroyed its contents by now but she had been explicitly told by her father to keep the information until the mission's end. After she had reread the file twice she placed it beside her, letting her gaze wander around her living room until it came to rest on a picture of the whole team. It had been taken shortly after they had all been reunited, they all looked so happy and Ziva wondered if they could be that happy again once everything came out. Years ago, when she had still been Ari's control officer, she had profiled each member of Gibbs' team, even including Abby, Ducky and Ducky's assistant at the time, her contacts had dug deep and she was able to construct a full psychological profile for each member of the team. After she got to know them all she was ashamed that she had dug as deep as she had but now she was glad that she did because it gave her a pretty good idea how each would react to the news that she had been splitting her loyalties between NCIS and Mossad for the better part of a year. Tony's reaction was what worried her the most; her contacts had been able to get her information on his childhood so Ziva knew how important trust was for Tony. She had been happy to find that as they got to know each other he gradually afforded her a level a trust second only to the kind of trust he gave Abby and Gibbs. Now Ziva was worried that her mission would forever damage the professional relationship they had and cost her one of her nearest and dearest friends.