A/N: Here we go. The last chapter. I know I promised adult themes, but the unbelievably hot sex scene I wrote just seemed totally out of place. I decided to remove it, but never fear. It'll turn up in another story that I'll post soon.
Disclaimer: I do not claim ownership of these people. I have a dog, and he's hard enough to be responsible for sometimes.
Tony leaned back against the two-way mirror of the interrogation room, and looked down at Mason with unrestrained disgust. The man had made a full confession, but that didn't mean he'd displayed any remorse. His blow-by-blow account of how he'd developed and executed his plan to capture one of the team had made Tony wonder if he'd written it down somewhere in dot-point format. He'd admitted to selecting Ziva as the target simply because she was a woman and seemed to pose the smallest threat to making the plan go awry.
Tony had to laugh. "Smallest threat," he repeated. "Who took you down with one punch. Yeah, I often find myself confusing her with a new-born kitten trying to find her feet." He mimed clumsy kitten feet with his hands.
"I knew we should've taken the old guy," Mason muttered.
Tony swore he could take the 'oh, no you didn't' intake of breath from his colleagues on the other side of the glass.
"You shouldn't have taken anyone," Tony said obviously. "Your brother admitted to selling drugs. There is no doubt surrounding his guilt. And even if there was, you don't handle it by drugging, kidnapping and burying a federal agent."
"I was trying to make a point."
Tony hit the sarcasm button. "Oh, I see. We put your brother away and now he's in a small, dark cell. So you thought you'd be symbolic and put one of us in a small, dark 'cell' as revenge."
Mason looked up calmly. "We never intended for her to die," he said without inflection. "She was just a bargaining chip. We would've let her out when you let my brother out."
Tony braced his hands on the desk and leaned forward. "That's why you left her cell phone. The plan was to call her with your demands, then get her to call us to start negotiating. Right?"
Tony could barely believe the stupidity. Mason had obviously put a lot of thought into the kidnapping part of the plan. Why hadn't he thought through the rest of it?
"Were you high when you came up with this?" Tony had to ask. "Even if we did live in Bizarro World and we had agreed to negotiate with you, getting someone out of the clink would take hours, probably days, to organise. And by that time, you would have become murderers."
Mason shrugged. "We thought she'd have plenty of air. We didn't bury her too far down."
Tony slammed his fist down on the desk, making Mason jump. "That's not the kind of thing you just leave to chance!"
They held gazes, and Tony could tell that Mason honestly did not care.
"I just wanted to see my brother," he said evenly.
Tony picked up the case file and headed for the door. "You will," he threw over his shoulder.
In the hallway between the interrogation room and the viewing room, Tony paused to take a few deep breaths. Sometimes he really and truly hated his job. It was hard enough to deal with when a suspect showed no remorse for hurting someone Tony had never met. But this? Frankly, Tony couldn't believe he'd refrained from strangling the guy with his bare hands.
When he thought he could convincingly pass for calm, he entered the full to almost overflowing viewing room. While he'd expected to see Gibbs, Ziva and McGee, the presence of Abby, Ducky and Palmer took him by surprise.
"Cindy," he said to Abby, nodding in greeting, then looked around at Gibbs, McGee and Palmer. "Dad. Peter, Bobby." His eyes came to rest on Ducky. "Alice?"
Ducky gave him a withering look. "Mr Palmer and I thought we'd come down and share our support."
Tony reached around Abby to hand Gibbs the case file. "I think we've got everything out of him that we can right now."
Gibbs threaded through to crowd to the door. "Then I'll start on Savage."
"Or I can," Ziva piped up. "Give me one minute and I'll break him."
"No!" Gibbs and Tony replied.
"He doesn't need to be broken," Tony spelt out. "He already confessed."
Ziva crossed her arms and slumped against the two-way glass. She'd expected no less, but it still pissed her off. Gibbs headed to the adjoining interrogation room where Savage had been sitting alone for the last hour and a half, and Ducky made for the door as well.
"Come on, Mr Palmer," he said. "I believe we have a brand new cadaver to examine."
"Right away, Doctor," Palmer said, and obediently followed.
With noticeably more space to move in the room, Tony sidled up next to Ziva at the window and they watched Gibbs take a seat across from the increasingly nervous Savage.
Abby tugged his sleeve. "Hey. Ziva's Marcia, right?"
Tony looked down at her as if any other alternative was crazy. "Of course she's Marcia. You think she's Jan? We don't have a Jan. We don't want a Jan."
"She is so not Jan," McGee agreed.
Abby nodded. "No, that's what I thought. Because you're Greg, right? And there's that whole…slightly inappropriate vibe between him and Marcia."
Ziva heaved a sigh as the conversation went on around her. Once again, she wasn't entirely sure what her friends were talking about, or that they were all mentally sound. But she loved them, she honestly did, and she could no longer imagine life without them.
She returned her gaze to the interrogation, but her thoughts were far from the man in the room looking for revenge over the imprisonment of his best friend. Instead, she thought of her family in Tel Aviv and her family in DC. They were so utterly different that it somehow didn't seem fair to compare them, and yet she found herself doing it almost daily.
Despite his sins, and there were many, Ziva still loved her father. Of course she did. But only because of their genetic connection. Eli David was not a wonderful or kind man. He had not been there for her as a child. He did not value her as a daughter or as a singular person. He did not send cards on her birthday with wishes for her happiness. He saw her as a soldier. Part of his army. And the fleeting affection he showed for her when she visited Israel was, she suspected, mostly for the sake of appearances.
In comparison, her friends here showed affection for her every single day. A hug from Abby, a gentle smile from McGee, a touch from Tony, a slap from Gibbs. For her birthday, Tony, Abby and McGee had taken her to South Carolina because she missed swimming in the ocean, and Gibbs had given her Kelly's old, dog-eared copy of Alice in Wonderland. And when just two nights ago she'd reached out to them for help, they had rallied around her and given all their strength instead of berating her for weakness or mistakes.
She heard the door to the interrogation room open and close again, and a moment later she felt Tony at her shoulder.
"You okay?" he asked. "You look like you're zoning out."
Ziva blinked and looked around. Abby and McGee had left, leaving her alone with Tony.
She looked up at him and gave him a genuine smile. "I am fine."
He cocked his head to the side and regarded her curiously, and Ziva thought that if they had been in her kitchen at the time, she definitely would have kissed him again. Instead, she poked his stomach before turning back to the interrogation room.
She felt him settle into his regular spot, his shoulder lined up with her spine and close enough that they would bump against each other when they moved. The familiarity made her chest ache, and she reached behind her to take his hand. When he laced his fingers through hers and brushed the briefest of kisses against her temple, Ziva knew for sure that this was where she fit.
"This is where I want to be," she told him again, and added a note to her mental To Do list. File papers for permanent residency.
Okay, I'm not particularly happy with these last two chapters, but my imagination has moved on to other stories and I found it hard to get my mojo back for this one. In the end I just had to post it and end it. Thanks for coming all the way with me! And thanks to everyone who posted reviews or marked the story as a favourite. I hope to see you hanging around some of my other stories.