Disclaimer: Unfortunately, I don't own NCIS or this song...actually, not owning this song doesn't bother me too much; I'm not much of an Eminem fan, I just thought this song fit for a story I've been wanting to do. Though, when we drove through Los Angeles last week, we did pass Belasarius.
Author's Note: I actually wrote this almost a month ago, but I haven't had Internet. I've traveled, literally, across the nation with only one day of rest in between...I'll talk more about that later, though. I did up the rating on this just a bit because of a word that some find quite offensive in the lyrics. Not the story, but still, it is there. Just a forewarning. Enjoy!
I know sometimes things may not always make sense to you right now
But hey, what daddy always tell you?
Straighten up little soldier
Stiffen up that upper lip
What you crying about?
You got me
Eli David did not know if he could look at his daughters tonight. He knew what they had seen today. It was on every channel. There was no way for them to avoid it.
He thought back to when the news had broke and Eli had to let them know. Eli remembered watching his youngest daughter breakdown into uncontrollable tears. His older daughter just looked at him.
The nanny took Tali away and Eli took Ziva aside and asked, "You know what happened, yes, Ziva?"
"You know that she will not be coming back?"
She nodded again.
"Ziva, it is alright to be sad."
She nodded again.
"When you lose someone, it is alright to cry."
She nodded, but Eli noticed a tear escape her big brown eyes.
He put his hand beneath her chin and lifted her head to face him, "We will make it through this, tateleh, but you must be strong for your sister."
Ziva nodded again and then ran after the nanny and her younger sister.
Since then, Eli had locked himself away in his study and had not seen anyone.
Haley I know you miss your mom and I know you miss your dad
When I'm gone but I'm trying to give you the life that I never had
He took in a deep breath and told himself that everything he had done was to make sure his daughters lived a life much safer than the one he led.
His job kept him on the road or in the office most of the time. Since his separation from his wife, the girls' mother, his life had turned all business. He had not been the father he should have been, but he could not change that now. All he could do was be there for his daughters from here on.
I can see you're sad, even when you smile, even when you laugh
I can see it in your eyes, deep inside you want to cry
The door to the room creaked open and a pair of eyes peered out into the hallway.
"Aba?" Ziva called.
"Yes, my angel?" he whispered.
"Tali cannot sleep," she replied taking a timid step toward him.
"Obviously, you cannot either," he said with a ghost of a smile.
"I..." Ziva paused and looked at her small, bare feet on the dark hardwood floor.
"Do not be ashamed, Zivit," he said, putting his hand on her shoulder and kneeling down to her level, "I know it is hard. Now, come. Let's see if Aba can get his two little angels to sleep."
Eli took Ziva's hand and led her back into their bedroom.
Cuz you're scared, I ain't there?
Daddy's with you in your prayers
He walked in and Ziva scrambled to climb back into her bed. Eli looked around and found Tali curled up in a ball on her bed under the blankets, against the wall.
He took in another deep breath and sat down on her bed and gently shook her shoulder and whispered, "Talia."
Tali looked out of her cocoon up at her father. Her eyes were bigger than Ziva's; they were also red and puffy from crying.
Eli felt his heart break. He gathered up his youngest and sat her on his lap then he patted the bed next to him and called Ziva over. She joined them and he put his arm around her.
No more crying, wipe them tears
Daddy's here, no more nightmares
We gon' pull together through it, we gon' do it
Tali's sobs were loud and violent. He rubbed her back and whispered, "It will be alright. We will make it through this. Everything will be alright."
Ziva looked up at her father and he felt his heart break again. She still had not cried. He feared for his daughter that was keeping her emotions inside of her. He knew that it must be gnawing at Ziva, but she wanted so much to be like him that she would never let anyone see her pain. Eli held her tighter.
Laney, uncle's crazy, ain't he?
Yeah, but he loves you girl and you better know it
He held his two daughters close and then looked at them both and said, "You girls know that I love you, yes?"
Tali nodded enthusiastically and buried her face in her father's shoulder. Ziva just watched them.
"Ziva, you know that I love you, yes?"
She paused for a moment and studied her father before giving a less than convincing, "Yes."
He knew that he had betrayed the young girl's trust, but he held her tight none the less.
We're all we got in this world
When it spins, when it swirls
When it whirls, when it twirls
Two little beautiful girls
He held them tight knowing that they were all he had in the world.
Of course there was his son, but no one could know of his son. All he really had left were the two girls in his arms.
Then the thought occurred to him that he was all they had left as well. They no longer had a mother to run to when there was trouble. Eli was the only parent they had now. He was all they had.
Lookin' puzzled, in a daze
I know it's confusing you
Daddy's always on the move, mamma's always on the news
Eli looked at the girls and they looked back at him, "Girls, do you understand what happened today?"
Tali looked at him and shook her head. Ziva just looked at him.
"Some people are angry about the way Israel treats Palestinians. You both know that Palestinians can be good people, just like Israelis can be bad people, right?"
Tali nodded. Ziva continued with her look.
"Some of the angry people do very bad things because they think it will help them get there way. Sometimes they hurt people and sometimes the hurt people do not get better-"
"Like Ima?" Tali whispered innocently.
"Yes, angel, like Ima."
"Why, Aba? Why did they have to hurt Ima?" Tali cried.
"Tali, they are confused and hurt. They think that it will make them feel better if more people are confused and hurt-"
"But it doesn't, does it?" Ziva asked, without looking up. Had he not heard it, he would have never realized that Ziva had spoken.
"No, Ziva, it does not. The Israelis just get confused and hurt so they go against the Palestinians and they get confused and hurt..."
"Why can they not just stop?" she asked again.
"It has been this way since time began, Ziva, and it will be this way until the end of time. There is nothing we can do other than not cause anyone to be hurt."
"But that is what you do, is it not?" she asked, looking up at him with a look of despiration.
"Does Mossad not confuse and hurt people?"
"...Sometimes they do, Ziva, but...we do it to help people...You will understand when you are older."
Ziva hung her head in quiet distress.
I try to keep you sheltered from it but somehow it seems
The harder that I try to do that, the more it backfires on me
All the things growing up his daddy that he had to see
Daddy don't want you to see but you see just as much as he did
He looked down at the back of his oldest daughter's head. Eli had tried so hard to make sure that his daughters never knew about his missions. He tried to keep them as sheltered from military life as he could, but Ziva had taken to it at a young age.
He never realized that Ziva knew so much as to the dealings of Mossad. He never expected her to ask such questions.
The last thing that Eli wanted was for his daughter to live the life he had lived.
He remembered when he was very young and his family had to sneak out of Nazi occupation. From then he had formed a huge respect for the organization now known as Mossad.
Mossad Aliyah Bet had saved his family from certain death. He owed his life to the state of Israel, but his daughters had no such debt.
We did not plan it to be this way, your mother and me
When Eli and his wife married, they planned to move to Europe; to live a life of peace in France. However, by the time Ziva was born, Eli had moved too far up in Mossad to leave. He was needed in Israel; so, despite the promises they had made to themselves, they raised their daughters in the turmoil of Israel.
But things have gotten so bad between us
I don't see us ever being together ever again
Like we used to be when we was teenagers
With the promotions came less time at home for Eli. He was spending more time at the office or away on trips and missions than he spent at home. His daughters were growing up and he was not there to see it happen.
Then one day, when Ziva was five and Tali was two, Eli came home to find his house empty.
He found a note on the kitchen table. His wife had left and taken the girls with her. Eli had worked away his family.
He remembered that he stayed up that night crying. He had failed his family. He had failed his wife. He had failed his daughters.
But then of course everything always happens for a reason
I guess it was never meant to be
But it's just something we have no control over and that's what destiny is
As time moved on, Eli began to come to terms with his divorce. He began to see the girls more often, but he made no effort to change his work habits. If anything, he just worked more. When the girls were at his house, the nanny took care of them.
He never realized that his daughters were still growing up without him.
Until now. His daughters had been at school, Ziva was eight and Tali was five, when the news broke. A HAMAS suicide bomber had walked into a clinic in Jerusalem and blew up the building. All of the patients, doctors, and nurses were dead.
Their mother was a nurse in Jerusalem.
The girls were called to the counselor's office where she told them what had happened.
One of Eli's assistants had taken a helicopter to retrieve the girls and bring them to stay with him in Tel Aviv. And here they were.
But no more worries, rest your head and go to sleep
Maybe one day we'll wake up and this will all just be a dream
"Aba?" Tali said, sleepily.
"Maybe this is a dream. Maybe Ima's alright."
"Talia-" Eli began, but stopped when he realized that his youngest daughter was asleep.
He placed her back on the bed and tucked her in, then he picked up Ziva and moved over to her bed.
Now hush little baby, don't you cry
Everything's gonna be alright
Stiffen that upper lip up little lady, I told ya
Daddy's here to hold ya through the night
"Ziva, have you cried?" Eli asked.
Ziva shook her head.
"You know that it is alright to cry, yes?"
She looked up at her father, "You haven't cried."
"Ziva...you are right. Perhaps I need to cry," Eli said, tears forming in his eyes.
Ziva looked up at her father in disbelief and threw her arms around his neck.
Together they cried.
I know mommy's not here right now and we don't know why
We feel how we feel inside
It may seem a little crazy, pretty baby
But I promise tomorrow's gon' be alright
He pulled away from his daughter for a moment and said, "Ziva, I know that I have not always been there for you or your sister, but I will change that from now on, alright?"
"I love you both and will take care of you the best I can. I know that I'm not perfect, but I love you both very. I know that you cannot see it right now, but I promise that you'll feel better soon."
She nodded again.
I remember back one year when daddy had no money
Mommy wrapped the Christmas presents up
And stuck 'em under the tree and said some of 'em were from me
Cuz daddy couldn't buy 'em
I'll never forget that Christmas I sat up the whole night crying
Cuz daddy felt like a bum, see daddy had a job
But his job was to keep the food on the table for you and mom
Eli thought back to all the times that he had failed his daughters. There were years when he would forget their birthdays; years when he wouldn't get them a present at the holidays; he had never been to any of Ziva's dance recitals; he had never done anything for the girls. Even with all of that, they were still willing to take him back. Even though he had never been there for him, they still loved him.
His job had taken over his life, but he was going to take it back. He loved his girls and he was going to change. He would be the father they deserved.
And at the time every house that we lived in
Either kept getting broke into and robbed
Or shot up on the block and your mom was saving money for you in a jar
Tryin' start a piggy bank for you so you could go to college
Almost had a thousand dollars till someone broke in and stole it
And I know it hurt so bad it broke your momma's heart
His job had made it very had to be a caring husband and father. As a high ranking Mossad officer, he was often the target of scandal and gossip. He became a common enemy. People would heckle and jeer him whenever he went out in public. Even when he was with his wife or daughters.
It broke his wife's heart. She could not handle the hatred. She did not want her daughters to grow up being abused by strangers they way that they were.
And it seemed like everything was just startin' to fall apart
Mom and dad was arguin' a lot so momma moved back
On the Chalmers in the flat one bedroom apartment
And dad moved back to the other side of 8 Mile on Novara
And that's when daddy went to California with his CD and met Dr. Dre
And flew you and momma out to see me
That's what broke them. They couldn't agree. His wife had told him that if they were going to stay, he had to find a job that made him less of a target; otherwise, they were leaving.
He couldn't leave Mossad, so they left him.
During the years following the divorce, Eli had quickly moved up the ranks in Mossad. Now he was the deputy director. He was one of the top men in Mossad. He had power and wealth, but he still hurt from where his wife and daughters had left him.
But daddy had to work, you and momma had to leave me
Then you started seeing daddy on the T.V. and momma didn't like it
And you and Laney were to young to understand it
Papa was a rollin' stone, momma developed a habit
And it all happened too fast for either one of us to grab it
Eli became a public figure. He was one of the prime minister's right hand men. He spent his time rubbing elbows with the elite.
His ex-wife was furious. He didn't blame her, either. All those years, he had never had time for his family, but now he had time to go to balls and galas. It hardly seemed right.
She took the girls and left Tel Aviv and moved back near here parents in Jerusalem. She got a nice job in a large clinic in the city.
She moved up the ranks in the clinic and began to date one of the doctors.
Everything moved so fast.
I'm just sorry you were there and had to witness it first hand
Cuz all I ever wanted to do was just make you proud
Now, he sat here, holding his daughter and he realized that he had failed her. Everyone had failed her. He didn't blame her for not talking. She was hurting more than he could imagine.
She had lost her mother this morning, but she had lost her father years ago.
He hated himself for making someone so innocent go through so much devistation.
Now I'm sittin in this empty house, just reminiscing
Lookin' at your baby pictures, it just trips me out
To see how much you both have grown, it's almost like you're sisters now
Wow, guess you pretty much are and daddy's still here
Laney I'm talkin' to you too, daddy's still here
I like the sound of that, yeah
It's got a ring to it don't it?
He looked down at her face and realized how much she had grown up in the time that he was out of her life.
He looked down at her daughter and said, "Ziva, I am truly sorry that I have not been there for you or Tali. I promise that I will from now on. Do you forgive me?"
She just looked at him.
A tear rolled down his cheek. She couldn't even forgive him.
Then she looked up at him and said, "I miss Ima."
Shh, momma's only gone for the moment
He held his daughter to him and said, "Someday, Ziva, you will see your ima again. I hope that it is not for a very long time, but someday, my daughter, you will see your ima again. She loves you, as do I."
And if you ask me to
Daddy's gonna buy you a mockingbird
I'mma give you the world
I'mma buy a diamond ring for you
I'mma sing for you
I'll do anything for you to see you smile
And if that mockingbird don't sing and that ring don't shine
I'mma break that birdie's neck
I'd go back to the jeweler who sold it to ya
And make him eat every carat don't fuck with dad (haha)
As he held the girl in his arms he felt something that he had never felt before: He would move mountains if it was what she, or Tali, wanted. He would do anything for them.
Then he realized that this must be the real feeling of fatherhood.
He felt his daughter move beside him and he looked down. Ziva was looking up at him and she said, "I love you, Aba."
He smiled a bittersweet smile and took the girl into his arms. She wrapped her tiny arms around his neck and cried onto his shoulder.
This is what it felt like to be a father. Eli wouldn't trade the feeling for the world.
A.N.: The song was Mockingbird by Eminem. I've been wanting to do a story that's more Eli-centric and delves a bit into Ziva's background. I used a little author's liberty with Tali and Ziva's ages, I know they were probably farther apart in age than this. Also, not much is revealed about their mother in the show, so I took some liberty there. I hope no one minds, it is only fiction.
So, about my journeys. I was in Florida for a band trip and National Beta Convention. I competed in social studies, but didn't place. Oh, well. I spent a day at home before flying out to Anaheim, California for Future Business Leaders of America National Leadership Conference. I was on two teams there. The entrepreneurship team didn't make the top ten, but (drum roll please) the community service project team took...(where's that drum roll?) FIRST PLACE IN THE NATION!!! Whoot! So...needless to say, I've been a bit distracted. I've got ten days before I load up and head off to Nebraska on my mission trip, though and I'll try to get in quite a bit of writing.
I'm thinking of doing one like this about Tony's relationship with his father with the lyrics to Father of Mine by Everclear...