Disclaimer: Guess what? Don't own NCIS. What a surprise.
A/N: This is a prequel of Time Flies, following Ziva from when she left NCIS, up to the time of TF. It's not my top priority for the moment, so I may take a while between UDs. And it hasn't been edited, so there's prob. a bunch of mistakes.
A/N2: For those of you who care - I'M BACK IN THE UK!!!
Ziva knew, really, from the beginning, that it wasn't going to be as easy as they made out. She tried to pretend, for them, for herself, that it could be. She liked to indulge in the thought that she could slip between her two lives easily, and not lose one because she had to return to the first. She wasn't fooling anyone. Looks had been shared between them all, since the phone call. Abruptly ended by each person, a universal sign of hopelessness and fear that they refused to acknowledge. It was just like her father to call her at work, from MTAC. It was, after all, official business. She didn't bother hiding anything from him. What was she to do, when he told her to return to Israel, smile? Even she could not lie that well. And so she said her goodbyes to NCIS, to the family she had found so unexpectedly. To the team she had more allegiance to than to her father; to the agency she belonged to more than Mossad. And when they asked her to email, or call, or send a card, she didn't express doubt, but readily agreed to keep in touch. Who knew, maybe she was just being pessimistic. They came to the airport to see her off, since her flight was on a Sunday.
Abby winded her with a hug like an iron vice.
"Email me," she demanded.
"Abby . . ."
"Every week," she amended.
"When I can, Abby."
"As often as I can," she promised, and hugged her back.
Tony grinned at her.
"I'm not sure I want you off learning more ninja skills."
"There are no more for me to learn, Tony," she replied, raising her eyebrows.
His eyes widened in mock horror.
"I'm glad you didn't tell me that before."
He opened his mouth to speak again, but she quickly moved forward and clapped her hand over it.
"No movie quotes."
He shut his mouth.
She whispered for a while into McGee's ear. He looked amazed.
"What?!" asked Tony.
"Just giving him some pointers. Goodbye, Tim."
"Pointers? What kind of pointers? What did she tell you, Probie?"
McGee reached out to the back of Tony's neck, and pinched. He convulsed slightly.
"Have fun, my dear. Do try and keep in touch, though I'm sure you'll be busy," said Ducky with a kind smile.
She grimaced jokingly.
"I'm sure. Take care of yourself, Ducky, Jimmy."
"And you, Ziva," said the younger man who had been all but silent.
"Good luck, Ziva," Gibbs said, and slipped her the NCIS badge that Leon Vance had given him, with a knowing, regretful smile.
"And to you, Jethro," she had said, subconsciously addressing him as she had when it was him leaving, and leaning forward to kiss his cheek.
As she passed through security she cast one look back, to Tony and McGee now bickering, to Abby, who slipped her hand into Gibbs' and leaned her head on his shoulder, waving sadly with the other hand, to Ducky, who nodded at her, and Palmer at his side, smiling weakly, and giving a small wave. She wished suddenly for a camera, to catch this moment and a thousand others that she had thought so little of at the time. She waved, and turned away. The airport wait seemed to drag on forever, though later she could remember very little of it. When she finally got on the plane, she curled her knees to her chest and wrapped her arms round them, unwilling to tear her eyes from the window, through which she watched her home fall away beneath her.
"Papa," Ziva greeted as she entered his office.
Eli David rose to hug her. She accepted it, but didn't reciprocate the gesture. He poured two cups of tea and passed one to her, raising the other to his lips.
"Ziva. It's good to have you back. How was the plane?"
"It did not crash," she said with a small smile. "How are you?"
"I am well, Ziva. Busy -"
"- but well. And you?"
"Tired. I will enjoy my sleep tonight."
If I get any.
Eli nodded. "I won't keep you too long. There's a problem in the Gaza Strip that I wanted to discuss with you."
Because that will not take long at all.
"The Gaza Strip is a problem in itself."
He snorted. "Well, yes. But I think this one is slightly easier to handle."
Ziva let go of her bag and heard it thump to the floor. She stared dejectedly around the apartment. Her apartment. It was going to take a lot of adjusting to. Unable to face unpacking, she tugged out her laptop and plugged in the USB wifi that she would be using until she sorted out internet, praying that it would be working. Opening up her browser, she began to compose a few emails.
Too tired to type multiple emails, so please show this to everyone.
Plane journey went smoothly, and on time. Checked in at Mossad and talked to my father
She looked at the last two words, and tried to decide which man she had in fact been talking to. She erased them.
the Director. Normal business resumes tomorrow. No rest for the evil. Or something like that. Settled into my new apartment – well, not really. Sitting with my laptop in my knees with my as yet unpacked bag beside me. I'll get round to it.
Miss you, :(
She hovered her cursor over the send button, and eventually pressed down. It wasn't Shakespeare, but it would do. She shut down the laptop and made her way through mundane bedtime routine, before crawling under the covers and shutting her eyes, knowing she would eventually drift off.
A problem in the Gaza Strip. Ziva watched the 'problem' turn the corner. She balanced the rifle carefully against her shoulder, and peered through the eyepiece. As she was in perfect position, she gently pulled back the trigger. She stood abruptly and threw the gun into her bag, slinging it over her shoulder. She strode out of the hotel, smiled at the receptionist – the room was booked for two more nights – and walked away from the body in the street. Welcome back to Mossad.
Pretty please review.