AUTHOR'S NOTES: I've had this idea for a while now and I decided to finally write it.
Story Summary: What if Ziva David and Miss Parker met and started talking? And what kinds of connection are there bewteen the two, other than lousy dads? And what if Sydney and Broots joined up with Gibbs, Tony, McGee, Ducky, and Abby to put Miss Parker and Jarod together?
Timeline for NCIS is mid-season 6 and timeline for Pretender is right after season 4 episode 'Til Death Do Us Part'.
NCIS: You Think You've Got It Bad?
Sitting at the bar, Ziva David sipped her mojito and sighed as she looked at the clock on the wall. It was getting late and while she didn't need much sleep she didn't want to try and hide a hangover from Gibbs. Sighing again, Ziva finished off her drink and signaled for another. To hell with hiding anything. She was going to let loose tonight. She would get completely—crushed? Was that the word?—and go up when they started karaoke in an hour…. Looking through the song book, she tried to think whether she wanted to do something country or rock and roll…Something that was totally uncharacteristic.
"Bourbon… straight…" said a woman who was sitting at the bar next to Ziva. After a few moments the woman sighed and buried her head in her hands, looking like someone at the end of a long, ragged rope. When she turned to look at Ziva, she gave the barest hint of a smile as she looked at the new mojito in Ziva's hand. "That working for you?"
"Not really," Ziva admitted. Looking at the glass in the woman's hand, Ziva smiled, thinking of Gibbs. "That's all my boss drinks." To the woman's look, she said, "He drinks bourbon… Often when he is alone in his basement working on his boat."
The woman's smile was bittersweet as she pulled a photo out of her pocket. When Ziva leaned over to look at the picture, the woman said, "Thomas is… was a carpenter. He…" She seemed to choke back a sob as she said, "He took some of the most run down houses…" Smiling, she gave a halfhearted laugh. "…and he made them into something… wonderful… He rescued places that… that most people just gave up on."
"My father is the Deputy Director of Mossad in Israel," Ziva said, quietly. She wasn't sure why she was sharing her life with this stranger… except that she sensed that this woman was a kindred spirit… someone who understood what it was like to… "And today… I found out… that he knew that I killed my half-brother."
"I just found out…" The woman said, trying not to cry. She'd been holding onto so much emotion over the past few days… it felt good to let it all out. "…that my father's second wife… was the one who killed Thomas." Looking at Ziva, she held out a hand after wiping her eyes. "Everyone calls me Miss Parker."
Ziva shook Miss Parker's hand and smiled. "Is there a first name?"
Miss Parker looked back at the picture and sighed. "I never told anyone… I never even told Tommy…" Looking at Ziva, she said, "My first name is 'Eve'."
"Ziva David," Ziva said with a sad smile.
"So, Ziva…" Parker said, putting the picture away. "Is Eli David as… wonderful a father as mine?"
Filing away the question of how Eve Parker knew Eli David, Ziva shook her head. "I try to make him proud, but…"
"Yeah…" Parker said, nodding knowingly as she threw back her drink. "You do everything they ask… You give up everything that matters to you… and it's never enough."
"You sacrifice those you love…" Ziva added, thinking of her mother… her little sister, Tali… "You watch everything you care about be ripped away…"
"And all the time you're told to be strong," Parker finished before signaling for another round. "But I've decided… to hell with being strong."
Thinking of her mother, Ziva said, "My mother always told me that true strength is the ability to fall apart… and rebuild yourself even stronger."
Parker smiled at that as she sipped her second drink. "My mother was…"
Ziva nodded, understanding. "So was mine… She was kind… smart…"
"She had a laugh and a smile that… made me feel safe… loved…" Parker went on. "Sometimes I think I see love in my father's eyes, but…"
"But he is more about duty than love?" Ziva finished, nodding.
"In a nutshell," Parker replied with a wry smile. "One of the men I work with… Sydney… He… sometimes feels like more of a father to me…"
"Gibbs is like that," Ziva replied. "He wants me to succeed, but… he is willing to let me make my own mistakes…"
"Be grateful you've got him," Parker said, raising her glass. "To those we call family…" As she and Ziva clinked glasses, Parker added, "Even if they're not blood…"