'Four Days'

Disclaimer: NCIS and all characters associated with it belong to DPB, CBS and Paramount. As much as I wish they were mine, they never will be. All other characters and places are mine. If there is a real person or place that I have named in my story, it is purely coincidental. Basically, I own nothing. Sadly.

Summary: Ziva/Abby. Set a little more than one year after Gibbs gets his "A" team back (beginning of season 6). Ziva's father finds out about her relationship with Abby and forces her to end it or watch Abby die. She has four days. Takes place a little over a year after Ziva re-joins NCIS after being sent back to Israel by Director Vance. Set future-ish, but pre-season 7. Also "Aliyah" never happened. Nor did Michael. He never existed in my reality.

A/N: I just want to say that I write things in past tense. Don't know why, but I just do so please don't critique me on that. That is how my muse likes things and I tend not to argue with her. I also realize that this chapter isn't very much like Ziva, but I like to think that this is how she is deep down inside. The part of her they don't show on TV. I also just want to say that currently I am in the middle of writing chapter 17 and intend to update once a week, so we should be good for a while.

Reviews welcome. But please be nice.

"What are you doing Ziva?"

Ziva looked right into the man's eyes – right into her father's eyes if you could even call him that. She couldn't. To her he had always been the very picture of Mossad. The man whose seat at the dinner table was empty more often than not, the man she would never see as she snuck into the kitchen for a midnight snack. He was never there for a single one of her dance recitals or school conferences. A father to her, he was not. Never was and never would be. Ziva had long ago accepted that. "I don't know what you are talking about."

The older man laughed. "Of course not, no. You came here, all the way to back Tel Aviv, on the next flight out, after a two minute phone call because you had no idea what I wanted." He paused behind her and leaned down to whisper into her ear. "I have trained you better than that Ziva."

Ziva looked away. Her father had this way of speaking that made her feel as if he was right in front of her staring her into submission. But he was true; she never went anywhere without knowing why. She knew her father's 'request' for her return presence to Israel was not as simple as everyone made it seem. Still, the trained Mossad agent looked away and remained silent.

"I see two ways around this Ziva." Director David began as he resumed circling around the lone chair in the center of the room Ziva was occupying. "One, you return to America and your job with the NCIS as if this never happened. This woman is nothing more to you than a co-worker. Not a friend, not . . . whatever you two are." He managed to choke out, not even attempting to hide his obvious distain. "But a co-worker. You are to stop spending nights at each other's apartments and you are never to set foot in her apartment again as she is never to set foot into yours. Do I make myself clear?"

Ziva looked up at his face mere inches from her own, but said nothing. Eli smiled. "No phone calls, no out of work meetings. If the team goes out and she is there you will not be - You are never to be alone with this woman. All pictures and memorabilia from your time together will be destroyed and that will be that."

Ziva took a deep breath and continued staring straight ahead. Letting the tears that were so close to spilling over actually be seen would only further enrage this man. Letting him see the anger that was building up wouldn't help her cause either. That would only make him smile. A smiling Eli David was a very bad thing.

"Or we can find you another job away from NCIS. Far, far away. I hear California is nice."

Ziva looked over her shoulder and glared at her father. He nodded. "I thought not." Ziva turned back around and stared at the wall.

"Option two. You refuse to let her go." He pulled a picture out of his pocket and stopped in front of his daughter, dangling the photograph before her eyes. She swore under her breath, causing him to laugh. "Indeed." He said. It was her and Abby. They weren't together. Weren't even standing reasonably close to each other, but the look in their eyes told everything and so much more about their connection. They were only looking at each other from across the bullpen at NCIS, but they weren't hiding anything. He dropped that photograph into Ziva's lap and brought out another one.

This was one of Abby that Ziva had taken not even a week earlier. Ziva tried to resist, but she couldn't help a small smile from appearing. Abby looked so beautiful. It was a rare occasion that Ziva had been able to get Abby outside during daylight hours, but she had and she brought her camera along for documentation. Abby was lying in the grass with her face cupped in her hands, her dark hair left down splaying over her pale shoulders with a single black rose tucked above her right ear. She was smiling at the camera with so much joy and love in her eyes that Ziva had to look away. It had been their one-year anniversary that day.

Director David brought a lighter from his pocket and held it to the picture, watching as the edges of the photograph slowly burned. "I don't think I need to explain to you what will happen to her Ziva, but it will cause both you and this woman great pain."

"Yes, you have made yourself quite clear." Ziva snapped.

Her father nodded. "We have an agreement then." It was not a question.

Ziva blinked and looked up at the man in front of her. The man she had at one time called Papa. He was no longer that man. She swallowed a wave of tears and anger and ripped the burning photograph from his hands, putting the thin flame out with her own hand. She smoothed out the photograph and ran a finger over what was left of Abby's beautiful face. She looked back up and met the man's gaze. "Yes."

A smile of satisfaction crossed the man's face and without so much as another glance he walked over to the door, stopping only when a knife landed centimeters from his face on the doorframe. He slowly turned to face his daughter. He knew they should have taken her weapons away.

"You will allow me to say goodbye." She saw the look in her father's eyes. "Next time I will not miss. I promise you that."

Eli slowly turned back toward the door, his hand still on the door knob yet not opening the door. "You have one day."

"Not good enough." Ziva began, taking a single step closer to her father. "A week."

"Two days, no more."

"Four. And you leave us both alone until that time is up."

Eli slowly turned around again and looked at Ziva. He could tell by the look in her eyes that she wasn't going to back down and if he didn't give her the time she wanted she would take it anyway and kill anyone who got in her way. He knew that look well. He had been the one to put it in her eyes himself. He nodded. "Four days." He pulled open the door and walked out of the room. He had taught Ziva well. She was by far his greatest accomplishment. He looked through the two way mirror for a second and watched as Ziva returned to her chair and looked at the burnt photograph for a minute before dropping her head into her hands. He shook his head and continued down the hall. Perhaps that was not such a good thing.

Ziva slipped in through the front door as quietly as she could. However, she knew the apartment well enough to know that it would be damn near difficult task to accomplish. Just about every other floorboard around the door squeaked when so much as looked upon. But as it was, difficult was the Israeli's middle name. She silently closed and re-locked the door behind herself and placed her bag gently off to the side before taking off her shoes and jacket and adding them to the pile. She stood up and breathed in the scent of the apartment. She closed her eyes and savored every smell. They would soon be but a familiar memory.

Her eyes fell upon something out of place lying on the couch. She smiled as she noticed the light grey sweat pants and green ribbed tank top. Abby would never own such clothing. Ziva wouldn't normally either, but Abby said the green of the top was a great contrast with the rich browns in her eyes and she never could resist it when Abby pouted. Whenever Ziva was gone Abby dug out the shirt and pants from wherever she kept them hidden and refused to take them off until Ziva returned. Ziva could only recall actually having worn them one time herself, despite the fact that they were her own clothing. She quietly walked over and placed a gentle kiss on the pale woman's forehead, letting her hand linger on Abby's cheek for a minute.

"You're back." Abby mumbled sleepily.

Ziva smiled and drew the pad of her thumb across Abby's cheek. She forgot how had her leaving always was on the forensic scientist. Her mind flew to that fateful day the director disbanded the team and she was sent back to Israel. She didn't return for four months and due to her mission she couldn't call, she couldn't write, she couldn't even e-mail. That actually wasn't entirely true. She e-mailed McGee regularly and he always made sure to tell her how Abby and everyone else was doing, but it wasn't enough. The well-trained Mossad officer knew that such little contact would only further inflame the ache in her heart and distract her from her mission, so she didn't attempt to contact Abby at all. A fact Abby never let her forget.

Abby was so full of emotion when Ziva finally did come back that she couldn't decide whether she was so mad at Ziva she didn't want to even see her or so happy for her to be back that she didn't want to let her go. She had gone with the second option.

"There she is! Ziva!" Ziva hid a smile as she glanced over and saw Abby jumping up and down with her arms open. She greeted Agent Lee and stood there for a few seconds reading the woman. Something was off with the Agent who had occupied her place on the team for the past few months, but as the elevator opened and Lee stepped onto it Ziva turned her attention to a more important matter. Abby.

"You're back! You're back! Yaay!" She all but ran over to Abby, dropped her bag and threw her arms around the taller woman. She laughed as she heard all of Abby's cute little noises that she couldn't keep in because she was so excited. Ziva leaned up and brought her lips so that they were millimeters from Abby's ear, so only she could hear what Ziva was saying. "I missed you very much."

Abby pulled back and looked at Ziva. Four months was a long time. If possible she concluded that Ziva looked even more beautiful. Perhaps distance did make the heart grow fonder. She cupped Ziva's face for a second and ran a finger over the healing wound above Ziva's right eye before bringing her back in to the hug. She copied Ziva and brought her lips down to the other woman's ear. "I missed you too."

It wasn't that they were trying to hide their relationship, but the fact was that they had only just discussed their feelings with each other the day before Ziva was shipped back to Israel. Faced with Jenny's death and the prospect of never seeing each other again they stop denying their mutual feelings and came clean about everything. They had their first kiss minutes before Ziva boarded her plane. They didn't know quite where they stood after that. There wasn't time before, but they were damn sure going to be certain they didn't waste any more time than they already had.

Gibbs coughed, purposefully ruining their moment and Abby shot him a look as Ziva slipped out of her arms and into Gibbs'. He shot her a look right back. He had to deal with Abby moping around in the time following Ziva's leave. At first he had chalked that up to her missing the whole team. It was only once the Israeli had been gone a full three months that Abby truly thought she was never going to see her again and confessed everything to Gibbs. Gibbs promised Abby that night that he would get his team back. "Good to have you back Ziva."

Ziva smiled. "It's good to be back." She quickly moved to McGee and hugged him as well, sliding right back into Abby's arms once she was done. The hug was brief as Gibbs and McGee, mostly McGee, were asking her all sorts of questions about the past months that she had to pull away from Abby to address them. But she remained glued to Abby's side. Their fingers linked together behind her back. The feel of Abby's thumb running across the back of her hand making it more than difficult to concentrate on the men before her.

Abby put up with the questioning for a short amount of time before she needed to get Ziva alone. "Gibbs!" Gibbs stopped mid-sentence and looked over at Abby. Abby raised an eyebrow. "We're going now."

Gibbs smiled and nodded. Abby wasted no time in grabbing Ziva's bag off the floor and bolting down the hall, Ziva right in step beside her not once letting go of Abby's hand. The elevator doors closed and Abby's freehand immediately flipped the emergency stop switch. Ziva pulled her hand from Abby's and grabbed her pale face with both hands, bringing their lips together before the older woman even knew what was going on. Abby reacted immediately, wrapping her arms around Ziva's neck and deepening their kiss. When they were both breathless and had to pull away to catch their breaths Abby reached over and flipped the emergency stop button again. The elevator resumed its downward descent.

Abby waited until they were safely within her lab, all cameras turned off, doors closed and locked before she spoke. She let go of Ziva's hand and walked over to the metal table, leaning back against it. "You never called."

Ziva went to take a step toward Abby, but thought better of it. Then she thought better of thinking better of it and walked right into Abby's personal space, stopping when their bodies were almost touching. She reached out and took Abby's hands. "I was protecting you-"

Abby ripped her hands out of Ziva's as if they had been on fire and walked around to the other side of the table. "You need a new line. All you ever do is to protect me, all any of you ever do is to protect me. Ziva I can protect myself!"

Ziva raised an eyebrow. "Not from him you can't."

"Him? Who is 'him'?'" Ziva looked away. "Your father." Abby said in realization. "You're protecting me from your father?"

"Yes." Ziva closed the difference between them and again took Abby's hands in her own and this time Abby didn't pull away, but held Ziva's hands tighter playing with their conjoined fingers as she had done just a few minutes ago up in the bullpen. "Yes I was-am protecting you from my father. He listened to every word I spoke over the phone, read every word on every page of every letter and e-mail I sent. There was no language I could have told you how much I missed you that he would not have figured out in a matter of seconds. You get in enough trouble on your own." Abby smiled. "But this . . . this I could protect you from."

Abby softened and took a step closer to Ziva so that their bodies were touching and slowly let go of Ziva's hands as she slid her arms to rest around Ziva's neck. She sighed as Ziva put her arms around her waist and pulled her closer. She placed a kiss on Ziva's cheek and then pulled back slightly so that she could rest her forehead against the Israeli's. She looked into Ziva's eyes. "I really missed you."

Ziva smiled and turned her head so she could meet Abby's lips. She pulled away and leaned her forehead back against Abby's. "I really missed you too."

"Don't leave me again."

They left Abby's lab and the Navy Yard together that night and hadn't been apart since.

Ziva shook off the memory and picked Abby up off of the couch. The sleeping woman tried to lift her head up as she felt herself being lifted off the couch, but she was far too exhausted. No doubt she had stayed up as long as she could waiting for Ziva. "What's going on?"

Ziva planted another kiss on Abby's forehead as the older woman rested her head against Ziva's. "I'm bringing you to bed." She whispered. It wasn't long after they had first started dating that Abby's coffin had been replaced with an actual bed. The coffin was still in the bedroom, just up against a wall off to the side. There wasn't enough room for two to sleep in there comfortably and Abby wanted them to spend nights at her place since they had never been able to at Ziva's because the Israeli thought it too dangerous. Whenever Ziva wasn't there Abby couldn't bring herself to sleep in the bed alone.

Ziva gently laid Abby down on the bed, pulling the black and crimson sheets over her thin form. Abby fell right back to sleep as if nothing had happened. Ziva placed one last kiss on her lover's forehead before making her way into the shower. At least the running water would hide the sound of her crying and wash away her tears.

She wasn't in the shower five minutes when she felt the cool breeze that came with the curtain being drawn back and felt Abby slipping her arms around her waist. She choked back a sob as Abby pressed a kiss to the nape of her neck before moving over and resting her chin on Ziva's tanned shoulder. Abby turned and placed a kiss on that sweet spot on Ziva's neck just below her ear. "You're back." She said repeating her earlier words. "I missed you."

Ziva swallowed hard and put her hands over Abby's, lacing their fingers and leaning into the taller woman's embrace. "I missed you too."

Years of working with her team and another of dating the beauty before her were enough training for Abby to know when something was wrong, no matter how hard people tried to pretend that nothing was. She pulled away just far enough to turn Ziva around in her arms and Ziva immediately wrapped her arms around Abby's neck. Abby held the Israeli for a few minutes, but when the water began to run cold and Ziva's tears hot, Abby figured they'd had enough shower time for the night.

She reached past Ziva and turned the water off, somehow managing to step out of the shower with Ziva still holding onto her and grabbed a large towel out the closet and held it around both of their bodies until they were relatively dry. She was able to pry Ziva off of her enough to wrap individual towels around them both before she led Ziva by the hand into the bedroom and sat down on the bed, Ziva immediately sat down on her lap. Ziva's arms went right back around Abby's neck and Abby rubbed soothing circles over Ziva's back until her sobs subsided. She brought her hands to Ziva's face and gently guided the Israeli to look up until their eyes met. She leaned in and kissed Ziva, which only caused her to start crying again.

It was an incredibly rare occasion that Ziva let her emotions show so freely or without holding back. Abby was more than honored that Ziva felt comfortable enough within her arms to let down her defenses. She had cried in front of Abby before, but this time felt different. Abby was eventually able to release Ziva's grip enough so that she was able to pull away and look at the Israeli.

She brought her hands to Ziva's face and wiped the tears away. "Ziva?" When Ziva still refused to look up she moved one hand from Ziva's face and used it to gently lift her chin until their eyes met. It broke Abby's heart to see this side of Ziva. She would do anything to take away the pain in her dark eyes. "I'm the one who clings to people, not you." She attempted to joke, but both women knew the power of those words. "What happened with your father?"

Ziva took Abby's hand from her chin and held it in her own, encrypting the feeling to memory. "I . . ." She trailed off, not even knowing where to begin or what she could actually tell Abby or what she was going to tell her. She had expected to return to Abby's apartment and slip into bed with the older woman, hopefully coming up with something as she listened to Abby's even breathing within her arms. The woman slept like the dead. The last thing she expected was to have this conversation now. She was exhausted from the flight to Israel, the few hours spent there and the immediate flight back. At this point she was going on almost forty-eight consecutive hours without sleep. It was all too raw, the hurt was still too fresh and a little more than she could handle at the moment.

"Hey." Abby gently called as she caressed Ziva's cheek with her free hand before using it to tuck a stray tendril of hair behind the Israeli's ear. She dipped her head down to catch Ziva's eyes. "You can tell me anything."

"I can't lose you." Ziva spoke so softly Abby barely heard her.

Abby leaned back and wrapped her arms around Ziva's neck. "You will never lose me. You can't."

Ziva wrapped her arms around Abby's waist and nestled her nose into the crook of her neck. This was one of only a handful of times she had left to breathe in Abby's scent, to feel her touch. "I don't know how to give you up."

Abby sighed and held Ziva tighter all the while wondering what the hell had happened in Israel.