A/N: There is just something about Ziva that makes her so darn interesting to me, and trying to figure her out is one of my favorite pastimes. This little piece is something I was thinking about after we found out that Ziva did, in fact, have orders to kill Ari to earn Gibbs' trust. Knowing that Ziva told Gibbs in Silver War that she "requested this assignment," I now doubt that she was telling the truth. And so I wrote this sketch, set between Kill Ari Part 2 and Silver War, to make sense in my head of what might be going on in her head.
It's possible I might add more Ziva sketches to this story as I continue to contemplate her character. If you would be interested in more, let me suggest hitting the "review" button. :-)
Disclaimer: I don't own anything, duh.
"Sit down." The command was his only greeting.
He hadn't seen her since de-briefing her mission immediately upon her return. Three days had passed since she had sat down in this very room and coldly recited the details of her time in D.C. She remembered the dead feeling in the pit of her stomach as she allowed her toneless voice to tell him everything; she was nothing but a tape recorder, and he had pressed play. When it was all done, when she had emptied her body of every word she had spoken or heard and every action she had made or observed, he said nothing but, "Well done." He had pushed one sheet of paper aside to reveal another, which he frowned upon for a moment before saying, "You are dismissed. Standby for further orders."
Not once had he acknowledged the fact that she was speaking of his son, her brother, when she spoke of the man she had killed. Not once had he even said her name.
She sat obediently, because obedience was all she knew to give him - all she had ever given him - and it had only recently begun to occur to her that it had never been enough. She pushed that thought away; it was a thought of weakness. Whatever she had hoped to earn from him was something she should not need. She should not need anything more than what he offered. He knew best what it meant to be strong.
"Director Shepard has offered to accept you as a Liaison Officer assigned to NCIS," Deputy Director Eli David informed her, looking down at the ever present papers on his desk, then glancing up at her over the rims of his reading glasses. If he noticed the darkness under her eyes or the pallor of her skin, he did not remark upon it. "I have discussed the matter with our Director, and we have decided to accept."
Ziva searched her father's expression carefully, trying to see beyond his mask of cool, confident control. His words had the same sense of half-reality that everything had now, ever since Ari's death. She had not yet found her way back to reason, but the world moved on without her - her father moved on without her - and now he meant to send her back to the very last place on Earth she would have chosen to go.
A protest died in her throat. Argument would do nothing but bring his anger upon her. He would never change his mind, and she could not say, "No." She knew why only she could take this assignment, and, for a moment, she wished she hadn't saved Jenny's life in Cairo.
"You will leave in two weeks. The Embassy in D.C. will locate a suitable apartment. The assignment may be prolonged." Director David continued on without waiting for her response. What need was there for response between a father and his daughter? What would she say to him aside from, "Yes, father, I will?"
"Your first objective will be to smooth relations between Mossad and NCIS. Recent incidents have, of course, ruffled some feathers. Your second and long-term objective is to provide insight on American intelligence, strategies, and operations dealing with Middle Eastern concerns. You will stay in regular contact with the Embassy in D.C., and with me. Your orders." He offered her a thin folder, she accepted it without thought.
Eli leaned forward, resting his elbows on his desk, and pulling away his glasses. "Do you have any questions?"
She swallowed hard, allowing her gaze to linger just slightly too long on the folder in her hands. When she looked up, she had to fight down the impulse to shake her head and walk out. Her jaw tightened as she braced herself to ask the question she had to ask.
"Ari's funeral ... " she began.
Deputy Director David's fist slammed down on his desk, and his dark eyes flashed with an anger that she knew preceded nothing but more violence. Ziva only flinched on the inside.
"Half-arab, traitorous scum do not receive funeral rights on my watch," Eli shouted. "No matter what." The last three words were soft and even more dangerous.
She steeled herself again. "Please, father. I want to observe the proper rituals."
He was on his feet and walking around the desk; she couldn't take her eyes off him. He stopped beside her, allowing his finger to draw across her chin, turning her face to him. Her face stung when he struck her, but she, who had endured much worse, refused to allow even the slightest noise of surprise or hurt escape her. His hand closed around her jaw, holding her painfully between his claw-like fingers. She kept her eyes open, dry, and on his face, because any sign of fear now would only feed his fury.
"Put that dog of a bastard out of your mind. I did not raise you to mourn the death of traitors." His grip tightened momentarily before he released her face, then caught her by the arm and pulled her out of the chair.
"Get out," he growled, throwing her towards the door.
She paused long enough to nod and offer the expected, "Yes, father," and then she was out and away from him. Clutching her orders in her hand, she rushed down the hallway, desperate for escape.
"In a hurry, Ziva?" a fool of a man joked as she sped past him. She lashed out without hesitation, drew his own weapon and held it to his head, his neck trapped between her forearm and the wall.
"It is none of your business," she hissed, shoving the muzzle of the firearm roughly into his temple, enjoying the feel of his rapid heartbeat and shallow breath as she pressed her body into his back threateningly. When she'd had her fill of his shock and fear, she threw his weapon down so that it skittered across the floor.
She collected all her disgust and hurt and anger and grief, threw her unfortunate victim aside, and stormed out of the building. No one else was foolish enough to interrupt her.
A/N: I love reviews ... and I would especially love to hear feedback on my interpretation of Ziva's mindset. Anyone want to share their theories of Ziva David? I will gladly listen.
It may seem that she is meeker than expected in this interaction with her father, but it fits with my concept of her character because it is clear in recent episodes that her father still has influence over her, even as she is moving towards the point where she'll be able to let him go.