Author's Notes: Yet another fic centering on Ziva. Because I have no idea how to fit it all into one story. Basically, this is my take on the email Ziva sent to her father. So overdone, but I had to do it.

--

There's a stake in your fat, black heart
And the villagers never like you.
They are dancing and stamping on you.
They always
knew it was you.
Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through.

'Daddy' –Sylvia Plath

--

Dear Father…

Pause. Erase. Rewind. Start again.

Dear Papa…

But it's too informal, isn't it? For this kind of letter? To break his heart the way he broke yours?

Dear Father…

You'd like to say you're angry.

I cannot fully express the abhorrence I feel for you at this moment…

You'd like to say you're upset.

It hurts me beyond anything I have ever felt or could feel that you would leave me to die in Somalia. That you could not even try to rescue me…

You'd like to say you're sorry.

I know that in the past, I may have let my feelings cloud my judgment. And that you believe my time at NCIS has made me soft. You are right: it has. For failing you in this way, I apologize.

But you really know you can't.

(Erase. Rewrite. Continue.)

I know that in the past, I have let my feelings cloud my judgment. And that you believe my time at NCIS has made me soft. You are right: it has. But perhaps that is the way I was intended to be all along…

You damn him because now you'll never know if that was true. You'll never know who you could have been if not for the constant violence.

All my life, I dreamed of joining Mossad because I knew it was what would make you proud. When I fired my first riffle at thirteen, I could see it in your eyes…

If not for the constant pressure.

You pushed me to be a better officer, to be a better assassin. To be a better soldier…

If not for the constant distance.

But that was all you cared about. Or all you seemed to. The day I realized you wouldn't be coming to even one of my dance recitals was the day I decided to join Mossad…

Does he know how much that hurts, even now, twenty years later?

I cried when I quit my dance class…

Probably not.

Tali said she would never forgive me…

Pause. Evaluate. Breathe. Let go.

(Ever since you arrived in the United States, you have been getting off-topic more and more easily. You blame DiNozzo.)

You will not be surprised by the purpose of this letter…

A lie, and you know it.

If you are, then I believe we truly have nothing left to say to each other…

But then, you think, did you ever, really? Because you know that you stopped being a daughter to Eli David the day you picked up a gun for the first time. From then on, you were nothing but another soldier.

I cannot explain, exactly, what made up my mind on this issue, but I can tell you that you should not try to change my mind. It will not work…

You know he won't actually listen. (He never has.)

This place, this city, America, NCIS—it is my home now. I cannot be anywhere else and ever even contemplate learning to live again…

Deaddeaddead wasn't the only thing running through your brain when Saleem beat you, raped you, pushed you to the edge of sanity.

And I know you and I know you will say that they abandoned me…

Sometimes, you thought of them too.

But they were right to…

And sometimes, it hurt.

Because family should protect you but also rebuke you when you head down a path you should not…

And sometimes, it healed. In the moments when your thoughts were darkest, you would think of Palmer's dorkiness and Ducky's stories. Of McGee's laughter and Abby's hugs. Of Gibbs' trust. Of Tony and all that makes him someone you cannot simply forget, no matter how much you want to.

I used to think you were a good father. A good leader. Someone I wanted to be like when I grew up…

Thinking and silence changes a person. Changes her beliefs. Her views.

But I know the truth about you, now…

Should have known all along, right?

That you are not a good father because fathers do not send their daughters on missions they do not expect them to return from…

Yes. Should have known. Should have seen it coming.

You sent me to my death, Papa. And I cannot fathom why because I loved you, with all my heart, with everything…

It kills you to write because you have never let it show. Never let yourself think it.

I thought, once, perhaps, you returned this love, but I see now that I was wrong…

And you'd spend on your tears on it, if only you could remember how to cry.

So, you see…

Pause. Debate. Can you really let it go? Turn your back on an entire lifetime? On Ari? On Tali? On Michael?

it should come as no surprise…

But you are not because you never could. They are a part of you, a part that runs deeper than Mossad, deeper than the thrill of a fight, deeper than your ties to your father. They cannot be separated from you.

that I now offer my resignation from Mossad…

They cannot because they are bound to you by love. Just like Palmer, Ducky, McGee, Abby, Tony, Gibbs, and Jenny. Just as Kelly and Shannon are bound to Gibbs. Just as Caitlin Todd is bound to the team.

Please, do not try to dissuade me. Simply leave me be. I have asked for nothing else…

No, given. Given all. Taken nothing.

It is all I ask.

And it is almost too much to bear.

Love…

But do you? Can you still?

(Delete. Reword.)

With all my respect,

Ziva

You sigh. You hit 'send.' And then all hell breaks loose inside you.

You finally let the tears come, heavy and earthshaking. You don't know whether they come from relief or loss.

It doesn't matter, though, you suppose, because you can't think logically anymore. Not tonight. But in your head you can still hear the forgiveness you don't deserve and on your lips you can still taste a man you never should have pushed away, and for the first time in your life, you know you aren't alone.

It feels like deliverance.