Tony gripped the dash of the jeep in a vain attempt to keep from being thrown from the vehicle. Timmy made no attempts to avoid the pot holes in the rode. Either he had gotten used to the uneven desert terrain, or he had been driving with Ziva too long and picked up some of her bad habits. Tony was inclined to believe the latter. More than once, Ziva's reckless driving had made him want to puke. Actually, he did puke once, and he did not want a repeat performance. He glanced in the backseat and was amazed that Haverty had managed to fall asleep. Her head lolled back and forth with the movement of the jeep.
"McGee, when we get to where we're staying..."
"You mean, Ziva's villa."
Tony narrowed his eyes at his friend. "Yes, that place. First I want you to sweep all of our rooms for bugs. Then, I want you to set up a secure communication to contact Gibbs and Abby."
Tim cut his eyes at Tony. "You don't trust the Mossad."
"Let's just say that I would like to keep a certain amount of privacy during this investigation. Especially if there's a traitor on the loose."
"Ziva's not going to like that."
"I don't give a damn what Ziva likes, McGee." Tony snapped. "We're heading this investigation."
Tim turned his attention back to the road. "Gotcha. I'll set up a laptop in your room. I should be able to set up a link to D.C."
The rest of the ride was fairly quiet. Tim ran through algorithms in his head to set up a secure line for DiNozzo. Tony watched as the desolate, desert landscape gave way to the metropolitan city of Tel Aviv. Not much had changed in the five years since he had been there. Well, he thought, one thing had changed. Israel's bustling capitol city had one more resident than it had five years ago.
As they neared the center of the city, and the Mossad headquarters, Tony closed his eyes and took several deep breaths, mentally preparing himself for the confrontation that lay ahead.
* * * * *
Ziva watched from her office window five stories up from the street as the NICS agents filed out of Hadar's jeep and made their way to the front of the building. She recognized only one of them. Agent Spencer had been working as Senior Agent on another team when she had been there. He had even hit on her a time or two. She stifled a laugh and wondered how he faired under the direction of DiNozzo. Tony certainly knew how to pull rank when it suited him, and loved to do it just to rub a person's nerves. Her wondering was short lived when her attention was diverted to the second jeep that pulled up to the curb. Tim hopped out of the driver seat. She felt a nervous knot forming in her stomach as Tony followed McGee out of the vehicle. It had only been five years, but it felt like an eternity. Tony was now helping a woman out of the back seat of the jeep. He said something to her and they both laughed.
"Ziva," She turned away from the window quickly, facing Barak, who stood in the doorway. "I see that you are already aware that our guests have arrived."
She nodded numbly, trying desperately to quell to heat rising to her face. She turned back to the window, hoping that he would not notice the deep blush on her cheeks. "So, I see."
Her husband held his hand out to her. "Shall we go meet them?"
Taking a deep breath, and satisfied that she had her emotions under control again, she nodded. "Yes," she reluctantly took his hand, gave him a hint of a smile and followed him down the hall to the elevator.
It was the longest elevator ride of her life. Each ding that signaled a floor, echoed in her head as a reminder that she was that much closer to facing demons that she though were long buried.
When the final ding sounded, she took a deep breath, lifted her chin high, and followed Barak into the lobby. The first person she saw was McGee, who smiled at her. They had remained close throughout the years and he had become a good friend and confidant. Plus, he knew better than anyone the complex relationship that existed between Tony and Ziva. It was good to have him at her back. Glancing behind him, she saw the NCIS team, including Tony, who was watching her closely.
Tim quickly introduced Tony to Barak. Both men stepped forward and shook hands.
"Agent DiNozzo." Barak's hand shake was more than a little forceful.
Tony suppressed a smile at the man's blatant attempt to establish dominance. He would not play Barak's game. Not now, at least. He had learned that lesson with Rivkin. For now, he was content to let Barak think that he had the upper hand. "Director Tal. It is a pleasure." He gave the Mossad leader a sugar sweet smile.
Tim turned away and feigned a coughing spell to cover up his abrupt laughter.
Director Tal seemed not to notice. "The pleasure is mine, I assure you. You remember Ziva, of course."
Ziva stepped forward, her head up, and stretched an awkward hand out to Tony. He took it and nodded to her. "Director Tal."
Ziva smiled at the formal greeting. She lowered her voice and said. "Please, Tony. You can call me Ziva." Tony smiled at her, and the warmth in his eyes made all the apprehension that she had felt earlier, melt away. Watching his expression, she knew that no matter what transgressions they had inflicted upon one another in the past, at this moment in time, Tony had her back. He would help her find the person responsible for the threats to her and Barak. And, if the situation arose, she had no doubt that Tony would give his life for her.
"Oh my god, I'm so sorry I'm late."
Ziva quickly dropped Tony's hand as a new hurried voice rang out across the lobby. Tony turned to see a tall, striking woman, perhaps in her mid thirties hurrying towards them. Although she seemed rushed, she walked with purpose and poise. Her dark suit was obviously meant to hide some under-appreciated curves, but Tony could tell that under her jacket, she was well endowed. He smiled charmingly at her as she shuffled to them.
The woman pushed a stray piece of raven hair out of her face and tried in vain to secure in with the rest of her tied back hair. She glanced at Ziva and mouthed the words 'sorry.' Ziva gave her a small smile.
"Special Agent Tony DiNozzo, NCIS," she turned to the new member of the group, "Officer Mia Oliver. Officer is head of the Lochamah Psichologit Department."
Tony nodded. "Ah, yes, specializing in psychological warfare, deception, and propaganda."
Mia raised an eyebrow. "I am impressed. Our little department usually does not get that much notice."
"I googled Mossad on the way here." He admitted, receiving a satisfying giggle from the Officer.
"My department also handles profiling our enemies and assessing threats. That means that we will be working very closely." She smiled at him, and Tim was certain that she was batting her dark eyes at him.
Never allowing himself to be one upped in the flirting department, Tony gave her a quick wink and said, "I look forward to it."
Ziva cleared her throat loudly. "And this is the rest of your team, Tony?"
The group turned their attention to the three NCIS agents who had been more than happy to fade into the background and not be noticed. Tony quickly made the proper introductions.
"Directer Tal, where would you like my team to set up?"
"There is room on the fifth floor. My office is up there, as well as Ziva's. You will be able to keep an eye on her there while you conduct your investigation. I worry not so much about myself, but if anything should happen to my Ziva, I would be devastated."
Tony didn't miss the way Ziva's eyes narrowed when Barak spoke. It was a rather suspicious expression. As if she didn't believe what he saying. For his part, Tony didn't trust Tal, but seeing the distrust in Ziva's eyes made him even more uncomfortable.
"Fine." Tony blurted out, giving a wan smile. "Probie."
The young Agent Dawson jumped and moved to stand in front of DiNozzo. "Yes, Boss."
Then Tony and Ziva spoke at the same time. "Go with McGee..." They both stopped and stared at each other. Finally, Ziva motioned for Tony to finish.
He narrowed his eyes at her before continuing. "Go with McGee, set up your system. See if you can show an old dog some new tricks."
"Hey," Tim called indignantly, but Tony only grinned at him. McGee shrugged in defeat. "Come on, Probie."
"Spencer, upstairs with Ziva and the Director. Find us a cozy place to set up camp." Then he turned to
Marin. "Haverty, you're with me. Officer Oliver, why don't you show us everything you've got on these threats to the Directors."
Mia looked to Ziva who nodded her approval. "Sure thing. My office is on the third floor. I've got all my notes up there."
"Lead the way."