Fool's Errand - a Songfic based on the song "Mad About You", from the album "The Soul Cages" by Sting.

Disclaimer: They don't belong to me, never have, never will. Sigh.

A/N: This series of vignettes takes place between Seasons 6 & 7, approximately 1 month after the team's visit to Israel in the episode "Aliyah". WARNING: Spoilers for "Semper Fidelis" and "Aliyah". After I had written this songfic, I re-read the posting guidelines and discovered that I couldn't post the lyrics. This is a problem, because they form an integral part of the story. However, the lyrics are available for viewing online, so I encourage the reader to Google them, and then reference the applicable sections as you read. I'm quite new to the show, and this is my very first NCIS fanfic...any and all reviews are craved and cherished.

c.f. Verse 1

Tony DiNozzo wandered aimlessly along the undulating hillside of Olivet, with no particular destination in mind.

He had needed to get away, to clear his head. Gibbs usually had to force him to take his vacation, but this time he'd booked it without any prompting from his superior. He'd left his cell phone on the kitchen counter, and only told one neighbour that he was even going to be away at all. A small overnight bag was all he'd brought with him - a change of underwear and socks, a couple of t-shirts, shaving kit, sunscreen, and of course the obligatory hair product. Just the basics. No one knew he'd left the country, and that was the way he wanted it. Of course, if Gibbs got worried, he could easily use NCIS resources to track him down. A simple order barked to McGee to check the flight manifests out of D.C. for the past week would have revealed his whereabouts in roughly 30 seconds. He hoped Gibbs wasn't worried. He wanted, no, needed, to be left alone.

He could have gone to Puerto Rico. He could be living it up on the beach at this very moment, soaking in the sights, sounds and aromas of Porta del Sol. Surrounded by beautiful women. Devouring taquitos and sloshing back Pina Coladas. A month ago, the pull of the island would have been irresistible. A month ago, he would have spent days beforehand bragging to McGee about his plans, taunting him with suggestive images of all the anticipated delights that usually accompany hot nights in the tropics.

But this was now.

A month ago, he hadn't cared what Ziva thought of him. No, scratch that. He'd cared, but he had never admitted it to anyone, not even to himself. That was the game they'd played, the suggestive dance that had swept them to the outskirts of love and then back to the more comfortable heartland of competitive rivalry. Behind her mocking tone, there had always been that hint of affection. Sometimes like a sister, other times...Who was he kidding? She would no more admit to having feelings for him than she would sing karaoke at the annual Christmas party. He smirked at the image, then winced as he realized the futility of it all.

c.f. Verse 2 (up to "How much longer?")

Adhaan, the Islamic call to prayer, rang out over the countryside. Tony glanced at his watch - 9:07 pm local time. The sound seemed out of place, coming as it did from the very heart of the Jewish state. He turned to look, and there it was, across the Kidron Valley - Al Aqsa, a large, ornate mosque standing proudly on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Its presence so close to where Solomon's temple had once stood was a powerful reminder of the strife and turmoil that had been visited upon this region for centuries. The muezzin was only a black silhouette in the minaret, but his powerful voice echoed for miles and bounced off ancient and rugged stone buildings. Tony sat down in the lush grass under an olive tree, leaning his head back against the rough bark and closing his eyes. He let that solitary, mournful voice wash over him, and felt it permeate his soul. This wasn't helping his mood any.

He gazed up at the sky, and marveled at the star-filled expanse. There wasn't much artificial light this far out from the city, and it was as though someone had sprinkled diamond dust over a deep blue velvet cloth. So beautiful. Like her. The points of light blurred together, and he squeezed his eyes shut to choke out the tears that were welling up despite his best efforts to quell them. Why hadn't she called? Did she really hate him that much?

c.f. Verse 2 - Remainder

Picking himself up off the ground, he sighed, and surveyed the garden that surrounded him. The powerful scent of a Rose of Sharon filled his nostrils, but even with the powerful light cast by the moon this evening, he could not locate it. As the muezzin finished his call to prayer, and the last note lingered in the air, a chill ran up Tony's spine. He recalled the history class where Mrs. Carpenter had told them about Saladin and the conquest of Jerusalem. The ancient Muslim warrior had perhaps stood in this very spot at the foot of the Mount of Olives, more than 8 centuries ago, as he negotiated with Balian, the Christian defender, for the surrender of the Holy City.

Tony wasn't really a history buff (unless it was film history), but in this moment he felt a mystical connection to this place, somehow. It was as if, just by standing here, he was now a part of everything that had ever happened here, and that ever would. This breathtaking landscape was Ziva's home. Her turf. How amazing to have been born and raised in such a place! Was it really such a surprise that she had chosen to remain behind? This was not the Israel that he had experienced last month. It was so peaceful. What was he doing here, anyway?

He hadn't come here to look for her. That would be futile, in any case...if Ziva had wanted to keep in touch, she would have called. She didn't trust him. The realization wounded him more deeply than he could have imagined. By now, she had probably slid right back into her old life. He doubted she was even thinking about him anymore. Why hadn't he told her how he felt? Another missed opportunity, like so many before it.

Eli David had been partially right - a piece of Tony had wanted Michael Rivkin dead. He'd been jealous. True, that wasn't what had initially led him to Ziva's apartment. He'd been genuinely concerned for her safety, and simply wanted to present her with the evidence of Rivkin's likely involvement in the terrorist cell. But from the moment Rivkin had opened the door, looking annoyingly as though he belonged there, Tony's hackles had been raised, and he'd struggled to maintain his composure while he confronted the man about his activities in D.C. After that, things had gotten out of hand...

Ziva had a point. He could have shot Rivkin in the leg instead of blowing three holes through his chest. Her frantic pleadings to him to call 911 hadn't immediately registered, and he'd just lain there on the floor, studying the anguish on her face, puzzled, almost bemused by it. Then, slowly, it had begun to dawn on him that she actually loved this man, and the magnitude of what Tony had done to her hit him like another belt to the stomach. He couldn't bear to see her in pain. He'd gone there to protect her, and instead he'd ripped her world apart.

As hard as he tried to explain, to defend his actions, it was futile. They'd gone from simmering, to lukewarm, to sub-zero in a matter of days. Icy stares and daggers were the only things thrown in his direction in the aftermath. Feeling more unsure of himself than at any time in his career, the very people he had needed to lean on were not able to lend the full measure of their support. Even Gibbs had to be careful not to be seen as biased in DiNozzo's favour. And so the team had headed to Tel-Aviv. The martyr being led into the lion's den. His partner now his arch-enemy, delivering the lamb to be slaughtered.

He'd felt so damned sorry for himself.

And despite the storm of resentment emanating from her, he had somehow still held out hope that she would forgive him. That she would understand.

She had made her choice. Mossad.

Her life would no longer include Tony DiNozzo. As irresistible as he was to most women (or at least, so he thought), this one could no longer even stand the sight of him.

c.f. Bridge ("And I have never in my life...etc.")

Tony fastened his seatbelt as the captain announced upcoming turbulence. The El Al jet was carrying him home, back to the emptiness and solitude that had become his life for the past month. He hadn't cracked a joke for weeks, and he knew McGee was actually getting a little freaked out by it. Gone were the incessant movie references and unwelcome condescending "probie" jokes. In their place, a sombre pall hung over him interminably.

It had been a fool's errand. He hadn't been able to purge his soul of her presence. Still, he clung to a faint hope that he would walk into his kitchen and find a message from Ziva on his cell. He glanced out the window as they exited a cloud. The plane banked and then settled into its final flight path across the Atlantic. He could just barely see the tip of the Dome on the Temple Mount, receding behind them, almost a mere speck now. He was leaving her behind, perhaps forever. He would never be able to fill the hole she had left in his heart.

c.f. Finale ("And though you hold the keys to ruin...etc.")

Gibbs' rule # 12 rang in his ears: "Never date a co-worker". Got it, Boss.