"Hey." Gibbs sat behind his desk, watching the quiet silhouette of his agent behind her desk. "You okay?"
Ziva looked up at her boss and offered him a small ghost of a smile. "It's nothing, Gibbs."
He shook his head and proceeded to roll his chair over closer to her. "No, it's something." He paused. "Wanna talk about it?"
She sighed. "This past week has just been very...trying, and I am fighting my way through it."
"But?" Gibbs prompted.
"But...it hasn't been easy."
Gibbs nodded, leaning his arms forward onto his knees and looking at her. "Honestly, I can't imagine what you're going through, Ziver-" he brushed a strand of hair out of her face. "But I do know you, and I know you'll pull through this."
Ziva nodded. "Thank you, Gibbs." She could hear movement from behind her, and turned around to see Tony. "Did my father leave?"
The senior field agent shook his head. "Still downstairs in the garage with the Director. Boss, Vance wants you down there."
With a short sigh, Gibbs stood up. He gave Ziva one last, encouraging look before leaving for the elevator. As soon as he was gone, Tony sat down in Gibbs' chair.
"What were you guys talking about?"
"Nothing," Ziva dismissed, pulling open a closed file on her desk.
Tony bit his lip. "You say it's nothing when it's really something." He smiled when she looked at him with a half-incredulous, half-annoyed look. "I know. I've been there."
"You and Gibbs are so alike, it's almost scary."
Tony laughed. "Well, we are both great investigators, Ziva, it's what we do." He leaned forward just as Gibbs had done earlier. "And right now, I can see you're troubled."
Ziva turned to face him her mouth open and ready to say something.
"You don't have to say it if you don't want to," Tony continued. "I get it. I mean, first it there was Jackson, then my father, and now yours."
"It's different, Tony."
"Yeah, but all fathers are the same."
Ziva looked at him curiously.
"They all do what they have to in order to move on and benefit the greater good." Tony smirked at his own words. "You may not like it, you may not agree with it, but at the end of the day, when you look at your birth certificate, their name is the only one listed under 'father'."
Ziva exhaled. "Did you talk to your father?"
"Did you talk to yours?"
She nodded. "But I asked you first."
He smiled. "Yeah, we talked."
"Oh no," he shook his head. "This isn't gonna turn on me, Zee-Vah. This is about you right now."
She shrugged. "I'll tell if you tell."
He eyed her suspiciously before talking. "When I was little, a short time before my mom died...my father took us out of the house for a fishing trip. I was, I don't know, maybe seven or eight...but I couldn't wait to go out onto the water with him." He smiled at the thought. "I couldn't catch anything for an hour; none of us could, but we just sat there and talked. We talked about everything. It was a great time. When we finally caught something on a line, my dad and I reeled it in and...and I couldn't have been happier."
Ziva placed her hand on his knee. "Sounds like you and him used to get along pretty nicely."
"Yeah, we did." Tony scratched the back of his head. "But it's your turn, Ms. David."
Ziva swiveled her chair to fully face him, leaned back, and rested her hands on her lap. "I confronted my father earlier this week. It was the first time since-" She looked up and saw Tony watching her. "I told him he had no feelings."
"And what did he say?"
"He has no time to put his emotions before his actions. It is his burden to carry as he protects Israel." Ziva's voice was quiet. "But there was a time when he said he had the chance to feel those emotions."
"When?" Tony pressed.
For a minute, she hesitated to tell him, but the look in his eyes made her change her mind. "He said when his house was full of laughter. Of mine, or Ari's, and of Tali's."
The two agents seemed to stare blankly past one another for a few minutes. The room was already dark with only a few lit lamps to lighten some desks with people still working.
"Well," Tony slowly got up to his feet. "Like I said, they're still our fathers at the end of the day, even if we can't stand them. But there will always be a time, right?"
Ziva nodded. "Always."