A/N- My god that lady on the last NCIS episode was irritating anyhow I own nothing and please review

When the plane begins its descent into America, Ziva David doesn't know how to feel. Beside her, Ari is leaning back against the wall, his eyes closed, feigning sleep, his hand rests lightly on her thigh and she covers it with her own, enjoying the soothing familiarity of the scars that crisscross his knuckles.

Some were made by their enemies, some were made by her but she knows every pale mark on his dark flesh.

Just as she knows every pale mark on his dark mind.

Fourteen hours ago, they were dragged from a club in the Red Light District and thrown into the back of a car along with their luggage. They were driven to the airport and loaded onto an adapted C-130 Hercules, right next to the weaponry and the other things being transported to the U.S in the diplomatic trade off.

They had to move some cargo pellets to make enough room for themselves. There was one bottle of water and no food, Ziva was furious that they'd been treated with the same consideration as the inanimate objects that had bruised her legs when they'd hit turbulence. Ari had simply shrugged and lit up a joint, hoping to keep their buzz going a little while longer. Joining him, she had been lulled into relaxation, humming an Arabic nursery rhyme under her breath.

Awake and alert now, she takes her head off her brother's shoulder and spares a glare at the two pilots who'd ignored them throughout the flight, not offering them any conversation, food or water once their bottle ran out, though she could see they had plenty stashed between their seats.

Ziva hated being ignored, she'd had enough of that during her childhood to last her a lifetime.

As if sensing her thoughts, Ari's hand squeezes her thigh and he slowly opens his eyes,

"Are you unhappy my love?" he asks with a sleepy grin, she considers the question and scowls,

"I do not like this" she states and he nods, understanding her every thought in that one sentence.

She knows her brother. He is one half of her, and she is one half of him.

He knows that she does not like how she had been sent straight from Amsterdam to Washington, she had worked hard on her mission in Bahrain, she had hoped the success would warrant a debrief with their father, she had hoped that her brilliance in handling the situation would earn her the nod and compliment she strove for year after year.

Instead she had been treated like any worthless girl, a daughter who failed to be born a boy, sent away so that she could no longer irritate the important deputy director with her presence.

She should have been born a boy.

Not that it would have earned her father's love and respect. Ari was proof of that, he had served two years in the IDF, surviving the racism and hatred bestowed on him for being a Palestinian, he had graduated medical school in Edinburgh with honours and numerous awards and in his four years at Mossad he had achieved more in uncover missions and gone further in penetrating Hamas and Al-Qaeda than any officer before him.

And yet he was as undeserving of their father's affections as she was.

She wondered if anyone had objected to them being sent to this form of exile, if even one person had risen a hand and pointed out that they were the best and brightest Mossad had to offer and too important to be humiliated with this 'diplomatic' trade.

A nice thought, but an unlikely one.

The Hercules jolts as the plane's wheels touch the ground. Startled from her thoughts, Ziva begins putting herself together; gathering her things and checking to make sure she is presentable. Ari simply yawns and stretches, his joints cracking back into place.

He is long past the point of caring what people think of him and she hopes one day she will be too.

It is another ten minutes before the plane hatch lowers and she and Officer Haswari step out to be blinded by the sunlight. Looking up Ziva judges it to be early morning. Narrowing her bloodshot eyes against the bright glare she looks around to see if anyone is there to meet them.

All she sees are workers scurrying around the tarmac and for the most part they are ignored, clenching her teeth at this insulting neglect, she spots the large building just west of their position and begins striding towards it, Officer Haswari at her side and the pilots long since forgotten. He is busying himself with his shades and muttering about finding a decent cafe. She is more interested in finding out where they are supposed to sleep tonight.

Being the elder of the two and too hungry at that moment to be concerned with her wants, Ari steps into the airport and, with the knowledge of a well-travelled man, finds the nearest cafe. He orders a large breakfast for both of them, filled with sausages, bacon and other strange foods for the Western delight, the affects of the marijuana have worn off enough for Haswari to remember that they haven't had any water in a few hours and to grab a few bottles along with their tea. Ziva pokes his side irritably and orders coffee with the curiosity of a spoilt child and he lovingly indulges her before finding themselves a table to sit down. The cafe is tiny and near deserted with only three tables and a bench available, a man sits at the table next to them and stares at Ziva, Ari scowls protectively and presses a hand to her back as they move to the free seats, trying to convey the sense of ownership that usually makes the smarter men back off. His little sister is not some whore to be publicly lusted after like the window sluts in Amsterdam. Of course he knew in private she indulged her every hedonistic pleasure but that was a different matter. When they sit and their meals are brought out to them he briefly worries that it's a Jewish holiday where Ziva has to forgo certain foods, but when she starts with the bacon, consuming it in two bites and then taking his own his mind relaxes.

Two years ago, Ari and Ziva's sister Tali lost her life in a Hamas suicide bombing.

It was the only time emotion for a being outside of them had reached their hearts and cast doubt upon their life path, suddenly unsure of themselves and suffocating on the smallness of their world, they had run away. Her brother had taken her hand and led her to India, to a city by the river where their days had been spent in a haze of drugs, booze and whatever pleasures they could find. For a while their father was too busy to notice they had disappeared and then he was too proud to come after them. Eventually Amit Hadar had sent a team of operatives to bring them back to Israel and thrown them into a Kibbutz out in the desert where even a cup of tea was considered a worrying stimulant, after three months he had assumed they were clean and brought them back to Mossad to resume their normal duties. Ziva knew the damage had been done however, their emotional scarring and exceptional volatility created an air of complete instability and danger, however they were still brilliant and quickly being considered amongst the best the agency had to offer.

So the Director decided that they were a worthy risk and let them continue on as officers, giving them an allowance none of the other agents had. Occasionally they showed contempt to Israel's other agencies, or their overseas missions started or ended several days later then scheduled, sometimes they took impromptu holidays to destinations known for drug use, every so often the body count on one of their tasks was higher than the number they had been assigned. As long as their work was done and was done well, nobody truly gave a damn.

Ziva wondered if the Americans would be so accommodating. She doubted they would, the respective agencies had told Mossad that she and Ari were not to leave Dulles airport without being escorted and then failed to arrive. Already she and her brother had been left wandering the terminal, bored and humiliated by the lack of respect shown to them. With nothing but euros, dinars and shekels in their pockets and the little more than the clothes on their backs, she had been in half a mind to find her and Ari passage to Mexico, let the Americans come find them sipping cocktails on a beach or taking down a drug lord just to sample some of his finest wares. Unfortunately her brother was interested in making it onto American soil, he already had a plan forming in his mind that he was not yet willing to share but Ziva knew it meant enduring this snub from the two agencies a little longer. Her brother had taught her the meaning of pride, she knew that another hour or so and he would be the one finding them passage out of the country.

After three hours Ziva pulls rank over her brother and makes the call,


"Ambassador" she hisses the title through clenched teeth as Ari eyes airport security, two Middle Easterners loitering in the International section of Dulles hasn't gone unnoticed and they're about thirty seconds away from the start of a diplomatic incident.

"Officer Davi- what have you done now?"

Michael Bashan was an old family friend and unlike Amit Hadar had not slept with Ziva's mother and tried to play stepfather to the David children, as such he was far more willing to see her and Ari for the trouble they were, she rolled her eyes,

"We have not done anything; we are still waiting to be escorted from the airport"

"I thought you were schedule to leave Amsterdam..."

"The airport in Washington, we have been here for three hours now!"

"Have you tried calling the FBI or CIA?"

"Why so we can ask them to please stop embarrassing us?"

"Perhaps they forgot the arrival time..."

Ziva closed her eyes as she felt mortification stain her cheeks at Bashan's unlikely suggestion. The Americans had played almost every card in their hand before Mossad had approved their suggestion of bartering their two best agents, she and her brother had been put on the plane the moment the deal was finalised and neither of the two agencies had managed to send even a lowly intern in a taxi?

She opened her eyes as brother's hand stroked her back,

"We have trouble" he whispered in her ear, she followed his gaze to see two fat security guards approaching, both red faced from the effort of moving, she squared her shoulders,

"Bashan we're about to be interrogated by airport security, when we are done there will be a car waiting for us out the front to take us wherever we wish to go, understood?"


A/N- Confrontation next chapter