This is a missing scene from my 2011 NCIS Big Bang fic The Darkest Hour. Yes, I wrote McGiva. That is all. (It's all Sherry aka smackalicious's fault. Blame her. Also, it's her birthday, so go wish her a happy birthday ;)

There were days when Ziva resented the fact that this is the United States of America, and not some war-torn parts of the Middle East or Africa. She would've loved to wrap her fingers around the neck of the person in front of her and squeeze, just to shut them up. Her fist clenched and unclenched at her side, her body shaking out of fury as she did her best to control her desire to kill the person in front of her.

"Officer David, might I remind you that, as long as you are assigned as liaison officer to NCIS, you will obey my orders?" Jenny Shepard arched her perfectly shaped eyebrow at Ziva. "I took you on as a favor to Eli and because you asked me to. I expected your loyalty, so don't make me question my own decisions."

"You're taking away my field agent status because I sided with my team?" Ziva stared at Jenny, unable to comprehend the hostility coming from the woman who had, once upon a time, been her friend. "This is ridiculous. Campbell was severely lacking in leadership skills. This entire incident happened because Campbell refused to listen to any of our suggestion that something much worst was going to happen. You should have promoted Tony to team leader yet you didn't, and now you want to put the blame on him?"

"As far as I'm concerned, Agent Campbell's death was an unfortunate incident. One that could've been avoided if Agent DiNozzo hadn't disagreed with and disobeyed his team leader on everything. He had every opportunity to do his job and prove to Agent Campbell that his leads were important. While it is unfortunate that Agent DiNozzo also suffered debilitating injuries, it is simply impossible for me to not hold him responsible," Jenny shrugged and waved her off. "If that is all, you can return to…whatever it is you should be doing."

"You will not reconsider and rescind your decision?" Ziva asked, finally.


"Very well then, Director Shepard." Ziva straightened her back and held her chin up, looking directly ahead. "Consider this my resignation, effective immediately."

She turned a perfect one-eighty and strode out of Jenny's office without waiting for Jenny's response or looking back.

There was nothing here for her. Not anymore. Without the team she'd come to trust and rely on, without a job that she loved doing, it wasn't worth staying. Ziva wondered, as she rode the elevator down to the bullpen, how it had gotten to this point. How was it that Jenny Shepard, whom she'd admired and considered a friend in the past, had turned into this… she didn't have a word for it. She sighed to herself. Getting off of the elevator, she packed up her stuff, as little as there were to begin with, and walked out, leaving her badge and her gun on her desk.

On her way out to the car, she took out her phone and dialed. "It's me."

Ziva weaved her Mini Cooper in and out of the fast lane, cursing softly every time she got cut off by drivers who weren't paying attention. She hated the commute to and from Quantico ever since NCIS were moved there after the bombing at the Navy Yard. It was a long drive that often resulted in her being stuck in traffic.

Thankfully, it was the middle of the day, and the traffic wasn't nearly as heavy as it would've been during rush hour.

She exited the ramp at Alexandria, stopped quickly for gas before continuing on. She parked in front of Gibbs' house, rather than the driveway since it was too narrow for Tony to maneuver in and out of the car.

Ziva showed herself into the house. It was a bit worrisome that Tony seemed to have picked up Gibbs' habit of not locking the door. "Tony? You ready yet?"

"I'll be right down," Tony yelled from somewhere on the second floor.

Ziva looked around her. It hadn't changed much at all since that day she'd lost her brother. By her own hands.

So much had happened since then. She thought she'd found somewhere she belonged. With Gibbs and Tony and—she smiled to herself—McGee. Even Abby was starting to warm up to her towards the end of the previous year. It was something she'd never had.

It was never easy to be the daughter of Eli David. She was trained to kill, trained to defend her country. She was good at what she does. Very good. She was considered one of the most valuable assets in the Mossad, but there weren't many people she could trust—or she trusted, for that matter. With the team, she had had that.

And all it took was two explosions to take it all away.

"Tony, you need a hand at all?" Ziva knew Tony didn't like letting people help him—stubborn as a mule, just like Gibbs, Ziva mused—but she asked either way, just in case.

"Nope. I'm coming down." Tony's voice rang from the stairwell.

Ziva took a deep breath and let it out. She hadn't even figured out how to tell Tony about her leaving.

"I'm leaving," Ziva said after a long silence. They'd just pulled out of the driveway of the hospital, heading out to grab a bite before she'd drop Tony back at home.

She hadn't planned on telling Tony until they were somewhere where they could talk. She just blurted it out.

"Leaving?" Tony looked over to her with a confused expression on his face.

"I'm leaving NCIS." Ziva stole a glance over to Tony as she slowed at a right turn. She could see the confusion on Tony's face. "I'm going back to Israel."


"I wanted you to know it first, from me. I owe you that much. You have been a fantastic leader in Gibbs' absence. I've learned a lot from all of you in the past year, but I don't know how much longer I can continue like this—Gibbs left, you're…recovering, and McGee got sent to the basement. I felt like I had no one I could trust." Ziva kept her eyes on the road, doing her best to keep her emotions in check. "Jenny has become intolerable, and my father will be needing a hand with a couple of missions, so I tendered my resignation."

Ziva waited, but Tony didn't make a comment. Remembering her earlier encounter with Jenny, she couldn't help complaining to Tony.

"And you know what she said to me? She accused me of being disloyal to her!" Ziva waved her right arm around as she muttered Hebrew curse words under her breath, both at Jenny and at the driver that had just cut them off. "Anyway. I will be leaving in a week. I hope I will have the opportunity to return to the States one day, but if I do not, I expect you all to visit me in Tel Aviv."

"I'll make sure of that." Tony gave her a small smile, and Ziva smiled in return.

After a brief pause, she glanced over at Tony, eyes squinting and lips pursing. "I hate to admit it, but I think I will miss Ducky's stories. And McGee, the man is magic with computers. I wish Mossad had someone like him."

Tony laughed openly at her comment, and she smiled satisfactorily.

"Ziva! Wait!"

Ziva turned at someone calling her name. "Abby?"

"I can't believe you were going leave without saying goodbye!" Abby pouted. "You think we wouldn't want to come see you off? That is so not cool."

Abby squinted at Ziva, pointing her index finger to Ziva's chest. "For this? You totally owe me a beer when I come visit."

"I would say yes, Ziva, or she's going to pout at you until Kingdom come." McGee's voice rang from behind Abby. "Actually, you owe all of us drinks."

"Aww, Probie. You should've aimed higher! I would've gone for…say all-expenses-paid trip when we visit!" Tony slowly made his way towards the group, with Ducky bringing up the rear.

"Tel Aviv is a wonderful place," Ducky nodded. "Lots of interesting places to visit. It reminds me of that time…"

"Alright, Duck, you can tell the story in a bit. I think Ziva's going to be late if we don't make this fast." Tony patted Ducky's shoulder. "I'm not so worried for Ziva not making her flight, but more for the poor airport security when Ziva gets her hands on them for not letting her board."

"I would never do that." Ziva glared at Tony, but her eyes softened at the teasing grin on Tony's face. She held out her hand to Tony. "It was a pleasure working with you, Tony. May our paths cross in the future."

"Well said." Tony flashed her a genuine smile as he took her hand for a solid shake.

Ziva turned towards Ducky. "Ducky, farewell."

"Farewell, Ziva." Ducky leaned forward and kissed her on the cheeks. "Don't forget to write."

"I won't," Ziva promised, smiling at Ducky.

"Oh, Ziva, I'm so going to miss you." Abby wrapped Ziva in a bear hug. "Promise you'll be careful?"

"I'm going to miss you too," Ziva said, still unused to Abby's enthusiastic display of affection, but she wrapped her arm around Abby's back nonetheless. "And I will. I promise."

Ziva turned to McGee, who was smiling at her. "And McGee…"

There was a look there, in McGee's eyes that she was unfamiliar with, and suddenly, she wasn't sure what to say.

"Have a safe trip home," said McGee, pulling Ziva into a loose hug. "Just remember to write," he said quietly into her ear.

"I will," Ziva said as McGee let her go, giving McGee a smile as she remembered her conversation with Tony the week before. "And I will remember you every time my computer dies on me, Tim."

"I believe the exact words were 'the man is magic with computers' and 'I wish Mossad had someone like him'," Tony chimed in, and had the entire group burst out laughing. Ziva watched as McGee blushed a deep red.

"Thank you all," Ziva said after the laughter had died down, her eyes watering. She breathed in deep and blinked back the moisture that threatened, not wanting to shed her tears in public. "I mean it. You've all taught me so much. I wish the circumstances were different."

Taking the handle of her luggage, Ziva said finally, "Shalom."

It began as a joke. McGee had written her an email, asking how she was, and she'd jokingly told him that her computer was ready to mutiny and that he should come on over to fix it for her. McGee had returned her email giving her a very long list of things to check.

Ziva was beyond amused by McGee's response. She replied to tell him that it was supposed to be a joke, and asked after him. She was surprised to hear that McGee had quit his job at NCIS as well.

Over the next month or so that she worked at her father's side, coordinating ops from Tel Aviv, she wrote to McGee almost daily. They discovered that they both loved poetry, and even though McGee wrote thrillers, he shared a passion for classical writing almost as much as Ziva. She also learned that they were both foodies, and had a thing for classical music. She never thought that she would have this much in common with the former agent.

It was this dialogue that she'd begun with McGee that made her realize how much she missed being in the States. And she knew that her father had taken notice of this after he called her into his office.

"Ziva," Eli sighed, remembering an old Chinese saying a friend once imparted on him about baby birds leaving the nest. "Are you happy here?"

"Yes. Why do you ask?" Ziva frowned. Eli stood from his chair and walked over to the couch that sat in the corner of his office.

"Come." Eli waved Ziva over to sit next to him. "You know that I love you, yes, Ziva?"

Ziva nodded.

"And I only wanted the best for you. I'm sorry that my decisions in the past had caused you pain." Eli sighed. "Ari was not only your brother but my son as well, and I missed him dearly."

Ziva froze, closing her eyes at the thought of Ari, lying dead in Gibbs' basement.

"I know you think that working by my side, joining Mossad and become one of the best agents I have is what I would've wanted. You have done… so much, for me, for this country, but I don't want you to sacrifice yourself in the process." Eli brought a hand up to Ziva's face, stroking her cheek gently with his thumb. "I just want you to be happy, Ziva."

"I am happy," Ziva said, but even she could hear the hesitation in her own voice.

"We're sending a new security detail to our embassy in Washington." Eli handed Ziva a folder. "I'm putting you on that detail. Observe and report, protection if absolutely necessary."

"Aba…" Ziva looked up from the folder at Eli.

"Go chase your dream, Ziva." Eli gave her an affirming nod.

"Thank you."

Ziva declined the embassy's offer to pick her up from the airport upon arrival. McGee had promised to come pick her up, if she was truthful with herself, she kind of missed him.

She'd been surprised when she saw him at the airport. McGee was wearing a nice dark button-down with a pair of designer jeans and a dark sport coat. He'd lost some weight as well, and he looked positively radiant.

Definitely looked more like a writer, she thought to herself bemusedly.

It felt a bit surreal to be sitting in a car, driving down the I66 heading into DC. Ziva couldn't help staring out the window at the familiar skyline of the city. She actually missed the city, even with its bad traffic and smog.

"Earth to Ziva, come in please?" McGee's voice jolted Ziva out of her thoughts.

"Not funny, Tim," Ziva glared towards the driver's seat. "I was having a moment."

"I can't believe you're back. It felt a lot longer than it was."

"Yeah, it did." Ziva leaned her head to the window. "It's good to be back."

"Do you have a place yet? Or are you still looking for one?"

"I have not had time to look anything up yet, so if you have any leads, Tim, I would not mind some apartment-hunting company at all," Ziva smiled at McGee's thoughtfulness.

"It's a deal." McGee smiled, keeping his eyes on the road.

"And how is your new manuscript? Coming along nicely?"

"I'm actually a little stuck." Ziva smiled at the screwed up face McGee always had when he was annoyed at something. Adorable, she thought to herself.


"Yeah, there is this one scene I'm trying to write—it's about a serial killer who has a thing for using knives—and I just can't figure out what the wound would look like…" McGee looked quickly over to Ziva. "Hey! You know knives pretty well. Maybe you can give me some pointers!"

"I am not an encyclopedia about knives, Tim."

"But you know it better than I do!" McGee begged. "Please? Ziva?"

"Oh, alright." Ziva sighed. "But you owe me dinner."

"Deal. I'll pick you up from the hotel at 1900?"


"Why not? You don't have anything else planned, do you?"

"No, I don't report for duty until tomorrow."

"Then it's settled." McGee grinned at Ziva. "Dinner, 1900. I promise I'll pick a nice restaurant."

"Fine." Ziva said simply, but she couldn't help the small smile playing at the corner of her lips.

Ziva had to admit, when McGee put his mind to it, he really was quite charming.

The restaurant he'd picked out was not terribly pricy, but it was very authentically Greek. McGee grinned with pride when Ziva told him as much.

They ended up talking very little about McGee's book. Instead, they caught each other up on everything that had happened since Ziva left. After that, they talked non-stop about contemporary classical musicians and McGee's impressive collection of records.

"Thank you, Tim." Ziva looked over to McGee when he stopped the car in front of the hotel. "I had a great time."

"Too bad we got completely carried away with everything but knives," McGee said almost sheepishly, but Ziva could tell from the small smirk that he wasn't sorry about it at all.

"There is always next time," Ziva offered. "You still need to help me house-hunt."

"True." McGee smiled before leaning over to give Ziva a hug. "It's really good to have you back."

McGee's hug was warm and solid—dependable was the word that came to mind. It took a second for Ziva to react to the notion. She'd never really given it a thought when they were working side-by-side, but now… Perhaps it was the time spent apart and getting to know him better outside of work.

The man in front of her wasn't the inexperienced Probie anymore. This was a man who understood her better than most people.

And she'd be lying if she said she didn't find him attractive.

Go chase your dream, Ziva. Her father's voice rang in her head.

Ziva pulled back but not all the way, and reached up with her hand, palming McGee's face. She leaned in and placed a chaste kiss on his lips.

She knew McGee used lip balm, but she never imagined his lips to be so soft.

Easing herself back, she gave him a wide smile as he looked back at her, dumbstruck and blushing. "Good night, Tim."

She opened the door, but McGee pulled her back gently by her arm. "Ziva, wait."

Ziva looked back at him, an eyebrow arched in askance.

"Does this count as our first date then?" McGee grinned at her, face still flushed.

Ziva kissed him again and chuckled as she got out of the car. "I'll see you this weekend, Tim. Good night."