Title: Tefilat Haderech

Warnings: This fic contains Eyal, Hebrew, and spoilers for "A Girl Like You"

Disclaimer: I don't own this show, I'm making no money off this fic, don't sue me, etc...

Notes: My knowledge of Hebrew only extends to about two dozen words, very few of which are used in this fic. So all praise and/or criticism for my language-jumping should go to my friend J.

Eyal closes his eyes as soon as he takes his seat on the plane. The flight is commercial, again, but he's going to let the American intelligence agencies get away with it this time. The pills that took the edge off the pain in his shoulder have also taken away his motivation to teach lessons. He just wants to fall into bed and stay there until the shattered bones and muscles heal.

The bed would be better with company… but he lets that thought drift out of his mind as quickly as it came. There's no point in it now.

The plane starts to taxi down the runway and his body sways with its motion until he forces himself to hold still. He can hear the voices all around him- parents and young children, friends and couples, strangers seated next to one another striking up those obligatory conversations. Some of them sound nervous for the flight and some don't. They all blur as the engines roar and the take-off begins.

As the plane rises into the air the words of Tefilat Haderech come to him:

Yehi ratzon milefanecha Adonai Eloheinu veilohei avoseinu shetolicheinu leshalom...

Eyal prays because it's tradition, because it's as familiar to him as his own name, and his mother will know- as she always does- if he neglects it. He prays because this is the man he is.

Faith in God has never been much trouble for him; he's been enough places- touched the earth, smelled the air- that are his proof of divinity. But the fate of those same places has taken away almost all of his faith in peace, and he doesn't believe God will be granting it in his life time.

vesatzideinu leshalom vesadricheinu leshalom vesismecheinu leshalom vesagi'einu limechoz cheftzeinu lechaim ulesimchah uleshalom…

He still asks for it. Just in case.

A flight attendant touches his shoulder and he just manages not to flinch at the contact. He shifts so that her fingers are no longer pressing on his carefully concealed bandages and tells her, no, he would not like anything to drink at this time.

vesatzileinu mikaf kol oyeiv ve'oreiv velistim vechayos ra'os baderech umikol puraniyos hamisragshos uva'os le'olam…

He resettles and closes his eyes once more. In his line of work, long flights are a rare chance to relax- or, at least, he's always thought so. Despite the post-9/11 hysteria in the West, they're still safer than most modes of transportation, and if something is going to go wrong on a plane then he'd rather sleep through it than be tasked with trying to stop it. The odds of his survival would be equally low.

vesishlach berachah bechol ma'aseh yadeinu vesitneini lechein ulechesed ulerachamim be'einecha uveinei chol ro'einu…

Perhaps he should've prayed when he'd left Israel, too- that would have been the more appropriate time- but he doubts it would have kept the bullet from going through him. He wonders how often he can get shot before his superiors stop sending him out into the world.

He doesn't know who he'll become when his country has no more use for the man he is now.

Annie liked to imagine him as Dr. Lavin- and maybe Dr. Lavin would have been worthy of her- but there's no part of that man in him anymore. He can't relearn compassion, mercy, and "First, do no harm," and he wouldn't want to.

He wonders if she'd understand that.

vesigmeleinu chasadim tovim vesishma kol tefilaseinu ki Atah shomei'ah tefilas kol peh. Baruch Atah Adonai shomei'ah tefilah.

He finishes the prayer and lets it fade out of his thoughts. He can feel his chin against his chest, his hands slack at his sides, and he doesn't fight as sleep comes. He knows that when he wakes up in Tel Aviv there will be more work for him, even in his condition, and if someone tells him otherwise he'll go and find it anyway. The river he described to Annie will keep taking him.

It knows he won't drown. This is the man he is.

A/N: Tefilat Haderech, the Traveler's Prayer, in English (and also thanks to my buddy J): May it be Your will, Lord, our God and the God of our ancestors, that You lead us toward peace, guide our footsteps toward peace, and make us reach our desired destination for life, gladness, and peace. May You rescue us from the hand of every foe and ambush along the way, and from all manner of punishments on earth. May You bless in our handiwork, and grant us grace, kindness, and mercy in Your eyes and in the eyes of all who see us. May You hear the sound of our humble request because You are God who hears prayer requests. Blessed are You, our God, who hears prayer.