Chapter 1, Ziva's P.O.V
"Anything else?" I heard Gibbs say into his phone. "Okay then." He turned to face us. "That was the director. Says there's a girl waiting for us in his office."
"Think it has something to do with the case, boss?" Tony asked.
"Well, we'll have to find out."
Back at headquarters
The director brought her down and I sat up straighter in my chair to get a better look. She had dark brown hair pulled into a braid and brown eyes. Those eyes...they looked like I had seen them before. Her face was dirty and she looked very...scared is probably the best way to put it. She looked at us with fear and I felt pity for her.
"Are you here about the case?" Gibbs asked her.
She looked at him with confusion and shook her head. "I know nothing about any case," she said quietly. Then she slowly raised her head to put on a look of false confidence, and she stared straight at me.
"Miss Ziva David," she said with a heavy Arabic accent, trying to keep a serious look on her face although she was trembling. "My name is Saihah. I am your niece."
My niece. How was that possible when all of my siblings were dead? Well, maybe it wasn't impossible, since she looked about seven or so, but still!
Across the room, Saihah looked down at the floor silently.
"She doesn't exactly have much of a choice. According to what she claims, you and Eli are her only living relatives." the director said quietly.
I sighed. He had a point. This girl had come all the way from...well, somewhere, and claims I am her legal guardian. What can I do, send her back?
"Alright," I said. "Even though we can't be sure she is telling the truth." I motioned for the girl to follow me as I walked toward Gibbs.
"I have to go out quickly," I said. "But I'll be back."
"Don't bother," he replied. "The day is almost finished."
The car ride was awkwardly silent for a while. I wasn't sure what to say, considering kids aren't exactly my specialty.
"I am ... sorry." Saihah mumbled from the backseat.
"For what?" I asked.
"That I interrupted your life."
Okay, that was kind of true in a sense, but that's not something you say to someone. "It's fine," I said unsurely. "Who are your parents?"
"Were. They are both dead, I think. My father, your brother, I'm not sure how he died, but he left when I was two or three and never came back. As for my mother, I left for a bit and she was gone with some others when I got back."
So she was Ari's daughter.
"Not that I care much. None of them ever loved me."
I pulled into my driveway, ignoring the last comment. "This is it," I said, unlocking the house door and going inside.
She got out slowly, her eyes darting from side to side as she walked in. I lead her to the small room in the back, the one I barely use.
"Sorry it's so shabby. I wasn't expecting anyone."
"I don't mind," she said quietly.
"Well, how about I run a bath for you, and then we could watch a movie if you want." I blushed, remembering she might not know anything about movies. Not that it mattered. I didn't have many movies, anyway.
She looked fairly different after taking a bath, ad least, more different that most people look. I couldn't help but let out a little chuckle when she came out. I had let her borrow a pair of pajamas for now, since she didn't have any clothes except the outfit she came in. These, though, they looked giant on her.
"What?" she said as if she'd done something wrong.
"It's nothing," I said. "Really." I walked over to the DVD player and put in The Sound of Music, one of the only movies I owned. "Would you like anything?" I asked Saihah as I went into the kitchen. "There is juice, water, apples-"
"I am not hungry," she said coolly. "But thank you." she added after a pause, glancing at me for approval.
I shrugged my shoulders and sank down onto the couch as the movie began. "How old are you?" I asked Saihah.
"Ten and a half, I think." she said. I could hardly believe it. She was just so... so tiny. And I don't exactly mean short tiny, although she was a bit shorter that other ten-year-old, maybe the height of a nine-year old. It was that she was really thin. It looked as if she had been starved.
"What was your life like back in-"
"Palestine," she finished for me. "I don't like to talk about it. The only good thing there was my friend. He is the one who got me the plane ticket to come here." She paused for a minute before turning to me. "Do you know how my father was killed?"
I sighed. "I shot him."
"Seven years ago."
She pulled her knees to her chest. "Good."
I stared at her in shock. "What do you mean?"
"Let's just say I didn't like him very much."
30 Minutes Later
I turned to Saihah to see what she thought of the movie so far. Apparently, she had fallen asleep during some part. With a sigh, I picked her up and carried her to the back room. She was surprisingly light for a ten-year-old. But that actually wasn't much of a shock, considering I mistook her for seven when I first saw her.
I laid her down on the bed and smiled. She looked peaceful when she was asleep. Less afraid of everything.
What would the others think of her? I know what they thought of Ari, but she... she is nothing like him.