Disclaimer: I don't own NCIS.
A/N: What a powerful episode! I was seriously impressed.
For those not in the know, Aninut is the first stage of mourning in Judaism.
Grief, raw and bitter, chokes in her throat and tears at her heart. She cries and cries and cries until she has no tears left.
Then, once her tears have deserted her, she becomes aware of her surroundings.
Somehow she has ended up in the guestroom at Gibbs' house. She has no true recollection of arriving here, save the sense that there were murmuring voices and blurred movements.
She enters the bathroom and splashes cold water on her face, then rubs her eyes dry viciously with her hands.
Staring blankly into the mirror, she wonders who this person looking back at her is, so small and lost. She takes in a gulp of air.
Her father is dead.
(Dead. Dead. Dead.)
She is now utterly alone in the world. The last surviving David.
A strangled, slightly hysterical laugh bursts out of her.
Who would have thought that she'd be the last one standing? Certainly not her.
(Then again, is that not what her father raised her to be? The ultimate survivor?)
There is a knock on the bathroom door.
"Anything I can do?" Gibbs asks quietly.
Ziva shakes her head and bites back a new wave of tears.
He steps forward and envelops her in a hug.
It is so different from the awkward hug that she recently shared with her father that she feels almost guilty relaxing into it.
"We're here for you, Ziver," he murmurs into her hair.
Later that night, she creeps downstairs for a glass of water.
A dark shape on the couch stirs and suddenly sits upright. It is Tony.
"Ziva!" he says.
"Tony," she replies in kind, tone dull.
His gaze is sympathetic without being pitying, and before she knows it, she has slid onto the couch next to him.
"News?" she asks.
"Jackie died," Tony tells her without preamble. (She appreciates that.)
She hisses and blinks back hard against yet another onslaught of tears.
It is not – it is not fair.
Jackie did not deserve this.
Tony's face is tired but serious as he tells her, "Whatever you need, I'm here."
She nods and thinks that perhaps he can read her gratitude in her eyes.
Slowly, carefully, he puts his arm around her shoulder and draws her in. His body is solid and warm.
She does not deserve this comfort. Nonetheless, she allows herself to rest there for a few minutes.
"I do not – I –" she chokes out. "I was not there. When he died, I was not there. I should have –"
She breaks off.
"We sat across the Shabbat table from one another and I would not meet his eyes. I told him that his sins were too great, that I could never forgive him."
Tony remains silent, eyes fixed on her.
"And now he is dead," she says. "The last words I told him were that I could not do this. Now I never will."
Voice low and fierce, Tony suddenly says, "It's selfish, but I'm glad you left that table. If you hadn't, you might have been the one dead and –"
He breaks off and tightens his arm about her.
"This all sucks," he says simply.
Yes, yes it does.
After returning to her room, her sleep is irregular and fitful, a stream of broken bodies and promises. When she wakes, she sits and stares unseeingly at the wall.
She will need to make arrangements for the kevura. She belongs to no synagogue here, has no ready-made chevra kadisha.
(Her father would have wanted to be buried in Israel.)
It does not matter. Her father was a practical man. She will bury him as soon as possible and that is that.
…Some mamzer has killed an innocent woman. Some mamzer has killed the Director of Mossad – has killed her father.
She embraces the anger that is beginning to burn in her gut; it gives her purpose.
The next day, she arrives at NCIS dry-eyed and furious, only to exit the bullpen even angrier than before.
Gibbs has refused to let her in on the case.
She narrowly avoids punching the wall in the ladies' bathroom.
When the door swings open, she is unsurprised to see that it is Tony.
He takes one look at her and instantly seems to understand the situation.
Walking towards her, gaze intent, he asks, "What do you need?"
When she speaks, her voice does not waver: "Revenge."