DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN NCIS OR ANY OF ITS CHARACTERS!
Tag to Season 10 Episode 11: Shabbat Shalom
As he waited the anxiety wasn't quite as hidden as was his norm. He couldn't help but fear the news that would come through the door. He glanced back occasionally at the members of his team waiting for the news and knew they were unsure of his position and demeanor.
But they were family. The director may not be as close knit in the fold, but Gibbs had known him longer than all the others and despite any differences they had on the job, they both held family in high regard. He had to be there to hear the news. No other options were acceptable.
He was aware of Abby and Ducky's arrival before he heard them speak. They had heard the news of the director's wife being shot, as well as the death of Ziva's father. Ziva was demanding they be there for the director while she took care of the necessary arrangements for her father. It wasn't easy to leave her on her own, but they chose to honor her wishes while planning to be by her side as soon as possible.
Giving them one last look revealing his intention to remain standing at his vigil by the doors, the others decided to move into the lobby nearby. Gibbs couldn't help but be a bit relieved that their eyes were off him, so he could focus on what he would need to do when the director returned with the news of his wife.
A doctor exited without giving him a glance and his gut clenched as he returned to watch the door. It didn't take much longer before Vance appeared still donned in the shirt stained with his wife's blood as he'd triaged her before the ambulance arrived.
Vance kept his face stoic as he uttered, "She's dead. My wife is dead, Gibbs."
The senior field agent saw it then. It was just a flicker, but a flame would soon begin to burn in the new widower's eyes. He recognized it, because he saw it in his own so many years ago. That need to avenge the life of a loved one taken. The loss superseded at the moment, but once the realization of a life altered forever was all he had to look forward to, vengeance would reign as a priority.
He couldn't say anything for a moment. What words would give any solace? Instead he reached out his hand and squeezed the shoulder of his friend, not his superior at the moment, but a friend in need of a kindred-spirit.
It went by quickly as they dealt with details of a wake and funeral. The children were in a daze when they weren't consumed by their grief. Abby was quick to offer them comforting hugs.
Gibbs watched though as Vance became harder and colder, that flame hardening his resolve to find the one responsible. The man who hired the assassin that shot up his home and took away the woman he loved, his soul-mate. If he'd never understood how Gibbs had done what he had so many years ago, it was now crystal clear to him, because he wouldn't blink an eye at taking down the guilty party.
Gibbs was already ahead of him. He had his team looking into every possible lead with strict orders NOT to release anything to the director. They had it narrowed down to a few suspects and with Ziva's help, when she threw herself back into her work to help overcome her own sadness and seek her own justice, they were confident they'd have him in custody within a few days.
Quietly Gibbs amassed his own recognizance. He knew what life was like to face every day knowing that vengeance, though satisfying was a burden that weighed heavy upon one's soul.
Vance still had his children and they needed their father. If Gibbs allowed him to enact his revenge, they would lose him. Sure the death could be arranged as justifiable, but the man behind the gun would know the truth. Eventually it would eat at him and the family that he held dear would fall apart.
Ziva still had a whole life ahead of her. Dreams she would squander if she were the one to seek out one responsible for taking her last family member away. She had come a long way in her years as a member of Gibbs' team and though she had killed her own brother and carried on, she was not the same person as she was then. She had learned of love and friendship and the hardness that her father had helped to build around her heart had crumbled. She could convince herself, much as Gibbs had always done, that she was right to kill him. Gibbs could not allow for that to come to fruition.
He unwrapped his sniper rifle that lay under the workbench in his basement. He slowly cleaned it knowing that he would be the one to end it. Not for his own vengeance, but for his family's. He loaded it and stretched his neck, twisting out the last doubts that it was the only way.
He stood with determination and took the stairs two at a time. He grabbed his keys before heading out the door and making his way to his objective. He drove deliberately checking his mirrors for any sign of being followed. There was no doubt that the director and Ziva both detected his strategy, but they were equally determined to act on their intentions.
Gibbs parked on a shadowed area of a quiet street and maneuvered with all the skills he learned as Marine quietly to set up where he could access a line on Mossad Officer Malachi Ben-Gidon. It had been a shock to learn that it was one of Eli's own that hired and orchestrated his assassination. Gibbs couldn't comprehend the desire to keep peace from ever being achieved between Israel and Palestine. Much like the Hatfields and McCoys it seemed that both sides found satisfaction in keeping the combat active and not relenting one iota.
He prepared his rifle and peered through his scope finding his target within moments. He looked up and searched with his naked eye to see what had gotten Ben-Gidon's attention. It soon became evident that he had company and a hostile one judging by his hands held up in supplication. Gibbs cursed and rushed to stop whoever had gotten there ahead of him.
He heard Vance's voice before he spotted him. He was calmly stating his desire for revenge. Malachi had no remorse. Jackie had only been collateral damage. Something Mossad had easily accepted when it came to their goals being attained. They were no stranger to the same losses on their side. It was just a part of the conflict they were engaged in.
"Vance," Gibbs called trying to distract his friend and get his focus of Ben-Gidon, all the while maintaining his own weapon targeted on the man. "You don't want to do this," he told him straight.
"Like Hell I don't," Vance replied. "He took my Jackie away from me."
Gibbs swallowed knowing that pain intimately. "It won't bring her back," he attempted to reason with him.
"No, but I'll know he won't get away with it," he responded adjusting his aim.
"He won't," Gibbs promised. That got Vance's attention when he shifted his eyes slightly to see his friend's weapon at the ready. He turned his attention back to his nemesis. "This is my shot, my kill."
"No, it is mine," Ziva's voice preceded her arrival between the men.
Malachi smirked. "Ah, Ziva. You know that is was necessary. You yourself have disagreed with much your father stood for."
"Yes, but still he was my father Malachi. He did not deserve to meet his end like that."
He almost laughed before replying, "On the contrary it was the only suitable ending for him."
Gibbs saw Ziva about to squeeze the trigger on her weapon spurred by the cruel words. "No, Ziver."
Malachi glanced at Gibbs. "He has quite the soft spot for you does he not?" he asked her.
"He has been more like a father than my own had been."
"Then why do you come here to avenge his death?" he asked.
"Because," she closed her eyes for a moment before continuing, "He had asked for my forgiveness and I denied it of him. This will be my final act in his honor."
"Honor!" Malachi nearly spat. "Eli David had no honor. He led mercilessly. Then when his final days of being director were approaching he turned traitor to his own people. Some last ditch ploy to finagle his way to retaining his leadership."
"He may have been merciless, but he led by what he thought was right," Vance argued. Eli and he didn't always see eye-to-eye, but he owed him a debt of gratitude for saving his life so many years ago in Amsterdam.
"You are both delusional," Malachi turned away, tired of their waiting game. If they had meant to kill him they would've done so already.
"I'm not," Gibbs answered quietly and squeezed off one shot that hit the Mossad officer between the eyes as he turned back to call his bluff.
Ziva pulled her weapon to her chest and fell to her knees. A sense of failure mixed with relief that she didn't have to be the one to kill her father's murderer overcoming her. Gibbs held out his hand to her and she grabbed it as she let the tears fall again.
Vance had dropped his hand holding the weapon to his side and just stared at the dead man. He had convinced himself he had no qualms about taking him out, but Gibbs had caused him to hesitate. He'd have to remember to thank him one day.
The two men helped Ziva back to her feet and led her out of the building. None looked back.