A/N: Tag to "Shiva" -ergo, SPOILERish. Each numeral is still a 100 word drabble from a different POV (see if you can guess eight and ten). Much love, keep the peace, Kit.
DISCLAIMER: If I had any say whatsoever, Cote de Pablo and Mr. Weatherly would be receiving awards for their performances.
"SHALOM, SHALOM: PART II"
You really shouldn't be here, on your knees inside this quiet space, whispering familiar prayers that keep getting stuck in your throat. You shouldn't be talking as if you're actually being heard because you shouldn't even believe that someone is listening. Because for all the things you've encountered in this life (broken bodies and destroyed homes, motherless children and bloodstained basements), you've never encountered Him.
You asked for death all those summers ago, and only the sand shifting outside replied.
You ask for a sign that hope is not lost and you don't expect much.
You certainly don't expect him.
You follow his silent gaze to where your children stand, waiting, dazed, by the car. And suddenly all desire for retribution that had curled itself into your heart and made your blood run cold disappears. Because you aren't like Gibbs (thank God). Because twenty something years ago, Leroy Jethro Gibbs had no one left to live for.
But you do.
Kayla is staring off into the distance, pretending not to notice the tear-tracks on her brother's face. You lost your wife, but your children lost their mother.
And you can't afford losing them anymore than they can afford losing you.
Your cell phone screen reads of one missed call and a voicemail. You wonder if it's that pretty girl from last Friday night as you press playback without checking to see who the number belongs to. You aren't expecting your son's voice to filter through the speaker, though it's both a pleasant surprise and immediate concern.
"Hey, Dad, it's me. Um, everything's okay –I've just been thinking about some stuff. About you. And, uh, me . . . Look, I forgive you. For all of it –for everything. I'll –I'll call you this weekend . . . I love ya, Dad."
You definitely weren't expecting that.
When people begin moving again (to their cars for warmth, to each other for comfort, to the broken family for condolences), you excuse yourself from Vance and Craig and make your way over to where Tony stands near his car.
"When's your flight leave?"
You knew from experience that he would follow her, so you nod and offer him some advice (a warning, a prayer, a plea): "Be on your guard."
You pat him on the shoulder and turn to go.
"And Tony?" You pause. "Watch her six."
He smiles a bit at this.
He looks up when he hears his name, staring at you in confusion when he realizes it was your voice that called to him from across the busy airport. You smile at him and nod, and, warily (suspiciously), he walks over to you.
"You are Ziva's American partner, yes?" you ask, but you already know the answer (Shmeil described him perfectly).
"Um, yes," he says slowly, as if expecting an ambush.
You nod, and stand, leaning heavily on your cane. You place a weathered hand on his forearm reassuringly. "Come," you tell him gently. "I will take you to her."
She's sitting in a chair at the edge of the sprawling courtyard, her knees tucked against her chest, a housecoat shrouding her shoulders. She's staring out beyond the rose bushes, beyond the olive grove, beyond the desert sunset.
"I did not think you would come," she says quietly once you're close enough to hear her. (She doesn't look at you).
"I didn't know if you wanted me here," you reply truthfully, watching her unfold herself and stand, turning to regard you calmly.
She shrugs. "It has never stopped you before."
When she reaches for your hand, you hold on tight.
A/N2: (VI. Ziva) (VII. Vance) (VIII. Senior) (IX. Gibbs) (X. Aunt Nettie) (XI. Tony)