AN: Please forgive any errors. I have not slept in three days, it is now 4:00 am as I finish this and legal jargon is difficult to come by in writing even when my brain and body are not exhausted! I hope you can enjoy the continuation of the Wild West trial anyway. Love the reviews! Thank you. - Wild
"No further questions for Special Agent DiNozzo at this time either." Chegwidden nodded with a slight grin and turned his attention towards the judge. "We'd like to proceed with testimonies from the character witnesses, now that the Prosecution has finished with Special Agent DiNozzo."
"Fine. We're going to take a short 10 minute recess before beginning with the character witnesses for the Defendant." He banged the gavel and stood quickly making his way to chambers. It'd been a long morning already and everyone could stand for a short break to stretch their legs and relieve themselves. The jury filed out of the room and people started chatting quietly raising the volume of the room a little once they were gone.
Tony slowly stood and stretched his legs. His eyes still holding fast with Ziva's. As he walked towards her she stood to greet him as well. Without saying a word she stepped around the end of the table and when Tony opened his arms, she slid right in. Her head tucked into the side of his neck and arms wrapped around each other, they stood silently holding onto one another just needing the moment of comfort and peace.
"Are you okay?" Tony asked quietly into her ear and heard Ziva's muffled response of, 'mmhmm.'
"Are you okay?" Ziva asked pulling back slightly to look into Tony's eyes though their arms remained holding tightly.
Tony smiled at the feel of Ziva's soft hand brushing against his cheek in concern. "Mmmhmm." He answered giving her the same response she had given him. A noncommittal sound rather than the truth, which was of course, 'no.' Parsons drudging up everything ugly in their past was painful.
Ziva's smile grew hearing Tony's response and laughed softly shaking her head in understanding. "I love you." She whispered so that only he could hear.
"And I love you." Tony answered in the same whispered voice.
Those watching the exchange didn't need to be professional lip readers to understand what they had said and smiled. Gibbs, Abby, McGee, Palmer, Anthony DiNozzo, Sr. and Vance all shared a knowing glance looking on with smiles at Tony and Ziva before them who seemed completely absorbed into their own world at the moment and they were all content to let them be.
Chegwidden approached to speak with them as they would be giving character testimony in the next round
"I don't want to lose you." Ziva spoke quietly still pressed against Tony standing before the Defense table. Revenge for her father no longer seemed as important as it had at the beginning of the day. Hearing the reminders of how he had wronged her and what she stood to lose now, because of it could no longer be justified. The pedestal that she had placed her father on again after his death was severely shaken.
"You aren't going to lose me." Tony held her more tightly, reaching up to cup the side of her face and stare into her big dark eyes.
"No, but you're likely going to lose me." Ziva answered with a slight crack in her voice and blinking back her emotions. If she were convicted she would either be sent to prison for life or executed.
"That's not going to happen. Okay?" Tony pulled her into a tight hug once more, thoroughly encompassing her into his arms and kissing the side of her head. He was just as afraid of that outcome as she was. "Everything is going to work out." He added trying to reassure them both.
"The Defense calls our first Character Witness, Special Agent Timothy McGee to the stand." Chegwidden peered over the top of his glasses at the judge looking up from the file on the table before him. Slowly he removed his glasses and set them on the table as McGee approached the Witness Stand.
"State your name for the record." The bailiff stepped forward once more.
"Special Agent Timothy McGee." McGee answered swallowing hard and glancing over at Ziva behind the Defense table, now sitting there alone.
"Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?" The bailiff asked with McGee's hand on the Bible.
"I do." He nodded.
"Please take a seat." The bailiff motioned him and resumed his seat.
"How long have you known the defendant, Agent McGee?"
"Ah, since September of 2005." McGee's voice swayed slightly and then smiled at he looked at Ziva.
"So you met Agent David when she was still an Officer of Mossad? The same day that Agent DiNozzo met her?"
"And the three of you have been partners along with Agent Gibbs for the last nearly eight years?"
"So you've gotten to know both Agents David and DiNozzo pretty well, then, wouldn't you say?"
"Yes, I think so. We have spent a great majority of time together the last eight years. More time then most people spend with their own families. We have become a family." McGee smiled at how much he knew about Tony and Ziva. More then they thought he did from his years of quiet observation.
"Agent DiNozzo has just announced that he and Agent David are married as of three days ago. Did you know about this sudden change in relationship status?" Chegwidden asked with a slight smile in his eyes even if he was trying to remain stoic on the outside.
"Yes, I knew. I was the Best Man at their wedding." McGee smiled proudly looking at them both across the room. "It was a beautiful ceremony."
"The Prosecution in this case, believes that the marriage between Agent DiNozzo and Agent David is an elaborate rouse. Is the marriage an elaborate rouse, Agent McGee?"
"No. It's not an elaborate rouse. They really do love each other." McGee answered slowly with a smile in his eyes. Realizing even more how true that statement was after hearing Tony's emotional testimony and confession at the end of his love for Ziva and only 'seeing her.'
"No further questions at this time, your Honor." Chegwidden smiled and took his seat. He was waiting to hear what Parsons was going to use as his method of attack on the first character witness before imploring his own methods of rebuttal.
"Agent McGee," Parsons approached quietly and moved like a smooth snake posing to strike with a smile in his eyes. "Agent DiNozzo and Agent David, were married only three days ago… after charges were filed against Agent David. Agent DiNozzo is our star witness against Agent David as the only one present at the time Illan Bodnar was killed. That doesn't seem the least bit suspicious to you? The timing of it all?"
"No. It does not. They love each other. People fall in love and get married all the time. " McGee answered swallowing the lump in his throat and wishing he didn't have to go first. The look in the man's eyes before him was unsettling.
"Okay, then in your expert opinion having been partnered with them for the last eight years, when exactly did they fall in love?"
"I'm sorry?" McGee asked with narrowed brows of confusion as to what the man was asking.
"You know, when was that moment that you knew they were in love? You must have seen it being partnered with them. So when was it? When did you see and know they were madly in love with each other?"
"Objection, your Honor. Speculation?" Chegwidden looked up at the judge and Parsons took a step in between the line of sight.
"I'm trying to establish a history of the defendant's relationship with Agent DiNozzo and that their' marriage is a farce to avoid prosecution." Parsons' defended his methods.
"I'll allow it. Proceed. Answer the question, Agent McGee." The judge nodded.
"Well, there wasn't just one moment." McGee's palms began to sweat and he nervously slid his fingers back and forth over them.
"What do you mean, Agent McGee? Surely, if they really were falling in love, you could recall the moment you realized this for yourself?"
"What I meant was, I could see them falling in love for a long time though they both were denying it. I didn't want to try and read too much into the situation so I ignored it, too." McGee answered with the truth.
"All right. Then when was the moment you could no longer deny this supposed truth, about them being in love anymore? There had to have been a moment, Agent McGee?" Parsons smiled trying to belittle McGee's reactions.
"There wasn't just one moment. There were two, one for each of them. I knew that Ziva was in love with Tony after an undercover assignment he was on years ago, went bad. She'd been worried about him the whole time, not knowing what was going on. There was a brief time period where we believed that Tony had been killed. I just knew from Ziva's reaction to his death that she was in love with him." McGee answered with eyes flashing to Ziva, revealing that truth to her for the first time.
"I see. And the other moment, in regards to Agent DiNozzo?"
"It was after Ziva had stayed behind in Israel. We hadn't heard from her all summer and began to get worried. We tried to find her but were told that she'd been killed on the Damocles. Tony just wasn't the same after. He was devastated, really. But, I knew for certain that he was in love with Ziva when we were in Somalia. Saleem had given him truth serum before he brought Ziva into the room with us. Tony was incapable of lying at the time. Ziva had asked him why we were there and Tony couldn't fight the truth. He told her, that he couldn't live without her." McGee answered and several ears in the courtroom perked up never knowing this detail before.
Gibbs eyebrows had risen quite high to hear of the conversation that had taken place amongst the three while still dealing with Saleem and Tony on truth serum.
"And there were no other witnesses to this declaration he made on truth serum, except you, Agent David and Agent DiNozzo?" Parsons argued.
"No, we were being held prisoners together in a cell. There was no one else there." McGee answered back with a bite to his tone given the grave nature of their situation at the time.
"I see. And what happened after you all returned from Somalia? Did they begin an immediate relationship?"
"No. Ziva had been through a lot. She needed time. Their relationship needed time." McGee answered softly thinking about finding Ziva in the courtyard that day outside NCIS when she'd first returned. The far off look in her eyes and her avoidance of Tony. The stare down between Tony and Ziva in the Bullpen had nearly been enough to start a fire and he'd always wondered how that moment ended after he excused himself to get a Nutter Butter.
"Why did their relationship need time?"
"It had been damaged in the year prior."
"You mean during the events surrounding Officer Rivkin's relationship with then Officer David and his death at Agent DiNozzo's hand?" Parsons provoked the Rivkin Bear once more, the first and major divide between Tony and Ziva and the even that had them all taking drastic actions to cover for each other.
"So when did they finally get together as a couple then, Agent McGee?"
"I think they've been working towards it the last year." McGee answered honestly in thinking about the changes he'd seen in both of them.
"Why this last year?"
"The explosion at NCIS. They were nearly killed and trapped in an elevator together. I think that made them re-evaluate their positions in each other's lives. They seemed to become even closer after that."
"But still not together?"
"So when did they get together?"
"To my knowledge, Berlin." McGee answered and swallowed hard hearing Tony's voice suddenly racing through his mind talking about dancing and then making love to Ziva all night long.
"Not until Berlin. The very place where Illan Bodnar was murdered. And you believe, this is when they finally became a couple?"
"Yes." McGee answered resolutely.
"Did you see them in Berlin as a couple?"
"So how do you know it happened in Berlin?"
"They told me before today."
"When they returned."
"Berlin was nearly two months ago, and yet they were married just three days ago?"
"And still, Agent McGee, you do not find it suspicious or odd that they only just became a couple in Berlin? With no witnesses to verify this as the truth?"
"No, I do not find it suspicious. There was a lot of unresolved tension between them prior to Berlin. It makes sense to me, that when they were finally away and alone, they would resolve it." McGee felt flustered trying to tactically answer the question and squirming at the idea of them resolving all that unresolved sexual tension he'd seen building over the years.
"Why was there tension between them recently?"
"Ziva had been upset since her father's death. Tony wanted to help her. He was worried about her and Ziva wouldn't let him in." McGee answered still feeling badly for them both and being caught in the crosshairs when Ziva had asked for his helping tracking Bodnar instead of Tony, wanting to exclude him.
"In your opinion, Agent McGee, why wouldn't she let him help?"
"I think she was afraid to. She loved Tony and didn't want to get hurt or hurt him. She was consumed by her grief, I think."
"Consumed by her grief… consumed enough with grief to seek revenge on her father's killer?"
"Objection! Speculation!" Chegwidden thundered again, growing tired of the young man's ambitions already opposing him during this trial.
"I withdraw the question, your Honor. The Prosecution is finished with this witness at this time." Parsons smirked at Chegwidden on his way by.
"You may step down." The judge instructed McGee.
"The Defense calls, Abigail Sciuto to the stand." Chegwidden announced and Abby stood nervously to go next, passing McGee on her way by and brushing against his arm in a silent message of support given and received.
"Please state your name for the record." The bailiff stood before her.
"Abigail Sciuto." Abby answered and swallowed hard looking out over the sea of faces before her and Ziva sitting once again, alone at the Defense table.
"Place your hand on the Bible, please. Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god?"
"I do." Abby nodded and removed her hand from the Bible.
"Have a seat." The bailiff added returning to his corner.
Chegwidden approached her with a warm smile seeing how nervous she was already.
"Ms. Scuito, I'm going to get right to the point here. Were you also at the wedding of Agents David and DiNozzo?"
"Yes, I was."
"Do you believe this marriage to be real?"
"Yes, I do. Tony and Ziva love each other. They are meant to be. They are soul-mates." She added with a deep smile and conviction in her voice.
"Can you please tell me about your relationship with the Defendant?"
"Ziva is like my sister. I've never had a real sister but I've been fortunate enough in my life to form deep bonds, like real sisterhood you know? With these two amazing women; Kate and Ziva." Abby smiled at Ziva and received one in return for that status of sister.
"By Kate you mean, the deceased Agent Caitlin Todd?" Chegwidden clarified for the jury to establish a history between the deceased and the living with Abby bridging the gap between the two women knowing their relationships.
"Yes. I loved Kate. I miss her all the time. In fact, I was so upset about losing her that I hated Ziva when she first came to NCIS." Abby admitted quietly and looked down shamefully at her twisting fingers before up again. "I didn't like that Ziva was taking Kate's place on our team. I tried so hard not to like Ziva but that's just impossible. Once you get to know Ziva, you fall completely in love." Abby's smile was radiant as she looked over at her friend. "She is funny and smart and fun to be around. We have these Girls Nights out and just laugh endlessly until our sides hurt. She has the best laugh and smile. Kate was like my big sister but Ziva is like my little one. I realized that by allowing myself to actually like Ziva, I wasn't replacing Kate I was just making room for Ziva. And I'm so happy I did! My life just wouldn't be the same without her. Every time our team has been split up things just aren't right anymore. We're a family."
"It sounds as though you have a great relationship with Agent David. That you have an understanding and respect for her." Chegwidden smiled appreciatively at the wonderful characterization that Abby had just given of Ziva. About her mistrust of Ziva at first and revelations that once she got to know who Ziva was, 'fell in love with her as a person.' So much so, she now considered her to be a sister. Abby was doing wonders in painting a complete picture of Ziva and the misstep of prematurely judging her.
"I do and I know she respects me. A lot of people can't see past my exterior and the way I dress or wear my hair, and they judge me. But Ziva does not judge me. She loves me just the way I am and wouldn't change anything about me. And I wouldn't change anything about her." Abby smiled.
"So is it safe for me to assume that given your close relationship with Agent David, you were also a part of this wedding?"
"I was the Maid of Honor." Abby grinned widely with pride. "It really was a beautiful, beautiful ceremony. So full of love and so many smiles."
"Thank you, Ms. Sciuto. No further questions at this time, your Honor." Chegwidden smiled and took his seat.
"Prosecution, your witness." The judge coughed slightly and poured a glass of water.
"Hello, Ms. Sciuto." Parsons smiled at her walking slowing towards the Witness Stand. "I'm going to ask you the same question I asked Agent McGee. When did you first know that Agent David and Agent DiNozzo were in love?"
"When Tony was undercover." Abby answered immediately having a very clear memory of these moments. "We did not know that at the time but when it was revealed he was in a relationship, a rather committed one from what we had heard, Ziva was devastated. She didn't come right out and say it but, you know when someone you love is upset and hurt and she was."
"She was jealous of Agent DiNozzo's relationship with this other woman?"
"Yes." Abby answered quickly with a firm nod stating the facts.
"And she never told him or any of you directly how she felt?"
"No." She shook her head just as firmly with eyes looking towards Ziva.
"You're all just assuming this is the way she felt then?"
"We are professionally trained crime scene investigators, Mr. Parsons. I am trained to look at the evidence before me and see what is unseen with the naked eye. Ziva was in love with Tony and she was hurt and jealous of his relationship with Jeanne." Abby quickly put the man in his place and Gibbs couldn't help but smile proudly at her from the gallery.
"Ah huh." Agent Parsons rubbed his forehead and replaced his hand on his hip, "And Agent DiNozzo? When did you realize that he was in love with Agent David?"
"When Director Vance separated our team after Director Shepard's death." Abby gave him another quick answer, not needing to think about it. Now that they knew exactly what Parsons would be asking of them in trying to disprove their marriage, each of them had begun to think of when these moments of realization were. "Ziva was sent back to Israel and Tony was sent to a ship. When they both returned months later, we learned that Ziva was in a relationship with someone new."
"Officer Rivkin?" Parsons smiled at her seeking confirmation.
"Yes, but she did not tell us who at the time. It drove Tony crazy." She emphasized the last word. "I could tell he was upset. I think he realized how much he missed Ziva when they were apart. I knew he'd fallen completely in love with her. Just the way he looked at her or spoke to her was suddenly different." Abby smiled at Tony and saw his slow tight smile appear as well as the soft head nod that she was correct. He had fallen in love with Ziva then.
"So do you believe that Agent DiNozzo killed Officer Rivkin out his jealousy over the affections of Agent David?" Parsons paced slowly in front of Abby with hands on his hips aggressively.
"No! Never!" Abby looked horrified that this was coming up again. "Tony would never do that! He was protecting Ziva! He knew that Michael was using her and that she was going to end up getting hurt! Tony didn't kill him out of jealousy. He killed him because he had to in self-defense! Tony would do anything for Ziva! Anything to keep her safe and protected!" She blasted the man.
"I see." Parsons smiled with a soft head that he'd gotten the reaction he wanted and that was all he needed from Abby. "No further questions for this witness at this time, Your Honor." He took his seat.
"Permission to re-direct, your Honor?" Chegwidden stood knowing he needed to do damage control again with that last statement that Tony would do anything to protect Ziva. He needed to emphasize their love for each other, not their willingness to protect each other at all cost.
"Granted. Proceed." The judge sighed and waved him forth.
"In your opinion, Ms. Sciuto, being close to the both of them, if Tony and Ziva," He addressed them by name to soften them as human to the jury, "loved each other for so long, why then did they stay apart for so long? Why did they keep getting involved in other relationships?"
"Tony and Ziva have loved each other a long time. They belong together. Anyone who has been around them the last several years will tell you that. It's been infuriating at times with him pulling back and then her pulling back and it's kind of been like this crazy dance, you know?" Abby's hands were waving about in front of her motioning her actions. "The push and pull and push and pull. Like science!" Her eyes widened and smiled slightly grabbing onto something she understood to use as an example. "I'm good at science that is what I do. There is just this force and chemistry between Tony and Ziva that has always been there. Tony and Ziva are like magnets. Did you ever play with magnets as a kid?" She looked at Chegwidden who barely had time to nod before she answered herself. "I did, too! I loved to play with them and see how differently they responded when turned in certain ways. Unless they were flipped the exact right way, no matter how hard you tried, they just kept pushing away from each other. It was the same for Tony and Ziva. The connection was always right there, so close, but as long as they were facing the wrong way they were never going to come together. They had to 'flip' to come together." She smiled at Tony and Ziva with pride and excitement.
"I see." Chegwidden smiled at her and received a large one in turn from Abby. "No further questions at this time, your honor."
"Permission to re-direct, your Honor?" Parsons stood.
"Proceed." The judge motioned him forward.
"Ms. Sciuto, to your knowledge, when did they flip and come together finally?"
"In Berlin." Abby smiled looking at both Tony and Ziva again with a twinkle in her eye.
"Ah huh. And how do you know this? Were you there?" He asked with arms crossed and rubbing his ear lobe as though examining her.
"No, I was not there. They told me it was then." Abby's eyebrows narrowed.
"But you have no proof they actually became something more in Berlin? For all you know, they are fabricating this lie as the truth in order for Agent DiNozzo to abstain from testifying against Agent David, isn't that right?"
"Allow me to rephrase the question. Do you have any proof they became something more in Berlin?"
"No." Abby answered honestly.
"So it is possible, without proof to back up their claims, that they are lying?"
"It is possible, I guess." Abby answered with a sigh.
"No further questions, your Honor." Parsons took his seat looking happy with himself once more.
"Permission to re-direct, your Honor?"
"Granted." The judge nodded.
"Ms. Sciuto, do you believe that Agent David and Agent DiNozzo lied to you about becoming something more in Berlin?" Chegwidden approached her quickly and with purpose.
"No. I don't believe they lied to me. They wouldn't lie about this." Abby shook her head with a voice filled with emotion. "It means too much to them. Something happened between them. Everyone could feel it. Everyone could see it. The way they looked at each other, everything…was just different." And knowing now they had finally been together and in Tony's words, made love all night long, what was different was understood.
"Thank you, Ms. Sciuto. No further questions at this time, your Honor." Chegwidden smiled and went back to his seat beside Ziva looking at his notes.
"You may step down. Defense your next witness?" The judge ushered Abby away with a smile.
"The Defense calls, Anthony DiNozzo Senior."
"Oh god…" Tony mumbled quietly with eyes falling shut and a sigh. He looked up in time to see his father smiling at him as he was being sworn in.
"Mr. DiNozzo, do you believe this marriage of your son to Agent David to be real?"
"As real as any marriage can be I guess. Everyone is different."
"You've been married several times, is that correct?" Chegwidden went immediately for any potential perceived weaknesses in his testimony he thought Parsons would try to exploit.
"Yes." Anthony nodded with eyes flashing to Tony.
"And they all ended rather quickly in divorce." Chegwidden knew the answer but wanted Anthony's emotional response to impact the jury.
"No. That is not true." Anthony's eyes flashed back to Parsons with an edge to his tone that then softened, as did his features when he continued. "My first wife, Isabella, and I were married for nearly 12 years when she passed away from cancer. I did not choose to end that marriage." He added quietly with eyes once more finding Tony's.
"And the others? Did you choose to end them?"
"Yes. They were a way to fill the loneliness in my life. I loved them but it was never the same as with my first wife." Anthony smiled at both Tony and Ziva, seeing in them what he saw with his first wife and Tony's mother. "She was the love of my life."
"No further questions at this time, your Honor." Chegwidden smiled and took his seat.
"Prosecution, your witness." The judge called Parsons forth.
"Are you surprised, Mr. DiNozzo, that your son and Agent David were married only three days ago without ever having officially been in a relationship according to their co-workers?"
"No. I'm not surprised. I knew that my son was in love with that gorgeous creature the moment I laid eyes upon Ziva for the first time and learned that Junior had never asked her out. For my son, to not ask her out meant that she was different for him. That she was special. He was afraid and only one thing can make a man afraid of a woman like that. Love." Anthony smiled at Tony and then Ziva.
Tony was surprised to hear his father's remarks. How well his father had understood him and his situation and feelings regarding Ziva all these years, though he never said anything to him about it. Just gently prodded him along to ask Ziva out.
"And you agree with everyone else that your son, Agent DiNozzo, just suddenly overcame his fear of being with Agent David in Berlin which led to them being married so quickly? Just three days ago?"
"I knew it was only a matter of time before he finally took the plunge. Ziva is the love of my son's life. I have no doubts about that. He has been falling in love with her for eight years. There was nothing quick about their relationship, son." He chuckled with a smile, as did everyone in the gallery. Anthony DiNozzo Senior was charming the courtroom with his smile, confidence and talk of love.
"Except for how quickly they got married once charges were filed. No further questions, your Honor." Parsons took his seat again.
"You may step down, Mr. DiNozzo." The judge waved his hand excusing Anthony.
Both Ziva and Tony smiled widely at Anthony as he walked towards them to resume his seat again in the gallery with the others.
"Defense, next witness?" The judge prompted them to keep it moving as it had already been a long day.
"The Defense calls, Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs to the stand."
Gibbs approached the Witness Stand and stood quietly while the bailiff took his Oath.
"State your name for the record."
"Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs."
"And do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?"
"I do." Gibbs nodded removing his hand from the Bible.
"Take a seat."
"Special Agent Gibbs, I'm going to get right to the point. Do you believe that the marriage between your Agents David and DiNozzo is real?"
"I do." Gibbs answered with a soft dip in his voice and head nod with a slowly spreading smile. His hands were neatly folded in his lap with thumbs tapping against each other and the image of calm.
"As their Team Leader for the last nearly eight years, you have a pretty good understanding of what makes your team tick, I'd imagine. Is that a safe assumption?"
"It is." Gibbs nodded with the same tight smile and saying very little.
"How have Agents David and DiNozzo worked together these past eight years?"
"It's been a journey for them to find their groove, butt hey know each other so well now, they can read each others thoughts and actions before making a move, anticipating what the other will do. It's a bond and a trust they've formed along the way. They are two of the best Agents I've ever had the privilege of working with." Gibbs surprised both Tony and Ziva with his answer and the smile he gave them both at the end.
"Being that you worked so closely with them, you must have seen their relationship turning into something more over the years?"
"I did." Gibbs nodded softly with a slight smile.
"And yet they never dated?"
"I'm partially responsible for that I'd imagine. They were following my Rules."
"Your Rules, Agent Gibbs?"
"For my team. Rule #12 is 'never date a co-worker."
"Ah ha. So you weren't upset then when suddenly they announced they were getting married?"
"I have a rules against dating, not getting married." Gibbs answered with a tight smile and a soft chuckle rang through the gallery.
"Can you explain that logic and reasoning for us, Special Agent Gibbs?"
"If you casually date a co-worker, you risk the potential of breaking up a great team. But if you're serious about the other person and in love with them, want a life with them, you won't just date. You'll marry them because you recognize it is something more: something special and to be treated with care. That is what DiNozzo and David have, something very special." He answered quietly and speaking slowly and thoughtfully, smiling at them both in the end.
"Thank you, Agent Gibbs. No further questions at this time, your Honor." Chegwidden stepped away, knowing Parsons would undoubtedly rip Gibbs to shreds and they'd need to rebuttal.
"Prosecution, your witness." The judge motioned him.
"How long have you been a field agent, Agent Gibbs?" Parsons stood before Gibbs, unafraid of the silver-haired man before him.
"Nearly twenty years." Gibbs shifted in his seat knowing the man was going to attack.
"That is quite an impressive record as an investigator. You take protecting your team very seriously, don't you, Agent Gibbs?"
"I am their Team Leader. That is my job." Gibbs answered him coolly.
"You lost a member of your team, Special Agent Caitlin Todd, is that correct?" Parsons went for the most immediate and obvious statement of how Gibbs had failed to protect his team in the past with Kate's death.
"Yes." Gibbs nodded sadly.
"She was killed by a rogue Mossad Operative Ari Haswari. Correct?"
"According to your official report on the incident here, Officer Haswari was targeting the women in your life because of his own vendetta against you, isn't that right, Agent Gibbs?"
"Yes." Gibbs felt his anger already rising at the method this man was taking and understanding it all too well having been on the other side of the interrogation table and using someone's emotions against them.
"Because he knew that your wife and child had been killed by a sniper's bullet, isn't that correct?"
"Yes." Gibbs answered staring directly at Parsons, glaring into his eyes that he wasn't going to back away even if the man persisted down this path.
"And Officer Haswari received this information about your history from a dossier done on you by his Control Officer, correct?"
"Agent David was his Control Officer then, correct?"
"So Agent David, gave her brother and rogue operative Officer Haswari the information, that you believed according to the report, led to Agent Todd's death?" Parsons was indirectly holding Ziva responsible for Kate's death to the jury.
"And yet you have worked with Agent David for the last eight years?" Parsons' eyebrow slanted demonstrating his theatrical abilities to display emotions he wanted the jury to feel. In this case: disbelief.
"Even coming to her rescue on numerous occasions isn't that true?"
"Do you trust Agent David?"
"Yes. With my life." Gibbs eyes flashed to Ziva with a soft smile and head nod.
"Have you always trusted Agent David, Agent Gibbs?"
"Not when we first met, no. I did not trust her." Gibbs answered honestly with eyes slowly turning back towards Parsons.
"But you trusted her enough to let you join your team, just weeks after the investigation closed with Officer Haswari?"
"What changed? How did she earn your trust so quickly, Agent Gibbs?"
"She helped us catch Ari. Even though, he was her brother, she did the right thing." Gibbs told the truth in a round about way.
"Tell me, Agent Gibbs, were you aware that Agent David was actually ordered by her father, Director David, to hunt down and kill Officer Haswari after he became rogue?" Parsons asked and a few small gasps of astonishment could be heard coming from the gallery.
"I am aware, yes." Gibbs nodded bouncing his foot on his heel once with an internal sigh that this man knew this information and where this line of questioning was undoubtedly headed.
Parsons theatrical responses to Tony's answers to these questions now made more sense. Parsons believed he held information about Ziva's 'duplicitous' nature that they did not.
"Did then Mossad Officer David follow those orders Agent Gibbs and kill her brother Ari?"
"No." Gibbs answered his direct question smoothly. Ziva hadn't killed Ari on 'orders.'
"May I remind you that you are under Oath, Agent Gibbs?"
"No, then Officer David did not follow those orders to kill her brother." Gibbs answered again, hoping to god that Parsons did just flat out ask if Ziva killed Ari. Right now Gibbs was still able to tell the 'truth' by answering the question pertaining to her following her father's orders.
"Were you aware that then Mossad Officer David was also ordered to gain your trust by killing her brother and infiltrate herself into NCIS for Mossad?" Parsons asked definitely and another soft gasp rose from the gallery.
Ziva felt her skin begin to crawl. Only she and Gibbs had ever discussed these orders. No one else on their' team, not even Tony, knew of this information. These orders from her father were another secret shame. Another reason why, she had told her father he was beyond forgiveness of his sins and another reason why, avenging his death and losing her future was making less and less sense to her now.
"I am aware, yes." Gibbs nodded calmly and stunned not only those others in the gallery but also their team. Tony, McGee and everyone else sat with mouths hanging slightly open and wide-eyed to hear first of Ziva's orders and then that Gibbs knew about them and was so calm.
"And when did you become aware of these orders, Agent Gibbs?" Parsons folded his arms over his chest again, feeling slightly deflated that Gibbs knew of these orders. He was obviously hoping to steal the show and stun Gibbs with the 'truth.'
"May of 2009." Gibbs remembered that time with a pain in his heart. His team had never been further apart. Saying goodbye to Ziva at the tarmac in Tel-Aviv had been incredibly difficult, but finding out that she supposedly died just a week later on the Damocles had plagued him for months that summer until he'd found her and brought her home.
"So nearly three and a half years after Agent David had become part of your team?" Parsons seemed to perk up at this information.
"Who told you?"
"Director Leon Vance." Gibbs answered quietly and all eyes in the gallery flashed to Vance, including Ziva who had wheeled around to look behind her in disbelief that he'd known. His suddenly sending her back to Israel and dissolving the Liaison position his first day on the job, now made more sense. He didn't trust her, at all.
"I don't know why, you'll have to ask him." Gibbs answered with a soft sigh shifting in his seat again.
"Did you ever discuss these orders with Agent David?" Parsons asked and everyone was eager to hear this answer.
"Yes, I did. After we rescued her in Somalia and brought her home." Gibbs emphasized the last word with eyes glancing at Ziva, giving her a small encouraging smile. "She and I had a conversation about the orders her father had given."
"And what did Agent David say for herself about these orders?"
"That she could never follow an order given by her father to kill her own brother." Gibbs answered remembering that conversation with Ziva well and seeing for the first time, the tears in her eyes that he had doubted her reasoning for killing her brother.
"But she accepted these orders. Did she tell you why?"
"She was trying to protect her brother. She didn't want someone else blindly following orders. If he was innocent, she wanted to save him." Gibbs answered and felt the collective sigh coming from their corner of the courtroom.
"But he wasn't innocent?"
"No. He was not innocent." Gibbs spoke slowly and with a pained expression; not for Ari but for Ziva in realizing that truth.
"Once Ziva knew that Ari was guilty of the crimes, she helped me to catch him." Gibbs answered though didn't divulge just how.
"And because of this, she had earned your trust?" Parsons asked still incredulous.
"Yes. He was her brother. She did the right thing, even when it hurt her. She had my trust." Gibbs answered with eyes held fast to Ziva and no one else, reassuring her that he still felt this way.
"And you never doubted her loyalty to you or NCIS?"
"No." Gibbs answered honestly and even surprised Ziva with his answer.
"Not even when she withheld information in regards to Mossad Officer Rivkin?" Parsons asked in continued disbelief that the man before him could never have a moment of doubting Ziva David's loyalty to him or NCIS after all that she had done to suggest otherwise.
"No." Gibbs answered again more firmly.
"I don't think that had anything to do with her loyalty to Mossad or NCIS. I think she was trying to protect someone she cared about." Gibbs answered and saw the tears welling in Ziva's eyes to hear that truth from him. That he understood that she wasn't intentionally trying to betray him or NCIS with her actions regarding Michael, but that she was simply trying to protect someone she cared about.
"That seems to be a theme within your team, Agent Gibbs. Protecting the people you care about above and beyond boundaries of the law. Agent DiNozzo testified to doing the same thing; giving Agent David the benefit of the doubt and time to explain her actions when he should have reported her immediately for harboring a foreign operative wanted in an investigation. Tell me, Agent Gibbs, do you really believe that the marriage between Agents David and DiNozzo to be real?"
"I do." Gibbs answered the question again, feeling his gut roll at hearing Parsons accusation about the integrity of his team and their motives.
"When were you informed they were getting married?" Parsons asked happy with the implication about Team Gibbs he had just laid down. That they were all rogues, willing to do whatever they could, even breaking the law repeatedly to protect those they cared about.
"Six days ago." Gibbs answered with a tight smile, remembering that day well. It had certainly been full of surprises and left little time to arrange a wedding.
"You were not surprised with that news given they'd never been in a relationship prior to this announcement?" Parsons asked the same question of Gibbs that Chegwidden had asked but twisted it slightly with tone and meaning.
"They were in a relationship, Mr. Parsons. They've been partners in the field for nearly eight years. That's more of a marriage than most marriages. You have to trust one another with your lives. I cannot say the same for some of my ex-wives." A soft chuckle rang through the gallery with his comment and a smirk from the twice-divorced judge.
"So as partners, they feel they are responsible for each other's lives? Correct?" Parsons smiled at Gibbs response, okay with taking the jab from Gibbs as it set him up for another blow.
"Yes." Gibbs nodded softly seeing where this was heading already.
"So there is a possibility that as partners they have married strictly in order to protect Agent David's life with Agent DiNozzo being able to, Plead the Fifth to avoid incriminating her for the crimes which she accused?"
"Objection! Calls for a conclusion!" Chegwidden could hardly contain the annoyance in his tone as he stood defiantly.
"Your Honor, Agent Gibbs opened this line of questioning by stating the partners feel responsible for each other's lives. Given he is an expert investigator after twenty-years in the field, I'd like him to give his opinion on the matter." Parsons reasoned logically with a soft smile to the judge.
"Sustained. I'll allow it on the grounds that Agent Gibbs opinion is considered on this matter given his history and profession. Answer the question, Agent Gibbs."
"I suppose there is a possibility." Gibbs answered quietly while internally sighing. Parsons was good at constantly raising suspicions as to the validity of their marriage. He'd ended each cross-examination thus far with putting those doubts into the jury's minds.
"No further questions at this time for Special Agent Gibbs, your Honor." Parsons smiled at him taking his seat behind the Prosecution table.
"Permission to re-direct, your Honor." Chegwidden stood quickly, once again on damage control.
"Granted." The judge called him forward with a quick swipe of his fingers.
Chegwidden approached Gibbs glancing over the jury and then back to the man before him.
"Special Agent Gibbs, in your expert investigative opinion that is being called upon, do you believe that Agent DiNozzo married Agent David strictly to protect her from incriminating testimony for the crimes of which she is accused?"
"I do not. They love each other. They have loved each other a long time. I've watched them falling in love like everyone else for the last eight years." Gibbs answered honestly. It was the first time that he was ever acknowledging with those words, that Tony and Ziva love each other and that's he's been watching it happen like everyone else all of these years.
"Thank you, Agent Gibbs. No further questions for this witness at this time, your Honor." Chegwidden smiled happily as he returned to the Defense table to gather his notes.
"You may step down." The judge motioned Gibbs he was dismissed. "Defense, your next witness?"
"The Defense calls upon a Dr. Donald Mallard." Chegwidden turned around to look at the gallery but Ducky was not there. "I'm sorry, your Honor but Dr. Mallard seems to be-"
"Here!" Ducky burst through the back doors of the courtroom out of breath and clearly rushing. "So sorry to be late. I was working on finishing a case and then stuck in traffic." He tossed his jacket and hat at Palmer in the gallery on the way by. "Trying to navigate Dupont Circle during rush hour is simply murder. It is amazing to me that the people of this country still do not know how to use a roundabout properly. One would think that driving on it daily, they would learn."
Everyone's eyebrows rose a little at the choice of Ducky's words considering they were in fact, in the middle of the beginning proceedings of a murder trial.
"Dr. Mallard, are you ready?" The judge asked with obvious annoyance in his voice that Ducky had been late to the proceedings.
"I am." Ducky nodded quietly and stood to take his Oath, smoothing his hand over his tuffs of hair sticking out from where he'd quickly removed his hat upon entering.
"Please state your name for the record."
"Dr. Donald Mallard."
"Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god?" The bailiff asked with Ducky's right hand raised and left hand on the Bible.
"I do." Ducky nodded with a large smile at Ziva.
Chegwidden approached with a soft smile, "Dr. Mallard, you are an expert in Psychological Human Behaviors and have been called upon frequently by several law enforcement agencies to help solve crimes or track criminals based on your profiles of their characters, is that correct?"
"Yes, that is correct."
"And you have known the defendant for quit some time, nearly eight years. Is that right?"
"Yes. I have known Ziva that long."
"Tell me about the beginning of your relationship with Ziva."
"We were all still recovering from the sudden shock of losing Caitlin and the horrors that Ari had brought upon our lives. Ziva was the spark our little team needed to breathe life back into us again. A fiery spark at that. She was an outsider, tough and impenetrable on the outside but I could see a softness in her eyes and the way she spoke when alone in quiet moments that revealed her inner vulnerability. On could see that she was personally hurting when she arrived on our team, though she tried desperately to hide it. The pain of losing her brother was there. I'm sure she felt she could not share it with us given what Ari had done. We would not have been sympathetic or understanding and so she kept this quiet pain to herself. It was during our very first case working together that Ziva saved my life. After, we formed our own unique sort of relationship where I've become a grandfather of sort. We can empathize with one another about the difficulties of moving to this country and being the 'foreigner.' The more I got to know Ziva, the more delighted I was for her to join our team. She fit in quite well with our group." Ducky smiled at her softly. "I believe that Ziva had finally found a home with us over the years and she had been a true blessing to us all."
"Dr. Mallard, what is your professional opinion on the relationship between Agent David and Agent DiNozzo?" Chegwidden asked quietly with a small smile.
"I believe they are a perfect match. The complexity of their sordid history separately and together bonds them in a way that most couples will never experience. They compliment one another in several ways. Watching them fall in love over the years has been a wonderful and sometimes tragic and painful journey for those of us who have been forced to stand on the side and watch it happening. So easy for us on the outside to see how very deeply that Anthony and Ziva felt for one another and yet, unable to tell each other or act upon it. Their love did not come easily. It was perhaps, always there, but given what each had been through, they were terrified of making that final commitment for fear of losing each other." Ducky answered with such a rhythmic response and tone that he had people in the gallery nodding along in agreement to his assessment. "I have never seen them happier then I have when they are together. The light in their eyes and their smiles cannot hide their true feelings for one another. They are madly in love."
"Thank you, Dr. Mallard. I have no further questions at this time." Chegwidden smiled taking his seat.
"Prosecution, your witness." The judge jotted down a quick note and looked up at Parsons.
"Dr. Mallard, in your professional psychological opinion, you do not question how quickly that Agents DiNozzo and David were married? Just three days ago?" Parsons was persistent in trying to prove that this marriage was one of convenience rather than love.
"No, it makes perfect sense to me given the events of what transpired between them in Berlin." Ducky chuckled softly to himself with a smile and a slight hint of mischief in his voice.
"So you believe that they were together in Berlin as Agent DiNozzo claims. That is when they finally consummated this relationship that has been growing for eight years?" Parsons asked tilting his head to the side gauging Ducky's expressions.
"I do. Yes, absolutely. The change between them after was significant." Ducky smiled with a knowing gaze and nodded softly.
"See, I have a difficult time believing that these events actually occurred for the first time in Berlin and not after the charges were filed against Agent David. The timing seems far too convenient as with their marriage. Have you seen any physical proof to substantiate Agent DiNozzos claims of what transpired between himself and Agent David in Berlin, or to validate their sudden marriage?" Parsons once again tried to sway the jury that Berlin was a fabricated story created to help sell their marriage.
"Yes, I do, actually." Ducky stunned everyone with his answer though he remained sitting with a coy smile.
"You have physical proof to validate what transpired between them in Berlin? Before the charges were filed against her?" Parson's eyebrows narrowed.
"I do." Ducky smiled more widely reaching into his suit jacket and producing a folded piece of paper that he kept in his hand. "A couple of weeks ago, Ziva came to see me for a Head Cold. Poor thing, couldn't breathe with swollen sinuses, nauseated and felt feverish. Her combined symptoms seemed to be just a touch of the flu. Nerves and stress perhaps given the situation developing around her. But given this was Ziva, who is nearly never ill in all the years I have known her, I thought it was a bit strange. I drew some blood as a precaution, just wanting to make sure that she hadn't picked up anything too serious during her recent travels and I learned exactly what had been making her ill." Ducky smiled with bright eyes flashing to Ziva who seemed nervous and confused about where Ducky was going with this.
"Please Dr. Mallard, inform us all of this proof as the suspense is killing us?" Parsons motioned him with a wave of his hand at Ducky's dramatic pause and clearly annoyed.
"Your proof, Mr. Parsons, that Anthony and Ziva's marriage is real, and that they are in love and did in fact consummate their relationship in Berlin on or near April 23rd of this year." Ducky handed over the document to Parsons with a knowing twinkle in his eye staring directly at Ziva. "Ziva is nearly two months pregnant."