Warning: There will be some Ziva bashing in this chapter. Sadly, I lost the original write-up of the scene between Ziva and Sam to the end of the chapter. It somehow disappeared from my computer. So I've had to re-write the whole thing. Hopefully you'll all enjoy.
Tony timeline note: According to Split Decision in season 1, Kate guesses Tony's age as 32, which puts his birth year at 1972 based on the air date. Hiatus aired two years later, so in this he's 34. He graduated college at 22, then spent the next two years recovering from the leg break so he officially joined the force at 24, making him a cop/agent for a combined 10 years.
Within 24 hours, Tony remembered why he left. Two words: Ziva David aka pompous ass, aka little miss holier than though, I'm better than you, spoiled princess. If he had to listen to her go on one more time about her infinite Mossad contacts and wonderful interrogation techniques, not to mention the number of languages she spoke, he was going to punch her straight in her smug little face. She was not the ranking officer so she needed to shut up and get her over-inflated ego, aka head, out of her ass or she'd find herself suspended for insubordination. As it stood, he already had a bloody nose for coming back.
After showering away the blood, he changed into a sweater and jeans, as well as his glasses. His eyes were tired enough without the added irritation of his contacts. He also decided to take a fifteen minute break and run out for some espresso. He was off his schedule and dealing with a time difference and jet lag too. Fortunately he didn't have to go far. Just a few blocks from the Yard was a little Italian bistro run by Sofia Cavallo, his first "girlfriend" after the move to DC. He'd met her about two months after his move. They'd had a tough case and after everything that happened recently with Baltimore, Danny, and the case, he was in need of some comfort. So when he came across the bistro on his walk home, he decided to stop in. Sofia, who both owned the place and worked there, took one look at him and instantly adopted him as her grandson. Coincidentally, she also owned and lived in the same building he'd bought his condo a few months later. In fact, many of his "girlfriends" lived in the same building. Of course he never told anyone most of them were old enough to be either his mother or grandmother. He loved them all though and took good care of them.
A loud squeal broke him from his thoughts and a moment later he was nearly tackled by the little old lady jumping into his arms. "Grazie Dio, grazie Dio," she mumbled over and over while kissing his face all over. It took Tony literally two minutes to get her to relax enough that he could put her down. She immediately grabbed his hands though. "Mio Tonio, I'm so happy to see you. When did you get back? Why didn't you tell me you were coming?"
"I didn't get a chance. I was called back to work a case. I haven't even been home, or to sleep yet. I just came in for some coffee."
"Siedi, siedi. I'll get you something to eat and drink," she said as she led him over to a stool at the bar. She disappeared into the kitchen and returned five minutes later with a plate full of little balls and a large mug. "Ham and arugula Stromboli bites and the Tony Special," Sofia said as she sat the items down in front of him. The drink, aka the Tony Special, was a strong espresso mixed with chocolate and hazelnuts, designed to give energy but still satisfy the sweet tooth. The man simply smiled at the woman before taking a long sip and attacking the plate of food with gusto. He'd been awake forever it seemed and he honestly couldn't remember the last time he ate something. He felt truly blessed to have Sofia in his life.
Ten minutes later, the plate was clean and his mug was empty. "I really should be getting back to work," he said softly to the woman, who had been sitting next to him since she brought out the food. "I can't be gone too long. This is a time-sensitive case." Without saying a word, Sofia got up and walked back into the kitchen. She returned to his side a minute later with a large paper coffee cup.
"You take that with you. It should give you the energy to get through the night. Then I want you to go home and get some rest. You can't get by on caffeine alone mi amore."
"I'll do my best. I love you nonna," he whispered as he wrapped her up in his arms.
"I love you too, Tonio. Now, you go back to work. And don't even think of trying to pay me. I'll come make you some food tomorrow." She sent him away after another tight hug and a kiss on the cheek.
Tony was in a good mood, until he walked into the bullpen and heard an arrogant "AH HA!" He rolled his eyes and took the money from McGee's hand as he passed. "Hey!" The woman protested.
"I'm taking the pot if you're betting on me. Do I even want to know what you bet on? Whether or not I'd come back bloody?
"We bet on whether you would return with coffee," Ziva explained. "I knew you would try to act like Gibbs," she said smugly. Stan, who was standing on the other side of the partition behind Ziva's desk talking to Balboa, didn't even wait. As soon as those words left the woman's mouth, he called the director to warn her of the impending fireworks.
"I didn't know Gibbs had a monopoly on drinking coffee. And for your information, this is an espresso mix, not that it's any of your business. Now stop fooling around and get back to work. McGee, tell me what you've got."
"You are not Gibbs," Ziva stated.
"No, the last time I checked, my name was DiNozzo. Now, McGee-"
"You should not be leading this team," Ziva interrupted. "You do not have the skills to deal with something like this."
Every agent within hearing distance stood up to defend Tony at that moment. Even Abby, who had just come off the back elevator, as summoned, looked ready to go at her. Instead, it was Balboa who got there first. He came around the partition and stood directly in front of the assassin. "And just who the hell do you think you are?" He exploded.
"Sam," Tony said, putting his hand on the man's shoulder. "Don't do this. Just let it go."
"No, I've had enough of this. We all have," he said softly. "She needs to know. They both do."
The two men looked at each other and Sam could see the quiet acquiescence in Tony's eyes. He knew his friend liked to keep his life to himself, but it was time that "Team Gibbs" knew the truth about their SFA. "You have no idea about his qualifications do you?"
"Oh please, he is not qualified to lead a cow to water."
"Tony DiNozzo is more qualified than you could ever be. Not only has he been a cop 10 years, which is more impressive and gives him more insight then you seem to believe, but he also holds multiple degrees. In college he double majored in Physical education and film, while maintaining a high GPA as well as playing both football and basketball, scholarships for which put him through school. He graduated with honors and he's got his masters in physical education, which you seem to think means nothing, but a lot of the classes required are the same classes that med students take. He's also got a masters in forensics, computer science, film and criminology. Just because he became a cop, doesn't mean he's stopped going to school. He's also been to nearly every seminar this agency offers and speaks 6 languages, which you'd know if you bothered to get to know the man. And for your information, he does speak Turkish, so your importance here Officer David, is not as high as you seem to believe." Ziva opened her mouth to retort, but Sam cut her off. "Don't even think his father's money had anything to do with this. He hasn't spoken to his father in twenty years. So let's recap shall we? He more than meets the requirements for a senior field agent, not to mention he finished top of his class in an accelerated course at FLET-C and holds multiple records, he's also an excellent shot, a great agent, and a good man. Everyone in this building likes him and several of us owe him more than he knows.
"Now, let's talk about you, and your qualifications. You are Mossad. You are an assassin, not an investigator. You have had absolutely no training that would allow you to be a part of the Major Crimes Response Team. You may speak English, but you don't understand American culture and you sure as hell don't understand idioms. It's lead a emhorse/em to water by the way. You know nothing about American laws, and you sure hold no regard for them considering the way you often break them, like picking the locks to get into a building, or how about the way you drive? You did not earn a spot on this team. You were handed it on a silver platter because the director likes you. Well guess what? She's about the only one. Every agent in this office who has ever interacted with you or seen you interact with your Senior Field Agent has written you up multiple times for insubordination. The only reason the director hasn't received those reports is because Tony told us not to send them. Well I can guarantee after today she'll be flooded with them.
"You seem to think you deserve to be the senior agent on this team. Let me let you in on a secret little girl. You need to actually be an agent to become an SFA. You are not an agent, you are not an investigator, hell, you're not even a citizen. You have no place on this team. You weren't picked for it like McGee and you sure didn't earn your place on it. You've done nothing but undermine Tony since the day you got here. You think you're entitled to something because your daddy's the deputy director of Mossad? All I see is a spoiled princess trying to get her daddy's attention. If you can't have his, then you'll commandeer Gibbs'. I mean you did kill your brother for him didn't you? But don't you dare think that no one knows you are the reason that Kate Todd is dead. We all know you put together the profiles on the MCRT for your bastard brother. We know you're the reason he killed Kate, why he tried to kill Abby. And we all know that you sweet talked your way onto the investigation into him after he murdered one of our own so that you could try to protect him. You disgust me.
"You have no place on this team or in this agency. We will all be filing our reports with the director today, as well as our recommendations that she transfer you, at the very least off this team, hopefully out of DC because not one person in this building wants to work with you. First off, you shouldn't have access to anything, let alone anything classified. Second, we do not trust you to have our backs, when you clearly don't have your own team's. So you back the hell off DiNozzo. He's more than twice the agent you could ever hope to be."
The silence was deafening at first, before it was replaced by applause. Ziva looked around at all the smiling faces and stormed off. She didn't know how anyone had found out what she'd done, both for and against Ari, but she hid her shock well. She knew now though that she was done. There was no way Jenny would let her stay, no matter how much the woman owed her. She could only hope that she'd be allowed to stay in the country.