Served Cold

"Ziva …" Gibbs began, carefully. He could see the fire and anger in her eyes – that blind blood lust that he'd felt himself. He knew where her mind was. He knew how her body was reacting. He needed to snap her out of it.

"Ziva …"

Ziva stood, gun in hand, breathing heavily, as if she'd just finished a run. Her pupils were dilated, her senses sharp. She'd gotten him … she knew it. She could feel it. She'd heard him coming up behind her and she'd turned and fired. She did not think … did not negotiate. Her training had served her well.

And now, she willed herself to calm down. She took deep breaths and closed her eyes, telling her heart to slow and return her pulse to normal. She'd done this over and over again in her meditation classes. She knew how to do it … she just needed a second to focus …

She knew that there were other people there now. Gibbs kept saying her name. She had to look at him … face him … at some point. But she knew he'd understand. He'd always understood her. From that moment on the stairs in his basement when she shot Ari. From that very moment, he'd understood her and he'd trusted her … stood behind her. Others might not, but he always did. He knew why she had to do this; why she had to go alone to right this wrong and avenge her father's death.

Another deep breath.

"Gibbs?" she heard Director Vance. She saw him look down. The Director, too, would understand. She was avenging his wife's death as well. She had done this for both of them. For Eli and for Jackie. So that they could begin to live again and know that the deaths of their loved ones had not gone unanswered.

Others appeared in her peripheral vision. Ducky, of course, to collect the body and confirm the kill. Jimmy. McGee.

And then … a hand on her shoulder. She was calm now, though, and did not jump. It was over and she was calm. She turned to see Gibbs there, at her shoulder. She hadn't expected Gibbs. But she smiled a small smile and said, "It is done."

Gibbs' face changed, just a little. A look of sadness and understanding. She heard him sigh.

Gibbs looked down at Ducky and Jimmy, examining the body and preparing the transport.

"Duck?" Gibbs said, a strange catch in his voice.

Ducky looked up and grimly shook his head.

Ziva closed her eyes. For Eli. For Papa.

"Ziva," Gibbs said again, quietly. "Let's go."

She nodded. He tried to direct her gaze away from the body as they walked past to a waiting car, but she needed to be sure. She fought against Gibbs in order to look down. She had to see – had to know for certain.

Her eyes locked onto the face of the dead man for just a second before Jimmy pulled a white cloth over the body. Gibbs continued with her to the car and gently helped her into the back seat.

It wasn't until they started driving that she realized the body on the ground had been Tony.

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