Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 1970
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Ducky Mallard, Ziva David
Category(ies): Character Study, Episode Related, Friendship
Episode(s): 3-10 Probie, 3-23 Hiatus (1), 3-24 Hiatus (2)
Summary: Ziva has a choice to make, and she doesn't know which way to turn.
An established relationship story.
Contains mild spoilers for Shalom.
Ziva had a dilemma, and she did not like it. She had to make a bakhira, and she could not decide what that would be.
Normally, her life was well ordered. She knew what to expect from people and from herself; knew what she would do in any given situation; knew in what she believed, and she lived by that. It was rare that, for her, a bakhira was hard to make; a hakhlata difficult to reach.
This one, however, was.
A year ago, indeed a few months ago, it would not have been so. However, things had changed; Ziva herself had changed - and she wasn't certain that she liked the change.
It had all begun when Gibbs had been blown up. That one event had led to her re-evaluating herself, and her connection with NCIS.
Firstly, Dr. Mallard, friendly, affable, caring Dr. Mallard, who tried to treat her like a lady, who confused her because she wasn't used to such treatment, had snapped at her. He had done so because she had failed to ask to which hospital Agent Gibbs was being sent.
To her it had not been important. What had been important was finding the person who had blown Gibbs up; and stopping him from doing it again. In her eyes that had been the only thing she could do to help Gibbs; worrying about him, even knowing where he was, would not, could not, help him.
Dr. Mallard, however, had not seen it in the same way. His comment that DiNozzo would know had been unexpected and harsh. Naturally, he had almost immediately tried to put things right by telling her that, of course, he knew that it wasn't that she didn't care. But the harder he had tried, the more Ziva had known that he was merely saying the words, he did not mean them.
And then Abby had slapped her, and had also implied that Ziva didn't care about Gibbs, about the fact that he was lying in hospital.
Then four months later under suspicion, accused of murder, Ziva had reached out. She had called in her favour; she had asked Gibbs to help her. But it wasn't only Gibbs who had helped; it had been the entire team. They, DiNozzo, McGee, Ducky, Palmer and Abby, had not only helped her, they had all also started from the premise that she was innocent.
That was more than she herself had done when McGee had shot the detective. Then she had started from the premise that he was guilty. She had been irritated with, and angry at, Gibbs and DiNozzo, who had both assumed that McGee was innocent. Why had they done that? That wasn't the way things were done; not in Ziva's world.
Gibbs, to an extent she had been able to understand; it was his team, after all; a good team leader backs his team. But DiNozzo . . . Anthony DiNozzo who never missed an opportunity to tease McGee, to make him feel and look small, to try to make him less than he was, who appeared to openly dislike his fellow field agent, he had stood by McGee. He had been certain that McGee was innocent.
And yet when she herself was accused of something similar, all of them had stood by her. Even McGee, who must have known that Ziva had believed him guilty, had stood by Ziva, had assumed she was innocent. Even Abby with whom, it had to be said, she had the most difficult relationship, Abby had always seemed to blame Ziva for taking Kate's place, had been prepared to help her and had believed in her. All of them had . . . Had . . . Treated her like she was 'one of them'.
For the first time ever she really understood that Gibbs's team were just that, a team. That their bond went beyond that of co-workers. That their bond went beyond anything for which there was a word. It went beyond anything Ziva had believed possible. She had thought that Mossad were close, that their bond was greater than any other could be; but now she realized that she was wrong.
She did not know why this mixed group of people were so important, so vital, so necessary to one another. All she knew was that they were.
She knew one other thing too. If she wanted to, if she wished to, she could join them; she could share their bond. She could become part of the 'family'.
But did she wish to? She honestly did not know. She was conflicted. Uncertain. And Ziva David hated feeling that way. And it was all Gibbs's fault.
Gibbs, the man whom she should hate, because he was the person responsible for taking the only two men she had ever loved from her. For Gibbs, for a man she barely knew, she had killed her own half-brother, a traitor, but nonetheless part of her, part of her family. And also because of Gibbs she had discovered the truth about her beloved father. But she didn't hate Gibbs; she respected him too much for that. As she had told Jenny, he was a good teacher, but he was more than that.
She had kept his secret about his first wife and daughter, and she would not have told. It wasn't merely because Gibbs had kept her own secret, the secret that it had been she, not Gibbs who had killed Ari. She had kept his secret about Shannon and Kelly because . . . Even now she still wasn't certain why she had kept it; had been willing to keep it; why she hadn't told anyone, once the secret was no longer a secret, that she had known.
And now, if she did truly wish to join his team, to become 'one of them', she had to keep another secret. One that went far deeper, far beyond a murdered wife and daughter.
Two nights ago, uncertain as to her future with NCIS, needing, not that she would ever use the word, to talk to someone, she had found herself outside Gibbs's house. Not wanting to make him climb the basement stairs simply to let her in, because she had been certain that is where he would be, she had let herself into his house.
Someone really should talk to Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs about the wisdom of a special agent, someone who had, in Gibbs's own words 'pissed off a lot of people', locking his front door. Especially when the said Special Agent was so involved in what he was doing, that his 'special agent's antenna' let him down, and he didn't realize that someone had invaded his house.
Ziva had never been in love; never expected to be so. Of course she had had her share of lovers, both male and female, but she had never really let any of them touch her, not beyond the physical. Nonetheless, she knew love when she saw it. And that night, standing in shocked, stunned silence on the stairs leading to the dimly lit basement, she saw love. And not the love of a week, a month, a year, but the love of a long standing, deep and true relationship.
And for a moment as she had stood there, frozen to the spot, just watching as Gibbs held Dr. Mallard in his arms, held him and kissed him, as he in turn was held and kissed by the doctor, Ziva had felt envy. Not that she wished to be in either Gibbs's or Dr. Mallard's arms, to be held and kissed by either of them; she felt no attraction for either man, other than a level of affection that she wasn't certain she wanted or understood.
No, her envy had been because she had known that, even if she was ever willing to let her guard down enough to let someone love her, that it would not come close to what she had seen in the few minutes she had stood and unashamedly watched the two men making love. For that is what they had been doing, even though all they had been doing was embracing and kissing. Nothing that she, Ziva David, might experience could ever come close to what she had witnessed.
And that was her dilemma; that was the bakhira, the hakhlata she had to make. Did she, as she should do, go to Jenny and tell her what she had seen? She should do so; she should. She should do so because she was a Mossad liaison officer, and it was an important piece of information. She should also do so for personal reasons, should do so as a friend and occasion lover of Jenny. How could she not share such a vital thing? There was no reason, none at all, for her not to tell, especially as she was having dinner with Jenny that very evening. There was no reason not to tell, and every reason to tell.
Except there was a reason not to tell. Did she wish to really become a member of the team? If she did, then her bakhira was simple: she did not tell.
If she did not wish to become a true member of the team, then she did her duty to Jenny, to the agency, and she told what she had seen. She doubted it would have any real impact on the men's careers; she could not really see NCIS terminating either man's employment for such a thing. But it would, could, make things uncomfortable for them, as far as their relationship with the rest of the team went. That was unless the rest of the team all ready knew about the relationship. But somehow Ziva doubted that; Tony DiNozzo would never have been able to stop himself from telling her, or at least from hinting to her about it. Except he might; DiNozzo wasn’t always the juvenile, self-obsessed, uncaring fool he liked to pretend he was; as his support for McGee over the shooting had proved.
Her phone rang. She picked it up. "Ziva?" It was Jenny. "Yes, five minutes." She replaced the receiver carefully and looked across to where Gibbs sat.
He was frowning down at one of the reports and shaking his head. As she watched, she saw him cross something out, the movement firm and decisive, his annoyance was clear. It might even be one of her own reports, or maybe it was one of DiNozzo's; it certainly wouldn't be one of McGee's.
His special agent's antenna did now seem to be working, as he looked up and stared at her. He didn't know. He hadn't known she had been in his home two nights ago. He had no idea that she had seen him and his lover. "Is something the matter, Officer David?"
She shook her head. "No." She glanced away and busied herself with preparing to leave.
After a minute or two, she stood up, collected her bag and coat and turned. "Goodnight, Gibbs."
"Night, Ziva. Enjoy your dinner." She nodded, and began to move across the office.
"Give the Director my regards." His quiet words reached her, and for a moment she was frozen to the spot.
She recovered quickly and glanced back around. However, he was no longer watching her, no longer even seemed to be aware that she was still in the room. Instead, he had picked his phone up and had punched in a number; he was smiling a little, the smile she’d only even seen him show to one person, the smile that softened his face and humanized him.
She turned back and continued her way towards the elevators.
In that moment she made her bakhira.