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Goodbyes Never Said
by: CJ aka WritinginCt (Send Feedback)
Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 7271
Character(s): Ziva David
Category(ies): Crossover, First Time, Romance
Crossover Shows: Stargate SG-1
Summary: A chance encounter in a Washington coffee shop takes Daniel and Ziva back to a time before she was Mossad and before he ever stepped through the Stargate, to the summer they shared and the goodbyes they never said.
Daniel Jackson/Ziva David NCIS/Stargate SG-1
Author Notes: This is set around late 2005 (which is NCIS season 3, and SG-1 season 9). I am basing Daniel's time line from the series time line, meaning that he didn't get pulled into the Stargate program until 1996.
And because it had been asked of me previously: I realize that Israel has mandatory military service required. I had actually thought a little about the mandatory service in the context of this story but what kept throwing me off about including it was that in all of the three seasons we've had Ziva on NCIS there has never been any mention of her military service or even college/university. She's only ever talked about her Mossad training. Part of me wonders, given who her father is and the evidence of his other machinations (i.e. Ari), if Ziva was groomed specifically for Mossad. And with her father's rank and/or ties, I doubt it would be difficult for him to have her mandatory service waived or have her time in Mossad count towards it. It's tough to call without more canon information. So in the story I went with the Mossad only-route. ~CJ
Title: Goodbyes Never Said
Author: CJ aka WritinginCT
Fandom: NCIS/Stargate SG-1
Pairing: Daniel Jackson/Ziva David
Disclaimer: I don't own the recognizable characters I'm just inspired by them. Hopefully they've had fun playing in my sandbox.
Note: This is set around late 2005 (which is NCIS season 3, and SG-1 season 9). I am basing Daniel's time line from the series time line, meaning that he didn't get pulled into the Stargate program until 1996.
Summary: A chance encounter in a Washington coffee shop takes Daniel and Ziva back to a time before she was Mossad and before he ever stepped through the Stargate, to the summer they shared and the goodbyes they never said.
Status: Complete 7/23/08 7000 words
"My first time was in a weapons carrier." - Ziva in "Trojan Horse"
Jack and Daniel were in a painfully slow line to get coffee and they were shooting the breeze about nothing in particular as they waited. Daniel was ostensibly in Washington to brief and answer questions from some of the new military brass involved with the Stargate program. In reality, Jack just wanted him to come out for a visit, feeling lonely and cut off from everyone since coming to Washington.
Jack was surprised when Daniel's head whipped around upon hearing the conversation the latest customers through the door were having, "Ziva, you should know better than to listen to Tony..." The customers in question were a silver haired man about Jack's age, and a beautiful exotic woman with dark hair and eyes. All Jack could do was sputter as Daniel simply walked out of line and headed for them, they had almost been up to the counter.
The woman was still laughing and teasing with the man she was with, and Daniel allowed himself to watch her for a moment before saying, "Ziva?"
It only took a second for her to recognize him and her eyes grew huge in surprise. She launched at him with a cry, "Daniel!"
Jack had seen Daniel accept hugs and embraces from people before, but he typically did not like public displays, so it surprised Jack when Daniel hugged the woman that had flung herself at him for all he was worth.
When they pulled back a little so they could see each other's face they started speaking in Hebrew, and from there proceeded to slip and slide through a dozen languages at a frightening pace.
Gibbs was watching with interest, he had never seen this side of Ziva, or seen her so completely comfortable with another person, it was as if all her self-imposed walls had come down. Whoever this Daniel was, she apparently trusted him, and from the radiant smile that had taken up residence on her face, she apparently also had strong feelings for him. He wondered who he was, and why was he with a two star Air Force general.
As Jack watched Daniel with Ziva he thought that Daniel suddenly looked years younger, a light in his eyes that hadn't been there in a very, very long time. And he wondered exactly how Daniel knew this woman. And he wondered who the man was that was with her. Deciding to remedy that, he turned towards Gibbs and extended a hand, "I think we've lost them. General Jack O'Neill."
"Special Agent Jethro Gibbs, NCIS."
"Any idea how they know each other?" Jack asked with a smirk.
"Not a clue."
They watched the pair for a minute, when all of a sudden, Daniel laughed out loud. That was a sound Jack rarely heard and he heard Daniel tease, "You are out of practice. No chocolate for you."
Ziva's own gentle peal of laughter joined Daniel's and Gibbs found himself staring at her like he had never seen her before. Gone was any sign of the Mossad officer, and in its place was a flirtatious, lighthearted woman that teased back, "It has been a long time since anyone has been able to bribe me with chocolate."
"That almost sounds like a dare, mademoiselle
She reached up and made a show of straightening the lapel of his wool sport coat and she when she looked back up at him, it was with sultry bedroom eyes, "As I recall, you used to enjoy my dares, mon professeur
That managed a blush from Daniel, and with a grin he shook his head, "You haven't changed a bit."
Jack cleared his throat to get their attention, and when Daniel turned to look at him, Jack waved at him, "Hey. Remember me? You know, the one that hasn't had coffee yet today?"
"Sorry, Jack. This is Ziva David. She and I met a long time ago in Haifa. Her father hired me to be her tutor one summer."
"Daniel, it's good money, and it gets you out of here for a while as things cool down."
Here being Giza. And the things cooling down being the fervor that he had created when he had first started sharing his ideas about the pyramids in the archeology circles. His funding was dwindling and he really could use the money. How bad would it be to spend the summer in Haifa tutoring some well-heeled Israeli's teenage daughter in world languages?
With a sigh, he agreed, "I'll do it. But he needs to throw in a plane ticket."
Ziva was irritated, having just been informed that she was having a tutor for the summer. Her father had been blunt, "If your language skills do not improve, you will be of no use to Mossad."
She had almost told him her secret just to get out of having a tutor, the secret that her language skills out shined any Mossad officer, she just played that she did not have a head for languages. She had found out at a young age that if people thought she did not speak their language, they would often say things in front her that they otherwise would not have. But in the end she did not tell her father her secret, and resigned herself to having a tutor for the summer, envisioning some stuffy old man with bad breath and leering eyes.
The car that Mr. David sent to pick him up at the airport dropped Daniel off at the gate to the house, actually, compound was probably a better description. He took a deep breath and gave his name to the man watching the gate. A few minutes later he was escorted into the main house. He spoke with Mr. David for a few minutes, and was warned that Ziva was stubborn but very smart. Mr. David also promised a substantial bonus to Daniel if he managed to get Ziva's skills where they needed to be by the end of summer, but he didn't say why it was so important, and Daniel filed that away in his mind under questions needing answers.
They were discussing some of interesting points about Haifa, this being Daniel's first time in the city, when Ziva entered the room quietly. Daniel's back was to the door and when Mr. David said in Hebrew, "Ah, Ziva, come in and meet your tutor, Doctor Jackson," he turned around, expecting to see a young teenager. Daniel was not prepared for the beautiful young woman standing there, and he just stood there blinking like an idiot.
Daniel also took Ziva by surprise, he was certainly not a stuffy old man, even if he dressed like one. And she thought perhaps the summer was not lost after all. She had just turned eighteen, and this would be her last carefree summer before she took her oath as a Mossad officer, and after that, her life would no longer be her own. She had lamented that she was going to have to suffer her tutor but now she thought almost impishly, it appeared that her tutor might just have to suffer her instead.
He was given a small guest cottage in the compound to stay in for the duration, and Ziva gave him a tour of the compound. He noted many men with guns not so concealed patrolling the compound and he wondered exactly what it was that Mr. David did for a living.
Daniel forgot himself for a moment and asked in English, "Why are there so many guards?"
She hid her understanding from him, practicing her best undercover skills, and gave him a questioning look.
He grinned and pushed up his glasses, then tried again, this time in Hebrew. And Ziva replied, "You were not told who my father was before accepting the position?"
Daniel just shook his head, and she continued, "He is Mossad. As I will be."
He had no response to that. He knew Israelis felt very strongly about their duty and honor. He just couldn't picture such a beautiful young woman being turned into a some sort of a spy or an assassin.
The next day Daniel was sitting at a little outdoor table waiting for Ziva so they could begin her lessons. Apparently her days were actually very full, with martial arts and physical training in the cooler mornings, and her language studies with Daniel in the afternoons.
His nose was buried in the thick book he was reading while he waited, and he had a chocolate bar in one hand. He didn't hear her approach from behind him and it wasn't until he felt a little tug at his candy bar that he realized she was there. With a chuckle she plunked down in the chair opposite him, and relished the stolen half of his chocolate with a grin.
"Little sneak," he teased in French. And he thought for just a moment that he saw the understanding in her eyes, but then it was gone.
It was the beginning of a playful relationship between them. He would bribe her with chocolate to keep her attention on her lessons, and she would act the part of trying to muddle her way through them. He finally figured out what the real draw of the candy was after he watched her routine one morning. Her martial arts instructor set a grueling pace, practicing the movements over and over, ever faster, until they became simply ingrained in her muscles. She was burning off absolutely everything she ate, and by mid afternoon the candy was a welcome energy boost.
He found her to have a quick wit, and she was very intelligent, her issues with language aside. They talked about many things in their conversations and her world view was very grounded, yet she was open to new ideas. And he often forgot how young she was, her manner often making her seem much older than her eighteen years.
The first few weeks went quickly. But as June turned into July things began to change.
Daniel had tried to put Ziva into the context of a student in his own mind, and had been trying to ignore that niggling sense of physical attraction to her. But it wasn't working. And the more time they spent together, the stronger both the intellectual and physical pull towards her grew.
He was in the little guest cottage one evening and movement out by the swimming pool caught his attention through the blinds. He lifted a slat and looked out, and almost instantly wished he hadn't, for there, in a two-piece swimsuit that left nothing to the imagination, was Ziva. He quickly dropped the slat and closing his eyes, softly banged his forehead against window sill.
Daniel knew he was ten years older than her, and knew that she was his student, and those things combined should have reasonably killed any desire. But his healthy twenty-eight year old libido, well twenty-nine year old libido in just a few days, had shoved the reasonable part of his brain aside as the image of her in that bikini replayed in Technicolor behind his eyelids.
A few days later Daniel was gathering their lesson materials when there was a light knock on the door. He opened it to see Ziva standing there in a gauzy white sun dress holding out a brightly wrapped gift.
"Happy Birthday, mon professeur
Ziva noticed that his hands shook a little as he took the gift, but she had no way of knowing exactly how long it had been since anyone had remembered his birthday, let alone given him a gift.
"Thank you. You shouldn't have."
Ziva gave him a 'you are speaking like a crazy man' look and said with smirk, "There is no working on your birthday. You are going to change into this," she tapped the gift, "And then we are going to go explore the city."
Before he could say a word she turned and left, leaving him standing there with the realization dawning on him that she said all of that in flawless French.
A short while later Daniel emerged from the guest house dressed in the light tan linen pants and a soft pale blue shirt that he had found beneath the gift wrap. He looked like he belonged at a country club. He found Ziva sitting by the pool and she stood with a smile as he approached. Her smile playful and impish, and made him want to respond in kind, so he spun around slowly and asked in French, "Do I pass inspection, mademoiselle
She reached down on the nearby chair and a moment later, plopped a straw fedora on his head and replied also in French, "Now you do, mon professeur
He quirked an eyebrow up and said, "Your French has magically improved."
Without the smile dropping from her face, she hissed from between clenched teeth, "Not here."
He shot her a questioning look but didn't press, and asked lightly in Hebrew, "So what sights are we going to explore?"
Ziva had been studying Daniel instead of the unnecessary language lessons. He was a man full of passion and conviction, and a dry sense of humor that made her laugh often. He was a gentle person, so unlike most of the men she had met before, but that was not to be confused with being weak, because he was far from that. He had an amazing drive to learn and explore, just for the joy of doing both. And the longer they spent together, the easier it would have been to fall in love with him. But she knew at the end of the summer he would return to his academic world, and she would be entering Mossad, and never would those two worlds meet. She decided that if all the time that she might be able to spend with him were the two months remaining, that she needed to tell him the truth, so they didn't waste any more time on the unneeded lessons.
Ziva had slipped into her father's study and read Daniel's dossier the night they were introduced. She discovered his birthday was approaching, and as she had gotten to know him through their conversations, a plan hatched in her mind to surprise him.
They started in a bustling open air market, a riot of colors and sounds. Daniel noticed two men from the compound following discretely behind them, bodyguards. Ziva had her arm looped through his, a floppy straw hat of her own obscuring her face as they walked. She surprised him by whispering in German as they strolled around the market, "I have a secret to share with you."
And share she did. And Daniel found himself just shaking his head in disbelief. He quizzed her in all of the tongues she claimed to know and was amazed at her linguistic prowess. She begged him not to be angry at her deception, and her explanation coupled with the genuine fear in her eyes that he would be angry erased any thought of being angry he might have entertained. And when she smiled at him once he had assured her that he wasn't angry, all he could think was that they better all watch out once she became Mossad, because there wouldn't be a state secret safe anywhere if she used that smile.
They meandered the market and had lunch at a outdoor cafe. Ziva kept looking at her watch and finally announced that they had to go or else they would be late. She pulled the car up to a modest home and the door was answered by an ancient portly man with a gray beard that preceded him by at least a foot. Ziva was practically vibrating with excitement as they followed the man into his library. As Daniel looked around at the shelves of scrolls and tomes with artifacts of all shapes and sizes tucked amidst them, he heard the man ask Ziva in Arabic, "So my little sparrow, have you told your young man why he is here?"
Daniel replied for her, also in Arabic, "No, she hasn't."
The man chuckled, and it seemed to almost animate his beard, "Doctor Jackson, let me just say that you are the third Doctor Jackson I have had the pleasure of meeting."
It only took Daniel a moment to comprehend what he meant, and he asked hesitantly, "You knew my parents?"
The man clapped Daniel on the shoulder, and said, "Very well actually. I am Doctor Joseph Eisen."
Daniel's eyes dropped to the floor as he tried to place the name in relation to his parents, then it clicked and he looked up with a smile, "It was on your dig that they met, when they were in college."
"Exactly. Your young lady here tracked me down a few days ago and mentioned it was your birthday. So today we shall celebrate, and I will share some stories about your parents."
The rest of the afternoon passed entirely too quickly, Joseph was a wonderful story teller. As it grew later, there was a knock on the door and with a wink, Ziva answered it. It was her father's cook delivering the enormous dinner she had requested. The stories continued through dinner's many courses, with Daniel sharing some of his own. As the evening wound down, Ziva went to put the remaining food away, there being enough to feed Joseph for several days remaining. When Ziva left the room, Joseph sobered a bit and said in English, "I have heard some things about you recently."
Daniel frowned slightly, "That doesn't surprise me."
"I want you to listen very carefully to an old man that has seen many things, and known many so called experts in our field of archeology. The only way we learn is by questioning all that has come before, even if the questions make us unpopular. Your parents would be very proud of you for not being a sheep simply following the herd."
Daniel didn't know how to answer and simply nodded. Joseph patted Daniel on the knee and got up with a little grunt, "I have something for you." He went to the shelf and pulled down a fat photo album and handed it to Daniel, "This is the album from that summer. I want you to have it."
Daniel was honored just being able to look at the album, and he saw many pictures of his parents, so young and enthusiastic, but to be told that it was being given to him was too much, "Joseph, I can't take this. It belongs with your life's work."
"My life's work is documented well enough, and photographs should be passed down to those that will appreciate them. Perhaps someday you will father the next Doctor Jackson, and pass this on yet again."
Daniel's brow furrowed with emotion at the unexpected gift, and his eyes met Joseph's and all he could think to say was, "Thank you."
Joseph chuckled, "It is your young lady that you should be thanking. She must care for you very much for her to track me down and arrange all of this."
As if on cue, Ziva appeared in the doorway, saving Daniel from having to answer, but as he looked at Ziva he smiled, and a little pang of regret twinged in his chest, wishing that he had met her in another place and time.
After saying goodnight to Joseph and a quiet drive back to the compound, Daniel was walking Ziva to the door of the main house. She stopped before they got there, in a spot in the yard deep in shadow. He turned to face her and started to say, "Ziva..." when she placed a finger on his lips, silencing him. And she said, "Happy Birthday, mon professeur
," and stood on tip toe to kiss him gently.
As he stood there trying to figure out how to respond, she turned and headed for the door on her own.
Later, after flipping through the photo album one more time, Daniel drifted off to sleep, and his dreaming mind's eye created a slide show of the photos of his parents. At some point in the dream though, his parents morphed into he and Ziva. And in his sleep, Daniel smiled.
From that point on they spent their days outside of the compound under the pretense that it would be better for Ziva's skills to be around conversation and items of interest. In reality, it just gave them the opportunity to drop the charade. They took in all sorts of interesting sights and entertainments, playing tourist. And though it took Daniel a while to notice, being rather oblivious to things of that sort, he finally realized that the often hostile looks he was receiving from other men were not so much hostile as they were out and out right jealous. What Daniel also did not notice were the appreciative looks women were giving him, although Ziva did, and it generally only took a narrowing of her eyes to send them packing.
Somehow Ziva managed to get him to do things he would never have thought he would have done in a million years. Things that were light and carefree that she would dare him to try, from dancing with her in the middle of the sidewalk to the lively music of street performer to sneaking onto the roof of the tallest building in the city to take in the view.
Through it all, they honed Ziva's linguistic skills. He taught her some of the subtle nuances that could help her determine where exactly a person was from just by their word choices. English seemed to be her only stumbling block, she had a good grasp of the grammar and basic vocabulary but the idioms and metaphors threw her completely, and often with very humorous results.
Ziva had noticed early on with Daniel that he was uncomfortable with being touched, well not so much uncomfortable as he just didn't know how to accept it. And she made it a point to touch him often, her arm looped through his, his hand held hostage in hers, ruffling his hair when he teased her, coming up behind him and massaging his shoulders if she caught him reading. And the longer her little campaign went on, the more hopeless Daniel's battle against his libido became.
As July turned into August Daniel was on edge. And Ziva knew it. Things came to a head one night as Daniel sat by the pool, enjoying the cooler night air as he read. He sensed her behind him a heartbeat before her hands were on his shoulders and she leaned in to ask near his ear, "What are you reading?"
Daniel tensed, and mumbled the title. Thankful that her hands left him as she went and sat the in chair opposite him with a magazine in hand, he shook his head lightly and went back to his book. He was absorbed in his reading until the distinct sensation of someone's toes sneaking under the edge of his pant leg made his head whip up in surprise. He looked over at Ziva who was trying not to laugh and asked, "Must you?"
Ziva plastered a fake innocent expression and teased back, "I am sorry. Did I distract you?"
He shook his head again and tried to find his place again in the book, and it was only a few minutes later that her toes were back. "Ziva..."
She just chuckled and read her magazine.
The third time she did it earned her a warning, "If you do that again I'm going to throw you in the pool."
She leveled a glare at him over her magazine and replied, "You would not dare."
And sure enough, the forth time her toes stroked his calf she found herself hoisted in the air and inelegantly tossed in the pool. As she came up sputtering, Daniel was standing by the edge with his hands on his hips, and with a cocky little grin he teased, "I dared."
She grumbled and swam to the edge of the pool and extended her arm for him to help her out. He should have known better but he didn't think and reached down to help her, and immediately found himself flipped into the water.
It was his turn to sputter and mutter as he made his way to hang onto the edge. When he got there Ziva deftly took his glasses off and placed them carefully on the edge before wrapping her arms around the back of his neck and kissing him deeply. No matter how loudly the reasonable part of his brain tried to shout that he shouldn't, he kissed her back. He had one arm holding onto the pool edge, and he used the other to find the small of her back, holding her to him. He allowed himself to just get lost in the moment. But then he was brought back to reality as the grinding sound of the compound gate opening echoed all around, her father was home. And as much as his body wasn't caring, the reasonable part of his brain took back over and he pulled back from her and whispered sadly, "We can't do this, Ziva."
And with that said he quickly got himself out of the pool and grabbing his glasses, headed for the guest cottage.
Things were a little strained between them in the following week, most of the teasing and humor gone from their interactions. And then news of a bombing in Jerusalem reached the compound.
When Ziva didn't show up for their "lesson", Daniel went looking for her, and found her in the far corner of the compound, a private, secluded area. She had several throwing knives, and over and over she threw them into a thin plank hung on the wall for that purpose. He could see the tears streaming down her face and the angry set to her jaw. Somehow he knew that something had happened, something horrible.
She turned away from him and tried to scrub her face with her hand not holding a knife, to hide the evidence of her tears. He stepped behind her and gently put his hands on her shoulders, "Ziva, what's wrong?"
Her voice was small and broken as she replied, "There was a bombing. My cousin was killed. She was only twelve."
The knife in her hand fell to the ground and she turned and buried her face against Daniel's chest. He held her tightly, stroking her hair and not saying anything. They both knew there were no words that could ease the pain caused by such senseless violence.
She asked hesitantly looking up at him with sad eyes, "I need to get away from here for a while, will you come with me?"
He tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear and replied, "You know I will."
What he didn't realize when he agreed was that they would be jumping on a motor scooter and ditching the bodyguards that generally accompanied them.
Ziva expertly zipped the scooter in and out of traffic, losing anyone that was potentially following them. When she was satisfied that no one was following them, she headed for a warehouse on the outskirts of the city.
She went around the back of the building and jerked open a rusty electrical box that was simply a decoy covering a modern electronic keypad. She entered a long code and they heard the lock to the back door click open.
Ziva drove the scooter inside and closed the door behind them, the lock automatically catching as it did. The building wasn't very large, and all of the windows had been obscured with old newspaper, making it dark inside. As Daniel's eyes adjusted to the dark he took in his surroundings. Along one wall was a set of simple metal shelves, holding cases of bottled water and what appeared to be military rations. One shelf held a variety of medical supplies. And then on the bottom there were ammo lockers, containing ammunition he assumed. Along the other wall were maps of the world and of the middle east, below them on the floor were wooden crates that he would be willing to bet contained weapons of some sort. In the dead center of the room a weapons carrier was parked. The warehouse was apparently a bunker of some sort.
Ziva ran a hand over the fender of the carrier and said, "My father set this up a long time ago. Just in case."
"Are we supposed to be here, Ziva?"
"There are only a few of us that know about it, do not worry. When my sister Tali died I spent a week here by myself."
She had told him about Tali a few weeks ago when he had asked what prompted her to join Mossad. And he knew that with this latest bombing that she was probably experiencing a fresh wave of grief for her lost sister on top of the grief for her cousin.
They had wandered to the back of the carrier where the back doors were open, and they sat on the edge. Daniel squinted in the dim light and noted that there were what appeared to be tents and sleeping bags stowed toward the front of the carrier. Ziva followed his gaze and explained, "Everything you need to survive in the desert."
She seemed a little lost, and he reached over and took her hand and asked, "Are you okay?"
Ziva met his eyes and replied, "I will be. Things like this just remind me that life can be so very short and things can change in an instant."
Daniel's mind flashed to his parent's death, the instant that link broke and dropped the cover stone his whole life had changed. "I know."
They sat quietly for a while, the sun dipping low into the afternoon sky making the warehouse even dimmer as Ziva asked quietly, "May I ask you something?"
"If we had met differently, am I someone you could have loved?"
His hand cupped her cheek he said honestly, "I think you already are," and the reasonable part of his brain decided that if this were all they could ever have, that he wanted it, and trying to block thoughts of bombs taking her away he leaned in and kissed her.
His were the last words spoken for a very long time. Instead their mouths and their hands carried on a different type of conversation. The air in the building, and especially in the carrier was stagnant and heavy, and tinged with the scent of diesel fuel, and as they wordlessly unrolled a couple of sleeping bags and stripped off the clothing that was already sticking to them in the heat, the scent of diesel was soon forgotten as the combined scent of their own bodies filled the carrier.
It wasn't until the moment that he was first inside her with her legs wrapped around him that he knew. And as he balanced on his elbows, not moving as he tried to let her body accommodate him, he chided with a softness in his eyes, "You should have told me. Did I hurt you?"
She kissed him lightly, "You would not have gone through with it if I had. And, no, you did not hurt me."
He rolled his eyes and teased, "We are in a weapon's carrier
, Ziva. You shouldn't have had your first time in a weapon's carrier."
Ziva smirked, "It is perfect. Because I am with you."
He kissed away the smirk, and proceeded to move gently, slowly letting out all the passion he had been holding back all summer.
Daniel woke with a start in the dark, and it took a moment to orient himself. Ziva was cuddled under his arm, her head on his chest. When she felt him stir she gave him a little squeeze and squirmed around so she could kiss him. Kissing that led to another round of making love, and when they were settling back in to sleep, Ziva teased as she swirled a finger lazily on his chest, "You know, we have plenty of food and water, we could stay here for weeks, just like this." And Daniel would always wonder if she had been kidding or serious.
As the first fingers of the light of dawn started illuminating the warehouse, their bodies found each other once more. The pace was more urgent, less gentle, the frustration of knowing they could never do this again coming out. And when they were through, Daniel held her as she cried, his own jaw clenched solidly as he swallowed back his own emotions.
They arrived back at the compound with no fanfare. Ziva's father had known full well where they were.
The next few days were quiet for them, they spent as much time as they could together, knowing it was all coming to an end. But it seemed that they couldn't steal any time alone, and Daniel suspected that was her father's doing.
The night before Daniel was supposed to leave, Mr. David invited him to have dinner with he and Ziva. In reality Mr. David used the dinner conversation to test Ziva's language skills. And he was impressed. As they finished their coffee and dessert Mr. David asked to see Daniel in his study.
Once there Mr. David sat in his leather chair behind the desk and opened a drawer, withdrawing an envelope. He dropped it on the desk in front of Daniel, "That is the salary we agreed upon."
There was an edge to Mr. David's tone that was nothing like the initial welcome he had given Daniel at the beginning of the summer. But he replied politely, "Thank you, sir."
He pulled another envelope out of the drawer and dropped it next to the first one, "And the bonus I promised. Her skills do exceed expectation."
"And again, thank you, sir. She really is a good student."
Mr. David raised an eyebrow at that and reached into the drawer for yet a third envelope and dropped it next to the other two, "This is twice what the other two hold."
Daniel was confused, "I'm sorry, sir, what exactly is that for?"
"For you to agree to never see my daughter again."
The bottom fell out of Daniel's stomach, then an image of Ziva's smile gave him a little courage. He pushed his glasses up nervously and said matter-of-factly, "I can't, actually, I won't promise you that, sir. I'm sorry."
Mr. David regarded him for a long moment, his expression guarded, and finally he just nodded once. It was an acknowledgment and a dismissal all in one. Daniel recognized that and scooped up the first two envelopes from the desk and without a word, turned and left.
Daniel walked around the shadowy grounds, hoping Ziva would see him and join him, but she didn't. He headed into the guest cottage and packed his bags in preparation for leaving the next morning. He finally crawled into bed and forced himself to go to sleep. Somehow he wasn't completely surprised when he felt Ziva slip into bed next to him a couple of hours before dawn. Her fingers on his lips let him know that she didn't want to talk, and she just tucked herself in front of him and let his arms pull her in close.
No one would ever know, especially Daniel, how close Ziva had been to walking away from it all. Turning her back on the bloodshed and violence and simply packing a suitcase and flying out with him back to Egypt where they could lose themselves in the past, in history and tradition. But as she had thought about her cousin and her sister she realized that she had a duty, and if she could prevent even one terrorist bomb from claiming innocent lives then all of her personal sacrifices would be well worth the cost.
As the sun started coming up, Ziva was studying Daniel's face, trying to memorize every detail, when he felt her watching him he opened his eyes and heard her say softly in French, "I am not going to say goodbye, mon professeur
, because we will see each other again some day."
"Yes, we will."
She kissed him tenderly and whispered, "Take care of yourself, Daniel."
She started to slip out of bed but he caught her hand, and whispered in return, "Be safe, Ziva," and squeezed her hand.
She did not see him off when the car came to bring him to the airport. And he hadn't seen her since. Until she walked in to a Washington, D.C. coffee shop eleven years later.
Jack and Gibbs exchanged a knowing look, neither of them buying that tutoring was what had transpired between the two of them, there was a chemistry between them that was almost tangible. And they knew they had lost them again when Ziva asked Daniel, "So how long are you in Washington?"
Gibbs said to Jack rolling his eyes, "I'm getting coffee."
Jack took one more good look at Daniel, still smiling at Ziva, and said, "I'm with you there."
While they waited in that slow moving line again, Daniel and Ziva migrated over to one of the tall tables and caught each other up on what they were each doing now, well as much as wasn't classified anyway. They talked about their friends, their teammates, and where they were living now. She could see that whatever he had been doing these past years weighed heavily on him, there was a wariness and tension in his eyes that hadn't been there before. Daniel could also tell that Ziva's eyes had more than a hint of a haunted look, whether from things she had simply seen or from things she had done, he didn't know, but whatever they were, they haunted her just the same.
As they tried to find topics that were not classified Ziva finally asked, "Did you ever marry?"
Even after all the years that had passed since Sha're's abduction and her later death, Daniel couldn't keep the flash of pain from crossing his face, and he answered quietly, "I did. She, ah, she died almost six years ago."
Ziva winced, "I am sorry."
It was his turn, "So what about you? Married? Kids? Any of that fun stuff?"
"No. The life of a Mossad officer is not exactly conducive to long term relationships." There was note of pain in her voice as she said it.
She met his eyes and asked sadly, "We have changed haven't we?"
He nodded, "I think it was inevitable."
They both grew quiet, neither wanting to think about things that might have been, not wanting to think about all of those they lost along the way, and not wanting to remember what they used to be like before they started carrying the burdens they choose to bear. They knew they weren't the same people who didn't say goodbye so many years ago, but there was no going back, their worlds so far removed from each other they would just never meet. Their conversation lapsed and thankfully Jack and Gibbs arrived with coffees in hand.
Jack looked at his watch and said, "I hate to break up this little reunion, but we've got a meeting."
Daniel nodded, "Yeah. Um, Ziva..." he pulled a pen and a piece of paper out of his pocket and scribbled frantically, "...this is how to find me. Maybe we go to dinner or something before I leave."
She smiled, albeit a little on the brittle side, "Perhaps."
Jack and Gibbs shook hands and said their goodbyes and Ziva's words echoed another time as she gave Daniel's hands a tight squeeze, "Take care of yourself, Daniel."
He squeezed hers back and replied, "Be safe, Ziva."
Jack and Daniel turned and walked out and Ziva and Gibbs watched them go. Before they reached the last window, Daniel turned and met Ziva's eyes one final time. Without hesitation she thrust her coffee at Gibbs and bolted outside. "Daniel."
Daniel had stopped walking when he saw her, through the window, run out of the shop. And he met her halfway now. "Ziva?"
She hugged him fiercely, and as she fought her emotions she whispered, "I never said goodbye. Not ever. I want you to know that."
He held her and stroked her hair and it was so reminiscent of a time long past he could almost smell the flowers in her father's compound. His own voice was low and full of longing for that simpler time as he said, "Neither did I. And we're not going to say it now."
They pulled back and she nodded, and in a move that had both Jack and Gibbs smirking, she pulled him in by his lapels and kissed him. It was long and slow and deep and left Daniel with a befuddled look on his face that took Jack back to Abydos when Sha're had done that very same thing.
With a final stroke of her hair and a smile, Daniel turned and walked away, without saying goodbye.
MTAC - NCIS Fic