Not a part of the Connection series.!!!
Disclaimer: I don't own either NCIS or Buffy. They belong to their respective production companies and creators. I'm only playing in their sandboxes.
Prompt: 018 – Soul (will go into my tth100 table once the challenge is done)
Note: It's my first try writing Ziva, and I don't know if I captured her character.
Warning: This is a crossover with Buffy, though only Willow and Xander(briefly) make an appearance. All you really need to know is Willow + Big Magic = hundreds of slayers.
The carpet was luxurious, the sofa was plush and the view out the French doors was phenomenal. Ziva David had never been more terrified in her entire life.
She'd also never been called to an interrogation-slash-trial in the penthouse suite of a five-star hotel before, either.
The summons had arrived that morning at NCIS headquarters, hand-delivered by a young, dark haired man wearing an eyepatch, and accompanied by Director Sheppard. Not even the Director knew who he was or why he was delivering a letter to a Moussad agent liaising with NCIS, and any questions that were asked after his departure were ignored. If she didn't already know, then it wasn't Ziva's place to tell her.
Ziva remembered how the man had stood in front of her desk as she read the summons he'd given her, leaving with a nod when she confirmed her attendance. The rest of the morning had been spent on the phone with various people at the Israeli embassy and Moussad headquarters, while the rest of her team looked on in growing concern and suspicion.
The message from her government had come across loud and clear – if the Council wanted her head for some unspecified crime, then she was to be the sacrifice to stay in their good graces. And she understood that. She may not like it – hated it, in fact – but she understood it.
A noise from behind her drew her attention and Ziva turned to greet the newcomer. Since she'd arrived in the suite, the only person she'd met had been the same one-eyed man who'd delivered the summons that morning. He'd shown her to the sitting room and promptly disappeared. This red headed woman was the only other person she'd seen here, but Ziva didn't doubt for a second that they were the only two in the entire suite, or that each of them wasn't dangerous on their own.
“Sorry to keep you waiting, Officer David,” greeted the younger woman, sounding impossibly young. “My name's Willow.”
Ziva nodded jerkily in her direction, because she had a sneaking suspicion of who this woman was, and it didn't bode well for her continued survival. Rumours of a red headed witch were wide and varied, but the same thread permeated all of them – she was very strong and very dangerous.
“Let's get started, shall we?” Willow suggested, taking a seat in one of the overly-stuffed chairs and motioning for Ziva to do the same. “Do you know why you're here?”
“Not entirely,” Ziva answered. The only advice anyone had given her throughout all her phone calls, was to tell the truth. No matter what they asked or what she'd been trained to do, answer truthfully.
“Two and a half years ago, an undercover Moussad agent discovered that Hamas was training several young girls to become soldiers. They were stronger and faster than normal girls their age, and that had him understandably concerned. He reported back to his superiors, and someone up the chain recognized who – what – they were.”
“Slayers. Yes,” Ziva answered, knowing this already. She'd known that this entire 'interview' had to do with the Slayers, but didn't quite know how she fit in to the puzzle. Anything the Council wanted to know about her dealings with any of the slayers, was fully documented.
“Your Director called us, and after serious deliberation we decided that the only way to fight slayers was with more slayers. We loaned you three volunteers, to help you,” Willow explained, again not new information to Ziva.
“Yes,” she confirmed, letting her voice carry the question she was desperate to ask.
“In the last year, all three of the girls have been killed, including two visiting slayers and their Watchers,” Her voice had become icy as she talked, and Ziva honestly couldn't blame her. The Council had been very hesitant to answer their request for help, stating that they didn't get involved in political or religious fights. They had enough on their hands keeping a handle on the supernatural community. “Our investigation traces back to a Moussad agent, who gave Hamas the information they needed to know when, where and how to kill our people.”
“And you think it was me,” she surmised, surprised at how calm her own voice sounded. Inside, she felt an ice surround her heart with dread while her brain worked furiously to put the pieces together while she still had a case to argue.
“Was it?” Ziva thought furiously over what she remembered about her dealings with the girls, and couldn't think of anything out of the ordinary. But there must be something she was missing, because the Council would have started in Israel first, before trekking across the globe to interrogate her.
“No!” she denied, pausing for thought before clarifying, “not that I'm aware of.”
“So you might not have been aware of it?” Willow asked her, and Ziva finally understood how the suspects Gibbs interrogated felt when he turned that deadly gaze on them.
“I don't know. You tell me,” she snapped, hating herself for showing that much emotion. This was not the time or place to lose control.
“You knew an agent called Ari Haswari?” she asked, and Ziva felt her control slipping even more. She had an Ari-shaped wound in her heart and soul, which hadn't even begun to heal yet.
“I was his handler,” she replied, keeping her voice low and level. She promised herself that she would get through this, no matter what. She could have her breakdown later, in private, but right here and right now she needed to be calm and level headed.
“After Kandra died, we had evidence that Ari had been the one to pull the trigger, but no one at Moussad would let us question him or investigate further,” Willow explained to her. The part about the evidence was new information to Ziva, but she didn't doubt for a second that they still protected him. Even after everything she'd told them about what she'd heard Ari confess to in Gibbs' basement, there were still groups of people at Moussad who didn't believe her. Like Gibbs had said, they were convinced they had had the Holy Grail of moles, and wouldn't believe he'd crossed over.
“What did you do as his handler?” Willow asked her.
“If he needed information or contacts or forged documents while he was undercover, I was his contact. I relayed any information he had acquired to my superiors, and I compiled dossiers on anyone he may have come into contact with in the course of his missions, that may have been a danger to his cover,” she explained, knowing how damning that sounded.
“You gave him information on the slayers.”
“Only on Allayah Gallan,” Ziva insisted, “and that was only because they were working in the same area, and I didn't want him to do anything to her if he they crossed paths. I did the same for half a dozen other Moussad agents that were working in the same area.”
“You didn't tell him about the others?” demanded Willow, leaning forward slightly.
“No,” she said, “but I think I know how he found out.”
“Ari would often use my computer to stay in contact with family and friends. It was an easy way to avoid having Hamas or anyone else track his emails and phone calls,” Ziva explained hesitantly.
“He hacked your computer,” said Willow, realization dawning.
“I believe so, yes.”
“You believe that the rumours are true, don't you?” asked Willow. “You believe that Ari was playing Moussad, that he betrayed you.”
A jerky nod was all Ziva could manage, images of the last time she'd seen her brother flashing through her mind.
“But it's caused you a lot of problems.”
“Why do you think I'm at NCIS?” Ziva asked facetiously, avoiding the other woman's gaze. Silence reigned between them for a moment, for which Ziva was grateful. She needed the time to gather the tattered shreds of her control and box up the memories of Ari as she had last seen him – on the floor of Gibbs' basement, blood pooling on the concrete.
“Not that I don't believe you, Officer David,” Willow said, breaking the silence. “But I need to confirm all this. The others won't just take my word for it, especially with someone who's been trained to lie and obfuscate the truth.”
Ziva was about to ask 'how', but then met Willow's blazing white eyes and became lost. She could feel something pushing at her mind, but wasn't sure what was going on.”Let me in?”
a voice that sounded suspiciously like Willow's echoed inside her head, and Ziva barely had time to think a 'yes' before she wasn't alone in her mind. She felt someone rifling through her memories, moment by moment, action by action. It was the strangest thing she'd ever felt.”Think about Ari,”
she was told. It seemed to speed up the process quite a bit, and the images flew through her mind. The first time she'd ever met her brother, introduced by her father on a rare trip home from medical school in the UK. The surprise birthday they'd thrown for their youngest sister, that Ari had managed to make at the last minute. The first time they ever worked together. Every meeting since then, work-related for the most part. Even small moments that she hadn't been aware of until just then, like seeing a glimpse of Ari in a market in Tel Aviv, when he was suppose to be in Tripoli. Or the feeling of him watching her as she submitted her reports to her supervisor, when he was suppose to be showering. And finally, the last time she'd seen him alive, when Gibbs had set a trap for him which he'd walked right in to. Pulling the trigger herself, killing the one brother she'd cared for the most, yet apparently knew the least.
In return, she got impressions from Willow. Sadness at losing slayers. Frustration at Moussad and the Israeli government for protecting Ari even after his death. Anger at the world for forcing people to choose sides in wars they didn't want to fight. Above all that, there was horror at the thought of slayers fighting slayers. They were meant to protect the world against the darkness and evil of the supernatural world, not take sides in a religious, idealogical/political war.
It seemed to take hours, but when she was finally returned to reality, Ziva realised that only about fifteen minutes had passed. But it was fifteen minutes that had given her a healthy respect and fear of this woman. This woman who's legend did not do her justice in the least.
“He was your brother,” Willow said softly, breaking through Ziva's thoughts. She opened her mouth to reply, but instead only nodded before looking away. The memory had the power to destroy her if she let it, and she was determined that it didn't.
“You shot him,” Willow added, confusion colouring her voice. “I was told Agent Gibbs was the one who killed him?”
Ziva remained silent for a moment, considering what to say and how to answer.
“That's the story we told his government and mine.”
“I'm sorry you had to do that,” Willow finally said. Ziva looked into her now-green eyes, saw compassion and sympathy there, and had to look away.
“I'm sorry you lost some of your people.”
“We all are,” sighed Willow, and Ziva could hear the weight of the world in the words. “Slayers were born to fight the bad guys, but how do you tell a fifteen year old that this cultural hate that's been around for so long, isn't what she's meant to fight? That the demons and monsters are her calling – what she's been given these gifts to fight with – and not to use these same gifts to advance others agendas?”
“Slayers were born to protect humans, not kill them,” Willow added.
“Ziva,” Willow said after a moment, surprising her with the use of her given name. “I know you don't want to hear this, but we're in your debt. Ari killed ten of our people, and you took care of him before we could.”
Ziva tried to protest her words. She didn't want any sort of recognition for what she'd been forced to do – she had enough problems living with what she'd done, that she didn't need or want acknowledgement of it.
“You don't really have a say in the matter, Officer David,” she was told ruefully.
“Here. Take this,” Willow said, handing her a small business card that she'd produced out of somewhere. “If you ever need anything – money, a new identity, a safe place to hide, even a friend – give me a call. We owe you, and we always honour our debts.”
Ziva looked at the card briefly, seeing only a name and a number, and silently curse her photographic memory, because even if she destroyed the card, the information had been irrevocably burned into her brain.
“Are we done?” she asked, no longer caring if she offended the Council's representative. She just wanted to leave and go home, so she could put herself back together in time for work the next day, where she knew she'd spend a good deal of her time dodging questions and glances from the rest of her team.
With a nod and a quick farewell, Ziva made her escape.
It was time to go home and pack away all the memories, before they consumed her.