The next morning Elizabeth answered the door, grinning when she found Hank on the other side.
“Wow, kid, that’s a look I haven’t seen in a while,” her bodyguard commented. “Looks good on you.” He reached out and tried to ruffle her hair, like he always did, and like always, she ducked under his hand and gave him a hug instead. “How are you doing?” he asked softly as he gave her a gentle squeeze.
“Getting by, Hank,” she replied, shrugging one shoulder. “Did you bring the furniture?”
“I surely did, ma’am,” he drawled in a fake Southern accent, and she giggled. He grinned at his success as she pulled him into the apartment and shut the door behind them. The shower shut off, and Elizabeth called down the hall, “Hank’s here, Ziva!”
“Okay,” replied her sister from the bathroom, one wet hand waving around the doorframe to indicate she got the message.
When Elizabeth turned back, Hank was holding the still open photo album in his hands. “I remember the day I took this photo,” he said, smiling gently.
“Why didn’t you tell me who Tali was?” Elizabeth asked, something she had been wondering for a while.
“Orders,” the man answered, shrugging his shoulder slightly. “I’m sorry, Buffy.”
“It’s alright. I loved her like she was my sister anyway, so it’s not like it made a difference,” Elizabeth said, although she wasn’t convinced that that was really true. “Coffee?”
“Sure,” replied Hank, following her into the kitchen, where she grabbed the pot from the machine and quickly poured three cups, just as Ziva entered the room.
“Agent Summers,” she greeted the man who had lived as her sister’s father for years, an American Israeli on his mother’s side who had been recruited to Mossad during college. He had given her some insight to Buffy, as he still called her, when he arrived in Sunnydale, but they hadn’t had much time to get to know each other.
“Agent David,” he replied cordially, pushing a cup of coffee over to her.
“Furniture’s here?” she asked, and he nodded. “We can move it in today; the house is empty, we just need the furniture before we move out of the apartment.”
“Who’s going to help us get it out of the truck?” asked Hank, taking a gulp of the coffee.
“Elizabeth is NOT helping,” Ziva said firmly, seeing the expression on her sister’s face.
“Fine,” Elizabeth muttered, rolling her eyes at Ziva, who swatted her lightly on the arm.
“Why not?” asked Hank, confused.
“Just cause I’ve got cracked ribs and bruises, she’s being all mother hen,” Elizabeth groused, and he grinned.
“Good. You sometimes need one, Buffy, and don’t let her tell you she doesn’t,” he told Ziva. “She’s always saying she’s not hurt as badly as she is, pushing herself too far too fast,” he said, sticking his tongue out at Elizabeth when she growled at him.
“That was just one time,” she whined, brown eyes huge.
“The time you broke your wrist and didn’t tell me for two days?”
“Okay, two times, but I thought it was just a sprain.”
“Three,” Elizabeth rolled her eyes.
“The list goes on,” Hank said, and Elizabeth glared at him.
“I knew there was a reason I didn’t want you here,” she teased, and Hank laughed at her.
“We can ask Tony and McGee to help us move the furniture,” Ziva said, and Elizabeth nodded.
“Ziva,” Elizabeth said, eyes lighting up gleefully. “Let’s totally freak them out.”
“What do you mean?” asked Ziva, confused.
“Like so,” said Elizabeth, grabbing her thick hair and pulling it back in a tight braid. She tied it off, then grabbed her duffle bag and ducked into the bathroom. She emerged in a black t-shirt and khakis, threading a pair of thin gold hoops through her ears, her Star lying in the shallow v-neck of the t-shirt. Ziva stared at her for a second, then she and Hank both burst out laughing.
Tony and McGee climbed out of the car, legs shaking slightly as Gibbs climbed out of the driver’s seat. “Nice place,” he commented, nodding his approval of the house. The truck was already in the driveway, but there was no one around.
They went up to the door and knocked. A few seconds later a man none of them had met before answered the door. “Hi,” he said, eyeing each of them carefully. “I’m Officer Hank Summers,” he said. “We were only expecting two of you,” he added, confused.
“Special Agents Gibbs, DiNozzo and McGee,” Gibbs introduced them as they stepped into the house.
“We are in here, Gibbs,” called Ziva, and they made their way down the hall.
The three of them emerged into the living room to find Ziva seated on the floor with her back to them, a box open beside her as she took books out and stacked them onto shelves. Gibbs walked up behind her and slapped her on the back of the head.
“HEY!” she cried. She jumped to her feet, whirling to face him. “What was that for?”
“Your sister, for not asking me to come help. She should know better, I hear everything,” Gibbs replied matter-of-factly.
Tony and McGee were staring, wide-eyed, at the short brunette who was glaring at Gibbs. Suddenly, her expression broke and she cracked up laughing. Ziva stepped into the room, a grin spreading across her face. The two of them stood side by side, grinning at the three NCIS agents.
They looked from one to the other, eyes widening, then a laugh bubbled out of Tony’s chest. “It’s mini-Ziva!” he gasped, pointing between the two of them. McGee chuckled, and even Gibbs grinned.
“Shall we get a move on with this?” he asked, and Ziva nodded. “Oh, by the way, I think Elizabeth has something for you,” he added, nodding to the girl, who raised an eyebrow at him, then reached up and popped her sister on the back of the head.
They collapsed on the living room chairs, exhausted. “That’s everything,” Elizabeth groaned. Two extra trips to Ziva’s apartment had cleared it out, and Hank was now headed back to Sunnydale to oversee the sale of the house and gallery.
“That was a lot of stuff,” McGee commented, glancing around at the now quite well furnished house.
“Yes, you tend to accumulate a fair bit across the course of a life time,” Elizabeth replied, expression hardening imperceptibly.
“Sorry,” McGee said, realising his mistake.
“No, it’s alright, I’m sorry,” Elizabeth replied, face flushing with embarrassment. “I’m just a bit…edgy.”
“I have ordered dinner,” Ziva said, entering the room with five beers and a diet coke, handing them around. Elizabeth sipped, trying to get her emotions under control. She sat and listened to the team members banter back and forth, laughing occasionally.
The food arrived, and they ate, all of them starving.
“So, will we see the two of you at work tomorrow?” asked Gibbs as the three of them made their way out of the door.
“We will be there, Gibbs,” Ziva replied, waving her teammates out the door, Elizabeth standing slightly further back.