A/N: OMG! 55 reviews in one day, for one chapter? WOW! I have NEVER had a reception like that! Thanks to all who took the time to review, it was AWESOME (I went to bed last night, got up this morning and though someone had spammed my email, I had 37 unread messages instead of none) I am so glad you all liked it, see what you think of this chapter. There are a few Jewish terms used; you'll notice i've indexed them with supertext numbers, explanations to be found at the bottom. Hope you like it, let me know what you think! Love xx Shezzi PS Yes, I know I skip around a bit with what I'm calling her; Elizabeth or Buffy, mostly it depends on whose viewpoint it is, or, if its her, how she's thinking of herself, ie who she's being.
Ziva and Tony took Elizabeth back to her mother’s house and put her to bed. Ziva had insisted on examining the wound to her newly discovered sister’s neck, a nasty bite that looked like it was inflicted by a very sharp set of human sized teeth.
She had also noticed a number of nasty bruises that had raised a question in her mind. She knew that Hank, Elizabeth’s body guard, handler, and hand to hand instructor would never have hit her in such a way as to cause bruising like that; she herself had had bruises like that in the past, but only after fights were people were trying to kill her. Besides, Hank was not even in Sunnydale at the moment; in order to maintain the fiction of ‘Buffy Summers’ he had been forced to live outside of the city and arrange their meetings very carefully. Ziva had contact him, only to discover that he was actually in Israel himself, the reason he wasn't handling the situation.
“So, what all were you two jabbering about back there?” asked Tony, curious, as he reclined on the floral couch in the beautifully decorated lounge room. Buffy had sent Mr. Giles home with reassurances that she would be fine, the English man leaving while clearly both confused and annoyed.
“That and this,” Ziva replied, flapping one hand in the air. “Mostly just confirmation that I am who I say I am.”
“This and that, Ziva,” Tony corrected gleefully. He leaned back in the chair and his expression became more thoughtful. “Did you see the expression on that teacher’s face when she spoke in Hebrew and Arabic? It was like she had somehow betrayed him by refusing to explain what was going on.”
Ziva nodded, she had noticed the same thing about the man, and it worried her. She made her way into the kitchen, Elizabeth having told her to make herself at home, and took a soda from the refrigerator. She returned to the living room and sat down with a sigh.
“All that I know of her life is what my father told me in that letter, Tony. Her life here I have no knowledge of; her friends, her likes and dislikes, what kind of a person her mother was, beyond being non-Jewish, any of it. I have met the man who works as her handler once; he’s a good man, an excellent agent. If nothing else, I know what her training has been like.” She shrugged, her expression almost completely blank, a sure indication of extreme perturbation on her part.
Tony watched his partner closely, trying to figure out which tack to take. Just then, there was a knock on the door. Tony pushed himself up out of the couch, gesturing for Ziva to stay where she was, and went to answer it. A pair of teenagers eyed him suspiciously from the welcome mat, a red headed girl and a brown haired boy, both looking to be about the same age as Elizabeth.
“Can I help you?” he said, looking between the two.
“Who are you? Where’s Buffy?” demanded the boy, his tone short.
“I’m Tony, I’m a friend of Buffy’s father,” Tony replied, using the story they had come up with on the trip over. “He’s not able to make it over at the moment, so he asked me and Ziva to come down.”
“Figures. Mr. Summers is a loser,” the boy grumbled. “So, where’s Buffy?”
“Sleeping,” replied Ziva from behind Tony. “We only got her back here about an hour and a half ago from the hospital, and she had not slept for at least 24 hours before that. I doubt she will wake for many hours.”
“Another friend of Mr. Summers?” asked the boy, looking her up and down appreciatively. Ziva nodded, frowning at the boy.
“And who are you?” asked Tony, taking over the conversation once more.
“I’m Xander, this is Willow, we’re her friends.” The boy eyed them suspiciously as though he thought they were trying to keep Buffy from seeing them.
“We will tell her that you stopped by,” Ziva told them, and Tony shut the door. He turned back to Ziva, raising a questioning eyebrow.
“Loser?” he asked, curious.
“His cover is as Buffy’s mud-bag absentee father,” she explained.
“Dirt bag, Ziva. Dirt bag.”
“That,” Ziva agreed. She sat for a moment, then stood up and started pacing the room. “I’m going to cook,” she declared, turning towards the kitchen.
Tony took a moment to realize what she was saying, then his eyes widened in horror. “Cook? You?” he asked, sounding slightly terrified.
“I can cook, Tony,” she replied, annoyed. “Whether or not you will wish to eat what I prepare is another question entirely. In many areas of America outside of the larger cities, the only way to get properly cooked Israeli food is to prepare it yourself. Sunnydale has a Jewish community though, so I should be able to get the ingredients easily enough.”
Buffy woke with a gasp, breathing hard as she tried to banish the images from her mind; the Master as he loomed over her, the feeling of his teeth sinking into her neck; dropping face first into the rancid water gathered in the center of the cavern. Somehow, mixed up in that, were flashes of her mother, covered in blood, various car accidents she had seen pictures and video of, and, at the last, a technicolour film of her mother’s car exploding in flame.
Catching a whiff of a familiar scent, she took a deeper breath, and identified it. With it came a wave of sorrow, for it proved the part that she was hoping was only a dream to be truth. Her mother never prepared Jewish food; she didn’t like it and it would have blown Elizabeth’s cover as Buffy, all American girl.
She bit her lip as tears pooled in her eyes. Her mother was dead. Soon, they would have to plan her funeral, go to a reading of her will and work out what was to be done now.
She forced back the tears and took a deeper breath of the wonderful scent that permeated the house. By the smell, Ziva had prepared gefilte fish, although where she had found the fish for the recipe was anyone’s guess, because Elizabeth knew there hadn’t been any in the house. She hadn’t tasted gefilte since she left Israel at the end of the summer holidays the year prior, and was surprised how much she had missed just the smell.
Slipping out of bed, she pulled on some sweats and ran a brush through her hair before heading starting towards the door. She stopped for a moment, thinking, then turned to her jewelery box and carefully opened the hidden compartment in its base.
Smiling softly, she brought out the Star of David her father had given her and ran it through her fingers before hanging it around her neck, something ‘Buffy’ could never do.
She knew she could easily slip it under her sweat shirt if her friends appeared. She could hide it, but after over a year of wearing a cross it was a relief to have the symbol of her own religion around her neck once more.
She knew wearing it was a bad idea, out of keeping with ‘Buffy’, but Elizabeth didn’t care. She wanted the comfort of the familiar talisman around her neck, and knew she could hide it before anyone who shouldn’t saw.
She came downstairs quietly, listening to figure out where Ziva and…Tony, that was it, were. She was still trying to decide how to act towards them; should she be Elizabeth or Buffy? She thought maybe she should be mostly Buffy so as not to get out of practice, but she didn’t want her sister to get the wrong impression of her.
Being underestimated by a vampire or any other opponent was one thing, but she didn’t want her sister to worry that she couldn’t handle herself, she certainly didn’t want her planting doubts in their father’s mind.
She heard the two of them in the lounge room, not talking. She rounded the corner to find Ziva sitting in one of the arm chairs, legs crossed in front of her while Tony napped on the couch.
Ziva looked up from her contemplation of her hands as she heard movement on the stairs. A moment later, Elizabeth came round the corner. She took a moment to just look at her sister. The girl was pale, with dark circles under her eyes and a large dressing stuck to one side of her neck, wearing loose-fitting sweats that didn’t truly hide her too thin frame. Her hair, much curlier now than it had been the night before was loose around her face, the dark roots where she needed to touch up her colour more visible. She had also left out her contacts, probably too distracted by current events to remember.
When Ziva saw the necklace hanging at her throat, she smiled slightly. It was the twin of her own, clearly a gift from their father, as was hers. She stood and, holding a finger to her lips, led Buffy into the kitchen. There was couscous, hummus, flat bread, gefilte and chicken soup with noodles all around.
“All ready to sit Shiva?” asked Elizabeth, glancing around, eyes watering slightly.
“Not really, we haven’t observed the aninut or the se'udat havra'ah, we don’t have seven days, we aren’t sitting on the floor, I took a shower this morning, and Joyce wasn’t Jewish,” replied Ziva. She paused for a moment, hearing what she had said, and quickly backpedaled. “I did not mean it like that. It was simply that I needed something to do, and cooking seemed as good as anything else. I sent Tony for the ingredients we didn’t have.”
"You aren't even related to her, you wouldn't be doing any of that anyway," Elizabeth retorted, but sighed as she admitted Ziva's point.
Ziva looked her sister up and down, then decided she needed to say something. “You forgot your contacts. You can hide the star, but I think that people might notice if your eyes go from green to a colour identical to mine, don’t you?”
“Damn,” Elizabeth swore softly. “Sorry, I’ll go put them in,” she said, turning, and ran back up the stairs. She was hurt by Ziva’s insinuation that her mother didn’t deserve the traditional mourning because she wasn’t Jewish, but she hid it because she knew that they would never have been able to observe it anyway.
She quickly put in the coloured lenses and returned to the kitchen, where she started serving herself some food. Ziva was already seated on one of the stools at the breakfast bar, a piece of flat bread and some hummus in front of her. She smiled gently at her sister, who nodded her thanks.
Elizabeth switched languages to ask her next question. “I need to know who I need to be now. Am I Elizabeth David or am I Buffy Summers?”
Ziva blinked at the direct question, and thought about it for a moment. “As long as we are in Sunnydale, I think you should be Buffy,” she said thoughtfully. “We will speak with Papa and work out how we will play it back in DC.”
Elizabeth nodded, wishing it was otherwise but knowing that she couldn’t refuse her father. If it was his wish that she go with her sister, she would do so.
“Well then, you ready to deal with a slightly babbling, annoying, completely ditzy American teenager until we get out of here, because that’s what you’re going to get,” Buffy told her, her ‘Valley Girl’ persona sliding fully to the fore. She slipped the Star of David under her sweatshirt and stretched. Her eyes landed on a picture on the mantle, and clouded with tears as she allowed her emotions to act, something she would have stifled while being Elizabeth.
She stepped forward and picked up the picture, tracing one finger over her mother’s smiling face. “Can we go and see her?” she asked Ziva, who nodded, one hand gripping Buffy’s arm supportively.
"We will go to the morgue later today to view the body," she told her gently, guiding her back to the counter and their food. "Then we must organise the funeral and work out what we are to do," she finished, her thoughts a mirror image of Elizabeth's from earlier.
Descriptions of Jewish mourning rituals as found on Google. I do not claim to be an expert on Jewish traditions; I certainly don't know my old testament well enough for that (Genesis and some of exodus, yes, Leviticus and Numbers not so much). Hope this helps explain what I used here.
1. The next period of mourning is known as shiva (seven, because it lasts seven days). Shiva is observed by parents, children, spouses and siblings of the deceased, preferably all together in the deceased's home. Shiva begins on the day of burial and continues until the morning of the seventh day after burial. Mourners sit on low stools or the floor instead of chairs, do not wear leather shoes, do not shave or cut their hair, do not wear cosmetics, do not work, and do not do things for comfort or pleasure, such as bathe, have sex, put on fresh clothing, or study Torah (except Torah related to mourning and grief). Mourners wear the clothes that they tore at the time of learning of the death or at the funeral. Mirrors in the house are covered. Prayer services are held where the shiva is held, with friends neighbors and relatives making up the minyan (10 people required for certain prayers).
2. Aninut: From the time of death to the burial, the mourner's sole responsibility is caring for the deceased and preparing for the burial. This period is known as aninut. During this time, the mourners are exempt from all positive commandments ("thou shalts"), because the preparations take first priority. This period usually lasts a day or two; Judaism requires prompt burial. During this aninut period, the family should be left alone and allowed the full expression of grief. Condolence calls or visits should not be made during this time.
3. Se’udat havra’ah: After the burial, a close relative, near neighbor or friend prepares the first meal for the mourners, the se'udat havra'ah (meal of condolence). This meal traditionally consists of eggs (a symbol of life) and bread. The meal is for the family only, not for visitors. After this time, condolence calls are permitted.