A/N: Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has taken the time to review! I haven't answered you all personally because there are so many, but I thank you all! Please let me know what you think of this next chapter! Love xx Shezzi
Ziva was sitting on a couch in a lawyer’s office, Elizabeth next to her, an occasional tear slipping down her cheek to be swiped away with a quick hand.
A sudden bout of coughing almost doubled her sister over, startling Ziva. It wasn’t the first time she had heard her sister coughing today, but it was the worst. As Elizabeth straightened, Ziva caught her eye. “Are you all right?” she asked carefully.
“Peachy with a side of keen,” Buffy replied, panting, ignoring the slight pain and tightness in her chest.
“What does that even mean?” asked Ziva, confused and wishing that she could allow Elizabeth to be Elizabeth and not Buffy.
“I’m fine, Ziva,” Buffy told her, rolling her eyes.
“Are you sure? That’s one nasty sounding cough, Buffy,” Tony said, concern obvious despite his tone mocking her name as he had been ever since they told him he had to use it instead of Elizabeth.
Ziva’s mobile suddenly rang, and she answered it quickly.
“Shalom, Ziva,” came the familiar, deep voice.
“Is Elisheva there?” he asked, almost sounding concerned.
“She’s right here, but we aren’t alone, Papa.”
“Let me speak to her, Ziva. Shalom.”
“Very well.” She handed the phone to Buffy, who raised it to her ear, hand shaking slightly.
“Mr. David,” she greeted him, as she had been trained to do as Buffy.
“Elisheva,” greeted her father gravely. “How are you feeling?”
“I’m all right,” she replied, just stopping short from saying ‘Papa’.
“You drowned?” he asked, and Buffy blinked.
“Yes, but how did you know that?” she replied, surprised.
“I have many sources. You need to be checked out by a doctor, Elisheva.”
“I’ll be fine, I heal fast,” she insisted.
“No, you do not,” replied her father. “Not anymore. You drowned; you aren’t what you were anymore, at least not completely, and the healing in particular goes almost completely back to normal human levels. You can tell your sister or I can,” he told her, seeming to hear her hesitation on the other end of the phone. When Buffy didn’t say anything straight away, still in shock from what he had just told her, he sighed. “Give the phone to your older sister,” he ordered, and she did so, still not speaking.
“Papa? What is wrong?” she asked, eyeing her sister who was sitting completely unresponsive.
“Your sister needs to see a doctor. She drowned last night; actually died for a moment and was brought back using CPR.” Ziva hissed in shock at that news, looking harder at Buffy and wondering what else she might be hiding. “It is not entirely her fault. Tell her I said to tell you EVERYTHING about her life in the last year and the real reason she burned down the school gym. She will explain.”
“Understood, Papa. Anything else?”
Buffy seemed to come to herself and gestured at Ziva, who raised a questioning eyebrow. “Ask him if he can get Sarah to send over my photo albums.”
Ziva relayed the request and was treated to the rare sound of her father’s laughter.
“Tell her I will have her send them to your apartment as soon as possible,” he told her. “Shalom, Ziva. Give my love to your sister.”
“Shalom, Papa.” She closed her phone and turned to look at Buffy, more critically than she had previously. The cough in particular had now taken on a much more serious tone. “You drowned?”
“Yeah,” Buffy replied.
“Just for a minute,” Buffy whined, seeing where this was going.
“We’re going to the hospital, and you are going to let a doctor check you in,” Ziva ordered.
“Out, Ziva. Check her out,” Tony corrected. “Wait, you drowned?”
“I hate hospitals,” groaned Buffy, running a hand through her hair.
“We’ll go as soon as we’re done here,” Ziva told Buffy, who nodded dismally.
“Miss Summers? Would you come this way please?” asked the secretary, standing up from behind her desk as she hung up her phone.
Ziva and Tony followed behind into the office of the solicitor handling Joyce’s estate.
“Miss Summers,” greeted the man, extending a hand to shake Buffy’s. “I’m sorry for your loss. And you are?” he asked, turning to Ziva and Tony.
“Ziva David, Tony DiNozzo. We work with Buffy’s father, we’re standing in for him,” replied Ziva, shaking the hand that was offered.
“Daniel Torrins,” the lawyer introduced himself. “Please have a seat. Can I get you anything?”
“Some water would be of the good,” requested Buffy, partially stifling another round of coughs.
“Wouldn’t say no to some coffee,” Tony said, and Ziva nodded her agreement.
“I’ll be right back, Mr. Torrins,” replied the secretary.
Mr. Torrins sat behind his desk and picked up several documents. “Your mother left everything to you, with instructions that, if she were to pass away before you reached your majority that the gallery and the house are to be sold along with everything therein that you do not want to keep or put in storage. The money is to be placed in a trust fund. She has assigned full custody to your father, who, I assume, will be arriving sometime soon?”
Danielle returned with two cups of coffee, cream, sugar and a sealed bottle of water. Tony and Ziva doctored their coffee while Buffy sipped her water, all nodding their thanks to the secretary.
“He is on a business trip in the Middle East. He will return as soon as he is able,” replied Ziva. “Did Mrs. Summers give any directions as to her funeral arrangements?”
“She requested to be cremated, with a very simple ceremony,” replied Mr. Torrins, flipping another page.
“Is there anything else we should be aware of?” asked Ziva.
“Mrs. Summers left a letter for Miss Summers in the event of her death,” he passed a thick, creamy envelope to Buffy, who nodded her thanks and tucked it into her purse to read later.
“This copy of the Will is for you to keep,” he extended it, and Tony took it from his hand, folding it carefully and sliding it into an inner pocket of his jacket.
“Is that all?” asked Ziva, wanting to get Elizabeth to a doctor as soon as possible.
“Yes, that’s all. Again, I am sorry for your loss,” he said, standing from behind his desk.
He shook hands with each of them and showed them out of the office, Buffy suffering another round of wracking coughs just outside.
“Come on,” Ziva said, wrapping an arm around her sister’s shoulders supportively and led her to the car. “Hospital, now.”
Giles paced in his living room, furiously angry but not knowing what to do about it. He couldn’t ask Willow to help, couldn’t give her a suggestion that her best friend wasn’t who she appeared to be.
He stopped suddenly, realizing who he could ask, who it was who could help him just as much as Willow. Grabbing his phone off the desk, he punched the numbers with a touch too much force, and stood, tapping one foot, waiting for her to pick up.
When she answered the phone, he began speaking quickly. “Jenny, I need you to do something for me. Can you meet me at the library?”
“Of course, Rupert. I’d be happy to help; half an hour?”
“That would be perfect.” He hung up without saying goodbye, surprising Jenny, who frowned and set her phone back in the cradle.
“You say you drowned?” asked the doctor, pulling out a stethoscope. Buffy bit her lip, and Ziva glared at her.
“If there is anything else that we need to know, now is the time to sell to us,” she told her.
“Tell us, Ziva,” corrected Tony.
“I saw the bruises already, Buffy,” Ziva told her. “Care to explain?”
Buffy launched into the cover story she had thought up rapidly on the way over. She was, fortunately, not worried about Ziva realizing she was lying because she was fairly sure that she was going to be telling her sister the full story later on. “I was attacked by a guy wearing these really weird prosthetic teeth on the way to the dance last night. He was really strong, I mean really strong, and he dragged me into this weird underground cavern with a pool of water in the middle. We fought, he overpowered me, bit me,” she winced and gestured to her neck, “And dropped me face first into the water. I was almost unconscious when he dropped me, and I couldn’t get out of the water. The next thing I know, I’m waking up with Xander leaning over me. That’s it.”
“That’s more than enough, I should think,” Ziva replied. She wasn’t entirely sure if Buffy was telling the truth, but her sister had had much of the same training as she had and it was therefore harder to pick if she was lying.
“We’ll need some x-rays. You might have aspiration pneumonia, or at least the start of it. I’m gonna need you to change into this gown so I can examine you properly,” the doctor told her, smiling gently. “We’ll leave you to get changed,” she handed Buffy a gown and ushered the other two out of the cubicle, closing the curtain behind them.
Buffy quickly slipped out of her clothes and pulled on the gown, being sure that it crossed over at the back. “I’m done,” she called, and Ziva and the doctor reentered, leaving Tony outside.
Ziva didn’t hide the wince when she saw the bruises on her sister’s arms, deep purple bruises that wrapped entirely around her biceps, each finger clearly defined.
“Where did he hit you?” asked the doctor, carefully examining the bruises.
“In the ribs, my abdomen and my head,” Buffy replied, wincing slightly as the doctor felt the large egg above her left ear. “Yeah, right there.”
After finishing a basic exam, the doctor sent Buffy for x-rays, leaving Ziva and Tony in the waiting room.
“I didn’t realize she was so badly hurt,” Ziva said, pacing. “I should have seen that she was so badly hurt.”
“She’ll be fine, Ziva. It’s not your fault, it’s not like you beat her,” Tony tried to console her.
“It is my fault. She’s my…” Ziva swallowed. “Responsibility. I’m meant to be taking care of her for her father, and I should have seen it.”
“She’s clearly skilled at hiding these things, Ziva. Almost as good as you are. The only reason we know now is because we got the information from an outside source, remember?”
“I know. I just wish she would trust me,” Ziva sighed, dropping down into a chair. “I know she has no reason to, but still…”
“I know. It’s hard,” Tony agreed.
“Miss David, Mr. DiNozzo?” They looked up to find a nurse standing in the entrance. “She’s back from x-ray, you can see her now,” she smiled slightly and led them back to where Buffy sat in a bed, a slightly disgusted look on her face as she looked down at the IV in her arm.
“What are you giving her?” asked Ziva, concerned.
“High dose antibiotics to stave off infection, saline for hydration and morphine for pain relief for the cracked ribs. No internal bleeding, which is more luck than anything else, as far as I can tell,” the nurse told her as she finished hanging the bag of medication. “She’ll be able to leave with pills once these have run through, the doctor just wants to be sure that she gets the higher dose to kick start her immune system.”
“Fair enough,” Tony replied, one hand grasping Ziva’s shoulder in support. “How long do you expect that to take?”
“An hour,” the nurse replied as she finished setting the flow rate. “The doctor will want to see you before you leave.”
“Of course,” Ziva replied, taking a seat next to Buffy’s head. As soon as the nurse was gone, she turned to her sister. “Why didn’t you tell me it was so bad?” she demanded, concern and anger warring for dominance in her expression.
“I didn’t think it was,” Buffy replied. “Like I said, peachy with a side of keen.”
“Liar,” Ziva whispered, expression slightly mischievous, and Buffy gave a startled chuckle, only to wince, one hand going to her ribs.
“Why is it that knowing how badly you’re hurt always makes it feel worse?” she asked rhetorically, and Tony and Ziva both shrugged. “So, what’s the what?” she asked, glancing between the two of them. “It means what’s going on,” she explained, seeing their confused expressions.
“We will talk when we get home,” Ziva told her, and Buffy nodded.
“Anyone for cards?” asked Tony, pulling a pack out of one of his jacket pockets.
Giles paced across the library as he listened to the quick clack of computer keys.
“I’m not finding anything, Rupert,” Jenny said slowly, even as her fingers still flew over the keyboard. “Everything backs up what we know of Buffy…except…now, that’s a little strange.”
Giles waited, and waited. “What, Jenny?” he demanded, unable to stand it.
“She has no history in the US before she turned eight, except for her birth and occasional visits. And, every summer since she was eight, her father takes her on three month long overseas business trips. But that’s not the really strange part. Up until a second ago, I saw a perfectly normal childhood, with birth records, vaccinations, pre-kinder, kinder and primary school. Whoever wrote her into the ‘net was skilled, in the ‘very’ sense of the word. I can’t tell you where she was while she was gone, it’s hidden under so many layers of encryption I’d never be able to break it, at least not without six months and probably more than one law enforcement agency breaking down my door.”
“So, all we have is more exact proof that she’s been lying to me,” Giles said, his hurt and anger clear. “But what is she hiding that has her speaking two languages other than English fluently?”
“There, I canno help you,” quoted Jenny with a thick Spanish accent.
“This is hardly a moment for levity, Jenny,” snapped Giles. “My Slayer has been keeping secrets, potentially dangerous secrets, and I don’t know why. Travers knows, but he refuses to share this information. I love her, Jenny, like she was my own daughter. I was prepared to die for her last night, and now I find out she’s been lying to me since day one. How do I deal with that?”
“I…I don’t know, Rupert. But if I were you, I would do my best to be understanding and give her the benefit of the doubt. I’m sure she had a good reason for what she did.” Watching Giles’ reaction, Jenny hoped fervently that he never discovered her secret; if he took it anything like he was taking this he would never speak to her again.
“These are your prescriptions. Get them filled as soon as possible; one antibiotic and two codeine pills with every meal until the scripts run out. And, you need to eat more,” the doctor told her, running her eyes down the girl’s body. “You’re too skinny.”
“I will make sure of it,” Ziva told the doctor, who nodded her thanks.
“Let me change,” Buffy said, rubbing a hand over the dressing covering her IV site.
“We’ll fill this and grab some take out on the way home,” Ziva told her as she and Tony stepped out of the cubicle to allow her to change.