Ziva, Tony and Buffy sat around the table, three empty pizza boxes open in front of them.
“Papa said to tell you to tell me everything about the last year, including the real reason you burned down the school gym,” Ziva told her.
“I need to speak to him,” Buffy said, frowning slightly. “He said some things…I just need to speak to him. I’ll read you in on everything, I just need to clarify some things with him first,” she told her.
Ziva frowned, but pulled out her phone and dialed her father’s home line, which was unsecured and therefore wouldn’t be compromised by her mobile. She waited for it to start ringing, then handed it over. Buffy walked into the lounge room, waiting for her father to pick up.
“Shalom, Papa,” Buffy said when her father answered.
“Elisheva! Is everything alright?”
“I’m okay, Papa,” she replied in Hebrew. “I was hoping you could explain what you said earlier, so I have the full picture before I read Ziva in.”
“You were the Slayer. When you died, the Slayer essence went on to another girl. This is something Mossad has seen happen before, has even caused to happen a time or two when a trainee is called. The longer a girl is the Slayer, the more they keep, but there’s something about the healing in particular that makes it go first, fastest and most. The strength, flexibility and reflexes don’t decrease as much, but they still do, over time. The instincts go with the essence, you won’t be able to sense them and you won’t show up on their radar either. That’s about all I know, sweetheart.”
“Thank you, Papa,” she said, knowing that her father could have easily refused to give her any information.
“Read your sister in. I’ll talk to you soon. I’m so sorry, Elisheva, I am so, so sorry. Hank will be back day after tomorrow. I love you.”
“I love you too, Papa,” Buffy replied. “Shalom.” She hung up the phone and turned to look out the open window, only to find herself staring into two very wide, very familiar pairs of eyes.
‘Oh crap,’ she thought, eyes wide as she stared at her two best friends.
Willow and Xander stared at Buffy, trying to understand what was going on. They had come around to see how she was, and had seen her walk into the lounge room holding a phone to her ear. They had stepped up beside the window, not wanting to disturb her. In the still air, Buffy’s voice had carried clearly, and Willow had identified the language as Hebrew.
“Since when does Buffy speak Hebrew?” demanded Xander finally as she hung up, confused and upset. Just then, Buffy turned towards the window and saw the two of them. Her eyes widened almost comically as she stared, then her face was wreathed in a smile.
“Willow! Xander! Hi!” she ran to the door, almost pulling it off its hinges as she yanked it open.
“What’s going on here, Buffy?” demanded Xander, angry.
“What are you talking about?” she asked, best ‘dumb blonde’ expression firmly in place.
“We heard you on the phone, Buffy. You were speaking Hebrew,” Willow said, eyes tracking between her two best friends.
“No, I wasn’t,” replied Buffy. “You must have not heard properly, that’s all. I was just talking to my dad.”
“I know Hebrew when I hear it, Buffy. I’m Jewish, remember?” Willow asked, getting upset that her friend was lying to her.
“Well, I don’t know what to tell you, Willow, because I wasn’t speaking Hebrew. I don’t know any Hebrew,” Buffy insisted.
Xander was speechless. She was lying to them, her best friends. “I saved your life yesterday,” he yelled suddenly, unable to hold it in. “I saved your life, and here you stand, lying to our faces. How dare you? Who the hell do you think you are?” Buffy stared, eyes wide, as Xander’s words tore into her.
The front door burst open again, and Ziva and Tony appeared. “Get out of here,” Tony snarled, furious, as Ziva wrapped an arm around Buffy’s shaking shoulders.
“You can’t tell me what to do!” yelled Xander.
“I believe I just did. I told you to get out of here,” Tony said again, taking a step towards the teenager.
“Xander didn’t mean it,” Willow said, reaching a hand out towards Buffy, who was no longer paying any attention. Ziva led her back into the house and sat her down on the couch, rocking her as she sobbed, the pain of Xander’s accusations on top of everything else too much. She finally broke, truly letting her emotions loose and sobbed into her sister’s shoulder.
“We have to find out what’s going on!” Xander declared as Willow pulled him down the sidewalk. “There’s something really wrong with this situation. I say we go and talk to Giles.”
Willow glared at Xander for a moment, then nodded her agreement and they headed for Giles’ apartment.
They arrived at Giles’ place, Willow still not speaking to Xander, only to find he wasn’t there. “Library,” declared Xander, and they headed off again, once more grateful for the size of the town they lived in.
“They’ll never forgive me,” Elizabeth sobbed as she clung to Ziva as if she was the last solid thing on earth. “First real friends I’ve had since I came to America, first since Tali if truth be told, and they’re going to hate me because I can’t tell them the truth.”
Ziva held her sister tightly, stroking her back and rocking gently as she continued to cry quietly.
Tony stood in the doorway, watching them. The way Ziva was with her sister showed him a side of her he had never really seen before. His gut still churned with the fury he had felt when he heard the boy, Xander, yelling at Elizabeth. As if the poor girl didn’t have enough to worry about without furious accusations from a furious adolescent who couldn’t deal with a person having secrets.
Ziva held Elizabeth until she fell into an exhausted slumber, eyes swollen and red.
“Here,” Tony stepped forward and carefully lifted the girl, disentangling her from her older sister. “Get the doors for me?”
The two of them soon had Elizabeth tucked up in bed, Ziva smoothing her hair back from her forehead before they left the room.
“I could have decked that kid when I heard him yelling at her, and I don’t hit kids, ever,” Tony said, lip curling as he remembered the boy’s attack on the grieving girl curled up in bed.
“They must have heard her on the phone to the director,” Ziva said, frowning. “Just can’t catch a snap, can she?”
“Catch a break, Ziva,” Tony corrected her half heartedly. “What do you think they’re going to do?”
Ziva just shook her head and turned to go downstairs, Tony following close behind.
Xander and Willow sat at a table in the library opposite Giles and Jenny.
“You’re sure she was speaking Hebrew?” Giles asked them carefully, and Willow nodded.
“I know it when it’s spoken, Giles. I might not be able to understand it, but I can at least identify it. She claimed that she wasn’t speaking Hebrew, doesn’t speak Hebrew, and that she was just talking to her dad.”
“What does she take us for?” burst out Xander suddenly. “We trusted her completely, told her all of our secrets, and she can’t even bring herself to tell us the truth. Where does she get off?”
“She may have a good reason for not wanting to tell us,” Willow tried to defend her friend, but her voice was weak.
“Well, we got as far as we could hacking her records. Anything else would take you months, let alone what it would take me, and there are that many traps built in that you’d never get all the way through. Don’t know what else we can do,” Jenny said, biting her lip.
“I’ve got an idea,” Xander said, sitting up straighter. “Those two who are over there now, I didn’t like them from the start. Bet if we looked into their records we might find something.”
“What were their names?” asked Jenny, grabbing a pen.
“Tony…DiNozzo, I think, and Ziva David,” replied Willow, frowning slightly. “Are you sure that this is a good idea?” she asked cautiously, as Xander pulled her over to the computer.
“We have to find out what’s going on somehow, Willow,” he insisted.
“Alright,” Willow sighed, fingers starting to fly over the keyboard, frowning in concentration.
About five minutes later, she sat back from the keyboard, nodding. “Here’s something; Tony DiNozzo, Ziva David, and Hank Summers, all employees of this company that does a lot of trading in the Middle East. Something a bit strange about the code, though,” she struck another couple of keys and sat back with a frown. “Huh…” she muttered.
“What?” demanded Xander, sure that there was something really bad going on.
“It’s a shell company,” she said. “There’s no underlying information, see?”
Jenny leaned over her shoulder and studied the screen. “I see that…interesting. Keep looking, Willow, see if you can find anything else.” They sat back, watching her as her hands flew across the keyboard.
Ziva’s mobile went of suddenly, startling them both.
“Ziva,” the Israeli answered her phone. “Oh shit,” she swore violently moments later as she hung up her phone.
“What?” demanded Tony, concerned.
“Someone just hacked into our cover,” Ziva replied. “Tel Aviv aren’t sure exactly how much they saw, but…”
“Shit,” swore Tony, rolling his head backwards in annoyance. “Did they find us?”
“No, I had Abby put that many extra layers of encryption on our files they will never find us. They know something is up, but they do not know what.” She shook her head, annoyed.