Ziva, realizing Elizabeth had been gone for longer than she really should have been, left the room and headed where she assumed her sister had gone; the ladies’ room.
She pushed the door open, mouth opening to call out and ask if her sister was alright when she saw the blood.
“TONY!” she yelled, slamming the door open, weapon already clear of its holster. She cleared the washroom, almost breaking the doors on the cubicles as she slammed them open.
“Ziva? What’s wrong?” weapon already in hand, he came through the door. Tony’s eyes widened as he saw the blood, and he met Ziva’s rather terrified gaze.
“Spread out, search the area,” she ordered, a professional mask dropping over her features.
They quickly cleared the funeral parlour, it being one of the smallest establishments of its type in the entire town.
“She’s not here,” Ziva said, staring one way, then the other, up the street out the front.
“We’ll find her,” Tony said firmly, gripping her shoulder. “Who could possibly have taken her?”
“I have an idea,” said Giles from the doorway. “There were two people at the funeral; I didn’t recognize them, but they claimed to know Joyce. They’re nowhere to be found now, so I think we can safely say that they were the ones to do this.”
Ziva groaned. “Where would they go?”
Tony was already on his mobile to DC, talking fast.
“They may be staying in one of the motels,” Giles said slowly. “But the truth of it is that there are that many abandoned warehouses and derelict buildings in this town that they could be anywhere.”
Ziva pulled out her own phone and weighed it in her hand, trying to make up her mind. She didn’t think that there was really anything her father or anyone in Mossad could do; Hank wouldn’t arrive in town for another twelve hours, but if anything happened, and her own stomach tightened at the thought, her father would never forgive her for not telling him what was going on.
Reluctantly, she dialled, and waited for him to answer. She explained the situation with minimal interruptions, although she could feel her father’s growing temper.
“I will kill them,” he hissed, fury in his tone. This was the part of her father that made Ziva believe that he hadn’t killed Ari’s mother, or Joyce; he cared about his family too much. He might use them, but he loved them dearly and was trying to make a better world.
“Go, Ziva. Do what you do best and find your sister. Whoever has taken her wants her for something, they won’t hurt her. If it was someone wanting to hurt the Slayer, they would have killed her there, so this is to do with us. You will find her, Ziva. I have faith in you. Shalom.”
“Shalom, Papa,” Ziva whispered, sliding the phone closed.
“Boss has everyone on standby to help out however they can. Jenny…the Director’s trying to see if she can organise a flight to the local army base, but they won’t be able to organise that for a while and by then we will hopefully have her back anyway.”
Ziva nodded her agreement and turned to look at the natives. “What can we do?”
“Angel will be able to find her,” Willow suggested.
Ziva frowned at that suggestion; she didn’t like the idea of having to wait until the vampire would be available.
“Wait, why would he be able to find her? And why isn’t he here? What kind of boyfriend lets their girl go to her mother’s funeral without them?” Tony’s expression was confused and slightly angry at what he imagined Angel had done.
Ziva sighed, and turned to her partner. “Tony, I’m going to tell you something that will sound rather unbelievable…” she started,
Buffy came out of unconsciousness slowly. Her eyelids felt as though they were glued down, but she didn’t fight them because she didn’t want whoever had her to know she was awake.
At first, she couldn’t figure out what they were saying, but as she came further out of the sedation, her brain began to filter out the background noise and allow her to hear the words clearly. They were speaking Arabic, and from the tone of their words she didn’t think they knew that she understood them.
“You sure she won’t wake up?” asked a male voice, sounding concerned and slightly curious.
“Not for another hour at least. Can you believe this? The great Director David having a secret daughter in the United States? Leaving her here completely vulnerable. You saw her history, she knows nothing of him, and he even made her birth records look like her stepfather is her biological father. It’s perfect. We’ll have her to hold over him, and we can turn her against him with little difficulty, I’m sure. These American teenagers are ruled by their emotions; tell her how the man abandoned her and it will be easy to teach her to hate him and everything he stands for,” a second voice, a female voice, gloated.
“I’m sure you’re right,” the man replied, sounding decidedly self-satisfied.
The anger at her kidnappers was increasing Elizabeth’s adrenalin production and helping her to come further out of the sedation. She was grateful that their hackers were clearly so bad that they hadn’t seen anything except the absolute exterior of her cover.
She tested her bonds; heavy leather cuffs around wrists and ankles; they weren’t taking any chances. She would probably be able to break them, but as the sedation was wearing off, she was also becoming aware that her pain meds had long since expired. Her ribs were throbbing, clearly complaining about the extra abuse she had given them the day before.
She lay and listened to them talk, and knew that she could work with this. Their own assumptions about her would allow her to play them for fools. She knew that, in a strange town with few resources, Ziva would have a hard time tracking her, but that Angel and the Scoobies would have no such difficulties. She just had to stall until sundown, and they would come.
Having made up her mind and settled her story, she started to ‘wake up’. She moaned shifting slightly on the bed, twisting her head from side to side.
“She’s waking up,” hissed the man.
She started to open her eyes, looking around in faked confusion. “Where am I? What’s going on?”
“It’s alright, dear. We’re here to help you,” the woman said in a sweet voice. “We saw how your father failed to protect you and we wanted to be sure that you were taken care of.”
“My father? My father’s away on a business trip; he sent people to take care of me,” she insisted, staring at the woman.
“No, Hank Summers is not really your father. Your father abandoned you at birth, and made it look as though you were someone else. He didn’t care about you, he just didn’t want to be bothered taking care of you.”
“Hank isn’t my dad?” she asked, eyes wide and voice trembling.
“No. And this Ziva is not just someone who works with him, she is actually your sister. None of them cared enough to have anything to do with you.”
“No,” she insisted, lips trembling as her eyes filled with tears. “That’s not true! That’s impossible!” She started to cry to hide her laughter at the thought that Xander would be proud of her using the Star Wars quote, twisting away from the woman’s hands as she attempted to comfort her.
She eventually ‘calmed’, and listened as the two had another conversation in Arabic, assuming she couldn’t understand them.
“That went as well as we could expect,” the woman said, and the man nodded.
“Keep working her; you’ll have her wrapped around your finger in no time.” Elizabeth glanced at the dirty windows near the top of the wall; she must have been out for longer than she realised, the sun was setting and painting the windows red.
She set out to distract the two for as long as possible, waiting for the cavalry. Her ribs were throbbing with each breath she took, and she knew for sure that she wouldn’t be able to take out two trained operatives. Her face hurt too, and she wasn’t sure that her nose wasn’t broken.
“Why am I tied up?” she demanded suddenly, switching from fear to anger.
Ziva was furious, and frustrated, and scared, and Tony was doing his best to keep her calm. They had checked and ruled out every motel in Sunnydale, and still hadn’t found anything. Tony was having a hard time accepting what she had told him, but he figured it didn’t matter for now. He’d seen enough unexplainable things on the police force to know that there truly were more things in heaven and on earth, so he let it go and focused on the problem.
Abby and McGee had found out how their friends had gotten into town, although how they knew what was going on was still anyone’s guess. They’d come in by bus and rented a car, unfortunately the company was too cheap to have GPS installed, and paid with credit card that they hadn’t used since. They didn’t seem to have booked into a hotel or motel, nor had they made any purchases. The name on the card had been fake, and the address on the licence came back to a parking lot.
Willow burst through the doors to the library, Angel on her heels, both of them smelling slightly of smoke.
“Sunset in ten,” Xander said, eyes glued on the clock.
“Did you find anything while you were out?” Ziva asked the red head, ignoring the vampire, who set her teeth on edge. She needed him, so she put up with him, but the idea of him touching her sister filled her with rage, not because he was a vampire but because, even if he was human, he was too old for her.
“We went by the funeral parlour. Angel caught her scent, but he lost it pretty fast because they headed away from the tunnels. He’ll be able to follow it once he can be on street level,” Willow replied, and Ziva nodded her thanks, pacing back the length of the library. She sat and pulled out her gun for the third time and started cleaning it, painstakingly.
Tony’s hand stilled hers. “You already did that,” he said calmly. She met his eyes, the pain in hers almost a physical blow as he looked into them. “Come on, if we leave now, we can be at the funeral parlour by the time the sun goes down and we can find her,” he said, and she nodded slowly, holstering her weapon and standing.
Elizabeth was doing her best not to laugh her head off at her two captors. They were swallowing her ‘dumb blonde’ act hook, line and sinker. The sun had set a while ago, and she was waiting for the cavalry and having fun stringing her attackers along.
She had them believing that she hated her biological father for abandoning her, that she was willing to do almost anything to ‘get back at him’. They were currently arguing, in Arabic, whether or not they needed to keep her tied up.
Hearing a very slight noise, Elizabeth looked very carefully off to the side, only moving her eyes. She kept her face set in the same expression as she saw Ziva and Tony, weapons drawn, edging around a rusty wreck of a car. Ziva saw her looking and signalled her to pretend they weren’t there.
She looked back over to her captors, who were still arguing. She had a sudden stroke of inspiration, and had to force herself not to grin.
“Hey,” she called. “Please, I gotta go to the bathroom. You can’t keep a girl from having to go potty,” she whined as they turned towards her.
They rolled their eyes at each other, but the woman came over. “I’m going to untie you. We were worried that you wouldn’t understand and would try to escape, when all we want to do is help,” she said, repeating the reassurances they had been using for the past hour. Elizabeth watched as she undid the straps around her ankles, then her wrists. She sat up slowly, rubbing her wrists to ease the residual ache, and moved off the bed.
“Thank you so much,” she said, actually sounding sincere, then dropped to the floor out of the woman’s grip.
“FEDERAL AGENTS, HANDS WHERE WE CAN SEE THEM!” bellowed Tony as the two of them exploded out of hiding, weapons raised. The man tried to go for his gun and Ziva shot him in the shoulder before he could grab it, even as Tony moved over to the woman.
“Hands on your head,” he ordered, and she moved as though to comply, only to grab for a knife on the back of her neck. Elizabeth, seeing her go for the knife, slammed a fist into the back of the woman’s knees. She kicked up and caught the woman in the face, her nose breaking with a loud crack and a gush of blood.
“Bitch,” she said as she stood, the Arabic word rolling off her lips and causing the woman’s face to pale. She laughed. “Sometimes, when something seems too good to be true, it’s probably because it is,” she told her as Tony secured her hands behind her back.
Ziva had the man tied up and a dressing in place on his shoulder, and shoved him down onto the floor before rushing over to Elizabeth and grabbing her by the shoulders, pulling her upright.
“Are you alright?” she demanded, looking her sister up and down carefully.
“Yeah,” she replied, nodding tiredly. Ziva wrapped her arms tightly around her shorter sibling, and Elizabeth squeezed her back, just firmly enough to let her know that she was okay. “Angel showed you where to come?”
“Yeah. He’s waiting outside, because we were dealing with humans, not demons,” Ziva explained. “We did not want any…uncomfortable questions when we get these two to Washington and on their way to Gitmo. He wasn’t happy about it, but your Mr. Giles made him see reason.” She paused for a moment, but didn’t want to be caught keeping any secrets from her sister, so decided to make a clean breast of it. “I had to tell Tony about…you know, everything.”
“It’s okay, I knew you would. Unless these guys had been supremely stupid, not that they were particularly smart, the only way you were going to find me was if Angel showed you the way, and you’d have to explain that to Tony.” She winced as she moved, her ribs throbbing.
“I’ve got your pills in the car,” her sister said, leading her out of the warehouse, one arm wrapped around her waist. “We’re heading back to Washington tomorrow afternoon, I want you out of this town.” Elizabeth nodded sadly, having seen that one coming. “Let’s get you home, cleaned up, and we’ll have dinner with your friends.”
The next afternoon, having spent the day with Xander, Willow and Giles helping her to sort through the house and decide what to keep, she stood on the airstrip beside the small plane, looking at them with tears in her eyes. She had said goodbye to Angel the night before, managing to persuade the vampire that he was needed here, to help the new Slayer and atone for his past, a destiny she was no longer tied to.
“You’ll write?” asked Willow, stepping forwards to wrap her in a hug.
“Of course. And I’ll expect you to come and visit, all of you.”
Giles wrapped his Slayer in a gentle hug and pressed his lips to her forehead. “I have spoken with the new Slayer’s Watcher. Her name is Faith, and they will be arriving today. I wish I could come with you,” he began, and Elizabeth nodded, “But I have a feeling I’m going to be needed here, at least for a while. Stay safe.” He gave her a gentle squeeze and let her go.
Elizabeth now turned towards Xander, still trying to sort out her feelings. “Xander…I’ll miss you,” she said slowly. She gave him a hug. She thought about saying something, but didn’t want to sour their goodbye with an argument. “I’ll see you sometime.”
Tony helped her into the plane and he and Ziva climbed in behind. They settled themselves, Ziva next to Elizabeth and Tony opposite. As they started to taxi down the runway, Ziva wrapped an arm around Elizabeth’s shoulders, knowing what it was like to go away from everything that you knew, particularly after a loss.
Elizabeth’s head dropped onto her shoulder, a few tears moistening the fabric before she fell into an exhausted sleep.