A/N: Sorry guys, I'm at my parents and had to rewrite what I had for chapter nine before I could finish it. THanks so much for all of the reviews, hope this answers your questions!A couple of people asked why Faith and not Kendra; the fact of the matter is a have a soft spot for the dark slayer and wanted to give her a fighting chance. We aren't (likely) to see her again anyway, so it's not really a big thing. Love xx Shezzi
Ziva sat on the plane with Elizabeth’s head heavy on her shoulder and sighed, thinking back to her conversation with her father last night, after she had gotten Elizabeth home and cleaned up. ”Shalom, Papa,” she greeted her father, wondering how best to approach the issue.
“Ziva. How is Elisheva?”
“She is fine, Papa, a little banged up but otherwise okay,” Ziva said slowly. “But I do not know how Hamas found us when all they saw was the outside of Elizabeth’s cover. They somehow knew, in spite of that, that she was your daughter and believed that she didn’t know anything about you, or me, or anything. It makes no sense, unless…” she trailed off, not wanting to put what she suspected into words.
“We had a small plumbing problem here in the Office, Ziva. It’s been taken care of, and fortunately the only thing that leaked was the basic, prefabricated Office rumour, which was that I had a daughter who didn’t know who I was and I had sent you to collect her. With that information, it would be easy enough for pretty much anyone to follow you and find Elisheva. You’ll have to keep her close, Ziva. We don’t know how far this information has gone, but it will spread fairly fast, and even though it’s incorrect, there’s enough there to cause problems, and I would be happier knowing she was with you.”
“Of course, Papa, I want to keep her safe too,” Ziva replied, surprised her father thought she wouldn’t want to.
“Then I entrust her to your care, daughter. I love you, Ziva,” the words, heard so infrequently, still sent a rush of warmth through her, and she smiled.
“I love you to, Papa. Shalom.”
“Shalom, Ziva. Take care.”
She sighed again, trying to think through the logistics of keeping Elizabeth close and safe.
“Something’s bothering you,” Tony said softly, trying not to disturb the exhausted teenager.
“The Director…he explained why those two,” she jerked her head at their two prisoners, shackled in the back seats, “Came after Elizabeth. It seems that Mossad sprung a slight leak; fortunately only the prefabricated story got out, but it gave them enough to track us and find Elizabeth. The Director has made it clear that I need to keep her close and safe. I’m just not entirely sure how to do that without putting her in more danger.”
“Hmmm…Let me think about it; we can discuss it with the boss and Jen…the Director when we get back, we’ll work something out.”
Elizabeth woke as the plane set down, yawning hugely. She blinked heavily, and Ziva grinned at her dopey expression.
“McGee’s meeting us here, he’ll take us back to NCIS and we can get our own cars,” Tony told them, and Ziva nodded.
The plane came to a stop and they quickly disembarked, several MP’s waiting to take the two Hamas operatives into custody. Elizabeth followed close behind Ziva and Tony, looking around curiously at the country’s capital, which she had never seen before.
McGee stood by the car, grinning as he saw his teammates coming disembarking. “Tony! Ziva!” he called, waving to gain their attention. “This must be Elizabeth,” he added, smiling at the tiny blonde and forcing himself not to wince at the black bruising around her eye and nose and the split in her eyebrow.
“Hi,” she said, shaking his hand and smiling cheerfully as he took her bag and put it in the trunk.
“Everyone’s waiting to go out for dinner,” he told them as they climbed in, McGee being careful to keep possession of the keys. “They want to get to know their newest family member.”
Tony snorted; as the only child living with any of the NCIS team members, Elizabeth was going to be both very well parented and spoiled rotten, if any of them had anything to say about it.
Elizabeth glanced at Ziva, who nodded. “You will like them,” she told her. “They are all good people.”
“Sounds good,” Elizabeth replied, shrugging slightly, one hand going to her ribs, which had stiffened during the flight.
Abby was pacing in the bullpen, Gibbs watching her with an amused expression on his face. “How long does it take to pick them up from the airport?” groused the forensics expert, glaring at the elevator as though she could force it to open and reveal her friends.
“Abby, do try to relax, they’ll be here soon,” Ducky tried to soothe her, but she ignored him.
“What if something’s happened? What if there was another kidnapping attempt?” she demanded, eyes widening at the thought.
Just then, the elevator doors opened and it disgorged their missing team members, plus one.
“You’re home!” Abby cried, launching herself at them and hugging Ziva and Tony tightly at the same time. They hugged her back briefly before extracting themselves, and Abby’s eyes fell on the newcomer, who smiled shyly.
“Hi, I’m Abby!” she greeted, bouncing over.
“Elizabeth David,” the girl replied, holding out a hand to shake that was promptly ignored as Abby wrapped her in an enthusiastic hug.
“It’s great to meet you!”
“Likewise,” Elizabeth replied, hugging the older girl back after only a moment’s hesitation.
“Elizabeth,” Ziva called when they separated. “This is Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, my boss. Gibbs, this is my sister, Elizabeth.”
The two of them shook hands, Gibbs looking the diminutive blonde up and down. “Call me Gibbs. It’s a pleasure to meet you, although I wish it was under different circumstances. My condolences.” He looked her up and down briefly, taking in the condition of her face and also noting that the way she held herself, stiff and slightly protective towards her torso.
“Thank you, Gibbs,” she replied, smiling sadly.
“And this is Doctor Donald Mallard,” Ziva introduced the last member of the team present.
“Call me Ducky, my dear,” the English man greeted her warmly, shaking her hand gently.
“Another refugee from the Land of Tweed?” Elizabeth asked teasingly.
“Er, yes, quite,” Ducky replied, slightly flustered.
“It’s nice to meet you, Ducky,” she said seriously, tone the complete opposite of a moment ago.
“We’re just waiting on one last person, then we’re all going for Chinese,” Gibbs told the group.
“I’m here, Jethro,” came a dry voice from halfway down the stairs, and they turned to see the slight redhead leaning on the banister. She continued on down the stairs, calling out as she went. “Ziva, Tony, how are you?” she greeted her two agents, who both grinned at her. “And this is Elizabeth. How are you feeling?” she asked, approaching and extending her hand.
“I’m alright, thank you,” Elizabeth replied, shaking the offered hand.
“Elizabeth, this is NCIS Director Jenny Shepherd,” Ziva introduced them.
“Call me Jenny, please. No need to stand on ceremony, you aren’t exactly an employee,” the older woman smiled cheerfully.
“Thank you, Jenny,” Elizabeth said softly, nodding.
“Alright, people, let’s go,” Gibbs called, and they started to move back towards the elevator, everyone casting concerned and curious glances at Ziva’s newly discovered sister, worried about the bruises, how she was reacting to the kidnapping attempt on top of the grief of losing her mother.
Elizabeth was dozing, leaning against the wall, Ziva between her and the rest of the room.
“How’s she coping?” asked Gibbs softly, eyeing the girl who had shown a depth of pain hidden well behind her eyes.
“As well as can be expected,” Ziva replied softly. “She dealt with yesterday exceptionally well, but she does not know all of it yet. It seems Mossad sprung a slight leak, which is how they knew enough about her to come looking, although they did not even scratch the surface of her cover. Fortunately the only thing that got out was the rumour that was being deliberately spread to explain her existence and what I was doing with her.”
“So it’s possible that there are others coming after her,” Jenny said, immediately seeing the problem.
“Yes. My father wants to keep her here, in America, to complete her education, and has entrusted her to my care, as you already know. I am trying to work out how to keep her safe without virtually imprisoning her, because that is the last thing she needs at the moment.” Ziva ran a hand through her hair, frustrated.
“Well, NCIS offers several summer internships for students. Why don’t we give her one attached to your team? You can keep her close, she’ll learn a lot from the experience, I’m sure,” Jenny suggested.
“You would do that?” asked Ziva, eyes wide.
“I would,” Jenny replied. “Now, I think you should get that girl home and into a bed before she falls out of her chair.”
“Yes, Director,” replied Ziva, grinning as she turned to her sister. “Elizabeth,” she said softly, grasping the girl’s shoulder. “Elizabeth, it’s time to go.”
“Mom?” asked Elizabeth softly as her eyes opened, then she shook her head. “Ziva,” she said firmly, biting her lip to keep her eyes from tearing.
Every member of the NCIS team felt his or her heart break slightly at that soft-spoken plea before the girl had woken and identified her sister.
“Come on, little sister, let’s go home,” Ziva said, wrapping a gentle arm around Elizabeth’s shoulders, feeling the slight shake at her sister’s suppressed sobs. She led her out of the restaurant to their car, and stopped, turning, and wrapped Elizabeth’s slight form in her arms, holding her tightly as she cried, tears saturating Ziva’s shirt. She stroked her back gently until she calmed, then they got into the car and headed for Ziva’s apartment.