Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the intellectual property of Mutant Enemy and Joss (ALL HAIL) Whedon. NCIS is the creation of Donald Bellisario. No claim is made to either, and all characters and universes only borrowed for non-commercial amateur writing.
Director of Mossad Eli David stared out at the landscape passing outside the car window. Highway One was an apt symbol of Israel's position in the world. The main highway linking Tel Aviv to Jerusalem wound among the Judean hills in its eastern reaches. North and south were the Occupied Territories--promised by Hashem to His chosen people, now contested between Israeli settlers and the Palestinian rabble who squatted there. The route to the capital was a narrow, precarious path snaking between enemy lands. The burned out hulks of tanks and trucks along the fringes were memorials to the intense fighting during Independence and the Six Day War, to keep the road open to the heart of Yis'rael.
In front, his armed driver and bodyguard listened to chatter from the escort teams posted behind and in front of the Director of Mossad's official car. A partition of bulletproof glass cut off the sound from the passenger compartment. Eli was alone.
He had been alone for some time. A wife who grew ever distant with each passing year. One daughter long dead, a traitor of a son executed on his orders. As for Ziva-- How ironic that one of Israel's most ardent children should seem more and more lost to the Galut. Lost to him. Perhaps it was even justice, for what he had encouraged her to become since a child.
He glanced at the file atop his open briefcase. Surveillance photographs from a sayan--one of the Institute's volunteer "helpers" among the Diaspora--who was a Virginia private detective. Ziva in a cafe, caught laughing with her friend and co-worker Abigail Sciuto. How long had it been since she had ever honoured her Papa with more than a small-yet-loving smile? By Sciuto's side was a slim red-haired American woman. According to the dossier compiled by the sayan, a certain Violet Brady. Rounding out the quartet was a distinguished British man--grey-haired, dressed in a leather jacket--strumming a guitar. One would not suspect such a man had been a curator, a scholar.
And something even stranger.
The Director glanced at the missive sent by the Chief Rabbinate, requesting a visit.
The hills seemed to close even more about the road.
One would not expect the Chief Rabbinate of Israel to have a "tank" beneath its Jerusalem headquarters. The Rabbinate was Israel's highest spiritual authority: a small organ of theocracy in a state noted for democracy and secularism. It ruled over kosher food laws, marriage, debates over who truly constituted a Jew for purposes of aliyah. A secure room with copper mesh behind its concrete walls to foil eavesdropping devices was more in keeping with Mossad headquarters. Yet it was into this intimate room that Eli was ushered into after his car navigated the madness of Jerusalem traffic.
Aleph already waited for him, seated beneath a Yemeni Torah scroll displayed behind glass. Eli had met the man only a few times since attaining the post of Director. Not very impressive: a small man perhaps fifteen years Eli's senior, with a kippah atop his balding head. He wore a modern suit of a Modern Orthodox Jew in contrast to the black garb favored by the Haredi. Only the small badge on his lapel proclaimed his true nature: a stylized shield surrounding the number "216" in Hebrew script. The value of Gevurah, the fifth sefirot among the ten sacred spheres of reality delineated by Kabbalah. Gevurah was the left arm of the tree of life: the stern punishment of the wicked and judgment of mankind. It was also the secretive unit of the Rabbinate which dealt with certain problems that were the purview of those who understood the deeper nature of the world.
"You cannot have her," Eli said immediately, not bothering with pleasantries.
"And a good Shabbos to you too," Aleph replied. "Don't worry, you will not be kept long. I would not prevent a fellow Jew from celebrating the holiest of days in his home. And we will not 'have her' unless she wishes to serve us."
"She is a valuable agent," Eli said.
"Yes. Very impressive." Aleph flipped through a file--doubtless the twin to the one in Mossad's archives. "Dedicated, brilliant, a credit to our nation. Yet for three years she wandered in the wilderness, content to be a mere liaison at a minor American agency."
"It was only until she recovered from an unfortunate task she had to perform," Eli said, realizing how weak his protests sounded,
"You mean put down the maniac," Aleph said, tone becoming cold as the snows on Mount Hermon, "you fathered and whose mother you murdered to manipulate him into your service. Fortunately for her, it was the American who did the deed. One only hopes you daven very sincerely on Yom Kippur."
"My sins are mine and Hashem's alone to judge." Eli returned Aleph's disapproval with an equal chill. "Unless you are able to put me before a beth din for my actions."
"I spoke too harshly," Aleph replied, thawing. "You are an able guardian of our nation and people, Director David. We both have had to do things in the shadows that are not fit for daylight. However, Gevurah's writ is clear concerning those who know about the existence of shedim."
"So, she has learned certain truths." Eli sat stiff. The mountains were crushing him.
"Your Ziva's talents are needed for the greater good. Surely you understand that." Aleph shifted. "That is only a side-issue to why we have asked you to come. Some of our colleagues among the Rakib--the Muslim Watchers--have brought something to our attention that concerns you. A Slayer from Nablus."
"One of the Chosen is a Palestinian?" Eli raced through the terrifying possibilities.
"Don't start planning an air strike yet," Aleph said. "We're not fools, either Gevurah or the Rakib. There are laws and agreements between our faiths old as Avraham and Muhammad. The Rakib have ensured that Siham has not joined Fatah or Hamas."
"You would trust them?"
"I did say we are not fools." Aleph's smile was thin and bitter. "Neither of us wish to face the consequences of a Slayer involving herself in the affairs of men. No, she follows the ways laid down by our old counterparts in the Council of Watchers. It is merely that--"
Aleph muttered a decidedly un-rabbinic curse under his breath.
"Send her in," he spoke into a speaker-phone. "Some recent evidence came to light about the girl's ancestry. She has decided she wishes to meet her grandfather and aunt."
Eli David was a man used to sending agents--even his own daughter--on missions that might well end in their death. He had acquiesced to the air strike that had killed the mother of Ziva's half-brother. Yet sweat poured down his brow when the girl entered the room. Young, perhaps only fourteen years of age. Her hair was covered by a modest scarf as prescribed by Muslim hijab. Her bearing, though, was hardly that of the modest woman the Islamists preached about. Her spine straight, she had the air of a soldier. A warrior. Slung at her side was a sheathed saif, the scimitar of the Arabs. She appeared--
In the name of the Almighty, it could have been Hasmia risen from the dead.
Except her eyes: cold, calculating, severe.