Title: Premature Grief
Disclaimer: I own nothing
Warnings/Spoilers/Rating: none || Up to and including 9x24 || PG
Parings: slight Malachi/Liat.
Summary: Eli watches at the bring out bodies from the Navy Yard, and he grieves.
Eli David's office was silent except for the ZNN newsfeed. Malachi held the remote as the American journalist reported about the explosion at the Navy Yard, which was believed to be an act of domestic terrorism. The words shook Eli. At his age and in his line of work, he had learnt to predict many things. The destruction of the place his estranged daughter worked had not been one of them. NCIS with its ugly pumpkin walls and narrow corridors was supposed to be a safe place. It was supposed to be his daughter's safe place.
Liat placed her hand on Malachi's offering comfort, but Malachi shook her off. She pouted but did not press the issue. Eli watched as the young officer hid her hurt, like a good officer should. She had worked with them for close to three years now, and knew that when it came to Ziva she would just never get it. It was better to stay out.
Eli watched the screen as it moved from image to image. He saw the Navy Yard in ruins. He saw his good friend Leon Vance sitting in the back of an ambulance while a paramedic tended to him. He watched as they rushed an unconscious Timothy McGee out on a stretcher. He watched as Gibbs walked out of the building carrying Abby as the young goth sobbed.
He did not see Ziva.
All three of the people in the room had seen scenes like this. They had lived it. Breathed it. Scenes like the one on the television haunted their slumbers. They knew the scent of burning flesh. They knew the cry of a grieving family member. But the scene they watched on the television was not one of the Middle East. It was America, where things like that didn't happen.
Eli knew how these things worked. He was Israeli and Mossad, he knew what happened when a bomb went off in a country that was prepared for them. America was not prepared for them. Sure, they had protocols after 9/11 but they were just protocols. America lacked the practice. Protocols were useless if one did not know how to use them.
He sat down at his desk and realized what this all meant. The one child he had expected to outlive him would not. She would be lowered into the ground draped in red, white and blue. Eli ran his hands over his face, as he found himself overcome with emotion. Long ago he had decided that if his children died before him it would be for the greater good. For Israel the country he would give up his own life for. The country he had sacrificed his children too.
Ziva's death in the Navy Yard would not be for Israel. Yes, it would be for the greater good. The greater good of America but it was the same greater good as Israel and America were allies. As Eli tried to hide his grief from the other people in the room, he realized why it had hit him so hard.
She had gone to America to live, to get married and have a family. She had gone so she could die at ninety in her own bed and surrounded by grandchildren and not in some hellhole with only god as her comfort. After some soul searching and some letting go, Eli had found he wanted that for her too. He wanted their sporadic and well thought-out emails to come with sonograms and baby photographs. He wanted to have a beautifully decorated wedding invitation to sit on his desk, haunting him as he failed to RVSP. He wanted the American dream for her.
A lone tear fell into the crevices of his face as the grief, hit him. He mourned for the loss of her dream. He lamented for a third child taken to soon.
"Ziva," Malachi shouted interrupting Eli's drowning in his own grief. "She's alive,"
Eli looked up another stretcher was being pulled out of what remained of the building. Ziva. She had scarlet blood on her face and was trying to sit up. Eli could just imagine her telling the paramedics she was fine and trying to get up.
His heart beat right out of his chest. Relief engulfed him. A breath he had no idea he was holding was released. She was alive. His daughter was alive. He looked up at the ceiling of his office, and thanked a god he had such a fickle relationship with.
Eli's eyes darted to the photograph he had of his three children. He stared at Ziva, at her innocent smiling face. She was alive and that was all that mattered.