I DO NOT OWN NCIS OR ANY OF ITS CHARACTERS!
BACK TO THE BEGINNING
Her nerves were tight and her heart raced as she made the call that she couldn't delay any longer. He deserved to hear her story from her and nobody else. Not that anyone, not even Tony could tell wholly. Most importantly she wanted his blessing.
Severing herself form the only other family she knew to redefine who she is was one of the hardest choices she had ever made. They needed to know that she was okay and that she still cared about them.
Their silent support would help her to concentrate on where her future was heading. She didn't know if she'd ever see them again. Her new life hopefully would be devoid of all the violence that surrounded their job.
His voice brought tears to her eyes as she choked back a sob. She heard in his voice the sad realization that her phone call meant she was saying good-bye.
When he saw the number on his phone he couldn't help the lump that formed in his throat causing him to pause as he held the beer bottle against his battered face. A small part of him didn't want to answer knowing the meaning for the call. He took a long drink from the bottle before he dared to connect the call.
It had been months since he'd seen her. His gut had told him Tony had found her, but it was obvious she didn't intend to return. He didn't want to let her go, but caring enough about her he knew he'd have to let her do what she felt she needed to accomplish.
He knew all about needing time and space to re-center your life. He'd taken his own sabbatical to Mexico. If it hadn't been for Ziva he would probably still be there losing himself in the beer and sun.
Her pleas to save her had been his catalyst to return. Then it was the work that needed to be done that kept him.
Swallowing what he could he finally connected the call. "Ziver," he said trying to hold back the sense of loss that was settling in his heart.
"Gibbs," she wiped at a tear that escaped down her cheek. This was going to be harder than she thought.
After a moment of silence, Gibbs prodded, "You okay?" His heart clenched anticipating her revelation, but tried to keep his tone light.
"Yes," she smiled sadly. Perhaps he could make this easier for them both. "I am in Israel," she began.
"Got that from the caller ID," Gibbs smirked. Despite her reason for calling it was good to hear her voice.
Ziva couldn't keep a smile from appearing on her face. "Of course," she responded giving credit to his ever present observation. She breathed out a puff of air before quietly continuing, "I thought I should explain."
Gibbs closed his eyes and tried to keep from ordering her to come home. Instead he remained silent allowing her to tell her stor
"As you know much has happened this past year. Things have changed. My world, my view of the world has changed. I have changed," she paused collecting herself. "I am no longer the same person I was when I first came to work with you."
She hoped he was listening and understanding all she was saying. "It's not only this year that's altered me, but all the years I have been a part of your team. Belonging to you. My whole life since my father was head of Mossad I was trained to follow orders and cut my personal life out of the picture. There was no room for anything other than duty.
"You showed me that there's so much more. That one can perform duty, but still care about others. You were more the father I needed than Eli, but still he was my Abba. I have memories of my childhood that I will cherish forever of his love and kindness. Mossad changed him. My mother's and Talia's deaths caused him to focus on his thirst for revenge. This I know you understand. But it wasn't until his last few days I began to see some of his old self again.
"He wanted to do good and wanted me to see he knew that there was more to life than Mossad. I too want more than the violence and death that has too much a part of my life. I need to follow the path my life should've taken had I been able."
"Ziva," Gibbs said softly. Her words hit home. "You do whatever you need to do. I'll be here."
Her eyes became misty knowing that she had his support. Despite the distance between them he still had her six. "Thank you, Gibbs."
"You need anything, ANYTHING, just call," he told her.
"Yes, Boss," she laughed lightly.
He smiled not wanting the call to end, but knowing he had to let her go.
"Be happy, Ziva," he said quietly. "You deserve to be happy."
"Thank you again. Tell everyone I miss them and that when I am ready I will be in touch. Right now though I need to focus on where I am going."
Take all the time you need. Family never forgets its own."
"Good-bye Gibbs," she said feeling confident in her choice to move forward in her life.
"Bye Ziva," he replied looking up toward the ceiling feeling like a father who just let his child go out into the world on her own, but confident that he'd taught her well and she would be okay.
He closed his phone and took a deep breath while he thought about how things were going to change. It wasn't going to be the same without her, but one day they would find a way to move on and she would be making her own mark in the world.
Ziva put her phone down as looked around what had been her childhood home. So many dreams she had of what her future would bring. Nothing of her life was even close to them. Now she had a fresh start. Lots of time to make up, but she would make the most of it.