Hi all! Happy to announce that this is the last chapter! And it's a long one, wanted to make my last my longest. Write a review if you like the story and want more. I have a vivid imagination and many ideas for Eyal/Sharon and Annie/Auggie.
A nightmare becomes a dream!
Sharon was in her 38th week. Temperatures in Jerusalem were averaging 75–76 degrees F (24 - 26-degree C), perfect for an ending pregnancy.
Eyal's injuries had healed well. He was now wheelchair and physical therapy free. Rivka and his Uncle En were in awes on how he handled his rehabilitation. His most recent effort was a daily walk-run routine with his dog to up flexibility in his knee. The technology for the knee brace was working 100% for him. The man was the star patient of the experimental group. His ligament was rebuilding itself faster than expected. For him to return as a Mossad field officer, it was standard protocol for officers with near-death experience to undergo strenuous physiological tests. Eyal had passed with flying colours.
Rivka had told him, "You've finally added maturity to your performance evaluation, never thought you'd get there, Eyal."
"Why?" he had asked.
"I presumed you'd be killed in action before getting there. Finding a partner when you did took you off a path I sadly see some officers (too many) choose. I came to realize I can only help the ones that ask. You would never have asked."
Acknowledging Rivka's statement, he added, "Promise me this; if you encounter such a promising officer, send him to me. Put that person on my team, I might be able to help."
"I had planned on doing just that. You saved three officers that got lost in those murky waters!"
Eyal was startled by her statement, "Who?"
"Ziva David — You with NCIS. Annie Walker—You with the help of Joan Campbell and the one I'm most proud of, Victor."
"Ziva and Annie, I only helped. As for Victor, you saved him, not me. That Director's job gave him a purpose."
"Think Eyal, think. Who pushed him to cross the line with the Mossad when you conveniently organized your 24 hours' suicide? It was to divert him while you, Ziva, Annie, and NCIS saved three amigos. One being held by your own agency; Sana, Zaria and one presumed dead CIA agent— Jay Wilcox. Yes, I know of your diabolical plan, Officer Lavin. (Eyal winced.) At that time, Victor was close to calling it quits, he didn't like the Deputy Director's role. You needing him and giving him some time 'off' from the job was beneficial. By speaking with other directors, Vance of NCIS and Joan of CIA's DPD, he realized he had what was needed to make his mark in the Mossad. Also, who backed him in a corner to acknowledge he was a good husband and father and finally, who made him see that he needed to live up to his actions and accept paternity to his future child. The answer is you, Eyal. I can no longer 'mother' agents as I did. Now, I see that you both have a firm head on your shoulders, are the best at your trade and partnered with people/assets that help you instead of weighing you down! That makes me a happy boss and…. friend!"
Eyal pinched his lips and said, "Thanks, didn't receive many compliments from you. I appreciate this new openness, Rivka."
"It was always there, you weren't ready to deal with it, Officer Lavin!"
"Rivka, you mentioned the three amigos…. You knew?"
Rivka's diabolical smile gave him his answer.
"Well, if that's the case, how come I'm not six feet under? I crossed Mossad."
"Yes, you did, but by doing so you also got Mossad off the hook for one CIA—Jay Wilcox. You're not going to get a drill down on that intel but, let me just say it wasn't one of Mossad's best missions. You brilliantly/unknowingly took out a thorn out of your agency's side. That's how I explained your actions to our heads and that paved the way to your actual standing at the Mossad. Eyal, remember, when you negotiated the terms for marring Sharon? I informed you that you'd both be under Mossad's radar for life! I'm in charge of that 'radar' and I don't take that task lightly. Nothing much Eyal Lavin and Sharon Welby do escapes my surveillance. When a flag pops up, I drill down and act if I feel it is needed. In your favour, you are Israeli and Mossad to the core but coupled with strong human values. Those two sentiments will, at times, rub against each other's. I can only hope, like you did with the three amigos situation, the decisions you take will give a fighting chance to both sides."
"Rivka, I'm not going to ask why or how, but you just lifted a shadow from my past. Thanks for trusting me enough to let me sail through the situation. Does Victor…"
"No, he's clueless of your actions. Believe me, it's better that way. I'm the only one at the Mossad and your partners in crime; Sharon, Ziva, Gibbs, Ducky, Director Vance, Annie and her Russian asset. Officer Lavin, you have quite a Web of trustable friends! I tried to make them talk but to no avail."
"It goes both ways…."
"I know. Let's get back to business! You now have the green light from the doctors, I'd like for us to work on fine-tuning that team of yours."
And to work they went!
The country hoping our couple had planned was pretty much in the air. Eyal preferred the family returned to their London home. Israel would always be his roots but it was, now, not the safest place to raise a family. Especially with them being both spies (Mossad/MI-6). It was agreed that they would stay in Israel for the first semester of the boys' schooling then, in January, return to London.
Eyal was easily managing Dark Control, the Mossad team and his family/father duties. Having a personal jet at his disposal and not relying on commercial flights made his task easier. Also, playing in his favour; he was a good planner, never needed much sleep, had a wife/family who knew where he was at and accepted it; had two very efficient seconds in command at Dark Control and the members of his Mossad team were a very efficient and autonomous group.
Andy (Sharon's brother)/Sharon Arsenault were now living in Québec and renting Sharon and Eyal's summer home. Andy was no longer living in the past and enjoying his life.
Avi and Kevin were thriving at their new school. Both were leaders in their respective field:
For Avi it was public speaking. He had been asked by a well-known political figure to join the Israeli delegation for their visit (tour) of London dignitaries. Eyal had assigned himself as his personal body guard. A very proud Daddy was present when Avi was asked to speak at a conference. His 'Peace by daily action—an Israeli-Palestinian tryout' with one paragraph standing out — 'We young people would like to bring a realization among our peers: It is not just government policies that we need to change; rather, it is the thoughts and perceptions of the people that must be dealt with daily. We need to promote and act on the idea to live together instead of just talking/wishing it.'
His 30-minute speech resulted in a standing ovation from experience international leaders.
Kevin excelled in athletics. He had been granted permission to represent Israel in a European meet. Eyal had been assigned on protective duties to the Israeli delegation at Mossad's demand. Two sons of an Israeli dignitary were part of the delegation. It was a rookie mission but our master spy had accepted it with pleasure. It had been an uneventful meet but Kevin had witnessed some discrimination Israeli athletes could sometimes face. Eyal had explained and helped him deal with the situation. Kevin's dark hair and very recent scuff made him look more Israeli than Avi. But it was Kevin's 800 m that had stopped the bantering and made all notice the athlete. In a Junior European record time, he had won the meet and made his honour run with a British, a Canadian and an Israeli flag. It was Israel's best standing in many years.
Dark Control was in good hands; Jamie oversaw the London office and Nathan ran the Jerusalem one. Both men had the same outlook on business and it was a good partnership. Eyal and McQuaid were fierce negotiators and both their businesses were thriving. The deal between McQuaid Security and Dark Control was also proving to be beneficial. Sharing their knowledge of the different cultures (European, Asian and American) succeeded in sealing many deals. Eyal was needed in London regularly but it was working out well. His priorities were his recovery and family. He was officially on 'paternity leave' from Dark Control and the Mossad but had been called back a couple of times.
The Mandolin mission Eyal and Sharon had been assigned by Victor, while in Washington, was on hold. Sharon had tried to get details but Eyal and Victor had been tight lips. Eyal had only said,
"It stays out assigned missions but for now, it's dormant. Nothing more is going to filter through. Sharon, for that intel, you are on a need to know. At this time, you do not need to know. Priorities evolved and both our roles have changed at the Mossad. Please, leave it at that."
She had, no questions asked. With her being MI-6 and him Mossad, this kind of compromise would be necessary for them if they wanted to succeed as a couple and working partners. It was also written in the agreement she had signed to be considered as a loan from MI-6 to Mossad. She trusted her husband to make her his No. 1 priority but she knew the spy would at times need to put his agency and country first. Officer Welby had the same protocol.
Baby Lavin was a very active little fellow. Sharon wasn't sleeping well. Eyal was trying his best to be 'supportive' but some days he just didn't know where to stand.
This day was a bad one. Sharon was moody and Eyal was at wits' ends in trying to help her through these last moments.
"Eyal can you just leave me be! Stop watching over me, I feel like a caged bird!"
He'd had enough. His patience had its limits and today Sharon was pushing at all his buttons at once.
"Love, WHAT do you want me to do, just tell me. I can't touch you, can't talk to you, can't hug you, can't give you massages—help me out will you! Why don't you come and lie down? I know you've had another sleepless night."
Sharon opened the door and yelled at him,
"Funny E … very funny! Try falling asleep when you're getting punched and kicked from the inside! I'm going for a walk and don't bother following me, I need my space. As for what you can do for me, you'd done enough nine months ago!"
As she was going out, Sharon bumped into Eyal's mother, Ima She entered and rolled her eyes at both.
"Are you two fighting again!?"
Sharon breathed out hard and said, "Yes, we're at it again! Wish he could see that I feel miserable, hate my body or it hates me and that no matter what he does I WON'T feel better. But he seems to think that smothering me is going to make this all go away!"
At that she slammed the door and headed for her usual 30-45 minute walk with Sandy.
Laughing, Sandy dare, "Sharon give Eyal a break! The poor guy doesn't know on what foot to dance where you're concerned!"
"Sandy, you're supposed to be on my side. In two months, we'll see how you feel about being 38 weeks pregnant. Let's change subject, please. How have you been?"
"Can't complain, I'm finished with the morning sickness and no bloating. It's been a wonderful 30 weeks. Tali is following me closely but the scars on my uterus don't seem to bother this baby one bit! I'm so glad Eyal talked Tali in taking me as a patient, she's been great!"
"Eyal told Tali about a Mossad spy that had Asherman's syndrome and she volunteered. Hey, today was your second ultrasound, did they see any problems?"
"None whatsoever. Victor is … well … like a kid in a candy store! We started off on the wrong foot, but I now have the best partner, lover a girl can dream of! He's changed for the best."
"Congrats! As for Victor I noticed; his eyes are smiling! I'm happy for you guys."
On the daddy side of things: Ima looked at Eyal and smiled, well more outright laughed. Her 6'2" adult son looked like a confused 12 years old. Guessing he was 'supporting' Sharon in the same manner he had Hanna and it wasn't working! Hanna, when pregnant with Avi, was an insecure first time mother and very dependent on her man. Sharon was fiercely independent, very confident and it was her third pregnancy. As her daughter-in-law, had voiced going out; Eyal was smothering the mother to be.
"Ima, what in the hell am I doing wrong? These last days I feel knocked out by the knocked up, sorry not the best choice of words but …. I'm firing off what I consider to be comical quips and zingers to lighten the mood only for them fall in homicidal ears. To make matters worse when push comes to shove, I'm getting the shoved to the sofa."
Biting her lips, Ima answered, "Eyal, she's looking for weaknesses in you, easily finding them and playing you. Pregnant women are especially good at that task plus she trained at it! In the last weeks, we feel lousy and well … sometimes hate the man that's responsible for our state. You're a spy, read her!"
"My intuition and 6th sense went out the door a couple of weeks ago. Hanna, I could read, Sharon, I'm clueless!"
"Eyal, she's a born spy. Deception techniques, never show weakness and attacks to stay in control/alive, it's all natural for her. If she's attacking/reacting maybe she's nervous even scare about having this baby and doesn't want you to tap in those insecurities. Son, Israel is your home, not hers."
"If that is so why can't she just confide in me? I've been asking her to tell me if something is wrong or if she's insecure, hell even offered to move back to London."
Still laughing at her son's 'malaise', Ima answered,
"It's called pregnancy near due date flare-ups. Some mommies like being pregnant but Sharon is a lot like I was in the end: Please make this kid come out sooner than later!"
"I've lived through flare-ups with Hanna. What I'm dealing with Sharon are not flare-ups!"
"Eyal, it's Sharon's third pregnancy. She's far from being the scare and insecure woman Hanna was. If you were expecting the same reactions as Hanna's, you deserve the treatment she's dishing you!"
"And they say a spy's life is dangerous!"
"Well, there is an idea: Threat Sharon's moods as if you were on a mission to cultivate her as an asset."
Eyal said outright, "Can't do that!"
"Well, what would you do if you'd be faced with an asset being difficult as Sharon is at this moment?"
"Simple—I'd shoot him/her."
Ima eyes widened and replied, "Forget I asked, not my best advice!"
At that Sandy came running in, "Eyal, come quick. Sharon's waters just broke."
He stated calmly, "Ima, call Tali, here's her cell number. Take Sharon's car and get yourself to the hospital. She, we want you to be by her side when she gives birth."
He then rushed out with Sandy.
Sharon was sitting on a bench in the park near their home. As Eyal got close to her she whispered,
"Contractions are already 3 minutes apart, last 25–30 second and hurt like hell. Plus, baby just dropped towards my cervix. Get me to the hospital fast. Had Kevin in less than three hours, this little one seems to want to be the fastest of the three. He has his father's competitive streak. Eyal, I'd like to avoid these kids witnessing me giving birth, get me out of here, please."
Eyal shushed her with kisses, carefully picked her up and brought her to their car.
"Going to take our car, don't have time for 911/ambulance. Sandy, are you steady enough to drive?"
"Eyal, I'm pregnant not handicapped! I've seen worst. I can drive, do not worry. Get in and take care of Sharon. I'll get you to the hospital in record time!"
True to her word, Sandy got them to the hospital driving like a mad woman. Ziva David's style as Eyal had joked.
Looking at Sharon, Eyal wanted to kick himself for not seeing that his wife was, as his mother had pointed out, insecure about having this baby. He guessed it was going through it without the 'blankie' of an epidural.
"Sharon, I instructed Tali to have everything ready in case you want an epidural. It will be your choice, as easily as it was for MP or Kevin. It's your call."
Between contractions, Sharon manage to say, "You won't be disappointed if I ask for one?"
"NEVER! Love, it's your body. You want an epidural, you ask."
"I'm asking. Tell Tali I want one if there is time. Eyal, this baby is in a hurry to see the world!"
Smiling Eyal bent down, kissed her and felt a contraction rock through her body. He shivered at imagining the pain she was experiencing.
"My body is telling this little one is going to arrive in this world in less than 2 hours so there won't be any time for…"
She stopped as she needed to breathe through another contraction. Eyal was about to quip at her hurting him as she squeezed his leg to get through the contraction but he stopped before he did (himself) more harm than good. Ha … experience!
Tali and Ima were waiting for them as Sandy pulled in the emergency entrance.
Eyal lifted Sharon on the stretcher and was surprised at seeing a still very insecure woman in front of him. 'Ima was right; damn why I didn't see it! Well, can't do anything about the past, man get yourself in gear to give her the help/support she needs. That woman is in a country that isn't hers; manners, habits, a language and a religion that she's not familiar with, Lavin not proud of you!'
Taking her hand, he said, "I plan on staying very close by, but Tali need to assess how much time baby Lavin wants to take to meet his parents. Ima and I need to scrub up. Sharon, don't worry about the language barrier; Tali arranged for an English-speaking midwife to be by your side. OK with me leaving you in Tali very capable hands?"
She nodded and he rapidly kissed her as the orderly was taking her to the maternity ward.
Tali came back and threw Eyal two scrubs.
"Eyal, Ima, she having this baby NOW, come! She won't have time to even ask for an epidural, the baby is already crowning!"
Eyal pulled himself together, helped his mother suit up and followed Tali.
He was fast by Sharon's side and naturally knew just what to do and say to calm and help her as she needed. Like his mother had told him: Don't ask yourself how to behave, just accept and simply love her! 'I'll be dammed; mothers also do know best!"
As he was helping Sharon push, his eyes and Ima's locked. He whispered to his mother.
"Thanks for your advice earlier, you were dead on. Love you being able to be by our side to welcome this new Lavin in the world."
As she was holding Sharon's hand, a couple of tears fell down Ima's face.
One last push and baby Lavin was born. Ima, Eyal and Sharon held their breath as Tali announced,
"Sharon, Eyal, it's a beautiful and healthy baby girl. Ima, you are the grandmother of a lovely little red head with fierce dark-brown eye!"
Ima cuddled Eyal's and Sharon's faces and said,
"I'll leave you two some well deserve privacy. Thanks for accepting I be part of this wonderful new addition to our family! Can I call the family … on both sides?"
The new father and mother both nodded.
Eyal was battling his emotions. Sharon knew where he was at and whispered.
"Don't try to control yourself, I want/need daddy Lavin not the in-control spy!"
That did him in and the tears came! He barely managed, at Tali's invitation, to cut the umbilical cord. He then put their precious little girl on Sharon's chest and gently hugged mother and daughter. The team was hesitant to disturb them but the child was wanted for newborn screening. It was Tali that tapped on Eyal's shoulder and whispered,
"Eyal, we will be bringing Sharon to her room. She does not have any sing of eclampsia, but we will monitor her closely. Baby is needed for some tests. You are going with Sharon or the baby?"
It was Sharon who answered, "Eyal, go with our daughter, I'm OK. She needs you more."
Kissing her, he replied, "I'll be back. We have a discussion to finish: naming our girl!"
Sharon rolled her eyes at him. They had a disagreement over the name for a girl. Since Gaby had named his child Sarah-Elisabeth in honour of their sister, it didn't seem right to give a second Lavin the same name. Eyal loved the name 'EliSheva' (Hebrew for Elisabeth) and Sharon was against it. She did not want to think of her mother every time she looked at her daughter. Eyal had tried reasoning her that it would not be in 'honour' of her mother but because it was a lovely name.
Eyal returned with his girl wrapped in his arms. He slowly opened the door and was about to close it when Sharon whispered.
"It's OK, I'm awake, bring her to me. I want to have a good look at her and maybe try feeding her."
Eyal helped Sharon get comfortable for her first feeding. She made sure he stayed close, pulling him back when he got up.
"Where are you going?"
"Leaving you space. Women seem to prefer organizing themselves for the feedings."
"I would prefer having you by my side, especially the first times. She knows your voice. You talked to her more than I did during my pregnancy. I want her to get your smell. Like I did for MP and Kevin, would want you to bottle feed her with my breast milk."
"Sharon, I would love to, are you sure?"
"Eyal, please forget what was permitted or accepted when Avi was born. Don't be hesitant or stop yourself from getting acquainted/bonded with her in your own way. It's my third child, I'm not a nervous or possessive newbie mother; did that with MP!"
Eyal stayed close and didn't or more couldn't stop cuddling and touching his newborn baby girl. Sharon, as with her previous pregnancies, had more milk than needed. She pumped enough milk for Eyal to bottle feed their daughter at the next meal.
Smiling, she handed the baby to Eyal.
"Now you can make yourself useful Daddy! Think she had her first bowel movement. Lucky for you, it's odourless meconium."
"You should know that I'm a specialist in the dipper duty and no odour has ever kept me away from my sworn duty!"
"Oh I never doubted you! Eyal, she's beautiful. She had your dark eyes, olive skin and my hair colour. I'd even risk saying she has your smart-aleck smirk!"
Eyal chuckled, "She's also the star of the nursery. Do you know how many light hair and dark skin children there are in the nursery?"
"I'm guessing she's the one and only!"
"You guessed right. Sharon, she is as beautiful as her mother! Damn, I love you."
At that he kissed her while whispering.
"Want you to know this is exhilarating! She not my first but everything seems new. I look forward to every coo, yawn, cramped smile and mopping up after every imaginable bodily fluid those little things are so full of! And I don't plan on leaving you or her. I made that mistake once, not doing it again. You, my Loves are stuck with me!"
They both jumped at a feminine voice saying,
"Sharon Welby seems I had told you to give me warning when you were to give birth!"
A surprised Eyal asked, "Annie, what in the hell are you doing here?"
Sharon warned him, "Eyal Lavin, watch your language, innocent ears are listening."
Eyal winced and put on his best apologetic smile!
Sharon turned towards Annie, "Dear friends, this little one has the record—1 hour and 15 minutes from my water breaking to her birth. Sorry, I didn't have time to go down my list of persons to contact! I also want to know what brings you here, Ms. Annie Walker."
"Well, to make a long story short. You are looking at the new Israeli COS. It's more a joint position—Auggie and I are sharing duties!"
Eyal froze, "Neshema, you and Auggie quit CIA?"
"Eyal, remember I told you I wanted to put down roots. I now not only want, I need to. For me to return as a CIA case officer, I had to have a full physical. They discovered that the scars Lena's shooting left could, at some point, affect my heart. I need to take it easy for a year or so to make sure I don't end up with a heart condition. It so happens Arthur accepted a high-ranking political attaché job and in turn offered me a job that better suited my present condition. I said yes, well, we (Auggie and I) said yes. We were with Rivka getting acquainted with was is expected of us when she got your baby news! Was going to surprise you by showing up at your doorstep and say 'Eyal, I need your help' but opted for joining the cavalry in congratulating the new parents. And I can see, as usual, I'm the fastest to reach my designated target!"
At Annie's words, Auggie, Rivka, Victor and Uncle En came in to congratulate the couple!
Auggie added, "Darling, you're 'first' because you left us high and dry and drove like you only can. I had to hop in with the Mossad, thanks partner!"
Sharon asked, "Pardon my ignorance but what's a COS?"
A proud Auggie answered, "COS is the president's senior intelligence officer and personal intelligence representative in the country where he or she is serving."
Rivka and Victor gave their greetings to the couple, said they didn't have much time and needed to be on their way. Mossad is not strong on 'time-outs'! Sharon noticed that Rivka had cuddled Eyal's face and the intensity in their eyes was powerful. Those two had a special relationship.
Uncle En was teary eyes when Eyal presented his girl to him with these words:
"Darling, I want you to see the man that is responsible for your Abba being up and able to welcome you in this world. If it wasn't for him, I would not be here. Uncle En you are the first to hold her apart from Sharon, Ima and I. Will never be able to thank-you enough for permitting me to see my daughter!"
Uncle En cuddle and played with the child and then gave her back to the proud father.
"Son, it's days like this that make the numerous 36-48 hour shifts worth it!"
As Uncle En excused himself, Sharon turned towards Auggie/Annie and said,
"Tell me about this new job."
She asked Eyal to help her up.
He asked, "You sure you want to get up so soon?"
"I need to, I'm cramping up in this bed. Auggie, Annie, sorry our little one is wanted back to the nursery for blood tests. I was in a case study for sudden death syndrome and vagal episodes and now baby is also a participant."
Annie was worried, "Might there be a problem?"
"No, but I gave my parents such a nightmare. Tali is watching her closely and the blood tests are part of Tali's study protocol. I'm not worried, my other two didn't have any problems but baby Lavin will be monitored just in case. E can you bring her to the nursery?"
Eyal brought the baby back to the nursery. Tali was doing her rounds.
"Tali thanks for making yourself available today. A nurse told me it was your day off. It's appreciated!"
"Eyal, my way of giving back! Your daughter is a beauty, think I even picked up your smirk on her! It brought back long lost memories of us as a couple!"
Eyal laughed, "Must be true, Sharon also picked up on it!"
"She has many nurses going gaga over her. Not many light hair babies at this moment. But she might just have a roommate: A visiting French couple is expecting their first and they both have blond hair and very fair skin! I might need your knowledge of the French language. Can you be on call for, let say, the next 24 hours? We are trying to get a French-speaking caregiver but still no luck."
"I'll be happy to help. Uncle En told me he asked you to monitor Sharon's heart-lung functions for the next 48 hours. I see the injuries she suffered from the attack that killed Sarah will always follow her!"
"Your Uncle suggested that I keep her in observation for 48 hours as a precaution. I also prefer to keep an eye on her for my study and eclampsia. Eyal don't worry, she'll be fine. When ready I will page you, 'Doctor' Lavin! Thanks."
They both smiled and went on their way. As he entered the room, Annie, Auggie and Sharon seemed to be in a heated argument.
"Ah, my Neshamot arguing, what a wonderful sight!"
Annie said, "Sharon it's…"
Sharon laughed, "The plural of Neshema, I know."
Eyal sat Annie on a chair, sat next to her and pulled Sharon on him
"Now Ms. Walker, I want more 'intel' on this new job. Is it legit or are you on an assignment?"
"If I were … you very well know I wouldn't tell you, but this IS legit, Eyal. For us it's the best of both worlds. I'll still be handling 'delicate and covert situations' but without the physical stress of a case officer. I'm OK with it (she looked/smiled at Auggie) and Auggie is also. We both have our ticket back in CIA if this doesn't work out. (Taking Auggie's hand.) We decided to give our relationship another try. Plus, we'll have my two good friends by our side to help guide us through it. You two are out away from home Joan/Arthur team!"
Sharon chuckled and asked, "Why Israel?"
"Not my doing. It was Arthur's first task in his new job. After hearing of my condition, I cried my heart out to Arthur and Joan. That task came on his desk the next day. He thought of me and Auggie for the job. Individually, we might lack experience but teamed we can, as Arthur said, rock Israel's world! It's a six-month learning experience and next, we are then London bound for a 24-month assignment."
Eyal laughed and teased, "Don't know why but I tend to agree with Arthur about the 'rocking' part. Try not to cause a Tsunami in your first weeks, Neshema!"
Anne laughed but rapidly became serious. "Sharon, I need to know. Are you OK with me working 'so close to home,' so to say?"
"Annie, I'm happy for you both plus I look forward to having a friend from 'home.' A baby brings its share of 'hormonal downs' and knowing I'll have an American female shoulder to rest on is reassuring! Don't worry, I'm fine with it all! Eyal now has two 'Neshamot' to handle! Just don't tie rap or shoot him, OK?"
A laughing Annie continued, "On another note: I finally talked with Danielle and we are good. She said to thank you both. It's your view/explanation of the postcard I had sent that helped her through it all. Your words made her hope that I was still alive. I'm glad you interpreted my words in that way. It was way better than I had intended that postcard to mean!
Auggie seemed mesmerized and hadn't said a word. It was not the Auggie, Eyal knew.
Eyal touched his shoulder and said, "Hey, you in need of one of my bear hugs to get you out of this stupor?"
"Please, no hugs. Still trying to convince CIA staff that you and I aren't a 'couple'! Don't mind me, I'm slower than most of grasping life changing events and there have been many: Annie and Tash's kidnapping, Tash's death, you practically dying on my watch, Annie's possible heart condition, her leaving McQuaid to give us a second chance, CIA hinting that she could not work in her condition, being offered this job in a new country/language/apartment and, finally, you of all people, Mr. I-work-alone-Conceded-Master-spy Lavin becoming a father. It is a bit too much for this blind guy to take, I'm in need of some downtime, but I'll get through it, promise!"
Eyal squeezed his shoulder, but deep down knew what Auggie was experiencing. He could see Annie was thriving and failing to notice that her boyfriend was barely able to follow her lead.
Deciding to give his pal a helping hand he said, "Sorry, there is no such thing as downtime in Israel, that is for you Americans. Thinking of something here, I might just be able to help welcome you to Israel. Have a friend, Tohar Haron, a former undercover agent who was blinded following a chemical injury to his eyes while working for the Shin Bet (Israeli Security Agency). Tohar is an accomplish golfer who has won the World Blind Golf Championship five times in a row. You two have something in common: An incredible sense of humour and the willpower to conquer any obstacles. He's always saying that all what is needed is a great plan! The more I think of it, the more you two must meet. He once described his caddy as an external hard drive of a computer."
Auggie's eyes nervously shifted and his head nodded in agreement. Annie was about to talk but Eyal signalled her to hush up. He signed that he would explain later. Sharon knew the kind of conversation Eyal needed to have with Annie. A bit the same as he had had with her when she had not noticed that she was smothering Eyal in the early stage of his recovery. Annie was being her exuberant self and needed a friend to point out that Auggie was somewhat of a disadvantage in this life-changing deal.
Annie continued, "It's great being fully back in the living! Auggie and I need to find where we are and where we want to go. Since everything is better in Israel, it should be easier! Eyal, while on the Dead Man Walking mission, your one on one talks didn't go into deft ears, thanks friends!"
Eyal hugged her, "I'm glad for you Neshema. The more I think of this job, the more I realize it fits you both to a T. Arthur is a wise man!"
Annie put on a sheepish smile and added, "I'm so looking forward to 'handling' the Mossad!"
"Neshema, it will happen that I can guarantee!"
Auggie pulled Annie close to him and asked, "And what is the name of this spy kid?"
Eyal and Sharon winced and Auggie added.
"Do I hear the hissing of a disagreement?"
Annie added, "I'm seeing what you're hearing, buddy! Let's leave them settle it, we have places to be and see!"
The nurse came in and handed the baby to Eyal. "Your little one is hungry."
Placing his daughter near Sharon, Eyal was surprised that she handed her back to him.
"Your turn to feed her!"
"Sharon, I can help you in many ways but that…."
"Eyal, warm up the bottle I prepared the first time I fed her. Want her to get use to bottle feeding."
"Darling, you sure?"
"Get the bottle, think she going to have your temper!"
Eyal rapidly got the bottle ready and tried to feed her but to no avail. Sharon was watching him.
"Bring the bottle to me, we are not going to let her win without a fight! Come and lay your head on my chess and try feeding her from there. She will have the smell of both mommy and daddy!"
To Eyal surprise his daughter easily accepted the bottle. Sharon carefully got up from the bed, made Eyal lie down for him to comfortably feed his daughter.
"E, if you don't mind, I'm going to take a walk and peek at our daughter's friends in the nursery. Feel like seeing something else than these four walls."
Watching her going out, Eyal sensed Sharon would not be the mother hen type. Laughing to himself, 'Lavin, that's going to be your role. Admit it, you want the job! My tiny sweetheart, you will be watched over till death do us apart!'
As Sharon was approaching the nursery, Tali stopped her.
"Sharon, is Eyal with you?"
"Yes, he's feeding our daughter."
"Oh… you speak French, if I remember?"
"Yes, I am French!"
"Perfect, come with me, you're scrubbing up. Think you up to being on the other side of child bearing. I have a French couple; the wife went into premature labour and baby didn't take well to me wanting to 'push' him back in! He's coming out on his terms! We could manage in English but French; no one on this shift speaks it. If you or Eyal could translate, it would be appreciated. Plus, both of you have some medical training so I'm not scared of you fainting on me!"
"I'm up to it. How many weeks?"
"30. I'll have the nurses tell Eyal you are going to be delayed."
"Tali wait till I'm in the delivery room to inform him. Knowing the man, he'll want to take my place saying that I should be resting! I've been resting these last 4 weeks, I'm in need of a little shake rattle and roll!"
"Will do as you say! Girl think you are going to get your money's worth. Don't quite know what the French gentleman is saying but he seems quite 'special.'"
"He's French … what did you expect?"
"WELL, I didn't expect him to be heavily flirting with me while his wife is having very strong contractions and in pain!"
"WTF! Come to think of it Eyal might be better for the job at hand!"
"No time, suit up!"
Having just time to scrub and throw a green tunic over her PJ's, Sharon was pulled in the delivery room and faced with quite a surprise.
As the gentleman turned around, Sharon's face went blank. Tali's face also went a shade of grey.
"Sharon, you OK?" Tali asked thinking the job might be a bit too much for Sharon.
"Yes, yes, just surprised. Tali, I know this man."
Sharon turned towards the gentleman and said, "Bonjour Cameron, que se passe-t-il ?"
Smiling, he answered, "Ah la merveilleuse surprise, si ce n'est pas mon amie Caméleon. Tu as finalement terminé tes études en médecine à ce que je vois ?"
"Non, mais ce n'est pas important. Cam, que fais-tu ici ? Je présume que cette femme n'est pas 'ta femme' et ce bébé n'est pas 'ton bébé' ? "
"Toujours aussi perspicace."
"Réponds à ma question ?"
"Ne panique pas ! Non, ce n'est pas ma femme, mais ma partenaire."
Tali told Sharon,
"Stop the chitchat, I need to get to work. His wife is going to have this baby any time now but as soon as the baby is out, mommy or daddy will not be able to handle him. He'll need oxygen and emergency neonatal care, maybe even an intervention for his lungs to function properly. Can you explain all this to him?"
"Yes, I will."
"Cam, le nom de ta partenaire? Celui que tu as écrit dans les papiers d'admission."
"Elle s'appelle Elisanne Dubois."
Sharon then explained to Cameron what Tali had said and asked him.
"Cam, tu restes ou tu décampes ?"
"Tu me connais ! Ce n'était pas prévu qu'elle accouche ici. Elle m'a déjà assez causé de problèmes. Le plus vite que je vais pouvoir sortir d'ici le mieux ça va être pour moi !"
"Ah, comme je te reconnais ! Reste ici. Je vais voir ce que je peux faire pour que tu puisses partir sans énerver tout l'hôpital !"
Tali came to Sharon. She pulled Tali where Cameron couldn't see or hear them.
Tali was fast to ask, "What's up with that guy?"
"Let's just say he's not the daddy, he's on quite a different mission, plans on getting out fast and I need to get Eyal. A normal birth I could manage, but I'm not up to dealing with this. Tali, I can't tell you much but need you to trust me. That man was a French spy, don't know what he is today. I just told the guy a story to get him to wait quietly for me to come back. Don't worry, business as usual but do not corner or get angry with him. It could be dangerous for all. Eyal will be here shortly. You'll be fine."
Tali's face change but Sharon told her to get her acting up to par.
As soon as the door closed, she darted towards her room. At her expression, Eyal knew she was in spy mode. Rapidly putting their daughter in her crib, he sided by her.
"You know that French couple you were supposed to translate for, well the man is an arrogant French spy, well more ex-spy. He's known for being a double, triple maybe more dealings! In a nutshell; a bastard that would sell his mother for the right price. Don't know the woman but she's in no condition to do any harm but he is! I'm not up to playing spies, paternity leave or not, you need to! His full name is Cameron Bernard and he told me his partner was Elisanne Dubois but I'm sure it's an alias. Here, I have her prints, you can send them to Victor. Also, have Cameron's. Hope Mossad has a lot of paper in the printer because what's on the Mossad and Interpol's Intel on that guy will be as thick as an encyclopedia. Eyal, the last time I met up with him, he was into nuclear counterespionage and my code name was Caméleon."
Eyal knew Sharon mentioning the Caméleon code name meant the guy was to be taken seriously.
Looking at their newborn then Sharon, he said,
"Sharon, are you pulling one of me? This can't be happening!"
"Get to that delivery room, this is the real thing!"
Reality caught up to him and spy mode was rapidly turned on. Kissing his daughter, he rolled his eye at Sharon and with his trademark full-tooth smile said,
"Call Victor, explain and send him the fingerprints you have. I will intervene but no follow-up or debrief. Make sure Mossad get that I'm on paternity leave and that I'm filling in because of the emergency of the situation! They need to send someone to have my back … and specify it won't be you. Sharon, we are not taking on this mission!"
As she hushed him out, Sharon reached behind her back. "Eyal, he's carrying, take this. It's not your Jericho but it will have to do."
"Damn, how did you get a Smith & Wesson pass hospital security? You always carry after giving birth?"
Slowly lifting her eyes up, "How are you trained?! Had it by me for MP and Kevin and I, at that time, was in semi-retirement. As for how to fool your hospital security, I learned from the best; you, Eli and Ziva David."
"Never in my wildest dream would I have thought I'd need to tote my gun with my 12-hour-old daughter by my side! Sharon, how bad is this guy?"
"Let's say for money he won't hesitate to kill mother and child plus everybody that's between him and his convoyed pot of gold! Tali is warned to make it business as usual. I'm confident he won't shake things but as soon as he's going to see you, he'll know I'm up to something. We've worked together before, he knows me."
Eyal rolled his eyes while shaking his head but quickly got out the room and hurried down the small corridor that leads to the delivery room.
Sharon scooped up their sleeping daughter and sang softly
Hush, little baby, don't say a word
for this is our own little covert world
Papa's gonna silence a badass blackbird
Eyal made eye contact with Tali, all seemed under control. He pulled on some scrubs and entered. As Sharon had called it, Cameron smelled something was up and eyed Eyal with a defiant stare.
Approaching, Eyal said to Tali, "Baby needs mommy for a feeding! Doctor Tali, I'll have to do."
Eyal said to Cameron in French, "Sir, I'm Eyal Lavin. As my wife, I'm fluent in French. Our newborn daughter needs to feed. If you desire I can translate when needed."
Tali informed Eyal that timing was of the essence and that she had to proceed with this assisted birth. Elisanne was coming out of the relax state Tali had put her in, hoping to delay the birth, but baby had a mine of his own.
Eyal looked at Cameron and said in French,
"Sir, you don't look good. Would you want to take a breath of fresh air? I can guide you to the waiting room. Dr. Tali will prefer you waiting outside than fainting in here."
The ruse worked, Cameron said yes. As soon as Eyal was out of the delivery room, he cornered Cameron and neutralized him.
"I don't know of you and don't want to. I have a team that will be picking you up and see to it that you don't cause or haven't caused any trouble in my country."
"I am a tourist in your country. Is that how you treat tourists in Israel?"
"The Mossad will see to it that you are treated as you deserve to be."
Cameron's face went blank, "Mossad? Sharon is MI-6…."
Grabbing Cameron's arm, he said, "I'm Mossad. You, sir, are a maybe rogue spy from a rival agency. You have some questions to answer and if you have done nothing, you will be released."
Victor was walking in with a couple of Eyal's colleague. They all had a smile on their faces.
Victor spoke, "Lavin, what's with you? You are recuperating from deadly wounds; your daughter is not a day old and you manage to apprehend the number four on the most wanted list. And the damsel giving birth is number 11!"
Eyal's face went blank and he just managed to say,
"What can I say, once a spy always a spy. Sharon recognized him and came to me to corner him. Numbers 4 and 11, I really need to get back in the game!"
While his colleagues were handling Cameron and setting up the security detail for the women, Victor held Eyal's arm,
"Down boy, you take time to get to know how to be a father to that lovely baby girl. I wasn't kidding Eyal, I don't believe in the 'no family life allowed' when in the Mossad. They gave me the job and I'm going to make the necessary changes. You are on paternity leave and are staying on it. I have a grown kid at home and when I look at him, I can't remember one time where I changed dippers or had a sleepless night. I'm grateful his mother stayed by me and supported me in such a way, but women these days expect a more 'active' dad. Most of our agent are, as you, divorced. Don't want you living through divorce # 2. Unhappy men don't mix well with spy life. Take the needed time! Am I clear?"
Eyal smirked, "Crystal! Thanks Victor. Those changes were a long time coming, too long. You'll be experiencing it in about two months."
"Yes, and it will be my turn to be on paternity leave and you replacing me!"
"Well what can I say; two months is better than none!"
Eyal returned to Sharon and said, "Mossad has taken over and I was ordered by my director to stay on paternity leave. Just want to tell you that you have just helped in capturing # 4 and 11 on Interpol's most wanted list!"
Sharon replied, "What?! Cameron has come a long way since I last met up with him!"
"Seems he has but no more shop talk. Come, we have something more important to discuss: How are we going to name this child?"
"Eyal, you know my feelings on naming her after my mother. Don't you have another Hebrew name you like?"
She continued, "I know you genuinely like EliSheva, but I just can't. I made peace with what my mother did, but I do not want to look at my daughter and think of my mother. She was not a nice person, Eyal."
"She was a woman in love. Eli David and your mother were not 'evil'. They might have been to 'naively intelligent' for their time and thought love would conquer all … did you ever think of it that way?"
"No and I can't see the day that I will."
"Well, I thank her for one thing; you!"
Smiling, she answered, "One point for your side. Why don't we compromise—two names and one will be EliSheva but not Elisabeth? I know it's just a name but … sorry. She's my little princess can't do that to her!"
Eyal's face lighted up, "Princess… Sarah…"
"Already taken, Hanna and Gaby's girl … remember?"
"Before being Sarah, the wife of the patriarch was originally known as Sarai, meaning 'princely' or 'a princess,' just as Sarah!"
"Sarai … it's lovely and different enough from Sarah. Perfect Eyal… Sarai-EliSheva, it is!"
They were not first-time parents but both were nervous for the first trip home with their newborn daughter.
"Eyal, this is crazy! I'm shaking and my stomach is in knots!"
Eyal chuckled, "I'm no better, look at my hands!"
"Damn, we can kill in command or bring down a well-armed terrorist but we're both shaking at taking a 6-pound baby girl in her home! It's not our first, what's happening here?"
"Not the first, but our first. Sharon, this is the ultimate commitment to each other. A new beginning where we won't always be in control. We are both fiercely independent and now … well…"
"Got you, but seems she does not give a hoot about our insecurities. At this moment, she's hot, hungry and angry… Daddy get her in her car seat fast or Israel's new COS (Annie and Auggie) will slam a bad parent citation on us."
Eyal smiled, "Funny, I can picture Annie Walker doing just that! Sarai is already wrapping us around her little finger. That girl has a temper!"
A smiling Sharon turned and said, "And whose fault is that!"
The first car ride is always a nerve wrecking moment for most parents. It seems that for our well-trained spies it was no exception!
MP had done a great job in decorating Sarai's room. It was meant to be a surprise for Sharon and it was!
"Wow, MP outdone herself. This is beautiful, Eyal. Had you seen it?"
"Yes, when I came to get what we needed to take Sarai out of the hospital. Why don't you put her in the crib, I have a surprise for you?"
"Eyal Lavin, what are you up to?
"Well, Sarai is fed, changed and settled for at least, I hope, 2 hours. Selfish me wants her mother all to myself for some well deserved down time."
Sharon was hesitant, "E, I don't know. It's her first day wouldn't want her to wake up in a strange environment and be scared."
Eyal with a reassuring smile said, "Sharon, she's 3 days old! I don't think she'll notice 'the environment' but somehow I knew mommy would put up a fuss so, here's my surprise!"
Opening the door, he said, "Clara, you OK for watching over our precious Sarai?"
"Clara? Clara is here?"
"Well, are you going to welcome her or will I need to fly her back to London?"
"Sharon, I was there for MP and Kevin, couldn't stay away for this precious little one. Eyal organized it all. Sarai, what a lovely name!"
Sharon kissed Clara on both cheeks and said, "Thanks for being here, I'm so happy!"
Eyal put his arm around his wife's shoulders and asked, "Well darling, what do you say?"
"I'm all yours, Mr. Lavin!"
He lifted her up and said,
"Clara, you're in charge. We are home but the 'Do not disturb' sign is up on our door. There are bottles in the fridge if Sarai decides she wants a snack!"
As he pushed the door, she smelled a nice scent of lavender. He sat her on their bed and started undressing her,
"Eyal, no. Please, I'm not up to…"
He put his finger on her lips and said,
"Since when do you say no to a nice warm scented lavender bath?"
Putting her head down, she whispered,
"I thought you wanted…"
"Sharon, I'm worried here; do you really think sex is my only concern? I arrange for some (I hope for at least 4 hours) well deserved 'down time.'"
"No, no, I'm sorry, it's just that we are, well, usually quite active on that front. I'm not my normal self!"
"Sharon, you just gave birth, are dealing with sequels the fast delivery left on your body, lack of sleep and the constant demands of a newborn. I'm also experiencing similar feelings, plus have to admit it; some anxiety at this amazing but life-changing experience."
Sharon chuckled, "You nervous?"
"What can I say, it happens to the best of us. Sharon, sex is the last thing on my mind. Want you to have a restful couple of hours, no strings attached, promise."
"I'm sorry for the way I'm treating you. You're the best man a girl could hope for…" And the tears came.
Eyal hugged her and let her wet it out on his shoulder. He knew this was coming at one point. He had experienced it with Hanna.
Whispering to her, "You ready for that bath now?"
She nodded, he picked her up and gently laid her down in the bath. As he was leaving, she pulled on his hand.
"Stay with me, I might need those strong shoulders again!"
"Your wish is my command, my Lady."
He kissed her forehead and sat on the side of the bath.
"How am I going to reach your shoulder with you sitting way up there?"
"Sharon, did you just ask me to join you?"
"Well, you offered your shoulder and I accepted. Do you need me to draw you a picture?"
He rapidly undressed, slipped behind her, pulled his arms around her waist and asked;
"Very, I might just fall asleep, a wonderful deep sleep. This is the best E, thanks!"
Sharon did fall asleep. Looking at her sleeping peacefully in his arm, he rested his head on the back of the bath, closed his eyes and whispered to himself:
"Lavin this is now your life! A life you often dreamed of but never expected or deserved; a loving wife, four kids, a dog, a white picketed fence, good friends Annie/Auggie close by, wonderful neighbours, my 'sister' Ziva finally also living her life to the fullness, a thriving company and still working for your country in a covert world. It all seems too good to be true."
Sharon stirred, "Did you say something?"
Kissing her neck, he replied, "Was just thinking out loud that I'm a lucky guy!"
"Us both! E, for people like us, sometimes the heart needs more time to accept what our mind already knows… Think we've come full circle?"
"Never thought I'd be able to admit it; yes, we have a life and work for a living instead of living for our work. My future no longer torments me, my past no longer holds me back that permits me to live my present instead of just seeing it go by."
"Amen to that or whatever you say in Hebrew."
Eyal chuckled. He often took up Sharon on some religion base sayings to the point where she had become guarded of certain idioms,
"Well, in this case, the same! Amen is a liturgical response used not only in Christianity but also in Judaism and Islam. The word has the same Hebrew root as mynah (faith) and is also connected with the word emits meaning "truth." The idea expressed is of firm trust, acceptance, and reliability. So, I also will say amen!"
Eyal and Sharon participated in each other's places of worship and celebrate holidays from both faith in their home. Ima was impressed at how they share two faith in one household without actively practising, sensitized their children in both traditions and accepted them to pursue their own spiritual journeys. For Sarai, it was very important to have a ceremony to acknowledge they wanted to raise their child with a recognition of God. Abby Sciuto, the godmother, a fervent Catholic, preferred an 'official' ceremony. She had done some research and came up with a developed joint baptism and baby-naming ceremonies that are recognized as valid sacraments by the Catholic Church and Jewish faiths. Ms. Sciuto had found a priest who was open to baptizing Sarai at home, in a ceremony that also incorporated Jewish symbols and stressed that, as a family, they all were walking towards God. Our couple was impressed.
On the special day, all people important in Eyal and Sharon's life were reunited.
Sharon asked, "Abby, the ceremony is perfect for us. How did you come upon it?"
"I'm a forensic specialist … uncovering rare occurrences is my day to day work!"
Taking her by the shoulders, Eyal added, "Well Ms. Sciuto, you did well! I live here and didn't know such a possibility existed! Sarai is lucky to have such a caring and forensic Godmother!"
Abby was cuddling Sarai as if it was a precious possession. Everyone could see she was one happy lady and ready to assume her duties. It was not only a symbolic role for Abby.
Eyal/Sharon had chosen Henry Lawson as Sarai's Godfather. Both, he and Abby, were, by their very clever ways of thinking as first responders, responsible for Eyal being able to see his daughter come into this world.
Ducky had been a bit nervous at meeting-up with Robert. The man was 'officially' Sharon's father. Ducky felt as if he was somehow taking his grandfather's 'spot.' It was Ima that had put both men's awkwardness to rest.
"Robert, Donald, do you think this child is going to quip about having two doting grandfathers? One is not taking the place of the other, but I know my Robert well and as Donald, I'm guessing you are both walking on eggs at present. Sarai has the standard two 'grandad,' the only difference is that both are on the mother's side. Robert, if it makes things easier, why don't you consider yourself as her grandfather by your relationship with me? I'm Eyal's mother, Sarai's grandmother and you, her grandfather … by your association with me. Voilà, each have your respectful place."
Looking at both men's expression Eyal had lipped to his mother a heartfelt thank-you. She had smoothened one important hurdle.
It was now official: Sarai EliSheva Lavin had entered a Brit, a covenant, with God/G_d.
Abby, Ziva and Tony were staying at the Lavins' home. The rest of their invitees were staying at a relative or friends of theirs.
The couple had organized an outing for all. Their guests at receiving the invitation for the baby-naming ceremony, had also been asked to choose from four activities:
Uncle En/Martha—a gala concert with the "Arena di Verona" performing famous opera favourites, chamber and vocal concerts in a Jerusalem church—Boris, his wife Marissa, Ducky and Clara, Andy/Sharon A were their invitees
Gaby/Hanna—horseback riding & pony rides in Jerusalem Hills with Robin (Sharon's sister)/Vincent/their little boy, Avi, Kevin and MP/Jonathan.
Vance (from NCIS), Joan/Arthur (from CIA) and Ryan McQuaid formed a special group invited to Mossad headquarters for a conference on the future of spy agencies. An idea of Victor and Eyal. They had cohered Rivka in giving her views of the present situation and her ideas on how agencies could help themselves in joining the 21st century. Mossad's heads had approved. It would not be the whole truth… Mossad being Mossad, but it was a step in the right direction.
Ima and Robert were babysitting Sarai, Mackenzie (Joan's boy) and Sarah while Eyal/Sharon entertained Abby, Gibbs, Hank, Ziva/Tony, Annie/Auggie in wind surfing and kite boarding. An exciting tour with breathtaking views and excellent photo opportunities.
As they were returning from their special outing, Sharon was observing Ziva. Something did not seem right with her. Approaching Eyal, she whispered, "Ziva is not Ziva."
Eyal smiled, "I'm way ahead of you Madame, I'm out of practice master spy. Continue observing my little one, it won't take you long to figure it out. It's good news, do not worry."
Shooting him an interrogating stare, she replied, "She told you?"
"No, I'm a spy! Funny, it's one of your remarks that confirmed my thinking."
"Eyal Lavin, I don't have time to play games!"
Laughing he bent to whisper in her ear, "Remember your words to me; It didn't take you long to acquire 'the look'…. Love, Tony has that 'look.'"
Sharon's eyes widened and she breathed deeply, "I told you that when … are you telling me Ziva is pregnant?"
"Well, it's either pregnant or Tony is wanting to pop the question. I'd lay my money on her being pregnant. Knowing my dear Ziva, she wants to keep it quiet because it's Sarai's day or … they didn't tell Gibbs. At seeing Gibbs protectiveness around Ziva, he knows. Observe my little grasshopper, observe…"
Sharon rolled her eyes at him, "Ziva always said she didn't deserve to be a mother, it wasn't in her 'karma.' As you, she's come full circle, thanks to one Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Tony and her NCIS family. I need to know the truth."
Eyal warned, "Sharon, behave! Don't force Ziva to speak, am I clear?"
"E, you have your ways, I have mine. Don't worry, I'll be politically correct!"
Giving Eyal a teenager's look and teasingly kissing him, she was off. Eyal's eyes followed her. She met up with Abby and Eyal easily guessed what she was up to. Typical asset 'wheeling-in' protocol; Zero in on the happy ones, befriend them and make them talk. It would surely have worked had it not been for Gibbs picking up on Sharon's tactics. He put himself between Sharon and Abby then whispered something to the spy lady in action. The face Sharon gave Gibbs made Eyal laugh out loud, startling Annie who was approaching!
"Am I that funny, Mr. Lavin."
"Not you…. my meddling wife. She just got caught with her pants downs by Gibbs. She's not a happy camper at this moment! By the way, Ms. Walker, care to join me? We have a bit of unfinished business."
Annie shot Eyal a surprise look, "I don't recall any unfinished business! What's up? Please don't tell me you are on a mission and want my help! I'm COS now, no more CIA."
"Nothing of the sort, come!"
He guided Annie to a small room on the second floor of their house. Her questioning stare amused Eyal.
"While I was 'forced' to take it easy, I had some time to spare. Decided that having a balcony on both sides of our home could be a plus. We have the Sunrise in our room so I decided to add the Sunset on the other side.
As she entered the Sunset room, Eyal handed her a glass of wine and pointed to two beach chairs.
"A long time ago I promised a lovely rookie spy and love interest a wonderful sunset. I always keep my promises!"
Annie was taken aback, "Eyal, you... we can't. You…. Sharon?"
Smiling, he approached her and said, "Annie, this last year has been intense. Coming close to meeting up with my creator shook me to the core. Made me realize I had a bucket list with items to be crossed. One of them was the sunset I promised you. It won't be the one I had planned, but promise it will be special. First, a toast to a very special, caring and resilient lady. Your friendship and support in the Dead Man Walking mission meant a lot. Neshema, you've got a true friend in me and I don't say that to just anybody!"
"Eyal, if it hadn't been for me killing Henry Wilcox, the Dead Man Walking mission would never have happened … and you would not have been so badly injured. There's not a day that goes by where I don't shiver at what… Tash… Ben … you…."
As she spoke, tears rolled down her face.
He wiped her tears and shushed her with his index,
"Henry Wilcox had it all planned. The dices were set to roll as soon as he met his creator. The man breathed, ate and lived to avenge himself from the CIA, Mossad and all spy agencies that had pushed him aside. He wanted to kick out with a bang! You, killing him, only fast forwarded the chain of events. Annie, we came close to losing that war fought from the grave. Had we been some years older … dead-devil Henry might have won. Add years on this body and I (with the others) would not have come out of that mission alive. Auggie, Joan, Arthur, Vincent, McQuaid and I; we realize the toll your actions took on your life. You darkened yours for ours to shine a bit longer. We thank you, Neshema!"
"I never thought of it in that way! Eyal, you have no idea what those words mean to me. I'm the one to thank you!"
Eyal got on his knees and opened a small jewelry box. He smiled at Annie's incredulous expression.
"Two years ago, I had planned on giving you this friendship ring with a promise for it to be more. The river lead us down different paths. Today, I'm giving you that same ring but with a twist. Neshema, each person you saved by your actions added a gemstone for you to remember that they will always be there for you and that we fully grasp the extent of your actions. For me, it's a Diamond, Joan an Amethyst, Arthur a Blue Topaz, Ryan a Garnet, Vincent an Onyx and for Auggie an Opal. We personalized, in writing, the reasons for our choice of stone and our feelings/emotions towards you. Annie Walker, do you accept these gifts as a sign of our forever gratitude. This is, for each, a personal gesture. Spy agencies are not implicated."
With that the five walked in and hugged Annie. They took time to witness a beautiful sunset before joining the others in the reception room.
Eyal served more wine and gave a final toast,
"This, I hope, puts an end to Sharon's number 6 thesis and the Dead Man Walking mission! Never in my career had I seen such an intricate web on a mission. I'm still not grasping it all!"
Sharon smiled while all agreed and toasted.
Eyal, who was behind the bar, offered Auggie a beer and asked, "How did your meeting with Hohar go?"
"Just what this insecure blind man needed. Hohar handed me the right 'cane' to deal with things in Israel. As you guessed, I took this job mostly for Annie. Thanks to Hohar, I'm now welcoming the experience to get out of my comfort zone. Never realized that if I stayed in my comfortable slippers, I would always be 'blind.' Don't get me wrong, I know our job is dangerous, but it is one I can easily navigate in. It was my life before I was blind and I adapted. Hohar gave me a lecture and it hit me like a ton of bricks; Auggie, I bet you can run a computer like none other or extract an officer in great danger and have no qualms whatsoever. You're one of the CIA's best, blind or not. But renovating your room makes you break into a cold sweat. That not normal for a guy that's been blind for some years. You're purposely staying inside your comfort zone. You should start living your life instead of acting like a good little soldier and always march in a perfect and predictable formation."
Eyal added, "Got I secret. I didn't know it at the time I set up your meeting, but the man was down on himself. Seeing you evolve showed him he could still help others."
"Glad I was able to 'help' Hohar, but I owe him a lot more. Don't know if it's a 'being blind' thing, but we do question ourselves, put things in perspective and sometimes arrive to the wrong conclusions … glad we could help each other. He's a good man who's been through a lot and I want us to continue being friends. Again, thanks, you saw right through me!"
"You're welcome, friend!"
Looking around Eyal noticed Sharon was talking one on one with Ziva. Guessing the subject of their discussion, he joined them with a special prop… Sarai's soother! He didn't say a word as he handed Ziva the object.
Looking at the pink soother she asked, "What do you want me to do with that?"
"It made me think of a quote Dan Herold once said; Babies are such a nice way to start people."
Ziva's eyes went to Sharon then Eyal, she rapidly said, "Wait here!"
Eyal was proud of himself. He whispered to Sharon, "Don't get down on yourself, I'm good at this spy thing."
Sharon was sipping her orange juice and didn't or couldn't look at Eyal as she answered, "You're the best."
Ziva tapped Eyal's shoulder, he turned and saw Annie. The smile they had on their faces was a dead giveaway that something was up.
Scratching his head and looking at Sharon, he risked, "I think I just put my foot in my mouth…"
Sharon laughed, "Big times, Love. Wait for it!"
Annie called the attention of their guests.
"Guys, I have an announcement to make. Eyal, you very recently told me you had a bucket list to live up to. Think this will help you cross one more item. Do you remember what you had promised Sharon at the beginning of the Dead Man Walking mission?"
Eyal whispered, "No, but have a feeling I'm going to!"
Annie continued, "I was caught up with my new job so asked Ziva to organize it all. She's a good Officer but seems she not good at keeping secrets from a snoopy spy friend. Here goes; When our four planned interventions were cancelled, your trip to Québec City didn't happen. You had promised Sharon that you would visit Québec in the dead of winter at another time. Well, as a thank-you for organizing and picking up the tab for your friends to get to know Israel and Sarai better, we are happy to offer you guys a two week all paid Romantic Getaway at the Hôtel de Glace in Québec City. Included in the package is a Nordic sleeping bag and sparkling ice cider cocktail served in an ice flute."
Eyal's face was to die for, he didn't know what to say or how to react. He could only shake his head in despair while trying to stop his friends from laughing. After a couple of minutes, they let him speak,
"Annie Walker, you played me good! Thanks friends, but it wasn't necessary … really Québec City and the Hotel de Glace in February. Sharon, what is the average temperature?"
A smiling Sharon said, "Minus 20, -25 it can even go down to -33 with the wind factor, but I'll keep you warm, promise. Us Canadians have our ways! Thank-you all, it's a wonderful gift, but as Eyal said, it wasn't necessary. We loved that you could be here for our daughter's naming and baptism ceremony."
Most of their guest had made a week out of their stay in Jerusalem. Director Vance with his contacts at the Mossad's had organized a Terrorist training 101 for Gibb's team.
Ziva, knowing Eyal and feeling a bit guilty for having played him, guessed he needed some private time with Sharon after these last days' events. She cleared the house with her invitation to see places where she'd liked to hang out with the mention of giving them scoops of her life as a child! She later called and said they would be staying at Gaby/Hanna's house to watch the film 'A Dog's Purpose' for the kids and Bridge of Spies for the adults.
She added, "Eyal, hope this makes up for organizing you trip to freeze your ass off in Canada!"
"I could never be mad at you for doing good! Sorry the way I went about hinting that you were pregnant. One should never tease on such a subject especially with false intel."
As she hung up she said, "Who said your intel was false?"
Before he had time to digest her last words, Sharon, who was finishing the dishes, asked, "Who was that?"
"Ziva. Our guests are staying at Hanna's for a movie night. That gives us a couple of minutes of downtime before Sarai wakes. Ziva's threat! She knows me well, knew I'd need an alone moment. I love our friends but…"
Sharon sheepishly looked at Eyal, "Indeed she does! We have more than a couple of minutes; Clara and Ducky took Sarai to visit a friend who works at the American Embassy … think Grandad wants to show her off. Avi and Kevin are at friends for a 24-hour Xbox marathon and the others are with Ziva. The coast is clear."
Eyal smiled and said, "I'll run you a bath…"
She pulled him towards her, "Don't want a bath, want some action. Since when do you need an invite?"
Eyal whispered, "Are you sure?"
He rapidly got his answer! She was touching him in spots she knew all too well would make him rapidly 'get the picture.'
"Slow down if you don't want our get-together to be pre-empted."
She backed him up in the living room and locked the door behind her,
"Upstairs is too far…"
"Sharon, are you ready? Want to assure you that I'm OK with kissing, touching and being physically close to each other."
Realizing she was not backing down, he warned, "Hey, if things become uncomfortable, we stop."
"Promise! Can you stop playing Doctor Lavin? I prefer the womanizing Eyal."
"Sharon, seeing you in action as a mother and working alongside as a dad is great. Our sexual calendar might be empty, but for me that new role has kept me busy, exhausted, and fulfilled. Want you to…"
"EYAL… Oh, just forget it if you're not ready. Can't very well rape you!"
That seemed to bring him to the moment at hand, "Love, I'm more than ready but I didn't give birth just 7 weeks ago."
It hit her that he was stalling for a reason, she dared, "Eyal, how did it go with Hanna after Avi was born?"
"Love, that's between Hanna and I…."
"Not asking you for details, after how many weeks?"
Pinching his lips, he whispered, "I pushed after six weeks. Sometimes women don't…"
"Eyal, how many times will I have to tell you: I'm not Hanna! This is getting annoying, I feel like I'm the 'déjà vue' wife! Eyal, I'm physically and psychologically ready. Want, no need a real man. You can't handle it, maybe you should find yourself another Hanna!"
That did it, Eyal pushed her against the wall, assaulted her lips with kissed and then hands were everywhere and they got into it. He was careful but had lost his inhibitions.
Lying on his back, he was the first to speak, "Nothing like sex to conquer parental stress."
"It rocked, but was worried for a moment…"
"Sharon, I'm sorry. Want to assure you that the Hanna analogies are a thing of the past. My training as a medical doctor didn't teach me how difficult the after-baby period can be on a woman. Please, believe me, you were my only concern. I did not want to cause you any pain or discomfort. Wanted you to know that I was perfectly OK with waiting."
"Eyal, if you push too hard, promise I'll push back. We good?"
He suddenly remembered Ziva's words. Looking around, he reached for the object and tapped Sharon's nose with the pink pacifier as he said,
"Love, now would be the time to bow to the Master!"
"She finally told you! Was wondering when she'd get the guts to come out with it. Eyal, you were right; Ziva is 20 weeks pregnant and expecting a girl. She did not want to take the spotlight away from Sarai and Annie's announcement. Must admit Ziva and Annie are good at deceptive tactics; they played you, Officer Lavin!"
"Must admit, they did! Who knows of Ziva's pregnancy?"
"Us, Tony, of course, Annie and Gibbs."
"She planning on coming out soon? She about to show a rounder belly and people will notice."
"You know Ziva. She's paranoid that if it comes out, she'll lose the baby. She still believes that she doesn't deserve to be happy and that her Karma will not permit it. Eyal, this should be the happiest time in her life and she's living it in fear. I had a talk with Tony and Gibbs, they are at wit's end on how to help her deal with her fears."
"You never thought of bringing me in sooner?"
"I confronted her at the naming ceremony and talked to Tony and Gibbs this morning. She fears her Israeli entourage the most. That's why she hesitated in telling you. I lived with Ziva for three years and know I can't get through when she's in 'that' mood. Never could. I'm scared she'll miscarriage at putting so much strain and guilt on herself. If that happens, she won't live through it."
"Think it's intervention time."
"Eyal, assets, targets, OK. I don't feel up to messing with a friend's head. Only thinking of the possible outcomes gives me cold sweats. I know how to conduct an intervention, but I'm not up to backing a pregnant Ziva in a corner…."
"Sharon, I would never attempt something that could hurt her. I have an idea but will run it through Gaby beforehand and for what I'm planning I need to get Rivka's approval. I will then call in one huge IOU. Give me a couple of days to organize it all."
"Keep me into the loop?"
"Promise. For now, asking you to trust me."
She pulled on his chin and lipped before giving him a light kiss, "I do."
He pulled her to him, fell on the sofa and positioned her to rest her head on his chest.
His hands went roaming but she whispered, "You're not getting seconds, that would be pushing it!"
"OK, can we compromise for some cuddling?"
It had been four days since they spoke of Ziva. Their guests were leaving in 24 hours.
Sharon and MP came in teasing each other and Haya was jumping all over them. Eyal was sitting in the guest room with an older man. Both stopped and MP spoke,
"Sorry for the commotion, didn't know you had a guest, Eyal"
The older man said, "Do no excuse yourself; a home without laughter and joy is a home in disarray. Keep your home neat and tidy. Discipline your children. Show respect towards your husband and allow him to lead. Don't waste all your time on television, the Internet and iPhones. Play with your children. Teach them to work along beside you. Be careful what books, magazines and television shows that you watch and read. Go to bed at a reasonable time and wake up ready to serve your family and country. Those are rules of life I abide by. Some are not of your time but I offer the ones that fit your lifestyle."
Sharon gulped and looked at Eyal. She whispered to a stunned MP to take care of Haya and leave them some privacy.
Placing herself next to Eyal, she looked at both men and asked,
"I'm pretty sure I know the answer, but can you introduce our guest?"
"My child, why don't you guess?" the man asked looking over his dark reading glasses. Sharon had to shake off some creepy déjà-vue memories.
"Eyal, this is the big IOU cash-in?" Eyal nodded.
Sharon continued, "Huge would be a better word. He's Eli David's presume dead older brother; Aryeh. Ari, Ziva's brother was named after him. It means "lion", the king of beasts. You're the uncle who bred Arabian horses. The story Ziva gave me was that her uncle was killed in 1982, the year she was born."
She was observing the man and when he smirked, she closed her eyes and shook her head,
"Hell, she's your daughter, isn't she? You have the same nervous smirk. Ari is Ziva's half-brother but not by the father; they have the same mother! Dr. Hasmia Haswari and Aryeh David for Ziva. Dr. Hasmia Haswari and Eli David for Ari. Rivka David was not Ziva's mother! In a safe, at his farm, Eli had a picture of two very pregnant women… He had grilled me crazy for snooping. I now know why he was so pissed! It all fits. I'm going on a hunch here; Rivka David, Eli's wife lost her baby."
By the men's subtle smiles, she got her answer.
"Like I, Ziva spent most of her life trying to fit in…. Always questioning herself. Wow … she's half Arab, half Israeli! Eli, when he wanted to taunt her would say she had Arab's ways. That I didn't see coming. Eyal since when do you know?"
"Found out Aryeh was alive when I replace Victor in the wake of Lyse's murder and your mother coming back to life. I had to read some of Eli David's old case files and had the necessary clearances to see it all. In December 1982, Mr. Aryeh David was sent to Australia by his brother, Director David with an order to never set foot in Israel again. He made a life agreement with the Mossad, more Eli, in exchange for anonymity. I found out the why of his hiding in the process of getting him vetted to return to Israel."
Sharon looked at the man, his eyes were now sad. She took over,
"Can I? (he nodded); June 06, 1982 (Ziva was born on November 12, 1982) the invasion of Lebanon was the first war fought by the IDF without a domestic consensus. Unlike the 1948, 1967, and 1973 wars, the Israeli public did not view Operation Peace for Galilee as essential to the survival of the Jewish state. The attempt to impose a military solution to the intractable Palestinian problem and to force political changes in Lebanon failed. The PLO, although defeated militarily, remained an important political force. You sir were one of the IDF's leaders. Inside Israel, a mounting death toll caused sharp criticism by a war-weary public and of the Likud government. You were the scapegoat. Eli arranged to get you out of murky waters. You both agreed that Eli would raise your daughter as his. Two brothers having the same mistress…. Know I'm missing some elements, but you chose a lesser evil (exile) to give your child a fighting chance to not live in the footsteps of a marked man. You were an IDF leader, fighting an unpopular war and involved with an Arab woman … not good in those times! Eli, on the other hand, had climbed to the top of Mossad's ranks. I presume Mossad didn't know anything of this because it was all in Eli's personal files. The ones in the safe at the farm… damn, I knew some dark secrets lied in those files, had them at my fingertips, but got caught!"
Eyal softly spoke, "As always Love, you're spot on. Yes, you are missing a couple of facts. I cannot speak of them since they concern Israel's internal security. Be assured that Mr. David has done nothing but follow ill-informed orders. I had spoken of my findings to Rivka who, on hearing the tale, was beside herself. We were in the process of having Mr. David reinstated, but such matters take time. When I found out about Ziva's pregnancy, I appealed to a suit that owed me big and he fell through: Mr. David, in less than 48 hours, was again an Israeli citizen and listed as a war hero … as he should have been from the start. His parental rights were not part of the deal, that will take time, but he is back in his country. I have permission to read in Ziva and her entourage. As usual we cannot tell the whole truth… spy agencies seek to protect first and foremost their 'IMAGE'!"
Taking off his glasses and wiping his eyes, Aryeh asked, "Is my Ziva as good a spy as your wife, Mr. Lavin?"
"Yes, they are both skilled Master Spies. Ziva specializes in the action part while Sharon is more in profiling. Did you read your daughter's file?"
"More than once, read and cried … read and cried."
Sharon needed to ask, "Did you ever inquire, try to contact her…?"
"No, my child. I lived up to my part of the deal and was reborn as an Australian, remarried and widowed but could not bring myself to have kids. I trusted my brother to do well by Ziva. Eyal and Rivka gave me the painful truth of what happened to my girl and my lover Hasmia Haswari. Eli had called when Rivka, his wife, had lost the baby she was expecting. He added that Hasmia had her baby… he then said that for my child to have a better life, if was better that he switched babies. Found it strange that both women gave birth at the same time, but I'm a firm believer in Kismet. I agreed for everything to be put in place for Ziva to become his biological daughter. After that talk we agreed to cut all ties. I never looked back. It's the only way I could live with myself. Now, I'm wondering why Eli could be so cruel with Ziva. He had lost Ari in such dramatic circumstances. Didn't he realize he was sending Ziva in Ari's footsteps?"
"That, I can now answer YES! He didn't have a father-daughter bond. As I was for my mother; Ziva was a spy toy for him to use and abuse to achieve a greater good; Israel's and Mossad's supremacy. His thinking was that he had failed with Ari because he had a bond with his son. Ziva was 'nothing' to him... well his niece but…"
Sharon continued, but was harsh and it startled Eyal,
"Eli David and my mother, Elizabeth Jackson, were not human beings! Only monsters can inflict such emotional pains/scars on children."
"My Ziva, my poor Ziva…"
Sharon shivered at hearing the man say, 'my Ziva.' Closing her eyes, she could have sworn it was Eli David.
"Eyal, what's next?" Sharon asked.
"Ziva is on her way. Sharon, I'm not going to sugar coat this."
"NO! Eyal, call her off. She is not ready to deal with this. Please, trust me."
Mr. David interrupted, "Not for me to impose myself, but Eyal has lead on this … he's Israeli and Mossad, one of us…."
"Sir, we are a team as spies, spouses and parents. We discuss situations as equals. Eyal, please call her off."
"No. Stand by me on this … please."
"Where is she?"
"At Hanna's, babysitting Sarah. Hanna and Gaby are on a lover's weekend. Ziva volunteered … to gain experience with caring for a baby. Just texted MP and asked if she could 'volunteer' to replace Ziva and she said yes. They switch places and she heading over. Fifteen minutes' top."
"Mr. David, can I ask of your agenda?"
Eyal answered, "He'll be staying in our home. I'm his guardian for the time being. It will depend on Ziva."
She pulled Eyal out of the room.
"Eyal, how could you keep such a secret from me?"
"Sharon, think! It concerned my country's security and didn't show Deputy Eli David in a good light. Rivka and I had to be careful about how we dealt with it. At the time, I discovered the cover-up, Mossad was working on the murder of its present deputy's wife, your mother's possible involvement with our ex-Deputy (Eli David) in a diabolical plan to bring down the Hamas and retire to the US, plus threats on our present Deputy, Victor, forced Mossad to put all close to him in protective custody… Not the time to bring up another evil wrongdoing of Eli David. You would have done the same."
"You're right. Eyal when Aryeh talks, it's like hearing Eli, creepy!"
"I know. Rivka shakes every time the man talks!"
"Eyal, get all the medical facts that prove that Aryeh David is Ziva's father…."
"Ziva will have all at hand to properly and without doubt ID her mother and father. Sharon, I did my due diligence, don't worry. He's the real McCoy."
"Damn, this is unbelievable! Does Aryeh know Eli had Hasmia killed to control Ari? Do you think Ari knew?"
"Hey slow down with the questions! No, he's not been read in for Hasmia death. Mossad does not want to drill down on it. We do not have enough proof. As for Ari, we will never know. Ziva might be able to remember conversations she had with Ari that she now could decode."
Rejoining Aryeh, Sharon asked, "I have one question Mr. David: Were you once a dancer?"
The old man smiled, "Ziva likes to dance?"
"Yes, she always wished she could have been a ballerina."
"To answer your question: Fitting, Hasmia and I were ballet dancers in our youth. We participated in a couple of competitions, but politics got complicated and life took us in a different path. She was Arab and I Israeli … not the best of the match … She became a doctor, we lost touch. Eli, while on a mission fell for her and later at the worst of time, we rekindle and conceived Ziva! "
Sharon continued, "Mr. David, I don't want to be disrespectful but please when you meet Ziva do not call her 'my Ziva'. You sound so much like Eli it's unnerving. Ziva is 20 weeks pregnant, hormones are kicking in and she's fighting them for control … she doesn't know it yet, but she won't win that battle! So now is not the time for the ghost of Eli to appear."
"Would it be better if I took my Australian persona for some time?"
"If it's not too painful, it might be easier."
"Not painful, it's been my life for 34 years."
He left to gather some photos and writings of his life in Australia.
Eyal lovingly touched Sharon's face,
"Sharon, want you to know that when you organized that surprise showing of "Le petit Prince" with many of my friends/family, I had just learned of this mess. That reception was a lifesaver. I was battling with my conscience; my duty to my country/agency versus telling you of the intel of Eli's brother."
"And the winner would have been, had there not been any reception?"
"Never tell a soul … think I would have trusted you enough to give you the intel."
"That's an after the facts lie! You would have kept the secret even if I had not organized a reception for you. Eyal, you were right; I would have done the same."
Sharon affectionately kissed him
"Sharon, call Tony and Gibbs. She is going to need her American family. Also, would want Ducky to be present. He might have just the right words for Ziva. Another person I'd like standing by is Tali."
"Good thinking Officer Lavin! Can I read them in?"
"The whole shebang … the only bit of intel I don't won't them repeating is that Aryeh is Ziva's dad. I trust them to keep that intel close to their chests. Also, read in Tali. By now, she's proven that she can deal with spy secrets! Better all know what they could face."
As she was going to their bedroom, she bumped into MP.
"Mom, what's going on. Eyal practically ordered me to replace Ziva."
"Can't tell you much, but let's say Ziva is living the same reality I faced with Ducky!"
"Damn, seems spies and f_cked-up lives are a norm!"
"MP, with Ziva … poker face is a must. Try to remember your deceptive training!"
"Funny mom … very funny! I'll do my best, but it's Ziva we're talking about! If she's on to me….!"
"Tell her, 'Need to know, Graciella, need to know.' It's a code between us. At hearing it, she'll know not to push, promise."
"Needing to plan for everything … you old spies are paranoid! Happy I wasn't a spy in your days!"
Eyal startled both and corrected MP,
"Not paranoid but seeing the bigger picture. You get there with experience. You're at the baby-step stage, had you continued, that quality would have been a must for surviving as a spy."
Gibbs, Tony and Ducky arrived together and as instructed took the back door. Sharon was waiting and escorted them to a secured room in the basement. Tali was already there. Sharon rapidly explained the situation and faced three men that were lost for words.
Gibbs spoke first, "What do you expect of us?"
"Don't know what she going to need or want but this is going to shake her world. Just be there for her."
Tony spoke, "Don't you think I should be the one to talk to her?"
Sharon smiled, "And I thought it should be me. My husband explained his views and I agreed: Eyal is part of her past, present, future and Israeli; Gibbs, Ducky, you and I joined in at some point in time as friends. Eyal is more prepared on the 'how to' announce that emotional news. There are things they lived through that we can't begin to imagine. Plus I'm guessing some stuff we are not on 'a need to know' basis. You, Tony, will have the task of helping her deal with it after the dust fall. Take it from personal experience, you'll be needed!"
Gibbs and Ducky added, "Tony, Sharon is right; Eyal is the best to read her in."
Ducky added, "Sharon, again, how do you want us to handle this?"
"Don't know. It depends on Ziva. Tali want you to watch her closely."
Tali nodded, "Yes, news like that can trigger dire reactions. Glad Eyal had the clairvoyance of inviting me!"
Gibbs asked, "Sharon, Aryeh Davis, are we sure he's for real?"
"Eyal compared the DNA Mossad had on file and it's a perfect match. A new test will be done once Ziva is read in. Eli could easily have tampered with the Mossad's DNA, but I trust Eyal has enough proof if he's telling Ziva. Aryeh doesn't have reasons to lie. It's the Mossad that came to him, the man had accepted his fate."
Sharon's phone vibrated, hanging up she said, "We are all expected in the reception room."
As they came in, a calm and smiling Ziva was waiting for them. She went to Tony and hugged him. Everyone looked at Ziva then, Eyal.
Gibbs spoke, "We were expecting a war zone, not a hug and kiss situation!"
Ziva spoke, "It's all fitting in… Sharon, you should know what those words mean. He loves horses and is a dancer… I'm not a misfit after all. I still have a lot to work through, but…"
The tears came and Tony stepped in. Eyal signalled to Tali and Sharon to leave. He had to push Aryeh to stay put. For the first time in his life, the man needed to step up as a father.
"People, how about some wine and cheeses while we wait for them to talk it through?"
Gibbs, who had followed, smiled, "Lead the way! Sharon, I don't need to hold Ziva's hand. She has Tony and her 'father' to do that now."
As they were following Eyal's lead to a pairing wine and cheese lunch, Sharon asked,
"Eyal, did you expect this calm reaction from Ziva?"
"Knowing the girl and her past; yes. Sharon, you are the kind of person that will fight, but in the end, accept a situation as is. The buck stops there and as you say in French 'tourne la page' (turn the page). Ziva needs answers and solutions. She will not stop torturing herself till she can 'fermer le livre' (close the book). Yet, being her father, did just that. She found the missing but essential link … a bit as you did with Ducky. Still a lot of questions to be answered, emotions to surface and a letting go of her old life but she can now accept that Eli's legacy died with him. Best surprise is that Aryeh made her understand that she does not have to 'bear Eli's cross' as Catholics say. That intervention on his part greatly helped our Ziva. People, the man connected with Ziva at a level I never thought possible with that woman."
Gibbs added, "I, for one, will be glad to get to know the real Ziva David. Lavin good job!"
They heard a light tap on the door. Ziva, with Tony and Aryeh in tow, entered.
She went to Sharon and whispered, "I was so envious of you when you found Ducky. We are no more outcasts, my friend and it's a wonderful and powerful feeling!
Then she went up to Eyal and properly thanked him.
Tali approached her and enquired if she was OK. The doctor had to leave, but not before inviting Ziva to see her before leaving.
Shaking off strong emotions, Eyal opened a bottle of champagne and served all,
"To fathers and daughters!"
Everyone lifted their glasses!
Everything had returned to normal in the Lavin home; Work, school and baby routines! Eyal, while serving Sharon some breakfast, said to her ear,
"Had a nice week, but glad it back to normal. I love waking up to our quiet."
Smiling, "Our quiet? You call a very impatient baby howling to be fed, a dog whining to come in our bed and the boys scrambling to get ready for school while Clara is scrambling for them not to forget their lunches or papers…"
"It's all music to my ears would … no … could never go back to where I was just a few years ago."
"What was your routine at that time?"
"Get out of bed … no … check who was next to me, recall what had gone down between us, get out of bed, make breakfast, eat, get rid of who was with me, shower, clean my weapons and go to work."
Pinching her lips, she added, "As I see it, it's pretty much the same; check who of me or Haya is next to you, recall if we had enough privacy to 'do it,' get out of bed, make breakfast, eat, shower with or without me, clean your weapons, and go to work (in Tel Aviv or London). You added; howler after the boys and kiss Mommy and Baby to the list and you now have way less time to shower!"
"See someone is in a good mood! What can I say, my morning routine is music to my ears and my quiet! Sharon, seriously I would not have it any other way."
As he was going to kiss her, they heard MP yell. By her tone of voice, they both grabbed their guns and rapidly came downstairs. MP was standing in the entrance with Sandy. There was a lot of blood. Clara was trying to help but she wasn't steady enough to give MP the needed assistance.
Eyal rapidly took charge. He carefully lifted Sandy and laid her on the sofa.
"Sharon, dial 911 call Rivka and tell her to get a hold of Victor. He's on assignment. Clara, call Tali and explain the situation. Keep her on the line for me to talk to her. MP get cleaned up and help me with Sandy. Sharon, no pun intended, but don't want you near blood. You'll be my go-between with Tali."
He looked at Sandy and softly asked, "What happened?"
She struggled to speak, "Was coming for my morning walk with MP and felt a sharp pain, not like a contraction, more tearing pain. Eyal, the baby is struggling with some scar tissue, I know it…."
"don't presume. You're at 37 weeks so baby will be a little early that's all. Like his daddy, he wants to make a lasting impression everywhere he goes."
Sharon was observing Eyal, he was in his element. The man was calm and was a natural at calming a patient.
Sharon spoke, "Eyal, Rivka assures me Victor is on his way but it may take an hour or so. First respondents have a 10-minute arrival time. I'm with them as we speak, they'd like a picture of the situation."
MP arrived and Eyal asked, "MP, get me the medical bag in my safe. Then hot water and towels, lots of both. Clara, did you speak to Tali?"
Clara was a wreck, Sharon calmed her, sent her to take care of Sarai and took over.
"Eyal, Tali is on her way. She's telling us not to move Sandy and not to let her leave with the paramedics. If possible wait till she arrives, ETA—7 minutes. She should be here before the ambulance. I'm in line with Tali, she called the paramedics to tell them that she is in charge."
"This baby has a mind of his own and, as his daddy, doesn't give a damn of my instructions. Sharon, put Tali on speaker NOW."
Eyal continued, "Tali, you hear me OK?"
"Yes! Assess the situation, Eyal."
"She's fully dilated and from what I can feel baby is in breech position. I might need to turn him, got any directives with Sandy's particular situation?"
They heard Tali swear, "Had schedule a caesarian for tomorrow. Scar tissues should have stopped him from descending. He went further than expected and got turned around by the baby is some fighter! Is Sandy conscious?"
Eyal smiled at Sandy, "Barely, but fighting like hell to stay with us."
Tali asked, "Can you think of a way to make her relax? Eyal, do not attempt to turn the baby if he decided that he's coming out. It could cause more harm to mother and child."
Eyal eyes connected with Sharon as he answered, "Tali, you're the doctor, remember! I don't see myself delivering this baby!"
Tali shouted out, "You guys are spies, make yourself useful. Sharon, you're the extraction specialist, how would you work the problem if Sandy was on a mission? Eyal, you have medical training, rehash it fast!"
Again, Sharon and Eyal eyes locked together. Sharon asked, "Sandy, are you receptive to hypnosis?"
Sandy breathed out heavily, "Yes, very much so, but can't see me going under with so much pain…."
Eyal shouted, "Sharon takes some gloves out of my bag and get yourself next to Sandy."
As Tali arrive, Sharon had succeeded in putting Sandy under.
"Sharon how did you put Sandy under, suggestion or a specific trigger."
"Gave her hypnotic suggestions for her to release "feel-good" hormones, endorphins and serotonin. A trigger is difficult to maintain. Filled her mind with positive images and associations of birth. Just been there myself, so I had some examples to spare. Hoped it succeeded in relaxing the muscles and nervous system to the point that she feels less pain—or even no pain at all."
"Sandy, I can't give you anything for the pain. Rehash those triggers Sharon gave you. How are you feeling?"
She didn't answer. Sharon spoke and she responded, only telling them she was in a good place.
Tali was relived, "Sharon, she's under and responsive, but will only answer to your voice. Stay close by and keep her under. You said you had images to spare … get them ready. Marie-Pier, you'll be our bus boy. We'll need blankets, hot waters and sponges, gauze to stop some bleeding, very soft blankets to keep mommy and baby warm after birth."
Sharon added, "MP, can you also fetch some music, my lavender scented candle and massage oil? You'll find many blankets in Sarai's room, raid it and bring them all in here."
MP went about her tasks.
The ambulance had arrived, Sharon eyed Tali, "You're not rushing her to the hospital?"
Tali whispered, "No time, we move her we risk losing the baby and she'll start hemorrhaging. From what I saw yesterday, I concluded that it would be better she had an emergency caesarian The scar tissues were in a bad place for mother and child. Eyal knows of the dire situation."
Sharon's eyes widened and whispered to Tali, "He knows … damn that man should have been a doctor."
"Yes, he should … we'll talk later. I need to assist Eyal. You get into Sandy's head. Sharon, I'm counting on you to keep her focus on you, not us."
Tali approached Eyal and asked, "What kind of breech."
Eyal turned and without taking his eyes off Sandy, he answered, "From what I can feel, it's a frank breech. The legs are straight up in front of his body, near his head."
"That great. A complete or footling breech would have been complicated/dangerous but many women successfully have vaginal deliveries with a frank breech. You can do this Eyal!"
Sharon's head shot up and Eyal took his stare from Sandy to Tali,
"I'm not the doctor Tali!"
"Eyal, I'll guide you through it. I don't want to risk us switching places. You're doing fine. Applying the right pressure on the uterus is the key and you have it under control. Her vitals and the baby's are good. Sharon is going to keep her in a relax state … stay with it, doctor Lavin."
"Eyal, Sandy's life is in your hands, deal with it. You have the necessary training, you just need to remember it. Plus, you have more nerves than any doctor I know. Combine your spy and doctor training and you'll be fine. How advance is she?"
"Fully dilated but still too much blood."
"Luck is on our side; baby is small. That much the sonogram told me! For the blood, it's probably lacerations of the cervix or rupture of the uterus. Don't worry about the blood, that will be my job after that baby comes out. Focus Eyal, feel the baby and connect with him. I'll take over with Sandy's physical needs after the birth."
Sharon put herself in the extraction mode and blanked out all but Sandy. Observing her, Tali winked at Eyal. Having his hands full, he didn't acknowledge.
"Tali, baby is twisting and turning. I can't feel any tissue that could be in his way and the umbilical cord is not around his neck. My hand can move freely, so baby has enough space to freely wiggle out. Are we ready for some pushing, Sandy ?"
At seeing Sandy's facial expression, Tali added, "Sharon, talk her through it. She will respond better to your voice. Eyal do not speak directly to her, your voice might make her panic, leave Sharon's guide Sandy. Eyal, I want a play by play, every second counts."
Eyal was nervous… "Tali can I talk or not!? I can't give you a play by play if my tone of voice can startle her!"
Smiling at the irony/truth of what Eyal said, she answered, "See somebody is right where he should be! Use your womanizer voice, as I remember it is very soft!"
Sharon had to pinch herself not break in an out of control laugh. Looking at Sandy, she realized her friend had heard and was at the same point. Working with that and the fact that Sandy and Tali were ex-girlfriends of Eyal, she succeeded in making her push with memories of situations where Sandy wanted to get back at Eyal for some wrong doings of his or annoying habits. Sandy recalled a couple of doozies and pushed accordingly. It was now Tali's turn to laugh as she voiced a couple of her own memories.
Eyal, now reassured that baby was doing well and only a push away joining the world, glanced at Sharon and quickly said, "Thanks for the help, PARTNER!"
"Well, Tali said to keep Sandy relaxed…."
Tali called all to focus, "Sandy, you're doing fine. It's time for a final push, give it your all, baby is ready to meet mommy."
It was rapidly over and as Eyal cut the umbilical cord and put Sandy's tiny daughter on her, Tali went to work to stop the bleeding. Like she had expected, it was only some tissue tears.
Sandy was worried, her precious little girl didn't seem to want to stop crying. Tali picked up the baby and immediately saw that she had a broken shoulder.
"Sandy, it's nothing. Her shoulder is broken but that can be fixed. Eyal, don't you dare blame yourself? You did an amazing job, Doctor Lavin."
Sandy signalled him to come near her as she whispered to Sharon,
"I'm going to properly kiss that man. Now would be the time to let go of my brain and look the other way. Promise, I'll give him back to you when I'm finished!"
She gave Eyal a long and loving kiss as she softly said, "E remember you once asked me why I could let you 100% in my life, well you now are and always will be. Not as a lover … you just entered my soul for eternity."
Sharon put her arms around her man because she knew all too well what was coming. Sandy and Tali saw that the dark and always in control spy could lose it.
The paramedics prepped Sandy and Tali followed them. Eyal and Sharon were alone.
Sharon called Clara and said, "Clara, all is well. Sandy and baby are doing great. Don't worry, I'll call for somebody to clean up. Don't want you cleaning blood when handling Sarai. Clara, we both need an out, can you mother Sarai a bit more?"
"Sharon, with pleasure. Is Mr. Eyal, OK?"
Eyal got up, "Don't worry, Clara, I'm fine. Like Sharon said; we need an out. Not good to bottle up emotions. You OK with taking care of our baby?"
"You don't need to ask. Get yourself out of here and have some fun. Where is MP?"
Sharon looked at Eyal and darted to MP's room. Her daughter was sitting on the floor, crying. She texted Eyal to invite Jonathan over. Kneeling, she put her arm on her shoulder,
"Too much for you?"
"The blood, it was everywhere … was that normal?"
"No, God no! MP, that was not a normal birth. Glad to say that thanks to Eyal and Tali, mother and baby are fine. You did well…"
"No, I didn't; I panicked plain and simple. I got what Tali asked for and got out. I couldn't stand the sight of so much blood! How could you Eyal stay so calm?"
"MP, sadly we've both seen worst. Eyal was a year short of graduating as a doctor and he is a natural. More than I could ever imagine."
"Hope you're not disappointed in how I handle myself? I feel like I let you guys down."
Eyal spoke, "You handle yourself just fine. When you were needed, you delivered. Before leaving, saw you looking around, assess the situation and only then did you give into your own feelings. MP, had you seen something that wasn't right, you would have done all in your power to correct it. You realized we had it under control and only then did you leave. I can't be disappointed: you assessed, dealt with the job at hand and exited when over your head. Wish all young spies could handle themselves in that way."
Sharon added, "I agree with Eyal!"
They heard the doorbell and Eyal said, "We called Jonathan, you should be the one to tell him of his new sister. Sandy is going to want someone by her side while she waits for Victor. I'm fighting with my emotions at this time and your mother also needs to wind down. If you and Jonathan could hold Sandy's hand till Victor arrives, we'd appreciate. Think you're up to it?"
"Sandy is really OK? There was A LOT of blood…"
"Sandy is fine, it looked worse than it actually was."
Jonathan came running up the stairs, Clara had read him in. Eyal went to meet him and gave him more news. He also gave him advice on how to calm down MP. Jonathan assured Eyal that he'd take care of Sandy in Victor's absence.
Taking Sharon's hand, he pulled her out of the room, "Time for mommy to let go. MP is in good hands. Darling, at the moment, I need you more. Let's get out of here, please!"
"I'm all yours. Where would you like to go?"
"Before I tell you, I need to ask Clara if she's OK with staying with Sarai for 24 hours…."
"No… a couple of hours OK. Eyal, we can't leave for 24 hours, I'm breastfeeding!"
"Sarai easily accepts formula and you have at least two days of frozen maternal milk. You bring your pump with you and voilà; we have ourselves a deserved 24 hours of downtime."
Sharon winced, "OK, that covers the home front. Aren't you the one replacing Victor…"
"Stopping you … called Rivka. Victor will be needed at the Mossad for the next 48 hours at least. I can have my 24 hours. Quit stalling!"
Shaking her head, she replied, "Not stalling, just wanted to assure myself that we really can get out of here for 24 hours. If Clara agrees, I'll be in the car before you even have time to buckle your knee brace!"
"Good … was worried for a second!"
"Again, where are you taking us?"
"Hotel Alegra in Ein Kerem. Small (only seven suites), quiet and intimate. I plan to take a leisurely stroll through their verdant gardens filled with cozy seating areas, or enjoy the hotel's wading pool, fish pools and little waterfalls. The rooftop gives a spectacular view of churches, the old stone houses in Ein Kerem, and the Judean Mountains…"
"Good for you connecting with nature. I, on the other hand, would like to be pampered."
Smiling, he replied, "Got it covered! You will be able to indulge in spa treatments, a splash pool and/or wet sauna. The Chef is a friend of mine, he's beyond amazing and I gave him all your favourite plus ordered some special wines! Sharon, I want us to feel far removed from the hustle and bustle, but I can't be a far drive from Jerusalem. Mossad has me on a short leach! In so little time, it's the best romantic getaway available. Ein Kerem is a peaceful neighbourhood where one can spend an evening relaxing.
Clara was fine with their 24-hour downtime. Sharon gave her a burner phone to call if something happened, hugged and thanked her.
Arriving at the hotel, Eyal first order of business was to have a full body therapeutic massage. As he entered their suite, Sharon saw he was feeling way better.
Stepping behind the sofa, she put her arms around his shoulders, "You look better. Sandy and the baby are OK, stop worrying. Baby's broken shoulder was not your fault… hell it was a breech. Some doctors order a caesarean section, they won't even try a vaginal birth. Plus, Sandy…."
"Stop. It's not that…. I am facing emotions I never though I could have. Was sure I had settle that matter!"
Jumping over the sofa and sitting besides him, she asked, "What are you talking about?"
"Sharon, think I just came face to face with my calling…"
Sharon understood his words, but nothing made sense.
"Eyal, sorry! I'm clueless, what …"
Stopping because, she noticed he was trembling.
"Eyal, please tell me what's wrong? You're scaring me!"
"Sharon, I know this is crazy, but delivering Sandy's baby… I want to experience that feeling… again."
She smiled and knew where he was at. "You are realizing your inner self wants to return to medicine. Go for it Eyal, it's your life. You put it on hold to avenge your sister long enough."
"No, I'll get over it. It's just that I never experienced something as powerful. It shook me to the core."
"Eyal, what's stopping you?"
"Well, I have a list; Dark Control, Mossad, our family…. Sharon, our way of life is expensive… a doctor's salary won't go far!"
"Money… is money the only thing holding you back?"
Eyal shot her an annoyed look, "No, you should know me better! Let me rephrase; I have responsibilities towards Dark Control, Mossad and our family. I cannot pack up and go. I gave up that dream long ago, just needed to share with you what an incredible experience it was. Never had though helping Tali could shake me that much."
"Eyal, you didn't 'help' Tali, you were 'at the wheel' for that delivery. You're a natural, admit it."
"Look, let's take a walk. I just need to get the adrenaline out of my system. I've done medical interventions before, I just need to refocus that all."
"No, we are talking this through. Eyal, stitching or treating a gunshot wound, you do out of habit. That rush you are experiencing is something new and it's eating at you."
Sharon, get over it. I'm too old. You coming?"
"No and you're staying. Hear me out. Being a physician requires skill, patience, a desire to learn, and a lifelong commitment. You have all of that. I admit our present lifestyle will take a hit. Dark Control, you can sell to Ryan, he'll jump on the occasion. You can stay as a consultant for some time. Mossad, you're a team leader, but it springs into action on chosen missions… Damn, just hit me; being a doctor could be your noc (non-official-cover)! Eyal, please think of it."
Eyal was regretting having shared his feeling with her. "Sharon, please stop. It's not going to happen."
"Ah, we've progressed. You just admitted that you'd like for what I just said to happen, but it's an impossible dream!"
"Yes, OK I admit: It's an impossible dream of mine! There you happy!"
Sharon was making her usual little victory dance. He shook his head at her and said, "Now that you've won, can we take that walk?"
"No, stage 1 finishes. Stage 2; make you realize that dream is possible."
She was startled by his tone but didn't back down. She called his Uncle En and invited him over stating it was urgent. Eyal was raging!
"Sharon, have you gone mad!?"
He was calling his Uncle to forget her call when she pulled the phone out of his hand and took refuge in the bathroom. He needed to stop himself from kicking the door down.
"Sharon comes out, please. What's got into you?"
She didn't answer. The man was doing his best to try and control himself but he was losing the battle. Then he heard sniffling. He profoundly breathed in and out before speaking.
"Sharon, come out. I'm OK."
Opening the door, she carefully looked around. Eyal was sitting on the sofa and rolling his eyes at her.
There was a rapid knock and she darted out of the bathroom to answer. Nervous Uncle En asked,
"Sharon, what up? I was near by visiting a friend."
Taking the man by the hand, she pulled him in.
"Don't worry, we are not in need of medical help. Just a couple of hours ago, Eyal delivered Sandy's baby. A breech birth and he did a fabulous job. Tali was there but said he was in a better position than her to pull it through. My man was hit by his calling and he's trying to wash it down. Uncle En, being a doctor for Eyal is an impossible dream. I'm trying to make him see that it's still his to grab."
Turning towards Eyal, he asked, "What Sharon is saying, is it true?"
"Most of it, but I'm not a dreamer. I had my chance and life decided it was not to be…."
"Stopping you. Eyal, you have all of what it takes to make a wonderful doctor. Plus, your experiences in dire situations will serve you well as an emergency physician. That's where I see you and I'm willing to be your mentor. Son, don't know much of what happened this morning, but Sharon knows you well. If it shook you, you need to at least explore those feelings. Not saying it will be easy but one thing I can say; It's your last chance for a go at it."
"Uncle En, it's too late. I could never have the time and abilities to finish med school. I had a year left, but that was 18-19 years ago, medicine has evolved. I would be pretty much starting over."
"Yes, not going to lie to you. Where's the problem? Two, three years at the most and you can become a general practitioner. You can forget becoming a surgeon as your first wanted, but Eyal, a surgeon was not your real calling. Knew that from the start. You, my man, have all of what it takes to become one of Israel's best ER doctor. Give it a try, what have you to lose?"
Uncle En words were sinking in and Sharon breathed out heavily as she winked to their Uncle.
"Eyal, in my career, I've seen many 'brainy' doctors. They have the IQ but do not embrace medicine, it is not a 'calling.' You have it all; brains, social skills, perseverance and diverse life experiences. I'd be proud to be your mentor. Son listen to your wife, she's onto something."
"You two are completely delusional..."
"Eyal, come with me. This won't take long, Sharon. It's reality check time!"
"Uncle En, please!"
Sharon handed him his knee brace and windbreaker. At that point, he abandoned.
"OK, you two win! Where are we going?"
"Your home for the next years, the hospital."
Sharon smiled at him, "Have fun, promise me to keep an open mind."
Arriving at the hospital, Uncle En was one proud man. Eyal warned him,
"Look, doing this for Sharon to drop the matter. Uncle En, you know what a commitment studying to become a doctor implies. How could you side by her?"
"Because what she said hit me as hard as it did her. She's right, son. Eyal, looking in your eyes I can see that dream is still alive. I'll be damn if I don't do all in my power to make you live that dream."
"I've been in this hospital for happy, tragic and dire situations. It did not light up any sparks! Promise Sharon I'd see this through, lead the way Dr. Lavin."
Uncle En had a sly smile on his face. Entering, he was greeted by many.
"Dr. Lavin, are you coming back? We've missed you. Emergency room and surgery duties are sombre since you've left. You always had a way of defusing 'bombs'! Rumour is you've found a 'someone'?"
"Leila, for your nice words, you get the exclusive; Yes, I found my special someone. Her name is Martha and I rescued her from the Americans."
At those words sirens were heard and Leila was off.
Eyal spoke, "Enos, we should go. The sirens… more than one. Something went down. Not the time for me to seek my calling. Promise to give you another try at it. Let's get out of here."
A man approached them, "Enos, sorry I won't be able to meet with you and your nephew. They are telling me a Palestinian rammed his truck on our soldiers. We are getting the bulk of the injured. They are saying it killed 81. Enos, can you pitch in till the trauma teams arrive? Your nephew…"
Eyal rapidly replied, "Didn't finish medical school…"
"Can you master an orderly's job?"
Enos answered, "He can and he will. Eyal, take the scrub and gear up. You're going to see first hand what's an ER doctor's life. Call Sharon and tell her to enjoy the hotel amenities on her own!"
He was about to argue but the stare his Uncle shot him made him back down.
"Sharon, they have an emergency at the hospital… and I was drafted as an orderly. Sorry, seems our down time just got cancelled. Love, I could not say no to the man, his eyes…"
"Eyal, don't worry about me. I'll pamper myself. Just promise you'll take it all in. Best thing that could happen, don't pass it up, please."
"Don't see that I have a choice. Promise to keep my mind open. Have fun for the both of us. See you… well, when I'm finished."
Enos signalled Eyal to cut shot his call, taking him by his arm he pulled him to an ambulance that had just arrived.
"Eyal, stay close to me. It's going to be hell like you've never experienced for at least 30 minutes, but it falls into place, promise. The best way I can explain; it's a war within a war."
Eyal looked around and what he saw was not reassuring; tens of doctors jostling from wounded to wound; journalists with bulky TV cameras swarming around beds where dark red patches bloomed through patients' dressings. Some casualties laid on plastic sheets on the floor, IV drips dangling above their heads.
"It's action time, son. Stay close."
And the mayhem started, but the people surprised Eyal, no panic, no emotions, just good work among the chaos. Uncle En was receiving the worst cases, he was at triage. A young man covered with blood got Eyal's attention. His Uncle signalled the nurse to put him in the WNMI line. (will not make it in line)
Pulling his Uncle's arm, he asked, "That man…
"Eyal, he will not make it, don't argue with me …"
"No, not arguing, he doesn't fit in. The blood on him is dried, those organs sticking out are not his!"
Both returned to the man, Eyal, on instinct, took over. The man was strapped with explosives. As the terrorist got up, Eyal was fast to permanently neutralize him with a neck snap.
"Eyal, keep an eye on him, I'll call the bomb squad."
"Uncle En, no need. He won't be needing surveillance and his IED is defused. It wasn't very sophisticated one! You are all safe, not to worry."
"Then leave security deal with him. Get back to work!"
Eyal chuckled but did as told. It was morning when things calmed down. All were exhausted.
"Son, I'm needed in surgery. They are shorthanded. Can't bring you with me, are you good to finish here and get yourself home?"
"Sure, won't be a problem."
A nurse asked, "Dr. Lavin, your nephew could he help us with the cuts & scrapes clientele? We kept them for last."
"Eyal, you up to it?"
Smiling he turned towards the nurse and said, "Point me where I'm needed."
The doctor (Dr. Burnstein) that greeted them at the beginning, spoke,
"Go Enos, I'll keep and eye on Mr. Lavin. Best 'orderly' I've seen in ages! He'll do fine with cuts and scrapes. Had his student files pulled out, signed his reinstatement and internship at this hospital. It was needed, saw he performed more than what is required of an orderly. I need to protect the hospital from lawsuits. Trust your judgment Enos, but…the law is the law! Mr. Lavin, you can join the other interns and stitch up the last ones standing! If you want my offer to last more than 24 hours, I'll be glad to sing the necessary papers. I can also kick butts to get yours back in med school."
"My age will be a problem, I'm way past the recommended entry age!"
"But you are not 'entering' med school, you'll be finishing up. We don't have time to discuss it. Here's my card, Enos knows when it's better to contact me. We'll discuss all of this at a better time. One thing; you will be a fine ER doctor, if you decide to join the ranks."
Eyal looked at his Uncle as he was hurrying to the operation room. Uncle En shouted, "Didn't have anything to do with this… your talent spoke for itself!"
It had been another three hours and Eyal knee was acting up. He didn't want to speak of his problem because many people were still waiting to get stitched up. As a spy, he had witness the hospitals treating the gravely wounded, but had never thought terrorists' events could result in so many 'collateral' damages.
Looking at the chart a name jumped at him… "Ari?"
Ari Sutter, their neighbour was in front of him and holding his left hand.
"Eyal…. What are you doing here? No, please don't tell me you're also a doctor!"
"No, believe it or not, for 24 hours, I'm an intern! I'll explain later. Show me that hand."
At seeing it, he said, "That going to need a couple of stitches. Dread to ask, did you lose some of your men."
"No, but many friends, damn world we live in. We can't even protect our own!"
As Eyal was cleaning Ari's hand, he replied, "Don't get down on yourself. As I heard, it was a desperate attempt by a desperate man. He wasn't linked to any terrorist group. Nobody can protect themselves from an unstable mind."
"I know, it's just that… damn my shoulder hurts!"
"You shoulder? Did you hit it?"
"No, when I breathe, it acts up. Eyal, stitch me up, it's tensed up nerves. I've been sitting here for more than 6 hours. Tried to walk away a couple of times but an orderly kept pointing me back to my chair.
Eyal was pensive. He gently sat Ari down. "Ari, how did you get this cut on your hand."
"Shrapnel, I guess. Was pulled down by the blast and regained consciousness in an ambulance."
"Come with me."
"Eyal, stitch me the hell up so I can go home."
"No can do, Ari think you might have a rupture spleen."
Eyal signalled to Doctor Burnstein to come over.
"I might be wrong but pretty sure this man, my neighbour and friend, is displaying Kehr's sign."
"Improbable, but a rupture spleen is sometimes hard to catch. The patient can seem perfectly fine and boom!"
Ari spoke, "Guys, I know where my spleen is and it's not in my shoulder! Please, ex-friend I'd like to go home."
Eyal discreetly put pressure on Ari's side and the man bent over in pain.
He whispered to Ari, "I also know where a spleen is."
Dr. Burnstein examine Ari and signalled to a nurse to bring a stretcher while ordering Ari be brought to surgery.
"Well done, Mr. Lavin. Now, like a good intern, tell me what is Kehr's sign. Wait, want to call on some of your colleagues to listen in. It will be a learning experience."
With four interns looking on, Eyal explained,
"The reason why a ruptured spleen can cause pain in the left shoulder is that bleeding from the spleen may cause irritation of the phrenic nerve, a nerve that originates in the neck and innervates the diaphragm. Damn, I hope my memory did not fail me!"
Dr. Burnstein replied, "Mr. Lavin, if ever you think your memory is failing, check with a doctor before concluding. In this case, you did well, but you might not be so lucky next time. The people in front of you are not targets and count on you to get them better. Understood?"
Eyal bit his lips and looked at the floor. He had forgotten how it felt to be an intern… funny, good memories flooded his mind!
"OK, people get back to your patients. Eyal, follow me, please."
As they entered the doctor office, he signalled Eyal to get on his examining table.
"Your knee, it's acting up, isn't it?"
"Yes, but I can handle it."
"I'm sure you can. We have it covered, you did a damn good job. Hope you'll be back, but I will not put pressure on you to take your decision. You have the talent, the attitude and a something special I just can't put my finger on it, but it's there. Now let me look at that knee."
Eyal winced when the doctor rotated his knee. "You should have stopped when the pain began. Nothing broken but I don't like that swelling. There's water accumulated in your knee joint. With your permission, I'd like to aspirate it for quick relief. Then will see you tomorrow for a follow-up."
It went smoothly and Eyal felt the pressure and pain instantly disappear.
"Now young man, get yourself home and take a well deserve 8-10 hours of sleep. That's an order, by the way. I'm still your boss for a couple of hours…"
The doctor rearranges his knee brace and Eyal was off, but not before inquiring about Ari. Funny, his Uncle was the surgeon who was operating on Ari!
A nurse came up to him and asked, "Are you Dr. Lavin's nephew. They are all talking about you; the man who found a terrorist, defused a bomb and caught a rupture spleen in our cuts & tears patients. Would love to have another Dr. Lavin around."
Eyal thanked the nurse but only smiled, he didn't have the words to answer her question. He was, for one for the first time in his life, completely clueless as for what to say or do!
His uncle caught up to him as he was calling for a cab.
"Eyal, wait! I can give you a lift home after all. The two missing surgeons replaced me. Good catch with Ari, you saved his life. He had a grade 3, care to give me the specs?"
Eyal smiled, "OK doctor Lavin, I'll play intern with you! Grade 3: a tear with a depth greater than 3 cm or which involves the splenic artery; or subscapular hematoma over 50% of the surface area; or an intraparenchymal hematoma greater than 5 cm or which is expanding. How did I do?"
"Remarquably well… remarquably well. Eyal, you are cut out for being a doctor. Do you realize that's it's been practically 20 years since you hit the books?"
"Enos, I read medical journals and books to pass the time while on missions."
"Good, tell them that in your reinstatement interview. You meet the head of the med faculty in two weeks…well that's if you decide to come back. Eyal, I will not put any pressure on you. This is the last time I speak about it. That decision must come from you, only you. I'll speak to Sharon, she means well, but…"
Uncle En turned towards Eyal and he saw that his nephew's head was down.
Smiling, as he was turning in their driveway, he said,
"Interns!" Eyal woke up and returned the smile.
"I heard what you said, was not sleeping just resting body and mind."
"Was expecting a better excuse, it's what they all say! Come, want to make sure you get some ZZZ!"
"Enos, I don't need a babysitter."
Taking his arm, Enos answered, "Yes, you do! Plus, I need to talk to Sharon."
"Uncle En, how do you do it? You are right, I'm way past tire!"
"I'm not recovering from deadly injuries and am retired. Eyal, want you to know that if you decide to become one of us, I asked Dr. Burnstein to be reinstated as a part-time surgeon. I want to see you through this, be your mentor of sort."
"Uncle En, you were always my mentor. My decision to enter med school was a lot because of you."
As they opened the door, Sharon and Haya welcome Eyal. Haya jumped on him and was licking his face. Eyal leaned on the wall and closed his eyes. Sharon took his hand and helped him to their bedroom.
Uncle En spoke, "Sharon, put you oldest to bed and come down. I'd like us to talk."
She helped Eyal undress, made him comfortable and kissed him. "Rest, you seem to need it bad."
"Yes, I love you and sorry to be MIA the last 24 hours!"
Coming down the stairs, she faced a concerned but very tired man.
"Enos, I'll call Martha. You look beat. She asked me to call when you left off Eyal."
"I'll be fine, but call her nevertheless. She worries too much! Sharon, we need to talk."
Enos explained how Eyal had won over all at the hospital by his skills and 'sang-froid.' Sharon was surprised but proud of her husband. Uncle En also asked her to leave Eyal decides of his future.
"Sharon, do not, excuse my words, nag. It must be Eyal's decision. Please."
"Enos, I won't 'nag.' I achieved what I wanted; make him consider the possibility that he could realize his dream. I know it's a decision he alone must make. Promise, I will not cohere him in any way."
"Sharon, do you honestly think he can pull it off?"
"Yes, but for it to happen, he will need to make some other life-changing decisions. He can't have it all, he'll need to decide what it is he wants more."
"Will you be there no matter what he decides?"
"Tell him that."
"I will and Uncle En, thanks for believing in him."
"You're welcome, darling. I always did. He had/has a special something that caught my eye. He's the son I never had. When Abraham died, I fathered him the best I could."
"You did a wonderful job!"
Martha came in and looking at Enos, decided she was driving them home.
Lifting Sarai out of the crib to feed her, she heard Eyal call out.
"Bring Sarai with me, I'd like to feed her, if it's OK with you?"
Giving Eyal his baby girl, she said, "You should be resting."
"Best way to rest; feeding my daughter and having my loving wife by my side."
Cuddling into him, she said, "Your Uncle told me what you did, I'm so proud of you! Promise, I will not nag. This must be your decision, yours only."
"Sharon, it is not something I can decide alone. It would imply many changes for you, the kids… not sure I can impose such sacrifices to my family. Sharon, I love my life as it is with you Sarai, Avi, Kevin…"
"You're right, it would mean changes, but the only one making sacrifices would be you. The decisions to let go of some things you like, love and worked hard to succeed at; back in school, at your age, is going to be a challenge; working long hours that will take you away from us, giving the reins of Dark Control to Ryan, … Eyal, if you…"
"Hey, being a spy I can handle, a Mossad team leader, I'm learning the ropes but it's in no way a hardship, being a family man, I welcome heartily; running a business, it came naturally. I'm happy, what can I want more! Yes, I admit, today was special, but… damn why did you dig it up?"
"Because I was once selfish with another man and his dream."
"Sharon, Dave is living his dream. He's with Doctors without borders and happy."
"Not while he was with me! He'd mentioned it often and I ignored him. But I was free to be a spy… 'Deux poids, deux mesures' as we say in French. I should have given him the same leeway he gave me."
"Yes maybe, but you didn't break up because Dave lounged to live his dream!"
"I know, just don't want to have the same regrets with you. Giving you the leeway to at least explore the idea."
"And I did, now can we 'return to normal'?"
"Wow, that was easy!"
"Told you I wouldn't 'nag.' Eyal, this is a life-changing decision that you alone must take, be sure that it's what you want, put your affairs in order to support your decision and last… tell the people close to you."
"Think you got that wrong, the last should be the first. I need the people close to me to approve of my decision."
"Nope… the decision you make must be about what you want."
"Sharon, I… we have responsibilities…"
"Yes, I'm aware of that. You and I will live up to them, only in a different way. I know the man you are and whatever decision you take, your family and love ones will always come first."
Sarai was fussing and Eyal was not able to calm her, which was unusual.
"Give her to me, she senses Daddy is tensed. Babies can read us better than we can ourselves. Eyal, take some time to think this through, decide what you really want. You need to rest, I'll take Sarai and Haya for a walk. E whatever your decision will be, I'll be OK with it."
Pulling on her hand, he took her and Sarai to him and kissed both.
"You really know how to get a guy's attention!"
"Get some rest, that's an order."
Two hours later, Clara and Sharon came in to see Eyal was up and about.
Giving him Sarai, she asked, "Hope you are back to normal for calming her. She's been cranky since we left! We should call your uncle, she might be coming down with something?"
"Give her to me."
As soon as Sarai was in Eyal's arm, she stopped crying. Sharon looked sideways at him. With a sly smile he said,
"Call a family dinner for tomorrow."
"Can I have a scoop?"
Chuckling, "Going to give it a try. What's the worst that can happen? Sharon, all is in order!"
Sharon shot him the roundest eyes, "Eyal, we've been gone less than two hours, how…"
"Hey, you know me! Ryan's company is just getting back into things, he is not able to run both businesses. Nathan, on the other hand, is competent enough and has a very rich backer. Called Boris and detailed my situation. He offered to buy Dark Control as a silent partner and give the reins to Nathan. I will stay on as a consultant (when needed) for at least a year… mostly for Boris, not Dark Control! Boris assured me he'd respect my schedule. Result; two happy men… well three with me. Called Rivka and she's doing one of your happy dances. You were right, it's going to be my new noc. What better place for an experience spy to be part of the up-and-coming minds… Nowadays, Universities are wading pools for terrorists. Never thought of it in that way. I keep my team, but they will appoint a replacement, when and if needed. One Ari Sutter! I offered, he accepted. He keeps his day job and will get leaves of absence when required. Two agencies cooperating and learning from each other. Called Dr. Burnstein and he's working on my official reinstatement. I'll be getting favour treatment (I didn't ask for any) and might be able to take up where I left… if I pass a couple of exams. We won't be a country hoping for some time."
"Stop, I getting dizzy…"
"Oh, but I'm not finished, darling, remember you ask for it! Annie and Auggie need a higher security detail, them being ex-spies. Offered Arthur for them to stay in our London home below the rent of 'official' government quarters. He's doing a happy dance and I won't be worried about our home for two years. We'll have security detail from the CIA and MI-6… free of charge! Plus, we can go back at any time, they won't be staying in our 'place.' Jonathan and MP will also be there during their studies. London home front is covered. Tasked my accountant in selling some apartments. I won't be needing them and as you said; I need to simplify my life."
Looking at his phone while Sharon was sitting down to take this all in, he added,
"Good, Sharon A. and Andy just accepted my offer to buy our Québec house, but with the promise to invite us during the festival d'été."
Clara came running, "Sharon, there is a man in my kitchen!"
Eyal winced, "Oh, that would be Dave. Not your ex, Sharon, but my ex-chauffeur. He will be on the CCC duty (cooking, cleaning and chauffeur extraordinaire). Clara, your job is to take care of Sarai and keep a close eye on our teenagers, not cook and clean. Dave is at your command,"
Clara asked, "You mean like an 'employee?'"
"Yes Clara! Be patient with him, he's learning the ropes. He was a Mossad chauffeur, he's going to need your 'expertise.'"
Another one doing a happy dance!
Sharon looked at Eyal and said in a very low voice,
"Please tell me you are finished, think I'm going to have a Vertigo attack!"
Eyal sat near her and signalled for her to cuddle into him,
"Sorry to dish it all on you, but again, … you asked for it. Tu récoltes ce que tu sèmes, mon amour!' (You reap what you sow, love.).
"What's with Dave?"
"That was in the making and not related to my present decision. I asked him if he could start today and added keeping my family safe to his duties. Glad to announce he said yes. Sharon, that is one condition you need to accept for me to go through with finishing my studies. I want someone I trust keeping an eye on you all. I know you can hold your own but… hell, we are in Israel. I love my country, but my eyes are wide open and I want to put all in place to assure your safety. It's a take it or leave it situation."
"Dave is fine with me, but why him?"
"He aced his recent spy trainings. He's as good as an Officer but not an Officer, he's a family man and… he refused a chauffeur's assignment. Mossad decided I didn't need one and they were right. You don't say 'no' to the Mossad. I couldn't leave him accept a dangerous security guard job for companies that don't know 100% what a 'security detail' implies. That's where he was heading when Mossad let him go. As of now, he's undercover as Clara's 'homme à tout faire' (handyman). Victor managed to change his layoff for a two-year leave without pay since he's protecting one of their own. Dave is a happy man. As for the CCC duties, I was thinking it was below his pay grade. He told me it wouldn't be a problem; at home, he's doing the same for his wife! Something clicked between Dave and I, he's won me over. That does not happen often."
Sharon pushed into him a bit more as she said, "Because not many men have your values, Mr. Lavin. Dave does and he is a lot like your Uncle En in his ways."
"You OK with his eyes on you and the children?"
"Eyal, had eyes on me all of my life, don't worry. I like Dave, he'll fit in fine with our household. I'll have more time on my hands since Clara will be 100% nanny."
"Sharon, now I'd like to hear what your future will be."
"You want to know if I plan on retiring?"
Eyal nodded, Sharon continued,
"I'd be lying if I said yes, know you'd prefer it. Eyal, I need to keep my mind busy and I admit; I'm adrenaline junky. If Mossad wants to keep me on, I will work as a profiler and if necessary accept field work. If not Mossad, I'll rejoin MI-6. I've also looked at my options and I'm not ready to call it quits."
"That's what I figured. Well, one thorn in my side is not that bad. Ready to face our new way of life and announce it to all tonight?"
"Yes, Dr. Lavin!"
"Dr. Lavin, I like that!"
They were heavily making out when Victor appeared in their face,
"Lavin, every time I leave you alone, you manage to shake my world."
Sharon got up and gave the two friends some privacy. She knew those two needed a one on one. The river, for both, had jumped out of her bed and taken a new stream. After an hours or so, she returned with one of Eyal favorite but expensive wine. He cleared his throat, got up, openend the bottle and served some wine.
He toasted, "l'Chaim"
The end. Or not, please review and tell me if you want more! I have lots of ideas for Dr. Lavin and Sharon Welby.