I'm back! Hope you all had a wonderful summer. Know I did and didn't have much time for writing, but I'll make up for it as winter creeps in!
Chapter 13 - Relationships
Tony seeing Tim was mesmerized by the plasma screen (he was rereading the Kracken King) decided to leave him be. He sent Sharon and Abby to work on the DNA of Nathan's possible 'daughter'. Last, he approached Eyal and Ziva.
"Zina, take a breather. Director Vance organized for two rooms to be set up for you three 'MIAs'. They can only be accessed from MTAC, you'll be safe there."
Turning towards Eyal, Tony added, "Eyal, you know better than all what Ziva is going through. Take her out of here and just…. well…. be there for her!"
Eyal took his arm off Ziva, pulled on Tony's and placed it on Ziva's shoulder.
"Tony, what she lived through the last four-five years, you were the one by her side. I was always the after-the-fact shoulder to lean on. Rumor has it you brilliantly cornered Eli David in the Michael Rivkin affair! Your shoulders are as broad as mine. We don't have much downtime before Nathan presses the panic button, I prefer to personally set up the plan we discussed. You can read in Ziva when she's ready. "
Eyal, with a head nod, pointed Tony in the direction of the NCIS's safe rooms
Looking at Gibbs, Eyal continued, "Mr. Gibbs, if it is OK with you, I'll take over from Tony? I'll give the team a detailed briefing of what is expected?"
Gibbs nodded and joined Director Vance as he was headed out.
Vance asked, "Leroy, you had 6 people to choose from. You took those two…. and without reading their files! Your choices are a bull's eyes, how did you do it?"
Gibbs shot Vance a sly smile and whispered, "The good old fashion way … called friends of friends for references!"
"You did what! They were all senior spies … you can't just call for 'references'!"
Gibbs rolled his eyes, "Called contacts of mine at MI-6 and Mossad."
"And may I ask, why those two?"
"Sharon; she's our glue. The girl appeal to Abby because of her forensic background, appeals to Ziva, both being a director's daughter, her IQ is a plus for Tim and Tony, she's someone he can help, teach and mold to his liking!"
"And you, what's your link to the girl, besides the red hair?!"
"Sharon, as Ziva would say, is going to drive me up a mountain! Didn't choose her for me, but for Tony and the team."
"That one I chose for me … well, more to replace me. He's a loner, secretive, not a people person, highly effective, moody, very direct, no patience, can blur the lines, a marksman, a linguist, unconventional and a perfectionist. With me at a desk, that team is going to need someone to rapidly assess a situation and school them in spy techniques. He can replace Tony when needed, as he's doing now. They are misfits … that's what makes them special. Of the six files you sent me, those two were the worst choices for a 'normal' team but, fitted in just fine with mine.
Vance smiled, "You chose a Ms. Red Head Glue and a Mr. Solitaire Head Slapper!"
"Very well put, I like it!"
Vance concluded, "Well must admit, A+ for your first assignment! Hope Lavin decides to stay."
Gibbs had a sly smile, "He'll stay. Vance, you can tell Director Elbaz that she's not going to be seeing her favorite operative for some time!"
Vance chuckled, "Don't want to burst your bubble. Just a couple of hours ago, he assured me he would be returning to Israel. RH needed his signature for our insurance policies…. Offered him the long or short-term version…. He chose the short-term."
"I wouldn't give that copy to HR, he's going to stay."
Both men smiled as Vance whispered, "Hope he stops at one …"
Gibbs shook his head and raised his shoulders as he joined Abby who was showering Sharon with a bit too much of TLC.
"Abby, I need to talk to Sharon before Eyal briefs you all, can I borrow her?"
"Gibbs, she's not steady, I should help her…"
"OK, OK, but take good care of my partner!"
Gibbs smiled, "What happened with 'I work alone'?!"
"Sharon will do her thing, I'll do mine. A bit like Tim does. We'll become the Three Forensic Musketeers! Gibbs, she's a me and I'm a her."
Sharon smiled and accepted Gibbs's hand.
As they got out of earshot, Sharon spoke, "Thanks, I needed a break."
"Abby means well…"
"No, no, not complaining about Abby. She's one of the nicest people I've ever encountered. I needed a breather … too much puzzle pieces for my mind to work with. Also, I'm hurting for Ziva, this is on hell of a messy family situation. Can we go somewhere where it is calm, dark and on the cold side?"
Gibbs smiled, "If Vance and Eyal agree that you and I can skip debriefing, I have the perfect basement … euh … place. But you will need a disguise. You're MIA remember?"
"That won't be a problem, you guys must have stuff for undercover duties?"
Smiling he answered, "Yes, I'll drop you off while I go ask for our absence slips!"
Vance was OK with Sharon and Gibbs taking some downtime from the case. Tony/Ziva would surely talk through the night and Abby/Tim would be, at Eyal's demand, putting in a plan A for Ziva to be 'resurrected' and a plan B for Eyal's resurrection if Nathan panicked at not hearing from him. Tim had fed the grapevine that the three were missing in action but made sure to give hope to Nathan of their survival. Vance had arranged for two NCIS helicopters and a marine boat to hold a search and rescue exercise. From Abby's monitors, Nathan was still trying to reach Eyal. Every 15 minutes, he would ask for a proof of life. Abby had arranged for Eyal's tracker to emit a faint signal. They hoped it was enough to give Nathan the impression that Eyal could still be alive.
Eyal spoke, "Mr. Gibbs, let her have a good night sleep, it will do her good. It's Ziva I'm worried about. We need her in the field. Wish I could go, maybe there's a way for me to…"
"Eyal, I prefer Gibbs or Leroy, lose the Mr. or Sir. As for Ziva, she'll be fine. The woman has amazing resilience. Plus, what she uncovered is, in a way, 'good news.' One fewer sins of her father's. Tony, I'm sure, will point that out. Ziva will be fine, I know my girl!"
Eyal pondered those last words, "Your girl … are all teams at NCIS as … family oriented as this one?"
"No, this team, you and Sharon included, are a special bunch. Give us a trial run Eyal, we might surprise you!"
"We'll talk after we solve this case!"
Gibbs winked as he said, "You didn't say no!"
Gibbs introduced Sharon to his 'safe place'; the basement of his home. She went around his different projects and gently caressed the curves of each piece of wood. At one-point Gibbs nervously shook his head. As a well-trained spy, Sharon caught the shrug.
"I'm bringing back memories of one of your exes', aren't I?"
"Exes' no…. You're bringing back memories of the original and my daughter. Shannon did the exact same routine when we'd come home from a vacation or me from deployment. Your continuously wondering blue-green eyes remind me of Kelly's."
"Double sorry, then. Shannon – Sharon… Sorry again!"
"It's OK. I've worked hard in the last months to take better control of my memories and emotions … live in the present … as my shrink says. You are not them, but have manners that remind me of the good times. Before… I might have tried to date you … today, I can appreciate the memories you bring but now they are just that … good memories. It's taken me a long time to live in the present! "
Sharon smiled, "I'm glad to hear that. The last thing I want is to bring you pain or a fifth wife! By the way, it would have taken us less than a week for one of us to invoke 'irreconcilable differences.' Be honest; I will drive you up a wall at times."
Gibbs chuckled, "Yes, must admit. You, a bit like Abby, have an exuberant personality but where Abby shies away from action, you ram right into it. A bit trigger happy, if I may say so."
"Wrong choice of words … if there's one thing I'm not is 'trigger happy.' How I wish I could be! Your shrink will be proud you; you analyzed my whole instead of focusing on the one point in my personality that reminded you of your lost ones."
"Must admit, in our line of work, the 'I can't shoot a living thing' is a problem! We'll do everything we can to help, promise."
Sharon's eyes watered, but she stiffened up and rapidly changed the subject,
"This place is just what the doctor ordered. Can I have a blanket and pillow, would like to lie down and rest my head a bit? Love the smell of wood!"
"You worked with wood?"
"No. I was born in Dalhousie, New Brunswick. That's in Canada. The main and only industry was a paper mill. Logs and woodchips were hauled to the mill, transformed into a quality newspaper then most of it shipped to China. Wood, sulfur and low tides bad smells were the odors that filled my childhood. Sadly, newspaper is now a thing of the past …the mill closed and my home is a ghost town. Your basement reminds me of the past. How much time do we have?"
"Till morning. You should rest, no more questions."
"One more; are you going back to NCIS?"
"No, Nathan is out there. I'm not taking any chances, he must know of this place. Ari was here a couple of times … died right where you are standing. Maybe it was Nathan, not Ari, that visited my place."
Sharon gulped and said, "Think I'll follow you upstairs. The sofa will be fine!"
"I have a nice guest room…"
"Yes, but I recently had it redecorated. Kelly is no more, it's now a guess room."
The rooms Director Vance had set up was spacious and had all that was necessary for a long stay. Frightening thought! Tony helped Ziva get settled. He prepared some coffee and handed her a cup.
"I know you prefer tea, but coffee I can prepare … tea…"
"It's fine, Tony. Thanks. You need to get back to the team. I'll be OK."
"No can do. Eyal and I traded places, he's in charge for the night. Ziva, I'm here. You need to talk, I can listen. If you prefer Eyal, I can call him…"
"Tony … just hold me, please."
Tony sat and pulled her to him so she could lay her head on his shoulder. Ziva was silent, staring in space then she started crying. He wanted to kiss and cuddle her, wishing his love could spare her the pain this mission was dumping on her.
"Ziva, your father did not kill Ari's mother. That's…"
"One less sin of the Father! Tony, I came to term with whom my father was; a man that put his country/faith/work before his family. Director David was a good Israeli but a crappy father. I realized, too late, I loved the father he sometimes tried to be and know he never stopped loving me. Tony, my family's memories are not what's bothering me."
Tony stared into Ziva's dark eyes, he never could read her 100%. What she was thinking, what she was feeling … how could he expect a relationship to work if he couldn't 'feel' her. That woman was a mystery to him.
"Sorry, Ziva… I don't have a clue of what's going on in that head of yours. Talk to me."
Ziva patted the couch for Tony to sit closer to her, he obeyed.
"Tony, pretty sure we zeroed in on Nathan's motive; he wants to keep his daughter alive at any cost. I don't have a child but if my dear Tali, RIP my sister, were in the same situation…"
Ziva sobbed and could not finish her sentence. Her last words struck a sensible cord in Tony.
"Ziva, you are not made of the same cloth as Ari, Nathan or your father. You know what is right and wrong…. Eli failed in indoctrinating you at being the dark zombie killing soldier Daddy wanted."
"Tony, if I could bring back my sister or stop her from being killed, I could impose on another human being the same cruelties Ari/Nathan is dumping on Eyal! I'm as …."
Tony stood up and pulled Ziva with him, both his hands landed on her shoulders as he forcefully but gently shook her.
"Listen to me Ziva David! Yes, you can kill on orders or take a life in the blink of an eye, but you have a head on your shoulders and a heart in that lovely body. For Eli, Ari and Nathan, sometimes a dark switch turns off the human part of them. Ziva, you… YOU shot your brother because a good switch turned on. How can I make you understand that Ziva David is not a killer or murdered, that she puts others (family and friends) before herself, her country and her ex. agency! Yes, you might go to extremes if you'd had a chance to bring Tali back to life, but not at all cost. Had you stayed in Israel, maybe … but the Ziva I have in front of me realized what her father was doing was very close to cult indoctrination. Gibbs helped you pull away from that…"
Ziva cried out, "Doesn't it bother you that I have in me such a switch? It could turn on and bingo…. a monster appears in front of you…"
Tony realized he needed to seize this occasion. Ziva had, maybe, just admitted the reason she did not want a serious relationship with him.
"No, because I could never fall in love with that kind of monster! I'm a trained investigator … remember. I smelled that 'switch' in Iran Bodnar and Michael Rivkin a mile away. With you… Ziva, never. You always asked yourself the right questions, befriended the right persons–Jenny Shepperd, Gibbs, this team…. I admire the fire in the eyes of the Mossad/NCIS Officer, the funny sense of humor of the child-like persona that comes out from time to time, the tomboyish look sided with a diva appearance… I love the woman, the WHOLE package! Look at me, Ziva, my eyes are wide open!"
Ziva smiled, Tony had to add a film quote!
"Tony, I'm scared … no terrified that if we cross that line, you'll end up hurt or worst … dead because of your involvement with me. Since my childhood, I've been a dangerous person to be around. I could not live with myself if something happened to you."
"Our work is dangerous and never once have I wanted to call it quits because of the risk of being killed on the job. Ziva, I have been to Israel… I know firsthand the danger of befriending spies … especially a Mossad spy! We've been playing a cat and mouse game since we've met, I'm still alive. Some scars yes, and I am willing to endure more if it means having a chance to spend some time with you."
They stood silently facing each other. She had to be the one to commit to a relationship. He opened the door; the ball was in her corner. Both knew it was a make or break situation.
She nervously played with her Star of David necklace. "You are willing to put your life on the line for me? That's what you'd be doing, Tony. I have many enemies!"
"And you think I don't! One recently tried to frame me for a murder and he practically succeeded. Ziva, as in a pre-nup… I accept the risks OK. Plus, what would change? All know I've had my eyes on you since you set foot in the squad room. If someone wanted to harm or blackmail you, I would have been the logical target. Why would use dating change things?"
Ziva head shot up and by her face Tony knew he had broken maybe the last or second to last barrier. He lovingly pushed her into one of the rooms…. And she didn't resist! It was going to be a night to remember… finally!
At the crack of dawn, Tony and Eyal were analyzing a map on the plasma screen as Gibbs walked in.
Eyal turned and asked, "Sharon is not with you, is she OK?"
Gibbs chuckled and answered, "Down lover boy, left her with Abby. Abby and Sharon had one look at each other and they started talking gibberish… I left them to it! She's fine, woke up this morning … no headache or vomiting. Eyal, she needed to turn off a switch!"
Tony and Ziva shared a quick glance as Ziva added,
"Faire le vide, as they say in French! It is often needed in our line of work!"
By the smile Gibbs shot Tony and Ziva realized he knew something had changed with them.
Abby, with Sharon in tow, startled all.
"We know where he is, we know where it is… well where he might be!"
Tony put up his right hand and both girls immediately came to a halt!
"Abby, Sharon, this is not a kindergarten class. The squad room has many eyes and ears that are not read in!"
Both girls put down their heads as Eyal and Gibbs pushed them towards MTAC.
Eyal whispered to Sharon, "Glad to hear that you're feeling better. You had me worried."
Sharon was frustrated with herself, "Don't worry, I'm still my bumbling old self. Seems nothing can knock some sense in that hard head of mine!"
Eyal stated, "Maybe, but look at the bright side; that head of yours is one of the reasons we are one step ahead of Nathan. I'll take the good and the bad of it anytime!"
Sharon was not expecting such a tempered answer. She usually faced ugly and to-the-facts reprimands.
Tony butted in, "Sharon, if people let you think of what you said or did wrong instead of emptying their shell cases at you, maybe … just maybe, you'd eventually figure out how to adjust your behavior! Stop waiting, maybe even wanting, to be reprimanded. That's the easy way out … you then shift the fault and guilt onto your 'attackers.' Fence up and take responsibility for your own actions! You manage that a few times and you will improve, that's a promise."
Tony's words sunk in. Looking at Abby's reaction and comparing it to hers made her realize that Tony was right. Yes, she was mad at herself but she was first mad at Tony for saying before all that them coming in and shouting that they had made a breakthrough was childish and dangerous. He was right; what they did was wrong. Abby, contrary to her, was remorseful and acknowledging her wrong.
She jumped as Eyal discreetly and briefly took her hand and squeezed it.
As they entered MTAC, her father–Chief Robert Jackson, was on screen chatting with Director Vance. He greeted her first,
'Hi, how are you feeling, darling?"
Looking at Vance, she announced, "Abby might have figured out where Nathan could be hiding out."
Robert's eyes dashed towards Abby.
Abby backed up as all looked towards her. Sharon whispered,
"Girl when you get a lead, you take it and run with it. Take the stage Ms. Sciuto!"
Sharon added for all to hear, "And by the way, our Abby spent the night analyzing data while we slept, Tim couldn't keep up with her, he was sleeping on the lab floor when I came in!"
Abby replied, "I wasn't alone, Eyal was by my side and he supplied the CafPows."
Director Vance refocused the team, "Abby, Eyal, well done but want you both to get some shut eyes sometimes today! Ms. Sciuto, like Sharon said, take the stage."
Abby slowly advanced and started exposing her theory.
"We know Nathan is dying meaning he needs very strong meds. The man, if like Ari, works alone. Asked Eyal what he would do if he'd be in Nathan's shoes. His answer–If I was up to it, I'd steal what I need in different hospital pharmacies, they have more of the med but they are harder to break in. If I'd be down under (weak), I'd hit an out of circulation or close to home small pharmacy. With that information, I checked hospitals and pharmacies who had filled police reports for missing opioids (Morphine, Fentanyl, Hydromorphone, Methadone and Oxycodone). Those are the principal analgesics used at the end of life because of their potency, concomitant mild sedative/anxiolytic properties, and the ability to be administered by multiple routes. One pharmacy had reported a couple of robberies."
Eyal took over, "Checked with friends of mine and it went down like this; a man entered the Loba Pharmacy and forced one of the staff into the dispensary, put a knife to her neck and demanded the narcotic safe be opened, asked for the money from the till, and then left. No employee was physically injured, but the robber cleaned out the safe and stole $5,000 worth of narcotics–all Opinoids! One month later, the pharmacy was robbed again, same MO; the masked individual came in quickly and with a gun got everyone to lie on the ground, got all the narcotics, grabbed the contents of the till and left. Don't think he was after the money, I guess that was to focus the police's investigation in the direction of gang members or young repeat offenders. Abby care to conclude."
"With the assumption that the pharmacy was not far from where Nathan was staying, I mapped out a possible location using the range of Eyal's device paired with the pharmacy's and Quantico's locations. It gave me too wide a spread but I had seen part of that location before, one in particular stuck out. I was shaking and thinking my sleepless mind was maybe tricks on me…. Asked Sharon redo my calculations…."
Abby pulled the picture of an abandoned warehouse.
Tony was the first to speak, "That is where Kate was killed by Ari Haswari!
Gibbs called on Tim to get an aerial shot of the building. With street cameras and hacked-in private security cameras, Tim answered Gibbs's request in a matter of minutes.
Eyal asked, "Can we get infrared cameras and motion detectors in that building?"
Chief Jackson replied, "You guys can't without a warrant of some sort but my daughter can get some installed quite easily. Darling?"
Sharon smiled, "Yes, being arranged as we speak Daddy dearest!"
Eyal looked at both and said, "MI-6 and their toys!"
Sharon answered, "Better toys than wars!"
Director Vance put his hands on both officers' shoulders and ordered,
"People play nice. Chief Jackson called on me this morning for information on his daughter's health. I informed Chief Jackson of our situation with Nathan and he offered help if-and-when needed. MI-6 can work out underground world in a not-to-be-seen-or-heard fashion. And I'm sure the Mossad could as well! Officers Lavin and Welby, play nice. This is not the time for a spy agency pissing match … get my point. Chief Jackson offered; I accepted!"
Sharon winced, "Point taken! Director, please don't press on my cervical spinal nerves!"
Vance rapidly let go of Sharon's shoulder. Eyal caught Sharon as she fainted.
Tony called Dr. Mallard. The doctor arrived as Sharon was coming to. She wanted to get up, but Eyal's gentle hold didn't permit it. He smiled down at her and whispered,
"Relax, you fainted. Dr. Mallard needs to examine you."
From the corner of her eye, she caught her father's expression. She blew him a kiss and said,
"I'm OK, dad, really. A grade 3 concussion and pinched nerves probably when I struck the water, don't mix well together. I'll live!"
He signed I love you and have a meeting I can't miss, sorry got to go. Take care of yourself!
Abby asked, "Your father signs?"
Sharon answered, "Pretty much all MI-6 employees do. It's mandatory. We even…."
She stopped, looked at Tony and concluded, "I'll shut up now! Dr. Mallard, what is your verdict, will I live?"
"Yes, but dear you need to take it easy. I'm sorry, yesterday I seem to have missed the pinched cervical nerves. I'll give you some anti-inflammatories."
While Ducky was examining Sharon, the team was preparing a plan to bug, from bottoms-ups the warehouse.
Tony asked, "Sharon, your 'friend,' when can he set us up his infrared cameras?"
Sharon added, "Tim check your emails, gave you HER coordinates and the code name is 'Esmeralda.' I'm under-the weather, prefer Tim sets it up with her. She has infrared cameras, motion detectors, jammers and a lot more. Samantha is usually very fast … for a fee. She's the best but doesn't come cheap. Director Vance will MI-6 picking up the tab?"
"Don't worry about that, I'll take care of it! Tim tells Ms. Samantha our price will be hers. Dr. Mallard take Sharon to the safe room. Sharon, I'm truly sorry, didn't mean to hurt you."
'Director Vance, I've been through worst. In a way, you squeezing my neck was a good thing, it made me zoom in on my problem! Had commotions before but they never knocked me out as much."
Eyal stood in front of Director Vance.
"Director Vance, I'd prefer Dr. Mallard stayed in MTAC. If Abby's lead turns out and Tim/Samantha can bug the warehouse, Dr. Mallard, from the images we will be getting can better profile and analyze Nathan's behaviors. I will tend to Sharon."
Tony stepped in, "Very good thinking, Eyal. Sharon, you look like hell, get some rest. That's an order by the way!"
She tried to argue, but the pain said otherwise. Eyal picked her up and carried her to the safe room.
As they entered, Eyal put her down and pointed to the sofa.
"That is where I'd like for you to be for the next couple of hours. Here's some oxaprozin or Daypro as Americans call them. They should help with the headache and pain."
"Eyal, I don't need a sitter. I can take the meds and get some shut eyes all by myself! You should be out there. Your son is stuck between the bark and the tree!"
"Yes, I know, but I can't do anything for him. Ziva, you and I are presumed dead … remember? I trust Tony to deal with the matter at hand. Sharon, they lost a partner, in that warehouse, at the hands of the twin brother of the guy we want to bring down. The team knows that place from bottoms up, believe me. I felt like an intruder out there. They need to deal with this between themselves first. It's going to be one hell of a trip down memory lane."
Sharon winced, "Had not thought of that. For a Mossad officer, you are surprisingly 'human!'"
"Take the pills!"
"Take the compliment, they are scarce between spies!"
Eyal got a glass of water and presented her with two pills.
"I'm starving. With Daypro, it's better to take them on a full stomach. Why don't we look at what Director Vance stocked the kitchen with?"
"Stay put, I'm cooking. We have the basics, what would you like?"
"How about pancakes don't really want greasy bacon and eggs!"
"Blueberries or Strawberries pancakes?"
"Both please! Never saw a fruit pancake mix!"
Eyal smiled, "Pancake is made with flour and eggs in Israel! I prefer our ways to the chemical ready-mix kind."
"You can make pancakes … all by yourself?"
Eyal laughed. The eyes Sharon sported reminded him of his son's when he had taken him to Mossad's headquarters! As now … he had gotten the hero's look!
"Hey, I'm a spy, I've learned to cook early on in my career. It was that, eat in out-of-the-way restaurants or what was left in the fridge from previous missions!"
Sharon lifted her head and their eyes locked. She breathed nervously as he gently came in….
"Take the pills while I prepare the pancakes."
Frustrated she pulled him to her and asked, "You're avoiding me, why? There might be cameras here, but they all know we've been eyeing each other from day 1. Not as if we didn't 'do it with eyes on us before!"
"Sharon, stop! You're right, I'm avoiding a close encounter with you and it's not easy … believe me! I need to stay focus and you need to rest. Work with me…. Please."
She teasingly blew him a kiss as he headed towards the small make-shift kitchen. It took him less than ten minutes to return with two oversize blueberries and strawberry pancakes. Again, Sharon's eyes were to die for. If he had been his old self, this girl would not be eating pancakes. He'd have had her in bed in the blink of an eye!
"You are very well trained in the art of pleasing the opposite sex, Mr. Eyal; a sexy body, broad lean-on shoulders, a face to die for, caring eyes, listening ears and you're practically a doctor plus you can cook … women must flock around you, big times!"
He ignored her teasing and said, "After you gobble those pancakes, how about I pay back my deb? My turn to give you a therapeutic massage."
He didn't have to say it twice, she pulled off her T-shirt. Eyal just had time to throw her a towel.
"I'll eat later! I prefer dessert before the main course!"
Smiling, he warned, "Slow down! It's obvious you're gunning for us to sleep together, but your men spy mount mantelpiece will have to wait a bit."
Sharon stiffened up as she tried tuning towards him to give that man a piece of her mind but his hand on the back stopped her. She swallowed her anger and managed to say,
'Eyal, I don't collect trophies or sleep with a colleague or spy acquaintance just for lust. I'm not the F_ck Friend type. Boredom during some downtime while on missions …. and only if the guy is 'free'; yes, but it is always mutual. If you think that of me, forget it, you're definitely reading me wrong!"
That lady is driving me crazy! Why in all the women I met, did I have to fall for a spy? A damn good one at that; she's reading me like an open book. Lavin, you need to decide what is it you want. It's been a long time since someone stirred those kinds of emotions, why resist?
He knew full well why; having a relationship with him would be putting his lover in the line of fire. His enemies would become hers and he'd be 'vulnerable.' They could get to him by harming her.
"I'll resort to something I don't dip in often; the truth. What you just heard was a man putting up a wall because his ego is presently being twisted as a tornado! I'm in a bind; my son is in danger and I did not pick up on it, an old enemy is getting one over me, my hands are tied, I'm an NCIS rookie … at my age and there's you. I'm usually very good at controlling my life. Sharon, don't know what it is but a flag went up when I met you and it's now a neon flashing sign that won't turn the hell off. Being a 24-hour lover, no pain, no gain–I can't deal with but getting involved with your means…."
"You'd have a button your enemy could push; hurt me to get to you. I'm the daughter of the Chief of MI-6. Eyal, I've lived with being 'a button' or 'a target' all my life. Manage to get an accountant's degree, graduate from Julliard's School of the Arts and raise two kids. Being a target never stopped me from living my life. I have many scars and close encounters, but if I had a choice I'd take the same path. I want to live my life to the fullest, if that makes it shorter, we'll be it; I had fun while it lasted! Funny, I rehearsed this conversation for Ziva, never thought you'd need it first!"
Sharon twisted to face him, making sure she was properly covered and continued,
"Yes, I admit; this girl wanted a hit-and-run encounter when they introduced us. You must know your candy for the eyes! The problem is that the more I get a glimpse of the man you are, the more I like what I'm seeing. Please don't put up another wall, the one you have is ticking enough! I'd like to get to know the real Eyal. The Eyal that helped Ziva or the Eyal that is a caring father. The spy, I admit; I don't care much for him. It's the man behind the dark conceited cover that I'm interested in."
Eyal shook his head, "That man is long gone, sorry…"
"Not true, I'm seeing him as we speak. See him when he's concerned about Ziva, his son, this team … or arranging a special date for Tim because the guy is more a nerd than a spy! Not saying you can't pull the trigger when ordered or be a damn ba_tard at time, but you are not a Svengali."
"And you're not a profiler!"
"Eyal, we are spies. We all profiles at some point, it's a must to be successful."
Eyal pushed on her shoulders for her to lie flat on her stomach so he could complete his message.
He concluded, "Can we agree to further this conversation once this hell is over and done with? Sharon, I promise not to fight the river if she wants us to cross her path."
Sharon laughed, "Go with the flow….! OK, it's a promise or date, Mr. Lavin. Please don't stop, if your hands are as good with food as they are with a massage, those pancakes are going to be super delicious."
Eyal bent down and whispered, "It's not the only things they are good at…."
Shooting him a teenager look, she pouted as she said, "There, Officer Lavin has resurfaced."
He sensed she was pulling him to her. He could no longer resist the building tension and growing urge for intimacy. The spy in him knew she was working him as she would a target. How else could spy be intimate? They were trained at how best to woe a designated partner. The man could only hope she wasn't playing him as an MI-6 Officer. 'Damn it Lavin … go for it. If she's playing you, so be it. It will not be a first or a last! Have fun while it last.'
He brought her close, tilted her head back and kissed her from above like an eagle swooping in on its prey. His way of turning the table on her possible honey trapping. Sharon surprised him by jumping into his arms. Their faces were at the same level, then she wrapped her legs around his waist and pushed herself upward so she was the one kissing him from above.
He whispered, "You like taking charge, typical MI-6 honey trapping."
With both hands, she cradled his face, "I swear on my children's head that I am not playing you. I want you as much as you want me. I'm 5'2" and you're 6'2"; I noticed that tall men like it when a woman kisses them from above. If you prefer taking the lead, is my guess. Just get something started, please, I'm dying here!"
"Well, if that's the case, continue as you were. I like it … a lot!"
Eyal was backing them up to the room when Tony thundered in.
Tony stopped, swore and walked out. Our spy couple rapidly let go of each other. Sharon gathered her T-shirt and followed Eyal, who had also let out a couple of Hebrew swear words.
Eyal sided by Tony and said, "In Israel, we knock!"
"Eyal, not the time or place. Gibbs did the same to Ziva and I so we are both pissed OK! Do as I did, swallow your pride and put your manhood on the burner. Don't have good news; your son is missing. Sharon's asset is fighting for his life, the MI-6 and NCIS officers we had on Avi were found dead with a bullet to the hearth and a bull's eye in the forehead. MO sound familiar, Vance said it was typical Kidon style."
Sharon had heard and was watching how Eyal would react.
He breathed hard as he said, "Somehow I knew it would come to this. Tony, we need to arrange for the three of us to be 'found' at sea and it has to happen now."
They entered MTAC and Abby hugged Eyal. "So sorry, I couldn't stop it."
Sharon sat Abby down. "You had ears on Avi, play it to us. If it's Nathan, I will remember his voice."
"No, you won't, it was all in Hebrew and very little was said. They had silencers, never heard the shots."
Sharon and Eyal both said, "They?"
"Yes, there seemed to be more than one kidnapper."
Eyal barked, "Play the tape, Abby."
Sharon squeezed his arm and he lipped 'sorry' to a teary eye Abby. The man was used to dealing with Mossad or Kidon teams. This was not his usual surroundings, too much 'emotions' going around!
Abby was right, the tape didn't bring much. Voice recognition would be impossible. Eyal explained that it was typical Kidon style kidnapping. Go in fast, walk straight to the target, shoot everything that comes into your path and get out with your prize. Normally only one person enters the site.
Sharon and Ziva replayed the tape. Both sensed they were missing something.
Ziva asked, "Eyal, does Avi know Morse code?"
Sharon pronounced what she thought she heard; ".- - - . -. "
Eyal and Gibbs both shouted, "Women–plural."
Gibbs asked, "How is Eyal's son communicating?"
Ziva replied, "With his teeth. Think he placed the bug we planted on him in his braces and he's tapping Morse code with it."
Sharon asked, "Bright kid. You teach him that Eyal?"
"No." (He turned towards Ziva) "I recall you doing the same. The Scarlet mission, isn't that how I tracked you?"
Ziva's head nodded. Eyal asked, "Ziva, did you teach him?"
'No' was Ziva's answer.
Sharon cleared her throat, "I'm guessing it was my asset. David always had a plan B. Once we were left for dead on a mission gone wrong…"
Eyal looked up to her and asked, "In Tel Avi?"
She softly answered, "Yes, Eyal, don't be naïve… I'm an MI-6 operative … have been in your country many times. To return to my asset; while we were waiting (and praying) to be rescued, he helped me focus. I know… I don't get an A+ … my assets teaching me how to 'operate.' Nevertheless, he thought me a different Morse code … shit…"
Sharon re-decoded the tip and tap she had heard. "It's not 'women.' Eyal is there a place called 'White elephant'?"
Eyal lifted his head, "White elephant … maybe. That's how they call the Central Bus Station."
"Think that where they have Avi."
Ziva closed her eyes as she said, "Shit! That building covers 230,000 m2 and a total area of 44 dunams."
Eyal completed, "The Tel Aviv Central Bus Station has suffered neglect and disrepair. The station is in the poorest part of the city, numerous drug addicts, prostitutes and homeless people take residence there on occasion. Mossad stays the hell away from it, no place to stash assets of targets!"
Sharon ventured, "Perfect place to hide from Mossad or Kidon. Nathan would know that."
Ziva and Eyal's eyes both turned towards Sharon.
Eyal looked at Tony. The man had anticipated his question and was already directing Tim to his MTAC computer,
"Tim, get everything you can on that building. Eyal could you instruct Mossad to give Tim a hand, he might need to hack some of your sites."
To be continued,