Please read the pre-script, it's there for a reason.

This is a spin-off AU of another ongoing story of mine, Per Ardua ad Astra, (a Harry Potter/Stargate Atlantis crossover) and was requested by 'BlackOpsCommander,' who asked for a crossover between 'my' version of Harry, an elite soldier, and NCIS, specifically interacting mostly with Ziva. The title should give away the general idea.

For fans of Per Ardua, assume the prologue and first two chapters occurred, then the story diverged. Some aspects of Harry's own tale between killing Voldemort and the Atlantis Expedition will stay constant, but the Stargate does not exist (or he doesn't know about it) so he stays on Earth. This may give stuff away that I've tried to foreshadow in Per Ardua though.

To summarize for those who haven't read Per Ardua - Harry loses his magic at the end of 'Order of the Phoenix', but gains a supernatural ability - basically, weather manipulation, with a few little extras - but the superpowers aren't the point of the story, and he doesn't use them much. Read the first couple of chapters of Per Ardua to get more detail on that, (or hell, just read the whole thing. More readers are always welcome). After leaving Hogwarts (no magic, remember), he attends a military prep school, then joins the RAF, trains as a pilot then switches career tracks and joins the SAS because of the whole supernatural power thing, and he becomes a top operative (obviously, wouldn't be interesting if he didn't). With the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and other places, he's been kept busy ever since.


Chapter One - First Impressions Count

Khaveyrim (n.) (m.) (plural: khaver, feminine: khaverte)

A Yiddish word for 'friend,' but has broader meanings ranging from 'comrades' to 'lovers.'

Eilat, South District (Negev Desert), Israel - 29°33'47.9"N 34°57'34.3"E

November 12, 2002 - 2200 Time Zone Bravo

Harry was used to desert climate, by now. Two years of near-constant fighting in Afghanistan meant he was intimately familiar with the odd cycle between the scorching heat of daytime and the biting cold of night; which made Eilat an extremely pleasant change. A coastal resort at the very tip of the Israeli portion of the Negev Desert, the arid climate extremes were tempered somewhat by proximity to the warm waters of the Red Sea.

He'd spent the last fortnight out in the Negev itself, alternating between student and instructor with the Sayerat Matkal - first learning how the Israelis did things, then describing and showing how combat experience in Afghanistan had affected the desert and mountain warfare techniques of his own unit, the Special Air Service. The Sayeret Matkal - literally 'General Staff Reconnaissance Unit,' but nicknamed just 'The Unit' by the IDF - had been based on the SAS, even borrowing their motto, 'Who Dares, Wins', and there was a long history of cooperation and cross training between the two units.

So when they were done training, the Unit team he'd been getting to know pretty well over the previous two weeks invited him to tag along on their own thirty-six hour leave trip to Eilat, the nearest decent-sized city. He'd been due some time off anyway, so after checking in with London he'd tagged along. See the world, meet new people and all that.

Which brought him to here. 'Here' was a massive open-air rooftop club overlooking the Gulf of Aquaba, somewhere west of Eilat's towering hotel district. Harry wasn't exactly sure what the name of the place was - the sign had been in Hebrew, after all, but he was fairly certain it was simply called 'View.'

As might be expected from the name, that view was spectacular. With an onshore breeze blowing the desert dust haze away inland, the sunset was turning the western sky into a kaleidoscope of orange-peach tones slowly fading out to purest blue above, unblemished by clouds.

Never much of a dancer, and not really a fan of crowds, Harry was wallflowering, leaning on a railing at one end of a raised bar with a glass of Ballentine's in one hand - he could afford it, after all, being Lord Potter and all that, even if he chose to ignore it - observing the spectacular view and the enthusiastic crowd, while letting the noise of the club wash over him and taking the time to not think about anything involving bombs, blood or ballistics for the first time in what seemed like years. Not, admittedly, that he would have chosen another life if he had to do it again; the last few years had been hard, but he found satisfaction in this job. He was one of the best, part of the most elite unit in one of the most respected military forces on the planet.

Absently, he traced the straight scar across his cheek, under the left eye.

It leaves its marks, though.

He was still armed, however, despite his relaxed state, and he was still paying attention, which was why he didn't jump at the appearance of tall, dark-haired man who joined him in his little corner, leaning back on the railing next to him - Eyal Lavin, the leader of the Israeli team.

"Shalom, Harry."

"Shalom, Eyal. Good night?" Harry sipped his drink, still eyeballing the crowd.

"Hell yes, I'm a city boy. Two weeks in the desert is two too many, in my opinion ... is something wrong?" The IDF officer half-turned, surreptitiously scanning the crowd himself with commendable subtlety.

"No, just healthy paranoia."

"Anything interesting, then?"

"Hmmm." Harry's eyes flickered across the club again, made a small gesture with his glass. "See that group in the booth over there?"

"Yeah." Eyal looked at the indicated spot a few meters away, in a roped-off VIP quarter of the massive rooftop terrace, which seemed the focal point of about two dozen people, all in their late-teens and early twenties, predominantly female too.

"IDF conscripts. Having a party to celebrate the ending of their two-year service stint, from the toasts. From those same toasts, I'm fairly certain it's that dark-haired girl's birthday too - the one in a red shirt - probably twentieth or twenty-first, but it's loud and my Hebrew isn't up to much."

Harry's watchful eyes rested on the woman in question for a moment, cataloging and memorizing automatically. Long black hair, pulled back in a lose tie. Dark eyes, face slightly flushed from a mix of dancing and alcohol, but not enough of the latter to impair anything yet. Beside her was another girl, who was almost a carbon copy, but was clearly a few years younger.

Little sister maybe? Doesn't look eighteen … false ID maybe. Heh, I remember those days … wait a minute.

Harry continued to watch the older sister, more closely than before.


It was subtle, but she was scanning the club herself, much like he was. Not continuously though, because she was putting most of her attention on her friends, having a good time, but about every fifteen seconds or so she looked around quickly, covering a different section every time.

Might be trained. Too focused on the main club though, with her back to the VIP section, but that could just be because her friends sat down first. Or she's not that worried.

Or she's just looking around. I need to stop reading so much into it.

Eyal hadn't noticed the pattern. "She is something special. Looking to get lucky? I didn't get VIP tickets, so you're on your own for getting in there."

"Oh, she's way out of my league," Harry laughed. "Besides, one-night stands aren't my thing."

"Really?" Eyal raised an eyebrow, surprised, maybe even astonished. "In our business, what else is reasonable? Where you might die any day and, in your case, spend months overseas? In war zones, no less?"

"No. I prefer longer-term relationships. Not that I've had many." Harry admitted.

"Anyone right now?"

"Sort of. Henrietta, an army officer I went to school with." Harry shrugged. "We have an arrangement."

"What kind?"

"That if neither of us is attached and we have overlapping leave time, we spend it together. You can read whatever you want into that." Harry smirked. "Friends with benefits, so they say. Also, if neither of us have found 'the one' by the time we're thirty, we get more serious about it."

"Lucky you; wish my various ex-girlfriends had been that reasonable." Eyal pushed upright. "Anyway, I came up here because the guys are heading out, we're splitting up and going to a couple of different places. You coming?"

"Nah, I'm good. Don't want to ruin your boys' night out babysitting little old me, the clueless tourist." Harry saluted him with the glass. "Besides, early flight tomorrow, remember?"

"You know the way back to your hotel?"

Harry just gave him a flat look; one Eyal had no difficulty interpreting. Do I look like a complete moron? The Israeli just grinned. "You did describe yourself as the clueless tourist."

"I think I can manage, thanks all the same." Harry said dryly. "Get going, I'll see you guys tomorrow."

"Sure, see you later."

Ziva David was indeed celebrating her twentieth birthday, and the ending of her and her friends' conscript service in a month's time. Her sixteen year old sister Talia had come down from their mother's house in Tel Aviv to join her Ziva for her few days of leave before the final stretch.

Talia, while incredibly energetic and bubbly, was usually something of a rule follower … which was why she had utterly astonished Ziva earlier that evening by producing a fake ID and announcing she was going out with her older sister this night, come hell or high water. Very much against her better judgement, Ziva had given in, mostly because she'd been running late, but also due to the laser-targeted pathetic-puppy-dog-eyes bombardment Talia had turned on her. She'd never been able to stand up her adorable, not-so-little-anymore sister when she did that.

Ziva David, trained IDF soldier, prospective Mossad agent; brought low by a single look. My father better never find out - or worse, mom. Mom would be much, much worse, actually, because then I'd have to explain exactly what I gave in to letting Talia do.

Shoot me now.

Turning her head slightly, she looked over the dance-floor again, checking the crowd instinctively, like her father drummed into her throughout her childhood.

It took some time for her to spot the anomaly. One lone, dark haired man wearing a lose white tropic shirt and leaning on the rail up on the end of the raised bar. His face was pretty distinctive - with a long straight scar across his face under the left eye and another above his right, mostly hidden by his hair, he would be easy to remember. He'd been there for a while - a long while, now she thought about it. Due to the gathering dusk, and the flickering lighting, it took several seconds for her to notice his eyes were shifting in a regular pattern even as he raised a glass to drink - door, DJ, dance floor left-center-right, VIP area, bar, door again, repeat.

Perfectly positioned to see the entire club...

She watched him for a few seconds, before he looked away from the mass of bodies and out over the side …

And the view. Well, it is the name of the club after all.

Abruptly, he looked back. Straight at her.


He didn't quite react as expected. Actually, Ziva amended, she wasn't exactly sure how someone should react upon realizing they were being watched, stalker-like. Angry, probably. Creeped-out, certainly. But not … amusement? Was that -

He winked at me! Arrogant bastard ... or not. He wasn't the one caught watching, after all. God this is embarrassing.

Ziva held his gaze defiantly for a few seconds, before looking away. When she looked back, he had turned away.

A couple of hours later saw Harry heading back to the hotel. Despite the temptation to let it all go, he'd paced his drinking carefully; anything more than slight inebriation tended to make him lose control of his powers somewhat, which would be rather bad - random lightning strikes landing in a city were never good news.

He'd just passed a bus station, a sizable crowd building up there waiting for transport to the resorts and hotels several miles away down the coast, or to the airport, with a scattering of police officers around the edges. IDF and police presence in Eilat was, while not minimal, fairly low-key as it was tourist hot-spot and appearances were important.

As he turned a corner, he was nearly run down by one of the two sisters he'd observed earlier. Catching her by the shoulders, he just about managed to keep both of them upright.

"Oh, slicha, slicha!" Then, apparently realizing he was a tourist. "I'm so sorry, I didn't mean-"

"It's fine," Harry interrupted with a smile. "No worries."

"Okay. Sorry again. Got to go, bus to catch, bye Ziva!" This last bit was thrown over her shoulder at her laughing presumed-sister, the older one.

"L'hitra'ot, Tali'. Try to be a little more careful." The woman shook her head as her younger clone disappeared around the corner in a rush. "I'm sorry about that. She's very … energetic."

"I can tell." Harry grinned as he drew level with her. "Sister?"

"Yes … how did you know?"

"It may be dark, but I do have eyes. She looks very like you."

"That's true. So, hmmm, I'm guessing tourist?"

"That obvious, huh?"

She laughed again. "Yeah, it is. At least you don't have a fanny pack."

In the background there was a shout that rose above the rest of the city noise, but it was too faint to hear properly.

"I'm not an American, thank goodness." Harry replied, ignoring the shout. "Or over sixty." That elicited another laugh.

A really good operative can just read the patterns of the street around them without really thinking about it, see things out of place that trip mental alarms and give advanced warning of impending threats.

Harry was good, but not that good. He'd only been in the special forces for about two years, and his natural habitat was field combat, not plainclothes espionage work. He did have good reactions though, so when a bomb detonated somewhere behind them, and the concussive wave nearly knocked both of them off their feet, he didn't freeze up.

Instead, he pushed his conversation partner into some form of cover provided by a parked car, eyes scanning the street as he crouched down beside her, clawing for his sidearm, a customized MEU-SOC .45 1911, from the small-of-the-back holster under his loose shirt.

The bomb had been in the bus station … Crowds, maximum impact. The loud shout beforehand … probably 'Allahu akhbar' or similar, suicide bomber. Vehicle coming to a screeching halt in front of them, over the trunk of the car … Transit van, door slightly open.

Kidnapping? Shit.

He braced his wrist on the flat trunk of his cover, and waited a half-second as the door finished opening, framing two people poised to jump out.

Targets? Face masks. Engage.

He fired. One, two. Shift targets. One, two. Both hostiles went down almost as their feet touched the tarmac as they jumped out of the van thinking their targets were surprised, unprepared for opposition, weapons still holstered.

Movement. Driver.

Harry ducked, as a burst of automatic fire shattered the passenger side window of the van, and raked the car he was taking cover behind, before raking uncontrollably up the concrete wall behind him.

Micro SMG, firing one handed, lot of recoil. Going to take him a second to re-aim.

Harry popped up again, and unloaded another three rounds at the shadowy figure behind the wheel. One hit the near-side door, and another smashed the far-side window, but the third connected. The driver's head jerked sideways, and he slumped forward. Very unlike Hollywood, the horn did not go off.

Cold steel against his neck.

What the ...

"Who are you?" The woman demanded. "Why were you in the club? Were you following me?"

Crap, didn't see that coming. Not so much of a damsel in distress, it seems.

"Harry Potter, British military," Harry said clearly, "on leave after training with the IDF. And you are?"

"No one in particular. Why should I believe you?

Paranoid much? Well, I did think earlier that she was trained … hmmm, maybe this wasn't aimed at me after all.

"ID's in my back right pocket. And you're welcome, by the way."


I have no idea what that means, but it doesn't sound particularly complimentary.


Ziva kept her weapon on the suddenly-very-dangerous stranger as she reached for the pocket indicated. A thin leather wallet opened to reveal a white-and-green photo-ID card with a hologram security tag, which proclaimed, line by line:

'Royal Air Force / Serial No: 31628894 / Rank: Plt Off / DOB: 31 July 1980 / Name: HJ. Potter / Expiry: 09 Feb 2005.'

And the night had been going so well until this point.

"Fine." She slid it back, removed her gun. "What now."

"Now, we need better cover. That bomb can't have been a coincidence …"

The British soldier's words vanished into a haze of white noise.

Talia! She was going to the airport, she was in the bus station … where the bomb went off!

"Tali', I need to get to Tali', she was …" Ziva's lunge off the ground was stopped by a powerful hand on her shoulder, shoving her back down behind the car.

"Your sister?" Ziva nodded frantically, all trace of calm swept away by overwhelming panic.

Potter cocked his head, listening to the night. There were screams, cries, the crackle of something burning, general hubbub, but over all were the ever-closer sirens of responding emergency units. She could see the judgement he made, almost as he made it.

"There's no point. You won't get there before the ambulances anyway, and there might be secondary devices. Fairly common tactic." He pinned her with a piercing look. "Any reason you might be targeted for a kidnapping?"

Ziva nodded. "My father, he's …" she trailed off, unwilling to tell a complete stranger, and a foreign soldier to boot that her father was the head of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service. Allied nation or not, that was just common sense.

The man seemed to sense that. "Can't talk about it?"

Ziva nodded again.

"Fine. I can't think of any reason anyone'd come after me here, so it was probably for you. Which means protecting you just became the mission, so you are going to listen to me or I'll just knock you out and do it anyway."

She glared at him challengingly. "So sure you can?"

He snorted derisively. "You're trained, but not to my level. Now shut up and do as I say."

Suiting actions to words, he pulled her up and along the street away from the bus station, away from Talia. Ziva entertained some notion of pulling away, but the iron-hard grip on her shoulder and the way he was shielding her with his body from as much as the street as possible persuaded her it would probably be unsuccessful. At the first building - a large, glass-fronted hotel - he pushed her in the doors and yelled at the staff.

"Call the police!" When no one moved: "NOW!"

The night manager scrambled to obey.

Harry pushed his new principal - SAS shorthand for the 'principal' person being protected when on close-protection duty - down into cover again, this time behind the flashy front desk; it was thick, proper wood rather than chipboard, which would do for cover for now, and had an etched glass sign above for 'King Solomon Hotel Eilat.'

"I've got the Border Guard; what do you want me to tell them?"

"Tell them that the bomb just now was a cover for a kidnapping, which I stopped, and I need backup here right now to protect the target of that kidnapping."

Seven rounds fired. Harry ejected the magazine and slid in his spare. Harry didn't bother to rack the 1911's slide, as the last round of the previous mag was still in the chamber. Eight rounds left.

"You, whatever your name is -"


"Ziva then, call your father, who I presume is somebody important or in government at least." A nod. "Good, tell him what happened, let him know you're all right and I could use some bureaucratic help to cut through all the crap the cops are undoubtedly going to throw at a foreign soldier illegally carrying a concealed firearm without a licence who just shot three people dead, regardless of justification."

"Be'seder." She turned to another phone behind the desk, staying low as she dialled.

I'm going to assume that means yes.

Tyres screeched to a halt outside, but Harry couldn't see the car.

"Is that the cops?" Harry asked the manager. She shrugged.

"Maybe; apparently traffic's all backed up blocking the roads from the bomb. Dispatcher said it'd take a few minutes to get someone moving this way."


Can't see any police lights reflecting off anything though.

"Here." 'Ziva' was holding out a phone handset, which Harry took. "He wants to speak to you."

Cradling the phone, Harry kept an eye on the doors. "Go ahead."

"Thank you, whoever you are. My daughter said you were British, yes?" The accented voice on the phone was gruff, an older man with what Harry immediately categorised as a 'command voice' - a hallmark of an experienced leader.

"Pilot Officer Harry Potter, yes sir." Harry caught sight of something, movement, but it was difficult to make out through the reflections in the windows; lights on inside, dark outside … "Shit, DOWN!"

Mossad Headquarters, Tel Aviv, Israel - 32° 8'39.87"N, 34°48'15.66"E

November 12, 2002 - 2350 Time Zone Bravo

Two hundred miles away in Tel Aviv, Eli David stared at his phone handset in open shock - a truly alien expression for the always-in-control Deputy Director, and one that scared his section heads in the late-night meeting nearly witless when they saw it on his face.

"That was Ziva, she's been attacked, in Eilat. Tali' as well, I don't know exactly …"

He was rambling. That would never do. Taking a breath, he shoved all emotion - worry, panic, concern included - to the back of his mind. They weren't helping, and he had a job to do.

"Find out what's happening in Eilat, and inform the Director. Get me a plane on the tarmac right now, I want updates on the way. And get me a file on a British military officer, Harry Potter who's involved somehow, probably Royal Air Force."

His subordinates scattered.

The plastic handset cracked in his grip.

The hotel's glass front shattered under a hail of gunfire. Harry crouched over Ziva as they and a couple of staff members were showered in a rain of wood splinters and shattered glass granules from bullets hammering the no-longer-so-smart backdrop of the front desk above and behind them.

Four shooters. Nine mil sub-guns. If they were using AK's, they would've gone straight through the wood. Apparently they're not interested in kidnapping any more.

The fire stopped abruptly. Risking a glance over the top, Harry saw three of them run inside through the shattered windows, as another turned to fire at something outside. Blue and red lights flickered on the remaining glass panels higher up.

Police. They're pinned from two sides, and not aiming at me any more. Perfect.

Harry braced on the edge of the desk again, only his forearms and head above the eyes exposed to fire - pretty much the best shooting position in the circumstances. His ever-reliable 1911 roared again, and one of the figures went down as he shifted to the next of the three.

Absently he noted the fourth gunman go down outside as multiple high-powered rifle rounds tore into him.

Another shot. Six left. Another black figure went down, but the first was still moving on the ground.

No way he survived a .45 to centre of mass … body armour, son of a bitch!

He ducked again, as the third hostile skidded to a halt and opened up on the desk once more.


The target's SMG, a Micro-Uzi, locked open on an empty magazine. He looked at it, then back up just in time to see the .45's barrel reappear, and the impact of the Remington jacketed hollow-point snapped his head in a gory geyser of blood.

Target down.

Harry knew he was damn near out of ammo, and although the girl - Ziva - still had a gun, it was a pocket pistol, a backup weapon designed to be concealed in an ankle holster, and probably only useful for a shootout in a crowded elevator.

Where the hell are the cops?

The two others were still on the floor, disoriented. Being shot with armour on was better than not having it, obviously, but it still hurt like a bitch and usually broke ribs, and they'd both dropped their weapons. Judging from their performance tonight, the assailants seemed enthusiastic but amateurish, a part of his mind noted absently. A lot of mistakes.

The Border Police unit, a pair of paramilitary officers in grey uniforms and olive green tactical gear and armed with M-4 carbines moved cautiously through the broken glass, weapons up and covering the gunmen. Harry ducked again - he really didn't want to get shot by some adrenaline-hyper cops after all that. That would just be embarrassing.

The Israeli officers were, fortunately, not trigger-happy. They pounced on the still-winded kidnappers and had them zip-tied in a matter of seconds. Harry revealed himself with Ziva and the staff, and after a short exchange surrendered his weapon - reluctantly - and began the usual bureaucratic roundabout that results from shooting people and breaking things in somebody else's country without a diplomatic passport.

Two hours later, Harry had finished giving an exhaustively detailed statement and was sitting on the tailgate of an ambulance outside, after the officer questioning him belatedly realized he still had cuts on his face and shards of glass down his collar and neck; something Harry hadn't himself noticed until that point. Ziva was a few meters away in another ambulance, parked at ninety degrees to his. The paramedic behind him finished patching up his neck and said something in Hebrew. Harry took that to mean 'I'm finished,' and stood up, making his way over to her. She didn't look up as he waved another over-concerned medic away and leaned on the door.

And the prize for Awkward Conversation Opener of the Year goes to ...

"How are you doing?" She looked like hell, and had clearly been crying earlier, but that was all he could think of.

She glanced up long enough to see who it was, then down at the floor again. "Fine."

"You know that's an acronym, right?"

A spark of curiosity. "No?"

"Freaked out, insecure, neurotic and emotional? Never heard that one?"

"I'd rather not hear any jokes right now." Her voice was weak, almost inaudible in the din of the officials, vehicles and so forth around them.

"Sorry." Harry muttered. "I'm not very good at this, if it wasn't obvious." That got a slight nod at least, meaning: Yes, it is very obvious. "Any word on your sister?"

"Tali'. Dead, she's ..." She hunched in on herself again. "That's all they said."

"I'm sorry."

"Don't be. You didn't kill her … and I probably would have been dead or captured without you." Dark eyes regarded him with a more lively expression than he'd seen since the shooting ended, and the grief had set in. "Who are you, really?"

"Harry Potter. Royal Air Force." She raised an eyebrow.

"Pilots don't react like that, or shoot like that. You were body-shielding me, that's what a trained bodyguard would do." She pointed at his cheek. "And that scar is from a knife. Unlikely a pilot would pick that up."

"Well spotted, Sherlock." Harry smiled slightly. "Special Air Service to be exact."

That really did get her interest. "Why is a British Special Forces soldier in Eilat, of all pla -"

Ziva cut herself off when a trio of large black SUV's pulled around the police blockade at the end of the street and came to a halt near the ambulances.

"My father, possibly," she said to Harry. Under her breath, she added, "In person. I feel so honored."

"Ah." Clearly not much love lost there. "He came, didn't he?"

Dark eyes met green. "True," Ziva admitted. "He doesn't normally. Come to anything, I mean. Even before mom left him." Her tone was bitter as she looked back to the vehicles. A veritable sea of men and women bearing a wide range of weaponry poured out of the SUVs and spread out in a protective cordon before an older man - medium height, grey hair, expressionless face, cold eyes - got out of the second one, and approached at a measured walk.


"Hello, father." Ouch. Harry didn't quite wince at the icy formality Ziva had shifted into, and nor had he missed the word choice and tone - there was a world of difference in the warmth she gave 'father' and 'mom.'

"I'm glad you're all right."

Father and daughter embraced, but to Harry's carefully expressionless gaze it seemed mostly initiated by Ziva; her father seemed to regard it as required - just something you did as a father.

I dislike this guy already. Harry knew his own history - as an orphan who was repeatedly told his parents were practically halo-wearing angels - probably made him expect parents to be far more loving, caring and affectionate than most ever were, but Ziva's father was clearly less than stellar in that role.

"And you would be the mysterious Pilot Officer Potter, I suppose?" The man in question turned to him, held out a hand. "Eli David. Thank you for saving my daughter."

His grip was cold, mechanical, and Harry could tell he was being evaluated.

"Always. And I'm hardly mysterious." Harry smiled politely, but it didn't reach his eyes.

"Really? Then why is your entire personnel file completely redacted other than your name and date of birth?"

Woah. How did he get a look at my file?

Wait a minute. Eli David, where have I heard of Eli David … hmmm ... oh hell, the Deputy Director of Mossad. Just my bloody luck. I really should have asked for Ziva's surname. Not that that would have helped, it's fairly common.

"I don't know, Deputy Director." Harry stressed the title. Yes, I want you to know that I know. "I'm sure Whitehall have their reasons."

And I'm sure they're going to be just fascinated as to how you could get your hands on my official RAF file in less than two hours.

"Indeed. Any thoughts on tonight's attack?"

"They were amateurs. The bomb was a distraction - messy, but effective. The kidnapping itself was sloppy beyond belief. The van pulled up while Ziva and I were behind cover, not in an open stretch of the sidewalk where we'd have been vulnerable. They should have bailed then rather than tried their luck. Then the firefight in the hotel - I presume that was the backup team. Another good idea, but they should have aborted when their pointmen were downed; with the police just around the corner, they panicked. Also, when the ones in armour were shot, a professional would have been up and moving a few seconds later. Those guys lay around on the ground like landed fish." Harry shook his head. "Being shot in armour hurts, but not that much."

Eli's eyebrow rose, somewhat impressed at the analysis, but only asked, "Personal experience?"

Harry's hand rested for a moment on his lower left abdomen before he pulled it away again, reluctant to give away any more details. "Yes. But I wasn't wearing armour then."

The second eyebrow joined the first for a moment. "I see. Thank you again, Mr Potter, for saving Ziva. Now, if you wouldn't mind, I'd like to speak to my daughter now."

Thus dismissed, Harry left to find whoever was in charge. He thought about sticking around - Ziva had returned to her almost catatonic state once her father arrived, which was disheartening after her flashes of curiosity. Nonetheless, it really wasn't his business, and he had a plane to catch.

Ten minutes later, he was free to leave and returned to his hotel to sleep for what little remained of the night. By the next evening, he was in Vauxhall Cross, London. Known locally as 'Legoland,' the building was more formally described as the headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service, or MI-6, and there Harry did his debrief on the incident and his short meeting with Eli David: intelligence agencies spy on everyone, even their allies, and any information about a senior foreign intelligence official was interesting to 'The Firm.'

The fact that the Mossad had apparently extensive access to the supposedly classified personnel files of British Special Forces officers worried the brass; fortunately, Harry's own actual file - the single unredacted version in existence, and containing the full details of his magical background and unique 'powers' - resided solely in a hidden safe in the classified documents storage at Hereford, in the room known as 'The Vault' in the basement of the headquarters of the SAS: it was decidedly not available for anyone else to read.

It wasn't Harry's problem, anyway. He was back in Afghanistan less than a week later, his meeting with Ziva David just one interesting but ultimately relatively minor incident in an exceptionally active career. He never thought he'd meet her again, never thought that it'd be important.

How wrong he was.