Ziva slid into the shelter as the sirens rang out over the town. She leaned against the cool wall as others packed themselves into the bunker and the door was closed. Concussion after concussion after concussion could be felt through the walls as rockets from Hamas rained down on Be’er Sheva.

Ziva closed her eyes as she willed the barrage to stop and tried to think of something, anything else to take her away from the chaos that she was currently in. The beach floated into her minds’ eye, but soon faded away as all she could picture was the beaches of Tel Aviv being bombed. She tried again as she shook the image from her mind and tuned out the cries of the children and the parents who tried to comfort them around her. Normally she would’ve tried to help comfort them, but right then she was feeling the need for comfort as well and was trying to find it in her mind.

Her mind slowly started to form a picture, drawing it like an artist and shading in parts here and coloring in parts there before it was finished. She gasped into the space around her as her throat constricted at the sight that her mind brought her to. The NCIS bullpin was overlapped by Tony’s apartment and the long lasting ache in her heart flared with an intensity that she hadn’t felt since the weeks after she saw Tony off at the airport. The orange colored walls were such a contrast to Tony’s apartment and the images flipped from one place to the next like a slide show that was hiccupping from a bad projector. She wondered what the team was up to right then. Surely they weren’t diving into bomb shelters like she had been doing for weeks now. She sighed and slid down the wall to a crouching position and her head fell into her hands as the pictures in her mind made her homesick.

She had stayed mostly in Israel since she saw Tony off, but had taken a quick trip to Europe during the Spring and stayed in every hotel- every room and bed- she had shared with Tony on the missions they were sent on. She only slept on the final night that she was in each city. The other nights she had hugged what had been his pillow and wept. During the daytime she would wander the streets and sit in the café’s that they had gone to. She often thought of emailing or calling to see how everyone was, but she’d panic before she could hit the send button on anything. There were drafts and drafts of emails to the team, each one a failed attempt to contact them that mocked her every time she logged into her email. She had told Tony when he left that she had to do this for Gibbs. She had to end the cycle of hate and betrayal and self-destruction and she wanted to do so so badly, but she didn’t bargain for the heartache that it would bring her or the team or especially- and she was sure of it- Tony. How could something that was supposed to do good bring so much pain with it? She couldn’t find the answers even though she searched for the answers everywhere.

There was another concussion outside the bunker and the image of Tony’s apartment shook in her mind. The water from the fish bowl sloshed around a bit and some leapt from the top and splashed onto the wood table it sat on. She cursed in her mind that the destruction that was going on around her was bleeding into places it did not belong. She wouldn’t let another rocket harm places she held so closely to her. She pushed the images from her mind to protect them, but part of her warred against the protective part to hold those images there because she needed them. She needed the comfort and safety that they instilled in her even though she walked away from them all that time ago.

How long had it been? Even though she had, at first, willingly come to Israel for a visit she had always thought she would return to NCIS and Washington as soon as things blew over with Gibbs, but then her personal Hell started and Tony came for her and she had to send him away so she could do as she had promised herself for Gibbs- to end this for him. When Tony left she had taken things minute-by-minute.  Then it turned into hour-by-hour, day-by-day, week-by-week, and month-by-month. Now, now it was over a year. How could that be? How could she have been gone from her family for over a year? Her heart ached even more and the images in her head became even clearer and life-like that she felt like she was standing in each place as they bounced around in her mind. Oh how she longed for her family. To hear Gibbs call her Ziver, the banter between McGee and Tony, Abby’s overly hyper ramblings about all things science, Ducky’s stories, Jimmy and Breena and what was going on in their lives. She wondered how Vance and the kids were doing. It had been too long and that brought up another question… could you go home again? Or were others right when they said that you couldn’t go home again? She came back to Israel and even though she had stayed much longer than she expected she found that she didn’t call it home these days. It was simply where she was living; or in cases as today, hiding.

“Miss? Miss, it’s okay now. We can leave the bunker. The rockets have stopped,” a gentle voice of an elderly man coaxed her from her mind. “It’s okay,” he reassured her again.

Ziva looked up at him and tried to smile, but failed. “Thank you,” she whispered thickly. When had she started crying? She wasn’t even sure.

The elderly man stooped down to her level and dabbed her tear stained face with the cuff of his shirt. “I know that times like now are hard, dear, but do not let them bring you down. I am sure you have family waiting for you so come, I’ll walk you home.” He offered his hand to her and they helped each other to an upright position.

“I have no family here,” she murmured as they exited the shelter. “I am all alone.”

The elderly man smiled softly. “That is not true. We are all family here.” When Ziva’s face didn’t brighten any the man gave her hand a squeeze. “I am sure you have friends here at least and they must be worried about your wellbeing. Come, I will walk you home so you can contact them.”

Ziva did not fight him and walked along the dusty road to her family’s house. It wasn’t a long walk, but they talked the whole way. She told him about DC and the people there. He told her about his family, all of his children and grandchildren and how his wife had recently passed away. It was an enjoyable conversation. When they got to her house they stood before it and she let out a heavy sigh.

“You are here,” he said slowly, “and you will always have family here, but you belong where your heart is, Ziva. You should go to your heart. Take it from an old man who has seen many wandering souls, you belong with your heart, and the people you call your family. You also belong with your soul mate. I do not need to tell you how Judaism feels about soul mates, how deeply we believe in them. You have found your soul mate and now you are keeping yourself from him. You should go to him and the family you have formed.”

Ziva opened her mouth to respond, but the man gave her a warm smile and a gentle hug before turning and walked away with a wave and a simple goodbye. She took a step towards his direction, but stopped after only one step and then turned towards the orchard. She had walked amongst trees too many times to count during her time there. She could walk the paths blindfolded and never run into a tree or get lost. She inspected every inch of the orchard for damage from the rockets as her conversation with the old man rang through her head. There was damage at the far outer edge, but the center remained whole and untouched.

Have you found your soul mate yet, Miss?” The voice of a woman from a case long ago floated through her head as she looked over the damaged trees before turning around to view the untouched trees again. “You have found your soul mate and now you are keeping yourself from him.” The elderly man’s voice echoed to the woman’s long ago question.

Ziva raced through the trees towards her house. She flung open the door and went to her computer. It took longer than she expected to get it to turn on, but as she flicked the switches for the lights she found that they also took their time and she knew that the rockets had caused some electrical problems for the city in the middle of the desert. Once the computer was up and running she went to her email and sent out every unsent draft to the team and then quickly wrote another to everyone but Tony that simply said, “I am coming home.” For Tony though she took a few more minutes to type up an apology and her hopes for them to work things out before she sent it to him. Then she booked the midnight flight from Tel Aviv and went to pack her bags.

She was in the middle of packing her second bag when someone cleared their throat behind her. She stiffened and straightened as she looked for a weapon, but she quickly relaxed as she turned to find Shmiel standing in her bedroom doorway. “Shmiel!” she cried. “You scared me!” She flung her arms around him. “I have missed you!”

Shmiel chucked lightly. “My dear Ziva, I have missed you too. I came as quickly as I could, but with the rockets I had to wait some before entering Be’er Sheva.” He peered around Ziva to her bags. “I see I am returning from my lectures to see you off.”

Ziva fidgeted like a young girl being caught doing something she wasn’t supposed to be doing. “I am returning to America,” she informed him with a weak voice.

“I thought as much,” Shmiel nodded. “I just had a phone call from DiNozzo asking about you.”

“Oh?” Ziva felt anxious. “What did he want to know?”

“If the email he had just received was real or not. I told him that I did not know.” He placed a weathered hand on her cheek and smiled again as his eyes twinkled. “I have been waiting for the day you would return to DC. I knew you would not stay here forever. Your heart is not here. You are not complete here anymore.”

“I hope I am making the right decision to return to DC though. I have hurt them all by staying here, especially Tony.” Ziva hung her head as the fear she had been trying to set aside took bites out of her bravado.

Shmiel guided Ziva to the foot of her bed and sat her down. “Life is full of decisions and sometimes we make the wrong ones, but what is so lovely about life is that we do have the chance to correct the wrong decisions. When I spoke to Tony I heard hope and longing, not someone who does not want to see you. I am sure the others are the same… well maybe not the exact same as Tony, but I am sure they will be happy to have you home again. It may take time to rebuild things with all of them, but you are young and have the time to do so. Plus, if any of them are anything like me they will take one look at you and melt. I never could be angry at you for long when you did something wrong,” there was a chuckled laced into the last of his words as he bumped her shoulders with his. “Now come, I will help you finish packing at take you to the airport.”

Ziva reached over and gave Shmiel a long hug. “Thank you,” she whispered. “I do not deserve any of this, but thank you.”

Shmiel patted her back. “You deserve all of this and more, my dear Ziva.”

At the airport later that evening Shmiel and Ziva parted ways with a promise of her to call once she was in DC to let him know she was well and for him to visit soon and to watch over the house. A short time later Ziva sat in a seat on a plane as it hurled through the dark sky to DC and her family and her heart.

Unexpected picture

Tony sat in the hotel bar waiting. His old man was always late if he wasn’t in the middle of Tony’s cases. He sighed as he sipped on his drink and looked around wondering what excuse was going to be used this time. His father’s wedding was in only a few days and he arrived in New York early to prepare for it.

“Sorry, I’m late!” the older DiNozzo’s hurried voice came from behind the younger one. “I thought I left in enough time, but there was an accident on the way here and traffic was at a standstill.” He added as Tony stood up to give his dad a hug.

“That’s okay, dad,” Tony murmured in his ear. “A phone call would’ve been nice though.”

The men sat down at the table and Tony singled for another round of drinks for the both of them. “So, getting nervous, dad?”

The older DiNozzo looked thoughtful for a moment and then smiled, “not at all, son, not at all.”

“Good. I really do think mom would approve of the two of you getting married,” Tony sincerely smiled at his dad.

“I hope so.”

“How was your trip to Europe?”

“It was good. I was able to meet with some people I’ve worked with before and I might have something in the works with them in the near future.”

His father looked downright jovial over his revelation that Tony decided not to poke any holes in it. Maybe his father was being truthful this time and he really did have a business project in the works. Since he had gotten together with Tony’s Godmother he had changed for the better so anything was possible at this point. “Good for you, dad. I hope it all works out.”

Their drinks arrived and after a long pull from his the older DiNozzo quietly looked at his son. “I… I ran into a mutual friend of ours over there,” he spoke in soft, halting tones.

“Oh?” Tony’s interest was piqued. “And who was that?”

“A man that goes by Pinkas. He said that you two have met before and I believe him to be true.”

Tony smiled at the last name. “Shmeil, yes, I know him.” He paused for a beat, “how was he?”

“He seemed well enough. He was in town giving a lecture on Middle Eastern Philosophy at a university.”

“Makes sense,” Tony nodded. “What did you two talk about?”

“Oh, a lot of things. Weather, work, my getting married,” he looked down into his drink and quietly added, “you.”

Tony nearly choked on his drink. “What about me?”

“Nothing bad,” he promised. “He was wondering how you were doing and how NCIS was. He… I’m sure he was interested, but he wasn’t just asking for himself.” He reached into the breast pocket of his jacket and pulled out a picture. “He said you might like this.”

Carefully Tony took this picture from his father and cradled it in his hand. His breath caught in his throat when he saw who it was a picture of. Her skin was golden brown and her hair was streaked by the sun. Her eyes were alive, but still slightly guarded. He supposed they always would be. She was looking over her shoulder as she walked down the steps towards an opening that lead to the sea just beyond. He could see the blue water framing her. She looked relaxed. He looked at the picture for a few long moments before flipping it over to find the small black print on the back: “Ziva, Crete, May 2014”. He flipped the picture back over and began to memorize everything about it. The orange walls to either side of her, her hair, her eyes, the smile playing on her lips, the color of her tanned skin. It had been so long since he had seen a new picture of her.

“He said that she speaks of you often. She doesn’t mean to, but they start talking and at some point you come up,” the older man’s voice softly broke into Tony’s head. “The others too, but you’re the one she goes on and on about.”

Tony glanced up at his father. “Did he say what she talks about?”

The older DiNozzo shook his head negatively.

“Oh,” was all Tony could muster before taking one last look at the picture and carefully tucking it into the breast pocket of his jacket.

“Maybe you should email her, Tony,” his father urged. “Take it from a man who spent too many years looking for the right woman after your mother passed. It took me five tries to ask you Godmother out on a date and the moment she said yes and we had our first date I knew that she may not be your mother, but I would never let her go. You and Ziva… she’s to you what your mother was to me, Tony. You two need to give that a chance. You still have the chance to be with the woman who means the world to you. You’d be foolish to let that go forever. Obviously she hasn’t let you go if she still speaks of you endlessly.”

“It’s not that easy dad.”

“Yes it is. You just have to make a phone call or an email. It’s that easy.”

“And if she doesn’t pick up or respond? Then what?” he tried to keep the bitterness out of his voice, the feelings from the tarmac bubbling up in him. He never wanted to leave her there. “She was the one to stay behind. I begged her to come home with me. She refused.”

“Just give it a try, Tony. It has been nearly a year. She has had time and maybe her feelings have changed, but she’s scared of how you would react. You’ll never know until you give it a chance.”

Tony heaved a sigh. “We’ll see. We’re not here about Ziva right now. You’re about to get married again! Let’s talk about that? What needs to be done before Saturday?”

I have decided to keep this blog up for now, but I will not be visiting it very often. There are some things on here that I will need in the future and that is why I’m keeping it. I will tell you if/when it will be deleted.


I have been relatively silent as of late for a variety of reasons and I have thought about this site, the people on it, how people behave, how it makes me feel, and I have silently scanned through the postings of those that I follow on here during my time of silence. I have come to the point that…

"…she had wild eyes, slightly insane. She also carried an overload of compassion that was real enough and which obviously cost her something."
— Charles Bukowski, Women (via aestheticintrovert)

I have been relatively silent as of late for a variety of reasons and I have thought about this site, the people on it, how people behave, how it makes me feel, and I have silently scanned through the postings of those that I follow on here during my time of silence. I have come to the point that I am close to deleting this blog altogether. I will give you until the end of May to change my mind. Not many spoke to me before my silence and even fewer have even dropped a “hey, are you okay?” since my silence started so I don’t hold my breath for anyone trying to keep me here, but you do have the chance. It’s up to you. You have until the 1st of June…