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More testing...  this is an old story of mine.


Title: Photographs
Author: moregoth 
Category: Angst
Pairing: Gibbs/Ziva, friendship

Summary: Ziva helps Gibbs regain his memory, an AU episode tag for Hiatus II.

Rating: Teen, I guess

Disclaimer: I’m just borrowing them for a spin, I promise to return them relatively unharmed once I’m done.
Note:
Mentions past Gibbs/Kate and Ari/Kate but it’s not the main focus.

 

 

The sharp light illuminate the sterile hospital corridors and my footsteps echoes in them as I walk toward the ICU. For the first time in many years I’m afraid.

 

The events reminded me to much of the death of Tali, when the bomb exploded I tried so hard not to think about it while swearing and praying to the gods to save him and not let him die to. I was so stuck in my private hell that I missed where the EMT’s took him and I can still hear Ducky’s accusing voice bouncing around in my head when I didn’t know.

 

I closed off all my feelings and emotions and focused only to get those responsible. It gave me something else think about and I was happy with the distraction. I’m supposed to be the bad, hard ass Mossad officer, a trained assassin, a heartless spy and I’m not supposed to cry. I never expected to form so strong attachments and feelings for my colleges and my boss, but here in my self-proclaimed exile they have become my family.

 

Tony and Tim are my brothers; they both remind me in some ways about Ari, especially Tony with his joking and shirt chasing. Abby is my sister although she certainly is nothing like Tali in appearance but she has the same compassion and a view of the world that is so much lighter than mine. Ducky is a favourite uncle or even what I in weak moments wish my father would have been like then none of this would have happened. Gibbs I’m not so sure what he is I just know he is the only person I without any hesitation trust, and I know he will never betray it.

 

I felt relief when I heard he had woken from the coma but the next words from Jenny crushed all my hope of everything being all right and of things going back to normal. He didn’t remember the last fifteen years, he didn’t even remember Ducky or being a NCIS special agent.

 

When Tony said his gut was telling him we were missing something and I without thinking answered Gibbs. I knew in my heart what I had to do. I may not want to because I’m awfully aware of what fifteen years back in time means for Gibbs but I know I have to.

 

If we are going to stop the terror attack I will have to jump start his memory and I know exactly what will do that, the pictures and the letter I received from Ari. They certainly shocked me when they arrived in a crumbled brown envelope months after his death. Now they are safely hidden under my jacket as approach his room and I can almost feel them burning against my skin.

 

I enter the half dark room and there he is, tucked in under white sheets in a hospital bed. His face full of bruises and burn marks, his eyes are closed and it looks like he is sleeping. He looks vulnerable and nothing like the Gibbs I have gotten to know the last year. I just stand there beside his bed concealed in darkness looking down at him and trying gather all my willpower for what I’m about to do. I will have tell him horrible things, but there isn’t any other way he must remember. He must have felt my presence because when I reach out to wake him he suddenly grabs my arm and opens his azure blue eyes. His gaze shows confusion he and obviously doesn’t recognise me because he mumbles “Who?”

 

I rush our conversation, I finish his sentences I want this to be over. I tell him about the treat of the terror attack and urges him remember. But he doesn’t and he glares at me and say that he has been trying to since he woke up in this room. I tell him to try harder and for the first time I’m glad to be at the receiving end of a Gibbs stare.

 

As I take his hand and guide it to the back of my head for a slap I see for the first time a flicker of recognition in his eyes, he is starting to remember.

 

But I doubt he has full recollection about who Kate was and how I’m connected to her death, not a small part of me wish that I could leave it in ignorance. His mind still thinks he just lost his wife and daughter and here I’m, about to break his heart in even smaller pieces.

 

My voice trembles as I say “Ari… Ari killed Kate” From the horror in his eyes I know he remembers her death. As I tell him the next part “and I killed Ari” I can’t hold back the tears anymore.

 

“Your brother, You killed your brother to save me” I can hear his concerned voice between my sobs. He wraps me in his arms and I cry for myself, for the loss of my brother and I cry for Gibbs and the pain I have and will inflict on him and lastly I cry over the contents in the envelope hidden beneath my clothes. How love and our fathers twisted schemes led my brother to kill Kate. I soak his hospital gown with my tears but eventually they lessen and I pull backwards.

 

And before I have lost my courage or started to question the wisdom in my decision I remove the envelope from it’s hiding place. He grabs and opens it with efficiency; he must have thought it was something about the case but when he sees what’s inside he freezes.

 

The distress and grief in his expression will forever haunt me. I can almost hear the reality and all memories crashing down on him. The contents of the envelope falls down from his immobile hands and scatters over the floor. His voice is mere a whisper “I remember” and I can guess what his next inquiry will be.

 

“How, Who?” He asks, still just audible and makes a vague gesture towards the floor.

 

It takes all my strength to force my lips to utter “Ari”

 

I can see in his eyes that he needs to know every single little detail. I reach down for the letter that lies among the scattered photographs on the floor and silently hands it to him. I always found it odd that Ari wrote to me in English but now I’m grateful that he did because it means that Gibbs can read it.

 

I watch as Gibbs slowly unfolds the letter with slightly shaky hands and starts to read Ari’s handwritten words. I wonder what he will think and feel when he learns the truth about his adversary. I know that I will forever wonder if I would have noticed Ari changing if I had watched him more closely, but I always trusted him. I think of Ari’s somewhat confused last words to me, those Gibbs are reading now. They will eternally be imprinted in my memory.

 

I’m so sorry little sister that I betrayed your trust in me. I’m sorry for the things I did. I regret that I already had killed an innocent woman before I realized what I had become. All because of my desire for revenge.

 

What ever you do stay as far away from our father as possible and don’t trust a word he says to you. He killed my mother just so he could have what he thought was a perfect mole into Hamas, and for awhile I was, that is until I found out.

 

Always remember in our father’s world work comes before everything else, for long I thought that Gibbs was like that to, but I was wrong. I know that he will come for me and he will kill me. If I had any doubt it vanished when I saw the burning look in his eyes when I killed the woman we both love. He will not let anything stop him when you read this I will be dead.

 

I never thought I would envy Gibbs you know his history, after all you profiled him for me, but I do, he has had the privilege of having Caitlin’s love and her presence in his life.

 

It’s kind of ironic that my actions brought them together. Remember the time I should infiltrate the headquarters of NCIS to retrieve the smallpox virus, that’s when I first meet them both. Caitlin intrigued me from the moment I saw her, she was beautiful and brave enough to try and stab me with a scalpel. Gibbs I disliked at spot he was far to arrogant and now I also wonder if my subconscious detected something between the two of them.

 

The second time I saw her it was deliberately, it was one of my last missions as faithful mole.

I kidnapped her, the others in my cell thought I did it so she could tell us which helicopter was marine one. In fact I did it just so I could see her again and I got to spend an afternoon in her company and ultimately tell her, that I was one of the good guys working undercover but the rest didn’t go according to plan.

 

 I watched from afar when Gibbs came to get her, how he gathered her in his arms, with relief shining in his eyes and finally as he kissed her when he thought no one was watching. I don’t know why I took a picture of them I still don’t or why I kept seeking them out every time I was near Washington. In some twisted way I liked watching their happiness. I may have hoped for their break-up but as the weeks turned into months it became obvious that it wasn’t going to happen.

 

Then I found out what he had done and I went rogue, but before I was completely consumed by my need for revenge I sought them out one last time. I watched them one sunny afternoon in the marina while they strolled among the boats. I saw how she looked at Gibbs and he at her and how they occasionally glanced at the children running along the deck. There I said goodbye to an ordinary life and silently gave Caitlin my blessings. I only wished that she sometimes would think of me.

 

 I hope little sister that you find love like that. Have children, free your self from the iron grip of Mossad, find happiness. Perhaps you can someday tell them stories of their uncle. How you came and visited him in Edinburgh, please remember me as I was then. Remember the time we went by the old museum steam train, the small village we ended up in, the lovely little pub we found, that looked like nothing had changed the last 100 years. I think of that day as one of the best I have experienced.

 

I never expected that my quest for revenge would bring me back in their presence. It should have been easy my undercover work had almost already brought me there. All I had to do was lead a cell on a mission in Norfolk and kill one man. That would bring my deep enough into al-Qaida to gain access to everything I needed to frame our father and put him on top of Mossad’s hit-list. I thought that would make the perfect revenge, him haunted by the agency he sacrificed all for. The only problem was who they wanted me to kill.

 

I tell you this little sister I have killed many men and women what difference would one more make. At that point I was determent to take him out, my whole being was focused on revenge.

 

Three times I tried and each time I  failed. The first I spared him because I needed him around to stop the attack, I didn’t trust myself to do so. The second time I let faith decide along with his skills, I left a bomb and if he found it in time he would live a bit longer.

 

The last time I had him in the crosshair all I had to do was pull the trigger when I was interrupted by gunshots from the rooftop.  I watched in what felt like slow-motion how Caitlin jumped between the bullets and Gibbs, how he ran over to her to control if she was okay. I don’t know what possessed me in that moment when my aim turned at Caitlin and I pulled the trigger. All I could think of was that she would hate me if I shot Gibbs, and I couldn’t let her do that.

 

Milliseconds later as I saw her fall backwards I came to my senses and realized that no revenge was worth that price, but then it was to late and I fled the scene with emptiness in my heart.

 

Soon Gibbs will find me he deserves to put an end to my life, but I wont make it easy for him.

 

I hope little sister that you one day can forgive me for what I have done, yet I’m not sure if I can forgive myself. Find someone you can love, someone better than me, someone with the same passion as Gibbs. And always bear in mind that our father is not to be trusted.

 

With love Ari

 

A low rustle takes me back to reality as I look at Gibbs I can see a turmoil of emotions crossing his face, the deepest of them is grief. He almost looks like a little lost boy; I hesitantly take a step forward and wrap my arms around him. He his breath is unsteady and I can feel something wet landing on my shoulder. I pretend that I doesn’t notice I just hold him tighter.

 

A distant part of me screams at me for getting to close and quotes Gibbs rule of never say you are sorry, it’s a sign of weakness to me, I don’t listen. I briefly wonder if he remember his own rule as I whisper “I’m sorry” that is all I can do. I wish that I could take away his pain along with mine, but I know that nothing will accomplish that. We will both forever be haunted by our demons of the past.

 

I consider for myself as I have many times before, if the others in the team knew of the two of them or suspected. I decide that they weren’t aware of it Tony would never have been able to keep that scuttlebutt to himself. 

 

I voice my suspicion “They didn’t know? You thought there would be time, and afterwards how could you tell them then, when she was gone.”

 

We stare into each others eyes and then both nod almost simultaneously to assure and confirm that our secrets are safe. We won’t reveal them to anyone else no matter the cost.

 

I take a step backwards and kneel down on he floor to collect the pictures. I put them back into the envelope and urge him to take them.

 

He gaze at them for a moment, then he looks down at his hand that still holds onto the letter with knuckles that has turned white and states “And this belongs to you”

 

So we switch the contents in or hands and I return the letter to it’s hiding place under my clothes. We stand there in comfortable silence; there is no need for any more words.

 

Time goes by and slowly the world outside this room begins to nag at my mind and apparently Gibbs’ mind too as he suddenly swears. “Dammit, that wasn’t Galib it was Pin Pin Pula. That overconfident bastard told me and he is on the Cape Fear now, planning to blow it up. Come on let’s go”

 

We quickly borrows a pair of scrubs, for Gibbs to wear at the nearest nurses station. When he has changed, I see him gently slipping the envelope under his scrubs as we head towards the exit.

 

We walk in the long hospital corridors, I force my demons into hiding and I can see him doing the same. He raises the walls that guard his feelings and he is almost transformed into the usual Gibbs. Almost, he hasn’t been able to chase his demons far away I can se them lurking just under the surface but I don’t think anyone else will notice.

 

I know we will most likely never discuss any of what transpired the last hours. Neither of us dare to, it’s best to keep your demons in a short leash, not to expose them and show weakness. We both have to many enemies to allow that.

 

Today has showed me that we will always watch each others backs and I know that at least something good came with the death of my brother, the friendship and trust of Gibbs.

 

As we exit the hospital, I focus on the present we have a terror attack to stop. I flip my cellphone open and start to make the necessary phone calls. The first one goes to Tony with the news of Gibbs regained memory.

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