Chapter 13

Once they were sure that there were no Wraith anymore, cheating a little with letting the Hammond scan the immediate area, they drove back towards DC. This time, Teyla offered herself up to the Gibbs style of driving so that Rodney wouldn’t complain and that John could spend some more precious time with his Ziva.

It was getting dark, and instead of trying to keep up with Agent Gibbs, John took his time with Ziva’s assistance in directions back to the yards.

“So what happens now?” she asked softly, partly with the uncertainty of their relationship now that she knows his deepest secret.

“We drop you off at the Navy Yard, talk to your Director and head home,” John said. “Although I wouldn’t mind coming back here to see you again,” he said in a more pleasant tone.

Looking over at him, she blinked. “So this won’t affect us?” she confirmed.

“Why should it affect you? He still gets back to Earth, you talk in e-mail, you both get on like bunnies in heat whenever he comes to see you and all is well in the world now can we please go home?!” Rodney whined.

“Or are you scared, now that you know what I do for a living?” John rolled his eyes at Rodney and kept an eye on the road. He really wished that there were more lamp posts because he couldn’t see a damn thing.

Ziva shrugged. “We both lead dangerous lives, but I am afraid for you,” she admitted. “I suppose I’m just worried about being hurt if we get ourselves too invested now.”

“Hurt how?” he asked.

She was silent but the look she passed him spoke volumes.

“Look, I might do stupid things,” he shrugged. “It’s not like I’m out to kill myself, it’s a job hazard. For all we know, a car could pop up in front of us when we go back to our rendez-vous point and kill us instantly in the crash.”

Ziva made a face considering that she had plenty of experience with that as well. “I suppose we could just take it slow and see where it leads us then,” she answered diplomatically.

“Good,” John smiled.

“To be honest,” Rodney sighed, “And I hate to admit this,” he continued, “but ever since Sheppard met you in Miami he’s easier to get along with, he even doesn’t mind doing his paperwork!”

Ronon snorted. “That’s a fact.”

“Shut up,” John retorted.

She chuckled and shook her head. The rest of the ride to the navy yard was fairly pleasant with Rodney sharing more stories about the team and especially John’s escapades in the Pegasus Galaxy that had Ziva laughing. She was almost disappointed to be back at the office and sighed as such as they made their way back up to report in.

“You took your time getting back,” Gibbs said to Sheppard.

“I didn’t want to die,” he retorted and smirked. “I kept myself to the speed limit, so what we got back 10 minutes later than you?”

Gibbs looked at Ziva who only gave him an equal look back and smiled. “Are we to meet with Director Vance now?” she asked trying to diffuse the situation.

Gibbs nodded. “Your friends have to go back home,” he said, adding in thought that he only wished that this John Sheppard had a normal job so he could be with Ziva all the time, she needed him in a different way than she needed NCIS to keep her sane. He had seen a different side of Ziva today, despite the situation she was more relaxed than ever, as to what she was like before Somalia.

It was late, and John thought it was nice of Director Vance to stay so they could debrief and go back home, even if it meant saying ‘goodbye’ to Ziva for a while.

On the landing above the bull pen where the group were talking, Vance stood watching them. Taking a deep breath, he called out. “Agent David, my office,” he said before looking over at Gibbs and Sheppard. “Colonel, if you could wait around for a little while longer. I’d like to speak with you and Agent Gibbs when I’m done with Miss David.”

Ziva looked at Gibbs, as if he might have an answer to why Vance wanted to see her alone. Unfortunately he appeared just as baffled, even if he was able to hide it better. He also narrowed his eyes up at Vance who was already walking back to his office with strong suspicions of what might be happening.

She left them and headed up to the office and quietly stood before the Director’s desk as she waited for him to speak. The nerves getting the best of her did so first. “Director, I should inform you that my relationship with Colonel Sheppard in no way affected my performance in the field…” she started before he cut her off.

“That’s not why you here,” Vance said, knowing fully well that the next thing he was going to say was hard on him, but probably even harder on Ziva. “SecNav and Homeworld Security and even the IOA, which is some sort of board of people who have some leverage on things we and other agencies are doing, have been talking about having one or more NCIS agents as agents afloat for special projects, not like when Agent DiNozzo was an agent afloat, but for something a little bit more special.”

She was balling her fists, that wasn’t such a good sign. “The thing is, I know that recent events haven’t been easy on you lately, and that does affect the team,” Vance continued, and then waited for an answer of Ziva, which – he suspected – wouldn’t be so diplomatic as he was trying to be.

“Are you firing me?” she asked, narrowing her eyes at him.

“No, of course not,” Vance started, “You’ve worked your butt of to stay here, I’m not going to fire you because you’ve hit a rough patch.”

Ziva stared him down, her heart beating rapidly. “So then what are you saying?” she asked carefully as things were slowly beginning to register in her mind.

“You’ll be the first intergalactical agent afloat,” Vance said, “Which sadly means you have to spend more time with Colonel Sheppard, and you’ll have to leave your own team behind.”

She blinked in shock. Was this really happening? She couldn’t come up with any words except to slowly nod in acceptance. It was certainly an opportunity that she wasn’t about to pass up for the sake of staying with Gibbs and the team.

“May I ask,” she started once she found her voice. “What made you select me for this?”

“You know why,” Vance started, “You’re on the best NCIS team we have, but could you really see DiNozzo or McGee out there? Not to mention, if I’d send Gibbs, he’d kill me. That, and your Mossad training, made me select you.”

Ziva nodded in consent. “I will gather my belongings then,” she said. “Would you like me to send Gibbs and the Colonel to see you?”

“Please,” Vance nodded.

She nodded again before leaving. The Director’s secretary already had a box to give her and a quiet congratulations for the woman’s new assignment. Ziva made her way down the stairs in a shocked silence still as she made her way to her desk.

“The Director wants to see you, Gibbs, and John,” she said staring at Gibbs who eyed the box tentatively.

“Ziva?” Tony walked after her, “Did Vance fire you? He can’t fire you! I mean, you’ve done so much for NCIS and yourself lately and he just can’t fire you!”

She looked at him and shook her head. “I was not fired. He is transferring me,” she said as she began to clear out her desk. Opening her drawer on the side, she began throwing her personal items into the box like deodorant and a couple unused condoms.

Tony blinked when he saw the contents of her drawer. Condoms, really? he thought.

“Well that sucks,” McGee joined them, “Why?”

Ziva shrugged as she continued packing. “He seems to think that I am the best suited for the location. It is an opportunity that any agent would not pass up.” In went a spare pair of pants and underwear.

“You had that in your drawer?” Tony blurted, “No wait, that’s not the point, why is he breaking us up? We work as a team!”

“You would have to ask him Tony. But you know as well as I we will not stay together forever,” she pointed out.

“You don’t care that he’s taking you away from the spot you’ve fought so hard for?”

She shook her head as she threw more things into the box. “I fought to live and work for NCIS. It does not necessarily mean that it was exclusively for this team,” she argued back. “If the situation was reversed, not even you would object to this assignment.”

“Well it must be a helluvah job then,” Tony sulked, then bear-hugged her. “It’s okay to show us that you’d at least miss us.”

Ziva returned the hug and sighed. “I will email you all as often as I can. You know that you are my family,” she answered as she saw Gibbs and John coming back down the steps.

“Sorry Ziva, it’s out of my hands,” Gibbs said. “But I’ll keep trying to get you back.”

She smiled and shook her head. “It’s alright Gibbs. We knew that something like this would happen sooner or later. I will miss you and remember the rules,” she said moving around the desk to hug him.

“You’d better,” Gibbs said.

“I’ll try to keep Abby from trying to kill the Director,” McGee said and hugged Ziva as well. “You know how she gets.”

Laughing Ziva nodded. “I’ll be sure to stop in to talk to her myself. If you would tell Ducky for me, I’d appreciate it…”

Sheppard and his group had been standing back from the proceedings watching quietly. Rodney turned to John confused, “What’s going on?” he asked as quietly as he could.

“Stupid Homeworld Security and IOA, that’s what,” John replied in the same tone of voice as Rodney. “They decided that we need an Agent Afloat.”

“Wait, so you mean…?”

He nodded. “It’s not that I’d want her to, it’s just weird.”

“But at least now you would get to pursue the possibilities of your relationship now,” Teyla smiled approvingly.

He didn’t answer Teyla, and just watched how Ziva said goodbye to her friends. General Landry had been on the phone when Sheppard and Gibbs were up in Vance’s office, and Ziva would get a day or two to pack her belongings and whatnot before they all would head back to Pegasus.

When all was said and done, Ziva and Sheppard went down to the lab to say goodbye to Abby. While she could have done it by herself, Abby had always insisted on meeting John since she first learned of him and the extra presence helped Ziva to be pulled away easier from her friend’s tight hugs. With many promises upon promises to stay in touch, the Atlantis team and Ziva left to finish her packing at her apartment to begin the two week trip to her new home.

The lost city of Atlantis.

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