Eight months had passed since Ziva joined the Atlantis team. Going off world and getting into fights with Wraith and other hostile human cultures were becoming a habit and it certainly began to feel like a new family for her. While she continued to miss her friends at NCIS back on Earth, she was certainly making a life for herself in the Pegasus Galaxy.
She emailed the team almost every week, whenever she was able. Most of the communications were with Abby and McGee. Ducky would send stories of the dead that he met and even Gibbs replied a time or two. Tony would send the occasional joke and chain letter but otherwise, he kept replies and questions short. It upset her that he would put off their friendship because she did not wish to pursue a relationship with him and sought one from another man. Ziva hoped deeply that when she would return to Earth, and be able to visit them, that it would not be as awkward as their emails felt.
“So, where are we going?” Ziva mused as she sat on the co-pilot chair of the Jumper John was flying.
“I was actually thinking about teaching you how to fly,” John started, “But then I thought… that maybe you want to see someone who’s really special to me.”
“Oh?” she asked, swinging in the seat. “Care to share?”
“Well, there was this one time where this huge energy blast coming from this planet’s surface destroyed to Wraith darts and saved our asses,” he started, “Of course, we wanted to check it out because hey, it’s technological stuff and especially McKay thought it was interesting, it might also been quite helpful for us to protect Atlantis.” He continued, “On the planet we met the lovely, peaceful people who weren’t capable of creating big weapons but they told us that their Goddess protected the planet from the Wraith and other threats.” he looked at her and smiled. “We’re going to meet the high-priestess to that Goddess.” Of course, John didn’t add that Chaya Sar was actually Athar the ascended ancient aka Goddess.
Ziva nodded slowly. “And this – goddess – isn’t like one of those snake things that I read in reports?”
“Wrong galaxy.” John nodded. “Chaya and her people are very peaceful, it’s also very beautiful there, and they’re doing fine on their own because they’re protected. It does mean that they can’t help us in any way, but Chaya had told me that she did love the peaceful visitor every now and then.” he smiled. “You’re going to love it on Proculus.”
“Proculus?” she laughed. “That sounds…very phallic! What kind of culture is it? In compared to those on Earth that is.”
“Pre-technological. Lots of agriculture and fire.”
She turned back to looking out the window at the stars and hummed to herself. “I can’t believe I have been here for eight months already. It feels like an eternity.”
“It’s like you’ve never done anything else,” John smiled.
“You know – we could also just forget this whole trip and just hang out here in the middle of space…you, me, and the bench in the back,” Ziva winked jokingly. Of course she didn’t mean it – well not right away. It would certainly been fun though considering that they have yet to break Jumper One in as a couple yet. “Are we almost there?”
All of a sudden, there was this shimmer of light and John knew that Chaya had gotten into his Jumper. He turned around and smiled. “Hey Chaya.”
“John,” Chaya smiled, albeit looking a bit troubled. “Now is not a good time to visit, John.”
“Why not?” he asked worried.
She looked at him and shook her head. “We recently been having some difficulties with…” Chaya looked off as if she heard someone else speaking before letting out a breath. “The others said that you may visit now but request that you do not stay long. There has been a great deal in interest recently of seeking refuge that we cannot welcome,” she said before taking notice of Ziva. “You have brought someone new with you?”
“Chaya, this is Ziva David, she’s my very special friend,” John said.
“Your mate?” Chaya smiled widely. “I knew you had it in you.”
“My girlfriend, yes,” John nodded. “She’s been in the Pegasus Galaxy for 8 months now and it’s her birthday tomorrow. Since we can’t go off world tomorrow, I wanted to show her that not all things in the Galaxy is about fighting and that there’s beauty in it as well.”
Ziva raised an eyebrow and looked between the two but remained silent. She could not help but feel a little intimidated by this woman. “I told him that this was unnecessary,” she said eventually.
“Very well,” Chaya smiled, “Feel free to descend to the surface, I will tell the people of Proculus to welcome you with a birthday feast.”
“Oh you don’t have to do that,” John chuckled.
“You and your people have saved this galaxy plenty of times, the Others agree, a birthday feast is the least we can offer.”
“Well thank you, Chaya, we’ll see you when we’re on the surface.”
Ziva snorted at the offer before apologizing. “I’m sorry but for all that your people caused, all you could do is offer a party? Forgive me but I do not understand that.”
“John will explain.” Chaya’s disembodied voice sounded after she dissappeared from the Jumper.
He rolled his eyes at Ziva. “Chaya’s a banned ascended ancient because she helped the people of Proculus as an ascended being,” he said. “She’s not allowed to help us, or take in refugees. Believe me we’ve tried, but she’s not allowed to and if she will help us, or anyone else, the Others get pissy and remove her from her post. Proculus is the safest place there is in this galaxy apart from Atlantis.”
She looked at him and sighed. “The more I learn about these Ancients, the less I like them,” she frowned. “And everyone looks to them like they are the Messiah.”
“Yeah, they have too many rules and they’re arrogant and they were responsible for creating the Wraith in the first place, but they did a lot of good things too.”
She shrugged and sat back in the co-pilot seat. “Then I suppose we should get this visit over with? I wouldn’t mind to see what type of people she is so fond of to get in that sort of trouble for.”
“Look, if you don’t want to go, fine.” John said, “I just thought this would be a nice thing to do, for you.”
Ziva smiled softly. “It is nice, from you. Let’s go, really. I promise to not say anything more about them while we are here, okay? I’m really sorry for ruining your plans for you,” she pouted.
“Do you really want to go, or do you want to go to humor me?”
“I want to go,” she answered sitting up straight in the seat. “It would be another world I could add to my list of having visited. I have been keeping a journal of my visits and it would make an interesting entry.”
He nodded and started to fly through the atmosphere of the planet. “These are simple people, Ziva,” he said. “Farmers and stuff, and they’re extremely nice, not because they’re evil, but because they’re nice.”
“Sounds good,” she said and watched out the window as John made his approach to the landing area. After they walked out of the Jumper she looked around. “It is almost like a Buddist village…with monks…”
“They worship their Goddess Athar,” he explained, “As she’s keeping them safe.”
“That woman in the jumper?” Ziva confirmed. “She seemed to – know you quite well,” she observed.
He nodded, wondering how on Earth… well… Atlantis, he was going to explain that to her when he didn’t quite understand it himself. “Ehm… okay, remember those Star Trek movies when the Vulcan’s would do a mind meld and stuff?”
She raised an eyebrow in response as they walked along the footpath that led through to the village. “Yes,” she answered slowly. “Are you saying that she – entered you in some way like that? It seems like something that is a rather intimate thing to do.”
“Acended beings are pure energy and she and I… well yeah, she shared herself with me and…” he scratched his head. “It wasn’t sex.” he said sheepishly.
Ziva covered her mouth to mask her giggles. “Well it certainly sounds like you were intimate with her if that is their way. It is alright John,” she assured him. “I know that at the end of the day you are coming back to my bed.”
“To be completely honest, I liked liked her until I found out she wasn’t even supposed to be corporeal and thousands of years old,” he shrugged. “But this is a wonderful and peaceful place, left undisturbed by the Wraith and the people are just nice.”
“Colonel Sheppard!” The Magistrate of the village greeted them. “Such an honor to have you here, the High Priestess told us you were coming with your mate and asked us to prepare a feast!”
“Magistrate,” John nodded and smiled. “Your High Priestess is too kind, really.” He lovingly put an arm around Ziva. “This is Ziva.”
“Hello,” she smiled while trying to control her amusement at the newly learned information. “A feast is really not necessary. John just wanted to show me your people…”
“Then what way is better than having a feast and meet our people?” the Magistrate smiled widely. “The namesakes of the Colonel and his team are waiting eagerly to meet him.”
“Even though Proculus is guarded by our Goddess Athar, the stories of your heroics do reach this planet,” the Magistrate said. “Some of our families living under the protection of our monastery decided to name their off spring in your name, believing that one day, they will be great people.”
John was embarrassed. “Oh geez…”
Ziva was barely able to keep herself contained. Over the last few months and visits with the team off world, she slowly learned more and more about the man. Many things he hoped she’d never have found out, but expected she would. “You seem to be rather – worshipped here as well,” she teased.
“Which is ridiculous,” he said nodding. “There are plenty of local people that deserve the kind of attention we’re getting.”
“And was it not their goddess that actually protected the world? From that attack you mentioned?”
“Oh, it is true, the Goddess protects Proculus, however, Colonel Sheppard and his team protect the rest of the galaxy, which is not an easy feat!” The Magistrate smiled. “Come!”
Ziva followed the man and smiled back at John with a new devious glitter in her eyes. Eventually there were led to a tiki like hut with low tables that they were motioned to sit with other members of their tribe. She found it rather easy to get down onto the soft cushions that were their seats but John did not have such a grand time.
He ended up sitting on the floor without the cushions as he kept falling off or wobble uncomfortably. During the feast (with remarkably great food), Chaya – the High Priestess – decided to join them, much to the local’s amazement and amusement. Chaya herself was amused as well, knowing fully well that her people had made him feel uncomfortable and embarrassed. “Have you met your namesakes yet, John?” She asked, smiling warmly. “They are quite the little rascals.”
“Yes, we’ve met them, about half an hour before you arrived.” he answered. “It’s ehm… an honor that your people named a few of their children John, Teyla, Ronon and Rodney.”
Ziva slapped a hand over her mouth at the thought that someone actually named their child after the irate scientist. “I’m sorry,” she apologized and shifted closer to John, putting her arm around his to hold his hand. While Chaya seemed welcome enough and happy for their clear relationship, she couldn’t help but feel a slight unease because of his admittance to having had an interest in the woman.
“You don’t have to apologize, you’re amongst friends,” Chaya smiled warmly. “I too, thought that the people of Proculus were slightly mad when the Magistrate came to me to ask to bless John, Ronon, Rodney and Teyla, when I knew that no one had came by to visit us, Athar would have told me so.
They stayed for one more hour or so, then John decided it was time to head back to the Space gate and back to Atlantis. “Thank you for your hospitality, High Priestess, Magistrate,” he gave a polite nod to each of them. “But we really should be going.”
Chaya smiled. “It was good to see you again, John. It pleases me to see that you’ve opened yourself up to the possibility of love, and it is clear that you have found it in the most truest form.”
Ziva smiled up at John when she heard that, a sense of warmth filling her. Maybe the woman wasn’t that bad but regardless she was eager to return home to see her own friends and new family.
“Should you ever be with child, Ziva,” Chaya addressed herself to Ziva, “I would be honored if you’d come by so I can bless your child with John.”
“High Priestess…” John groaned.
“Oh,” Chaya grinned, “Still having issues, I see.”
Her jaw fell open in surprise, “I think it is a little premature to believe that we would have a family like that…” Not that she found herself objecting at the thought.
“It’s not premature,” Chaya smiled. “Athar has spoken.”
Ziva looked up at John wide eyed, almost as if to ask if she was for real.
“Well, give my regards to your Goddess Athar,” John nodded, “It’s always good to hear that someone’s future will turn out okay.”
“Farewell, John and Ziva,” Chaya said warmly and turned around to walk back to her place up on the hill.
“May Athar be with you.” The Magistrate said.
“Thank you Magistrate, and thank you for your hospitality.” John replied. “Ziva and I had a good, relaxing time.”
“Yes, thank you,” she said waving before gently and subtly pulling John into the jumper. Once it was closed and they were in relative privacy, she stared at him questioningly.
“What?” he laughed as he closed the hatch and prepared to take off.
She raised an eyebrow, “Is she on crack? She believes that we are going to have children soon! I’m not ready to be a mother yet, not that I’m against it but I saw that look she gave…”
“I didn’t hear the word ‘soon’ come out of her mouth, Ziva.” John chuckled and willed the Jumper in going up in to orbit.
“She didn’t have to say it. It was in the tone of her voice. Even you went red around the collar,” she pointed out.
“Well, you’re on birth control and you haven’t been sick yet so it still works, right?”
Ziva growled. “I don’t like the fact she made the insinuation,” she scowled.
“Then forget what she said,” he laughed, thinking this was too funny. “Chaya is an ascended being, yes, she can look into the future but I doubt that the Others would have allowed her to lift the veil on our future, even if it was a small detail.” he shrugged. “It’s probably wishful thinking on her behalf, and maybe some buried longing in my subconscious when she and I had our special moment.”
She looked at him and her scowl deepened at the mention of their special moment. “Alright, let’s just forget about the subject. I don’t want to think about her and you…That is the past,” she said letting out a deep breath. “Let’s go home.”
“Yes, that was 6 years ago, I’ve moved on, I just wanted to show you the planet, the lovely people and the peace it emulates.” he said and once they were at the space gate, he dialled Atlantis. “You know, do something ‘fun’ for your birthday tomorrow as we can’t use the Jumper tomorrow seeing Zelenka wants to perform maintenance on it.”
“I think it backfired slightly but thank you,” Ziva said and leaned over to his his neck. “I appreciate it very much.”
He nodded and flew through the gate, ending up on Atlantis. He brought the Jumper to the jumperbay and opened the hatch. “I love you, you know.” he said. “And I’m sorry that I wanted to take you on a romantic little trip to the planet of an ancient being that I had a moment with.”
“I’ll let you make it up to me tomorrow, my quarters, with a nice hot bubble bath for two,” she grinned and wrapped her arms around his waist.
He kissed her tenderly and scooped her up in his arms. “I have another surprise for you that you might like… I think, I’m not sure anymore.”
“Bring it on.”