"Well, I cannot say I am surprised," Ziva stood, her gun held down to her side, but she would not have a chance to raise it before Msrah would put a bullet through her head. He stood next to a heavy truck, and the dusty people who had just moments ago gathered around the tiny shack and heavy tents at the crossroads now vanished. No doubt, they sought some grove or ditch that would provide more protection from a bullet than canvas walls would.
"You shouldn't have come. You Mossad think too highly of yourselves. That is why you and your corrupt Jewish state will fall." He held the gun steadily, and just outside of Ziva's range so she had little to no chance of disarming him. She had sought answers here, not an assassin, and perhaps that is why she had made such a fatal mistake. That did not mean that she was ready to concede defeat. She was Mossad. She had been trained by her father from the time she was old enough to hold a water pistol and aim it at the maid as she carried groceries up the narrow stairs.
As a child, her father's words had been whispered into her ear. "My princess. Remember, you only shoot when she is close enough that she cannot retreat and hide behind the wall." At the time, Ziva had cherished those moments when her father would become her co-conspirator and friend. It was only after she had grown into an agent that she recognized her father's machinations. He had trained her, assigned her to this imbroglio and left her to fend for herself. At least she was not like her younger sister. She would not die in a bomb attack without ever seeing her attacker. If she was to die, she would look her killer in the eye and have her death remembered.
"And I have to wonder what Hezbollah puts in their hookah if they think we will ever vanish. Jews have stood on the stands of Israel since the beginning of time. We will be there after your bones have been bleached by the sun and scattered by vultures and your cities have become havens for beetles." Ziva smiled. Oh yes, she knew how to use words like darts that sent fear into the mind, and Arabic was a language that allowed for such precise and beautiful threats.
"I doubt that." Msrah's hand began to tighten on the trigger and Ziva instantaneously calculated a dozen different scenarios. Before she could decide on some plan to try and save herself at the last possible moment, a shot rang out across the hot sands. She threw herself to the side, seeking the shelter of an abandoned and shredded tire. Once there, settled on one knee and pointing her weapon toward Msrah, she realized she was safe. His face had blossomed into a red flower of death.
"That, my sister, was sloppy," Ari said as he appeared from behind a shack. Ziva smiled.
"Indeed. It is good my brother was here to protect me."
Ari held out his hand, and she took it, allowing him to help her to her feet. "Always, little sister," Ari agreed with a smile as warm as the sands of Egypt. That warmth soaked into Ziva along with the knowledge that even in this dangerous world, there was one who would stand by her side. He bent to offer her a kiss on the cheek. "Always."
(For those not in the NCIS "know," Ziva believes Ari is fighting for Mossad. In reality, her brother is a double agent working for terrorists. During the show, she defends him bitterly, but when his deception is revealed, she is forced to shoot her own brother in order to save Gibbs.)
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