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Into the Setting Sun
By Jaina


When she thinks back, Ziva always remembers that it was sunset. The sky was glowing faintly with golds, reds, and pinks, all fading into the blue that brought on darkness. She can vaguely see the colors of the sky over Jenny's shoulder from where she's standing on the opposite side of Jenny's desk.

The red of Jenny's hair is glowing in the golden light of the fading sun.

"Ziva," her voice is soft, pleading with the younger woman for understanding that Ziva doesn't feel like giving her.

For the first time in years she feels as young as her age. Standing up sharply, Ziva holds up a hand to stop anything else that Jenny might be about to say. She isn't expecting to feel abandoned the way that she does. Or hurt either, actually.

"Why did you ask me to come here, Jenny?"

"You know why," Jenny responds in that same soft tone that Ziva is coming to hate more than harsh, angry words. "Your father...after Ari...I know how much you needed to get away."

"I thought that you wanted me here," Ziva admits. It's not so much that she cares really, but the list of people that want her in any capacity is steadily falling and it's starting to hurt. She thinks distantly, that Gibbs at least, will always want her as long as she does not allow her skills to slip or break his rules.

"I did," Jenny speaks before she can think and Ziva winces. Because that was always Jenny's flaw. She never had enough patience to temper her ambition and avoid careless moves.

"I do," Jenny corrects herself, "but it can't be the same here."

"Because of Gibbs."

"Because I'm the Director," Jenny says firmly.

"Because I'm a woman," Ziva lashes out, planting her hands on the desk and leaning across it.

Jenny flinches and Ziva has her answer. Her chin tilts up with that stubborn defiant look that Ziva used to find attractive.

"The Director can't be seen to have a prejudicial relationship with her subordinates," she says quietly, coldly.

Ziva laughs. "And you don't regret it in the least."

Jenny stands, and Ziva realizes that this interview is about to be over. "You told me to never regret doing what had to be done."

She pushes away from the desk and stands. "I understand necessity, Director."

Ziva walks out of the door, with her boots clicking on the floor. She resists the urge to slam the door of Jenny's office behind her, but still manages to give the impression of storming out of the Director's office. She walks past MTAC to the stairs and notices Tony watching her. She's suddenly too tired to want to deal with his desire to poke at the relationship between she and Jenny tonight.

He has no clue about the real nature of that relationship and she certainly isn't about to enlighten him, no matter how angry she is at the moment. It simply isn't anything she would consider telling him.

From her desk, she picks up her jacket and her bag, stopping only long enough to make sure that no new cases have come in since she spoke to Jenny. Gibbs is already gone for the day.

With a little more haste than she intends, Ziva makes her way to the parking lot, only to remember that she doesn't yet have a car here and the bus she wants will not be here for another hour. She considers walking, but doesn't know how Gibbs will take it if she gets arrested on the way back to her apartment for vigorously defending herself. Good neighborhoods are fairly absent from her walk home.

Instead, she sits down on the hood of the first car that she sees. It's not like she had asked Jenny for something more than what she offered. Ziva didn't mind silence and hiding. She didn't mind not being able to tell co-workers or friends about the woman that she spent her very small amount of free time with. She is a Mossad agent. Secrets are the way that she works and what she likes best. It's what she's good at.

But Jenny isn't. She's good at tactics and manipulation, getting what she wants. And what she had wanted is for Ziva to join NCIS. Jenny at least had gotten what she wants, and maybe that's what's fueling her anger.

Because the last firm piece of ground that she thought was under her feet has been pulled out from underneath her.

"Are you planning on staying there? Because I kinda wanted to drive home."

Ziva looks up quickly, dismayed to realize that someone has snuck up on her. She notices the black of Abby's boots, and the intricate laces that crisscross the leather up to her knees first. Then she looks up to meet Abby's eyes.

Slowly she pushes herself off of the hood of the car. It's a hearse, she realizes as she steps back. It's appropriate really and it's not until she sees the look of concern on Abby's face that she realizes that she's crying.

Ziva's horrified. It's been years since she's cried in public, allowed herself to show emotion so freely. It's almost more disturbing than anything else.

Abby takes an uncertain step towards her. "Are you okay?"

Ziva brushes her tears away with the back of her hands hurriedly. "No."

Abby looks at her for a moment and then goes around to the other side and opens the passenger side door. "C'mon. Get in. I know just what you need."

Ziva's first instinct is to decline. She doesn't feel like company, or being forced to explain herself. She especially doesn't feel like having the pity of a woman whom she is aware dislikes her. But Abby doesn't look away or offer her a chance to back out and so Ziva finds herself getting in.

Abby gets in the other side of the car and Ziva expects to hear prying questions. Instead Abby grins and turns up the CD player in the car loud enough that it's impossible to talk. Ziva relaxes back into her seat slightly.

They drive for a while, until Ziva knows that while she could get back to NCIS, she really has no idea where they're heading. Streetlights are starting to turn on when they pull into another parking lot.

Abby rolls down the windows, letting the marginally cooler air in, before she cuts off the engine. She dangles her hand out the window and doesn't speak for a minute. She's pulled them up in front of a small park, and Ziva can just barely see the glowing red of the sun as it fades into the trees. It's almost dark.

Together they watch the sun finish setting in silence.

The End

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