Summary: On one stakeout, Ziva David will face her worst nightmare.
Characters: Tony, Ziva
Requested by: Neotantrika at the NCIS_Ficathon comm.
Request: Tony/Ziva, stakeout, no slash, religion, disease, soda pop.
Spoilers: possibly ‘Under Covers’
Word Count: 1,194
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
Their car was parked on the curb, with centuries-old brick rowhouses on their side of the road, and an equally-ancient Catholic Church with an attached school to the other side of the road. The church and its fenced-in yard full of children was what the NCIS agents were keeping an eye on.
“They have to know we’re out here. We stick out like broken thumbs.”
“Sore thumbs, Ziva,” Tony said.
“No, if you have sore thumbs, you can hide that fact.”
“Good point. Hey wait a minute, this car doesn’t stick out.”
“You chose this one because you like the model,” Ziva said.
“That’s beside the point.”
“No, not really.”
“We are not having this conversation.”
“Why not?” Ziva asked.
“Because when it comes to cars, Ziva, you have no soul.”
“It’s because I’m Jewish, isn’t it?”
“Oh hell no,” Tony said. “Lots of Jews have good taste in cars.”
“Just not you on either count. And I still say that Phelps has to know we’re out here.” Adam Phelps, the man who’d purchased the church, setting up his own followers on the grounds. Director Sheppard wanted them to be sure Phelps wasn’t starting a cult.
There had been more concerns piled onto the existing concerns when it was noticed that, every other day, a farm supply truck would drop off hay and other livestock feed. Director Sheppard suspected Phelps was either raising farm animals, making explosives, or making drug-resistant diseases.
“And he’s still in there with all his followers,” Tony said. “And we’re out here. And nobody’s called the police on us.”
“Maybe it’s because our windows aren’t fogged up.”
“Not my fault.”
Tony looked at her. “Did you just say what I think you just said?”
“Yes,” Ziva said.
“You meant it. It wasn’t some accidental word substitution, like when you said my lips were dolphined.”
Ziva smiled. “Tony, with how you smile, ‘seal’ wasn’t the right image.”
“Well, flattered as I am that you’re so concerned with my image, I’m left wondering why you never said anything sooner.”
“Sooner today? We’ve only been on duty for ten hours.”
“No. I mean, twelve hours ago, Jeanne broke up with me.” Shouldn’t be surprised, really, that you know, Ziva. I bet Gibbs knows too. “Why didn’t you say anything during any of the rocky times in my relationship with her?”
“Because,” Ziva said. “That would have been an easy way out.”
“Don’t worry, Tony,” Ziva said. “I’m not leaving.”
“Thanks, Ziva. That, well, that means a lot.” It’s one relationship hurdle out of the way. That said, I really don’t think I’m in shape for vaulting into a new relationship quite so soon after the end of my last one – maybe in the old days, I could’ve.
“You’re welcome. It’s also your turn to get the coffee.” She handed him her empty cup.
“That’s cold,” Tony said.
“No, that’s empty.”
There came a knocking on Tony’s window just as he was about to get out. Looking, Tony saw that it wasn’t a cop, so he only opened his window a crack. “Yes?”
“Mr Phelps would like a word with you,” said Cox, an ex-SEAL, one of Phelp’s followers. “Both of you,” and backed away.
“What, right this minute?” Tony asked, pressing for information.
But Cox was already crossing the street back to the church.
“Think that’s our cue,” Tony said to Ziva.
“After you,” Ziva said. “Just remember: don’t drink or eat anything over there.”
Tony nodded. “Not even cookies and coffee.”
They were led inside the gates, past the playing children, and into the church. “Empty,” Ziva said.
The pews were still there, the red carpet and stained glass windows were exactly where they should be. But everything else – from the Cross to the altar to the chandelier – had been taken down. “Mr Phelps, I presume,” Tony said to the man standing alone and silent halfway down the pews in the center of the church.
“Your information is correct, Agent,” Phelps said.
“Agent?” Tony repeated. “Oh no, no, we just got lost on our way to her dad’s, and –“ to Ziva, “Did you bring the map when we got out of the car?”
“No,” Ziva said bluntly. “I figured you would get it.”
Tony gave a clearly fake laugh. “Of course you did.” To Phelps, “He just moved, and all he gives us was an address, no instructions or anything. To be honest, I don’t think he likes me very much.”
Ziva said, “You married his only daughter, dear.”
“True. Good point.”
“Please do not insult us,” Phelps asked of them. “I know that you are agents, though I do not know of what branch of what government.”
“What do you mean ‘of what government?’” Ziva asked.
“This is not a cult I have here.”
“Of course it’s not,” Tony said. “It’s just a religion you founded.”
“Also not a religion. Every adult here, I personally asked to help me protect a priceless treasure.”
“How priceless? Thousands of dollars? Millions?”
Phelps just looked at them. “I don’t know. How much would you pay for something capable of bringing the entire universe to an end?”
“Um, you do realize that Daleks aren’t real, right?”
Ziva snorted and asked Phelps, “Do you expect us to believe that you are the Messiah’s personal honour guard?”
Phelps sighed. “Come with me.” He led them to one side of the altar, where the Pastor had had his office. “Behind this door is something the world has not seen for two thousand years.”
Figuring he should beat Ziva to the punch, Tony asked, “An honest man?”
“No, you’re right next to me, Tony,” Ziva said as the door was unlocked.
Ziva’s face went deathly white, eyes wide, hand shooting out and squeezing Tony’s for reassurance.
“How now, brown cow?” Tony said, saying what he saw before them, while patting Ziva’s hand, hoping she would let his fingers regain circulation. The office had been converted into a residence for the lone livestock.
“Tony!” Ziva said, low and more of a gasp, barely able to trust her voice.
“Fine, fine. Red cow.”
“Calf, actually,” Phelps said. “Solid red all over.”
Ziva made a small, frightened sound. Then, taking a deep breath, she said, “We should kill it.” She steadied herself as best she could, despite the presence of that thing there.
“No? Who are you saving it for?”
“I don’t know. That’s why I’m saving it.”
“Mind filling me in here?” Tony asked.
“The messiah will come,” Ziva said. “But first the Temple has to be restored. And to do that, you need a pure red calf.”
“So, end of the world, literally?”
In a single swift motion, Tony pulled out his sidearm and shot the calf.
Bullet through the eyeball, through the brain. It was dead before it hit the ground.
“I never liked the stuff in ‘Revelations,’”Tony offered by way of explanation.
Thank you, Ziva said with her eyes.
As for Phelps, well he did look upset and even horrified. But he also looked relieved, like a weight had been lifted from his shoulders.