'The Pianist' Chapter 3 by CatherineYetiveThis is a featured page

Ziva stared down at the mysterious key that Tony left her with. Though he had only touched it for a moment, the metal was warm on her palm. She found a pair of gloves, placing the key onto the piano stool. Her fingers grazed the edge of the piano, and the room began to spin.

Ziva sat on top of an old piano, her legs crossed and barely covered by the blue dress she wore. The spotlights above bathed her in colored light, making her eyes and the crystals on her dress sparkle and dance when she moved.

The Moroccan bar was empty. She had arrived an hour or so early, more nervous about the performance she would have to do than the operation at hand.

You...are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.”

Ziva smiled, sliding from atop the piano into Michael Rivkin's arms as he began to kiss her. She pulled him in closer as his lips moved to her neck, his fingers moving up her back to the one clasp that kept her dress on. She didn't protest as he unclasped her dress. The only thing keeping it from sliding into the floor was his body pressed against hers...


“Hmm?” Ziva turned too quickly and lost her balance. Gibbs caught her, seeing the fast-fading sparkle in her eyes.

“I am sorry, Gibbs.” Ziva felt Gibbs' hold on her soften, and she pulled away.

“What are you doing down here?” They asked one another simultaneously.

“I have the same question,” Abby appeared.

“I was looking for her,” Gibbs said innocently.

“I was...” Ziva did not want to admit that she ventured downstairs to hear Tony play the piano. “I did not want to be behind my desk any longer.”

“So you left your assignment I gave you to come to the empty evidence garage?” Gibbs was getting annoyed. Defiance was not something he took well.

“But, I found...”

“A key?” Abby picked up the key, turning it over in her gloved hands.

“Yes! A key.”

“Where was it?” Gibbs furrowed his eyebrows, staring a hole into Ziva.

“The piano's underbelly.”

Abby crawled under the piano. “Ripped tape here.”

“And how did you just happen to find a key under a piano you've never seen before?”

Abby scooted out from under the piano. She saw Ziva squirm slightly, and wanted so badly to jump in and say something. For once, she had no idea what to say. The look on Gibbs' face was not something she wanted directed her way.

“I will not stand here and be interrogated.”

Ziva stormed onto the elevator, but Gibbs was right behind her.

Abby, who was now sitting cross-legged on the garage floor, felt the tension leave as soon as the doors began to close. She looked at the elevator for a moment before standing up. She hoped Tim wasn't having too hard a time with the half of the evidence log she gave him to go over.

Gibbs slammed his fingers over the elevator switch as soon as the doors met.

“I don't know what the hell that was, Ziva, but...”

“Are you going to slap me Gibbs? Like you so often slap Tony?” Ziva snapped at Gibbs like a scared animal in a cage. She knew she'd crossed the line.

Gibbs slammed an open hand on the side of the elevator. “Dammit, Ziva, I know you're covering for someone,” he barked. “You don't dodge my questions. You never snap at me, and by the way you're acting, it isn't mine or Tim's ass you're saving.”

Ziva's mouth dropped open.

“And besides Tim and me, there's only two other people I know you'd cover for. Jenny is dead. That leaves DiNozzo.”

Gibbs saw a look on Ziva's face he hadn't seen in years- a look similar to the one Kelly tried to hide when she was about to cry. He closed his eyes and flipped the switch, letting Ziva step off of the elevator first at the bullpen. He tried to wipe the familiar guilt out of his mind and off of his face as he approached Tony's desk, letting the annoyance and frustration come back.

Tony was almost asleep, leaned back in his chair, his desk lamp turned off, and his eyes closed. His pizza had been finished and the box now lay upside down on the floor.

Gibbs lingered in front of the desk that separated him from Tony before bringing his fist full force down onto the workspace.


Tony shot forward, almost being ejected into the floor, and McGee's wireless headphones flew from his head, bouncing off of the computer screen in front of him.

“Yes boss!” The two men answered. Gibbs looked at McGee and shook his head.

McGee's wild expression calmed. “Oh. You meant...yeah.” He found his headphones and went back to work, this time turning down the volume.

Gibbs moved down to eye level with Tony. “How'd you know the key was there?”

Tony looked over Gibbs' shoulder and saw Ziva, her tired eyes seeking an apology.

“Boss, I...”

“I won't ask you again, DiNozzo.”

“The piano belongs to my childhood piano teacher. The key is to my childhood home.”

Gibbs tilted his head slightly, as if he misheard what he'd just been told.

“Sandra Little, the woman you interrogated, is actually Cassandra Joel, my piano teacher.”

“The one you were having...” Ziva raised her eyebrows.

“Yes.” Tony's voice got small.

Gibbs stood upright. “And she had a key to get into your home with?”

“All of the help did,” Tony shrugged. “Cassandra used to hide anything of value on, around, or under her piano. I'd have lessons at her place on the weekends, and she'd make house visits on weekday afternoons...”

Ziva's computer began to beep. She walked around her desk so she could see the monitor.

“Tony, you were right. The brunette at the bank...” Ziva turned her monitor so that Gibbs and Tony could see. “...Is Little's, Joel's daughter- Melanie Joel.”

“McGee!” Gibbs walked over to the plasma next to his desk.

“Melanie Joel's records. On it, boss.”

McGee minimized the work he was doing for Abby, pulling up Melanie's files quickly and sending them to the plasma. He got up from his desk, remote in hand, letting his wireless headphones hang from his neck.

“Melanie Joel,” McGee clicked the remote and the “Deposit Box Brunette” appeared.

Tony and Ziva approached the plasma, standing on either side of McGee and Gibbs, avoiding each other's glances.

“Melanie Joel,” McGee repeated. “27. Moved to DC several years ago, her mother following after the death of her step-father in 2005. Melanie has had the same job, a temp, since moving to DC, but her mother disappeared from the grid by 2006.”

“Most likely when her name changed,” Gibbs nodded.

“Wait. Melanie Joel is engaged to...”

“Engaged to who, McGee?” Gibbs was losing his patience again.

“Captain Andersen Seigner, United States Navy.”

“Good work,” Gibbs slapped the back of McGee's head, making his smile disappear. “Help Abby after you've done your own job. Ziva, you're with me.”

Gibbs grabbed his coat, badge, and gun after glancing once more at the plasma. He could see an interrogation in his near future.

Ziva gave Tony and McGee a lingering look before following Gibbs to the elevator.

Gibbs waited until the doors closed. “Ziver,” he was ready to apologize.

Ziva dismissed him gently in Hebrew.

“It is forgotten,” He translated, and sighed.


Tony and McGee sat around Tony's desk, Chinese food strewn across the workspace.

“You were sixteen?” McGee asked before grabbing a mouthful of lo mein with his chopsticks.

“She was a hell of a woman, Tim.” Tony paused. “My father thought so, too.”

“Wow. Your father...and you were...?”

“Unfortunately, I had no idea.”

McGee tried to change the subject. “You actually learned piano?”

“A little, until...” Tony took a large bite of beef teryaki.

“Until?” McGee pressed.

Tony swallowed his food and sighed. “Until Cassandra broke it off with my father and my mother and I found out about their affair. That's when my father started drinking, even more than he did already. I never touched a piano again.”

“Oh...” McGee put down his take out box. “I'm sorry.”

“For what?”

McGee didn't have an answer. He was sorry for a lot of things- For pressing Tony to drag up his past, for being spoiled and having a nice family. He couldn't bring himself to tell Tony any of this, even though he wanted to admit that he assumed Tony still knew how to play piano really well.

“Tony, can I ask you something?”

“Shoot, McGoogle.” Tony tried not to tense up. McGee was serious.

“Cassandra Joel was 22, when you two were...?”

“Yeah, and?”

“And she's 49 now, and Melanie is 27. 16 years younger than you...”

“What's your point?” Tony tried to dodge the inevitable.

“Tony...she has your eyes.” McGee pointed to the photo still on the plasma.

“She also has my father's eyes, Tim,” Tony looked away from McGee and the plasma.

“But what if...I mean, she could be your half-sister, or, you know, even your...”

“I guess we'll never know,” Tony ended the conversation, his tone icy, but pained. In that moment, Tony looked twice his age, his face flooded with questions about his past.

“How did you know the woman from the bank video was Little's daughter? I mean, you knew her name.”

“Cassandra had the nerve to send an invitation for her baby shower to the house. She had the nerve to...”

Tony put his face in his hands.

McGee wished that he'd said nothing as the two fell silent, their shared take out getting cold.


“Are you sure about putting all of them in the same room? Is there not a rule about suspects being together?”

Gibbs stood with Ziva in observation under the blue lights. They looked out at Melanie Joel, her fiancée Captain Seigner, and Sandra Little, aka Cassandra Joel. All three had started to bicker, their conversation being taped.

“I'm more than sure.”

Ziva didn't look at Gibbs, but knew he had said this with a mischievous smile.

“They will incriminate each other,” she understood.

“Exactly,” Gibbs left observation and entered interrogation.

--The Next Day--

McGee had finally finished the evidence logs for Abby. He sent them to her lab via email, and printed a hard copy just in case. He thought about the piano and all of the drama it had stirred. Still, in the back of his mind, he wanted to learn to play. Sarah had given up, but I wouldn't have.

Ziva still thought about her encounter with the piano. Why did I think about Michael? Why did I not think first of Tali, or hearing Ari play? She suddenly realized why she hated hearing the piano- it reminded her of them, of three people she had loved and lost in some way or another. She looked across her desk at her partner, someone who she cared about that was still very much alive. His head was slightly lowered.

Tony had been unnaturally quiet the last day or so. McGee thought it had been from their conversation the night before. Ziva figured it was from her walking in on his piano session. It was neither. Tony was thinking about his relationship with his father. Had Cassandra Joel changed it, or was it something else?

Gibbs entered the bullpen, throwing three signed confessions on his desk and setting a briefcase on top, looking obviously smug.

“What's that, boss?” McGee looked up from his computer.

“DiNozzo said Little used to hide things of value in her piano.”

“The money was in the piano this whole time?” Ziva scoffed.

“Nope, better. The money was in her daughter's brand new piano.” Abby showed up, wearing her cape and holding her lunchbox. Ducky was with her. She walked around McGee's desk, bent down, and kissed his cheek, leaving a large, red lipstick print.

“Thank you for your help, Timmy.”

“Anytime,” McGee couldn't help but smile. He was getting better at hiding when he blushed.

“Anytime you finish your job first, McGee.” Gibbs turned to Ducky, waiting for him to speak.

Ducky noticed Gibbs' smug expression. “You look unusually cheerful, Jethro. Though it might not be too unusual, since I haven't seen you lately.”

“They aren't always murders, Duck.”

“It's rare around here that they aren't, but that's very true, Jethro...”

Ducky went quiet at the sight of two women and a Navy captain passing, all in handcuffs.

Tony looked up, meeting the stare of Cassandra Joel. He hoped she wouldn't recognize him, but the look on her face said otherwise.

“Come on,” the agent escorting Ms. Joel/Little pulled her away, toward the elevator.

Melanie turned to see what her mother had been looking at. Tony was met by a pair of DiNozzo green eyes. His breath caught in his throat.

McGee, who had pointed out the similarities to Tony in the first place, wondered if anyone else had noticed.

Melanie turned away just in time, and Tony remembered to breathe.

Director Vance appeared at the top of the stairs to MTAC, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Navy's missing money (or at least what was left of it).

Gibbs grabbed the money and the confessions, heading upstairs.

“See ya, Duck,” Gibbs called over his shoulder, throwing a hidden pizza on Tony's desk.

Tony cracked his first smile in days.

“I come to say hello and off he goes. Ah, well, time to go home. Mother will be expecting me.”

“I'll escort you, Ducky,” Abby smiled, linking her arm with his.

Ducky smiled, putting on his hat. “Goodnight, All.”

“Goodnight Ducky,” McGee and Ziva chimed in together.

“Night, Duckman,” Tony said, shoving a half a piece of pizza into his mouth.

Abby and Ducky walked together to the elevator as Ducky began to hum “Clair de Lune.”

Tony dropped the slice of pizza in his hands, and Ziva giggled.

McGee shook his head at Tony and Ziva, contemplating where a piano might fit in his apartment.

-The End!-

Latest page update: made by CatherineYetive , Dec 25 2009, 1:08 PM EST (about this update About This Update CatherineYetive Edited by CatherineYetive

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Prof_DiNardo Loved it! 2 Jan 25 2010, 7:47 PM EST by Prof_DiNardo
Thread started: Jan 19 2010, 7:30 PM EST  Watch
Okay...so tell. Who's the daddy?!?!?!?!
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CatherineYetive New fanfiction 1 Dec 25 2009, 2:31 PM EST by Ydnam96
Thread started: Dec 25 2009, 1:10 PM EST  Watch
For those of you reading my work (which I highly appreciate, more than you know) I've finally posted the conclusion to "The Pianist". enjoy! and as always, please leave some feedback.
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