Author: chossytoss PM
A story about Ziva and bullets and changing relationships. One-shot.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Hurt/Comfort - Ziva D. - Words: 2,001 - Reviews: 11 - Favs: 16 - Follows: 1 - Published: 04-25-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5923186
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: NCIS or affiliates do not belong to me.
Just something I couldn't get out of my head, and was distracting me from other things. Also you'll notice a different take on established events towards the end, in which I intentionally changed. Just warning you.
The first time she takes a bullet, she is nineteen and proud.
She is no rookie when it comes to shooting and training and the ways of the IDF, but neither she nor the other ever-vigilant members of her unit are prepared when their routine patrol quite literally gets shot to hell.
The ambush is more a turkey-shoot than an actual ambush, and people fueled by vengeance and grief care little for the accuracy of their rage.
The air is filled with the harshness of people running and screaming, the incessant crack of gunfire and the steady purr of a machine gun firing into corners where the militants attacking them may or not be.
She fires a few rounds before her arm splits in two with the crushing and searing pain of hot fire, and there is no one to help her protect herself because one by one, they are falling to the ground and she has nowhere to go.
Her hand is pressed against the bleeding wound because that is what she is trained to do, and she can't think about how exposed she is in the middle of an open firefight.
Someone, she has no idea who, fires a rocket into the small convoy, and the repercussions are enough to break up the back-and-forth as everyone is thrown backwards with the weight of the explosion and the debris.
She wakes up with her arm, already soaked with crimson and half-torn apart, pinned underneath a large fragment of the vehicle she had been riding in just minutes earlier.
When she tries to move the feeling is unbelievable, and she can't register anything but the excruciating burning and throbbing sting of her arm and the ringing in her ears.
Perhaps the attackers had given her up for dead, because they don't come back to finish her.
By the time the response teams manage to extract her, the pain is so bad that she is sobbing carelessly for the first time in her life.
At the hospital they tell her the bullet was a through-and-through and there would be no permanent damage, but it takes two surgeries and weeks of physical therapy later to put her arm and shoulder back together again.
Ari sends her flowers and one of those sappy cards they always joked about.
Her father visits her and assures her that he will arrange for her to get the best quality treatment available, and that Tali will be home from her summer-trip in Haifa in a few days to see her.
Somehow the flowers mean more.
The second time she takes a bullet, she is twenty-four and completely fucked.
Her cover is functional at best and a little less than pathetic at worst, and despite her warnings that their spontaneous operation was set up without adequate planning, they have few other options and they send her in anyway.
But a paranoid career criminal with radical ideas, a proclivity for violence, and a suspicion for everyone around him is not so easily fooled by an intimidating woman whose timing seems a little too perfect.
She expertly tries to slip away from him just as the rest of her team charges in and ensures that not one of these dangerous and completely amoral men will stand in their way.
But they have no back-up plan, and everyone's lives more or less depend on not needing one.
No such luck.
They didn't account for the fact that the building they were raiding had only one staircase – and that their target knew that the only way out was the way they came in.
So when the man realizes he is under attack and that she is a trap, he grabs his .45 and makes a last desperate attempt of self-preservation as he starts gunning down anything that moves, including her.
In the confusion of them exchanging fire as he forces her to the only exit and the rest of her team running up that same staircase and firing back at him, a slug catches her in the thigh and she goes down seconds before he does.
Turns out he would rather off himself than be at the mercy of the Mossad.
With a fading grimace and the steady support of wall and railing, she is able to make it away from the building alive, but two of the five members of her team are not so lucky.
Her father is waiting for her as she arrives at the hospital, and he scolds her for being stupid enough to go along with the improvised shit-show that had just unraveled.
Between the pain medication, the frustration of being confined to a hospital, and her father's cold reaction to her survival, she is furious enough to threaten to quit.
Her father is enraged and they shout at each other for hours, and their heated and overdue discussion covers everything from the weapons she carries on missions to her off-and-on relationship with Rivkin.
At the end she is so exhausted that she doesn't have the energy to think about what she will or will not do.
She wakes up to find Ari, giving her what used to be Tali's favorite book and reminding her that there is a reason why she does what she does, and it has nothing to do with Eli David.
Within three weeks of recovery her leg and her resolve are restored.
The third time she takes a bullet, she is twenty-eight and in the wrong place at the right time.
It doesn't take long for Team Gibbs to connect the dots to a petty officer's murder and the paper trail he left behind, and when they finally manage to corner their suspect, he is not alone.
His fifteen-year-old sister is standing in front of him, literally blocking him from the four people ready to arrest him. She is crying and insisting that her older brother had done nothing wrong.
And she has a gun pointed at them, hands shaking as she holds it in fear.
They have no idea if it's loaded, but they take no chances and Gibbs steps forward to try and talk and her down.
She may be young but she is not stupid, and she knows the second she puts the gun down they will probably both be arrested. So she doesn't give up, keeps the pistol raised in the air and insists that until they find the real killer she is not moving.
They are saved the trouble by the sound of the back-door being kicked open, and one of the dead sailor's shipmates, someone they had already cleared, comes bursting into the living room with a handgun poised and ready to shoot.
The girl had been right.
Ziva, closest to the girl and the first to realize what is happening, throws her Sig to the ground and jumps in front of the girl to force her hands and the weapon into the air, simultaneously preventing her from taking out the intruder in panic and blocking her from gunfire.
The round from her gun slams into the ceiling just as the intruder fires his own weapon in their direction, and some of the glass from the window behind them shatters and they all duck down for cover.
Gibbs has the man on the ground seconds later, weapon knocked out of his hands and arms twisted roughly behind his back.
They arrest the real killer and go through the motions of clearing the other officer and consoling his sister, who is still crying and apologizing and clinging to her brother.
It isn't until McGee points out something discolored and growing on her jacket before she practically collapses against the car door that they realize Ziva has been hit.
The wound is serious enough for Gibbs not to bother waiting for an ambulance and for panic to flash in Tony's eyes for a moment before he starts harassing McGee to ease some of the tension in the car as they speed to the hospital.
She is awake, but just barely, when they finally arrive at the ER.
They wait three stifling hours before the doctors come out and deliver the news.
The bullet tore through her lower abdomen on the right side before exiting through her back, but with some stroke of luck it missed anything vital. She'll be back to normal in a few weeks.
They all breathe a sigh of relief as they push the almost out of their heads.
They release her the next afternoon, and Tony seems to glow in companionship as he takes her out to dinner and lets her use his arm as support when the walking gets difficult.
He talks of magic bullets and ninja reflexes and heroic actions, and she keeps quiet that it may have been worth it just to see him happy like this.
When she gets home, she feels an unknown impulse to call her father.
Their talk is friendly and careful, and when she hangs up the phone she is almost surprised to find she feels nothing.
She can't seem to tell him about the dead sailor or the new hole in her side.
The last time she takes a bullet, she is thirty and silent.
The second he kissed her on the cheek and gave her that last look of goodbye before the engines roared and the plane disappeared into the sky, death was already starting to claim her.
The days and hours that lead up to it are a blur, and there is no thought behind her actions. Somehow her pain leads her to a terrorist camp in the middle of a desert where she is tied to a chair with nowhere to turn.
Sometimes they question her and sometimes they try chemicals to make her talk.
Sometimes they hit her because they hate her, and sometimes they leave her alone for days.
Sometimes they strip her down and make her do things intended to humiliate.
But she never tells them anything. Four months, and never a word to help them.
They don't realize that she doesn't know anything anyway. Could be a blessing, but to her it feels more like a curse.
One day it changes.
Maybe they are bored, maybe they realize she has nothing to offer, or maybe they are just tired of her silence.
Whatever the reason, he marches into her cell and drags her outside into the heat of the blazing sun, and her eyes and body are so unused to the air and the light that she doesn't realize that he has pulled out a gun.
Forces her to her knees, slaps her across the face one more time because he can.
The cool barrel is pressed into the back of her head, and she doesn't realize there are tears running softly down her cheeks.
But they are not for her, and never have been.
He pulls the trigger, and is left with the silence he so desperately wanted to break.
Weeks later they will find a stain of dark red and a mound of earth with no name, but they never find her.
When his daughter never returns, her father thinks nothing of loneliness and age and orders and a rift caused by years of pain.
He sheds no tear.
Halfway around the world, Tony thinks of scars and selflessness and family. He thinks of bullets, and cries.
Because she never made it to five.
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