Author: rebecca-in-blue PM
"He knows so many things she doesn't want her to team to find out." When the team discovers that a suspect has a history with Ziva, they try to help her through it.Rated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Friendship - Ziva D. & Leroy Jethro Gibbs - Chapters: 9 - Words: 15,337 - Reviews: 92 - Favs: 64 - Follows: 52 - Updated: 12-18-11 - Published: 11-05-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7524734
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
This is really sappy. You've been warned.
Tony stops short when he enters the bullpen and sees Ziva with Gibbs in the corner by the stairs. They're standing close together, and Ziva keeps her head down, her dark eyes never meeting his blue ones, but Tony can see Gibbs's lips moving, talking to her quietly, reassuring. It's a strange sight, especially when Gibbs touches her head with one hand, stroking her hair. She doesn't stiffen or pull away, like Tony half-expected her to. Her body actually relaxes at his touch. Gibbs has never touched Ziva like that before. Tony would bet money it. Abby, yes, but Ziva, never. But then, Ziva had never needed it before.
He doesn't mean to get close enough to hear what their boss is saying to her - he feels like he's intruding - but as he sits down behind his desk, he can't help but overhear snippets of their conversation.
"...have him brought back to interrogation. You can talk to to him there," Gibbs says. "...sure you're ready for this."
Maybe he does overreact when he realizes that Gibbs is about to let Ziva come face-to-face with Tamir again. But Tony doesn't want to see Ziva hurt - this whole mess has been hard enough on her already - and he can't stop thinking about the lies that Tamir told them yesterday, about how well-treated she had been in Somalia. Tamir was probably one of the men who had tortured her there, and now Gibbs wants to put them in a room together? He's never been so tempted to head-smack his boss, but instead, he just insists that if Ziva is going into interrogation with Tamir, then he's going to be in observation, so that he can have her back.
But Gibbs shakes his head and tells him no, he's going to be in observation, in case anything happens, and Tony doesn't need to -
"Don't you even think," Tony interrupts angrily, and they're both surprised that he's interrupting Gibbs, but he goes on, his green eyes sparking as he glares at his boss, "that you're the only one on this team who cares about Ziva."
Out of everyone in the world who could've found me, it had to be you.
Ziva stares at Tamir through the mirror in observation for a long moment. If only it had been some other man - any other man - from Saleem's camp who had resurfaced like this. A man who she could hate, purely hate, without any mixed feelings or reservations. With Tamir, everything was... complicated. He had raped her, but for almost three months, he had also been the only one to treat her with any decency, and even now, while she was trying so hard, she found it difficult to hate him. She had expected to be tortured after she was captured, and Saleem did not disappoint her, but Tamir's kindness had completely thrown her. She had never expected that.
Tamir, I see you've lost weight. And I hear you've contracted HIV. You know, I never knew if Tamir was your first name or your last.
He was wearing a kiffeyeh around his neck when they found him yesterday, but as she stares at him now, she notices that it's gone. Before she can help it, Ziva feels sorry for him, wondering if his neck feels as empty as hers did in Somalia, after Saleem ripped off her Star of David necklace.
Then she remembers how Tamir used to brush her hair back whenever he brought her water, and that makes it even harder for her to hate him. Ziva quickly shoves the memory out of her mind and instead thinks about how Gibbs touched her hair in the bullpen a moment ago. She didn't feel uncomfortable with it, even though she usually pulls away from signs of affection and they were right there in bullpen where anyone could see them.
Before yesterday, the last time that she ever saw Tamir was on that night in Somalia - the worst night - when he raped her. The very next day, he was suddenly gone from Saleem's camp, and Ziva had wondered if Saleem had given him an assignment, sent him on some suicide mission that was doomed to fail, just like Eli had done to her. Perhaps her and Tamir's lives were equally meaningless to their bosses, both of them just as easy to throw away. Certainly Tamir was of little importance to Saleem to have been given the lowly task of treating her injuries.
Ziva had hated herself - absolutely despised herself - for it, but even after Tamir raped her, she had missed him when he disappeared.
Her fingers trace the chain of her new necklace, then she straightens, leaves observation, and opens the door to interrogation. Tamir looks over when he hears the door open and starts in surprise when he sees Ziva. Ziva just takes a deep breath, steps inside, and closes the door behind her.
Ziva and Tamir's conversation isn't long, and it's entirely in Arabic. Gibbs, Tony, and McGee all watch closely in observation, each of them ready to rush in if things get ugly. But things never do. Ziva seems strangely calm. They can't understand what she and Tamir saying, of course, but Gibbs guesses from their tones that she's asking him questions, he answers them, and then she says something that seems to surprise him.
Ziva didn't object to the three of them being in observation, but Gibbs is sure that she's speaking to Tamir in Arabic because she doesn't want them to understand her words. She leaves interrogation quickly when she's done talking to Tamir, and before Gibbs or the guys can react to her sudden departure, the door to observation opens and Ziva steps inside.
"You okay, Ziver?" Gibbs asks, and Tony moves closer to her, his eyes flicking from her to Gibbs, then through the mirror at Tamir. He's torn between wanting to barge into interrogation and beat the crap out of that guy, or stay here and head-smack Gibbs for letting Ziva see him.
"I am fine," Ziva answers immediately, and as she says it, her hand reaches her for Star of David pendant again. She doesn't even realize it until she feels her fingertips against her skin. A small part of her minds orders her to stop it, that this nervous habit is a sign of weakness, but Ziva ignores it. Only her team is here - her family - and she understands now that she doesn't have to worry that they'll think less of her for it.
"That was just... hard," she adds quietly. She leans against the wall, suddenly exhausted. Their conversation wasn't long, but it seemed to drain all her energy. She's tired, but in a strange way, she feels at peace, too - something that she hasn't felt since before Somalia.
"I asked him why he lied yesterday," she goes on, before they can ask her what she said. "Why he told you and Tony that... nothing bad happened to me in Somalia. He said he lied to protect me."
In the silence, Tamir's words replay in her head. I was trying to protect you. Ziva looked him in the eye when he said it. And she believed him. She could see the regret in his eyes, in his face, and she knew that he was genuinely sorry for what he had done to her. And so he tried to make it right by lying.
But her team obviously doesn't believe him. McGee looks puzzled, Gibbs looks skeptic, and Tony just narrows his eyes and continues glaring at Tamir through the mirror. To them, Tamir lied to protect himself. If he told them the truth - told them how much he had really hurt Ziva - then even the best detectives would never be able to find all the pieces of Tamir after they got done tearing him limb from limb.
McGee asks, sounding genuinely confused, "How was that protecting you?"
"He said he lied because he didn't want you to know..." Ziva pauses for a second, uncertain of how to go on. Different possibilities flit through her mind, each one worse than the last. He didn't want you to know the full extent of what the torture went to? That they called me a filthy Jew and beat me until I passed out? That they came to my cell in groups and held me down and took turns?
But there are still some things that she'll never be able to say. Hastily, she finishes, "...he was afraid if you knew what really happened to me, you would not want to work with me anymore."
Tony exchanges an incredulous look with McGee - neither of them are sure how to take this - then looks back at Ziva and asks, "He really thinks that?"
Ziva just says, "Probably," even though she knows that the answer is yes. She understood that in his narrow mind, Tamir honestly believed that if the men in her life knew that she had been raped, then at best, they would shun her. At worst, they would blame her for it and kill her themselves. This, after all, was what happened in the culture that Tamir knew, and it was beyond him to imagine how attitudes might be different in America.
Gibbs and the guys are silent for a moment, until Tony asks, "What did you say to that?"
This is it, Ziva, she tells herself. You can do this. Telling them this last bit without crying is going to the hardest part. Somehow, it was actually easier to say it to Tamir. She takes a deep breath, and Gibbs looks from the mirror back to her. Ziva tries to focus on his calm gaze. His clear blue eyes are steady, never wavering.
"I told him..." she says slowly, trying to keep the tremble out of her voice, "the people I work with care about me, and nothing he said could ever change that."
She's grateful for the dim lighting in observation when she feels the tears in her eyes, and then Gibbs pulls her in against his chest and hugs her. Ziva doesn't resist, even though the guys are right there watching, even though she usually only accepts hugs from Abby. She leans heavily against Gibbs and lets him hold her, and he leans in and whispers in her ear, "I'm proud of you, Ziver."
That's when she stops trying to hold back her tears.
I know that some people aren't going to be satisfied with this ending. You probably expected Ziva to talk more about Somalia. I did kinda set it up to go that way, but in the end, I just couldn't see Ziva saying more than what she says here.
To my readers, once again, many thanks for your encouragement on this little adventure. It was wonderful to be able to share this story with all of you. As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts, especially if you any spot loose ends or have any questions!
Wishing you a very happy holiday season and peace and joy in 2012 ~ Rebecca