Rating: T (these new ratings confound me, I think T is right. I seriously just dated the last time I even posted anything.)
Summary: Damage comes in many forms. Tony and Ziva find that out first hand.
Well, hello again. Its been a while since I posted last (RIP Kibbs) and it took TIVA to pull me out of my self imposed semi-retirement. Well...it makes sense to me! I hope you enjoy my first multi-chapter in what has to be years, and if you dont...dont worry about reviewing. But if you do like...press the magical happy blue button at the bottom of the page and make a writer happy. Man...even my authors notes are rusty. Sigh. I promise to be a bit more...interesting next time. All chapter titles are song titles, and Ill even give you some lines at the end that inspired the song choice for the chapter. Feel free to guess the artist, I'll reveal it in the next chapter.
Before we move on, I must give HUGE thanks to my wonderful beta, M, who was probably wondering what she had gotten herself into before beta-ing this. My grammar...not so great. My grammar after not TRYING for 2 years...frightening.
Anyway...on with it. Oh, wait...almost forgot. Spoilers are possible for any ep that has aired, but for the purposes of the fic (I wrote it before it aired) Recoil never happened.
CHAPTER ONE – Fake It
She was never one for introspection; she felt it often got you in more trouble than it was worth, especially given what she had in her head to think about. But in this case, it didn't take much to uncover the motivation behind tonight's events. This was not how Mossad trained assassins acted; they were emotionless, unforgiving, never thoughtful and tortured. But she wasn't in Mossad anymore; she had stopped thinking that way somewhere in her second year at NCIS. Still, her training was always there, in the background, keeping her alert, but her personality was…less jagged. She credited her turnaround to NCIS: the lessons, the people. All of her colleagues had a hand in helping her move away from the assassin in her, but one person in particular had the greatest effect. Of course, he was also the reason she was here, staring at an unfamiliar ceiling from an unfamiliar bed, naked.
She swore under her breath in Hebrew. No matter what she did, or how hard she tried to ignore it, Tony was always in her head.
Which brought her to the night's events. She had gone out alone, needing to blow off some steam, get out of her own head for a while. And she had succeeded, perhaps a little too well. She'd spotted him across the bar, giving her appreciative glances, and she returned them. The man was handsome – tall, brown hair and eyes, muscular build and a smile that drew her in. The rest of the evening they had spent flirting and touching before she accepted his offer to come to his place. The assassin couldn't say it was the first time she'd had a one night stand, but this was different, this time her conquest was merely a substitute.
Glancing over at his sleeping form, Ziva heaved a sigh and quietly slipped out of bed. Sometimes her training came in handy; she collected her clothes from the bedroom floor and dressed in silence, and the man in the bed didn't even move.
What the hell was his name…Taylor? Tyler? Thomas? Ziva couldn't recall, but did it matter really?
She slipped down his apartment hall and collected more of her things from the front room. Silently she opened the deadbolt on the front door, pulled the door open just enough to squeeze her small frame out and relocked the handle, closing the door with a barely perceptible snick.
It didn't take her long to get home from Georgetown, mostly because to her, speed limits were merely suggestions. Before crawling into bed she felt compelled to shower and wash away the evening; Ziva would be perfectly happy to pretend it never happened. Snuggling down into her bed, she noted it was nearly midnight; her internal alarm would wake her at 0500. She sighed again and fell into a fitful sleep.
The next morning she came into work as usual to find Tony picking on McGee about something. Dropping her bag on the floor next to her desk, she watched the two men for a moment: McGee looked annoyed and Tony gleeful. Shaking her head, she logged into her computer and went through her normal routine of checking email before pulling up the reports she needed to complete today. Ziva was hoping she could just bury herself in the paperwork and avoid Tony. She knew it was ridiculous; Tony didn't know what she was thinking or what she had done, but she still felt compelled to communicate as little as possible with her partner.
Unfortunately he had other plans.
Upon noticing her arrival, Tony sauntered over to Ziva's desk and stood in front of her, staring intently at the Israeli, waiting for some kind of reaction. When he got none, the agent took matters into his own hands.
"Boxers or briefs?" he asked and her head instantly snapped up. Tony swore, for just a second, he saw mortification on her face.
"What?" she questioned, her default reaction of hostility taking over.
He swallowed quickly, and despite the vibe he was getting from her, continued, "McGee…you think he is a boxers or briefs kind of guy?"
She seemed to lighten a bit before settling her eyes on the third person in the area. "Boxers…"
"Ha! Told you McGee…" he sang and strolled back to his own desk, continuing to taunt the other agent.
Ziva hung her head slightly; not even 10 minutes at work at she was already acting like a fool around him. Taking a deep breath, she centered herself, determined not to be so rattled again.
Tony sat at his desk and regarded his partner. She had been acting weird for weeks now, sending cryptic comments and strange looks his way. He hadn't given it much thought, but her odd reaction to his taunting McGee made him wonder what was going on in her head.
"Get your gear!" Gibbs' voice called out, halting Tony's contemplating.
The three agents gathered their packs and followed Gibbs to the elevator.
"What do we have, boss?" McGee asked.
"Dead Marine in Georgetown."
She heaved another heavy sigh and followed Tony to the Charger; she was in no mood to return to Georgetown, but requesting not to go would raise more red flags than she was willing to deal with. So she and Tony followed Gibbs and McGee in silence through the streets of DC. Ziva was thankful the other man did not feel compelled to fill the silence as he usually did; she didn't feel like she could muster the energy to deal with a chatty Tony.
Lost in her own thoughts, Ziva didn't notice until they rounded a corner that the streets were eerily familiar to her. And a sense of dread settled firmly into her chest.
She shifted nervously in her seat and looked at Tony. "Did Gibbs say where we were going exactly?"
"You heard as much as I did, Ziva. Georgetown." He spared a glance her way and was unnerved himself to find the normally unflappable agent looking…flappable. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing," she answered quickly. And there probably wasn't, but she was already on edge today and this wasn't helping. "Nothing," she whispered to herself.
And then she realized maybe it was something.
Tony made a right behind Gibbs and pulled in front of a large stone-front apartment building, where police tape was roped around a large tree.
She parked in front of the oak tree on the street, and followed him in through the door.
Ziva twisted nervously in the seat, her uneasiness palpable.
Before opening the car door, Tony turned to her. "Seriously, what is up with you?"
"Do not worry about it, Tony." She started to get out of the car, but his hand on her arm stopped her; she looked down at her arm before looking in his eyes.
"Ziva…" his voice was soft, imploring.
"What the hell are you two doing…get over here!" Gibbs voice bellowed, saving her from answering.
She pulled from his grasp and followed Gibbs and McGee, neither of whom seemed aware anything was wrong. They entered the elevator, with Tony sliding in last.
"Floor?" he asked, one hand poised over the numbers.
As soon as they got in the elevator, his hands were all over her, his lips crushed on hers. As the doors closed, one hand pulled away from her and pressed 3 on the panel.
"Three," Gibbs replied. Please no, she thought.
The doors dinged open at the third floor and Gibbs led the way. Ziva let the others pass and followed them down the hall, as if in a dream.
He guided her down the hall, Ziva walking backwards, her body pressed against his even as they walked. Her hands were under his shirt, admiring the muscles she felt there, his were in her hair, pulling gently as he nibbled at her neck, all the while moving toward his apartment.
Gibbs walked into the apartment first.
Her arms wrapped around him, tongue licking the skin at his neck, fingers deftly undoing the buttons of his shirt, her nails skimming the skin.
Ignoring the calls from Gibbs, she moved past him into the apartment and made an immediate right, retracing her steps from not even 12 hours ago. She could hear her boss calling her name, but ignored him. It can not be. It can not be.
But it was. The smell of copper assaulted her nose as she approached the bedroom door.
He threw her down on the bed and removed what was left of his shirt, throwing it to the floor. She followed suit, removing her shirt and shimmying out of her jeans, leaving her in just a bra and underwear. He stood for a moment admiring her before joining her on the bed.
The spot she had occupied was now covered in a thick coat of blood. Her one night stand was blue.
"Oh, God," she whispered.
Ducky looked up at her from his examination of the body. "Ziva, dear. You look like you've seen a ghost."
She looked at him blankly. "I think have, Ducky," she said and backed out of the room.
And literally ran into Gibbs.
"Gibbs," she started but was cut off.
"What are you doing, Officer David? You need to start sketching."
She ducked her head slightly. "Can we speak…privately?"
He gave her an exasperated look, but led the agent into the outside hall.
"Ok, you have your privacy."
"I do not think I should be here. The victim and I…" she paused at the words; Ziva really didn't think this would happen. "Have a personal connection."
Gibbs was stunned. "What? Why didn't you say something sooner?"
"I did not know."
Gibbs looked at her, confused and a bit angry. "How did you not know?"
She shifted uncomfortably. "I only met the lieutenant last night." Ziva hoped her normally astute boss would read between the lines.
She was not disappointed.
"I see." He rubbed his forehead vigorously. "Well you can't be here, obviously. Get the keys from Tony and head back; I'll take your statement when I get there."
She titled her head at him. "I was the last person to see the victim alive. You are not interviewing me now?"
He eyed her critically. "Do I need to?"
"Then get the keys and leave, Ziva."
She headed back in the apartment but stopped and looked back at him. "I am sorry, Gibbs."
She nodded and continued in.
Tony had been watching since Ziva and Gibbs had gone into the hall. His boss looked none too happy and she looked upset. As his partner came back into the apartment he quickly turned back to sketching.
A few seconds later he was so surprised to find her standing inches away, staring at him, that he almost dropped the sketch pad.
"I need the keys." Her tone was curt, annoyed, one hand outstretched and upturned.
"What?" He was genuinely confused.
"To the Charger, Tony! The keys!"
He put his hands up in surrender. "Ok, ok." He pulled them out of his pocket. "Where's the fire?"
"Just give me the fucking keys, DiNozzo!"
Both Tony and McGee startled at her profanity. In the rare instances Ziva swore, it was always in Hebrew, never English.
Wordlessly, he dropped the keys into her palm and watched, confused, as she left the crime scene.
"Boss?" He looked to Gibbs, hoping for an explanation for Ziva's behavior.
"Get to sketching, DiNozzo."
NCIS – Abby's Lab
Gibbs had refused to say two words since they left the scene and Tony was ready to explode. There was something going on with Ziva, and clearly the boss knew, but wasn't telling. Which wasn't actually abnormal behavior, but it was still annoying. The younger agent was starting to get concerned about his partner, but couldn't figure out how or from whom to get information. The two people in the know were the most tight-lipped.
Gibbs handed over the physical evidence to Abby, the lab tech happy to have something to occupy her busy mind.
"Abs, we need to be careful on this one."
"I'm always careful, Gibbs," she protested and started filling out the chain of evidence forms.
He handed over a bloody set of sheets from the dead man's bed. "Run DNA."
She gave him a large smile. "Always."
"There will also be evidence of recent sexual activity…"
Tony's head popped up; Gibbs was good, but not that good.
"One contribution from our Marine, the other from Ziva."
And his heart sank.
Who's to know if your soul will fade at all
The one you sold to fool the world
You lost your self-esteem along the way
Good god you're coming up with reasons
Good god you're dragging it out
Good god it's the changing of the seasons
I feel so raped
So follow me down
And just fake it if you're out of direction
Fake it if you don't belong
Fake it if you feel like affection
Woah you're such a fucking hypocrite
And you should know that the lies won't hide your flaws
No sense in hiding all of yours
You gave up on your dreams along the way