Learning To Feel

A/N: This is my first NCIS fan fiction which is funny because I didn't expect my first NCIS story to be anything like this, but I was watching Hiatus 1 & 2 the other day and this plot bunny popped into my head and wouldn't go away. This is also the first time I've ever written this story in first person point of view, so I hope you like it. Also, I tried really hard to keep her as in character as possible (notice there are no contractions, lol) so let me know how I did please.

Disclaimer: I own...nothing, not even Bert :(

I stand in front of the mirror looking at my reflection. "I will not cry! I will not cry!" I have been chanting that in my head ever since Abby slapped me. It had stung a little, but not nearly as badly as the looks and comments of my teammates. Her slap had just been the breaking point. Even as I continue chanting in my head, it is no use. I turn the faucet on and splash water on my face. If I try hard enough, I can ignore the few tears that have managed to escape and pretend it is just the water. I stare at my reflection again. "What happened to me?" I ask myself, but I already know the answer. N.C.I.S. had happened to me; or more specifically, Leroy Jethro Gibbs had happened to me. Somehow, in one year, this man and his team had managed to undo years and years of Mossad training that had begun even before I could walk. I do not understand how a man who shows almost no emotion himself, managed to so effectively cut down the barriers I had spent years building and reinforcing.

And yet, I know exactly the moment it began to happen, the moment he put his trust in me to back him up with Ari. He may not have known that Ari was my half brother, but he knew that we were close and I had believed Ari unconditionally, and still, he trusted me completely with his life. At the time it did not meant much because I of course did not believe him, and therefore did not believe he would require backup. In the aftermath though I could not stop thinking about it. That was why I had gone to my father and requested the transfer. It had been easier than I expected to get his approval. I convinced him that me going over to work with Gibbs for a while would help us smooth out the disaster that Ari created, and therefore hopefully avoid any further conflicts with our ally. It was not until I was halfway through my flight to D.C. that I realized for the first time in my entire life I had done something completely for myself instead of what I felt my duty to my country dictated I should do. That thought caught me completely by surprise and almost made me want to immediately get on the next plane back to Tel Aviv the moment I landed.

All my life duty and honor before self had been drilled into my head and I accepted it. The ways of Mossad were drilled into me and my siblings from the moment we were born. No emotion, it was weakness, well except for Tali, she was the baby, so she got away with just a little bit more. But that was the way things where, and our lives were not so completely different from the lives of our friends, at least, thats what we thought at first. As we got older though, we all started to notice things, notice differences, but by then emotion had been pretty much wiped from our vocabulary. Then Tali died. I was devastated and it was the first time in years I truly cried, but that was only once and it was well away from the eyes and ears of my father.

Then, the whole situation with Ari and my father had caused me to lose faith in the only two people I had ever completely trusted. Of course, that was something that had been engrained into us from an early age as well, trust no one. Still, I thought I should have been able to trust my older brother and my father. I swore I would never trust anyone ever again, and yet after only a month of working for Gibbs I was already loosening my resolve. What scared me so much wasn't the fact that I trusted him, it was that I wanted to trust him, and Tony, and Tim. Then, before I knew what was happening, I felt myself beginning to care, and beginning to feel, and it scared the hell out of me because after all those years of training, all those years of shutting off my emotions and not letting anything get to me, suddenly I was like a child again, and I wanted to feel those emotions.

Now standing here in the bathroom, I feel something new, something I've never felt before and I don't like it. I feel lost, and I feel vulnerable. I know the rest of the team thinks I don't care and normally I would say that it does not matter, I do not care what they think, but the problem is, somehow they worked their way past my shield and I do care. I can hear Ducky's words play again in my head, his concern for Gibbs making his tone almost accusatory, then trying to rephrase what he had said, but the damage had been done. I hear Abby's accusing words again, feel her hand coming into contact with my cheek. I had not meant to slap her back that first time, it was just a reflex. Then she slapped me again and all of a sudden I needed to slap her back to show her somehow that I did care and that this is affecting me just as much. I know that she probably did not see it that way though, and now I feel the tiniest twinge of guilt over that too. Tony hasn't said anything to me, but I can see it in the way he looks at me. I know he wants to say something, but will not because he does not want more friction on the team when everyone needs to be focusing on the case. Tim has not said anything either, but I think that is because he has not really noticed, he is so caught up in his own worry and determination to solve this case. I take a deep breath and splash water over my face to wash away any indication I had been crying. My mind is made up.

As I make my way to the hospital though, doubts begin to run through my mind again. If he could not remember for the others, why in the world did I think I stood a chance to change that. Shaking my head slightly, I step on the gas a little harder. "I have to try," I tell myself. "I have to try because I need him to remember me. I have to try, because the thought of Gibbs not remembering who I am is too much," I finally admit to myself.

As I step up to his bedside I have to take a deep breath to steady myself and hold my resolve. I have seen much worse is Israel, in fact, I've seen worse since I began at N.C.I.S. The problem is, without even realizing it, I, just like Tony, Tim, Abby, and even Jenny and Ducky, had begun to see him as invincible. At first I am unsure of what to do, so I settle for laying my hand on his arm. Suddenly he is alert and out of bed. The next thing I know I am demanding that he remember. I search his face urgently for any sign of recognition as he stares at me. "The stare" I try to remind him, desperately trying to think of something that will jog his memory, that will make him remember us, remember me. I do not even realize what I am doing myself until I have already brought his hand halfway up to the back of my head. I see that it is working, so I push on painfully. I don't want to talk about Ari, but something tells me I have to, something tells me that is the key, and it is. The next thing I know I am sobbing into his shoulder and he is holding me, comforting me. This only makes me cry harder. I have never cried like this before, not even when Tali died. As he holds me stroking my hair, I begin to wonder briefly if this is what a father's comforting embrace feels like. Somehow I know it is, and suddenly, for the first time in my life I feel deprived. I push that feeling back quickly though as I begin to regain control of my emotions, my training finally starting to kick back in.

The ride back to HQ is quiet. I thought my mind would be racing a million miles a minute, but it is not. The only thing I can think about is how good it felt to be able to cry like that, to be able to break down and be comforted. Before we know it we are back at HQ and chaos is is surrounding us.

We sit in silence as Gibbs comes down the stais, and somehow, before he even reaches the bottom, I know what happening. As he makes his way to me I manage a small but sincere smile because as those elevator doors shut, I know that he will be back. I don't know when, and I don't think he even knows he will be back yet, but I do. I know because he still has so much more to teach the team, to teach me. I realize now how very wrong I was when I thought we were similar. I used to think that we were the same because neither one of us felt. I was wrong though, because Gibbs feels everyday but instead of showing his feelings, he uses them to motivate him and to get the job done. I realize that Mossad and my father were wrong, emotions and feelings are good, they make you fight harder. You see, I know that Gibbs is coming back because I am just learning to feel. He still has to teach me how to use my feelings to fight.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

I have always been fascinated by the relationships Ziva has with Gibbs and her father, but sadly there aren't enough stories (in my opinion) that explore that, so I decided to write one myself, lol. Anyway, please, please review. Like I said, this is my first NCIS story and I'd like to know what you thought. I don't mind constructive criticism, but do not appreciate flames. Thanks!