AUTHOR'S NOTES: Just my little musings and thoughts regarding Ziva in the season opener. WOW! I have to say that the episode was one of the best yet! I especially liked the line when Gibbs says "Dead petty officer.... dead marine... someone smuggled a koala on a submarine."

The first round of lyrics are from Rascal Flatts. The second I wrote myself

Anyway, please enjoy the story! Next update will be to my story 'Daughters' which is starting to turn in to an NCIS version of Night of the Living Dead, really.

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NCIS: Back to Good

Gibbs had told her that she could come back to NCIS whenever she wanted.

Vance had said that he was glad to see her again.

Her father wanted to know if she'd succeeded in her mission.

In her new apartment, Ziva David spent a long time in her bathroom staring at her reflection in the mirror.

She wanted things to be back to normal.

Not normal in the American sense of 'before anything terrible happened'.

The first sign of normality she could remember was seeing Tony sitting in front of her. His flippant comment of "How was your summer?" She'd never been happier to see him. And yet...

Ziva wanted to be back in the NCIS squad room, sitting across from McGee and Tony, hearing Gibbs saying, "Grab your gear."

Turning on the shower radio before drawing a hot bath, Ziva tied her hair up and slowly got undressed, her eyes drawn to the healing bruises and scars on her skin.

As she stepped into the hot water and slowly sat down, Ziva closed her eyes. She had figured that Tony and the others would give her up for dead.

Even Gibbs. After all, hope can only carry you for so long.

A month into her capture, Ziva had given up all hope of rescue.

But Gibbs hadn't given up. He'd never have given up. Even if she'd been dead, Gibbs would have moved heaven and earth to find her and bring her home where she belonged.

"You could have bowed out gracefully

But you didn't

You knew enough to leave well enough alone

But you wouldn't"

Ever since Ziva had first joined Gibbs' team a war had been raging inside her. The war between Mossad Officer and NCIS Agent. Duty, missions and objectives battling against instinct, teamwork, and family. Gibbs had seen that war within her from the start and had tried to show her that she didn't have to make a choice.

"I drive myself crazy trying

To stay out of my own way

The messes that I make

But my secrets are so safe

The only one who gets me

Yeah, you get me

"It's amazing to me

How every day

Every day

Every day you save my life"

But there was a choice. And as Ziva thought about all the times she'd chosen her father, she'd ended up getting hurt.

She'd been hurt with NCIS but she'd never been manipulated or lied to.

Her life here was one of her choosing. She chose what kinds of clothes she bought, what trails she ran in the morning…

When the water started to cool off, Ziva slid down until her head was under the water. Holding it there for a moment, she wished she could just stay in the tub all day. But getting out and toweling off, she knew that she couldn't hide away from the world.

After getting dressed, Ziva stepped out of the apartment and smiled for the first time in months before starting a run.

As her shoes hit the pavement, she let the sound of her breathing and her heart pounding drown out all her doubts and fears.

"Nothing else mattered

As my sneakers hit the road

Life is hard but I know

Sometimes that's just how life goes

"Lord, help me change the things I can

And help me to see

That sometimes I just have to do

What is best for me"

Stopping at the Arlington Memorial Bridge, Ziva took a breather as she imagined a young man with short, black hair wearing a fluorescent orange hat and a somewhat goofy smile, turning to look back at her as he passed.

After a gulp or two of water, Ziva resumed her run, and unconsciously, her feet took her past Rock Creek Park, the scene of several past crime scenes.

But when Ziva finally came to the end of her run, she was even more surprised at where she'd ended up.


John Mayer wasn't in Tony DiNozzo's usual repertoire of music but lately one particular song had been sticking in his mind. For some reason the song had lately become his personal theme song for Ziva.

Hearing the doorbell, Tony went and opened the door, smiling as he stepped aside to let Ziva in. "How are you?"

"I am…" Ziva sighed as she tried to say the word 'fine'. "I don't know how I am, to be honest," she finally admitted.

"Want to talk about it?" Tony asked, hesitantly.

Ziva hesitated, wondering what was behind the question. But as she looked at Tony she reminded herself that there didn't have to be context with Tony.

As the radio played, Ziva let Tony lead her to the kitchen where they sat and talked.