Ok, this is my first story posted here. Please review. I have an idea of where this is going, but we will see where Ziva and Gibbs take me.

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Damaged Goods

He felt it. She was stone still, but he felt it. Her control. So controlled. That was Ziva. Controlled. Fierce. Deadly.

Vulnerable.

She had told her story, emotionless and monotone. Barely blinking, she recounted for him the course of events leading up to her inevitable capture by Saleem's men. She had never intended to survive. Rather, she had tried to ensure her death, because to survive would be worse. They would show her no mercy and while she lay in a dark cell, pain radiating off of her body in waves, she would be forced to face the knowledge that her father had sent her to die.

Yet, here she sat, across from him and very much alive. Gibbs cocked his head to the side, absorbing the things she could not say. He touched her clenched fist with one single finger as if to gently shake her from her reverie. His touch grounded her, soothed her raw nerves, calmed her.

Although the team was elated to have her safely returned to them, they harbored resentment and anger. She had broken their trust, their faith, and yet they had risked everything to bring her home. Despite their own wounds, each of them believed that time would heal their rift and all would be returned to normal. But Gibbs knew differently. He knew Ziva would never be the same.

She wore a brave visage. She was understandably shaken, but in the eyes of the team, she was still the same Ziva at her core. She was tough and she was hard. A survivor. She would be absorbed back into their close knit family and they naively believed that things could once again be as they were.

But Gibbs knew. He knew what she had endured. She had spoken not a word of her time as a captive, and yet he knew. Ziva a been broken. Damaged goods Vance had caller her. Gibbs had no doubt that she would survive. He had no doubt she would excel as an NCIS agent. She would pick herself up and she would put one foot in front of the other until she could convince herself that she was alright. And they would all believe it. Except Gibbs.

He could feel her newly acquired fragility and its depth.

Don't bury it. So she continued with her story. She relayed facts. Just the bare bones of it all, ending with an apology. Her pain was unmistakable as was her regret. Gibbs rose from is chair and walked around the table moving carefully as to avoid startling her and whispered in her ear,

When you are ready to tell me the rest, I will be here.

TBC.

Thanks for reading.