Title: I Do Offer These Amendments
Warnings: This fic is based on the Bill of Rights. Yeah, I can't believe it either. Rated K, because heck, it's practically educational.
Summary: Ziva knows her Constitution well.
Disclaimer(s): I'm torn between thinking that a dozen of these have been written by now, and thinking maybe I'm the only one crazy enough to actually commit ConstitutionFic. Either way, I'm just a total sucker for good old AP American Gov sort of stuff. I feel I'm a little stuck on the theme of Ziva adjusting to being back, but I just don't buy the cool exterior she's put up. She's always been a little baffled by things American, and now she has to become one. Plus, y'know, SOMALIA. So here's another Ziva adjusting fic. Not much Tony, or cuteness, sorry. I too wish he made more of an appearance.
I don't really know much about the process of becoming a citizen, but TV rarely does things by the book.
[Not Mine, None of It, Ever, The End.] (I don't own the Constitution either.)
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
D.C. is a town of grievances. Not so much in Ziva's jurisdiction, with its quiet stream of bureaucrats, agents, and evil-doers, but downtown there's a grievance on every corner. Ziva and McGee were going by the FBI one time and people were drawing chalk outlines round themselves in the street. Following Tony on an errand to Treasury one time, they swung past the White House, and she noted the perpetual tangle of tourists and sign-carriers. If she walks home from a rare Saturday morning service she gets harassed by people wanting her signature to save the environment or her donation to keep up the fight. If she gives them a hard time, they usually ignore her, so Ziva has a fallback you-don't-want-me-on-your-cause speech.
She's forgotten her getaway rhetoric though, over the months-long absence from a city so solicitously combative, and the first time someone stops her and asks for her help in defending civil liberties it's on the tip of her tongue to ask them to help her instead. After all, she's back in the capital with only slightly more standing than a regular foreign tourist, armed only with her wits and friends in not-so-low places.
She's the one who needs her grievances redressed.
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
Ziva doesn't need guns to be armed. Ziva doesn't need knives to be armed. Ziva doesn't need a paperclip. Ziva can be beaten and bruised and tied to a chair in Somalia and still be protecting national security.
She hopes they realize that, the unknown people who will ultimately decide her fate.
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
The morning drills are simply too much at Navy housing, so Ziva is couch-surfing. She was unfamiliar with the term, said uncertainly that she did not participate in aquatic recreation, but Abby just laughed and said, mi casa es su casa, and Ziva got that, because he Spanish has always been excellent.
Ziva's a quartered soldier, but she still has friends. And it's especially good to have friends in a time that looks like peace and feels like war.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Tony is going through her desk. Or at least, he's trying to.
"Did you already forget the pain I inflict on those who interfere with my personal possessions?" Ziva asks.
He jerks upright. "I needed a pen."
"You were trying to pick the lock on my bottom drawer," Ziva points out.
"I thought that's where you kept your pens. Like any good American."
"Just because I can make office supplies lethal, does not mean I need to lock them up," Ziva tells him. She plants one arm on the desk, and one on her push-backed chair, and he is trapped, wide-eyed beneath her, like a kid with his hand in the nookie jar. "Just remember," she breathes softly, for his ears only, "I can kill you with my bare hands too."
His looks like he believes her, but that he also finds it kinda hot, rather than the scary she was going for.
Later, upon further reflection, and after finding her secret and just-replenished stash of Girl Scout cookies replaced with a note that says "Thanks, Probie," she remembers to hope that those who decide her fate won't ask for references from certain coworkers.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Ziva has had to prove herself before. She has already been the new one, the probie, the dangerous one with a foreign tongue and a lethal skill set that is not always applicable to the task at hand.
She should not have this trial again.
She has lived through Damocles once. She has already done her time for that stain on her soul. She has worn stains on her skin, livid and purple, for long enough to be absolved of half a lifetime of sins.
She has made many people spill their confessions onto the interrogation table. She does not want her own story to join them. She does not want to undo with a reluctant admission any progress she has forged.
Ziva has learned to ignore the old urge to justify her father's actions, because she knows no compensation, just or otherwise, will come from that quarter.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
Waiting is agony. She waits too often in this new life of hers. She waited for Salim to prove he was a madman, and thus beatable. She waited for Tony to reveal himself as a mirage. She waited to die. For all those, she waited in vain.
She waited for a sentence of punishment. She waited to be sent home to her father. She waited for relief to fade, and forgiveness to be retracted. She waited in vain for those as well.
She waited for Gibbs to sign her forms.
She waited for Vance to make a decision.
She waited in lines with anxious mothers and Americanized offspring, babbling students and newlyweds, all of them anxious and amiable with identical fears.
Now she waits for judgment, to see if Lady Liberty welcomes someone who is not tired or poor, neither huddled nor wretched, only slightly homeless and decidedly tempest-tost.
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
She wins the bet about whether the murder weapon was going to be found in the nanny's car or the neighbor's garage, but Tony refuses to fork over her twenty bucks.
"In the bushes outside the garage does not count," he's maintaining, and Ziva's about to bring McGee in on this to back her up, when an envelope drops from Gibbs' fingertips onto her desk.
It's her permanent status card, a welcome reprieve, and instructions for the next step. She breathes a long sigh of relief as McGee and Abby congratulate her.
"Well there goes the neighborhood," Tony says, but he relinquishes her twenty, and calls her "Yank" for the rest of the afternoon.
It's only a temporary reprieve, but from a jury of her peers, it feels like homecoming.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Purgatory is the worst form of hell, Ziva decides, three months later and still no further word from INS. Tony still calls her probie, Gibbs still refuses to use his connections to find out what the hold up is, Vance still asks, whenever he sees her in the hall, "How's the citizenship coming, David?"
She hangs up from another useless call that ended, like all the rest, in the purgatory of perpetual hold. She rests her head on the cool resin of her desk and allows a black cloud of hopelessness to consume her.
"I thought your country forbid cruel and unusual punishment," she tells Abby, who she can hear approaching the desk with a concern that's palpable.
"I think it's just cruelly...usual," Abby says, patting her shoulder. "There's tons of backlog. Besides, it's your country now too. Or it will be. Don't worry."
Ziva knows only worry these days. She chafes at helplessness, at being free and unbound and still uncertain about her destination.
Not unusual maybe, but still cruel.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Her final application is at last being reviewed, when Eli sends another emissary, by way of the embassy. Her father, by proxy, demands she reconsider. Any other father would beg her to reconsider, but Eli David was never any father at all.
"He's got a right to be worried for his daughter," Gibbs reminds her, after she's dismissed the attaché with not a few choice words. It's charity she wouldn't normally expect from him, but she knows she can't touch the breadth and depth of what Gibbs feels on the subject of fathers protecting their daughters.
Doesn't mean it's true though.
"He has no right," Ziva replies at last. None at all. She knows her Constitution.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
Ziva raises her hand and pledges right along with everyone. Her English is flawless, a standout in a sea of dropped consonants, and her voice strong.
Afterwards, Ducky is waiting, with his accent of another land that gave birth to this one, and Gibbs with his impatience over the fuss he has to go through to keep a good agent. Abby is there with red, white, and blue ribbons braided in her hair, and McGee with voter registration forms. After all the hugging is over Tony skewers her coat lapel with a tiny American flag pin, right over her heart.
"I guess if you're one of us now you should look the part," he says, and his eyes are even more relieved than hers.
They go out and eat American burgers, and Ziva breathes a sigh of relief for being out of limbo, for security and safety, and a sense of official belonging.
She prohibits regret and second-guessing, but that night she reserves the right to shed three tears for the loss of her homeland.
((I've realized I have a bad habit of extrapolating too far in the future in post-ep fics. Why is that? Anyway, thanks for reading and reviewing!))