A/N: This is my first fanfic in a looooong time and my very first for NCIS. It has not been beta read and so I have no idea how awful it is…
Spoilers for up to and including NCIS Season 7
Oh, and just in case you didn't know…I do NOT own NCIS…
She thought a lot these days. Spending three months – alone in a cell – held prisoner by terrorists would do that, she guessed.
She could not escape the barrage of what-ifs…
What if… she had a different father…?
What if… her mother had not died…?
What if… she had never joined Mossad…?
What if… Tali had not died…?
What if… she had never met Jenny…?
What if… she had never gone to the States…?
What if… she had not killed Ari…?
What if… she had never joined NCIS…?
What if… she had never become an investigator…?
What if… she had not been an assassin…?
She figured that last one was the reason God had allowed her capture and imprisonment… if God even existed…
She had never really thought about it before… the fact that her job for most of her adult life had been to capture, torture, and kill. It was not like she had never realized what her job entailed… it was just that she never allowed herself to dwell on what her actions meant.
Capture, torture, and kill…
She wondered how many people there were where she had done just that; who thought they were doing what was right… for them, for their country, for their people…
Most… she guessed… most people thought they were justified in their actions.
This was why at times she has felt she cannot hold what had happened to her in Africa against her captors… they had just been doing what was necessary to get information out of her…
How many times had she done the same? Information at any cost to further Mossad's agenda. You could substitute really any agency for Mossad, she supposed…
'Except NCIS' the words gnawed at the back of her brain… she could not substitute NCIS for Mossad in that sentence.
At NCIS she had learned that there was a basic sense of rules in which to play the game and that there were only certain things one could do to obtain information.
It had been difficult at first… interrogation without torture or the intimation of torture was something she had never done. Soon it became a second nature to her. When she returned to Mossad it made her a liability… she had problems reverting back to the capture, torture, and kill mentality. She became hesitant. Which she supposed was why the terrorists were able to capture her so effectively… they never would have been able to if she had not been a part of NCIS…
It was not that she could not have been captured. That had always been a possibility. It was only that before NCIS she would have found a way to die before her capture and imprisonment.
Death never came and she never talked and she eventually realized there was more than one way to kill a person.
When she realized that a small smile formed on her lips as she remembered Ray. She had cared for him deeply and the loss of what could have been – what she had allowed herself to hope for – had hit her hard. He had been a dead man walking… full of life but his physical limitations taking their toll and eventually ending his life. Now she was a dead woman walking… only there was nothing physically wrong with her – as she had physically healed months ago – no, she was dead on the inside. Walking around like a mummy… no that was not it… like a…like a zombie. Yes, a zombie.
She could function and interact on a merely superficial level but it went no deeper. It was funny in a purely sardonic way because never before had she been so dead emotionally and yet so introspective. The juxtaposition was amusing to her.
She supposed that meant that she was not really dead emotionally… only numb. That she had simply pushed the emotions so far down inside of her in an attempt to contain them that it took only that much more to reach the jumbled mess. She was aware that the force used to stomp down her emotion most likely caused a pressurized effect and that one day she would probably explode in a disarray of sobbing emotions. For now that was so far off that she could not bring herself to worry about it. She would cross that river when she came to it.
Thinking about and preparing for the present and the immediate future was all she could do. She had come back to the States with no apartment, no possessions, no job… just the clothes on her back and a small bank account from before she had left.
The real problem was in pretending to be 'human' and present in the moment. It was more difficult than she had ever realized. Abby had not thought she was 'human' enough in the beginning when they were only co-workers and even during their acquaintanceship and she began to wonder what Abby thought of her now.
They were friends now but their decidedly different natures were always hanging over them. She could feel it. She had often wished she could be as expressive as Abby but there was a fear that held her back. A fear that she would be hurt emotionally, yes, but also a fear that she would get herself or one of her team hurt physically. She had to stay calm and collected in work situations and with Mossad one was always on the clock. If she let her guard down she left the possibility of someone sneaking through her defenses.
Being emotionally expressive was a luxury she could not afford. She had known that before Michael but somehow during Michael she let herself forget. For which she and Tony had paid a great price.
Now she was back with NCIS but it was not the same. She merely went through the motions, hiding her pain. To her surprise people seemed to buy her act. They gave her back her gun and badge, put her into the field, with a new title – Special Agent – and they played pranks on her…it was like she was the same. Like things had not changed. But she knew they had… she could feel their eyes follow her… watching her, waiting.
When she would find the courage to look up and meet their gaze McGee or Tony would pretend they were not staring, their guilty faces giving them away.
When she would look up to find Gibbs watching her he held his gaze and she would be the first to look away, guilt covering her features.
Guilt for what? She would ask herself.
For abandoning the team to stay in Israel?
For being weak?
For lying to everyone?
For lying to herself and knowing it?
For putting everyone in danger?
It was all those things and more.
She knew she had betrayed her friends by turning her back on them and staying in Israel… She felt that she had only gotten what she deserved… after they left her there. That it was her fault. That was the deep secret she kept to herself… it was her fault.
If only she had a different father…
Or, her mother had not died… or Tali or Ari…
If she had never joined Mossad or met Jenny or gone to the States or joined NCIS or become an investigator…
If she had never been an assassin…
If none of it had ever happened…
If only one thing was different then maybe she would not be how she was now… broken.
The what-ifs continue to haunt her…
What if her father loved her enough not to send her to die?
What if she had never met Gibbs or Tony or McGee or Abby or Ducky?
What if she had lived her whole life killing only because Mossad told her to?
What if she had never been found?
Those are things she dreams about. Those are things she has never spoken of aloud.
A/N: I've gotten most of chapter two written which will begin to include different characters… Reviews are greatly appreciated! Thanks for reading…