"Is it just me, McGoo, or has Ziva seemed strangely calm since we got back?"

"Tony," McGee replied, not taking his eyes from his computer screen. "She's Mossad, she's used--"

"Was Mossad, Probie. She was Mossad," Tony interjected, resisting the urge to Gibbs slap McGee.

"Okay, she was Mossad. She's used to keeping her cool, used to keeping her emotions under control. She's been through a lot, yeah. But she's strong, Tony. I'm sure she's just fine."

"Who is just fine?" prompted Ziva as she emerged from the elevator with the team's coffee in hand.

"Abby," Tony stated, walking back towards his desk. "She seemed a bit off today," he added, letting no sign show that he had in fact been talking about Ziva.

"Oh," Ziva said sounding perplexed as she handed Tony and McGee their drinks. "Perhaps I should go down to the lab and have some girl talk with her. Girl talk helps, yes?"

"I don't think that'd work with Abby," Tony scoffed.

All of a sudden the team heard their boss's voice booming throughout the bull pen. "Gear up. We've got a dead petty officer in Anacostea. McGee, go grab Ducky. Tony, Ziva, gas the truck."

"Got it, boss!" each member of the team yelled as they scrambled to get to get their gear and follow Gibbs's orders.

Within 20 minutes, the team had pulled up to the crime scene. Each member of the team was doing their respective duties: McGee was bagging and tagging, Tony was taking photographs, and Ziva was combing the crime scene for any traces of evidence.

Tony couldn't stop looking over his shoulder to catch glances at Ziva. She wore a pair of denim trousers that hugged her natural curves and her olive skin looked beautiful when put against the emerald v-neck long sleeved shirt. But it wasn't her apparel that Tony was looking at.

Ever since their return from Somalia, Ziva had seemed different. She still smiled and still taunted Tony, yet the sparkle in her eye was gone. Her face no longer lit up the way it once had. She seemed strangely normal, given the fact that she had spent months being tortured. Tony knew something was wrong, yet he couldn't tell just what it was.


The team had arrived back at the Navy Yard and had been working franticly since they returned. It was now 2300 and they weren't any closer to solving the case. They had chased leads that lead to no where, sifted through paper trails, and yet nothing came up.

"Go home!" Gibbs barked. "We've gotten no where with this and you guys are of no use to me if you're just sitting at your desks like zombies!" he yelled. "Go home, get some sleep. Forget about the case. Come back on Monday morning and be ready to catch this guy, okay?"

"Got it, boss" Tony, McGee, and Ziva all said at once. McGee grabbed his coat and was heading to the elevator before Tony or Ziva even had the chance to turn their computers off.

"Probie seems to be in a hurry," Tony laughed as he reached for his coat. "How about you, Zeeeh-va?" Tony asked, emphasizing her name. "Ya got any hot dates tonight? Any crazy plans?"

"No, I do not," she replied , pulling her coat over her shoulders and switching her computer off. "I am going to go home, curl up under the covers, and read."

"Read?!" Tony said. "It's Friday night and you're going to go home and read? Nuh, uh. I won't allow that," he added as he pushed the down button in the elevator. "How about we go out? Go to the bar and get a few drinks, relax?" he prompted as they walked into the elevator.

"No, thank you," she simply stated, keeping her eyes straight ahead.

"Awe, come on, Zi," Tony whined. "You gotta get out once in a while. It'd be fun, gettin' drunk with your partner, right?" he asked, aiming to give a friendly punch to her shoulder.

But her hand snapped out and grabbed his wrist, twisting it. "I said, I do not want to get drinks with you, Tony," she said just as the elevator doors slid open. Before the doors had even finished opening, Ziva was already briskly walking toward her Mini Cooper.


Ziva did in fact go home and curl up, yet it wasn't under the covers and reading wasn't what was on her mind. She had changed out of her work clothes into a pair of flannel pajama pants and a plain black tank top.

She lay against the headboard of her bed, her knees pulled tight to her chest. She was fingering one of her knives; a small blade, easily concealed. She twirled the handle watching the light catch the blade as she spun it.

Her cheeks had tear stains running down them, yet as each tear formed she furiously wiped it away.

"Can't even control my own freaking tears," she said in an almost laughing voice.

She set the knife on the bed beside her and she looked down to examine her arms. Long, parallel lines traveled from her inner elbow to her wrist. Each of the lines was perfectly straight, leaving no doubt as to the fact they were self inflicted. Ziva stared at the lines marring her arms, feeling a strange sense of calm rush over her.

After spending months in Somalia being tortured and being out of control of every aspect of her life, she found that taking a knife to her arms was one of the true ways she could be in control. She could control when she did it, where she did it, how deep she did it, how often she did it. Her emotions had been racing in her mind since she had gotten back, and the only way she felt she could slow the emotional pain down was to inflict some sort of physical pain upon herself.

All the memories of the past day flooded into her mind; the way Tony looked at her, the way she couldn't control the reflex to grab his arm and twist it, the way she couldn't even stand to go to a bar with the people she once considered family.

As the memories continued to overpower her, she reached to her side for the knife and slowly picked it up. Gripping the handle, she placed the blade at the crook of her elbow and slowly began to drag it down her forearm. Bright crimson blood droplets sprung from the wound quickly and began to drip down onto her bedding. Ziva knew she was cutting deep, yet she had perfected how deep she could do it without needed medical attention.

Finally, she stopped dragging the blade when it hit her wrist. She put the knife down and stared down at her arm, blood dripping out from the fresh wound. It's true the cut hurt, yet she had experienced worse and actually desired this pain. She controlled it.

Ziva sat there on her bed, watching the blood fall from the wound as the minute hand on her clock ticked. She sat there in a trance for what seemed like ages, yet her trance was broken when she heard a knock on the door.