A short one-shot of Ziva's slow healing. Tiva (because nothing so good exists in all the world)


Earth's winter cometh
And I being part of all
And sith the spirit of all moveth in me
I must needs bear earth's winter
Drawn cold and grey with hours
And joying in a momentary
Lo I am withered with waiting till my spring cometh!

Ezra Pound

It is within those sanguine hours of evening that she asks.

Many times he has tried to earn her confidence, though it means the release of words he fears. She holds in rigid hands the secrets of a lifetime's torment captured in the tomb of mere months but the grip unwinds just enough for the most cautious reach. And though in recent times his willing warmth has been cooled by her distance, he will meet her where she's decided they may go.

She wants a new destination.

But she's not ready, the frigid posture of weary bones lies beneath his eyes and she'll let no other part of him touch her. It is at her request that they should move, but for the moment it is a lateral stride to an equal nowhere. They've lived in the static stance too long and he chances the lightest entreaty.

And feels the thaw.

Seeking permission for every uncovered inch, he is aware that the taut rate of progress will be his death. Hands inquire before any shift in contact and her affirmatives are rewarded. He doesn't let her filling eyes close, that she may not forget who is touching her, whispering away the secrets another has engraved onto beloved flesh.

Strips scars away until only she remains.

Gentle fingers replace reminders of harm that her screams couldn't halt and what escapes her now is a calling of another sort. He upholds her tears, refusing to cast aside anything that she finally expresses. No portion of her can be lost, except that which has pinned her to the memory of cruel caresses. The words are foreign but he will not fear them when his name is mixed into the prayer.

Setting her free has a price.

A shared struggle to exert control while building chaos lets her momentary sun shine, however briefly. It blinds him before the burn. Because despite the promises, he isn't careful. Emotion overcomes her as passion overwhelms him. And the union must break. Pleading forgiveness, he withdraws to wither before her. It will be hours until the regenerated calm coaxes her into reaching once more.

And her smile is the coming of spring.