A/N: This was lying around on my computer somewhere, so I decided to just post it. I hope you enjoy!

Echel is her first. She doesn't love him. She is an assassin. A spie. They don't love. They sleep, they eat, they breathe and they talk but they don't love.

Why? Because loving means having to take another person into account. It means losing your independance, and she can't. If she loses her independence, she loses herself.

So, she sleeps with him. Not because she loves him, or wants something from him, but because she sees no reason not to.

The next day, she won't braid her hair.


She remembers how she used to beg her mother to braid it, wanting her to fold the shining locks into place with grace she would never understand. Her Ima never denied her request, until one day.

"No, Zivaleh." She had said. "Now, you are a woman. Men know that. You will leave your hear down, how they like it. Be seductive, be mysterious, but don't wear your hair in a braid. If you do, everyone can see your face, and you will have no more secrets. Never let a man know you better than yourself, because they won't like it. No matter how much he loves you, he won't like it."

She knew her mother was right. Of course she was. And when Tali asked her why she didn't braid her hair anymore, why her eyes were always seductive and never revealing, she told her: "Because I must grow up, my sweet Tali." And she hoped and prayed for a way it could be escaped, so that her beloved sister, that little girl who sang with the birds never had to grow up.

Her wish came true.


On her second mission, she wears a blue dress.

It's short and soft and oh so tempting, and he can't resist. She knows, she can see it as he stares at her, see him approve the curve of her legs, the waterfall of curls that frame her face, shining in the dim light. She has always worn her secrets well.

When they arrive in her room, bugged with every device thinkable, she leads him to the bed and looks in his eyes. They are dark with lust, and he is so blinded by it he can't see the fleeting shimmer of doubt in her brown and guarded eyes, and if he had seen it, he probably wouldn't have cared anyway.

It's the last time she ever doubts, and when they're done and he's told her everything, she gives his sleeping form a last look, walking out of the door with her hair down and her head up.


Michael. He's sweet. She doesn't recognize it. She's been like this for too long, doesn't know anything else anymore. But he's nice to her, and his eyes miss that lust, that wanting that every man seemed to have when looking at her. Later she'll understand why, and she'll be mad, be furious at herself for not seeing it. To him, she's just another mission. He's no different than her, and that's what made her notice him in the first place.

She sleeps with him, because it is only logical, but this time she feels something. It isn't love, not even affection, but at least it is something. It's worry.

She's going to ruin this, and she feels sorry for him.

That day, her hair is straight.


And then comes America, and then comes NCIS and Gibbs and Tony and McGee and Abby, Ducky with his stories and Palmer with his stuttering.

Some days, she wears her hair high in a ponytail, or maybe even in a bun. She never braids it, though. America may be different from Israel, but men were men, and they never changed.

But he did.

He changed. She knows it, she has seen it with her own eyes. Somehow, it makes him even more attractive, and when she looks in his eyes they are bright green, the lightest color she has ever seen. No dark lust, no heavy looks laced with wanting. All she sees is light green, lighting up like the moon in a night sky. She would have doubted, but Ziva David once vowed never to.

So she sleeps with him.


They lie together in bed. She feels happy. For the first time in years, she feels genuinely happy, without any complications, or side thoughts. All she can think about is his arms around her and the sweet victory she feels right now.

She hadn't ruined it yet.

He wakes up, and she kisses him. She hasn't kissed –really kissed- a man in years, but he isn't like men. He's like himself. He's like Tony.

When she sits up, not bothering to cover herself, she can see him getting up too. He moves his hand to her hair, and without saying a word begins to braid it while kissing her neck, gently like not even Michael has kissed her before.

When he is finished and her hair sits waved on her head showing her face, he looks at her.

She lets him.

He kisses her again, and again and again, and they fall back onto the bed, her hair letting loose again as they embrace each other, wanting to feel his skin touching hers, and they don't sleep together this time. This time, they make love.


The first rays of sunshine fall on her face when she stands in his bathroom, and she looks at herself and the curly mess that is her hair in the mirror.

Maybe today, she'll braid it.

A/N: Please tell me what you thought of it!