I know I should be working on Inevitable, but my muses fled the scene after Obsession. Hopefully, I can lure them back after I get some darker stuff out of my system.

Disclaimer: They don't belong to me…if they did I would not be jerking around my audience with their cracky bi-polar behavior.

I wrote this as it tumbled out of my head and on to my computer. Hopefully, my errors are minimal.


Damaged. She was damaged.

She knew it. Vance knew it. Gibbs knew it.

And now Tony knew it, too.

The quiet of the apartment made her ears ring and her skin itch and the overwhelming urge to claw off her own flesh seemed to swallow her from the inside out.

She wasn't good and she wasn't kind. And she had done things no human should ever be asked - no ordered - to do until it became her very nature. She was a killer wrapped in the pretty package. Hidden behind the façade of a new life and a chance to be a better person.

A chance.

A chance to be someone - something - else.

A snake that has shed its skin.

Squeezing her eyes shut against the harshness of the images that haunt her mind, her breath is quick. Labored. Forced between teeth with a hiss.

And it makes her sick.

It makes her sick because she was never meant to be this way. She was never meant to live this life and she fears she is too damaged to be the person she wished she had been given the chance to become.

So she waits.

She waits because eventually she hopes he will come back.

She's invaded his home - and she's not sure she's currently welcome here - but still she waits. In his living room, on his couch.

God help her if he does not come home. Or worse that he comes home accompanied by a woman.

But she can not think about that right now.

She swallows. Swallows past the lump in her throat that is so large it might choke her, suffocate her. And she can't stop the hurt that rolls off of her body in waves.

She wants to do the unthinkable. She wants to curl into a ball and cry. Not only for him, but for herself and the girl that she never was. She doesn't cry though - she thinks that she may have forgotten how.

Maybe he could have loved her. If she wasn't damaged. Ruined. Long before she found herself lost in an African desert. She was lost long before she came to NCIS. She just hadn't realized it until she found herself tied to a chair, staring at a version of herself disguised as Saleem.

Because no matter what they did to her, no matter how they hurt her body, violated her soul and tortured her mind, she was already ruined. She was no better than the men that inflicted so much pain upon her unwilling flesh.

She had found chilling comfort in knowing her enemy in a way one can only know another: though shared experience. And the knowledge that she would either die from the experience or that she would survive with the ability to put one foot in front of the other until the past remained in the past.

Except that she is wrong. The past didn't always stay in the past. Sometimes it wanted out. Sometimes it bubbled through her veins until she no longer knew who she was and what she wanted. Because what she wanted had never mattered. Never mattered until now.

It never mattered until she realized that she had wanted to be someone else.

And so she waited.

Because the one person who might have been able to love her anyway suddenly didn't.

Because somehow she thought there would always be time to make things right.

Because somehow she wasn't quite ready to give up.

And because she still did love him even if he did not love her.

And so she waited, the cacophony in her head getting louder with each persistent beat of her heart.

Her throat tightened and her gut twisted and she felt upside down and inside out.

Her shame and disappointment swirling around in her stomach.

She was ashamed of herself and disappointed in him and really, she just wanted to undo the damage. For both of them. Because he was damaged, too.

So she waited.

Because in the end, she knew what she saw in him. Just as she knew what he once saw in her.

And maybe she could fix it.


A/N: I know, I know. Not a nice story. But I couldn't help it. I feel a little out of whack about TIVA lately, especially after Obsession. I'm considering doing a chapter from Tony's POV. Let me know what you think. Hopefully, my muses will come out of hiding so that I can finish Inevitable. Thanks for reading.