Ziva had uttered the word no on several occasions.
The first time she remembered saying it was to her older brother as he told her to go away. He was with his friends and Ziva wanted to play too. It had been a stubborn "No." And she muttered it again when he glared at her. But Ziva, even when she was young knew how to hold her ground and with a sigh Ari had let her join in. Ziva could remember smiling at him sweetly and bounding after them in whatever long forgotten game they were playing.
She had said it again when her mother pleaded her to stay at home. She had just lost her youngest child in a tragedy and didn't want to loose another one to her husbands reckless and dangerous profession. Ziva had stood by the door as her mother cried and pleaded for her to stay with her. For her to see sense but Ziva had shaken her head and whispered it quietly. Trying to sound soft and daughter like. Trying to not hurt her feelings. Her mother had quietly nodded, knowing that pleading with her was not going to do any good. She was already like her father. Silently she had stepped back. Allowing her remaining daughter to leave.
She had said it many times in her training for Mossad. When some other officer, probably of higher rank and increased experience than her told her do something she seen as beneath her. Like fetching tea for the men and cleaning up after them. On missions away from they would try to treat her like their maid and slave. She would stare at them, her young face older beyond its years as she surveyed them and objected to their orders. She would watch, her face indifferent as they became angry at her and demanded that she act as their housemaid. Her blank gaze would unsettle them and once they had realised her potential in the field they would never ask her again to flick the light switch, never mind fill the kettle.
She had said a few times in denial as well. If she had been accused of something she had or had not done she would deny it. Especially when she was younger. Sometimes it would be the only word she would speak in an interrogation and her interrogator would become inexplicably exasperated her as she failed to answer their questions. A few of these times they had been aimed at her father as she denied doing something wrong on a mission or to the NCIS director when they asked her about that scrape on the new car she had been issued with.
She had moaned it a few times too. Once because her computer died, with pages of reports that had not been saved, a few hours work down the drain. She had pleaded with the screen to snap back on but resolved herself that she would probably have to type it all up again. Another time she had half moaned it when Tony had grabbed her and pulled her onto the bed. His fingers dancing over her skin, making her shiver and jump as he tickled her. It had came out in gasps of pleasure and laughter. The most memorable moan was more due to the pain that coursed through her body as she lay chained to a wall, or strapped to a chair. Her captors in Somalia demanding again and again that they tell her about NCIS. Their hands on her as they pulled at her clothes, their knives piercing her skin. The torture working away at her but she refused to give in.
In America she used it often at the end of a sentance. A question posed to whoever she was talking to. A slight inflection of her voice to make sure the sentance before it had been correct in the language she had most difficultly with. Usually Tony would laugh and correct her with a small joke made at her expense and life would go on. Gibbs would give her a stare if she had asked something stupid and McGee would decipher what she had ment and carry on the conversation as if she hadn't uttered a wrong word. She was getting better at it and hardly she had to make sure her sentiments were being expressed correctly.
But today she had said most desperately. In a plea. Hopefully as if what she was seeing wasn't really happening. She had cried it out loud and clear as she saw him fall to the concrete. His hand reaching up to clutch at his chest. Crimson blood flowing from his fingers instantly. She had rhymed it off under her breath without realising it. In a sort of panicked growl as she ran to him. Her knees crashing to the floor as she landed by his body. She had told him outright that he couldn't do this, her no strong, and order to him. He had smiled a ghostly smile and the light in his eyes were gone. Then she continued her mantra of no's. It came sharply from her lips as they tried to move her from his side. Move him. Take him away. Whispered it to herself when they finally did and arms encircled her. Murmured it to others when they told her it would be alright.
But it wasn't until a long time after that she realised that she had been saying it in his name all the time she had known him. The best years of her life. And now that he was gone, everytime she uttered the word no, it would spark a memory, an image or even just his name. It would roll of her tongue and bounce around her head. His face would flash into her mind and she would smile. Because he was never gone - she would never allow it.
So when it came to times when she should have said it, like when she felt energy drain from her body and life dwindle in her veins. As she gave into the injury that she had just received. As McGee cradled her, his aging face swimming above her as he tried to save her. She didn't say it. There was no stream of words this time. Because she was going to see him again.
And there was no way that she could say no to that.