Disclaimer: I don't own NCIS or its characters. If I did Tony would have his shirt off way more often.
Warning: Will contain self- harm.
Ziva quickly downed the scalding hot liquid and tossed the empty cup into the trash bin beside her desk. She did not usually drink coffee but she had needed it after last night. Ziva shuddered as she remembered the vivid nightmare that had woken her and made going back to sleep impossible. So she had done the only thing she could think of.
Ziva glanced around the squadroom cautiously, but no one was there as it was still quite early. She rolled up her sleeve gingerly as the fresh cuts on her arm stung. She hadn't meant to do it, had promised herself the last time that it would not happen again. But she just hadn't been able to stop herself. She had needed the release, needed to feel the pain that she didn't know how to express any other way. She cursed herself for her weakness. It was four months since she had been rescued from Somalia, she should be getting over it by now.
The last few months had been some of the hardest of her life, not that she let anyone see that. Because if there was one thing Ziva David hated, it was being treated like a victim. Even though she knew they meant well, she just couldn't stand the concerned questions of her team or the way they looked at her with such worry as if they expected her to break down at any moment.
Suddenly, the elevator dinged, distracting her from any more dark thoughts. Ziva looked up to see Tony entering the squadroom holding McGee's cell phone above his head while the younger man tried desperately to get it back. Some things never change, she thought to herself.
"Hey, Zee- vah", Tony said, smiling. "Guess what? McGoo here actually had a date last night!" By now McGee had given up trying to retrieve his phone and was slumped in his chair, resigned to the fact that he would just have to endure whatever embarrassment Tony had in store for him today.
Tony flipped open the phone and read aloud, "Tim, had a great time last night, call me! Xx." He heaved a dramatic sigh. "Our little Timmy is finally growing up... " Ziva laughed, forgetting about last night. That was one of the things she loved about Tony. It was impossible to be unhappy in his presence.
"Come on Tony, you've had your fun now give it back", McGee said, irritated. But there was no stopping Tony when he was on a roll.
"Does she know that you spend all your spare time pretending to be a fairytale creature in an online game, Elf Lord?" Tony pursed his lips thoughtfully. "Though I suppose that's not as bad as practically living in your basement, drinking alone while building a boat using only hand tools." Ziva couldn't help but smile a little as Gibbs enters the squadroom behind Tony. Right on cue as always. How does he do that?
"Uh, not that there's anything wrong with that of course, boss, I mean-", Tony spluttered, tossing McGee his phone.
As usual, Gibbs ignored Tony's rambling. "Gear up we've got a dead petty officer." Tony is right behind Gibbs, eager to make up for his earlier disrespectful, if somewhat true, comment on Gibbs lifestyle. Ziva is close behind, leaving McGee to hurry to make it to the elevator before the doors closed. "Come on, Elf lord", Gibbs said. And for a second Ziva could have sworn she saw the corners of his mouth twitch like he wanted to smile, but decided it must be a hallucination from too much caffeine. It was Gibbs after all.
Staring down at the cold, lifeless body of the petty officer, Ziva couldn't believe that she had been joking with Tony about McGee's love life just moments before. The naked, bruised body reminded her all too much of last night's nightmare and what could have happened if her team hadn't found her in time. What should have happened. To make matters worse, the abandoned warehouse where the body had been found was almost an exact replica of where she had been held hostage in Somalia, and it took all of her considerable willpower to not make some excuse, any excuse, to leave. But she couldn't do that because that would be showing weakness, and showing weakness was something Ziva David did not do. She knew her team would understand, after all she had been held captive and tortured for months. But it had taken so long for them to stop walking on eggshells around her and she wasn't about to screw that up now.
She could feel Tony's eyes on her as she tried, rather unsuccessfully, to hold the camera steady. She knew that despite his immature antics he is a great investigator, so he had to have noticed her reaction.
Sure enough, as they're packing the gear back in the truck there is no one else around and she knows he will take this opportunity to ask- "Are you ok, Ziva?" After working with him for four years she can pretty much read his mind. Which is how she knows he's not going to believe her when she says –"I am fine", like always.
"No one would think any less of you if you weren't, you know," he says softly. "I said I am fine, Tony!" she snapped, as she closed the truck doors maybe a little more forcefully than necessary. She felt a pang of guilt as she walked away, she knew he only wanted to help, but she would make it up to him later. For now, all she could think about was the packet of shiny, new razorblades waiting for her in the back of her bathroom drawer.
I am doing fine, she thought to herself. Well, with a little assistance.