Just a little drabble to keep you toasty on this December day. Remember to tip your waitress...


Stains

It's the sunlight that maddens her.

The orb shines down an impartial radiance, blinding as its golden fingers reach out to stroke the woman now cursing it. Lids fall to a hover over eyes seeing only a spectrum of yellow with hazy circles of flashing bright. Other senses fill in the gaps; somewhere bread is baking, somewhere an infant cries, somewhere a train rumbles on vibrating tracks. Somewhere a man threads a jagged line through the sidewalk traffic, his shadow lengthening behind him. Gaining precious ground..

That the criminal benefits from the distraction of nature leaves the sun an accomplice to the killer's flight. He twists there, turns here as the midday mayhem of the shopping district is trailed behind them.

Ziva's chase is clumsy, the cluttered face of the city hiding beneath the glare, uneven at every step. The pursuit had begun near a pricey fruit stand and it is folly to mourn the flat pavement in their wake as the man stretches his advantage nearly beyond sight. No stranger to this area, her calves protest the hills that her inner map knows will await. Already one knee bears the wounds of compromised balance, stones twisting beneath her feet at an abandoned lot. He won't pay for the ruined pants but duty needs no seamstress. The lives bloodied by his destruction will be repaid.

But only if she catches him.

It's not a fear of falling that keeps her upright. It 's the possibility of failure, which informs all that she does. To lose the race is to kneel to defeat. She has her gender, her country, herself to represent in each inch she is gaining on the prey.

The bright would be beautiful were they not stumbling toward its apex, legs tiring, lungs heaving and eyes too squinted to safely navigate the veil. There are no buildings now to block the rays and too few trees offer only broken shards of shade. Open space would normally excite her in this place of crowds and congestion but now she will cite a lack of urban sprawl as an unsung biblical plague.

He stumbles and she closes.

Mossad makes recruits run like this before breakfast, a merciless sun pounding a colorless reflection on the sand. While this section of the world owns a blueness of sky that never fails to impress her, today the great above is starkly florescent, a shining paleness interrupted by stray clouds that serve only to cut the haze into sharper points. Which isn't helpful. America has made me soft, Ziva fumes between jumping the cement trench and scrambling up the grassy incline.

A foot massage was never a training reward but while justice is her aim, she can anticipate a pair of hands kneading her soles. America has made me happy.

Better to run after reprobates than run from regret.

The end is abrupt as the killer is thrown to the ground by another, body dropped into submission to the sound of shifted pebbles and a heavy grunt. Though her quaking body registers the man's downfall, she cannot stop. Instead her arms carve out flailing pinwheels, scattering the golden glaze that the sun has poured on her existence. Once her inertia is reined in, Ziva's hands hold her knees, bent at the waist and gasping. Sucking in air, she notes the tiny rocks embedded in the uncut grass.

There is no sympathy for how hard her quarry met this rough surface.

Craning her head back, Ziva finds her partner's crushing the panting perp into the ground. In a fit of wisdom, Tony had tracked them by vehicle, a convenient cavalry to cut off retreat. Though he missed the run, the chase has bitten him too. Green is splashed across the knees of his jeans. She acknowledges the perfection of his tackle before he can deign to brag but his eyes flicker to the blood on her pants and the perp is nearly forgotten.

Her wound makes him soft. His concern makes her happy.

They match, she wants to tell him but the law must first be served. Before the sun dies to darkness, evil will be confined and closure will begin. And sun or shine, they will line up for a new chase tomorrow.

Later, Tony's hands will ease the cramps from her feet which will lead to gaining an entirely different sort of ground. But in this moment of victory, daylight showcases the splendidly childlike grass stains on both of their knees and she limps under the solid gravity of green eyes.

Ziva has never felt so blessedly marked.