I hope this isn't too weird...
She is almost seven years old when the nightmares begin.
They are silent, like the films her Father showed her on her fifth birthday, they do not make a sound, simply the shadows and the quiet and the blood exist as she dreams of her death. Sometimes the nightmares are full of guns and bombs and the echo of a scream that will not sound – and sometimes it is the quiet, vindictive, desert and the horizon that will be full of blood and a glint of gold under the sand.
(Her death is never a simple one, she never dies in her sleep as an old woman, worn and withered with age, and she will never die as a mother or a grandmother, she will die as a teen, as a young woman, as a monster in human guise. She will die in the corner, hissing and snarling like a feral animal, but she will not utter a word. The dreams teach her something. She will die silent. She will die alone.)
She smiles at the table when Grandmama asks what she dreamed about the night before, she waits for Papa to interrupt and speak of the uselessness of dreams, and so she lies through pretty lips and says she did not dream. But Abba knows the truth, and Grandmama has heard her screams.
So she stops screaming.
(She tapes her lips, she bites them until they bleed, and she claws at her pillow. She trains herself for the silence – for the biting wind and the angry voices. She will not let the scream escape because she is Mossad and she does not show weakness. She will be strong, will be victorious, she will be the perfect warrior. She is Ziva David and she will set the world ablaze.)
The match is lit when she kills Ari. When she reaches out with her perfectly broken nails and snags them on his soul and rips it away. She is truly born when she kills the man that taught her how to make paper butterflies. She doesn't make them any more. She is sent to join NCIS and become a confidant – born for espionage, born to see. It is harder than she anticipated – when Abby hates her and the rest do not see Ziva David – they see a softer woman, a woman blurred around the edges, not her, not with clarity.
They see a woman named Kate with long brown hair and big bright brown eyes that glowed and burned and fell apart when her brother (she'snodifferentthanthatmonster they whisper about a girl and boy they did not know) put a bullet in her head.
They see a kind woman with soft curves and small hands.
Sometimes they call her Kate and hatred wells up inside of her – they spark a flame.
(the flame grows and burns and churns over the years)
Oh how she hates them.
The first time Gibbs tells her she did a good job she is so very proud of herself.
(the flame flickers)
The first time Abby tells her she is glad that Ziva is not dead she is happy.
(the flame grows smaller, but warmer)
The first time McGee gets her a refill without her asking she gulps it down along with the thank you that threatens to spill out.
(the black fluid drips over the flame and she does not know the sizzle sound is not her pride burning)
And, oh, the first time Tony tells her that he loves her she wants to dance.
(the flame is an ember, burning, churning, glowing, stronger than her forest fire that once threatened to consume her.)
They call her Ziva David and she is saved.
(the flame vanishes.)