A/N: This is the second installment of the "What Could Have Been" one-shots, various one-shots revolving around things that happened in seasons 7 and 8 that should have triggered Ziva's PTSD. These things could have happened. There's nothing saying they didn't. No one gets better overnight. This one is from the episode "Patriot Down," from the end of season 7. For those of you who don't remember, they are in the squadroom discussing the rape of Petty Officer Kaylen Burrows.
Warning: discussion of rape. Not at all graphic, just mentioning. If this makes you uncomfortable, then please don't read.
"What if her lawyer's right? What if her shipmates did do it?" Tony askss.
"Then I understand why Petty Officer Burrows has kept her mouth shut," Ziva states sadly, fiddling with her hands, and staring at the plasma by Gibbs' desk.
"I don't. Why would you let someone get away with rape?" McGee wonders, exasperated. Ziva takes a breath. She didn't like where this was going, and it was heading in the direction she would rather avoid quite fast. There was nothing she could do to stop it. This conversation couldn't be avoided for too long.
"Perception," she replies. Tony's brow furrows. He could tell this would be... interesting, to say the least. "Burrows is in the military. If a woman cries rape, no man on that ship would ever totally trust her again."
"Well, you're a woman. What would you do?" McGee asks. Ziva's heart skips a beat. She was afraid of this. Her eyes glance sideways at McGee, then dart back to her hands.
"I'm different," she says. Tony slowly gets up from his seat and walks closer to them. She then begins to wonder. What would she do to the men who hurt her, if she had had the chance? If she had had the chance for the revenge on them she longed? "After torturing them 'til they cried like babies," she began, musingly, pursing her lips, "I would... castrate them, give them what they deserve." At this point, she is dazed, regretting she wasn't able to do those things to her captors. Tony's voice was what brought her back to the present. It was no use dwelling on the past.
"Huh. Spoken like a true almost American," he tried to joke. He felt this need to lighten the mood, change the subject. He was going to need to talk to her about this. The almost... wishful... tone of voice she had used was confirmation of all he needed to know. He had suspected it had happened to her in Somalia, but he had never said anything. Ziva looked at him from the corner of her eye, knowing he knew and wishing he didn't. He was studying her, trying to see at least a hint of some of things she held back from them. She looked up at him. Tony saw her eyes, there was hurt underneath the façade. Her eyes were screaming at him. Later, they said. He subtly nodded his agreement.
She was going to have to face him about this. But she really didn't want to.
"Background check, I'm listenin'," Gibbs said, entering the squadroom, and, to Ziva's relief, ending the conversation. Had he not come, Ziva was certain that the conversation would have exposed more about her... ordeal than she had ever wanted people to know. But then there was Tony.
She knew she couldn't avoid this forever. She could trust him with this. She trusted him with her life everyday, why not trust him with her dark secrets?
He found her in the gym, beating the crap out of punching bag. The look on her face was determined, set. She was venting.
"Ziva," he said, causing her to whirl around. She let out a deep breath when she recognized Tony, who had gone to sit on a bench, two cups in hand. "Brought you coffee," he offered her one as she sat next to him. She nodded her thanks, taking a large sip.
"I know you are not going to give up until I have... discussed this with you," she sighed, "So I will try to not make it difficult on you."
"The last thing I want is for you to feel obliged to tell me what happened to you out there. I don't want to pressure you. This isn't an interrogation," he promised. He regretted his choice of words almost immediately, when he noticed her look away at the word interrogation.
"I know you are just looking out for me," she said.
"Then... let me have your six. Talk to me. And please, spare me the sugar coating. You know you can tell me exactly what... what you want to tell me."
"What do you want to know?" she sighed. Tony took a deep breath.
"Did Saleem... did Saleem rape you?" he asked, bluntly. She shut her eyes.
"It was inevitable," she told him, "I know I once told you nothing was inevitable but this... I was the only woman within a twenty mile radius, in a camp full of men."
"Hold on a sec. They did it for fun?" Tony asked. He was becoming nauseated. "I thought... I meant... I thought it was for the interrogation?" he said. Ziva looked away, and stared into space.
"That was how it started, but then... About a month in, they realized I was not going to give them anything useful. They... they gave up. I thought they were going to kill me, I would have rather they had killed me..."
"Forget it. You are useless. Everything you know is probably out of date by now, anyway!" Saleem cried, exasperated.
"Then kill me," she practically begged. "Kill me, I am of no use to you anymore."
"No... no, it would be a shame to kill you. Such beauty... wasted. I will not throw away such beauty," he continued, a lust that she had seen before in his eye. She froze. It had happened before, but it was to get information out of her. She had been counting on the fact that they would kill her soon! But no, the mercy of death is too great for her. She deserves to suffer forever, and so they will keep her.
His hand gently caressed her cheek, and she jerked away from his disgusting touch.
"No, I think we will keep you for a while longer," he concluded. "Perhaps... perhaps forever."
"They used you as their sex toy?" Tony asked, outraged. The thought of Ziva, his Ziva, being used like that repulsed him. "All of them? For two months?" She only nodded, still refusing to look at him, and staring into space, remembering.
"You would not have found me in such a good condition had they given up on their previous interrogation techniques. I do not know how many times they..." she trailed off, shivering, but not from cold. Tony reached out, and gently turned her head to face him.
"Saleem is lucky he is dead. If he wasn't, he would have to face me. And your torture and castration," he tried to joke towards the end, but soon became serious again. "Ziva... if they were alive, would you really do that to them? Is that how you would seek revenge?" he asked. He had to know.
"I... I do not think I would have. I would have wanted to, but I would not have. I mean, look where revenge got Gibbs. No where good," she replied.
"Gibbs was right," Tony mused.
"Huh?" she asked, puzzled.
"Gibbs said the killer in you died in Somalia. He was right. I like the new Ziva," he said.
"Perhaps this is not the new Ziva. Perhaps this is the real Ziva," she replied. Tony thought about that.
"I think this is the real Ziva," he concluded. She smiled.
"Thank you, Tony. For listening. I think I needed that," she said. Tony grinned.
"Anytime, sweetcheeks, anytime," he said, getting up and walking towards the elevator.
"Ziva? Can I talk to you?" McGee asked, when they were alone in the break room later that day.
"Of course," she replied, taking her water and sitting across from him. "What is it?"
"I wanted to apologize for earlier. I shouldn't have asked, I forgot-"
"Tim. Do not apologize. You did nothing wrong," she reminded him.
"It was a stupid question-"
"Tim!" She interrupted again, "You were only asking. I answered. You... had no way of knowing."
"So... we're good?" he checked.
"Oh, Tim," she sighed, patting the top of his hand. "We were never bad," she smiled, and got up, exiting the break room.
A/N: please review! I got a lot of reviews for the first installment of this, but you can never have too many reviews:) Also, if you have a suggestion on an event that you think I should do, please tell me!