I watched as he tossed about in his sleep, far into the night. He was dreaming, but the dreams were not pleasant. His dream is horrible, terrible to watch, especially for me.
Because in his dream, I am holding Ziva down as I brand the letter S into her hip. I cackle with laughter and smack her when she screams. Tony is in the corner, bound to a chair, struggling to get to Ziva as she quivers on the floor.
And I realize that even though Ziva may be over what happened to her, Tony isn't. This is another one of my wrongs I must make right.
So I enter his dream, prepared for him to hate me for this.
At this point, Dream-Saleem has left, and Ziva has curled into the fetal position, a trembling heap on the cold stone floor. Tony is bound the the chair, anger and helplessness in his eyes. When I enter, he struggles even harder, thinking I have come to harm them.
"Stop! I will take her place, just stop hurting her!" he cries, as I approach Ziva. I ignore him, and squat down next to her, gently stroking her cheek. "PLEASE!" Tony cries. But he fails to say anything once he sees how Ziva reacts. He watches as Ziva looks up at me, and recognizes me as the "Good Saleem." She relaxes and curls up into my chest, letting me hold her comfortingly.
I am interrupted by Tony's confused voice.
"What the hell...?" he asked, finally managing to be free of his ropes. He gets up and runs to her, and tears her from my arms. I do not stop him as he grabs me by the throat and pins me to the wall. I do not need the air, so I do not worry about him killing me.
I am already dead.
"You are one sick bastard, you know that? How could you do that to her? What, do you just enjoy hearing people's agony? Enjoy scarring them for life, and breaking both their mind and their body? You are one twisted prick, that's for sure. You got off too easy, you should have died a slow and painful death for what you did to her! I don't know what you did that made her let you hold her like that, but it was probably some sick, twisted, backwards torture technique of yours! God knows you have a lot of them!" he screamed at me, breathing heavily. I just stand there and let him finish.
"Anthony, I hurt her. I hurt her in a way no human should ever hurt another human. But she has recovered. She no longer suffers from nightmares, and she has..." I trail off, unsure of how to explain to him that she no longer hears the name Saleem, and thinks of Somalia. I don't know how to explain to him our messed up hurt/comfort relationship.
"She has what?" he pressed, tightening his grip on my throat.
"I don't know how to explain it. Our relationship is complicated. I hurt her when I was alive, but now I am dead, and I comfort her. I comforted her. Not anymore, though. She has recovered both physically and mentally from the torture. The nightmares are gone. Do you realize that tonight is the only night, since she got back, that she hasn't had a nightmare? Sleeping in your arms seems to have that effect on her," I tell him. He looks as me strange.
"How did you kn-"
"I am dead. I know a lot of things you don't. But Ziva is over Somalia. She is ready to put it in her past, and you need to put it behind you, too. Just be there for her, she needs you. And you need her," I finish. He smiles a little at the last part, before I am sent back to the Place quickly. Ziva had shook Tony awake.
"Tony! Are you okay?" she asked. Tony looked at her, puzzled.
"I just had the strangest dream..." he said, his eyebrows furrowed.
"Tell me about it," she requested.
"It was... about Saleem," he said. I saw the surprise in his eyes when Ziva smiled when she heard my name. He was even more confused.
"Why are you smiling?" he asks, wary.
"Tony, I am over Somalia. I have put it behind me, and you should, too," she said. Tony blinked in surprise when he realized that was almost exactly what I had said.
"I... Ziva, are you truly okay?" he asks, checking to make sure she wasn't just lying.
"I have never been better," she replies. A grin breaks out on Tony's face.
"Then I haven't either. I am happy for you," he tells her, planting a kiss on her forehead.
"Thank you, Tony. For everything," she says. He just nods, and lets her rest her head on his chest, and fall asleep.
I enter her dream that night, once more. She is dreaming nonsense colors, shapes, and faces. I decide that now is as good a time to talk to her as ever.
"Ziva," I say, getting her attention. She spins around.
"I am proud of you," I tell her, "You overcame the odds, you have recovered."
"Not without you, I would not have," she contradicts.
"You wouldn't have to recover if it wasn't for me," I remind her. She just rolls her eyes. I embrace her, savoring the moment. "I will not bother you from now on. You need to be free to live your life," I say. She smiles. "I do not mind it too much, you give good advice."
"I will always be here if you need me," I remind her, "I will watch over you and the rest of your team for as long as necessary." She pats my shoulder.
"Thank you," she says, "For all of your help. Truly, from the bottom of my heart, I am grateful. If you ever want to talk... you know where to find me," she chuckles.
"I do get pretty bored." I laugh along with her. Ah, how far we have come, that we are able to laugh together. "Oh, and before I forget, Caitlin Todd told me to tell you 'Thank you for killing Ari.' She told me to tell you she knows how hard it must have been, and she truly appreciates it."
"Well you tell her that I am sorry I did not keep him from killing her, and that I am sorry I never go to meet her." she replies. I turn to leave. "Oh, and Saleem? Thanks for everything," she says, again. I simply nod.
"Go, Ziva. Go on and live your life to the fullest," I tell her. With one last reassuring smile, I disappear, back home to where I belong.
A/N: Ok, so I think that's it! Please tell me whether or not you would like more, if so I might write more, but maybe in a separate fic. It will probably be about how Saleem helps Ziva through some of the events that happen in seasons 7 and 8. I will most likely end up doing it anyway, so if you like this and think you are up for more, I will post an author's note telling you what the name of it is once I get around to writing more! Thanks so much to Alidiabin, Abbi4Raie, WriterUnexpected, MTGZ, Ncisfan with Tivafever, M E Wofford, KTMrshall, and ZivaFan2481 for all of the awesome reviews! You guys truly make my day!