A/N: Hey there... *awkward silence*... I know, I know... I haven't updated "My Little Game" in practically a year, but guess what? I'm finally writing for it again! There should be an update in the near future. So don't worry, I will finish it. Eventually.

So, I wrote this piece over a period of several weeks when I most definitely should NOT have been writing. Now I am likely to fail my finals... Oh, well! It means more fics for you guys!

This story was originally titled "Origins" but that was before Carrie Underwood's song "There's A Place For Us" inspired me to write something completely different from the original plot of "Origins".

DISCLAIMER: I never have, nor will I ever, own NCIS...

ENJOY!

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Tony DiNozzo prided himself on being one of the best agents NCIS had to offer. He knew he was in good physical condition (for chasing down suspects), was a smooth talker (for dealing with witnesses and in interrogations) and he had a great memory (for "connecting the dots"). But sometimes he forgot things.

And by "things" he didn't mean signing the evidence log, getting a witness' statement or forgetting which way a suspect ran.

No, the things he forgot were about people. About his team.

About Ziva, to be exact. It wasn't always big things he forgot. Sometimes, he would wonder why he couldn't understand the things she she said. Then he would realize she was speaking in Hebrew, her native language.

So, yes, sometimes he forgot that she wasn't born in The United States, but in Israel.

He forgot that her father wasn't a skirt-chasing, absent parental figure, but was the Director of Mossad.

He forgot that she hand't been trained to protect and serve, but to kill.

It wasn't until the case had come up that he really started thinking about these things. It had started off like any other case...

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Without knowing exactly what he was doing, Tony found himself standing in front of the women's restroom, where he'd seen Ziva escape to just a few minutes earlier. He thought about the time she'd followed him into the men's room, and any hesitation he felt vanished from his mind as he pushed the door open.

It was completely deserted, save for one lone figure. Ziva. She was on the floor, her back to the wall, knees drawn up to her chest and her head in her hands.

"Ziva?" He called softly as he approached. Her head snapped up at the sound of his voice, and his heart skipped a beat when he saw the look on her face. He'd never seen her like this. Not even in Somalia. There, she'd been devoid of all emotion, except one. In her eyes, all they had seen was resignation. She'd accepted her fate, welcomed it even.

Now, though, when she looked up at him, he saw everything. He saw the raw pain and guilt in her eyes. She didn't bother hiding it, and he didn't hide his concern for her. Now wasn't the time for pretending.

He sat down next to her, back against the wall. "Ziva?" He repeated.

"What do you want, Tony?" Her voice conveyed what her eyes didn't show. Embarrassment and self-loathing.

He didn't answer. Instead, he countered with a question of his own, "Are you okay?"

She took a deep breath, and the emotions previously displayed on her face disappeared. "I killed a man, Tony," she told him, though he'd already known. "His blood is on my hands." She looked down at said hands, as if she could actually see the man's crimson blood staining them.

"Hey," he said, moving to kneel in front of her, and grabbing each of her wrists in the process, forcing her to meet his eyes. "It was self-defense," he reminded her.

She closed her eyes for a moment, but didn't pull away from him. "I know," she whispered.

"Then why are you..." He trailed off, leaving the question unfinished.

"I have not killed someone in so long, Tony," she said. He didn't understand where this was going, but listened anyway, caressing the undersides of her wrists with his thumbs in a comforting manner. He felt every beat of her heart, and it reassured him that she really had come out of what had happened that day alive. For that, he would be eternally grateful.

"With Mossad," Ziva continued, "death was everywhere. Often, I would go away on a mission and return to find someone I knew had died only weeks before." Tony opened his mouth to say something, but Ziva anticipated it and went on. "Do not say you are sorry, Tony. In Mossad, it is honorable to die on a mission, as it is here."

She paused for a moment, contemplating her next words. "I was not trained to stop and mourn. I was taught to forget, and move on to the next mission."

"When on assignment, it was either kill or be killed." She looked him in the eyes when she told him, "I chose the first."

Suddenly, Ziva shook her head, saying, "I am sorry. I did not mean to rant." She attempted to pull her hands back, having finally noticed Tony's fingers wrapped around her wrists, but his grip only tightened. She looked up at him, confusion in her deep brown eyes.

"Don't be sorry," he said, and it wasn't because of Gibbs' rule. "I get it, Ziva."

Tony went on, "You were trained to be the perfect assassin." He stood, and pulled her up with him. "But now," he told her, "you're so much more."

There was a moment of silence, in which Tony released her wrists from his grip and wondered if he'd crossed a line. Then, Ziva gave him a tentative half-smile.

He felt like he was experiencing deja vu as Ziva placed a kiss on his cheek and whispered, "Thank you." Then she walked away, leaving Tony standing in the ladies' room, smiling as he realized she would be okay.

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So, I had a pretty crappy day, and decided to post this because writing makes me happy :) And so does hearing from all of you!

By the way, I do take requests if I think I can write them...

Have a fantastic life full of wonderful friends and family! ... and partying ;)

Haha, I don't know why I added that last part :)