I Hate the Way

Written By: Sammy

Inspired by "I Hate the Way" by Polly Scattergood.

Based off the hit television series "NCIS"

A/N: This song (mentioned above) and this story hit me very personally and at times was difficult for me to write but then again, knowing personally what the protagonist went through also helped with writing. Also, I am aware that this is Somalia based and I know it's been done quite a bit but I doubt there are (m)any like this. Also, the part of the song at the end, after the story, is not one hundred percent tied into the main plot idea or anything, it is just a part of the song and therefore I do not wish to leave it out.

Genre: Hurt/Comfort/Drama

Rated: M (for mentions of self-harm and some obscene language)

Characters: Ziva D./Tony D.

It was a warm September afternoon, the twenty-third and it had been almost six weeks since the NCIS team had rescued one of their own from the Somali desert. Ziva David had yet to return to NCIS. Some of the agents understood this, though. She needed her time, right? She needed to recover. What people, even those who used to be so close to her, did not realize was that she was not recovering. In fact, she was doing the exact opposite. She was on a slippery slope down the path of self-destruction.

I hate the way I cry when you say you miss me.
But I love the way you hold me when I sleep.
I hate the way I bleed each time you kiss me.
But you say "Hey, sleeping beauty, go back to sleep."

Ziva had trapped herself up in her room, sitting on the pathetic excuse for a bed as she stared blankly out the window of the drab room she had at the navy lodge. The seemingly broken Israeli pulled her knees to her chest, clutching them there. That was all she did. She could only stare mindlessly for hours at a time. That is, at least, when she was too tired or weak to exercise. That was what she did whenever she had a little energy for it. She would exercise. Run. Walk. Sit ups. Pushups. Crunches. Curls. Jumping jacks. Leg lifts. Climb stairs, anything she could think of. Ziva would do this. But, by this time of the day she would be so exhausted that she could barely stand, let alone work out strenuously. Ziva would space out to the point where once she finally came out of the daze, afternoon would become night. The exact same thing happened that night. The only thing that had snapped her out of it that night was the ringing of the phone they had in the lodge room. She reached over for it and answered it.


"Hey, Ziva." A familiar voice rang out. "Are you alright?"

"I am fine." She lied. "Why do you ask?"

"You seem upset, is all." He replied. "I just wanted to check on you, see how you are doing. I miss you."

She blinked back tears, for she could hear the utter honesty and concern in his voice. It made her want to cry ruthlessly every time she heard those words.

"I was asleep." She fibbed once again.

"Oh, well then, miss sleeping beauty… why don't I let you go back to sleep, hmm?"

Ziva could not help but smile through the tears.

"Thank you, Tony."

"No problem."

With that Ziva hung up the phone, putting it back on the receiver before allowing herself to just sob.

We had pennies in our pockets,
We had hope in our eyes,
He said "Girl, you've got a million different faces.
So why'd you put on that disguise?"

Three weeks had passed since that evening and Tony had grown increasingly worried by the day. Just two months before he, McGee, and Gibbs had risked their lives to save her and they had not even gotten to see her. They barely talked either. It made the whole situation that much more depressing. Meanwhile, Ziva was in her room at the lodge.

"20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25…" She counted out loud as she did her usual sit ups. "26, 27, 28, 29, 30."

She could feel her heart beating faster, her lungs begging for ostensibly unattainable air. As she came up on the thirty first one the young Israeli had to stop for a bit. Ziva had already done two hundred jumping jacks, fifty pushups, one hundred crunches, and ran three miles. But she hid a dirty secret. Ziva did all of this without eating anything. Not one morsel of food had entered her mouth for at least three weeks. Her neighbor had invited her over that day for dinner. That was when she ate last. She hated it though. She had to force herself to eat, and the task proved to be as though she were pulling teeth. It was as if something in her head was telling her not to, do not do it, for it is a bad thing. It would tell her how worthless, pathetic she truly was and how she should have died in Somalia. And the more that little voice talked, the more she started to believe it.

Ziva stood up from her spot on the floor, instantly seeing her frame in the mirror in front of her. Yet what she saw was not what was really there. She saw someone hideous, worthless, pathetic, damaged, and while parts reins true, she could not see what else was there. As Ziva examined her own frame, her ribs jutted out, each one visible. The same was true for her hip bones. Her arms had gotten so thin that she could wrap her entire hand around both of them. Her legs were still small yet her body had started eating away at the muscle tissue, making them look even smaller. Ziva suddenly felt a wave of dizziness pass over her and she forced herself to sit down on her bed, which was nearby. But, was it really hers? Was anything hers anymore? It seemed as though even her own body was no longer hers, not even under her own control.

Well, take what you want cuz I have got nothing.
Pass me some pills, I'll go to bed.
But, however much I toss and turn
I feel a dark place up ahead.

The hunger kept her up at night, and tonight was no different. Yet, Ziva feared that if by some miracle her stomach had let her sleep she would still be haunted by memories of what Saleem and his men had done to her. That night, like most, she lied in the fetal position, sobbing unremittingly. She had tried sleeping pills, but they did not work. Ziva figured that it had to do with the pills not being able to properly absorb into her system, therefore they would have little to no efficacy. She was correct in thinking this. Unable to just shut her eyes and rest herself, Ziva sat up slowly, shakily, and reached over for the glass of ice water on her nightstand. Her hands and arms trembled as she sipped from it. Glancing over, she saw the clock. In bright red numerals it read 3:27 am. It was now morning yet again. The weak and tired Israeli could not help but let out a dreadful sigh. Ziva then set down the water glass, it barely having anything left within it.

Some nights I just sit back here, I remember,
I just remember, before it all got lost up in the mess.
He said "Not all men are bad and I am not like your dad,
And I will hold you even though you're slightly mad.
Cos I am not a man who will ever break you."

That early morning, not unlike most, Ziva slid off the bed, leaning back against it. Sitting back, she began to think back to all that had transpired the last several months. Tony killed Michael. They went to Israel. Ziva stayed in Israel. Eli reassigned her, and she took Michael's place on the Kidon unit. She was sent to Somalia. She sent herself there, did she not? This was how she saw it now. She thought that, despite all of the bad Tony had done, he was nothing like her father. And she was not so innocent herself. Ziva rationalized her actions as it all being her own damned fault. She damn well knew that she could have gotten on that plane; gone back to Washington, D.C. Ziva knew that she could have said no to the operation. She knew that she could have chosen to stay with Malachi and Aviv. All of these decisions she made on her own. It was as though she no longer had any self-merit. She did not to be perfectly honest. She figured she deserved this hell she had been foisted into, but in reality no one deserved that. No one deserves to be tortured for almost four months and get rescued only to continue to destroy what little they have left, by starving to death.

We had pennies in our pockets,
We had hope in our eyes,
He said "Girl, you've got a million different faces.
So why'd you put on that disguise?"

Today to most was just another day, people went to work, did their own things, but for Ziva it was a scary moment. She wobblingly stepped into the small bathroom she had, her eyes tightly shut. She stopped when she got in front of the scale. Ziva, knowing the number would be low, took a breath and stepped onto it, her eyes still shut. Letting out that breath, she opened her eyes and allowed them to pan downward until they got to the number. Two weeks ago was the last time she had weighed herself and the scale read that she was at one-hundred ten pounds. Today, as she looked at the numbers, it said ninety-five. She now weighed a measly ninety-five pounds. She had lost fifteen pounds. Ziva was now another fifteen pounds closer to death.

Well, take what you want cuz I have got nothing.
Pass me some pills and I'll go to bed.
But, however much I toss and turn
I feel a dark place up ahead.

Fifteen pounds closer to death; however, that was what she wanted, though, right? She wanted to experience that indescribably sweet and blissful feeling that only death could bring. And she was doing it slowly, punishing herself. Killing herself, actually. More weeks had passed, and soon fifteen turned into twenty, and that day, November 12th, Ziva weighed only seventy-five pounds. She was dying. Unbenounced to her she was in a terribly dark place, inches from death. Ziva's heart had to work twice as hard to pump blood, her liver, pancreas, and kidneys were all shutting down and she could barely walk around the room she still had at the navy lodge. Meanwhile, Tony was rushing up the stairs, seeming in a happy mood, for he knew what today was. Today was Ziva's thirtieth birthday. He cheerfully knocked on Ziva's door, wondering what Ziva was up to. Tony had no idea what he was about to find on the other side of that door.

Do do do do do do do do do
My doctor says I've got to sing a happy tune
Do do do do do do do do do
A do do do but my body gave up too soon

Strugglingly, Ziva clambered to the door and gripped onto the doorknob. She practically collapsed against the door but she somehow found the strength to pull herself together and open the door. When Tony saw Ziva he did not see the woman he had come to know over the years. He did not see the curly-haired, exotic, lively, boisterous, seductive woman he met back in 2005. No, in fact, this woman was a much different woman. The usually tan skin was now ashen white, with a slight yellow tint. Her face was sunken in. Her body was literally swallowed under size four jeans and a small hoodie. He was on the verge of tears.

"Ziva," was all he could say, and his voice was barely audible.

Ziva, not in the mood to deal with anyone, much less Tony, wanted to shut the door right in his face and pass out right then and there, but then something caught her eye. He had a gift in his hand. Who was it for? Why did he bring it? Then she remembered what day it was that day.

"Oh, Tony. You remembered my birthday." She weakly mumbled.

"Yeah," Tony replied, taking a step towards her. "Happy birthday. Ziva… what happened to you?"

He could not help but ask the question. She was so different… so much different. In fact, to him it was apparent that she looked to be on death's door.

Do do do do do do do do do
You know what?
I am just fine until I'm on my own
Do do do do do do do do
A do do do do oh somebody please come home

"I am fine." She insisted, trying to remain stoic.

This task, as were several others, was proving to be a rather impossible one for Tony was not buying it.

"Ziva! This is not fine!" He shouted, gripping onto her boney arm. "This is sickness!"

Tears stung Ziva's eyes. Tony was right. She was sick, rather sick indeed. She needed help. Ziva needed to be rescued, again, but the question is, however, was it too late? Was she beyond saving? Was she too far gone? Tony prayed that the answers to those questions was no. He then felt Ziva shaking a bit.

I hate the way I tremble when you touch me.
You're like a needle slowly piercing my skin.
I hate the way my way stomach aches,
and I really hate these loveless mistakes.
Cuz I'm screaming for my rock who never picks up.
Why do you never pick up?

She was trembling, fearful of Tony touching her. She hated that she was so scared of this. Then, a cataclysmic reaction took place within her body. It was as if the ticking clock within her body suddenly stopped, causing her entire body to shut down within a matter of moments. Tony watched as Ziva's eyes rolled into the back of her head, and she collapsed. He practically lunged towards her, catching her in his arms.

We had pennies in our pockets,
We had hope in our eyes,
He said "Girl, you've got a million different faces.
So why'd you put on that disguise?"

As all of this was happening it felt as though time had just slowed down, going unrealistically slow. He moved but it was as though it took hours just to get her to the ground. To Tony, it seemed as though it were a total cliché yet it was true. Time, for him, had slowed to a crawl.

Well, you can take what you want cuz I have got nothing.
Pass me some pills and I will go to bed.
But, however much I toss and turn
I feel a dark place up ahead.
Do do do do do do do do
My doctor says I'd got to sing a happy tune.

The only thing Ziva knew and felt at that moment in time was sheer blackness, darkness swarming over her like a cloud coming to sweep her up and take her to heaven (or perhaps hell). Was this what death was like? Was this all there would be; total and complete nothingness? Ziva could not help but wonder about it. In the past the woman had been broken, damaged to the point that this experience was what she somewhat strived for, what she thought would be blissful. However, she could not know whether or not this blissfulness truly existed upon approaching death for at the time she was only partially conscious of what was going on. Her heart rate was slowing so much that her pulse barely existed. Then, within an instant, she heard nothing, saw nothing, tasted nothing, smelled nothing, felt nothing. Nothingness.

Maybe if I skip my dinner,
Make myself pretty and thinner,
Maybe then he'll love me and stop looking at the other girls.
So you said I'm paranoid. I'm paranoid?
Well I nearly choked. And no more of that crap,
You cannot break someone whose just been broken.
You can't break somebody whose just been broken.
So take me now I'm naked.
As you watch, I'll let you take it.
Maybe then you'll love me and stop looking at the other girls.
So you said I'm paranoid. Well, paranoid?
Well, I nearly choked. And no more of that crap,
You cannot break someone whose just been broken.
You can't break somebody whose just been broken.
Then I think he'll love me and stop looking at those other girls.

To Be Continued…