Written By: Sammy
The following story has been inspired by my own struggle with Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa (non-treated), and the hit television series NCIS. The following story contains graphic, triggering material and is not suitable for all audiences.
Ziva David, a highly capable agent working for NCIS, had a secret. It was a secret she had learned to keep secret since after she got back from Somalia. Back then she had no control, but now she had a way of finding control. Now, she had to admit that occasionally she would lose that control yet again (in a different way, of course) but she found a way of gaining that control back. She was not one hundred percent sure of what this truly was. She did not think of the risks, she really did not care any longer. She did not think of what this meant for not only her physical health, but mental and emotional as well.
That morning, like most mornings, Ziva was on a run. It was six o'clock in the morning. She wore a baggy hoodie in a maroon color with black sweat pants which had to have been at least three sizes too large for her frame. Though her heart beat sporadically and her legs hurt, she kept running the same ten miles she did every day. Soon, Ziva got back to her apartment complex, leaning against the entrance way. She breathed heavily, trying to get her body back to a stable state. Her lungs felt as though they were about to burst. Making her way up to her apartment, Ziva just wanted to take a nice warm shower for her muscles.
What was her dark secret which she kept hidden so well? How was she maintaining the control she had once lost back in Somalia? Food. Simply food. She would go days without food, sometimes weeks. She would exercise frequently. Then, every now and then she would do something she had only vaguely heard about before.
Ziva would go out to grocery stores, fast food restaurants, gas stations and get anything her slowly dying heart desired, and then she would take all of it home. Once she would get back to that apartment of hers, she would eat every single morsel in front of her, everything she got, all at once. She would eat until she felt absolutely sickened and then she actually would make herself sick. Surprising to her, Ziva found the process easier than she once believed.
When Ziva got out of the shower she could hear her cell phone ringing. She rushed to her bedroom which was connected to the bathroom and answered it.
"Hello." Ziva answered hurriedly.
"Hey Ziva," A familiar voice replied.
It was Tony. Ziva would always have mixed emotions every time they talked, whether it be on the phone or in person. She loved hearing from him, yet she always feared that he might know about her secret.
"Oh. Tony. Hey… I just got out of the shower. Am I late for work?"
Tony could not help but make a cat-like growl sound into the phone.
"Shower, eh?" Tony asked seductively. "That's hot."
"Shut up, DiNozzo." Ziva chastised exasperatedly as she stood in front of her full body mirror. "Now, answer me."
This was the part of her day she hated, looking into that damned mirror and hating what she saw.
"Oh, no, you're not late. I was just wondering if you needed a ride to work, or something. You're always running so you must be tired." Tony said, expressing concern for her.
"Tony, that is very nice of you but I am fine, honest."
"Okay, well, I will see you at work then, right?" He asked, sounding as though he was some eager kid talking to his mother on the phone.
She could not help but let out a slight, wry laugh before replying.
"Yes, you will. Bye, Tony." Ziva said and with that she hung up the phone.
Ziva tossed the phone onto the bed and heaved a sigh before she looked back at herself at that, in her opinion, wretched reflection which became her. She hated that mirror so much but it somehow kept drawing her back, just as her scale did. Ziva ran a hand over her ribs on her right side as memories of Saleem Ulman verbally abusing her. His words of telling her how worthless, pathetic, stupid she was replayed in her head. It was his voice which said words even he never uttered. Her self-esteem was so battered and broken as her body once was that she was now spiraling down a path of immense self-destruction.
Ziva, pulling herself away from the mirror, went to the closet. Her closet was filled with clothes, clothes which no longer fit her anymore. It made her utterly sad just to look at them. Reluctantly she pulled out a pair of size four cargo pants and a small t-shirt. Even those were baggy on her. She let out a sigh and pulled on a sweater over the all too revealing shirt. Then, after getting completely ready, she left her apartment and went to work.
Despite neither the air conditioner nor furnace being on at NCIS, Ziva still thought it was cold in there. She was always cold, though, which was one thing she hated terribly. The Israeli federal agent sat down in her seat, shivering a bit. She turned on her computer and proceeded to work on paper work she had left over from the night before. Looking up from her monitor, Ziva saw Tony walking in with two cups of coffee. She silently prayed one was for her.
"Good morning, Ziva." Tony said, approaching his colleague's desk. "For you,"
He set the coffee down on Ziva's desk and she could not have been more grateful.
"Thank you so much." Ziva replied, smiling.
Tony was secretly glad to see her smile just then. She rarely did that anymore. Ziva wrapped her hands around the cup of coffee and brought it to her lips. She took a long yet savoring sip of the coffee, feeling instantly warmed. Tony listened as she hummed contently.
"Good?" Tony asked, smirking.
"Mm-hmm!" Ziva replied, sipping more of it.
"Good, I'm glad."
Just then Gibbs walked in, eyeing Ziva closely. He, like most of Ziva's co-workers, had noticed a change in her yet no one could really place it. Vance had been constantly nagging Gibbs about Ziva missing all of her psychological evaluations and physical examinations ever since her last one, which was nine months ago, right after Somalia. The aging team leader sat down at his desk, keeping an eye on Ziva.
"Enjoying that coffee, are we David?" Gibbs asked.
"Yes, Gibbs." Ziva answered, setting down the cup.
Ziva noticed Gibbs eyeing her as if he were suspicious of her for some reason. It worried her, and partially frightened her. Did he know? Did anyone know? No. It was impossible. She had been doing such a good job of hiding it. Or so she thought. Ziva was starting to get better at hiding it, picking up little tricks. She would never wear tight clothing, but she did not change her typical style either. She would never let anyone hug her, or even remotely touch her. She would not let anyone know that she was cold, hungry, or miserable. That was what she was most of the time.
"David!" Gibbs barked, snapping her out of her thoughts.
"Yes, Gibbs?" Ziva asked, looking at him.
"Go down to Abby's lab; see if she's got anything we can use."
"Alright." She replied tentatively.
This was one thing Ziva did not enjoy doing. Ziva knew as well as anyone at NCIS that Abby was what one would call a hugger. Now, normally that would not be a problem but for obvious reasons Ziva found this to be problematic. The Israeli made her way down the back stairs to Abby's lab. When she got there, Ziva found Abby sitting at her desk bobbing her head rhythmically to the music blaring throughout her lab.
"Hello Abby." Ziva greeted in a somewhat solemn voice.
Abby, eager to hear one of her co-workers' voices, jumped out of her chair, rushing over to Ziva.
"Ziva!" Abby exclaimed.
Just as Abby was about to wrap her arms around Ziva, the woman put her hands out, stopping the gothic forensic scientist.
"Don't!" Ziva practically shouted.
This startled Abby. Ziva had never done that before and truthfully it worried Abby, more than anything.
"Ziva." Abby protested.
"Please, just, don't." Ziva practically begged.
Abby huffed and furrowed her brows, just looking at Ziva.
"What's gotten into you? God! I just wanted to give you a freaking hug!" Abby said almost angrily.
Ziva began to feel terrible. If only she knew why. If only she knew what was truly going on.
"What do you want anyway?" Abby asked.
"Gibbs wanted me to see if you had anything else." Ziva explained.
Abby took note of the saddened tone in Ziva's voice. Now she was starting to feel bad.
Ziva then left Abby's lab and went back up to the squad room to find all three of her male co-workers sitting at their desks. She sat down in own chair and sipped her coffee. It was still nice and hot, and it quickly warmed her. McGee looked at Ziva, taking note of her thinner face, and baggier clothes. She had been losing weight. McGee, in his honest opinion, thought Ziva did not need to lose weight but he thought she still looked good. He smiled at her and Ziva smiled back.
She hated it when any one of them looked at her too closely just as McGee had. It not only made her feel insecure, but it angered her as well. She felt as though everyone looked at her a little too closely. Some people outside the team noticed her weight loss, but they complimented her on it. What was sad though was that Ziva never believed their words… not once. She could not even remotely believe that one of them thought she looked good. Inside, she thought she looked like a monster… because that is exactly how she felt. Monstrous.