"I'm not really a team player." Ziva tells Jenny and presses the bottle to her lips. She winces a little at the taste, and looks down to inspect the label again. Vodka.

Jenny has her eyes closed, and one hand held against her forehead. Ziva can recognize a woman to far gone when she sees one. Jenny turns her head towards the direction of Ziva and murmurs: "You'll have to learn to be."

Ziva scoffs. "I won't trust them." She tells her, and she says it like a promise. She thinks of the silver-haired Gibbs, the computer-geek Timmy, the energetic-Goth Abby. She thinks of the class clown, and she closes her eyes.

Jenny doesn't believe her words, but maybe she hears fear in her tone. "You'll trust him. You won't be able to help it." Jenny says, and Ziva doesn't know which him she refers to.

She'll learn soon enough. There has really ever only been one.

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It takes Ziva three days to realize Tony is much much smarter than he pretends to be, with his smirking grin and easy teasing. At first, she thinks he is above all sorrow, because the man cracks jokes as often as he does smiles.

It does not take her long to see the agony in those hazel eyes, the first time he drops the wall behind his gaze for her.

Kate: she did not know her, but she thinks she will be unable to forget her, if only for the image of her in Tony's eyes.

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When Ziva first arrives at NCIS, whispers chase her around like fire after gasoline. She is gossiped about, almost respected, but definitely not talked to. No one makes friends here. Don't they know the benefits of friends?

The secretary in Jenny's office stares silently when she enters the room. And when she walks inside the computer lab the first time, someone drops a coffee mug and it shatters into the bleak coldness of silence.

Ziva smirks, leaves. She likes the fear her name brings.

There are whispers in the bullpen of the assassin, the Mossad killer, the murderer. Ziva holds one agent against the wall by the neck when he dares to call her a killer to her face. They leave her alone after that.

Tony defends her against a pretty blonde intern in autopsy one day, and Ziva stares at him in opened face amazement. He is not what she expected.

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Tony has a bad habit of looking at people as if they are a lock he will soon pick. He tried with Ziva. But he does not know Eli David. He does not know that she will never ever break.

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They sleep together the first time two days and twelve hours after Gibbs tosses Tony his shiny gold badge and leaves for white sandy beaches. She didn't mean to, but she has a hard time denying him.

He is Tony DiNozzo, after all.

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"What will you do when I leave?" Her words are a promise, in a way, because he has to know that she never stays. And he turns his head to meet her eyes, and she almost smiles because there are so many questions and not enough answers, but she has never winced at a future that is far enough away to squint.

"Come after you, I guess." He says.

She does leave him, at the end of the summer. When she called Gibbs instead of him. When she said goodbye, and forget to say hello.

Besides, there are rules now. Number Twelve echoes in her mind on those lonely lonely nights.

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Shoot first, and never ask questions, because orders are orders.

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When Vance splits them up after Jenny (fast red sports cars and apologies and oh-so-much guilt) Ziva looks to Tony first. Later that night, he will appear at her apartment, one hand holding a bottle of bourbon, and the other holding Casino Royale. She will not be surprised to see him, and she will also not be surprised when he leaps for her and meets her with a sloppy kiss. She doesn't mind, she doesn't think she could go any longer without touching him.

But she reminds him, later, when they have finally made it to the bedroom, of the rules. She is almost surprised that he has forgotten: they are imprinted in her brain.

"Ziva". He breathes, and the way he says her name makes her shiver. "We're not partners, anymore."

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When Ziva was fifteen, she agreed to marry Michael Rivkin. He had dark brown eyes and dark brown hair and he liked to tug on her braids when they were children. He taught her how to pick a lock and on her thirteenth birthday, he showed her how to take shots of vodka, straight from the bottle.

She has always hated vodka.

Her father tells her it would be a smart match, and she has been training for Mossad since she was old enough to ignore the pain of a shotgun when it kicks back, and so she understands the benefits it will reap for her family.

Ziva agrees.

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When Ziva is in Africa, she remembers her childhood.

She remembers the sweet smell of summer and the sound of Ari's laughter. She remembers throwing a knife for the first time, and the smell of the guns as they recoil in her hands. She remembers Eli holding a rifle on the front porch, the first times she sneaks home with a boy that he did not agree on.

His name was Micah and his father was an Israeli politician that did not agree with Mossad. She wore bruises for a week because of that mistake.

When Ziva is in Africa, she remembers her mother.

When Ziva is in Africa, she does not think of Tony.

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She's crying, she's actually crying. Her father used to be proud of her inability to let tears fall, but she's crying. Tony's staring out the window of the bullpen, eyes cold and distant but dry, but then again, Tony's always been good at pretending he's not in agony.

How many more will they have to bury?

Ziva David has been to only two weddings in her life. The first was her aunt's and there were pretty white roses and little lemon cakes for desert and the her aunt cried happy happy tears. The second was her friend Hannah's. She wore a white lace dress and flowers in her hair and they threw rice like the Americans.

But Ziva has been to oh-so-many funerals. Mike Franks' is just one more that she can't go too. She says goodbye to Ray instead.

He is no Tony after all.

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Agent David, do you really consider me to be in your life?

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Tali was the butterfly: pretty, delicate, not inclined to live long. Some days, when the nights are long and the days tired, and Ziva spends her sleeping hours staring out her bedroom window, and she cannot remember Talia's face (she only sees the cold cold reflection of her own, and wonders how she could have been made into what she is).

Tali liked to wear sundresses with pretty yellow flowers, and tie her curls back in pigtails. Ziva remembers that her father always loved Tali so much more than her.

Tali would not have been a soldier. Tali has compassion, she thinks and remembers a night in the rain so many years ago.

Ziva has always known Tony was a charmer, but she didn't expect him to turn those charms on her. But opera music fills the building and Ziva can see Tali's reflection in her own eyes in the East window of the NCIS building.

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Some days, Ziva worries she is invincible. There is something terrifying about being immortal, and Ziva thinks of every fight she has been in and wonders have I ever actually lost a fight? And then she thinks of Gibbs: have I ever actually won one? Her father trained her to be the strongest. She is the strongest, but she wants to feel the harsh heat of pain and know that she is not as ruined by her father as she has always believed.

And so sometimes she lets her guard down, just a little, to see if there are any strong enough to beat her. She has yet to find one. Because she has survived years and years of Mossad, and bombs and crazy murderers and Somali terrorists and none have beaten her. So she goes into fights and draws her gun a few milliseconds to slow, aims a little high and left when she throws her knife.

They still fall just like all the others. They will all fall, except for her.

(And when she cuts herself against the sharp edge of a picture frame later that night, she will watch the red rose blood drip from her wrist and she will know that she bleeds like everyone else. This will make her glad. She will stare at the picture of the team and she will smile.)

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She thinks Tony must like her because he has finally found someone more broken than he is. They are together because no one else could survive.

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They're at a bar down the street from Tony's apartment with the rest of the team and Tony's five drinks in and looks relaxed for the first time in a while.

McGee and Abby have disappeared onto the dance floor, where Abby is doing strange movements with her hips and McGee looks slightly dazed as he tries to keep up with her.

Ducky is off talking to an exotic looking woman with pretty green eyes, who was wearing a strange hat that Ducky felt the need to tell a story about. The woman was surprisingly fascinated with him and allowed the old storyteller to buy her a drink.

Ziva lost track of Gibbs the moment they went through the door.

Tony rests his arm across her shoulder and asks if he'll take a shot with her. Ziva agrees. "I will take a shot with you, as long as it is not vodka."

Tony sends her a strange look. "Of course not, crazy. Vodka is disgusting."

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Please let me know what you think! I wasn't sure what to add to this because it didn't feel quite finished, but I got frustrated and just posted it! Please review?