Ashleigh Anpilova


For most of her life Ziva had only dealt in absolutes.

A DiNozzo & Ziva centric gen story.

Written: May 2009. Word count: 1,000.



I'm trying to tell you something about my life

Maybe give me insight between black and white


For Ziva everything in her life had been black or white.


Good or bad.


Right or wrong.


Hard or soft.


Friend or foe.


There was nothing in-between. No grey areas. No what ifs. No middle ground. No ambiguity. No compromise. No meeting halfway. Nothing to blur the hard lines. Something was or it was not. It was as simple and as uncomplicated as that.

Or so she had once believed.


Her life had been about duty, about following orders without question. As a child her games had not been the games of other children. They had been designed to teach her the skills she would need to join Mossad. You grew up fast. You had to. You did not have a choice.


Her father did not take her to the woods to show her the beauty, to play hide and seek with her. Her father took her to woods to help develop her skills. She did not throw a ball for the pleasure of throwing a ball. She threw a ball to learn how to throw accurately; so in years to come she could throw a knife and know exactly where it would penetrate.


If she was told to do something, she did it. She did not question it. She did not complain about it. She did not try to find a way to get out of it. She simply did what she had been told to do.


In many cases food and drink were not consumed for enjoyment; they were simply a way of staying alive. Books were read to learn, not just for the enjoyment of reading. She learned six languages, not because she had a passion for linguistics, but because by doing so she could fit more easily into different countries


Everything she did, she did out of duty.


And then she was sent to America, to NCIS, where the people and their ways were so different from what she had known.


For them there were things in-between. There were grey areas. What ifs. A middle ground. Ambiguity. Compromise. Meeting half-way. Hard lines were blurred. Things didn't have to be or not be. It was far from simple and uncomplicated.


And people didn't follow orders blindly, unquestioningly. They could and did complain about them. At times they tried to find ways to get out of the task they had been given. They played games for pleasure, not to learn anything. They took the time to enjoy themselves. They had a choice.


It was difficult for her to fully understand how that could be. Part of her was not certain she wanted to understand.


For three and a half years she worked with the team; she did learn to become somewhat less driven simply by duty. She allowed people to touch her and in turn she touched her fellow team members. They went through good times and bad. At times they were close; at other times they barely seemed to even like one another. Something was changing and despite everything she did not like it.


And then Michael arrived in DC.


And then Tony killed him.


And then Vance ordered Gibbs, Tony and herself to Israel.


And then Gibbs left her in Israel.


And then her father sent her to finish what Michael started.


And then . . .


And then everything, including her, changed.


The best thing you've ever done for me

Is to help me take my life less seriously, it's only life after all


It was late. It was very late. She had been staying at the office later and later. Staying even after Gibbs had left for the evening, although these days he was not staying as late as she remembered him doing. She assumed he had a reason. Just as she had a reason for staying: she did not want to go back to her apartment.


As always, when asked by McGee if she wanted to go for a drink, she had declined. Somewhat surprisingly Tony had also declined. Now they were the only two left in Gibbs's part of the squad room.


She looked at the man she had once called partner and friend. Now she did not know what to call him. What she felt about him. What he felt about her. He had been distant with her since her return, speaking to her almost only when she spoke to him. His teasing had stopped. He was different. She was different. She was not sure they could repair what had been done.


And yet he was still here. He had declined to join McGee for a drink. And from what she could see, while trying to observe unobtrusively, he was not working.


She took a chance, stood up and went to his desk.


"Teach me."


Tony looked up at her. "Huh?"


"Teach me."


"Teach you what, Ziva?"


"You always said I was too serious, that I did not know how to have fun. That I was driven by duty and following orders. That I had no grey areas in my life. Do you deny you always said those things?"


He shrugged. "No."


"Well then. Teach me. Teach me, Tony. Teach me how to have fun. How to be less serious about myself. How to -" She stopped abruptly.


He studied her. He seemed to be considering his answer, and her. "Okay." He stood up and held out his hand. "Come on."


She looked at him. "Now?"




"But it is late." Yet even as she was speaking she took his hand.




"You are quite mad." She stood in Tony's apartment, her hair dripping with water, her clothes sticking to her.


He handed her a towel. "But you had fun, right?"


"I . . ." She paused. "Yes. Yes, Tony. I did." And she smiled. For what seemed like the first time since she had returned to her home to find Michael dying and Tony pointing a gun at her, she smiled.



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