summary: Tony discovers that there are things in Ziva's past that he isn't quite ready for.
warnings & rating: This is not a nice story, and there is no fluffing things over involved. It hurt while writing it, so please be aware of that before you go in.
word count: around 1,000
comments & feedback: very much appreciated.
He loves to spend the Sundays with her because these are the only days he gets to see her truly relaxed, body and mind. Loves to spend the whole day in bed with her, just interrupting the snuggle marathon every now and then with some runs for food or other necessities. Lately, she even started to call off her jogging routine on Sundays just to sleep in with him, and he loves to wake up wrapped all around her, legs tangled up with hers, her breath against his neck and her arm around his waist.
He loves the time he has for exploring her body on Sundays, leisurely, lazily. He's been sleeping with her for weeks now, and he still hasn't discovered all of her sweet spots, so it doesn't get boring. Probably never will. And so he loves the fact that sometimes she just lets him lick her and taste her and run his mouth all over her for an hour, maybe two. The times that leads directly to sex are amazing and result in some of the most rewarding episodes of his adult life. The times it doesn't are, too, because most of those times they end up sharing a shower and making out for yet another hour. And that always leads to him discovering something new about her.
He's licking the soft skin in the hollow of her hip while she stretches languidly underneath him when he sees the scar for the first time. It's old, hard to see, and he probably wouldn't even have noticed it if the bright sunshine hadn't been playing all across her skin and he had his nose right next to it. It's there nonetheless, and, suddenly distracted, he runs his thumb across it. Wrong side for an appendectomy scar.
"What's this?" he asks and taps his finger against her skin, and she turns her head, smiling down at him because she expects some of his usual naughty repartee.
The smile vanishes when she sees what he's looking at, and he feels her body tense up underneath him until she is no longer his lazy, sexy Sunday lover, but hard-edged Super-Ziva who has no soft spots, much less weak ones.
"A scar," she replies, and Super-Ziva's voice, usually all matter-of-fact, has a slight tremble to it.
That is the thing that makes him frown, and so he moves up her body until he is laying halfway across her, propped up on one elbow and meeting her eyes. He can tell she doesn't like the fact that he refuses to just let her roll out of bed and ignore the uncomfortable topic, but he can't help it.
He keeps staring at her silently, waits until her pulse is hard against his chest and her gaze drifts to his shoulder. Memories chase each other behind her eyes, and his frown deepens because whatever happens right now in her head cannot be healthy.
"Ziva," he nudges her softly, and she blinks, still staring at his shoulder.
"I am the sharp end of the spear," she says, and her voice is a rough sound that catches in her throat.
He waits for her to continue, but she just keeps staring into nothingness, unfocused. Her left arm comes up around his back, and he feels her run her hand over his neck, petting him absentmindedly.
"What does that mean?" he asks eventually, and she flinches as if she has totally forgotten about his presence. And then she turns her head and he knows this is not going to be good.
"I was Papa's most reliable weapon," she says and keeps running her hand over his back. "He raised me to be his flawless warrior."
Tony frowns at that, looks at her abdomen again and runs his thumb over her scar once more. It doesn't make sense.
"This is a surgical scar, Zee."
"Warriors do not breed."
He doesn't get it right away. He keeps running his hand over her belly, keeps hearing her words, echoing in his head until they start to make sense. When they do eventually, he feels sick. He tries to meet her eyes but she refuses, just keeps her arm wrapped around his neck and stares into the vortex that must be opening right behind his shoulder because it holds all of her attention now.
"Christ," he says. "And that was your choice?"
He knows the answer when it doesn't come right away, and he feels his own face pale. He doesn't want to hear it. He really doesn't. And still, he needs her to say it, and so he raises a hand and touches her cheek until she looks at him. His jaw clenches hard when she meets his gaze, and he feels like punching something. Preferably Eli David's face.
"At sixteen, you do not question what Papa orders," she says eventually, very quietly. His hand clenches on her hip with the sudden rage that keeps boiling higher until she taps his shoulder gently. "Tony, please. That hurts."
He jerks at that, and as he lets go of her he realizes that she'll most likely sport a bruise the next morning. "He's dead," he presses out through gritted teeth, and this time it is her who touches the palm of her hand to his cheek and lifts his chin until he is willing to meet her eyes.
"He is, to me."
"How can a father..." he starts to yell, and she flinches, and that's when something else gives behind her eyes and he catches the tiniest glimpse of all the things she has kept hidden from him. And Tony stares at her, swallows hard. Tries not to throw up while he says, "This isn't the worst thing that ever happened to you."
She shakes her head, and her eyes are so distant with all the memories that he feels something break inside him. He wants to hold her, keep her safe, and he does wrap his arms around her and draws her close, but in the end it is him who starts shaking.
"I am sorry," she says, and he knows that she is mostly sorry that she has told him.