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[personal profile] etrangerici posting in [community profile] ncis_fic
Title: Reflection
Author: [personal profile] etrangerici 
Rating: FRT
Genre: Gen
Characters/Pairings: Tony DiNozzo, no pairing.
Spoilers: Twilight, Kill Ari I & II, Legend I & II, Semper Fidelis, Aliyah
Warnings: Vague implications of past parental neglect and/or abuse, some language.
Summary: Tony's POV, reflecting on Ziva.  No ship.
Disclaimer: Don't own them, not planning on making any money off of them and will return them more-or-less unharmed.
Author's Notes: Big "thank you!" t
o [personal profile] tejas for the beta and the encouragement. Cross-posted to my journal at dw & lj.


re-flec-tion  /rĭ-flěk'shən/ noun  1. the act of reflecting or the state of being reflected, as in a mirror.  2. an image; representation; counterpart.  3. a fixing of the thoughts on something; careful consideration.  4. a thought occurring in consideration or meditation.  5. an unfavorable remark or observation.  6. the casting of some imputation or reproach.

Tony was aware that Ziva thought she knew him. With her Mossad-compiled dossier, she probably knew his past better than he did. Could recite his stats without hesitation; knew dates, places, family, friends, enemies. Once they started working together, she seemed to figure out the rest pretty damn quick. She learned his tells, his talents, his weaknesses and his humor. She could get under his skin like Kate. Worse than Kate.

He’d laugh to himself about it, sometimes. When he wasn’t cursing it. And her.

He knew she found a dark joy in knowing what he was thinking, how he’d react and what would set off his insecurities or his humor.

Or hurt him. She was good at that, too.

She knew him; she was sure of it. Always so certain of her facts. It made her an easy mark and an endless source of distraction and entertainment. She kept him sharp and he enjoyed the challenge. He’d always excelled undercover.

Maybe this was his fault after all. Maybe if he’d come clean, shared, it would have made a difference.

For despite all she knew, or maybe because of it, she never got it. She never really saw him.

She never understood him in the ways that really mattered. She never saw behind the mask, even as she congratulated herself on piercing his disguise. She saw the frat boy and knew there was more to him, but, like Kate before her, she uncovered the agent – Gibbs’ loyal second, with all the insecurities and the hero worship and the occasional intuitive leaps – and never looked further. Maybe it was a female thing, that surety.

Raised in a world he could only imagine, she was suspicious, cynical, bitter and defensive in a way he recognized. Still, for someone so routinely dismissed as arrogant, he never made the mistake of thinking he had her all figured out. From the first, she intrigued him. He did a little digging, greased a couple wheels and learned a bit about Ziva that she would be surprised to find he knew. Not because he’d discovered it, but because he never let on that he had. Contrary to popular belief, everything Tony knew did not, in fact, spill out of his mouth. That’s what the movie references and assorted irrelevancies were for. Misdirection. Distraction.

But even without the extra information, there were a couple of things about Ziva that jumped out at him and were the foundation for his profile of her. Things that he never, ever forgot: first, that her father was the director of Mossad; second, that once she learned a thing, she never again questioned her conclusions.

Sometimes, when he missed Kate – good Kate – the Kate who had been his partner-in-crime and the sister-he-never-had, so much he ached, he’d try to chip away a little of Ziva’s certainty. Try to get her to ease up a little on the black-and-white and see the nuances and the variations that made people, made life, interesting. Try to get her to see that nobody was static and everyone was worth a second, or eighty-second, look.

It was a lesson she refused to learn. She never would re-evaluate people once she’d assigned them to their proper pigeonhole. Unless they disappointed her, in which case they were excised utterly from her life.

On bad days, when she was dizzyingly high on her superiority, looking down upon him in all his implied mediocrity, he’d use that certainty against her viciously, acidly. That she never understood what he was doing, never realized that her empress ass was hanging naked in the breeze, only added to his satisfaction. It was bitter satisfaction, but he’d grown accustomed to the taste a long, long time ago. Ziva, the high-and-mighty, bad ass, ninja spy-chick didn’t have the chops to perform on his stage. In his commedia, not even the audience needed to know who the butt of the joke was.

These were usually the days that he reminded himself who her father was. Sometimes it helped, but mostly it just frustrated him.

Her father: the Director. A world class (literally – world class) puppet-master and manipulator of circumstance and information. A man who made agents (and double agents) of his children. A man who created assassins and terrorists even as he fought against them.

Tony, without ever laying eyes on Eli David, recognized in Ziva’s father a man who would use his daughter, and keep using her, long past the point of reason or decency. Someone to whom everyone was expendable. Someone who could never be sure enough of loyalty because he, himself, was ultimately loyal to no one. A man who would twist any connection, use any emotion and exploit any weakness, just to be sure he had control. That, Tony knew, was a special pleasure.

It was a pleasure that Tony remembered seeing in his own father’s eyes.

It was how he knew Ziva was being played. Until Ducky’s report, Tony hadn’t been sure whether Rivkin was a willing pawn in Director David’s little chess game. Rivkin’s erratic behavior, blood alcohol content and refusal to stop in the face of Tony’s gun made him think Rivkin really had cared about Ziva and didn’t like playing the role the Director had created for him. Suicide by cop – or NCIS agent – was so much easier. Still devastating for Ziva, but perhaps Rivkin thought his sacrifice would free the woman he loved. If only she would look again at her father and really see what he was.

It had never been more important that Ziva learn what Tony tried so hard to teach her.

When she turned on Tony, when she made it plain what she thought of him, his help and his support, he wasn’t surprised. He was a little shocked at the real pain she displayed – he honestly hadn’t thought Ziva would ever allow herself to feel that much for anyone – but he wasn’t surprised at her rage. Corner any hurt creature and they’d lash out. He hoped getting her to lash out at him would bleed off enough emotion so that when she confronted her father she’d be able to stay in control and finally refuse to be her father’s pawn. Refuse to be manipulated.

When Gibbs got on the plane without her, Tony knew he’d failed. Again.

Twice Ziva had been forced to choose between her father and Gibbs. Tony supposed they still believed him ignorant about the first time, with her brother Ari, when Gibbs had won. This time, apparently Eli David was the victor. He hoped the third time Ziva would put herself first, regardless of what her father or Gibbs or anyone else might say.

After all, if a dumb-ass frat-boy cop like him could do it, a bad-ass ninja spy-chick should have no problem.

He hoped.

Date: 2013-02-01 10:23 am (UTC)
laura_trekkie: Avro Vulcan XH558 in flight (Default)
From: [personal profile] laura_trekkie
Great introspection on Tony's part. Despite what Ziva chooses to believe, Tony knows her better than she could hope to know him. She knows facts about him, but Tony understands her psychology.

Of course, this being Tony, he's blaming himself for failing her when she made her own choices.



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