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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: For 5.05 Chimaera.
Ziva David rarely admits to being frightened of anything. This does not mean that she's never been frightened, just that she's very good at not admitting it.
Ghosts have always frightened her, even if death was never foreign to her. As a child she saw far too much of it. She's stood in places where a dozen people have died and she swears she can feel their presence - pain, anger and terror are all that's left of them.
That is what makes her uncomfortable with death - that which remains behind - not their bodies.
Ghosts are intangible but far too real. Ziva knows that all too well. Ari's spirit haunts her entire first year at NCIS. There are weeks on end that she sleeps for only an hour a night, nightmares haunting her every slumbering moment.
In life, Ziva has never met Caitlin Todd. From a distance, through binoculars or a camera lens, she's seen the woman, but they had never spoken or passed one another on the street.
Still Ziva has felt her presence from the moment she began working at NCIS. Her ghost haunted the halls, spoke to her teammates and guarded her former desk like a faithful dog. Ziva does her best to ignore it. What else can she do? But she feels Kate's presence every moment as she tries to find a place for herself amidst this team.
Nowhere is this more clear than when she's around Abby. The ghost of Kate is present in every conversation that they have. It's in the way that Abby glares at her and the way that sometimes she can't quite look at Ziva. At best it's a momentary hitch in what Abby is about to say. At worst it's the moment when, upon waking in Ziva's arms, she smiles in the brief moment before opening her eyes, only to flinch when they open.
That is the moment that she hates and fears most, the ghost she cannot meet, the fight she cannot win.
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