DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to DPB, CBS, Paramount, et al. No copyright infringement is intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This wasn't the post Corporal Punishment fic that I thought I'd be writing. I'll probably write another one, but this one is kinda based on a thought I had about Ziva and Worth's similarities. Many thanks to abby_forever for beta'ing this for me. She's the best.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Abby perches on the edge of her desk.
"Tony and McGee think you like Worth."
Ziva looks up from the paperwork that she's completing on her desk. Abby has to hook her fingers into her belt to keep her hand from reaching out to soothe the swelling bruise above Ziva's eye.
"We have already had this conversation, Abby. I admire Worth, respect him. He is strong and he fights for what he wants, but he is not cruel."
"They think you like like him."
"Tony is on painkillers." She stands, close enough to drop her hand to brush Abby's side.
"And what about McGee," Abby asks slowly.
"McGee cannot understand." Ziva pulls on her jacket and slips her bag across her shoulder, then lets it fall to her side. "Good night, Abby," She says with a small smile, as she turns to walk to the elevator.
Abby hustles towards the elevator after Ziva. She catches Ziva's arm just as the door opens. Ziva glances down at her hand and then back up at Abby. The look in her eyes isn't particularly angry, but rather inquisitive. Still Abby withdraws her hand quickly. She doesn't always succeed, but she tries to respect Ziva's personal space. Most of the time. When she doesn't really, really need that reassurance.
"Sorry," She murmurs quietly.
Ziva doesn't comment on it, but wraps a hand around Abby's wrist and gently steers them both back into the elevator so that the door can slide shut behind them.
"You asked me to wait, Abby?" Ziva prompts her more gently than she usually would.
"McGee told me that Worth threw you up against the wall of his hospital room."
Ziva looks away, but nods. "He did."
"He said you didn't even try to fight back, you just stared right back at him."
Looking down, Ziva notices the faint tremors in Abby's hand as it hangs at her side.
"I did not fight him, no."
"Why not?" Abby blurts the words out quickly, as if she's been bottling them up for too long.
"Because he needed someone to trust," Ziva says simply.
"He could have killed you." Abby's voice is toneless and measured, totally unlike her sharp worry earlier.
"He didn't," Ziva points out. "Abby," she reaches for Abby's hand. It's still trembling. Now she can feel it trembling against her own fingers as she wraps her hand around it gently. "It was a leap of faith that I had to take." She pauses and looks up into Abby's eyes. "I had to take it because I understood it. He proved me right. He proves that Gibbs was right to take a chance on me."
She means it more than she's meant anything else in a long time.
Abby seems to understand what she's trying to say. She's changed, and so has Ziva, but some things stay the same.
They fight and they make up. Only now it takes less time. And it doesn't require Tony's prompting.
"I really didn't mean it." There's a hint of pleading in Abby's voice as she says it. It's important to her that Ziva knows that.
"I know," she says soothingly, and Ziva smiles because once she wouldn't have known. Now she does.
"Let's go," Ziva says as the elevator dings and the doors open for them.
She puts Abby's hand through her arm and together they walk away.
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