"You're a cop, aren't you?"
"Why did you kill those women, Andy?" Ziva asked.
"For their husbands. To save them the humiliation of finding out that their wives were screwing around on them, while they were serving their country." The man answered.
"Is that what happened to you?" Ziva asked, wanting to know what had happened to put Hoffman in this mental state.
"You don't need to know what happened to me." Then he gestured with the revolver he had pointed at her. "Walk."
Ziva turned, glanced around the warehouse floor. No advantages, no possible weapons. He'd managed to box her in. He walked her over to where there were prison-like bars opening a cage in the wall. "Get in there." He said, and pulled the hammer back on the revolver.
And he pulled the trigger.
Ziva managed to spin into her own attack at that same moment. The bullet so nearly missed her head as she took Hoffman down, she was temporarily dazed. Hoffman took the advantage, trying to overpower her. They fought, and his gun wound up on the ground a few feet from them. Ziva crawled after it, and Hoffman grabbed her ankle, and pulled his K-Bar from his boot. As he pulled it up to stab her, she turned onto her back, and shot him repeatedly.
Like gunshots heard against a silent night...
Ziva was a woman who's reputation preceded her as many things, among them a very strong and capable woman who could take lives as a trained assassin. She could carry out her orders without a regret, without a second thought. Very rarely did she feel the effects of her actions this deeply.
What had happened with Hoffman and it's aftermath had not allowed her a moment's peace. She had been consistently reliving the details of her undercover operation, and couldn't so much as close her eyes without seeing the life leave his, right after she shot him. There were times when her head pounded so much, all she could think to do was scream. She even lost her temper at a copy machine in the squadroom.
Explosions in my head that just won't quit
A train has crashed into the wall around my heart and left the old me dead
At the bar, she befriended another man, Michael. and ended up going home with him one night. During the night, he woke up, and reached across the bed, over her, for his glasses. Ziva panicked and pulled her gun on him. The two of them talked for a while, and Ziva told him she was Israeli Mossad.
"I've never handled a gun before." Michael told Ziva.
"And you're not gonna handle one now."
"Well, I guess I'm just gonna have to handle something else then..." He said, and then proceeded to provide her with some of the comfort that she needed.
And take away the pain of being me
Soothe my soul caress my heart and
End my fear all my bad memories
In the morgue, Gibbs later found Ziva. She was staring over Hoffman's body. He told Ziva to "Stop staring at this one." He sensed that the situation her undercover work had led to had had an unusual effect on Ziva, and this confirmed it. Ziva confided in Gibbs that night, why she was so hurt by this.
"I almost died."
"But you didn't." Gibbs said, and told Ziva to trust her instincts, or the next time it wouldn't be almost.
Something in Ziva changed then, and she was able to look at the case with new eyes and a new outlook. She decided it was time to let the dead bury the dead, and move on; there was a case to solve. She would have the rest of her life to deal with her emotions, after a copycat killer was caught.
Author's Chapter Notes:
Recoil from Ziva's pov, set to Atreyu's When Two are One