Ziva David blinked in surprise at her surroundings. She stood in a large, empty room, brightly lit in front of her and ever darkening behind her. The walls around her were surrounded by pitch blackness. The light was bright but not so much it would hurt her eyes. She was alone and the room held a slight chill.
"Hello?" She called out and her voice echoed back at her. She walked toward the wall but it seemed like it was expanding and she couldn't touch it. She stopped, turned and walked back to where she started, confused by her depth perception.
For a moment, the light seemed brighter and Ziva squinted into it. Then, it dimmed to what it had been originally.
"So, you are Ziva David," an ethereal voice, obviously belonging to a woman, filled the space around her. She was almost surprised by the precise pronunciation of her name that seemed to flow out of the brightness. Ziva stared into it from the direction the voice came from. Faintly, she started to see an outline as a figure moved toward her, a kaleidoscope of black, gray and white as it seemed to step closer and one color faded into another as the figure coalesced into a person. She studied the figure but something was not right. She looked down at herself for a moment and saw a shadow cast across the floor. She looked up again and realized the woman approaching her had no shadow at all. As she got closer, she heard footsteps which abruptly came to a halt. From nearly eight feet away, she gazed into her face, noting the dark red hair, the solid bone structure and fit body. The overwhelming feature that seemed to make all other facial features fade was the bloody ragged hole between the woman's eyes. Gunshot, Ziva realized. Her eyes widened in horror as she noted what could only be blood in the hole, a deep red against the pale face and dark red hair and the kaleidoscope of white, gray and black surrounding her.
This woman seemed familiar somehow though Ziva was certain she had never met her. Except for the lack of shadow, she otherwise seemed as solid as Ziva felt herself to be.
"What is this?" Ziva demanded, suspicion in her voice. The need to understand what was happening overrode any fear that might be tickling the edge of her nerves. "Who are you?" Ziva added, suddenly needed to know this woman's name.
"You know who I am," The woman's deep voice had lost the ethereal quality but somehow still held an eldritch quality, which only intensified the chill Ziva felt in the room.
Ziva knew she had seen her before but did not remember her voice or ever interacting with her. Ziva stared, trying to place this strange woman in this strange place.
"I am dreaming," Ziva realized and said so aloud. She looked around again, everywhere except at the woman in front of her, studying her, assessing her. "Yes, this is just a dream." Ziva seemed to take comfort from that. She felt a gust of warmth course through her at the realization. Her eyes narrowed as she looked back at the strange woman in front of her again. "Who are you?" Ziva repeated, her voice more insistent, determined to know what the dream was about.
The red-head, so still just a moment ago, seemed to hardly move but Ziva felt the impact of the brutal slap of an ice cold hand striking her left cheek. She fell backward, so surprised by the unexpected violence. The landing did not hurt but all she could feel was ice cold pain that burned her skin.
"You are the one who set me up for Ari to kill."
Ziva gasped in surprise at the words. "Wh-what?"
"He shot me in the head. I'm dead. It was you who gathered the intel."
"I...what are you talking about?"
Tendrils of fear pinched Ziva's nerves as the woman laughed humorlessly. She had never seen anyone who could look amused, angry and determined. A rivulet of blood seeped from the gunshot wound in her head. That with the laughter made Ziva scramble backward on the floor. She thought Mossad training had prepared her for the worst but the combination of blood, laughter and the face of anger was entirely different.
The woman sobered very soon and regarded Ziva with curiosity. "Did you ever wonder why Ari wanted dossiers on one specific NCIS team? As his control officer, did you not ever question what exactly he was doing and how it involved his mission as you knew it?"
Ziva, despite her discomfiture, did not immediately react. There had been things with Ari that seemed off but nothing she could adequately explain, but the mention of NCIS brought everything sharply into focus. She suddenly knew who the woman was. "You are…Caitlin Todd?"
"I was. I'm dead now, no thanks to you." The resentment in her voice only made the room seem colder.
"I do not understand."
"I told you. Ari shot me."
Ziva stared at the hole in her forehead. "That is not possible. You must be mistaken."
Caitlin Todd was not standing particularly close to Ziva but in an instant, as dream time can be as slow or as fast as needed, it seemed a mere instant and Ziva was suddenly standing upright again and staring deep into her eyes, so close she could see the blood lining the hole in her head and the rivulet stopping near the bridge of her nose. So close she could smell the tinge of iron in the blood. She could feel her breath, surprised it was nothing but cold mustiness as it gusted in her face as Caitlin spoke.
"You are the one who is mistaken, Ziva David. You think Ari is innocent. He's playing your father, Mossad, Hamas, Al-Qaeda, and you. He shot me right in front of my colleagues."
"I do not understand," Ziva breathed, forcing herself not to panic in the close proximity of what she could only describe as death come to life. Very little scared her, but right now, fear made it difficult to comprehend words.
"It was your dossier that revealed how best to hurt Gibbs. Certainly you recognized what that was. Did you ask why he wanted dossiers?"
Ziva couldn't respond. She had asked Ari why he wanted them, and at the time she had been satisfied by his answer. Now, in this moment, she could not remember any of his reasons. She swallowed hard at the realization. Could it be true?
Suddenly, Ziva felt pressure on her upper torso and realized she was moving backward. She could see Caitlin's hands were at her side. Ziva felt the press of wall against her back and this time Caitlin was mere inches from her and she could not look away from the eyes boring deeply into her soul.
In that moment Ziva was certain this woman knew every terrible thing she had ever done, and why. Ziva felt totally exposed, vulnerable. She tried to lift her arms to push her away but couldn't. She tried to lift her leg to step but again, she couldn't. She tried to move both at once and felt completely paralyzed. She tried to turn her head to look away from the intense gaze invading her soul but she was completely frozen in place. She couldn't even blink. Terror gripped her in that moment and she had no choice but to stare back into the eyes of Caitlin Todd while blood dried on her face.
"I am only going to say this once," Caitlin's voice was menacing. "If anything…and I do mean anything…bad happens to my team, it's going to come back and bite you in the ass."
The cold air against her face as she spoke the words felt like a thousand needles and goosebumps jumped out on Ziva's skin. "I…"
"Shut up." Another drop of blood streamed from the gunshot wound. "You will protect my team at any cost. If you don't, you will have much more to worry about than a seemingly bad dream of me in your face."
"This is not possible," Ziva blurted, trying to get a grip on a reality that fled in the wake of Caitlin Todd.
She felt icy cold fingers stroke where she was just slapped. "Oh, I promise you, Ziva David, it is possible. You will protect my team, and if you don't, God help you because no one else will."
"How could I protect your team? I do not even know them."
She smiled then and it was incongruous against the drop of blood streaming in the path of the previous one before slowing. "Due to ignorance of the living, you will have plenty of opportunities. You don't want me on your bad side, Officer David. Make damn sure you protect them…all of them." The icy fingers continued to stroke Ziva's cheek and the goose bumps seemed to spread throughout her body, even to her feet.
The menacing voice lowered and Ziva focused on every word, too terrified not to. "Whenever you feel like you're being watched, those are my eyes on you, making damn sure you keep my boys safe. If you don't…well, this will feel like a pleasant experience." Ziva shuddered in fear as the voice became sinister. The finger then traced the outline of a hand on Ziva's face and she swallowed hard, wishing that she'd stop doing that but unable to force more words past her lips. Finally, Ziva could close her eyes. Her face and mouth seemed to work and she swallowed, then licked her lips, desperately trying to regain control.
"This is just a dream," Ziva rasped as she felt the sting of the cold gradually withdraw from her skin. Almost instantly, the figure of Caitlin Todd was receding and fading into the light.
"Is it?" the menacing voice echoed even as it faded.
Ziva sat upright in bed, her face flushed and sweaty, her body pumped with adrenaline. She could still feel Caitlin Todd's eyes boring into hers, and despite the sweatiness, she felt chilled to the bone. She looked around her hotel room, its lackluster charm was nearly soothing as the memory of the dream felt too sharp, even in the light of day as sunlight crept in around the curtains. She pulled the blankets back and sat up on the side of the bed, waiting for her heart rate to slow down. After a moment, she felt an overwhelming need and rushed to the bathroom.
The relief of emptying her bladder did little to calm her down or warm her skin. If anything, she felt a little cooler and her skin prickled. Her hands trembled as she ripped some toilet paper off the roll. She could not get the vision of Caitlin Todd out of her mind. Was it true? Was she really dead? She didn't want to believe it. Ari would not kill a woman unless she was a threat to Israel. She knew that. This was just a bad dream. It had to be. She took a small comfort in that knowledge.
As she stood at the sink washing her hands she glanced in the mirror and did a double take. A red handprint on her face aligned perfectly with where she had been slapped in her dream. Her jaw slacked open, and fear clutched her heart, and for a moment she thought she was having a heart attack. She stumbled out of the bathroom and sank down on the bed, no longer trusting her legs to hold her up. Had she slapped herself in her sleep? Was it just a dream?
She took a moment thinking as rationally as she could. She needed to find out if Caitlin Todd was still alive but needed to do it in a way that would not reveal what she suspected, in case it was true. It took several moments to figure out who she could contact, and another several after that to calm her shaking. Finally, she made the phone call.
Caitlin Todd was dead, shot between the eyes on a rooftop of a parking garage by a sniper…just yesterday. Ziva paled as her contact informed her and that Special Agent Gibbs already blamed Ari.
Ziva didn't ask how her contact had acquired the latter information though she realized it wouldn't be a stretch to assume it. She held it together long enough to end the conversation. Tears filled her eyes and for the first time in as long as she could remember, she wept. She sank to her knees as sobs wracked her body, unable to believe what she'd just heard in light of the dream she had awoken to. She curled into a fetal position at the end of the bed as she cried, feeling torn about what she thought she knew about her half-brother and the reality of what she had just experienced.
It was a long time before she cried out all her tears, stood and walked back into the bathroom to wash her face. She glanced up in the mirror and saw the red handprint seemed slightly faded though not completely gone. She reached up and touched her face. It was still cold where the handprint was compared to the rest of her face. She swallowed hard.
The sound of her phone ringing distracted her. She answered the phone and received orders to go to NCIS to protect Ari's, and by extension, Mossad's interests. It was then that she understood exactly what Caitlin meant in the dream. After hanging up, she walked back to the bathroom to look at the handprint in the mirror. It was still there.
"I will do my best to protect them, Caitlin," she said to her reflection in the mirror. "I will try to stop him." Ziva had no idea how she would accomplish this, but the handprint on her face was the only proof to convince her of what she needed to do.
A moment later, she felt a rush of heat to the left side of her face and Ziva watched the handprint completely disappear. Her face tingled at the contrast of hot and cold. Once the hand print disappeared, she touched her face where the handprint had been. She still felt the ice cold impression against her fingers. She closed her eyes. This was an invisible but no less present reminder, and Ziva wondered if Caitlin Todd had been as much a force to be reckoned with in life as she was in death.
Summary: The lines of reality are blurred but it changes the course of Ziva David's life.
Categories: General > Sci-Fi/Supernatural/Fantasy, General
Genre: Dark, SciFi/Supernatural/Fantasy
Warnings: Disturbing Imagery
Challenges: Kate Todd Meets _______ Challenge
Challenges: Kate Todd Meets _______ Challenge
Sometimes the show has blurred the lines between supernatural, dreams and hallucinations. I thought it would be interesting if Ziva also 'saw' Kate after she died.
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