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PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2014 9:29 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:46 pm
Posts: 18424
Location: UK
Title: Kibbs Addict
Name: Sarah
Aliases: sarahflute, sarah-flute, Floot, tiggrie, kassipoeg
Gender: Female
link: fanfiction.net
link: AO3
link: NFA storyboard
I got attacked by a new plot bunny for this challenge. Also includes an OC. I'm not sure where it's going but planning it to be a fairly short story and hoping to get it finished before the deadline.

The setting is deliberately vague, partly because the area is so changeable and volatile and partly, to be honest, because the decision was made mostly on the basis of Ziva's known ability to speak Pashto and partly on the loving descriptions of the frontier/tribal regions of Pakistan/Afghanistan that I've been reading in Malala Yousafzai's autobiography. In my head this is set somewhere in South/Central Asia, possibly in tribal/frontier lands, and definitely in the shadows of the Hindu Kush, but native Pashtuns and speakers of the language are widespread, and while I've read many, many books set in or around this area, it's such a huge and varied bit of the world to which I've never been and about which I can't pretend to be remotely knowledgeable. All I can do is try my best and hopefully not offend anyone or write anything toooooo wildly out of place :-/

OC POV to start with, but Ziva centric, trying something new (to me!) and hoping it works.

You will find a discussion thread here

***

The New Girl

***

LAYLAH

The new girl was... different. Laylah hadn't been able to work out exactly what made her think that, but she was sure. Most of the people who came to work at the orphanage didn't make much of an impression. The women who ran it were fair but stern, and although many of the volunteers arrived with smiles on their faces and sometimes arms full of toys, by the end of the three months allowed on their visas, they looked as worn and grey as the permanent staff.

This new girl, though...

Laylah was nearly sixteen, and it was a source of great pride to her that she never let herself get attached to the volunteers, and that within days of their arrival she always knew, in her heart, why each person had travelled to this distant corner of the world. Some of them felt guilty - Laylah wasn't sure what for, but she could see it in their eyes, their desperate desire to make the children smile. Others worked as if they were trying to forget, or told stories from their own homes and their own scriptures, or were running away from something that hurt. Always, Laylah pronounced the new volunteers' intentions to the few other girls her own age within days of each new arrival.

This Ziva, though. Laylah could not decipher the look in her eyes. She was not even certain how old the woman was. Sometimes she looked no older than the sisters Laylah vaguely remembered from Before, not much older, perhaps, than Laylah was now. Certainly, Ziva was younger than the matrons who bossed her around, and whom she obeyed without question, even though sometimes Laylah thought she looked like she wanted to argue back. The volunteers who came here usually tried to change things, at least at first, and it surprised Laylah that Ziva seemed so meek. She didn't seem like a patient person, and Laylah saw her fingers twitch with irritation, but she never spoke out.

But at other times... at other times, when the day's work was done and Ziva was checking the dormitories, when she tucked a blanket round Laylah's pretend-sleeping form to keep out the bitter cold, Laylah would see an expression on her face that looked so old and so sad that she thought maybe Ziva was the oldest woman in the orphanage, after all.

Laylah did not like mysteries, and so she did not trust Ziva, even though her Pashto had an accent that somehow reminded Laylah of home, and her eyes were so kind and so deep when she smiled.

Laylah looked forward to the end of winter, when the new girl's visa would run out, and someone else would come whose motives she would be able to divine without difficulty.

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Lie to NCIS (banner returning asap!)

"Sarah, I think your autocorrect is weirder than you are." (Xiexie, Xiexie! :lol2:)

GNU Terry Pratchett


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:17 pm 
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Team Leader

Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:46 pm
Posts: 18424
Location: UK
Title: Kibbs Addict
Name: Sarah
Aliases: sarahflute, sarah-flute, Floot, tiggrie, kassipoeg
Gender: Female
link: fanfiction.net
link: AO3
link: NFA storyboard
LAYLAH

Laylah enjoyed the spring, when for a short while the weather was neither too hot nor too cold. Everyone was always much more cheerful when the sun started to shine and the snow retreated to distant mountains. It was easier to slip away, to avoid chores, to hide in a forgotten corner on the other side of the crumbling brick wall of the compound and pretend she was just a normal girl who would go back to her family once she had finished her book.

She was careful to always return the books she borrowed. Sometimes she would find a Quran placed with tender care on a shelf few of the girls were tall enough to reach. At other times she would spot a worn paperback discarded by a volunteer. Books were like promises. Her father had shown her how to sound out letters, and had been so proud when she had learned how to write her name. Sometimes she would scratch it in the dust with a finger, just to prove to herself that she remembered, but no matter which books she found and took to her private reading place, she had yet to find one she could read. Father had wanted her to be able to read and write, but that was Before. By the time she had reached the orphanage, no one had thought to make up for all the time she had lost. It was a waste, they said, to try and teach a girl of her age to read and write. It was too late. She had missed her chance.

Still, the book was comforting. The new girl, Ziva, had left it behind, and this was one book Laylah would never have to return. It had appeared mysteriously on her pillow after Ziva had gone away, and while Laylah had been suspicious, she could not resist the idea of a book that was hers alone.

To her dismay, she had found that she missed Ziva. Her eyes had stayed kind until the very end of her three months. Laylah had never learned to trust her, but she had grown used to her tender manner. Ziva's presence had become comforting, and now she was gone Laylah wished she would come back.

No one ever came back, though. So Laylah was completely unprepared, in late May, to see a familiar figure walking towards the gate. From her hidden spot, she looked harder, squinted against the bright sunlight, expecting to realise her eyes had deceived her.

But they hadn't. Ziva was back.

___________________________
Words in this post: 425
_______________________
Lie to NCIS (banner returning asap!)

"Sarah, I think your autocorrect is weirder than you are." (Xiexie, Xiexie! :lol2:)

GNU Terry Pratchett


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 8:03 pm 
Offline
Team Leader

Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:46 pm
Posts: 18424
Location: UK
Title: Kibbs Addict
Name: Sarah
Aliases: sarahflute, sarah-flute, Floot, tiggrie, kassipoeg
Gender: Female
link: fanfiction.net
link: AO3
link: NFA storyboard
ZIVA

Ziva didn't know what reception to expect when she came back to the orphanage. In this part of the world, her background made her stand out, and not in a positive way. She knew full well that no one here trusted her motives, and that no one at home - no, not at home, Israel no longer felt like home - understood why she would choose to return, choose to jump through the many hoops that had stood in the way of her coming here even once.

She wasn't sure she really understood it herself. Part of her wanted to atone for her sins, to do something for others, and to believe that maybe she was finally being entirely selfless. To let go of anger and vengeance and simply make a difference to someone else. These children, they desperately needed love and attention.

Still, there was more to it than that, she knew. No one trusted her here, but she no longer trusted herself either. In amongst her compulsion to return she was fearful of her own reasons, afraid that deep down there was a selfish motivation she was hiding even from herself, one that would cause yet more death and pain to those around her. She hoped that she would have the strength to leave again if she realised she was putting others at risk.

As she approached the gate, she saw movement at the corner of her eye. Glancing over, she saw a flash of bright blue as someone disappeared behind the corner of the compound.

Common sense said that she should continue inside, but Gibbs' training and her Mossad background had both taught her the value of her gut, and so with padding steps as quiet and swift as a cat she pursued her spy.

She had expected whoever it was to have rapidly disappeared, but when she peered around the wall, instead she found the girl crouched, looking up at her, a little frightened but mostly defiant, something clutched to her breast like a comfort blanket.

"Laylah."

The girl's eyes widened at her name, and Ziva wondered if she was used to being forgotten. Laylah was one of the girls who Ziva hadn't been able to get out of her mind: a slender, beautiful teenager, whose eyes looked old and sad and tired in her youthful face. She had always been wary, and judging from her expression that hadn't changed.

"You left it, I didn't steal it."

Ziva frowned. "What?"

Laylah clutched her hands tighter to her chest, and Ziva realised that the object was a book - a familiar book.

"You left it behind, I didn't know you would come back." She spoke so quickly that Ziva, out of practice for months, had to concentrate hard to follow her rapid Pashto. "I didn't steal it."

Ziva laughed. If she had thought about it for a moment then she would have tried to stifle it - stealing was punished harshly here, and she understood Laylah's fear - but instead it bubbled out of her, the first time in months that she had really laughed.

Laylah looked understandably startled.

"I did leave it," Ziva finally managed to explain. "It was a gift. I thought you might like it."

The girl straightened up, a veneer of the haughtiness Ziva remembered replacing her fear. The Pashtun peoples were regarded as proud, and Laylah had always seemed determined to live up to the reputation. She dusted off her long skirt, straightened her headscarf, then glared at Ziva, as if daring her to even mention that she'd been found cowering and frightened.

Ziva managed to squash down a smile at Laylah's chutzpah - she was absolutely certain that it would not be appreciated - and extended her hand. "Shall we go inside?"

Laylah looked surprised and a little suspicious, but slipped her hand into Ziva's and allowed herself to be guided towards the gate.

Ziva felt an unexpected lift in her heart. She still didn't understand why she'd come back here, but she was definitely glad that she had.

___________________________
Words in this post: 679
_______________________
Lie to NCIS (banner returning asap!)

"Sarah, I think your autocorrect is weirder than you are." (Xiexie, Xiexie! :lol2:)

GNU Terry Pratchett


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