|The Dust Settles
Author: Deirdra098 PM
Post 9x24 - Her hand is still holding his.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Tony D. & Ziva D. - Words: 1,636 - Reviews: 40 - Favs: 70 - Follows: 7 - Published: 05-16-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8123056
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The movement stops. The dust settles. And he can take a breath.
"Ziva," he pushes out. Breathing, check. Breathing easy, check back later.
She moves a bit on top of him, slow and woozy and tired, but she's moving and she's breathing and that's something.
Her hand is still holding his.
"Are you okay?" he wonders, though halfway through asking it occurs to him that he's not really sure if he's okay either.
They both take a few Mississippi-long seconds to move just enough to know if they can, what they can, what hurts, how badly, where.
"Yes," she tells him, now more next to him than on him. "Are you?" Her hand reaches around to the back of his head.
"Think so," he says as her fingers rub where she must assume he hit his head. Where Gibbs usually slaps him.
"Jesus Christ," he mutters and she remains quiet, looking around to see that the world has stopped shaking, to find their way out. "You're bleeding," he tells her and she stops looking around the elevator to look at him.
Her hand touches his arm, "You too."
"Not from my head. Can you see alright?" He wants to check for a concussion but the light isn't great and he's not so sure he doesn't have one himself.
"I think so," she says, almost nods but then thinks better of it. It's dim in the car and he's not sure if he can see clearly. "Sore."
He nods, rights himself a little more and squeezes her shaky hand.
There's dust and debris.
Eventually there are voices and rescue crew members.
She still doesn't let him out of her sight.
Ducky doesn't come back from Mexico. At least not the way they all expected him to be.
There are no happy stories recanting Palmer's rumored Bette Midler serenade for Breena or how the vows were or how the cake tasted.
He offers a tired smile and Tony overhears him quietly talking to Gibbs in the hospital, "Jethro, I'm just glad to be alive."
Gibbs gives orders.
Vance is pissed.
Abby's a wreck.
Ziva asks Palmer, quietly, how the wedding was. He gives her a small smile and tells her it was beautiful, he was glad that Dr. Mallard was there – then his eyes get a little wet and he has to get back to helping process the deceased anyway.
McGee spends two weeks in the hospital.
Tony visits McGeek when he can.
When Gibbs visits, he gives them the flash drive where he backed up evidence for the case on.
Gibbs hits him gently on the back of the head, says something quietly to him that Tony can't hear.
They catch Dearing.
They move Headquarters to Quantico, Virginia.
He's not sure when Ziva's sleeping. She's been pretty quiet with him. Although, she's often quietly with him, calm and warm and there.
They haven't really talked about it much, the explosion, and that's kind of strange. Things were opening up and moving forward, slowly but surely and now… well things are still moving. But she's stopped talking to him about things.
One day, though, he realizes that they haven't had any time to say much. Just a few words over coffee or sandwiches. She's been with Abby a lot, which at first struck him as odd – wasn't he Abby's go-to-guy? – but without Labby, without a solid place to meet up, without Ducky, with Tim in the hospital, Gibbs working with Vance, she needs someone. And he hasn't been able to handle her tears, not since Ducky's heart attack, not when he's been so focused on not falling apart. So Ziva, when she's not with Tony, spends time with Abby.
He thinks about retiring.
He dreams about horses on the beach.
He wakes up, calls Ziva, buys her breakfast, ruffles her hair and makes her smile.
It's then, just then, that he realizes she hadn't been smiling since the bomb went bang.
She takes a sip of her hot chocolate; he ordered it with the little marshmallows when she was in the bathroom. When she returned to the table, she had raised her eyebrows at him and he had shrugged and explained, "Comfort food."
"I feel like we lost our home, Tony," she says, after they've eaten. It's the first she's spoken to him about the explosion in a way that's not work-related professional conversation. "We spent most of our time there, and now it's just… gone." She sighs, "I just thought it was more permanent than anything else."
"We'll build a new home."
She sleeps in his bed that night. He almost sleeps on the couch but she says his name, sounding tired – tired of being alone, tired of whatever limbo they've been in for the past few years – and it's not like they haven't shared a bed before.
They've just never shared his bed before.
He's up half the night – dry-mouthed and brain in overdrive, but she sleeps.
Eventually, when she says his name in her sleep, speaks it into his shoulder, he closes his eyes and finds sleep too.
He goes to see Gibbs one evening.
He's down in his basement with a mason jar of bourbon and some spare pieces of wood.
They don't talk much.
"How's Abby?" Tony asks.
"How's Ziva," Gibbs responds, but it's not really a question.
He takes McGee out for a beer a week before they all are meant to be back at work, in the new building.
Their Director-ordered time off is almost over.
McGee's mostly recovered from burns and bruises and a broken arm.
They don't talk about it much. Tony tries to lighten the mood, tries to talk about how the new building will be – it was already in the process of being built, the move would have happened eventually – and think about all the new geek equipment. And hey, maybe they'll paint it a different color and somehow the coffee will get better. And, McGee, there will probably be as many Nutter Butters as you can handle (even if I have to buy them outside of the building and slip them into the locked drawer in your shiny new desk, Tony thinks).
"We found your video games saved with the case files," Tony eventually says over his beer glass. McGee doesn't bother to clarify that he means Ziva in his 'we'.
"You didn't touch them, did you?" McGee asks, eyes connecting with Tony's, actually looking concerned.
Tony chuckles and McGee curses the DiNozzo name under his breath.
"You'll just have to wait and see, McGee."
He yells at Ziva, two hours after getting home from seeing McGee, after she brought him some popcorn and beer, because they shouldn't have taken the elevator. That wasn't the procedure or protocol and why the fuck would they think that it would be a good idea? He wonders why the hell Gibbs hasn't head-slapped them both so hard that they don't remember the explosion in the first place.
She lets him pace back in forth, lets his face get red and the veins in his neck jump, watches as he hits the wall, as he begins to talk about Ducky and worry about McGee, as the tears stream down his face because he was scared and now he's frustrated and how the fuck can he make this right, with Gibbs, for Abby, for Jimmy because they missed the guy's wedding. She wraps her arms around him and murmurs to him in just about every language she knows until the tears stop streaming and his body stops shaking. She tells him that they were stupid, they should have thought better.
She loves him though. She tells him in five languages.
He understands it in Hebrew but doesn't tell her that. Kisses her temple, her forehead, her cheeks, her mouth.
Ziva sleeps in his bed again that night.
He stops by Abby's bowling tournament with the nuns the night before they have to be back at work.
At first it looks like she wants to ignore him, but after a few seconds she hugs him and asks him why he just disappeared like that. He tells her he's sorry, that he was rattled too, that he had to get his head on straight.
She lets him go and smiles up at him knowingly, "That's what Ziva told me."
Tony blinks down at her, "She did? When?"
"I don't know… sometime afterwards. She said that you weren't as together as you seemed and that you just needed some time."
"That sounds… pretty spot on," he admits.
"It's Ziva, Tony. She knows you."
And he smiles, because that much is true.
In the morning, he meets Ziva in the new parking lot. They wait for Abby and McGee before going in. He's holding a Caf-Pow! for Abby and Ziva has a latte for McGee (she also had a paper bag with a bear claw for him; Tony almost kissed her when she handed it to him).
Her hair is down and curly and she's looking across the parking lot for their friends. She smiles when she sees them, raises the latte up for McGee to see.
He loves her, too. He tells her in one language.
She bumps her shoulder against his arm once and leans into him slightly.
The dust settles.