note: Hey there everyone, I'm back! I mean I didn't actually go anywhere but still, back with this thing. So, the idea for this actually came to me after I rewatched the Season 10 premiere last week, but it's got no connection to that at all. I don't really know where it came from. The initial idea was, what would Tony do if Ziva died and he wasn't there? But then I figured that'd be too cruel, both to you guys reading it and me writing it, so I changed it to this. And, whilst I think Ziva's probably been travelling, for easiness' sake, I put her in Israel.
Other than that, I hope you guys like this. It's pretty long and rambling and I've been kinda paranoid over it, but still. Reviews are appreciated, as ever.
disclaimer: the show isn't mine as much as I may wish otherwise.
The office is bustling when it happens. It's loud and humming with life, and people rush here and there and back again. The light from outside shines in to illuminate the office; the skylight is shining bright and glaring in his eyes as ever. Phones are ringing constantly and the dull scan of the copier sounds at random intervals, scattered between snippets of chatter and the sound of the elevator coming and going. It's 3pm.
These are details he won't remember, later.
His eyes glance over the file yet again, scanning absent-mindedly for any information that might be useful. Boredom having set in hours ago, his eyes are drifting shut when he feels his cell phone vibrate at his hip.
The number isn't one he recognizes, save the area code, and he lets it ring out. They call again, though, insistence from New York, and by the third time he picks up just to stop his coworkers' annoyed glares.
The voice is somber, with a thick accent, and though it's been months since they spoke he knows the caller instantly.
"Uh, yeah?" He may sound a little rude but apprehension is slowly encompassing him. There must be a reason to call. "What's wrong?"
"I am… sorry, to have to tell you this, Tony, but... there's been an accident."
His stomach knots and he stands bolt upright, chair sliding right back noisily. It's not necessary to say who's involved; there's only one reason Shmeil would be calling him at all, let alone at work. Of all the thoughts that come to mind, he can only ask one.
"It was a car, that's all I know. I wish I could go, Anthony, but I'm in New York; I can't make the long trips so easy anymore."
He catches on fast, packing his things right away and ignoring the looks of confusion and concern his team are sending him.
"I'll call you right back." he says to Shmeil, then hangs up and drops his phone into his coat pocket. Gun also holstered, he tears open his desk drawer and pockets her necklace, too, as an afterthought.
"DiNozzo, where the hell you going?" Gibbs yells out, but Tony only scoops up his bag and jogs over to the stairs.
He takes them two at a time.
After getting more information from Shmeil, he heads home, hurriedly packing a few things before racing to the airport and dumping his car right outside.
The ticket is on his own dime, and expensive, but all he processes is how glad he is they have a free seat on such short notice.
When they land, the air is hot and murky and he squints against the sun as he steps onto the painfully familiar tarmac.
With nobody to escort him this time, he hitches a ride to the hospital and pays with the remaining little money he has. It's only once he's stepped through the doors and the antiseptic smell hits him that the weight of the situation seems to set in. He'd kissed her goodbye and now he's walking right back into her life.
"She's not gonna want to see me, Shmeil." he'd muttered over the phone, hours ago.
"Oh, she will, trust me."
He wishes the man's voice had made him the tiniest bit confident.
The doctor's English isn't bad, but Tony's Hebrew is better; his skills from those fateful months have apparently not abandoned him. He soon learns she's not critical- she's doing better than expected, actually, and she should make a full recovery relatively soon.
He sighs unashamedly with relief and the doctor sends him a knowing smile, like he understands.
"Do you want to see her?" he asks, voice calm and even.
Tony can only nod as he is led to a small room. The door is slightly ajar and she's sat upright, eyes on a muted television. Tears spring unexpectedly to his eyes at the mere sight of her. The doctor walks away and he doesn't even notice.
Her hair is matted and pulled back off her face to keep her stitches clean. The patched line runs straight across her temple and down round her ear, but the skin is red and angry and he knows it must be hurting her right now. It could leave quite a scar. The left side of her face is pretty grazed, too, tiny glass shards having left miniscule cuts and thin lines across her cheek. Her right hand is cast so only her bruised fingers are visible. There appears to be a bandage wrapped tight round her chest.
But other than that, she is okay. And despite all he sees, he instantly reminds himself- she's alive.
"Well aren't you a sight for sore eyes."
She turns to look at him, abruptly, and he thinks perhaps going for the element of surprise was not the best idea. She clutches her ribs with a wince.
Her voice is breathless and stunned and it sends a shiver down his spine. God how he's missed hearing his name fall from her lips like that.
He leans against the doorjamb, smiling at her only slightly because he really doesn't know where they stand.
She nods but is, for the most part, frozen, still staring at him.
"Can I come in?"
Even as he speaks his feet are moving him forward. If she stops him now he might not survive.
He reaches out when he gets to her side, hand raised in mid-air, and he sees her sharp intake of breath. She still says nothing, though, so he keeps going, wanting and craving the feel of her once more. His skin touches hers, hand cupping her cheek, and he swears sparks shoot through his palm.
"God, Ziva, I was so worried."
The words tumble from his mouth before he gets a chance to process them himself.
She leans into his touch, a smile upon her lips even as she murmurs at him.
"I'm fine, Tony."
The words are so familiar he can't help but chuckle, just a little.
She's not kicking him out, at least, so he pulls up a chair and drinks her in, elbows resting on his knees as he watches her. His eyes roam over her for at least five minutes before she speaks again.
"I cannot believe Shmeil called you."
Her voice is quiet, her accent more prominent than he's known it before, but it's still undoubtedly Ziva, and he wonders when he fell in love with the way words rolled off her tongue, too. Now, it seems to be the focus of his observations.
"Do you wish he hadn't?"
The question hurts to even ask but he feels he must. She doesn't reply, though, and so he breaks the quiet himself.
"I-I'm glad he did. If I'd found out in three months time, Ziva, I don't know what I would've done…"
She eyes him as he trails off, and the intensity of her stare is both unnerving and a comfort. Just for her to be looking at him again, directly, sets his heart a-flutter.
"Oh! I have something for you."
He hates the heavy silence between them, and reaches into his pocket instead, pulling out her necklace. Though it has spent the past few months tucked away in his desk drawer, it's offered a constant only her presence had ever managed to provide before. He thinks its job is done now.
"Figured I should return it to its rightful owner."
Their hands brush as she takes it from him, saying nothing still, and there's that spark yet again. But she merely drapes the golden chain over her palm and stares at all six even points, the air bearing down on them both. It closes in, suffocating.
"Well, I should, uh, go…"
Shmeil was wrong. He should've figured.
He stands, turning to leave, when the slender fingers of her good hand wrap round his wrist.
The warmth of her tone makes him shudder and suddenly he has all he's been wanting for so many months now; she's letting him in.
He doesn't need to be asked twice.
He's made up his mind by the time she's drifted off. She's presumably comfortably settled in his arms- though after much shifting and grimacing, admittedly- and her soft snores will never fail to melt his heart.
There's no way he's leaving her again.
When he works out the time difference as being reasonable, he untangles his limbs from hers and finds a phone. Gibbs picks up on the first ring.
His voice is gruff as ever, and it makes Tony smile, if a little sadly.
He will never understand Gibbs' ability to know all. Instead of commenting on it, though, he just answers.
"Could be worse. Glad I came out here, though."
The older man sighs, and takes a long pause.
"You're not coming back, are you DiNozzo?"
"Uh, if she'll have me, then no, boss. I'm not. She's still here, so… I am too." he says, running a hand through his hair.
He swears he can see his boss' smirk through the phone.
"We'll talk later, Tony. Get back to your girl."
He hangs up, and does just that, wandering back to her room and falling into her sleepy embrace once more.