A/N: Not much for writing shippers, but some sort of TIVA bug has overtaken me as of late. Until it leaves my system, here is one more TIVA story…
Disclaimer: Roses are red, violets are blue, I don't own these characters and neither do you.
Tony groggily opened his eyes at 3:36 A.M. His cell phone was playing the tune of "La Bamba" and he had no idea why. It was his day off work and he was in no current relationship. His caller ID listed the intruder of his sleep as 'Ziva.'
"Hello," he said not hiding his tiredness.
Tony was only met with a quick intake of breath, a half mumbled apology from Ziva, and then a dial tone.
Confused, Tony called his partner back, but she didn't pick up. He tried two more times only to be met with the same result. He was about to fall back asleep when the sound of distant thunder stopped him. He sat up straight after an image suddenly came to his head. He saw Ziva being, hurt, killed, or something worse. She was trying to call him, but couldn't for some reason. With those images fresh in his mind, he raced to put some clothes on and grabbed his car keys.
Ziva's hands were shaking to hard to sweep the glass in the dustpan. Instead she stayed in her crouched position, holding her knees tightly. A sharp knock sounded at the door. It startled her at first, but she quietly made her way to it. Looking through the peephole, she saw Tony standing there with an un-tucked shirt and unkempt hair.
"What do you want?" she asked him trying to keep the new round of sobs out of her voice, but failing miserably.
"I want to come in," he said insistently.
"Go away," she said with more force than necessary.
"No, Ziva let me in."
She didn't reply this time. She was too upset, not with Tony, with herself.
In less than a minute the door was opened. Tony stood there holding her hidden spare key.
"Hiding this under your neighbors cat statue," he said, "are you trying to get robbed?"
"Get out of here," she said missing the jest in his voice.
"Are you okay?" he asked her.
She noticed his eyes scanning the room as if it were a crime scene.
"I'm fine. Now leave."
Tony continued to search the room with his eyes and all at once relaxed.
"Did you break a glass?" he asked her.
She nodded deftly.
"Well, move away, you're not wearing any shoes."
Ziva stepped back and caught a glimpse of herself in the hallway mirror. She was visibly pale with a tearstained face. Her hair wasn't any better than Tony's. She knew, Tony could tell she had been crying, it was hard not to. She went into the bathroom and tied her hair back. After splashing cold water on her face and drying off she went back out to see her house guest.
Tony had finished sweeping up the glass and was putting the broom and dustpan back where they belonged. He noticed Ziva had come back. Gazing at her, she looked slightly better, but he didn't miss her flinch at the sound of distant thunder. Tony was dumbstruck. Ziva David could take down a man twice her size without even trying, she was the smartest most confident woman he had ever met, and here she was flinching at thunder. Ziva wasn't afraid of storms. Tony had been on a stakeout with her during a storm. The rain was pouring harder than Tony had ever seen it. They had to call the stakeout off for lack of visibility, but they couldn't drive away for the same reason. She looked out the glass sunroof, counted off the time between the thunder and lightning. If Tony didn't know any better he would think this was her first time in a thunder storm. Tony smiled at her childlike wonder and it possessed him to turn on the radio. He found a classical station. He watched as Ziva sank back into her chair with the most relaxed expression etched on her features that he had ever seen.
"Did you see that one?" she would call out when a large bolt of lightning was hurled toward the earth.
"Yes," he would reply even though he wasn't actually watching the storm.
Now here she was nearly shell shocked from a noise that was hardly even close.
"Ziva, why were you crying?" he went straight to the heart of the matter.
There was a long pause. She wasn't going to answer his question.
"Why are you here?" she asked him.
Another pause; he wasn't going to answer her question either.
"Do you have something to drink?" he asked.
"Look in the fridge."
He took out two beers and handed one to Ziva. They talked about everything else for the next ten minutes. Ziva still tensed each time the thunder got closer.
"Tony, why did you come over?" she asked again.
By this time they were sitting shoulder to shoulder on her sofa.
"Promise not to laugh?" he asked her.
Ziva had never heard that question before. Tony had countless instances he could have prefaced a story with that one, but he never did until now. Somehow, Ziva knew that what he would say next would be personal and her friend would have to make herself vulnerable in front of her. Suddenly, she liked the question and how secure it could make a person feel knowing that their confidant would not ridicule her vulnerability.
"I promise," she answered sincerely.
"When I called you back and you didn't answer your phone, I thought something bad was happening to you. I thought that maybe you were trying to reach me for help and I was ignoring you. Then you wouldn't answer the door and I was almost sure. I turned over every doormat, plant, and figurine until I found your spare key."
There was only a short silence this time before Tony spoke.
"Ziva? Why were you upset?"
"Promise not to laugh?" she asked.
"I promise," he said with as much sincerity as her.
"We were trapped in this apartment building…"
Tony was confused, but he didn't interrupt her.
"It was rigged with explosives. No matter what escape we would have tried it would have ended in our deaths. McGee told us that he could give us ten seconds, but we both knew that would not be enough time. You asked me to dance with you. I did."
She left out the part of how their bodies felt so perfectly right next to each other, or how undeniably safe she felt with him holding her.
"Suddenly, you picked me up and threw me out the window. Gibbs, McGee, Ducky and a couple of EMTs were waiting to catch me in a blanket. It worked and I was rushed behind a barricade. I saw you jump to the fire escape of the next building. You tried to climb down as fast as you could, but you weren't fast enough. Nobody was trying to get to you. I knew you were dead, but I had to get to you. I tried to get up, but Gibbs held me back, and I would try harder then McGee grabbed me. I tried even harder, but more EMTs joined in the struggle until Ducky had to sedate me. I heard Gibbs tell someone to take me back to my bed. When I woke up I thought it was all real."
Fresh tears made an appearance in her eyes.
"Tony, for a whole hour I thought you were dead."
She didn't tell him that's when she had broken her glass out of anger, or how she cried in vain.
"Then slowly pieces started to fit together. There is no such bomb like the one I described. I could not figure out why we had been there to begin with. I realized it may have been a dream. To make sure I was not in denial, I called you…and you answered."
She had been too choked up to answer when he called her back. Then seeing him at the door had broken her all over again. It also made her angry at herself for believing a stupid nightmare was real.
Tony rubbed Ziva's cheek a little bit.
"I'm sorry you had to go through all that only to find out it had been a nightmare."
Ziva reached up and held the hand that had been rubbing her cheek.
The storm knocked out the power and the two agents had to busy themselves lighting candles. Ziva poured some wine and sat back down on the couch with her partner. This time she faced the window where the storm was still going strong. Another clap of thunder sounded much closer than before. Ziva didn't flinch this time. She wore the same look of relaxation he had seen on her once before.
Maybe it was the wine, or maybe it was just each other's company, but one of them laughed. It was merely a hiccup of laughter from one, and then a slight snort came from the other. Before either could grasp what had happened they were laughing, almost doubled over, in earnest.
"You promised not to laugh," Ziva said in between the laughter.
"So did you," he retorted.
"Goodness, Tony, I could have called you by mistake while trying to call my mother. I would find the police and NCIS at my door for nothing."
They laughed even harder. Ziva had sunken against Tony as she had in the car during their stakeout. He wrapped his arm around her waist. She felt that undeniably safe feeling enveloping her again; only a thousand times better since it was real.
"What about you, Ziva? You know I would have jumped out that window and into that blanket."
She laughed again at him lying through his teeth. Tony, the man who had voluntarily stayed with her while she diffused a bomb (more than once), the man who had unflinchingly let bad men beat his face so they wouldn't touch hers, would never sacrifice her for himself. Still she played along.
"You're right what was I thinking," she said reaching behind her to slap his face lightly.
The storm came right over Ziva's apartment. First thunder, then three streaks of lightning painted the sky simultaneously.
"Did you see that one?" she called out.
"Yes," he replied, even though he wasn't watching the storm.