Titel: Going home
Disclaimer: I don't own the show NCIS or any of its characters.
Summary: Set right after Designated Target, episode 5x08. Slight spoilers. Ziva is sick of trying to make Tony understand how she feels. Not happy with the person she has become, she considers going back to Mossad. What's keeping her in DC if Tony doesn't return her feelings? Tiva Oneshot.
Have you ever thought about soulmates?
Stupid! Idiotic! If she hadn't realized that before, she definitely had after hearing Tony's answer to her question. What had she expected? „Yes, Ziva, I have and I realized that you are my soulmate." Yeah, sure. That sounded just like Tony. What would she have answered to that same question? She would have rolled her eyes and walked away. Soulmates! Crap!
But the words of the African woman, Zayda, had struck a chord inside of her. When Zayda had asked her if she'd already met her soulmate, Ziva had only been able to think about one thing: of how she felt when Tony sent a flirtatious look across the small distance between their tables; of how she felt every night when she tortured herself with the thought that Tony had loved another woman, had truly loved another woman while she'd been right in front of him.
She really had no idea what she had wanted with that stupid question in front of the vending machine. Tony might have even started talking about Jeanne again and then she would have puked. But she guessed she'd had to try; to try and find out what he thought about it. Not that she believed in it! Even Zayda's husband had left her after all – way to prove soulmates existed!
Ziva was not really surprised that Tony had obviously never thought about soulmates, but she was upset about how he had just ignored her entire question. He hadn't really thought that she was talking about some band, had he? The guy couldn't be that blind!
But then Ziva thought about the situation in the car when she, without even noticing, had leaned onto Tony's arm. Tony hadn't shown the slightest reaction to her touch; on the contrary, he had taken the chance to make some more stupid jokes about her. Crazy Israeli chick? She would give him crazy Israeli chick! Tony jumped at every chance to hit on any even slightly attractive woman, but he just ignored such a situation between them?
Why?, Ziva asked herself, again and again. Where was all the sexual tension that had made the air around them crackle for years? Tony didn't even make sexual jokes on her behalf anymore. Not since Jeanne had left. But to pretend that Jeanne leaving had done that to Tony would have been too easy. Tony hadn't changed that much. He had tried to hit on that FBI agent that had helped them during an investigation! He was still drooling after every short skirt in the street. He hadn't changed. He just didn't flirt with her anymore. Sometimes he seemed to deliberately keep her at a distance. Situations that could have been friendly bickering months ago now regularly turned into real fights. Ziva didn't have a problem fighting back, but his words sometimes really hurt. Like all his remarks about immigrants today. And his constant insults of her language skills.
It hurt. The whole situation hurt. And that was a truth Ziva didn't accept easily. She hadn't become an agent with the Mossad, hadn't worked for years on not showing any emotions, to now cry because of a man.
The strange thing was that she would have even been willing to show these emotions if she only knew that Tony felt something for her too. But she knew that he didn't feel anything for her, that at the utmost he found her sexually appealing, and still she was dreaming about what-ifs and hated herself because she wasn't good enough for him.
She had changed into a person she didn't want to be. She felt weak, bitter and unwanted, feelings she wouldn't even have given a second thought three years ago. The NCIS had changed her, had made her become the person she was today. Months ago she had used to think that this new Ziva was better than the old one, but she didn't think that anymore. Shouldn't she try to undo the damage as long as she still had a chance? What was holding her back? Why was she staying with NCIS?
But she knew that she couldn't leave before she was sure, not as long as there was the slightest possibility that she was wrong. She would have to find out.
The next day she finished her report about the Thomas Zuri case. Tony was supposed to do the same thing, but he was spending his time trying to balance an empty paper cup on his forehead. When Gibbs came back from getting coffee, Tony would be slapped over the head again.
Ziva read through her report one last time. "I can't believe he got married again," she sighed.
Tony put the cup aside and leaned forward on his chair to look at her. "Did you hope for a happy ending? I never took you for the romantic type, Zee-vah."
Ziva glared at him. "Zayda waited for him for seven years. She came here from Africa. And then she finds him with a new wife and a little daughter." Ziva felt the same lump in her throat as yesterday when Zayda had climbed into the car to leave. It was unfair!
„Seven years are a very long time," Tony said, leaning back again and propping his feet up on his desk.
"Yes. But if it's about true love…" She risked a secret glance at Tony, which he didn't notice. "Could you imagine falling in love again – after Jeanne?"
Tony flinched and almost lost balance on his chair. He stared at Ziva. For one moment she had the feeling that he was about to say something important, something deep, but then his expression changed and he shrugged. "I don't think so," he said. "It's simply not worth the trouble."
That evening Ziva packed her suitcase. She would have most of her belongings sent after her and was only packing the most important things. She wanted to leave as soon as possible. She had just finished talking to the director over the phone. Jenny had been shocked, but hadn't been able to change Ziva's mind. She had asked Ziva to at least give her two weeks' notice, but Ziva had refused. The next day, the rest of the team would know and she didn't want Tony to ask her why she was leaving. She didn't want to be reminded that the man she had wasted the last year of her life dreaming of still didn't have a clue about anything.
She'd even gotten a flight with only one stop even though she had only arranged it during her lunch break. The flight was leaving at 11 pm. She was sorry that she hadn't said goodbye to Abby, McGee and Gibbs. They were going to think that even after everything they'd been through, she still only was the cold, uncaring person they had taken her for in the beginning. But the fact alone that Ziva was sorry showed her that she had made the right decision. Too strong bonds between colleagues could be deadly in her line of work – and the Mossad shared this attitude.
At nine pm she left her apartment without looking back. She took a cab to get to the airport, feeling sorry for having to leave her red Mini behind. Maybe she should have the car shipped to Israel too. But she definitely didn't need a constant reminder of her time in DC.
When she was standing in the darkness in front of the brightly lit airport, she almost turned around. Going in there would be fleeing and she wasn't someone who ran away. But then she told herself that in some situations fleeing was the last possible way out and this was definitely one of those situations.
She picked up her ticket and checked in her luggage before heading to her gate, but an endless queue was waiting at the security check.
Ziva had been waiting for fifteen minutes and was getting really impatient with all the people who just couldn't understand that huge belt buckles and metal detectors weren't a good combination when suddenly someone touched her arm. Ziva jumped and only kept herself from attacking with some difficulty, but then a soft male voice pronounced her name, just her name, in a tone that sent a shiver down her spine. Ziva… Sad, unbelieving, angry, accusing.
Ziva looked at him and green eyes locked onto her brown ones. He had come.
Ziva shook her arm free and turned away from him. "Tony," she remarked coldly.
"Could you explain to me what the hell you think you're doing here?" he asked.
"I'm flying back to Israel."
"That's what Gibbs told me on the phone. What I'm interested in is which devil obsessed you when you made that decision!"
Great. The director hadn't even waited five minutes before calling Gibbs and Gibbs had obviously called Tony. But why?
"Why did Gibbs call you?" she asked, without looking at him.
"Because, like with everything else, Gibbs thinks this is my fault. He says I'd better convince you to stay or he'll have two empty posts to fill."
Ziva lost the last bit of hope that Tony's presence had evoked in her. He was only following Gibbs' orders.
"Could you answer my question!" Tony asked impatiently.
"Which question?" she asked dryly.
Tony was about to reply angrily when the guard at the security check tapped him on the shoulder and asked for his boarding card because they had reached the front of the queue by now. Tony waved his badge in front of the man's face and turned back to face Ziva, but she pushed past him and handed the man her passport and boarding card. The security guy signalled for her to go ahead, but Tony grabbed her arm and pulled her aside.
"Would you stop that!" he barked. "Damn it!"
Surprised because of his breakout, Ziva merely stared at him for a couple of seconds. She'd hardly ever seen Tony angry. He usually hid his anger behind cynism, but now his eyes were burning and his face had turned red.
"Tony," she said, more softly than she had planned. "Let it be. Just let me go. It's for the best."
"For the best?" he echoed. "Are you kidding me?"
"I'm going back to Israel – where I belong."
"I thought you never wanted to go back."
"I never said that."
She had already opened her mouth to say something that would have without a doubt sounded extremely pathetic and lovesick, but she suppressed the words. "Why do I need a reason to go back home?" she snapped. "Just let me go!"
"No," he replied quietly, taking her arm again to keep her from leaving.
Ziva tried to find an explanation in his eyes, but he didn't look at her. He looked past her left shoulder, to the ground, his lips tightly pressed together. Annoyed because of his coward behavior, Ziva freed her arm. "Gibbs won't fire you. Don't worry about it."
"I'm not worried about it."
"Then why are you even here?" Even though she didn't believe that she would get the answer she wanted to hear, she just couldn't stop hoping.
"I want you to look me in the eyes and tell me why you want to leave," he said.
"You'd have to look at me first, don't you think?"
Tony looked up and into her eyes, so imploringly that Ziva wanted to step back, but she stayed where she was. But she couldn't answer. She couldn't say it.
"Ziva…" he whispered. His eyes were roaming over her face, her hair. Very slowly he lifted a hand and touched her brown locks with his fingertips. "Please don't go."
His words were so quiet that, for a moment, Ziva thought she had only imagined hearing them. But she wasn't insane, he had really said it. And any moment now he was going to add that the team wouldn't be the same without her. And then she could leave without having to regret.
"Why not?" she asked, daring him.
"Because I believe that it would be the biggest mistake of your life. And it would be the biggest mistake of my life to let you go."
Tears were burning in her eyes. She didn't want to cry, no way, but she wouldn't be able to hold back the tears much longer.
"You asked me today if I could fall in love again after Jeanne," he reminded her. "If the reason why you asked me that is what I think it is, I cannot let you go."
Ziva frowned. What was that even supposed to mean? „Why not?" she asked. „Your answer was no."
„When did I ever say something right the first time?"
Their gazes remained locked for another five seconds, but then Ziva pushed his hand away from her hair and turned away from him. "That's not enough," she said. "You cannot ignore me for months and then expect me to believe you. You made clear that you don't have any feelings for me."
And with that she turned and walked over to the security check, where she pushed past a middle-aged man and walked straight through the metal detector. The first tears started to roll down her cheeks when she picked up her backpack.
Suddenly she heard the muffled sounds of a fight behind her. Surprised, she turned around and saw how Tony tried to get past the guards, who where holding him back by sheer force. He shouted at them that he was a federal agent, but they ignored him.
When Tony's gaze crossed Ziva's, she froze. "Don't go!" he shouted. When he stopped fighting against the guards, they let him go, but he didn't try to get through the security check again. "When I said falling in love wasn't worth the trouble, I lied," he continued. "Each of your smiles is worth any kind of trouble. I'm sorry I treated you the way I did – I didn't know how to handle the situation." They stared at each other across the distance. Ziva wiped the back of her hand across her wet cheeks. "Ziva," Tony called softly. "If you go now, you force me to buy a ticket to Israel, but I'll do it, if it's necessary!"
By now, each person in a thirty yard radius was watching them, but Ziva didn't care.
"Why have you never told me that before?" she shouted across the distance.
"Because my last relationship ended in a catastrophe and I don't want to go through that again. And because I wasn't sure what you were expecting from me. I'm no longer the man I used to be a year ago."
"Does this mean you've become serious?" Ziva asked, half teasing, half serious.
Tony merely shrugged, a somewhat helpless gesture.
"And what if I just take you as you are?" she asked, a smile hidden under her tears.
"To do that I'd say you have to come out here", he said, grinning.
Ziva laughed and started to run. The people who had come through the detector behind her stepped aside to let her pass and Ziva ran straight to Tony, who was opening his arms for her. Ziva threw her arms around his neck, almost knocking him over, but he remained standing and pulled her close.
People around them started to applaud and cheer. When Ziva noticed, she grinned and hid her face in Tony's neck.
"I have to say it took you quite some time to figure this whole thing out," she told him. "Do you still not know what women want to hear?"
"Hey, I'm doing my best!" he chuckled. "You could try to be a bit more understanding!" He lifted a hand to the nape of her neck and when Ziva lifted her face to look at him, he touched his forehead to hers. "Did you really want to leave because of me?" he asked.
Embarrassed, Ziva looked away, but Tony took her chin between his thumb and index finger and lifted her face up to make her look at him again. "I'm sorry," he whispered. "I never meant to hurt you – I didn't know I was."
Ziva nodded and slipped her arms around his neck. Tony understood her invitation and leaned down until his lips met hers. He kissed her so softly and lovingly that Ziva's entire body started to tingle pleasantly. She hadn't known Tony had this tenderness in him. Hell, she hadn't known she had it herself!
When they deepened the kiss, her head started to spin. She'd never felt like this before. There had been this place inside her chest that had been hurting with empty longing for so many months. But with one single kiss Tony had managed to fill it. And now Ziva's body was almost flowing over with an all-encompassing feeling of dedication and belonging, maybe even with love – even though that was a feeling she'd first have to come to terms with. She would though, together with Tony.
Yes, she had definitely changed. She wasn't the same woman who had left Israel all that time ago. But all the changes she had gone through in those two and a half years had been necessary to reach this point. And she didn't want to go back. Because today she was happy and she had the feeling that she might be at the beginning of a very long period full of happiness.
They broke out of the kiss and Ziva looked up into Tony's smiling face. His smile was one full of promises, starting with the promise to make the oncoming night one neither of them was going to forget anytime soon. Returning his smile, she lifted her hands and ran her fingers over his cheeks and through his hair. "Tony," she whispered. "Take me home please."