Weakness

Summary: Tiva OS Post Recoil. Takes up where the episode ends. Tony waits for Ziva in front of the bar and they go to Ziva's apartment for a drink. There they finally have the talk that was due months ago.

Disclaimer: NCIS is property of CBS. I don't make any profit with this.


Ziva was watching through the window of the bar how Michael dialed the number she had given him. She guessed it was for the best. It wasn't as if she had imagined a future together with him – she hardly knew him. But she was glad that he was going to be able to get closure now.

When Ziva turned away and started walking down the street, she saw someone standing in the light of a streetlamp, obviously watching her. She couldn't see his face clearly, but Ziva knew within an instant that it was Tony. She wanted to pretend she didn't see him and walk the other way because recently they always seemed to end up fighting, no matter how good their intentions might be. Not to talk to him at all seemed a good solution to her. But even though she wanted to change directions, her feet kept walking towards him.

She reached him and stopped close in front of him. He didn't say a word. When she looked up into his eyes, their soft expression surprised her.

"Are you waiting for me?" she asked.

Tony grinned lopsidedly and shrugged. "I thought I might find you here. Do you think you're up for a drink now?"

"I've spent enough time in bars recently, I…"

Tony lifted his right hand and she saw that he was holding a brown paper bag in it. "I have a bottle of tequila with our names written on it," he said.

She hesitated to accept that offer. She had been feeling very strange recently and wasn't sure if she could trust her own actions. But Tony was smiling at her, one of his warmer, more genuine smiles, and suddenly the wish to be close to him became so overwhelming that she simply nodded her head. She only wanted to spend some time with him, talk, drink, forget.

"My place," she suggested.

"Great!" he said. "Come on then." And he placed a hand in the small of her back and led her down the street to his parked car.

Her apartment wasn't far away and they managed to get there without doing much talking. Ziva didn't know what to say and Tony had become cautious after the many times she had shouted at him those last couple of days. It was as if they had drifted apart. They had used to be so close and then there had been the whole ordeal around Jeanne and after that she had almost physically felt the wall Tony had put up around him. She had bumped her head more than once trying to get through to him.

Inside her apartment, they sat down on the couch and Tony asked for shot glasses, but Ziva simply took the bottle from him and took a large gulp from it. Tony smiled and accepted the bottle when she passed it back to him.

The bottle circled between them for a couple of minutes and Ziva was already feeling her head become pleasantly light.

"I'm glad this case is over now," she heard Tony say and looked at him.

"Me too," she said quietly.

"I was worried about you," he admitted now – without looking at her. "I didn't like the idea of using you as bait for a serial killer."

Ziva merely shrugged it off and used her standard reply, "I'm a trained assassin." She said it even though she had been upset about Michael thinking that all Mossad agents were assassins.

"I know," Tony said. "But this time it was close. Very close." He looked at her and slowly lifted a hand to the wound on her temple. She didn't push his hand away this time and even allowed herself to close her eyes for a moment when his fingers touched her hair.

"It was too close," she whispered. She had already said that to Gibbs, but the only person in the world she wanted to talk to about this was Tony – he was also the only person in the world she was sometimes scared to talk to. "I don't know why I didn't react earlier."

"Did you think he wouldn't do it?"

"No, I was sure he'd do it. I…I really don't know what happened. And I just can't let it go. The look on his face when the bullet hit him, it's haunting me. It's there every time I close my eyes." She took the bottle from Tony and took a long gulp.

"Those things definitely didn't affect me some years ago," she said after some moments. "I got weak."

"That is definitely the last word I'd use to describe you."

"But do you think I'm still the same person I was when you first met me?" she wanted to know.

"I dunno. I didn't know you so well back then. But I guess we all go through some changes sometimes."

"Yeah, you definitely did."

"What do you mean?" Tony asked uneasily, taking the bottle from her.

"Come on!" Ziva said. "Jeanne? That woman changed you."

"No, she didn't."

"Yes, she did. You're no longer the man you were before you met her."

"Was that a compliment or an insult?"

Ziva chuckled. "That depends: is it a bad thing to grow up?"

Tony gave her an amused look, but then he turned serious. "Losing Jeanne hurt."

Ziva was surprised that he admitted it. Maybe it was the alcohol making him talk.

"I know," she said. "I could see it."

"I know that I've changed," Tony admitted. "And sometimes I hate it. Everything used to be so easy once. Now I have the feeling that things I didn't care much about in the past are getting to me. I don't know if that's a good thing for a federal agent."

"See?" Ziva exclaimed in triumph. "That's exactly what I was talking about. We are federal agents; we are supposed to be tough, to kick ass. We shouldn't need to go to the shrink because we shot a serial killer."

"You're damn right!" Tony agreed.

For a couple of minutes they were silent and concentrated on passing the bottle between them.

"I'm drunk," Ziva announced after some time. She handed Tony the bottle. "I've had enough."

Tony laughed, but nodded and set the bottle down on the coffee table. He leaned back on the couch, so close to Ziva that their arms were touching. After a moment she leaned her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes to enjoy this moment of peace. She didn't allow herself often to get so close to him because it was too dangerous for her. She had long ago given up lying to herself about her feelings for him and she had accepted the fact that she simply didn't manage to fall out of love with him. She knew that she was craving for this man and it was the greatest weakness she had ever allowed herself – as long as she told herself that she was giving herself permission to feel what she felt, it didn't feel so much like defeat.

She had felt a pang of jealousy at his words about Jeanne, even now, when Jeanne was long gone. She hated the fact that another woman had been the one to give Tony the experience of being in love for the first time. What if it had been me? She kept asking herself that question and she sometimes felt tears in her eyes when she wondered what things would be like now if Tony had only once really looked into her eyes and seen how jealous she was of that woman and how much he was hurting her. But he hadn't looked at her. Sometimes she had the feeling he didn't even see her. He kept walking out on her in moments where the tension between them became almost palpable in the air. He walked out and left her behind with her heart beating wild and her mind flooded with the memory of the one passionate kiss they'd shared during their time undercover. Ziva hadn't felt then what she was feeling now and she regretted not having taken advantage of the situation. God knew, if she came into that situation again, there wouldn't be any faking it.

But this was reality and she was Ziva David and Ziva David was not a woman who suffered from heart ache. Then Tony wrapped his arms around her shoulders and pulled her closer and Ziva was so close to simply ripping his clothes off. But then he spoke:

"Ziva?"

"Huh?"

"Why did you sleep with that guy? With Michael?"

Ziva lifted her head and stared at Tony. Way to be subtle, DiNozzo! For a moment she felt like hitting him, but she didn't do it. She was so drunk she might have missed and that would have been embarrassing.

"He's a nice guy," she replied.

"There's a lot of nice guys out there; nice guys that are not related to our cases. Why did you do it?"

"I don't want to talk about it."

"Zee-vah…?"

"Shut up!"

"Come on!"

"Shut up," she groaned.

"Why did you sleep with him?"

When he wouldn't let it go, Ziva decided to launch a counter attack. "Why did you fall in love with Jeanne even though you knew it was wrong?" she asked.

"That's unfair!" Tony complained. "I wasn't talking about feelings, I simply wanted to know why you…"

"Sometimes we do things that are wrong even though we know that they are," Ziva interrupted him, getting to the point she had wanted to make. "And Michael was…He was simply there, okay? I was feeling terrible and he was there." She shifted away from Tony, unable to bear his touch any more, and let her head fall back on the backrest of the couch. When she closed her eyes, she felt the room spin. And then she felt another thing: a warm hand touching hers and gently squeezing her fingers.

"Why didn't you let me help you, Ziva?" Tony asked quietly. "I was there."

"No." She shook her head. "You couldn't have helped."

"Why not?"

Because he was a part of the whole problem, she thought. She wouldn't be so weak and vulnerable if he hadn't made her fall in love with him.

"I've always had the gift to stay emotionally detached from my job," Ziva said, not in answer to his question. "No matter how cruel the things I did were, I didn't care. I don't remember if I learned not to care or if I never cared in the first place, but now I've lost that ability and I don't think I'll ever get it back."

"Is it such a bad thing to care?" Tony asked, still holding her hand.

"I almost got killed," she replied.

Tony looked at her and she held his gaze. Slowly he lifted a hand to her face and cupped her cheek. Ziva felt herself lean into his touch.

"I thought I felt something for Michael," she whispered.

"You thought?" Tony asked, slowly pulling away his hand.

Ziva nodded, then shook her head. "I thought I did, but it wasn't true. For one night, Michael was exactly what I needed. But I was not what he needed. I think I scared him."

"You can be scary sometimes," Tony joked, but Ziva didn't find it very funny.

"This is unfair," she said. "I can't stay emotionally detached anymore, but when I start to care, I end up scaring the people away from me." Why should Tony want her? She was an assassin who was no use in her job anymore and she definitely was no use as a girlfriend either.

"Every man who lets himself be scared away is not worth the trouble anyway," Tony said. He turned to face her and lifted a hand to stroke her hair. Ziva couldn't help but smile.

"See?" Tony grinned. "This is better."

Ziva looked into his eyes and felt herself get lost. The apartment around her faded away and everything that remained was Tony and his hands on her. She didn't know how long the moment lasted. It felt like an eternity, but it was over in the blink of an eye.

Suddenly Tony let go of her. Ziva, violently ripped out of the perfect little world she pretended was reality, felt a strong sense of loss.

"So, I guess you're feeling better now," Tony said cheerfully. "My job is done."

He got up from the couch and prepared to leave. Ziva stared after him as he walked to the front door of her apartment and couldn't believe it. He was leaving; like he always left. Suddenly she was angry. Angry at herself for loving this man who didn't feel anything for her and angry at him because he had this power over her that she couldn't stand up against.

"This is exactly why I didn't want your help," she shouted after him. "I needed someone who cares, but you just keep walking out on me."

Tony stopped dead and turned to face her, staring incredulously at her.

"No," Ziva said, feigning shock. "Don't stop now, go ahead, leave!" She got up from the couch and walked over to him, stopping right in front of him. "You know what? I don't need you, Tony! Everything was fine before I got to know you and it's going to be fine again. You can go now!"

When he didn't move, she placed her hands on his chest and pushed, but Tony grabbed her wrists and held her. Ziva struggled against him and when he didn't let go, she tackled him with her shoulder and caused him to tumble a few steps backwards, letting go of her wrists.

"Don't you touch me!" she shouted at him.

"Fine!" Tony shouted back. "Shall I go get Michael then, since he's allowed to touch you all he wants?"

"Leave him out of this! This is not about him."

"Then tell me what this is about!" he demanded. "'Cause I really can't figure it out. Come on, Ziva, tell me what you want. You want me to care? Okay, I did care. I wanted to help you, be there for you because I can't stand to see you suffer. And what do you do? You push me away and sleep with the first guy that crosses your path. And you blame me for not caring enough?"

"Ah, so it's my fault now? No, Tony! Because someone who cares for me wouldn't tease me on one of the worst days of my life. He wouldn't ignore me whenever I try to pour my heart out to him. And he would definitely not go and fall in love with another woman!" The moment Ziva had said that, she realized what she'd just admitted. She turned away from Tony, but she knew that she couldn't erase what she'd just said by not looking at him.

She heard him approach and her body tensed. When he stopped, she could feel him standing right behind her, but she didn't turn to face him. But then he put his hands on her shoulders and turned her around. Ziva wanted to shrug off his hands, but he grabbed her more tightly. Suddenly he pulled her to him and his lips crashed down on hers.

Too surprised and too overwhelmed to fight, Ziva started to kiss him back. She opened her mouth to his and wrapped her arms around his neck when they deepened the kiss.

This was wrong. It was so wrong. But she couldn't stop. Her body didn't listen to her anymore and within moments, everything around her faded and her world only consisted of touch and taste, of labored breathing and exploring hands.

--

Tony woke up in the middle of the night and even though he'd had more than just an average amount of alcohol last night, he remembered exactly what had happened. How could he forget the last hours? He could still feel, taste and smell her all around him and his memories of their love-making were so vivid that it made a light sweat break out on his forehead. Ziva was the most passionate woman he'd ever been with. And the most beautiful. And the most irritating. And the…Tony had long ago given up finding all the adjectives that would describe Ziva. She was everything.

And she was lying right next to him. Tony propped his head up on one hand and looked at her in the moonlight that fell in through the window. She was turning her back to him. The blanket was draped around her waist and the skin of her upper body shimmered silvery in the pale light. Suddenly Tony found it hard to go on breathing.

And then he saw something that really made him hold his breath for a moment. He leaned over her to kiss her cheek, but then he saw that the moonlight was glistening on her cheeks as if it was reflected by something. He lifted his hand to her face to confirm his suspicion and found that her cheeks were wet. Wet with tears.

She opened her eyes when he touched her, but didn't move.

"Ziva?" he whispered. "What is it?" He shifted closer to her and pulled her body flush with his. Then he pressed a gentle kiss to the nape of her neck and breathed in the scent of her hair.

"Ziva?"

"Go back to sleep, Tony," she whispered.

"No. What's wrong?"

"Nothing's wrong."

"You're crying."

"I'm not."

Tony turned her around in his arms so that she was facing him and kissed her cheeks.

"Ziva…" he whispered.

She loved how her name sounded from his lips. It made her entire body tingle. She couldn't believe what had happened. It was all she had dreamed of. And she really had no idea why those tears had started to fall. Maybe – and it wasn't easy to admit that, even to herself – maybe she was scared. Maybe she was scared that what she had now, in this moment, might be taken from her again. But when Tony kissed her cheeks and her eyelids, it was really hard to imagine that he might not be serious.

She cupped his cheeks in her hands and leaned in to kiss him. He responded eagerly and rolled her under him, but Ziva pushed him back and rolled them over until she was on top. She smiled down at him and ran a hand through his hair.

"Didn't you know?" she whispered in his ear. "Didn't you know what I'm feeling?"

"I was not sure what to do," he admitted.

"Neither was I. Sometimes I just wished those feelings would go away. They made me feel weak – and vulnerable. Nobody should have this power over me. But you have it."

Tony reached up and pushed her hair back, just like he'd done more than two years ago during their undercover mission. He loved her hair. It always made him want to fist his hands in it – which, he guessed, he was now allowed to do whenever he wanted.

"You know, Ziva, there's this certain kind of weakness that is not a bad thing at all. When you trust a person with your life, you don't have to be afraid of letting go."

"I've learned never to trust anyone," Ziva said, her voice barely above a whisper because Tony's lips were so close to her own now that it was taking her breath away.

"I could teach you again," Tony suggested and the strain in his voice told her that she was also having an effect on him.

"Yes," Ziva whispered and then she kissed him. She wanted to learn how to trust him like this – how to let go and give up control. It was all or nothing, and she wanted all, even though it scared her like nothing had scared her before. But Tony was holding her in his arms and kissing her – and she felt safe. And maybe for the first time in her life, she wanted to be weak. She wanted to be weak in his arms so he could forever make her feel as protected as she was feeling now.


A/N: Do you also think that it's unbearable how Tony and Ziva are dancing around the subject on the show? Let me know what you think about the story!