I'm going back to Israel

The realization really hadn't sunk in yet. She knew that when it hit her though, it would leave her completely breathless.. Helpless even. She had to fight that. There was nothing that Ziva David hated more then feeling helpless.

As they made their way down from the Director's office… Director Vance's office, she felt like they were once again in a funeral procession, like they had been that morning.She glanced curiously over at Tony to see how he was taking all of the news. His face was stony. It looked like he was repressing some incredible urge to turn on his heel, run back and strangle Vance where he stood.

It was McGee who spoke first as they came to the bottom of the stairs.

"Boss… is that it over then?" he said quietly, turning to Gibbs. They all knew what he meant.

Is the family breaking up? Were these three years of friendship, bonding and personal development completely futile?

Looking straight ahead, Gibbs replied curtly, "Is it ever over McGee?"

Gibbs spent the rest of the day lost in his own thoughts, when Ziva and Tony tried to talk to him… they were cut off abruptly by a "Not now."

888

Ziva went to bed early that night, but she couldn't sleep. She'd watch everyone say goodbye to Tony today… Abby with tears running down her face, McGee with a "manly" hug. Gibbs hadn't said bye. As far as she was aware, he couldn't be found. Standing with the others, she felt herself choking up, but resisted all urges to show emotion. She'd told Tony that she'd come over and help him pack tonight, and that that would be their goodbye. But, as the night progressed, she'd found that she just couldn't will herself to do it. She knew that she'd break down in front of him if the right things were said, and she couldn't do that. Couldn't let herself appear vulnerable.

Not in front of him.

The thought had nagged at her all day, distracting her from every task she was presented with.

Tell him Ziva. Tell him. Pull him into a corner and tell him. It's now or never. You might never see him again. Oh god, you might never see him again. And then… it will be like it always is, another missed opportunity. Except now, it will be your fault.

She hadn't told him. Instead, she'd gone home, cracked open a bottle of wine, and literally chugged it. It hadn't taken long for the tears to come. They were allowed, if no one saw them. She'd cried and cried and cried, until she thought it would have been physically impossible to shed anymore tears. And then she'd cried some more. Her body had been wracked with sobbing. A lot of the tears were for the family as a whole. But the vast majority were for Tony. Tears for all of the amazing times that they'd shared. Tears for her jealousy over Jeanne. Tears for all of the times that she could have acted, but hadn't. Tears for the things left unsaid. As she sobbed she'd asked herself, why was it that she was the bravest woman that almost every person knew in the face of danger.. But when it came to silly fickle emotions, she was a coward?

Because they are not silly fickle emotions.

Now, lying in bed, she felt a terrible physical weariness drifting over her, as if crying could drain all of a person's energy. However, mentally, she was completely awake.

Call him.

The idea came to her suddenly. She couldn't let this be the end. She couldn't let him leave without saying goodbye. She wiped the tears off of her face as if he would be able to see them just by speaking on the phone with her.

She dialled his number from memory, her heartbeat pounding in her ears.

One ring. Two Rings. Three rings.

Oh god, he isn't going to pick up… he is probably busy having sex with some girlfriend that I did not know about.

"Hello? Dinozzo residence, how may I help you?"

His words were slurred.

Of course he is drunk. I should have guessed as much.

"Tony, it's Ziva."

He paused. The pause was heavy, laden with unspoken meaning.

"Zee-vahhh. Is it you? Ha. I thought that it was God- calling to tell me that shooting myself is in fact a good idea right now."

Ziva sat up in bed quickly.

What?!

"What?! Tony, no. What are you saying? You do not know what you are doing. I'm coming over there right now! Please just stay still. Please, I'm going to get you on my cell phone, and we will talk the whole time that I am driving, ok?"

Tony chuckled… bitterly?

"A Mossad ninja and a drama queen all in one package… mom, you shouldn't have! I was joking Zee-vah…. don't worry…you don't need to put me on suicide watch. Your concern is sweet though; it's nice to know that somebody cares."

If only you knew…

"Well, still.. I do not like the way that you were talking. I am coming over, and you can't stop me." She stated defiantly.

"Do you hear me trying to?"

She smiled.

"Give me ten minutes."

She hung up. She didn't bother with much makeup or straight hair or nice clothes. She had wanted to look extra good the last time that he saw her… but now she didn't really care.

Stopping in front of the mirror, she checked herself out quickly. Her eyes were slightly pink and puffy, revealing that she'd been crying.

I doubt that he will notice.

She had to put aside how much she needed him for a little while, because right now he needed her. And that always took precedence.

888

AN: Ohhh, get excited for the next chapter.. it's going to be full of subtext, confessions and perhaps... more? And also, what's up with Gibbs?! You'll find out! Please, please, please, please review!!