Hello to everyone for the last time. Thankyou all so much for the awesome time I've had with this fic. I hope the last chapter lives up to all your standards.
My Final suggestion, and this is one that's been going for a while now:
The Parent Trap by Kandon Kuuson.
As well as that, however you should also check out the 4 fics by arashichaser in the Pre-Premier Fic-a-thon.
For the last time. Here is:
Chapter 25: Unlike last time
It took Ziva a moment to register what was going on. She glanced down at her watch which read 3.35 am and then back up to Tony. Finally, she stood up, squinting to see him properly in the darkness.
"I could ask you the same question, yes?" she responded.
"Touché." he nodded and smiled weakly, squinting in the darkness. "but I live near here…"
"I could not sleep." she answered "you?"
"Yeah." Tony began, "Something like that." he finished, taking a few steps forward, his feet squelching as the terrain changed from gravel to grass.
Without arguing, Ziva followed him through the park until the two were under the cover of a tin gazebo.
"so…" he drifted off, having no idea what he could say to her. "how's--"
"Tony." Ziva interrupted abruptly "What are you doing here really?"
Tony stared into her eyes, wishing he had the guts to say the things that Abby had made saying look so easy. His stomach flipped in circles and his mind shouted at him to tell her but he couldn't; every time he opened his mouth, it felt as though something was pressing against his throat, making it impossible to get the words out.
"I couldn't sleep." he said quietly, telling only half of the truth. The real story was, he couldn't sleep so he was staring out of his window until he caught Ziva as she walked underneath a street lamp and on a thoughtless whim he chased after her.
Ziva nodded, knowing he wasn't telling the truth though not bothering to pursue it.
"…I better go." she said softy, stepping out of the gazebo and into the dark rain.
"Wait, Ziva." Tony called, running down the stairs after her.
"What?" she asked, turning around, sleep deprivation finally getting the better of her.
"I've been thinking…" the pressure on his throat returned. It was on the tip of his tongue but he couldn't say it. He could not put himself on the line. It was too big a jump. He wanted to kill himself, why couldn't he do this?
"About what?" she asked, her heart racing a mile a minute.
"um… do you want to stay at my place tonight? That way you don't have to go all the way home. I got a shower and dry clothes for you." he said, mentally murdering himself. 'Chicken' his mind yelled at him.
Ziva glanced down. Of course she wanted to go to his place. She wanted to stay at his place permanently. But she couldn't, could she? Her mind flickered back to that day when she had ruined everything. Her arms coiling around Mark's waist, the anger and hurt in Tony's eyes. She had brought this upon herself and still, even though she was marrying one of the most perfect men in the world, she wanted Tony. She wanted to stay with him forever - and in a way she was staying with him forever, by marrying Mark she was staying at NCIS however a part of her - her heart - wished more than anything else in the world that Tony would be the one willing to keep her in the country.
"ah. I better go, actually…" she answered quietly, turning her back on him, transitioning into a full-blown sprint before he had a chance to change her mind.
Tony stood watching Ziva sprint off, the pressure disappearing from his throat as he whispered "Let me be the one to fix this." into the cold night.
He stood staring into the darkness, his mind drifting back to that day when he had ruined everything. Those four stupid words.
'just like last time.'
Ziva opened her eyes slowly, squinting in the sudden light. Almost on cue, the shrill, ear piercing screech of her alarm rang through the room, causing her to sit bolt upright, her hair pulling away from the plastered position it had assumed throughout the course of the rough night.
She leaned over and hit the alarm off her bedside table, running a hand through her stiff hair.
"urgh" She moaned, rolling out of bed. She climbed into the shower, her mind a groggy mess and washed and dried her hair, sticking to the 'hair dresser's' orders… Well, Abby's orders. Somehow Abby had talked Ziva into letting her do her hair at the promise that no scissors were involved.
She walked out of her bathroom wrapped in a towel and into her bedroom, surprised to see every different type of cosmetic and hair appliance lay out on every single surface the room contained, a Goth sitting in the middle of it with a cheeky smile on her face.
"You should lock your door, Ziva." She stated, shooting a glance to the pile of wet clothes from last night.
"Oh. That um--" she tried to explain
"Didn't ask." Abby interrupted, for once in her life not wanting to know what was going on. Obviously the wedding was still on so that meant Tony was still not going to grow up and out of his stupid fear of commitment. Abby shook her head subtly to herself, she thought he would change for Ziva. "Let's start this thing, we've got a lot to do and only 4 hours to do it in. But don't worry, Ziva; I do my best work under pressure." she smiled.
Ziva nodded and walked over to her friend.
"Alright." she began "Let's get this over with."
Tony sat at his dining table with a glass of water and a couple of Tylenol. He threw back the mixture and glanced up to the clock, rubbing his forehead at threat of a fresh headache. It was 11.30. Ziva was getting married in half an hour. His heart began to race and his stomach swooped. Was this it? Was he just going to let her go? The potential love of his life?
He shook that off. She wasn't the 'potential love of his life' how sappy was that? She was just a girl.
He stopped there, thinking back to something she had said to him once. It was on a case they worked on a few years ago, an FBI agent on her first field assignment had joined with the team to catch a man who could change people's identities. She was attractive, a new girl after Jeanne.
"… It would be nice but she is just a girl…" Ziva had said to him "The new Tony needs a woman… At least I though he did."
And she wasn't just a girl
She was a woman.
She was the woman that he needed.
"Oh God." Tony whispered to himself. How had he been so blind as to not realise what she was saying back then? She had been hinting things all along. How could he have missed that? He had to grow up. Abby was right - Kate was right. He had to get over this commitment thing.
He stood up and walked to his wardrobe, pulling out one of his best wedding suits and a blue silk tie. He threw it all on in record time and went into his bathroom to quickly gel his hair into a disarray.
Tony smiled at his reflection against the microwave door that sat on his kitchen counter as he grabbed his car keys and ran out the door, glancing at his watch as he locked it behind him.
Ziva sat in her preparation tent, staring into her own glorious reflection. Abby had done a fantastic job on her hair and make up. Her dark brown hair was pieced intricately to match the soft beading that subtly curved along the dress, placed obscurely to fall over her left shoulder. Her make up was soft but perfect as was the dress. For once, everything was going exactly to plan and for the first time, she didn't want it to. She glanced outside, a dark cloud forming and darkening the room.
"Are you ready, my dear?" Came the soft, gravely voice of Donald Mallard, pulling Ziva from her trance as a fine mist of rain began to collect on the window. She stood up and turned around with a large huff of breathe and a fake smile.
"Yes. Ducky. Thankyou." she said, wrapping her arm around his outstretched one.
"And might I add you look rather stunning." he added, leading her into the foyer where Abby and McGee stood with other various bridesmaids and groomsmen.
Before Abby had a chance to blurt something out incoherently, a soft instrumental strumming came from inside, sending Ziva's stomach swooping in regret. She was not doing the right thing. All of a sudden she had the urge to run again - to take Tony up on his offer of staying at his house. She couldn't do this.
"Ready?" Ducky whispered, pulling Ziva out of her thought spiral to see it was her turn, the bridal party already down the isle.
"Um, Ducky, I--"
"Ziva." a low and out of breath voice called from behind.
Ziva spun around to find Tony gazing into her eyes, his green eyes sporting a tinge of gray.
"Anthony, we really must--"
"Sorry Ducky, can I please talk to the bride for a second?" he asked, turning to the ME. Ducky sighed and walked away, deciding it was pointless to protest though he did not agree and he knew everyone was waiting for them.
Ziva wanted to say something but she couldn't, she had no idea how to close her mouth let alone find her voice.
"Ziva. I'm so sorry about the timing of this whole thing. I realise if I was man enough to do this a while ago we wouldn't be in this mess…" he began, smiling in a weak attempt to bring a bit of light heartedness into the moment. The smile faded slowly and he cleared his throat, trying to ease the awkwardness of the silence.
"The timing was never right for us, Tony. Why would now be any different?" Ziva asked, staring at the ground.
"You know, Ziva…" he began, swallowing "Someone once told me that you can't just wait around for timing to fix a situation… sometimes if you want something to work you have to create the timing yourself…"
"Actually, it was a McGee… Maybe the Probie could use some of his wife's assistance in his next book." he smiled back. "Anyway, I got to thinking and I realised that there is no time left. This is it. This is all I could create for us."
Ziva moved her gaze up slowly until her glassy eyes were staring straight into Tony's. She held the gaze for a few seconds and lowered her eyes again.
"I understand…" she said softly "I am sorry for everything, I--"
"But what if that's not enough for me, Ziva? What if I want to grow up? What if I want to fix this myself?" he asked, staring at the roof. If one thing hadn't changed it was the way they interacted with each other in intimate situations - always one wanting to run off.
"What are you talking about, Tony?" Ziva asked, turning around to stare into the large room where a lot of guests were getting incredibly restless.
"I want to be the one to fix this… Ziva, I want you to marry me." he said, his heart thumping in his throat. He was doing it - he was putting his heart on the line. And even if he was taken down, he was taken down swinging.
Ziva snapped her gaze to his eyes and stared in blatant disbelief. "What?" she mumbled, having trouble grasping her words.
"Come on Ziva, we can fix this - if it doesn't work I think Gibbs has a divorce lawyer he could recommend." he smiled, still managing to make jokes that could get his head whacked off at a time like this. "… What do you say?"
"What the hell are you doing here, Anthony?" Came a booming voice from behind, pulling Tony and Ziva out of their own little world.
"Oh hey there, Marky." Tony smiled as Mark's eyes went bloodshot from anger.Without thinking he rushed forward and pulled his arm back, ready to get a good swing at him. Tony stood openly, ready for the blow. Mark swung his arm forward and Tony braced for the hit, a loud crunching noise rang through the small lobby and Tony opened his eyes to find Mark writhing in unconscious pain. He turned to Ziva who stood over him, a small drop of blood on her stark white shoes.
"Is that a yes?" Tony asked, looking deep into her eyes.
"That is a yes." she nodded and ran to him, throwing her arms around his neck and kissing him with more emotion and passion than she had ever kissed anyone with. Tony braced her back with a hold strong enough to never let go and deepened the kiss further before it slowed and the two broke away, breathing heavily as their foreheads rested against each other.
"You know something, David?" Tony asked with a dumb smile.
"This is nothing like last time."
Well as I'm uploading this it is only a few hours until the NCIS season 6 premiere. Can you believe it? It feels like a lifetime ago that season 5 ended and finally we're here! (it was a long countdown, am I right?) But -as NCIS fans- we all know the wait will be well worth it. Umm… I really don't know how to say goodbye to everyone who has been reading this story - I realise it's just a fic but in a really sad way (sad as in pathetic, not emotional) I feel like it's more than that because of all the support I've had throughout the entire thing. I mean, this is so pathetic on my behalf but I may actually cry… This is what I get for writing at 12.19am. Anyway, I have no way to explain to you how grateful I am for the reviews or how I could even begin to thank you all for actually giving my writing a chance cause writing is one of my 3 passions (NCIS and film the other) and for every review I get, my self esteem goes up a little more as well as my pride in my work. Thankyou so much to everyone who took the time to read this because I can't tell you what it even begins to mean to me. Thankyou also, for helping out with the thing I promised to put away and never speak of again and that is the "Nat" situation :P Which still isn't sorted, by the way however I suppose that's a good thing because if I was in a good place with love this story would have ended about 15 chapters ago with Tony and Ziva riding off into the sunset together with no angst! :D:D hehe anyway, I can't believe it's over and I can't believe you've read this far because I'm just babbling now.
It's been one hell of a ride and I guess now there's nothing more left to say then:
I'll see you around.
Xox Mel aka ncisgirl101