This is a random thing that I wrote to go with the new episode Agent Afloat. I guess it's kind of a tag...but not really. It's bascially Tony ranting to himself about his feelings for Ziva.


"You could have called."

She was right. He could have. He should have.

But he was too much of a coward, too much of an imbecile to come out and say it.

So he had contented all those months with just talking to her pictures, the ones he had taken of her while they were in L.A. While he was having fun instead of doing his job.

He ranted about lack of intelligent conversation, he ranted about the lack of women, he ranted about the lack of any place to go. He talked to her picture about how he felt trapped on the stupid ship, surrounded by people who he felt hated him.

He talked to her about how much he missed her, how much he wished he was with her.

How much he loved her.

The idea had been growing in his mind for some time now, the idea that he just might possibly be in love with her. It was all because of that African lady, the one who went on and on about soul mates. He was first scared by the concept; if everyone had a soul mate, then that would mean someone was out there for him. What if it was Jeanne, and he had lost his one chance for this divine, complete happiness? He began to think on this for a while, entertaining this ridiculous notion. If he were to maybe, possibly, be seriously considering this soul mate idea…who the hell would it be? What would she be like? And the more he thought about it, the easier it became to construct this idea of his perfect match, of everything that he admired and looked for in a woman.

He didn't realize that this image in his mind was slowly beginning to take the shape of Ziva until she brought up the subject.

"Do you ever think about soul mates?"

The question, coupled by the immediate and mentally incapacitating epiphany that this incurred, caught him of guard. He had no idea what he wanted to say to that, so he went into autopilot.

"They were on Decca, right? Big hit, mid seventies? Sort of a disco thing? Sing a few bars, I'll get it."

When she left, obviously disappointed and hurt, he slapped himself upside the head. He deserved it. But she had just sprung the question on him like that! He was unprepared; they had been talking about immigrants not two seconds before.

He was an idiot.

So he was left alone to contemplate this new development in his emotional complex. Did this mean he was in love with Ziva?


But this was so different from anything he'd ever felt before. He was had been in love with Jeanne, right? He knew what love felt like, and this newfound connection to Ziva was…was…

For a man who always seemed to have words, he sure as hell could find any for this. So his spare moments on the job were consumed by this internal debate with himself. On the outside, he was normal and treated everyone the same. On the inside he was torn, ripped to little tiny pieces as he struggled to come to terms with his stupid emotions. He tried to convince himself that it wasn't a good idea to try anything with Ziva. He could just be imagining things; he could be on some drug that was causing him to think thoughts that weren't his.

Various movie scenarios flashed through his mind: Alien abduction, brain transplants, someone slipping him a weird-ass poison from like, South America…

He even looked up Y. Pestis to see if complete mental breakdowns were a side effect that could occur years later.

A quote from a T.V. show came floating into his memory.

"Sir, I think you may have a problem with your brain being missing."

Damn straight he did.

He had turned back to Ziva's picture on his bulletin board and run his fingers through his hair in frustration. What the hell was he going to do? Vance sent her to Israel. What was she doing right now? Was she alright? Was she alive?

The last thought sent a cold shiver down his spine. He wouldn't think about that. She was tough. She could take care of herself.

But what if she wasn't?

He made a promise to himself right then and there that the next time he was on land he would do whatever it took to talk to her, if only for a moment. He wrote it down, he reminded himself everyday...

And yet, when the chance came up, his hand froze. He was sitting in a bar, arm stretched out towards the pay phone, the coins already in the slot, but his fingers would not move. He couldn't dial the number. His mind went blank. All his thoughts, everything he was going to say, went out the window and fled from his mind, leaving him defenseless.

With a sigh of anger at himself, he had turned and walked back to the ship, locking himself in his office-slash-bedroom. He longed for a form of human contact that didn't wear a uniform. He missed D.C. He missed McGee. He missed Abby and Gibbs and Ducky.

He missed Ziva.

Between the visions of Ziva haunting his waking moments and the visions of Director Shepard haunting his sleep, life became impossible without a bottle of something strong in his hand. Nights would find him in his room, sitting in his bed, staring blankly off into space as he tried to drink the memories away.

Gibbs didn't blame him. Nobody did.

But he blamed himself. He should have listened to Ziva. He should have.

Life became shit. Waking up to the ache behind his eyes after an alcohol-induced slumber to spend a fourteen hour day playing rent-a-cop on a ship of five thousand, only to come back to his room and repeat the process.

After the first month things had gotten easier. A call from Gibbs had reawakened hope in him that he wouldn't have to stay in this hell he was sent to for much longer.

And then they found the uniform on the back of the ship, a moment of excitement in an otherwise dull world. He talked to Gibbs and McGee and got a chance to set foot on land. Things were looking up.

On a sunny morning he called the office, needing advice on the case. He called Gibbs, knowing that would be the most efficient way to do it; anyone else and he would end up being passed from person to person as each one said hello and gave him an update on their life. As much as he would have liked that, though, he didn't think he would be able to cope with it today. Maybe he would call back some other time.

He was taken by surprise then, when McGee answered the phone. All previous thoughts were left behind as he greeted his former partner with exuberance and excitement, launching into jokes about the new Director and his need for tequila.

He almost had a heart attack when he heard Gibbs' voice behind him. He turned slowly, and there she was, standing next to his boss, her wonderfully curly hair falling delicately across one side of her face.

After initial hellos had subsided, he shifted once again into his normal mode. He wasn't going to say anything to Ziva until Gibbs was away…preferably on another continent so the man's super human senses couldn't interfere.

There were still the occasional glances; he could have sworn there was something in those looks she kept shooting at him when she thought he wasn't looking. But maybe it was just normal I-missed-you looks. Maybe they were just his imagination. Maybe he was seeing things again, his own personal feelings clouding up his judgment and perception again.

She talked to him very little. She asked him about Jenny; she could she could probably tell something was eating at him inside.

She was right, of course, when she guessed he still blamed himself. But the other part, the part that concerned her…the important one…she didn't voice out loud.

She asked him if he was still drinking.

"Not as much as I used to."

"You could have called."

So there you go. Not as good as my other one this's called Broken, and its a Tony fic that I'm extremely proud of. If you read anything else today, go read that.

Now I'm going to go watch NCIS...maybe one from season 2...