AN: So, it's late, and I have class early tomorrow morning, but I can't just watch an episode like Nine Lives and then not follow it up with something TIVA-esque. TIVA fans everywhere: wasn't that the best episode for TIVA ever?? Tony's definitely in love with her now, and realizing what he missed out on. Watch the last scene... the looks that he gives her are so loaded with longing, and his lost look as he watches her walk away is heartbreaking!! This is a Tony centric piece (because I always write Ziva ones) and because I think that this episode shed light on the fact that Tony definitely now has feelings for Ziva (YAYY!!)

For those of you following "Eyes that won't shut up", I don't think that I'll be able to finish it, but hopefully this will make up for it!

Please review!!

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He stood up quickly, without a second thought, and lunged towards the elevator, his epiphany driving him onwards. He slammed his hand down on the elevator button, praying to all God that it hadn't started to go down yet. The doors thundered open to reveal her, as pretty as a picture, and shocked by his sudden appearance. She opened her mouth to speak but he rushed into the elevator and smothered her lips with his own before she even got the chance to, wrapping her in his arms as he did so. He felt her tense against him, go rigid in his arms, but then, all of a sudden she relaxed. He'd thought that she would fight, was so so sure that he would face some resistance from these lips that he now claimed. After all, she was about to take a plane to Isreal to see the new man in her life. But she didn't resist, she greeted him with passion equal to his own. The kiss was fiery, burning with the tension of 3 years of simmering desire. The kind of kiss you only dream about.

Tony shook his head and sighed as he watched her walk away from him. She did it so haughtily, as if she'd realized his thoughts and was now subtly flaunting his misfortune in his face.

He shook his head. He felt…

He didn't know how he felt.

Grade A Dinozzo, grade A.

When did he ever not know how he felt? When he felt hungry, he got a burger, when he felt bored, he got a movie, when he felt sex- starved, he got a girl from a local bar to traipse back to his apartment with him….

But now, he didn't know how he felt.

He knew that he wanted to chase her. Right now. To chase her down the stairs, out the door, to the airport, to Tel- Aviv….

But then what?

Come on Dinozzo, don't go all "When Harry Met Sally" on this situation….

He wanted to chase her, and he wanted to shake her, he wanted to shake her and shake her and shake her, and scream it to her, spit it in her face in a rage of vindictive passion,

"Why Ziva? Why were you such a coward? You had time, you had all the fucking time in the world! You're the bravest person I know, but you chickened out on something so juvenile… so fucking juvenile. Why didn't you tell me before it was too late?? Why didn't you end this game the adult way, instead of going out and finding a replacement, a fucking replacement because you were too scared of facing the damn truth??"

But he couldn't. Because she was gone now, she was gone to Tel- Aviv to sit with her fucking Mossad lover on his Mossad boat and make love to him under an Israeli sunset.

Hadn't she seen it in his eyes? He'd told her once that her eyes just didn't shut up… were his any different? He was begging her to stay. He even brought his head rest thing from home to give to her, as if to prove himself in some way.

Jesus Dinozzo. What were you thinking? Giving a girl a plane head rest as some last desperate attempt at chivalry? Even flowers would have been better…

He shook his head again. He wanted to bang it on his desk. Hit it against a wall. Maybe he deserved this, maybe this was what he got for assuming that she'd always be around, always be available, just in case he decided to do some of the chasing for once.

You snooze you lose, big guy.

And he'd fucking snoozed alright. He'd snoozed through the hints, oooh the hints. He'd disregarded the palpable jealousy that she directed towards him every time he mentioned Jeanne. In some sick way, he's liked that he was in the power seat… that she was the one chasing him. He'd like being chased by a woman like a Ziva, a woman of class and charm and mind-blowing intelligence, not to mention overwhelming amounts of sex appeal. He'd liked the thought that she might be in love with him… loved that thought. It made him feel… special? Yeah, special. He'd thought that the advances would keep coming, and that one day, when the tension was unbearably thick, she'd finally push all inhibitions away and act on it, and it would be that much more worth the wait.

He'd expected more and more build-up and subtext and hints and teasing and smirks and tension and games…

He hadn't expected this. Holy shit had he not expected this. Why had he always unconsciously assumed that Ziva was untouchable, that she'd mess around with guys, but never want to be with them? He'd always assumed that she was holding out for him, that she would keep on doing so until he got all of his "I'm a chauvinist who never really has feelings for women" shit figured out, until he sorted through all of his Jeanne baggage and figured out what he wanted.

Nice superiority complex there Dinozzo.. Look where that got you…

He'd known what he wanted all along. He'd known it, he'd just been in denial of that fact. And, even when he was transitioning out of that denial, he'd just wanted the games to last a little longer…. Because games were fun.

He'd wanted her sideways smirk when she proved him wrong, her consistent mutilation of American idioms, her teasing, her death threats (more endearing then sinister now), her kamikaze driving, her eyes, her hair, her delicious figure, her honey skin…. Her passion and her power and her spirit and her strength. He'd wanted it all. He wanted it all.

But now, she'd walked away from him. She'd walked away from him, leaving him smouldering in his own regret. She'd walked away from him with that seductive sway propelling her forward towards a man that wasn't him. She dreamed about that guy now. She wanted that guy now.

She'd walked away because he hadn't given her a reason to stay.

Just like always.

He sighed, and grabbed his things. On his way out, he made his way over to her desk. He made his way over to her desk and reached his hand under the cover… just to check if the picture was still there. It was. He pulled it out. He looked at the man staring back at him and wanted to tear it up with all of his might. Scatter the fragments of the picture around the office and leave them there for her to see when she got back.

Instead, he muttered, "Lucky bastard," turned on his heel, and exited the bullpen.

Fini