A/N Something I came up with just after I saw Nine Lives. And it was really late at night. :)


Hours And Minutes

Tony looked over at the clock.


That meant it had been 73 hours and 37 minutes since Ziva had left.

Not that he was counting.

He glanced down at his desk drawer and opened it, pulling out his travel neck pillow. The one he'd offered to her before she'd left.

He'd been considerate. He'd been caring.

He was jealous.

Two years ago she's been the one questioning his behavior and monitoring his activities.

Now the roles were reversed.

Tony had been going crazy about that photo he'd found in her drawer.

Who as the guy?

Was he from Mossad?

How did Ziva know him?

Those questions and other ran through Tony's mind.

He knew it was stupid. She was his partner. He couldn't be jealous about her.

He couldn't love her.

73 hours, 43 minutes.

He tried to distract himself. He played Tetris. He stacked papers. He caught pretzels in his mouth. But not matter what he did, she was always on his mind.

Being in the squadroom sitting across from her desk probably wasn't helping. But he knew that if he went home, he'd watch a movie, and he didn't particularly was to associate James Bond with his current mood.

He picked up the plasma remote and turned the news on. It wasn't like anyone was around to object.

"…a huge hotel bomb right in the centre of Tel Aviv, taking down the apartment building and restaurant next door. Emergency crews are stilling working on finding survivors…" the reporter said.

Something inside Tony snapped. He recognized the building that was on screen.

Ziva had been looking at pictures of that hotel before she left.

She was staying there.

In a place that just exploded.

Tony rushed over to Ziva's desk, searching for any sign that she wasn't staying there.

She'd locked everything, including her desk drawer.

"Damn it, Ziva," he muttered, reaching for his phone and dialing. "Boss?"


"Do you have any idea where Ziva is staying?"

"I doubt she'd want to talk, Tony. She's on holiday. She'll be back in two days, talk to her then." Gibbs sounded impatient, but that didn't deter Tony.

"Was she staying at the Azru Ahavah hotel?"

Pause. "Yes. Why?"

"Boss, the hotel was just bombed. Explosion took out half of the block." Visions of a bloody and broken Ziva collapsing to the ground were flooding his mind.

"I'll be there soon," Gibbs said before he hung up.

74 hours, 13 minutes.

It was nearly midnight by the time Gibbs arrived in the squadroom. Tony was on the phone and typing on his keyboard.

"Update," Gibbs said.

"Can't find her," Tony said, putting the phone down. "Phone's off."

"Alright, we'll-"

"Should we go there? Tel Aviv? To see if-"

"DiNozzo, we don't even know if she's there," Gibbs said. He headed up to MTAC, leaving DiNozzo alone at his desk.

81 hours, 24 minutes.

Tony woke suddenly and calculated the time from his clock.


He'd tried so hard not to sleep. He shouldn't have been able to fall asleep – Ziva could be dead.

He turned his computer back on and sat back, waiting.

The elevator doors opened.

Ziva walked into the squadroom, smiling slightly as she put her bag down behind her desk.

Tony didn't bat an eye. He's been picturing her since she'd left, and now this was yet another stress-induced hallucination.

Ziva leant against the front of her desk. After a moment, she spoke.

"Nice to see you too, Tony."

Tony didn't look at her. "I refuse to speak to a figment of my imagination," he muttered.

Ziva continued to stare at him. "Tony?"

Tony cracked. All he wanted to do was find her. But his mind wouldn't allow it. "You are a hallucination brought on by the fact that I can't find you. For all I know you're fine and sitting somewhere with that guy while I sit here thinking about you and being in love-"


He looked at her.

She got up, walked over next to him, and knelt down to his level. "Are you alright?"

"No, I'm not alright, I'm basically talking to myself," he muttered.

Ziva leaned closer and touch his hand.

He froze. Hallucination people don't feel like that.

Hallucination people couldn't warm you with a simple touch.

She wasn't a hallucination.

She was real.

He leapt up and engulfed her in his arms, barely registering that Gibbs was watching from upstairs.

"You're alive," he mumbled into her hair.

"I came home earlier that I originally planned to," she replied.

Tony could feel his boss's eyes boring into the back of his head. He knew he should probably release her from his hold, but he couldn't.

He'd almost lost her. He wasn't going to let it happen again.

She was there, with him. That's all that mattered.

For the moment.

A/N Review!

I should probably point out that there is nothing wrong with talking to yourself. I do it all the time. I talk to inanimate objects as well.