Final chapter, folks. I hope you have enjoyed it. Thank VerityFrancesB if you have.

Once again, I do not own NCIS or any part thereof.

Here for the Party

-7-

When Tony got into the apartment Ziva was already taking photographs. He looked at her, opened his mouth and then decided silence might be what was needed right now. He searched the apartment. Obviously, two people lived here, a man and a woman. Three closets were full of her clothes and Jacobs' stuff took up one half of one closet with his and her winter coats taking up the other half. DiNozzo shook his head. He'd never be able to get married. He needed at least two closets for his own clothes plus a special closet to protect his handmade Italian shoes. He turned to say something to Ziva about his closet needs versus the normal male's and then remembered she wasn't talking to him. He hated when she wasn't talking to him.

His phone rang and he shook his head. Ziva looked at him as he got the cell out and flipped it open.

"DiNozzo."

Ziva looked his way but she still wasn't looking him in the eyes.

"Yeah? What? Well, crap, Probie, why didn't you tell us earlier? Okay. We're outta here."

He put his phone back in his pocket as Ziva walked toward him. He smiled tentatively at her.

"McGee says the local LEOs will be here soon to take our evidence. Apparently the wife turned herself in at a police station and confessed to murdering the husband in the time honored fit of jealous rage. Gibbs says when they arrive we can just hand over what we've found and call it a night. It's their case. They got the confession."

Ziva immediately handed off the camera to him and walked toward the front door, obviously leaving.

"Hey, wait. You're not leaving, Ziva. Not yet. Not til we have a little talk."

He put the camera down and went after her. Without thinking he put his hand out and took her by the shoulder. She whirled on him so fast he was almost jerked off balance.

"Don't touch me, Tony."

He held his hands out to his sides.

"I won't touch you but you have to talk to me."

He could see in her eyes she was going to ignore him.

"Please, Ziva. Please. Just for a few minutes until the cops get here?"

He tried to put everything he was feeling into the "please." His confusion, his frustration, his unspoken feelings for her.

She looked him in the face this time and then nodded. He wasn't sure what he saw in her dark brown eyes but she wasn't happy, he could tell that much.

"Let's wait outside," he said, thinking it might be easier for her in the early morning darkness. She nodded and went out the door. Tony followed her. She came to stand by her car. He halted in front of her as she crossed her arms over her chest.

"I only have one question, Ziva. What did I do to piss you off so badly? I don't remember being an especial asshole lately."

She didn't say anything and he began to wonder if she was going to answer him. Then she stood up straighter.

"You did nothing but be yourself, Tony. Nothing but be yourself."

He frowned. What the hell kind of answer was that?

"And that's bad? Being myself is bad?"

She turned away from him and beginning playing with the side mirror on her car door, moving it up and down and then side to side. He cringed. She would destroy the electric system that controlled the mirror from the inside of the car if she kept it up.

"No, Tony. Being yourself is not bad. It is not bad for anyone but me."

He took a chance and stepped closer to her. He figured it might be kinda safe, her back was too him at the moment.

"How am I bad for you, Ziva? I don't understand."

He deliberately kept his voice soft and nonconfrontational. He had the feeling he might not like her answer but he had to find out. Obviously she was unhappy in general and with him in particular.

She began to speak, her voice so low he had to step even closer to hear her. He stood barely an inch from her. He could feel the warmth of her body as he entered her personal space.

"You are bad for me, Tony. All of this time we have known each other and I still do not know if…if I am special to you in any way. I wanted you the moment I saw you but I did not want to be just another one-day stand for you."

He couldn't help it. He interrupted.

"One-night stand, Ziva."

She didn't rise to the bait.

"One-night stand, yes. But all these years I have still wanted you, more so with every passing day. And you never really wanted me. Because you are Tony you have to tease and touch and make me crazy with longing with no intention of following through except in the most superficial way. I am not special to you, not like you are to me."

She stopped and he opened his mouth to speak.

"No. Do not say anything, Tony."

She sniffed. Was she crying? He longed to reach out and touch her, comfort her.

"Lately, it seems you have been even more 'Tony' than before. You touch me more often. You tease me, coming close to me, like now. You sometimes seem to look at me in a way I cannot interpret. But I know it means nothing to you. Tonight I had made plans to go out to a bar, meet a man, have sex with him. If I am going to be a 'one-night stand' I did not want it to be with you but a stranger. I did not want to harm our partnership. I did not want it to be someone I have to see every day. It did not happen. Gibbs got in the way."

Now he did touch her. He put his hand gently on her shoulder.

"Ziva, I don't…"

"You have done nothing wrong, Tony. I did all the wrong. What I did tonight is inexcusable. If you will not press charges against me then Monday I will resign my liaison position and return to Israel. I will not force you to work with me any longer."

She looked up attempting a smile.

"Perhaps you should see if Gibbs can arrange a male partner next time so you will not have to deal with emotional females, yes?"

She put her hand on the door handle and he moved quickly to place his hand over hers. She stood very still.

"Look at me, Ziva," he said. When she didn't he turned her toward him and then lifted her chin so he could see her face.

"Look at me," he said again. She lifted her eyes to him.

"I am not sure exactly what we're talking about here, Ziva. But I do know a few things with certainty. I definitely do not want you to go back to Israel. I do want only you and only you for my partner. I do know that tonight, what happened between us, it was special. Exciting, intense, passionate, even a little scary. I never experienced anything like it before. But you know what else, Ziva?"

He waited. She didn't move.

"You're supposed to shake your head 'no,' Ziva"

He was rewarded with a small smile as she shook her head.

"Afterwards, when you let me hold you in my arms, it felt right. It just felt right. It felt like you belonged there and I didn't want to let you go. I'm not going to let you go. Do you understand? You're going absolutely no fucking where without me."

He pulled her to him in a hug.

"You realize, Tony," she said, "You cannot stop me if I choose to go?"

He nodded, knowing she could feel the movement in their physical closeness.

"Yeah, I know. But I'm hoping you'll give me a little time to explore this new found power of mine over you. Maybe we could start out slow like with breakfast?"

Before she could answer a couple of police cars pulled up behind theirs, the local cops had arrived. Ziva pulled away from him. After handing over the paucity of evidence they had gathered to the cops they met back at Ziva's car.

It was full light now. Tony could see her face. She still didn't seem very happy. He leaned on her car door so she couldn't leave.

"How about that breakfast, Ninja Girl?"

She looked at him and then nodded.

"My car," he said, "cause I want to live long enough to get some bacon and eggs in me."

She walked ahead of him as he unlocked the Mustang. She stopped and stared at him over the top of the car.

"Tony, I …"

"Shush," he said.

She smiled shyly.

"Next time you play that song you were playing last night," he said.

She frowned.

"Song?"

"You know the one about 'here for the party.'"

She nodded, looking leery.

"Next time you play that song I want you to have me in mind."

He'd started out in a kidding tone but by the end of the sentence he realized how serious he was about what he was saying. Ziva seemed to realize it too. She smiled at him.

"Yes, Tony."