Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Sorry about the delay. I've had homework to finish and it took me awhile to get this to come out right.
"It's gonna be tough."
"You think it's hard for us. Imagine what it feels like to be him."
"Tony! We're all here and he's stuck on that ship."
"Not Tony. I meant…
Completely alone, away from all those who care about him. Wait? You weren't talking about Tony?"
Damn, she was caught in a trap. She had to be more careful now that she was back. So did he, when he came back. He was coming back.
"Want me to join you?"
Gibbs thinks she hasn't seen him in four months, in reality it's been only a week. But that doesn't mean she doesn't want to see him, even if it is only on a screen in MTAC
She feels stupid spending so much time getting ready for him. Even Gibbs notices "You coming David" "Yes" she grabs her weapons putting them in their places. Which serves as a reminder to her that they will have to hide any more-than-just-partners behavior. She wonders if Gibbs is really the reason they never gave it a chance before or if it was something else. She wears the same maroon top and cargo pants as she did in Greece hoping to bring up good (but private) memories for Tony
"Nice tan" He smiles as memories of a certain night with a special lady in a country he will forever have good memories of.
"Let me guess. You guys caught a bad case of DiNozzo-itis and had Vance send you down" south.
"DiNozzo-itis, sounds venereal." Oddly, they actually hadn't done it yet, but they hadn't found the perfect moment, yet…
"Okay, don't admit it. I know you missed me. I missed you Boss."
"What?" He notices her eyes following him.
"You seem, um…different."
"Taller? Hotter?" He hates serious conversations.
"Older." Well, he was hot but she worried about him.
"Well, it's been over four months." He says his eyes flicking towards Gibbs, hoping he heard the four months as to put off suspicion.
"You still beating yourself up over Jenny?"
"Not as much as I used to."
"Not as much as I used to."
"You could have called."
"Okay, I was thinking we should let Ziva handle the coroner. I've got a hunch." Tony knew no man on earth could deny her hotness and well, as much as he liked to keep her to himself, they needed that report. He would make it up to her later.
"Got a hunch huh?"
"The powers of observation." He quietly appreciates her beauty from a distance.
"Hell of a Co-winki-dink."
"What's a quink-a-dink?"
"You believe this is a Co-wink-a-quink?"
"Sarcasm Ziva. We're back in America. Flip the switch."
"Well technically we are not."
"American ship, American soil. Oh, American soil".
"Enough already. You have three more months. What's the big deal?"
"Easy for you to say."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"You're back in DC, which is what you wanted."
"You get orders Tony. You may not like them, but you follow them. That's why they're called orders."
"That's not what I asked. Something happened in Israel didn't it? You'll say you didn't want to talk about it, but your eyes won't shut up. Something you left behind maybe? Or someone?"
"You're right. I don't want to talk about it."
She doesn't have an answer and it's not because she left someone or something in Israel. She misses their ability to have a relationship without any strings. Yes, she wanted to be back in Washington but it wasn't Washington without Tony. She found it easy to kiss him, easy to be his when Gibbs or Abby or McGee weren't there. They already had the tension. They had just needed that environment for them to give in. The broken-up team and far-away lands was that environment. Now she was scared they wouldn't make it if they had to deal with work
"COV's leaving in ten minutes boss."
"Well then grab your gear."
"Yeah. You're heading home DiNozzo"
"Home." Ziva said, thinking quietly to herself that Washington with him was her home as well.
"Make a hole! Coming through!"
Ziva had come with Tony to help him pack.
"Ziva" Tony says reaching out a hand. "I'm sorry about the photos. I didn't mean to objectify you like that. I promise though, that I always took them down before a sailor came in."
"I am more upset another man has access to those photos."
"Who, McGee?" Tony says realization dawning on him.
"If McGee has been looking at those photos or if they appear as a wallpaper I will personally see to his demise."
"Protective much Tony?"
"Only of one certain lady, she kicks ass by herself and probably hates me for trying to protect her, but I just seem to be unable to help myself."
"Well, I think that lady might be more willing to accept that kind of protection now," she smiles lightly to him.
"I am so glad to be going home."
"I am so glad you are coming home. It has not been the same without you."
Ziva gets to Tony's apartment just in time to see him emptying the contents of his stomach. She runs to the bathroom to find him leaning over the toilet. He can't picture what shapes she draws into his back, rubbing it as he retches. Circles? Squares? Triangles? No, they were hearts. She's murmuring words he can't discern. He was so out-of-it sick that he couldn't even tell if she was speaking English. He figures she isn't. In the movies, the guy never broke down it was always the girl. But this wasn't a movie. The good guys never died there.
"Here," she says handing him a glass of water and towel. He takes it gratefully, but shamefully.
"There is nothing to be sorry about"
"I screwed-up" She realizes that he isn't just talking about getting ridiculously drunk again, but of Jenny. They hadn't really discussed her yet.
"Tony, we all make mistakes"
"That's why I didn't call" She remembers her statement before. "I don't deserve your comfort. She was your friend too."
"No one is undeserving of comfort when a friend dies."
"Ziva," a bit of anger bubbles to the surface trying to win over his exhaustion "she wasn't that old."
"No one is ever too old to die." He seems to accept this and she pulls him up leading him to his bedroom.
"Let's get you into some clean clothes." That is when he realizes his apartment is clean, cleaner than he left it. He had been to set on getting drunk to notice.
"Someone has been here." He says as she pulls out an oversized Baltimore PD shirt and sweatpants.
"I am sorry. I should have asked first, but I figured it would be in need of a good cleaning, given previous habits." She helping him changes now, his limbs to stupefied to cooperate with her. She had seen everything already anyways, right?
"Your welcome" She pulls him into a hug as they sit down on his bed, all in one calculated smooth movement. She can feel his tears soaking her shirt.
"Shhh, I'm here"
"You won't leave me, even if I screw-up again"
"Never, never, never, never" he hugs her tightly
"I'm never letting you slip through my fingers again" she hopes he can't see the silent tears coming down her face too.
"I'm not letting you either" and they stayed like that until they both feel asleep.
He wakes up and instead of a lonely apartment, he hears Ziva singly softly in the shower. They can make this work.