Disclaimer: I own no part of NCIS, its characters or much of anything else. This is all just for fun.
I know, I know...There is no shortage of tags to 'Judgement Day' and I wasn't really sure if I should even publish this, but since everyone else has done one, I just had to do one too, especially since I just wanted an excuse for Tony and Ziva to make out. So here is my idea of what might have happened after that episode, especially what may have happened between Tony and Gibbs and between Ziva and Tony. Hope you like.
Not Partners Anymore
Flinging the fridge door open, Tony grabbed another beer from inside and twisted off the cap. He gulped the foamy liquid, letting it slide down his throat and burn his stomach. Kicking the door of the fridge shut behind him, he turned to make his way back to the living room and flopped back down on the couch, looking out into the blackness of the night outside his window.
His best white dress shirt hung open and unbuttoned, revealing the plain white t-shirt underneath, stained from a beer that had spilled on him earlier. He still wore his black suit pants, but without any shoes or socks; he hadn't changed since the funeral. Why bother? What did it matter anymore anyway? Jenny was dead, Ziva was going back to Israel, McGee was reassigned, he was ordered to ship out tomorrow and Gibbs had a new team. But what hurt the most was knowing that it was all his fault.
He closed his eyes against the spinning room. Sure, he was buzzed, no doubt about that, but not drunk yet and he certainly wasn't numb. He could never be drunk enough to reach that state; there wasn't enough booze in the world that could numb him to his guilt. Not that he deserved for it to go away; he deserved every bit of it.
Finishing off his beer in just a couple of mouthfuls, he wiped his mouth with his shirt. The events of the last few days played out over and over again in his head like a broken record or a song's melody he just couldn't drive out of his head. As terrible as seeing Jenny lying broken on the floor of that diner had been, it was a conversation he had earlier that day with Gibbs that kept repeating itself the most.
"Just hold it, Tony."
Tony made to leave, following Ziva and McGee into the elevator, but the older man grabbed his arm and pulled him back. Gibbs waited until the door closed on his teammates and the elevator cab went down and returned. Dragging him to the now empty elevator, in typical Gibbs fashion, he pressed the down button and waited ten seconds before flicking the emergency stop button. Now they could speak privately and out of earshot of Vance.
Gibbs was staring intensely at Tony, but he couldn't find the courage to look his boss in the eye. He knew he was hurting. He and Jenny had been partners, they had been friends and maybe even more than that at one point. Now she was dead and he was supposed to protect her, but failed. How could he face Gibbs now? How could he ever forgive him?
"You been drinking again?" Gibbs asked matter-of-factly, his eyes drilling holes into him.
"Not today. Very sober right now." He sighed, didn't mean he wasn't planning on getting roaring drunk later.
"Look at me, Tony." He just couldn't do it.
"Don't make me repeat myself, DiNozzo." Tony lifted his eyes warily to Gibbs. "I already told you I don't care whose fault this is. It's the fault of the people who shot her and no one else." he couldn't stand that line, he'd heard it way too much the past couple of days. He felt the anger swell up inside of him, ready to burst against it's pressure.
"You know that's not true, boss!" he nearly shouted. "We should have stayed with her...at least followed her. You know exactly who's fault this is and so does Vance. I'm just surprised I wasn't fired, because that's what he should have done! but I can tell you one thing. There is no way in hell, I'm getting on that ship tomorrow!" Tony panted in frustration, pointing at Gibbs' chest before turning away from him wanting nothing more than to just run, but trapped in the tiny elevator, there was nowhere he could go to escape.
Gibbs grabbed Tony's arms mightily and spun him, forcing him to meet the older marine face to face. Tony finally found the courage to look back at his boss in the eye, unsurprised to find anger, frustration and so much more in there. Tony knew that if it had been him, if it had been his partner, if it had been Ziva.... he didn't think there was anything that would be able to hold back his wrath from those responsible: people like him. But he was shocked to hear the next words coming from Gibbs' mouth, his voice firm and fierce, but not raised like Tony's had been.
"You... will... be... on... that...boat!" He ground out. "If you so much as even think that you can just quit and walk away, you've got another thing coming! You will NOT give Vance that satisfaction; it's exactly what he wants. I will get you back Tony, all of you. You can count on that. This is not going to stand, not while I'm still here!"
Tony saw the determination and the truth in Gibbs' eyes as he continued.
"As far as blame goes, there's plenty of that to go around. Jenny knew what she was doing and if you and Ziva had been with her, then you two would be just as dead as she is. We're not going to talk about it anymore, got it? What's done is done and nothing can change that now, so we need to move on!"
Gibbs turned away and let Tony go, flicking the elevator back on, his jaw grinding. Tony willed his heartbeat to slow as his previous anger was replaced by confusion. Could Gibbs actually not blame him? How could he not?
"Go home and pack Tony." Gibbs began again, softer this time, the anger gone. "I'll pick you up in the morning. You've got an early flight and I'll keep an eye on your apartment until you get back."
"If I get back." Tony's head rocked forward from the head-slap.
"When you get back, DiNozzo."
"Got it, boss."
A knock at the door shook Tony out of his memory loop. He ignored it. He didn't care who was at the door. The world could just go to hell for all he cared.
She knocked again.
Perhaps she should go. He probably didn't want to talk, but she just couldn't help being drawn here. He had not even said good-bye and in the morning he would be gone and she would be on a plane back to Israel. If she didn't see him now, it would be too late for them to say what needed to be said.
She spent too long at her place waiting for him to come to her, hoping he would shuck off his self-recrimination for long enough to say good-bye. Why did she think he would? She guessed he would have wanted to see her one last time, they were partners after all. She had little doubt that he would die to protect her as she would for him. But he hadn't come.
He was still stuck in his self-destruct mode, blaming himself for everything that went down the last few days. Sure, they made a mistake, but they had to move on. Ziva knew this, why didn't Tony?
She knocked once again.
"Tony?" she called through the door.
Still no answer.
"Open the door, Tony!" She demanded with a pound against the door.
He had to be in there. She grew frustrated by his pig-headedness. Fine, she thought. If he was going to be stubborn, then she would just go. She turned to leave, but heard a glass break from the other side of the door followed by a yelp and a string of expletives.
"Tony?" She called out again.
It was quiet on the other side. Worried that he may have hurt himself or worse, she made the snap decision to try the door. It was locked. Thankfully, she came prepared and pulled out a couple of lock picking tools. It took little effort for her to open the door and she burst inside.
Tony was sitting on the floor of his kitchen, a beer bottle broken on the floor, his foot bleeding from a piece of glass embedded in his heel. He was trying to pull it out as she walked in. He looked up at her, his eyes bloodshot and pained. With his white shirt now stained with the blood from his foot, he looked lost and hopeless, something she never thought she could ever see in her partner. He turned his head away quickly, knowing that he wouldn't want her to see him as vulnerable or weak in anyway.
"Tony?" She approached him cautiously and knelt by his side. "Let me see."
He dropped his hand, sighed and let her minister to his foot. He winced and hissed as she pulled on the large chunk of glass. Blood gushed out as she took it out.
"Hold still." She reached for a towel hanging from his stove and pressed it against his foot, staunching the flow of blood.
"You okay?" she asked.
"Yeah, thanks." He whispered, still keeping his eyes averted from her gaze. She could smell the alcohol on his breath and knew right away what he had been up to. He was trying to drown the pain away, but obviously it was failing.
"Here, let us get you off the floor." She wrapped an arm around his waist hoisted him up, helping him limp to the living room and to sit on the couch. She put his foot up on the coffee table and took a closer look at the injury. It wasn't too deep and wouldn't require any stitches, but it would hurt him like a sonuvabitch for several days.
"You have bandages, yes?" she asked.
"In the bathroom." he replied. She walked down the hall to his bathroom and passed by his bedroom, noting the open suitcase laying on his bed, reminding her that this may be the last time the two may see each other. She went into the bathroom, finding some gauze and tape and returned to the couch, finding Tony staring out the window.
"It is not so bad." She said as she crouched by his foot, wrapping it in the gauze and taping it in place. "You shall survive."
Tony made no response. Tony always had a response and it worried her.
"Tony?" she got up and sat next to him on the couch.
"Everything is so fucked-up right now, Ziva. Gibbs says he's gonna get us back, but I just don't see how." He kept staring out the window.
"If anyone can do it. He can."
"I know. That's what scares me."
"I'm not sure I want him to. I just don't see how he can stand to be around me. I failed him. I failed Jenny."
"No Tony, we failed. I was there too, you know. If you are to blame, then so am I."
"No you're not, you weren't in charge."
"Neither were you." He finally broke his gaze with the darkened window, and turned to her. "Director Shepard was." Tony took to studying her features seriously in a way that took her by surprise. Something clicked inside of him at that moment as he gazed into her dark eyes. He saw no blame or anger there, only concern. It gave him hope.
With a sudden intensity and startling speed, Tony grabbed Ziva by the back of the head, entwining his fingers into her hair and pulling her into a deep and passionate kiss. Caught off guard, she gave no resistance, letting his tongue slide past hers. Her heart raced and she had to breathe deeply through her nose as he pushed her down onto the length of the couch. His hands moved over her body and she found her own wrap around his back, traveling down, finding his backside and squeezing. He probed deeper into her mouth, seeking within her the reassurance and affirmation he so desperately needed. He pressed into her, groaning with desire, feeling his erection straining against the inside of his pants as he ground his pelvis into hers and moved a hand to one of her breasts, kneading it through the fabric of her shirt. She moaned into his mouth in pleasure.
She felt herself grow hot and wet in arousal and as much as she wanted this to go on, to feel him moving deep inside of her as they made love, she had to stop this soon. She didn't want to deny him, and God, it felt good. But she could taste the beer on his breath she wouldn't take advantage of him; not in his current state. She knew he wasn't thinking straight, caught up in his emotions, his guilt and the effects of the alcohol. As much as she wanted this, she couldn't have it. She pushed against him, breaking the kiss reluctantly, knowing that she needed to not only for his sake, but for hers as well.
"Tony, we cannot...." She breathed softly. He rested his forehead against hers.
"Please..." He pleaded, running a hand across the side of her face, making it difficult for her to resist him.
"No. You are drunk." She reasoned.
"Feeling pretty sober right now, actually." He slurred a bit, making her point for her.
"We are partners, it would be wrong."
"We're not partners anymore, Ziva."
He pulled back and looked into her eyes, suddenly realizing what he just said, bringing himself too close to that edge where the tears that he would never allow himself to shed might actually fall.
"We will always be partners, Tony." She managed to get out, shaking her head and closing her eyes in despair. She rolled out from under him and they both sat up.
He flung his head back onto the couch cushion, closed his eyes and moaned, bringing a hand to his head.
"Goddammit, I've just made a big idiot out of myself haven't I?"
"No more than usual."
"I'm sorry." He told her without looking up.
"Do not be. We will.... just pretend this never happened." He opened his eyes and snapped his head to her.
"What if I don't want to pretend and I don't want you to go?" He brought down his hand and grabbed hers. "What if I want more? What if you want more?" Ziva found it hard to meet his gaze, but managed after a breath and a schooling of her features.
"I do not want to go either Tony, but it is not about what we want. We have no choice."
"There's always a choice, Ziva. I can quit, you can stay...."
"Not this time. I am still a citizen of Israel and Gibbs will flay you alive if you quit and so will I for that matter." She smiled a bit before letting her face drop and letting go of his hand. "No Tony, come tomorrow I will go home and you will go to sea and someday Gibbs will get us back. It is the way it has to be."
He sat up and sighed, holding his head in his hands and running them through his hair, knowing she was right. She hated this as much as he did, but she had orders and so did he. But while Tony may find it perfectly alright to eschew the rules, Ziva always followed orders. It was who she was, she was Mossad after all and she couldn't afford to fall in love with him.
"I should go." She got up with a heavy heart, leaving Tony sitting on the couch as she stood. He couldn't bring himself to look up from his feet. Ziva grabbed Tony's phone that was sitting on the table and opened it.
"What are you doing?" He asked looking up. She punched in several numbers into the phone.
"I am adding a number you can reach me at in Israel. You will call, right?" She asked.
"I can't promise that." He admitted softly.
"I know." She conceded, handing him the phone. "But I will be there if you should decide you want to talk." She walked to the door and opened it. Turning to look at Tony.
"I am sorry, Tony...." She sighed heavily "I will miss you."
He looked to her with a pained expression. If his eyes alone could have conveyed a message to her, it would have been a novel about the anguish she was leaving him in.
"Bye, Ziva." He answered with a husky voice, fighting against the lump in his throat.
"It is not 'good-bye', only 'see you later.'"
He shook his head and snorted a little.
"Sure, whatever." He looked back down to his feet, not wanting to watch her leave. "See ya later."
She walked through the door and closed it quietly, but firmly behind her. Walking down the hall to the elevator she entered the car and leaned against its walls as the doors began to close. She had a fantasy of Tony running after her. Of him stopping the elevator before the doors closed all of the way and sweeping her up into another one of those passionate kisses before picking her up and carrying her back to his place, making mad passionate love to her for the rest of the evening.
But it never happened.
It had always been like this her entire life; she could never have what she truly wanted. The doors closed with finality and the elevator pinged, going down at the same time as tears began to fall from her eyes.
****Story continues on in 'Partners Again'****