A/N: Hey guys. This is your gift for letting me drag this out way too long, for making them fight, and for giving me over 3,000 visitors and over 5,000 hits this month. I don't know what that number is in comparison to anyone else here on FFN, but I'm honored to get any visitors at all, so this number is simply astonishing to me. :)
Anyway, this is the end. I hope you enjoy reading it, I know I did. Please review and let me know how I can improve for next time. I'll be posting a new story soon, just a little oneshot insight into Tony's mind. So keep your eyes open.
Oh, and sorry about all of the typos and messed up formatting and such. Thanks for stickin through it with me. :)
See you soon!
"McGee, open up!" Tony pounded on McGee's door until he opened up.
"I thought we had the day off," McGee said, finally letting Tony inside, who headed straight for the kitchen.
"So why are you here?"
"I was bored," Tony pulled out a club sandwich from the refrigerator.
"I thought you were spending the day with Ziva," McGee grabbed the sandwich from Tony's hands.
"Well, I'm not," Tony grabbed it back.
"Well last time you came over you terrorized me for hours," McGee grabbed it back.
Tony glared at him. "I'm senior field agent and I need refueling," He reached for it, but McGee held it away.
"You're not on duty, you can't make that call,"
"Federal field agents are never off duty," Tony took the sandwich once again.
"According to who?"
"Gibbs," Tony said with a grin. He won.
Defeated, McGee took a soda out of the fridge and sat on the couch. Tony sat in a chair across from him. Food had always helped him get whatever was on his mind off his mind.
"So is Ziva all settled in?" McGee.
"Yeah," was the only reply. Tony took another bit; it was nearly gone now.
"Gibbs says she'll be back at work in a few days, and out in the field in a few weeks. That's good,"
"Sure is," Tony wasn't letting on, but McGee could see something was off.
"Did something happen between you two? Did you get in a fight?"
Tony's sandwich was gone now, so he had no excuse not to answer. "Uh, yeah," There was no tone in his voice. Perhaps he had been spending too much time with Ziva.
"You wanna talk about it?"
"Nah, Probie," after a few seconds, Tony started talking. "I told her she should be more open, you know, about life. Then she got kind of mad. Then I said I was sorry and she still got mad. This crazy ninja chick is getting crazier by the minute,"
"Aren't you the one who is always talking about his famous skills in dealing with women?"
"Ziva's not—" Tony laughed and nodded his slip in speech. They both thought back to a conversation they once had, very similar to this with Ziva in the bullpen. Those were happy times; easy. "I just can't seem to understand her,"
"Seems like there's a lot both of you are missing," McGee commented. He was a lot more insightful than he seemed; Tony knew he was right.
"I just… I don't know what do for once, you know?" Tony couldn't believe he was letting himself talk to Probie like this. He had reached an all time low.
"Maybe you should just wait a little while. Let things cool down for a bit," Tony nodded silently. Maybe he should.
It had been two months since then. Thing certainly had cooled down. Tony still teased McGee. Ziva still threatened them. Gibbs still head-slapped them. Abby still breathed in Caf-Pow. But something was different. They could all feel it.
"Do you ever think about soulmates?" Ziva asked, leaning up against the vending machine.
"They were on Decca, right? Big hit, mid seventies? Sort of a disco thing? Sing a few bars, I'll get it,"
"You'll never get it," Ziva walked away.
"She died alone," Tony said wistfully.
"We are all alone,"
"Yeah thanks for that. I just mean she never got married, never had any children; never even heard her talk about it… Paris," He looked at her, and for a moment their eyes met before he looked off again. "That's when it must have happened,"
"The two of them alone, in another world,"
"Putting their lives in each other's hands every day," He was looking at her again, but she wouldn't look back.
"Not to mention the long nights,"
"It was inevitable,"
"Nothing is inevitable," She finally met his eyes.
Those conversations had been so long ago. He had waited too long. He had so many chances. You're an idiot, DiNozzo.
"We've got a visitor," Gibbs said, charging through the bullpen, coffee in hand. Tony stood.
"Who, Boss?" Gibbs looked at Ziva.
"My father is here," She said, not making eye contact with her.
"What?" Tony was shocked, and he wasn't even sure why. His thoughts began to race. "Why?" Ziva shrugged and followed Gibbs upstairs to the conference room.
"Tony, McGee, you come too," Gibbs called from the landing. They quickly rushed to keep up.
"Eli," Gibbs said, shaking Director Eli David's hand. Vance stood to the right, and Ziva beside her father, eyes trained on the fascinating floor.
"Jethro. How are you?" How could the director of Mossad be so… friendly? His kindness, however, didn't reach his eyes, and Gibbs saw it.
"Doin' fine. You?"
"I am well," Eli replied.
"Why are you here?" Gibbs always cut to the chase, and today was no different.
"Just wanted to see my daughter. She was nearly murdered twice in nearly three months,"
"You know it's part of the job," Gibbs looked him squarely in the eye and Eli took a seat in one of the chairs.
"Ziva has spent nearly five years here,"
"She's been back to Israel more than once," Gibbs reminded. Tony could see where this was going.
"I just thought you should know that I am considering terminating the Mossad liaison position here at NCIS,"
"We need her here," Gibbs took a step forward, but the Mossad director wasn't fazed.
"You did fine without her before,"
"You didn't come all the way here to tell me you were considering this, did you?"
Eli looked at Tony and McGee. "Eli," He introduced himself. The two young men shook his hand. Tony looked into Eli's eyes, who laughed. "How long have you worked for Gibbs?"
"Almost eight years," Tony straightened up.
"It shows," He looked him up and down. "You and Agent McGee are dismissed. Ziva, you may go with them," The three walked out of the room silently, anger and frustration thick in the air. They walked out to the railing that overlooked the squadroom.
"So," Tony said, leaning over it. Ziva stood beside him.
"So," She replied.
"You're really going back then?"
"He has not made up his mind just yet, Tony," She glanced at him, then quickly looked away.
"I do not know,"
"Don't lie to me,"
"Oh, you mean like you lied to me?"
"I told you, I didn't lie!" Tony threw his hands up in defense of his innocence.
"Ah!" Ziva cried , her hands on her head. This was too much. She circled herself in frustration. "Don't you realize that—" It was then that they saw McGee standing just a few feet away. He looked shocked. He had seen them fight before, really badly. But never this badly.
Ziva looked back at Tony and her eyes began to well up with tears. No. Not now. Not with her father just down the hall.
"Ziva," He reached out for her hand, not caring about McGee's presence. He didn't care that Vance, Gibbs, even Eli could turn the corner and see them. At this moment, she was all he cared about.
Ziva watched him move for her hand. She felt torn, wanting to let him take it and still wanting to run away. "I can't take this anymore, I'm sorry," She whispered and ran down the stairs to her desk. She quickly gathered her things and ran to the elevator. Tony stood there by the railing, his eyes following her. Just as the elevator doors closed, she looked up at him. He looked her in the eyes, but she only shook her head sadly.
Tony slumped down, leaning against the railing, and confused and hurt expression covering his face. What now?
Ziva felt lost. She had never felt lost before. This wasn't like her. It practically wasn't her. She didn't succumb to pain, physical or emotional. Years of training taught her that it was too dangerous. Years of danger taught her how important her training was.
Ziva fiddled with her NCIS badge. Their relationship had never been simple. Why should this be any different? They had fought before. But perhaps this time… perhaps it was time to let it rest for good.
Tony was sitting on a swing at the park. Children ran around him wildly. He wished he could feel as carefree as they did at that moment. Instead, he felt like he was at a dead end. He needed her. He needed her presence, her touch. He loved her odd inflections in her voice. He loved the way she confused idioms and her sarcastic humor. But now, he was at a loss as of what to do. She had fought back everything he offered. Tony sat there, staring at his hands, clueless.
"Ziva?" Walking toward him was the very woman he had fought with earlier. She sat down on the swing next to him.
"I have been thinking," she said quietly. "I am going back to Israel with my father,"
"I do not belong here," You belong with me.
"Of course you do!" Tony was shocked, yet again.
"I do not want to do this again. I am tired of fighting with you," She inspected the woodchips underneath her feet.
"So am I,"
"It is too late, Tony,"
"It wasn't too late two months ago,"
"It almost was," She retorted.
"But it wasn't! I saved you!"
"I did not need to be saved,"
"Ha! They were going to kill you and you didn't even know it. I recall that I was the only one who knew and therefore, the only one who could protect you!"
"Tony, stop," It was then he realized how close to tears the Mossad ninja girl was to tears. She was desperately fighting to stay "normal" and calm.
He sighed and rubbed his hands through his hair. "You're right, I'm sorry,"
"I am going to Israel with my father at the end of the week. What is done is done," Tony stayed silent. She stood and began to walk away, when she stopped and turned around. "Did you not realize you were pushing me away?"
"What did I do wrong?" Tony asked Gibbs. Somehow, he had found himself alone in the elevator with Gibbs, and desperately took the opportunity. His was driving him insane. Ziva had left yesterday, and they were both already sick of her replacement. "I didn't think I was being some sort of stalker,"
Gibbs slapped the back of Tony's head. "That's for thinking it was her fault. When Tony was silent for a minute, he slapped him again.
"Hey! What the heck was that for?"
"That," Gibbs turned on the elevator again. "Was for thinking it was her fault. And for screwing up this team," Tony suddenly realized what he had done.
"I didn't try—"
"I know, DiNozzo," The elevator doors opened and Gibbs strode out swiftly.
Instead of following his boss out into the squadroom, he stayed in the elevator and pulled out his cell phone. He had a plan.
"Hey Gibbs," Gibbs walked into Abby's lab. "Ok, so where's Tony? I haven't seen him all day," she took the Caf-Pow from Gibbs hand gratefully.
"Did you try his cell?" It had only been an hour since had had last seen DiNozzo.
"Yeah, and that's the weird thing. It just kept ringing. He must have had it on. If it were off, it'd go straight to voicemail,"
"Try again," Gibbs' answer for everything.
"I did, I tried like seventeen times," Gibbs stared at her. "I'll find him," She turned around and began typing. After a few moments, she had an answer. "Um, he's currently in the middle of the Atlantic, Gibbs,"
"What do you mean, Abs?"
"I mean, he's in the ocean. Or his phone is, anyway. Which wouldn't make sense," Gibbs stared at her again. "Not that any of this does. It's not like Tony to just take a trip to the ocean without letting someone know,"
"He's not," He pointed to the screen. The little circle was moving, and then it suddenly disappeared.
"Ohmygoshthatwasn'tmyfault," Abby said quickly, beginning to type furiously. She was concentrating, leaving her Caf-Pow neglected beside her.
"His phone is off," Gibbs said.
"How do you know?" Abby asked, her eyes never leaving the screen in front of her. Gibbs waved his phone.
"I tried calling him again,"
"But he never turns off his phone. It's like his lifeline," Abby called McGee. "Timmy! Come down here, Tony's in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean!"
"He what?" Abby ended the call, leaving a very confused McGee to rush down to her lab. A couple minutes later, he met them down there. Abby quickly, very quickly, explained the little that she knew. "Why would he turn off his phone?"
"Maybe… maybe he's on a plan?"
"Abby, that's brilliant! Ok but where would he be going? Gibbs is gonna kill him…" They turned around to find Gibbs gone. He knew where Tony was headed.
Tony walked off the plane silently, the dry air a shock to him. It was cold. There was a dusting of snow around him, and the clear blue sky above him was just beginning to be covered by dark clouds. His time outside was short as he walked into the main building of the airport. It wasn't very large at all, but it certainly was confusing. People were speaking a variety of foreign languages. Some he recognized, others he didn't. He passes a man on his cell phone, yelling out angry phrases he has often heard Ziva shout in the squadroom. Tony smiled a little bit to himself, but then quickly came back to reality. He looked around, unsure of what to do or where to go. Finally he found a sign that read "Customs" in English. It was a relief from all of the Hebrew and Arabic he was seeing. After a few minutes of forms and discussion with an English speaking employee, he knew where to go and had a map in his hand to prove it. Though he felt a little wimpy asking for help, it was that or stay lost in the airport forever.
He stepped out of the airport with nothing in his hands. He hadn't even taken time to pack. It didn't matter. All that mattered was that he somehow got to Mossad Headquarters. A few minutes later, Tony hailed a cab. He pointed to the place on the map, and the driver nodded.
The drive wasn't long, though the plane ride had been. Unable to sleep, he formulated what he wanted to say to her in his mind, replaying it over and over until he was sure he'd at least be able to open his mouth without her killing him. He needed to talk to her. There was so much he needed to say.
Ziva was standing in her father's office, unsure of what to do. She had polished every knife he could find, organized the small desk Mossad had provided, and written home—no, not home—emailed Abby, McGee, and Ducky, and written to Gibbs already that day, just as she had every day since she left. That is, when she wasn't working undercover. Though she loved her job, there was something missing.
Tony. Ziva rolled her eyes at herself. She knew he was right. Being vulnerable… it could be alright, with the right person. But now it was too late. He was a million miles away, and she had ruined her chances with him. It had taken her the length of the drive to the airport to realize this, but even by then, she had given up.
Ziva David was not one to give up, especially not so easily. But things had changed. She had to move on, grow up. You are not a child, David, she chided herself, though her eyes stung with hot tears. She blinked them away. She looked around the room. It reminded her of NCIS. But that didn't matter anymore. Suddenly her phone began to vibrate in her pocket.
"Miss David, the Director is waiting for you upstairs," Eli's assistant said.
"Thank you, I will be right up," Ziva shut her phone. Only minutes later, she made her way into the Director's office.
"Ah, Ziva," Eli stood and kissed his daughter on her forehead.
"It is so nice to have you back home," Ziva looked down. "You are not happy here?"
"I am fine," Ziva said, just barely flinching. Eli noticed this.
"Fine is not happy,"
"I am just used to the way things are done in America. It will take time,"
"That is not what is making you so sad," He paused, searching her face for answers. "Is it?"
Ziva was silent for a moment as she thought. Her life had never been her own, not until she had moved to the US. All her life it had been one order after another, always doing what she was told. It was a life she had grown used to, but she had never truly lived. Not until then. When she began at NCIS, she had a new opportunity. The opportunity to make her own decisions, even though her job required her to do as she was told. It was an odd balance she found somehow freeing. Now being back at Mossad, she felt restrained. And lonely.
"You are regretting you decision?"
"I miss it,"
"It? Or someone?" He looked at her suspiciously.
"It does not matter," She defended herself.
"Yes, he does. Anthony DiNozzo… he is a good man," Ziva was stunned.
"I saw the way he looked at you. My dear girl, I may be old but I am not blind,"
"What leads you to believe I feel the same way?"
"I saw the way you didn't look at him," Ziva looked at the ground. She was guilty. "If you loved him and he loved you back, why did you want to leave?"
"With my job I cannot afford to be vulnerable. To have a relationship, one must be vulnerable some of the time, yes?"
Eli paused, then smiled a little. "You know, when I first met you mother, we had the same problems. She knew what my job required. How dangerous it was. And she knew I would not be able to share everything with her. She understood how hard it was for me to open up, as the American expression goes. But we worked at it. And we created a life together, one I do not regret," He fingered his watch. "Your mother gave me this watch. It was my wedding present, once upon a time," He looked up at her with softness in his eyes, a look that Ziva hadn't seen since her mother had died all those years ago. "I still wear it, everyday, to remind me that sometimes, a relationship is worth taking those risks. Do you understand?"
"Yes, Aba," Ziva's voice was barely above a whisper. He understood. And now so did she.
"It is never too late," He said. He took a breath after a moment and regained his composure. He stood and began to speak. "I believe you serve your country—both of your countries—best at NCIS. I will arrange for you to fly back tomorrow, yes? I am sure Director Vance would be pleased to have you back. As would Gibbs, and the rest of the team," He said the last word with care.
"Toda, Aba," Ziva embraced her father gratefully. She practically ran out of the building with joy. As she walked outside, she ran into someone. "Forgive me," she said in Hebrew.
"I already have," He stopped and stood there in front of the doors. Ziva turned around, unable to speak. He walked up to her and offered her his arm. "I noticed a park just down the block. I didn't think you'd have any here," Still shocked, Ziva took his arm with a small smile. Tony grinned at her, and they began to walk slowly. After a moment, Ziva regained her voice, though the surprise was still evident in her eyes and they way she spoke.
"Israel is not known for its parks, but we do have them here and there. Tony, what are you doing here?"
"I needed to do something," He said, looking out to the street before them. The light was fading quickly, and the world seemed to glow as the clouds took over the sky. "How do you like being back?"
"I am not staying long. I leave tomorrow,"
"Oh," Tony said, hoping it wasn't for another mission. "What for?"
"I need to do something," Ziva answered mischievously as they walked into the park. "However, it requires that I go to NCIS for good," He stopped and smiled again.
"Really?" He seemed pleased. "What changed your mind?"
"Tony, there is something I must say. It took me far too long to realize it. You were right. It is ok to… to be vulnerable. To share with… people. My father was talking about my mother. He said he had the same problem I did, but she understood, and they got through it together," They sat down on a bench. The park was empty, and the air was cold. But neither of them noticed. Tony's heart skipped a beat, and it began to rain.
"Some relationships are worth taking risks for," Her eyes searched his face softly. He smiled. Tony cradled her neck in his hand, pulling her closer to him. Their lips brushed gently, and then it happened. He kissed her, and she kissed him back.
"Speaking of risks, I didn't want to rush things, but I… I couldn't resist," Tony grinned and he reached into his coat pocket, and Ziva's heart began to beat quicker. He pulled out a black velvet box, dropped to one knee, and began to speak. "Ziva David, will you marry me?" Her eyes sparkled as bright as the ring in the box did. It was simple: white gold with a single diamond in the center, not too big, not too small. He took the ring out of the box and slipped it onto her slender finger hopefully.
"Yes," She grinned, her eyes shining with a happiness that Tony had never seen before.
"I think I've seen this movie before," Tony smiled wider than he ever had as he kissed her once more. Yes, she thought, it's worth it.