Disclaimer: I do not own ANY of the original characters from the show, they belong to the writers of NCIS.
Author's note: I am sad to say that this is the last chapter. :( I have loved writing this story and want to thank you all for reading it and for sending in such nice reviews! They really made me happy and I hope that you really have enjoyed this story. :) This is a longer chapter, but I think that you will all like it. Please reviews and let me know how I have done!
Ziva waited for Tony's answer, but was only met by silence on the other side of the bathroom door.
She sighed and tried again, "Look Tony, can you please come out so we can talk about what is bothering you?"
She was once again met by silence and Ziva shook her head. "Look Tony, either you can come out here or I can pick the lock and force my way in there."
Tony still didn't answer and Ziva sighed as she silently reached for the pin she kept on her at all times.
"I am coming in…" She made sure to warn him, Ziva opened the door but wasn't prepared for the state Tony was in.
His tuxedo was wine-stained and wrinkled and his hair was dishevelled but what scared Ziva the most was the look in his eyes.
The part Ziva loved most about Tony was how his eyes always sparkled mischievously and the way light seemed to dance in them. Now, his eyes seemed dull and empty.
The tough Mossad agent fought back her emotions as she looked into Tony's lifeless eyes, "Tony?" She asked, even more concerned than before. "Tony talk to me."
Tony just hung his head, unwilling to look at Ziva and remember the way she broke his heart only hours ago.
Ziva pretended that it didn't hurt when Tony ignored her as she sat down next to him. The stench of alcohol on his breath didn't escape her attention, however, and it made her wonder how hard he took it when she left. It was obvious from the scene in the living room that he didn't take it lightly.
Was he serious? Ziva wondered immediately; regret washing over her as she realized what she'd done.
Tony had said he loved her, and she'd…
Ziva sighed in frustration as she rested her head in her hands, wondering how she could be so stupid. Tony had finally said the words she'd been waiting to hear for over three years, and she left him.
What was I thinking?
Ziva felt warmth on her shoulder and looked over to see Tony's head resting there as he slept soundly. Ziva sighed, so much for talking.
She slowly got up, careful to let Tony down slowly and walked in the other room where Maria was waiting.
Tony's cousin sat up as soon as she saw Ziva. "How'd it go?"
Ziva shook her head, "It seems the alcohol has tired him out."
Maria nodded knowingly, "Can you help me carry him to the couch?" She asked, and Ziva nodded.
They headed into the bathroom and took opposite sides, Ziva took his head and Maria his feet, then carried him into the living room and laid him on the couch.
Maria grunted with the effort, but Ziva was more than physically capable of Tony's weight. Maria looked at Ziva in amazement, "You must be strong," She grinned, "Guess you'll need your strength to keep Tony in line."
Her grin disappeared as she realized her bad timing, "Oh Ziva I'm sorry."
Ziva nodded, but refused to make eye contact. "It is okay, I will be going now."
"Wait." Maria's hand shot out and stopped Ziva, "Can we talk?"
Ziva looked down, but agreed. "Fine."
Maria smiled and sat down on the small part of the couch that wasn't occupied by Tony.
Ziva kept her eyes trained on the floor as she sat down in a lounge chair. She simply stared at the ground, so Maria was forced to break the awkward silence. "Do you love him?"
Her question threw Ziva off guard, so she lied, "No."
Maria looked like she was trying to fight back tears as she said her next words. "Then this is all my fault."
Ziva looked at Tony's cousin quizzically, "What did you have to do with this?"
Maria frowned and blinked back the moisture in her eyes. "I told him you did."
Ziva looked at her dumbly and blinked a few times before understanding, "You told Tony I love him?" At Maria's nod she felt compelled to ask, "Why?"
Maria looked down at her hands and twiddled her thumbs. "Because it's what he wanted to hear."
She glanced at Ziva and noticed a small smile on her face, making Maria wonder if she was right on her original judgement of Ziva's feelings. Maria felt the need to confirm her thoughts, so she watched for Ziva's reaction as she continued. "I'm so sorry for ruining your partnership. It's just…"
She sighed for effect, "It's just that I saw how much he loved you and I knew that he needed a little push in the right direction if he was ever going to tell you. So I told him that you were in love with him, he believed me and you should have seen the smile on his face," She looked at Ziva and saw something in her eyes which made Maria continue, "He was happier than I had ever seen him before. That's when I knew he really did love you. He was so excited."
Maria swallowed hard to make it seem like she was fighting back tears, "He wanted to surprise you, so I left to go shopping and he made you a romantic dinner. He had to cook it twice before he got it right, but he didn't want my help—" She looked at Ziva and noticed the way Tony's partner was holding back a smile.
"He said he wanted to do it all himself. Then I got home and I saw him, drunk and I noticed what he had done. The place was a mess, I guess he lost it when you left—I woke him up, and it was obvious he'd been crying." Maria dared a glance at Ziva and allowed herself a secret smile at the look of pain that flashed across the other ladies' face.
She loves him.
The thought made Maria's smile grow a little wider, everything was going to be okay.
"Anyways," She continued with her story, "I called you in because I knew you were the only one who even had a chance of talking to him—I'm sorry for everything."
Ziva took a deep breath, "It is okay. I am sure we will be fine."
Maria didn't fail to notice the small smile that played on Ziva's lips as she said 'we.' Tony's cousin fought back her own silly grin, knowing that tomorrow was definitely going to be a better day for Tony.
Ziva put her hands on her knees and pushed herself up, "Well… I must be going now."
Maria looked a little disappointed, she was hoping for Ziva to confess her feelings for Tony by herself, but it was obvious she needed a little push too.
Ziva stopped in her tracks and turned to look at Maria, "Yes?"
Maria pretended to look confused, "I was just wondering… why were you crying when you came in here?"
Maria watched as Ziva blushed slightly, then the beautiful Israeli's face returned to it's neutral state. "I was simply worried about my partner, we have worked together at NCIS for three years, like I said before, he is family."
She's good. Maria couldn't help but think, But not as good as me.
"I was just wondering," She chuckled softly to herself as if she had some absurd idea, "For a moment there I thought you might love him back."
She smirked as if to say 'how stupid is that?' then watched for Ziva's reaction. When Ziva simply smirked in return and began to leave, Maria gave up.
"I know Ziva."
"Know what?" Ziva asked suddenly as she stepped in front of Maria.
Tony's cousin was surprised at how fast the other woman was able to move. Still, Maria didn't even bat an eye as she stated, "I know that you love him."
Ziva looked hesitant, then rolled her eyes, "You have been watching too many fictional movies with Tony, yes?"
Maria sighed out of frustration, "You're just as stubborn as he is."
Ziva shook her head and Maria continued, "But that's part of what makes you two so perfect for each other."
Ziva's head snapped up and she swore silently at herself as she realized she basically just admitted to loving Tony by reacting in that way. She groaned as she flopped down on the chair, "I trust that you will not tell him?"
Ziva stated, leaning forward while she intently waited for Maria's answer. Tony's cousin smirked, "Not if you will."
Ziva rolled her eyes, "Now who is stubborn?"
Maria looked at her and questioned, "Why are you afraid?"
Ziva looked at her with confusion written all across her face so Maria clarified, "You know he loves you, so why are you still afraid to tell him that you love him back?"
"I am not afraid." Ziva shot back instantly, "It is just that… Our boss, Agent Gibbs, has rules. One of them is 'never date a co-worker.'"
Maria searched Ziva's eyes for any sign she was lying.
"That's not the reason."
Ziva's face went neutral as she went into 'Mossad mode.' "Yes it is."
Maria shook her head slowly, "No. No, it's not. Why are you afraid of telling Tony about your feelings?"
Ziva looked at Maria and sighed, unsure why she was opening up to someone she barely even know, "Tony has a way with women."
She began and Maria understood, "You love him, and you are afraid that he will grow tired of you just like he does all the others."
It wasn't a question, and Ziva knew that for once, somebody understood what she was going through. She nodded slightly, feeling ashamed of how weak she sounded.
"Ziva, I can tell you this now that you are not 'just another girl' to Tony." Seeing that she had Ziva's attention, Maria continued, "Tony loves you, which is more than I could say about any of his past relationships."
Maria let Ziva think about this for a moment before continuing, "Also, I think the fact that Tony waited so long before telling you speaks for itself, if you were nothing but another woman he wouldn't have waited so long."
Ziva nodded thoughtfully as Maria drove her point home. "And… I heard your argument the other day."
Ziva looked at her in confusion and Maria explained. "I overheard you yelling at him. You thought that he slept with you when you were drunk, when in reality he shut down your offer."
Ziva blushed as she recalled the incident, then began wondering why Tony didn't want to sleep with her.
She found herself doubting if he actually did care but Maria wasn't done. "Well, I know, and I think that deep in your heart you do too, that Tony only didn't sleep with you because there was no way he'd take advantage of you—he cares too much for you to do so."
Ziva just sat there, too shocked to move as she realized that Maria was right, Tony loved her. He wasn't just trying to get her in bed, Tony actually loved her!
The realization hit Ziva suddenly, how could I not have seen this before? She silently asked herself, then looked at Maria with a huge smile on her face.
The only words she was able to get out were a simple, "Thank you."
Maria smiled back at her, happy to see that things were finally working out.
"Should I wake Tony up so you two can talk?" She asked suddenly.
Noticing Ziva's hesitations she rolled her eyes, "Oh come on, I thought we went over this already--he loves you, there's nothing to worry about."
Ziva nodded slowly, "Yes… It is just that… Well, he is drunk. Maybe I should wait until tomorrow morning to talk to him."
Maria thought about Ziva's argument for a moment, then nodded. "You make a good point… just promise me that you will be here tomorrow morning."
Ziva nodded quickly and Maria smiled as the Mossad officer left with the same child-like enthusiasm Tony had shared earlier that day.
Ziva took a deep breath before knocking on Tony's door the next day.
Maria opened the door and greeted her with a welcoming smile, "Come in!"
Ziva almost laughed at the urgency in the other woman's enthusiasm. "Where is Tony?" She asked while stepping inside.
Maria grinned, "He is getting dressed, I'm surprised that he's not having a hangover from all that alcohol he consumed yesterday." She shook her head for a moment, then looked at Ziva and smiled brightly, "At least now he can talk to you with a clear head. You can wait in the living room for a little privacy, I'll tell him to go in there when he'd ready."
Ziva nodded and entered the living room. She paced in front of the couch, trying to calm her nerves. It wasn't as if she had any doubt Tony loved her, but after leaving him last night she wasn't sure how he'd react.
She was sitting silently on the couch when voices came from the hall, the first one obviously Maria's. "Tony, can you get your wine glass from yesterday so I can load it in the dishwasher?"
Ziva quickly stood up as she heard Tony's footsteps approaching. The door opened to reveal a shocked Tony. "Ziva?"
Ziva nodded, "Tony, I think we need to talk."
Tony scoffed and shook his head. "I don't think we do, I just need to get my wine glass and I'll be out of your way."
He walked over to the coffee table and picked up his glass, but his hand pulled back as if he was burned when Ziva reached out and touched his arm.
The gesture hurt, but Ziva didn't let it show. "Tony… Please just talk to me for a minute."
Tony shook his head, "I believe you made it perfectly clear that there was nothing to talk about last night, Zee-vah."
Ziva winced at the way he dragged out her name without t he usual teasing tone.
He began to walk away, but this time Ziva wasn't going to let him leave. "Tony I am sorry."
Ziva watched as Tony's shoulders sagged in defeat, "Trust me Ziva, so am I."
His last words came out just above a whisper and Ziva closed her eyes as she realized how much pain she'd caused him.
Tony started to leave again but Ziva crossed the distance between them quickly and reached out to stroke his cheek. "Tony..."
Tony closed his eyes in pain before brushing her hand away, "Just—please don't make this any harder."
His eyes begged her to just leave him alone with his broken heart, but Ziva knew that she could never do so. "Tony, I love you, I am sorry for ever stating otherwise."
Ziva watched as Tony's eyes began to shine before he closed them in pain, "If this is a joke it isn't funny."
His voice cracked on the last words and Ziva shook her head slowly, all the while maintaining eye contact. "It is not a lie Tony, I love you more than I ever thought possible."
Tony's heart sped up to an overwhelming speed as Ziva's words sunk in. She loves me!
Tony fought back happy tears as he realized the only woman he'd ever truly love returned his feelings. Relief washed over him and Tony felt all the years of doubt and worry melted away, leaving only Ziva.
He surprised them both by stepping forward and embracing her in a tight hug while whispering in her ear, "I love you. I love you so much I don't ever want to let you go."
Tony pulled apart a little before staring into Ziva's eyes and finally seeing the love that she held for him.
Neither one of them broke eye contact as they slowly leaned in closer and their mouths met in a kiss. Both of them closed their eyes in bliss and Tony let out a small groan.
The kiss was slow and romantic, yet filled with passion as the couple finally revealed how much they cared for the other. Tony used one hand to support her back and the other to pull her head closer to his while Ziva ran her fingers through his soft brown hair.
Another moan escaped from Tony's mouth and they broke apart a few moments later, both gasping for breath.
They leaned in and rested their foreheads together while breathing heavily. Staring into each others' eyes, neither one had ever been happier than that moment.
Thank you all! You have been so wonderful and I hope you enjoyed! This is the last chapter so I'd really appreciate it if you review and let me know how I've done!