Chapter 1 of 2

Shelter in the Storm

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters.

Author's Note: Hey, I know I really need to go work on my real story...but I'm stuck.

Tony stepped out the door to make a phone call and was met by oppressing humidity. It was only early-February, but the weather felt like mid-spring.

"Yeah, Boss?" Tony asked into the cell phone.

"DiNozzo, you two are going to need to stay in position for one more day," Gibbs said on the other end.

"Why? What happened? I thought you got the guy?" Tony scratched the back of his neck. He and Ziva had been sent to monitor an apartment where a suspected serial killer had been staying. Earlier that day Gibbs and McGee caught the man and now he was telling them that they had to stay.

"Yeah, we got 'em. But you're staying where you're at, got it?" Gibbs said with no room for question.

"Yeah, yeah, alright, Boss," Tony complied with a sigh.

"Don't worry about setting up the surveillance tonight."

"What's going on, Boss?" Tony asked, confused.

"Don't question me, DiNozzo."

Tony sighed again, Gibbs hung up and he snapped his own phone shut. He leaned across the rail and looked out to the quickly darkening western sky.

He stood there for a while before he returned to the apartment that NCIS was renting for the purpose of watching the apartment across the street. He and Ziva had been here for three days now. It had been boring as hell and Ziva had made him sleep on the couch. It sucked.

Tony walked back into the apartment and almost ran into Ziva.

"Was that Gibbs?" she asked, standing very close to him.

"Yeah," Tony replied, subconsciously taking a small step back.

"When can we leave?"


"But I thought they caught the guy, why can't we leave?"

"He wouldn't say."

She turned and went to the couch that Tony had been forced to spend the night on, he followed and sat down next to her.

They sat closer than most people would have and not through any conscious effort, they just did. That was how they had been for years.

"At least we don't have to watch the apartment any more," Tony replied, leaning back against the arm of the couch. Without thinking about what she was doing, Ziva leaned up against him; he didn't question it, though.

Tony reached down and picked up the remote, turning the television on. The evening news was on and a weatherman was talking about storms moving into the area. Tony felt Ziva tense up beside him, but thought nothing of it. He changed the channels until he found a rerun of Family Guy.

"Hey, I like this one!" Tony grinned, "This is the one where Lois wants to enter someone in a piano contest and Peter wins a tour of the Pawtucket Patriot brewery, which is a total Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory parody, but he breaks a rule and gets kicked out. He comes home drunk and starts playing the piano amazingly, but in the morning when he's sober, he sucks. He can only play while he's drunk, but Lois-"

"Who are these people?" Ziva asked, looking at him with an look of amused confusion.

Tony then launched into a full explanation of everything about Family Guyand Ziva just watched him, amazed at his rants.

Several hours, and countless episodes of various cartoons, later; Ziva got up and went to bed.

Tony suddenly felt cold and very alone in the room. The spot on his chest that Ziva had vacated tingled with loss.

He went to put on some pajamas and lied down on the couch to watch some more TV.

Sometime during the third episode of an all-night marathon of The Simpsons, a loud crash made Tony jump off the couch. Soon a roar encompassed the small apartment and Tony went to the window.

Outside, the trees were bending backwards in the strong wind, the rain was coming down so heavy that it looked like a solid sheet of water, lightning was splitting the sky at an almost constant rate, and the roll of thunder seemed to continue on forever.

Tony went over to the TV and switched it to a local channel. A little warning box was up on the corner of the screen. The entire area was under a tornado watch, parts of the area were under severe thunderstorm warnings, a bright red square alarmed Tony. Once he realized where it was at, it made him feel a little better. There was a tornado warning for a place in southern Maryland, the storms were moving northeast, they were safe here in DC.

He turned the TV down and decided to get some sleep. The thunder stopped for a moment and Tony heard a strange sound coming from Ziva's room. He was worried; he had often suspected that she didn't sleep well. He went to her room to check on her.

He pushed the door open enough to look inside, what he saw made his heart sink a little.

Ziva was in the middle of the bed curled up into a tight ball...and she was sobbing.

Tony couldn't stand it. He went over to her and sat down on the bed.

She felt the bed dip and knew it was Tony, but she didn't look up. His arms wrapped around her and she allowed him to pull her closer to him; she rolled over and began to sob into his shirt.

He whispered to her, "Hey, hey, it's okay. It's just a storm. No big deal. Come on, ninja. Just a little storm. It'll be okay. I'm here. I've gotcha."

She kept sobbing but pulled away from his shoulder and looked at him and said, "Thanks, Tony."

"Yeah, no problem. You wanna talk about it?" he asked soothingly.

"It's just...I don't...I do not like storms," she sobbed.

He reached out to hold her again and she let him. She buried herself in his shoulder and mumbled against his neck, "The thunder reminds me...of the...the bomb that..." she couldn't even finish her sentence.

"The bomb that killed Tali?" he asked softly, rubbing her back in a comforting manner. He felt her nod.

"You want me to stay?" he asked.

She nodded again.

He reached down to pull up the covers and felt something soft. He pulled out a teddy bear dressed in a little Washington Redskins hoodie. "Hey, I remember this," he smiled, bringing the bear back up to her, "This is the bear that I won for you when we all went to Six Flags, isn't it?"

She nodded and smiled a sad smile.

"Did you name it?" he asked.

"Name it? Tony, I am not six."

"You have to name it. That's just how it works. Think of a good one," he smiled at her.

"Mendel, short for Menachem. It means 'comforter', is that good enough?"

"Mendel?" he asked, looking at the bear, "Really? What kind of name is 'Mendel'?" he teased.

She jerked the bear out of his hands and stroked the soft fuzz on the bear, "I think it's a great name. Don't you Mendel?...I thought so," she smiled at Tony.

He shook his head at her and said, "You know, I really like you like this...not that I don't like you the rest of the time, but I really like it when you let go and relax. You aren't like this enough," he ran a hand through her hair.

"You still want me to stay?" he asked.

Before she had a chance to answer, thunder shook the apartment again and she jumped back against Tony's chest. She didn't have to answer, he knew where he needed to be.

He wrapped his arms tightly around her and rolled over onto his back. She rolled with him and was lying with her head rested on his chest.

A few rumbles of thunder later and he heard her sobbing again. He began to rub her back and whisper to her. He told stories that she knew were nothing more than complete crap, but she loved the feeling of someone there to comfort her.

Finally her sobs stopped, Tony stayed awake until he was absolutely sure that she was sound asleep and then he allowed himself to fall asleep as well.

A.N.: So, I was trying to sleep through a storm last night and I got to thinking that there's a serious Tiva potential in a storm. The next morning I drew up some notes and TA-DA! Here's the story.

No, there's no significance to the case. I just needed to justify the situation a little bit. There's nothing to read into about the case.

Yeah, I really have a bear like that one. I "won" (no one else was playing) it at a game in Six Flags when our school band went to Washington DC. His name is Vincent and my friend, Keri, has one just like it named Gregory. Keri's brother, Jordon, went with me to Model U.N. and was talking and said, "Oh! I meant to bring Gregory!" and I was like, "I was so going to bring Vincent!" was'd had to have been there, I guess. *I misspelled Jordon's name! I had to fix that*

I'm going to write one more chapter of this and then I swear, I'll work on Roles Reversed.

Please review!