A/N: Wrote this last week. Not positive on how I feel about it. Pretty fluffy at the end, but fluffy can be good, yes?
Disclaimer: I don't own NCIS or its characters. I don't own Lost by Michael Buble.
I can't believe it's over
I watched the whole thing fall
And I never saw the writing that was on the wall
If I'd only knew
The days were slipping past
That the good things never last
That you were crying
Ziva David sat at her desk, staring at the paperwork in front of her silently. Tony DiNozzo watched her from his desk. Her hair was pulled back in a tight ponytail, and her pen was posed over the paper. This would be no unordinary scene if she hadn't sat in that very position, pen and all, for the last hour.
For months she had been on the edge of breaking. You could see it in her eyes, in the way she carried herself. Her protective wall was back up, but in such a way that it was only to keep herself from falling apart. It had been that way since she got back from her "exile" to Israel on orders from Vance. Her face had become stony, and she spoke less than usual. The days of the teasing and bantering with her partner had disappeared. Never before had Ziva acted so professional, not even on the day they had met.
It killed Tony to watch her. Ziva looked lost. Alone. It had taken nearly four years for him to break down her barriers, and now all off the progress they had made was gone. It hadn't changed the way they worked together—they were the best of partners. They had a silent communication, a way of knowing the other's next move.
But they didn't seem like friends anymore, much less anything else. He loved her. It had taken him nearly four years to admit it to himself. That summer apart nearly destroyed him, not remembering the reason why he had been sent to sea. At first, things didn't seem so different. But the longer she was back at NCIS, the more the pulled away.
Tony missed her. He missed her touch. Her scent. The voice she spoke to him in. Her gazes.
He had been stupid to get involved with his undercover mission. Jeanne… She had never been real. There were days when he thought he really had loved her, but inside, he knew he didn't. In the end, it had only made him realize how much he wanted to love someone who didn't want to frame him for murder, much less make him choose between the family he had found at NCIS or her. Those months had been long. Too long. Ziva didn't know it, but he knew about the way she watched him, what she was trying to say when she talked about seemingly mindless nothings. But she had known about Jeanne, at least to some degree. So he couldn't say anything.
And he hated it.
She had pulled away. It seemed like she was only a ghost of herself. Most days she seemed to be in another world, a world where he didn't belong. He stole glances at her when he knew she wasn't paying attention. In the past, she would have watched him the same way, but he always noticed. It was those small gestures, sitting on a desk closer than necessary or tousling her hair, that had given him hope that perhaps one day…
But then Israel happened. He lost his chance. Tony knew he was an idiot for waiting so long. It seemed to be a talent of his—messing up his undercover mission with Jeanne, losing Jenny… The list was too long, and now it had reached his peak. Not only did he miss his chance with Ziva, but he let her fall to rock bottom. She'd never admit it, but he knew that's exactly where she was. It's all my fault. It always has been. I pushed her away, and now I have to watch the woman I love suffer like this.
He needed to know. He needed to talk to her. And for her to talk back.
"Hey," he called out. She didn't move. Time for desperate measure. He rolled up a piece of scrap paper into a ball and through it at her gently. Startled, Ziva snapped her head up and her hand went to her drawer, reaching for her gun defensively. Seeing him sitting there, grinning, she smirked at him and sat down. She had never been more on edge than she was right now.
"You seem distracted,"
Ziva was silent for a moment. "I am not distracted," She stood, grabbed her things, and walked towards the elevator. "Coffee," Tony knew better. He grabbed his own belongings and ran to the elevator, jumping in at the last second.
"Ha!" He said triumphantly, trying to lighten the mood. She gave him a slightly annoyed look but stared at the doors which were now closed. Tony sighed silently, searching her face for some sort of emotion, some sort of sign. "What's going on?" He asked softly.
"Nothing," She answered, her eyes moving to the floor.
"Exactly my point. You haven't been your normal self for months. You haven't talked or laughed, at least not for real,"
"I am fine, Tony,"
"You don't sound like it," He was stood beside her, staring at her beautiful profile. She looked like she was in pain, the sort of pain you try to hide.
"I told you, I am fine,"
"Really? Is that what they call it now?" The elevator doors opened. She walked out into the lobby and out through the doors quickly, Tony struggling to keep up with her fast pace.
"Really," They kept up this chase until she reached the car. Finally, they stood in front of the driver's door, Tony blocking her.
"Move," She pushed. Tony's eyes flickered to something behind her.
"Ziva, down!" They crouched down, barely missing the rain of bullets. Thirty feet away stood a man clutching a machine gun, firing at anyone and everyone. Ziva and Tony instinctively grabbed their guns from their holsters and began to fire.
"He's pretty stupid if he thinks he can pull this off at the Navy Yard," Tony muttered as he ducked after firing several shots, all of which seemed to miss the man in front of him. He took a deep breath and began to near him. "Federal agents! Put down the weapon!"
The man didn't move. His face was made of stone and his eyes, grey and dark, were empty. No desperation, not even anger. He just continued to fire, despite the growing crowd of Naval officers behind him. Ziva was shocked—not a single officer fired the weapons which she knew they had on them. It was almost like a show.
"Tony!" Ziva cried in frustration, but she tried to cover him behind the cover of the car. This couldn't last long. Tony's chances of missing every bullet from a machine gun weren't good. Ziva aimed at the man once more, whose attention was focused on the federal agent before him. No.
She fired twice, finally hitting him, but not before the mad man shot several more rounds at Tony. She ran over to him and picked of the machine gun, all but tossing it to the side. Finally the surrounding men came to their aid. The man was dead. It was then that Ziva ran back to Tony. He lay on the ground in a pool of his own blood.
Summer turned to winter
And the snow it turned to rain
And the rain turned into tears upon your face
I hardly recognized the girl you are today
And god I hope it's not too late
It's not too late
Ziva stood in front of the hospital, unsure if she should go in at all. She had been outside for twenty minutes, debating with herself. The memory of Tony lying on the ground the way he had… It was engrained in her mind forever. Every time she thought of it she could feel a physical ache which wouldn't quiet.
A nurse walked up to her. "Can I help you, miss?" Ziva was slightly taken aback.
"Uh…" She looked back at the building before her.
"Is there someone you'd like to see?"
"Well, I am not sure…" Ziva let her sentence drop as the nurse stood in front of her, studying her face for a moment.
"You should go see him,"
"How do you know--?"
"I see far too many women that expression on their face. Some women like you go in. Others never come back,"
"Women like me?" Ziva questioned.
The nurse nodded. "Women in love," Ziva only stared at her. "You should go see him," She said again. "What's his name?" Ziva decided to give in.
"Tony DiNozzo. Anthony DiNozzo," Ziva corrected herself. The nurse looked down at a clipboard in her hand.
"He's in my ward. He works for the Navy, right?"
"Naval Criminal Investigative Services," Ziva explained.
"Do you work with him?" Ziva nodded.
"You should tell him," Are all American nurses so insightful? Or nosy? Ziva wondered.
"Tell him what?"
"That you love him,"
"How do you know he doesn't know?"
"If he did, you'd already be inside, holding his hand while he sleeps. You wouldn't have left his side," A pang of guilt instantly hit Ziva, and for a moment she felt faint.
"He's fine. He should be leaving the hospital today. He's been driving us crazy since he woke up,"
"What room?" Ziva felt ashamed for being so afraid. This wasn't her. This wasn't Ziva David. The nurse walked into the hospital and down several hallways and an elevator until they reached his hallway. Ziva stopped half way, suddenly unsure. The nurse gestured to the room, then hurried off to other patients, but not before giving her a reassuring smile.
"Gibbs, I'm fine," Tony protested. Ziva could hear the conversation already, and took a deep breath as she neared the door. He had been shot in an artery in his arm. He was lucky not to have lost enough blood to kill him.
"You're not going back in the field, DiNozzo,"
"You can't lift you arm,"
"Aw, come on—"
"You can't fire a gun. You're not going out until it's fixed," Gibbs stormed out of the room in his usual fashion, but Ziva noticed the small smile on his face. He gave her a short, assuring nod before he rushed down the hallway. Tony sighed with a small smile on his face as he sat in his hospital bed. He was dressed in his normal clothing and getting ready to leave after having spent four days at Bethesda. Ziva walked to the threshold. She hadn't come to see Tony since the day of the shooting. Her last memory of him was one she wanted to erase.
Tony's small smile brightened to his million-watt grin when he saw her. "Hey,"
"Hello," Ziva said timidly. She was relieved to find the color returned to his face, much unlike the last time she had seen them.
The air was tight. Why hasn't she come to see me until now? Tony thought.
"So it's been awhile," Tony tried.
"Yes… I see you are up and about,"
"Yeah. They say I get to leave today, finally,"
"But no field work," Ziva recalled.
"Yeah, guess not," Tony chuckled.
They stared at each other silently for what seemed like hours. Ziva was searching her mind for words, but she could find none. She had wanted to see him before now. But seeing him lying in his blood had been enough. Much more and she would tip off of the tightrope she had been balancing on for months.
"Hey, you wanna go for a walk?" Tony suggested. Ziva gave him a look. "I'm not paralyzed," Tony stood in proof of his capabilities. "We can get some cheesesteaks," He coaxed. Ziva smiled, ever so slightly.
"Alright," She consented. Ten minutes later, Tony was in the passenger seat of her car, directing her where to turn. She drove ten mph less than her normal speed. "Thanks for being so considerate," He winced as they made another sharp turn, this time into the parking lot.
Finally finding a spot, they began to walk along the pathway under the cherry blossom trees of the Potomac River. Across the Basin stood the stately Jefferson Memorial. Fortunately, it was still early in the morning, so not many tourists were around. They walked under the shade for a while, finishing the food they had picked up on the way. Tony had finished his long ago, relieved to be eating anything other than hospital food. Ziva gazed off out to the water as she wiped the remains of her favorite American food off her fingers. Somehow they found their way to a bench.
Tony hated the silence. It wasn't awkward, but it certainly wasn't comfortable. So many unanswered questions hung in the air. He looked over at Ziva who seemed to be on the verge of tears. He hated this. Her eyes were so much like those of the man in the parking lot. Vacant. Empty. Hopeless. There was so much he didn't know, and so much he wanted to tell her.
'Cause you are not alone
I'm always there with you
And we'll get lost together
Till the light comes pouring through
'Cause when you feel like you're done
And the darkness has won
Babe, you're not lost
When your worlds crashing down
And you can't bear the thought
I said, babe, you're not lost
"Ziva?" He began to grow concerned.
After a moment, she finally spoke. "Ever since I left for Israel last summer, I have been different… I… I can't feel…" She looked defeated and surprised by it, especially surprised by even opening her mouth, let alone her heart.
"What do you mean?" Tony asked, growing worried.
"I… When I came to NCIS five years ago, I was a cold hearted assassin. But the longer I spent here, the more I changed. You—you all," she corrected herself "You broke down my wall. I learned to live again. To be free," Ziva spoke plainly and factually in her usual manner, but this time, she had tears in her eyes, and it was obvious how much she hated the vulnerability. "To love," Ziva's eyes flickered to Tony's. "But when I was ordered back to Israel, something in me died. I got scared, and I do not let fear get in the way of my job,"
He wanted to reach out to her, to take her in his arms and warm her from the arctic cold he had been encased in for so long.
"I do not like the way things are. The way I live. But you get orders, Tony," she said, recalling the words she had said in the first hour she had spent with Tony after their time apart. "You get orders and you follow them. I am trained to do my job. I cannot let myself run on my feelings like some. It does not work that way. In Mossad if you do that, you will probably end up dead, and you and I both know the life expentancy for Mossad is not very high. I needed to protect myself. I have a job to do," The determination and anger growing in her voice by the decibel. Tony found himself to
"Oh cut the crap, Ziva. I was your partner. I thought I was your friend. But when you came back from Israel we were so different. You weren't the woman I remembered you to be. You're just like that guy in the parking lot,"
"I do not shoot people without a reason, Tony,"
"That's not what I mean. That guy, he was emotionless. He shot out a million bullets, not caring who they hit. He didn't even think about what he was doing or who he might hurt. He hid behind his gun like you hide behind your training,"
"I am not the only one who hides, Tony. To survive, one must protect themselves from their enemies. Do not try and change my mind," Ziva stood, more frustrated with herself than with the man who sat on the bench, slightly stunned. "We cannot let our emotions get in the way," Tony stood to meet her.
"Emotions aren't the problem, Ziva! Emotions are what remind us that at the end of the day, we're still human. Without them , all we are is a bunch killing machines," Ziva looked back up at him. His choice of words had struck a chord with her. Her eyes softened as his pierced hers.
"I need to protect—" She faltered at the words as a tear escaped down her cheek. Tony pulled her into a comforting embrace and she began to cry for the first time. The barriers began to fall. She grasped at his shirt as she sobbed. She was angry, yet so vulnerable and weak. This wasn't normal; this wasn't her. Ziva David did not cry. But maybe, for the first time, she needed to.
"I'm sorry," Tony whispered after a few minutes. Ziva pulled back a little and looked into his eyes helplessly. He wiped away the last of her tears with his thumb. "I shouldn't have said that,"
"You were right," Ziva admitted. "You were right," She shrugged in defeat.
"You can't go on like this, Ziva. If you do, it'll destroy you. Trust me, I know," He said softly, leading her back down the bench, one arm still wrapped around her. "And it will destroy me too," Ziva looked up, surprised at his words.
"You're not the woman I once knew, before Jenny, before Jeanne. You were so alive and beautiful and, I don't know, happy,"
"And now I am dead, ugly, and depressed?"
"You know what I meant," Ziva closed her eyes at the thought that came to mind.
"I could not lose you again," Ziva said simply. "Being away from here, away from the team, away from you… Coming back seemed too good to be true," The nostalgic phrase felt so strange to this Mossad officer. "I did not want to wake up and find out it was all a dream,"
"So you didn't wake up at all" Tony finished for her.
Ziva nodded. "I did not want to change. I just could not to lose you again,"
Life can show no mercy
It can tear your soul apart
It can make you feel like you've gone crazy
But you're not
Things have seem to changed
There's one thing that's still the same
In my heart you have remained
And we can fly, fly, fly away
"It's gonna take more than that get rid of me," Tony took her hand and Ziva looked up into his blue eyes.
"Why did you not call?" She asked, her voice almost a whisper, afraid of the response. Her forehead was furrowed in confusion, and her eyes were full of questions.
"The same reason you pulled away," She nodded slowly in understanding. "I'm sorry," He said again. "I should have called," Tony said regretfully. He was silent for a few more moments. "When you came back, you were so... so far away. I thought I had lost my chance. After Jeanne, after everything with Jenny… It just seemed too late. I thought you didn't want me anymore, especially after you went back to Israel to see that guy,"
"How do you know I went back to see someone?" When Tony just stared at her, she realized. "You found the picture," She said with a sigh. "When I was in Israel, Tony, I was… I forgot who I had become. I forgot how to feel… Michael was my partner. I tried to forget about you… about everyone. It did not work. I need you to feel,"
"Why did you go back?" Tony said, his heart beating faster with every word she said.
"I needed to end things. I needed to tell him goodbye for good,"
"So why did you only distance yourself from me when you did come back?"
"I thought it was what you wanted,"
"All I ever wanted, Ziva, was you," Tony whispered seriously. He searched her eyes, looking for an answer.
After a moment, he kissed her. It wasn't passionate, urgent, rushed, or full of lust. This kiss was one of love, and trust, and hope. Another moment later, he parted, their foreheads still touching. The spring breeze swept the cherry blossom petals around them quietly. Ziva smiled a genuine smile, full of a joy she hadn't known before. "I missed my crazy ninja chick," She smiled again and touched his hair.
"I missed you too," She pulled back and turned to face the water once again. Tony leaned on his arms which were situated on his legs. He looked over at her, seeing the buds of life in her eyes again, a smile on her face which he hadn't seen in over a year. This would have been awkward if it weren't for the fact that both partners knew they were trying to grasp the reality of what had just happened, and what the future might just hold for them.
Could this be real? Ziva wondered. She could hardly believe what had just taken place.
Tony took a deep breath. She needed to know the truth, plain and clear. "Ziva, I have loved you from the moment I first met you. There is nothing you could do stop me from wanting you," Ziva looked at him, her expression going from surprise to relief, and finally… love.
"You—" She began to say slowly, but was interrupted. Did she hear him right?
Suddenly Tony had an idea he couldn't wait for. He stood and held out his hand. "May I have this dance?"
"What?" Ziva laughed.
"You heard me," She took his hand, eyeing him. He pulled her into his arms and they began to dance slowly, the cool breeze making the petals above them fall. After a couple of minutes, she spoke.
"What movie did you steal this from?"
Tony laughed and looked down at her grinning. "I guess you'll just have to wait and see,"
She looked up at him, her smile growing sort of dreamy and surreal. She couldn't stand this any longer. "I love you too,"
For awhile they danced there in the sweet spring breeze. Finally, Ziva broke the comfortable silence. "I'm sorry,"
Tony smiled. "I understand why you did… Ziva, you need to know that I'm always gonna be here. I promise," He pulled her close to him, her arms around his neck and his around her waist and began to sing quietly. "And you are not alone, I'm always here with you, and we'll get lost together, 'till the light comes pourin' through, 'cause when you feel like you're done, and the darkness has won, babe, you're not lost, when the worlds crashing down, And you cannot bear the cross, I said, baby, you're not lost,"
"Tony… you are a terrible singer," Ziva laughed, kissing him once more. "But thank you," she whispered.
The song is Lost by Michael Buble. I was listening to it last week and thought, "This could be a Tiva songfic oneshot," so I went to write it.
I came up with the first part of the conversation they have at the Basin and the "emotions" tid bit a couple weeks back and really wanted to use it. So when I was listenign to Lost, I thought, "Hey, this could be a Tiv thing" and then went to write it. I had to add in the conversations. I liked them too much not too.
I know both Tony and Ziva are slightly OOC, but they, they's what love and pain do to ya, right?