It was late, or early depending on how one looked at the clock, and Tony couldn't sleep.

Trying to find a comfortable position in bed just sent pain shooting from his broken clavicle and torn shoulder muscles. So instead, he sat as still as possible in his recliner-one of the few positions that kept his pain down to a dull throb-and sipped at a glass full of bourbon while Rio Bravo quietly played on his plasma.

It was probably just as well that he couldn't sleep, because every time he closed his eyes for longer then a few seconds, he relived that fateful night when everything fell apart around him.

He could still feel everything.

Not just the pain from the blows he traded with Rivkin as he fought for his life, but the near-paralyzing fear as well.

He knew without a doubt that he had been seriously outclassed in that fight.

He was an investigator, a cop trained to subdue criminals-and to avoid the use of deadly force whenever possible-going up against an experienced assassin who had no qualms about killing in cold blood.

All he could do was hold onto the miniscule possibility that maybe, just maybe, his opponent would slip up and give him the opening he needed to gain the upper hand.

But then Rivkin broke out of their grapple and rendered his right arm useless.

He remembered thinking that he was going to die as Rivkin put him into a choke hold. The light was beginning to fade as he struggled, using his one good arm to try and do something, anything, to break free.

And, miraculously, he somehow managed to throw Rivkin off balance just enough so that he could bend his knees and push up off the floor with all his might.

Throwing both of their bodies backwards and onto that glass coffee table…

Tony took another gulp of bourbon.

God, that stuff burned all the way to the bottom.

And it wasn't a particularly pleasant burn, but it was what he needed.

Because he could also see her face as she burst through the door, weapon at the ready.

He could see her eyes as they traveled from his own gun, to his injured form, and to her lover lying face down on the floor with three bullets in his heart.

He could see her running across the short distance, completely ignoring him, to cradle the body of the dead man lying beside him.

Tony drained the last of the bourbon in his glass and winced as he forced the too-large gulp down his throat and into his stomach.

He set his glass down and refilled it from his rapidly emptying bottle while-on screen-John Wayne was confronting Dean Martin about his out of control drinking.

A knock came from his door.

Tony ignored the first knock and took a sip from his glass.

Another knock, more insistent this time, forced him to put down his drink and reach for the remote control with a wince to pause the movie.

But still, he waited.

A third time.

This time the knocking sounded almost angry, so Tony pushed himself out of his recliner, and after shakily finding his balance with the arm that wasn't in a sling, slowly padded to his door.

He opened the door without checking to see who it was and saw that it was Ziva, with her hand raised to try knocking again.

Their eyes met, although neither betrayed any emotion through them, until finally he wordlessly turned around and walked back inside.

If Ziva wanted to come in, she could follow. If she didn't, he was currently beyond caring if she left the door open or not.

He heard the door open wider and Ziva's distinct footsteps as she came inside as well. She closed the door before continuing to follow Tony inside.

"Do you want anything to drink?" he asked over his shoulder while he walked further back into his apartment. It wasn't out of courtesy but as a way to drown out the pounding silence that filled his apartment and the ever-growing rift between him and Ziva. "I've got soda, beer-"


Tony froze at that sound.

It was that of a handgun's hammer being cocked.

It was an unmistakable sound, one he'd heard too many times to mistake for something else.

He slowly turned to see Ziva, wearing leather gloves and pointing a gun, with a silencer threaded onto the barrel, straight at him.

"Okay," Tony said as he nodded his head. "Okay."

He turned away from Ziva and the gun, and headed to his recliner.

With a resigned sigh, he sat down and leaned back into the soft leather of his chair. He unpaused the movie he'd been watching and reached for his bourbon as John Wayne and Dean Martin resumed arguing on the screen before him.

"Do what you have to do."

He listened to Ziva's footsteps as she came up behind him. He could feel the cold metal of the silencer just a fraction of an inch from the back of his head.

Any moment now, there would be a muffled pop, and it would all be over.

"Dying while doing something I love," Tony said as a corner of his mouth twitched up into a humorless smile. "I don't think that there are too many people who get a chance like this."

He took a sip of his drink and waited.

And waited.

But the shot didn't come.

Instead, Ziva walked around his chair. Her gun was lowered, but he could see that her arm was tensed so that she could bring her weapon to bear before he could even blink.

His eyes traveled from her glove-clad hand, up her arm, and to her face so they locked eyes once more.

Those beautiful brown eyes that used to look at him with amusement, annoyance, and concern now glared at him with a simmering anger that threatened to boil over and scald him.

"Why could you not stay out of it?" she asked in a strained voice. "Why could you not leave it alone?"

Tony's answer did not come fast enough for Ziva. She closed the short distance between them in a flash, so that she was practically on the recliner with Tony, and pressing the muzzle of the silencer up against the soft flesh beneath his jaw.


Tony's wince as the rocking of his chair sent pain shooting from his injured shoulder sent a wave of satisfaction through Ziva's body. She brought her face close to Tony's so that their breaths were practically mingling.

"Tell me…" she hissed as she pressed her gun tighter against his skin, tilting his head back even further.

Tony grunted at the strain she was putting on his neck and spoke, feeling the metal of her gun's silencer pressing harder against him as his mouth moved.

"He killed an ICE agent and tried to bug a top secret meeting…"

He forced his head back down, daring to push against the loaded gun she held so that he would not have to look down his nose in order to make eye contact.

"And he was playing you, Ziva. Got close to you and used you as an asset for the intelligence you could provide."

Ziva shook her head, refusing to believe what he was telling her. "No."

"It was just like I did with Jeanne," Tony continued. "And I had to stop him before he could go any further, because…"

His voice trailed off for a moment before he spoke again, but in those few seconds of silence, she saw him look at her in the way she had yearned for. She thought she had given up all hope of seeing those emotions being directed at her, but here they were, with him finally-but silently-showing her the depths of his feelings for her as she held a gun on him with her finger on the trigger.

Tony shook his head slightly and the movement was telegraphed through the gun to her hand as he finished his sentence, "I didn't want to see you go through what I put her through."

Ziva blinked as she remembered finding out about the full extent of Tony's undercover assignment.

He had gotten close to Jeanne Benoit, an innocent woman whose only crime was having been the daughter of Le Grenouille, in order to find a way to get to her father.

He engaged the woman in a sexual relationship and had manipulated her feelings, inadvertently or otherwise, to get her to fall in love with him in order to attain his goal.

And in the end, when the mission concluded, he left behind a heart-broken woman who, mourning the murder of her father, threw away a promising career as a surgeon at a prestigious DC hospital to try and find a new beginning elsewhere.

Ziva remembered looking at Jeanne after the woman had accused Tony of killing her father and how she appeared to be nothing but a shell of a human as she attempted to find reason in a world that was nothing like the one she once knew.

That was when Ziva's anger morphed into revulsion as she finally allowed herself to realize what had been going on.

There had been a leak at NCIS.

And it had been her.

Mossad, her own agency, had taken advantage of her position and the friendships-real, trusting, friendships and not simply connections that were to be used until no longer useful to her–she had cultivated in order to further its own agenda.

And such a directive could have only come from the top.

From her father.

Her own father had ordered one of his officers to get close to her. Earn her trust, gain her affection, and then exploit her feelings in order to obtain intelligence from an allied nation and firm supporter in their fight for existence.

Her father had used her-his own daughter-in a way that was normally reserved for potential weak links in enemy organizations.

People who could be manipulated and used, only to be discarded once they were used up.

Ziva felt as though she was going to be sick.

She fell backwards off of the recliner and stumbled away from Tony. For a moment, it seemed as if she would trip and fall, and he automatically tried to stand up to catch her, a move made awkward by the fact that he only had one arm with which to push himself out of his seat.

"Ziva?" he asked softly. "Are you alright?"

Tony took a hesitant step forward and slowly reached his good arm out towards her.

Had the situation been any different, she would have laughed at Tony's concern. Only he would completely ignore the danger at hand to focus on her welfare.

And it made her heartache all the more worse as she could not let herself accept the comfort he was offering.

"No!" Ziva's gun hand shot up and shakily pointed her gun at his chest. "Stay back!"

Tony abruptly stopped in his tracks.


She looked down at the gun in her hand as if it had suddenly become an object that was entirely foreign to her.

"I-I-I must…"

She decocked the hammer and hastily put the gun down on Tony's coffee table with a clatter before brushing past him to exit his apartment as fast as possible.

The elevator would not come fast enough so she took the stairs, leaping down the stairwell two, three steps at a time until she reached the ground floor.

She quickly walked across the lobby, not even sparing a glance at the sleeping doorman, and threw open the building's front door to walk out into the muggy DC night.

But her progress was abruptly halted by Gibbs' familiar figure waiting for her on the sidewalk.

His eyes seemed to possess double their normal intensity as he took in her appearance.

She looked down and realized-with a sudden burst of fear-that his eyes had stopped on her leather glove clad hands. Such articles of clothing were completely incongruous for this time of year and there were only a few reasons as to why someone with her background would wear them in summer.

Ziva shivered as she saw the icy and calculating look in Gibbs' eyes when they came back up to meet hers. And for the first time in years, she felt true terror.

"I did not hurt him," she stammered when she thought Gibbs was about to move forward to grab her. "He is still alive."

"He better be," Gibbs growled as he side stepped around her to enter Tony's building.

He did not look back to check if she was still there or if she was gone as he ignored the elevators and took the stairs up to Tony's floor.

Now alone on the sidewalk, Ziva began walking to where she had parked her car several blocks away.

In the quiet of the extremely early morning, her thoughts rang loudly and clearly through her head.

She had failed to carry out the orders given to her by Mossad.

But in her attempt to carry them out she went against her friends and broke the trust they had placed in her.

She could not turn to either of them now.

One would kill her while the other would never look at her in the same way again.

Tears began pooling in her eyes and she did not even try to stop them

Because she now knew where she stood in the world.

She was alone.

Hi, everyone!

This is my first attempt at writing fanfic, and it would be awesome if you guys could give me some feedback and suggestions.