Author's Notes: Okay, I told myself I wasn't gonna write it, but I did. This is for all the Tiva fans out there (Only God knows how many of you there actually are) and I realise that this will more than likely not occur. But this is my contribution to the post-Aliyah fad, so naturally there are spoilers on everything up to and including that episode. I should warn you, one of the characters has a major AU storyline. I'll explain more in the next chapter. For now, enjoy and please review.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters, plots or locations from NCIS and I have the utmost respect for the writers and producers of the series. I am not making a profit from this story and am writing it for my enjoyment and the enjoyment of others.
It was night. It was dark. A slow flicker from the plasma as the movie he'd seen a hundred times flicked from shot to shot was the only energy to light the place. Rain pelted against his window like gunfire. Wind bellowed a mournful song in the night. His lips were barely touching the glass when the strong taste of bourbon rushed through his mouth. And it lingered. Lingered in his soul like everything else. His world had stopped, but everything around him just kept going.
For two weeks now, this had been Tony's routine each and every night after work. His bag was left slumped behind his door, his jacket was thrown on to the floor, and almost in immediate succession, a glass full of his boss' preferred libation was present in front of him. In his catatonic state had done it automatically, but when he took a second look, he could almost trick himself into believing that someone else had left it there for him.
Entranced by his current predicament, he completely ignored the movie that was playing in the background. He'd seen it exactly eight times with his partner; that much he knew. He couldn't understand why he couldn't bear to watch it alone. He'd done so before she came into his life—why should it be so different after she'd gone? The part of him that couldn't watch the film was the same part resigned to the fact that he would never see her again. The pessimism crept up on him in the dark of night when he was alone and intoxicated. At work at least, he could find some joy. Abby's joy. McGee's joy. Even Ducky's joy. They were anticipating her return. But none of them were in Israel. They didn't watch her walk away. They didn't see the emotions raging through her body during her aliyah back to her homeland.
As another wave of sorrow washed over him (as well as another sip of the burning alcohol) Tony shifted back further into his armchair and closed his eyes. He remembered Israel like it was yesterday, not two weeks ago. He remembered everything like it just happened... and it haunted his every waking and dormant moment. From the fight with Rivkin to the conversation with Gibbs at the hospital to the tense, silent and extremely uncomfortable C-130 trip to Tel Aviv; his battle with Eli, his fight with Ziva—and then, finally, her departure from his life. It was those memories that his cynical side fed on. She was not coming home.
The movie finished and Tony glanced over at the bright red numbers on his alarm clock. It was ten-thirty. He knew it wouldn't be another three hours, at least, before he even considered sleep. And even when he lay down on the bed, sleep would not come. Well... not without help from a little scientific invention known as the magic bullet of insomnia. He shifted slightly, moving most of his weight off of his injured arm. It was on the mend, but not even half way there yet. He couldn't wait to be rid of the cast and get back out into the field. The field that he knew would never be the same again.
Two days after they arrived back in Washington, Vance temporarily assigned Gibbs a Probie. With Tony injured and Ziva gone, the bullpen had never been so small. And they had active cases to run. Major active cases. If Tony had to admit it, the new girl wasn't too bad an agent. She was smart, obedient and a speedy learner. He could see that Gibbs wasn't complaining—Junior Special Agent Tia Montez had great instincts and lightning fast reflexes at anticipating everybody's next move, even his. In looks alone, Montez and Ziva could have been related. But in rationale, the two couldn't be more different. Montez worked silently and obediently; she didn't argue when Gibbs took away her weapons for three days; she knew enough about computers to please McGee, even joining him in an MMORPG one afternoon (but drew the line at Elflord) and, with a degree in forensic science from Penn State, she knew enough about crime scene investigation to please Abby.
Gorgeous as she was, Tony was too far gone with his wayward emotions to even consider making a move. And he guessed that Montez saw and believed the same thing about him, so she left him alone. They hadn't really had much contact since her arrival. She never asked about the desk she occupied and she never brought up Tony's partner, rather ex-partner, with him. Due to his injury, she was always paired with McGee and he was left at NCIS to run point with Abby, or man the investigation from the home front.
He and Abby had become close after Ziva left. Well, closer. He had walked into her lab the following day and demanded to know everything that she'd discovered with McGee while he was in Israel. Seeing the maniacal look on his face, she hesitantly complied, all the while maintaining her position that Ziva was still loyal to their agency and their team, and was forced into all of it by Rivkin and her father. Tony was still not so sure.
With another sip of the glass, Tony went over everything Abby had told him. The emails, the phone call to Amit Hadar, and even what she'd found on both Rivkin's and Abin Tabul's respective laptops. Ah, how he cursed the laptop. Finding Rivkin's personal property at Tabul's residence had been what set this entire string of episodes into motion. He looked across at his clock again. Eleven.
And as he did so, the apartment's dead silence was interrupted by a loud sound. His cell phone rang.
On the third, Tony made the effort to stand up and answer it.
"Special Agent DiNozzo," came the female caller's mysterious voice. "Listen very carefully to what I have to say."
"Of course. I love taking orders from people I've never met on the other end of a phone line who could be thousands of miles away," Tony chided sarcastically.
"That was a good guess, but I did not call you to hear witty statements from your cynical self, Agent DiNozzo," she shot back. "Listen to me very carefully and do exactly as I say if you ever want to see your partner alive again."
Apparently, it takes a woman 8.3 seconds to decide whether or not she will sleep with a man upon meeting him. Tony took far less than half that time to decide his next course of action.
A/N: As I mentioned earlier, please review. What are you thinking???