Don't Be Scared
With a brand new, though very charred, piece of human tissue to examine, Abby bounded into her lab with a spring in her step. She knew this one was going to be good, so she'd headed up to Ducky's lab herself to get the goods, so to speak. Her music was blaring, albeit quieter than she knew she had left it, so she could hear the foreign sound straight away. Whimpering. Who was in her lab? No one ever came in her lab unless she called them to, with the except of McGee, and she definitely hadn't called him down. He also didn't whimper like a woman. She headed into the part of her lab that served more like an office, and saw somebody leaning over her desk. The glass doors hissed as she passed through them, turning the music down all the way.
The shock in her voice was fully deserved. After all, she wasn't sure anyone had ever seen Ziva in such a state. Clearly the whimpering had been coming from her, considering she was the one leaning against the desk, bone pale, covered in a sheen of sweat. She was also clutching her stomach in pain. At the call of her name, Ziva looked up, and her eyes revealed the pain inside of them, and how much she was fighting to keep it under control.
Abby rushed forward to help her support herself. "Oh my God, Ziva, what's wrong?"
When she spoke, her voice was strained. "Abby, I need you to do something for me-"
"Sit down, I'll get you some water," Abby said, attempting to lead her to the chair.
"No, I do not need water," Ziva insisted, shaking her off and refusing to let Abby touch her.
"You need something, Ziva!" Abby argued. "You look like you're about to collapse-"
"Abby, please!" Ziva begged loudly, a tear slipping down her cheek.
When she noticed the tear, Abby knew that this wasn't the average 'I got a bit hurt in the field and don't want Gibbs to know'. She softened. "Ziva, what's going on?"
"I need you to find Tony for me," she instructed.
"Are you hurt?" Abby asked her.
"Tony," she repeated. "You must find Tony."
"Why Tony?" she asked curiously.
"I need him," she admitted, bowing her head as she leaned against the table once more. "I believe he is still in the lab, but I cannot…" she doubled over, cringing in pain. "Please," she begged once more.
Abby wasn't sure what was most shocking about the situation: Ziva with tears, Ziva in pain, or Ziva admitted that she needed help, and from Tony of all people. "What's happening?" Abby asked, sounding slightly more panicked.
"I cannot explain, I just…"
"…need Tony," Abby finished for her.
Biting her lip, Ziva nodded. "Yes."
"I'll call Ducky and see if Tony's still down there," Abby assured her. "Just…sit down or something, please? You look like you're going to fall over."
Abby rushed to the video phone and called down to the lab. Instantly, Ducky's face appeared. "Autopsy."
"Is Tony still down there?" she asked hurriedly.
"My, we're straight to the point today," Ducky chuckled.
"Yes, he's here."
"I need to talk to him. It's an emergency."
At her tone, Tony himself appeared, having all but pushed Ducky out of the way. "What's up, Abs?" he asked her.
"It's Ziva," she said simply.
At that, his eyes darkened, something she noticed even through the tiny panellised screen. "What? Is she okay?" he demanded.
"I don't know," Abby admitted. "I just got back and found her down here. She's hurt or something. She looks like she's really in pain but she won't let me touch her. I tried to get her to sit down and she freaked out saying that she just wanted you. She keeps asking for you…" she rambled, looking over to where Ziva had sat sideways on the ground, leaning her entire body up against the refrigerator where it was cooler. "She's…she's actually?"
"What, Abby?" Tony snapped. "She's what?"
"She's crying, Tony," she mumbled.
"Oh God," Tony murmured, running his hands over his face.
"What's going on, Tony?" Abby asked.
Muttering almost to himself, she found her answer less than revealing. "It's started."
"What?" she pried. "What's started?"
He seemed aware once more that she was talking to him. "I'm on my way," he assured her. "Get her to lie down somehow. Tell her I'll be right there."
And with that, his face vanished from the screen. Abby went back over to Ziva and crouched down close to her. Ziva didn't even respond to her presence. "Tony's on his way," she assured her. "Do you want to lie down on the futon?" she asked. Ziva was silent, but Abby still stood up and unrolled the futon. When she didn't move, Abby frowned and tried a different approach. "Ziva, Tony wants you to lie down."
To her surprise, Ziva instantly moved to the futon.
Only a minute later, Tony rushed into the lab followed by the others, all of whom were asking him questions. He wasn't answering any of them, however, and it seemed like he wasn't even sure they were with him. He just rushed over to Abby, who came up to him and stopped him going immediately to Ziva. "Tony-"
"What happened?" he asked. "How did it start?"
"I don't know," she shrugged, defeated. "I just found her like this. I don't know what's going on, Tony, but she's really in pain. I tried to get her to take something for it but she wouldn't-"
Tony wordlessly walked past Abby, going over to Ziva's side. Once there, without paying any attention to the others he dropped to her side, smoothing back her hair to reveal her pained face. His voice dropped to a soft whisper. "Ziva," he said. "Ziva, look at me."
She looked up at him, reaching out her hand and placing it against his upper arm. "Tony," she croaked, clutching his arm tightly through a wave of pain.
"It's started, hasn't it?" he realised.
Whimpering, she nodded. "Yes."
He moved so that he was half-lying beside her and lifted her into his lap. He pulled her head against his chest gently, and begun stroking her hair as his other arm went around her back, holding her against him. He put of his legs over hers, so that they could be as tightly pressed together as possible, still not paying any attention to the others, who watched them curiously.
"I gotcha," he assured her. "I've got you. It's okay. I'm here."
"The doctor said it would hurt but…"
"I know. I know, it hurts…"
"So much, Tony," she whimpered again.
Tony sighed heavily and looked over his shoulder. "Abs?" he asked. Abby came over to them, appearing in his sight line. "Upstairs in the middle drawer of my desk there's a bottle of prescription painkillers with Ziva's name on them. There's a small black bag as well, like a pouch. I need you to get them for me."
"Tony, what's wrong with her?" Abby asked shakily.
"I can't explain right now, can you-"
"Yeah, of course," she nodded.
She left her lab, dragging McGee with her. He simply cast a confused and concerned stare in the direction of his two team mates and followed after the forensic specialist. As they left, Tony reached down between the two of them, placing one hand against Ziva's stomach. She whimpered, not with pain this time but something else, and tried to shove his hand away. However, he just fought against her struggle and placed his hand against her stomach as he began to rub soothing circles, his other arm keeping her in place.
"Shh, it's okay," he assured her. "It's just me."
She shuddered in a violent pain and gripped Tony tightly, her fist balling up his shirt in her grasp as she began to tremble. "It was not supposed to be this way," she complained.
"No, it wasn't," he agreed, his own pain creeping into his voice.
And then Gibbs was at their side, a soft voice and a comforting hand on Tony's shoulder. "Tony, what's going on?" he asked.
At this same moment, Ducky realised exactly what was happening. "Oh my," he whispered to himself.
Tony looked up, just as emotional as Ziva but like her he was forcing control so that he could be the strong one. "Boss, I…"
Ziva suddenly gasped in pain. "Tony!"
He rushed his attention back to her, cradling his face with one hand as he kissed her forehead. "It's okay, I'm right here," he told her. "I'm not letting you go. I'm right here."
Ducky joined them, placing a hand on Ziva's hair. "Oh, my poor dear," he whispered before turning to Gibbs. "Might I have a word, Jethro?"
Gibbs looked down at his two distraught agents and then back to Ducky. "Now?" he asked incredulously.
"Yes, now," he insisted.
Upstairs, Abby and McGee found that Tony's middle drawer was perhaps the most cluttered of the three. "Here, I've got them!" she announced after a moment. McGee had found the black pouch already, but the painkillers had proved more of a treasure hunt.
"Great," McGee sighed. "Let's get them down to Ziva."
But Abby was staring at the bottle of painkillers. "…uh oh," she whispered.
"What?" he asked.
"These have Ziva's name on them."
"Tony said they would."
"Full name, Tim," she emphasised. "Her full name."
"All prescription meds do," he said simply.
"Why would Tony be keeping her pain meds in his desk?" she asked him, before holding the bottle out to him. "Look at the name."
"Ziva Caria," he recited.
"Caria is her middle name," Abby pointed out. "Look at the surname."
Turning his attention back to the bottle, McGee realised that something more powerful than pain was at play here. "…DiNozzo?"
Ducky took Gibbs to the far side of the lab, where they could still see the pained pair on the ground but were out of earshot as they whispered. "You know what's wrong with her, Duck?" Gibbs asked.
Ducky nodded. "Yes."
"…well?" Gibbs asked, when he didn't elaborate further.
"I don't know what the situation is between your agents, but his concern and her agony…Jethro, can't you see it?"
"What is it I'm supposed to be seeing, Duck?" he asked.
"It seems that Anthony and Ziva care for one another much more than we've been lead to believe, and these emotions are being tested."
"Look at the signs," Ducky told him. "Ziva is keeping prescription painkillers in Tony's desk rather than her own. She's also allowing physical pain to overwhelm her, which I am sure you are aware is very unlike herself. She's accepting what she's feeling as a weakness, one she is only allowing Tony to provide comfort for. Not to mention the pain in Tony's eyes, the need to take her pain away even though he knows he can't." Ducky's eyes were sympathetic as he solemnly delivered the diagnosis to Gibbs. "I believe that Ziva is miscarrying their child, Jethro."
They both looked over at Tony and Ziva, just in time to see Ziva let a real sob escape, sounding so broken and pained as she continued to grip at Tony. In response, Tony adjusted his arms, gathering her tighter and cradling her against him as he whispered in her ear. It was obvious he was just as heartbroken, but he was clearly using everything he had to try and hold it together for her.
"Oh god," Gibbs mumbled.
Abby and McGee returned quickly, holding the painkillers and a bottle of water. She gave Gibbs a strange look, one that told him something was definitely wrong here, but she said nothing about her observations as she silently handed over the water and the pills to Tony. "Thanks, Abs," he mumbled, as he sat up a little more, trying to move Ziva with him. She protested, curling tighter in a ball against him and making it impossible for him to move any further. She was now sat curled in his lap. "Ziva, I know that it hurts, but it's going to get worse if you don't want the meds," he told her.
She shook her head against him. "I do not deserve pain relief," she insisted.
"Don't say that," he whispered.
"I deserve to feel the pain."
Tony pressed his face against the top of her head, aware of everyone watching his face as he now faced them, but avoiding their eyes as he moved to nuzzle her face affectionately, speaking against her temple with a strong determination. "This was not your fault."
"It was," she denied.
"You did nothing wrong," he tried to make her believe.
"Something went wrong, Tony," she pointed out.
"Yes, but it wasn't something you did," he insisted. She whimpered again, another wave of pain hitting her. "Take the meds, Ziva."
"If I am in pain I cannot feel the emptiness," she told him.
"I can't sit here with you hurting this much and do nothing. Please, for me," he begged of her. She gasped at the pain and he repeated his requested, brushing his lips against her temple. His own eyes were welling up dangerously now. "For me. Please, take the meds."
After what seemed like forever, she finally surrendered and took the painkillers. After she had swallowed them she collapsed back against him, and he held her tightly as she began to fight even harder against the sobs that threatened to overwhelm her. She buried her head in the gap between his neck and shoulder when one of these sobs escaped her. "I cannot do this," she realised.
"Yes, you can," he said. "It'll be okay, I promise."
"I feel awful, Tony…" she cried.
"I'm not going anywhere, okay?" he assured her. "I'm staying here. We're doing this together. I promise you I'm not leaving."
Ducky stepped forward, crouching by them. "Anthony, she needs to go to the hospital," he said softly.
Tony shook his head. "We've already been," he told him.
"You understand what's happening?" Ducky checked.
"Yeah," Tony said with a shaking breath. "We uh…we were at the hospital all last night. She…she wasn't even in pain before it happened. We were in the kitchen and it just hit her and she collapsed. We got to the hospital and they said that there was nothing they could do. It was already too late. They just gave her some painkillers and told us to let nature run its course, that her body would do the rest of the work." Ziva took hold of his hand tightly in hers as his voice broke. She bought both hands up to her chest, holding them there so they weren't lingering over her now-empty stomach. He took a deep, shuddering breath. "They uh…they said that within the next few says she's get her…you know, women's thing…and that it'd be normal just more painful. And she's always in pain anyway with it, but I think…" he pressed his head against her hair for a moment, inhaling. When he raised his head again, there were tears almost bursting out of his eyes.
Gibbs saw this, and sat down on the ground before the two agents. "You really care about her," he said, speaking softly.
Tony nodded, his shattered voice coming out on a chocked sob. "I love her."
"When did this start?" Gibbs asked. Tony looked at him strangely. "Tell me how it happened. I know this is hurting, but try to think of something to take the pain away," he instructed.
"It started six months ago," Tony told him. "Not seriously, but it started. We started going out for dinner after work, and then one night it just…happened. We knew that we were in too deep for it to be a one time thing, so we decided to take it slow and see where things too us. We were always careful, but…but not careful enough apparently."
"Ziva got pregnant," he realised, noticing that the 'p' word caused them both to cringe.
"She thought I was gonna leave her," Tony remembered. "She was convinced that I'd turn her away…I just told her that I loved her. The first time. The same time that Mossad got back in touch."
"When they tried to recall her last month," Gibbs remembered.
Tony nodded. "I couldn't let her go, boss. Director Shepherd tried a million different things, but her dad just wasn't changing his mind. He wanted Ziva home."
"How did you get them to let her stay?" he asked them.
"They didn't have a choice. They had to let her," he said simply.
"The baby?" he asked.
Tony shook his head, turning to Abby. "Abby, the bag?" he asked.
She handed over the black pouch she'd swiped from McGee. "Right here," she whispered.
Tony took it from her, and kissed Ziva's forehead to bring her attention to him. "Hey, I've got something that might make you feel a bit better," he told her. She watched with a sniffle as he opened up the pouch, letting two gold bands fall into his palm. He put one on his finger, and went to slide the thinner one onto her hand, but she made her hand into a fist, stopping him.
"I cannot," she shook her head.
"Why?" he asked.
"There are no obligations now," she choked out.
Confused, Tony frowned. "Ziva…what?"
"You do not have any obligation to me now that there is no child," she pointed out. "You do not have to stay."
"Hey, look at me," he said. She shook her head again, burying it away from his gaze in his chest. "No. No, Ziva, I want you to look at me." She still refused, so he physically raised her head with his hands, holding it in place as he cupped her cheeks. Ignoring all the others, he kissed her on the lips, full and passionate but not inappropriate. It wasn't a kiss that any of them expected Tony to give, the kiss of love, not just attraction. "I didn't marry you out of obligation, you know that," he reminded her.
"But the baby…"
"Was a bonus," he said, wiping away a tear with his thumb. "Ziva, I love you. I'm so in love with you that it scares the hell out of me sometimes. I'd have married you one day whether it was in a year, two years or eve ten years. I know a long time ago that you were going to be mine, and I wasn't going to let your father take you away from me, not when I'd only just found you."
Another wave of pain hit her, and she held his shoulder tightly, placing her free hand on her stomach. He wove one of his arms around her, rubbing her back softly as she let out one huge sob, followed by another, and another…but then she held them back.
"No, no, no…don't stop," he urged her.
"Let it all out," he told her. "This isn't about strengths and weaknesses, Ziva, this is about letting out the pain. If you don't let this out now, it'll only bottle up and take over you. I won't let you do that to yourself."
"But nothing," he shook his head. "I'm not going anywhere. I'm staying, Ziva. This is our loss that we have to mourn. We created that life together and the only way we can get through this is together." He took hold of her hand again, and this time she allowed him to slide the simple wedding band onto her finger, her breath shuddering as he bought the digits up to his lips afterwards. "Just let it out, I'm right here, I always will be," he whispered.
With that, she allowed the pain and the fear to overwhelm her. Placing her head against his shoulder, she let sob after sob escape her, making no attempt to stall the uncontrollable emotions flooding from her eyes and throat. Tony leant his head down, burying it in her hair to hide his face from the others.
"Let go," he encouraged her. "It's okay.
Ziva shook her head, still sobbing. "Not here," she whimpered.
Tony looked up, his eyes meeting Gibbs'. "Boss…"
"Take her home, Tony," he whispered softly.
Tony nodded. "Thanks, boss."
"You'll be okay?" Gibbs checked.
"Yeah, I'll take care of her," he mumbled.
"I mean you, as well," Gibbs told him.
Tony held his gaze for a moment, fighting to keep his pain under wraps so that he could comfort Ziva enough to get them both through this. "I got it, boss," he choked out. He gathered Ziva into his arms, getting awkwardly to his feet with a steadying arm from Gibbs. Ziva froze at the movement. "Come on, let's go home," he told her.
Ziva relaxed in his embrace, allowing him told her. It was strange for everyone, even after what they had just witnessed, to see that she made no attempt to fight Tony as he so blatantly took care of her, when before she'd have fought against him just for asking if she was okay. "Come on," Gibbs said to the others. "Let's leave them be."
"But-" Abby protested instantly.
"Abby, they'll be okay," he told her surely.
She looked at him with emotional eyes. Ducky had explained to her and McGee about Ziva's condition, so to speak, and the loss they were mourning. "Will they really, though?"
Gibbs watched Tony's turned back, noticing the small similarities between the death of Tony and Ziva's child, and the death of his own so long ago. It didn't matter whether or not you actually had to chance to hold your baby in your arms, you still felt like a part of your world, a huge, overwhelming part, had been destroyed. However, he did have hope. While he had mourned his wife and child together, Tony and Ziva still had one another. He nodded in reply to Abby's question. "As long as they have each other, they will."
As the elevator doors pinged open, Ducky turned to Gibbs. "They should not be alone tonight."
Gibbs said nothing, but silently followed after the pair. He managed to slip into the elevator just as the doors closed, meeting Tony's eyes as he made no move to press another button. "I'll drive you home," he told them simply. It wasn't an offer, and it wasn't a suggestion, but rather a soft order. Tony nodded numbly, glad that he could feel he had someone to turn to in the absence of his own father.
Because when you lose your child, he thought, you realise how much you really crave the comfort of your own parents.
Going home was strange. It didn't matter that they had only officially shared it as a home for the past few weeks, it was still their home. Ziva's items took up as much space as his own. Gibbs had driven them back, allowing Tony to sit in the back seat with Ziva, her curled up against his side as her sobs calmed into sniffles with tears still streaming freely down her cheeks. It was far from just a lift home, however. Gibbs asked for Tony's keys, and went up to the apartment with them, holding the door open so that Tony could carry her inside. Afterwards, he went into the kitchen and put on the kettle.
While Gibbs was in the kitchen, Tony took Ziva straight through to the bedroom. He knew that the best thing to do was to keep her calm, try his best to make her feel a little better, so he begun to go through her rituals that she would do after a bad day, or on a day that was particularly heartbreaking.
The starter was the bath. She sat on the rim of the tub as he monitored the water, making sure that it wasn't going to burn her skin. They barely made eye contact because she seemed to be looking everywhere but his eyes, but he knew that she still wanted him nearby because she made sure that part of them was always touching, even it was just the linking of their pinkie fingers.
He allowed her to bathe alone, knowing that even though they had, on several occasions, shared a bath together, that today wasn't one of those playful times. Gibbs had walked down the hall to find Tony sitting with his back against the bathroom door, ready just in case she called for him.
After she had soaked, she had called out his name. He had taken her into the bedroom, dressed her in her sweat pants and one of his sweatshirts, leading her back into the living room. He made her comfortable on the couch, and Gibbs had quietly comforted her while he made her usual comfort food - a peanut butter sandwich with a steaming hot cocoa. He placed the sandwich on the coffee table and then handed her the mug. She pulled her sleeves up into his sweatshirt and held it between her hands, bringing it close underneath her nose to lose herself in the sweet aroma of chocolate.
Tony made his way over to the CD player, flicking through the music until he found the album he was searching for. Once the track started playing, he crossed the room. Gibbs stood from Ziva's side, allowing Tony to take Ziva in his arms once again. Curled on the couch, they curled into each other, the scent of chocolate comforting them both as the beginnings of one of the songs that had first allowed them to seek solace in one another played into the room.
Gibbs made his way to the kitchen, but hovered in the doorway to watch the couple. Despite the situation, he couldn't help but smile as Tony's voice began to accompany the lyrics, softly whispering the lyrics into his lover, no, his wife's ear.
Don't be scared
You'll never change what's been and gone
May your smile shine on
Don't be scared
Your destiny may keep you warm."
He trailed his finger along an exposed part of her neck, inching underneath her hair so that he could reach the spot that he knew relaxed her. He pressed his lips momentarily against her forehead, withdrawing them enough only along to continue singing.
"'Cause all of the stars are fading away
Just try not to worry, you'll see them someday
Take what you need and be on your way
And stop crying your heart out."
Yes, they were suffering. Yes, they were hurting. But yes, they loved each other. Though their marriage had been rushed because of their consequences, the emotions that presented it as an option were strong, and they would make it through this heartache. Gibbs smiled softly, noticing how Ziva's breathing and whimpering slowed, and almost stopped completely as she wrapped herself into Tony's embrace, the two of them comforting one another in a way that no one else could. Yes, Gibbs could be there to make sure that they remembered to eat, for tonight at least, and he could give them the time off they needed to come to terms with their loss, but at the end of the day they could only really survive this if they had each other.
But as he watched the pair, seeing how very obviously they did have each other, both as lovers, partners and husband and wife, he knew that they would be okay.
We're all of us stars
We're fading away
Just try not to worry
You'll see us someday
Just take what you need
And be on your way
And stop crying your heart out
Stop crying your heart out
Stop crying your heart out.