"Far Away"

This time, This place
Misused, Mistakes
Too long, Too late
Who was I to make you wait

I was so stupid to believe that I would have time to talk to her once we got to Israel. Now I was too late. I would never see her again.

Everyone hated me now, they just didn't say it. Gibbs would give me Probie's old jobs – pretty much anything that didn't involve hacking into another agency's computers – and McGee would refuse to look at me. Abby and Ducky wouldn't mention it, but I could see in their eyes that they wished I hadn't killed Rivkin.

If only I hadn't pulled that trigger. Ziva would still be here and I could tell her what I had wanted to say when she tackled me and pointed a gun at my chest. What I've been trying to say since we went undercover that first time.

Those three little words. The last person I had said them to was Jeanne and that was an almost lie. I did love her but it would never surpass the love I felt for that crazy, ninja chick I would never see again.

Just one chance
Just one breath
Just in case there's just one left

That's all I needed. One chance to explain what was going through my head these last few weeks without her.

'Cause you know,
you know, you know

She told McGee and Abby that she knew there was another reason I went to her apartment the night Rivkin died. Lucky for me she still kept some contact with them.

My messages went unanswered. Not that I was entirely surprised. Once you kill your coworker's "boyfriend" – or whatever he was to her – your relationship becomes a little strained.

Abby was my way of keeping track of her.

I had spilled the beans to Abby about a week after Gibbs, Vance, and I got back from Tel Aviv. She still hadn't entirely forgiven me for taking away the second best friend she had – the first obviously being Gibbs – but she did let me know how Ziva was doing.

From what I read of Abby's emails, Ziva was fine. Better than fine. She was happy. You cannot even imagine how many times I wished I was there with her or that I could type what I would say in my head whenever I read her emails.

That I love you

I have loved you all along

She would never know now. That I loved her and was trying to protect her from Rivkin. He was sent by her father and was an assassin. Just like her. It wouldn't have worked. She'd told me many times that falling for a fellow agent – or having any strong emotions, really – was hazardous.

But I did it anyway. I was never one for rules and that's what's gotten me in trouble now.

And I miss you
Been far away for far too long

I keep dreaming you'll be with me
and you'll never go

It had been a month and a half and the dreams were getting worse instead of better. Every night – unless I was so drunk I would pass out – I would replay what I should've done or should've said. But I could never go back to that moment. Ever. She was gone.

"Stop breathing if
I don't see you anymore"

If only I could, I thought bitterly one morning. I had gotten to that point in the song before I got frustrated and quickly picked another.

TZTZTZTZTZTZTZTZTZTZTZTZTZTZTZTZTZTZTZTZTZTZ

I had even prayed for her to come back, which is something I never really do. And when I didn't pray, I formed plans on how I would get her back. Even though she wasn't technically mine to begin with.

Here's what I had come up with so far,

On my knees, I'll ask
Last chance for one last dance
'Cause with you, I'd withstand
All of hell to hold your hand
I'd give it all
I'd give for us
Give anything but I won't give up

Yeah, DiNozzo, I thought to myself, getting on a plane to Israel just to get down on your knees in front of her is a great plan. Not. She'd probably kick you in the face.

The music flooded into my ears through my iPod as I walked from my car to my desk. I was surprised when my mental blinders failed and my eyes scanned the bullpen and landed on her desk.

Wait a second…

She was back! I couldn't believe it. I had to be dreaming. But she was there. Right in front of me after so long.

Thankfully Gibbs was with Vance in MTAC and McGee was down in Abby's lab because I pulled the headphones out of my ears, turned the volume up so she could hear the song too and began singing,

"So far away
Been far away for far too long

So far away
Been far away for far too long
But you know, you know, you know
I wanted
I wanted you to stay
'Cause I needed
I need to hear you say"

To my surprise, she stood up, walked over to me, and began singing where I left off.

"That I love you

I have loved you all along
And I forgive you
For being away for far too long
So keep breathing
'Cause I'm not leaving you anymore
Believe it
Hold on to me and, never let me go"
Getting over my shock, I started to sing with her.

"Keep breathing
'Cause I'm not leaving you anymore
Believe it
Hold on to me and, never let me go
Keep breathing
Hold on to me and, never let me go
Keep breathing
Hold on to me and, never let me go"

Once the song ended, I looked down at her and gave her a DiNozzo grin.

"I love you, Ziva."

She smiled back, at least right before she grabbed my neck – nearly strangling me – and kissed me. When we pulled away, I couldn't breathe. I'm still not sure if it was from the kiss or from Ziva punching me in the stomach.

"What was that for?" I asked as I doubled over in pain.

"For making me not trust you. And making me wait almost three years to hear you say that. In case you haven't figured it out, I love you too."

I felt Gibbs slap me in the back of head. Hard. He hit Ziva too as he walked in.

"What was that for?" we asked together.

I saw a faint smile grace the old man's face.

"For waiting that long before you two broke Rule 12." He hit me again. "That was for making me lose Ziva. If you ever do that again, Ziva's gonna get the first chance to kill you. I will bring you back to life just so Abby and I can kill you as well."

I nodded, knowing I wouldn't ever screw up like that again.