So i'm finishing this... it's not great. Okay so it's kind of a emotional shambles :P But for me i think the achievement is in that i actually finished it, no matter how bad it turned out to be. Massive thank you to those of you who have been reading, especially those who've reviewed, it means a lot.
"We need you two over here, now," It was Gibbs voice on the other end of the line,
"Boss?" Tony asked, dread filling him, he could see the same fear building up in Ziva's eyes.
"What's wrong?" he asked, terrified of the answer.
"It doesn't look so good, you should come, now,"
Tony swallowed, and he heard Gibbs hang up. "Tony?" Ziva asked, fearful, when he didn't answer, she snapped at him, "Tony?"
He looked over, and gently took her hand, "It's not looking good," he whispered, "Gibbs wants us over there, now,"
"Is...?" she whispered, unable to finish her sentence. He nodded his head slightly, and her tears began.
"It's okay, it's okay," he said, hugging her, burying his head in her hair. So thankful she was here with him, terrified for Jenny, but praying he could keep what he'd got.
"We should probably go," he said, knowing she understood what she was hinting at.
She nodded, the tears choked her up, inhibited her ability to speak. She began to quickly shove on some clothes, and scraped her hair up into a messy bun. Tony followed suit, and hurriedly got a few things together.
Within two minutes he was ready, and he turned to call Ziva, but stopped, "Are you okay?" Her back was to him, and she was shaking.
"I cannot be like this in front of Jenny, I have to hold myself together," It wasn't the right time to correct her, but perhaps that was exactly what she did mean. They all needed to hold themselves together, Jenny deserved that much. But he knew Ziva was struggling. He wished he could help her, but he couldn't help her anymore than he could help himself, no one, nothing, could help in this situation. He took a deep breath in, whatever happened tonight, he swore they would make it through – all of them. Not just him and Ziva, everyone, Abby, McGee, Gibbs... But he couldn't think about that now. She could hold on, a small voice in his head nagged at him, she might make it. He wasn't one to believe in miracles, but maybe... He tried to shake it off. It only natural to hope, he was just being human. But he needed to brace himself for the worst, that way, anything else was an added bonus.
"Tony?" She said, placing a hand on his shoulder, "We need to go,"
He glanced at the clock, exactly four minutes since Gibbs had hung up. A lot could happen in four minutes. "I love you," he said, his eyes burning into hers, passion and hurt and love filled them up.
"I love you too," she whispered, kissing him. And without saying another word, they left.
They arrived at the same time as McGee, and met him walking in. "Abby's already here," he told them, "Ducky's on his way." They nodded, and silently made their way up to Jenny's room.
They entered one by one, the air was heavy, an empty kind of sadness filled the room. Ziva's first thought was that it shouldn't be like this, it shouldn't be happy, but it shouldn't be like this. The sight of Jenny felt like shards of glass piercing her heart, she looked like a ghost, her skin was so pale, her body so small, so fragile, like she would snap any second. "I've not gone yet Ziva," she whispered, despite all of this her eyes were still so full, not necessarily of life, but of emotion, and it was clear just how full of life they had once been.
Her words were enough to affect Ziva, and her strong facade was ruined by the friend she loved so much. As surprising as it was to everyone, she was the first to cry, tears rolled down her cheeks and there was nothing she could do to stop them. "I am sorry," she whispered, and walked round her bed, sitting opposite to Gibbs, taking her hand.
"It's okay," she whispered to her as she cried, "You'll be okay,"
"I'll be back soon," Gibbs told Jenny, kissing her gently on the forehead, as they stepped out to give the friends some privacy.
"Time to say bye," Jenny said gently, "He'll be back soon,"
"No, you are... you can fight it," she said, her voice breaking.
"Ziva, I'm dying," she said, holding eye contact, "But it's okay, you'll be okay,"
As much as she'd told herself she would control it, as much as she'd told herself she would be strong for her friend, the words crippled her, and she broke down. "I am sorry," she managed to get out breathlessly, the clarity and truth in her voice taking its toll on her heart, making it hard to think, to breathe.
"We've had this conversation before, you can't always be strong,"
"But you always need to be," Ziva ended for her. Jenny smiled slightly, and nodded,
"I remember," she sighed, "But just think, I'm probably the only person in the world who can reduce Ziva David to tears in front of others," she teased, but then her tone returned to seriousness, "Really, Ziva, you can't always be strong,"
"I do not want you to go," she whispered, hastily wiping her tears away, with little success.
"No one can help it," Jenny told her, "This isn't anyone's fault, there's no one to blame," She knew how difficult that fact would be to Ziva, not having anyone to specifically blame, sometimes life dealt you tough hands, sometimes you survive, but they'll always be one time when you don't. She was the sort of person who needed someone to blame, an outlet for her anger, and not having that outlet could drive you crazy. "Don't push them away," she told her, "Especially not Tony, promise you won't."
Ziva shook her head, and more tears tainted her smooth, healthy cheeks, god this was hurting so much. "Please, Ziva, you can't blame anyone for this, don't punish them, and don't you dare punish yourself," she said, this time it was Jenny's turn to feel the moisture well up in her eyes, "Please, promise," she begged.
Ziva nodded, again robbed of the ability to speak, to breathe. Trying to take it all in, hoping, praying that she could keep her promise, no matter how hard it might be. She owed it to her.
"I'm going to miss you," Jenny said, crying silently.
"I will miss you more," Ziva whispered, hugging her friend tightly, it made her chest tighten, her heart constrict unbearably to think this was probably the last time she would do this.
"We've had some good times," Jenny said, smiling.
"Europe, NCIS," Ziva said, a small smile on her face too, "They were not all good," she said, and Jenny laughed, coughing slightly.
"No, but some of them were great," she whispered, coughing again.
"Are you alright?" Ziva asked worriedly,
"I'm fi-" she started coughing violently, each one shaking her body, and it wasn't stopping.
Ziva burst out her door, yelling for a doctor and Gibbs, and both appeared very quickly. A few minutes later, the coughing had stopped, but she didn't look so good. Ziva was clinging onto Tony, and he was happy holding her, helping her, even if it was just a little. Gibbs had returned to her side, and Abby, and now Ducky and McGee were saying goodbye, just a little more subtly than that. Gibbs watched her, smiling and talking to the friends. But she was pale, and weak, so much weaker than he'd ever seen her. Weak was not a word he thought he would ever consider for Jenny, but she did, she looked weak. And though he could see her talking with them, he could also see her fading, her eyes were more distant, and she kept slipping, further and further away from here and now, this room, these people. Him. And it hurt so much, it hurt so much that all he could do was watch. And it was selfish of him, but even at the state she was in, he wanted to hold onto her. Even if he had to go through this for forever, even if they stayed here in this moment, with her so close... she would be alive. He could touch her, feel her response, see her breathing – she would be alive. With Shannon and Kelly... it had been a shock. A huge shock... incomprehensible, but all the pain had come at once. So much pain that it got to the point where he didn't want to feel anymore, where he almost took his own life, but, then it got to the point where he couldn't feel anymore. He just couldn't. In some ways... in a lot of ways, this was so much harder. He hadn't stopped feeling for a while now. Feeling for Jenny, for him, for what he knew he would eventually lose – for what he couldn't protect, or save. It was so many different emotions, other than just loss. It was the building up to the pain that would come once she was gone, the anticipation of knowing how bad it is now, but knowing how much worse it will get later. Unless you've been there, it's so hard to describe all the emotions, and the selfishness. Because really, he knew, she would be so much more peaceful once she was gone. She wouldn't be suffering anymore. He wanted that for her, at least, but for him, it's just the beginning. Just the beginning of an inevitable torrent of anguish and pain.
He loved her so much, he knew he had to let her go. Not that he got a choice in the matter, but no matter how much he did love her, how much it hurt, he knew she couldn't take much more pain. He looked at her again, and, just like every time, it felt like a stab in the heart, each time though, it pierced that little bit further. Not long now.
"Jethro?" Ducky's voice shook him out of his thoughts a little, and he looked at his friend.
"It's alright," he said, but he looked concerned, not surprising really.
Gibbs looked round the room, Ziva was still clinging onto Tony, he knew everyone would take it hard, but out of the rest he worried for her the most. Another loss – it wasn't fair, hadn't they both had more than enough? Tony, him and Jen had a strange relationship, in a way they were close, but not in a way others could understand really. He would have it tough too, for the obvious reasons, but also because he needed to be Ziva's leaning post. She needed that. But the strain was clear on his face already, and it would be hard. His gaze moved to Abby and McGee, she was quietly crying into his shoulder, she'd come straight here without any makeup, she barely looked like Abby, and the sadness that clouded her emphasized that even more. McGee looked sad, worried about everyone, like Tony would be Ziva's post, he would be Abby's. Ducky would struggle, but he would handle it himself, quietly, though it would hurt him. They were close. She had so many people who loved her, so why did she have to go?
"Not long now," Jenny whispered, voicing his earlier thought.
The words being spoke left a stillness, a quiet in the air, a pain and a sadness. They were more shocking, coming from her. He could feel tears, but he had sworn he wouldn't cry, not until... not until later.
She looked so tired, "I love you," he whispered, kissing her gently.
"I love you too,"
Life wasn't fair. Of course, he knew that already, but it wasn't. He'd had her, all those years ago, he'd had her. Then he'd lost her. And just as he found her again, he would lose her again, except this time there would be no apologies, there would be no forgiving, because there wouldn't be another chance. She would be gone. And he would be alone. What was the point in second chances if you didn't ever get the chance to make them work?
He looked at Jenny, and she smiled, "Sorry I got sick before our wedding," she whispered, and he smiled sadly, the tears swimming in his eyes just about visible in the light.
"Promise me you'll be okay," she said, for the second time.
"Jen-" she looked at him, how did she still manage to scare him into doing stuff in her deathbed? She had one of those this-will-have-consequences looks on her face. It was ironic really, he thought bitterly, seeing as she'd be gone long before then.
"I'll try, Jen," she sighed, and leant back. Closing her eyes for a second.
It was all she'd needed to hear really, there was no reason for her to cling on anymore. She looked around the room, full of people she loved, who loved her. In some ways, she wanted to cling on for them, but she was so tired. She could feel herself fading out, feel the life leaving her body bit by bit, and now she knew he would at least try, she could let herself fade. She didn't need to fight anymore. And it's the fighting that kills you, really. You try so hard, so very hard to cling on, and it drains you, it drains your energy. And you have to use all your energy for it, there's no energy left for love, when, in actuality, you're fighting because you want to stay because of it. But everyone has a breaking point, a point where they physically can't fight anymore, and she'd reached hers. "Jethro," she whispered, seconds before she knew she would slip away completely, "I do."
Sorry the ending is kind of abrupt. But reviews would be... just yeah, reviews would great - so please do, if this fic made you feel anything at all, it would be really, really appreciated :)
Thanks so much to those who have read.