I wrote this a while ago but could never fit an ending to it, but I finally did today. It's a small scene beyond the final moments of Agent Afloat, when the team is first back together properly in the bull pen. Just a little look into how Tony might have found out about Ziva's explosion incident.
Now That I'm Coming Home
Now that I'm coming home
Will you be the same as when I saw you last
Tell me how much time has passed
Funeral For A Friend - Into Oblivion (Reunion)
They'd all sat around in the bullpen for about an hour, catching up (mainly Abby's rambling about all the things she'd done while he was gone…and how much she'd missed him…and how much McGee wouldn't admit he missed him…and how Ziva had been staring longingly at his desk for two weeks, which Ziva had denied) until it started to get late. With all the travelling that had been going on, everyone was exhausted, but no one wanted to be the one that broke up the conversation and went home. It had been a long time since they were all back in the bullpen together. Too long. Four months too long. Gibbs didn't join in the chatter as much, but he did listen to it, hearing Tony's stories about crazy shipmen, Abby's stories about what had been happening at NCIS, McGee's stories about the cyber crimes team calling him 'boss', and Ziva's very edited version of her undercover mission.
"Seriously, Probie?" Tony laughed.
McGee nodded. "Yeah."
"They actually called you 'boss'?"
He nodded again. "They called me 'boss'."
Tony copied his nod, folding his arms over his chest and trying to keep his face steady. One…two…three seconds past before McGee rolled his eyes.
"Just do it," he muttered.
With the blessing, Tony collapsed into thunderous laughter, the roar of enjoyment that they had all missed. For the first time in months he actually felt like laughing. He'd spent too long cooped up on the ships, away from everyone who knew how to make him laugh, who knew what he was like. It had been a long time since someone understood him. It had been a long time since he'd considered four months a long time…probably the last time he'd been looking forward to Christmas a child.
"So, what else did I miss?" Tony asked, as he looked expectedly at the team, waiting for more stories. They all looked around.
"That's pretty much everything," McGee said.
"Come on, there must be something!" Everyone looked at each other. "Anything?"
"Ziva wore a kick ass dress undercover," Abby offered. Ziva shot her a look. "What? He was gonna find out sooner or later."
"Find what out?" Tony asked. "Did Probie get pictures of this dress?"
"No," McGee said. "It wasn't undercover for us."
"Mossad," Tony realised.
"Yes," Ziva confirmed. "I went undercover for Mossad and I wore a dress. That is all."
It was obvious that she was holding something back, something Tony wanted to know, but she wouldn't tell him. "You're not going to tell me, are you?" he realised.
She shook her head. "No, I am not."
"Abby?" he asked, turning to his friend. "Since Ziva won't tell me what happened…"
"Abby, no," Ziva said instantly.
"No, it is not important," she said, her good mood failing as she walked away from the group. Tony watched after her, confused as she walked out of the bullpen and over towards the window that overlooked DC.
"It is important, isn't it?" Tony murmured, looking back to Abby and McGee.
The pair looked at each other, and then nodded.
They hesitated, but then McGee spoke. "She was working undercover in a Moroccan club as a singer."
"To find out what?" Tony asked, unable to take his eyes off of Ziva's back, which was turned so that none of them could see her face.
"That's not the important part," McGee said. "Not right now, anyway. There was a bomb."
Tony's head whipped around. "What?" he hissed. "Was she hurt?"
Abby nodded. "Yeah. ZNN had a live broadcast. We all saw her get taken away in the ambulance."
"Was it bad?" he asked.
Again, Abby nodded. "Yeah, Tony. It was bad."
When the others all left, Tony remained behind. Ziva was still standing by the window, and hadn't moved since she first went over there. He walked over, joining her. "You okay?" he asked.
"I am fine," she said simply.
"Are you really?" he pressed, giving her a look.
She turned her head away from the view, looking deeply into his eyes before turning away again. "They told you."
"Yeah, they told me," he confirmed. "They told me that you were almost blown up. They told me you had a severe concussion…"
"What is this about, Tony?" she asked him tiredly.
"Goddamn it, Ziva, why didn't you tell me?" he asked her, exasperation lacing his voice.
"I did not want you to know," she said simply.
"What if you'd died?" he asked her, watching her wince at his choice of words. "Would you have wanted me to know that?"
"Must you put it so bluntly?" she asked him.
"Yeah, because you could have," he pointed out. "Not a lot of people made it out of that club alive, Ziva. Even less with all limbs intact…"
"Tony…I am fine," she told him. "I am back in America, I am standing right before you, and I am fine."
He looked at her, shaking his head and turning away. "You could have died…" he repeated, this time to himself.
She put her hand on his arm, causing his eyes to link with hers. "But I did not," she said softly. "I survived."
"This time," he pointed out. "What about next time?"
At this, she gave him a gentle smile. "I am back with NCIS, Tony. The team is together. Next time, my partner will have my back." He matched her smile. "Of that," she assured him, moving her hand from his arm to his back so that she was half-embracing him. "I am sure."
He mimicked the movement of her arm, bringing her close so that her head touched to his shoulder. They remained silent for a moment, watching the view before them. Eventually, he sighed. "If…"
"Tony, no," she said simply, turning to face him. "If you are going to stand here and tell me what you would or would not have done had I not survived, then we will have to get very drunk to erase that no doubt uncomfortable conversation from our minds." He went to speak, but she shook her head. "I am here, Tony. Yes, I was hurt. Yes, I could have died, but I did not. What is it going to take for you to realise that?"
He moved quickly, knowing that if he didn't act fast the she would have moved away from him otherwise. He wrapped her into his arms, crushing her against his chest so that he could feel all of her, and then he stayed there. He didn't care that the others were probably watching from the bull pen. All he cared about was that holding her to him like this was proving what she wanted him to know: that she was alive, that she was here, and that she had survived. He could feel her breath against his skin, right where the collar of his shirt dipped to reveal the base of his throat. He could feel her hair against the stubble that desperately needed shaving. He could feel her surrender to the embrace, wrapping her arms around him and holding them together. He could smell her scent, not just the perfume she'd worn, which was fading from the day, but also her natural scent, one that he'd not realised he'd missed until he first caught it again.
But the one thing that proved it to him, was the reassuring thud of her heart. In his haste to have her close to him, he'd managed to line them together so that their heartbeats were immaculately close, hers just below his own. Through their embrace, he could feel both their hearts beating, though while his was fast and needy, it soon slowed along to follow her own steady beat. It was that heartbeat, that steady, rhythmic sound, that was the greatest reassurance she could give him.
"I'm so glad you're okay," he mumbled into her hair.
And with that, it was her turn to sigh, as the worries of the past four months melted away into his embrace and disappeared as though they had never existed. Her heartbeat raised, matching with his perfectly. Her breath became warmer, closer to his skin as her head rested completely against his shoulder. Her arms held him that much tighter, her fingertips pressing into the more define muscles on his back, and then, and only then, did her own reassurances fail her.
"So am I," she whispered.