A/N: So I just watched "Aliyah," and have been reading fanfiction all day after realizing I cannot work with my father in any capacity whatsoever, on anything, because we'll drive each other insane, so I need another summer job- I realized also that Ziva and Tony have quite similar experiences/father issues/general crazy pathology. So I wrote this…I don't even know. Sort of musing, sort of story, sort of Tiva, sort of not…spoilers through end of S6.

Disclaimer: And would I need a summer job if I owned NCIS?

DiNozzo men don't cry, and Davids don't give in.

So?

So they both spent their whole lives waiting on the edge of a word, a glance, God forbid a smile, from men who had no idea, who didn't care. They were accessories, or pawns, not children. Or maybe their fathers knew exactly what they were doing, exactly how sharp were the knives they stung their children with.

Stand up straight. Fix your tie. Smile. No, like this. Smile, kid, and look like you care, and you'll get what you want.

Thumb outside of the fist. Kick here, use your fingernails. No, like this. Press this, stab here, you'll get what you want.

And if it wasn't what they wanted? Money, information. The win, always the win. And is it enough?

Ballet recitals, Little Poo Boy, and then what? Phys. Ed at Ohio State, dropping boys with one punch in the schoolyard? Using jokes and knives, making people laugh you off or fear you, so they don't get close.

God forbid they get close. God forbid anyone else get that power, to wound with the lift of an eyebrow, to get them panting like puppies after a smile. A pat on the head.

Please?

Good-time guy and ninja girl, they drink the same whisky at night. Sleep around the same way. Mind on the joke good-bye, hand ready on the gun beneath the pillow. Get them out of your life with a laughing look or the name of your employer, let them know how free and easy you'll be without them.

Because you don't need anything, anyone.

DiNozzo men don't cry, and Davids don't give in.

So?

Every night he wants to cry, and every night she wishes she knew something worth giving in for.

And every morning they go to work, sit across the bullpen from each other. He jokes and she parries with her knives and paperclips, and he mocks her back with his movies, and they waltz in the same locked pattern and never get anywhere. Their fathers still have death grips on their hearts.

DiNozzo men don't cry, and Davids don't give in.

But God- there's some wounds that make a man cry when he sees them on a beloved face, and she herself said, everyone breaks eventually. Everyone gives in.

So what, when she stood on the tarmac. He couldn't cry, couldn't show her he was sorry, and she couldn't give in, couldn't bend enough to follow them when everything in her was screaming, go. Run, jump onto the plane. You can still make it.

But her father was behind her, and she thought maybe if she stayed, maybe when she came back and gave him what he wanted, blood on her knuckles, she'd get what she wanted, too.

Maybe his lessons weren't wrong; maybe she'd get a smile for her pain.

And maybe Tony wouldn't cry when he stood in his apartment and faced the fact that he wouldn't see her again, even with the glint of a knife in her hand. Maybe again he'd find someone who'd laugh with him. Maybe his smiles and fake sincerity- worked before, didn't it Tony? Jeanne ate it up- ha, fake sincerity, what the hell was that?- would win him something, someone, who'd make it so he didn't want to cry.

Maybe not.

Or maybe, her father's lessons turned on her like on Ari, Ziva would give in at last, to pain or to death. She'll break one way or another.

And maybe when he gets home that night, maybe three nights later when there's a flurry of international phone calls in the middle of the night or the middle of the morning, and they realize- maybe Tony will cry.

But maybe it will be later. Maybe what she'll give in to is being rescued, is forgiveness she wants and wants to give, that's eating a hole in her stomach more painful than any stab or shot or kick. And maybe he'll cry when he sees her, when he has her back. Maybe he'll cry with relief.

Because everybody cries. And everyone gives in.