A/N: Okay. You love me, right? Then go to YouTube and find "Look After You" by The Fray and put it on while you listen to this song. The rest of my A/N is at the end of the chapter. Just do it, really. It will make your reading experience soooo much more worthwhile, I promise. Read it at an average pace and I promise, it will make it fabulous.
The rain danced ever so sweetly upon the window pane of her apartment, trickle-trickle-trickle. Ziva had been sitting on her couch for the last hour, attempting to finish the last thirty pages of her book, but she had hardly passed the first page, becoming distracted with every other word. No training can discipline the heart.
Sighing with a sleepy fog, she trudged over to her kitchen, intending to make a cup of tea. She boiled the water and began to steep her tea. She picked it up and started towards the couch once more when she heard a knock on the door.
Her brow narrowed as she opened the door with her free hand. "Tony," she said, surprised.
He was leaning against the wall with his hand, other resting on his hip as he stared out at the ground, but stood up straight when he saw her. "Hey," he said quietly with a smile. "Sorry to wake you,"
"I was not asleep," Ziva said gently, glancing down at her pajama shorts and t-shirt.
"Good," he replied, smiling.
"Would you like to come in?" Ziva asked after an awkward moment.
"Sure," he replied, stuffing his hands in his pockets as he walked in, shutting the door behind him. "So, you often stay up all hours of the night reading?" he asked lightly.
"Sometimes," she replied with a dry smile.
"Tea?" he nodded toward the cup in her hand.
"Good, tea--tea's good…" he said, looking around at her apartment nervously.
"Is there something I can help you with, Tony?" Ziva finally asked.
"No, no, I'm good… Okay actually yes. I have a question for you,"
She raised her brow in expectation. "Yes?"
"I love you," he said.
Ziva nearly stepped back in surprise. "That is not a question,"
"And I was wondering if you still loved me too," he continued.
"Tony--" Ziva started, eyes so soft.
"One year ago, you disappeared. You just—you left, and you were gone. My partner, my best friend—Ziva, the woman I loved more than anything in the world was just gone," he said. "And they said you were dead—that there was no way a person could lose that much blood and survive. They told me to move on, to get it together,"
"And?" she prompted quietly.
"I couldn't," he replied honestly, looking her straight in the eye. "It nearly killed me to think that my partner was murdered because of how selfish I was, because of how lazy I was. And it nearly killed me to think that there wasn't a thing I could do about it. I gave up. Ha, you should have seen my apartment—it was covered in take-out boxes and soda cans and trash and, well, that's aside from the point," Ziva gave him a small half-smile. "And then, I nearly died, because I couldn't live without you. There wasn't much of a reason to, to be honest. Then one day, this woman brings me a letter," Tony said, pulling a worn piece of paper, folded and pressed from time out of his pocket. "And then she tells me that you changed when you came to NCIS, when you met me. And then the letter…"
"You read it,"
Tony nodded. "I memorized it. You said that you, you wanted me to find happiness again, and purpose, and love. Ziva, I owed you my life—you risked yours for me so many times. And so I tried. I, I started running, like you did. And I coached a basketball team. I learned to play piano again, like you taught me that one summer. I learned our song,"
"I remember it," she said quietly, eyes deep and brown.
"Ziva, I read Moby Dick! And then it was crazy—I found myself not thinking about you. And that scared me—I didn't want to. I didn't want to move on," he took a step towards her. "I did everything you asked. I did it all for you,"
"Because I asked you to?"
He shook his head. "Like I said: I owed you my life. Ziva, you saved me. You changed me and I didn't even realize it. I did everything you asked," he repeated. "But there was just one thing I couldn't do," he said, taking another step closer to her. "I couldn't find love again. I found it once and… I just couldn't do it again. I already had," he took another step. "I loved you, Ziva. I still do—I always have. Guess it just took me a while to figure that out," Ziva wiped at her eye, finding wet love upon her cheeks. "Then, you came back. And everything changed," he chuckled. "You were alive and you were there and you were in my arms," he blinked, clearing the tears in his own eyes now. "I dunno, I guess I realized that life, you know, it doesn't last forever. It can all change just like that. So what I need to know is, do you still love me, even after all this time?"
"Tony," Ziva began.
"I gave you months. I waited for months, trying to let you try and live your life again and figure out what everything meant and I didn't say a word. I wanted to, but I couldn't," he explained, drawing one step more. "If it's because of time, I can wait. I'll wait as long as you want. I've waited for six years—and nothing could be worse than believing I never had another chance. I'll wait," his green eyes vowed.
Ziva set her mug on the table behind her. "When I left, nothing… Nothing worked out the way it was supposed to. None of this was supposed to happen,"
"But it did,"
"Yes, it did. I know I should have come to you. There is no excuse for that, and I am sorry. I am so sorry, Tony, for just leaving like that, without any explanation, without telling you, without fighting for myself," she found herself spilling out the truth.
"It's okay," he replied genuinely. He was hardly inches from her now, and her heart beat quickly.
"But when I saw you walk through those doors in that warehouse, when you cut off my ropes and we ran outside—the world was in slow motion. And there was nothing else but me and--"
He cut her off, his lips meeting hers, his arm wrapping around her head gently, the other pulling her waist toward him softly. Her own hand found rest upon his chest, the other looping about his neck.
It was a sunrise, the night having passed into a glorious heaven of watercolors, the sunshine singing so, the sky awakening with the dawn. It was perfect, the world stopped and unrushed, time endless and ethereal.
A few moments later, they parted just a little, their foreheads touching still, tea forgotten upon the table.
Our hearts sing like sunrises and cry like rainfall. We hope as we await the light of tomorrow's dawn. We weep as we see the thunder storm above us. Our hearts find us longing for the first ray and the first raindrop. Some just cannot find the words, though they are always there.
"Yes," Ziva said, oh-so-quietly. "I love you,"
"Even now?" he asked, a smile in his voice.
A/N: So, this is the end. I know, I didn't warn you guys. I thought it best not to. I loved this chapter, and unlike some of the other chapters that have ended up being the best (aka the rescue scene) I didn't plan this out for months at a time. It just kind of happened—it was great.
This story has been such an experience for me. It was my longest ever with 49,773 words, 103 pages. I'm pretty amazed at how it all worked out, with a simple, sweet idea one night as I was trying to fall asleep. It's been awesome with you guys—you are all so so amazing.
I don't have any plans for any new stories. I do have a oneshot I might post, but we'll have to see. If you have any ideas of what I should write about, please let me know in your review and I'll definitely consider it. But right now I'm trying to get my life in order, figure out where my priorities are.
Please review, and tell me your favorite parts of the story. What did you like? What do you wish had turned out differently? Do you have any ideas for my next story? Please, let me know!