One-shot, Tiva angsty/sadness/happiness. Not sure. Probably hopelessly depressing. Set after Aliyah, and either the horrendous cliff-hangery ending of kidnap and torture doesn't happen, or it's resolved very nicely without NCIS knowing about it.

Summary: What if the unthinkable happens, and she does not come back? What then?

Disclaimer: Actually found out today that I'm related to a bank robber, who messed it up HORRIBLY and is now in prison. This is proof that successful theft is not a gene that runs in my family. So NCIS IS NOT MINE.


He watches her as he goes.

He flies away and watches her as he goes.

And somehow, it feels like it is she who is leaving him far, far behind.

It stings far more than it should.

It is today.


When he arrives home, he does not want to smile or explain, and he does not want to hug and joke or speak to anyone. Not even when the laughter has died down, and the disbelief of the grieving starts to choke and drown him. He doesn't want to say a word. He doesn't want to say a word.

It is one day.


He starts doing odd little things. They make him smile, and then they become so much a part of his routine he cannot smile anymore. Counting steps as he walks. Repeating phrases in his head. Dislocating each of his fingers, one by one – snap, snap, snap – until the pain becomes so angry that he screams low in his throat.

The desperation never leaves his bones.

It is forty-four days.


He realises salvation is the bottle in his hand.

It is two hundred and ninety three days.


One night, he brings a girl home – tells her he's a federal agent, puts on his charming eyes and enjoys her laugh - and makes her moan like usual. The next morning, her make up is smudged on a sweetly simple face. A child's face. He asks her age, and she dodges around the question, but he's a federal agent, and he gets the answer.

She is seventeen years old. Her mother is dying. She needed to escape, just for one night. And she's so sorry. She won't tell a soul.

He is sick in his toilet, and he wonders when it went back to this.

It is one year and forty-seven days.


His phone rings one evening, and these days he's resigned himself to answering it. Straight after the third ring, clockwork. He doesn't recognise her voice at first, and that hurts more than anything.


He still does not want to speak. And so he doesn't. And so she sighs, and says she's sorry, and says goodnight, and leaves him.

It is one year and three hundred and fifty nine days.


The next time she phones, he is ready and burning. He says hello in a voice clipped and laced with danger, but she just breathes and starts to speak. He lets her, for a while. Lets her continue, unaware. And then his voice. And, oh, his words. Words like how could you and how dare you and after everything and well, sweetcheeks, I didn't move on.

And it hurts, because it's true, and because he knows that she did.

She moved on months ago.

It is two years and eleven days.


She rings once more, and he is not angry this time. He cries; they both do. It helps, perhaps, but perhaps it doesn't.

She is happy, finally, and it kills him that she uses that word. Her father has died – he knew it – and she has fallen in love with a sweet man named Ben who has nothing to do with Mossad. She jokes, softly, that he's worried she won't make the wedding.

She loves him so much that she's leaving her life behind.

Something within him crashes and jars when she tells him, in a low and gentle voice, that she's carrying a child. It makes him want to retch – not out of disgust, out of disbelief and horror and an irrevocable sense of loss – when she tells him how excited she is. How this will make her. How she wants it. She nervously invites him to visit. But he does not want to see her swollen and owned. So he makes a flippant joke about having had enough of Israel, and she understands.

They say their goodbyes and both of them know it is forever.

It is two years and three hundred and twenty one days.


One day, he wakes up in a strange room with whispers of alcohol and vomit on his tongue, and finds he's swapped his shoes for whiskey. He walks home in his bare feet, and sits for a very long time.

The silence is cleansing.

It is three years and seventy-three days.


Eventually, he finds a pretty girl, and her name is Jane. It's close enough to Jeanne to keep the memories alive, because he left that world behind a long time ago. Now, he teaches gym at a high school. And she teaches English. They had a debate over firearm control over stagnant coffee one lunchtime and he liked the way her hazel eyes seemed safe and happy. He did not know her eyes. They were different to what he was used to.

It is five years and three hundred and forty six days.


He watches his child grow inside her, and feels proud and peaceful. He wakes with his wife on Sundays and makes her breakfast in bed. Her hair always smells like apricots. He tries his best to be happy, and it doesn't take much effort.

It is eight years and one hundred and seventy one days.


He has three kids, two boys and a girl. She lets him choose the names, but she will not let him choose Jethro, and so he settles for Timothy and Abigail and James. It's shortened to Jimmy, which makes him smile. He does not choose Kate, or Jenny, or Paula.

He does not want the constant reminders. Perhaps he is weak.

He won't even think of her name.

It is seventeen years and two days.


One day, he gets a call from a geek he used to know. The geek is married with a kid and a mortgage, and his words pierce like a dagger.

He died in his sleep, he is told, and he would have wanted you there, you know that. Whatever happened between you when it ended, he would have wanted you there.

And it's the truth, so he puts on a suit and buries the man he considered a father.

It is twenty eight years and two hundred and thirty nine days.


He lives to a ripe old age, and she never comes back to him.

Perhaps that is best. But he's never lost count.

It is fifty one years and twenty three days, and every single one was for her.


I'm so depressed. And fanfiction has suddenly taken against me uploading new documents, so I'm having to export and copy and paste and it's all very confusing and frustrating. And I'm meant to be doing my Personal Statement to tell universities to pick me because I'm so focused and hardworking. Ahaha. Anyway. I FINALLY did my Mai '68 presentation, very proud of myself. As always, love reviews. Make me happy :)