Written for my friend Michelle because she requested it, but even more so because she had surgery yesterday and I want to make her smile.

She had been waiting to catch him alone all day. Her conversation with Abby earlier had shaken her, and she felt the need to express her feelings to him, so he would understand. It wasn't ungratefulness; it was something else, something deeper, something she couldn't explain. The look he had given her while Abby hugged her had sent shivers down her spine. Something was brewing in him, something dangerous, and if it wasn't addressed now, who knew what would happen.

She followed him to the bathroom; it had been a while since she had. He looked surprised to see her, but the look left his face almost as quick as it had come.

"I see you're back to your old ways," he commented as he looked in the mirror and checked his hair. Ziva's chest tightened as she thought about the words she wanted to say.

"When we were in that room and you told me not to ask any questions I didn't want the answers to, what did you mean?" she asked.

"What do you think I meant?" Tony asked. Ziva didn't want to say what she thought he meant out loud. It was the question they had been dancing around for a long time.

"Tony, I do not deserve your forgiveness, I didn't deserve to be rescued," Ziva said.

"Why not?" Tony said, turning to look at her. "Why can't I be able to forgive you?"

"Tony, I almost killed you where you stood," Ziva said. He reached out and grabbed her shoulders, hard. His grip put pressure in her already sensitive bruises. However, she didn't make a noise, just swallowed the pain.

"Ziva, I have forgiven you. There are no ifs, ands, or buts. That's what partners do; they forgive each other," Tony said. Ziva swallowed.

"But Tony," she began. His hands squeezed harder, and she flinched.

"Stop it, Ziva," he growled, emphasizing syllables in her name. She closed her eyes, willing her tears away. Gradually, Tony's grip on her softened and the vice-like grip became a hug. He pulled her into his chest and she buried her face there. In all the years they had been partners, they had never hugged, not once. She had hugged Gibbs, McGee, Abby, Ducky, but never Tony. The tears she had been holding back became impossible to control and sobs began wracking her body. Tony held her, tightly.

Eventually, her sobs ceased and she pulled away from Tony and looked up at him. He spoke first.

"Are you okay?" he asked. She nodded and swiped at a few stray tears. He put his hand under her chin and made her look up at him. "I forgive you."