Tony threw his coat to the side, closing the door to his apartment and staring around at the mess he was currently living in. The pizza boxes were spread everywhere, half-eaten slices stiff as cardboard and a few gathering mold at this point. Dirty clothes were strewn in various places and bottles of empty alcohol were scattered over everything else. He paused, rubbing his neck, before going to the fridge and seeing what he had left. Pulling one of the three beers remaining from the shelf, he used the counter to open it, taking a long, draining sip from the bottle. It was cold and the slightest burn of alcohol was relieving, though not as much as a harder bottle of liquor may have been.
Ziva was dead. She was dead and he was never going to be able to see her again, talk to her, tell her just how much she meant to him. She was dead because he hadn't tried to contact her when she stayed behind in Israel and talk her into coming back to NCIS. She was dead because he'd been too stupid to not only push her but not apologize for doing so. She was dead because he'd shot Michael in the chest on not the leg. She was dead because he'd snooped too far and forced her to realize that her boyfriend wasn't quite the perfect man she thought him to be. She was dead because … Because he was a fucking idiot.
Glancing at the clock, he realized had found out three weeks, four days, twelve hours and thirty-two minutes ago. It felt like it had been just yesterday. Time had no meaning anymore. Seconds passed like hours, yet days felt like they never occurred at all. Words no longer held meaning and he gave hardly even a shrug to a conversation, no auditory recognition that he had registered anything that the other party had said. He went through motions, did what was expected of him, but the information retained through out the day seemed to disappear each time he went to bed. And every second of every day those words played in his head again and again; "There were no survivors."
He felt his hands shaking, his throat tightening; all those familiar feelings that came whenever he was finally alone at the end of the day. He felt his heart fall into his stomach and closed his eyes tightly, wanting to push all of those emotions away, to be empty again, to not function, not feel anything, but nothing he did would work. He gripped the counter, he clenched his jaw, and finally, he let out a cry of anguish, throwing his still half-full beer bottle across the room. The glass shattered against the door, the liquid pouring down the wood frame and dripping downwards onto the floor. Tony used his other hand to grip the counter as well, body still shaking, and his mind still reeling with thoughts.
A distraction. He needed a distraction. He went to his shelves filled with DVDs, trying to find something, anything to watch that would make him not think of Ziva. None of the titles were helpful – Bond, Goodfellas, Godfather, Moulin Rouge, Pretty in Pink, Sabrina, Cool Hand Luke – for some reason, all held some sort of connection, some sort of memory to Ziva, whether it be a reminder from some character, the general romantic feel of the movie, or the fact that he had, at one point, wanted to show her the film when they saw each other again when things were back to normal. He began to pull case after case off the shelf, tossing them, until finally he was pulling them down in sections, throwing them to the floor in rage.
In his fit, he hadn't heard the knock at the door. So when he fell to the ground amidst the now large pile of movies scattered around, he was rather surprised when there was suddenly a hand on his shoulder. Pulling his gun from its hold, he glanced up in time to see McGee backing away from him, hands in the air, a worried expression on his face. Sighing, he lowered his weapon, placing it onto the now empty shelf and looking away from his partner.
"What're you doing here?" His voice was hoarse from a lack of use, cracking slightly as he continued to try to hold back those same emotions that coursed through him.
Timothy was quiet, unsure of how to approach him, but now that he was unarmed, he took a cautious step forward. "Uh – Abby… was worried about you. Thought it might be a bad idea for you to be alone. I… I guess she was right – what's going on, Tony?"
"Right," he scoffed, pushing forward and going to kneel beside him. "You haven't been the same since… Since Gibbs told us about…" He found himself unable to finish the sentence. They'd all been affected by the news, but he had noted that Tony had taken it the worst of all of them. He just wanted to know why. "She… She was my friend too, you know."
Tony was quiet for what felt like hours, the tension heavy between the two men. Finally, he shrugged, rubbing his face roughly with his hand. "Yeah. I know."
"And… And we don't know that she's really… I mean, there's no proof of death, just the word of -."
"I got it the first time you rambled your theories, Probie," he all but snapped, pushing himself up out of his DVDs and thoroughly regretting having smashed his beer bottle. Going to the fridge, he grabbed one of the now last two he had, reminding himself to get more tomorrow, hoping it would be one of those things he actually remembered. Opening this new bottle, he took another sip, turning around and noting that McGee had followed him into the kitchen. "How did you get in here anyway?"
"You left your door unlocked."
"Gotta start using the bolt," he muttered to himself, pushing passed his friend and heading back for his couch. Before he could move by him, however, McGee grabbed his arm, rougher than Tony had ever remembered him being. He glanced from his hand to his face and back again before he tried to shrug him off unsuccessfully. "Let go, McGee."
"Snap out of it, Tony! You're not the only one who is hurting here!"
Pulling his arm roughly from McGee's, he shoved him roughly away. He needed a direction to send his anger and now, unfortunately, he was the closest thing to do that to. It was no longer the inanimate objects that would get the blunt of his emotions but the one person he'd really had to lean on since Ziva had left back in May.
"Oh really? Because to me, it looks like the rest of you are just going on with your lives like nothing's happened! You do case work, you talk, you go for drinks – you don't even seem to think about her! You don't… You didn't make her go back to Israel! You're not the reason she was sent to her death! She didn't die hating you, now did she?! So go on, McGee! Tell me you know how I feel! TELL ME! I could use a good laugh."
"You could've called her…"
"You think I don't get that?!"
"Well I can't now, can I!"
"I'm sure she didn't hate you…"
"Like hell she didn't…"
"… And it's not your fault …"
"Like hell it isn't!"
"She's dead because of me, McGee! Because I was – because I was - !"
McGee barely had enough time to pull his arms around Tony before he could crumple to the floor again. He lowered him slowly, the two of them sitting on the rare spot of clean floor. Tony's hands clung to McGee's coat, his face burying into his shoulder as his body started shaking this time. It was only a moment later that Tim noted he had started to sob. Awkward as he may have felt, he knew his friend was in pain. He had never seen Tony cry – not when Kate died, not when Paula died… So the reality of it was rather shocking to him.
"I may as well have killed her…"
"Tony – no… No, don't say that." Timothy places his arm on his back, rubbing soothingly like one would with an upset child. Since Ziva's departure, the two had been spending more and more time with another; going to drinks, dinner, watching movies… It had become almost a normal friendship in which the teasing didn't even bother him as much. To see him in pain hurt worse because of it and he found himself wanting to find the right words to soothe it – he just didn't know what they were. "You don't even know she's really dead. I know you're tired of hearing it, but Tony, you can't give up on her. Ziva's strong. You know that."
Tony continued to shake, crying silently against the fellow agent. It had been the first time he'd allowed himself that sort of release; he had heard at one point it was part of the mourning process and that the first cry was supposed to lift some sort of weight off his shoulders, that it was supposed to make him feel lighter hearted, though not entirely healed. He wished he could remember who had told him that so he could call them up and let them know they'd been full of complete shit – the only thing it allowed him to feel as the tears finally ebbed was a raw throat, stinging eyes, and that same familiar numb feeling he'd been living through for almost a month.
"Are… you okay now, Tony?"
Pulling himself away from the embrace, he wiped his eyes on his sleeve, licking his lips that were now felt oddly dry and cracked. He grabbed the bottle he'd let slide to the floor, taking a sip of the remaining beer, and shrugging. "Yeah. I guess."
McGee didn't seem entirely convinced. Sighing, he pulled himself up to his feet, dragging Tony up with him and brushing imaginary dirt off of his clothes carefully. He straightened his shirt, fixed a button, and clapped him on the shoulders. "Let's get this place cleaned up, okay?'
Picking up one of the DVDs from the ground carefully, Tony stared at the image of the Titanic, Leonardo DiCaprio's and Kate Winslet's faces nuzzled against one another's the way only those who were truly in love would allow. He swallowed, picturing the boat sinking, their faces – Ziva's face…
There were no survivors.
He gripped the case, shoving it back onto the shelf with a new found energy he hadn't had earlier. Whoever had sunk that boat… Whoever had killed her… They were going to pay.
And Tony was going to make sure of it.