"You were going to say something, what were you going to say?" Ziva asked suddenly. It was night, and everyone else had long since gone home. Ziva had made it about halfway through the stack of files they had placed on her desk earlier. Why Tony was still there, she had no idea, since he had nothing to do.
"I was just going to say," Tony began. The silence that ensued was filled with unspoken emotion. "That we were behind you." Ziva smiled, a small smile, but a smile nonetheless.
"I know who I can trust now," Ziva said quietly. Tony studied her.
"It's not going to be the same, you know?" Tony said suddenly.
"I know," Ziva replied. She refused to look at Tony directly; she had a feeling about where this was going.
"And I don't just mean you being a probie," Tony said. Ziva closed her eyes. She didn't know if she wanted to hear this. She was torn. "Ziva, I lied when I said I wasn't jealous." Her eyes flew up to meet his.
"Tony," Ziva said.
"You trusted him, you said so yourself," Tony said. "And you said you couldn't afford to trust me. Ziva, I would never do anything to hurt you, and I will always have your back."
"I know that now."
"Why did it take you so long?" Tears came to Ziva's eyes.
"I was afraid you would hurt me, and I wouldn't be able to stand that," Ziva said, her voice so quiet it was almost a whisper.
"Why?" Tony asked.
"Because," Ziva faltered. "Because trusting you, especially you, would have meant that I cared, and I didn't want to care. You were my partner, but I didn't realize that you were more than that. Not only were you my partner, you were my friend."
"And it took you leaving and almost dying to realize that?" Tony asked, dumbfounded at her confession.
"Yes." Tony stood up and crossed the bullpen in three quick strides. He knelt down next to Ziva and took her face in his hands.
"Do you trust me?" he asked, staring into her eyes. She didn't look away.
"With my life," she replied. He leaned closer to her, until his lips were almost brushing hers, and he spoke.
"I trust you, Ziva David, with my life," he whispered. His lips touched hers briefly, fleetingly, and then he stood up and walked back over to his desk. There was silence for a few minutes as Ziva tried to process what had just happened. Then Tony spoke again.
"And it's totally going to be different," Tony said. "For example, expect a lot more paperwork coming your way."