Friday night = staying in with Yann Tiersen and happy dancing around my room. And major fanfiction updates, hopefully.

OK. This is a new thing, one-shot, will NOT be continued because I am not going to fall into the trap of making this all depressing but then secretly putting in a happy ending in a couple of chapters. Most important point: there is no happy ending.

Yeah, it's Tiva, has some usual major Tiva themes, but there is no actual tangible Tiva. There is sadness, angst, tears, but no Reunion.

Summary: What if everyone is wrong, and there is no going back? What if they are too damaged to be put back together?

As you can tell from the summary, it's not going to be rainbows and sunshine and fluffy little pink bunnies and sparkles. I'm sorry. But as you're probably aware, I spent the VAST majority of my actual life romancing about Tiva as a couple and how perfect and brilliant and wonderful and fabulous and lovely and right that would be (seriously. WAY too much time. I found out today that my Philosophy teacher – 30 something year old man – LOVES NCIS, and TOTALLY believes in Tiva...I even told him about via negativa [the idea that Tiva get together then break up, literally the road of negative Tiva] and he was SO ridiculously excited, because we JUST finished studying the actual via negativa)...wow. That was a long bracket. I've lost my train of thought. Where was I? Oh yes.

So yeah, basically I'm the biggest Tiva fan in the world (probably) yet sometimes, I'll read a fic or hear a song or something and it'll make me want to write something unhappy about them. Probably to make it so that when I do immerse myself in actual Tiva it makes the experience all the more happiness-inducing...*goes on for a lot longer trying to justify the coming horribleness of this new fic*

OK. That's enough of me. *Disclaims violently*. And enjoy. And review – please (but please don't flame, my fragile ego isn't ready for that).

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She is back at the desk, yes. She has a badge and a gun, yes. She smirks, sometimes, yes.

Does she ever smile without shadows? Does she ever laugh without restraint? Does the darkness leave her eyes?

It does not.

---

When she returned, time began once more. It was simple, frank – without her, he was not; with her, he was. Completion is a strange and fragile fool, and it leaves us ripped and bleeding when we least expect it. He watches her with guarded eyes and solemn tongue. She does not meet his gaze often, and when she does, it is with a foreign grace. She does not know him. He does not know her. It is absolute.

---

There is something in her now, the way she holds herself, the little mannerisms she has acquired. Flinching almost imperceptibly at any startling noise. The tiny tremble when she holds her gun – little finger, left hand. It makes the barrel shiver. Her aim weakens. The way she will stroke the inside of her wrist when nervous. How she never shows herself anymore. He has seen the scars, some of them, and they glint, silver and malicious, against the ripples of her muscles. He once wanted to kiss that skin, and now he wants to cry against it.

The way she will not look at him when she says goodnight.

---

He thinks - so many times – of cornering her, trapping her, forcing her to look at him and listen, forcing her to help him fix it. But one day, not long after they start calling her Probie, they find the raped and butchered body of a sixteen year old child, and the fear that spills from her eyes and drips down her face terrifies him. She pulls it together, clicks the camera, writes it up. But he looks at her leave him and sees the trembling still. That evening, he drove to her new apartment and sat in his car all night. He saw her silhouette at the window, felt the lights die as she went to bed. Sat there until he saw her, perfect and blank, in the morning. She was still breathing, and he was exhausted.

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He ignores the blue bruises under her eyes and the fact that she's taken up coffee, sweet and black and potent. Her. He tries not to miss hearing her shameless little cough as he pees, tries not to miss the way she drove right through his soul. She doesn't rise when he corrects her English, not any more, just apologises in a small, flat voice, and so eventually he stops.

---

There are no more glances when someone says lovers. Lovers. Lover. Over. Utterly gone from you.

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What hurts more than anything, what makes him burn in anger and frustration and that cloying, dreaded panic, is the knowledge that there was a chance. There was a chance for them, a real one, a vivid, pulsing one. There was a time when she would have kissed him back. There was a time when he might have had the courage to kiss her in the first place.

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Now, his bed is busy again. Blonde girls, dark girls, full, pouting, simple girls with sticky lips and sticky hair and tacky clothes and lacking soul. Girls not at all like her, because his tired little heart knows that it cannot take that. He gets them drunk and fucks them and there's really no other way to put it. He doesn't make love anymore. He doesn't know if he ever truly has. He thinks of curls and smiles and dark, dark eyes and cries himself ragged. He doesn't find another one. Two loves of his life are quite enough, and they are both irrevocably gone from him.

---

Her home is not a home, because she does not deserve one. She keeps it cold and anonymous, no photographs, no memories. Everything is new, and does not care about her. It bleeds her to sleep, a lullaby of sorts.

---

She remembers how it felt, love, hate, passion. Jealousy, disappointment. Wanting, aching. Hoping. Beating. She remembers feeling. Now she regards him coolly across the bullpen, and even in the soft and intimate light of the night-time she feels nothing. She takes risks now, anything to make anything happen. Jumps in front of a man with a gun and is mesmerised by the gaping black hole staring her right in the face. One little click and the hole could be in her head.

She does not feel a thing. Even when Gibbs, with one quick flick, directs the bullet across her shoulder, and does not even yell at her. Just peers with those piercing eyes and asks her a silent question. Are you in there, Ziva? Are you there at all?

Tony will not look at her. She knows he will not kiss her. She does not feel a thing.

---

One day, years later, he looks up and realises with a dull and thudding certainty that it is gone. That it is away from them, absolutely, completely. Completion is a strange and fragile fool, and this time it does not sting but empties. He knows, quite suddenly, through to those scarred and lonely bones, that he will never be with her.

She is far too lost, and so is he. And they have such a very long time in which to continue existing.

---

And so it continues. They are casual friends, smile in the street, make stilted conversation at work. He gets older, and suddenly the bed is empty for longer than a week and he is fine with that. It was only ever sex, and he could do that with his fist, but the need is no longer apparent. Why fuck without love? What is the point? Why is that suddenly so beautifully apparent?

You must live with your mistakes. You must endure.

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They do not find love.

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Fin.

*Runs and hides*. I know, incredibly depressing, it WILL NOT HAPPEN LIKE THIS ON THE SHOW, I promise you, but I felt it was an interesting idea to explore. It's similar to 51 years and 23 days (another of my things) but different at the same time...if you read it you'll see how. And I'm getting reeeally nervous that I'm running out of luck with the depressing fics. Most people read them and their reaction is 'so sad but good enough to make up for that' but I'm not sure how long that can continue :) Anyway, enjoy and if you have time, please review, it literally makes my day.