A/N: Title taken from Frou Frou's (Imogen Heap) song "Hear Me Out." She is absofuckinglutely brilliant, and I highly recommend her if you've never heard of her. Everything she sings pretty much reminds me of Ziva. It's fantastic. Enjoy and please review!
So how do I do normal
The smile I fake—the permanent wave
Of cue cards and fix-it tips
Can't tell you, I'm not myself*
"You just gonna stand there all day?" he asked suddenly, not bothering to turn around to face his partner. He didn't know when it had become so very habitual for her to corner him in the bathroom, but part of him was glad the Michael-Ayaliah-Somalia Fiasco had not hindered this particular tradition.
Even if it still scared the crap out of him.
Zipping up his fly, self-proclaimed Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo turned and raised an eyebrow at his partner, who was observing him from her position against the wall. Silently, she stood up , reached over to flip the lock down on the door, and sauntered a few steps toward him.
Tony swallowed twice, suddenly nervous.
"I see you finally got all the blue out of your teeth," Ziva said casually, titling her head slightly. Tony gave her a tight smile.
"Yeah, no thanks to you," he said, as he faced the sink to wash his hands. Ziva took a few steps toward the sink and placed her hands down as she faced him.
Déjà vu, she thought as she studied her partner, thinking about the last time she had caught him in here.
They were both silent for ages, but silence, however effective it had been for them in the past, only worked for so long. Eventually one of them would be forced to buck up and actually start talking.
Sometimes, to Ziva, being in the same room with Tony felt much like being in battle: she had to be on guard at all times because at any moment he might attack. In truth, it frightened her a little that she never knew exactly what was coming, as much as she liked to act as though she did.
She was really just as lost as he was.
But today, it was his turn to lose, and as he reached for a paper towel, he caught her eye, sighing in almost inaudible defeat. "Is it always going to be this way?" he asked her quietly, glancing down into her guarded eyes.
It was strange, this language they spoke—because though he appeared to make no sense, she knew exactly what he meant. She had ignored it in the past but recent events had caused her to change her mind: perhaps when you found someone who spoke your language so well, it wasn't something you were meant to ignore.
"You tell me," she whispered, not daring to look away.
"I don't like it." His vehement response left her a bit taken aback.
"You think I do?" she inquired almost as passionately.
Then, as always, silence reigned.
He broke it again, which was unusual, but Ziva knew that nothing that had happened in the past six months could be considered usual anyway, even in a life such as hers. Things had changed; they always do.
"I want it to be normal." Tony paused, laughing bitterly. "Or whatever is normal for us. Sometimes, I'm not really sure." He found her eyes once more, searching for something he wasn't sure he'd find. "I hated you," he admitted quietly.
Ziva blinked, breathing in once. Talking about the summer was still…difficult for her. "Yes. I as well. Sometimes, I think I still do." She looked away. "I do not want to," she added in a whisper.
She looked up and found in his eyes an understanding she could hardly have hoped for.
"So..." Tony said helplessly. "What happens now?"
Ziva paused, contemplating. Licking her lips once, she said delicately, "My mother used to tell me that sometimes, all you can do is begin back where you started, and everything will either work itself out or it simply was never meant to be."
"That's…frustrating," Tony said, frowning.
Ziva shrugged. "But it is true."
Tony thought about this before asking somehow lightly and darkly at the same time, "So what? I'm a jerk to you and you simultaneously threaten and seduce me?"
She did not miss his reference to their mutual attraction, but she chose to ignore it, saying plainly, "Yes. That was the beginning, after all, no?"
Tony nodded. "Yeah. I guess it was."
Ziva closed her eyes, took a calming breath, and plummeted forward. "I am…truly sorry, Tony, that our…" She stopped, careful with her wording. "…partnership and more importantly our friendship has become such a mess."
"Me, too," he returned.
It didn't change anything, but somewhere in the back of her mind, Ziva thought one day it might make a difference. That apology could be the very thing that changed the entire nature of their relationship. After all, she was in America now, and here, anything was possible.
Silence encompassed them, and Ziva let a smile spread on her face.
Because it wasn't normal, but one day it might be.
I'm a slow motion accident
Lost in coffee rings and fingerprints
I don't wanna feel anything but I do
And it all comes back to you*
*"Hear Me Out" by Frou Frou