Counting sheep, and people, and moments.
For five years, you watch. They tear each other apart, and put each other back together, and then they repeat the cycle. And you continue watch.
Moments of Tony and Ziva, season 3 through to 7, from McGee's POV, written in 2nd person.
Disclaimer: I do not own NCIS.
When she first comes, the air is thick and tense and still tasting of Kate, and everybody - even you, even him - is wary of her.
They circle each other, sometimes, eyeing each other up, and you wonder who will pounce first.
He is drawn to her - like you to writing, like Abby to black - and you watch in fascination as he tries to resist.
She notices too, you can see it in her eyes - half hurt, half flattered - and you like her.
You miss Kate, but you like her, and it is okay.
Then they go undercover, and when they come back something is different and you can't quite put your finger on it.
They act as if nothing has happened; as if they were not playing house together; everything they can never have and will always want crammed into a few days of fine wine and fake sex.
They dress up as people they will never be, and then the clothes come off and there is finally nothing left for them to hide behind, and you can't help but wonder what they found.
It isn't long before they get trapped in that damn metal box together, and you and Gibbs chase them around the city.
A part of you – the frustrated, afraid part – thinks that maybe they just want to stay locked away together, and do not want you to find them.
Nothing but her and him and six sheets of metal, and you cannot even imagine what they are doing.
When you - finally - find them, something or nothing may have happened, not much or everything may have changed, and all in all it is a mundane, groundbreaking experience.
They do not talk about it later, but the tension between them is thicker, and maybe it is just you, but he seems to want her even more.
You cannot recall the precise moment they became so close.
Maybe because you were not there to witness it, or maybe because it was more of an evolution; slow and painful and nobody thought to look.
However it happened, it did, and you arrive at work one day to discover you are a third wheel.
Alone in the crowded bullpen, you should be jealous, but it doesn't matter.
You have seen the looks, the flirting, the unshed tears, and it all so confusing and complicating; a knot of tangled thoughts and feelings and it makes your head hurt.
Hell, maybe he'll mend her, maybe she'll mend him, maybe neither of them need fixing anyway. You know they do.
Either way, they will always have this thing between them, and nothing you can say will change it.
You do not want to anyway.
You have fallen into a comfortable pattern and you like it; a pattern of solving cases followed by drinks in bars, or movie nights at somebody's house.
Later, you take Abby home to her coffin, and Tony and Ziva leave together; back to hers, to his, to wherever it is they go alone, laughing quietly - loudly - at some private joke you don't think you will ever understand, but maybe already do.
Your eyes decieve you, because when you squint, they look like any other happy couple.
Jeanne comes as a surprise for you.
A surprise because you thought - you hoped - that maybe he could change, would change, had changed. For her. For them.
Sometimes he is your best friend, other times you simply hate him.
You cannot bear to see the way she pretends not to care, and when Jeanne is gone you swear you see relief underneath the sympathy coating her skin.
Things begin to feel like usual again, and now the air tastes like Ziva and smells of lust, and Tony feels it too. You know he does.
Sometimes, you lie awake at night, counting sheep, words, heartbeats, tears, unable to sleep.
You worry about them, sometimes, replaying moments in your head.
Moments like when she thought he was ill, and when he watched her with Lt Roy Sanders.
When you do eventually fall asleep, they visit you in your dreams, fear filling the air around her like smoke, and jealousy rolling off him in raw, angry waves.
You wake with a promise to say something, and spend the rest of the day biting your tongue.
Rivkin is even more of a surprise than Jeanne, because you don't really see Ziva as the boyfriend type.
Tony will never be her boyfriend, will never marry her, but that doesn't mean they won't be together, and you think that is part of the reason they like each other.
Tony hates him, and does not try to hide it, and now the seconds and minutes and hours and days are filled with awkward silence, which you try desperately to fill.
You don't trust Rivkin any more than Tony does, and certainly not with Ziva, and a selfish part of you is relieved when he is dead.
Then you see the pain in her eyes, and are no longer glad.
Then the worst happens, and somehow you end up leaving her.
She stands on the tarmac in Tel Aviv, rebuilding walls and taking out the trust, and all his - her, their - work has been for nothing, and you don't allow yourself to think that he has done it to himself.
You both wait with baited breath for her to calm down, but your disappointment and his despair grow with each day she does not return.
You help him look for her, because you owe it to him, to her, to them.
And when Gibbs tells you the news; that the boat sunk, that Ziva sunk, that everything is gone, rotting away at the bottom of an ocean, between countries that Tony couldn't even find on a map, you blame him, because he really was the only one who ever had any hold over her.
He didn't ask her to stay, and you resent that, and maybe you resent yourself too, but this is not about you. This will never be about you.
You still owe him, and you still owe her, and so you go; to die, to get revenge, to help him or her or maybe both, and it is all for a very good cause.
You lie on the cold cement floor, pretending to Saleem you are unconscious, and to them you are not listening.
She is alive; alive and - not so - well, and for you, that is enough.
It is not enough for Tony though, not enough for them, and you think how far they have come.
They may not say much now, but you know that there is more, and this is so far from the end you cannot even picture it.
When you are out and safe and her body crumples under the force of leaving adrenalin, Tony scoops her up, and he does not let go for such a very long time.
You smile, despite the situation, stopping only when Gibb's glare makes you fear for your head.
Not really sure if this worked or not, just an idea I had and wanted to try, so please review!