A/N: You guys, your lovely lovely lovely comments were so great. I'm so glad the previous chapter made you feel what you felt and that you liked it!
My deepest apologies for another delay, I know how frustrating it can be when an author takes three months to update, haha, so I'm sorry that I've been slow to continue with the story. I appreciate all of the reviews I have received, they're so great and it makes me incredibly happy to know you enjoyed this fic.
Warning of cheese cheese cheese and a tiny bit of fluff. Hee.
Thank you again.
I have roamed, I have crawled, I have scaled,
To be with you
Only to be with you
Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, Damien Rice
Sometime during the early hours of the morning, she leaves him. Carefully disentangling his arm from around her waist she lets go of the hand that had found her wrist and kisses his cheek, lingering there for a few seconds longer, the smile spreading into his warm skin. Bundling herself in a spare blanket and clad in only his button up shirt, she heads for the door. It's snowing lightly and she's an idiot for not wearing more clothes but she wants to feel it. Because something is missing; the weight, the strain, the tightness, something has lifted itself and she needs to feel it. She's hit immediately, the cold cutting like needles against her body but tightening the cloth and tucking her chin inside the covers, it settles and she wriggles her toes out as wide as she can because it is different. Her seeped out heart has freed itself a little.
"I knew I should've locked this door."
She smiles softly and waits for him to come up behind her. She should've known it wouldn't have taken him long.
"Would not have stopped me." She replies with a knowingly sharp nod of her head and he chuckles, leaning over her shoulders to tighten the blanket around her. His fingers slip inside and brush gentle across her shoulders, making her shiver.
She lets herself lean into him as he sets his arms around her waist, hugging her closer, pressing his mouth against one side of her face.
"You've changed since the last time." He mumbles, almost to himself but she turns slowly in his arms and tilts her eyebrows up in a what is that supposed to mean manner, tightening her lips together that are turning pinker by the minute.
He chuckles a little and rubs her lower back, "Since we've shared a bed, I mean. No emphysema snoring, none of the ninja kicking and…no..no gun." His voice fades a little at the last one, his eyes searching for something in the midst of hers and she knows that he's just gone somewhere he hadn't wanted to.
"No nightmares." She breathes for the both of them.
He looks a little heartbroken and a little disappointed but his hands clutch for her intuitively, "No nightmares."
"It seems that I was not the only one keeping secrets," And she rubs his earlobe between two of her fingers, looking up at in a way that makes his throat hurt, makes him want to pick her up, somehow get even nearer.
"Ziva," He starts but she smiles, looking a little tired but completely lovely.
"Don't my love, we have plenty of time." It rolls off her tongue like she's been saying it for years, comforting him with words that were of a lover and he finds himself leaning in to kiss the very corner of her mouth because she was right. They do have plenty of time.
She curls a foot around one of his ankles and he has to fight the urge not to moan but then she's right there, seeping into his skin, around his neck, through that heart.
"Take me back to bed." She whispers and he smiles, that goofy loopy one, that real one she can spot a mile away and he lifts her right up, her legs lopping around his waist.
They seem to make a home for themselves amongst the sheets, sometimes wrapped up so tight there isn't a beginning or an end and others times so deep inside that it feels like he can touch her fucking soul. And he fits himself between those legs until she can't take anymore and drags him back up with a low growl.
He finds those places he just wants to love, that giggle he gets when he sweeps beneath her knees, the freckles usually hidden by makeup splashed across her cheeks, the way she moans out his name, the way she sometimes can't, her tiny hands clawing at his back and the way she can make him black out and ache with it all.
He's found himself against her back, his head tucked near her neck as she drifts off again. The rise and fall of her chest is calming and as he watches it he knows that it couldn't possibly get any better than this. He's beginning to feel the onset of sleep himself, his eyes not quiet closed when it suddenly dawns on him. It was Christmas morning and they were together, wrapped up in his bed. On Christmas morning. He thinks about shaking her, to let her know, to crack a joke but his eyes are closing before he can begin to, though the smile stays. Yep, Christmas was definitely a DiNozzo holiday.
It's cut abruptly short two hours later when they're cell phones begin to relentlessly buzz from opposite sides of the room.
"Case." Tony groans to her as he sits up disorientated, his hair, she notes, a very cute muddled mess.
She's up a lot faster than him, already dressed and out the door before he can get his shirt on but he uses the time to find that box he's been hiding for the last month and slide it into his pocket.
"Tony!" She hollers from the hallway and he rolls his eyes, slightly amused because it's hilarious and wonderful and annoying as hell all at the same but it's her and it's them.
The death stare he gets completely makes up for that fact that he's exhausted.
They manage to make an entrance into the squad room, their arms twitching by their sides, without it seeming like they were…making an entrance but McGee cocks his head up, spotting it a mile away and grins smugly, "Merry Christmas you guys."
Ziva grins sheepishly; setting down her coat while Tony not so seriously frowns and nods towards him.
"Merry Christmas McTinsel, where's bossman."
McGee opens his mouth just as Gibbs breezes through.
"Right here, grab your gear we've got a dead marine."
They scramble for their backpacks and Tony fumbles, suddenly feeling exposed and he drops his bag more than once, cursing under his breath. While Ziva scoffs and rolls her eyes, thinking that he may as well have just stuck a sign to his forehead.
"Problem DiNozzo?" Gibbs starts towards him with a tight frown and he lets his eyes slide to Ziva's because she's not so safe either. She chokes back the near laugh and she suddenly realizes what Abby means by Gibbs miraculously just knowing.
Tony swallows heavily as he continues to stare and he meets Ziva's worried eyes but it's only a beat before Gibbs begins walking again, gripping to his coffee mug and they both see it, the subtle twinkled eye grin because of course, he's seen it coming too.
"DiNozzo, Da'vid…keep it outside the office."
Tony stutters, his mouth parting open and he watches her cheeks darken as she smiles, "Will do boss."
They don't really have a chance to keep it inside the office even if they wanted to (and as she bends her body towards him, leaning behind his desk, he does, he so so does) because they're separated for the most part of the day. They see each other briefly before lunch, the elevator instantly becoming their meeting place and of course he flips the switch the second she walks in, reaching for her as she gives him that soft titled smirk because man, it's been so long already.
He marks her collarbone like he's an hormonal teenager ridiculously ridiculously in love and he thinks as he shifts through the paper work stacked in piles on his desk, that maybe he's allowed to be like that if only for wasting so much precious time.
Finally as McGee trails out at half past midnight, winking nonchalantly at the two of them, they're left alone. He sits across from her and watches with a smile as she huffs out a sigh, blowing her hair (that she hadn't had time to straighten) out from her face. She fiddles for a moment with her computer and then finally stands and gives him a smile he hasn't seen, hasn't remembered seeing for a long time.
She smirks, trying to ignore the goose bumps spreading across her arms from the way he is just looking at her and tilts her head up in a lazy hey.
"Get over here."
She's grinning when he catches her by her hips and she lowers herself down to his lap. It takes her a moment to settle into his body but when she does, he relaxes, leaning back his head for hers to rest against a shoulder.
They stay quiet for a long moment; the squad room completely empty with the only source of light coming from the windows and the lamp on his desk.
"We can do this, you know, us…you and me, in the office…out of the office, we can do this." He says quietly against the curve of her neck. She nods lightly with a slight hum.
"I know it's not going to be easy but we'll deal with it all, with whatever happens and I'll try Ziva…" He continues, his voice hitching, catching on her name.
"Hey," She whispers and gently turns the side of his face towards her, his eyes open to meet hers, "Tony, I am not…healed from Somalia, from what happened to me there but I am beginning too. And you, you helped me, you are helping me."
He rubs his head a little against her, feeling the warmth of her fingers, the way she could slow down his heartbeat in a matter of seconds, "I didn't help, your doing it all by your stubborn self, surprise surprise."
She smiles softly, "But talking about it, finally…accepting it, you, Tony. You made me do that." Her eyes flick between his, her fingers tugging on his earlobe gently.
"You have got me wrapped tightly around a single finger." She teases, trailing now alongside his chin with her teeth.
"Oh yeah?" He grins hard, impossible to keep his worry. He draws her closer, "These fingers?" He cups her cheek before brushing his lips to hers, letting them sink forward.
They kiss softly, their noses rubbing as the space on the chair suddenly becomes too little, too fast, "Let's get out of here." He breathes against her ear.
She tugs on the collar of his shirt and nods, pulling herself up by taking him with her so that soon she's up on her tiptoes with her arms snacked tightly around his neck.
"You know if Gibbs walked in right now he'd head slap me so hard my teeth would probably fall right outta my mouth."
She snorts and it tickles his chin, her lips leaving a trail until she's at the corner of his mouth, "What Gibbs does not know, will not hurt him."
"Ah, I knew there was a reason I liked you." He teases and as they kiss he decides that her laughing should always be the sound he hears just as he closes his eyes. She bites a little at his lower lip, making him moan loudly into her mouth.
They slip into a hug and he squeezes her sides, moving back slightly, "I gotta run down and bring some paperwork down to Ducky, I'll meet you in the car."
He kisses her forehead then reaches around her for the stack of folders at the edge of his desk, "Keys are in your front jacket pocket." He says as he walks for the elevator.
She frowns, watching him go, because she could've swore she saw him dumping them into his top drawer this morning. But she moves to get ready, switching off her computer, pushing in her chair, reaching for her jacket. She's switching of his lap when her hands dig into the pockets, finding not keys but a small square box.
She pulls it out and fights the urge not to roll her eyes because she should've guessed from his flimsy set up but moving back to her desk and sitting down, flicking on the light, she thinks it's really more sweet than anything.
There's a white ribbon wrapped loosely around it and his handwriting is scrawled against a scrap of paper taped to a corner. And as she places it upon her desk, she feels her heart so deeply pushed inside her, thumping heavily against her skin because he took the time to get her a gift and it was this. She slowly lifts the lid, her hands quivering and she is so grateful, so grateful that he left alone for this knowing that it was exactly what she needed.
It's smaller than her previous one but as she gently lifts it up, letting it dangle from her fingers, she thinks it could not be more…perfect.
Clasping a palm around it she reaches for his note.
I noticed this was missing, it's not the one you lost, it's not a replacement, it's a gift and it deserves to be worn by someone who can bear it's brilliance.
Merry Christmas, you.
She closes her eyes, letting the tears seep out and onto the paper as she lifts it to her nose, Asirat Todah, she breathes and moves with her hands for the back of her neck. It takes her longer to clasp it shut but when it's fixed and sitting perfectly just at the tip of her shirt, she lets herself finally, finally breathe. She breathes it out in staggers; the way he had taken hold of her head, ripping out her hair, that sound it had made when he had thrown it violently across the floor and her ears hearing her moan, the only and last sound she would make for months, and thinking of only giving up.
"Ziva," He whispers.
Can you fight?
Her eyes fly open and it's his hand she feels first before she adjusts to the light of the room, to the desks, to the ceiling, to the…quiet.
"Ziva," He repeats, closer and his body is behind hers, "You're right here, you're safe." He almost lets go of her hand but she suddenly grips it harder.
"Do not…just do not let go. It passes."
"We'll let it pass then." And they stand there, together as it passes. The necklace, becoming a fast anchor and as it fades and her shaking stops, his hand is still there.
"Come on, let's go home." He whispers quietly once she's turned her body to his, his relief at finally being able to see her unable to stop him from bringing both arms around her, however afraid he is that she isn't ready.
She nods and it's slipping, the color returning to her cheeks. A smile appears as they walk to the elevator, their hands pressed together.
"Thank you, Tony."
And following her into the elevator he manages to smile too, "Your welcome Ziva."
A/N: Asirat Todah, ever so grateful. Which is exactly what I am. Thank you for the reviews, thank you for reading. I hoped you liked the story just as much as I enjoyed writing it. The ending is a little vague but I felt it fitting to leave it open rather than have it wrapped up tightly. Hoped you enjoyed, thank you so much again.