Worth Dying Over
This occurs some time post-Faith. It refers to the scene in Sandblast (mid-4th season, I think?) when Ziva diffuses a bomb as well as some moments from Truth and Consequences that I'm sure you're familiar with. Reviews are much loved!
As soon as they'd cleared the house, Ziva returned to Tony in the living room, resuming the teasing she'd begun in the car, about how Delores had tried and failed on two occasions now to make it all the way through asking him out for coffee.
The look on Tony's face stopped her.
"Ziva," he whispered, pointing behind her and up.
She gave him a wary look. She wouldn't put it past Tony to play on her credulity for a prank.
"Bomb," he added.
She whirled, and froze herself at what she saw. Perched over the door frame was a block of C4 wrapped in wires and flashing lights. Without another moment's thought, she pushed a potted plant off an end table and pulled it into place, stepping onto it as she pulled out her knife. Tony's hands settled her at her waist at once.
"What?" she asked frantically.
"Don't fall," he said firmly.
Ziva nodded and opened her knife, getting to work.
"We should leave," Tony said in an off-hand tone as she began to separate the wires. "Gibbs would make us."
She shrugged. "What is it? Better to ask forgiveness...?"
"Than to get permission," he confirmed.
Ziva snipped a wire, watched the clock stop with satisfaction and turned to the other wires to deactivate the thing entirely. "We've done this before," she said lightly, looking down at Tony. She was suddenly aware of the warmth of his hands on her waist, steadying her on the shaky little table.
He looked confused a moment, then his eyes cleared. "In that warehouse. In the rafters."
Ziva smiled tightly, returning her eyes to what she was doing. "You told me I wasn't worth dying over."
Looking up at her, Tony was struck by the tension in her face. It stunned him that his words were what she remembered most clearly from that day.
"Is it deactivated?" he spluttered.
Ziva clipped one more wire. "Yes!" she said cheerfully.
Without waiting for more information, Tony lifted her by the hips, swinging her to the ground, setting her between the door frame and his body so she had to face him.
"Hey!" Ziva gasped in surprise, smacking his arm.
Tony wasn't distracted. "Haven't I proved I don't think that?" he asked softly. "That you are worth dying over?"
Her eyes widened. Somalia was suddenly upon them.
"Do you remember?" Tony pressed, asking the question he'd wanted to ask since the plane ride home. "Do you remember what I said when we got you out?"
Ziva gave a shaky nod. She felt suddenly overheated, as if remembering that moment in the desert was bringing it back into reality.
"I was serious then," Tony said firmly. "Even dead, you were worth dying over. You weren't worth living without." His throat seemed to close up behind the words as anxiety rushed through him. She didn't give him any encouragement the first time and here he'd said it again.
She took a deep breath, leaning back against the door frame and resting her hands on Tony's chest. "I do remember," Ziva managed to say before her eyes dropped from his. She studied the pattern on his shirt furiously as she continued. "I spent three months knowing that my father was content to have me die for him. And after all that it was too much...I did not want you to die for me. I had stopped believing I was worth anyone's efforts," her voice had fallen to a whisper. "Especially yours."
Tony's arms were around her in an instant, Ziva's hands trapped between them. She took a deep breath of his cologne as she pressed into him, the smell making her giddy.
"I could no longer imagine we would ever be here," she added.
Tony pulled back, tipped her chin up, forcing her to look at him. "And now?"
Ziva swallowed hard. "It still overwhelms me," she admitted softly. "I should thank you, I should have—this is so much more than anyone has ever given me."
He nodded in sympathy at the fear in her eyes. "It overwhelms me, too. But whenever you're ready to deal with it, let me know." Tony released her, and saw the hint of regret in Ziva's face as she stepped away from him.
She pulled out her phone. "We should have the rest of the place swept for bombs."
Tony nodded, surprised by the relief he felt as he watched her place the call. She knew. She had known this whole time how he felt, and here they were, still partners, still working, no one dead, no one maimed. He shook his head with a chuckle. Overwhelmed didn't begin to cover it. But neither did happy.