I do not own NCIS or any part thereof.
SPOILERS for season 7 up to Jetlag, which hasn't even aired yet!
I almost did not post this story as one of my favorite writers, Kerrison, has published something similar. But she had a different take on things so I thought, why not? If you love good Tony and Ziva stories please check her profile on fanfic dot net. Awesome work.
In this story, Tony and Ziva are ready to return to D.C. after completing their mission in Paris. Tony talks about what he doesn't want.
What I Don't Want
He glanced around the room as he came in, didn't see his partner anywhere. Checked the bathroom. No Ziva. Her bag was on the bed, packed, ready for their trip to the airport, so where was she? Only one place left, the balcony.
Crossing to the sliding glass door he sighed in relief as he saw her. She stood with her arms crossed, staring out at Paris as the lights started to come on in little clusters along the avenues around the Seine. Wearing dark slacks and a deep purple sweater she looked more like his everyday Ziva than the sophisticated woman in haute couture she'd been on this assignment. Her dark curls hung down her back in a ponytail and he fought to urge to sneak up behind her and flip it. Fought it because: one - he'd never seen the day he could sneak up on Ziva and two - they were 20 stories up and he didn't want to expire in a puddle of human goo on the pavement below. So he deliberately made a noise with the door as he pushed it open. A chilly wind blew the curtain back onto him and he had to step through the gauzy material to reach his destination.
"It is beautiful," Ziva said.
Without looking out over the well-named City of Lights, he kept his eyes on her as he said, "Yes. Very."
"Since I came…"
She stopped and frowned then started again after a brief silence.
"Over the past few months I have come to realize I never really stopped and noted the beautiful things I passed everyday. I may have said something about it or made a quick note but never stopped and appreciated beauty for beauty's sake."
Tony didn't say anything. Her statement hit too close to his thoughts about Ziva as she stood there only inches from him. He'd never appreciated the true beauty of Ziva, all of Ziva, quite so much until he thought her dead. And then he'd thought it too late and he mourned his missed opportunities. Her next words yanked his attention back.
"What do you want from me, Tony?"
Whoa…that came out of nowhere! What the hell was she talking about?
Not his most intelligent response perhaps.
She turned toward him.
"I do not know what you want from me. Since I came back, I cannot understand what you want."
He knew he had to say something, anything. She was serious. But he couldn't bring himself to respond with total honesty so he fell back on his standard defensive tactic; ignore the serious, go for the inane.
"I just want us to go back inside cause it's damned chilly out here."
Those dark eyes didn't waver so he plunged on heedlessly.
"Then I want to call room service. I think we need something to eat before we go to the airport."
He smiled a big smile.
She didn't. Instead she turned and started back into the room.
"Why?" she said and kept walking.
This time he reached out and grabbed her arm and pulled her back toward him.
"Wait. Please," he said.
Ziva stood quietly, patiently, and he still didn't know what to say.
"What makes you think I want something from you, Ziva. I don't want anything."
She didn't try to pull away which surprised him. This wasn't his Ziva, not the one who'd basically told him to go eff himself earlier today when he hadn't let her bring down their fleeing perp with multiple rounds from her Sig. She'd probably been right and now the bastard would get off with jail time and be free in a few years to kill other young sailors but it had been the legally correct course of action for a federal agent in a foreign country. He did act the part of senior field agent now and then. Still she stood and waited for him to let go of her. A docile Ziva scared him, reminded him too much of the broken woman he'd found in Somalia..
Suddenly he hated himself. What a coward. Why couldn't he tell her what he wanted? You are absolutely chicken shit, Dinozzo, he thought. She stood there waiting for an answer and he couldn't give her one.
He let go of her arm. Why couldn't he tell her? Help me, he prayed to whoever ran this freakin' screwed up world. But wait a minute...was there another way? Maybe, just maybe he could tell her what he didn't want? It wasn't the same thing. No, not the same thing at all. How the hell did she get this power over him anyway? She always made him do things he didn't want to do.
"I, I really don't know what I want, Ziva. Honest to God, I don't know. But I do know one thing I absolutely DO NOT want."
She looked up at him, her eyes luminous, almost as if they were full of tears.
He put his hands on her shoulders more to steady himself than to hold her in place.
"I know this one very important thing. I'm totally sure of it. I don't ever want you to leave again. Got it? You can't. I won't let you. You start to leave again I'm going to…you know what, I don't even know what I'm going to do, but you're not going anywhere. You stay here where you belong."
He barely heard her whisper.
Pulling her closer to him, he leaned down until she was almost within kissing distance.
"No, not in Paris. You know what I mean. Here. With me. Where ever I go you go. Where you go, I go. We're partners. I'm not losing you again. I can't…"
His voice trailed off remembering how he'd felt when Gibbs had said those two life-altering words - no survivors. Tony DiNozzo had emptied out then. No more Tony. Just a big empty. And the empty had been unbearable.
"Here!" he said again, his voice harsh even to his own ears.
To emphasize his point he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close, crushing her face against him. After a moment or two her arms crept around him.
"I don't know what I want from you, Ziva. I don't know what I want from myself. I'm trying to work it out. I just know I want you with me. No, wait, that's not right. I need you with me. Everything else we'll just have to piece together as best we can. However we can."
She nodded into his chest.
"I broke us, Tony. I am sorry. I will do what it takes to fix as much of it as can be fixed. I just need to know what you want me to do. I cannot find my way."
Her words were hesitant, almost soundless heard more through the vibrations of her breath against his body. What it must have cost her to say them. He knew she hated exhibiting weakness of any kind and would never realize how damned brave she was right now. Once again he thought that of the two of them, she was by far the more courageous. He rested his chin on her head and inhaled deeply of the subtle spicy scent she wore, hints of faraway places but smelling like home to him.
"It wasn't just you, Ziva. I broke us too."
"Tony, it was not…"
"Shush…We broke us together - so together maybe we can put us back together? I don't know what we'll end up with but I hope, I believe, it will be stronger and better than what we had before."
Pulling slightly away he looked down. Twin steaks on her cheeks glistening in the twilight revealed where she'd lost the battle to control her emotions. He held her face between his two hands and leaned down and kissed her. A gentle kiss lasting only a few moments but the feel of her soft, warm lips under his took away his breath and he had to force himself to back off. Her eyes were still closed so he kissed her again, more a rubbing of his lips across hers than a real kiss this time. She smiled a small but definite smile.
His self-protective instincts were kicking in and he knew he had to change course before he said something he wasn't ready to say and she wasn't ready to hear. Reaching down he took her hand, pulling her through the open door and closed it behind them.
"Brrr…Paris is cold in January, don't care what they say. Let's order something to eat. I'm starving. Thought we'd get a pizza."
He felt a sharp pain in his left biceps as she punched him.
"We are in Paris and for our last meal you want to order pizza, Tony?
He grinned, rubbing the sore spot.
"Well, we could get it with snails."
"When you order do NOT put snails on my half," she said as she moved away. He felt cold on the side where she had stood.
"Hey, where you going?"
"Just to the bathroom to wash my hands. The railing was dirty."
He felt his face relax. He hadn't even realized it had tightened up when she made to leave the room.
Coming back to him, she touched his cheek with her hand and then, just like she'd done in the men's room the last time she'd used it for one of their infamous conferences, she reached up and kissed his cheek.
"I am not going anywhere I cannot watch your back, DiNozzo. Get used to it."