A/N: Well, lucky for you all I got stuck in the hospital with another kidney stone; churned this baby out just to take my mind off the pain! Enjoy!
Ziva was seething on the ride back to her house. She was desperately trying not to take it out on Abby, whom she knew was only doing her a favor by driving her home, but one more annoying comment and Ziva feared she would actually snap her neck. And it was getting more and more difficult to keep her mouth shut about everything that had gone on the last week. She did not want to heap any grief upon her friend, unnecessarily. Whether that was because she wanted to spare her the pain or because her own control was being maintained by such a tenuous grasp did not matter. She did not want to talk; she wanted to sleep…possibly forever. Ziva was not even certain that she had the strength to go back to the hospital and sit with Tony tonight. She had replayed and reanalyzed everything that Gibbs had said to her tonight, and she understood now why Tony was having doubts. Their boss had an uncanny way of getting inside her mind and making her rethink everything she thought she knew. She completely empathized now with his distancing, because she herself felt the instinct to do the same until she had figured everything out for herself.
So entranced was Ziva in her own headspace, that Abby had already said her name several times before contemplating touching the former assassin (which was something no one on the team took lightly). She had tried to keep the mood light in the car, but two blocks past the hospital, finally succumbed to the silence she knew her friend was craving. Something had definitely happened between the time she left the waiting room to fetch the car and when Ziva came down to the curb. Tim had assured her that Tony was holding his own, and surely Ziva would not have left the hospital if he had taken a turn for the worse. The only thing that had persuaded Abby herself to leave was the knowledge that Tony's baby was essentially in her care, since Ziva was too exhausted and worried to care for herself. She considered it an honor to make sure that mother and child were well cared for during this stressful time. She decided on getting out of the car, hoping the sound of the door would snap Ziva out of her trance and entice her to follow up to the apartment. Sure enough, her tired friend followed her to the entrance of the building and slowly, wearily up the stairs to their door.
Once they were safely inside, Ziva made straight for the bedroom without a glance in Abby's direction. She toed off her shoes and pulled back the covers, burrowing into them out of sight. Still in the living room, Abby frowned at the offense and thinking better of her selfishness, followed Ziva back to the bedroom.
"Ziva? Are you okay? Is there something wrong? Besides the obvious, of course, but I mean, you're acting…I dunno, like something major happened at the hospital. You'd tell me if something happened to Tony, though, right? I mean, Tony's okay, right?" Abby rocked back and forth on her feet, peering into the room for Ziva's form.
Ziva huffed and pulled the thick comforter from her head. "I know as much as you about Tony's condition, Abby. He was still in surgery when we left, but Ducky assured us that we would not be able to see him for several more hours, even after surgery was complete, so unless something has happened since we left, Tony is the same."
Abby teared up a bit in spite of herself. "Well, gee, you don't seem like you care much if something does happen to the father of your child!" she sniffed. When she immediately noticed the sign of her friend shaking with silent sobs under the covers, she could've headslapped herself.
"Ohmygosh, Ziva! I didn't mean it! Of course you care! I'm so sorry…" Abby gingerly climbed onto the other side of the bed, gently peeling the blankets away to find her friend's tear-stained face.
Ziva wiped her face angrily with her hand, ashamed at acting so weak over something she had already had two days to get used to. "He is not the father of my child, Abby. There is no child; I miscarried already."
Abby's hand flew to her mouth in shock and sadness. When she'd had a minute to recover, she scooted down as close to Ziva as she dared. "Oh, Ziva…why didn't you tell anyone? Are you alright? We could have helped you. Is this what put Tony back in the hospital? Shouldn't you be in the hospital?"
Ziva sat up abruptly and scooted herself to rest against the headboard, pulling her knees to her chest and hugging them tightly. She rested her chin on her knees as wayward tears continued to stream down her cheeks. "Tony does not know, yet, Abby. He was so sick already and acting so…strangely, that I did not dare put this on him, as well. I do not know how I am going to tell him." She buried her face in her knees and sighed, trying to fight the uncharacteristic break-down.
Abby perched herself carefully beside her friend and began rubbing Ziva's arm tenderly. "Do you need to go to the hospital, Ziva? Should you even be home? I'll take you right now. A miscarriage is a major physical event. It's no wonder you're so exhausted. I don't know how you're doing this, right now. Please, let me help you."
"I had already been told what to expect and when to seek medical attention in regards to the miscarriage. I am alright. It was very early in the pregnancy, so it was not as traumatic as you might think."
"Well, physically maybe, but Ziva, you are definitely not okay. You are under so much stress already; I just wish there was something more I could do for you." Abby whined.
"I am sorry, Abby. It was not my intention to pull you down with me," Ziva sniffed. "I am already going to put Tony through so much more pain."
"Listen to me, Tony loves you. If anything he is going to be mad at himself because you went through this alone. It was killing him to be held up in the hospital while you were here without him. He even actually asked me and Tim for help, since he couldn't do it himself. He asked, Ziva! Maybe to some people that's not a big deal, but for our Tony, that speaks volumes. I know you don't want him to suffer any more than he already is, but maybe if you were suffering together…I dunno, it just wouldn't be as bad?" The usually happy Goth tried to make her optimism sound as natural as possible, instead of as forced as it was in her mind.
Ziva lifted her head and smiled weakly at Abby. "Thank you for trying to put a positive spin on this, really. But, I just do not know if there is no baby what will hold Tony and I together, Abby. It certainly will not be our shared grief."
"Ziva! Oh my god, what are you saying? Tony loves you! You love Tony! Of course you will share your grief, and then move on and live as happily ever after as you two can in this line of work! Why would you even say that?" Now, Abby was well and truly freaking out.
"I do not think Tony feels as surely about all of that as you do. I am not even sure I feel as strongly about all of it as you, anymore." She began to sob again and dropped her head back to her knees. "I do not know what to think or feel, anymore. And I wish I would just stop crying about it already!" She leapt off the bed in one move, angrily wiping her face as she walked aimlessly around the bedroom.
Abby carefully climbed off the bed, unsure how to proceed. She began pacing on the other side of the room, her brow furrowed in thought, until the proverbial light bulb clicked over her head and she spun around to face Ziva. "Something happened at the hospital tonight, didn't it? Tim was suddenly acting all weird and agitated and then you wanted to come home instead of staying with Tony. What is going on with everyone? At first, I thought it was just the baby secret, but there's more to it than that, isn't there, Ziva?"
Ziva sighed and slumped against the bureau. She knew she wasn't going to be able to keep Gibbs' favorite in the dark forever, though she could not bring herself to talk badly of him to Abby, so she just went with the facts. "Gibbs does not think Tony and I should be together. He thinks that we do not actually love one another, that it is just easy for us to be together. Convenient, I suppose. Playing pretend, yes? He spoke to me about it in the waiting room." She began pacing her side of the room again and stood still, bowing her head and raising her hand to rub at her gnawing headache. "I found out that he also said these things to Tony while he was in the hospital before. Tony did not mention it to me, but clearly was upset about it and acting differently when he came home. I think," she stopped and took a deep breath, meeting Abby's eyes, "I think that Tony believes him." She fought back another wave of sobs and crumpled to the ground, burying her face in her hands. "I think I am starting to believe Gibbs, as well," her muffled words seeped out through strangled cries.
Abby narrowed her eyes and contemplated how she would torture Gibbs before coming back to the present and scurrying over to Ziva. She plopped down on the floor beside her and wrapped both arms around her snugly, pulling Ziva over to her embrace. When Ziva gave in and didn't resist, Abby knew it was bad. "Now, you listen to me. And you listen carefully. You cannot let anyone plant the seeds of doubt in your mind that were not already there to begin with. So, even though I might hurt him, we can't blame Gibbs. That being said, he had no right to put this on you guys right now, with everything else that is going on. I don't care how Tony has been acting or what Gibbs said to him, I know this, Ziva. Tony loves you. That man loves you with his whole heart in a way that most women only dream of being loved. He hasn't been himself lately because he was just shot…shot protecting you and your baby. And he would do it a million times again, with or without a baby in there because that's how much he loves you. But, Tony also loves Gibbs. So, of course he is going to take anything that he says seriously and to heart. But, I guarantee you, that if he had to pick between you two, Tony would pick you every day of the week and twice on Sundays. Because he loves you. And I know that you love him. I don't care what excuses you make, you do. You two just have some screwed up way of dealing with your feelings by pushing people away. I get why you both do that, I really do, but it has to stop. I know life is scary, and for you guys it's a crap shoot most days. I know commitment is something that you both fear and aren't really good with, but I don't think you guys have bothered to notice that you've been committed to each other for a long time, now. Even when you were both dating other people, you put each other first. You have been more than partners for many years. So, now you've just made it official, so what? Don't let putting that shiny stamp on it scare you off. And don't let Gibbs' stupid rules dictate how you run your lives. At the end of the day, you don't come home to Gibbs. You get to come home to each other. And that is something special and something worth fighting for."
Abby paused to catch her breath as Ziva's sobs became replaced by hiccups. "And another thing, Ziva," Abby clutched her shoulders to bring Ziva's face to eye level, "a miscarriage is really hard on a woman's body, no matter what those stupid ER doctors said. All the hormones right now are definitely messing with your mind, because I have never seen you cry so much in all the years I've known you. Don't let them mess with you and Tony, too. Wait until things calm down. Talk to Tony. Tell him about the baby and see how he responds. I promise you he will be there for you, hospital stay, or not. And he deserves to know. If at the end of your leave from work, you still feel this way, then that's something else. But, for just right now, you guys need to be there for each other and forget all about stupid Gibbs and his stupid mouth. Okay?" Abby squeezed her friend gently, for reassurance.
Ziva returned the hug gently and sat back up, disentangling herself from Abby's embrace and wiping her face. "Okay, Abby. I think I can manage that. We should get back to the hospital. Tony will most likely be coming out of surgery, soon."
Abby pushed herself up, extending a hand to pull Ziva up as well. "Well, he will be in recovery for awhile after that. And, we haven't really been gone all that long. Go take a shower and get freshened up; it'll make you feel better and clear your mind, and I'll make you something to eat. You still need to take care of yourself, or you'll end up in the hospital next." She smiled hopefully and squeezed her friend's hand.
Ziva pushed her hair back from her damp face and sighed. "Thank you, Abby. You are too good to me." She leaned forward and wrapped the surprised Goth in another hug. "I think you are right…about everything." She stepped back, smiled softly and turned to leave the room.
"I certainly hope so," Abby muttered under her breath.