A/N: How's this for Tiva angst? I don't absolutely love it, but I like it okay. This really has no plot line, in fact, it really has no point at all. But that's okay, we'll just call it a drabble. A reeeeaaallly long drabble. . . . . This is just a insight into Tony and Ziva's seemingly constant misunderstanding of each other and each other's intentions. So here we go, takes place after no specific episode. Warning: Contains the overuse of the word 'regret.' Kit.
DISCLAIMER: I own nothing.
"Look, about last night. . . . I'm sorry."
"Hey Ziva?" And his voice is faint, hushed under the florescent lights of the bathroom where she sits, perched on the sink, head in her hands. And he is slightly alarmed that her hands are shaking, trembling over her eyes, an effective shield from the outside world. She doesn't look up, grunt, acknowledge his presence in any way, shape, or form.
Though Anthony DiNozzo is nothing if not persistent.
"Hey? Ziva? Hello-"
"What?" she snaps coldly, dropping her hands from her face to reveal closed, guarded eyes, every barrier he'd ever broken, every wall of defense she'd ever put up and he'd torn down is resurrected.
He fights back a strange smarting hurt, quelling the more dominant urge to retort just as frostily as she had. He keeps his rationality, he keeps his cool, he miraculously keeps his sarcasm at bay. And he asks, as benignly and indifferently and as emotionally-unattachedly as is possible, "What's wrong?"
And she scoffs, his suppressed satire apparently retreating to her tongue, "Us."
He blinks, stunned, mind reeling. What the hell have I done now? And silence reigns, echoing off the tile thunderously, until she slips off her post on the counter, stalking to the farthest end of the sink, as far away from where he stands by the paper towel dispenser as possible. And this movement, this drawing away, shrinking away, running away, leaving (again), refocuses his attention. "Us?" And alas the most complex sentence he can currently form.
And she shakes her head, mock pity to his obvious ignorance. "Why Tony?"
And he is confused and upset and, honestly, really shaken up now because she is making no sense and the air feels wrong and she looks so . . . . Sad. Sad and angry. Sad and angry and just like she used to be. And she is demanding something from him, something he cannot give, an explanation, because he has no idea what she even expects him to explain. "You are making no sense," he accuses, snaps. Because this is getting uncomfortable, the air is burning with a coldness bitter and buried and flaring.
"Why?" she demands.
"Why the hell what?" he roars and she shrinks back, just a little, and he is sorry, just a little.
"Why so many regrets?" Why so many damn regrets?
And he says the first thing that erupts into his mind, because, funnily enough, it seems he has been asked this question before. "Because I've made so many mistakes." So many damn mistakes.
"Mistakes?" And she is now asking for an elaboration.
But he is going to need an elaboration from her before she can get one from him. "Yeah. Mistakes. Which ones are concerned in this?" And he motions sweepingly around the space occupied by them.
"You said you would not make the same mistake the first time. You said you regretted it. You said you wished you could change it."
"Us. You. Me!"
And the color leaches from his face, his ocean eyes going flat and wide and horrified. "Ziva." Her name. Spoken like a prayer. Like a curse.
Like a plea.
Her eyes are lifeless as she stares at him across the span of tile between them, a vast stretching limbo, unbridgeable, disconnected. "Vance asked if you had forgotten the events of last year. You told him 'no.' If it was worth it. He asked you if you regretted your decision-"
"And I said 'yes.'" And his heart breaks as hers shatters, his words polluting the air around them, choking them, suffocating.
"Why?" A whisper. A breath. Dead brown eyes and a dusty face and a dry throat.
"Ziva," he takes a step toward her, without thinking, arms open in a sign of no harmful intention. And he pauses, mid-step, because suddenly she is there, eyes boring into his, close enough to touch. Close enough to see moisture glimmering like glass in her eyes. "I-"
A hand. His pause. Her voice, "I have so many regrets, Tony. So many. And I have been amidst regrets, I know." He regrets not killing me then. He regrets letting me come. He regrets trusting me. And you- "No more lies, please, Tony."
"What have I lied about? Hm? Answer me that? What!" his voice is loud and booming.
"Did you lie to me?"
"In Somalia?" "I couldn't live without you, I guess."
"Yes." Yes I could.
"Okay." Soft, defeated. Broken and stomped on and extinguished, she turns to go, but he catches her elbow, holds her there, prevents her from slipping away from him again.
His fingers wrap under her jaw, roughly drawing her chin upward, forcing her eyes to reflect in his. And he may bruise her, the firm grip his has on her arm, but bruises fade. Eventually. "I regret. I regret a lot. And that is exactly what I told Vance. I have no idea what crazy idea you've come up with as to what I meant when I was on the other side of that one-way glass, but whatever it is, you're wrong. I do regret last summer. I should have looked for you sooner, hell, I shouldn't of had to look in the first place. I should have made you come with me. Home. Here. Where you belong. And I do regret that Gibbs killed Saleem, I regret I didn't kill him myself. Because I certainly do regret what he did to you, Ziva. But I definitely do not regret finding you." And he seems to deflate there before her eyes, releasing her face from his grasp as if her skin had burnt him. And it wasn't because he regretted telling her what he did. He just never wanted to have to verbalize an apology, a sure sign of his weakness.
Of his humanity. And hers.
He nods once, curt, brusque, and makes his way to the door. But her voice, reverberating off the cavernous walls halts him, forces his feet to still and his resolve to leave crumble. So he turns back around, bracing himself for whatever came next.
"And last night?"
He swallows. "What about last night?"
"You said you were sorry about last night."
And she looks like she wants to slap him. Or shoot him.
And frankly he's hoping for the latter because at least then this nightmare will be over.
"Leave." One word, one syllable, sharp, cutting, ice cold.
"No." His voice, one word, one syllable, defiant, quiet. "I think there was something lost in translation. I was sorry about leaving last night after you fell asleep. I-I left you a note, I wanted to stay, but . . . . I didn't know. I didn't think you'd want me there. You know, when you woke up."
And it is here that she knows she is wrong, oh so very very wrong. And she regrets this.
But she does nothing. Doesn't speak, doesn't move. He can't even tell if she is still breathing.
So he drifts to the door once more, pushes it open.
And he lingers in the doorway for a few heartbeats, hesitating, debating.
"I've explained. I've apologized. I don't know what else to say. It's you turn now, Ziva. You decide and you come find me, let me know. I'll be waiting."
And he leaves her.
And she regrets.
And he regrets.
And nothing, for now, has changed.