Title: Delayed

Author: Billyspengrl

Rating: General

Summary: When you finally board the plane (three hours and forty-five minutes after the original departure time) you follow Tony down the aisle toward your seats. As Tony steps aside to allow you into your seat first, Gibbs stops you with a hand on your arm.

Disclaimer: NCIS isn't mine, but I am borrowing them temporarily.

Delayed

When you finally board the plane (three hours and forty-five minutes after the original departure time) you follow Tony down the aisle toward your seats. As Tony steps aside to allow you into your seat first, Gibbs stops you with a hand on your arm. He doesn't say anything, simply directs you to the opposite side of the aisle and you slide into the seat beside the window, keeping your mouth shut as he sits down beside you. Tony eyes you for a minute over the top of Gibbs' head before he sits down beside McGee.

You are fairly certain you know why Gibbs' has separated you and Tony. He wants to talk (if you can really call it that with Gibbs) and you are not sure that you are ready to explain anything to him, so you stare out the window at the blowing snow as you wait for the plane to take off.

Twenty minutes into the flight, Tony is asleep with his head on McGee's shoulder and McGee has his laptop open in front of him. Gibbs' head is resting against the back of his seat and his eyes are closed but you know that he is not asleep. You are too impatient to wait for him to ask you any questions. You have finally worked up the nerve to tell him the truth and it dawns on you that he isn't actually going to ask you anything (that is not how Gibbs works). He forced you to sit beside him, trapped in your seat, so that you would feel compelled to tell him what was happening.

"I do not know what Tony told you, Gibbs, but –"

He holds up a hand to stop you, "You're sleeping together."

It isn't a question and you want to deny the accusation but you know it is no use. Tony probably told him everything.

You cannot help the heavy sigh that escapes your lips, "I do not know what you want to hear Gibbs."

"Try starting with the truth, David."

You shake your head. It is never a good idea to lie to Gibbs because, as Tony often points out, he is like a human lie detector. Closing your eyes, you rest your head on the back of your seat.

"I spent three months in a cell in Somalia with nothing to think about but all of the mistakes I have made," you tell him, "And as much as I did not want to believe that I was wrong, as much as I did not want to believe that Michael had attacked Tony, I knew that Tony would not have killed him is he had believed that he would not have been killed himself. And I hated myself for doubting him."

You pause for a moment, opening your eyes and looking around Gibbs to make sure Tony is still asleep.

"When I saw Tony in front of me, when I realized that he was really there, I did not know what to feel. I had resigned myself to the fact that I would die there, Gibbs, because I did not believe that I deserved to be rescued. But seeing Tony in front of me… it made me realize that I had something to live for. I did not want to live without him."

Gibbs doesn't open his eyes as he says, "We have rules for a reason, Ziva."

"Yes, we do, and I believe that those rules stand to make us better agents," you tell him, "But are they not also in place to make us better people? It took a very long time for me to realize that I am a better person when I am with Tony."

Gibbs doesn't speak for a long moment and you watch his face, waiting for some kind of reaction. After a few minutes, he undoes his seat belt and stands in the aisle. He gestures for you to do the same before waving a hand in front of McGee's face.

"Switch seats with Ziva," he tells him.

McGee doesn't ask as he undoes his seatbelt and climbs around Tony (jostling him awake in the process) and when you are both standing in the aisle with Gibbs, you climb over Tony and settle yourself into the window seat. When McGee and Gibbs have both resumed seating, you allow yourself to relax and look at Tony. He has a million questions in his eyes but you shrug, taking his hand in yours, and lean into his side. You rest your head on his shoulder as you've done so many times before and you are not surprised when he rests his chin on the top of your head. You cannot seem to help it as your eyes start to drift closed and you are not sure if you are dreaming when you hear Tony mutter, "Thanks, Boss."

The end.