What's a girl to do when she is stuck at home on a Saturday night with the PLAGUE? Why, she writes fan fiction, of course. This is the last chapter of my little angst fest. Maybe I can go back and concentrate on finishing Inevitable now. Thanks for reading!

Disclaimer: not mine

She could kill him any number of ways. She has threatened him often enough. Which is why he is not entirely surprised to find himself staring down the barrel of a gun.

Her gun.

In his own apartment.

Blinking at him sleepily from the couch, she does not immediately lower her weapon.

She waits a moment, her point well and truly made, before her arm drops to place the gun on the coffee table.

Why are you here?

I am not sure.

But she is sure and she does know and like him - the running just may kill her. So they continue this silent stand off, but he succumbs first - he always does - and sighs. Tossing his keys on the table he drops down heavily to sit beside her.

Her legs are still curled beneath her and her composure is securely in place presenting a picture of perfect calm. But he knows better. He knows her and therefore is not fooled by the mask.

Her chin is set and her jaw is stiff and he knows it kills her a little that she must ask the question.

Why, Tony?

I didn't mean to hurt you.

That is not what I asked.

I know.

And still they sit. He considers all the possible ways this little scene could play out. Not the least of which ending with him seducing her - or more likely, her seducing him - because that is what they do. What they have done. What they will do if one of them does not break the cycle.

Because this time mere seduction will not fit the bill nor cure the ailment. And they both know it.

The room is uncomfortable and thick and oppressive. And it hurts.

His hand creeps toward hers as if the appendage has a will of its own. He hooks his index finger through hers and squeezes.

He hears her breath catch and he dares to look at her. She stares straight ahead but her breath quickens and her finger squeezes back.

It was a distraction. I needed a distraction.

A distraction from me?

And of course the answer is yes because it was Ziva that had asked for more time. Asked him for space. Had left him dangling and spinning and alone.

I just needed some time, Tony.

I know that now. I just didn't know it before.

She reaches for him like the saint that she is not and pulls him into her embrace. He shudders and for a horrifying moment he thinks he might cry.

He might cry for things lost and things that never were but should have been.

Her arms anchor him to the present and there are so, so many things that he could say - should say.

Would say.

If he knew the right words. But he doesn't.

So he sinks into her embrace and allows her warmth, her strength, her self to permeate the cold in his bones. And her arms feel so very strong in sharp contrast to the actual size of her body. In sharp contrast to the softness that she has displayed as of late. It occurs to him for the first time that this softness is new.

Ziva David had never been soft before. But that is not true, either. It's been happening for some time and he just didn't bother to notice. He wonders why he didn't notice.

She wonders just when he had become so hard, so cynical. And she knows that at least a little bit of that change is because of her.

Because he had loved her once, had tried to protect her but in the end he couldn't save her.

Until he actually did save her. Rescued her. Brought her back to American soil.

And he knows that if he ever has to mourn her death again he just may not survive it a second time.

You can't run from the memories forever, Ziva.

I did not mean to shut you out.

It had been too much too fast and she just couldn't process - she was a soldier, after all - and so she pushed. Pushed him away, pushed them away, pushed it all out of her mind until everything was stored and filed into neat little compartments left for examination on another day. Another day when maybe it wouldn't all be so horribly, brutally painful. Another day when Saleem's face was not the first thing she saw when she closed her eyes at night.

I want things to be different for us.

I want that, too.

He pulls her to sit in his lap and wraps his arms around her, taking his turn in the cycle of mutual comfort.

She rests her face against his throat, feeling his pulse beneath her flesh, and breathes in his scent.

So what do we do now.

We try harder. We make it work.

He kisses her head and tucks a strand of hair behind her ear. They sit that way in comfortable silence until eventually, she dozes against him and he wraps his arms around her even tighter.

Morning finds them tangled together on the couch and for the first time in a long time they both feel hopeful.

Hopeful that maybe they really could fix it.

As always, thanks for reading! Feel free to leave me some love. ;)