"You ever lie to someone you love, Ziva?"

Ziva didn't quite know what to say to Tony. She had lied to loved ones, more than once. Her family: definitely. Her friends: regretfully but definitely. But Tony had loved Jeanne differently. Had Ziva lied to someone she loved like that? Or better yet, had she ever loved someone like that? Him. Did she love him like that? No, no, no, she couldn't think about that. She had to focus on her job. That was the most important thing, for now, anyway.

She felt so sorry for Tony, not in a pathetic way, in a way that only told her she didn't want him to be hurt. She cared about his feelings. And she knew, even though he would never admit it to her, that he was crushed by her leaving. But what he needed was an answer, one that he could relate to.

"Yes," she answered him.

"Did they ever forgive you?"

She was too good at lying for them to find out about it.

I have lied. I have, in a way, lied to him. But that doesn't mean I love him. Does it? No, it doesn't. It can't, no, mustn't.

But she was unclear about one thing: did faking English mistakes so he would pay attention to her defined as lying, or just wrong?

24 hours earlier...

Beep, beep, beep.

Ziva watched the explosion over and over, in freeze frames, as McGee examined them closely. Seeing him die once was one of the most horrible things she could ever wish upon herself, investigating the crime scene was even worse. But having to watch him explode into pieces so many times...it was killing her.

"Must you keep doing that, McGee?" it took a lot of restraint to keep her voice calm.

"I'm just checking something Gibbs said," he replied, not taking his eyes off of the plasma screen.

Typical, Ziva thought. Why can't people give up? I hate the thought as much as anyone else, but Tony is dead and there is nothing we can do about it.

"He wouldn't have carried it with him, you know?" McGee continued. "His shield and ID, not if he was undercover. He would have stashed it in the car, maybe under the seat. Just because we found his ID, doesn't mean it's Tony.

Ziva's slender hands framed her face as her deep brown eyes, now glistening with unshed tears, stared longingly at Tony's desk. But there was no hope. "His car, his ID, his weapon, both his cell phones, McGee," she told him, also not taking her eyes off what she was looking at. Maybe if she looked at it hard enough, he would come back.

Present time...

"Did they ever forgive you?

"They never found out," Ziva said to him, being completely honest. And, if she was lucky, he never would. She couldn't help him, but she could be there when he needed her. At that moment, Ziva made a promise to herself: to let Tony come to her. That was the only way to settle things when it came to them.

Later that day...

Ziva watched the letter burn in the fire place. She recognised the crimped pattern around the edge of the letter. It was the one Jeanne had written him after she found out his real identity.

He doesn't want her anymore...

Tony had made his choice.