Hello, readers! We have come, as we inevitably must, to the FINAL chapter! I hope you have liked this story and that you like the ending. Just letting you know: slightest OOC-ness for Kate in this chapter. Review or I may be devasTATEd. Don't forget to acTIVAte your television on Tuesday September 21 for new episodes of NCIS, your favourite TV show and mine! PS we are just hours away from possibly having a Prime Minister named Tony (although he's super ugly).
The two women stood facing each other in the bullpen, clearly intent upon something. It was seven in the morning, but Gibbs wasn't in yet.
"Let's talk," Ziva suggested calmly.
"Talk, Ziva, or fight?" Kate obviously wasn't over what had happened yesterday. She cocked her head to one side. "Because that seems to be your area of expertise."
"No, talk. Talk about Tony."
"What about him?"
"Kate, do you love him?"
Kate was taken aback. "What?"
"Do you love him?" Ziva repeated slowly. "Be honest."
"I...I...don't know. I mean, I do but sometimes I feel so...guilty."
"I guess I just don't wanna break Gibbs' rules. I know Tony isn't back at work yet but he will be soon. I don't him to think any less of me."
"Well, that makes perfect sense, but are you sure there's nothing more?"
"Tony means a lot to me, Ziva. I don't want him to get hurt."
"He doesn't want to hurt you either. I talked to him yesterday. If neither of you are happy then what is the point?"
"Well..." then Kate realised something. "You're just trying to get him for yourself, aren't you? Aren't you?"
That was a blow that Ziva had not been expecting. "N-No, I'm t-trying to help you."
"No, you're in love with him! Admit it, Ziva."
"Fine, I love Tony. I'm in love with Anthony DiNozzo. There, I said it. Happy?"
"Well, I don't know. I guess we're back to square one. He chose me, you wish he chose you. What's new?"
"What's new is that I'm here," came a deep voice.
"Tony!" the two women said in unison. "What are you doing here?"
He stopped. "Did you rehearse that?" Seeing the looks on the women's faces, the way they were standing, and ceased to be his joking self. "What's up?"
"What do you think?" Kate snapped.
Tony knew exactly what was going on. "You know, when I pictured a situation like this, it was a lot happier in my head."
Kate shot him a glare.
"Look, I know I'm irritable but I've kinda just had a load dumped on my shoulders." She turned to her co-worker. "Ziva, something you wanna say to Tony?"
"Not now. Now is not the time."
"Ziva, you're freaking me out," Tony said. "What are you hiding? You know I hate it when you hide things."
"I repeat, now is not the time. Why are you here?"
"I needed to talk to Kate."
"It couldn't have waited, Tony?" Kate asked.
"Obviously not otherwise I wouldn't be here, would I?"
Kate bit her lip. "Talk."
"OK. Ziva, could you give us a minute?"
Ziva obediently left the room, but hid around the corner, listening to the conversation. Tony had known she would do this, and was glad.
"It's hurting me to say this, Kate," Tony began. "But I'm not sure that this is gonna work out. I love you, believe me, I do, it just doesn't feel right to me. I'm sorry."
There was a lump in Kate's throat. "Just promise me something, Tony."
"That this is you speaking, not somebody speaking for you."
"What do you mean?"
Kate sighed. "Did Ziva convince you to do this?"
"No. This is me talking. Kate, you're a wonderful woman. You're so intelligent and beautiful and there are so many good things about you. One day you'll find that guy who treats you right. And I love you so much but I'm not that guy. And I think, deep down, that you know that."
Kate sniffed and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. "I do, Tony, I know that. And I'm not the right girl for you either. But Ziva is."
Tony frowned. "Kate?"
"I know it's not really for me to say, but she's in love with you."
"She...I...what?" Tony was having a lot of trouble processing what he had just heard. It was such an unbelievable thing. If it was somehow true, Ziva sure was good at hiding it.
"I know, it's hard to believe but it's true. And you love her too. She's the girl of your dreams. I put up a fight to keep you but it wasn't enough. I went to stupid lengths when all I wanted was for you to care for me." She looked at the floor.
"I do, Kate, I just—"
"You care for Ziva more."
"I can't help it. It's just something about her."
The two shared a 'goodbye' hug. As Kate pulled away she whispered, "You need to talk to Ziva. I'll go get her."
Inevitably, Tony and Ziva stood there in the bullpen. Ziva was the first to speak.
"I suppose Kate told you what I—"
"I know. Me too."
Silent words, synchronised heartbeats, powerful emotions. All these things had been trying to get the better of these two for years. Finally, they joined in a kiss and their worlds were at peace, just for a moment. They wanted to stay there, holding onto each other forever but...
"Grab your gear, we got a—" Gibbs' head turned to Kate, who had seen the whole thing happen and was surprisingly happy for her co-workers. Neither Kate nor Gibbs knew how they hadn't noticed their presence.
"Kinda makes you think, huh?" she said. "What if?" She walked over to Gibbs. "What do we have?"
Gibbs hesitated, and then kissed his agent on the cheek.
"Kate." He gave DiNozzo a Gibbs-slap, and a hard one at that. "Dead marine!" he shouted as he walked towards the elevator.
"What just happened?" Kate wondered aloud.
"Uh, isn't it obvious?" Tony answered.
"But Gibbs..." Kate touched her cheek, realising her co-workers hadn't seen it.
Ziva placed a hand on her friends' shoulder but Tony barged through the middle of them, throwing an arm around both women.
Gibbs turned around. "Are you comin' or what?"
Ziva and Kate scurried over to him, and Tony followed them out of habit. "On your six, b—...never mind."
He watched the two women he loved leave him and he gave them a DiNozzo grin.
This may not last but this is now
To love the one you're with
What the future held, he did not know. What he did know was that love—and severe car accidents—can change a person.
A/N: So, what did you think? Love it, hate it? I know I like it, although I am biased. Please, please review! BTW the song lyrics are from "I Do Not Hook Up" by (of course) Kelly Clarkson. Also, part of the conversation between Tony and Kate came from H20: Just Add Water, but of course I do not hate Kate like I hate Charlotte. Although, now that I think about it, I hate Charlotte like I hate Jeanne...kept soul mates apart. Anyway, please review and bye for now!