A/N: Please note: this is an ALTERNATE ENDING. I prefer the original death-ish sort of thing, but this is the original way I planned for the story to end. Of course, I tend to get morbid and prefer the "beautifully tragic" way of writing, but this works too. For all of you reading this: I hope you enjoy.

Thank you to everyone for the support and reviews! Special thanks to Grande; I would never have finished this without you. Now, I don't own NCIS, and get reading! :)

"She's been comatose a long time, Duck. They're talking about…"

"I know, Jethro, but we have to be strong. She'll pull through."

"I know."

A heartbeat passed before a new voice cautiously asked, "But why would they talk about… y'know… if she's not brain dead?"

"Don't start thinking like that, Tim. She's been through worse."

"What's worse than this?"

"You've seen the scars. You tell me."

"Yes, but why is she taking so long to wake up?"

"We could ask the same question of Anthony."

"…you can't ask a comatose guy anything, Duck."

"Well, you can try. It's always best to assume that people in a coma can hear everything you say. In fact, Ziva may be listening to us right now."

The voices were bouncing around her mind, blurring together. Fortunately, the words were decipherable, but, when no names were used, she was having trouble sorting out the owner of each voice. Her mind had become confused over the time it had spent shut down, and she'd grown frustrated with it, but there was simply nothing she could do; no way to respond, no way to reach the consciousness she desperately wanted.

It was hard to determine what it would take to get her out of the coma. At least, that's what she'd heard one day - she couldn't be sure how long ago that had been. Apparently she'd suffered both physical and psychological trauma, though she could not attest to either, as her mind worked sluggishly slow and her limbs were deadened, refusing to respond to any of her attempts to move.

Since the incident, she'd been in this dreamlike state. It was as though her eyes were open but the world had shut her out, giving her only the luxury of audio. Dealing with this was becoming increasingly frustrating, as she could only pick up snatches of conversations, and any possible response would die before it even touched her lips.

Essentially, she was alone.

However, this was not what bothered her the most. She'd been impatiently waiting to hear one voice - Tony's - and she had yet to. From the small snapshots of memories, she was aware that he was likely in a condition much like hers, though perhaps worse. She'd started to force herself away from any thoughts about him, as anxiety had started to build with each second he wasn't talking.

It was far too bad she wasn't telepathic; God knew she'd tried talking to him that way, but he'd never answered.

Searching for him was incredibly useless as well. If she couldn't move, couldn't see, then how was she to find him? Sound alone would be her only saviour, and he was certainly holding out on her.

Where is he?

"Ducky, y'know how you said she could hear what we say, right?"

"Yes, Timothy, she should be able to. That's why most people take to reading books to their loved ones or holding one-sided conversations; it's both a comfort to themselves and a-"

"I know. Abby's been reading to her lately. But that wasn't the point... Can talking to her trigger her waking up?"

"Unlikely, but I suppose it's possible… I've been informed that she's healed relatively well. Her mind shouldn't be keeping her body shut down at this point - she's well out of the woods. She'll live!"

"Then… why is she still in a coma?"

A pause. "I can't say for sure, Timothy, but she must've undergone psychological trauma. Perhaps she's afraid of something and it's keeping her in this state."

"How do we get her out?"

"I don't know, Timothy, but, if it makes you feel better, talk to her."

"Ziva?" Tim rolled his eyes at himself; obviously she wouldn't respond. He was putting too high of a hope on this. "Ziva, Tony's alive. Tony's alive."

Where is he?


Oh, my God, oh, my God - it's him - he's - he's - wish I could say - Oh, my God -

"Zee. You gotta wake up from this, okay?" The man's voice cracked. "I know what it's like. I was so sure you died on me. Tim kept telling me you were alive, but I couldn't believe him. I couldn't. But I guess my body eventually did because, look, I'm here."

He began to sob, his sentences breaking up. "I know you went through a lot, but you gotta pull out of this, okay? I need to see you again. I mean, see you like talk to you… Open your eyes, please. We have a lot to talk about when you wake up.

But until then, let me say something, okay? I-I think I might just love you, Ziva."

Three months later

He sat alone in his apartment, staring at the wall. Since returning home from the hospital, he'd been giving strict guidelines to follow, most of which disallowed him from doing anything interesting. He'd spend his time with her, but the nurses and doctors had banned him from coming the last few nights as he'd taken to practically living in the hospital. It wasn't good for him, they said. They'd call when she woke up, they said, but none of it was good enough for him.

It had (surprisingly) taking three security guards to get him out the door, as well as Gibbs, Ducky, and McGee to get him home.

Beside him, a sharp chirp sounded, echoing around the room. He stared at the source of the noise - his phone - and debated whether or not it was worth answering. It could be anything: an annoying call from Abby with useless chatter, Gibbs checking up on him, Ducky wanting to recount stories of the old days… or it could be news on her.

At the last thought, he lunged for it, ignoring the screaming pain up his side. Hastily, he accepted the call and pushed it up against his ear. His voice was rough when he declared, "DiNozzo here."

"Tony!" It was Gibbs's voice. Inwardly, he groaned, but refrained from pressing the "end call" button.

"Tony, Ducky will be over to pick you up in five minutes."

Sigh. "Why, Gibbs?"

"She's awake! DiNozzo, she's awake!"

Life had been nothing before;

Taken for granted in the fast lane,

But all it took was her blood, her tears,

Her near-death

To change his world.

A/N: You decide what happens now. :P Hope that was happy enough for those of you who like happy endings. I still like the morbid version more, but hey… this works too.