A/N Just an idea that stumbled into my head and I really wanted to write. I came up with it because although it was Vance's fault Tony missed Ziva's ceremony I think he should do some major grovelling n the new season. Hope everyone likes it and please review!

Summary: Set after the season 7 finale. Gibbs has been cleared and now there's only one thing left that needs to be resolved between two members of the team. DiNozzo knows he has messed up, even though it wasn't technically his fault, but he hurt Ziva and can't stand it. He breaks Gibbs rule and shows up at Ziva's apartment to apologise.

Disclaimer: I own no rights to NCIS, unfortunately.


RULES

He looked at the door in front of him in trepidation for another second before lunging forward, raised hand sent careening into the dark wood of the object that stood in the way of the one thing that really mattered to him.

He rapped it hard four times in quick succession and lent forward, hands resting on either side of the doorframe as he listened intently for any sound coming from the inside of what he knew to be a familiar interior.

'Ziva!" He called after a second of nothing, eyes fruitlessly searching the blank and stoic wood that wouldn't provide the closure and forgiveness he needed.

She heard the knock and shout, sitting slumped on her couch with a glass of wine that had yet to be tasted and silent scenes flickering on the muted television that the man outside had convinced her to get.

She knew that it probably wasn't his fault, though there had been no time to talk in the past week. She knew that both of them should be happy because Gibbs had been cleared and the team was together once again. But she also knew that they weren't, for she felt the intensity of his eyes as they had followed her to the elevator as she had left only a few hours ago, no smile on her face or twinkle in her eye. She knew that his expression held no playful smirk and neither did it attempt to wall up his emotions as he so often did, for once leaving himself bare for her to see and understand the he also knew just how much he had hurt her.

She sighed, leaning forward and placing the glass on the table, standing to walk silently to the door, looking at it in contemplation as she debated her readiness for the conversation that would follow the removal of the last physical barrier and of the actions and changes that would no doubt follow the words. But that thought only led her to the one that said it should have happened a long time ago.

He heard the tiniest of shuffles coming from inside, his senses having sharpened years ago to take note of her ninja stealth. He sighed when quiet footsteps stopped just on the other side and he leant forward even more, lowering his voice, knowing that she could still hear him.

"Come on Ziva... please, open up." He stepped back in shock as the door swung open urgently, like she had made a split decision and wanted to complete it before changing her mind. His face crumbled even more as he saw the way she looked at him.

The tears that were now more frequent, but still highly unusual, lingered in her eyes as they looked directly at him in hurt and wariness, only counting on herself to protect her against anything he might say. She had just began to start trusting him that way once again and now that had been replaced by uncertainty and it killed him, though he was silently proud of the way she met him head on, never one to shy away from confrontation like so many of the other women he had known.

He stepped forward, not asking her permission as she counteracted and stepped back, not stopping him from entering the apartment, nor welcoming it. He grasped the door, their inanimate lifeline one last time before letting it swing shut behind him, the noise unbearably loud in the silence.

It took a few seconds but he knew he would have to be the one to speak first; he would have to be the one to start this particular conversation, just like he should have found the time to do one week ago before so much doubt could well and implant itself in her still splintered mind, body and soul.

"Ziva I'm..." He took a deep breath in and stepped towards her again, containing his joy when she did not retreat this time. "I'm so sorry," his voice was almost a whisper though there was no one else in the meticulous living room to hear them, almost breaking on his overdue apology. She broke their gaze and dropped her eyes to the ground, body rigid and so he continued quickly, shuffling forward in tiny steps. "And I know it isn't enough. I know I should have already said this a million times over and should be begging your forgiveness." He paused finding it harder and harder to speak and watching as she too stepped infinitesimally forward.

Her eyes softened and her anger faded as he spoke words she desperately needed to hear but suddenly couldn't stand hearing. She loathed the pain in his voice and wished to take it far away. She hated that they had gotten so close to what they had been leading up to for years but something had once again interfered and sent them backwards again. What was the American saying? One step forward, two steps back. Now she had just as much power to take away his pain as he did hers and she needed to in that moment so she finally spoke up, realising that they were suddenly only a few inches apart.

"It was not your fault," she stated truthfully. They both knew it wasn't really his fault but somehow it didn't make it any better. She would like to think in a perfect world that he would have told Vance he wouldn't run his errands because he needed to be with her that day, but they both knew that world didn't exist because consequences did.

He stepped forward again, leaving only centimetres. He knew she was right but he also knew she needed to hear what he was going to say, even if it was impossible, she just needed to know the thought had occurred to him. "Yes it was. You have no idea how hard it was to keep my mouth shut."

She couldn't stop the tiny smile crossing her lips and an attempt to lighten the situation. "I'm sure-" He raised a quick hand though to lay a gentle index finger across her lips, telling her the diversion strategy wouldn't work this time.

"Ziva you have no idea just how hard it was for me to have to work an operation, no matter how small, when I knew that at that very moment you were going through maybe one of the most important changes in your life and I couldn't be there with you." He nudged himself closer to her, voice lowering again and hand cupping her cheek, thumb affectionately rubbing away the single tear that escaped her shining chocolate orbs. "You don't know how excruciating it was to watch Gibbs be the one to apologise first or to be told by Abby and McGee just how upset you were."

His voice became shakier the more he said and she couldn't stand it, stepping closer again and wrapping her arms tightly, desperately, around his neck, fingers touching the beginnings of his smooth hair in a way she had longed for so long as her head came to rest against his chest, feeling his arms wrap around her waist in much the same way and hearing him breath in deeply as he buried his face in her hair.

He took one more breath before raising his head just enough to speak, eyes closed so he wouldn't have to see her reaction to his next words that were spoken as a whisper into her ear. "How hard it was to know I had probably just destroyed everything and might never have the chance to tell you how much I love you like I was going to that night when the ceremony was finished and you could finally be mine without your father taking you away from me."

The air seemed to freeze around them as her body went ridged against him, everything getting thick with tension and suspense as the long known secret was finally out; no more hiding. After a few seconds of silence his arms loosened and he began to pull away when he heard her, for the first time ever, whimper in protest. She grabbed his forearm before he could pull away completely, fingers still grazing the side of her waist, and pulled him back to her.

"Tony." His name slipped past her lips as all the pain and hurt of the past week was forgiven and forgotten and she pulled him down to finally meet her in a long-awaited, perfect first real kiss.

She gasped lightly as his arms once again tightened around her, arms running all the way up her back and pulling her intimately closer, engulfing her in a way that made her feel safer than she'd ever felt before.

He savoured the feeling of finally having her against him in a way he had wished for through the last four and a half years. His lips slid blissfully against her amazingly soft ones and he lightly begged to deepen the kiss.

She didn't hesitate when he intensified the kiss, trying to squash her body closer to him to find an outlet for the building up of everything they had gone through, everything having been leading to this moment.

They let their lips linger on each other for a moment longer before they parted, coming out of it straight into another, even more intimate hug as they calmly breathed each other in, the happiness of the past few months and everything they knew it had be leading to finally coming to fruition almost overwhelming them.

"I love you too," Ziva murmured into his chest, snuggling uncharacteristically closer, having never been so affectionate with her other lovers, though he wasn't even technically that yet.

He let a tiny, disbelieving chuckle against her neck before his lips made gentle contact with her pulse point, feeling her heart beating frantically under his lips. He smiled as he heard her breathing waver and her fingers dig into his neck, pulling him inadvertently closer, though perhaps it was intentional.

He kissed her there a few more times, delighting in the way she shivered and keened, trying to get him closer. He pulled back before the desire grew into more and connected their foreheads, eyes finally meeting again, this time happiness beaming out at each other in a way neither had seen in a very long time.

She reached down and grabbed his hand, pulling away and leading him silently to the bedroom. They had hardly spoken but everything seemed to be mutually understood between them. He would not be leaving tonight, but neither would they let their new found closeness progress any further that night.

They entered silently and both slid down onto the bed, the night warm enough there was no need to get under the neat, burgundy covers as they held each other quietly, waiting for sleep to claim them both.

"What about Rule 12, and Gibbs?" Ziva asked pointlessly, already knowing it wouldn't make a difference to either of them and neither really thinking he would fire them over it, as if he and the rest of them hadn't already seen it coming; especially since Gibbs had come back late one evening and discovered them half way through a pirate movie with popcorn, drinks and hands entwined between their chairs that hadbeen pulled suspiciously close together.

Tony rubbed her arm, looking down at the top of her head as she leaned up to look at him again, him finding it impossible to resist stroking her cheek with the back of his hand, revelling that he could finally touch her in all the ways he had so longed to do and watching in fascination as her eyes closed, mouth spread into a contented smile as she leaned into the caress. He promised himself he would memorise that expression.

"I don't care, it doesn't matter anymore." She merely nodded to his quietly spoken words and laid her head back on his chest, arm swinging around to enclose her waist as she felt his snake back around her.

As she drifted off to sleep she heard one last thing escape in his own tired voice. "Just so you know my Ninja, I do believe in soul mates."

She smiled as blackness engulfed her and she was unafraid to face it for the first time in months, still feeling soft fingers stroke her arm as she drifted to a place free of plaguing nightmares.

A/N So, I really have no idea how this turned out. To those of you who have read my other NCIS stories, you might have notices I'm a bit obsessed with mentioning the soul-mates thing, I just think that conversation was the perfect opening for something to happen between them.

Please please tell me what you think and if you have any critiquing to say please don't just say it was crap, give me reasons and how I can improve. Not sure if they were OOC or not but I hope you liked it any way.

Thanks for reading. UNCHECKED SO I HOPE SPELLING AND GRAMMAR ARE OKAY (Written at midnight, cut me some slack please )

REVIEW! (Especially if you want more one-shots/Tiva stories!)

Metal.