Disclaimer: I don't own NCIS or any of it's characters.
Ziva had been particularly on edge the last few days, and it was starting to worry her teammates. They knew that it had been almost a year to the day since her return from Somalia, and they were trying to give her some space, but it looked like she hadn't been sleeping. Under the pretense of boredom, Tony tried to get her to come out and have a few drinks after work with him. Or come home with him and watch a few movies. Or… anything she wanted if she'd just hang out with him. She politely declined, saying that she was tired and not really in the mood to be good company.
She went home and made herself a light dinner and took a long, hot shower. She read for a little while and then paced around her apartment. She stood in the doorway of her bedroom, looking longingly at her bed. She was exhausted, but she knew it was no use. She sighed and decided to take a drive.
Gibbs was in his basement, as usual, when he heard the front door open and shut. A few footsteps across the floor, and then someone was standing at the top of the stairs.
It was Ziva, in a pair of tennis shoes and navy sweats. She made her way down and then stood at the bottom of the stairs, looking slightly lost. She wrung her hands a little bit, nervously.
"I could not sleep." She said, by way of explanation. Gibbs just raised an eyebrow and held out some sandpaper to her. She accepted it with a small smile, heading to the skeleton of a boat that was in the middle of the room. She started rubbing it along a curve, and Gibbs came over, placing his hand over hers to show her the right way.
"With the grain." She nodded and kept at it. They stood that way for a little while, his hand over hers, and after a minute he felt something wet hit the top of his arm. Ziva was silently crying, face turned away from him, as if she didn't want him to see. As if she didn't want to talk about it. He kept their hands going for a few minutes until it seemed she had her tears under control, and then he got another piece and started sanding on another side.
They worked in silence for over a hour before Ziva stifled a small yawn. She tried to hide it in her elbow, and Gibbs smiled.
"C'mon Ziva, I think we're done for the night." He took the sandpaper away from her and led her up the stairs.
"Gibbs…I do not think that I can sleep tonight." She protested. He put up a finger, leaving her in the living room alone. When he returned, he had a pillow and blanket and he laid them on the couch.
"You can sleep here if you want. I'll be right upstairs." She looked relieved, and nodded her thanks. Slipping off her shoes, she laid down on the couch as he went up to bed.
She lay there for a little while, silently fuming. She was frightened tonight in this dark house, and she was livid with herself for being frightened. She had come such a long way. She'd been going to therapy for almost a year. She had been feeling fine before a few days ago. And now she was burdening Gibbs. Why had she come here? She was angry and she was ashamed, but neither of those feelings could overcome the fear. She sat up and turned a small lamp on, wrapping the blanket around her and sitting up on the couch.
It was half past one when Gibbs opened his eyes and looked over at his alarm clock. He'd slept less than two hours, but something didn't feel right. Sighing to himself, he got up and made his way down the stairs. The sight on his couch stopped him in his tracks.
Ziva had finally started to doze off, in an upright position. Every light on the first floor was now on. With the blanket wrapped around her and her messy hair half covering her face, she looked more like a child than a woman who could kill somebody with her bare hands. He started at the back of the house, shutting lights off as he went. When he finally got to the living room, he clicked the lamp and she jumped up, gun pointed. Gibbs held his hands out, showing that they were empty. Hoping she could see them in the dark. They were both very still for a few seconds, until he finally spoke.
"It's just me, Ziva. Put down the gun." She blinked for a few more seconds, and then slowly put the gun down on the coffee table.
"I am sorry, Gibbs." She turned away as he sat down next to her on the couch. One arm went around her, the other clicking the light back on.
"What's this all about?" He asked. She swallowed.
"I have been having this dream. I am lying in my bed, but I am not asleep. I am completely awake in my mind, but I cannot move. I cannot open my eyes; I cannot speak. I can hear people moving and speaking all around me. Sometimes in languages I understand, sometimes in ones I do not." She turned to glance at him, and then looked down in her lap. "I have never been afraid of the dark. Not even as a child. But the last few nights, this dream…" She shrugged and he nodded, leaning over to kiss her temple.
"Come on." He grabbed her hand and pulled her up to her feet. Clicking the light back off one last time, he pulled her toward the stairs. She looked at him questioningly and he laughed.
"Just for tonight." He led her up and into his bedroom, motioning for her to take the place on the bed nearest the wall. She laid down, cautiously. As much as she wanted to feel safe and secure, she was sure that sleeping in the same bed as Gibbs was bound to be awkward.
"Gibbs, I-" He silenced her with a look.
"Go to sleep, David, I got your back." And he climbed in next to her and rolled over, facing away from her. She smiled and scooted over until she was back to back with him, realizing now why she had come here.
She knew that this man would always have her back, in the way that the man who had raised her never had.
There was no awkwardness at work the next day, they both simply pretended that it never happened. But when Ziva went home to her own bed that night, she slept fitfully. In the dark. Without a nightmare. Someone had chased them all away.