Disclaimer: NCIS is the property of CBS Television
Past, Present, and Future
Tony DiNozzo knew he was late, but then, it was hardly anything new…wasn't he always late? The difference was, this time he was pretty sure it was going to be the death of him. He had made a promise that morning, a promise he had fully intended to keep.
It was the Probies fault. Him and his damned computer blah blah blah and inability to just get down to the matter at hand. Seriously, why did McGee have to spend twenty minutes spitting out how he had brilliantly discovered missing files on some dead guys computer when the important thing was that he had? More importantly, why was it he had to just miss the tow truck towing away his double parked car because McGee couldn't shut up?
Tony growled as he pulled the glass doors to the clinic open, vowing as he straitened his tie that he was going to give the Probie one mother of a Gibbs smack when he made it back to the office….if he made it back to the office. As he fisted the up button on the elevator, he wasn't at all sure that he was going to…at least not with all his body parts in their original places.
The elevator doors slid open and Tony stepped inside, checking his hair in the shiny glass and silver doors as they slid back. He ran his hand through the sandy brown; mussing it so it looked as if he had just run through a wind storm…the messier he looked the better…let it look like he had made a serious effort to make it there on time.
"You're screwed pal." He rolled his eyes as he took in his appearance then brought his hand up and gave himself a Gibbs smack. "Barring a major miracle…you're dead meat walking."
The door dinged open and Tony rushed out into the busy waiting room. He glanced from left to right, his heart sinking. She had already gone in. He was so dead. He walked to the front desk and attempted to work up a smile.
"DiNozzo?" He said weakly.
"Oh yes." The receptionist said brightly. "She's already gone back…but I was asked to give you this." She handed him a note and he took it nervously, nodding as he turned back to sink into a chair. He let his head rest against the wall for a moment, afraid to read the note.
"Chicken." He whispered to himself "Just read the damned thing idiot."
"Excuse me?" A young woman sitting behind him asked, her face some where between amusement and concern for his sanity.
"I'm late." His said with a slight nod towards the door. "She left me a note." He lifted it in two fingers and waved it.
"You're dead." The young woman grinned and shook her head "You know that right?"
"Oh yeah." He nodded "So um…I'm just going to…go read my note now. Thanks for your help."
He turned away from the woman and did the last thing in the world that he wanted to do….he unfolded the paper. Inside, written in huge black block letters were two words.
Tony cringed and tucked the note into his pocket.
He stood and went back to the elevators. He vaguely remembered having seen a machine that sold bottled water there and he knew that Ducky had said once that it was good for people who were seriously injured to be well hydrated…or maybe that was that it was good for dead people to be well ventilated. Well…it was one of the two. Either way, it was something for him to do while he waited out the final moments of his life.
He waited at the elevators while a lab technician loaded a cart of supplies and two Doctors followed, and then he dropped a dollar bill and a couple quarters into the machine and pressed the button for a fresh bottle of Dasani. As he stood the note crinkled in is pocket and the angry words rippled through his mind again.
Tony shuddered then he shook himself and grinned. Seriously, what was he getting so worked up about? It wasn't like she was actually going to kill him was she? Was she? She did have one hell of a temper, and he had seen her knock a few people around on more than one occasion…but kill…for such a little thing?
Okay, so maybe it wasn't such a little thing. But he would make it up to her and everything would be okay…
'Watch and see' he reassured himself as he took a chair as far away from the reception area as possible.
The truth was it was more than just his current predicament that was causing his nervousness. It was being where he was… in a hospital. He hadn't been able to stomach being in them in years…not since…not since her.
He never thought about her, he went out of his way to make sure he never thought about her. It wasn't that he wasn't over her, because he was. He had moved on with his life, just as he had read she had married some famous cardiothoracic surgeon out of New York and gone on with hers. The problem was he still carried a tremendous load of guilt where Jeanne Benoit was concerned. He had used her, had allowed Jenny Sheppard to use her, and in the end, he had committed the greatest act of blasphemy a man could…he had denied his love for her.
But that's the thing about not thinking about someone, and then suddenly thinking about them...it brings them back into your life.
"Tony?" The soft voice was like the tip of an arrow that had been dipped in honey. Unbearably sharp, unbearably sweet, unbearably plunged through the heart. Unbearably Jeanne Benoit "Tony DiNozzo…is that really you?"
Tony shot out of his chair as if he had been fired from a sling shot. He had always been awkward around her. Like a nervous kindergarten boy trying to impress a pretty teacher.
"Jeanne." He couldn't stand the sound of his own voice. It was too pleased, too comfortable with saying her name and it warred with the turmoil that was going on inside him at the sight of her. They hadn't been in the same room since the night he denied that he had ever loved her, and she had said she wished that she had never him…and he had always been fine with that.
"I thought that was you." She smiled, the smile he so remembered. She hadn't changed much, her hair was shorter, clipped close to her head and neck in a pixie cut that he was sure her father Rene would have hated. "You look exactly the same."
"Little greyer." He tugged at little at the hair at his temples, knowing he was smiling at her in the boyish way she had always said she liked best. "But...still me, I guess. What brings you here…I had heard you lived in New York."
"Oh yes, we do. Harrison, my husband, is here to speak at a senate hearing. They're to pass a law to insure insurance for low income children with Cardiopulmonary..."
"Oh" Tony smiled along with what she was saying, though he had no clue what she was talking about.
"You have no idea what I am talking about, do you?" Jeanne smiled and laughed a little "You really haven't changed much."
She hadn't mean the words cruelly, yet Tony felt as through a knife had been plunged into him, a knife that tore off every scab he had that was connected to her…and they were considerable. It all came back in a rush…the memory of her pain filled eyes when she learned that he had been deceiving her, making the gut wrenching choice between her and NCIS…and the people he cared about, learning that she had accused him of murdering her father, and that final painful moment when she spoke those final words.
'I wish I'd never met you'
"That's not true." He said, his eyes intense. "I'm not…you never really knew…me, not the real me. Not the whole me. I would never have…" He shook his head and sat back down in the chair. "I never…meant…for you to be hurt."
Jeanne sighed and sat down in the chair next to his.
"I know that." She put her hand on his arm and smiled softly. "I know Tony. It took me a long time…to understand, to make it all make sense. You had a job to do, to protect people from people like…like my father. I understand that now."
"No you don't" He laughed bitterly "I lied to you, I manipulated you, I used you…and even when it was all over, when it was all said and done I still lied to you."
"I know." Jeanne smiled and nodded.
"You don't know." He pulled away and stood then leaned across from her with his back against the wall.
"Yes Tony, I do know." Jeanne stood and looked him dead in the eye, her eye brows raised. "I knew you were lying that night, the moment the words came out of your mouth. It took me a long time to understand why you would do that. Why would you say that you didn't love me, that it had all just been one big lie?"
"You tell me." He fought for calm, desperately trying to remember that he was in public. This was not the place to have this conversation, but this was what he got.
"There was no way we could be together, it would never have worked. You knew it would be easier for me to let you go." She smiled a little "So you lied, you lied because you loved me."
Tony couldn't say a word. He had always known that Jeanne Benoit was an amazing woman, than she had more class and compassion than just about any other woman he had ever known. But this…this was more than he deserved.
"Are you happy Jeanne?" He had to ask, it was the question that had been haunting him for the past six years. "I have no right to ask, I know, but are you happy?"
"Yes," She smiled "I married a man I love, we have two beautiful children. I am very, very happy."
She lifted her hand and touched his cheek. "And you Tony, are you happy?"
Tony's mind went to the last six years of his life. So much had happened, so many changes. It was true that he wasn't the same Tony that Jeanne had known…this Tony was so much more. This Tony had found a love that he could keep.
"Yes…I am happy." Tony grinned as he thought about the note in his pocket.
"My wife is going to kill me, but, I am very happy."
Jeanne grinned and crossed her arms over her chest. "Do I want to know what you did?"
Tony winced and debated whether or not to answer…Jeanne was after all, a woman, she just might smack him for what he had done. The decision was taken out of his hands when a hostile voice answered from his left.
"He missed his wife's Dr. Appointment."
Tony's eyes went wide and he cringed slightly.
"Umm Jeanne…. "He quickly put is arm around his wife's waist, subtly checking to be sure she had left her gun in her desk.
"You remember Ziva….right?"
"Of course I do." Jeanne grinned as she shook Ziva's hand. She had always wondered if the two had hooked up. "Ziva David"
"Ziva DiNozzo actually." Ziva looked as if she would have preferred to put a grenade in Jeanne's hand rather than shake it, yet as this was a Dr's office…"Jeanne Benoit."
"Jeanne Moshier actually." Jeanne smiled, her eyes filled with humor.
Tony did not like the stormy look that was brewing in Ziva's eyes. Somehow the idea of his hormonal pregnant former Mossaud assassin wife and the daughter of a French arms dealer being in such close proximity of one another just did not scream 'happy ending' to him.
"Well," He said, not at all subtly. "We should get going. Need to pick little Tony up at daycare and then get the wife home to get her feet up." He pulled Ziva towards the elevator "Otherwise, they swell up like honeydew melons with olives stuck on the ends! " He gave an exaggerated mock shudder "Not a pretty sight!"
As the door slid shut the last thing Jeanne saw was Ziva's painful yank on Tony's ear as she dragged him to the back of the elevator.
"Owww…Oowwww…owwwww…" He screeched "I'm sorry!"
Jeanne turned away from the elevator and smiled. Tony seemed truly happy…it was what she had always hoped.
"I said I was sorry." Tony said for tenth time in five minutes as they walked through the parking lot to Ziva's car. He hated it when she gave him the silent treatment. It made it all seem like a waste, everything they had gone through to be together, her taking on a desk assignment temporarily so they wouldn't have to be reassigned to different teams. What was the point if she wasn't even going to speak to him?
"Ziva." Tony stepped in front of the door as she fumbled with her keys to open the lock.
Ziva's eyes narrowed into thin dangerous slits….Tony had seen her kill people after giving them that look. But she hadn't been carrying those people's child, she hadn't already given birth to one of those peoples children. So...he had two things in his favor at least.
"Ziva" He took the risk of wrenching the keys out of her hand. "Talk to me."
"Just tell me one thing."
She was giving him 'the look'…He hated the look, her bottom lip, usually so strong and proud, trembling slightly… her eyes, normally so fierce and defiant, glistened with unshed tears. He had come to know this as the out of control crying hormonal pregnant woman look that came on her whenever she was about to say something completely irrational…or when he had done something really dumb that had hurt her feelings. This time he was fairly certain it was the later.
Ziva bit the inside of her lip…that was usually a pretty good indicator that it was in fact, the latter.
"Are you still in love with her?"
"What?" Tony did a double take. He couldn't believe, after all they had been through, that she would even ask him such a thing.
"You heard me" Her eyes narrowed angrily, this look was more familiar and Tony started backing away. "Are. You. Still. In. Love. With. Her?
"Ziva…" Tony smiled, his hands up in a warding gesture. "Sweetheart…calm down, you know this isn't good for your blood pressure."
"Well then answer me!"
"Well of course I'm not in love with her!" He yelled defensively "I'm in love with you! I got you pregnant didn't I? In fact...I got you pregnant twice! So see…I love you twice…!HA HA!"
Ziva rolled her eyes and turned back to the lock. "Yes well…you just remember, what is good for the goose is good for the coriander."
Tony put his arms around her from behind; his hands came to rest on her swollen tummy. "That's gander, what's good for the goose is good for the gander."
"Coriander is a spice."
"And you cook a goose; you use spices to cook…so what…"
Tony buried his face in her hair and laughed, "Okay, you win."
"I did not like it." Ziva's voice was soft and vulnerable. It wasn't one she used often… he was the only one she let hear it. Well, him and Gibbs. "Seeing you with her. I was…jealous."
"Ziva, you have no reason to be jealous. Jeanne…that was over a long time ago, hell, it was over before it started really."
"But you loved her, before you loved me."
"I think I've always loved you." He sighed against her hair, his hands rubbing small circles over her pregnant stomach. "Jeanne's my past…and you, our kids…you're my present."
He turned her, cupped her face in his hands and gave her a soft and lingering kiss.
"You're my future Ziva."
Okay, so this is my first ever NCIS fic! Please be gentle with the reviews as I am still getting a feel for writing the characters. I tried to keep them in character, but any time someone makes a first effort, it's not unusual to go too far one way or another.