I think this should have ended the episode!
Disclaimer: I don't own NCIS.
She was embarrassed and felt stupid. Although she had been right, Locke was not the killer, she had also been wrong. Tony had repeatedly tried to make her feel better even if he was just teasing her and asking her out to drinks. But she had remained stubborn and continued to push him away and suffer within herself.
She was embarrassed for being so shaken by the past few days' events. For goodness sake, she was in Mossad and was an NCIS agent. She had both seen and done things that were certainly traumatic enough, but she had never been so disturbed by something.
Instead of accepting Tony's company and comfort, she had turned to a stranger. Michael Locke. It could not have even been a normal stranger either, it had to be a man stuck on a past girlfriend. She needed someone so bad, but was not willing to further weaken herself by leaning on someone she knew.
Now she alone in her apartment, alone and the memories of shooting Hoffman come flooding back. Being in such close proximity with a killer, who had been murdering women, and the having to fight alone for her life.
Her whole time at NCIS, she had never felt alone because someone from the team, Tony mostly, had her back. But she had been fighting a serial killer by herself in a cold warehouse with no hope of help getting there in time to help.
She still needed someone so bad still, but would not continue to see Locke. He did not understand her or her career choice. But if not him then who. Both humbling herself and bracing herself for possible teasing, Ziva hit number three of her speed dial. His voice came over the line low with concern and deep with masculinity holding no trace of contempt or mocking.
"Ziva, are you okay?"
She nearly broke hearing the care in his voice. Why hadn't she gone to him in the first place? "Tony is that offer for drinks and listening still open?"
"Of course, Zi. I will pick you up in like ten minutes."
She murmured, "Okay," and hung up.
Ziva opened her door before Tony could knock and for a moment they both stood looking each other over. She knew he thought she looked bad, beneath her eyes was dark with the need for sleep and her eyes were troubled and her face was pale. "I know Tony, I look horrible. Now we should move on."
"You could never look horrible, but I am slightly worried," she accepted his look of pity. Taking in his handsome features, she saw them soften with care. It was not often anyone got to see his soft side and he was definitely showing it now and it was for her. Ziva did not think anyone had ever cared so much for her.
Before she could respond, Tony stepped into her space and gathered her a warm hug. His manly scent surrounded her as his jacket pressed against her cheek. Exhaling slowly, Ziva melted into him, but refused the emotions pressing her throat and the tears threatening her eyes. She would not allow herself to appear any weaker than she already must.
Tony let her go and led the way to the car, "I thought you could use a hug." She smiled, he really was a sweet guy.
In a quiet corner of Tony's favorite Italian owned bar and grill, tony looked across the table at her, "So ninja chick, we have the drinks. I am ready to listen."
Swallowing her pride, Ziva responded softly, "I have not ever had the need for someone to listen so I am not sure how to..."
"Zi, don't worry. You just talk about what's on your mind or bothering you. You know get things off your chest and I just listen?" Tony smiled reassuringly.
She shook her head, "You will think I am stupid. I should just handle it by myself like always."
Tony leaned forward, "I could never think you were stupid. Now start talking, I know something is getting to you and you don't need to deal with alone when you get a partner that's as great as me."
Ziva smirked, "Fine, but you asked for it. I feel used and stupid and embarrassed and weak. I have experienced most of these feelings before and it scares me. I should not feel this way. I am a Mossad and NCIS agent that is trained for this. I handle things alone and always get the job done so why is this one haunting me?" She diverted her eyes from Tony's not able to look at him.
"That is normal. You aren't in Mossad right now you are allowed to feel and show emotions it makes you human."
"But my training prepared me for this and I have always been able to handle things before..."
"Throw training at the window if it forces you to keep your feelings trapped inside and forces you to do everything alone, then it isn't really worth it anyway."
"But I do not want to be weak and I do not want to rely on others..."
"You are the strongest woman I know and you venting to me or showing your emotion does not make you weak. You can still take care of yourself, you just need a little help here and there. Ziva, you had to fight some dirt bag for your life. That would scare most people senseless." Tony looked her in the eye.
Ziva felt tears prick her eyes, "How did you know what was bothering me? You listed the three main things."
"Well Sweet Cheeks, believe it or not. We have a connection and you hinted to some of it. You have always had to rely on your own strength to get you through because you were by yourself, but then you came to NCIS and you had people to watch your back. Fighting jerk-face alone for your life made you feel alone again. And I'm sorry I didn't insist on being your back-up. You shouldn't have to feel or be alone," Tony looked at her gently.
Silent tears trailed down her cheeks, "Tony, you do not give yourself enough credit that is exactly how I feel. I do not want to be alone anymore."
Tony smiled, "I just watch too much Criminal Minds, you know profiling. And Zi, you don't have to be alone, you got me."
Ziva smirked through her tears, "Thank you my hairy butt. I needed you to listen more than I thought. And you make a lot of sense."
"I have my moments. And I am glad you are human," Tony grinned.
At Ziva's front door, Tony said, "Thank for letting me listen, Zi. And I am here whenever you need me."
She felt so much better after telling Tony her feeling and problems. She knew she was not alone anymore. "I would not talk to anyone else. You are officially my sink."
"I think you meant shrink. And how about I am just your friend and partner," he smiled.
"Noted and deal. And I do believe we have a connection," Ziva looked up at Tony's green eyes and felt herself leaning closer to him.
He leaned down closer to her, his eyes moving to her lips. Right before Ziva closed her eyes, she saw Tony rock back. Her calm happy thoughts from moments earlier vanished. She really was stupid and how could she have thought...
Tony broke into her thoughts, "Ziva, you have no idea how bad I want to kiss you right now, but I won't." He took a step back.
She managed to choke out, "Why?"
Tony took her hand, "Because this is your first true night of showing your emotion and I don't want to take advantage of you."
A tender smile replaced her panicked expression, "That is the sweetest thing any guy has ever done or said to me, Tony DiNozzo."
"Yeah, well. I watch enough movies to know what women need and like," Tony smiled and continued, "And just so you know, you were right. The man I am becoming does need a woman. So if you still want that kiss next week, I will be happy to oblige."
Stepping into her apartment, Ziva answered, "I am glad you realized you need a woman. I have a feeling I will be wanting your kiss my whole life."
Tony smiled widely, "I hope so."
Ziva smirked and shut the door. This situation a whole lot better than she expected.