A/N Just something that suddenly sprung into my head while I was reading a Tiva fanfic. Set in "Semper Fidelis". Hope everyone likes it because I fell in love with the idea instantly. Also, I know Tony and Ziva go pretty quickly from fighting to... other stuff ;) but I figure it worked and I didn't want to drag them fighting about their feelings as well into it.
Summary: Set in Aliyah. "You loved him?" He asked. She wasn't meant to say it but the words came tumbling past her lips before she could stop them. Ziva has a different answer for Tony while they are on that roof and their conversation goes differently.
Disclaimer: I, unfortunately, own no rights what so ever to NCIS *sigh*. No copyright intended, just a bit of fun so please don't sue.
"You loved him."
He wasn't sure if it was a question or a statement but as the words sprung from his lips there was no question on them and he hated it. He hated that he didn't doubt his own words though at the same time wished, with every fibre of his being, that he did. He hated the way she looked down at him, eyes burning in anger and shimmering with tears, like she didn't trust him with anything anymore. He hated that even though he knew he was right and should be upset with her for believing Michael and Mossad over him, her own partner, all he could think about was how beautiful she was, even with the barrel of her gun pressed threateningly into his chest.
Her mind was running a mile a minute; images of Michael smiling at her over a café table then dead on her apartment floor running haphazardly through her head as well as mixed feelings of all sorts for the man in front of her. His words barely penetrated the barrier she had erected around herself in the past day specifically to keep him, above all others, out. She knew he saw her anger, frustration and even a tinge of hate that had never before been present; but what he didn't see was how much she was fighting within herself against all of her instincts that were screaming at her to trust him, let him in and tell him the truth.
A part of her hated herself because, in the back of her mind, she was very aware of the fact that she still paid Tony more attention than anyone else around her, though he had been so distracted the past twenty four hours she was sure he hadn't noticed her fleeting glances. She hated that she grew more worried every time she saw Tony flinch because of his shoulder and that her concern at his injury was at the same height of emotion she felt when she saw Michael dying on her carpet. She hated that she knew he was telling her the truth and perhaps he was the only one left she should trust when all she wanted was to be angry and cold towards him. She hated that, though he had killed the man she was supposed to love, she couldn't stop the urge to touch him and confirm his presence, nor could she dismiss the conflicting emotions that warred within her.
And then he said it. Her eyes shut momentarily in pain as those words came out as a statement instead of a question, like he already knew the answer and it killed him that he was right. But he wasn't, and he had no idea what she was really thinking... why she was really angry.
As those words and that emotion came into their argument she couldn't stop the next words that flew past her lips and the anger encased in them, she couldn't help but finally tell him the truth, to finally be the one of them who stopped pretending and got what they both knew and felt out into the open air where it seemed even more forbidden then it did in their heads, especially in the centre of Mossad quarters.
"You loved him." He said, so sure of himself, not really expecting an answer.
"NO!" She shouted and blinked angrily at the tears welling in her eyes. "I loved you!"
Their eyes widened simultaneously at those three accidental words that held so much truth and meaning in them, the roof going completely silent for a few moments before either of them moved an inch.
DiNozzo went limp beneath her in shock and watched, still silent, as she stood and spun away from him, pacing a few steps further onto the roof, further shocking him by not running for the door in an attempt to escape. After everything they had been through, after how hard they had tried to stop this from happening, was this really the way it was going to go down? Would it really be like this? Neither running as he expected. Hell, he was surprised he hadn't bolted the moment she had stopped her assault and yet there he was, now standing and looking at her back, analysing her every move, unable to rip his eyes away from her as he struggled to find the right words.
She didn't know why she wasn't running far away from him, trying to escape her words or to deny them. She had expected to feel nervous, sick... anything in that realm once she had told him, which she knew she would eventually just not today, but all she felt was an immense rush of relief to have finally ended their constant game of chasing each other and then backing away because of rules or duties or whatever reason they had fooled themselves into thinking was the reason they did it for so many years.
She closed her eyes, took a deep breath in while running her hands over her hair before turning again to face him when he spoke quietly from a few paces behind her.
He thought about accusing her of lying or diverting the conversation back into the argument they were having that got way off course with a simple phrase. But any anger he had felt had disappeared and he could feel the foolish hope rising in him with each breath she stayed up there with him and didn't take back her words. And so he decided not to run away for once and asked the one question he needed to know the answer to.
He stared intently at her and caught her eyes as she turned to look at him when she heard the words forming on his mouth. "Loved?" He swallowed thickly and prayed they wouldn't screw this up. "Past tense?"
Her eyes flickered away from his for a moment before returning as she thought about what she should say to that. She had half thought he would leave, run away from the commitment that might come out of this conversation but now that he hadn't she had no idea what to say.
He stepped towards her slowly and she shuffled in her place, both still completely irresolute as to where they stood with each other. He stopped when he was only just out of touching distance, never letting his gaze leave hers, the tears still present in her eyes making his heart hurt, knowing he had caused them; though they now seemed to be more of confusion and hurt than grief or anger.
"Ziva please. I've told you to truth about everything and I swear to god if I had had another option I would have used it... The last thing I would ever want would be to cause you any pain and I can't stand knowing that I might have lost you over jealousy and a stupid mistake." He was sure to keep his voice soft, a startling difference in his tone from only half a minute ago.
His words were pleading and she saw them for what they were. He was being honest and she had known all along that he had been telling the truth. She had needed something to be angry at because, although she hadn't loved Michael as a lover and had known he had betrayed her, she still remembered him as her childhood friend and had to grieve that loss.
She also saw the hidden message in his last sentence, his silent admittance of her assumption that he had been jealous and that might have played a part of the night's events, and his actions throughout the past few months, being correct and giving her a silent apology.
She also knew and understood instantly why he had not said the words back, afraid that the way she had said it meant that her feelings had changed. She gulped and felt terrible when she heard the wavers and cracks in his voice that he tried to hide as he spoke, terrified at her response. She hated that she was the one to have put that unsureness there when he was normally so confident, she hated how had she been acting and suddenly wanted everything to go back to how it was before... only better, this time without any hiding.
Taking a deep breath she stepped forward, let the very last remnants of her anger wash away and looked up closer at him with sparkling eyes.
He had seen the resolve solidify in her eyes the moment she had decided what to say and grew indescribably more nervous, struggling to stay still when she took a long step toward him that brought her only a few centimetres away from their chests touching. Her eyes were wide, open and this time blame free and he let a tiny half smile of hope onto his features as he saw her expression soften in a way he knew his had when those fateful words had slipped past her lips.
She brought up a hand and lay in gently on his cheek, caressing it lightly before shaking her head lightly from side to side. "No Tony, not past. In an hour, a day, a month," he brought his hand up to cover hers on his cheek, not moving them but stepping even closer as her breathing hitched and she began struggling to get the words out, a single tear escaping her wide chocolate orbs. "A year... I love you."
He didn't wait for anything else. He brought their hands down from his face, wrapped his around her waist tightly and pulled her to him, his lips finding hers and his other hand sliding past her cheek to rest on her hair and the side of her head supportively at the same time.
They gasped into the kiss and Ziva sighed as melted into his arms in a way she never had with anyone else. She slid her hands up, over his chest and wrapped her arms securely around his neck, pulling herself closer to him as his hand left her face to join the other at her waist and encase her in complete and beautiful possession, deepening the kiss to a level that almost had her moaning into his mouth.
He pulled just his mouth away momentarily and opened his eyes, staring into her heavy lidded ones with joy and adoration as they smiled at each other, so close their noses still bumped and foreheads almost rested together.
He panted a few times before stroking one of her cheeks and tilting her head up with a hand on the side of her neck. "I love you too, Ziva David."
She smiled at him gently and let one of her hands run through his irresistibly spiky hair. "I know," was all she said in return, bringing her mouth back down onto his while simultaneously breathing in his scent that was all around her.
She knew what her father would order her to do, but she wouldn't tell Tony. She knew if she did that it would be one order she would never be able to obey and it would put both their lives in danger. So she let it slip her mind and prayed everything would work out.
Tony sat comfortably in the air carrier, hardly able to contain his excitement at being able to get away from Tel Aviv and prying eyes, and back to DC where Ziva and he could finally be alone to further work things out and explore their new relationship.
He shuffled a bit when his gut began churning, wondering what Gibbs and Ziva were discussing outside
"Gibbs, please do not make this difficult."
The older man looked worriedly down at the strong woman in front of him, noticing how her eyes strayed longingly to the air carrier to their right every few seconds and how the longer they stood there the wetter her eyes became.
"My father has ordered I stay behind and I know what he will do if I disobey, especially if I tell him the real reasons I would do so." He knew the instant her eyes slipped back to the vehicle as the words came out what had happened.
He simply nodded to her and looked over her shoulder at the smug Director by the car, sending the man his most powerful glare. He reached forward and placed a gentle, loving but regretful kiss on one of his best agent's cheek. He lingered by her ear and whispered, "What do you want me to tell him?"
He didn't have to say who, they both knew because there was only one person it could be. She smiled half heartedly up at him as he leaned back and he raised a sad hand to wipe away the two tears that had unknowingly escaped her control.
"Just tell him to remember what I said on the roof... Gibbs I-" love him. She tried to say it but couldn't make the words come out as they lodged in her throat, unable to say them aloud to anyone that wasn't Tony.
Gibbs nodded at her understandingly and couldn't help but thinking that this was the reason he had a rule twelve. But he also knew that sometimes it couldn't be stopped and he had known for at least a couple of years that would be the case with Tony and Ziva.
He kissed her once more on the forehead, whispering once more a promise to get her back home, before turning abruptly and jogging up the ramp and out of sight, knowing if he had looked back he would see more tears being shed from the agent he had come so close to calling his daughter.
As his feet hit the ramp he prepared himself for the rage and grief he would face inside from his best agent who was both friend and family and whom it would kill him to hurt.
"Boss, one short?" DiNozzo looked at him with such assurance and trust that his heart almost broke at having to destroy it.
He took a deep breath, looked at the man manning the controls and nodded. "Good to go."
Tony felt his throat constrict and could almost swear his heart stopped as the ramp began to rise and the engines powered up. Tears instantly sprung to the surface and he jumped up from his seat, adrenalin coursing through his veins at a violent and desperate pace as his breathing became so unstable he sounded as though he was on the edge of hyperventilating.
"Boss, what do you mean?" Gibbs didn't say anything, just watched sadly as DiNozzo turned away from him and ran to the man by the ramp. "What the hell do you think you're doing? Lower the god damn ramp!" He yelled at the man, getting in his face and pointing to the moving piece of machinery.
Gibbs stood and walked over to his friend as the helpless man looked at him, questioning as to what he should do. He put a hand on Tony's shoulder and was surprised, though not all that shocked by the reaction itself as he wondered what he would have done had someone attempted to take Shannon away from him, as a fist swung around to hit him in the jaw, not hard enough to do real damage but making him take a few steps back.
Tony sent a withering glare his way and looked frantically around the hold as if to look for a way out.
"Where is she Gibbs?" He asked in a deadened and frighteningly calm voice, chest heaving with heavy, forced breaths.
"She was ordered to stay behind."
"So why didn't you order her to come with us?" The younger man asked aggressively and quickly, steely gaze locked on Gibbs.
The marine stepped forward again. "Tony, she was protecting us and wouldn't have thanked me for making it any harder." He got closer, looking him straight in the eye so that the other man knew he was telling the truth. "We'll get her back."
At that DiNozzo deflated and stumbled backwards, falling lifelessly back into his seat and bending over, elbows resting on his knees as his head dropped into his hands so low it was almost between his legs, deep breaths signalling his attempt to get his breathing back under control.
Gibbs also sat down, knowing that he wasn't forgiven but that the man needed time to come to terms with what had happened and the fact that he couldn't do anything about it.
"She said to tell you to remember what she said on the roof."
The man across from him didn't move at that, giving no indication that he had heard him except the constant muttering of his previous phrase over and over under his breath.
"We'll get her back, we'll get her back."
It was the last either of them said until they arrived back at NCIS.
"Okay, their flights arrived, where are they?" Abby's worried tones floated over to him as he walked to the bullpen, backpack slung over his drooped shoulders as his feet scraping along the ground as he walked.
"Behind you," he muttered without a hint of joy to be back, no smile to address them with and lacking the words of greeting he would usually exchange.
Abby gasped and spun to meet him, large grin on her face as she pulled him into a fierce hug.
"Yay, you're back!"
Usually he would welcome one of Abby's hugs but now not only did pain shoot through his arm but he found himself hating having someone's arms around him and knowing they weren't Ziva's... that they might not be again.
"Abby, watch the arm," he said, perhaps too harshly as he, as gently as he could, pushed her away from him.
"Oh, sorry," she said as he walked away from her, looking hurt as he said nothing else to her, dropping his bag on the floor as Palmer stood and moved from his desk.
The three of them looked at him warily noticing his mood.
"So is Ziva getting her stuff?" McGee asked innocently.
DiNozzo looked up at him sharply, face set in an expression half way between a scowl and looking as if he was trying not to cry. Abby's face crumbled as he simply shook his head and looked back down at the desk, avoiding their eyes.
"Parking the car?" The Goth asked hopelessly, knowing what the answer would be and struggling to keep her composure.
This time Tony went still at his desk for a moment before reaching to his waist, pulling off his badge and sig and opening the draw, placing them carefully inside.
They watched him, curious and still wondering what had happened in Tel Aviv. They all stepped back in shock and a tiny bit of fear when, after staring at the open draw for another moment, Tony suddenly stood and used one hand to slam it closed loudly.
His expression became something bordering on murderous as he pulled the draw out once more and slammed it shut straight away, even more forcefully, before spinning on the spot and sending his foot careening into the filing cabinet behind his desk, sending another loud bang through the office.
He stood with his back to them, one hand raised to his face, pinching the bridge of his nose, his eyes squinted shut to avoid the tears he knew were coming although he didn't want to cry like a baby in front of them all.
"Well what is she doing?" McGee asked, smile now gone and looking unsure as whether to say anything or not.
Without turning to face them, and silently cursing Gibbs for leaving him to dealing with telling them, he answered, trying and failing to keep his voice steady. "Well, considering the time difference, probably eating breakfast."
"She's still in Tel Aviv?" Palmer asked as they were all shocked to see his whole frame start to quiver.
Abby slowly began to realise something must have happened between the two of them in Israel and cupped one hand over her mouth as her vision became blurry at the soft and immensely sad "yeah" of response.
"Well when is she coming back?" McGee asked again, oblivious.
At this Tony's other hand joined his first and wiped down his face and he finally turned to face them, his face now red as two stray tears escaped to cling to his cheeks and his breathing hitched as the rest of them gasped at his state.
"She's not." His voice was utterly defeated and quivered more so than before and it was clear he was on the edge of a breakdown.
"No," Abby barely whimpered out, reaching forward and hugging Tony again, this time not being rejected. She clung to his neck as best she could without hurting him and swallowed to hold back her own tears as she felt Tony dig his head into her neck and wetness hit her neck. "No, this cannot happen, Vance cannot do this again," she spoke into his ear, words soft but unaccepting in his ear as he slipped his free arm around her waist and clung to the only support he had, not wanting to see so many familiar faces anymore when Ziva wouldn't be one of them.
"It wasn't Vance's call." He said, pulling away once again and slumping backwards back into his desk chair, eyes going blank and showing no emotion as they stared vacantly between them to Ziva's hauntingly and mockingly empty desk.
"Well if it wasn't Vance then who?" McGee asked.
DiNozzo glanced at him and didn't answer, hating the man for having so much composure, for not having his world taken from him and instantly feeling bad for thinking such a thing about his friend.
He didn't say a word as he rose and pushed passed them, going over and silently sitting in Ziva's chair, letting his hands run reverently over the top of her neat desk, the two photos she kept, one of Tali and one of her and the team, still sitting next to the computer.
He took no notice of the three of them staring at him, pitying him. He stared at her face in that picture and memorised it.
Without looking up he promised them and himself the same thing he'd been trying to convince himself of since they had left Israel.
"We'll get her back."
A/N So please PLEASE tell me what you think. I will eventually, whenever I get around to it (which might be tomorrow or a month from now)do either a sequel or take the complete status off and make this into a multi-chapter. When I do that I'll be starting around when they find out Ziva's "dead", maybe a bit before that but that will be in the first chapter/next chapter. Tell me if you think I should keep it going. Hope everyone enjoyed it :)