Title: Moving Forward
Summary: Based on promos/spoilers for Enemies: Foreign and Enemies: Domestic, what happens when realizations are made and actions are finally taken.
AN1: Ok, this is one shot fluff. Fluffy fluff fluff. It's not even close to what I ACTUALLY think will happen but the folks over at the TIVA thread in the CBS forums put the idea in my head and it had to come out. So THANK YOU to everyone there for the SWAK2 idea, I hope you enjoy what you inspired.
Please feel free to review. I am really enjoying doing these one shots based on spoilers, I'd like to know if they stink or if you love them and I should continue.
We've fallen out of grace again
Could be the beginning of the end
We stuck by and watched the other walk away
Could not stay I can't believe we'd give up so easyWasn't worth the breath that we spent
Even though that I don't know how much we tried
Or even why for all it's worth it's not what we deserveThe Way We Were, Default
Don't you miss the way we were? don't you wish we made that turn?
What we said was sometimes meant
Don't you miss the way we were? don't you wish we made that turn?
Fear has many facets. One can have fears of people, places, concepts, things and ideas. Fear causes people to do insanely stupid things, or inversely, cause them to do the right thing. It can move people from action to inaction in an instant. Some seek fear, thrive on it like a high, others avoid it at all costs. Being intimately involved with another person, loving them completely is a source of universal fear, fear that one day they simply will not be there anymore and they will be left to pick up the pieces. And it's this primal fear that causes some people to avoid substantive relationships, instead moving through life on only a superficial level, never really connecting with another person.
Even when the person they want to connect to is right there.
Standing by their bedside; with fear in their own heart.
It was only inevitable that one day death would catch up with one of them; given their jobs and her background and his intense need to protect her.
Thankfully today was not that day, though it had come awfully close – closer then they had been in a long while. Instead she stood in the doorway of his ICU room at Bethesda, watching from a careful distance as the nurses put more medications in his IV. Catching herself chewing on her index fingernail, she sighed and crossed her arms, pretending to watch while lost in thought.
It made her think though. How many more times could they cheat death? If something were to happen to one of them, would they be satisfied knowing they both wanted something more, but were too afraid – for their own reasons – to move forward. Would what they had in the past be enough, or only a painful reminder of what could have been? Could they even overcome their own fears to make something work in the now?
Too many questions and far too few answers floated through her head as she watched the steady rise and fall of her partner's chest. A few cracked ribs, sprained wrist, numerous scratches and bruises and one concussion – hence the stop in ICU – later and he would survive. Nearly eight hours after the blast he was finally starting to get some of the color back to his skin and some of the fear that had gripped her was easing.
If it was possible, they were the two most relationship scarred people she knew. A polite smile graced her face at the nurse who passed her on the way out of his room and she leaned her head against the doorframe, still unwilling to actually enter the room, satisfied to watch his progress from a safe distance. It was easier to keep her emotions in check that way.
Letting out a long sigh she squeezed her arms tighter around her waist and felt a warm, familiar, comforting hand drop gently onto her shoulder.
"How is he?"
She kept her eyes straight ahead. "Good. He has woken up several times, and been somewhat lucid. You know Tony and drugs."
"I do," Gibbs said then was silent for several seconds before speaking again. "How are you?"
A hand waved dismissively. "I am fine Gibbs, I was not the one wounded."
A familiar "hmmm" noise came from the other man before more silence reigned.
"I am fine," she restated, her voice cracking slightly. "Tony…Tony…" she trailed off, unsure what she was trying to say.
"Tony is tough."
A mirthless laugh came from her. "Tony came three feet from dying before…" She stopped before she revealed too much. There was something about Gibbs that caused her to let the walls down and speak freely, which in that second she didn't want to do with her boss.
The hand dropped and turned her toward him. "Before what?"
Ziva merely stared at him with that inscrutable expression.
"Off the record," he added, sensing she needed to talk, but not to Agent Gibbs.
Looking down at her shoes she responded, "Before we could sort out…us."
"What's going on between you and Tony, Ziva?"
"Nothing," she said and looked up at him, the truth written all over her face.
"But it has."
Tears spilled onto her cheeks as she remembered the past. "Not in a long time, Gibbs. But we were getting back to…something."
Another noise of acceptance came from him as he placed a light kiss to her temple. "Tell DiNozzo I'll be back later, and call me if something changes."
"You are not staying?"
"Nope, I already talked to the doctor, wanted to check on you."
A small smile graced her face and she nodded as he stepped away, walking down the hall.
Giving Tony one more look from the door, Ziva finally stepped into the room and sat on the rolling stool left in the room, sliding herself as close to the bed as she could get.
And for the briefest of seconds all she wanted to do was crawl into the bed next to him and feel his warm body next to hers.
Instead she settled for gently wrapping his uninjured hand in hers, running her thumb along the skin of his knuckles, the movement settling her mind and allowing the exhaustion to seep in, pushing out the adrenaline that had been keeping her moving.
Eventually, she rested her head on the bed next to his hand and allowed her eyes to drift closed.
It was the feeling of fingers in her hair that woke her from dreamless sleep and for a moment she was taken back to when her grandmother used to visit and 7 year old Ziva would sit on the floor in front of her, allowing the older woman to play with her hair for hours at a time. Though instead of smelling her grandmother's distinct perfume, instead her nose was assaulted with antiseptic and that distinct odor of hospital. And suddenly she realized it was Tony's fingers in her hair and instead of snapping her head up as she might have done in the past, instead she slowly opened her eyes, not moving, allowing him to continue.
"I know you're awake down there," he said quietly but made no move to stop touching her until she sat up, at which point his hand dropped back to the bed.
"How are you feeling?"
Licking his lips he shrugged and pressed the button to bring him to a sitting position. "Ok, considering I got blown up. Again."
"Very good, Gibbs said he will be back later."
"He was here?"
Silence reigned for several minutes as she replayed the conversation she'd had with their boss in her head. Out of nowhere she touched the stubble that was growing on his face tenderly, lost in thought.
"Do you remember the first time we…" she let the rest hang; they both knew what she was talking about.
It had happened exactly one week after Gibbs had "retired" to Mexico, Tony had been feeling stressed about filling some extremely big shoes and had shown up at her apartment with beer. After most of the beer was gone and Tony had unburdened himself on her, she had taken him by the hand and led him to her bedroom. The woman she was then had not thought twice about it, he needed to distract himself from the job, she had the solution. That night, and the six more that came after were nothing but a way to escape the pressure for both of them. No emotion attached. Upon Gibbs' return to NCIS they had stopped, because by then Tony was being recruited for a deep cover assignment.
"And the last…" Her voice cracked on the words. Had it been nearly three years since Jenny died and they were all flung to the far corners of the earth?
They had found comfort in each other that night, this time allowing emotion into their actions, assuming it would be the last time they saw each other. And unlike the summer Gibbs' was retired, when they never stayed the night with each other, this time they all but clung to each other throughout the night and most of the next morning until they were forced apart by her flight back to Israel.
Four months, however, had been enough stretch that by the time they were brought back together, the heat had cooled between them and she had someone new in her life.
And then it had all gone terribly wrong.
Before it started to go right again.
And then Tony had nearly been killed by an explosion. Again.
It was an endless circle they seemed trapped in; and now she was determined to break them out of it.
"Where is this coming from?" he finally asked as the faraway look in her eyes faded.
A smile ghosted her face before, "I am tired of pretending."
He returned the smile. "So am I."
Now she slid closer to the head of the bed. "So let us stop pretending."
"No, Tony, no. Let's go back to the way we were."
Her head snapped back slightly at that, she was not expecting him to agree so quickly.
"Come on, Ziva. How long do we have to dance around this?" A confused expression crossed her face and he sighed. "Nevermind. Point is I think…I think it's our time."
Instead of answering she leaned across the bed and kissed him deeply, putting all the emotion she had behind it.
It was their time. Finally.