Summary/Spoilers: Post Enemies Domestic. Tony finds Ziva after her father leaves.
Word Count: Just over 1,000
Disclaimer: Not mine.
"It was meant to be comforting."
He walks into the elevator with a glance back toward the bullpen. The silent prayer in his heart must have been detected.
"You worry about her, do you not? " Liat breaks the silence on the ride down to the parking garage. Tony doesn't answer the question though he knows it is directed towards him. He looks in the direction of Malachi, not sure if he is looking for his help with this conversation or looking for his reaction to Liat's remark.
Malachi answers Liat's question by talking to Tony. "He navigates his heart very carefully. The downside to that is that he often leaves it lagging behind his actions. He knows she will probably never forgive him. His only hope is for her to know that he knows she is happy."
There was no response from anyone inside the elevator. The conversation itself died with the acknowledgement that nothing really needed said in the first place. The elevator dings and Tony walks with Malachi to the car that will be taking the Mossad officers back to Israel with their director. McGee and Liat return to the bullpen to escort Eli.
After a few moments, Malachi tried to ease the tension. "Agent DiNozzo, we missed a fight between Liat and Ziva. Director David interrupted it, but I feel as though Ziva would have won."
A grin interrupted Tony's intense facial expressions. "Thank you."
By the time Malachi and Tony finished going over the details on transportation and directions to the airport other necessary but mundane particulars that would wrap of their visit, McGee was following Liat and Eli out of the elevator toward the car.
The look in the Director's eyes as he closed the rear door of the black sedan secured his intentions to seek Ziva to make sure she was handling this all okay.
They drove away.
He finds her in Autopsy after resorting to text messaging, semi-surprised with a reply. "Where's Duc…" He stops mid-sentence once he realizes Ducky is absent and Ziva is pacing. He finally gets a look at her and in the near darkness the light from the hallway reaches her face. His eyes notice the tear stained cheeks accompanied by red rimmed eyes first. But when his heart catches up with his eyes, he notices the smile on her face and the fight in her brow. Although he welcomes it, he is still not used to her accessorizing with sheer emotion, let alone several at once. Before he closes the gap between them he makes sure it clicks in his brain that she is the one that invited him to be there. She is standing still now against the back wall, the contact of the refrigerated lockers sending a brief chill through her body. There was nowhere else to go once Tony started walking toward her, and although she initiated it, she wanted to delay this encounter as much as possible the moment she realized it was going to happen. She had needed an outlet all week and now she is frustrated with herself that after they have left she seeks it out.
He senses that the conflicting messages her face is sending started from her mind. And because it snapped him out of his head space not too long ago he tries the same on her. "I heard I missed a chick fight."
Her shoulders relax into the gesture usually manifested into an eye-roll so he knows she heard him, but her facial expressions do not change. Her hands are occupied with each other, probably a habit due to a combination of stress and thought and holding back rage. Tony reaches for them anyway and uses enough firm pressure to encourage her to start relaxing. "I can't tell if you want to hit something or bawl your eyes out."
She's looking down at their hands. "Me neither," she squeezed out in a controlled sigh through her clenched jaw.
"It's been a tough week. They're gone now. Talk?" He suggests that since it is neither of the just mentioned actions. Her nails dug slightly into the palms of his hands affirming that she really needs to do all three before she is unwound enough to leave the building. "Ok, Ziva, here's what we are going to do. I have two shoulders. You are going to punch one and cry on the other."
She yanks both her hands from his and punches both his shoulders in an effort to push him away enough to walk past him. He gives way enough to let her but the second he turns around he finds her still close and facing him again, staring straight ahead at his chest. "You were only supposed to punch one shoulder, but I'll let it pass." She apologizes by resting her hands on his shoulders and hesitantly stroking her hands down his arms until he found her pulling them to the floor. She sits with her legs crossed facing him allowing him to lean against the wall.
Her first words are simple. "Thank you." Tony nods urging her to continue. "It has been a rough week. But every time I felt like losing it, letting my emotions get the better of me, for some reason you were there constantly hovering in my peripheral. I could tell you had my back, like you always do." She waits for a response from him but he just looks at her confirming he is not going to interrupt. "I think I forgave my father. Or at least he thinks I forgave him. I am not sure I was ready to. But perhaps it is for the best and my dreams will become less haunted." She reveals secrets that he has known, but without proof.
She is silent for a while and must have decided that was enough sharing. She reaches for his hands so they can brace each other as they stand.
He acknowledges the fact that she is done talking for now. "You are still allowed to cry on my shoulder whenever you need to."
"I know, but you don't have any left. I have already punched both." She quickly recovers because he is being sincere. "Thanks."
He watches her leave. He just stands there with a smile on his face and fight in his brow- a fight for more than just her back.