A/N - I shouldn't be writing this. I need to be re-choreographing my vocal solo and practicing my tap solo out the rear end because I have to preform them Friday. Not to mention the fact I have a works cited to get together. And a persuasive essay to write. Regardless, this and another piece I wrote just begged to be posted. Really. I felt like I just HAD to get this out of my system. Hope you like! :)

The too bright sun filtered through the wooden hotel blinds, and from her position in the room she could get just a peak of powdery snow on the ground. She ignores the way her limbs ache dully, whether because of the hours of movement she and the man next to her have engaged in just a few hours prior, or the day of rigorous sport before that. A soft hand grasps the caramel color skin of her waist, claiming lazily, even in his slumber.

Claiming something that isn't his, or anybody's, for that matter.

Her chocolate eyes are alert, though her torso is relaxed. She is calm, for once. Resigned to the fact that men like Ray, who know nothing of her past, are better for her. For the man who does not know cannot question the way she flinches when his hand brushes the scars on her body. Who takes her answer of a horrible car crash. Who accepts her.

Men like Ray have kisses that are sweet. That remind her of innocence and peace. He makes her comfortable, and comfort is what she seeks at this time in her life. After the sweltering desert of Somalia and the indifferent eyes of her father, gazing upon her as if she is his next employee.

So, Ziva ignores the rest. She ignores the curiosity in Abby's eyes and the Goth's futile attempts to make the Israeli come to a club with her. She does not meet the mortician's eyes when he asks her if she sees a counselor. If she needs to talk. She brushes off the fact that McGee always watches her more closely when rape is involved in a case, and Lord forbid Gibbs ever see her with her walls down. The facade she wears is tough, and withstands almost anything.


The worst part of this whole thing is ignoring him. His green eyes, as he makes an effort to not look the least bit effected. Challenged, by this man who he has never met before. As time goes on, she knows this is best. Her partner needs to move on, find a life for himself. And even though Tony and she have been together through so much, there is still that little voice in the back of her mind that tells her it's all just a big set-up.

Tony DiNozzo will betray her, eventually. Like her father. Like Ari. Like Hadar. Like Michael. She closes off, because that's all she can do.

Ray, really was her 'Ray of Sunshine'. Through all the confusion of Tony and the murky depths of her past that were filled with slimy daemons, he was normalcy, pleasant, even.

She clung.

The shrill ring of her phone startles her, and makes her feel beneath her barren pillow for a gun that obviously isn't there. Old habits die hard. Soft fingertips fall from her skin as she reaches across the black night stand to grasp the loud device.

Letting out an aggravated sigh, she answers. A frantic voice invades her senses, breaking the silence and the innocence and the youth filling her whole just seconds before.

The words make her blink a few times, and then make her eyes go wide as Ziva processes their full meaning. Her heart splutters in her chest. Tanned skin goes pale, sickly.

She barely notices the fact that shudders run through her, that her fingers are like an earthquake. The phone hits the metal bedframe and bounces to the floor. Abby's mouth still runs, whispered, high-pitched background music.

"Ziva, thank God! Listen, you have to get here, now. Tony and McGee were on this stupid call and...Oh, God, Ziva...Tony's been shot!"

Ziva slightly registers that Ray, with his light blue eyes, like a baby's, stares at her worriedly. Cool air hits her bare torso.

"What's wrong, Ziva?"

He questions, the one thing forbidden, and she freezes. She's never felt so exposed.

"I have to go."


Ziva decides she hates hospitals. The smell. The cleanliness. It reminds her of a funeral home. Funeral homes mean death. And she cannot stand the thought of him dying.

Her partner took two to the chest, and she wasn't there to have his back. Guilt is only a second-hand emotion, as first there is loathing. Loathing at what God there is. Loathing at the comp time she took in order to go skiing. He needed her, and she wasn't there.

So many times that Tony was there for her, and she brushed him off, and now it has come back to snap at her. Bite, Ziva, his voice whispers in her head.

Every white tile on the she counts reminds her of a minute on the plane. She takes large strides in order to conquer as much ground as possible. His room number echoes in her ears like a tribal chant. She could never forget it.

When she sees his door, knowing no one else is there at this time, sent home by Gibbs, she suddenly feels a fresh wave of fear. Fear of blame. Fear of fear itself.

Then, those walls she erected shoot up like she flicked a switch, and suddenly everything feels numb. An easy emotion, that doesn't require much thought. And so she conquers the silver door knob that is so reminiscent of the one in the hotel.

He looks so pale. Tubes are everywhere, and he reminds her of a child. Weak. Unable to defend himself. It makes her chew the inside of her cheek because she has never thought of him this way. The steady beep of a machine, and a drip, reassures her of life. Of existence of something so beautiful...She can't let him go.

Moving lithely to sit next to him, brown curls falling into her eyes, she grasps his hand as lightly as she can, with as much meaning as she can muster.

Looking upon his sandy locks that fall across his forehead, she sees the lines that were not there four years ago. She knows she caused many of them.

It hits Ziva then, in the dark confines of a hospital room, the truth that fate had been shouting at her since day one.

She loved him.

It wasn't that sickly, sweet, kind of love, that fairytales were made from. Woven to form cliche 'happily ever afters'. Their love was twined in a different sentiment.

Blunt. Complicated. Real. And she was okay with that.

Looking down upon his worm face, she realizes that she doesn't want comfortable. His green eyes are passionate, not sweet. His lips are rough with fervor, and she can only imagine now what they would feel like upon her skin. Ziva David's mind is made up.

She doesn't want anything.

She desperately needs Tony DiNozzo.

A/N 2- This is basically an AU version to that ski trip Ziva took with Mr. Miami. An angst-filled, bittersweet, version. Please review, it will make me feel better about being irresponsible! :)