It was only 8:00pm, but it felt like midnight. With heavy limbs and a fuzzy mind, Ziva trudged down the hallway to the squad room. It never ceased to amaze her that a psych evaluation could wear her out more than a ten mile run. It took a lot of energy to remain guarded against someone whose job it was to pry. Her head throbbed from the effort, and she tugged the elastic out of her hair, trying to get rid of the pain. A glass of wine would help when she got home. Or several.

She sighed as she came around the corner into their bullpen. Tony was sitting at his desk, with his head down on his crossed arms. There was not a single light on by his desk. He sat alone in the dark. She had noticed he was distracted when he had returned from his psych evaluation, but it was her turn next and she had been unable to make sure he was all right.

"You did not need to wait."

He looked up slowly, resting his chin on his hands where his forehead had been. "I know."

He looked as weary as she felt. She sat on the inside edge of his desk, facing him.

"Why did you then?"

"Why did I wait?" he asked, stretching his arms overhead as he sat up, and then slouched back against the chair.


"I couldn't motivate myself to go home. So I thought I'd wait for you. Make sure you were okay—"

"I am fine," she jumped in quickly with her answer.

He closed his eyes. He really looked too pitiful for her to really be annoyed by this. Somewhere in the course of the evening, he had lost his tie, and his jacket sat in a heap on the side of his desk. His sleeves were now rolled up to his elbow, and the top two buttons of his dress shirt were undone.

"How did it go?" he asked.

She shrugged, before realizing that he was unable to see that response through his closed eyes. Oh well, if he wanted the answers badly enough, he would have to work harder for them. After a moment, his eyes snapped open and he sat forward again, looking up at her with concern. Without really thinking about it, her lips set into a frown.

"How did it go?" he repeated.

She shrugged again, and looked away.

"That bad?" he asked softly, laying his hand on hers.

Damn him. She took a deep breath and resisted the urge to pull her hand away. "I do not wish to talk about it."

He studied her for a moment. "You never want to talk about it."

She yanked her hand away now. "I just spent four hours talking about it, " she snapped, escaping to her desk. It was much too late to get into it all again. Tonight was not the time to start having those conversations. They were both too tired. She busied herself with putting her coat on, and when she looked up again he was halfway to the elevator.

Ziva cringed. She had not meant to make him leave. He had also had a rough day. She just did not want to talk about it. Grabbing her things, she slipped into the elevator as the doors were shutting.

Tony sighed. He was leaning against the back wall, eyes closed. "First you try to get away, now you chase me down," he grumbled.

Ziva flipped the kill switch, bringing the elevator to a grinding halt and dimming the lights.

"Now you want to talk?" he asked, incredulously.

"No, not particularly," Ziva leaned back against the side wall, arms crossed.

"Then why-?"

"Because I did not intend to snap at you. We have both had difficult days…"

"That's an understatement."

"How so?"

His eyes popped open. "You know you're asking the questions that you don't want to answer?"

She had indeed noticed. In response to his question, she merely shrugged.

He sighed, loudly. "You know, I don't especially want to talk about it either..."

He left that open ended, and her curiosity was piqued. "But…?"

"We never talk about the important things," he exhaled, raking his hand through his hair.

"You would like to?" she queried softly. His tone said he did, and that intrigued her.

He looked away, nodding. "I want you to trust me enough," he added quietly.

She took a deep breath. Sometimes it still surprised her when grown-up Tony showed up, though it was more and more common. She stepped closer to him, so close she could feel the warmth of his arm against hers. "I do trust you. I just…"

As she faltered, he took her hand in his, giving it a squeeze. "I know that it's hard."

"These are not things I am accustomed to talking about."

"Eventually." he mused, "we will both learn how to talk. She nodded. It would be nice to not have to be so guarded someday. She was not ready yet, but for the first time in her life it was starting to seem possible.

He stepped in closer, pulling her to his chest. She tensed, but as his fingers threaded into her hair and gently rubbed her scalp, she gradually calmed. She nuzzled against his shirt, bringing her arms up tightly around his waist. His embrace was warm, and more than anything he'd said, it tore down her defenses. He pressed his lips to the top of her head, and she blinked furiously, eyes aching with unshed tears. Despite her best efforts to suppress it, she choked out a sob, and his arms tightened. Against her cheek, she could feel that his breath was choppy as well.

Silently clinging to each other in the dim blue light of the elevator, this embrace spoke far more than either of them was ready to say out loud. Without words, they calmed and soothed each other, and that was exactly what she needed right now.