A/N: This came to my head one night and I was compelled to write it. I hope you like it! Please review and tell me what you think!
Disclaimer: Not mine. End of Story.
He has been gone for a little over a month now, a total of 42 days. Yes, he kept count. After his last time Agent Afloat he wanted to make sure Vance didn't keep him a day over voluntary time. He is not a heartless man. Agent Johnston's wife had an emergency C-section and the poor man needed to get home to be with his wife. They had both been touch and go for awhile there.
He had volunteered for the duty because they needed an Agent familiar with the ship. It was the U.S.S. Seahawk. He was the perfect candidate. Gibbs made sure he would come back as soon as his brief tour was over. Orders were approved and he headed out. He hadn't had time to see Abby or Ducky. A brief good-bye was held in the bull pen with McGee. Ziva had been out on a case. He left a message on her phone and a note on her desk. On top of the note he left a key to his apartment. Someone had to look after things.
The cab pulled up to his apartment complex and he breathes a sigh of relief. It has been far too long for him. He missed his movies, real food, but most of all he missed his bed. Missing the team is a given. At least this time he had kept good on his promise to contact them all. Once a week he had been granted internet time. Ziva's replies were always short, while Abby's were pages upon pages.
His complex is quiet at 2am. He smiles because when he left his neighbors new baby would usually be screaming around this time. He muses about how much things change in a month. He inserts his key into the lock and a comforting click can be heard. He takes a moment to relish the fact that he is home before he opens the door.
Nothing is amiss as he steps through the door. The couch looks as comfortable as ever, but he ignores it. All he wants to do is get into bed and sleep. He has been awake for almost 36 hours and he needs sleep. He had to brief Agent Johnston on the open cases, plus the Agent spent an hour telling him about the newest addition. He really hadn't minded. Hell, he'd been lucky. Originally, he was scheduled to return at 3pm, but a storm was moving in and he had to leave or stay for another 3 days.
He throws his bag down on the couch. It barely makes a sound. He finds himself trying to walk quietly because of the stillness of the night. He reaches his bedroom door and opens is slowly. He is almost confused by the fact that the door is slightly ajar, but it doesn't bother him. At least not until his tired brain registers the sound of steady breathing coming from the direction of his bed. His eyes adjust to the darkness and a form can be made out. He is absolutely positive he didn't leave a woman in his apartment.
"Ziva?" he questions. His eyes finally recognize the form in his bed. Her head rests on his pillow. That is not the most surprising part, what surprises him is that she has somehow found a way to take up his entire king-sized bed. He legs are stretched out across to the other side. She is practically lying perpendicular to how any normal human being would lie in a bed. Of course if anyone can find a way to take up his entire bed it would be Ziva. He is suddenly hit with the realization that he may never get his spare key back. She is definitely paying the five dollars it takes to get a new one made.
"Ziva, I need you to move," he tells her. His only response is a threatening growl. She buries her head deeper into his pillow. Her breathing evens out again. He lets out an exasperated sigh. Maybe having her check on his apartment wasn't the best idea. It seems she took it as an invitation to make herself at home. He is too tired to argue with her anymore (not that she has been especially vocal). She can stay, it's not like they haven't shared a bed before.
"C'mon Ziva, just a little. Move your feet back and then I can slip in," he pleads with her. Again, his answer is nothing except a noise. In fact she stretches her frame out farther. It dawns on him how odd is really is to find her sleeping in his bed. Her visits should have taken a total of five minutes apiece. He shakes the thought away and focuses on the task at hand. It seems he is going to have to touch her. He prays to any God listening to let him survive the encounter.
He tentatively reaches out with the smallest finger of his left hand. If he loses it he still has his more important hand and nine other fingers. She's paying any medical bills though. His finger makes contact with the skin of her shoulder, and he jumps back. His hands come up to protect his face. He cringes for a few seconds before his brain tells him she hasn't moved. By all rights he should have a gun in his face.
Eventually, he decides to bite the bullet (hopefully not literally) and climbs into bed with her. She has moved just enough for him to lie on his side behind her. He mumbles incoherently and shortly gets fed up with the lack of space. He didn't come home to sleep in a space smaller than what he had on the Seahawk. He blames his lack of sleep on the next decision he makes.
His one arm finds its way underneath her at her waist. His other arm wraps around her shoulders. He lifts slightly and when she doesn't react he tosses her across the bed. His mistake? Forgetting that this is Ziva.
She flips mid toss and grabs his arm. She lands on top of him instead with her knife open and pressed against his throat. Thankfully, he had enough time to get onto his back and away from the edge of the bed. Her eyes are unfocused as she looks at him and squints. He is much more awake now than he was five seconds ago. In fact he could probably run a mile and not feel any strain at all.
"Tony?" she sounds surprised. That puts his mind into a higher gear. Ziva is always alert. She never lets herself get comfortable anywhere.
"Yeah, you know that guy that lives here," he retorts. Humor is his best friend. She at least has the decency to look sheepish as she slides off of him. Her knife clicks shut and he can breathe again. This was not exactly the night he imagined when he was told he could leave early. In fact he was positive he would be sleeping by now.
To his now utter disbelief she settles back down underneath the blankets on his bed uninvited. She then proceeds to get as close to him as possible without actually touching him. She puts her head back on his pillow, and she closes her eyes! They are currently sharing a pillow. He has to pinch himself to make sure he is actually awake.
"Hmmm?" she answers. He looks on the positive side; at least she is flexing her vocal chords. Plus, she isn't asleep again yet.
"There are two sides to this very large bed," he tells her. Right now he is being stubborn and he knows it. This is his bed. He wants his side.
"I like this one," is her sleepy reply. He accent is slightly thicker. He can't help it. His confusion is absolutely through the roof. He crosses his arms over his chest and stares at the ceiling for a minute. That was the last response he expected from her. To make things worse her breathing has evened out again. The damn woman fell asleep again.
Exasperated he rolls away from her to face the wall. He listens to her breathe for a while, but he can't sleep. Something is bothering him. The lack of sleep should have knocked him out by now, but it hasn't. He has to know why she is here; why she is still here.
"What are you doing here Ziva?" he asks. Her response is garbled by sleep. He senses how thick her accent has become. In fact he recognizes the language. She is so tired her mind is only thinking in her native language, Hebrew. Before he can say anything he feels her press against his back. She is trying to convey a message, but he has no idea what it is. She's going to have to wake up and speak English.
"Ziva," he tries again. She mumbles incoherently. He listens to her switch languages back and forth, but she never finds English. He turns to face her. He eyes are still shut and he can almost see her confusion. She is trying to find it, it's just not coming.
"English Ziva," he attempts. Something clicks in her mind.
"You are not supposed to be here Tony," she finally says. If he thought he was confused before, he definitely is now. This is his apartment. Why wouldn't he be here?
"What?" he finally sputters.
"You were gone Tony," she gives as an explanation. Normally, that would be enough. At the office that would be enough. Here in his bed that is not enough. He needs an actual explanation. He needs the truth. He tries to move. Her arm comes over his back to rest on his chest. He stares at her hand for an instant before he removes it and rolls over. He will not allow her to sway him from his original mission, and with her it is a mission.
"Why here Ziva?" he asks. It is a legitimate question. Yeah, she has been in the apartment before. She has only been in the living room, bathroom, and kitchen though. She has never once been in his bedroom, let alone on his bed. Why would she be comfortable here?
"I have a key." Give Ziva a stupid question get a stupid answer. He gives her credit for trying some form of the truth though. Yet, it is not the answer he is looking for. Next question.
"Ok, Why not Gibbs?"
"I tried. It did not work. He does not sleep, so I did not sleep."
"Too noisy," at this point she opens her eyes to look at him, "did you know she sleeps with music on?"
"No. McGee?" she snorts. She settles back down. No one except Abby would voluntarily stay with Probie.
"Ziva…" he growls.
"Go to sleep Tony."
"Not until you tell me why you are still here," he demands. She huffs in frustration and sits up. He expects her to make some random retort and leave. Instead, she brings her knees up to her chest. The blankets stay over her legs and pool at her waste. Her arms cross and sit on her knees. Her chin rests against her hands. He stays where he is at on his back. It is obvious she doesn't want to look at him while she admits this.
"I could not sleep because I could not see or hear you, Tony," she sighs. Her shoulders slump in defeat. That is not something he expected to see. In fact he can't ever remember he shoulders slumping. He didn't even know her shoulders could slump.
"You were the first one I saw. You were the first one I heard. I know Gibbs pulled the trigger; fired the kill shot. In my mind, though, you saved me, not being able to see you to hear you…" she shrugs. She finds his eyes as she says the last sentence. That one gesture amplifies the meaning in her final sentence. He hadn't quite had the time to comprehend how tightly their lives had become intertwined.
"Come here," he whispers. She hesitates, unsure of his intentions. He shakes his head reassuring her that he is not playing a game. She settles for the last time. She is facing him with her hands resting against his chest. It is now he remembers he never changed into his pajamas. She hasn't commented though, so he'll let it go. He cautiously reaches his hand out to touch her. She places it on her waist. He pretends not to hear he content sigh, or see her move a tiny bit closer to him. It's all about physical proximity to her. He knows that from work.
In the morning he wakes at dawn. The only thing connecting them now are her fingers resting against his arm. She is as far away as she can be, yet still touching him. He moves and she wakes. He watches her take a deep breath. She offers him a small smile of thanks. He returns it. It takes her another minute to finally pull her hand away.
There is no leaving her now.