Summary: When Ziva nearly faints, Tony is forced to take care of her.

Disclaimer: I'd faint if I got to own NCIS. I've fainted before. Still don't own NCIS.

Spoilers: None.

Okay, so I didn't faint as in 'completely lose consciousness'. But I've been close enough to write this accurately...I hope. Yea. Please read and review?

-Soph

P.S. This was brought on by one of Pauley Perrette's tweets :)


Her Greatest Comfort

She feels the dizziness as soon as she gets out of her car, and she sits down hard, back into her seat; willing her vision to clear. It surprises her when his blurry silhouette immediately appears in front of her, because she didn't even call to him. He grips her shoulders as she sways slightly, and asks her anxiously if she's okay, and she wants to tell him that she can't see but she can't quite get her words out. She tries to speak louder, but it's just too hard so she closes her mouth and gives up on speaking at all.

"Ziva, open your eyes!" His voice is sharp; she can tell because she knows him that well, but against her semi-consciousness it really only sounds muffled. She attempts to do as he asks but she thinks she mustn't be doing it very successfully, because she feels so sleepy. It'd be so easy to just fall asleep. "Ziva!" he calls her a second time. She doesn't like how frightened he seems, so she resists the urge to slip into unconsciousness.

She thinks she can hear him curse as he scoops her up and slams the car door shut with his knee. She doesn't like the jerky movements that jolt her as he climbs up the stairs of her apartment building with her in his arms, and she wants to tell him to put her down before she throws up. But that must be an impossible mission; she can barely get a single word past her cold numb lips.

It isn't until he's already at the door of her apartment, struggling as he fumbles desperately with her keys and tries not to drop her, before the darkness begins to recede and the spots in front of her eyes begin to fade away. She draws in a shaky breath. "Tony, you can put me down now," she says softly, and she's not too sure if she actually spoke loudly enough for him to hear her because he's still fumbling with her keys. She sighs and nestles her head into him. She's too tired to be her usual stubborn self.

He miraculously manages to jam the key into the lock and swing the door open and carry her into her apartment and lay her on her couch, and surprise is written all over his face when he finally looks down at her to see her large eyes blinking dazedly up at him.

He breaks into a relieved grin and brushes a wayward strand of hair from her face. "You know, you don't usually take five minutes to obey an order." She wants to come up with a snippy retort but the only thing she manages to choke out is a weak murmur of dissent. He smiles again, but this time it's something gentler, something sweeter, and something that makes her heart skip a few beats. "I'll get you some water."

She uses the time that he's gone to pull herself back together, and she's already sitting up when he returns. "Thank you," she says as she accepts the water, and she's proud to hear that her voice is almost back to the way it usually is, even if she's still a little nauseated. He sinks down into the couch next to her, and she can feel a tingling sensation where his arm is touching hers.

"You really shouldn't be sitting up," he tells her.

"I am fine." She puts her half-drunk glass down on the end table beside her couch and ignores how her hand trembles.

"Yeah, if by 'fine' you mean going all pale and collapsing in the seat of your car." He glances at her. "You've no idea how scary that looked."

"I can imagine it."

"That doesn't mean you've been fainting very often, does it?"

"No, that was the first time. And I did not actually faint."

"It was close enough. Scary enough, especially since I'd no idea why you'd 'almost' faint."

She gazes down into her lap and chews on the inside of her lip. "It might have been because…I skipped a meal or two."

"Did you?" His tone suddenly sounds much more like a growl.

"We have been very busy with the case this past week," she replies defensively, turning her face towards his with a hint of defiance.

It catches her off-guard when he doesn't turn away; doesn't hide the worry that she sees glimmering in his eyes as he stares right into her soul. "You know very well that that was a stupid thing to do."

She swallows and breaks eye contact. "That is not for you to say."

"So we're gonna play that game again?" he asks quietly.

"Tony-"

"And if I hadn't been here? If it hadn't been Movie Night and you'd come home alone?"

"Then I would have been perfectly fine in my car."

"Bullshit. You could've fallen into the street, and you know it."

She keeps silent, and the ticking of the clock on her mantelpiece echoes loudly around the quiet living room.

"Next time, you're eating, and that's final." His tone is firm; he's leaving her no space for argument. "I can't believe I didn't notice that you hadn't in the first place," he adds brokenly under his breath, and she doesn't know if he meant for her to hear.

She feels him jump ever so slightly when she leans her head onto his shoulder. "Okay. I will eat." It isn't exactly something that she wants to argue about anyway; her experience isn't really one that she's eager to repeat.

It's her turn to jump now, when he rests his head on top of hers and envelops her in his comforting scent. "You freaked me out," he says in a low voice.

"Nothing happened, Tony."

He pauses. "Yeah, but…hang on," he says distractedly, before standing up abruptly and banging into her cheekbone with his shoulder. "Gotta make you some food."

"Why?" She rubs her face.

"Don't want you fainting on me again." He brushes his thumb across her cheek apologetically, and then presses a kiss onto her forehead before he turns and moves into her kitchen. She suppresses a smile and wriggles back into a lying position on her couch as she listens to him bang her pots and pans around.

She doesn't know if he'll ever be aware of it, but he has always been her greatest comfort.