"I'm in love with her. That's why I'm here."
The words were echoing not only off the bathroom walls, but around in Tony's ears as well. He felt his heart stop for a moment, his breath catching in his throat. How was he even supposed to reply to that statement? He kept in the disbelieving and bitter laugh, instead trying to focus on drying his hands. Anything to keep his mind off of the disgusting feeling of his stomach flipping with jealousy.
"To tell her? When are you going to do that?" He tried to make it sound casual, uncaring. As though he was just an interested and perhaps concerned friend. He watched Ray shrug, adjust his jacket, seeming to feel like this was no big deal, like he was discussing the weather with him.
"I dunno. Tonight. Tomorrow. Soon." How could be so flippant? So... casual? Tony adjusted his tie uncomfortably. "You know, it feels good to finally get it out."
Tony could only imagine. The guy had been holding it in a few months at most. A few measly months compared to the years Tony had kept it inside. So he swallowed and just decided to concur. "I'll bet."
Ray Cruz had the fortune of not being her partner, of not having rules and expectations from one Leroy Jethro Gibbs haunting over his every thought of Ziva, and he hated him for it. He knew he should have been happy for her, to have finally found someone who cared so much, but all he could do was be angry.
"You know..." Fuck, he was talking again. "I want Ziva's friends to become my friends. She's told me how close the two of you are."
Was that a hint? A sign of jealousy? Maybe a hope that he'd reveal that he was glad for the smug bastard, or a trick into admitting he wanted her all to himself? Tony laughed, scratching his head awkwardly, not wanting to give him the satisfaction. If he was jealous of what Ziva and he shared, that was his problem. He took refuge in denial. "I wouldn't say that."
"Well, she says you're like a brother to her."
He'd never understood what it meant to have your heart fall into the pit of your stomach. Even with Jeanne, he had been too overwhelmed with guilt and despair to notice the real heart break at first. He had been able to feel that pain in his chest, but now - now he could feel it fall, feel it hit the bottom of his abdomen and leave a nauseated, heart broken feeling in its wake. He felt his smile falter, fall, and then disappear all together. Here he'd been stupid enough to hope maybe Ziva felt the same, that maybe they hid behind these significant others and these false emotions because deep down, they wanted that glimmer of a chance with one another. He'd thought -
Well... It didn't matter what he thought, did it? Like a brother to her. He didn't know how to respond. He'd put his heart on the line loving again and before he could even muster the courage to carry through on it, it was being shoved back in his face.
Maybe what he'd learned from watching his father had been right. Maybe getting too close really was the worst thing he could do to himself with people. There was too much pain in it.
He barely even noticed Ray's phone had rung.
"Meeting. Do me a favor? ... Don't say anything to Ziva." He managed the weakest of nods as Ray headed out the door, watching as he let out an arrogant chuckle of triumph as he managed to throw the paper towel successfully into the basket.
Like a brother to her. The envy and pain spun around in his head, the words running through over and over, playing like a broken record, sometimes giving one word, sometimes repeating the whole phrase. Who was he? What did he have that Tony didn't? Charming, funny, successful... This CI-Ray, this man he barely knew and didn't even want to know, had stolen the one heart that Tony had always wanted to posses.
He tossed the paper over his shoulder, watching as it sunk into the trash. It didn't make him feel better than Ray in the slightest.