A/N: So, here it is! The last chapter (add awesome music here). Haha hope you enjoy! P.S. This is my longest story yet. Kudos to those who read and kept me going. This is a treat because it is the longest chapter. Gotta go out with a bang I guess. Please leave a review as you exit.
Disclaimer: Own it? Never
"Leave?" she asks. Confusion is evident in her tone. She looks around the room as if making sure they are still in his apartment. Her eyes finally settle on his face. She cocks her head to the side as her eyebrows come together in the classic Ziva look. She straightens in seconds as she dutifully waits for the answer to her question.
"NCIS" he adds. She stands quickly bumping into the coffee table as she does so. Her eyes are wide with shock. Her thoughts had never taken her as far as his. She had been worried about the present; he the future.
"No, Tony. Just…no." she finishes. He looks up from his seat on the couch. He wants to reach for her, but as soon as his hand moves she is across the room. Her back makes contact with the wall his door resides in. She crosses her arms in front of her before releasing a breath of frustration.
"That will not help, Tony," she whispers. She finally raises her head to meet his eyes. The fear and sorrow in her eyes hits him harder than a perp hits the sidewalk. He swallows and has to look away. They both knew that someday they would have to face it. They had never given it a name, a reason, a place, or acknowledgement. They never needed to.
"Ziva…" he starts.
"No," she interrupts, "It. Will. Not. Help." He stares at her blankly for a few minutes before she shrugs. Nothing is spoken between the two for a few long moments. She shifts her weight from foot to foot waiting for him to say something. She offers no explanation of why it will not help. He doesn't push her. The answer may not be one he wants to hear yet.
"Ziva, what do you want to do?" he asks. He is starting to get fed up with her. She wants a solution, but will not accept his. It is now close to two in the morning and he is barely able to think, let alone combat her emotions. He needs for her to figure out something so that he can sleep. She has the insane ability to function for long periods of time without sleep. He can't.
"You cannot leave. If anyone has to leave it should be me," she says quietly. Her eyes meet his with sheer determination. She has made her decision. This will be how she wants to fix this. Ziva is selfless to a fault. She will force herself to take the brunt of anything mainly because she can.
"No, Ziva. No…we have to think of something else," he finally says. He looks up to find her moving toward him. She finds a seat next to him. Her head falls to his shoulder as she curls as close to him as possible. Her eyelids have become heavy with sleep. It is written all over her face. She is tired of all of this.
"You can get it back, Ziva," he whispers to her. She nods in agreement against him. Her eyes have closed and no sound escapes past her lips. They both remain still. He listens to the clock tick the seconds away as the tension in her body leaves in an almost painfully slow manner. The last part of her body to relax is the arm she has placed on his chest.
"I only have to accept the differences," she says. Her voice is amplified because of the silence in the room. He turns his head to an uncomfortable position to look at her. Calm brown eyes meet his curious blue. Turns out she just needed to admit that maybe this was okay. Her life had initially been spent being the best soldier she could be. Now, she only needs to be herself and protect those she loves to the best of her abilities. She knows she can, and will, get everything she was before back. Her skills have a purpose once again. She gives him a small smile before settling back down against him. He lets his breath out in a huff.
"As much as I am enjoying this, Ziva, I really need to go to bed. Sleeping like this will kill my back. You can either stay here, or join me," he offers without really considering the implications of that offer. He stands and moves toward his room. The only thing he really intends to think about is the comfort of his bed. He imagines the softness of it as he walks the length of the hall to his bedroom. Her presence behind him isn't detected until he crosses the threshold of his bedroom. Then, it is amplified ten-fold.
"Ziva?" he asks generally confused. He turns to face her; his confusion is easily readable on his face. His one eyebrow has risen, seemingly of its own accord.
"You offered," she states. His mouth hangs open for a second before she lifts a hand to close it. A small smile graces her lips. He shakes his head and mumbles incoherently as he moves toward his dresser. He pulls out a shirt. It's too small for him, but that doesn't matter. He doesn't wear a shirt to bed anyway. His arm extends. She takes the garment from him…and changes into it in front of him. He visibly swallows as she pulls back the covers and settles into bed.
"You…" is all he manages. She chuckles against his pillow.
"I what, Tony?" she asks.
"Never mind," he tells her as he strips down to his boxers. Since she had the audacity to change in front of him, he has to rise and meet her challenge. He makes sure he holds eye contact with her the entire time he does it. He is half way into bed before he actually considers the implications behind everything they are doing. He stops mid-way, holding the sheet high into the air. She chuckles and motions for him to lie down. Once he is settled her hand drifts to find his under the blankets. She squeezes his fingers lightly.
"I am adjusting to emotion, Tony. It is not easy," she tells him. He stares at the ceiling trying to come up with a response. He doesn't have one. So, she curls up closer to him. Her added body heat makes him a little warm, but he can't tell her that. She looks too comfortable. Her body begins to relax much faster than it had out in the living room on the couch.
"If you leave I will lose everything I have gained," she says sleepily against his shoulder, " I cannot go back, Tony." Her breathing evens out almost instantly. She has fallen asleep. He chuckles and wraps his arm around her. In her sleep she shifts to better accommodate his touch. That motion surprises him. Even in sleep she has the ability to predict and move in sync with him. When he tries to remove his arm she makes a slight sound of protest. Her hands move to grip his arm above her head. He puts his arm back where it was before. There's no point in waking her if he doesn't have to.
He settles in for the night to get his three hours of sleep. He shifts so that his arm won't fall asleep while they are sleeping. He manages to get most of her weight off of his arm by sliding it under her neck. Her head moves down slightly following his arm. His chin finds a resting place on top of her head. He pulls her closer and adds his second arm to the mix around her waist. She takes in a breath, proving that he has woken her. He tenses.
"Don't move," she mutters against his chest this time. She is asleep again in seconds. He smiles and allows himself to fall into the land of dreams.