Title: One Ziva David.
Disclaimer: You really thought they're mine? I didn't think so. Minor innocent infringement, but I'll return the characters when done, unharmed.
Timeline: After Tony receives news of Ziva's "death", tags 7X1.
Spoilers: Everything is game.
Summery: Tony's reflection on learning of Ziva's death.
Characters: Tony P.O.V / first person.
A/N: I let this one lie for a while… It never felt completed… Then I realized that it wasn't supposed to.
WARNING: At first I thought it would end up depressing, but it actually ended up closer to bittersweet.
Written: January 2011.
Edited and published: June 2011.
Song Lyrics: Long Way To Go. By Def Leppard.
Story word count: 2 790 (excl Lyrics)
From memory, there is no hiding place,
Turn on the TV and I see you there,
In every crowd there's always someone with your face,
Everywhere, trying not to care.
I've always had a problem with accepting reality, reality being such a difficult place to live in. I liked my life that way, nothing too serious, no need to worry about the deeper things. The less complicated things were the better. I had a serious enough job. I didn't need the seriousness outside the workplace.
And then there was Ziva… my partner, my playmate, and the source of endless fascination. I tried to kid myself that it was not that bad, that we could function without her for some time. I firmly believed that one morning I would walk into the squad room and she would be there again, back at her desk, ready and willing to tease and prank McGee. That she would once again frustrate me with her endless contradictions, invade my personal space, sneak up on me, threaten me in her own endearing way, and that the world would once again return to the way it had been. Every morning I would glace at her desk on entry, then avoid looking at it for the rest of the day, once again disappointed that it was not that day, but always hoping.
Our last exchange had not gone as I had planned. I had hoped to breach the distance between us, only to realize that she truly had loved Rivkin, and that her actions had reflected that. I had watched her facial expressions whilst we spoke, knowing they would tell me more about her feelings than the words she would utter. I would gladly again put my job on the line for her again, I would do it over a thousand times if I could only get her back, I'd even change the outcome of the shooting, if it meant she would return to us.
It was possibly the hardest thing ever to have happened in my life, that moment when Gibbs came up the tailgate and signalled for them to close it. I felt a heavy sense of regret settle over me as the meaning sank home, knowing that Ziva would not be returning with us. The look on Gibbs's face said it all… Ziva would not be returning to DC, possibly not at all.
I couldn't sleep on that flight. I would like to blame the droning noise of the engines or the fact that I had Vance sitting next to me. But fact is, my heart may not have been broken, but it was surely felt heavy enough and was lying on the soles of my shoes. I couldn't understand it. Ziva had in the past been even angrier with me than on our last parting. There were times that I think we'd hated one another, you know what they say about that line between love and hate, but I never thought Ziva, my partner Ziva would ever leave me, leave us.
The reality of the situation only hit home when they came to clear her desk. Its contents were all that remained of her in DC, those and her car. Gibbs had allowed me to take the box of personal effects. It was stashed under my desk, and every once in a while I would open it, when the others weren't around… I was unwilling to accept that she wouldn't be returning. The team felt incomplete without her.
I knew she was angry with me. That it was the reason why she wouldn't communicate with me, that, and because she probably still hadn't accepted the fact that I'd been looking out for her, that I would do it all over again if I had to.
I can't remember how many times I'd opened my phone, only to stare at her number, almost willing her to call. Gibbs only caught me once, and looked like he wanted to tell me something, possibly reprimand me. But it passed, and I realized that the decision might not have been as easy for him to make, as I'd originally thought. He was stalling on hiring a new agent. He, like me, hoped that once she'd sorted out her shit, that she would come back.
Had I know that that time in Israel, when she'd once again managed to knock me off my feet, with her gun pointed to my chest, that it would be the last time I would see her alive, I would have done so many things differently. But when I found out from the others that she had not even been in contact with any of them, I knew something was off… She would never not talk to the whole team. Problems aside, you don't just drop five of your friends like that. Yes I said five, Gibbs, Timmy, Abby, Ducky and Palmer… I could understand why she wouldn't want to speak to me, but not them, and the others had been thinking the same thing.
We then started tracing her movements, looking for her, needing to know where she was and if she was okay. I hated the fact that she could be out there possibly in danger, unable to contact us.
My heart dropped when Gibbs walked into the lab to inform us that the boat had gone down, and that there where no survivors. Of all the deaths I had imagined in my life, that was not the one I would have seen her succumb to.
This was Ziva, the chick that was unflappable. She'd willingly to take on an entire room of armed guards… and then when questioned, would call it a reflex. It would take an army to kill her. An army of crazy ninja fighting little people, who had a serious death wish on their hands, and even then, Ziva would kick their asses… Death by drowning was not something I would have envisioned for her. It was so unfitting. No there was absolutely no way that that little ninja could be dead. She didn't have my or Gibbs's permission to be dead. There was just no way… she had life enough for twenty. This isn't funny… it's not a joke. Ziva could not be lost to us.
May 28… a time I'd still gazed upon her desk, hoping that she would call… Well, we finally had the answer as to why she had not communicated with us. Why we had not heard of her, it's a little hard to communicate when you've left this life… Maybe Abby's crystals could work…
The thing I remember most about Ziva is her eyes. Deep brown eyes, and how she could tease me with them. Ziva could say a thousand words with her eyes alone. She could tease me, taunt me, reprimand me, and to think that the last time I'd really looked into them they were filled with pain. Pain I'd put there by killing her… I don't even know if there are enough words to describe what I thought of him. The bastard played her, for what? Ziva was… just so Ziva, you'd have to be a brainless idiot to do something so utterly stupid. To have her, to know that she cares for you, then to only use her. The guy had to be nuts, I mean completely coo-coo nuts to do something like that. What I would not have given, if she could at any stage have seen me as more…
That's the thing that eats me the most, the one thing I regret the most. That I never had the guts to do anything about our attraction, that thing that lurked between us, that which has been there since our first meeting. There had been times, times I could've taken the chance, she'd been young, careless and wild. She'd challenged me, made it obvious that she was receptive. Rule 12 aside, her position on the team was not permanent, she was a liaison, not fully employed by NCIS. She could have been recalled to Mossad at any time. Her time with us just ended up being for a lot longer than we'd anticipated. Then it got to the stage where I actually liked having her around. Jeanne aside, I couldn't really take a chance after that. If it didn't work, it would have given her a reason to leave, and I didn't want her to leave, I liked having her around. It felt good to have her around. Then Jenny was killed… and I got a taste of what life would be like when she returned home. It was lonely, boat or no boat. There was no one to irritate, no one to tease, no one to pull pranks with, just me… it was just so… lonely. You get use to having certain people in your life, you tend to take for granted that they will be there, and when their not, you're lost.
My best day on that boat, the best thing that happened to me in those four months, was when she showed up with Gibbs. Had she been like Abby, I would have I hugged her in pure glee. It was good to know that she was back with the team, that I could be in contact with her from time to time if needed. I could find reasons to speak with her whilst she was at the yard… and then they had to leave, something that had not sat well with me, knowing Gibbs wouldn't allow for me to stash her away somewhere. But it ended up I hadn't needed to, because I was to return with them.
Things changed between us then, she was different is some ways, in some ways we were closer, and in others we were more distant. And to think that it had been because of that bastard. I regret that I never took the chance, never got to know if she would, I would've been able to handle the rejection, if nothing else I would have tried.
Now the hardest part is not knowing what could have been. Facing the constant stream of what ifs and why nots. The I should haves and could haves, all the chances I hadn't taken. The amount of things that we still had to do together, conversations we've never had, and moments we will never share. All those things haunt me, whilst I come to terms that Ziva won't be coming back. That I would never know what it would be like to be loved by her.
She was too young to die, and the world couldn't go on without her. How could it function properly without her in it? I know mine couldn't. There's an automation to my work, actions that take over my day. I even gave up on looking for a replacement member. Now there was a situation for you… how do you replace a crazy little ninja chick? It's only now that I realized what we were doing. We were looking for another Ziva, can you imagine that, a world that contains two Zivas? Right now I could, it would even make a good movie…
Ah yes, I remember the search… The multitude of faces, the pile of folders… but only a few stood out.
First there was Clair, hair tied back, dark hair, brown eyes, unflappable. All the things I liked about Ziva, not quite as quick witted, but had a mean handshake. She was my idea of a likely replacement… well not Gibbs's. He cracked her faster than a nutcracker cracks nuts.
Then there was Rebecca Haystings, or "Becky", she actually lasted a month. Short dark hair, brown eyes, nice eyes, no instinct, well not like Ziva. Ziva could read people, pick up when they were lying. We would have closed that meth case so much quicker had Ziva been with us. It wouldn't have taken us that long to figure it out. The most irritating thing about Rebecca was the way she would invade my space. When Ziva did it, I loved it I even returned it. Ziva belonged there. It felt right for her to be there, odd when she wasn't, like something was missing… But this woman just made me feel uncomfortable, it felt wrong. I've never had a problem with anyone, especially woman, in my space. But that was the special place Ziva held in my life… the place I was not willing to fill with the likes of Rebecca. Well it seemed that we were just a little too on the wild-side for her. I mean come on, hacking into Vance or Mossad? That was exactly something our crazy little team would do. It's right up our alley, along with undercover operations posing as married assassins, oh yeah that was a good one… Ziva's naked skin pressed against mine… the things fantasies are made of. And anyway, we were looking for Ziva. Nothing was out of bounds or illegal when it came to finding Ziva.
Then there was Heather, oh god, for a moment I thought I'd stepped back in time… Her tone was so like Ziva's, well when she caught me doing something I shouldn't be doing, or drawing my attention to her. And it would be just like that crazy Israeli to sneak up on me, whilst I was gathering information. In this case, the name of a ship, one I was soon to learn had become Ziva's grave. I'll never forget how my heart raced, the sudden surge of happiness that filled me for a moment, thinking that she'd returned… I told you I have a problem with accepting reality. It was difficult to keep a straight face when I turned my attention towards the voice. She had a brow like Ziva's, long dark hair, like Ziva. She even parted her hair the way Ziva used to in the beginning. Dark eyes like Ziva, which held some humour in them. She was witty, could think on her feet, she could banter, and all together reminded me too much of the one I'd lost. She would possibly have fitted in with the team, but I was tired of looking for Ziva's replacement. You cannot replace someone like that. Many believe that everyone is replaceable, and that the job will get done… but Ziva was one of us, not just someone that would get the job done. You cannot just replace something that had in essence become a part of you. Someone who complemented your skill set, who could read and understand you, someone you could trust with your life. Okay set aside the fact that she'd more than once actually pointed a gun at me… those were circumstantial.
What I wouldn't have given at that stage to have just a moment, just so that I could apologize for what I'd done. But that was unlikely to happen, because in the time we'd been joking and trying to replace her, Ziva's time on this planet had been ended…
Tonight the box under my desk had once again been pulled out… but not to hand it over the person I had hoped to hand it to one day. Tonight it went home with me. It was mine now. All I have of her. On opening it, I once again looked inside, at the few things I could have listed without needing to look inside… A knife, trust Ziva to keep a spare one in her desk. My letter opener, I never really understood how she had ended up claiming it, it must have been some bet. In anyway, only Ziva would pick stationary that could be used as a weapon, I'd almost expected the edges to be sharpened when I'd picked it up the first time. A paperclip… such a small item of office stationary, yet it held such meaning, such significance to our partnership. I doubt I'd be able to look at another paperclip again without thinking of her in some way. This one was not hers par-say, but it represented an important part of the person I'd come to know, which is why I had placed it in the box. There were a few photos… one of her and Abby, one of us at a crime scene. One of Abby and McGee, which had been taken last year on the forth of July Barbeque, I had received a similar one from Abby, whilst on the ship. One I could remember her sneaking of Gibbs and Ducky, also at a scene. These were the people in her everyday life, people, who like me, missed her…
Ziva, Oh god no… She'll never knew how much I loved her, how much I need and miss her crazy little quirks and ways. She was the ground that kept me grounded, the fire that kept me on my toes… And now she's gone…
And anyone who knew us both can see,
We always were the better part of me,
I never wanted to be this free,
All this pain, does it go away