As requested, Chapter Two! :D
And yes, I did put off completing an assignment to write this. Yea...I'm not the most hardworking person in the world.
Spoilers: Um...references to Tony's and Ziva's loved ones and relationships up till now. A semi-canon reference to Ray...you'll see.
I don't remember if Tony ever gave Jeanne flowers on the show and I don't remember if Ziva ever saw them if he did, but for the sake of this story let's pretend that both happened. He loved Jeanne enough and Ziva certainly was snoopy enough lol!
Thank you very much to everyone who reviewed the last chapter :D I love you guys! You've certainly done a lot to increase my self-confidence.
Enjoy; please review this too, and thanks for reading!
He loved Ziva.
That much he knew.
He also knew that he had loved Jeanne, and that Jeanne had loved him back. But he also knew that love wasn't enough, at the end of the day. Jeanne had walked away, after all. And maybe he'd been in the wrong so he should've been the one to chase after her, but he couldn't; not after Wendy. Not after he had spent months begging, begging for the woman of his dreams to come back – to no avail. It'd been both of their faults that he and Wendy's relationship had fallen apart, but that made no difference because in the end, he'd learnt from a very young age that love wasn't enough.
He loved his mother. His mother had died.
He loved his father, and his father wasn't dead but their relationship had been broken enough times for him to believe in the concept of conditional love, anyway.
Then there was that girl from college. Boy was she gorgeous. He probably hadn't loved her, but he'd liked her a lot. And the woman from the police academy. Never dated her; secretly loved her anyway. Then there was Wendy. Dated her, loved her, proposed to her. Lost her.
He remembered all of that with a cynical smile as he stepped out of his car and stared up at Ziva's apartment, and the last memory was almost enough for him to step right back into the vehicle and drive away. He didn't really want to spend months begging Ziva to love him again.
The only thing stopping him from leaving now was that so, so heartbroken look in her eyes last night. He hadn't done right by Wendy or by Jeanne. He needed to do right by Ziva, even if it killed him, because Ziva was the one whom he loved and had loved for a long time. Who, apparently, had loved him for a long time even though he didn't deserve it at all. Time had changed his perspective; one thing he'd learnt was that you sometimes have to do the things you neither want nor dare to for the people you love, simply because you love them.
He'd gone to Somalia even though getting caught had scared him and getting tortured had terrified him, because he loved her and wanted to do something for her. He hadn't expected to bring her back and he certainly didn't expect her to still love him after all these years – but she did, and he just had to do something about that look in her eyes. He owed her at least that much.
Resolution set firmly in place, he crossed the street and proceeded up the stairs. It wasn't until he'd knocked on her door and she'd answered that his resolution started crumbling a little, because ohmygod she was so beautiful and why would she ever love a man like him?
"Hi," he said awkwardly, and her hand gave an odd twitch by her side.
"Hi," she answered, and he noticed for the first time that her voice was a little less even than usual and her face was a little more tear-streaked than it normally was. She'd been crying.
"Can I come in?" She nodded and stepped aside to let him pass, shutting the door after him and padding into her living room with him. They stood; he stared at her while she stared at the carpeted floor. She looked as nervous as he felt, which was funny because this was her home, after all. "Um. I don't know what I'm doing here."
Her chin lifted before her eyes did, and he knew that she met his gaze with great reluctance. "Do you need more time?" she asked in her broken voice.
It was all he could do not to reach out and kiss all her fears away. "No. I came to…tell you something."
She nodded slowly. "You have figured it out."
"Yeah. I figured it out. Didn't take weeks."
"Just one night." She looked away and pursed her lips, sucking in a breath. "Go ahead."
"Look it didn't take much figuring out. I just wanted to know…how much I should tell you."
She laughed humourlessly at that. "Considering what I told you." Then she sighed. "Look, Tony. What I told you…you don't have to do anything about it. It's just my feelings and…you know, we can just forget about them. Pretend I never said anything. We-"
"I don't want to pretend."
"Are you going to hold this over my head forever?" She looked at him in pained disbelief.
"That's not what I meant. I meant that…Ziva, I have feelings for you." He gulped as her eyes widened and her knees suddenly buckled.
He caught her before she hit the floor and lowered her gently down onto her couch. His heart leapt into his throat when he backed away and glanced at her face to realize that tears were shining in her eyes again; and that, if possible, she looked even more heartbroken than she had yesterday.
His stomach churned and he almost wretched. What the hell had he said wrongly? Should he even have spoken at all?
She covered her face with one hand and waved him aside with another, and he settled quietly beside her on the couch. He really wanted to just hold her right now, but he wasn't sure how she'd react. There was also a part of him which really wanted to run away and never look back.
It was an eternity before she finally spoke, not taking her hand from her face. "I know." Her voice was soft.
His heart stopped. "You know?"
"I know. You have…feelings. Tony, I'm not blind. I see them. I know we have a thing, yes?" She lifted her head and smiled weakly at him. "A flirting thing. It's just that I can't do that anymore. 'C-cause I care a bit too much. I used to think that it'd be enough but I…I just wish…I wish…"
"If we brought this beyond whatever we have now…" He swallowed at the shakiness in his voice. "How long do you think we'd last?"
"You don't want to do that," she murmured, her voice becoming a little shaky too. "You have that woman you love, and I am…nothing. I'm not enough for you."
This was the point he would forever remember as the one time he could've told Ziva David that she was the one he loved, but didn't. Every time he'd told someone that he loved them, the person had left. And he couldn't watch her walk away; couldn't even bear the thought of it.
Her eyes glazed over slightly at his barely concealed gasp. "I know you said I'm not lacking anything," she continued, sounding more detached now, "but I'm not…not the woman you can shower with gifts. I'm not the woman you can…love. You need to find your happiness, yes? Don't let me get in your way."
He succumbed to his urge now and pulled her into his arms, not caring that she shuddered violently as he pressed a kiss to her cheek. "Ziva…you're my happiness." It was as close to I love you as he could get right now.
"No, I'm not. Look." She pushed gently against him to get him to let her go. "Look. What you had with Jeanne…the flowers and the…secret visits, and the things I heard you…tell her. I know you miss that. And I know you want to find the woman whom you can do and say them with. I'm not her. Because…you have never wanted to give me f-flowers. And I'm not saying that you have to. I'm just saying that I'm not…the one you are looking for."
He drew her to him again and leant his head against hers as he desperately tried to figure out how to say it without really saying it. It must be one of the greatest ironies in life that if he didn't say it, he would lose her; but if he did, he might lose her anyway. Wasn't there ever such a thing as a non-lose-lose situation? "I've wanted to buy you flowers, actually," he whispered.
She stiffened like she had yesterday and he looked up, terrified of seeing more heartbreak in her eyes. To his relief, though, something that looked like mere surprise swirled about in her brown orbs. "You have?" she asked with a hint of confusion.
He nodded. "Lots of times. After you became an agent…and then, you know, when you broke up with Ray. I thought it might cheer you up."
She hesitated. "So why didn't you?"
"Because if I'd bought them…then you would've asked me 'why'."
"And you would've had to tell me."
He nodded again, his breath catching in his throat.
"Can I still ask why?" she questioned so softly that he almost didn't hear it over his thudding heart.
He swallowed. "Yeah. But there're some things that…I can't really say. Ziva, do you remember what I said last night about that one woman?"
"The one you love."
"Yeah. That one."
"You said that you wish you could tell her. And that you're waiting for her to move on."
"I don't want her to move on. But I can't say it."
"'Cause she might go anyway."
"It's happened before. She's fallen in love with others…before."
"Tony…" She hesitated again, a frown line between her pretty brows. "Is she still in love with these 'others'?"
He gave a bitter smile. "I don't think so."
"Then perhaps you have a chance."
"I'm hoping." He groaned internally. Of all the times that she could read his mind, why couldn't she just develop telepathy now? Resisting the urge to punch something, he settled on linking his fingers with her tiny ones. "Zi…do I get a shot at sending you those flowers?"
She turned her head away slowly and studied their linked-together fingers. It was as if time had frozen as she sat perfectly still, her eyes tacked to their hands. After eons, she gave a tiny nod of the head and answered in an even tinier voice. "Yes."
He breathed out and kissed her cheek feverishly, holding her so tightly that a startled gasp escaped her lips. "Then I'll do that."
He didn't fail to notice that the tear which ran down her face this time was accompanied with a small smile.