A/N: Just a one shot I wrote quickly based on next week's promo. Spoilers for 9x13 if you haven't seen the promo yet. :)
Ziva had been sitting at her desk for over an hour staring at the ring. His ring. The one given to her by the man she was supposed to love.
Rather than immediately saying yes and being swept off her feet into a happy engagement, she told Ray that she needed some time to think about it. She needed to contemplate the commitment she was possibly about to make. Even she, in her romantically dysfunctional state knew that wasn't the way it was supposed to happen.
She knew what she was supposed to do. She was supposed to get excited, stare at it adoringly and scream 'yes!' perhaps with tears welling up in her eyes.
She had yet to do any of those things.
And so she sat, playing endlessly with the little ring in the little velvet box that instead of bringing her bliss brought her nothing but stress and confusion.
She tried it on, once. It was too big by at least one size. It felt so wrong; cold and heavy on her finger. The metal was too gold, the diamond too large. Perhaps if she were happy she would see the true beauty she knew it held.
Night settled in as she continued to fidget. She couldn't help but count down the moments until she could be alone with her thoughts.
She was aware of his eyes on her. She always was, as she was certain he was constantly aware of her. And yet there was something different in his gaze today. Pain, certainly. There were also hints of worry and anticipation. She was not so much of a fool as to think she was not the cause.
After a long while he got up from his desk, moving to perch on the edge of hers. They always had communicated better when they said nothing at all. His eyes implored her to speak.
"I do not know what to do," she said softly, her gaze refusing to meet his.
"Well how do you feel?" he asked gently
"I do not know. I am supposed to be happy about this. I am supposed to love him and want to be with him... I do care about him, that I know for sure...but I do not know if he is what I want. I want this...the...permanence of it, but I do not think he is the one who can give it to me."
For the first time since Ray's proposal Ziva brought her eyes to meet his. "What should I do?"
He took a moment to ponder before answering. "I can't tell you what to do here, Zi. I wish I could, but I can't. This is all up to you. You know in your heart what you want. And I want you to be able to look back on this and know you made the right decision." He grasped her hand gently in his, stroking her fingers lightly.
"Just know," he said as he looked meaningfully into her eyes, "He's not your only option."
There were tears welling up in her eyes. She didn't even bother trying to hold them in when he brought her hand up to his lips, kissing it gently. He set her hand down and moved back to his desk. He swiftly gathered up his belongings and set out for the elevator. He paused in front of her desk briefly.
"Laila Tov, Ziva," he said.
She smiled at him briefly, watching him until she heard the familiar sound of the elevator doors. Turning back to her desk she bowed her head once again to look upon the ring that finally brought her some clarity.
The next day when she greeted the team, Tony noticed with some delight that her fingers were just as bare as they had been the day before.