Hello, darlings! I got an itch to write some Tiva today, and this is based on the prompt given to me by Sophie, better known 'round these parts as Anonymous033. So, she's pretty much awesome and a great writer, and you should check out her stuff. Prompt was: tango, probability and universe. And it did turn out to be a 9x13 tag. : )

Cherish each other.

Long after he had returned to his apartment, long after his favorite Hitchcock movie had ended and two bottles of beer had been emptied, Tony sat on his couch and stared at his dark television screen. Maybe it was the liquor or maybe it was the whirlwind of the past few days; whatever it was, he felt the need to sit still and think.

He wondered what Ziva was doing at that moment. It had to be close to two in the morning; had she fallen into bed, exhausted, and gone right to sleep? Or was she sitting on her couch, too? Not for the first time that night, he felt a need to make sure she was alright, but when he had asked earlier if she wanted him to come over, she had said no. It made sense; if it was his relationship that had ended the way hers had, he would want to be alone, too.

That didn't stop him from worrying about her.

Or thinking about her.

Tony tapped his fingers against the side of an empty bottle. He had some serious things to think about and decisions to make. The advice Burris had given he and Ziva was wise, and true, and something they needed to hear. Their relationship seemed at times to be an endless dance, a waltz or a tango, where one of them was going left and the other right, and they would dance together briefly before switching partners.

And, he thought hazily, beginning to chew on the inside of his cheek, that needs to stop.

It was time for him to stop sitting around, waiting for a perfect time or a perfect moment or a miraculous repealing of rule twelve. Because honestly, them still being together… it was a bit of a wonder. How many times had he almost lost her, to Vance or Mossad or Jonas Cobb? How many times had every possible obstacle thrown itself in Tony and Ziva's way, and how many times had they found a way to overcome it?

The universe was for, not against, them, and they had defied odds and probabilities too many times not to move forward.

At the moment, she was hurting, and she needed him. If they couldn't move forward right away, that was fine. The whole Ray debacle had taught him something about himself, something he had doubted for a long time: he was willing to make Ziva's happiness his priority. And now, he felt ready to take his own advice, and dive into this feet-first, cherishing her all the while.

Not my best. Whatever. I like it okay. : ) Review? And thoughts on Ray, the episode, etc.?