A/N: Here it is, the very last Snapshot. Whew! I can't believe it's finally over. I will miss this series dearly but rest assured there is more T&Z material to come. My current project is Moments In Time - slightly AU as it features T&Z being married since the beginning of Season 4. It will follow the episodes but give an entirely different spin on many T&Z moments. I'm hoping to start posting at some point in January so throw me on alert if you're interested. I also have another story called Not What you Think that starts in S6 and goes AU from there. I can't tell you much because it would give everything away, but it's an interesting one :) I might get around to posting it before MIT, just so you know what to look for. Again and always, thank you to everyone who has read my stories. I am so blessed :) Merry Christmas to all and may your New Year be filled with love and laughter and joy. God bless, ~Aliyah
Chaya was almost fifty-seven and Ben not yet fifty-four the day they met at the apartment where Tony and Ziva had moved ten years ago when Tony wasn't able to manage the stairs in their house any longer. One Saturday a month the family gathered for brunch to catch up on recent events and just spend time together.
Today when she knocked Chaya was surprised to not receive an answer. Even at eighty-six years old, Ziva never slept past seven in the morning. Chaya glanced at her brother and he shrugged. "Maybe she didn't hear."
Chaya snorted. "Yeah, because Mom's ninja skills are starting to go. Nice try." Using her key, the woman entered the apartment and walked softly down the hall. What she saw from the doorway of her parent's bedroom made her gasp. "Benny," she called and her brother could hear the tremble in her voice.
He joined her, closed his eyes and moved past her to check. He was the federal agent, he would go first. Ben swallowed before pressing his fingers to his father's neck and then his mother's. His hand dropped, as did his heart. "They're gone Chay."
Chaya's tears started and she entered the room, softly brushing her fingers over Ziva's hair, still dark because she hadn't yet grown old enough not to care about the colour. She touched Tony's cheek and looked at how they lay on their sides, wrapped in each other's arms, where they had always been the happiest.
Her eyes fell on the calendar hanging by the door and she wiped away the tears. "Do you know what today is?"
Ben looked up. "April fifth."
She nodded slowly and turned to meet this eyes. "Yesterday was fifty-seven years. They made it."
For their whole lives the DiNozzo kids had heard their parents joke about being married for fifty-seven years. Sometimes it was a teasing tone in Tony's voice - he would roll his eyes and proclaim dramatically that he didn't know if he could handle being stuck with her for an entire fifty-seven years. Other times Ziva would threaten her husband with a nearby object and it was never quite certain how serious she was when she predicted that if he kept up whatever he was doing that was annoying her, he might not make it to fifty-seven years of marriage. The kids thought it was such an odd number, so one day Chaya finally asked and Ziva told her the story of how they'd settled on that amount of years. From then on Chaya understood the significance and smiled every time the number came up.
Now she just felt lost and for the hundredth time she wished Grampa and Nan were still around. But Gibbs had died fifteen years ago and Celeste followed three years after that. Grampa Ducky had been gone for more than twenty years, though it didn't surprise anyone when he lived past a century, telling stories of the past up until his final moments. Nonna Grace hadn't even made it to Chaya and Justin's wedding, but she still cherished the childhood memories she had of the sweet old woman who had loved their family. Jimmy, Uncle McGee and Aunt Abby were the only ones left now from the original team and their aunt and uncle weren't doing very well. It was just the new generation and their children and grandchildren who would really suffer for this loss.
She sighed. "We need to tell the others."
Ben crossed the room to stand at his sister's side. "Not right this second we don't. Take a minute Chay." He held out his arms and she swallowed before sliding hers around his neck as she was folded carefully into her brother's embrace.
"I'm going to miss them Benny," she whispered through falling tears.
He blinked rapidly, trying to keep his own grief inside, but Tony had taught his son that feelings were not a weakness, so he rested his head on Chaya's shoulder and let the tears flow. "Me too."
The siblings spent an undetermined amount of time grieving for their parents, before finally parting and wiping their faces with tissues and sleeves. Ben sniffed and sighed. "We were so lucky to have them Chay."
She nodded. "Best Mom and Dad any kids could ask for, and we had a lifetime of being loved by them."
He tugged her ponytail and made a lame attempt at a joking tone. "I'm putting you in charge of the speeches, my words don't sound so eloquent."
A glimmer of a smile touched Chaya's lips until her eyes strayed back to the bed. "It's time Benny."
He nodded. "Start with Justin, I'll call Sunday." Ben rubbed the back of his neck. He was not looking forward to sharing this with his wife. Sunday was very vulnerable when it came to family and the kids would be even harder, they idolized their grandparents so. He cleared his throat. "We'll talk to Aunt Abby and Uncle Tim together."
Chaya nodded and speed dialed her husband, breaking into tears at the sound of his voice. "Justin?" she managed, choking on a sob. "They're gone."
The coroner would tell them later that Tony's lungs had finally given out, but medically there was no reason to explain Ziva's death. Chaya nodded wisely and held the Star of David necklace with the original pendant and Ziva's engagement ring. Her parents would be buried with their wedding rings, a symbol of the commitment they'd made and kept.
"They didn't know how to be apart," she told the man, exchanging glances with her brother and holding tight to her husband's hand. "Her heart stopped when Daddy's did."
The funeral was attended by many out of respect and loyalty to the couple who had unknowingly touched many lives. But the graveside service was restricted to family only and after the others had wandered away, Chaya stood staring at the headstone she and Ben had chosen: Tony and Ziva DiNozzo 1969 and 1981 - 2067. Loving parents to Chaya and Ben. Grandparents of Micah, Elise, Jordan, Lindsay and Grace. Great-grandparents to Andrew, Ethan and Sophia Caprice. Married fifty-seven years and one day, soulmates forever.
It said everything anyone would need to know. They'd loved their family and each other until the very last. Everyone should be so lucky to know that kind of loyalty in their lives. Chaya managed a small smile as she laid her flower on the dirt mound and walked away to join the group. Her parents' legacy of love would live on in her and her brother, their children and grandchildren. There was nothing greater to be remembered for, true love was one of the only things that lasted forever.
A/N2: And thus ends the Remnants of Somalia series. I don't know how to thank you all for the support, encouragement, comments and loyalty that you have given me. I am truly blessed and though I'm sad this journey has come to an end, I'm incredibly thankful to have had the chance to write this story. Thank you all for everything and for being such faithful follower, you will stay in my heart forever. ~love always, Aliyah