I know, there are a gazillion post 9x24 fics. Here's another. Based off the song by Thompson Square. There is a part 2. I own nothing but the idea.
Trying to live and love, with a heart that can't be broken
Is like trying to see the light with eyes that can't be opened.
Tony and Ziva had experienced a fair share of close calls in the years that they had been teammates. There was a long list of instances in which one or both of them could have died. It was something unavoidable, and despite how often they acted as if it were no big deal, they both knew they were constantly in danger of dying.
This time was different, however. In their most recent near death experience, they had been together, in a small, dark box, as the world around them shook and everything they had known came crashing down. They had automatically clung to each other, holding on to the only thing they had in that moment: each other. Tony remembered feeling scared. He'd almost lost her plenty of times, but if something happened then, with him right beside her, unable to do anything, he would never be able to live with himself.
Somehow, whether it be because of luck or divine intervention, they had made it alive. He remembered his eyes stinging with tears of relief when she moaned as the elevator stilled, in pain, but alive. He could only relate it to the feeling he had felt nearly 3 years ago when a brown bag had been pulled off of a stranger's head, only to see that it wasn't a stranger at all.
Now, he stared up at his ceiling, wondering why he had spent so long lying to himself about her. Ziva meant more to him than any words could describe, and when he looked back at his life over the past few years, he knew that she had been thrown into his life for a reason.
"I believe that there are… moments, experiences that someone like McGee, with his trusty computer, couldn't justify."
The five terrifying hours in a dark elevator had put everything into perspective, somehow. It had rocked him to his core, strangely, as they had sat huddled together on the floor, waiting for the reassuring sound of voices on the other side of the door.
He had come close to losing her so many times before, and he never wanted it to get that close again without telling her what she meant to him. Life was much too short to keep pretending.
So, with his heart pounding and his mind racing, he picked up the phone and dialed her number.
The phone had range twice, and he wondered if maybe he shouldn't have called. Then, the ringing stopped, and he heard her voice. Something inside him relaxed at the sound, his heart lurching almost painfully as he felt relief flood him again.
"Yeah, Ziva. You busy?" He asked, though he already knew the answer.
"Of course not." She said softly.
He took a deep breath, suddenly nervous. "Do you want to come over? We… We could watch a movie… and… you can maybe stay over here?"
"Is there a specific reason?" she asked,
He thought about lying to her, telling her he was just wondering. He thought about making a joke to play off of the seriousness of his inquiries. In the end, he swallowed past the lump in his throat and spoke honestly. "I don't want to be alone tonight."
There was a short pause on her end of the line, and he played with a string hanging off of his shirt as he waited for her to reply. "I will be there in ten minutes."
They were the sweetest words he had ever heard, and it surprised him how suddenly, it seemed much easier to breathe. They spoke their 'see you soon's and as Tony hung up the phone, he closed his eyes, praying to some higher power that he wouldn't screw this one up, if he could even find the strength to try.
We both carry baggage we picked up on our way,
So if you love me, do it gently.
And I will do the same.
We may shine; we may shatter.
We may be picking up the pieces here on after.
We are fragile; we are human.
And we are shaped by the light we let through us.
But we break fast,
Cause we are glass.
True to her word, Ziva arrived ten minutes later, a small bag hung over her shoulder. He offered a small smile as he let her in, taking slightly longer than necessary to close his door.
He turned around as she set her bag on the ground beside his couch. She looked back at him, eyes soft, and he wondered if he could see the new revelations burning in his eyes. "Movie?" he offered, and she smiled.
They easily settled into a routine they'd grown comfortable with. They sat together on his couch, Lord of the Rings playing on his flat screen. Tony, however, wasn't focused on the movie. He let his mind wander, thinking of the woman seated next to him. He chuckled then, and her eyes snapped to his.
"What?" she questioned, her eyes curious.
"We're a piece of work, you know that?" he asked, noting with a slight smile how she turned her body toward him.
"What do you mean?" her eyebrows rose, almost as if in a challenge.
"Well," he hesitated. "My mom died when I was little, my dad sent me off to boarding school, and I have nightmares about a little girl that I lost in Baltimore. You were raised to be an emotionless killer, you've been through a hell of a lot of loss in your lifetime, and you… somehow manage to still have a heart of gold."
She broke their eye contact, looking at the floor. He leaned his head against the back of the couch, staring once again at his ceiling.
"And then," he continued, lost in the memories. "Look at everything we've been through together." He cast a quick glance at her, and he could almost see the images playing through her mind, beginning with their undercover mission and going all the way through Harper Dearing and his attacks on the Navy. "We're really a piece of work together."
She smiled, looking a tad nervous, and he wasn't sure if it was because of the weight of the recent events or his painkillers, but the next words out of his mouth were much easier to say than he'd expected. "Maybe there's a reason for that."
He kept his eyes on the ceiling while he awaited her reply, and barely heard her quiet response. "What do you mean?"
"Well, I mean, we've both got our fair share of baggage, and we came from un-ideal situations, but put us together... and we make a great team. We complement each other."
He ran out of words, and for a long moment, they were both silent, lost in their own thoughts. Then, she spoke slowly. "Do you… Do you mean business-wise… or something else?"
He hesitated, but knew he had to be honest with her. She deserved that much, and there was too much to be lost if he hid the truth now. So, heart pounding in his chest, he replied. "Both."
He heard her take a deep breath. "Do… do you mean… r-romantically?"
He let his gaze travel from the ceiling to his hands. "Yeah, I think I do."
Another long silence passed, and he closed his eyes, hoping that the air would think soon. "I… I would… That sounds so amazing, but… but Tony, I… I care a lot about you, but… I am… not the easiest person to have a relationship with."
He looked at her for the first time since the conversation had started. She was looking down, and he reached up to touch her cheek. Her eyes met his, and slowly, testing the waters, he leaned forward and pressed his lips to hers gently before speaking. "Well, good, because I'm not either."