I've seen and read enough Season X spoilers, photos and now the promo that I feel compelled to write my own take on what they mean. There will be several "vignettes," each involving a particular statement, photo or, as in the case of the first one, what was revealed in the promo. If you are trying to stay away from spoilers, then don't read these little stories. Not that what I write is in any way the reality of how the season will unfold, I just don't want to ruin anything for anyone.

This first story is regarding the elevator scene in the Season Ten promo that came out last week, hence the vignette title. Enjoy, and please review and let me know what you think of my take on things.

I don't own NCIS, its characters or stories, though I would kill be an extra on just one episode. Since I live in MD and not CA, odds are not good. Oh, and I have absolutely no acting experience, though I do have voiceover training. However, considering my recent neck surgery, my gross neck scar would fit right in. Minor details.


Vignette One: "I thought the earth moved."

Tony was bored. Although in retrospect, considering what they had all been through over the last, what? Seven months? He should be jumping up and down with joy. But Tony was not one to sit around and do nothing. He looked over at Ziva, wondering what she was doing. They didn't have any active cases, so he couldn't understand what she was so engrossed in on her computer monitor.

Quietly rising from his chair, he wandered over to McGee's desk and stared at it for a second. McGee was back at work, but every time he saw that chair empty, his heart rate sped up a little bit, and he felt slightly lightheaded. He shook his head. They said that the symptoms of PTSD might never go away. As much as he fooled around when they were all "forced" to meet with the psychiatrist, Tony actually found that it had helped. Privately, although Ziva knew about it; he still made appointments, finally admitting to himself that asking for help was not a weakness.

Nonchalantly, he began to stroll toward Ziva's desk. She had been watching him out of the corner of her eye. She knew him so well. The past few months had brought them closer than ever. Sometimes, Ziva worried that they were taking things too far. She wasn't sure if she was ready for…wherever it was they were heading. After getting rescued, they finally had their heart to heart. Ziva remembered the exact moment that finally broke down all the barriers:

March 15, 2012

After being stranded together in an elevator for several hours, many of which while holding on to each other in some manner or another, it was inevitable that Tony would find as many movie references as possible to describe their situation.

Between "The Towering Inferno," "The Poseidon Adventure;" which even to Tony was pretty lame considering they weren't under water; the garbage shute in "Star Wars" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark," Tony had acted his way through so many scenes that Ziva finally had to threaten him with a concussion if he didn't shut up. "Ok, Miss Smarty Pants, Ninja-know-it-all. What do you suggest we do?"

Ziva looked around at the elevator, assessing for the gazillionth time their situation. "I still think we should try to climb out of the top of the elevator." Tony shook his head. "Too dangerous. And then what do we do? Fly up the shaft and out of the roof?" At least half of the ceiling had caved in with the initial blast. Fortunately for them, it was not made of glass or they may not have been having this conversation. But it didn't look stable. Ziva was certainly a tiny thing, but Tony wasn't willing to let her risk herself.

But Tony forgot who he was dealing with. "Let her risk herself?" As if he ever had any say in anything she did So in the end, Tony had no choice but to help Ziva get up to the ceiling of the elevator, or watch her try to scale the walls like Spiderman. Or rather, Spiderwoman.

Leaning against the wall of the elevator to brace himself, Tony bent his knee to give Ziva a step up. She placed one hand on the wall and the other on Tony's shoulder. "Ok? One, two, three…" With that, Ziva quickly stepped up on Tony's knee, steadied herself, then swung her other leg around Tony's neck so that she was straddling his shoulders.

"Umphhh!" Tony allowed it to escape his lips. "Am I too heavy?" Ziva asked, her voice laced with concern. Tony took a few deep breaths, then slowly straightened up. "Never. By the way, what makes me think that you have performed this particular maneuver before?"

"This is not the first time I have had to escape from small places. Although this is my first elevator." "Awww…" Tony managed a smile. "So I am your first."

"Keep it up and you may be my last." Tony shut up, and paid attention to what they were trying to do. He planted his feet to center his balance. "Are you ready?" He asked. Ziva looked down at Tony. "Are you?"

Tony craned his neck up so he could look into Ziva's face. "No, I don't like this and I don't want you doing this. But since you are; yeah, I guess I'm ready."

Ziva felt a lump in her throat. In the past, with Mossad, there had never been any personal concern for anyone's safety, just getting the job done. "He is why I am here." Ziva realized, not for the first time. Tony DiNozzo had played a major part in every aspect of her becoming the person she was now, including being alive. They had a very special and private relationship.

But it never went beyond…beyond. There was always something, some obstacle, some person, some rule…Ziva smiled at Gibbs' rules. Tony was far more entrenched in them than she was. She sometimes felt that even if everything fell into place, Tony would play the Rule #12 card. Ziva shook her head, getting back to the business at hand.

Slowly, using her hand to support herself against the elevator wall, Tony helped her hoist first one foot, then the other, so that she was precariously standing on his shoulders. "Are you ok?" Ziva asked Tony. "Forget about me." He said through gritted teeth. "Just see if you can look around and find a way to get us out of here." Ziva cautiously rose up on her toes, gently touching what was left of the ceiling as leverage. She was just barely able to get her head above the ceiling line when the car creaked, then violently shifted.

"Shit!" Tony thought to himself as Ziva lost her footing and was falling off of his shoulders. He turned so that he was facing her as she fell; ready to break every bone in his body catching her if that prevented her from getting injured. They fell together with a loud thud on the elevator floor, once again tangled up in each other's arms.

"This is beginning to become a habit." Tony panted, trying to ignore the pain in his side. Groaning, he forced himself to sit up, bringing Ziva up with him. They sat quietly for a few moments, each leaning against the wall. "I cannot take any more of this." Ziva said quietly.

Tony looked at her, not knowing what "this" was: being trapped in the elevator, not knowing if their friends, their family, were dead or alive. He didn't dare hope that her admission had anything to do with him and their relationship. Of'course, if it was, it could also mean she couldn't take anymore of Tony, which he couldn't handle thinking about.

Slowly, painfully, they managed to get back up to a standing position. Ziva's foot hurt, but she didn't say anything to Tony. Instead, she looked contrite. "I am sorry, Tony. You were right. I shouldn't have insisted we try this. We slipped." Her right arm was loosely around his neck, her left hand pressing on his chest for support. Tony had his left arm around her waist and his right hand on her hip. It was a very intimate pose, but neither made a move to break it. Tony looked at her, slightly shocked at her apology. Even though he had been right, he took no joy out of it. What he felt was relief, again, that they had not been killed; or more precisely, that Ziva had not been killed.

He also felt tired of pretending that this was not a serious situation and that he still was not 100% sure that the one person he cared about the most, the one person he cared for above all others, was safe. Looking into her eyes, he made a simple statement. "Did we? I thought the earth moved."

Ziva was far too young to remember the Carole King song, and it was doubtful she had ever even heard of it. But between the softness of his voice, and the look on his face, she knew he was not making some corny song or movie reference to describe their current situation. Right then and there, Tony made a declaration to Ziva, and she understood what it meant. She looked into his face and eyes for what seemed like years, looking for some sign that he was being silly or frivolous or juvenile. What she saw was yearning, but not a sexual yearning; what she saw was the look of someone who had finally found the courage to say the words he had been thinking and feeling for a long, long time.

"Tony…" She began. He placed a finger on her lips, not willing to let her tell him he was seeing things that weren't there, or that this was not the appropriate place or time to be discussing their relationship. She nodded, giving him permission to speak. "I know what you are going to say, Ziva. But I am tired of not being able to say how I feel, to be able to act on my feelings".

"If this has taught me anything, it has taught me that life is too short, and fragile, and precious, to be afraid to go after what you really want in your life. I've made a lot of mistakes in my life. I have a lot of regrets. I don't want any more."

Ziva listened in silence as Tony opened his heart to her. She knew that when he said "this", he was referring to the bombing. All of their lives had been changed forever by that fateful day, and for some the changes had not been good. Tony wanted something good to come from the sorrow and torment that they had just been through. And to him, that something good was Ziva.

Surprising him, Ziva let her head rest in the crook of his neck. "I am afraid Tony. I am afraid of so many things. We cannot talk about this right now." She looked up at him. "But I promise that we will."

Tony searched her eyes, looking for evasion or, as much as he hated to admit it, lying. What he saw was worry, concern, and, to his relief, caring. "What are you afraid of, Ziva? I am not your father and I am not Ray."

Ziva closed her eyes, the memories forcing painful images in her mind.

She laid her left hand on his cheek. "Please, Tony. Let's get home, safe. Then we will leave nothing unsaid." She searched his eyes, hoping for understanding.

"Promise?" Tony asked quietly.

To his utter amazement, Ziva kissed him gently on the lips. "I promise."

December 2012

Ziva looked up as Tony reached her desk. "Watcha' looking at, Ziva?" He leaned in to get a peek at her monitor. She quickly closed it down. I am gift shopping and you do not need to see what I am doing."

Tony grinned. "You're buying me a gift?" Ziva rolled her eyes. "Well, Christmas is in two weeks is it not? Unless you would just like a lump of tar in your stocking"

Tony laughed. "Lump of coal, Ziva. And no, that is not what I want." He suddenly looked at her seriously. Ziva knew what he wanted, and she wanted to give it to him. She just wasn't sure she could say the words by Christmas. Just as she was about to change the subject, Tony's cell phone rang. He smiled at Ziva. "Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo!"

Ziva rolled her eyes and went back to her shopping.

"Dad?" Tony looked at Ziva, his eyes showing his panic. Ziva got up and walked over to him. "Well, yeah, it has been awhile. Since May, I guess." That remark confused Ziva. She knew that his father had been in constant contact with him following the event of the bombing, but she also knew that they had spoken since, most recently in October.

"Wait, what? You're here in DC? Is everything ok?" Unconsciously, Tony reached for Ziva's hand. She looked around. Outside of work, they were a couple, but they had kept it a secret at work. The last thing they needed was some gossip monger spreading news about them, or worse: telling Gibbs that they were spotted holding hands in the bullpen.

Still she didn't let go, sensing his tension. Apparently, Anthony DiNozzo, Sr. had a lot to say, because the only things that were coming out of Tony's mouth were, "Oh" and "Ok." Finally, after ten minutes, the call ended. Tony stared at his phone for a few minutes.

"Tony?" Ziva whispered, trying to be inconspicuous. He looked at her. "That was my Dad." Ziva gave him a look that said "really?" Instead she said, "Is everything alright? You look, worried."

"Well, any time my Dad is in town is a cause for worry." Tony shook his head. "He wants me to meet him tonight at his hotel, to discuss some 'family things.' I hope to hell he is not getting ready to tell me that I am getting another step-mother." The horror in Tony's face caused Ziva some amusement, but she also knew what hell he went through after his mother had died. She squeezed his hand. "Should I come? Perhaps that was presumptuous…"

Tony looked at her. "I would feel tons better if you were there. But he specifically asked me not to bring you." Ziva stepped back at that, not sure if she should be relieved or insulted. "Did he say why?"

Tony shook his head. "Maybe he is owning up to some dirty family secrets that he is afraid would make you run for the hills." Tony shrugged.

Ziva smiled. "So what time are you meeting?"

Tony looked at his watch. "In three hours. I wonder if Gibbs will let me head out early." He didn't want to say that he wanted to see if he could get an emergency session with the psychiatrist before this meeting, but Ziva understood.

"Go. I will handle Gibbs." Tony looked around, and then gave Ziva a quick kiss on the lips. "If it's not too late, I'll call you later." Ziva shook her head. "You will not need to call." Tony knew what that meant. "What would I do without you?"

Ten minutes after Tony left, Gibbs came strolling in to the bullpen. "Where's DiNozzo?" Ziva looked up, ready to do battle if necessary. "His father called…he is in town." Gibbs looked up at that. "Well, I guess that's enough to make Tony make a run for it. Is anything wrong?"

"Tony didn't really say, but I think he needed to see someone first before he saw his father." She looked at Gibbs significantly, providing no further explanation.

Gibbs looked at her, then nodded. "Make sure he is ok, Ziva."

"Always." She murmured.

Ok, there's your segue into Chapter Two, based on the spoiler that Anthony DiNozzo, Sr. will "resurface right around Christmas in a holiday episode." Hope you enjoyed it. Please review and let me know what you thought.