Eh, no idea where this came from. But I think I like it? Maybe? I'll leave it up to you guys.
It's exactly three weeks and two days after Ziva David makes an appearance in the chair across the bullpen that Tony decides it's time to break the ever growing barrier of silence between them. While neither of them actually seems to enjoy the other's company, they prefer it over the sleepless nights and the wonderings about life and their own impending futures. Because the feeling of a warm body and the sound of breathing tells them that there is some hope, and they know they're not alone.
The first time it happens, the first time they really begin to break that barrier, (nearly four months after Ziva arrives by now), it's over shaky hands and hospital coffee that somewhat resembles the black tar Tony remembers seeing the road being paved with just the other day. There's a smudge of blood on his shirt, their victims blood that is and he stares at it like it's burning his skin. He clutches the Styrofoam cup tightly in his hands and swallows the feeling of nausea slowly growing in his stomach, waiting for one of them to say something. Anything.
And finally Ziva, whose throat feels rough and dry, manages to mumble a few words that hold little emotion as they're spoken in her gravely voice. Not that he expected much more from her anyways.
"It will be alright," she tells him, brown eyes locked on something in the distance and brown fingers curling into fists before uncurling. As much as he wants to Tony has a hard time believing her because come on, the world hasn't exactly favored them recently. Instead of voicing this thought though he glances at her and nods his head toward the automatic doors to their right before he stands on not so sturdy legs.
Ziva follows without question, matching her strides with his and shoving her hands deep into the pockets of her favorite cargo pants. It's raining outside, and it seems to symbolize the nightmare they're trying so hard to wake up from, the one they feared as they shut their eyes each night where the blackness and silence takes over. Except that this time they're not sleeping and no amount of wishing or clicking their heels together will save them.
The ice cold drops pelt against the metal awning and create a symphony of clattering and for some reason they find it so damn comforting as they stand huddled together to save some of the heat radiating from their tired bodies. Tony, now leaning against the brick wall of the building sighs, and right now he can't figure out what to do next.
"Ziva." He says her name slowly, letting it roll off his tongue so he can remember the taste of it. She flicks her gaze in his direction, her halo of wild ink colored curls framing her heart shaped face falling out of place.
"Yes?" His lips purse for a moment, but he can't tell if it's out of pure exhaustion or the fact that Ziva David is looking at him with dagger like eyes and a completely unreadable expression.
"What makes you smile?" he finally asks. For a moment the question hangs in the air between them, like something they're afraid to touch much less answer. And for one painstakingly long second Tony almost considers walking away to avoid the repercussions that would more than likely accompany his bravery. That is until she speaks, her voice so quiet he swears it couldn't have come from her.
"I feel as if I have not smiled in years…," she says, cocking her head to the side and watching the rain as it runs down the street, much like a river. "But if there is one thing that could make that happen, I would say it is running."
Exhaling thoughtfully, Tony considers the answer, wondering exactly how tired muscles and sweat equals a smile. But before he can answer Ziva seems to read his mind, something that just bugs the hell out of him.
"When you are running…" she says, looking straight into his green orbs with such intensity it makes him shiver, "it is as if nothing can touch you. As long as your feet are moving and your heart keeps pounding you are invincible to the world around you." She takes a deep breath and blinks furiously. Tony pretends he doesn't see the shine of tears.
"When I am running, I imagine that I am somewhere where my father can never find me. Somewhere with an ocean and air that smells like salt and crisp grass. And when I'm in this place, I can find no reason to not smile."
Whether it is because of her absolute, brutal honesty or the fact that someone like Ziva David was actually capable of such deep emotion, Tony can't help but wonder if maybe there is something more to happiness than fast cars and nice houses. As he stands beside her in this cold air, listening to the rain and trying to ignore the stain on his shirt he bites back the urge to laugh, because things can't just be that simple can they? Of course he doesn't laugh though, that would result in some sort of bodily injury and even though they were already at the hospital he'd rather not go down that road right now.
"Do you want to smile?" he asks suddenly, unsure of where his voice came from because he doesn't remember giving himself permission to speak. But he's genuinely curious now. He wants to delve a little deeper, unravel the mystery that is his partner. Ziva is somewhat surprised by this question, but she doesn't let it show. Because she doesn't let anything surprise her, much less the arrogant man beside her who seems to think he knows her better than she does.
"Yes. I suppose I do." As the words slip out, she notes the glint in emerald eyes, the curl of lips as a look of pure happiness spreads across the face they rest upon.
"Then let's run," he says, straightening up and stepping out into the rain. He doesn't even care that it's staining his new jacket or soiling the bottom of his expensive slacks. Ziva, who tries to hide her amusement because let's face it, she could out run him any day, comes to stand beside him and lets the rain cool her olive skin.
"Are you ready?"
"Oh, you do not need to ask me," she tells him, bouncing on her heels in excitement that seems so unlike the dangerous assassin he knows. And once he releases her it's as if she's seeing the sun for the first time and nothing could bring her down.
As her feet dig into the pavement, the thudding filling his ears, he knows she's a million miles away lost to him now as well as the rest of the world. And he tries to keep up because he wants to see her face; he wants to see that smile that reminds him of a traveler on foreign soil. As if it's being etched into stone.
And right before he has to stop and refill his lungs he sees the corners of her lips tip up, pure bliss crossing her face and he realizes that maybe there is more to happiness than he thinks. It may just require a little searching on his part.