by Taygeta

Author's Note: Post-Shiva. A one-shot fluffy fic from Ziva's flight.

His hand holding hers.

Beneath all the layers of things happening, she didn't know why that memory resonated as it did. It was a long airplane ride to have that memory front and center in her mind. She couldn't flip through the magazine in her hands without thinking of him.

Without thinking about his hand holding hers.

After all, Tony had given her the magazine.

Shmiel was sitting beside her, fast asleep. He could talk up a storm, but could also fall asleep - as if on command. She was glad that Shmiel was with her throughout all this. He was the only family she really had left in Israel. Sure, she had cousins and aunts and uncles - but none of them held the closeness of Shmiel or the closeness of her team back at home...her real home at NCIS.

They had all been so supportive while she had tried to hold it together the best way she knew how: by seeking and finding and trying to kill whatever it was that had destroyed her life...destroyed her father.

But they knew better. The solution was not revenge - at least not in this moment - the solution was love.

His hand holding hers.

She turned away from the memory, turning her head to try to get some sleep, but she could only think about the embrace that she gave him, his whisper in her ear: At lo levad.

You are not alone.

Tony had been there for her in moments she had not even known that she needed someone to be there. He had brought Shmiel, knowing how much that might mean, knowing she needed someone who understood her in ways others did not.

He had brought her into his home.

Mr. Dinozzo had confessed to her his concern that perhaps he had not been a good enough father, explaining to her how Tony never let anyone into his space.

He had let her in.

If it was not for the craziness of the circumstances, she wondered if he would have otherwise? Under other circumstances, she knew she would have reacted differently, walking into his home. It was more 'grown-up' than she had imagined. There would have been their trademark banter. There would have been more jokes. There would have been laughter.

He always made her laugh.

She regretted not remembering that when he had woken her up from that bad dream. She had been recalling her father's death, how he laid in her arms...how she cried. Tony pulled her out from this darkness, knowing full well that her first instinct was to always strike.

...and then...

His hand holding hers.

And though she turned away, she had felt, in the moment that she recognized him, a sense of relief. She remembered feeling that way when they had rescued her from Saleem years ago.

The removal of the bag over her head, the belief that she was going to die any second...

….and there he was.

Of course.

There Tony always was.

His hand holding hers.

She remembered letting him hold her steady as she came out of her bad dream, remembered holding his hand and feeling comfort in the way his hands clasped around hers. But the feeling of safety was overwhelming and confusing and so she turned away, not realizing how much the memory would burn in her mind.

Yet, it was the one thing with everything going on that made sense. It was the one thing that did not make her ask why. While she had been exasperated by his presence at times, at his need - and perhaps assigned responsibility - to keep her safe, she did not question it.

She did not question their "us".

In the dimness of the airplane, away from the immediate haze and craziness of her father's death, Ziva finally realized why it was that this memory of Tony burned in her mind.

He had not needed to hold her hand. She had not needed to hold onto his.

And she knew the moment she had turned away, the moment she had told him to leave her alone, that she had not wanted that at all. She had not wanted him to leave her at all.

Now removed from that, her mind was trying to race back, trying to recover a moment that was already passed.

Taking a deep breath, she cleared her mind and tried once again to sleep on the airplane. Closing her eyes, she tried to let go of the moment that had passed and found herself instead thinking of what was still there beyond moments. She began to find peace of mind at the first thought that came to mind.

Tony was still there.

And, even though he knew she could kill him in multiple ways with a paperclip, he would still stay there, would do whatever he could to keep her safe.

As she fell asleep, she heard his whisper in her ear - At lo levad- and hoped to find herself in a dream he deserved to be in.