Disclaimer: I don't own NCIS. Also, my convocation is tomorrow, so I'm posting this today :P

Spoilers: Major 10x21 "Berlin."

Okay, when I say 'he' and 'she' (and their variations) in this story, I mean Tony and Ziva entirely. Just so it's clear :P

Enjoy!

-Soph


Steady

He doesn't say a word when she wakes up.

In fact, he never speaks to her at all the entire duration of his two-day stay at the hospital, and even though he repeatedly drops by her room with his concussion and broken nose (and broken pride), he merely sits so silent by her side that when he leaves, she cries.

She wonders if he blames her for the accident. She'd been the one to call his attention to her right before they were run over by that SUV; she'd been the one to put so little stock in their lives that she'd decided to have a serious conversation in a freakin' moving car.

She'd been the one over whom he'd almost sacrificed his life.

xoxo

He doesn't visit after he leaves the hospital.

By that time, she doesn't cry, because she knows that tears are futile. It's not going to bring him back—she'd sent him away by her own hand.

When Abby mentions casually a few days later that he'd been so terrified of getting into a car, Abby had had to spend an hour walking him home, she apologizes to him quietly in her heart.

Yeah, apologies are a sign of weakness and it's always better to seek forgiveness, but she knows she will forever owe him the former and will never get the latter.

xoxo

It surprises her when he's there the day of her release from the hospital. McGee checks her out and walks her to the entrance, and then he's just there, holding a bouquet of flowers and wearing a grim expression.

Get well soon, the flowers say. She thinks she could, if only she had something to get better for.

It soon becomes clear what Tony's agenda for being there is, because he's apparently as terrified of putting her in a car as he is of putting himself in one. Instead, he has McGee produce a wheelchair from the trunk of the latter's vehicle, and then he sits her in it and pushes her all the way home.

If she is to be honest with herself, she would like nothing better than to wrench herself out of the crappy thing and toss it to the kerb along with him and the dozen hurt accusations she yearns to pin on him—but she doesn't.

It surprises him, she thinks, when he manages to get her home without her trying to rid him permanently from her life.

Maybe that's what makes him accept when she invites him in.

xoxo

I made light of your life, he says, and then his floodgates open as quickly as her front door shuts. I spend every day wondering how I could possibly live without you, and yet I treat your life like crap, like it's something I could just throw away. Why the hell wasn't I watching the damn road?

I'd called your name and you were looking at me, she answers lowly, even though she knows that answer is not enough.

And, of course, he only shakes and shudders and breaks down more.

You put yourself in my hands, and I let you down, he cries.

And that turns out to be all they say to each other for a very long time.

xoxo

It takes another two weeks for Bodnar to finally be taken down—two excruciating weeks, because they'd somehow worked in tandem but with McGee as the middleman, and things are just awkward for two people who'd walked and sat and lain side by side barely two weeks before that.

In those two weeks, Ziva learns that a person doesn't have to be really gone for you to mourn them.

The day Bodnar is terminated, she goes to him. Thank you, she says, you helped me find my solace.

His mouth does a grotesque parody of a grin. You're welcome. Now you can move on with your life.

And she parries with, I never will, as long as you are stuck.

Stuck where? he asks, but she suspects he knows what she means, anyway.

So she takes a deep, scared breath and answers, I will never let you believe that I have stopped loving you.

And that doesn't really answer his question, but it seems to work because even though it takes him an eternity to react, he does eventually pick up her outstretched hand.

xoxo

It takes a long (really long) time for her to be able to persuade him to go near a car at all, and even then he jumps back like he's been burnt every time he touches the door handle.

But she's a steady presence by his side and that, she thinks, is all either of them ever asked for.