Unexplained Absences.

He waits two full weeks. He goes to the gym and to bowling night with Abby and to dinner with Ducky. He goes to that damn pub four more times with McGee. He pushes his friend for details on Delilah, he sits on his hands to keep from calling up Vance and digging for information on how their little plan is working, and he asks no one about Ziva. He texts Palmer occasionally and sends Gibbs a few emails he knows the older man will never read. He does not call her. He reworks his budget and dips into his savings and makes a list of things he can sell if all of this takes too long. He spares no thought for how his former partner will manage.

He waits fourteen days, but on the fifteenth, he decides he can't wait any longer. He is all raw nerves and pent up fury when he finally pounds on her door. He can't keep still, he bounces on the balls of his feet as he waits for her. He knocks again, even harder. It's 10:00 AM on a Wednesday, all of the neighbors should be at work. She is the only one he'll disturb.

She opens the door and for a second before her guard goes up, she looks happy to see him. That almost undoes him, but then she is once again reserved and stone-faced, and she has the nerve to ask what he's doing there.

He ignores her question and steps inside her apartment without an invitation. He walks around the living room, examining the tasteful art on her walls, trying to wrangle his racing thoughts and turn them coherent words.

"How's your summer been, Ziva?" That's what he comes up with.

She watches him warily, doesn't answer. He decides that's fine. He'll ignore her questions, she'll ignore his. That sounds like them.

"I kept waiting for you to call," he says, still pacing the length of her living room. "I kept waiting because obviously I'm a fucking idiot who hasn't been paying attention for the last seven years. But still, I'm gonna ask. Why didn't you call, Ziva?"

She remains still and silent in the middle of the room.

"Because I'm starting to feel like I'm living in the Twilight Zone. What happened to 'You're my best friend, Tony'? Does that only apply when we're working across the room from each other? Please, give me an explanation. Anything. Because I'm really beginning to feel like I imagined the better part of the last year."

It takes her a while to answer, but he waits. He can be still and quiet too. He can wait for this.

It takes her a while, but she does answer him. Or, at least she tries. "It is clear that I...am not who you want me to be."

He wants to scream, but he grits his teeth instead. He stares her down and tells her what she already knows, what he's made more than fucking clear. "You are all I want."

Everything goes kind of fuzzy then, and he can't say for sure how comes to be kissing her or which of them made the first move. All he knows is that he has her pinned against the wall, and he cannot get enough of her. Her kisses are urgent and demanding, and he knows he's not the only one who can't get enough. He pulls her shirt over her head and groans at the contact with her skin. She is whimpering and rolling her hips against him, and he smiles at that. Badass Ziva, and he's making her whimper. He would like to savor the moment, but he needs to move this along. His hand hovers over the button on her waist band. God, he wants her. He is so close to having her.

But he is furious with her.

He lets his hand fall to his side, and he takes a step back from her, ignoring his body's screams of protest. He wants her, and he is furious with her, and it feels more like three years ago than three months ago.

He is not going back there.

She is staring up at him, disappointed, maybe, but not surprised. She is still breathing heavily and her lips have that swollen, just-kissed thing going on, and it's really taking everything in him not to wrap his arms around her and pick up right where they left off.

But that is not how thing are going to go between them.

"I'm not doing this, Ziva. Not like this. I'm not going to ruin everything, and I'm not going to let you either."

She opens her mouth to speak, but she can't seem to get her words out. She crosses her arms to cover her chest and gives him a small nod. He returns the gesture and heads for the door.

"You should really call your friends," is all he can think to say before he leaves.