note: I posted this on Tumblr earlier, but I didn't really feel it was enough to post here. However, some people (read: Sophie) wanted me to post it over here, and since it was received far better than I expected over on Tumblr, I figured I might as well. So, enjoy. This takes place just after Ziva leaves, in case that's not obvious when you read it. It should be.

disclaimer: You know you're obsessed with NCIS when you murmur something in Hebrew and your friends actually understand it because, apparently, you explained it to them once.

listening to: Something's Gotta Give, by OneRepublic.

They've been in MTAC all of 30 seconds before he feels a twisting in the pit of his stomach and he just knows she's gone. He should've guessed, he supposes, that she'd have gone instantly, and he's berating himself for not physically dragging her with them before he's even left the dark room.

He waits another minute until he gives up on making vague contributions to the caller on the screen and simply runs out the door. Her desk is empty as he lays eyes on it, and he swears, taking the stairs two at a time before bolting to where she should be and pulling her top drawer open. He finds her badge lying haphazardly amongst crumpled papers and a stray pen, but after further rifling he finds no gun present.

"Shit. She's gone, boss." he says to the feet currently standing in front of Ziva's desk. Gibbs says nothing and remains standing on the spot.

"I thought she gave you her car, though." McGee says, from somewhere or other, and Tony jumps up to his bag, fumbling with the zipper as he searches for the keys.

"She took 'em too." Gibbs says, not a question, and Tony raises his eyes to meet his boss', surprised at the confidence in the older man's tone.

"You sound like you knew this was gonna happen." he says, with faked indifference, but there must be more anger in his tone than he'd realized, if McGee's raised eyebrow and shuffle backwards mean anything.

He stands to his full height and steps closer to his boss, silently challenging Gibbs to admit it.

"You said yourself, she's not gonna let this go. We couldn't stop her."

At that, Tony's fists clench and he's quite aware that it's getting harder to control this unexplainable anger.
"You didn't think of telling me any of this? Didn't think I could talk to her, tell her not to go?" he forces out, through clenched teeth, and yes, he's seething now.

Gibbs quirks an eyebrow, at the sight before him, but merely blinks and says nothing.

Before Tony even knows what's going on, he's launching at Gibbs and pressing a hard shove to his boss' shoulder, making him stumble back a little. He shakes his head and storms away into the men's room to prevent any further damage.


He knows it's futile, but he calls her apartment. He locks the bathroom door and leans against the wall, and murmurs a quick prayer when he hears her answering machine.
"I don't know what the hell you've done, Ziva, but I swear..."

He kicks the wall, hangs up, and attempts a second time.

"Okay I'm trying again. Look… I thought you knew you didn't have to do this alone. I thought you knew I w-" he sighs and attempts desperately to keep himself together.
"You know I care for you, and you know do anything to I'll help you. What I don't know is why you'd leave without saying a word. We know where you are and as soon as I hang up, we're getting in the car and coming after you, and I know that you understood we'd do that, so there was no reason for you to go alone! God, Ziva, we're not leaving you. And you might not hear this for days, but I'm shit-scared of losing you right now so don't you dare think this is something you'll deal with by yourself. I l- well, I'd like to think you already know. Whatever you've done, or whatever you're about to do… I'm here for the long haul, and nothing is gonna change my mind."

He hits the end call button with a sigh and rests his head against the wall. His pulse is thundering in his ears and he's aware that he feels no weight lifted off his shoulders, or anything like that. Truthfully, he's even more worried, because he knows they've very recently taken two steps back from where they were, and he doesn't like that one bit. They were closer, they were so close, to being something, and now he's back to messing up phone calls and pretending his motives are purely down to the fact that they're partners.

Taking a deep breath, he stands upright, cracks his neck, and unlocks the door. He's surprised to see Gibbs standing stoically on the other side.
Tony doesn't dare ask how much the older man had heard of the phone call, he's scared enough right now as it is.

"You coming or not?" Gibbs asks, gruffly, and turns away.

Tony nods once, pockets his phone, and follows his boss with a wry smile on his lips.

Well, I hope you liked it.