This doesn't really go anywhere, but it is a let out of some emotions after Revenge. It was supposed to be a little happier Tiva fic to help cope with things, but it turned out somewhat angsty instead. Even so… I think it helped me. I hope it helps you. Uh… enjoy?
** Don't own nothing.
The streets seemed dark and quiet from the passenger sit window, as the cab was driving through the city. It was late. People were probably getting ready to end their day, crashing in front of some meaningless TV show. Maybe taking a shower, washing the day off. Putting little kids to sleep, tucking them safely in their beds. Getting ready to recharge their batteries for whatever tomorrow may throw at them. It amazed him sometimes how the rest of the world just seemed to be carrying on, untouched, unshaken. Oblivious.
"You can stop right past that corner, that'll be great, thanks."
The cab driver nodded and pulled the car over as asked. Tony gave him a couple of bills, grabbed his backpack and climbed out of the car.
"Have a good night, sir."
"Yeah," Tony mattered, waved his hand and started walking towards his building.
This night was a lot of things, but he seriously doubted 'good' was one of them. As he walked past the apartment buildings, he started wondering if going back home was indeed the right thing to do.
He wanted to be with her right now. He wanted to see how she was doing. He wanted to help her deal. And if she wasn't ready to deal, he just wanted to help her be. They all left NCIS headquarters around the same time, a little after Ziva had finished writing her full report about everything that had happened. She didn't say much, and they didn't ask. Then she left, and after a few minutes they did, too. Having losing both his car and his ride, he took a cab, with the intention of going home. But then he realized he just couldn't, and asked the driver to change course and drive to her place instead. He could already see there were no lights from her apartment when he was looking at it from down the street, but he decided it was still worth the try. He got inside her building, knocked on her door and called her name, but got no answer. He decided to give her a call, and pressed his ear to the door in the hope of hearing her phone ring from inside. But he didn't hear a thing. Complete silence. The thought of breaking in did cross his mind briefly, but it was gone before it could form into something concrete. He was worried about her, absolutely, but it would have been disrespectful of her privacy, and if she was in there and not taking his calls, then that probably meant she really couldn't stand talking to him right now. And he couldn't make himself push that hard. The last thing he wanted was to add more stress to the turmoil that was her life tonight.
So after about ten more minutes of waiting, he finally gave up. Called another cab, and drove home. He was still thinking that maybe he should have waited a little longer when he got out of the elevator to his floor, walked down the hall and stopped dead in his tracks.
Because there she was.
Ziva was sitting, right there on the floor, her back leaned against his door. And she was looking at him.
"Hi," he managed, some hesitation evident in his voice.
He thought he saw her trying to form some expression of acknowledgement on her face, but to no avail. He resumed his steps towards her.
"I, uh… I was just at your place," he started, as he reached to sit down beside her. "I was looking for you."
There was another moment of silence. And then—
He considered her for a second. "Wanted to talk. See how you were. See if you… needed anything."
She gave a small understanding nod, and shifted her gaze to a random spot on the wall in front of them.
"I… called you, earlier."
He watched her take her phone out of her pocket and discover his missed call.
"Sorry, I… I guess I was on the bus, I… I didn't hear it ring."
She put her phone back in her pocket, her gaze still away from him. Tony stared her down with a hard, scrutinizing look.
"What are you doing here, Ziva?"
The question was a bit blunt, and demanded an answer; yet his voice was still soft.
Ziva breathed and sighed, and eventually raised her eyes up to meet his.
"I am tired."
It wasn't exactly an answer to his question. Or was it? He wasn't sure. And her eyes were back to that spot on the wall, and he couldn't search them, and he felt confused.
Tired of what? Just physically? Tired of the chase? It has been over three months of what must have been the most painful journey. Tired of life? Of how cruel it always seemed to treat her? Unfairly? Tired of death, keeping coming back to collect, leaving her with yet another deep wound?
"I did not mean," she startled him out of his thoughts, "to snap at you and mock you and… you know... the other day." Her voice was quiet, but steady and sincere. And he knew it, he knew those moments didn't really come from her heart. Still, it seemed he did need her assurance after all.
Tony scanned her figure again. She looked… distant. She looked… something like indifferent, but not quite. He couldn't put his finger on it. But either way, she was here, in this hallway. She came to him, and she waited, for him. Even though he wasn't sure how he was feeling at the moment, he knew he was glad about that. The fact that she was looking for him was a good sign, and he didn't miss that.
And so he nodded, stood up and held out his left hand. After staring at it for a second, she gave him her good arm and let him pull her up. He fumbled for his keys in his backpack, found them, and opened the door to his apartment, gesturing for her to get inside.
Locking the door behind them, Tony put his backpack down, took his jacket off and turned on a light. He put his gun in the safe and gave Kate her now long overdue meal, while Ziva was wondering from the living room to the kitchen and back again, looking everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Eventually Tony saw her sitting herself down on the couch, and he went into the kitchen to get them both a glass of water.
"You want anything to eat?" he called to her. "I don't have much, but we can manage something if you like…" he added, as he scanned the far from impressive contents of his fridge.
Seeing as he got no answer, he grabbed the glasses and carried them to the living room, where he found Ziva lying with her head on one of the pillows by the armrest of the couch, legs curled to her stomach, and very much asleep.
"Yeah," he sighed heavily, "I wasn't really all that hungry myself, to be honest." He put one glass of water on the table in front of the couch, almost tripping over her shoes she must have taken off before lying down, and brought the other back to the kitchen, gulping from it some on the way. He then entered his room and got a fresh blanket out of his closet. He carried it back to the living room, turned off the light and crouched down to cover her up gently, careful not to wake her up.
Still crouched down, he settled by her head and studied her battered face. He couldn't hold back a wince as he eyed the heavy dark marks around and below her eye, and shivered slightly at the sight of her swollen dark knuckles tucked by her cheek. His imagination was achingly efficient in helping him visualize all the other marks that were no doubt covering the rest of her body. He couldn't help but observe that she didn't really look peaceful. Just exhausted. Drained. As if someone had found her shut-down button and pressed it.
He hoped that at least in her sleep she would get to have a few uneventful hours. She certainly deserved at least that much. He sighed again. The strength of that woman in front of him, physically and mentally, was just awe striking. It was incredible, and it had definitely helped her through a lot of... well... bad things in her life. But it also got her involved in a lot of other bad things, which left Tony wondering if being so strong was indeed a virtue, and not a curse.
He wanted to tell her. He wanted to tell her that this, this was why he'd asked her not to do this in the first place. Because now, after the deed was done, there was nothing else left. She lived to get only one thing, and now that she had, there were no more goals to pursue. And she would just get stuck in this horrible, horrible place, lonely and lifeless, and she would have nothing to live for.
He wanted to tell her, but he couldn't. He didn't know how. Somewhere along the way, he got lost. He used to always find a way to reach her. Albeit, some ways were better than others, but still he managed, and it seemed to be enough. This time, however, he felt helpless. He didn't even know where to start, let alone where to go. And he was scared, oh, he was so scared. Because for one brief, magical moment, it felt as if there was actual real chance to make this, this thing, happen; but now he felt she was slipping away. He thought he had caught her, but as it turned out, he could not hold on.
And now… now he was terrified that he had lost her for good.