I'm sorry about the confusion about taking the story of and then reposting, but if I was warned by a group that they would report me for using lyrics. Just a few changes…

The apartment was dark and silent but for the ragged breathing of the only occupant. The brown hair of the handsome man on the bed was wet with sweat as he tossed and turned in the tendrils of a nightmare. The dream was relentless and every now and then a strangled scream would escape the man's lips. With a final shout of "No!" the man flew up, looked around, and breathed a sigh of relief when he recognized his bedroom.

Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo got up to get some water, hoping to get rid of the horrible images that still played in his mind- the explosion, the elevator, the horrible 'what if'. It couldn't be ignored anymore. He needed to do it; he just had to – before it was too late.

Tony got dressed, he had waited long enough, and he just hoped he wasn't too late. This needed to be done as soon as possible. A glance at the clock on his way out of his apartment told him that it was after three in the morning, but he didn't care. She might be angry, but he would deal with that bridge when he came to it.

On the drive over to her apartment, he could feel the hands of doubt clawing at his mind. 'What if she doesn't feel the same?' 'What if you lose her friendship?' A bunch of "what if" questions running through his mind like a treadmill. He needed to tell her; he didn't want to let another day go by without her knowing.

'Rule 12' his mind reminded him, 'what about rule 12?'

Working for the great Leroy Jethro Gibbs was both an honour and a curse. They worked their asses off, but they did good work. There just wasn't a right time- they never got the chance, so now Tony was making time, and he was taking his chance. He was going to tell her how he felt, even if it meant a broken jaw and nose in the morning. Injuries he could live with, regrets? There was enough for a lifetime, he didn't need more regrets.

After the knock, he only waited another minute before the door opened. Even in her night clothes, she took his breath away. The air around her crackled with her personality and he was stunned into silence for a minute.

"Tony?" her subtle accent broke through his thoughts and he smiled.

"I couldn't start another day without telling you. I need you to know…" He stopped as her finger touched his lips.

"I know. I've known for a long time," her statement knocking him into silence once more, "but I want to hear it from you, Tony. I want you to tell me how you feel."

Ziva led him to her couch and they sat down facing each other.

Tony took a deep breath and started. He told her of the nightmares and fears.

…The fear of being too late.

…Of missing the chance to have a life together.

In return, Ziva told him, her fears, her issues with trust and hurt.

"I want to know that I tried, Ziva. I don't want the regret of waking up alone. Of going through life without anyone to share my disappointments, my triumphs and Gibbs' head slaps."

"What of our job, Tony?" Ziva played with the hem of Tony's shirt, "It's important to both of us."

"That is why we have to make this work." Tony took Ziva's chin and lifted her head to look into her eyes, shocked to see tears in the dark brown depths.

"I want to hold you when you cry. I want to keep you safe against the world. I want to be the one you trust enough to let go around. Most of all, I want to be the one you love and the one to care for you," Tony said, and Ziva could see the sincerity in his eyes. He stood up, taking her into his arms and placed a soft kiss on her forehead.

"So Ziva David, I need to tell you, before it's too late, that I love you with my heart and my life."

"I love you too, Tony."

They stayed in comfortable silence for a while, relishing the feel of each other's arms. Ziva suddenly broke away and looked at Tony with worry in her eyes.

"Tony, what about Gibbs?"

So there you are people! My first (edited) fluffy story. This was a promise to my cousin. She wanted a TIVA story, so here you are. Let me know what you think. Thanks to my beta, C. Nicole for the great job she's doing (again).


* Story inspired by 'Before it's too late' by Westlife