FOLLOW YOUR HEART

Written by: Jeanniefan78/April

Author's Note: This story was written for Barb's "A Farewell to Arms" challenge over at NFA.

Fair warning, this story has major TIVA in it. So, if TIVA is not your cup of tea, then this probably isn't a story you'll like. For those who do like TIVA, I hope you enjoy it.

: )

It was real…it was really real. Ziva was gone and the team was once again on the hunt for a new team member.

As Tony sits at his desk and thinks about it, he truly cannot decide what feels worse: when they left her in Israel after the showdown with Rivkin…or the goodbyes they had just said last night at Ziva's farewell party.

"So, this is really it," he hears himself say as he flashes back to last night, after he parks in front of Ziva's soon-to-be former apartment building.

"Yes," Ziva says quietly as she tries to hold back her tears. She had already cried a pool of tears as she said her goodbyes to everyone that night…but this… this was different.

"Are you sure you don't want someone to see you off at the airport tomorrow?"

Ziva nods her head. "Yes… I am sure. Long goodbyes are just too painful and it is just better this way."

"Yeah… I suppose you're right."

"Look, Tony… in case I have not said it enough lately, thank you for being there for me. You, McGee, Gibbs, everyone… You took me in like one of the family. And there were many times you could have dropped me like a hot tomato, and would have had every right to, but you did not. I will never be able to thank you enough."

"You're still part of our family, Ziva. Physical distance will never change that."

"Thank you," she says, tearfully.

"Well," she says after a moment of silence. "I guess I better get inside." She gets out of the car.

Tony gets out and walks around to her side. "Thanks for letting me have your car."

"I know you will take good care of it."

All at once, they wrap their arms around each other.

"You call or text me as soon as you land."

"I will," she says with tears streaming down her cheeks.

"I… I'm really gonna miss you, Ziva."

"I will miss you, too." She squeezes him a tad tighter and then, quickly lets go and runs off toward the entrance to her apartment building.

Tony stands there a moment longer, looking in the opposite direction, when he feels tears start to gently trickle down his cheeks.

. . . . . . .

"Tony…," someone calls. "Hey, Tony!"

"Huh, what?," he says, jumping slightly.

"You were a million miles away. Are you alright?," McGee asks.

"Yeah, I'm fine."

"I know you miss her. We all do," McGee says, trying to be comforting.

"I know… It's just gonna take some getting used to. That's all."

"Yeah." McGee picks up some papers off his desk. "I'll be right back. Do you want a coffee or anything?"

"No, thanks."

McGee nods and then, walks away.

. . . . . . . . . . .

"Coffee?"

Tony looks at the fresh cup of coffee that has just been set in front of him and then, up at Gibbs.

"For me?"

"Well no, DiNozzo, I thought I'd set it there for decoration."

Tony very slightly grins. "Thanks, Boss. It's good to be back."

Gibbs grins, goes and sets another cup of coffee on McGee's desk and then, goes and sits down at his own desk.

"Hey," Gibbs says. "You alright?"

"I'm fine, Boss. It's just gonna take a while to get used to."

"Yeah," he agrees. "It will."

Tony sits in silence a moment longer as he stares at his computer screen. He, then, looks back over at Gibbs.

"I love her, okay?!," he blurts out.

Gibbs nods his head once. "I know," he says quietly.

Tony looks at him, puzzled. "Huh?"

"I said, I know."

"How?"

"I have eyes, DiNozzo."

Tony is quiet for a moment. "Is it really that obvious?"

"Tony… I've watched the two of you interact day in and day out for the past eight years… It doesn't take a genius to figure it out."

"I wasn't supposed to fall in love with her, Boss."

Gibbs shakes his head and starts typing.

"So, you're not gonna give me the run-down of rule #12 again?"

"Rule 51." He looks straight at Tony.

"Oh."

"Follow your heart, DiNozzo."

Tony sits quietly for a moment longer and thinks about that: "Follow your heart."

Gibbs looks back up at Tony after a few seconds. "Hey, you still here?"

Tony looks over at Gibbs.

"You've got a plane to catch. Get out of here!"

Tony smiles really big. "Right."

He, then, makes like a bandit for the elevator.

Gibbs shakes his head and smiles.