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Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Don’t own ‘em, cause if I did you’d have seen this at the end of “Dead Man Walking”.
AN: I’m new to NCIS. This is my first fic in that genera, needless to say, first Tiva, one as well. Enjoy!
Timeline: Post-episode story for “Dead Man Walking”




Ziva David moved quickly through the rain-swept parking lot but couldn’t remember where she’d left her car. She tried to concentrate on her search, but had trouble focusing. All she could think about was the terrible waste caused by death.

It was over. Lt. Roy Sanders had slipped into a coma three hours earlier and moments ago died of radiation poisoning. She’d watched his mother, father and sister as they’d clung together in their grief. A family united despite the loss of one of its members. The sight cut straight to her heart, reminding her of a very different reunion between father and daughter when her brother had died.

Staring up at the late night sky she let rain pelt her face in an attempt to wash away the memory, but it only made the pain stronger. It had been raining that night almost two years ago and she’d gotten drenched then as well.

“Ziva,” a deep male voice called out to her, causing her to jump and turn, reaching for her weapon.

“Easy there Tonto, it’s only me.” Her partner, Tony DiNozzo has been waiting in the visitors lounge and had seen her slip down the back stairs. “You’re gonna get soaked standing out here like this. At least put your coat on.” He tried to hand her the long green wool garment she’d left with him hours earlier, but she pulled away shaking her head.

“What are you doing here?” Ziva blinked dampness out of her eyes and told herself it was only from the rain. “I thought you left when Gibbs called saying they caught the woman who killed Roy.”

“I was waiting for you; I’ve been here most of the last two days.” He wanted to touch her, let her know that she wasn’t alone, but her warning frown made him keep his distance. “Let’s get outta the rain before we both drown.” He pulled his car keys from his pocked and nodded toward his vehicle.

“That isn’t necessary. I can drive myself home.”

“Good trick if you can do it. Your car is in the lot, at the Navy yard, where you left it days ago.” Tony took advantage of her moment of confusion and guided her toward his car.

“Oh…you’re correct.” She blamed her forgetfulness on a headache that had been building since morning. “I’d…forgotten that I’d accompanied Lt. Sanders in the ambulance.” She’d lost track of time and didn’t want to ask exactly how long she’d been in the hospital wing of the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute.

“Come on, in you go.” Tony opened the door and gently supported her arm to help her in.

“No!” she snapped and pulled back at his touch. “I’m fine. It isn’t necessary. I can take a taxi.” Ziva had been without sleep for too many hours and was too close to the edge. All she wanted was to be alone where she could fall apart in private.

“No can do. I’ve got my orders from Gibbs and Director Shepard.” DiNozzo would have been there anyway, but he wasn’t going to tell Ziva that. “They stopped by earlier to be sure you were all right.”

“Of course I’m all right. Why wouldn’t I be all right?” She snapped hating how weak she felt and afraid that it was showing. “Why is everybody being such a worry-toad?” She glared in frustration.

“Huh…” For a moment Ziva’s botched idiom left Tony in the dark. He was usually good at deciphering what she meant and knew if he gave it a minute it would make sense. “Aaaa….I think you meant worrywart, not toad…though there are times when your version sounds better.”

“Worrywart, yes, thank you.” The young Israeli woman filed the strange American expression away in her almost flawless memory. She would not make the same mistake again.

“Please get in, you’re shivering and beginning to turn blue,” Tony almost whispered. She’d never put her coat on and her clothes and hair were wet.

“I…” Something in his tone caught Ziva off guard. She turned and looked up into his face. For once he wasn’t wearing his mask of casual indifference; for once there was no laughter or challenge in his deep blue eyes, just sorrow. When he looked at her that way she wanted to lean her head against his shoulder and let him take control. Instead she nodded and agreed to let him take her home. “I…yes…ah…thank you.”

He was right, she was cold. Ziva stared straight ahead watching large rain drops hit the windshield and be swept away by the quickly moving wipers moments later. Her vision blurred and she wrapped her arms around her body to keep the shivers at bay. The rush of warm air from the heater was inadequate to take away the chill that was soul deep. She felt old, her skin stretched thin, making the hated memory so strong she could almost feel the weight of the gun in her hand and taste the sorrow that had enveloped her when she’d realized her brother was a Hamas operative. She had no memory of taking aim or pulling the trigger, but the blood that had seeped from the back of Ari’s head often washed through her dreams.

“Ziva, where did you go?” Tony nudged her gently as he pulled the keys out of the ignition. He knew she hadn’t slept much in the last 37 hours, but he’d never seen her anything but in total control and it worried him.

“I…ah…I was just remembering.” She shook her head trying to clear it and took a look around. “I thought you said you were taking me home?” She glared.

“I did. This is my home.” He moved quickly out of the car, incase she wasn’t too tired to express her usual quick temper. “I was told to be sure you ate and slept and that’s just what I’m going to do.”

Ziva looked at the door separating the garage from his flat and shook her head. “Just take me home. I promise I’ll have a good meal and then go to bed.”

“I’m not in the mood to argue, David.” Tony glared at her. “Why do you always have to be so tough?”

“It’s not that. I don’t want to be a…ah…an extra wheel, yes.” Her large eyes pleaded with him as she pointed toward the door.

“Third wheel,” he suggested.

“Yes, a third wheel.” She nodded definitively. “Now take me home.”

“There’s no one in there.” He moved to stand inches away from her.

“Then isn’t there someplace else that you should be?” When Tony had stopped coming to her place two or three times a week so they could fix dinner together, she’d thought it had been because he was angry at her. When she’d been in trouble she’d called Gibbs in Mexico, instead of him. But it hadn’t taken her long to realize that Tony didn’t spend his spare time with any of the team anymore. There was someone else in his life and if Ziva’s instincts were correct it was a woman.

“No Ziva,” Tony whispered as he gripped her shoulders. “There is no place I have to be, nor anyplace else I’d rather be right now.” Then to lighten the mood he added with a grin, “Sure it isn’t just that you’re worried about your reputation?”

“You’ve got to be kidding!” she muttered and gave him a shove. ‘If he knew the truth, he might not be so willing to invite me in,’ she thought. The Mossad believed they were lovers. She hadn’t bothered to tell them the truth, because a denial would have made her look all the more guilty. Her father, as director, took pride in the fact that his one remaining child had become intimate with an agent from the United States. The thought left a bad taste in her mouth and was another reason she wanted to keep as much distance as possible between Tel Aviv and her.
Ziva stripped off her wet pants, vest and shirt and left them lying on the bathroom floor. She tossed her bra and panties into the tub and followed them in. The hot shower felt wonderful against her chilled skin, but it swept away the last of her control. In an attempt to keep her emotional walls intact she reached for her hand laundry and carefully washed both items. As black silk and lace blurred and hot tears stung her eyes she gave up the fight. Shivering she leaned her head against the wall and let the sound of water pounding on porcelain hide her as she fell apart.

She cried for all the death she’d known, and the destruction that was left in its wake. She cried for Roy Sanders a young man who she’d never get to know; for Ari Haswari, a man who could have been different if he hadn’t let hate rule his life; for Tali David a girl who died before she really learned to live; for Isser David a man who should be dead, but wasn’t, instead he gladly sacrificed two of his children for his beliefs; and she cried for herself, for the losses of those people and the empty spaces they left in her life.

“Ziva,” Tony called through the door as he knocked.

“Just a moment,” she sniffed and double checked that the shower curtain was as opaque as it appeared. “What do you want?”

“I’ve got dry clothes for you.” He hung a pair of sweats over the towel rack by the sink and stooped to get her wet things off the floor. “They’ll be big, ‘cause they’re mine, but they’re clean and dry.”

“Thank you,” she raised her voice so it would be heard over the shower and couldn’t suppress a shiver of relief. She’d dreaded the idea of wearing clothes that belonged to his ‘mystery woman’. As fast as the admission entered her head, she dismissed it, refusing to examine it any closer.
Twenty minutes later Ziva padded into the kitchen where Tony was working at the stove. He’d changed into dry clothes and she took a moment to admire how nice he looked in old jeans and a sweatshirt.

“Your timing is almost perfect officer David.” He stirred the soup and went back to making sandwiches. “The coffee should be ready, would you pour while I finish up here.” He nodded toward the counter behind him where he kept what he considered the two most important pieces of equipment in his kitchen, a microwave and a coffee maker.

“Sure,” she murmured glad for something to do. “Thank you for the clothes, by the way.”

“Anything to help a partner.” He grinned “They’re kind of cute on you,” he teased.

“Cute?” she spit the word out and looked at him with surprise. “Did you just call me cute?”

“Weeelllll…” He wasn’t sure how to answer that. The problem was he’d always thought she was cute but especially tonight in his gray NCIS sweats and old wool socks. They were large and baggy on her slim, small-boned frame. It made him realize how strong she must be to pull off the larger than life personality that seemed to be second nature to her.

“I’ve been called many things, but cute isn’t one of them,” she snorted as she handed him his coffee.

Tony took a sip of the hot liquid and looked her over carefully. “You are tonight,” he whispered and gently ran his thumb under her left eye. “Even with dark smudges from lack of sleep.” He could tell she’d been crying too, but was wise enough not to mention it.

“Don’t do this!” she gasped and backed away until she bumped into the counter. Usually she could take anything Tony had to dish out. A childhood spent in Isser David’s house had given her a tough skin, but not tonight when she was vulnerable, not tonight when her feelings were so close to the surface. “Don’t be kind to me! I messed up. I let myself care.”

“Ziva you’re human.” Tony turned off the stove and moved toward her his hands palms-up at shoulder height. “It’s all right for you to care, to let someone past that damn wall of yours.” God knows he’d tried to get past it, but just when he’d thought he was making progress he’d been sent on an undercover mission in Germany and when he’d returned she’d been on the run from the FBI, Mossad, and NCIS. After that, everything seemed to fall apart.

“Wall, wall you say!” She gritted her teeth and balled her hands into fists. Something was welling up inside of her and she had to fight it. “At least it’s better than that mile of bullshit you hide behind!”

“Yeah…right,” he muttered. He’d almost forgotten how good she was. She’d had him pegged from their first meeting and had never thought twice about telling him what she actually thought of him. If she learned the truth now, she’d despise him. He hated undercover work and this assignment was lasting far longer than the two weeks it had been slotted for. It was especially hard because she was his partner and he didn’t like keeping this from her.

“What does that mean?” He’d caught her off guard and she didn’t know how to respond.

“It means I’m agreeing with you,” he sighed in frustration.

“You give me too much credit. A wall can be just another form of bullshit.” Ziva bit her lip as she felt her eyes beginning to fill with tears. “Did it ever occur to you that I’d never have let Roy in if he hadn’t been dying?” She looked away from him, not wanting to see the disgust she was sure would be clear on his face.

“Yeah…yeah it did actually.” Tony wondered if she realized how much she was giving away about herself. “In all the time I’ve known you, I’ve never seen you not go after something you really wanted. In the big scheme of things, if Roy Sanders was that important to you, you’d have found a way to meet him. The Ziva I know wouldn’t let someone, with the potential to mean that much to her, run by her, three or four times a week, for eighteen months and do nothing.”

“You make it sound so cold and calculating. I didn’t do it on purpose,” she sighed and shrugged. “It just happened.” She wasn’t sure what else she could say. She couldn’t tell him that he didn’t know her at all, that there was someone who meant a great deal to her, but due to secrets and lies she had to stand right in front of him and pretend that he was only her partner.

“For what ever reason there was you cared about Roy Sanders for the last three days of his life. He was lucky to have had you there. You may go for the jugular when you sense danger, but you’d never knowingly use another person like that.” He wished the same could be said about him. If the Director was wrong about Jeanne, he was using her in the worst possible way. It made his gut twist to think about it. “Why do you suppose we do it, the walls and the bullshit?”

“To keep the secrets in,” she whispered, then looked stricken when she realized she’d spoken out loud. If she’d been her usual observant self, she’d have seen Tony flinch, but as exhausted as she was it didn’t register.

“Come here.” He pulled her close even as she tried to push him away. “Please don’t fight me, just this once, don’t fight me.” He knew she had the training to get free if she really wanted to. He was relieved when he felt her body slump against his and her arms wrap around his waist. It was one of those rare moments Tony DiNozzo would never admit existed, he needed to be held.

Ziva buried her nose in his neck and breathed in his scent. It was part her scent now, since she’d washed her hair with his shampoo and bathed with his soap. She let herself relax in his warm embrace all the while silently promising that it would never happen again. It felt too good and because it did, he held the power to break her if she let him.

Tony dug one hand deep into her damp curls while the other made slow easy circles over her back. He almost groaned when he realized she wasn’t wearing a bra and most likely didn’t have anything on under the sweatpants. If she were any other woman he knew his fingers would be working their way under that over-sized shirt, but she was Ziva and he couldn’t do that to her. Somehow she’d snuck through his carefully constructed wall of crass bullshit, but there couldn’t have been a worst time for him to realize it.

“Ya know Abby calls them MOAS,” his voice was hoarse but he had to say something or he’d end up kissing her. If he did, it would explode his two biggest secrets into the open and that couldn’t happen.

“Mo-ass what does that mean?” As she tilted her head back, his lips brushed her forehead. When his skin touched her, his eyes sparked blue fire and something flickered in the depths of her brown ones, as her breath stuck in her throat.

“It stands for mother of all secrets, hence M-O-A-S,” he spelled it out slowly and calmly, all bullshit set aside. It felt natural to be holding her, with her head cupped in his hand, their bodies only separated by the clothes they were wearing. He liked the way it felt. He liked it too much for his own good.

“So you’ve had this discussion before?” Her brows rose, wondering what secrets he’d shared with Abby and why he would keep them from her.

“Only in theory.” He’d been busy watching her lips and it had taken a moment for her question to make it to his brain. “It seems Abs’s MOAS has to do with wet newspapers and a paper route when she was a kid.” Tony watched Ziva nod as she absorbed the information. “You know you can tell me anything.”

“No,” she tried to shake her head and stepped back but he held her close. “Please don’t ask.” She fought to clear her mind of his nearness, but her walls were down and she was pressed against him with nothing to protect her.

“All right.” He nodded and set her free, unable to push her when she was exhausted and had nothing left to fight back with. Someday Ziva David was going to let him all the way in but when she did it was going to be because she wanted to, not because he caught her in an off moment. Unfortunately that meant he would have to open up to her too. When that happened he wondered if she’d ever trust him again.
The next morning Tony and Ziva quietly ate breakfast together. The blankets she’d used on his couch were neatly folded and the rain had finally stopped.

“Did you get a good night’s sleep?” He smiled at her as he sipped his coffee.

“Yes thank you and you?”

“I did too.” He grinned and his eyes lit up. “You look much better this morning.”

“I’m fine. I was fine last night.” She sat straight and took a bite of her toast. She wondered if she pretended that last night had never happened, that it would just disappear from her memory. So far Tony hadn’t said or done anything that would remind her of how weak she had acted.

“Good, that’s good to hear, because there is something I’ve been meaning to ask you.” He waited until she’d taken a mouth full of coffee before he leaned across the table and whispered, “Tell me, do all Mossad officers wear black Belgian lace under their uniforms?”

She quickly swallowed her coffee to keep from choking on it.

“You left ‘em hanging in my shower.” He shrugged innocently. “What’s a guy to do?”

“A whole lot less than you probably did.” She was struck with conflicting emotions the most overpowering being relief, crass-Tony had returned. The other one could do too much damage to her self-control.

“Ziva David, I’m ashamed of you. You have a dirty mind,” he teased. “Now back to my question….”

“I’m afraid that’s on a need to know basis and you don’t need to know!” She grinned.

The End



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 9th, 2007 11:09 pm (UTC)
I love this fic. :) I hope you'll find time to write more NCIS stories.
Aug. 9th, 2007 11:14 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I'm a huge Tiva shipper. This last year has been a hard one for that pairing. I'm looking forward to the season opener. I've got some ideas and some partially started stories on my desktop, but at the moment I'm trying to finish a story that has plagued me for the last two years. I'm determined not to start anything new until I get it finished.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )



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