Tony & Ziva // Debris // Cooling of the Embers
(reposted as audio because I just realised this song is perfect for this fic)
Though not entirely in ruins, the building just wasn’t right without all its walls. At least a nice breeze came through as Ziva sat on the floor in a corner of what was once the bullpen. It was like the apocalypse had hit their little home, though she had to appreciate Tony’s lack of movie references.
Ziva ran a hand over her eyes, under which dark circles were beginning to show. She and Tony had barely spoken since they got out of the elevator. In fact, she’d barely spoken to any of the team. It was how she best dealt with the pain - isolate herself until she got over it. In a way, she was simply protecting those she loved, by avoiding passing her pain onto them. But she knew it wasn’t healthy, being along like this after such a traumatic experience. She’d been this way - all quiet and reserved and very un-Ziva - after both Ari and Tali had died, which is why she had so much difficulty coming to terms with their deaths. She’d never felt comfortable enough to talk about them. And now, she was just repeating past events under different circumstances. She couldn’t help it. Under stress, she reverted to her instincts.
You tell yourself you must shut down. You tell yourself to never show any emotion. To anybody.
Being isolated as she was, the last thing she expected to hear were footsteps, unlike those of the work men that were still clearing rubble, nearly four days after the explosion. Nearly four days after she’d been trapped in that elevator with Tony. Speak of the devil.
“How did you get in here?” she asked him.
“Same way you got in,” he answered. “Not the elevator.”
She stared at her hands, which rested in her lap. “Right, of course.” She hesitated to say anything further.
Tony, standing over her, stuffed his hands in the pockets of his jeans. “So are you gonna tell me why you’ve been ignoring me? Avoiding my calls? I even went to your apartment yesterday, and you didn’t answer your door. I’m worried about you.”
“You don’t need to worry about me, Tony,” she assured him, looking up at him. “That is not your job.”
“Then whose job is it?”
She avoided his eyes, and the wind outside began to pick up. A lot. It was when she looked out over his shoulder she noticed the colour of the sky - slowly blackening. It made Tony’s hair and shirt blow wildly about, but he stood still as a soldier, staring at her. He sighed, and sat beside her.
“You can’t be strong all the time, Ziva. And it’s naive to think that you can, especially when no one expects you to be. So why do you do it?”
“Because, Tony,” she answered softly. “It is the only thing I know how to do.”
He exhaled, and grabbed her small hand. They sat in stillness for a moment or two.
“Come on, I wanna show you something,” he said suddenly, and leaped up.
He dragged her by the hand up flights and flights of stairs, before they finally reached a door. As he pulled it open, Ziva found herself surrounded by the D.C. sky.
At least three quarters of the roof were still intact. A chunk was missing on the side of the explosion but the concrete surface was otherwise unscathed. He took her right to the edge.
“I know I can’t change you,” he said, “Or your instincts. But I can make your life a little easier. Don’t surround yourself with the chaos and the mess. There’s no point. That’s why I come up here. To think.”
“It’s beautiful,” she said, almost inaudibly. “How come you never brought me up here?”
“It’s the perfect place to be alone,” he replied. “Technically we’re not allowed up here. I guess I didn’t wanna share this with anyone. Until now.” He stared out over the water around the building, and the distant outline of the city.
Silence was fulfilling, then. And it was only in that silence that they both realised their hands were still carefully intertwined.
A/N: Aaaand now I’m going to sleep. Laterz.