AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
PAIRING: Anthony DiNozzo/Ziva David
SUB-GENRE: First Time.
SUMMARY: During his life Tony has desired many things. Now there is just one thing he wants.
WORD COUNT: 2,220
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written for aries11: D - Desire
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
During his life Tony has desired many things: more money; his dad to tell him he loved him; a threesome with two hot girls; to be smarter; to replace his lost ninety-two magazine in which Pamela made her debut; Gibbs to praise him like he praised McGee; a friendship like Gibbs and Ducky had; to be taller; to have been good enough to play professional football; to have enough self-confidence to stop playing the fool; to lead his own NCIS team; to own his own Magnum car.
Now all he wants, all he needs, all he desires, is one thing: Ziva to open her eyes. All he desires is for Ziva to open her eyes and live so that he can tell her how much he loves her and how he can't live without her.
But the chances of that happening are as remote of him getting his own Magnum car or replacing his lost magazine or of Gibbs praising him or to stop playing the fool or to become smarter. In other words no chance.
She's in a deep coma; she has more machines attached to her body, breathing for her, feeding her, putting thing into her body and taking things out of her body, than he has ever seen before. She's as close to death as a person can be and not be dead. And it's all his fault.
If he hadn't let her drive to the crime scene, if he hadn't been messing about taking non-crime scene photos, if he'd pulled his gun a fraction of a second faster, if she hadn't pushed him out of the way, then he would be the one lying in the hospital bed and not her. He wishes it was him; he even wishes it was Gibbs or McGee or anyone but her. He feels guilty wishing for it to be someone else he cares about, but not guilty enough to stop wishing for it.
She'd pushed him out of the way, taking the bullets herself, even getting a shot off before she'd slumped the ground, bleeding from the three bullets that had hit her in the chest. Her heart had stopped four times on the way to the hospital and he'd been forced to sit and just watch as others fought to save her.
The doctors have warned him that even if she does miraculously open her eyes, she may never be the same woman again, may never walk again. One bullet had torn through her body and severed the spinal cord. They don't know, they won't know, they can't know the full extent of the damage until she does wake up. He knows how much she'd hate being paralyzed, how much she'd hate being dependent on others, how much she'd hate not to be able to do the things she loves, but he doesn't care. He just wants her to wake up.
He knows he's being selfish, but he doesn't care. He's sure they can overcome anything together, he'll resign from NCIS, he'll make his dad sell the 'never sell' shares, he'll look after her, he'll stay with her, he'll do everything for her. He'll be her legs, her arms, her body; he'll be whatever she needs. If only she'll wake up.
But it's been three months and the longer she stays unconscious, the less her chances are of waking up. Her father had visited her; he cried; he held her hand, stroked her hair and cried. Tony never thought the day would come when he would sorry for Eli David, but as he'd sat by her bed, letting his tears fall unchecked down his face, seemingly untroubled, unembarrassed by Tony's presence, Tony had felt more sympathy for the man he had thought he'd hated than for anyone else in his life.
They had sat there together in her hospital room; the two men who loved her; the two men who had never said the words.
Eli had looked up once, looked at Tony and said, "I never told her, not even when she was a little girl, that I loved her."
Tony had swallowed hard. "She knows."
But Eli had shaken his head and said something in his own language.
"Tell her now," Tony had said. "They say hearing is the last sense to go. They don't know how much an unconscious person can hear."
He assumes the words Eli had said to his daughter were 'I love you, Ziva', but they too were spoken in his own language.
In that room, for those few hours, Tony had felt closer to Eli than he'd even felt to his own father, to Gibbs, to his high school buddies, to Danny, even to Jeanne.
Eli had put his hand on Tony's shoulder and squeezed it before he'd left Ziva's room. "Shalom, Tony," he had said, his voice rough with the tears he'd shed.
Tony hadn't been able to speak, because he knew if he opened his mouth, he'd start to cry and he couldn't cry. Crying would mean admitting defeat, and he can't do that. But he'd put his hand on Eli's and held it, feeling the warmth from his skin, skin that somehow reminded Tony of Ziva's.
Eli had reached the door when he'd turned and said quietly, "You too should tell her. You should tell my daughter how much you love her." And he'd gone. He had not returned, but he called every night.
Tony still hasn't said the words. Something is stopping him. Something makes him fear if he says the words to her while she is unconscious she will never wake up.
It's been three months and he's surprised he still has a job. But he has. Gibbs had said something about 'compassionate leave' 'personal time' 'over due leave not taken' 'a mess up with days taken in the past' or something. But Tony hadn't really been listening. He hadn't cared, he didn't care, about the job. He was a good cop; he could easily get another job.
Gibbs, Ducky, Abby, McGee, Palmer, even Vance visited during the three months. Sometimes they'd come alone, sometimes Abby and McGee would come together; sometimes Gibbs and Ducky would come together; a couple of times Ducky and Palmer came together. But mostly they came alone, spreading the visits and their company out.
He leaves her bedside only when he has to, only when the call of nature is too great to ignore, or the nurses order him out so they can do one of their messy procedures, or he has to eat or shower.
He thinks she knows when he's not there. Once or twice he'd come back and she'd seemed a little less peaceful, her eyelids had twitched, she'd seemed flushed and yet once he'd sat back down and taken her hand again, she'd seemed to return to the still, close to death Ziva.
He hasn't asked the nurses if it's possible she could know he was there, because when he really thinks about it, he decides it's just wishful thinking. He wants her to know he's there; he wants to believe she knows he's there; he wants to believe she's better with him by her side. But how can that be?
It's the middle of the night or it may be the early hours of the morning or even before midnight. He doesn't know; his watch had stopped earlier in the day. McGee had promised to bring him a new battery the following day, but for now he's without time because a crazy thing had happened; the clock on the wall in her room had also stopped.
But it doesn't matter what the time is, why should it? Minutes go by; hours go by; days go by; weeks go by; months go by; he guesses at some point years will go by.
The room is dimly lit, but not dark. It's never totally dark. He's gotten used to it; gotten used to snatching a few hours sleep in the non-darkness. His eyes are closed now; he's tired. He doesn't know why he'd tired, how can you be tired when you don't do anything all day except sit and hold someone's hand, sit and stroke their hair, sit and pray to a God you've never believed in, sit and make bargains with the same God, sit and will her to wake up, sit and will someone else to be lying in the bed instead of her. You can't get tried just doing that, can you? But he's tired; he can't remember ever being so tried.
He feels his eyelids grow heavy; he feels his body start to relax; he feels his breathing and heart rate begin to slow down, become more measured. He feels - a twitch in the hand he's holding. His eyes open and he stares down, throat constricted, daring to hope, daring to believe his desire will be granted. But her hand is how it always is; still, cold, heavy in his.
He's just imagining it. He slumps back in the chair and close his eyes again. Once more as he begins to slip into sleep, he feels her hand move in his. And this time he hears a noise, faint, a whimper, a noise like a hurt kitten might make.
He sits back up and turns the light over her bed up and stares down at her. This time he is not imagining it. This time her eyelids are twitching, this time her hand is moving and the faint noise is coming from her throat.
The duel feeling of over-whelming fear and relief hit him simultaneously and he hits the call button, urging the nurses to come running and then he knows it's time. He knows it's time he did what her father had told him to do. "I love you, Ziva," he says, "I love you. I love you." And the tears, tears that he has not shed, not once, finally stream down his face. "I love you."
He's still saying the words as he's forcibly removed from her side as the nurses and hastily called doctors take charge, pulling out the breathing tube, talking to her, adjusting the machines. He stands pressed against the wall, letting it hold him up, tears still streaming down his face, his nose running, just repeating, "I love you, Ziva. I love you."
TWO WEEKS LATER
He's sitting on one side of her bed holding her hand. Eli sits on the other side of the bed holding her other hand. She's sitting up, she's still weak, still in a degree of pain, still far paler than he likes, but apart from an irregular twitch in her right hand and a degree of numbness in her arm that causes her some small problems when eating or drinking or brushing her hair or writing, she is fine. The feared paralysis has not happened. The doctors believe she will make almost a full recovery - they expect the twitch and numbness will always remain, but they are a small price to pay.
He'd stayed by her side, fussing over her, trying to do everything for her, telling her he loved her every few minutes until finally she had thrown up her hands, glared at him and said, "I love you too, Tony, now go home and let me have some peace." Then she'd grabbed his sweater with her left hand, pulled hard until he'd fallen onto the edge of the bed and had kissed him and gone on kissing him until the door had opened and Ducky had come in.
Her father has been here since two days after she'd woken up, had left his Mossad duties in the hands of others and had flown to America to be with his daughter. Tony had been in her room when he'd swept in and had still been there when Eli had sat down on Ziva's bed, gathered her into his arms, just as you'd gather a young child and told her he loved her. She'd cried; Tony had cried; Eli had cried; Abby who'd chosen that moment to arrive had cried; they'd all cried until a nurse had arrived and thrown them out and told them they couldn't come back if they were going to upset her patient.
Now Tony has something to ask Eli. He isn't sure what Ziva will think; he isn't sure what Eli will think; he isn't sure what anyone will think, he just knows it's right. "Director David," he says.
Both Ziva and Eli look at him, surprise clear on their faces. "Anthony?"
He swallows, glances at Ziva who is watching him a somewhat bemused look on her face. "May I have your permission to marry your daughter?" he asks.
Eli stares at him and then begins to smile.
Ziva stares at him and then begins to speak. "His permission. What about mine?"
Tony looks down at her and smiles. "No, my little ninja," he says, brushing a curl from her forehead. "You do not have a say in this, does she, Eli?"
Eli begins to laugh as Ziva's eyes flash. He stands up, bends to kiss Ziva's forehead, holds his hand out to Tony and says, "No, Ziva. You do not have a say. Yes, Anthony. Yes, you have my permission to marry my daughter."