It had been a year, not that anyone had noticed. Or maybe they had, but they still didn’t say a word about it.
One whole year. Tony shook his head in disbelief, plopping down into his desk chair and opening the top drawer, where Ziva’s necklace still rested. He found himself in this position often, that is, whenever his coworkers weren’t around. With delicate fingers, he lifted the simple gold chain out of the drawer and dangled it in front of himself. The light from his desk lamp glimmered off the Star of David, and Tony closed his eyes, suddenly overwhelmed with another wave of pain in his chest and a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. This necklace shouldn’t be here, in his hands. It should be with her, hanging comfortably around her neck like it always had.
Tony let the necklace drop to his desk as his face fell into his hands. Even after a year of her absence the thought of her practically paralyzed him with sadness. If he found himself thinking of her his heart would ache so much that he couldn’t bring himself to roll out of bed in the morning, especially because she wasn’t there next to him when he woke up. He had taken to sleeping on the couch to solve this little problem. At least that way he could drag himself to work each day and try to put on a happy face.
But the worst part about coming to work was that she was everywhere. The bullpen, the elevator, the parking lot, Abby’s lab—every single nook and cranny of the office building. That particular shade of orange which adorned the walls of the office even dredged up memories of her.
This even extended outside of the office building and into the greater DC metro area as well. Random memories associated with random locations all across town. A glimpse of an old apartment building where they had spent hours on a stake out. A warehouse that had once been a crime scene. Nowhere was safe from the onslaught of memories that shouldn’t be painful, but nevertheless drove a knife through his heart.
Of all 365 days, however, today had been the worst. Tony kept stealing glances at his coworkers when they weren’t looking, hoping that someone would at least acknowledge that they knew the significance of the date. Each hour that passed caused a restlessness in him, the source of which he couldn’t quite pinpoint. Gibbs’ face was hardened with focus on the case they were working, and McGee was typing away at speeds only he could reach. There didn’t seem to be one single thought of their old partner on their minds, and that drove Tony crazy. He ached to hear her name spoken aloud by someone, anyone, if only to reassure himself that she hadn’t been a dream.
Once the case was wrapped and everyone sent home, Tony stuck around the darkened bullpen, allowing thoughts of her to fill his mind for what must be the hundredth time that day.
Her necklace pressed into his forehead as he rested it on his desk, feeling tears start to sting at the corners of his eyes. He abruptly stood, slamming his hand hard on his desk and turning to pace the bullpen restlessly.
He just couldn’t shake this feeling that something wasn’t right. He had felt it nagging at the back of his mind ever since he had stepped on that plane back from Israel, but over the course of the year the feeling had just amplified. Now, he felt this uncontrollable pull back to Israel, and on a whim, he found himself booking a one-way plane ticket to Ziva’s homeland.
Without a thought of the rest of his team, and with nervous energy coursing through him, Tony swiped Ziva’s necklace off the surface of his desk and into his pocket. He yanked his desk drawer open and couldn’t find it in himself to care that the action jumbled its contents as his hands shakily removed his badge from his side and placed it in the drawer, along with his handgun.
He started to close the drawer when another one of its contents caught his eye. Tony felt his pulse start to calm as he hesitantly picked up the black velvet box that had been sitting there for almost a year now. He breathed in a deep breath before opening the box, which held the ring he had bought for Ziva, on the chance that she should return to him one day.
He had waited, just as he had promised. He had given her space, lived without her for a whole year, but no more. A single day more would bury him further into despair, so his decision was made. He was going to go see Ziva, and this time there would be no force on the planet strong enough to pull him away from her again.
The flight was uneventful. Tony realized that he should probably be at least a little worried about what Gibbs or Vance would think of his unexcused leave of absence, but he was surprised to find that he couldn’t have cared less.
All he could think of was his beautiful ninja growing ever closer to him as the plane descended upon Tel Aviv in the still of night.
The 13 hour long flight brought him into the city at around 0100, exhausted both physically and emotionally. Jet lag hadn’t even caught up yet, but his back was aching from the uncomfortable seats. It was incredible how much he felt he had aged, just in the year Ziva had been gone. Well, aged and matured.
By 0400, Tony was sitting outside a café in Be’er Sheva, just miles away from the farmhouse where Ziva was staying. It took all of his will power to stay away, even for an hour more, but he didn’t want to come knocking in the middle of the night. So he contented himself to sit, albeit anxiously, and sip coffee until he deemed it a reasonable time to go reunite with the one true love of his life.
0500 came, and with it, the stuttering heart of a man who had spent a year feeling as if his soul had been ripped from his body the moment he left his love in Israel. His fist hesitated for only a moment before knocking softly on the front door of the farmhouse.
And that was when it had happened.
The door gave way slightly, opening just a crack, and Tony’s heart clenched, ice water seeming to run through his veins.
Wishing now more than ever that he had his gun and his badge, Tony took a shaky breath and pushed the door open further, hoping and praying that his ninja was okay. He wanted to believe that the door had simply been left open by accident, but he knew in his gut that that couldn’t be true.
Just being back in this house had Tony feeling dizzy and slightly nauseous. He shook his head in an attempt to clear it as he scanned the house for potential dangers. He silently made his way through the entryway, careful not to make a single noise as he crept closer toward the main area of the house.
Hints of sunlight were filtering through the windows now, casting a faint light on several objects in the room.
Tony stepped into the living area, which now held more furniture than when he had been there a year ago, and felt something soft compress underneath his shoe. He lifted his foot to see what he had stepped on, and was confused to find a small teddy bear staring back at him.
His brow furrowed as he cast a glance at the rest of the room, thoughts of a possible intruder now completely out of his mind.
A rocking chair.
And then… an explosion.