DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to DPB, CBS, Paramount, et al. No copyright infringement is intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: For Judgement Day I & II
SEQUEL: To Giving Their Thanks
Waking From Their Dream
Abby found Ziva on her fourth stop. In truth, she got lucky. She hadn't really been expecting to actually find her, and especially not in so obvious of a location, loitering outside the smoldering remains of Jenny's townhouse.
She cut her truck across the street, not caring that she was going the wrong way as she pulled her truck up next to the sidewalk.
Ziva didn't seem to hear her, so Abby got out. She took Ziva's arm carefully, and when Ziva didn't react violently, turned her slightly away from the wreckage.
"You shouldn't be here, Ziva." Abby knew that Ziva knew that, but she stated it anyway because Ziva didn't seem to be heeding that knowledge at the moment. "We need to get out of here. I'm pretty sure Vance has people watching this building, and they'll start to wonder why you're here if they see you."
"I do not care, Abby. It doesn't matter." Ziva let out a hollow laugh that was as far from her usual deep, rich chuckle as they were from the Sahara. She glanced over at Abby for the first time. "Vance is sending me back to Israel. My services are no longer needed at NCIS."
"What?" Abby blurted the word out in disbelief. "That's crazy. Gibbs would never let him get away with that!"
Ziva waved a hand to dismiss that. "I do not care. Here, there, what does it matter, Abby? She's gone."
The despair in Ziva's voice was all too familiar to Abby.
"Come on," Abby said softly, tugging gently on Ziva's arm. Ziva didn't protest this time, but she did stumble, off-balance before she'd taken another step. Abby caught her quickly and looked over at Ziva in surprise. Such clumsiness was so uncharacteristic of Ziva.
"Are you drunk?" Abby asked, as disbelief mixed with understanding.
Ziva smiled bitterly. "Of course."
"Ziva " Abby's voice was heavy with sympathy. She wrapped her arm around Ziva and slowly led her to her truck. Once Ziva was in, she quickly ran around to the other side and hopped in herself. Without looking at Ziva, she pulled away and started driving.
Abby wasn't a special agent by any means, but for the next few blocks she kept an eye out for anyone following them. As far as she could see, there was no one. It left her free to turn her attention to Ziva.
The dark-haired woman was staring out the window. In the dim reflection on the glass, Abby could see the way that Ziva's eyes seemed to slide past everything, focusing on nothing.
"She would not let me help her, Abby." Frustration and pain mingled clearly in Ziva's voice. Her fist beat against the door handle. "Tony and I were supposed to be there to protect her and she pushed both of us away. I knew something was wrong and I could not do anything to prevent her death."
"Ziva I'm sure she just wanted to protect you. She really cared about you." Loved her, Abby suspected, but she didn't have conclusive proof of that and it seemed almost cruel to mention that to Ziva now if she didn't already know how deeply Jenny had cared for her.
"She did not trust me," Ziva countered flatly.
"Of course, she-"
"She would not let me help her with La Grenouille. I learned that she suspected him in the death of her father from Gibbs," she ground out the words painfully. "She would not even tell me-" She broke off, and swallowed thickly.
Abby glanced over for an instant as she coasted to a stop in front of a red light and caught a glimpse of tears trailing down Ziva's face.
"If Tony and I had gotten there ten minutes before, if she had only told us where she was going, she would still be alive, Abby."
It was the most broken that Abby had ever heard Ziva sound.
"Or you guys could have died with her." Abby let her words sink in for a moment, swallowing back the lump in her throat that thought provoked. "What ifs are only going to drive you crazy."
"This is already driving me insane." Ziva looked away. "I do not know what changed," she admitted softly. "One day everything was fine as usual," she amended, "and then the next, she would not speak to me outside of the office. Whatever we had shared, it was over. She would not tell me anything."
Abby pulled the truck over and threw it in park. She scooted across the seat and threw her arms around Ziva. She held her tightly, hoping that her embrace would convey everything that she was feeling. She held on until Ziva hugged her back and then sagged limply in her arms.
"I miss her," Ziva breathed so softly that Abby could barely here her even with Ziva's mouth next to her ear.
Abby sat back, sensing that Ziva was ready to say more, that Ziva was slowly working out her own thoughts and feelings even as she spoke.
"She has been a part of my life in one way or another for so long. It seems so strange to know that I will never be able to commiserate over a mission gone wrong or compare methods with her again." Her voice grew tender. "I will miss the way she looked at me, when only I knew what she was truly thinking. The way she would allow herself to hold me so tightly, but only for a little while. She could never allow herself to let go and hang on for as long as she wished." Ziva frowned, but with a hint of fondness. "We were never willing to take that risk." She shook her head, pushing away thoughts of fights and arguments that she didn't wish to dwell on.
Ziva stopped and looked over at Abby, her head lolling back against the truck door. "I am usually much better at withholding information than this even drunk."
A laugh slipped out of Abby. She clapped a hand over her mouth in surprise and horror. Ziva didn't seem upset by it, so slowly Abby relaxed and then continued. "It's okay," she reassured Ziva. "I think you needed to say that, and well, I guess I'm one of the few people you could say it to, so I'm glad you did." She shrugged and reached out to lay a hand on Ziva's wrist. "I'm really sorry she didn't make it. She was a good Director."
She had known of Ziva's relationship with Jenny, had even been responsible for helping them to get their relationship going once again when Ziva had joined NCIS, but it was Ziva that she had been close to, not Jenny so much. What she felt the most was the ache of her friend's loss. It was an ache she knew all too well.
Ziva nodded, raising one hand to clutch the door handle, as the world spun lazily around her. "I think that I should go lie down."
"I'll help you get inside," Abby offered.
"I do not think that would be a good idea," Ziva said stiffly. "I am leaving, you are staying. It would probably not be the best for whoever Vance has watching my apartment to see you go inside with me."
"Gibbs will do something," Abby said firmly, changing the subject slightly, but leaving no room for doubt. She had complete faith in Gibbs even if it seemed impossible for him to win this time.
Ziva's grimace showed that while she did not lack faith in Gibbs, she was still fairly used to life's disappointments. She didn't say anything, but instead risked leaning across the seat. Holding herself steady with much concentration, she kissed Abby first on one cheek and then the other.
As she leaned back, she summoned a tired smile. "You have been a good friend, Abby Sciuto. Thank you."
"Hey, none of that," Abby said quietly. She punched Ziva's shoulder tenderly. "Even super spy Mossad agents aren't allowed to make me cry."
"I will remember that," Ziva said, as she opened the door and slipped gingerly out of the truck. "Good bye, Abby," she added softly, not loudly enough for Abby to hear as she started up the walk to her own door.
Even with doubts, pain, and thoughts of Jenny and of what was to come churning in her mind, her exhaustion, combined with her recent lack of sleep and the alcohol that she'd consumed allowed Ziva to fall easily into sleep, only moments after she'd sunk into her own bed.
She dreamed of spending the night in Jenny's bed with no worries, no need to wake early and sneak out. She dreamed of Jenny's arms wrapped around her, holding her close, Jenny's silky skin brushing against hers until it slipped from pleasure to agony and she was forced to act, pulling Jenny to her and crushing her lips to Jenny's in a bruising kiss.
She dreamed wonderful dreams of the stolen hours, the scant days and the far rarer nights that they had spent together.
And then she woke.
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