It was dark and late. Moving only her eyes, Ziva glanced over at him while she pretended to be busily typing. He had his head down, deep in concentration, typing as fast as possible using only two of his fingers.

She loved moments like these. It was rare though. It was almost as if there was nothing else on her mind, nobody bothering her, no cases to solve, no one to investigate. Everything was natural. Still. The time of the night made the squad room exude a particular quality, a darkness that is not suffocating or eerie. It is in this kind of world that she loosens herself, allow herself that little bit less restraints.

She got up and Tony lifted his head with drooping eyelids to see what Ziva was up to. She's going already? But wait, she hasn't packed yet. As Ziva approached his desk, his cell rang. She sighed inaudibly as her mood had left her, not unlike suddenly seeing your good friend and your secret crush enjoying each others company.

She headed back to her desk and got ready to go home. What was she thinking? That she was gonna have some fun tonight and consider breaking Gibbs' rule? She walked in measured steps to the elevator, forgetting to say goodnight to Tony.

As his voice grew more excited by the second, she tuned into his conversation. If it were another time, she would've long listened and followed his every word into the phone, but tonight, all she wanted was to be alone since she didn't get what she was expecting before the phone call.

"I'll be there in fifteen. Yes. Can't wait, bye."

sch-lipp

szhipp

clunk

goes Tony's cell, bag and swivel chair.

Ding

goes the elevator in front of Ziva

"Hey! Ziva wait."

They both step in. And the doors slide shut, metallic grey. They both walked out into the night and Tony yawns as they reach their cars.

"Tired?" Ziva softly enquires.

"Yeah, kinda. Night."

"Goodnight," she sees that his mind must be someplace else. Somewhere closer to his heart. They both drive out of the parking lot. When she reaches the intersection, she doesn't take the turn that leads to home. She thinks that by now, Tony's having a great time, having dinner with his girlfriend. Chatting, drinking, something.

The air beneath the black sky that was clear and sharp is now a blur as fat, healthy raindrops fall their way down to earth. Somehow, she's made her way to the side of the river and with a hunched back, holds onto the railings with both hands, then notices the water that is rocking its way here and there. How dark it is. And smooth, like polished quartz. Glaring out at the buildings, cars and lights on the other side of the river, she felt a rising fire from within. Why did the world have to be like this?

She turned to face the footpath and sat on the ledge, leaning against the cold metal, which twisted and turned and curved magnificently into some sort of pattern, dripping wet. She had her knees up near her chest but her hands were lifeless against the gravel, the water now flowing freely down her face, hair, clothes, like a sensuous stream oblivious to the problems of the living and thinking.

Ari had wanted to be a geologist. As a boy he'd always pause and crouch to scrutinize some bit of rock no matter where they were, what they were doing, anything, he loved the world around him, and the world beyond. He even got so upset once, when she hid his little collection for fun. Ziva smiled at the memory. The rain has soaked her. Sweater, windbreaker, hair, pants and all. The water has done its duty, she appeared to be one with the rain, almost ethereal. "I'm sorry my brother," she whispers "I failed you."

Tony, she thinks, I should've made a move, or maybe, she thought he would have. But they both have. Perhaps it's because it's forbidden by their boss. She should have been more assertive of her opinion, but what if I don't really know what I want? What if he doesn't see me that way? One of them needs to make that step through the energy of activation barrier. It's too late now, he's with someone else. She tried, really tried when they were undercover, undercovers. But she didn't make it, that's when she decided she wouldn't push it.

When they were boxed in, she started to realise again, that maybe, maybe it wasn't a lost cause. It seemed possible again that their lives could entwine neatly, like a carefully folded origami swan. But now, there was nothing now. She longed so hard and badly for him. For them to be together, no, even just back to the way it used to be, even when he dated frequently and the relationships never turned out to last.

She enjoyed their time together at work. Does he think that too? No, of course not. He would never consider her. Not in a thousand million lifetimes. She wiped the rain and tears off her face for the first time and discovered that her sleeves were soggingly wet. She thought of the people she could call, there was no one. No one she really wanted to speak with.

Tony jogged the length of the river, feeling relieved at his newfound freedom. He didn't really like her. He was glad she had actually wanted to break it up with him, cos he was never around and stuff like that. Things she wouldn't understand.

"ARGHAW" he slipped on a puddle and caught the rail on time, it had stopped pouring like crazy when he decided to go for a jog, in the middle of the night, yeah, pretty silly of him. He slowed to a halt when he saw a figure, Ziva. What is she doing here? Her head was down and her whole body was shivering, he watched as she lifted a trembling arm, hand to her face, her unstable fingers brushing by her forehead like the poor branches of a tree against a window in a gale. Her back was heaving up and down, or maybe she was rocking back and forth. He was stunned at the sight, he walked steadily over, not wanting to shock her, not knowing whether she would be ashamed to know he saw her like this, not knowing what was wrong.

"Ziva?" he asked uncertainly. He could see that she was shivering and crying and that she was drenched from head to toe.

"What.."

She didn't seem to hear him, only when he sat down beside her, did she turn her head in small jerky movements towards him. She frowned, "Tony?" her teeth clattered.

"C'mon, let's go dry up."

They walked to her car, he opened the door on the passenger side and when stopped her when she was about to get in.

"wait here."

He turned the heater on and went back to her side. She had a blank expression on her face. Probably from the cold, he thought, among other things.

"Hey, take off your clothes," he whispered

That caught her attention and she slowly turned her head up to see his face. He smiled.

"I'm not gonna let you freeze in that," he said, taking off his sweater. She did as he told and reached out for his sweater.

"Um, I think you should take that off too, it's like, soaked," he looked at her chest.

He expected her to say something, anything, some witty remark, or snappy even. But she just nodded and then he slipped his jumper over her head. She lifted her leg to step into the car but he pulled her by the elbow

"Hey...your..nevermind" he mumbled, and reached down to unbuckle her belt when her hand was on top of his quicker than lightning. He looked up innocently, "sorry.." It was then that he saw that spark in her eyes, she was smiling! He chuckled.

"I can manage. Thank you"

In the warmth of her car, they drove home, to her home. It was quiet, but it was comfortingly quiet. Each lost in their own thoughts, maybe some of their thoughts crossed paths even, elegantly.

Tony wondered what had caused her to break down like that, he never thought she could. Even with Roy she did in a way, but not like this. Ziva was now calm and felt glad that somehow, Tony happened to be there, he found her. What about his girlfriend? She thought, mmm, nevermind. She's had enough thoughts for one night.

"Tony?"

"Yeah"

"Would you like to stay over for tonight?" She asked, hoping she sounded reasonable, nothing big. It was late anyway,

"Um, yeahh, that'd be great." his smile was wide and so were his eyes "I mean," he waved his hand, "that's nice of you to offer." She faced the dashboard and smiled then made a little nod. They both got out and closed the car doors simultaneously.

Across the road, McGee and Abby were leaning against their car, he frowned and raised an eyebrow at Abby. Abby burst out laughing and McGee chuckled.

"Wow"

"Wow"

"McGee, did you see what I just saw? Tony, shirtless, Ziva, pantless. HAORawehORhaaah" she took a deep breath.

"Uh, maybe...maybe…"

"Spit it out! What?"

"We were hallucinating?" he offered.

"MCGEEE aohh, let's go, they probably wouldn't want us distracting them tonight."

Abby and McGee are now seated inside the car. After a long pause Abby asks "How about we both ring them!"

"Why? I thought you said-"

"Aw, it'd be fun! Besides, I don't ... think they're thingy yet."

"Abby!"

Inside Ziva's house.

"Tony, I got some deodorant," Ziva leans out of the bathroom door.

"Hnor hnor... you got some Redbull stocked up?" he says, tilting his head to each side as he speaks.

"Hmm, maybe. You'll find out after we eat. Right now, I'm hungry." then she leans over to the side of his head, "very hungry" she whispers. He narrows his eyes and pulls his head back and smiles.

"Let's dig in then. By the way, have I ever told you I love the dark?"