A/N: Well, this is it for this little idea of mine. So many thanks to all who read this. I'm so pleased and surprised that you came along for this ride. Thank you, and I hope you enjoy the end.

Disclaimer: NCIS and The Last of the Mohicans do not belong to me. Quotes below are borrowed from that movie.

"You stay alive. If they don't kill you, they'll take you North, up to Huron land. Submit, do you hear? You're strong, you survive. You stay alive no matter what occurs. I will find you.

No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you."

Probationary agent Alexander Cole whistled when he peed. This was common knowledge around the NCIS water cooler, and so Tony wasn't so surprised by the first few notes of 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' as he was by its abrupt conclusion.

"Cole, you can't just leave it at the French hens. You gotta at least finish the-" he turned to find the source of Cole's distress standing unimpressed in front of the door. Silent as her stealthy entry, Ziva let her eyes wander none too subtly to the probie's unzipped fly. She raised one eyebrow suggestively, and he made a quick exit past her, the door closing behind him as he struggled with a button. Tony thought for a moment, as he zipped his own pants closed, that he saw a flicker of amusement cross her face.

"Good way to clear a room there, Ziva."

She shrugged, a slight gleam of mischief still evident in the quirk of her lips. "He could have finished," she offered with perfect innocence.

Tony turned on the faucet and swiped at the soap. "Nah. Heard one verse, you've heard them all. Literally."

"The whistling would not be so bad if he could lift a tune," Ziva observed, coming to lean one hip against the counter.

Carry a tune, he mentally corrected. "Or if it was something other than Christmas carols."

"Is that all he-"

"Year round." Tony shook the water from his hands and reached for a paper towel. He realized abruptly that he'd run out of things to say. Except, of course, for all the things they left unsaid.

They looked at each other for a moment while he waited for her to speak. He reached over to tighten the faucet's handle. It continued to drip.

"I have been thinking," she began slowly, "about that movie."

It should have taken him a moment to understand. It should have caught him off guard. But the truth was that somehow he'd known this day was coming for months. He'd waited for the question since that day in Saleem's camp.

"The one you...told about." She looked up shrewdly, making sure he understood what she couldn't find the words to say. Satisfied he knew, she lowered her gaze. "I would like to see it," she finished in a rush.

He didn't bother to act surprised. Just watched her with a measured stare. "Are you sure that's a good idea?"

She looked down at her interlocked hands with a tight smile on her lips. "I think it is time," she stated simply, then looked up to meet his eyes.

He waited. Watched for any sign her resolve would falter. When it didn't, he gave a quick nod. "See you tonight, then."

She left without a word.

It took him several minutes to follow.

"We do not understand what is happening here."

Tonight actually became two nights later thanks to a petty officer's disappearance and a staff sergeant's murder. He wondered if she'd change her mind, but she appeared at his door on a Thursday night bearing a cautious smile accompanied by a nervous laugh. Tony found himself wishing this was just another night, another movie, another lifetime set before an African camp.

"Am I too early?"

Tony shrugged off her uncharacteristic lack of certainty and ushered her in. "Not at all." In fact, he wondered if they were both months too late. After taking her coat, he realized there was nowhere else to turn except the couch. "Make yourself at home," he offered.

She did, choosing to slip off her shoes and perch cross-legged on the middle cushion. Tony wondered if she even noticed the way her fingers worried over the edges of her sleeves.

He swallowed, fidgeting with the remote while standing just to her side. "You sure you want to do this?" he asked quietly.

To his surprise she offered him a tiny smile. "Sit down, Tony." Her eyes slid to the seat beside her. He complied. "This movie," she began while running one finger over the case, "it is the way you see the team. The way you see...us?" Her eyes were large against pale skin.

"In a manner of speaking."

"Then I would like to see it. To understand this." He wondered if she was aware that her gestures filled the space between them. Space that had once, long ago, seemed so small.

Turning to the television, he started the movie. "Okay, then." He took a breath as the opening drum beat began to sound over the thudding in his own head. "Here we go."

She turned to the screen and he watched as she read the opening text. He fidgeted beside her. "See, it's called the French and Indian War but it was really England and France fighting for control of the colonies."

She looked at him strangely. "I am aware of the history, Tony."

Chastised, he nodded. "Okay, it's just that things like that - with the names - usually kind of confuse you."

He let her watch in silence for a time. It wasn't until the first battle in the woods that she turned back to him. She had watched with a raised eyebrow as Chingachgook took down a Huron at a distance with his club. "This is Gibbs?" she asked, turning to Tony with an amused squint. He nodded. "Well, that is certainly accurate." A smile pulled at Tony's lips.

"And that," she pointed to the screen where Uncas scalped a fallen enemy, "is McGee?" She shook her head in disbelief. "McGee has many capabilities, but I am not sure that," she again gestured to the movie, "is one of them."

"I was tied to a chair and pumped full of truth serum. I connected the metaphor where I could."

She didn't respond save for a slow half nod. On screen, Hawkeye and Uncas approached the charred remains of a cabin. The music darkened, and Tony felt his shoulders tense. A child's foot lay still underneath a fallen beam.

"Is that-"

"Cameron's cabin," he confirmed quietly. "Same one from earlier, with the kids." They watched as smoke crawled toward the sky.

"It is always the innocent." Her voice was weary and quiet, but sure of the truth.

"What are you looking at, sir?"

"I'm looking at you, miss."

"What are you looking at?" Midway through the movie, she caught him staring. Or, at least called him on the staring. He hadn't meant to, or at least he hadn't meant to do so as obviously as he had. It was just that he was having a hard time watching the images on the screen when she was right there, next to him, looking present and aware and like it was a year before and not after their time in the desert.

"It's just good to see you again," he said quietly.

She looked at him in confusion. "You saw me at work not two hours ago. And I was here when you went into the kitchen for the popcorn."

He smiled softly and ducked his head. "Not what I meant." Under her questioning eyes, he swallowed before continuing. "When you first got back from...When you first got back," he amended, "it was like you weren't seeing anything. Like you were looking through us. Like you were looking straight through me." He dared to raise his eyes.

Ziva stared at him for a long moment before reaching for the television's remote. She paused it, cannon fire frozen on the screen. She placed the remote back on the table before them, its landing too loud in the still room. Folding her hands in her lap, she moistened her lips and began to speak. Her words were halting but clear, and Tony had the impression that she chose each one with a care that was beyond his understanding.

"I have looked...through...many things these past months. Both after I returned and...during." Her head nodded slightly as she spoke. Tony watched as her pale fingers worried one another over the denim of her jeans. "I found myself looking through my past. Trying to reconcile that which was already done with my present. My future." She sighed wearily, then repeated, "I have looked through many things."

Tony raised his eyes from her hands. He captured her faltering eyes with his gaze. "And what did you find?"

He waited. Watched her purse her lips. Incline her head. Watched as an almost smile fluttered to the surface before being quickly tamped down again. Observed as all the little tells that meant nothing and everything were laid out on display.

She looked at him, took a breath to speak, then stopped. He could only watch as she retreated, fixed her lips in a false tight smile, and reached for the remote. "We should finish the movie."

"The whole world's on fire."

They watched the end of the movie.

They watched as Cora's father died and as Hawkeye promised to come for her in a temporary haven under the falls. They watched Duncan's death and Uncas' sacrifice on the cliff's edge.

Tony looked away as Alice stepped to her death.

And at the end, three people stood on top of a mountain.

"Great Spirit and the maker of all life, a warrior goes to you swift and straight as an arrow shot into the sun. Welcome him, and let him take his place at the council fire of my people. He is Uncas, my son.

Tell him to be patient and ask death for speed; for they are all there, but one.

I, Chingachgook, the last of the Mohicans."

Three people stood there in the setting sun.

And Tony thought that, really, at the end, there were only two.

"You asked me what I found." Ziva's voice started him as the credits rolled light on black.

He looked at her, almost afraid.

"What happens next?" She turned back to the screen.

He shook his head at her sudden change of subject and tried to keep up. "What do you mean?"

She gestured with her chin. "To Cora. Hawkeye. What happens next?"

Tony moistened his lips. "I don't know," he managed.

She accepted this in silence, and a beat passed before she spoke again. "You asked me what I found." Tony could only watch. "I found that," she swallowed, "as much as I want permanence. Resolution..." She inhaled again and raised her hands. Her fingers flexed, then dropped back to her lap. "There is something else that I want even more."

"And what's that?" The words came out as a whisper.

She looked at him, eyes clear and bright. "Another chance."

"You know," he began uncertainly, "I wasn't even sure you'd come back after we found you. " He remembered a long ago day with the sand stinging his skin. "And then you did come back, but…" he trailed off for a moment. "It wasn't really you."

She nodded. "I know. I…am trying."

He smiled a little at that. Alice's eyes retreated from his mind. "So am I."

"Then, perhaps that is enough." She looked at him then. Smiled a tentative smile and reached for his hand.

He looked down to see her fingers entwined with his. "I'd do it all again," he whispered. "I'd find you. I'd bring you back."

She nodded, also captivated by their hands. "No matter what occurs," she quoted. And he heard the promise in the words.

"I'll always find you."

"Then maybe," she smiled a soft smile meant only for him. "Maybe that is what happens next."

Before them, the screen rolled to black.