Someone stumbling around upstairs disturbs the soft sound of sanding. The basement door opens and a familiar figure stumbles down the stairs.
“DiNozzo, be careful or you are going to break your neck.”
Tony stops and plops down in the middle of the stairs.
“I screwed up boss…”
Normally Gibbs would pour the man a glass of his signature Bourbon, but by the looks of it, his Senior field agent has enough alcohol flowing through his system as it is.
Instead he walks up the stairs to the kitchen, knowing Tony will follow.
Tony staggers in to the kitchen and slouches down in one of the chairs.
“How did you get here DiNozzo?”
Gibbs brews some coffee and puts a mug filled with the brown stuff in front of Tony.
“I screwed up.” Tony says again, like that explains everything.
“Yeah, you already said that.”
“I…I…stood up my date.”
“Not the first time.”
“Let me rephrase that, I stood ZIVA up”
He already guessed that, of course, but it still brings the anger close to the surface.
Tony looks at Gibbs, “Why? That’s it? No, rule #12 being thrown across the table?!”
Tony blinks, “Oh…”
Gibbs keeps looking at Tony, waiting for the man to start talking. Tony sighs and rubs his forehead.
“So I asked Ziva out, on date, a real date… Took me long enough, huh.”
Tony takes a sip from his coffee and continues.
“I told her I needed to talk to her, I needed to tell her something. And she accepted. Without hesitation she agreed to go out to diner with me, as.a.date!”
“So what’s the problem?”
“I panicked, I don’t want to hurt her, I want her to be happy! I screwed up so many times and she’s been hurt too many times. I…I can’t screw this up!”
“And yet, you did…”
“Yeah…send her some lame ass text. God I’m no better than CI-Ray.”
After a couple of moments of silence Gibbs asks, “Do you love her?”
Tony looks at Gibbs, shocked, “What?!”
Gibbs leans forward on the table, piercing blue eyes looking straight at the man.
“Do you love her?”
Tony swallows, and whispers, “Yes”
“Tell her that.”
Tony blinks, “Boss...?”
“Wouldn’t be the first time you broke my rules DiNozzo.”
“I…need to think about it. I just want her to be happy, but I’m not sure if I’m the one who can make her happy…”
“Sometimes you just gotta jump Tony, feet first.”
Tony looks at Gibbs and smiles, “Yeah, guess I’ve got to start taking my own advice, huh.”
He gets up and walks towards the door, “Thanks Gibbs”
Gibbs gets up and heads back towards the basement. He opens the door and looks at the person sitting at the top of the stairs.
Big brown eyes, shining with tears stare back at him.
“He… loves me?!”
“Did you ever doubt that?”
Gibbs glares at her.
“No…but I had given up hope on him ever telling me…”
A few tears slide down her cheek.
“What if he does not?”
“I’ll loan you my handcuffs”
Ziva smiles and wipes away her tears.