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 Post subject: Forgiveness ~ WEE 2009
PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:57 pm 
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Forgiveness
Written for: nicolihunt
Rated: FR13
Summary: Ziva and Tony argue after the death of his friend and as they work toward finding a killer, they have to work toward forgiveness.
Note: This is Prompt set #3 and a response for Prompt 1.

-------


The crack of thunder woke him up and he looked around startled. Through the window he could see the moon and a few stars shining back at him. Tony sat up in his bed and rubbed his eyes, realizing that the rain in his dream had been tears streaming from his eyes as he slept. Shaking off the last dregs of sleep, he knew that hadn’t been thunder outside that he’d heard. It had been the remembered sound of Ziva’s hand meeting his cheek as they argued the day before.

The sound of it had silenced the entire team as they stood around the dead body of the Private they’d been called out to. McGee looked glad he wasn’t on the receiving end of the blow. Ducky was watching him, rebuke plain on his face, while Palmer stared open-mouthed at both of them. Only Gibbs broke the silence. He’d barked at Tony to take some leave time. When he’d tried to insist he was fine and could work the case, Gibbs just stared at him, his eyes showing that he wasn’t sure Tony could handle it right now. So he’d left. He hadn’t begun to sketch the scene yet anyway, and between Gibbs, Ziva and McGee, they wouldn’t need him for this case.

Tony rubbed his face again and threw back the sheet covering him. This was getting him nowhere. His eyes went to the alarm clock on the bedside table and noted that tonight, or this morning, it wasn’t even 2 am yet. Sleep had eluded him for nearly a week now and he knew that was one of the reasons he’d spoken to Ziva the way he did. He also knew that he should apologize to her but he wasn’t sure of what to say. He stood up, pulling on the pants he’d shed before going to bed just a few hours ago. He grabbed his cell phone and a t-shirt from a drawer and went to his kitchen. Tony bypassed the bottle of alcohol on his counter – it hadn’t been helping him sleep, so why should he have another drink? – and reached in the fridge for a bottle of water. He stepped into his shoes and picked up his keys and he was out the door.

-------


He sat in his car, parked in front of the dark apartment building. He’d shut off the engine, effectively killing the radio, and soaked in the sounds of the night around him. Immediate quiet with traffic and sirens filtering through the air to him, background noise, not loud enough to wake the occupants of the building but enough that he could hear them. She wasn’t here. Her car wasn’t in its normal spot and her apartment windows were dark. Abby didn’t sleep a lot when they had a case going on. Sure, she went home from the office when Gibbs told her to, but she didn’t sleep. Tony had thought that by now she would be here. He was disappointed when she wasn’t.

He reached for the keys hanging in the ignition when he saw the headlights. Abby’s Coupe was hard to miss, even in the middle of the night. Tony pulled his keys out and opened his door. As Abby parked, he saw her glance at his car and he stepped out so he wouldn’t frighten her. The grin that broke out on her face told him she wasn’t mad at him for what she had surely heard about by now.

Abby was out of her car and running toward him before he’d closed his car door all the way. As soon as he turned, she grabbed him in a big Abby hug and squeezed him. “Tony! I’ve wanted to call you all day, but the case got so busy.” She pulled back to look into his eyes. “How are you?”

“I’ve had better days, Abs. Can we talk?”

Abby squeezed him again, then took his hand and led him into the building to her apartment.

-------


Tony was at Abby’s kitchen table starting on his second pot of coffee. Abby had pulled out a Caf-Pow! from her fridge and started drinking it when they came into her apartment. Nearly four hours later, she was bouncing around, pulling out cereal and milk, bowls and spoons. She poured two bowls of cereal, added milk and slipped the spoons in before carrying them to the table.

“You know you have to talk to Ziva, Tony.”

“How do I apologize for throwing her sister’s death in her face, Abby? What do I say that can take the pain of that away from her?”

She shook her head. “You won’t take the pain away Tony. You can’t unsay the words once they’ve been said. All you can do is be sincere and tell her that you were striking out from a place of pain and grief for your friend. Tell her what you’ve been telling me this morning. Go to her and apologize and you’ll see, things will be better. She’ll forgive you. Then you need to talk to Gibbs.”

Tony’s head snapped up so fast that his neck protested the movement. “What does Gibbs have to do with this?”

She smiled at him like she was indulging a child before replying. “Gibbs knows that your friend died and that you went to the funeral. He knows that your friend was killed, Tony, but he doesn’t know there haven’t been any leads and that no one has found a reason that your friend would be a target for anything. Yes, there are acts of random violence where people are killed for no reason but that the killer wanted to take a life. But until you can know for sure that is what happened, you won’t be any good to Gibbs, or the rest of us Tony. You have to look into this and with everything that’s happened in the last year, your leave time is limited. Gibbs will have to approve your time off to look into this.”

He laughed. “My leave time is limited? It’s nearly non-existent. It’s one of the small things that I’ve lost thanks to Jenny’s vendetta.”

Abby’s brows rose at the bitterness in his voice. She slipped out of her chair and slid into his lap, hugging him to her, stroking his hair. “You’ve been dealing with some major loss lately Tony and Gavin’s death has compounded that. Come to work with me this morning.” He looked at her like she was crazy. “I’ll handle Gibbs, you’ll clear the air with Ziva and then you can talk to Gibbs about some leave time.”

Tony hugged her and then gently pushed her off his lap. “Go get dressed and I’ll go in with you. We’ll see how the rest of the day goes.”

-------


Ziva was ignoring him. Abby had talked to Gibbs and while he wasn’t kicking him out of the building, he wasn’t happy that Tony was there. McGee had his head buried in his keyboard, pretending that he didn’t notice what was going on. He watched as Ziva stood up from her desk and then he followed her – right into the ladies room. The female agent at the sink quickly turned off the water and grabbed some paper towels on her way out the door.

“I do not wish to speak with you Tony. I thought I was making that clear.” Ziva walked into a stall and latched the door.

“I was wrong, Ziva, wrong to bring up your sister, wrong to talk about your past. I’m angry that Gavin is dead. I’m angry that the cops don’t have leads. I’m angry that someone out there is getting away with his murder and there doesn’t seem to be anything I can do about it. But no matter how angry I am, it doesn’t give me the right to hurt you or anyone else on this team. I was wrong to do that and I’m sorry, Ziva.”

He waited for a few moments and when he didn’t hear the door unlatching, he turned and walked out. He’d apologized and now it was up to Ziva to forgive him or not. He was at the steps up to MTAC, about to walk around to speak with Gibbs, when her hand grabbed his arm.

He turned and knew that Ziva was reading his body language, his expression, everything about him, to see if he had been honest with her. “I’m sorry, Ziva.”

She looked over his shoulder and took a moment before speaking. “Tony, I understand that you are in pain. I understand that pain and I am sorry you have to feel it. You are right, that pain is no excuse for hitting below the belt.” Tony smiled that she got that one right. “It was also out of line for me to tell you that you have to accept what happened and move on. I did not do that with…” her eyes got teary and she shook her head, “and it is not fair to ask you or your friend’s family to move on without trying to find out what happened.”

“DiNozzo!”

Ziva let go of his arm and he walked around the stairs to find Gibbs frowning at him. “Boss, I had to come in to talk to Ziva. If you want me to leave now, I will.”

“Did your friend know Adam Crandall?”

“Your dead sailor? I doubt it, boss. Gavin was from Ohio and hadn’t been in DC long. Crandall was stationed out of Kings Bay, Georgia. I don’t see why they would have crossed paths.”

“Boss, Crandall used his credit card to book two rooms at the Holiday Inn in Georgetown. The second room was in the name of Gavin Bowen."

Gibbs stared at Tony as the news sank in. "Why would he be booking a room for your friend, DiNozzo?"

"I don't know, but I intend to find out."

"Ziva, take McGee and go back to Crandall's hotel."

"Now that we know he booked another room, we can search them both." Ziva slung her pack over her shoulder and started for the elevators. McGee was just a few steps behind her and then they disappeared behind the doors of the elevator.

"DiNozzo." Tony steeled himself for the lecture to come. "Get your gear. We're going to talk to the LEOs that investigated Gavin's murder and then go over the scene ourselves."

Tony was surprised, but he quickly gathered his bag and followed Gibbs out of the squad room. "It's been over a week since Gavin was killed Gibbs. What kind of evidence are you hoping to find that the LEOs didn't?"

Gibbs' answer was to smack the back of Tony's head. "Right, boss, we'll find it when we get there."

-------


"Spill it, McGee."

"Spill what?"

"Whatever has you puffing your cheeks out as though you want to say something but are worried to say it.” Ziva turned the corner back to the office. “Or are you using a breathing technique to release stress because I am driving?”

McGee smiled and said, “I was wondering if you were going to forgive Tony.”

Ziva parked the car and looked over at him. “You were not thinking about how we should tell Gibbs that we did not find anything?”

“No, we’ll think of a way to tell him that. It’s just that Tony doesn’t apologize much and I didn’t know what you were going to do. What he said wasn’t nice and I’d understand if you didn’t, but it might affect the team.”

Getting out of the car and walking toward the building, she thought about what McGee was saying. As the elevator doors closed in front of them, she told him, “You do not have to worry. I forgave him when he started apologizing.”

-------


“You’ve seen this man?” Tony asked again, showing a photo of Gavin to one of the women on the street corner.

“I told you I did. He was over there talking to Mark.” She nodded to a group of men down the alley. “Now if you ain’t gonna arrest me, can you leave me alone so I can work?”

Tony was already moving on, signaling Gibbs as he headed down to the group of men. When Gibbs started in their direction, one of the men broke from the group and started running away. Tony saw Gibbs disappear out of the corner of his eye as he took off after the man.

-------


“Boss, Abby ran his prints. Your runner’s name is Mark Daley. He was arrested last year for assault on a prostitute. She didn’t press charges and the DA’s office cut him loose.”

Gibbs took a drink of his coffee and watched Tony try to sit without hurting his ribs. He’d taken a hit when Daley had doubled back around the corner and tackled him. Tony quickly threw him over and had him in handcuffs, but the damage had been done. He’d be lucky if he hadn’t cracked a rib or two during that fall. Gibbs said, “Go find out where he fits in this puzzle.”

Tony took the file from McGee and nodded. He wanted to be able to give closure to Gavin’s family and Mark Daley might be their best and only lead.

He waited to step into the interrogation room until after Gibbs, Ziva and McGee entered the observation room. Once they were inside, he took as deep a breath that he could manage without hurting himself and walked through the door. He sat down at the table and didn’t react when Daley grinned at him and stared at his ribs. The other man was trying to get a reaction and Tony wasn’t going to feed his ego.

He placed three photos on the table in front of Daley. Closing the file, he pushed each photo across the table, one at a time. “Gavin Bowen, Adam Crandall and Alicia Crandell.” Daley eyed the photos and remained quiet. “Last year, you were arrested for assaulting Alicia Crandell. She went home to recuperate, but within three months she was back on the streets in DC. Two months ago, she went missing. Her family has filed a missing persons report but there haven’t been any leads. You want to tell us what happened to Alicia?”

Daley grinned and shook his head. “You don’t have anything on me. I’m not involved in any of this.”

Nodding, Tony stood up and turned to face the glass between the rooms. “Of course you’re not. That’s why you’re wearing her necklace. The one her brother gave her. It’s listed in the missing persons report. According to her family’s statement, she wouldn’t just give it away.”

Tony watched the glass as Daley’s hand reached up to the necklace he was wearing before dropping it back to his side. The grin reappeared and he said, “She owed me.”

“She owed you what?”

“She was my girl and she wasn’t bringing in the business. She owed me something until she started bringing in more money.”

Tony turned around and was about to get in Daley’s face when someone knocked on the door. Without another word, he walked out.

“What is it Abby?”

Abby smiled at Tony. “The LEOs that were working on Gavin’s case searched Daley’s known abodes. They found several hand guns and brought them in to me for testing. The ballistics from two of them match the bullets found in Gavin Bowen and Adam Crandell. The only prints found on the guns belonged to Mark Daley.” As it was sinking in, she added, “You found him.”

Tony went back inside and found Daley staring at the photos. As he began to collect them, and put them in the file, Daley began to fidget. “What are you doing?”

Quietly, Tony told him, “Ballistics from two of your guns match the bullets that killed Gavin Bowen and Adam Crandell. I’m sure with enough searching, we’ll find Alicia Crandell, but for now, you’re under arrest for two counts of murder.” Tony opened the door and let the uniformed officer in the room.

“Wait, that’s it? You’re not going to ask me why I did it or anything?”

Tony kept walking and Daley shouted, “That first guy, Gavin kept hanging around like he was some kind of investigator. All he wanted to do was find Alicia for her family and I couldn’t have him questioning me on my streets. He was too nosy! He should have gone away when I warned him off! And Crandell,” Daley snorted, “he thought he was a hotshot sailor boy who could take me. I showed him! I showed him!”

Tony turned the corner and kept going, straight to his desk to ease into his chair. He looked up to see four pairs of eyes watching him.

“That’s a different technique,” McGee said when everyone else remained quiet.

Tony shrugged. “He wanted me to know why he did it, but he wanted me to force it out of him. He wouldn’t have come right out with it, no matter how long I sat in there with him. Walking out of the room made him desperate and he told me what I wanted to know.”

Abby walked around his desk and hugged him gently. “I’m sorry Tony.” She stood up and hooked arms with Gibbs and McGee. “Which one of you is going to buy my next Caf-Pow!?”

The two men let her lead them away. Ziva stood looking at Tony for a moment before going to get her bag. “Knowing why does not make it easier, does it?” Tony shook his head and stared down at his fingers. “Come on, Tony. I will buy you a drink.”

He almost said no. He almost sent her off to have fun on her own, but instead, he made himself smile and ask, “Is this like a date, Officer David?”

“You wish.” Ziva smiled and hooked her arm through his as they walked out of the squad room together.

--The End--

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"In God we trust, all others we run through NCIC," Rossi added. CM ff "New Guy" by kyrdwyn


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