Even Better Than I Love You
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Getting out of bed had been an effort.

Taking a shower, getting dressed, leaving her apartment and driving to work had been the hardest things she had ever done. And she had done some hard things in her life.

She knew she was sick. She knew she was very sick. She ached from above her head to below her toes.

She could barely focus from the pain behind her eyes.

She knew she should not have gone to work.

She knew she should have called in sick.

But that was not what a Mossad agent did.

That was not what a good NCIS agent did.

That was not what she did.

She made it to her desk and sat down carefully, not wanting to brush against the chair arms and cause her aches to increase. Even touching her own skin hurt more than some of the bullet wounds she had experienced.

"Hey, Ziva. You look awful. You should go home."

She looked up at Tony standing in front of her desk. "I am fine," she said, swallowing hard as the coffee she never should have forced down began to rebel. "I - Oh." She tried, she really tried, to reach for the trash can, but failed.

An hour later after he had taken her to the ladies room, cleaned her up, cleaned her desk up, told Gibbs he was taking her home, cleaned her up for a second time, before helping her into bed, she realized what he was trying to tell her.

"Tony," she whispered his name.

"Go to sleep, Ziva. We can talk about it tomorrow. I'll still be here." And with the lightest of touches he gently stroked her forehead. As she slipped into a healing sleep she felt his lips lightly brush where his hand had stroked.