They were here. On their honeymoon. Finally. Tony had rented a convertible and put his shades on and he and his new wife began to drive into the sunset.
Well, not quite. Due to a lack of substitute agents at the base, the Director hadn’t allowed them to leave the country, but still, a honeymoon was a honeymoon.
After catching a flight across the country, they’d driven out of the city and onto the highway. They were a few hundred miles out of Miami by mid-afternoon.
They had wanted to get away. Find a little house on a shore front and spend a few carefree days without the irritating buzzing of cell phones. Just being with each other.
That would be, if Ziva didn’t kill him.
“Will you turn that stupid thing off?” she snapped, referring to the garbling talkback radio that he’d been subjecting her to for the past hour.
“Sorry, Ziva,” he said, not sounding the least bit apologetic. “Not everyone likes Hebrew hip-hop.”
She was almost offended. “Then play something else!” she turned her head towards him. “Anything else! Anything but ‘Kyle Barkins, political expert and professional boring person’,” she described in a mock old-man voice.
“You’re American. You oughta be current. You gotta know what’s happening.”
“I know what’s happening!” she argued.
“Okay. Who’s the guy they’re talking to now?”
She pursed her lips in frustration.
“See? Don’t know what’s happenin’.”
“I know if you don’t shut up and turn that radio off I will hurt you. That’s what’s happening.” She glared at him.
“I think we should keep it on,” he pushed, having a little fun with her. He liked pushing her buttons.
“Oh my God, shut up! Why are you even listening to this? Did I marry Gibbs by accident?”
“Gibbs doesn’t listen to this, he listens to thirties country songs. Goes pretty well with the bourbon. I think he mighta been a cowboy in a past life.”
She sighed and sat back in her seat, folding her arms across her chest.
He pressed the off button guiltily. Silence.
“I can’t believe that was our first fight.”
He immediately pulled over and looked at her carefully. “We aren’t fighting, Ziva,” he told her. Then said, “Are we?”
She swallowed. “I guess not.”
“Our fights are scarier than this.”
“Yes, they are,” she agreed, not wanting to talk about it.
“I don’t want to have any.”
“Neither do I.”
Silence. Softly, he pressed his lips against hers lovingly.
“Tony?” she asked softly when he pulled away. Their faces were barely an inch apart.
“Don’t worry - in an hour or two we’ll have nothing to listen to but the sound of waves crashing on the shore.”
She closed her eyes and smiled at the thought.
“And…” he continued. “The sound of squeaky bed springs?” he asked hopefully.
Her eyes snapped open and she raised her eyebrows with notable skepticism. “We will see, hm?” Her voice was husky and it was one of those times where what little accent she had left was particularly pertinent. Her eyes raked up his body at a tantalizingly slow pace and he laughed nervously.
He had definitely married the right woman.
The bullpen was quiet this Tuesday morning. So much so that it caused Ziva to characteristically slap her desk with the heel of her hand. McGee, the only one in the room, looked up.
“Ziva…are you…” he stammered as she stood up and walked over to lean against Tony’s filing cabinet.
“I’m just frustrated, McGee,” she snapped, twisting a piece of paper in her hands.
“Oh.” He paused uncertainly. “Did you wanna talk about it?”
She clicked her tongue. “Did you ever…feel something and you were not sure what it was? Or something you cannot control? It’s troubling me…”
Ziva subconsciously looked across at Tony’s desk.
“Is this about him?”
She sighed and closed her eyes. “He’s always been just Tony to me. Cute, but expensive and hard to deal with. Trustworthy, but childish. Now, it doesn’t feel like that.”
“You think you might want something more than just partnership?”
“I think I’m going to miss my chance.” She looked forlorn, and it hurt him to see one of his closest friends look like that.
Tim stood up and went to her side, placing a comforting hand on her shoulder. “He cares about you,” he whispered, and Ziva looked hopeful.
There was quiet for a moment, and then of course Ziva’s skepticism came back to bite her. “Well, of course, things between Tony and I are far more complicated than that. I mean, there’s Gibbs, and - ” She stopped babbling and cleared her throat. “Can you promise you won’t say anything to Tony?”
McGee crossed his heart with a valiant smile. “But promise me you’ll talk to him.” They both watched the empty space where he usually sat. “There’s always been something there, Ziva. I think we were all just waiting for it to happen.”
“Eventually,” she replied, and returned to her desk with a smile on her face.
Just then, Tony returned to the squad room and Tim couldn’t help but notice the sparkle in Ziva’s eye when he did.
As Tony took his seat, Ziva felt his eyes on her and looked up. “What?”
He frowned. “Nothing, just…you should wear your hair curly more often. Suits you.” He shrugged it off, regardless of how surprised Ziva looked. McGee just smiled a smile that only said, “Told ya so.”
A/N: I hope someone ordered fluff because that’s what this is.
Six year old Sofia beamed with pride as she glued the final piece of macaroni to the pink jewelry box on the coffee table before here. To add the final touch, she sprinkled glitter haphazardly across the top until it sparkled to her satisfaction.
“All done, sweetie?” Tony asked, making his way in from the kitchen. “Ah, a Mother’s Day gift fit for a queen - I bet Mom’s gonna love it.” Mom. Referring to Ziva as Sofia’s mom still felt so strange to him sometimes. Strange, but in a good way.
“Daddy?” Sofia piped up, looking up at her father.
“If on Mother’s Day we give presents to all the mothers, how come you haven’t got something for yours?”
Tony looked at his daughter, her innocent eyes lit up with wonder. How to explain something like this to a child?
“Well,” he began, sitting down beside her on the sofa. “My mom’s up in Heaven. That’s where people go when they…pass away.”
Sofia frowned a little, but she seemed to understand. She didn’t speak.
“But I bet she’s watching down on us and I bet she’s so proud to have a granddaughter as special as you.” Tony touched Sofia’s shoulder and she smiled. “Go put your present in your room so you can give to your mom tomorrow.”
Sofia smiled a toothy smile and scampered off.
It was silent as Tony and Ziva lay in bed that night. It was a chilly night, so she curled up right beside him, but no matter how hard she tried to fall asleep she couldn’t ignore how wide open his eyes were. She could tell.
Before she could say anything, he finally spoke up.
“What was your mom like?”
Ziva bit her lip and sat up, switching on the lamp at her bedside.
“She was…well, she was sweet, usually. Different from my father. Lively. Spirited.”
“Guess that’s where you got that from, then,” Tony interrupted.
“I have her hair and her eyes, so did my sister. We all had the widow’s peak, too.” She ran a finger over her hairline. “She was determined and fierce. Maybe so much that she missed out on us growing up a little but I still loved her dearly. She was beautiful. She would go to the ends of the Earth to protect all of us. She always told the truth. She was strong. She liked to prove herself. And as a mom, I guess she did.”
Tony kissed her temple. “You’re a great Mom, too, you know,” he told her, pulling her into a hug. The clock beside them beeped as it ticked over to midnight. “Happy Mother’s Day, Ziva.”
The ZNN 6.00 News theme began to play from the speakers, and a woman in her late 30s began speaking.
“The Major Crime Response Team from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, or ‘NCIS’, were on the scene,” said the woman on the plasma.
“Here it is!” McGee exclaimed, scrambling for the remote and turning up the volume. Gibbs looked up from his paperwork. Tony ignored his younger co-worker.
“We are aware that this offence is a large one,” they all heard a familiar voice say. “But it is in the hands of myself and a team of very, very capable agents. It is being dealt with with extreme care and efficiency, I can assure you.”
“Did I miss it?” Abby said, running wildly into the center of the bullpen.
“No, she’s still on! Look!” McGee told her, pointing.
Abby placed a hand over her heart proudly. “Aw. Our little girl’s growing up! Look at the caption: Special Agent Ziva David - NCIS.”
“Wow, Ziva looks fantastic on camera!” McGee proclaimed proudly. “They say it adds ten pounds but I can’t see it!”
“Take it easy, McGee,” Tony said grumpily. “You’re starting to sound like a soccer mom.”
“DiNozzo,” Gibbs said in an almost intimidating tone. He went back to the paperwork he had been previously occupied with as the camera cut away to some story about Obama reading to hospitalized children.
“I mean, I’ve worked her eleven years, Boss!” he ranted, standing from his desk and moving out into the more open space, like he was about to launch into some kind of monologue (which wouldn’t be entirely uncharacteristic of Tony). “Eleven years, and you pick Ziva to go on ZNN. Ziva. I mean, I understand you not wanting to go on there - you hate the paparazzi - but…Ziva?! Why didn’t you pick me, Boss? All my life I’ve wanted to go on TV. Closest I got was being accidentally in the background of a Sports Report at a baseball game. I’m clearly the pretty one! Couldn’t have I gone and chatted with the cute news lady?”
“Come on Tony, Ziva’s clearly the prettiest - ” McGee started, but Abby, being protective of her friends as she was, elbowed him in the ribs. “Girl,” he finished, wincing, and receiving another sharp jab. “You know what I mean,” he said, giving up altogether.
The elevator made a ‘dinging’ noise, and Ziva came rushing in.
“Did you see it?” she asked excitedly, and Abby an McGee exclaimed loudly that they did. “They interviewed me right here on the Navy Yard.”
She notice the obvious lack of noise from Tony’s direction and turned to face him.
“What about you, Tony?” she asked in that cocky voice she used when she was about to make fun of him. “What did you think?”
He looked up from the folder he had honestly been pretending to write in. “You got a face made for the camera, Ziva,” he said, genuinely.
She gave him an mistrustful but grateful smile, and turned her attention back to the screen, despite the fact that she wasn’t going to be on it again. Her budding suspicion got the better of her and she let her gaze wonder back to him just one more time. He met her eyes and smiled. Beside Ziva, McGee frowned. What confused him the most was that he couldn’t tell which Tony had been telling the truth.
“Obviously your idea of an interrogation is very different than ours,” the Israeli snapped, holding her chin high. She was cocky, Tony could see that already.
He grinned. Oh yeah, this was gonna be fun. “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours. We’re allies, right?”
She tilted back in her chair contemplatively and put a finger to her lips in thought. Then, before he could register what she was doing, she leaned across the table and seized his neck with her cuffed hands. He felt the cold chain tight against his throat but he didn’t react. Her face was right up against hers. He felt her hot breath against his cheeks and her wild mane of curls brushing against his shoulders.
“I could kill you, right now,” she said in a threatening tone. He wasn’t fazed.
She heard a click, and for a millisecond her eyes flicked towards his right hand, his SIG pointed at her torso. He’s bluffing, she thought. He has to be. But she played his game.
“Weapons aren’t usually allowed in Interrogation. But I thought I should make an exception for a Mossad officer,” he said. She wasn’t sure if he believed that she would fall for his nifty little interrogation technique.
A seductive smile played at her lips. “I have been told that I am exceptional,” she said in a softer voice. She was playing the charm game now, too.
“Exceptional at what, exactly, Officer David?” he asked suavely.
She laughed darkly, running her tongue across her teeth. She brought her face even closer to his, rubbing her nose against his cheek. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”
“What if I did?” He refused to back down.
“Hmm…are you sure you can handle that?” Her lips were dangerously close now.
“I think I can,” he replied. He was right when he said she was cocky. She knew her assets, and how to use them. A little too well for his liking. That was at least half of what made her so dangerous.
“Well then, Agent DiNozzo,” she whispered. “That is awfully unprofessional of you.”
She released her grip but he didn’t move for a second. He squinted, studying her eyes. Then he sat back down, as did she. He pulled a tiny key from his inner jacket pocket and slid it across the table. “You can go,” he said.
Deftly, she unlocked the cuffs and rubbed the abraded places on her wrists. She stood up to leave but stopped at the door, turned on her heels and placed both hands on the table, leaning over again. It wasn’t as far this time.
“You know, Agent DiNozzo, I like a challenge,” she said. “I may be exceptional, but I never said I was professional.” She pressed a small white card against his chest. “I called in a favor from an old friend at the Embassero. You have three days.”
She turned around and headed towards the door with a satisfied smile on her face. He looked at the card - a room number and a phone number.
“Maybe I did make an impression after all,” he called out to her.
“We’ll see,” she replied, not looking back, closing the door behind her as an Agent came to escort her out of the building.
“WHOA!” Tony yelled, thrusting his arms out, with baby Elise still in his hands. He turned his head away with his nose scrunched up.
“Tony, what are you doing?!” Ziva exclaimed. scooping up her daughter. But soon her face wore a similar expression.
“What did that kid eat?” he asked, stepping as far away as he could, holding his nose.
“Baby food, Tony,” Ziva replied, holding back a cough. “Then again, it’s only just worse than you after you eat Mexican - I don’t even want to sleep in the same room as you after that.”
“Hey!” he snapped, but realised he really had no argument. She was right.
“Look, let’s just get her out of this diaper. It’s your turn,” she rasped.
“What? I got the last one!”
“I had to breast feed!”
“Tony, you work with dead bodies for a living, you can’t tell me you have not smelled something this bad before.”
He held out his hand, and immediately she knew what to do.
“Paper! Scissors! Rock!”
Tony held his head in his hands. Damn her rock to his scissors. Reluctantly, he took his daughter into his arms. “Come on, Stinky. Let’s go,” he said hesitantly.
“You better make this up to me, DiNozzo,” Tony told her over his shoulder.
She found him at the bar.
“You should not drink alone, it is depressing,” she told him as she snuck up behind him, a half-hearted smile on her face.
“Hey,” he said, the lack of motivation in his voice astoundingly obvious. He was just hunched over the bar, his tie shoved into his pocket.
“Are you sure you should be here, after everything that happened?” she asked, taking a seat on the stool to his right and waving at the barkeeper, who handed her a simple beer.
“Well,” he sighed. “Sometimes you gotta go where everybody knows your name.”
She looked around. “I do not think anyone here knows you here, Tony.”
He rubbed his eyes. “Cheers, Ziva,” he explained. She just held up her beer, thinking he was offering. He shrugged, too tired to correct her.
“We’re so lucky everyone survived,” he said suddenly. “You know, after Kate died, I actually went to a church? I was never really ‘close to God’ – I mean, apart from being raised Catholic. So instead of praying, I made him a deal. I stop being a total jerk, and he stays the hell away from my family. Maybe today he finally held up his end of the deal.”
“Sometimes things happen for no reason, Tony.”
“Are you saying one of us should have died back there?”
“I’m saying, we just as easily could have.”
“But we didn’t.”
“No,” she said. “You’re right. We didn’t.”
“Maybe I should just get a start on this bucket list, huh?” he said, pulling a creased piece of paper from his pocket.
“You carry that around with you?” she asked, frowning.
“Sometimes.” He slipped it carefully back inside his jacket and turned to her. “You know…I’m really glad it was you I got stuck in there with. I mean, you know, if something had happened, I don’t think there’s anyone else I’d rather…have with me.”
“I feel the same, Tony,” she admitted, her voice soft.
“You’re just…you’re important to me. I don’t know, this whole thing’s got me shaken. Any moment could be your last.”
“Tony, you can’t live your life in fear,” she told him/
“No, I know. That’s why I’m doing it.”
“Telling you,” he said, and she raised her eyebrows. “Telling you that you’re important to me. Telling you that you mean something. To me. That you’re incredible and that honestly I can’t believe how much I care about you.”
A soft laugh left her lips and she placed a soft hand on his cheek. “You’re a wonderful man, Tony. A good man. A kind man. A great partner. I do not give you enough credit.”
She let her hand drop and there was a silence between them. Ziva looked down, tucking her hair behind her ear.
“Funny, huh? How we got from ‘are you having phone sex’ to here.”
“Only took us seven years,” she said with a laugh.
He held up his drink. “Here’s to seven more, then.”
The sound of heavy footsteps on the creaky stairs of Gibbs’ basement had become unmistakable by now. Whose they were, well, that was another question.
He looked up from his woodwork. “Ziver,” he greeted.
“You look surprised to see me,” she said.
“It’s Saturday,” he said in reply. “What’s up?”
“Does there have to be something up?” she asked, sitting across from him at his table.
“You wouldn’t be down here if there wasn’t.”
“Point taken.” She swallowed. “I know rules are always in place for a reason, Gibbs. But I think that you know better than anyone that breaking those rules is sometimes better than following them. I have thought about this long and hard and I –”
“What is it you want, Ziva?” he cut her off. He never was a patient man, really.
She stood up and began pacing, which she always did when she was thinking. “Something permanent. That is what I want. And…more and more since that explosion I can’t fight this feeling that there is something I’m missing. Something my brain has just skipped over automatically because I just couldn’t deal with the thought.”
Gibbs ran a hand over his face. “DiNozzo.”
“He is not the frat boy he once was, Gibbs,” she said desperately, turning to face him. “There has always been something there but the timing has never been right. And now it is and I look at him and I just…I stop seeing all my failures because look at us, seven years later. A success. The biggest one I have. Maybe the only one.”
Gibbs stood up too, and stopped her, a strong grip on her shoulders.
“I love him, Gibbs. It is not much and it’s not exactly happily ever after but it’s there. And it is all I have.”
His expression was plain, unreadable, much to her disappointment. But her hopes soared when he placed a kiss to her temple.
“Always thought DiNozzo would give in first,” he replied. “But you gotta tell people the truth. While you still can.”
She laughed, though tears were in her eyes now. She knew everyone’s days on this planet were numbered. There were so many things that she would give everything to say to people she’d lost along the way.
“Does he know?”
She shook her head.
“Well, what’re you still doing here, David?”
Ziva couldn’t keep the grin off her face as she threw herself into Gibbs’ embrace before hurrying up the stairs.
Gibbs smiled to himself. This was a pivotal moment, he thought. Today could be the start of something incredible. Or incredibly dangerous. It could swing either way. He wasn’t really sure yet.
It was just another one of those things, only time would tell.
Title: Birthday Gala
Pairings: Tony/Ziva, some McGee/Abby.
Summary: For apprehending Harper Dearing, Vance has the MCRT attend the Annual Marine Corps Birthday Ball. Things really just go downhill from there. Also, Dorneget makes an appearance!
A/N: This is seriously bordering on crack!fic. It’s pretty fun, though.
Timeline: During Season 10, maybe November sweeps?
Thanks for the notes guys! <3