|The Fundamental Forces of Nature
Author: brightblue PM
Ziva reflects on the nature of love. TIVA. Drabbles.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance - Tony D. & Ziva D. - Words: 2,516 - Reviews: 23 - Favs: 36 - Follows: 2 - Published: 08-05-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6210908
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: In some alternate universe somewhere…
Author's Note: So, I have a much longer, plottier (well, sort of) fic in the works but then I started reading The Elegant Universe and I was bored and then I was attacked by a plot bunny. I have this weird obsession with physics on a theoretical level. Forget the math, I'm awed by the metaphor. And inspired, apparently, as these little drabble-y bits were inspired (loooooosely) by the four fundamental forces. I don't pretend to know anything about them, for real. Like I said, I just like the philosophy of it all. This was written pretty quick and dirty. Enjoy?
The Fundamental Forces of Nature
"…and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart."
i. weak force
She was taught that love is a point of weakness, soft tissue to be exploited. Love is a weapon. Love was her father and his mistresses: an intricate web of deception and promises made to be broken. Love can be conquered like any other territory; for after all, it is just another currency with which to barter. Love was the light in her mother's eyes slowly diminishing, her shoulders beginning to sag as pieces were stolen from her bit by bit. Love breeds betrayal, hides truths. Love is just as deadly as any bomb, exploding your heart into a thousand burning shards in an instant.
This is what Ziva David learned of love.
Ziva does not understand love or, more accurately, does not understand why one would want love and yet...and still...
She envies those that give themselves over so easily to such a destructive emotion. She gifts them a smile and genuinely hopes for their success against the odds. Someone, somewhere has to get it right, don't they? And somewhere, deep down past all reason, there is a secret place in her that hopes for that sort of lapse, too.
She had Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo all figured out before she met him. He was a man like any other- the same charms, the usual games, a dangerous glint in his eye. He was never supposed to be more than a footnote to a recovery mission. But then...
But then she met him.
And, no, it was not love at first sight. Not like those silly movies would have you believe. It was...
It was like the day she met Tony DiNozzo something in her started to change. Something in her started to die and, in its place, something new was created. And over time that something grew and then that something blossomed and it wasn't until it was too late (far, far too late) that she realized what had happened.
An enemy within the gates.
And so she loves him even though she knows she will inevitably suffer for it (and she has, greatly). She loves him even though she knows it can end in nothing but hurt and betrayal (because she's already been hurt, already been betrayed). She loves him even when he can make her question everything with just one look (that look that tells her he has her all figured out).
She loves him because she cannot remember how not to love him.
This doesn't mean she understands it. This doesn't mean she accepts it.
ii. electromagnetic force
It amazes her that with the gentlest of touches, he can invoke the strongest of reactions in her.
She is at her desk, midway through a tedious report, when she registers the brush of his finger on the shell of her ear. She knows it's him before she sees him, and not only because no one else in NCIS would have the audacity to sneak up on a trained assassin like this, but because just the barest hint of his skin against hers is enough to set every nerve in her body on high alert. They each scream out, greedy for more of him, and when he closes in on her personal space under the pretense of double-checking a crime scene measurement for his report, her body sings its approval.
He saturates her senses. Just the smell of his skin so near to hers (made all the more potent by an early morning foot chase) is enough to make her heart rate increase and her toes start to curl into her boots. His breath against her cheek is nearly her undoing; she can almost taste the chocolate on his lips from his candy bar snack. She jumps in her seat when he borrows her mouse with her hand still attached to it. Evil man that he is, he chuckles in response and leans in even closer. She struggles to keep her eyes from sliding shut; her brain begs her to shutter at least one sense in hopes of self-preservation.
Once he's sufficiently teased her, Tony and his smug grin retreat back to his space.
Ziva volunteers to run a report down to Ducky. At least that gets her up and moving in a vain attempt to burn off some of the energy thrumming through her body. Safely enclosed in the stairwell, she takes a few moments to collect herself.
That Tony is handsome is undeniable. But she's been with handsome men before. She's been with younger men, prettier men, and men with muscles that beg to be chiseled in marble for the world to worship. Why he, of all men, has this spell over her and more precisely her body she still doesn't get.
She learned long ago that modulating her own desire means the advantage of power and control over men and their lust. And, even better, it means never having to give herself over to men she does not fully trust.
But Tony... Tony can override all her better instincts with a calculated grin. One flick of his gaze or threat of his touch and her control is taken to the brink. And, God help her, despite this she trusts him. Even when her head screams at her not to, there is something in her heart that whispers the truth.
She should hate that he can hijack her emotions and physical reactions so easily. He just gets under her skin and itches so that she scratches and claws at him but she can never quite kick him out. Not completely.
She's started to like the sensation of him just a little too much.
The next day, she turns the tables and gets extra fussy with his askew tie in the observation room. The catch in his voice and the flash of his eyes is enough to tell her that her body isn't the only traitor in this game.
They are both overly fond of dancing with fire.
iii. gravitational force
She is somewhere in the guts of an aircraft carrier. Grey walls fly past as she ducks and jumps her way closer to the report of gunshots.
All her training has emphasized the importance of instinct, that the most precise weapons can never compete with symmetry of thought on a well-chosen team. She doubts her and Tony have ever had such a meeting of minds, but there is something to be said for the way they just seem to know about each other.
Like now. She lost him somewhere in this labyrinth minutes ago but she knows without a doubt, so clearly she can see it in her own mind, that he is running into the fray without second thought. There is a victim involved, after all. And so she pushes on, having only a vague idea of where she's going and where she's been because she knows Tony will be there, wherever there is, and he will need her. She feels him.
She shoots out of a doorway and stumbles to a dead stop. Breathing heavily, she turns her head to the right and finds Tony staring back at her. They blink. Time stops.
Then men with guns are bursting into the room and they go to work. The fight is two on two, evenly matched. Though, as Tony heckles one of the men into striking at him so he can duck and she can tackle, Ziva can't help but think it isn't fair at all.
As they stand over the two unconscious bad guys, high on adrenaline, grand thoughts of deeper meanings and signs and missed connections blaze through her mind too quickly to grasp. Romantic, dangerous ideas that swathe her in confusion. Things she never considered before Tony wished her goodnight in Italian, raindrops glistening in his perfectly rumpled hair. The swaying of her body towards his, however, feels natural and right. It brings her feet back down to the ground again. It quiets strange thoughts.
Later, safely behind the closed doors of another metal box, their bodies collide. Maybe there was a trigger, something that was said or a star that aligned just right. Ziva only knows that she can resist the pull no longer. Lips meet, tongues tangle, and limbs entwine as if they were made to complement one another. It should feel wrong, or at least forbidden. Instead, it feels like relief. Like finally.
Balance at last.
iv. strong force
They receive word from Tel Aviv: Eli David's home was bombed the night before. It was a shoddy job. A bold statement from an emerging, but still unskilled, fringe terrorist group. The Director is in critical condition.
Ziva declines the offer to fly to his bedside. Her father had no problem sending her to die, leaving her to die, so why should she pray for him now? Vance seems offended by her cool response. The others are less so. Gibbs carries on with business as usual, hardly pausing to acknowledge the event. The sharp glint in his eyes is sign enough that he gets it.
The day goes on as normal. Ziva tries not to think of her father on the other side of the world. She cannot wish him well; she's still far too angry and hurt for that. She cannot wish him harm, either, because he is her father and she already knows how badly that blood stains her hands.
It's almost worse than worrying, her strained indifference.
At least there's a case to carry her through the night. She is silent and focused as she works. McGee tiptoes around her with a mask of cheer on his face. He acts as if trolling through bank statements is the happiest task on earth. Abby trips over words and stumbles on landmines in her efforts to remain casual. Ducky tries to push her to talk; the concern in his eyes as he says goodbye for the night is almost too much to bear.
Tony just waits. Watches. His silent support keeps her going.
An aunt calls early the next morning to say her father has regained consciousness. His doctors are optimistic. The surgery went well. He is asking for her.
Ziva hangs up the phone and leaves her desk without a word.
She barely makes it to the women's restroom before the tears start to fall.
And then, Tony is there. He locks the door and gathers her body into his. She cries and cries until she feels she has nothing more to give, until the storm subsides. And still she is left with emotional debris inside, a strange mix of regret and relief and too many others to identify.
"It'll be okay, Ziva," Tony murmurs into her hair. "I'm here."
She clutches him to her, craving his solid weight. His impeccably tailored shirt crumples in her fists and soaks up her tears. There is still so much of this new life she is uncertain about but Tony...
Well, at least she has him. And he's hardly a consolation prize. No, he's so much more than that to her.
He's her greatest weakness, yes, but also her biggest defender. The only one she's ever underestimated so completely. The one who caught her by surprise, not because of his stealth but because he seems to know her better than she knows herself sometimes. The closest thing to a soul mate she'll allow herself to believe in.
Her crying subsides and her breathing evens out. But Tony doesn't let her go. She remains tucked safely into his embrace. He is warm and smells like what home should be.
"Promise me," she urges, voice muffled by his jacket. He rubs her scalp gently, drops kisses along her temple. Soft, little touches that spark her to life. It's a kind of comfort she's never known before.
"Promise you what?" He wonders, and she wonders, too. She will ask and he will give and it's never been that simple before. But what if she demands too much?
"That someday this will be easier," she sighs. And she doesn't define this because she doesn't know what she means exactly: Their relationship? Their families? Their lives?
Tony chuckles into her neck and rubs his nose against her skin. "You know I can't do that."
She gives him her deadliest glare. He merely looks down at her in amusement.
"What I can promise you," he begins with a smile just as lethal, "is that I will be here with a designer tie for you to wipe your snotty nose on whenever you need it."
She scrunches her face up at his colorful choice of phrase, though she's glad that now, as always, he's able to wrap sentiment up in something more easily swallowed. He tilts his head, green eyes flecked with dazzling blue affection, when she smoothes her hands over his tear-stained tie.
Any words she can think to say don't seem like enough. Instead, she speaks with her touch. Her hands glide up his chest, testing the anchoring weight of his body. She rubs her knuckles over the stubble on his jaw as he considers her with a soft gaze. She could easily rest there and fold herself into his welcoming embrace. But he is hers to cherish now, and she knows what happens to love taken for granted so she forges on. She takes in the textures of his skin with her eyes. Her fingers unfold across his cheeks and dance over his brows. She kisses the corner of his mouth as she breathes him in. His hands rest lightly on her hips; he lets her lead but assures he will follow.
"Thank you," she mumbles before pressing her lips against his, a chaste but lingering kiss. His fingers squeeze gently at her flesh in acknowledgement.
This is it, she thinks. This is love. There is nothing to define or understand because nothing about it is simple, easy, or logical. It's too fundamental, too primal. Love may be her downfall…or maybe, just maybe, it will save her in the end.