|nights like tonight
Author: Zayz PM
T/Z. Tony mulls over his half-there, half-not relationship with Ziva on a particularly vulnerable evening at work. R&R?Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance - Tony D. & Ziva D. - Words: 1,461 - Reviews: 19 - Favs: 17 - Follows: 2 - Published: 02-25-11 - Status: Complete - id: 6777036
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: I haven't been writing a lot lately, but tonight I was finally able to channel my frustration and restlessness into a story that I think (or, rather, hope) fits with the Tony/Ziva cannon right now. So for that alone, I am pleased with this right now.
The second person is meant to be directed at Tony - so the "you" is Tony. And if that doesn't make sense right now, it will when you start reading.
I really, really, really hope you like this then. Please be sure to review and let me know your thoughts. Cheers.
nights like tonight
Nights like tonight, when residual raindrops cling to the window overlooking the city and the quiet office with the humming air vents is a bit surreal and you're getting woolly from staring at your computer screen for so long – these are the nights that inspire the kind of too-solemn thoughts you spend your whole life avoiding.
It's the slightest bit romantic, knowing it's just rained, that the pavement outside is damp and the air is muggy; and even though it's the middle of February, a sludge patch of winter in the progression of the year, the temperature is above freezing and the grass is closer to green than wispy white and you'd think spring was right around the corner.
These sorts of details matter to a man's psyche. They are the things you think about when your eyes glaze over and go to the window and the fragile order of the world, the way you live your life, threatens to unravel a little.
They are the things that break you down into something raw, tender, elemental somehow – enough that when your eyes go back to the office scene in front of you, you let your attention become so deeply entrenched in Ziva, who is sitting at her desk right across the aisle.
She is the image of productivity, with the phone to her ear and her ankles crossed, her hand flying across a page in time with her moving mouth. Her back is curled inward like a question-mark and her eyes remain averted down, oblivious to all but the task at hand.
You should be following her example, but unfortunately the man you called said he needs to get back to you and the credit histories you're supposed to check are giving you a headache and McGee is with Gibbs on late interview.
So it's just you two in the office – and it's too easy to get caught up in her. Too easy to brood, and consider the way her ponytail is sleek in front but light and curly in the back, coffee-colored layers falling behind her shoulders.
She's your partner, and she's also got a boyfriend, and you know that. You do. But – and there's always that qualifying conjunction in your head, but – she's all the more fascinating for the distance you are supposed to keep.
Would it be different if she wasn't your partner? If you met her somewhere else, somewhere ordinary, at Starbucks or the grocery store – would you regard her the same way?
You would notice her looks certainly, and you'd be sure to ask her out, but would she agree? Would she get dressed up and play seductress? Would you sleep with her a few times, have your mind blown, and then leave her like you do every other exotic-looking female you have encountered? Would she leave you, with her past the way it is, with her personal habits the way they are?
You look at her now, working so innocuously, and she's like water: she's too clever to just reveal herself, so she cleverly reflects her surrounding atmosphere, which includes you if you're close enough. Bright sunny days, nothing to fear, and she's full of color; but when it gets gray, when there are clouds out and there's fog and unease in the air, she's silvery and colorless again, indecipherable.
Some days, she's just your partner: you spar with her, tease her, sometimes invade her privacy but mostly just play the game the way you've always known how to play it, with a smile on your face and a quick retort on the ready. But other days, you know she penetrates you far deeper than the surface level; you know she means so much more to you than that.
The fact of the matter is, you are in a lot of different places with her at the same time and it trips you up. You know her casually as your colleague at work, but you were there when the unthinkable happened to her and she was broken, damn near dead, and you saved her. You took someone very precious away from her, but she's seen you when you've faced loss and in her silent, clumsy way, she tried to be there for you too. You've shared a bed with her more than once, but you haven't slept with her yet – not truly, not properly.
Sometimes, you look into the surface of the water and you see yourself in the serene blue as though it's a giant mirror; but other times, you look and look and look but the bottom is muddy and there's nothing to be seen.
Sometimes, she strikes you, and the attraction is visceral, chemical; but other times, you look at her and you can't get any closer and you don't know why.
But there are still nights like tonight, when she's not just silvery, not just cloudy, not just clear, not just full of color: you turn off the sky, don't let her hide or reflect, and you can see her like you do the pieces in a kaleidoscope. Suddenly you can see all of her, all her shades and colors and moods, and the enlightenment elates, it tingles, it hurts, it soars.
You are stirred, aroused not just that way but in every way; and though you are you and you understand the physical matter you take up in the world, you can deceive yourself into forgetting the physical matter she takes up in the world, and believing that she really is more than just Ziva at her desk – that you understand her better than she ever gave you credit for.
The desire for her is feverish, all-consuming – romantic, even – but it aches because for more than a moment in this night, you believe it's real. You believe that work, Rule 12, her history and your own, don't matter in the least. You believe that you could be happy with her, plain and simple.
Ziva hangs up the phone and stretches her arms up towards the ceiling and your eyes still hold fast to her. Because nights like tonight, when it doesn't feel like winter and you're a little tender and rules, personal and official, are softer around the edges – these are the nights that intoxicate normal days with dangerous possibility.
Your thoughts are still faraway, still of a delicate nature, when she finally notices you watching and chooses to diffuse the tension by telling you without looking up, "Like what you see Tony?"
Her tone is dry and she doesn't talk loudly, but you jump significantly at this, your head crash-landing back to Earth and scrambling for words, as the corner of her mouth upturns and twitches with humor.
"Maybe," you say, for lack of a wittier response.
Now she looks up at you, her features alive with mischief.
"Keep your eyes to yourself," she says.
Your answering smile is big and spontaneous, like she expected, so she flashes you another amused glance and returns to her computer, now typing something. And as you return to your own computer, back to those credit histories, you find yourself hot and bothered and quite embarrassed.
Because who are you kidding, really? She's not water, she's Ziva, and she can kill you with a credit card if she wants to. And anyway, rain is just plain old water and it would never work between you two and it's still February, it's still winter. There is still snow on the ground on top of the weakly-green grass and it's probably going to blizzard next week and you need a sharp cup of coffee for that woolly head of yours.
Who are you kidding, really? Nights like tonight are for suckers.
A/N: I'd love your opinion via that review button before you exit out of this browser...