|Sometime Around Midnight
Author: Deirdra098 PM
He knows that right now, their timing is off again. And for once, it's both of them that can't right now – because she has Mr. Miami Man Ray and he has EJ pressed against the tiled wall of the NCIS shower afterhours. T/Z at heartRated: Fiction K+ - English - Tony D. & Ziva D. - Words: 1,670 - Reviews: 10 - Favs: 8 - Follows: 2 - Published: 03-05-11 - Status: Complete - id: 6798131
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: This is a different style than I'm generally comfortably writing in, but it was how the story insisted on being told. It has been a few months since I posted anything, so I feel a bit rusty, but maybe this one will help get the gears going again. I'm the only one who has read this and I did my best to proofread, however I am responsible for any and all mistakes.
At the root of it, this story is Tiva... although there are mentions of EJ and Ray.
He vaguely remembers a conversation he had with her about timing, a long time ago – it feels even longer than it actually was – and he can't remember if they were in her kitchen or her living room or her bed, but he does know that Gibbs was gone and the team was his. They had a lot of conversations back then. He'd like to say that he remembers all of them, that he committed each and every little detail to memory (like the way her mouth quirked with certain words, the way her brow furrowed when she was searching hard in that overtired and language-laced mind of hers), but he hadn't.
He had no reason to think or hope or even guard against the fact that everything would have changed. That everything would have been taken away from him again. By Gibbs, of all people.
And sure, he gave it up willingly – the team, her (although that took more of a distraction to get a handle on) – but it was his choice. He chose to give it up, and he chose to stay. He chose not to move to Rota.
And it worked.
He thinks he remembers not believing in timing, classifying it with coincidence, and he seems to think that he was surprised to find that she did believe in it (although that conversation about inevitability played out twice and she seemed to have changed her tune by the second go). But now he thinks that with whatever she thought back then, she might have actually had a point.
Because their timing then, it was good.
Until it wasn't anymore.
He's not really as thickheaded as he comes off as when it comes to Ziva. He knows that they've had times when it would have worked, when things could have changed, but he didn't want them to. Because things changing would have meant that he had to grow up, not only for her and for them, but he would have had to have been the adult with Gibbs – not the subordinate, he would have had to ignore the rules, and not go with whatever Gibbs always thought was best, never really questioning it.
He knows that right now, their timing is off again. And for once, it's both of them that can't right now – because she has Mr. Miami Man Ray and he has EJ pressed against the tiled wall of the NCIS shower afterhours.
She doesn't come with rules, because Gibbs doesn't really mean a thing to her, and Gibbs' rules are starting to have less and less power on Tony – and she offered him a glimpse of what it could mean to only follow the rules that he makes for himself.
And she's so not Ziva – she doesn't act or look or feel like Ziva – and Christ, isn't that the reason why he ends up with the women he does lately?
Her tongue is soft and doing magical things and she's warm and willing and ready and there and still there's that little voice saying She's not Ziva. For once he thinks that it doesn't sound bitter.
Or maybe he's just used to it by now.
He and EJ walk out together, not really talking about much, but there's a laugh here and there, and definitely a few smiles. Their cars are in different directions so they kind of just smile at each other and she gives him a little wave, which he returns even in his sleepy, mildly dazed-out state.
In the time it takes for him to reach his car, his smile still hasn't faded because maybe that was just what he needed.
He likes EJ, or at least he thinks he could. She's free and easy and she's… she's the way he used to be. She's what he wanted to be, or at least, what he would have been had it not been for Gibbs and Abby and McGee and Ziva and Ducky and Palmer. He cared about them all too much to just give them up for a job.
A job that he would have been damn good at.
He does his best not to resent that now.
Over the years, he's done a great job not thinking about it. Things with Jeanne took off the edge of it, and then dealing with that, and soon Jenny was dead and gone and the team was separated anyway and his career, which honestly, had never been the reason for going to work every day, became something he hated because instead of being a leader, he was an Agent Afloat.
And damn it, he hated being trapped. That's what kept him going from girl to girl, and what made him not call them back, and his position on the team had never made him feel that way before. But now, he felt like he had stalled so much, that he's become stuck anyway.
Everything – following Gibbs' commands, teasing Probie (the kid's grown up and ready to go too now), Ziva – has just become too difficult, but any move to change it would carry the bitter sting of betrayal. He doesn't think he'd be able to swallow it.
But hooking up with the pretty new blonde in the NCIS shower? That wasn't difficult at all.
She doesn't call Ray that night, or even text him, although she could really use a sympathetic ear, but she doubts she'd know what to say even if she wanted to talk to him about it.
That she did not like how Tony kept his eyes on EJ? Or the way she moved the desk? Or the way she intruded upon their investigation? Or the way that Tony didn't seem to mind?
The woman had lived in Spain for years and still could not even pretend like she could roll her r's. Clearly she was not someone who adjusted to others – they would have to adjust to her.
She was not what Ziva had in mind when she said that she wanted something permanent.
Ever since she talked to McGee, she has felt uneasy. Like the world is waiting to shift beneath her feet. Again. She doesn't know who or what to cling to anymore, and she's grown too accustomed to her team to consider them anything but family and without them… she's not sure what she would have left.
She doesn't think she could go back to doing it alone.
McGee, she thinks, would be a very good team leader. He would be gentle, but firm when he needed to be, and he would be analytical and utilize all of the new technology that the director would let him have. He wouldn't let the job get him down or overwhelm him, once he adjusted that is.
Tony, she knows, is overdue. When she first heard that he was offered a team leader position by Jenny, she was not surprised that he would have turned it down. He had done a good job, a very good job, when Gibbs was gone, but then he got thrown off-balance and he needed time to collect himself.
And all of that time… maybe it was too much. He got distracted.
The timing was wrong.
And that hurts, because now the timing is right for a position, and wrong for them, and she doesn't think that either thing will happen without a drastic change.
Hitting things makes them work.
She's not sure if she can handle another hit though… especially if it comes with a face like EJ's.
Ziva sighed as she realized that Abby liked her instantly. She remembered back to when she was trying so very hard just to get Abby to accept her – and yes, yes, yes, of course the circumstances were different, but it didn't take the sting out of it.
Her phone buzzes beside her, and she's not sure if she hopes that it will continue to buzz, signaling that she's being called into work, or if she dreads it. It only buzzes once though, and she sees the name on the screen and she taps out a quick response, promising to get in touch in the morning. Because Ray is patient and doesn't seem to mind waiting for her.
Things with Ray are easy and undefined, and no, they aren't together, but they certainly are close. He seems to think that the timing is right, even if the locations are wrong.
She knows from the way that Tony looked at EJ (that same expression he wore when he became obsessed with that reporter, except that EJ is viable and here and not dying) that there is a very good chance that she could become what Ray is to her. For a little while anyway.
It isn't until he's showered and in bed that Tony contemplates calling Ziva.
The minutes on his digital clock glow bright red in the darkness and he contemplates texting Ziva.
He doesn't send it.
But just because the timing is wrong doesn't mean it won't ever be right again.
He just hopes that he hasn't missed his chance.