AN I don't own NCIS or any of its characters. Short one-shot Tiva feels!
There's something so much more intimate about the way Ziva slips into his bed after a particularly bad or tedious case was closed. It's far more intimate than sex, he imagines, because this was her reaching out for him, finding comfort in him. He'd given her a key months ago after they'd gotten her back from her father's torture, but it still managed to surprise him when he felt her slip beneath the covers, having not heard the door or heard her come in. But she does. Sometimes, she jostles the bed if he isn't awake so that he'll roll over and wrap an arm around her waist. Sometimes, she just slips in silently and leaves the space between them. But usually, since he's gotten used to her sneaking in and doesn't wake up as often, she slips into bed and curls against his back to wrap her arm around his waist.
And it's easy.
She snores usually but he doesn't really mind even if he teases her about it later. Sometimes, she jolts awake in the middle of the night, breathing hard with her gun drawn, but he just sits up and slowly lowers her arm until she replaces the gun on the nightstand and snuggles into his arms. Sometimes, he wakes up gasping for breath still feeling the scar tissue in his lungs stretch and burn like someone's choking him. But she sits with him and gently rubs his back until he can breathe again, pulling him down to lay his head on her shoulder. It's oddly tender and affectionate.
He learns that Ziva sleeps in an old t shirt and her underwear-boy shorts, though, so less like underwear than shorts. And he gets accustomed to the way her bare legs feel tangled in with his own. He gets used to her warmth, even adjusting his blankets to account for it. It makes it that much more obvious when she isn't there. So one night, after a particularly bad case, when he can't quite shake the feeling that he might blink and she'll be gone, he plays gently with her hair and prepares himself.
"Can we do this every night?" She laughs, her body shaking against his, but it doesn't put him at ease like it normally does.
"Tony, that is called moving in together." But that fear gripping at his chest makes him just a little braver, just a little more desperate not to lose her.
"Okay, so let's do that." Ziva props herself up on her elbows to stare at him. She looked confused, surprised maybe, but was that a bad sign?
"Tony, we aren't even dating are you seriously asking me to move in with you?" He shrugged,though, trying not to be discouraged by her surprise.
"I mean you spend every other night here anyways, and I really wish you would just stay. So why not just stay?" She gapes at him.
"Are… are you serious?" He nods, not trusting his voice. Despite his usual jokes, he's completely serious and he needs her to see that.
"Okay. I mean, yeah, let's do it." Wait, what? There's no way, right?
"Really?" Her smile is like a drug slipping through his veins.
"Yeah, really." Oh thank god.
"Good," he whispers, pulling her into a tight hug. "I don't think I can ever let you go after today." She doesn't pull away from him, she learned not to do that after he reacted badly the first time, but she does question him.
"What do you mean after today?"
"I could have lost you, Zi... Then who would keep me up all night with their snoring?" She smacks his chest in annoyance but he just laughs and hugs her close again, pressing a kiss to her forehead. "I'm kidding, I'm kidding. But you did scare me today and… I don't know. I realized that I want you in my life a lot more than you are now. I want every second with you and I want to know you're safe, to be able to feel your heartbeat. I want you, Zi. If you'll have me." He smiles, trying not to look nervous, but she cups his cheek with her own little smile.
"Of course, Tony. Of course I will." Somehow, her lips end up on his and he has to hold back a sigh of contentment. All those nights intertwined in his bed, all those quiet mornings before they got a call from Gibbs when, none of it could have prepared him for the feeling of her lips pressing against his. For all her strength and ferocity, she's gentle. Sweet, even. He can't help himself and his hand tangles into her hair, pulling her into the kiss just a little bit more. He hadn't been planning to. He didn't want to make her uncomfortable or push any of her boundaries, especially with how reserved she'd been about physical contact since getting back… But she's so addictive. She welcomes it, too, which only makes it a hundred times easier to drown in her.
"Zi…" She pulls aways just enough to look into his eyes. He doesn't want to have sex with her-well, he does, badly-but not like this. But she doesn't look upset or disappointed, she just nods and plants a kiss on his cheek before settling back down beside him. It's easy, like it's all they've ever done. Like it's what they're meant to do.
"I love you, Zi." Her smile presses into his skin like she's trying to imprint it on his chest. He doesn't think he would mind, though.
"I love you too, Tony."
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