Title: Past Tense
Category: Romance (sorta, not really)
Disclaimer: These characters belong to DPB, CBS, Paramount, et al. No copyright infringement is intended.
After a careful look out the peep hole, Jenny Shephard unlocked the door and swung it open. She held the gun down low by her side, but still in her hand in case all was not as it seemed.
It had only been hours before when she and Gibbs had spoken about constant vigilance; she wasn't about to let up so soon.
Ziva laughed dryly, as she saw Jenny. "I assure you, I'm not here to kill you."
Jen didn't smile at the attempted humor. As the Director she would still have to deal with the fact that a man had died in the custody of one of her agents. It would amount to a lot of paperwork and headache at the very least. Still she had decided to put it off until the morning. There was no need to take her mood out on Ziva.
"Shouldn't you be at her place?" Jen asked pointedly.
Ziva looked away and then back up at Jen quickly. "She doesn't understand. Abby," she gestured with her hands, "She sees the same crimes that we have seen, but through it all she's innocent of some things. Gibbs protects her from the worst - or he tries to at least."
Jen stepped aside, letting Ziva into her apartment.
Ziva brushed past her. Her hip grazing Jenny's as she slipped inside. Jen carefully locked the door behind her and followed Ziva into the living room.
Ziva was already pacing the room as Jen carefully laid her gun on the coffee table and sank back into a seat on the couch. She waited, knowing that Ziva had sought her out for a reason and that she would talk when she was ready.
"McGee was worried about me - my feelings," Ziva said slowly. "He was so...sweet." She paced the length of the couch. "He has no idea what I'm capable of doing."
Jen shifted on the couch. This was a side of Ziva that she had seen only rarely before. It required careful handling. Talking with Ziva could be like juggling a live grenade. "Jethro does. He doesn't underestimate you," she pointed out.
"He doesn't fully trust me either."
"He put you in the lead when you came to rescue me today,"
Ziva dismissed what she had said with a wave of a hand. "Gibbs knows that I won't hesitate. He knows that I can take care of myself."
"And DiNozzo can't?" Jen asked. "He is a fully trained federal agent, Ziva."
Ziva shook her head. "Tony is different - not like me."
Jen leaned forward and took a sip of the beer that she had left sitting on the coffee table to answer the door and then stood. "You know, Ziva, you may be able to convince a lot of people that you don't have a heart, but I know that you do." She walked slowly towards Ziva.
She saw the younger woman start to protest and shook her head slowly. "You have a temper," she continued and Ziva laughed. Jen grinned at her own understatement. "You do what has to be done without hesitation or regret, but you do feel. Jethro told me that you were going crazy sitting behind a desk, unable to be out in the field looking for me."
"It wasn't a good use of my skills," Ziva bit out.
"You're loyal," Jen countered, "But you understand that not everything is always black or white." Ziva took a step back. "You've saved my life twice now."
"I simply provided a distraction to set up Gibbs."
"You were always effective at that too."
Ziva finally grinned. "Thank you."
Jen nodded, "But you see, Ziva," her hand trailed up Ziva's arm to rest on her shoulder. "I know you." She leaned in close to Ziva until the younger woman's back was pressed into the wall. "You don't regret killing that man aside from the fact that it doesn't serve the purposes of the case. He was inconsequential beyond that. That's what makes you different from DiNozzo."
"And Gibbs," Ziva asked softly, tilting her head upwards, towards Jen.
"Jethro sees parts of himself in you and he worries because he knows that there isn't much that you won't do and he isn't certain where your loyalties lie."
Her fingers tangled into Ziva's hair.
"And you," Ziva asked. "What do you think?"
"I think you are a dangerous woman," Jen admitted, "who's saved my life twice."
"Mmmm," Ziva murmured non-comittally. "I'm glad that you're not dead, Jenny."
Jen stiffened at her hearing name from Ziva's lips. It had been quite a while since she'd heard Ziva call her that. It made her next move so much easier.
"I am too," she whispered the words and then pressed her lips to Ziva's.
Ziva didn't hesitate to kiss her back, her lips parting, and her hands finding their way up under Jenny's blouse. Jen lost herself in the kiss, savoring the sensation of Ziva's lips against her, the way that Ziva's hands were touching and carressing. It felt so good just to feel.
There was a sharp knock at her door.
It jolted both of them back. Ziva hit her head on the wall and swore in Hebrew.
"Damn," Jen added her own curse at the interruption and then her eyes locked with Ziva's as she took a moment to catch her breath. Jen's eyes slid to the gun on the coffee table before she took a quick, deep breath.
"Who is it?"
"It's me - Gibbs - Jen."
Jen took a step away from Ziva, her eyes flashing back up to Ziva's face. Ziva almost looked amused, except for the annoyance that was written all over her face.
"I was just thinking of going," she said with her lips pressed into a thin smile.
Jen studied her for a moment. She'd never been in love with Ziva, not even two years ago. She respected and understood her; was attracted to her. This had been about feeling something at the end of a very long and, for her frightening, day.
"Don't you mean coming?"
Ziva stared at her for an instant and then let out a startled laugh. "Another time perhaps," she replied. Before Jen could open her mouth though, it was once again covered with Ziva's. Her lips were bruising and the kiss left Jen - eyes glazed - staring after Ziva as she walked towards the door.
Ziva pulled the door open and nodded at her boss. "Gibbs," she acknowledged as she walked past him.
"Agent David," he greeted her in kind, hiding any surprise that he may have felt at seeing her there.
"Jethro," he heard Jen calling his name as she appeared at the apartment door.
He smiled. "I brought coffee."