For all of you who aren't fond of Jeanne, this is a TIVA story so have no fear! Some of the plot is loosely based on spoilers I've read, hence it's purely my own speculation. Otherwise, its pure TIVA fluff all the way…
Opening his eyes, he lazily stretched, feeling all the warmth and passion from the previous night of lovemaking still present in his body. He couldn't remember ever feeling so satisfied, so immensely happy after such a night. Smiling, he looked towards the window and silently watched the rain as the sun struggled to rise. Lying flat on his back, the sheets twisted around his torso, he reached out to the person next to him. Feeling nothing but a cool emptiness, he opened his eyes completely and tried to focus. There was no way it had all been a dream; his body and the state of the bed were evidence of that.
Jeanne. She had been his girlfriend for nearly six months now. He never invited her to his place; he had to maintain his cover, no matter how flimsy that seemed these days. They always spent the night at her place. Lovemaking between them had always been enjoyable, but something felt different about last night – a good kind of different. Maybe he finally told her the truth? Maybe she had understood and they had spent the night making up for all the lies he had had to tell her to protect his cover? Perhaps that is why it finally felt so good and so right. The fact that her father was Rene Benoit, aka 'La Grenouille' initially being his reason to 'get to know her' was now no longer relevant. He had kept up the charade of being a University professor specializing in film, that his name was Tony DiNardo. Wasn't the fact he had truly fallen in love with her all that really mattered now? After all, doesn't true love conquer all? He snorted. What had happened to the once carefree, love 'em and leave 'em DiNozzo?
A movement downstairs startled him. He jumped up and ran down the staircase leading from his loft bedroom, not bothering he was naked. A swift motion and the front door to his condo opened, a shock of long, dark, wavy hair flashing before him. His eyes locked with the most beautiful, exotic, dark brown eyes he had ever seen. He was standing still on the staircase, unable to move. The dark eyes closed, shedding a single tear, and in an instant the door was closed.
"Oh my god". Tony felt all previous warmth leave his body. He stood there, frozen. He had spent the night with the woman he had tried to forget about during the course of the La Grenouille mission. He didn't want to have to forget about her; duty came first. But now he knew, for certain, that he was not in love with Jeanne Benoit. Smoke and mirrors.
He was in love with Ziva David.
Ziva sat at her desk, trying not to think about the previous night she had spent with Tony. How had it happened? She wondered. Well she knew exactly 'how,' it was the 'why' that was bothering her. Even though she had only known Roy for three days, what she felt for him in that short period of time was powerful – and all it did was intensify her need to be with Anthony DiNozzo. But why now? She knew Tony had felt the same way about her, despite having a girlfriend. Hmmph. Girlfriend. If it weren't for the obvious signs and his apparent lack of interest in other women (namely herself!) she wouldn't have known. It wasn't like he ever talked about her. In fact, he seemed obsessed with keeping her and her existence a secret, as if she didn't really exist. Well, last night she certainly didn't exist.
Gibbs was busy in MTAC with Director Sheppard when Tony walked into the bullpen. "Good morning Ziva." He looked briefly in her direction before settling down behind the safety of his own desk.
"Is it?" she answered almost too curtly.
Tony was about to respond when his phone rang, his black cell phone. He felt the colour drain from his face. Ziva watched him intently.
"You going to answer that?" She raised an eyebrow as she tapped her pen on her desk.
It stopped ringing and went to voicemail. He ignored checking for messages and began to boot up his computer, appearing intensely interested in watching it do so. He ran his hand through his hair. This was not going to be a good day, he thought. He had not been thinking clearly since Paula Cassidy's death two days ago. When he found out the news, he went into a kind of dull funk, unable to work or function without thinking of what might have been. They had been close, but it never seemed to go beyond the occasional 'liaison' when they worked a case together. Gibbs and McGee had asked him if he needed to talk, but it was Ziva who he opened up to. She, in turn, opened up to him about Roy, and before long they were in his bed having the most incredible sex he had ever experienced.
His cell phone rang again. This time he turned it off before it could go to voicemail. He knew it was Jeanne; she was the only one who ever called that phone.
"Don't you think you owe her an explanation, Tony?" Ziva stood up and walked over to his desk, perching herself on its edge.
"Its not that easy, Ziva…" he knew that sounded like a weak excuse but it was all he could come up with.
"I see. Well let me make it easy for you. Pretend what we did never happened, and I'll do the same. Life as usual." Ziva looked away from him as she said the last three words. "We comforted each other, nothing more."
With that she got up and walked towards the elevator.
"Where are you going?" Tony called after her.
"Nowhere, Tony. Nowhere."
Several days passed before Tony allowed himself to see Jeanne. He couldn't avoid her any longer, and he had made a date for the evening, his intention being to end it with her once and for all. Ziva was treating him with a subtle coolness only he noticed, but he needed to sort things out with Jeanne before he could gather his thoughts and even approach Ziva. If only the 'old' DiNozzo were here! He'd know what to do, or rather, how to handle it, he thought ruefully.
He had been absently knocking on Jeanne's door without even realizing it. She opened the door, smiling and reached to pull him inside her apartment. "I've missed you, Tony," she purred into his ear.
Tony swallowed. This was not going to be easy.
Candles were burning and the lights were dim. Soft music filled the air and two wine glasses waited next to a red rose on the coffee table. Jeanne led Tony by the hand to the sofa and handed him the rose. "Men give women flowers, so I thought I would turn the tables and give one to a man," she continued to smile as she poured wine into their glasses. Handing him one, she asked, "You like?"
"Ah – yes, I do. Thank you." He felt uneasy. What now?
"Have a seat, Tony. You don't have to ask."
He sat back and fingered the wine glass, staring at its contents. Jeanne leant across him to kiss him softly on the lips. Her tongue tried to gain entry but he pretended to hide a cough, and she pulled back. "Sorry, I'm getting over a cold," he muttered before taking a long gulp from his glass.
A loud knock on the door echoed throughout the apartment. Tony looked up. Jeanne shrugged and walked to the door.
"Hello my darling," an accented male voice piqued Tony's interest.
"Hi Daddy," she threw her arms around the older man's neck.
Tony stood up, his eyes wide. Rene Benoit walked into the room, smiling comfortably just as he had when he met Ducky last month.
"Pleased to meet you. My daughter has told me much about you, Mr…DiNardo." He reached his hand out to Tony, the smile still fixed upon his face.
After much small talk, Tony excused himself to the bathroom where he quickly pulled out his cell phone to call the Director.
"Don't do anything, Tony," she implored. "This is what we've been waiting for. Try to find out why he is in town and how long he is staying. I'll do the rest. Oh and Tony - you are not to tell anyone until I advise you otherwise."
He flipped the phone shut and sat on the lid of the closed toilet. He would have to continue the charade for a bit longer, whether he wanted to or not. How had his life become so complicated? He walked to the sink and splashed cold water over his face. Staring back at his reflection he wiped his face dry. Time to go back out and pretend to be someone he wasn't.
Would it really matter in the long run? The hole he was digging would soon be big enough to bury them all…