A/N: Who said I didn't deliver... For anyone who didn't read the outside thing... I don't know how... But this is an alternate end to one of my fics- you need to read that first its called And Who The Hell Are You... If you haven't read it you'll be really lost. To my reviews- thankyou for the patience as always I don't own any copyright content... Also FOR ANYONE READING BOTH FICS... please don't get yourself confused about what happened in which and then message me claiming I wrote something wrong cos I have enough trouble keeping these straight as it is...
If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have paradise in a few years.
Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)
After spending, the day with dodgy evidence crates and snarky cleaners Tony couldn't muster a lot of guilt when he was seated across from Ari. He was lulled by the familiar surrounding- comforted by the fact that the atmosphere wasn't overly romantic- everything was intimate and elegant, but not so much so that there wasn't a reasonable number of groups dinning along with the single couples.
"What?" When his attention turned back to their table Tony found Ari watching him over his wine glass, fingers resting along the curving rim. Ari shook his head lightly, quirking a brow, before finally sliding his fingers around the bloom of his glass- sipping a little of the dark liquid.
"You're not usually this quiet." Tony baits- contemplating the menu though he already knows most of what's written there… though occasionally something creeps up on him- tonight it's the Alaskan crab leg soup- he's never been terribly fond of the little bastard's either, not since he was 10 and one latched onto his thumb.
"Really." He sets the glass back softly, leans back in his chair and Tony (slightly irritated) goes back to skimming through the menu
"You're usually- you know more arrogant too." It's not that he's trying to start a fight; it's just a matter of principal, pride too now. Ari manages to annoy him with minimal effort; he should be able to do the same, at least occasionally.
"It has been very- long day." He didn't look tired so much as sedate, toned down, 'a long day' giving him a casual air of indifference rather than that too fucked too care look that most people sported under the same circumstances.
"Fair enough." Tony said giving up his indignation, the upkeep on it was too expensive.
The conversation died down briefly as their waitress flounced back over, Ari helping himself to another glass of wine while they ordered- Tony himself was nursing a craving for rum, but decided that the last thing he needed was to get drunk- again.
"You look worn down yourself."
"Calling your dates worn down- how has that worked for you in the past." Tony sniped, playing with the cup of water by his fork to distract himself.
"Tony- I always find you attractive- even at 6 o'clock in the morning- when you're drooling rather artfully from the- left corner of your mouth. Regardless you seem overwrought." Tony hopes the drooling observation came from when he knows the other was in his apartment.
"I was not drooling."
"You were. I also get the impression that this frustration comes from your boss." He said casually and Tony almost choked on his water.
"I don't wanna talk about Gibbs." He says, once he's recovered.
"Nor do I." Ari says after a pause, shaking his head, expression, and tone a little puzzled as though he hadn't meant to bring it up.
"So- why did you become a doctor?" Tony takes a stab at some safer conversation after their plates have been set out in front of them- remembers it from somewhere in the file NCIS has... What he really wants to ask is why the other would agree to try'en take out Al Qaeda; but figures that that probably wouldn't be classed as a safe topic. Then he remembers Ari's mother as well.
"Which is not something you probably wanna talk about." He digs about for something else.
"You won't upset me Tony- my mother died a long time ago… and yes she was the reason I became a doctor- but it wasn't just to please her… The passion she showed for her work, how she would talk about it. I can remember being 5 years old and wanting to feel that way- about something."
Tony's a little annoyed when Ari insists on walking him to his door- it has a lifespan of about five seconds though- it's a nice night and Ari himself also starts telling bad jokes a block from the restaurant, something Tony finds incredibly unexpected. He also finds it unexpectedly delightful, the man/moth one particularly ridiculous.
"You tell anymore of those jokes and I swear the next chance I get I'm dumping a bucket of cold water over you just for laughs." He jumps a little when he turns back from his door and finds Ari standing behind him rather than at the bottom of the steps where he'd left him a minute ago.
"Really- whole bucket of water." He rambles.
"Tony-" He uses an almost parental tone.
"I'm going to kiss you." He says carefully and it's that precise moment that Tony realizes he's been backed up against the wall.
"I know." The sudden stab of panic he feels is usually reserved for when people tell him their going to shoot him.
He wonders briefly about the logistics of this- wonders if he should put his arms over Ari's shoulders, or around his waist, or maybe just not anywhere at all. He curses himself for being completely ridiculous- he'd kissed Gibbs after all… then he curses himself again for thinking about his boss at a time like this.
Then Ari's lips are against his own…
Tony hooks his arms around Ari's shoulders; he's even game enough to open his mouth when a slick tongue flicks over his lips, panic settling back to nothing. It's not earth shattering or life-changing and thank-fucking-Christ nothing ridiculous happens like his knees going weak- or any of the other garbage that they slather across every romantic flick. Their teeth don't do that annoying scraping thing, neither chokes on the others tongue, and also there's no appalling swamp of saliva.
It's good enough to have their hand clenching against the other's clothing because the irritating, burning need to breath has reared its ugly head and their not quite ready to part. In the dark, it's hard to tell but when they finally do- Tony's pretty sure there's black spots dancing in front of his eyes.
He leans against Ari's chest for a moment afterward- before settling back against the wall.
"Goodnight." He says after a long pause- when really, he wants to invite him upsets- but he's been down that road a lot and scarily he doesn't wanna head down there now.
Ari doesn't look disappointed anyhow; he grins and steps back down the small flight.
"Ari-" Tony watches him turn on the sidewalk, his smile still firmly in place.
"A friend of mine is… having a showing on Thursday- an art- thing… it's- she showing her art-" He actually pauses and bites his tongue in exasperation- when had it ever been this difficult to ask for a date.
"I promised her I'd go and it's probably going to suck- but you came with me- it would probably be a lot better." By the time Tony's finished, Ari's smile is a lot wider and Tony's swears that if he actually starts to laugh he's throwing his keys at him.
"What time is it?"
"Seven-thirty… at night…"
"I'll be here at seven."