By: 88Keys

Written for the NFA Scent Challenge The challenge: To write a fic in which a scent is the main focus.
Note: This story contains spoilers for episode 3.08 Under Covers. And much TIVA.

Her dark hair was soft. Strands of it had brushed his fingers, his face, his neck when they were entwined together. It smelled great. Delicious. Intoxicating. Most women's hair smelled good, but this was different. It was some kind of fruit scent. Maybe. He wasn't sure. It didn't smell like the usual fragrances used in women's shampoo. Not strawberry. Not orange, or grapefruit…actually, not a citrus fruit at all. Something more rich, like grapes. Grapes? No, not grape. Blueberries? No. Besides, who would make blueberry-scented shampoo?

Whatever it was, he had smelled it before. But it wasn't something he encountered often. Something exotic…she was so exotic…

Pomegranates! That was it. She occasionally drank the juice in the mornings. He couldn't imagine where she had found pomegranate-scented shampoo. Did she bring it from home, as a reminder? She didn't talk much about Israel. Did she miss it? Would she rather be there now, than stuck on this assignment with him? Ziva was so hard to read sometimes.

Pomegranates. An aphrodisiac, supposedly.

He would never date a co-worker. It was one of Gibbs' rules, and one he had adopted in his own life as well. Well, mostly. He might date someone who worked in the same place as he did, but not someone from his own team. Someone like Ziva, who saw him day in and day out. Sure, he had been intrigued at the beginning. And attracted. But that was before she had smelled his bad breath in the morning. Had seen the drool run out of his mouth when he fell asleep during stakeout. Before he had heard her snore. She was more like a sister or a close relative now.

A really attractive sister with aphrodisiac hair that smelled like pomegranates. And her skin… silky, smooth olive skin with an entirely different, but no less intoxicating scent. It was spicy and sweet at the same time. Kind of like her. Tony knew his perfumes fairly well, having both smelled and purchased quite a few over the years. You could tell a lot about a woman by her perfume. The sweet, romantic types often wore rose scent, or maybe vanilla. The sporty, outdoorsy girls smelled like the ocean, or like citrus fruits. There were women who over-compensated, apparently thinking that enough perfume would draw men in like a beacon. He hated that. He had never really cared for heavy, musky scents, either. And girls who smelled like patchouli were out. He was also averse to Chanel No 5, as his mother had worn it for years.

Ziva's scent was like no other. A blend of oriental spice and the soft floral of plants he couldn't name. Probably native to the Middle East. Whatever she was wearing, it definitely wasn't something readily available in The States. The sweet and spice mixed together into a stimulating aroma that made his head spin. It lingered, on his skin, in his clothes, on the sheets, long after their improvised tryst.

"There's only one thing I'm interested in," she had said softly, seductively. Then she was naked and he temporarily forgot the mission, where they were, and who he was.

Maybe it wasn't the perfume making his head spin.

He watched her now as she moved about the room, straightening up. Ziva always liked things neat. Was she tidy by nature, or a bit of a control freak? Even her smallest movements were calculated and graceful. She was always so sure of herself.

She carefully stacked up the dirty dishes from their earlier room service and turned towards him. "We should get ready. Our dinner reservation is in less than an hour."

He yawned and stretched, not wanting to leave the comfortable bed. "I can be ready in ten minutes. I think I'll take a little nap now. You wore me out earlier, sweetcheeks."

She grinned, that intriguing grin she always had. Like there was something more hiding just behind it. Or was it just another controlled motion?

"Am I too much for you, darling?"

"Oh, no. Just right. In fact," he teased, glancing at the bedside clock, "I think we have time for a little more. You know how I like to work up an appetite before dinner."

She rolled her eyes and tossed his jacket onto the bed as a hint. She went into the bathroom to touch up her make-up. And to change clothes, he noted with disappointment.

He reflected as he dressed for dinner. They were teammates. Friends, although still getting to know each other. It would never happen between them. He would not allow himself to go down that road.

Still, that smell… pomegranates. Spice. Flowers. Like no other woman. Smooth skin…except for her hands. They were a bit rough. Not uncomfortably so, but enough to show that she had worked in her life. Had she planted a garden with her mother? Built a house with her father? Were they calloused from holding a gun or knife too many times?

So much mystery. So much I don't know about her.

When she emerged a short time later, he rose to his feet. Her soft brown hair was pulled into an attractive up-do. One curly tendril brushed the right side of her face, tantalizing him. She wore a long black dress, velvety soft like her skin. And she had put on a fresh dose of perfume.

He felt dizzy.

She gently laid a hand on his arm.

"You look nice," she said, straightening his collar. "Don't forget your glasses. You know how you have trouble reading in the dim light."

He bent and kissed her, gently, quickly, on the lips. He caught a new scent, one he recognized instantly. Simple strawberry lip gloss.

Surprise flashed in her eyes, for the briefest of seconds. "What was that for?"

"You look beautiful," he said softly, and swallowed hard. "Sophie."

She smiled again, that inviting half-smile. He opened the door for her, then offered his arm. She reached for it, then changed her mind and took his hand instead. She winked, and he grinned.

Sometimes, I love this job.