A/n: M rated content warning for the second part of this chapter only. First and third parts rated T like rest of fic.
It was nearly five in the afternoon, DC time, when Ziva finally got home. The moral high ground was hers, so she waited until the chauffeured car had turned the corner before she started picking the locks to get into the lobby of her apartment building. She could wait for someone to come out, but…she was already inside. She tucked the small tools into her pocket and dragged her suitcase to the elevator. Giving in to gravity, she sat on it while she waited.
The flight from Morocco had been long, and made even longer by a detour to drop off the Moussad team and the remaining Marines in Tripoli, where the NCIS agents were hunting Safad. Jen hadn't been able to volunteer fast enough when the jet Moussad was sending had to be diverted for an emergency pickup; her excitement indicated she obviously didn't understand how big a problem was when Moussad began calling it an emergency. What Jen had really wanted once they got there was to hang around, breathing down the team's collective neck as they tried to do their job. She'd even gotten a sucker punch in as Ziva had tried to get her back onto the plane. They hadn't spoken since.
Touching the swollen area around her left eye only for a moment, Ziva forced herself to stop thinking about Jen and the mission as she stepped into the elevator just as a cool breeze blew through the lobby. She groaned internally when she turned and saw a realtor walk into the lobby with a young couple and moved away from the console where she had been firmly pressing the 'close door' button when they got to the elevator before the door would comply. She knew it was considered rude, but she would actually be doing them a favor. Almost a week in the desert without a proper shower was…well, enough to ruin the best sales pitch. She pressed into the corner with her suitcase.
"Thanks so much!" the woman in the blue blazer said with a bright smile as she led her clients into the small compartment, quickly covering the scowl that flashed across her face when she surveyed Ziva. "Oh, and look, our floor is already pressed," she said to the couple. "Well, this apartment that we'll be looking at won't be available for another three weeks, but I think you're really gonna like it! This building was designed with big open spaces and all the finest…here we are!"
Ziva walked slowly behind the group, cursing them as they stopped at the door directly across from hers. The realtor was going on and on about the features of the building and the neighborhood. The list lacked any mention of potentially murderous next-door neighbors. Ziva relaxed her grip on her SIG, hidden under her jacket, and waited until the door had closed behind the house hunters to pick the locks on her own door.
The apartment smelled like pizza and Tony after two days without a shower. Wait. It was just his normal cologne in the air. The lack of showering was definitely her. She called his name and received no answer. Flipping on the hallway light, she saw an open pizza box containing two uneaten slices on the coffee table, along with several empty beer bottles. She was about to clean them up when she thought better of it. She pushed the closet door open instead, finding a stack of dirty laundry on top of the washing machine. "I know I'm back early, but…really?" she grumbled, pushing the pile to the side.
The smell of the desert was even more evident when she opened her suitcase. She tossed everything into the washer with no regard for color or fabric. After a moment's thought, she kicked off her boots, stripped and threw the clothes she had been wearing in as well.
Finding a drinking buddy was more problematic the second night, but Tony realized he had the deal almost done when Sampson agreed to walk upstairs with him. The kid owed him one anyway – if not for Tony, he'd be alone next Friday night instead of taking Cynthia to a nice dinner at Valentino's. Still, a little encouragement never hurt. "Sammy, it's no big deal. I've got plenty of beer and you just finished your first case with us!"
He frowned and brought a hand to his temple. "That's what you said last night."
"No, I mean…all the paperwork that brings the official conclusion to your first case. Just have one. It's the least I can…" Tony trailed off as the door swung open.
Ziva looked at him critically as she stood in the front hallway, the washing machine closet open. "What did you do with the detergent?" It took him a moment to realize that she was completely, utterly and absolutely naked.
He stepped inside quickly, slamming the door behind himself. "I owe you a beer, Sammy!"
Sampson's voice was thin through the door. "Should I…?"
"Just leave!" Without waiting to hear if Sampson complied, Tony made a rush for Ziva, sweeping her into his arms. "You told me you weren't coming home early!"
"And you told me you were fine, in spite of the fact that your hands are bandaged and your face is cut."
He silenced her with a long kiss. "Doesn't matter. Just tell me you're staying."
He looked over her body before pulling her more tightly against him. "Who hit you?"
"Jen." She touched her eye gently. "She was upset."
"That's no reason to…"
He dismissed his anger, focusing instead on the blood rushing to choice locations of his body as he ran his hands over Ziva. "God, you are filthy."
"I…haven't had a chance…to take a shower yet." She returned his kisses with an ardor that pleased him.
"I can tell. You stink."
"That is what happens when you don't have an adequate washroom."
His hands found their way into her hair. "That why your hair is all oily?"
"At least I do not have lice."
His lips trailed down her neck. "And you taste like dirt."
"If you get off me, I could fix that with a shower." She struggled to get out of his embrace. "Tony, seriously."
"Oh, no. I'm not letting you go for the next few hours, at least."
She managed to fight him off long enough to lock herself in the bathroom a few minutes later. Her voice was much farther away than he wanted it to be as she spoke through the door, "Fifteen minutes. Just give me fifteen minutes and then I'll be ready."
He stood staring at the door for the first two minutes, eventually deciding that he couldn't pick even the simple lock with his hands bandaged the way they were. He took his time getting undressed, but that only took an additional minute. Walking naked downstairs, he made sure the front door was locked and poured detergent into the washing machine. A week after moving in they'd discovered running the washer while the shower was on had no effect on the temperature, so it wasn't like turning it on could drive her out of the bathroom. He sighed and turned it on anyway. By the time he returned to the bedroom, it had to have been at least seven minutes.
He was lying on his back on top of the covers two minutes later when the bathroom door creaked as it swung open and soft, soapy scents filled the slightly steamy air. He made a move to get up, but she held her hand up, freezing him on the bed as she slowly walked toward him. He sighed happily. "Glad you didn't take the full fifteen."
"Or the full week?"
He reached out when she got close enough to touch. "I think that goes without saying." He found the bandages prevented him from touching as much of her as he wanted, so he stood, pressing against her as he wrapped her in his arms. "I know you weren't gone that long, but I missed you."
Her nails lightly scratched his several days worth of stubble. "Because shaving wasn't the only thing you couldn't manage on your own after you were hurt?"
"No, I…" He wanted to convince her that he had missed more than just sex, but their current state and his arousal weren't doing anything to help that case. He decided to settle on talking afterwards, no matter how much he wanted to go to sleep. He pulled her back onto the bed, saying, "I am gonna make love to you all night long."
To his surprise, she pulled back from where she was nibbling his neck with her lips. "What?"
"Is all night too long? Because, I mean, we can take a dinner break and, uh…"
"Shh." He immediately kissed the fingers she pressed to his lips. "I guess I am just not used to hearing you say it like that."
She kissed him deeply and he wondered what he'd said to earn smiles like she was now giving him as she moved to straddle his hips. She was warm and wet when she sank onto him, grasping him tightly from the moment they started. He settled his hands on her hips as she began a slow rhythm designed to torture and satisfy them both for the maximum amount of time. As the pace increased, she leaned her upper body forward, her wet hair making isolated spots of chilly contact wherever it made contact with his skin. He pulled her down closer to feel the warmth of her covering him.
She slowed again and he complied, not yet at the point where he was willing to let it end. Her tongue worked against his skin where her face was buried in the crook of his neck. He forced his hands away from her ass, moving them slowly up her body. He lifted her head gently and felt his patience begin to grow shorter as they kissed intensely.
She propped herself on one elbow, creating an angle at which he felt like he was moving even deeper in her. With one arm now around her waist to ensure she didn't pull too far away when they were so close, he placed his other hand on her cheek, encouraging her to maintain eye contact. She breathed his name and he felt himself unable to hold back when her scream followed shortly after. He clutched her against him, still seeing her even when his eyes reflexively squeezed shut.
He stopped her from rolling to the side a few moments later and she didn't resist, allowing her full weight to relax on top of him. He yawned in spite of his promise to himself. "Ziva…"
"Shhhhhh." The breath that hissed between her lips was cool against the slick skin of his chest. He reached to his side and flipped the half of the comforter they weren't on top of over their bodies before he lost all desire to remain awake.
Ziva opened her eyes and glanced at the clock on her bedside table. It was nearly ten. No wonder her stomach was rumbling. She tried to pull away from Tony's embrace, but he tightened his arm around her, pressing against her back as he spooned her. "Tony, let go."
His grunt and continued grip were not an acceptable response.
"I have to pee!" she protested, trying to shove his arm away.
He growled, "Mine." She reached over her shoulder and poked him in the forehead. His grasp loosened. "Hey!"
"Thank you!" She leaped out of bed, ignoring his pleas to come back, and locked the bathroom door behind her again, just in case. When she was washing her hands a minute later, she grimaced as she got another look at her black eye. Jen probably hadn't even gone home, but proceeded straight to MTAC to annoy Arad and Miner some more. Ziva was inclined to believe that she wouldn't even apologize for the punch.
As she leaned toward the mirror, Ziva had to admit that she was surprised Tony hadn't been more alarmed. Of course, she hadn't paid much attention to his injuries either. And it had been totally worth it. She smiled and made her way back to the bedroom.
Tony watched her quietly as she slipped into a robe. "So you don't wanna…" He threw the covers off rather than continuing his suggestion and nodded below the waist.
"Later. Right now I need something to eat."
He bounced out of bed and pulled a pair of boxers on. "That is a fantastic idea. I'm starving."
"Apparently. You didn't even wait for me to ask you to put some clothes on."
He yanked a t-shirt over his head as he followed her downstairs. "I know how you hate naked mealtime."
"Because you 'spill' things on yourself and want me to lick them off!"
"I'd lick anything off you."
She felt that he hadn't quite calmed down when he stood behind her as she stared into the refrigerator. "How much take-out did you need while I was gone?"
"Well, I couldn't cook, not with my hands all wrapped up…"
She turned without having found anything to eat. "Why didn't you tell me about that? It happened before I called you the other night."
"It's nothing. It's more inconvenient than anything else. And I didn't want to worry you while you had to be focused on…well, I wouldn't have thought you'd be worried about Jenny attacking you, but…"
Ziva rubbed her face. "I had hoped things would have been resolved by this trip, but I'm afraid it may have made things worse."
"Hey, none of this is your fault."
She rested her head on his shoulder, thinking about the Cairo mission that had set off Jen's involvement in this whole mess. "You do not know that."
"And you can't tell me?" he asked sarcastically. "No, I didn't mean…Ziva, don't beat yourself up over this. Jenny's a grown woman who's making her own calls on this one. It's not your job to…to…"
"Right." She didn't let herself get too into the kiss before turning back to the refrigerator. "I said not until I've eaten something." She tried to escape from his embrace. "And not that."
"If you behave."
He nuzzled her neck. "I'm glad you're home."
"So am I."
A/n: Thank you so much for reading, and especially for reviewing. I have no idea what happens now.