If Home Is Where the Heart Is
A/N: Here is the companion piece to 'The Grey Room.' It isn't really necessary to read 'The Grey Room' but please feel free too. Hopefully everybody likes it and it's still in some sort of character. I don't know if Ziva or Tony's middle-names have ever been seen on the show but I've never noticed. I noticed quite a few people have used 'Caria' for Ziva and 'Michael' for Tony so that's what I used. I apologise majorly for any typos. Microsoft Office has gone from my computer (apparently it was only a trial) and I've been forced to write on Word Pad. I have tried so hard to make sure everything is correct and used the spell-checker on but things do slip through. Apologies!
Summary: Then home is where you are... Easier said than done. Companion piece to 'The Grey Room.' Tiva.
Disclaimer: I do not own nor am I affiliated with NCIS in anyway. Nor do I own the lyrics to The Beatles 'Something.' Wish I did though.
"Morning comes sometimes with a smile, sometimes with a frown
Yeah so I never want to worry if you're gonna stay around
So let's grow old together, we'll grow old together
And this love will never. This old love will never die."
'This Old Love.' Lior.
"So I've been thinking," Tony said. He pulled Ziva down onto the couch next to him.
"And what have you been thinking about?" she asked. She leaned against the arm of the couch and swung her legs up onto Tony's lap. He grabbed her feet and held them together. She chuckled and easily pulled her feet from his grasp before placing them straight back onto his lap. "Clearly you have not been thinking of ways to defeat me or you would have realised that it is impossible."
His fingers ran down her legs and began to tickle the bottom of her feet. She squealed in laughter and struggled to get away. This time his grip was stronger and he continued to tickle until she was almost hyperventilating.
"Are you ready to give up yet?" he asked.
"Yes, yes," she gasped.
He let her go and she took a moment to compose herself. She excused herself to get a glass of water but the next thing Tony knew she was sitting on top of him pinning his torso into the lounge. He wriggled and writhed to get away but she was sitting in just the right position so that he couldn't move. She began to tickle his torso and he squealed.
"I love it when you squeal like a little girl," she sighed contentedly. She rolled off Tony and landed with a thud on the floor. She lifted herself onto her knees and moved so their faces were level. They kissed until Ziva's back hit the the edge of the hardwood table. She yelped in pain and with Tony's help carefully stood-up.
"You okay?" he asked when she was seated next to him. He rubbed her back as she pouted at him.
"Stupid coffee table," she muttered. She kissed him quickly on the tip of the nose. "I will be okay. Now, what were you thinking about before we were so rudely interrupted?"
"Did you watch 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' again?" he asked.
She couldn't tell if his tone was proud or disapproving so she shrugged.
"So what if I did? I happen to like it," she replied.
"I suppose it's pretty good for a chick-flick," he shrugged back.
"Stop delaying," Ziva told him.
"Okay, fine. Here it is. I was thinking about the long-distance thing," he started. "And I thought that maybe we could do more of a short-distance thing. 'How short a distance', you ask? How about the same bedroom?"
"My bedroom?" Ziva asked.
"Yep," he said but his voice was slightly high-pitched.
"You want to move here to Tel Aviv? To Israel?" she continued. She grew thoughtful and he grew hopeful. "You do realise you will have to leave NCIS if you move here? And you are going to have to go home and have everything shipped over? You cannot wear the same three outfits over and over."
"Umm, I have at least ten outfits," he disagreed. He looked over at her and she was smiling. "So do you think it's a good idea?"
"I certainly do not think it is a bad idea," she replied keeping her voice even. She beamed at him and pressed herself into his chest. "I think it is a wonderful idea, Tony. I am just a little bit worried."
"About what?" he asked.
"I am worried you will hate it here. You are going to miss America and miss our friends," she explained.
"How can I hate it when you're here?" he asked. "Of course I'm going to miss America and the team but I'm going to miss you more if I go back. And who knows when we'll get to see each other again? Besides I'd rather be miserable in Tel Aviv with you than miserable in Washington without you."
"In that case I have only one thing to say," Ziva said. She paused and Tony waited. She could feel his heart beating a hundred miles a minute. "Are you going to miss me when you go home to pack all of your stuff?"
"I know you hate it here, Tony, but can you please give it a chance?" her voice pleaded over the telephone. "Just a little bit longer. If you still hate it in, say, six months then we will discuss going back to America."
"Six months?" he baulked. He twisted the old-fashioned telephone cord around his wrist. "Ziva, I don't think I can last another six minutes."
"Hush," she ordered him. He heard the tell-tale swish as she swiveled her chair back around to face the desk. "I have to go. We will talk more when I get home."
"Don't go. I'm bored," Tony whined.
"Go and explore then!" Ziva snapped suddenly. "Do something instead of whining to me all the time about how much you hate it and how bored you are. Now I have to go. I will see you at home."
She slammed the phone down and Tony was meant with the unmistakable beeping of the dial-tone. It seemed angry, fierce and accusing in his ears like even the phone was angry with him. Not that he blamed it, he was acting like a petulant six year-old. He sighed and ran his hands through his hair. He leaned against the counter and waited one second, two second, three... The phone rang again and he picked it up.
"By the way, I love you," she whispered.
"I love you too," he whispered back. He heard her small giggle and then the dial-tone filled his ears once again. This time it didn't seem so mad.
Tel Aviv was undeniably home and Ziva knew it. She didn't like it. In fact, she hated it. When she had first come home she swore up and down that it wasn't home anymore but seven months later, it was hard to deny. Israel was home. She had loved the United States with a fierceness that most citizens didn't feel and she had been devastated to leave it but she had missed Israel terribly. Her history was there. Her family was there. Her baseball team was there. Her job was there. Her shops, her delis, her cafes, her streets, her parks, her carefully planned jogging route. They were all back in Tel Aviv. Yes, she had managed to do just well in Washington and in fact favoured some parts of it more. The traffic was not quite as dense, the weather was cooler and there was a Thai restaurant that made a Masaman curry that was out of this world. But there was something about using Mac in the office and there was definitely something about speaking her own language where she knew she would always get the idioms right. Tony was the minority here. He was neither Jewish nor Muslim, spoke only two languages (and neither of them Hebrew or Arabic), had an accent and stood out with his golden rather than olive skin.
If she was being honest work had much more of a bearing on it than she was willing to admit. NCIS, when compared to the Mossad, was a relatively small-fry agency. There she was the scary, crazy Israeli chick who could kill anyone with her bare hands. Here she was idolised, revered, feared and awed for the same fact. She had always had younger agents cajoling, begging, jostling and pleading to work alongside her. In America they had not even wanted her to drive between the office and crime scenes.
Even to her own ears Ziva sounded ungrateful and unkind. She had loved working at NCIS. Loved it, adored it, cherished it, treasured it. Even gotten all mushy over it. It had been hard at first trying to fit into the deceased Agent Todd's rather large shoes but when she had she not only had a job that she loved but with it, an instant family. Gibbs had been the father her own couldn't be, Ducky the grandfather she had had but lost, McGee the younger brother she had always wanted (even though he was a few years older) and Abby was like Tali, the sister she had loved dearly but lost too soon. And then there was Tony. Tony was more than family to Ziva and even though she missed the others she was so happy to have him with her, even if he hated it.
Ziva sat in her office and swung around on her chair as she re-dialled her home number. She was vaguely aware of one of someone coming into the office behind her but the phone call was over before she had time to worry.
"That your lover-boy?" Leah asked as Ziva hung the phone up. She wiggled her eyes and made kissing noises.
"Shush, you," Ziva said throwing a stapler at her friend and colleagues desk. She ducked as the stapler was lobbed back narrowly missing her shoulder. "Got to work on your aim, Leah."
"You have got to do work on your boyfriend. Does he still hate it here?" Leah asked.
"Have got to work on my boyfriend," Ziva corrected. They spoke in English at the office. Ziva insisted on it. If she was going to be forced to come back to work for the Mossad then she would force them to do some things her way. They often spoke English during operations and Ziva thought it could only help them. The right words could be the difference between life and death.
"That is what I said," Leah said rolling her eyes. "You need to do something about it. So what are you going to do?"
"I do not know, Leah," Ziva said with a sigh. "I think I just need to give him some more time and then I will decide what to do. Maybe eventually he will go around and like it here."
"I think you mean 'come around,' Ziva," Leah corrected her boss proudly. Her face fell somewhat when she saw Ziva's triumphant smile.
"Good job, Leah," she said. "You get a 'B' in my class."
But Leah had no idea what she meant.
"Hey, Ziva?" Leah asked. Ziva nodded for her to continue. "If it came to choosing between your Tony and Tel Aviv, which would you pick?"
"Silly question," Ziva answered.
"Then you have your answer," Leah replied.
"It is not that simple, Leah. I love Tony more than anybody else in the world. Nothing will change that but this is not about love. It is about sacrifice," Ziva explained.
"But that has to go both ways."
"And it does not. I would love to be back in Washington," she reminded her friend.
"In that case tokhis oyfn tish," Leah said, lapsing into Yiddish as she told her friend to 'put up or shut up.'
"What did I say about using other languages in the office?" Ziva asked.
"Oh please. Yiddish does not count. Half the words in the English slang come from Yiddish anyway," Leah said with a roll of the eyes. "Schmuck, shnoz, kvetch. And that's just three off the top of my head."
"You do realise that its generally Jewish people in the US who use Yiddish, right?" Ziva asked. Leah rolled her eyes. "Okay, Leah. Yiddish does not count from now on."
"Our Mel will be happy with that. Since I see you do not agree with me, are you staying in Israel because you want your Tony to sacrifice something for you?" Leah asked. She made a disapproving click with her tongue. "That is not very fair, Ziva."
"When you put it that way, it does not seem very fair," Ziva agreed. She put her hands over her eyes and breathed deeply. "It was not supposed to be this hard."
"Maybe this is why it is frowned upon to move in with your man before you get married, huh, Zivaleh?" Leah taunted with a wink.
This time she couldn't dodge the stapler.
"Ziva! That hurt," Leah cried, rubbing her arm.
"Tokhis oyfn tish," Ziva replied.
"Ooh, are we speaking in our own language again?" Melanie asked coming into the conversation. Although she was blonde and born to German parents who had emigrated to Israel a few years before her birth, she was fiercely Israeli and detested not being allowed to speak in her native language.
"No," Ziva said firmly.
"Ziva has agreed to let use Yiddish though," Leah piped-up.
"Only Yiddish phrases," Ziva corrected giving Leah a death-stare. "I swear you two will be the death of me."
Tony felt like an arse. It had been his idea to move to Tel Aviv, not Ziva's. She hadn't exactly been thrilled with the prospect of a long-distance relationship but he had hated the idea even more. He had uprooted his life and moved to Israel to be with her. She had been the perfect host. The first two weeks, when they had managed to pull themselves out of bed and when Ziva wasn't working, she had dragged him around. She showed him all her haunts and pointed out the stores that he would like. She taught him street names and intersections. She explained how the public transport system worked and she taught him the few phrases it was absolutely necessary he knew. Ziva had shown him all she could about her beloved Tel Aviv. It was his responsibility from now on to do something with what he knew. It wasn't Ziva's fault that he didn't know Hebrew. She had tried to teach him. It wasn't her fault that no-one wanted to hire a goy. It wasn't her fault that he couldn't find his favourite lollies in any store. It wasn't her fault that he never left the house, not even to head to the beach. It wasn't her fault that he missed Washington, missed Gibbs, Ducky, Abby and McGee. It wasn't her fault. None of it was.
He hated that he had upset her. He was mad at himself but not only that. He was mad that he hadn't made an effort. He couldn't sit around the house waiting for her anymore. He knew that much. It wasn't fair to either of them. He couldn't expect Ziva to pack-up and move back to D.C. just because he wanted too.
With a sigh he pushed himself off the couch. He went into the bedroom and picked his wallet, keys and phone up off the drawers. He walked back down the hall and went to the front door.
He was going to make an effort. It was only right.
"What is this?" Ziva asked. She dropped her bag on the bench and watched Tony as he moved effortlessly around her kitchen.
"I'm making you dinner," he said. He looked confused. "I cook you dinner almost every night."
"Yes but I did not have half of these things in my kitchen this morning," she answered.
"Our kitchen," he replied with a roll of his eyes. "What do you keep an inventory or something? Make sure I'm not eating more than my share of matza or something?"
"Of course not but I think I would remember a whole bunch of tomatoes and basil," she replied.
So I did a little bit of shopping," he said.
"All by yourself?" Ziva asked. She walked around the bench and wrapped her arms around Tony's waist. She rested her head on his back and took a deep sniff. She loved his smell and she loved the feel of him underneath her. "I am very impressed."
"Just impressed?" he retorted. "I think you should be more than impressed."
"I do not know if there is a bigger word than that," Ziva laughed. "But you know I am not so good with English."
"I'm not even going to touch that one," he replied. He turned around and put his arms around Ziva. He kissed her on the tip of the nose and she grinned up at him. "I have a surprise for you."
"What is it?" she asked. She nudged him with her shoulder.
"It's a surprise, Ziva. I can't tell you right away," he teased. He tightened his grip around Ziva as she hung her head back and groaned.
"You know I hate surprises. Is it a good one at least?"
"Maybe. Maybe not," he shot-back.
"Tony!" she cried. She bit him lightly on the shoulder and he yelped in pain.
He released his grip on her and lightly shoved her away.
"So not the way to get it out of me," he pointed out. "Now if you don't mind, I'm trying to cook you dinner."
"Fine, fine," she said. She leaned in as close to Tony as she could and looked through her eyelashes at him. "You know I have ways of getting it out of you."
"Trust me, I can't forget but I might be able to resist," he replied. He leaned into closer but she laughed in his face and pulled away.
She had a smile on her face as she walked through the lounge-room, down the hall and into their bedroom. She quickly changed into shorts and a tank-top. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a brochure tucked under a pile of Tony's dirty clothes. She picked it up and her smile grew even bigger. It was a brochure for Hebrew lessons.
"Chalomot tovin, neshomeleh" she whispered before they fell asleep. She waited to see if Tony would come up with the appropriate response.
"Sweet dreams," he replied. "Ani ohev otach."
"Ani ohevet otcha," she replied. "I love you."
She smiled into the darkness as she snuggled up beside him.
Five months went past and things had changed. Tony had a far better understanding of his girlfriends native language. He wasn't quite fluent but he didn't sputter and choke anymore. He found a job working for a freelance security company and he even had friends. Ziva had had her field agent status taken off her after a mission had gone wrong. It hadn't been her fault but someone had to take the blame and Deputy Director David had been in a bad mood that morning. Although both swore they could keep their relationship out of the workplace his daughter had copped it. Tony had copped it too that night and to make up for it Ziva had dragged him out dancing. Tony loved to dance and Ziva loved to dance with him.
"My feet are killing me," Ziva said. She sank down onto the bed and leaned down to undo her high-heeled sandals. She stood up and hobbled to the bathroom, her canary yellow dress flowing behind her.
"I've seen you walk for longer than that in heels," Tony said coming into the bathroom behind her.
"Walk, not dance," she replied. She pulled the clip out of her hair and let it fall out of its messy bun before reaching for a hair elastic and re-tying it in a simple pony-tail. "I cannot believe we danced for over five hours."
"Would you have rather stayed home and watched a DVD?" he asked. He reached around her for the toothpaste and squirted some on his toothbrush.
"I love dancing," she answered rather non-commitally.
"You would have preferred to stay home and watch a DVD," Tony repeated. It was a statement this time and not a question.
Ziva held up a hand and pointed to her mouth. She finished brushing her teeth, rinsed and spat.
"Have you ever seen me say no to dancing?" Ziva asked. She pulled the hair at the nape of his neck lightly. "I just wanted to spend time with you. Work has been crazy for both of us."
"I know. You know if we were back in D.C. we'd at least see each other at work," he pointed out.
"Tony..." she sighed.
"Ziva, I didn't mean anything by that," he said quickly. He looked at her in the reflection of the mirror. Her eyes were wide and worried but she pasted on an indifferent smile.
"Feel like watching 'Double Indemnity'?" she asked.
"I'd rather watch you," he said.
"You are so lame, DiNozzo," she replied.
She left the bathroom and he heard her scampering off down the hallway. The tell-tale buzz of the television could be heard down the hall but when he went into the living room, she wasn't there.
"Ziva?" he called out. There was no answer so he tried again. "Z?"
"In the kitchen," came her faint reply.
He came into the kitchen and found her making hot chocolate. She floated marshmallows on top and handed him a mug. He immediately placed it down on the bench.
"Are you okay?" he asked. She nodded and took a sip of her drink. "Ziva, it's me."
"I am fine, Tony. Can we please just watch the movie?" she asked. She took her mug and swept past him.
Tony picked up his mug and followed her into the lounge-room. He sat on the couch next to her. Both their legs were stretched out onto the coffee table and Tony nudged her foot with his.
"You want to talk about it?" he prodded. He leaned his head on her shoulder. "You know I'm not saying we should go back home. I was just pointing out at that we'd see each other more."
"I know," she said quietly. She leaned her head on top of his and blew into his ear. "We should be in bed right now."
"That can be arranged," he replied saucily.
"No. We have not watched a movie together in months," she said. She felt him wiggle beside her. "I mean a film. I just want it to be like it was before. Is that okay?"
"Of course it's okay," he said. He felt Ziva drop a kiss on his head and he reciprocated by licking her on the side of her neck. She giggled and slapped him lightly.
"That is not very helpful," she admonished.
They lapsed into silence and watched the movie. Every now and then Tony would point something out or would tell her a little piece of trivia. It was nice, Ziva thought, for things to be the way they used to be even if it was just for a little while. She snuggled up to Tony and inhaled his scent, a scent that she loved. It was almost as familiar to her as her own. The movie ended and they went to bed. Invariably they started on opposite sides of the bed but they were like magnets and within minutes they were huddled up to each other.
"I love you so much," she whispered into the dark.
"I love you too," he whispered back but he had heard the intensity in her voice. She often told him she loved him but never with so much passion, so much fierceness. He pulled her closer and buried his face in her hair. "I'm never going to let you go, David."
"Good," she said. "Do not."
"What is in that cup?" Ziva asked. She hovered at Tony's shoulder and he placed the glass in her hand. She took a big sip. She first shuddered and then her shoulders relaxed. She took another big gulp and handed it back. "I so needed that."
"Want to make margaritas?" he asked.
"I thought men did not drink margaritas," she teased.
"I drink yours. They're so strong they're barely margaritas," he replied.
"Did you have a bad day at work too?" she asked.
"I'm not sure the last time I had a good day," he replied.
"You want to go dancing?" Ziva asked. "You always have fun when we go out dancing."
"I'd rather just stay home with you," he admitted.
"I have an idea," Ziva said. "Go get changed into something comfortable and meet me back here."
"I love surprises," he said. He grinned and for a split second he looked like a little kid.
Ziva moved quickly around the house gathering everything they would need. Tony was back in a few minutes dressed in jeans and a black t-shirt.
"This okay?" he asked.
"You look fine," she answered though she thought he looked better than fine. "Stay here while I get changed and do not peek."
She changed into khaki shorts and a black tank top. When she had changed she went out to Tony who was obediently sitting on the lounge. His eyes were trained on the television and they only flicked away when she came in.
"How do you look so good in something like that?" he asked.
"It is a gift, I suppose," she shrugged. She picked up a picnic basket and the car-keys. "Are you ready?"
He followed her out of the house and hopped into the passenger seat. The route wasn't familiar to Tony but he trusted Ziva. She knew the city like the back of her hand. They drove for awhile and finally she pulled up at a secluded spot. They got out of the car and Ziva grabbed the picnic basket and a blanket from the backseat. Tony took them from her, like a true gentlemen, and he followed her down a path. He could hear the crashing of the ocean nearby and he assumed she was taking him to the beach. When they finally reached the spot he was breathless. The sand was clean and clear. There was no-one else around. The ocean was dark but it seemed to stretch on for eternity. It glowed white where the full-moon hit it, giving them just enough light to see each other.
"You see that house up there?" Ziva asked. She pointed to a large residence a short distance away on the edge of the cliff. Tony nodded. "We used to come here in the summers when Aba could not get away from the office. Ima did not want to be far away from him but she did not want to spend summers in the city. This was the compromise. We still got to spend summers at the beach but we could see Aba as well. We used to have the best times. There are more houses but they are set back further. There were lots of children to play with. We spent the days swimming and looking for shells. Things normal children do. They were happy times."
"Do your parents still come here?" he asked.
"Not since I joined the Army," she replied. She took the blanket from his arms and spread it out on the sand. "Come, sit. I bought us food and wine. We need some time to relax."
Tony sat down next to her and handed her the food, container by container. She dished it out onto the plates and handed him one.
"It's really beautiful here," Tony said.
"Yes," she replied. "I love it here. It means a lot to me. That is why I bought you here."
"I'm glad you did."
They lay on the blanket after dinner and looked at the stars. Ziva rested her head on Tony's stomach and he ran his fingers through her hair. She pointed out the constellations he knew and told him the stories about them. She told him how they used to build fires and cook fish over them. Sometimes all the children in the neighbourhood would bring their dinner down and they would sit around the fire telling stories until their mothers bade them to bed or until the wind that blew in from the ocean made them so cold they could bear it no longer. Scary stories, funny stories, embarrassing stories. Sometimes they played truth or dare or told jokes. They made plans and dreamt about the future. They predicted where they would end up and they created unrealistic dreams.
"I am glad none of my dreams came true," she said.
"Why is that?"
"Because none of my dreams included you. I was going to be the first female Prime Minister or a singer. I used to love to sing," she sighed. "My mother loved The Beatles and we would have sing-alongs."
"Sing for me," he implored her.
"Tony, I do not know if I can anymore," she rejected him.
"I've heard you singing before and you're good. Sing for me. Please," he begged.
"What do you want me to sing?" she asked resignedly.
"I like some of The Beatles stuff," he suggested.
"Fine, fine," she sighed. She cleared her throat and in a few seconds her voice floated across the wind. "Something in the way she moves, attracts me like no other lover. Something in the way she woos me. I don't want to leave her now. You know I believe and how. Somewhere in her smile she knows. That I don't need no other lover..."
She finished the song and lay there slightly embarrassed.
"You do realise I should've been singing that to you?" Tony asked.
"Well you did not and I sang it to you," she replied. "I should have changed the 'she's' to 'he's', yes?"
"It was perfect the way it was," Tony decided. "Kind of like you."
"Why do you always have to ruin things by being so mushy?" she asked.
He heard the smile in her voice and he couldn't help but smile too. And even though they couldn't see each other, they could hear feel each other breathing, and they smiled up at the stars under which they lay.
"I'm craving bacon," Tony groaned. He took another bite of his cereal. He chewed it solemnly. "Yep. Tastes nothing like bacon."
"Maybe if you close your eyes you can pretend it is bacon," Ziva said. She never took her attention off her cereal.
"You aren't listening to me," he replied. "I've already tried that."
"Sorry. I am a little distracted. What time are you taking lunch today?" she asked.
"About one," Tony answered.
"You want to meet somewhere for lunch? I have a meeting with Aba at eleven but I should be out of it by one."
"We could always come home," he suggested. He winked at her and she laughed.
"If we come home for lunch you will be returning to work starving," Ziva pointed out.
"It'll be worth it. Trust me," he said.
"You forget, I know how you are when you are hungry and it is not fair of me to unleash that on the world," she replied. She got up and put her empty bowl into the dishwasher. "I am going to brush my teeth and I am out of here for another day of paperwork."
"So I'll see you here at one?" Tony asked. She was standing next to him now and he was looking up at her.
"We will see," she answered. She bent down and kissed him goodbye.
He already knew she'd be there.
"Ziva, you look like like crap," Melanie said.
"You really do," Leah agreed. "What is wrong, Zivaleh? Trouble in paradise?"
"I cannot do this anymore," she said. She sat at her desk and her normally hidden feelings began to show. The tears fell down her face furiously and she made no move to wipe them away.
"Ziva!" Melanie cried. Both women went to her side and knelt beside her.
"Tony has tried so hard but he is so miserable," Ziva said. "I wanted him to sacrifice something for me but this has gone on long enough. This morning he went on about how much he misses bacon. Bacon! And all I wanted to do was kill a pig and fry it up for him."
"I wonder how hard it would be to kill a pig," Leah mused. She looked amused more than disgusted. "Would you use a knife or just shoot it?"
"Would you even know which part to fry?" Melanie asked. "How can you stand the smell?"
"I hate the smell but Tony loves it. Do you realise he has not had bacon in over eight months? He loves bacon. Sometimes I think he loves it more than me," Ziva spat.
"Not very kosher," Melanie pointed out. Her nose screwed up and she shuddered in disgust. "Ziva, maybe you need to let this Tony go."
"Oh please. Our Ziva could not do anything but fall in love with a goy. It is just too typical of her," Leah retorted. She got serious again. "You know what you have to do, Zivaleh."
"Yes, I do," Ziva agreed.
"Then we will miss you," Leah told her. She reached up and wiped Ziva's face.
"I will not miss you. I cannot wait to go back to speaking Hebrew. English is the hardest language in the entire world, I am sure of it," Melanie said but her smile was sad. Her hand was resting on Ziva's shoulder and she gave it a quick squeeze.
"Yes well, we have paperwork to do and bad guys to catch. We are not going to catch them just sitting here doing nothing," Ziva said, snapping back to her normal self.
"I do not know where you learnt to be like this," Melanie grumbled as she and Leah skittered back to their desks.
"I had a good teacher," Ziva answered and for a moment, her heart was light.
"I hate it here," Ziva fumed. She sat with a thump on the bed next to Tony. She turned to him and he raised his eyebrow but did not take his eyes off the magazine he was reading. "Did you hear me, Tony? I said I hate it here."
He still didn't respond. With a wicked twinkle in her eye, Ziva reached over and turned the bedside lamp off.
"I was reading," he said in a patient voice.
There was a sigh and then the lamp was switched back on.
"Are you not talking to me?" Ziva asked. She shoved her legs under the covers and pushed her back against the pillows.
"I'm not not talking to you. I'm listening to you," Tony replied. He took his off the page and glanced at her. "You were saying something about hating it here."
"I hate everything about this place. My father is always on my case. My work is unsatisfying and dull. Do you realise I have not even had to carry a gun with me for nearly twelve months? Tony, I am not used to feeling so safe," Ziva sighed.
"Ziva, I see you with a weapon of some sort everyday," Tony reminded her dryly. He was rewarded with a roll of the eyes.
"I never go anywhere without at least a knife. You know that."
"So you hate it here because you have no need for a gun? I knew you liked shooting at people, Z, but that seems a little crazy," Tony pointed out. "Besides, I kind of like the idea of you going to work and not almost being killed everyday."
"It is unnatural. I am an agent. Not a desk rider," she huffed.
"Jockey," Tony murmured.
"Whatever. I am going crazy sitting at my desk all the time. I need to solve a case. I need to put handcuffs on someone. I need to do something other than research and typing up reports. Do you realise that I have tracked down nearly forty weapons-smugglers this year and I have not seen a single one of them? All I do is monitor Intel and talk to contacts over the phone," she complained. "And do you know that my father picked Leah to do an interrogation over me? Leah! I taught her everything she knows."
"Did she get the information out of him?" Tony asked.
"Of course she did. But that is not the point here," Ziva replied.
"What is the point here?"
"I want to go home, Tony," she said simply. "I miss my job. I miss my desk. I miss our friends. I miss Caf-Pow! I even miss how cold it is in autopsy. Sometimes I even miss using Windows. I just want to go back."
"Do you really want to go home or do you want to go home because I want too?" Tony asked.
"If we could leave tomorrow, I would," she answered him. "That would make you happy, yes?"
"Is that what this is about?" Tony asked. He put the magazine down and turned to her. "We don't have to move back to America because of me."
"Yes, we do," Ziva said. "I want to do this for you. You are miserable and I cannot stand it. I know you tried your hardest. You learnt Hebrew, you got a job, you made friends. I know you did everything you could. You sacrificed so much for me. It is my turn to do something for you. If you want too, I would like to go home."
"Are you sure?"
"I booked tickets for two weeks from now. I also spoke to Jenny and she did not think there would be any trouble reinstating us. Do you think we can get everything packed by then? We may have to stay with Gibbs or someone until we can get a place of our own but I am sure it will work out," was her answer.
"I think I'm in love with you," Tony said.
"We already knew that."
"I don't think I could be happier unless you say yes to marrying me," he said.
"Unless I say what to what?" she replied, her eyes bugging out of her head.
"Marry me?" he repeated. She looked shocked and he was sure he looked scared. "I'm not kidding, Ziva."
"Then I will not be kidding when I say yes," she replied evenly. Trust her and Tony to spend what should be one of the most romantic moments in their lives being awkward and confused.
"You could say it with some enthusiasm," he half-joked.
A large smile grew across her face and she jumped on him. She threw her arms around him and lay on top of him kissing him all over his face.
"Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!" she cried. She continued to kiss him everywhere until he caught her face with his hands. Their lips met and they poured all of their love and happiness into one magical kiss.
"You're going to be Ziva Caria DiNozzo soon," he said when they were lying side-by-side, spent and exhausted.
"Maybe you should be Anthony Michael David," she shot-back.
"Doesn't quite have the same ring to it," he replied. He kissed her. "Do you have any idea how happy I am right at this moment?"
"No," she answered. "I only have some idea how happy I am."
"Wait here. I have something that will make you happier," he said. He rolled over and rifled through his bedside table. He pulled out a blue velvet box and opened it. The ring was simple. A princess-cut diamond on a white gold band. He slipped it out of the box and onto her finger. His face was all creased and worried. "Do you like it?'
"It is beautiful," Ziva said examining it. She blew on it and nodded her head approvingly. "Very good."
"Did you just check to see if the diamond was real?" he asked, flabbergasted.
"No. I was cleaning it," she retorted.
"Oh you are going to pay for that," he growled. He blew a raspberry on her tummy and she squealed and kicked her legs.
"Stop it!" she cried.
But he didn't.
"Bacon!" Tony seemed to shriek in delight. He picked up the package and hugged it to his chest. "I will never leave you for so long again."
"They do something to his head over there, David?" Gibbs asked.
"Not that I saw. In fact he was perfectly normal until we got here," Ziva said. She watched as Tony kissed the bacon. "I take it back. I do not think he was ever normal."
She was sitting at her boss's kitchen table watching Tony go crazy over all the food in the cupboards. Gibbs chuckled and took a sip from his coffee mug.
"Fluff?" he asked pulling the jar out. "Boss, I know you only got this because of me."
"If that's what you think, DiNozzo," Gibbs answered. He watched Tony open the jar to find it almost empty. "You're wrong."
"I can see that. I never knew," Tony replied. He turned to his fiancee. "Our boss is a fluffernutter man."
"Do you see a jar of peanut butter anywere?" Gibbs asked.
"Uh, no," Tony admitted. "We're going to have to change that."
"What did he eat over there?" Gibbs asked Ziva.
"Pretty much what he ate over here," she said. She rolled her eyes. "Sometimes I wonder why I am marrying him."
"You two aren't going to be married on my time," he said.
"Of course not," Tony answered.
"That wasn't a question, DiNozzo," Gibbs said.
"Of course not," Tony repeated himself. He looked at his watch. "Boss, is it too late to cook some bacon now?"
"Do what you want. I'm going downstairs. Just make sure you clean up after yourself," he said.
"Yes!" Tony said, pumping his arm up in the air. He set about cooking his long-awaited for bacon leaving Ziva and Gibbs sitting quietly at the table.
"He seems happier already," Ziva murmured.
"Do you think you made the right choice coming back?" Gibbs asked.
"Yes," she said with an affirmative nod. "I thought Tel Aviv was home especially after I first went back. I was wrong though. This is my home now."
"This?" Gibbs asked looking around. "This is my home, Ziva."
"Did you just make a joke?" Tony called from across the room.
"Maybe," he replied as calm as ever. He stood up and kissed Ziva on the cheek. "It's good to have you back, Ziva."
"Is it good to have me back, boss?" Tony asked. In some ways he reverted into a child around Gibbs. He just wanted Gibbs to acknowledge him.
"We'll see," he shot-back. He turned on his heel and walked out of the kitchen. They heard a door closing and then a light thudding as he went down the stairs.
"How is your bacon coming along, Tony?" Ziva asked.
"Wonderfully. It smells so gooood," Tony drawled. He was practically salivating.
"You worry me," Ziva said but she was laughing. She put her empty mug on the sink and went to stand behind Tony. Like she always had she slipped her arms around his waist and rested her head between his shoulders. He jolted her every time he moved but she didn't mind. "I love being near you when you cook."
"That's just cause you like it rough," he retorted.
"Ahem," Gibbs said from behind them. Ziva sprang away from Tony and they both turned to look at him guiltily. "Don't even think about doing that in my kitchen. I'm not sure I could ever get it clean again."
"I think we can handle that," Ziva said. She nudged Tony.
"No worries," he said after taking a big gulp.
"Good," Gibbs said. He picked something up off the bench. "I forgot something."
He left again and both Tony and Ziva took in a big breath.
"That was close," Tony said.
"Too close," Ziva replied. She looked over Tony's shoulder. "I think the bacon is ready. Maybe you can put it aside for the moment and we can take our conversation elsewhere."
He looked longingly at the pan and then back at Ziva.
"Can I bring it with me?" he asked.
"I love this place," Tony said. They were sitting on the couch in their new house. "I'm so glad we got a house and not an apartment."
"We would just have had to move when we had kids anyway," Ziva agreed. "I love all the extra room we have. And we do not have to worry about being woken-up at three am by your neighbour stumbling inside."
"We don't have to worry about waking our neighbours up at three am either," he pointed out.
"Very true," she agreed. "So it is all positive."
"Speaking about kids and positives, is it time to check the test yet?" Tony asked.
Ziva checked her watch.
"Yes. Are you coming with me?" she asked.
She walked through the bedroom and straight into the ensuite where she picked up the plastic stick. She examined it and then threw it into the rubbish bin.
"So?" Tony asked.
"It is negative," she replied. "I guess my period is just late."
"Are you okay with that?" he asked.
"I am not not okay with it," she shrugged. "It would have been nice to have a baby but we just moved back and we are getting married soon. I am happy to wait."
"Are you sure?"
"I am sure. Are you okay with it?"
"I have to admit I was kind of getting used to the idea of having a kid around the house. And the idea of you pregnant," he said. "Let's just say it doesn't exactly not appeal to me."
The look he gave her made her visualise him licking his lips. She laughed and slapped him on the cheek. He reached over and pulled her into his arms.
"I tell you what, Mr. I-want-to-be-a-daddy," she said. She sighed happily and melted into his arms. "As soon as we are married, we will start trying, okay?"
"No matter how long it takes?" he asked cheekily.
"You already know the answer to that," she replied. She rolled her eyes. "Is all you think about sex?"
"No but it's kind of hard when I'm living with you. Do you have any idea the effect you have on me?" he asked. "Obviously you don't or you would stop. You drive me crazy. I swear you could show up in rags and not having had a shower in three months and I would still find you gorgeous."
"Lucky me," she said.
"And what about me?" he prodded.
"You are not ugly," she shrugged. "But I think any woman would be turned off by you if you did not have a shower for three months."
"Meanie," he pouted.
"You do not mean that," she taunted.
"Yes I do," he disagreed.
She tilted her head to his and kissed him for a long moment.
"No you do not," she whispered to him.
"Yes I do," he repeated. She kissed him again and he groaned. "Now I really mean it."
"Oh Ziva," Jenny said. She covered her mouth with her hand and there were tears in her eyes.
"What do you think?" Ziva asked shyly.
"You look amazing," Abby said.
"It is not fair that someone should be as beautiful as you," Melanie huffed.
"She is right, Zivaleh," Leah agreed.
"You certainly put all of us to shame," Jenny added.
She wore a knee-length dress in mint green and her hair was up in a classic chignon. The bridesmaids wore strapless floor-length dresses with ribbons around the waist. Leah and Melanie, who had flown in from Tel Aviv, wore dresses of red with a white sash while Abby's was black with a red sash. Needless to say Abby had been thrilled and touched at the gesture. Both girls had ended up in a teary hug in the Lab while three of Abby's machines beeped at her simultaneously. Ziva wore a cream dress in silk rather than satin so it flowed over her curves. It was simple. Long, flowing, low-cut with spaghetti straps. There were no decorations on it. There didn't need to be. It's simplicity was it's charm. Her matching silver necklace and ear-rings could only be described as chandelier style. Her hair was loose and fell in smooth waves. It had been pulled back on side with a white flower. Even her make-up was simple. Her eyes were lightly defined and her skin was dewy but she was glowing so much she hardly needed any. There was nothing about her which wasn't in place and there was nothing about her which wasn't beautiful.
"Speak for yourself," Leah shot-back. Jenny smiled at her. She had met her briefly during her time in the Middle-East with Ziva.
"It's just about time to go," Abby butted-in. "Sorry but I promised Tony I'd get her there on time."
"I do not think Tony has ever been on time for anything in his life," Ziva scoffed.
"He'll be on time today," Jenny told her. She looked at her watch. "But Abby is right. We should get going soon."
"Will you take care of my engagement ring for me?" Ziva asked Jenny. Her parents had been unable, or unwilling, to make it to the wedding so Ziva was relying on surrogates.
"Of course," Jenny agreed. She held out her hand and Ziva placed it carefully in her hand.
"Please do not lose it," she begged. "That is the first time I have taken it off since I put it on."
"I'm not going to lose it," Jenny said with a smile. She placed it in a pocket of her bag and zipped it up under Ziva's watchful gaze.
"Thank you," Ziva said. She took a large sip from the champagne glass someone had handed her. "Before we go I just wanted to say thank you to you three for being my bridesmaids. You all know how I feel about you already but it means a lot. And Jenny, thank you for being here for me."
"I wouldn't be anywhere else," Jenny replied warmly.
"Me either," Abby agreed.
"Us either," Leah answered for her and Melanie.
A knock came at the door and Gibbs stuck his head in.
"Are you girls finished prissing yet or whatever it is you do?" he asked. He almost seemed shy in the company of five beautiful women but it was clearly Jen he was taken with. Leah sauntered over and came up close to him. He took a step-back. "I'll just wait outside."
"You should come in," Leah said. "We will not bite."
"We're all pretty harmless, Jethro," Jenny's clear voice rang out across the room. He caught her eye and she winked at him.
"I think I am ready to go now actually," Ziva said. "Can I just have a moment with Abby first?"
Leah and Melanie quickly scooped up their handbags and bouquets before scurrying out of the room. Jenny and Gibbs followed closely behind.
"I wanted the last time I'm alone as a David with you," Ziva explained. "You remind me a lot of my sister, Tali, and I had always assumed I would be spending these moments with her."
"I'm sorry she's not here, Ziva," Abby said sadly.
"So am I but you are a great substitute for her. You two are very alike. You are very compassionate and generous. I feel proud to know you. I do not think you understand how much I missed you when we were gone."
"I missed you too. You and Tony. I'm so happy you guys figured everything out though. If anyone deserves happiness, it's you two," Abby gushed. "I thought you'd never get together."
"But we did," Ziva smiled. "Anyway, I just wanted you to know that I think of you as a sister and I am so glad you are in my life."
"Me too," Abby gasped. She pulled Ziva into a hug and they stood there until another knock came on the door. "I bet that's our 'father.'"
"I bet it is," Ziva replied. She walked over and opened the door.
"We really need to go," Gibbs told them. He looked at the two strangely as they giggled.
"We're coming, 'Dad'," Abby told him. They giggled again and brushed past Gibbs who was shaking his head.
Women. He'd never get them.
Their wedding was small. Held in a small church just outside the city, there were only fifty guests in attendance. Jenny sat proudly in the front row watching as Ducky performed the service. Gibbs walked a beaming Ziva down the aisle. He tried not to smile but as soon as he saw how happy Tony was he couldn't hold it in. Ziva gripped his hand the whole way down the aisle and she gave him a grateful smile when they reached the pulpit.
"Thank you so much," she whispered. "For everything. My own father could not be bothered to come but you are here."
Ziva had no veil so it was easy for him to kiss her cheek.
"It's my pleasure. You and Tony are good for each other. It makes me happy to see you happy," he said softly. He stepped over to Tony and spoke into his ear. "You hurt her and I'll hurt you."
"Duly noted, boss," Tony squeaked. He look petrified but as soon as he saw Ziva his face melted into a smile and it stayed that was all through the ceremony. It grew bigger when they had said their vows and Ducky had told him he could kiss the bride. He grabbed her and pulled her close to him. They kissed a little longer than was polite. They kissed again at the request of their guests.
"I now present to you Tony and Ziva DiNozzo," Ducky called to the cheers of their friends.
Tony grabbed Ziva's hand and he pulled her down the aisle. They practically ran out of the church and as soon as they were out of the doors, Tony crushed her to him and kissed her until there was no breath left in his body.
"Did you hear that?" Ziva beamed. She was barely winded while Tony was gasping for air. "Ducky called me Ziva DiNozzo. It was the first time anybody is going to call me that."
"But definitely not the last, Mrs. Ziva DiNozzo," Tony told her. They went to kiss again but they were interrupted by the guests leaving the church. "Crap."
"Do not worry. We have the rest of our lives to do that," Ziva reminded him.
"I like the sound of that."
"So do I," she agreed.
They were sprawled on the couch watching 'The Easter Parade.' Neither of them could keep the smile off their face and neither of them wanted too. They were happily married and even more happily in love.
"Hey, Tony," Ziva murmured.
"You know how they say 'home is where the heart is?'"
"My home was always with you and I will follow you anywhere you go," she told him.
"Mine too," he answered.
"Even if I ever want to go back to Tel Aviv?" she asked, knowing full-well they would never go anywhere else.
"Even then," he replied. And he kissed her for the thousandth time of being husband and wife.