Title: Reclaim The Line
Disclaimer: I own nothing. I mean nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Do I own Ziva? No. No, sir. Do I own Tony? Oh for all that's sexy in this world, I wish I did. But, no. Don't own him either. Happy? I need a bag of chips now.
Spoilers: Up to Cloak. Don't read if you want to remain ignorant about Cloak.
Summary: They were both in his bed, wanting something. Tiva.
Author's Note: This is my first NCIS story. If it's bad flame me, don't hold back. I can take it. Typos, grammar booboos and all other English mistakes are mine; it's not my first language so grammar sometimes makes me go crazy. If you spot a mistake, do tell me. Learning never stops!
Note II: Thanks to Musiclover14 and JohnC43 for pointing out I mixed my nouns. Thanks!
Ziva closed the door to Tony's apartment and leaned on it as she surveyed the semi-darkness, searching for the silhouette of Tony with a whisky glass on his hand. She found the living-room empty. With a sigh, Ziva rested her head on the door, closed her eyes and stood very still.
In her mind, everything kept moving at a frantic pace. Her chest felt tight, her stomach uneasy and her hands weren't steady –she didn't feel steady. Out of the Navy Yard the rules changed, feelings shifted faster and were harder to pin down, inside the Yard, inside a stopped elevator, feelings appeared so well-defined.
She pushed herself from the door and headed to the couch to drop her purse and her jacket. Still she only heard the sounds of muffled traffic and a clock ticking somewhere inside the apartment.
In the darkness Ziva ambled to his bedroom. She found him lying face down on his bed, on top of the covers. She entered the room and watched him from the foot of the bed. He'd changed into a pair of worn jeans and an old blue T-shirt with a barely visible white "86" on the back; his hair was spiky and wet from a recent shower. Feet bare, too tired to bother with socks. She skirted around the bed and after a moment of deciding, she sat down in a small space Tony had left between his elbow and his knee. Ziva craned her neck to see his face, burrowed deep inside his pillow.
For some reason, Tony had made it clear it was encouraged to move freely inside his apartment. He also had made clear that, for the moment, sex was far from his mind. Other things were roaming nearer, she saw last week.
His voice came out muffled and drowsy, he didn't look up from his nest inside the pillow. "I'm a bit drunk. A bit sloshed."
She looked at his bedside table, there stood a bottle of whisky –one third full- and two glasses, one with a finger of yellowish liquid and a red straw and one empty. It looked like he'd been waiting for her even though they hadn't talked about her coming. Tony reached for his glass and without moving his head a great deal captured the straw didn't stop until all the liquid was gone. He slurped once or twice, trying to get every last drop.
Through the straw he said, "Fair lady ninja, would you mind?" He looked at her with his bleary blue eyes.
She smiled, he looked funny. He smiled, too. Not that beaming Playboy smile he used to charm women he'd just met but a small smile, unguarded. Something inside her stirred.
Ziva picked up the bottle and poured two fingers of whisky, not more. He wasn't too drunk, because she could still see the weariness in his eyes; nevertheless, she didn't want him to get drunk. She poured herself another two fingers and set the bottle back on its place. She took her glass.
Tony seemed to realize she was sitting on a thin strip on mattress so he scooted back and –with a hiss and a grunt of pain- he propped his head on his left hand. She drank the whisky in two swallows and set back the glass on the table. She scooted back, closer to his body.
"If you wanna a straw, you can borrow mine, it was the last one." Tony played with the red straw and what was left of the whiskey.
He was in a playing mood; this meant either that he was feeling playful or that he was feeling very tense and angry and was just masking it by chewing on a straw and using it to chase a half-melted ice-cube around his glass. As if nothing had happened.
"Lee left," she said, looking at him and expecting a similar reaction to the one he'd had in the elevator. The straw fell and rested on the lip of the glass. "It isn't over," she added.
"Why, we have no broken bones yet, Ziva. Of course it's not over." Sarcastic, again. Angry was just around the corner. Like in the elevator.
What was just around the corner for her? Oh, right, the realization that she'd made a mistake coming to his house, that he hadn't been thinking when he'd almost pushed the line a bit too far last week and that it was all going to blow up in her face when she least expected it to. Today when she saw Tony's face she had a taste of what was coming. The impulse to touch him, to be sure he was okay had been strong, almost too strong to control.
He pushed himself further up the bed and set his glass on the table next to hers. He rested his back on the headboard, propped his elbows on his knees and watched her. She watched him right back and swore she didn't have a clue what he was thinking. Tony was easy to read, except when he wasn't.
"That blond sure was huge, wasn't she? Reminded me of an oak tree my father had cut down once."
Ziva chuckled. Her head was still a bit sore from the punch. Her smile faded when she remembered that in the end she'd wound up cornered, restrained. Defeated.
He moved to his right and patted a place near him on the bed. She took her boots off and sat next to him, cross-legged.
"I talked her out of cuffing your feet. I told her all she needed to do was let me see you, wake you up, say the magic words and you'd turn into a muffin-baking housewife. All she had to do was give you a kitchen and there'd be no more kicking. She didn't believe me. You should've brought a muffin, maybe she'd--"
She placed her hand on his arm. "Tony, stop it."
"Okay," he said and he rested his head of the headboard and closed his eyes, in the same way she'd done minutes before. "I don't know what I want to do next, Ziva. I don't like this. Lee is out. Why?"
Suddenly she felt exhausted, as if the past day had caught up with her in that second. She wanted to sleep and forget. She leaned on Tony's shoulder, it was not the first time but now it felt different. Well, it should. So much was different and so much had stayed the same between them. Still partners, still had each other's backs but…
"We aren't in on the master plan. I'm used to it. You should, too." It was hard she knew. But not as hard as seeing that after all she'd struggled, she still needed something from him that no man had given her before. She didn't know what it was and it infuriated her.
Tony rested his head on hers. What he wanted from her was another mystery she tried not to dwell on. But they were both in his bed, wanting something – no doubt about that.
"I'm ordering Chinese," he said, planting a hand on her knee and using it a bit for support as he stood up on the bed. She felt the warmth of his hand long after it'd left her knee.
She looked up at him, still standing on the bed, still looking like the past day wasn't really off his mind, yet.
She really didn't know what he wanted with all this. Although in a small, unexplored corner of her mind the possibility he might not want something that'd benefit both of them had always been there. Sex had been there since the beginning. Just sex. Now it was something different, something undefined, uncertain that would surround sex.
It could end badly, it was already threatening what she'd managed to built in Israel in four short months. She didn't see how it could end well if she stayed in his bed or if she didn't reclaim the line they'd almost crossed a week ago.
In the Navy Yard, in the office, everything was simpler. In his room, nothing was.
"I should leave." Ziva scooted over to the edge of his bed, started tying up her new boots.
Tony stepped off the bed. Their gazes met and Tony seemed to get a glimpse of what was going on in her mind. From the other corner of the room he said, "It's only dinner, like last night and like a lot of other nights, Ziva."
His eyes were so dark blue and serious; she stopped what she was doing for a second. And then she saw it, he was thinking about one night in particular.
"Another night, Tony. Not this one." Everything was too close to the skin, too fresh.
She thought about the muzzle of the M-16 pointing at his head, and then the fleeting thought of This scared soldier is going to shoot him. No, no, no, no, she thought. She heard Tony saying the same words.
Oh no, no, no, no. This can't happen. Live rounds. No, no, no, no.
She fought one, she fought another and when she finally glanced at Tony, his face was about to get smashed in by another soldier.
Everything was going too fast. She screamed. Tony fell. And she kept fighting, harder than before because she wanted to end it all fast. And for a moment she thought she would make it but one wrong move, one soldier too many and – gun in her face.
Stay still or die.
She stood up and headed for the door, Tony blocked her exit. "Why not this night?"
She had to recover now, or it'd be too late. He'd know too much.
She looked up at him, provocatively close and defiant as always. "Maybe I have better plans." She pretended to be in the squadroom, this was familiar, as safe as could be, charted waters.
"A little late to fly to Israel to be with your mystery man, I think."
Okay, not so charted.
The shock must've registered clearly on her face. She saw it all ending badly, very badly. She'd get too involved, even more that she was now. "Step aside."
"It was a joke, Ziva." He didn't step aside.
"Well, it wasn't a good one."
"I know." He offered his head. "You can hit me if you want."
Playful again, almost like in the squadroom and like last week in his couch.
He'd started it all when she came back from Israel: the looks, the questions, the interest in what she was doing and with whom, then that one look when they were on his couch last week. One second it was the flirtatious relationship they'd always had, the next second it wasn't. Their faces had been too close and he'd leaned –almost imperceptibly- but he had.
Then Tony broke into a smile and leaned back, a beer in his hand. "My knee tripped," he'd said, still smiling like a professional lady charmer, which was what he was.
He didn't fool her. The smile appeared but the look hadn't change. He leaned, backed up and then stopped, then leaned again to get the beer.
"Do you know what you're doing?"
"No," said the serious Tony that had had enough of manipulation and lies during the previous administration. He was just as confused as she was.
"I better leave then because I don't either."
He stepped aside without a word.
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