Disclaimers: No, I don't own NCIS, but with the way the episodes have been going this season, I wouldn't mind it if I did.
Contains spoilers to "Cloak", which, by the way, has to be one of the best Tiva episodes I have ever seen. In case you can't tell, I'm a big Tiva fan, and it makes me happy when the NCIS writers give me a Tiva-fix :) Enjoy! Please R&R and let me know what you think.
Sorry to everyone who got excited at the update...I didn't change anything but the formatting. I'm a bit OCD, and the problems in the first paragraph were driving me insane. But now it's all fixed.
NCIS Special Agent Tony DiNozzo let out a long breath through pursed lips as he shifted his Mustang into fifth gear, his body pressing briefly against the seat as the car responded. What a day, he couldn't help but thinking, and what a week. In his mind's eye, everything that had happened over the last few days rushed by: the "war game", the visit to the secret facility, the return hours later, the fear and anguish he felt as he watched Ziva take on the Marines essentially by herself…
The way both of their breaths caught as they waited for the guard to walk away from the closet, the conversation in the elevator, the look in her eyes…
He pushed those thoughts aside as he downshifted, pulling into his apartment complex's parking lot. There was only one place those thoughts could lead, and he knew he couldn't deal with the pain that would result if he let himself believe that there was any sort of future between him and Ziva, especially considering he still had no idea why she went back to Israel or who that man in the photo was. And then there was Gibbs' rule. Not that that would ordinarily stop him—he had broken almost all of the rules at one point or another—but rule twelve seemed to make sense. A blind man could have seen the result of Gibbs and Jenny hooking up, how it affected their working relationship even after almost a decade had gone by.
After the week that they had had, he wanted nothing more than to crash on his couch, a DVD in the machine and a beer in his hand. Well, what he really wanted was something a lot stronger than beer, but it hadn't taken too many nights of being an angry drunk-or too many mornings hung-over-after Jenny's death to make himself promise to lay off the heavy stuff. He had promised Ziva, too. He didn't know which promise—the one to himself, or the one to Ziva—was more important to him.
He loosened his tie with one hand as he used his countertop to pop the cap from his beer with the other, just one of the many skills he learned in his four years at The Ohio State University, again mentally replaying the conversation in the elevator. It hadn't hit him until hours later that they were talking about two different things—or were they? At first, he had been angry about being a puppet—again—pretending to be someone he wasn't, pretending not to care about jerked around, pretending that it was just about being part of the job and pretending that that was okay with him. He thought that was what was bothering her, too, but hours later, he realized that there was something about her voice, something in her eyes… And then he remembered the way they both stilled in that closet, and he could have kicked himself. She wasn't talking about pretending to be a loyal agent-hell, she wasn't even an agent-she was talking about something he should have seen coming-had seen coming-for years.
According to the timer on his DVD player, more than an hour had gone by before he heard a soft knock on his door. Groaning at having to move more than what was absolutely necessary to survive, he paused the movie and headed for the door.
Pulling it open, it took a minute for his brain to catch up with what he was seeing. When it did, a wide grin spread across his face. "Took you long enough."
Mossad Officer Ziva David knew one thing as she left NCIS: she wasn't ready to go home. A drive at top speeds through Rock Creek Park, normally enough to at least calm her down, left her feeling even more on edge than before. As she shifted through the gears of her Mini, taking the turns at more than three times the recommended speed, she could feel the anger building up. Not the anger at being played, not the anger at Lee's betrayal, but the anger at herself, for almost revealing too much, for almost doing too much.
She couldn't remember the first time she realized that her feelings for Tony were more than just the normal protective and trusting feelings one would feel for a partner. A conversation with a victim's wife about soulmates, about knowing the instant you met someone that you were meant to be together, made her realize that it could have been that quick, that abrupt, that long ago. Another conversation, with Michael Locker while he was looking for his ex-girlfriend, about how the two of them were exact opposites in every way imaginable, reminded her so much of Tony that she almost left the bar that night to go talk to him. Why was it that everyone she talked to reminded her of Tony? Why was it that she let herself be reminded of Tony?
She smacked her hand against the steering wheel, hit by a new surge of anger as she mentally replayed that conversation in the elevator. He had asked why she couldn't stop herself in that warehouse, and even while she tried to brush it off to her training, she heard herself talking about that gun and how worried she was that he was hurt. And then he had made that comment about being tired of pretending, and she had been so thrown off trying to figure out what he meant that she had done something she never did: she spoke without thinking, told him that she was tired, too, and then he had stormed off, making her realize that they were talking about two completely different things. At this point, the only thing she could hope for was that he was so distracted by his anger that he didn't realize what she was saying, and what she wasn't saying.
A look of surprise crossed her face when she realized that she was in the opposite direction from Rock Creek Park as her apartment. The surprise deepened when she realized she knew where she was. Without fully knowing why, she parked her car and headed up to the familiar apartment.
More than two minutes had passed between her knocks and the door swinging open, two minutes of her questioning her motives and wondering why the hell she didn't turn around and go home before he reached the door. But then he did, and his initial look of surprise quickly changed into his usual amused grin.
"Took you long enough," he said, still standing in the doorway. A look of confusion crossed her face.
"I did not even know I was coming her until I arrived," she admitted. The grin widened.
"That's why I'm the senior field agent," he boasted. "Because I know when something's going to happen."
She frowned at his explanation. "Then why am I here?" she finally asked. His expression became serious.
"Because you're tired of pretending," he said softly. Neither spoke for a minute, still standing in the open doorway to his apartment. "And so am I," he finished. Without giving her a chance to respond, he captured her face between his hands and lowered his lips to hers. Somehow, he managed to pull her completely into the apartment, and used his foot to close the door behind them.