TITLE: This Ordinary Thing
AUTHOR: brightblue
CATEGORY: Tony/Ziva fluff
SPOILERS: Minor ones for Cloak, nothing overt. Occurs at a non-specific point sometime after that episode. Also contains spoilers for the film Casablanca—so, if you're worried about that, don't read! Also, why haven't you seen Casablanca yet?
DISCLAIMER: Not mine!!!

SUMMARY: Tony and Ziva finally cross the line—it doesn't happen like Ziva thought it would.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thank you all for your wonderful reviews on my first NCIS fic! As a direct result of that encouragement, more fic was born. This past week was crazy-busy at work for me; I had a ton of report writing and paperwork to do. So what did I do instead of finishing things in a timely manner? Write fic during work hours! Thank goodness for the Mac's hot corners, so I could easily flip between work-sanctioned writing and fun stuff. Because this was written under stress it is pretty much a giant pile of fluff. If you're not into that sort of thing, move along. I will be back at some point with angstier things, I'm sure. So, in the meantime, enjoy!!

If you had asked her how this would happen, when the inevitable (because she was wrong, this is inevitable) would finally occur, she would've likened it to a bomb exploding. Something seemingly innocent hiding in plain sight (a backpack, a car, a partnership), easy to acknowledge for what it seems to be (friendship, flirtation) or just to ignore altogether (lust, other emotions). There it waits, this ordinary thing, tick-tick-ticking away, mundane and yet poised to destroy, until all of a sudden—boom! Fire, shrapnel, emotion, heat, blood, death, passion all erupt after one spectacular moment of tension, annihilation ensues. Emotions run high, desperation fuels the mind. The flames die out. The damage is done and you're left to sift through the ashes, salvaging what remains, and wondering just when the hell a backpack became a tool of death.

Ziva thought that's what it would be like with Tony: an explosion of inevitable, burning passion blindsiding her, leading to unrecoverable destruction and lingering pain. Her and Tony, friends and partners, until suddenly combusting and then they are not…and she loses everything. Because that's just how her life cycles—chaos, survival, adapt, repeat.

Turns out, she was wrong. About this at least.

Tony tips the last of the wine into her glass with a wink. Remains of their Thai take-out litter her coffee table: a stray spring roll, a nearly full carton of brown rice (hers), empty Styrofoam containers and extra packets of soy sauce (his). She is pleasantly full, pleasantly tingling from the half-bottle of Shiraz she's worked her way through. It's been a long week, a tough case, but they made it out alive with another murderer behind bars and so that's all she can really ask. Her muscles are sore from a sprint through the woods in heels, but she feels warm and cozy snuggled up with Tony on the couch. They are engaging in one of their traditions, one of her only traditions: detaching from the madness with dinner, wine, and a movie.

"Ah, best part!" Tony whispers, turning to her. Her legs stretch out across his lap as he sinks back into the cushions. He has been idly stroking the indentation under her kneecap for the last ten minutes and she says nothing because she likes the electric current that it sends through her body. The black and white light from the film dances across his face and highlights the joy on his features. Sometimes, his reactions to the film are more entertaining than the film itself. She can't help but smile at his enthusiasm.

"I agree," she says as she takes one last sip of wine. They are watching Casablanca. The scene where Victor Laszlo leads the patrons of Rick's Café in an emotional rendition of "La Marseillaise" plays on the screen. For a moment, they are silent, watching the heartwarming display of patriotism in the film. It makes Ziva's eyes burn every time she watches it; Tony squeezes her knee gently.

"This truly is one of the best films ever," Tony sighs, awed as Ilsa points a gun at Rick. "Bogie. Bergman. Claude freakin' Rains! Paul Henreid as a leader of the Resistance who has escaped from a concentration camp, speaking politely to Nazis!"

Ziva rolls her eyes at him as his monologue, and the movie, continue. It is moments like these when she wonders how Tony took over her heart. Was it the arrogance? The smug charm? The endless supply of movie trivia? Half the time, she wants to silence him with a swift punch to the jaw. But…somewhere along the line, these things became more endearing than irritating. She finds herself grinning whenever he makes over the top remarks about himself because she knows that he doesn't truly believe them. His flirting has become dangerously entertaining when it's directed at her; and though she hates the wave of bitterness that sweeps her whenever he directs it elsewhere, she has begun to pick up on the subtleties of his sincerity. Happily, she finds him most often sincere when he is flirting with her. And now, as he's parroting all of Bogart's lines as they lounge around on a night off, she is overwhelmed with the strangest feeling of contentment.

Ziva David, Mossad assassin, feels content? The world must be coming to an end.

Still, it is the only excuse for what happens next.

"Here's looking at you, kid." Tony drawls in his best Bogart as the original says the line on-screen. The twinkle in his eye, the utter ease in his posture, make her heart beat faster. She giggles, which surprises her. And then, without thought, she leans forward and kisses him. This surprises her even more.

It's just a peck. She makes the move like she's done the same thing dozens of times before. A reflex she was not aware she had. A suspect lunges in her direction? Take him out. A gun goes off? Attack first, question later. These are reflexes she knows and trusts. But letting a bubble of happiness overwhelm her to the point where she plants a kiss on her partner without a second thought….this one is new.

It is a quick kiss, but certainly not chaste. Their lips meet for a solid three seconds, two of which she is sure are a direct result of them both being completely stunned. But his lips are warm against hers, a delicious pressure that goes beyond friendly. They pull back at the same time, but only an inch or two separates them.

For a moment, they just look. Size each other up.

In Tony's eyes, she sees a naked desire that mirrors her own. It spurns her into action. She does not know who moves first as suddenly they are kissing again—passionately, desperately.

She tumbles back on the couch, pulling Tony with her. She is beyond thinking now. Grabbing her partner's head in her hands, she melds their mouths together. The moan that vibrates in his throat just makes her clutch him tighter. His hands tangle in her hair, his body pins her beneath him. Their kisses are greedy. Possessive. Like they are running out of time. Finally having permission to do this...kiss him, taste him, feel him surround her like this, their bodies matching inch for inch with only a few layers of cotton between them, is both dizzying and frustrating. Somewhere in the back of her mind she knows this will end, but she wants it to last forever.

They break for air, but not much else. Her hands are roaming his body, testing and cataloging reactions. She inhales much needed breath between kisses to his temple, his forehead, his chin. Tony's thoughts seem to mirror her own as he breathes quickly, diving for her neck and finding her sweet spot with alarming ease.

"What are we doing, Tony…" A coherent thought manages to escape her clouded mind. As she murmurs the non-question, she finds her hands sneaking up the back of his shirt. She likes the way his muscles tighten under her touch as she trails her fingers over his skin.

"Well," Tony mumbles into her chin, "I'm only a trained investigator, but I think this is what the kids like to call making out."

"Ah, yes," she says, arching into his hypnotic touch. It catches her off-guard and so she teases back, "Good work, Tony."

It's a little too Gibbs-like of a response, what with her narrowed eyebrows and huskiest voice, so he has to chuckle. It slows their momentum and they stop their explorations for a moment, their bodies settling together.

"You kissed me first, Zi-vah," he smirks, nipping the tender skin on her neck and causing her to gasp.

It's hard to argue that point, so she positions her knee threateningly. "And you kissed me back, yes?"

"Oh, yes!" He grins and thinks this gives him permission to kiss her again. He is unfortunately correct; she even drops her knee as she melts into him. This kiss, however, is different. It is just a kiss—no roaming hands or clashing bodies. And yet…as he cradles her face to his, softly pressing his lips to hers, gently deepening his exploration of her mouth, Ziva cannot help but think this is something more than a one-off clumsy grope.

The kiss ends and their eyes remain closed, foreheads resting together. Ziva sighs, then asks again, "What are we doing, Tony?" Because she honestly has no idea. Kissing her partner? Breaking the rules? These are not things a Mossad officer is programmed to do.

"I don't know," he admits. She can think of no response. Instead, she maps his face with her gaze, searching and exploring, noting the crystal clear seas of his eyes and the rugged planes of his jaw. He is a beautiful man, she thinks. His thumb brushes lightly against her cheek. "But I do know that I like this…being with you, Ziva. I've wanted this for a long time."

She smiles, taunts him with her eyes. "Oh I know that, Tony." The leer he gives her makes her stomach flip. Then, more seriously, she adds, "As I have wanted it, too."

They just stare at one another for a long moment.

"So, what now?" He finally asks, voice oddly hoarse.

"You are my best friend, Tony," she acknowledges, puzzling this situation out loud. He nods. "You're my partner."

"And," he adds, eyes twinkling. "I'm devastatingly sexy."

She laughs. In one deft movement, she flips them over so that she is now on top of him. "You think so?"

"Books have been written," he proclaims, not bothering to struggle against his current position. Then, realizing the truth to that, he makes a face. "Literally."

Ziva, chuckling again, litters kisses across his chin and neck. Tony laughs, too, and tries half-heartedly to swat her away. She hopes this isn't the wine talking, but does not think that to be the case. This feels too natural, too right. Though being with Tony like this is causing a buzzing sensation in her mind, her actions follow an instinctual path, knowing just where and when and how to touch him. Like they were always meant to do this, like they've been doing this for years and it's still just as good as the first time. Grabbing her face in his hands, he finally stops her. Their eyes meet, his expression is serious. Her heart drops.

"Let's give this a shot, Ziva," he says solemnly. "I think…I think we have something here."

She gives him bonus points for being the one to say it. She was certainly afraid to be the one to cross the line so resolutely. "Yes," she exhales. "I think we do too…"

Tony's face erupts in a wide grin. "So…"

"So…" she mocks, unable to contain a smile of her own. It's finally happening. Finally, finally, finally… Then, giving him her best death glare, she adds, "And, Tony, I am not one of your floopies---

"Floozies," he corrects, with a knowing smirk.

"Whatever," she continues, "so if I ever even suspect—

"Yes, yes, I know," he rolls his eyes, ruffling her hair for good measure. "Paperclips, knives, dismemberment, blah, blah. Like I would dare cross my favorite crazy-assassin." Then, more seriously he continues, "it's been only you for a long time now, Ziva."

That goes straight to her heart, stuns her. Tony's confession hangs heavy between them for a few seconds; rather than respond, Ziva lets Tony see in her expression exactly how she feels about him in return. It is enough for now. He understands. She isn't quite ready for the big confessions yet. Already, this is more than she ever thought would happen. After a moment, she smacks him gently on the cheek. "Just so we are clear."

He gives her a mock-scowl. She lets him capture her hand in his, pinning it to his chest. "And you?"

"Unfortunately, I have been bitten by the DiNozzo bug," she sighs. The lazy smile he responds with sends shivers down her spine. She eyes him, then bites his earlobe gently for effect. He yelps. She soothes the pain with her tongue, and then they are all over one another again. Like she thought—this is too natural, too easy. There has to be some reason this is a bad idea.

The reasons why they haven't done this before finally hit her.

"Gibbs is not going to like this," Ziva manages as Tony tugs her shirt over her head. Flinging it aside, Tony winces.

"Please do not ever mention his name while we are naked, Ziva." But she watches the reality dawn on Tony's face, the way the sparkle in his eyes dies down.

Sitting up, Ziva flips her hair out of her face and enjoys the way Tony looks her up and down. "We are not naked yet, Tony," she drawls, her pulse racing at his reaction to her words. Then, considering the ramifications of the leap they just took, she makes a decision. "But who says Gibbs has to know? Maybe we should just keep this to ourselves for now…"

Tony considers this. "It would keep me from getting transferred to Siberia. Temporarily at least."

"And," Ziva adds to her argument, "it would keep Abby from interrogating us."

"And McGee from acting stupid around us," Tony warms to the idea. With a decisive nod, he reaches to pull Ziva back down to him. "I like it Officer David. Plus, secret romances are so hot."

Ziva laughs through a kiss. "We shall see, DiNozzo." Then, pulling back, she reaches around to unhook her bra. Tony's eyes widen. "I think we've done enough talking for tonight, Tony."

Tony nods eagerly and tackles her back to the couch. Casablanca has long since ended. The theme "As Time Goes By" plays over and over on the DVD title menu. But Ziva hardly notices. There are other things occupying her mind.

The morning is bright and sunny, perfect really. Which is one of the reasons Ziva finds herself rushing into work five minutes late. Bursting into the squad room when the elevator door opens, Ziva struggles not to spill her hot tea as she balances her backpack and a bakery box on her other arm. She blames the bakery stop-off on the uncommonly good mood she woke up in this morning.

"Ha! Ziva is late!" Tony immediately announces from his chair. McGee just raises an eyebrow in her direction. Gibbs, fortunately, is nowhere to be seen.

She throws DiNozzo her trademark glare. He is unaffected, typing away at his computer acting smug and superior. He has the nerve to look perfectly put-together in his grey suit (her favorite) and completely well-rested (he's not). When he sees the box in her arm, though, her partner changes his tune. He launches out of his desk and is at her side in an instant.

"Baked goods? Ziii-va! I would kiss you if I weren't afraid you'd slice off my ears!" He pokes at the box as she gets settled at her desk. She wants to smile at his jab, but is able to contain her excitement at the new game they are playing. Tony bends down to the box's level, as if using his x-ray vision on the object. "Please tell me you got me a bear claw."

"Slice off your ears, Tony?" She arches an eyebrow at him and shoves him out of her space with her hip. Tony topples backward with a yelp. "Is that all I'd do?"

He laughs uncomfortably as he manages to pick himself up off the floor. She checks him out through her hair as she bends to put some things in her desk. The hunger in his eyes is hard to miss as he tracks her movements. Her heart starts to pound as it triggers visions of the night before: Tony's hand gliding along her skin, his body hovering over hers in the darkness. She rises slowly, getting as close to him as possible, trying to keep her mind clear even as his scent floods her senses. His eyes glaze over and he's leaning into her ever so slightly…

"McGee!" She suddenly shouts. Stunned, Tony jumps back a foot. Tim looks up from his computer, feigning alarm, as if he hadn't been spying on their every flirtation. "You may have first pick from the box."

"What?!" Tony is outraged. Ziva shoots him a smug look, enjoying the pout on his face. McGee takes his time saving his work on his computer before moving to Ziva's desk. With a flourish and a quick swipe of her knife to cut the strings, she opens the lid of the box and presents the breakfast treats she bought.

"Wow, thanks, Ziva!" McGee is practically drooling as his fingers dance over the selection. They pause over the lone bear claw. "What's the occasion?"

"Touch the claw and you die, Probie." Tony lurks behind McGee, glaring.

"No occasion," Ziva shrugs and ignores Tony. She can practically feel his unspoken comment on what exactly the occasion is. He is bouncing in place now. McGee finally selects an éclair and heads back to his desk. Tony snatches the bear claw and takes a huge bite.

"Oh, Ziva!" Tony mumbles through a mouthful of fat and sugar. "You know what I like."

Ziva just grins at him. Then, after he's enjoyed another taste, she walks over to him and pats him on the stomach. Her hand lingers a moment too long, feeling his muscles tense under her touch. "Yes," she purrs, "I do." Then, just when they've stared at each other for a few seconds too long, she pretends to squeeze one of his love handles. Tony protests, crumbs spraying from his mouth, as Ziva barks out a laugh.

Somewhere in the bullpen, McGee chokes on his breakfast. Then, when Ziva yanks Tony's hand to her mouth for her own bite of the pastry, he launches into a full-on coughing fit.

Sitting at her desk, Ziva shares a long look with Tony as a distracted McGee fumbles for some water. The smile he gives her warms her entire body.

No, this wasn't anything like she thought. Though there was plenty of passion and fire and emotion between them last night, there was no destruction, no heartache. Instead, in a moment of rare quiet, something new was created. It's her and Tony, still friends and partners, but now something more. Something better. Yes, the game has changed between them, but she can see how this is going to work. Well, as long as she learns to suppress this new kissing-reflex she's discovered.

Allowing Tony a smile in return, she gets started on her work. It won't always be this easy, and there might be pain and ruin yet, but for now…she can't help but think, it will be worth it.


Author's Notes, Part 2: Ahhh…fluff is good for the soul. I think I just needed to write a Tony-and-Ziva-get-together fic that was totally angst-free, with them figuring it all out from the get-go. Clearly, this would never happen on the show. But it sure was fun to write. Let me know what you think! If I had it my way, I would spend the next year tweaking this—I am never satisfied and can always fiddle around with things. But, I know there comes a point when I need to stop and release the story unto the fandom. I may re-read it months from now and regret that, but oh well. Nothing is perfect, right? Feedback is always appreciated so future fics can be closer to perfect. ;-)