Title: Immersion
By: Robin
Rating: PG-13
Category: Fluff, Romance
Pairing: Tony/Ziva
Spoilers: None, really
Disclaimers: Neither NCIS nor any of its characters belongs to me.
Summary: Tony, Ziva, bed. Fluff.
Note: Thanks to Rose Wilde Irish for her beta and suggestions!

Her thoughts were always a mix of different languages.

Mossad considered her fluent in only five languages, with English by far her worst. She was conversational in a half-dozen other languages and knew the basics of another four or five.

Ziva found it best to primarily think in the language of the country she was currently in. It was a habit but a sensible one; first, immersion helped in gaining or retaining fluency, and second, it allowed her to focus on whatever assignment was at hand, especially if she was undercover. Of course, when she was in Israel, her thoughts were mostly in Hebrew. Spain or Latin America, Spanish. In the United States and the United Kingdom, it was English, with smatterings of Hebrew, Spanish, and French to supplement her vocabulary.

With so many languages, it was sometimes hard for her to formulate her thoughts. When she was drunk, she resorted to a "hodgepodge" of whatever came to mind. When she was angry, one could hear her shouting insults and threats in Hebrew, though she personally preferred the curse words of Russian and Spanish. And when she had sex - really, really great sex - it was usually Hebrew that came from her lips. Unfortunately, the third scenario was generally not a problem. Lately, however...

Ziva woke to the feeling of Tony's lips on her skin. In those brief moments, between sleep and consciousness, she was always instinctively tense as she quickly assessed her situation and its potential dangers. Tony, now used to his lover's morning routine (the "ninja morning wake-up," he called it), only paused briefly in his ministrations. It did not take Ziva long to remember where she was, who she was with, and she relaxed against the pillows, letting Tony caress and kiss her.

Tony liked touching her. By nature, he was a tactile person, and he enjoyed showing Ziva how he felt about her - for all of his smart-mouthed comments and endless repartee, he occasionally had trouble verbalizing sincerity. Ziva, for her part, thought that his "touchy-feeliness" was sweet, something she had not initially associated with him (DiNozzo, sweet?). She did not mind his "kink"; it was very calming for her.

"One day, you'll have to teach me what you're saying," Tony said, kissing her shoulder, her neck.

"Hmm?" Ziva said lazily, her eyes shut.

In answer, Tony repeated, albeit with an awful accent and even worse pronunciation, some of the things she had said (well, more like screamed, moaned, and gasped) hours earlier. Ziva could not see his face, but she pictured how he must look - his eyes narrowed in concentration, a slight frown on his face as he recalled the words. (She had never told him that he looked sexy when he was being serious.) Her eyes opened as she recognized some of the words and phrases, and she felt her face flush - not from their meanings, exactly, but rather from the vivid memories hearing them evoked.

"Am I embarrassing you, Zee-vah?" Tony teased, watching her blush. (He liked the sound of her name, the way it rolled off his tongue.)

"Of course not," Ziva said, resisting the (ridiculous) impulse to cover her face with her hands. She did not get embarrassed - at least, not easily.

Tony kissed the sensitive area beneath her ear, causing her breath to hitch slightly; he smirked. "Liar," he drawled. "Now you've got me curious - what does all of that mean?"

"I don't think I will tell you," Ziva decided, turning her face to look at him. Some strands of her long hair fell over her eyes; he automatically brushed them out of the way.

"What? Why not?" He pouted; it was cute. (Not that he liked being called cute, but he tolerated it from her.)

She lifted her head to nip at his lips, pausing as he deepened the kiss, both ignoring morning breath. After several seconds, she pulled back, hearing him groan in disappointment. "They are not for delicate ears," she managed.

"Sounds naughty," Tony said, grinning. "But you know I'm far from delicate."

Without warning, her hand shot out to grab his wrist, her thumb pressing against the pressure point on the back of his hand. His eyes looked mildly alarmed. "Really, Tony?" she purred. She kissed his chin slowly, allowing her lips to graze over his stubble, then released his hand.

"Ah... Maybe a little delicate," he admitted, once he could move and breathe again. Even in bed Ziva could remind him of all the ways she could kick his ass; even kill him, but he hoped she liked him too much for that. Recovering from her little love tap, he shot her a confident smirk. "But not when it comes to sex."

"True," Ziva said, recalling all the things they had done together over the past several weeks.

"So then...?"

She looked deep in thought for a moment, deliberately leading him on with her silence before smiling innocently and cruelly crushing his hopes: "No."

Tony narrowed his eyes again. She immediately knew what he was thinking and tried to roll away, but he lunged for her, grabbing her by the waist and hauling her back toward him. His fingers began their assault on her body, easily finding all of her sensitive spots, all the places he had discovered through patience and trial-and-error over the course of many evenings. He was relentless - no hold-backs, no mercy; this was a tickle war. She shrieked, laughing helplessly, making half-hearted attempts to escape. She could have gotten away if she had really wanted to; Tony knew this, and it pleased him that she trusted him enough to let herself be "captured" by him, even if it was just in play.

After a few more minutes of her squirming and giggling against him (which felt really great, Tony could admit), Ziva finally caved. "Tony! Tony!" she yelled, laughing, gasping for air. "Stop! I give up!"

Tony relented, though he did not release her. His arm remained secured around her middle as he molded himself against her back, his face buried in her soft hair; his thumb made absent circles against her stomach. "When you surrender, you're supposed to say 'uncle'," Tony informed her.

"That is silly," Ziva said, catching her breath. "What does my uncle have to do with you tickling me?"

"Hey, I don't make up the expressions, I just tell you what they are."

Thoughtfully, Ziva said, "My uncle is former Mossad. He would probably shoot you if he thought you were attacking me."

"The one who raises horses?"

"Mmm hmm. He retired from Mossad ten years ago. My cousins used to tell us stories about how he once killed a bear with his bare hands."

"Uh, that's... interesting. I'll keep that in mind." Tony mentally added Ziva's uncle to the list of people he should Never Piss Off. "Now then, sweetheart. Since you lost, you're going to tell me the meaning of those words, right?"

Ziva rolled her eyes, trying not to smile. Tony was nothing if not persistent. It made him an excellent investigator and an occasionally annoying friend. However, to be fair, Ziva was the same; it was one of the many traits that they shared in common.

"Well..." she said coyly. "Maybe I will add them to one of our future lessons."

Tony had manged to hide the fact that he was learning Hebrew for all of two weeks. Ziva had discovered his secret one month earlier after finding the self-study CDs and books in his desk. (She had actually been searching for his letter opener, which they technically shared joint custody over ever since The Great Paperclip Debacle of '08. However, Tony, in his usual stubborn fashion, refused to acknowledge her equal rights and frequently hid the letter opener from her.) Tony had turned adorably red over being caught, muttering excuses that sounded inane even to him. McGee had pounced on this revelation like a puppy on a new bone (not that his teasing was unfair; McGee was just paying Tony back for years of taunting), while Ziva had only smiled, feeling oddly flattered. Odd because it was presumptuous to think that Tony was learning Hebrew because of her; on the other hand, what alternate explanation was there? There was no other reason for his embarrassment, for the way he purposely avoided looking at her for the rest of the day.

Later, when she and Tony were riding the elevator down to the parking garage, Ziva had offered to give him private language lessons at her home. She had also thrown in dinner, which was unnecessary, and they both knew it. He came over that same night. Although the lessons had started out innocently enough (she did want to teach him, and he did want to learn), one thing had led to several other things (things involving admissions, confessions, and discussions of feelings and emotions), and those things had led to many other things (many, many other things, though how many exactly she was not sure, having lost count), and the end result was that they were both in obscenely good moods the next morning (McGee had retreated to Abby's lab, confident that Abby's permanently sunny, sugary disposition would somehow be less annoying than Tony and Ziva's combined chirpiness), and Tony's entire schedule for the foreseeable future was booked solid with one Ziva David.

"Zee-vah," Tony whined, clearly unimpressed with her response.

"You are the one who said, and I quote, 'One day,'" Ziva reminded him. "'One day' does not necessarily mean today."

"Sometimes I hate your photographic memory," he muttered, blowing an annoyed... raspberry (Was that it? Ziva thought. Some sort of fruit) on her shoulder.

"I will make it up to you," Ziva promised, letting her hands wander. She heard him suck in his breath. Seductively, she murmured, "And if you're very good, I will let you hear me say those words again, yes? Immersion is the best way to learn a language, you know."

"Is that right?" Tony said huskily. "Guess I'd better start immersing myself in you as soon as possible then, Ziva."

She started to laugh, but thanks to Tony's talented mouth and hands, it ended as a moan.

Fortunately for both of them, Tony was always a fast learner.