A/N: Well, her it is, the last chapter of this story. I am thinking about writing some sort of a sequel, but I am not promising anything. Enjoy the ride!


Epiphany


'Ladies and gentlemen, welcome at our yearly charity event! This whole evening is organized by the American Author's Association, and they have done yet again an outstanding job!' A man in a tuxedo stood on the now empty podium with a microphone in his hands. The audience at the tables applauded. From the other parts of the yacht people had come to the deck, and in a few minutes it had become crowded. Tony was glad they had a table that was a little higher than the others, because it was placed next to the bow. He could look over the people easily, but stood up nonetheless. Leaning against the railing, he waited for what was going to happen.

'The major event this year is an auction. The money will be used to support a learning program in Africa for children. Normally we auction off books, but we decided to go a step further this year: we will auction the women to the highest bidder. We start with Stephanie!' A blonde woman, wearing a blue dress and giggling nonstop, walked onto the dance floor. The auction went pretty quickly and minutes later she left the dance floor again, at the arm of a smiling guy who had 'bought' her for twelve hundred dollars. A few other women were sold after that, for amounts varying between fifteen hundred dollars and five thousand dollar. Tony thought that the whole thing was sort of condescending for women in general. Why should women be auctioned and not men too? Not that he thought it wasn't funny to see Ziva David getting auctioned though.

'Our next 'victim', so to speak, is the very intriguing Miss Ziva David! Israeli from birth, now working in our beloved country. She's a feisty one, don't let that lovely face fool you!' Tuxedo spoke. Tony's head perked up a bit more and a big smile appeared on his face. She looked extremely pissed. Even he hadn't gotten her that mad in all the years they were working together. She stood in the middle of the dance floor, her head held high and not looking at anyone. With her hands on her hips, her feet slightly apart, refusing to smile, she made nice picture, he had to admit that.

'Let's put the starting bid on one thousand dollars, she is worth every penny gentlemen!'

A men in the front put up his hand, followed quickly by three others. Within thirty seconds Ziva was worth four thousand dollars. Tony crossed his arms and looked at the guys who were bidding. Two were older, already balding and grey. Number three was a body builder kind of guy: muscled, large. The fourth one looked a bit like McGee: friendly face, not too outstanding. When the number went up to five thousand, Ziva turned her face towards Tony and shot daggers with her eyes. The two older men stopped bidding, Muscles and McLookalike went on. They had reached the seven thousand point, Tony decided it had been fun – and it had been enough.

'Ten grand,' he spoke, his voice loud enough to be heard by everybody on the deck. It went quiet, people turned their heads. 'Ten grand, with the courtesy of mister Thom E. Gemcity,' A murmur started to go through the crowd, surprised whispers and soft whistles reached Tony's ears. The auctioneer reacted quickly.

'Sold! On behalf of Thom E. Gemicty, for the amount of ten thousand dollars!' The crowd applauded loudly and Ziva walked with fierce steps back to their table. She stopped inches away from Tony and took a deep breath. Tony saw how her eyes darkened even more, how her noses trills flared slightly. He noticed the slightly blush that had crept on her cheeks.

'Well, that was fun,' Tony said casually. 'Now, since I bought you, does that mean I can have my way with you?' He asked thoughtfully. Ziva narrowed her eyes and hit him on his shoulder – hard.

'One more joke and you'll end up at the bottom of the Potomac River – with the courtesy of Thom E. Gemcity!' The last three words were companied with slaps around his chest.

'Easy, Ninja,' Tony grabbed Ziva's hands and prevented her from hitting him more. 'I called with McWriter and he had forgotten the auction, but his agent had given him a budget of ten thousand dollar. If you want to put someone on the bottom of the Potomac River, it should be him,'

'You could have bid earlier! Why did you wait that long! That was totally unnecessary!' Ziva pulled her hands out of Tony's grip and kept glaring at him.

'And where would have been the fun in that? Come on, Ziva, if it were me who was being sold you would have done the same thing!' That seemed to calm her down to her normal self again.

'No,' she said matter-of-factly. 'I would have kept the money and let you get sold to an old lady with . . . needs,' She glared at him one last time and sat down at their table.

'Ohw, that would be just mean!' Tony sat down across from her. 'I like it! I rubbed off on you, didn't I,' he grinned. He looked towards the dance floor and saw how the live band installed themselves again to play. 'So, that ten grand . . . is that enough to get you to dance with me?'

'Why?' Ziva asked suspicious.

'Because the live band is starting to play again,' Tony nodded towards the dance floor. He stood up and offered Ziva his hand. She looked at it for a moment, not sure if she should dance with him.

'Fine,' she said. 'But because I chose to. Not because McGee could afford me,' she said smirking. She refused to think about the reasons why she would say yes in the first place, but a small, nagging voice kept saying that she was liking it a little bit too much.

--

Tony placed his left hand on Ziva's shoulder, with his right he held her hand. He felt strangely conscious of himself again, as if his hands weren't his and he didn't knew where to hold them properly. But slowly the jazz took over and they really started dancing. They moved together, almost in sync, in a swinging motion that felt easy and comfortable. The rhythm sped up and Tony knew the song was almost done. He looked down at Ziva, who's eyes were sparkling, and decided to let her see how a DiNozzo could dance. He picked up the pace just a little bit more, and smiled when Ziva followed him without trouble. They moved around the dance floor in quick steps, the music reached its finale and with a smooth move Tony dipped Ziva down and hold her. When he pulled her back up, they stood nose to nose and looked each other straight in the eyes.

'Since when do you dance?' Ziva asked slightly panting.

'Since there was a class in college with a lot of girls in it,' Tony grinned. The band started with a new song, a slower one this time. Tony put one hand on Ziva's back and placed their hands between them. Slowly they danced further.

'Everything for the girl, Tony?' Ziva smiled.

'That depends on the girl,' Tony laughed. His eyes met hers, and he swallowed. A stream of visuals went through his head: the girl with the beautiful brown curls, the fine looking behind, the one who knew how to drive, who was stubborn as hell, who was just a little bit crazy and who could handle him. The one he would pretty much do everything for. The details were falling into place and he finally saw the bigger picture: Ziva. It was Ziva he had fallen for, Ziva who he was somehow looking for by chasing brunettes, Ziva . . . At some point in their partnership he had gone from 'having her six' to 'going to hell and back for her'. Gibbs was going to get his ass, he was sure of it.

'Oh boy,' he murmured. He let go of Ziva and stared at her.

'What's wrong?' Ziva asked. Tony had turned pale, his eyes wide.

'I . . . You . . . I don't feel so good,' he stumbled over his words and left Ziva on the dance floor to go to the bathroom in a hurry. Ziva frowned and walked after him. Tony entered the bathroom and walked to the mirror. He looked at his own reflection. Wasn't realizing that you're in love something that ought to be good? He was terrified. He shouldn't have those feelings, not in the first because rule number twelve. He shouldn't have those feelings because every woman he had ever gotten close to, ended up in two ways: hurt or dead. He didn't want to hurt Ziva and he definitely didn't want her to end up dead because he wasn't sure if he could live without her. So that left pretty much one option, he would . . .

'Are you okay, Tony?' Ziva spoke softly. Tony couldn't help but smile: of course she would come into the men's room unnoticed.

'Yeah, yeah I'm fine. I guess the lamb has fallen a bit weird,' Tony answered with a wry smile.

'You sure it is nothing else? Or are you maybe seasick?'

'Ha! I've spent four months on see, believe me, seasickness is the last thing I'm suffering from!'

'Well, seasickness or food poisoning, they just docked they yacht ashore. Are you coming?' She walked through the door. Tony looked after her and sighed. He glanced back at his reflection and sighed again. He lifted his hand, and smacked himself forcefully on the back of his head.

'Thank you boss,' he nodded. 'I needed that,' He turned and left the men's room, deciding that he wouldn't have this feelings. He would bury them somewhere deep inside, put a lock on it and forget about it. He could not be in love with Ziva. So he wasn't. End of story.


A/N: Sorry for the lack of kissing and declarations of love and things like that. It didn't felt right, I had the feeling Tony wasn't ready yet. And maybe, if I write a sequel, who knows what will happen between our favorite couple, yes?