A/N: This is in response to a request from Aqiran, who asked for a TIVA fic that starts out with Ziva in a strong, steady relationship. I know this has been done many times before, and that TIVA isn't exactly my forte, but I hope you'll read this anyway. Hopefully I'll manage to give this a unique spin (I plan to include the whole family in this fic, just so you know) and not disgrace the characters that I'm only borrowing temporarily (that would be my disclaimer, pay attention!).
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Ziva checked her reflection for the fourth time in the last twenty minutes. Mentally, she ticked off each item as she assessed her appearance just one more time. Hair – perfect. Earrings – both match. Star of David – present, and lying flat in the hollow of her throat, and framed by her fancy, low cut, backless gown. Her makeup was tastefully done – she had been a little heavier on the eye shadow than usual, but it added a hint of mystique.
She turned, posing so that she could see how the back fell. The silky forest green material hugged her curves. There was no hint of tasteless panty lines, nor was there any noticeable bulge of a concealed weapon – mainly because she only carried one knife, and it was disguised as a hairpin.
Facing forward again, she ran her hands over her flat stomach, smoothing out an imaginary wrinkle or two. Winking at her reflection, she glided half a step forward, carefully observing how much leg became visible through the one ankle to mid-thigh slit. The dainty gold stilettos sparkled as she moved.
The sleeveless gown left her arms bare – maybe too bare?
Half frantically, she sorted through her jewelry box for an appropriate bracelet. Her stomach pulled another one of the acrobatic stunts it had been doing all night.
She smirked at the irony – she, former assassin, sometime spy, and highly trained weapon of the Mossad, was nervous.
No, she was not just nervous; she was nervous because of a man.
It was pathetic, really, but she liked this man. She liked this man very much.
Ziva wished that Tony were here to google her. She grinned as she pictured his slack jaw and bulging eyes as he stared at her in all her splendor. Ziva knew she was hot. She knew Tony thought she was hot, but it was still nice when it was obvious that Tony thought she was hot.
His escalator eyes gave her goose bumps.
She shivered – and then shook herself, delivering a swift mental headslap, Gibbs-style.
What was she thinking, going all moon-eyed at the thought of Tony when she was "In Love With" Travis.
Travis was perfect.
Well, fine. Maybe he was not perfect – Ziva was just cynical enough not to believe in perfection. She did not believe in love, either, come to think of it.
But she did believe in Travis. After spending the last six months putting the poor man through the gauntlet, forcing him to prove his affections again and again, Ziva had consciously chosen to trust him.
"See, Z, that's your problem. You don't trust anybody." Tony leered at her mockingly. "You're gonna turn around and realize you're an old, lonely biddy one day, and there won't be a thing to do about it."
The Israeli winced at the remembered words. If she were being logical, she might force herself to admit that DiNozzo had probably meant that as 'friendly advice', but had been rather overwhelmed and alienated during the Gibbs-went-to-Mexico-without-so-much-as-farewell period.
Then, Tony had seemed to take Gibbs' absence as the cue to be as much as an asshole as he wanted because there was no one around to curb him.
But Gibbs was back, and Tony was once again being held in line.
And Ziva had Travis.
She clasped a bracelet onto her left wrist, as if resolving the 'issue' with a physical action.
Three minutes – and another once-over – later the door bell rang.
Ziva smiled warmly and went to greet her boyfriend.
** * ** * ** * **
He was spending another lonely Friday night sitting in his apartment staring at his scotch.
Ziva was out with Travis again.
She'd been seeing him for nearly six months – and she still hadn't brought him 'round to the office yet. In fact, she hadn't even told anyone that she was in a relationship – much less that she was very serious about it.
But, then, given her record with boyfriends and the Team's (Tony's) propensity for running them off, it was a reasonable decision.
Even so, Tony and Gibbs had thoroughly vetted the guy. Tony had even enjoyed a few games of pool with the man in the early months of his and Ziva's relationship.
Even Tony had to admit that the man was good for Ziva.
Travis Kinsey, former Navy ROTC officer and IVY League business school grad, had a perfect record. No criminal background, 3.85 GPA, 3 formal commendations from different commanding officers, and a clean medical background.
He had a high paying job, healthy sense of humor, provided intelligent conversation, and even worked with several non-profit organizations, giving both his money and time to those less fortunate than him.
A real boy scout.
Tony sighed again.
Travis made Ziva happy.
He downed his scotch.
More than anything, Tony wanted to see Ziva happy.
** * ** * ** * **
Gibbs patiently sanded his boat, drinking a little more bourbon than he would on a normal evening.
Ziva was celebrating her six month anniversary with Travis tonight.
She still hadn't said anything to them about her 'mystery man'.
Even more disturbing, however, was the fact that Tony hadn't said anything.
Damnit, but the stubborn man was trying to do the 'noble' thing by allowing Ziva to make her own decisions – after, of course, having thoroughly checked 'Trav's' background.
Although, Gibbs had nearly had to prod Tony into action on that front – not a good sign.
Gibbs knew that Tony "cared very deeply" for Ziva and that Ziva had, at least at one point, returned his feelings with interest. But neither of them had ever acted on anything.
Gibbs closed his eyes and growled his frustration.
A rift had developed between the two when he'd run off to Mexico. Tony had put the team first, even though it meant alienating his friends. He shouldn't have had to make that decision.
And he was still paying for it – but Gibbs couldn't really tell DiNozzo not to do the noble thing.
He gulped another glass of bourbon.
Whatever happened with Travis, Gibbs knew that Tony would go out of his way to make sure Ziva was happy.
And as long as Ziva was happy, Tony would survive.
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A/N: Okay, so mushy much… sorry, I'll work on that. Yes, I know it's short – I'll try to do better next time. I plan to update this and WTB? Alternately – even though I have a really full schedule right now. Still feedback = inspiration and inspiration leads to all night long writing binges which means long and frequent updates, so please review!