A/N: The last episode has conjured up so very many Tiva plotlines in my head that I may permanently be stuck in writing mode. We'll see. This is basically inspired by Tony's attitude toward Ziva's potential citizenship as of late. Oh, and I'm not entirely sure how in-character they actually turned out, but I Tony's rambling is on purpose—he does that when he's excited, so bear with it.
"Why must you broadcast my personal life where ever we go?" Ziva demanded quietly, frustrated and somewhat flustered by Tony's latest outburst. He stopped walking, looked up from the file in his hands, and turned around to face her. She stood an arm's length away, hands on her hips, and fixed him with a steely glare. If those words had not just come out of her mouth, he wouldn't have known from the look on her face that she had spoken.
"Whatcha talkin' about Zee-vah?" He chided, hoping his nonchalance would lighten the mood.
"First you announce to the entire office that I am studying for my citizenship test, then you tell Leyla that I am starting over. Why can you not let this go, Tony? Why must you make this harder on me than it already is?" Her tone was even as she spoke and she stared him in the eye, all sparks of uncertainty gone.
He dropped her gaze almost instantly, worried that he had become transparent to her. She bit down on her lip, lost in thought, and shook her head before settling her eyes on the concrete beneath her shoes.
"And now you have nothing to say?" She queried, not chancing a look at him again, suddenly worried that she had come across far more dejected than she ever wanted to while in his presence. She sighed and quietly added, "Tony, my life is not some movie you can narrate in the bullpen whenever you desire."
"But how else are you gonna learn about little orphan Annie?" He quipped, wincing slightly as the words tumbled out of his mouth before he came to his senses. She shot him a look that shut his mouth immediately. She drew in a ragged breath before she walked past him to the car, attempting to hide how much his glib remark had struck her.
He watched as she walked away, head held high but defeat showing in her slumped shoulders.
Truth be told, it had been hard for him to see her start over just as he knew it was hard for her to bear the brunt of his frustrations. He had never meant to hurt her, but it was clear that he had.
"You're Annie!" he shouted out suddenly, thrusting his arm in the air to gesture toward her. He waited nervously as she stopped and turned to face him.
"No, I am Ziva." she said hesitantly. There was nothing she wanted to deal with less than his shenanigans at the moment, but something in the desperation with which he had made his statement intrigued her.
He walked toward her with a smile plastered on his face, his eyes shining as he opened his mouth to speak, "You are little orphan Annie. I mean, not the comic strip version with the whole 'circles for eyes' thing, but the movie version--right down to the curly hair...well, I guess yours is more wavy than curly…that and the whole age difference thing because, you know, Annie was, like, eleven in that movie and--"
"The point, Tony?" she asked, unsure whether or not to be upset with the conclusion he had drawn, but desperately wanting him to spit it out.
"You're Annie, right? So that makes Daddy David into either Rooster or Mrs. Hannigan—you know, the villian only out to get what's best for them, screw everyone else. Personally, I'm going to say he's either Rooster from the 1982 version or Mrs. Hannigan from the made-for-tv 1999 version because, really, I think comparing him to anyone else is really being too nice..." he paused, thinking over his statement for a moment. "Anyway, Annie escapes Mrs. Hannigan's orphanage when she goes to live with Daddy Warbucks for the holidays. Which, I must add, is not exactly a great relationship in the beginning...but in a clever and oh-so-adorable twist of fate, they end up one big happy family--with Grace of course--and that dog, Sandy. He was so--"
"Tony," she interrupted, slightly confused and mostly annoyed at his incessant rambling, "I understand that you have a fondness for this movie, but you are talking in circles and I am afraid I do not see your point."
Tony stopped a moment to think, adjusted his tie awkwardly, and looked her straight into her eyes. "Well, Annie left the only thing she ever knew: being mistreated and abused and not loved nearly enough...and after a rough start, she found a home where none of those things would ever be true again…Gibbs, the team--we're you're Daddy Warbucks. You're not an orphan anymore, Annie. You have a home." He looked at her with the same naked truth that had shone in his eyes in Somalia and she knew that he was right.
She contemplated the meaning of his words for a moment and just before she moved to speak, he interrupted. "...But, in all honesty, I think Daddy Warbucks is mostly Gibbs. He's got that whole tough-on-the-outside-but-a-heart-of-gold thing going for him. But, then who is Grace?"
He looked up into the sky in serious contemplation. Ziva knew it was yet another attempt to deflect from the comments he had made, but she didn't care. Her heart warmed at the comparison.
Tony, still lost in his own thoughts, continued to prattle on. "I guess maybe Director Shepard would have been Grace since she brought you on in the first place? That and she and Gibbs definitely fit the bill for being together once upon a--"
"Tony!" she exclaimed, embarrassed to be one half of the conversation at that moment.
He turned serious as he looked into her eyes again, grabbing her hand gently. "Seriously, Ziva? I just want to be certain you're sure about this. It's a big change and...I don't think I could handle getting my hopes up at the permanence of it if you're not in it for the long haul. Even Annie had her doubts about Daddy Warbucks…I just can't lose you again."
He squeezed her hand gently before dropping it. Of all the reasons she had thought about attributing Tony's recent gruffness to, his fear of losing her again was not one of them.
She smiled up at him and wrapped her pinky around his so gently that he wasn't sure if it were real. "I'm not going anywhere, Tony...I mean, what would America be without the 'American Dream?'"
His head shot up at her in feigned shock. He scoffed at her amusedly. "What? No, I'm the American Dream, Zee-Vah!"
"I believe that you said that it was you and little orphan Annie," she baited.
"And. Key word there. Not one over the other!"
"So, together, then, yes?" she asked slyly with a mischievous smirk. His eyes sparkled as one side of his mouth upturned slightly.
"Yeah...together." He chuckled, knowing they would be just fine, and brought his arm up around her shoulders. "Come on, Annie, let's go grab some dinner."
She smiled as they walked off, his arm still lying possessively around her shoulders. "No, Tony it is 2am!" She paused, waiting until she felt his arm stiffen around her, "We will get breakfast."
I feel so-so about this, so I'd love your thoughts. I like the idea, I'm just not so sure about the execution, but I've been writing and rewriting this for days. Let me know what you think!
(This is only my second NCIS fic, though, so please be nice!)