Disclaimer: If I owned any part of NCIS, we wouldn't be waiting with baited breath to find out if they're really going to seal the deal this season.
Do you feel a certain sense of synergy between yourself and me?
Tony DiNozzo liked words. He liked talking, he liked reciting. He liked dialogue, banter, and streams of consciousness. He was a man who expressed himself through his mouth. This was sometimes helpful, particularly in his line of work. It was always good to feel confident that you could talk yourself out of a jam, buy some time with conversation, or coax a confession out of the guy you were interrogating. His love of speaking was sometimes a pain is his ass. Like now, for instance, in a dingy alley with McGee, sweating in the June sun, looking for body parts. He could feel them coming up, the five words he knew he shouldn't say.
"I'm in love with her." Tony blurted. He cursed himself for not being able to be a man and hold any and all ridiculous declarations of unrequited love in his head, and for not being around someone other than McGee when it came out. Of course McGee was better than Ziva herself. Or Gibbs. Definitely way better than Gibbs.
McGee looked at him blankly. "You're in love?" He repeated incredulously. They were the only two people in the alley; he knew he heard Tony correctly. He racked his brain, trying to think back to mentions of a hot young female or excessive gloating about sexual exploits that hovered over obscenity lines. "I didn't know there was anyone." McGee said after several moments of reflection. Which was odd. Tony wasn't one to be shy about his conquests. Unless it was someone he had real feelings for. Even so, it was strange he hadn't mentioned anything. The only person McGee knew for certain he saw outside of the office was….Ziva?
It suddenly fell into place; the flirting that was so much more, the codependent nature of their partnership, the way they had recently seemed to have plans for every waking moment.
"Oh Tony you didn't." McGee moaned. If Gibbs caught wind of this, he would ship Ziva right back to Israel, and the team was only just starting to get their mojo back after returning from their respective exiles.
"Didn't what?" Tony asked with a weak smile, a half hearted and failed attempt to feign innocence.
"You fell in love with Ziva?" McGee hissed, looking around nervously as if Gibbs was just going to appear and overhear them. Tony was significantly more concerned that a certain very stealth ninja would overhear.
"It's not like I had a choice!" Tony hissed back. "No one would choose this. She's entirely unattainable. She's made of steel!"
McGee frowned. When she first arrived, even a year ago, he would have agreed. "She's not like that anymore Tony." He said, his voice still quiet but much less frantic. "Don't pretend you haven't noticed the change in her. She's not so cold anymore..." Tony sighed. To him, she was the opposite of cold. She was fire. McGee watched him carefully, noting the way his face softened when he thought about her. It was, he realized, the same way Ziva's eyes warmed when she looked at Tony.
"Rule number twelve!" He lamented, certain that if Tony had told him, it was only a matter of time before it was in the open, and they would move on to the next stage of their bizarre dance around each other. "Gibbs will actually murder you. With his bare hands."
"Yea..." Tony said, leaving his thoughts that it would be more than worth it unsaid, but McGee heard what he wasn't saying. "Oh come on, Probie. Don't give me that look."
"Really? You think it'd be worth it? I know you've built up a lot of, uh, tension, with Ziva, but it's a rule." The look Tony shot him was a mixture of intense incredulousness and anger. McGee cleared his throat, taken aback.
"Do you need your ears checked, McGoo?" Tony asked. "I said I loved her. It's not about sex. If I thought there was any hope she would have me, I'd want…. I'd want a future with her." He paused, figuring he had said this much, so why not get it all out? "And besides, who is Gibbs to control our relationships anyway?"
"Tony. Picture Gibbs putting his hands around your neck and squeezing the life out of you." McGee said, looking panicked, and mimicking the gesture.
"Who is Gibbs killing and why?" Ziva asked, rounding the corner with an evidence bag in her hands. "I think this is a colon." She said, holding it up.
"Gibbs will kill all of us if we don't get that back asap, David." Tony said, studying her for any indication she had heard him declare his undying love for her to McGee. She looked unphased, and Ziva would react to hearing that. "And I think it's a spleen."
"Two rounds says it is a colon." She bantered back.
"We hitting the town tonight?" Tony asked, a huge smile flashing on his face. He winced internally at how eager he sounded, and chastised himself for letting her get to him like she did.
"When I said rounds I was referring to ammunition." Ziva said, starting for the truck. She turned around and winked. "But I will settle for drinks." Tony stood back, watching the way her pants hugged her curves as her hips swung. He turned to McGee, the grin still firmly in place.
"Oh yea." He said. "It would be so worth it."
McGee and Abby sat at his desk and watched Tony watch Ziva. She was speaking Hebrew in a hushed tone into her cell phone and absently playing with the end of her hair. Tony was pretending to type while staring at her. McGee was trying to figure out if he was even blinking.
Tony couldn't help himself. He was in full on, borderline stalker-esque stare mode. Was it really his fault he got turned on when Ziva spoke other languages? Be real, DiNozzo, Tony said to himself. You get turned on at pretty much everything she does. But he didn't find himself culpable for that either. She was a goddess. A hot woman who could take down basically anyone and shoot any weapon known to man? Please.
DAVID, Ziva [18.43PM]: It was a colon.
Tony grinned, thanking God, the federal government and Timothy McGee for the creation of their in house instant messaging system, and that McGee was there to teach him how to use it. There was nothing that made him happier than being able to have private conversations with his partner; it gave them something that was only theirs.
DINOZZO, Anthony [18.44PM]: Was not David. Who are you talking to, anyway?
DAVID, Ziva [18.44PM]: If I told you, I would have to kill you. Is that not what they say in your films?
DINOZZO, Anthony [18.44PM]: Cliché Zi. You can do better.
DINOZZO, Anthony [18.45PM]: Have I taught you nothing?
DAVID, Ziva [18.46PM]: At least I can recognize a colon.
DINOZZO, Anthony [18.47PM]: Overconfidence killed the cat, David. I'm upping the stakes. Loser gets the other all out drunk tonight.
DAVID, Ziva [18.48PM]: Deal. If I win, we drink tequila. And I believe it was curiosity that did in the cat. Although I am still working out which cat it was.
He was about to type his response when she hung up the phone. He looked up, meeting her eyes. McGee and Abby exchanged a look as Gibbs interrupted the eye sex.
"We're done for the day." He announced, descending the staircase obviously in an anti Vance mood. No one moved. Gibbs didn't speak, he just eyed them all.
"They are waiting, Jethro, for me to identify this particular organ." Ducky said, bounding into the room with a swiftness atypical for a man of his age. "And I am pleased to announce that Officer David was correct. It is in fact, a colon."
"Ha! I told you so." Ziva said, smirking at Tony. "Overconfidence certainly did not kill this cat." Tony rolled his eyes affectionately, and grinned at her.
"Well then this cat should put her drinking shoes on." He said. He caught Gibbs' eye as he stood. "But maybe leave your gun, Zi." He added as an afterthought.
"Someone needs to go to evidence and make sure they've got everything from the house. And someone needs to go down to the lab and get the tox screen from Abby." Gibbs said gruffly, frowning at them. He was tired of them thinking they were pulling one over on him, that he didn't see the way they looked at each other.
"I'll get it!" Abby piped up. "And McGee is my ride, so he can go to evidence while I run the report up from the lab and we'll just meet you too there, so hurry along!" she said very quickly. Tony and Ziva took the hint and were halfway to the elevator before Gibbs opened his mouth to protest.
"Night boss!" Tony yelled, practically leaping for the button. Gibbs shook his head and fixed McGee and Abby with his stare in response.
"Whoa." Abby said as she McGee entered the bar. Tony and Ziva were sitting at the bar, with their stools so close they were practically on top of each other. They watched as Tony clinked his shot glass against hers and they downed the liquid, adding the empty glasses to a growing pile. Tony grinned, winked and said something to his partner who put her hand on his arm and leaned in closer to hear him.
McGee turned to Abby. "Can you keep a secret?" He asked.
"McGee!" She exclaimed. "My vault is secure."
"Good. Because I think it's a MOAS, and it's not even mine." He paused, and then spit it out before he changed his mind. "Tony is in love with Ziva." He blurted. Wincing, he mentally ran down the list of ways Tony would consider killing him for telling before turning his attention back to Abby.
"Well duh." She said. "God Tim have you been under a rock since she got here? She loves him too." McGee eyed her skeptically, about to respond when ducky walked in, Palmer and Nikki in tow.
"Well what are we waiting for?" Ducky asked, ushering them towards Tony and Ziva.
"Tony, you're beyond obvious." McGee hissed in his ear as he passed Tony.
"Like I said McWatchdog. It would be worth it." McGee gave him a pointed look and Tony signaled the bartender and held up two fingers, nodding at himself and Ziva, and flashing her his signature grin. Her heart skipped a beat and she cursed him silently for reducing her to a giddy school girl, but was unable to wipe the smile from her own lips. "There's nothing cuter than a drunk ninja."Tony blurted out without thinking. Damn tequila. She smiled at him, lowering her eyes and then raising them slowly to meet his. When she looked up at him from under her lashes, Tony thought he might die if he didn't kiss her right there. He settled for easing closer to her so their legs were touching.
"I don't think we will be getting much out of Agent Dinozzo or Officer David tonight." Ducky commented.
"Gibbs is going to kill them." McGee moaned. "They had to break rule number twelve. I can't believe this is happening." Ducky, Palmer and Nikki shot him an incredulous look, and Abby smiled an I told you so smile. "Am I the only one that didn't know?" McGee asked.
"Yes." They answered in unison.
"But Tony likes cheerleaders, and inappropriately young co-eds, and blondes. And Ziva is serious and…."
"A seriously hot assassin who looks like a model in a bikini and can hit a target while running?" Abby supplied helpfully. McGee opened his mouth, only to close it again. She had a point.
Ziva's head was spinning. She was most definitely drunk. She snuck a look at Tony and saw he was too; she could always tell. She sighed, missing his presence on the stool next to hers. They had mixed and mingled with McGee and the others and she hadn't spoken to Tony since his cuteness comment, which her heart was still fluttering from. Although, their being forced to interact with their co workers did not stop him from providing her with a steady supply of drinks. She turned away from Abby who had gotten distracted by Palmer, to find him on her other side, smiling and looking at her in a way no one had ever looked at her before. Ziva felt like she couldn't breathe. She took in that look, that smile, the way he was leaning against the bar, and in that moment there was no point in furthering her denial. She was completely in love with him. "God help me." She murmured to herself.
"Why are you smiling?" Tony asked, vaguely aware that too drunk to drive was not the best state to talk to her, but he couldn't make himself care.
"Just thinking about how happy I am to be back." She said. "Israel, it was not the same. I do not exactly fit in to Mossad the way I used to." Tony blinked, realizing she was as drunk as he was. It was the only time she ever talked like this.
"That's not really a bad thing, Zi. I like you when you're human." She smiled up at him, a real smile that reached her eyes. Tony reached out to brush a stray lock of hair out of her face, but stopped midway, his hand hovering awkwardly between them. He blurted out the first thing that came to mind.
"Did you start seeing someone in Israel?" She held his gaze and nodded slowly. Tony felt his heart sink and his stomach dropped. Ziva felt a surge of hope as he seemed to shrink with this information.
"But it is over now." She hurried to say. "I was not going to fall in love with him. There was nothing there." Relief flooded through Tony's bones at her words.
"I felt the same. With Jeanne." Ziva sucked in a breath; they did not discuss this. Ever. She preferred to act like it never happened. "I really thought I loved her, but it just wasn't possible." She arched an eyebrow, urging him to continue. "I'm in love with someone else. I was the whole time." He said so softly she barely heard it over the noise of the bar.
"It is you." Ziva blurted out before she could stop herself. Tony could only stare at her, unable to let himself entertain the notion she meant what he thought she did, let alone speak. Ziva bit her lip. Had she really misjudged what he was saying?
"What are you saying?" Tony finally choked out.
"I am telling you why I could not enter in a relationship. Why I found it so impossible to commit to someone."
"Why?" Tony asked. He needed to hear her say it or he would never believe this was happening. She sighed in frustration and looked at him.
"Are you kidding me?" She demanded. There was no turning back now. "Are you that out of feel that you can't see that I am so in love with you it makes my head spin?" The noise dipped then, and she realized that their coworkers and several strangers were staring at them. She kept her eyes on Tony, begging him to say it back. "Say something." She urged.
"Touch." Tony said, shocked. "It's out of touch." She stared at him, open mouthed, looking like she couldn't decide if she wanted to kill him or cry. He looked down sheepishly, trying to think of how to salvage this conversation. When he looked up, she was gone. He blinked at the rest of their friends, still dumbfounded. After a few seconds, he felt McGee's hand slap the back of his head Gibbs style.
"What the hell are you doing?" He all but shouted. Tony seemed to zoom back to reality. He bolted after her nearly knocking over Ducky on the way.
"You ever slap me like that again Probie, you will regret it!" He called over his shoulder. He paused in front of the door and turned around. "And Tim?"
"You'll kill me. I got it."
Tony smiled. "Remember that. But thanks."