So this is my first NCIS fic, based on the "Inevitable" scene, and whether it is still inevitable. I'm fairly new to NCIS, I primarily write fic for The Mentalist and Cold Case, but I thought I'd give this a whirl. Reviews are greatly appreciated.
Long nights—like on stakeouts in the department van, after two in the morning. Pouring coffee down their throats, trying to stay awake—nudging each other at some DC punk or another dressed strangely and dragging down the street.
Her long, dark hair—slicked back in the morning—coming down as the night drags on, until she gives up, takes it down, and shakes it out. Tony makes a reference to this old movie Gilda, in which Rita Hayworth seductively flips her hair, and is shocked she's never heard of it.
"It's an iconic scene, Ziva," he says, shaking his head at her. "I have to introduce you to the classics."
She closes her eyes periodically, very tired, and Tony jabs her in the ribs to wake her up again. The night gets later, and it happens again, but he lets her doze off for a few minutes, enjoying to solemn, silent night, the gentle stir of her soft breaths. She wakes up minutes later sitting bolt upright, hand on gun. "You should have woken me, Tony," she says, and he says nothing.
Late nights like now, a cold December night, huddled in the van in their jackets, shivering as snow packs on the windshield. Closer together on these nights, trying to get warm without touching, eyes on the road, sitting in silence. Her scarf will slip to reveal a swatch of bare skin, coconut lotion in the air, sipping coffee from their respective mugs and swallowing at the same time.
It isn't another world, but it is different from this one—he is a hot shot assassin, and she is his beautiful, exotic wife. Except that it wasn't what they are, and he can't keep that too far from his mind.
Close up, her skin smells like jasmine, and there is a clean, herbal scent in her hair. Her eyelashes are longer than he's ever noticed, bottomless dark eyes, lips teasing, brushing his nose, mouth, mischief in her eyes, and infinite patience. And he wonders if this is what it would be like to be with her, but he can't say for sure that he knows—because each kiss, each whispered joke, quick swapping of banter, he can't stop thinking, My boss can hear this. He can hear this right now. And that thought should yank him right out of the moment, but it doesn't, it only prevents him from getting lost in it.
At this point, he doesn't know her as well as he eventually will—he's just met her four months ago, just recently gotten used to coming into work in the mornings and finding her at Kate's desk. Before Ziva, he thought that maybe one day, if Kate had a serious lapse in judgment, they might just break rule number twelve. Something almost pre-destined about it. Certain moments catching a particular twinkle in Kate's eye, and he was sure it would happen some day, it just had to. Even if he was sure she was too smart, too worldly, too good for him. It had to.
And that's how he feels with Ziva as she kisses him hard, serious, one hand tangled in his hair, breath warm against his lips, That one day she'll be doing this because she wants to, not because it's her job.
It's not another world, but under the blankets with the bugs and cameras hidden from sight, it almost seems like that's true. During these moments, lips and warm skin and her thick, curly hair, he is divided between it and the job.
But when he wakes with a start in the middle of the night, he forgets for a minute why they're here. It's just him and Ziva sleeping soundly beside him, and it's almost real.
Putting their lives in each others hands-- running, running, and she makes it behind a wall, dragging him down with her. Firestorm going on nearby, bullets and cursing and thick, stifling air.
"I told you we should have stayed with Gibbs," Tony says, unable to keep a small pout from his lips.
"You could have stayed with him." Ziva's voice is thin and even, she is peering around the wall with her fingers on her gun.
Tony rolls his eyes. "Why is it that you always have to run in the most dangerous direction you can? Diffusing bombs to collect evidence--"
"You didn't have to follow me then, either." Ziva turns to the side, crouched low. "And now is not the time to snicker with me, Tony."
"Bicker," he says, laughing in spite of himself. There is a cheeky glint in her dark eyes, and she scrunches up her nose at him before turning away.
"We have to move, Tony."
He looks at her questioningly.
"We can't stay here."
"They might know where we are. They might be cornering us. We have to shoot ourselves out." The kind of hawkishness that comes from being a Mossad Officer in another life, in another world.
Tony laughs. "That's a great plan, Ziva. I might just add a small suggestion to it. Why not just kill ourselves now, to save the ammunition?"
"You have a better idea?"
"I do. We stay here. We stay quiet." He lowers his voice, leans into her. "We wait for Gibbs and Probie to find us."
"If the shooters don't find us first." But she leans back, she stays down. She defers to his plan, trusting him. Deep, heavy breaths, and he is sure she can hear his heart thudding in his throat. Frantic eyes, calming himself down.
He jabs her in the shoulder. "Zi."
She places a finger on his lips. "Shh." A soft, intimate sound from just behind her teeth, looking him in the eye. He swallows, nods.
Footsteps. Coming closer, closer. He hisses, "Shit."
Ziva is already prepared. She gruffly mutters to him, "You shoot anyone who comes on your side. I will do the same." Squatting on their feet now, turned from each other.
From his side, a man wearing gray cargo pants with his gun drawn. He shoots him. Ziva's gun goes off, too, and they both stand, back against back, guns pointed in opposite directions.
Tony narrows his eyes as another man comes, and shoots again. He can hear Ziva behind him, watching his back as he is watching hers, shooting, shooting, shooting. A man in a leather jacket rounds Tony's corner too fast, and she happens to see him first, and gets him in the leg.
"I am out," she whispers. He steps in front of her without thinking about it, pointing his gun both ways, back and forth. There is another man coming now. Long black coat, familiar gray pants.
"DiNozzo. Haven't you learned yet not to follow David?'
She takes his arm, they walk off. "Just another Sunday firefight with me, yes?"
Tony almost laughs. "I swear never used to get shot at so much, until you came."
At work, they are almost never alone.
Moments in the squad room it almost seems like they are, stepping into each others space, heads tilted toward the other, teasing and challenging.
But inevitably Gibbs shows up, or the phone rings, and the moment is over.
On stakeouts, they aren't alone, either; even when it's dark, even when everyone else is back at the office. The job is there with them, and the line to Headquarters is always on.
They're not even alone when they go undercover, soft music playing in the hotel room, flushed skin and scripted, stolen kisses.
The first time she invites him to her apartment, she makes him dinner, and he leaves almost as soon as they are finished eating.
The second time, he brings an old James Bond movie, they watch it as they eat, and he leaves soon after.
By the time Summer comes, and Gibbs is in Mexico, he comes by early, helps her cook, and stays for an hour after the movie ends.
He comes over twice a week that summer.
The last time he comes by before he meets Jeanne, he knocks on her door at seven in the evening on a Saturday, and helps her skin potatoes for her stew. They eat dinner, and collapse on her couch to watch Catch me if you can. They sit with their legs far apart, crossed in opposite directions, but heads close and eyes half-shut.
When the movie ends, Tony turns her radio to the jazz station, and the music is breezy and soft. Her lights are dim, always dim, and she is wearing her hair pulled back into a thick braid..
They relax on her couch for almost three hours after the movie is over, giggling about something stupid McGee did, speculating about where Gibbs is, toasting glasses of wine.
And it occurs to Tony, in a way that it hasn't before, that they are completely alone now. The air is thick with it.
He doesn't leave until after two in the morning. She walks him to his car in the summer air, and brushes a stray piece of lint from his shoulder. She murmurs goodnight to him, regally inclining her head, eyes sparking and radiant, before walking back into her building.
When he drives away, he is unaware that he is smiling to himself.
Ziva was dead for almost two months.
Sometimes, when he skips into work in the mornings, he will feel a start when he finds her already at her desk, drinking a cup of tea.
He's still surprised on nights, after they've chased down some suspect or another, to look over and find her slapping the cuffs on him, hair streaming messily in her face. After weeks with McGee, he will look over and be struck by how much more striking she is to look at.
He's mostly surprised when she's gleaming at him, a tiny hint of teasing and flirtation in her voice, just like she always did. They've wasted little time in becoming what they've always been.
A few days after New Years, Ziva becomes a full agent. It is a relief really, because Ziva just isn't meant to be a Probie. She is sitting at her desk at just before eight, legs crossed and reading a file.
"Agent David," Tony calls, as he walks into the Squad room. She glances at him and smiles. Encouraged, he sits on her desk and grins back. "Can I trouble you for dinner and a movie tonight?"
She shakes her head. "I am saving for my rent," she says. "My new apartment is more expensive than the old one. I am trying to be stroodle."
"Frugal," he corrects her. "And I'll pay. Consider it a celebration of you casting off the mantle of probie-dom."
"I see no point in celebrating a job I have had for five years. Americans always seem to be searching for occasions."
"Kill joy." He persists. "Come on, Casablanca is playing down at the multiplex. Humphrey Bogard, in the forties standard. Remember I said I would acquaint you with the classics?"
"That was a long time ago, Tony." He understands what she is saying, without her explicitly saying it. That was before Rivkin, before she went back to Israel, before Salim. It seems like another world, those summer nights meeting for home-cooked dinner and an old movie. It was before Jeanne, before Paula died, before Jenny was shot.
Tony shrugs, but his eyes are serious. "The offer still stands."
He half expects Ziva to shake her head at him a final time, to tell him that those days are over now. The times are different, and too many things have been wedged between them. He wouldn't blame her if she did.
But she doesn't. She grabs her coat and hat, smiles a little, and motions for him to lead the way.
Tony once said to her, "It was inevitable."
Inevitable that Gibbs and Jenny would have had an affair, weeks and months and years as partners, knowing each other too well, wanting each other too much.
Shoved together on countless undercover ops, dependent on each other, and long, late nights when more things seem possible than under the stark light of day. Inevitable.
Ziva had once looked at him and said, "Nothing is inevitable."
And he hadn't been hurt, only caught off guard. Because a year before, she would have agreed with him, but now it seemed like something had shut off in her eyes.
And then had been stomped on, for good measure. He had killed her boyfriend. She'd moved back to Israel. She died; she came back to life. And maybe it was inevitable in the old world, but the new one seems almost unrecognizable.
Still, he likes who they are now, sitting in the drive-in, watching Casablanca. When he asks her later what she thought of it, she says, "It was very well done," which he knows to be her highest form of praise. He's tried to get her to be more excitable, but her compliments are always measured.
She tells him that Morocco is much different now than it is in the movie; that she went undercover there as a club singer after Vance had separated them. He asks her if she was the kind of club singer from the movies, in the slinky, barely-there dresses, with slits up the side.
She looks at him full on, irony and seduction heavy in her voice. "Use you imagination, Tony."
He agrees with her; nothing is inevitable.
But some things seem more and more likely as time goes on.