Disclaimer: I don't own NCIS or the characters depicted within this fanfiction. I just use and abuse them for my own entertainment. Thanks also to Cat Stevens for the loan of the title of this fanfic.
A/N: Tags to FAITH - season 7. I do apologize if this has already been touched on within a recent epi. As I am not US-based, got to rely on the internet for my season 7 fix. Didn't you think it strange, in FAITH, when Gibbs tells his father that the guest room is no longer a guest room? And to me, that bicycle seemed a little on the pink side. These random little thoughts have resulted in this random little one-shot, which - I hope - you all enjoy!
Warning: suggested adult themes
Morning has broken
Tony stands on the porch, paper bag in his hands, stamping his feet to knock the snow off. Shifts the heavy bag onto his hip, lifts his hand and thumps at the door. A few seconds pass before he hears foot steps on the other side and a gruff voice mutters: "Who the Sam Hill risks knocking at my door this hour of the morning?"
Tony smiles sheepishly as Gibbs peers out bleary-eyed, barefoot, wearing boxers and an old t-shirt: "Bought breakfast." Tony indicates the bag, hitching it higher on his hip as the bulky packet starts to slide.
Gibbs sighs heavily, staggers back through to the kitchen, scratching the side of his hip and looking a little worse for wear.
As Tony opens his mouth again, Gibbs shushes him: "Dad. Sofa." He mutters gesturing to a pile of gently snoring blankets on the sofa. "It's New Year's Day DiNozzo… Thought you might be sleeping off a hangover?"
Tony plunks the bag onto the kitchen table. "Surprisingly early night, Boss. New year, new leaf, I guess. But, then again, haven't really been that DiNozzo in a while, have I?" he adds introspectively, not really expecting Gibbs to answer.
"Buu-uut, if you are busy…" moves to stand.
"Sit down, DiNozzo," Gibbs sighs heavily, grouses: "Haven't even had my first cup of coffee,"
Smiling, Tony salutes, clicking his heels together. Gibbs shakes his head and moves over to the counter, filling the coffee machine. He fumbles around in the cupboard, muttering under his breath.
Tony empties out his bag - eggs; Parma ham; imported cheese; pancake mix; fresh fruit - onto the table, rifles through the items: "Gotcha."
Grinning widely, he holds up a packet of imported Italian coffee grinds, tosses it into Gibbs' waiting hands.
A ghost of a smile filters across the older man's face and the enticing aroma of coffee soon hangs in the air.
Pulling out two mugs, Gibbs pours, adding cream to one before placing it in front of Tony, who amicably chats about the Ohio State Buckeyes, how he hopes they will fare in this afternoon's game and, he predicts, if their current rate of play is anything to go by – he probably will have reason to celebrate this evening…
Gibbs leans back against the kitchen counter, cup in hand, grunting at the appropriate moments.
Down the passageway, the bathroom door opens, hot steam filtering through. This in itself, is not unusual: the old man has probably surfaced, Tony thinks, not even hesitating in his conversation.
But, mid-sentence he falters, swings back in his chair trying to peer around the doorframe, eyes-wide, jaw-dropping as woman saunters past the doorway, oblivious.
Those shapely bronzed legs, that miniscule towel wrapped round her torso, damp tendrils of chocolate brown hair escaping, clinging to her neck - his nightly fantasy wrenched viciously into reality.
Feeling eyes on her she stops, suddenly. Leans back ever-so-slightly, just enough for brown eyes to lock with green.
Realization. Flushed panic. Despair.
Watching - bemused; unapologetic – Gibbs lifts his mug to his lips, takes a deep, satisfying drink.
Tony turns his questioning eyes from one to the other, trying desperately to swallow the betrayal burning in his throat.
Slowly allows the chair to rock back to the floor, pushes himself up from the table. Ziva, still standing, dripping and uncomfortable, drops her gaze to the floor.
It is all the acknowledgement he needs. A low grow emits from his throat. He slams his fist down on the hardwood table, turns and stalks from the room.
Red hot anger burns and all he wants, no, needs to do is get out of there as fast as possible. Away from him; away from her. Trips over the bicycle leaning just outside the kitchen door – pink? The fleeting thought enters and leaves as he attempts to disentangle himself from the contraption.
Gibbs there, always there, quiet, silent, reaches out a hand to help him up. Tony shrugs him off, rolling over onto his knees, pushes himself up. Moves rapidly to the front door.
From under the pile of blankets, a disheveled Gibbs senior emerges: grizzled, hair sticking on end, startled by the swearing and noise. "Anthony?" he asks the retreating back, confused, uncertain. His eyes turn to Ziva, who stumbles behind Tony, haphazardly trying to tie her wrap and tug on her Ugg boots at the same time.
Tony is already halfway down the pathway, boots crunching through the freshly falling snow, hands jammed deep into his pockets.
"Tony," her voice angry, hard; halts him for just a second before he shakes his head softly dislodging the sound. He moves forward resolutely.
Again, she calls his name, her voice breaking, cracking just ever so slightly. The faintest edge that to most would go unnoticed. But not to him, he who knows her so well.
And despite his brain screaming no, he cannot resist, could never resist her. Accepting this as fact, he turns back to face her.
Ziva stands, hands clenched at her side, wearing a thin lilac silk wrap, a strangely vulnerable look on her face.
He stares at her briefly. Lilac? Cheerleaders and cougars wear lilac; the soft, frivolous, flirty colour incongruous on her, with her.
Perhaps it is a gift he validates; and lava hot anger bubbles unbidden through his veins. There is no tactical planning as his last rational thought shatters, the shards digging painfully in his chest.
Four strides and he is next to her, breathing deeply, heavily as he looks down at her, eyes blazing as she stares defiantly back. And perhaps it is this total disregard that he, Tony DiNozzo could actually have emotions, possess feelings, that motivates his next move.
Eyes still locked, he slides his hand into her loosely tied wrap, grazing the side of her breast as Ziva shivers. The cold? His touch?
"This," he says, voice dangerously low, nasty even, "may have belonged to him last night," he jerks his head towards the front door.
"But," he adds, softer now, but no less malicious, as his hand caresses, moves, until it rests on the swell of her breast. The rapid thump, thump, thump, of her heart beating in time with his own: "This belongs to me; and always has, hasn't it?"
He is arrogant and disrespectful and knows it. Hell, if he is to be honest, he wants to push her, hurt her, as far as she has pushed him, hurt him.
Even so, the stinging burn of her hand meeting his icy cheek, and the snapping back of his head leaves him with a dazed, somewhat comical, expression on his face.
He shakes his head to clear it, blinking rapidly. A flash of lilac silk. The freshly closed door still reverberating on its hinges.
This, is now an issue of pride; or of complete stupidly. He isn't entirely sure which. Either way, it doesn't stop him. Wrenching open the door violently, he follows her in, just as she followed him out a few minutes earlier.
"Hang on Girlie, let me get this straight – you're pissed? What the hell reason do you have to be pissed? " Tony asks her retreating back, arms crossed, wide-stance, standing his ground.
She whirls round, screams in frustration, stamps her foot heavily on the floor.
Still sitting at the table, junior and senior put down their coffee mugs, matching raised eyebrows. Gibbs stands: "Well, Pop, guess it's IHOP for us this morning." He picks up a pair of freshly folded sweats sitting in the laundry basket next to the kitchen table, pulls them on. Shifts past the two still standing on either side of the kitchen, glaring at each other. Slipping around Tony, he pats him awkwardly on the back before shoving his feet into his worn sneakers waiting by the front door. Gestures to the old man who shuffles across the floor, following him out of the door.
"You do realise," Gibbs Snr asks quietly, sardonically as the door latches quietly behind him, "that I am still wearing my slippers and pajama pants?"
Angry, raised voices float out on the air, a string of curses in a litany of languages, only some of which Gibbs can make out and none particularly attractive. Tony yells back that if Ziva wants to become an American citizen, she needs to assimilate already, and quite frankly, that means yelling in a language he can understand.
The two men, still standing on the porch, glance at each other: "So, breakfast or do you wanna go back in there?" Gibbs asks his dad, raising an eyebrow as a door slams somewhere inside, rattling the windows again.
"You know, it's early. It's a holiday and I can always pull out the old age card, say I got Dementia or something." Gibbs Snr throws over his shoulder as he heads to the truck.
Inside, Tony stares for a moment at the door that has unceremoniously been shut. In his face. He grabs hold of the the door handle, twists and walks in. Words burst, explode from his lips as he forcibly slams the door behind him, emphasizing his point.
His words falter, drip from his mouth as he looks around. An unmade bed, the white embroidered cover tussled, an indentation on only one pillow. The open cupboard displays neatly folded clothes – very Ziva-like clothes; her work boots and rucksack stacked against the dressing table; a brush, smatterings of make up and perfume on the counter.
A photograph of the team sits next to a lamp, stack of books and an alarm on the bedside table.
And he chews on lost words that catch in his throat.
She stands by the window, looking out. Refusing to turn around when he came through the door. Her stance rigid, angry. Shivering. From cold? From anger?
Moving past the dressing table, Tony picks up the perfume bottle, sniffs deeply – the recognizable scent clinging to his nostrils, tantalizing, tickling.
He sighs, deeply. The dark anger that had been strangling, stifling him since he first laid eyes on her in that towel, melt away.
He smacks the back of his head - Gibbs-style - only harder. Swears, loudly.
Her shoulders lift and a small barking sound that could, perhaps, be a laugh is quickly swallowed.
Moving up behind her, he whispers in her ear: "Got it all wrong, didn't I? You aren't sleeping with Gibbs aren't you – you're living here?"
And this time, she cannot resist the throaty laugh that bubbles out: "You thought I had sex with Gibbs?"
Turning, she lifts her fingers to his face; the red imprint of her hand still clear. Laughs again - that deep, sexy sound - as he cringes, ever so slightly. Lightly taps his cheek before cupping his face, gently.
"I know that things have been… difficult with us. But, after everything… do you really think I could do that…" her words waver, and she turns back to the window.
Looking down, she sees father and son at the truck. Gibbs glances up at the bedroom window, squints, lifting his hand to shade his eyes. He makes out Ziva standing, a light smile on her face, Tony behind her, his hands resting gently on her shoulders. Nods once, before climbing into the driver's side.
"Sun looks like it's trying to break through," Gibbs Snr mentions as they pull into the road. His son nods satisfied: "Gonna take some time, but it's a good start."