A/N: Short and..."sweet" is not the right word. But it's something akin to fluff. I never thought I gave a damn about TIVA--and then, lo and behold, I start freaking out out of nowhere about the subtlety of tonight's new Episode.
So. A tag to 'Jet Lag'. Excuse some of the dialogue if it's not perfect; I only saw it once. Enjoy.
Tony DiNozzo grinned wildly as he thrust open the plush, heavy curtains covering the one elegant window in their cozy little one-bed hotel room, looking out into the majestic Paris night.
"Ah, Paris, the City of Love!" He announced theatrically, a huge smile still plastered across his boyish face.
"I did not think you were one for clichés, my little hairy butt."
He glanced over his shoulder at his Israeli counterpart, the alluring and adorably dangerous (but only adorable to him, privately), newly-christened NCIS Agent Ziva David, formerly Officer Mossad Ninja Chick.
Tony scoffed good-naturedly.
"Oh, but Zee-vah! Even the mighty Gibbs fell for this cliché—and he's the most un-cliché cliché in the book." Tony sounded quite proud of his contradictory mouthful.
Ziva smiled softly, kicking the hotel door shut behind her and letting their scant luggage drop, the sad flicker in her eyes a memory of the friend she'd lost in Los Angeles almost two years ago.
"Gibbs did not fall for the cliché, Tony," she chastised. "He fell for the woman."
"That's the first time you've ever admitted they had an affair," Tony noted.
Ziva inclined her head and shrugged. It did not quite matter so now. Jenny Shepard was gone, but her secrets and her laughter were buried in Paris. In a way, Ziva thought Gibbs' were as well.
Ziva surveyed the hotel room with a sharp, calculative eye: the soft carpeted floor, the gaudily made bed, the slightly cramped bathroom, and small nook of a sitting area that sported a couch and a television.
Her eyes were drawn back to the bed and she arched a sculpted eyebrow.
She flicked her assassin's eyes up at Tony and noticed he had his brows lopsidedly positioned, his signature playboy leer creeping onto his face.
"You reckon Paris negates Rule Twelve?" he asked slyly.
The smirk that his comment provoked in Ziva was lazy and indulgent; amused.
"There was not a Rule Twelve in Paris," she countered. "She was the reason for the rule."
"Not the exception?" Tony probed.
Ziva shook her head slowly.
"The, ah, method to Gibbs' madness," Ziva offered, her lips twitching up in a smile. Tony returned the grin, his eyes suddenly dancing mischievously.
"Then I'm right," he said smugly. "No Rule Twelve in Paris."
"This is the part when we fight over who sleeps on the couch, yes?" Ziva asked. She smirked in that way that made a certain Italian feel like his mind was being read. No; not his mind. His soul.
"Or who sleeps on the left side of the bed?" he suggested brazenly, the innuendo displayed in his ever-dancing eyes.
"Tony," Ziva placated, a soft tease playing in the edges of her voice.
"Zee-vah," he responded in the same patronizing tone.
Ziva crossed her arms, her shoulders straight and perfect. Tony watched the subtle movement of her muscles; the shimmer in her hair as the light caught it when she moved. He moved away from the window, letting the heavy curtains fall a little.
"It's cute when you do that," he provoked.
"I will sleep on the couch."
"Nah, you're a lady. You can have the left side of the bed and two pillows," Tony answered without batting a devilish eye.
"You will whine about your back if you do not take the bed," she informed him wisely, her eyes narrowing in that sharp, watchful way.
"Didn't say I wouldn't take the bed," he retorted. "Said you wouldn't take the couch."
"How noble of you, Tony" Ziva noted sarcastically, "to be so lax on subtlety when it comes to your ulterior motives."
"Ziva," he said quietly. She pressed her lips together, arching an eyebrow. "We're in Paris."
"I do not understand your point," she said quickly. "We are on assignment."
"Not until tomorrow," he said just as quickly, glaring for the interruption. "Ziva…we have time."
"To do what, exactly, DiNozzo?" she prompted. She clearly wasn't going to let him off the hook easy.
He kind of hadn't planned on actually having this conversation. He just planned on…smiling? That reminded him of Kate. It seemed this city brought a lot of things to the surface. He sighed dramatically and rolled his eyes.
"You're supposed to be the smart one," he said, the tone of his voice indicating an impatient stomp of the foot. "We have unresolved issues, Ziva."
She quirked both eyebrows, still skirting the edges of levity cautiously.
"We resolved the Rivkin issue, Tony," she stated calmly. "The men's head at NCIS Headquarters."
He remembered that. It didn't count. They had a talk. They sort of resolved something that resembled issues.
"I kind of was talking about the pre-Rivkin issues," he said sheepishly. "You know. The post-naked-under-cover-mission issues?"
"HA!" Tony accused, pointing a finger at her. "You knew what I was talking about all along!"
Ziva slanted her eyes at him, her dark eyelashes guarding her glittering, observant orbs like impenetrable shields. Scratch that, not 'like'; they were impenetrable shields. He never could quite read Ziva David, because half the time he was busy waiting for her to sneak up on him.
And she did, in about a thousand different metaphorical ways.
She unfolded her arms and pushed her thick hair back, letting it cascade over her shoulders messily. She started forward, her lips pursed characteristically.
"You want to have an affair in Paris," she said, and he started to look relieved; he thought she was warming…acquiescing. Yet she continued, and he wasn't so sure. "Because Jenny and Gibbs did. Because everyone does."
"Uh, no," he retorted, rolling his eyes. He shook his head. "There's this movie—"
"Of course there is," a smile flicked across Ziva's lips. Tony gave her a look.
"Casablanca. Classic. Bogart and Bergman, a gentleman and his dame in Paris. All alone, romantic-like—you know. They have an affair! But she leaves him—sort of. Tragic. And then, they'll always have Paris, maybe nothing else—"
"I know this story," Ziva murmured, focused on him.
"You've seen it?" he asked eagerly.
She shook her head slowly, giving him a pointed look. He gave her a curious one in return and then his eyes contracted slightly; realization was achieved.
"That's what happened in Paris!" he announced, Jenny and Gibbs' story falling effortlessly into place.
"I do not suppose, though, that in this Casablanca, the woman ever saw her lover again?" Ziva asked, an air of absent interest present.
"Yeah, she did, actually, so that's sort of a weird coincidence with the bossman and—wait. Not the point. The point is," he winced, as if he couldn't really believe what he was about to say. "Things happen in Paris. They just happen. Like Vegas, only classier. And you can take Paris out of Paris if it works that way…or you can just…see what it would be like."
He blinked at her nervously. Ziva studied her partner. He looked sincere, if he sounded like a bamboozled moron. In her left ear, and the back of her hidden, feminine mind's eye, Jenny's wicked, smirking spectre gave her a fuck-rule-twelve look—literally.
She seemed to say: Why not? I did it.
And then Gibbs, in the right ear, and in the front of her practical and professional minds' eye, pointedly turned his head the other way. Because he couldn't judge. Because he knew how good he had once thought it was.
Ziva blinked at Tony.
She breathed Tony in.
He was way too damn close.
"Am I making sense, Ziva?"
"You never make sense, DiNo-"
"Don't call me that," he ordered, reaching out and catching strands of her hair tightly between his fingers. He let his palm curve around the smooth column of her neck. "Call me Tony. Like it better," he informed her gruffly.
"Tony," she protested, a mixture of warning, coaxing, and restraint.
Tony ignored her, and just kissed her; hard. He traced her bottom lip with his tongue, forced boundaries, overstepped them, and found victory when she surrendered, her slim fingers hooking into his jeans to fit him against her; warm and willing.
"You imply Paris has no strings attached?" Ziva asked low in her throat.
It was hard to communicate through kissing that resisted halt.
"It's a trial and error thing," he muttered, "Do whatever the hell you want thing."
Words stopped there, to an extent. It wasn't so much he drew her to bed as she drew him or they drew each other and, as Tony had so fumblingly stated, 'let it happen'. Because Paris was Paris and it was the City of Love or Light or just plain Cliché. The city of…risks and chances. Discovery.
He kissed her throat and she arched like a cat under him, drawing his mouth to hers to bite a lip and soothe it with her tongue. She gripped him, nails marking him; he pulled her hair, claiming her shoulders with marks of aggression and passion. Cries mingled with moans and four years of tension collided with one moment of truth.
"Paris," she noted, her hair damp and curling on her bare, creamy skin as he prowled over her, sheets manipulated and misused, his mouth pressing a slow, sensual path up her lithe back, until he reached the graceful slope of her shoulder and kissed her ear.
"Never figured you the cliché type, Zee-vah," he mocked.
She laughed languidly, the laugh she gave when she knew what was coming and her opponent did not. It sent chills up his fine. Chills that were oh-so-good. He saw the flash of mischief and power in her eye as she glanced at him over her shoulder and found himself on his back in mere moments, her hair brushing his shoulders as she slouched over him.
Slouched provocatively, her legs wrapped around him.
Cliches were just traps that everyone secretly desired to spring.
"There is much you figure wrong about me, Tony," she noted mildly, eyebrow cocking. It cajoled and teased. "For example," she flashed him a grin. "I sleep on the right side. With only one pillow," she leaned close and put her mouth close to his. "And I prefer to be on top."
"Déjà vu," he commented with a delighted smirk.
"Understandable," she noted, and gave him a wicked smile. "We are in Paris."
"Here's to lookin' at you, kid."
"Tell McGee I love Par-eee!"
Tony sing-songed exuberantly, falling into the chair opposite Ziva in the small café.
"We must pick up our witness at the Embassy."
"Flight doesn't leave until 1630," he eased, still smiling.
Ziva gave him a curious look, the things she had with her losing her apt attention. She gave him a look that was captivating; He was uncertain if she meant it to be or not.
"Why are you in such a good mood?" she asked probingly.
He grinned, and swagger was the essence of it.
"I slept good last night," he said. "Didn't you? You sure looked pretty cozy to me."
She flicked her eyes at him and away, then back again. Demure and inviting; intoxicating and seductive and—perhaps—gentle. His responding smirk was lackadaisical, and easy.
It was Paris. It was the City of Something.
Ah, cliches. You gotta love 'em.