Admit it, last week's episode, 'Jetlag,' gave Tiva shippers more than enough material to chew on. I will confess to wearing out my On Demand button to rewatch the eppy. Because a kind reader requested my take on the hotel sleeping arrangements mentioned in the episode, I now present my version...
Variations on a Fib.
The problem with the couch is that it's not, by any account, the bed. The Henry II, heavy with gothic garlands engraved into massive headboards in the neo-renaissance style, is a splendid affair of luscious cushioning. The pillow top mattress is cloud-like while the sheets' thread count is an impossibility of physics. The addition of a substantial comforter woven by the hands of generous angels promises to invoke a verbal lashing not witnessed this side of hell. Having savored an individual tour of all the bed has to offer, they take inventory of the sofa, subtle colors running through the Aubusson needlepoint tapestry. Not wide enough for her tossing and not long enough for his height. In comparison to the French masterpiece a scant few feet away, the French Louis XV Corbeill couch is as deficient as a Yugo in the presence of a Rolls.
"It should not be allowed in the same room," Ziva decides with the same brain that used to consider a blanket on concrete adequate.
Her partner stares down the offending furniture, nearly disgusted by the replication of antique construction that he'd gladly have in his own home. The needlepoint surface is actually inviting to the touch but fails to approach the orgasmic levels achieved by its larger contemporary. The hotel provides descriptive cards beside each piece of replicated furniture as a way of flouting the superiority of long dead artisans. Tony twists the couch's card in his hands, wondering why Louis XV couldn't have followed Henry II's more opulence tastes.
"Doesn't fit," he tells Ziva. "Like Rosie O'Donnell as Betty Rubble. Or Robin Williams in drag."
"I blame your government. Had they booked in advance, we would have separate rooms."
"They deny citizenship for less than that comment, David."
In this moment snide remarks about his country can't bother Tony. Rather, his indignation stems from an intense aversion to flipping coins for furniture made by celestial beings.
"If you are about to cite a bad back, I will produce an affidavit on my neck. Signed by Ducky."
The small woman's smirk grows like a creeping vine trying to smother her face. He's considering performing the same task to win rights to the bed.
"A working pair of eyes says I've got you on size."
That a bed and size is being disputed stirs a trace of heat that will never be allowed access to her skin. Tony tilts his head, waiting for the remark but she's a professional. Loose lips lose arguments. And at least he's not whining. Yet.
Dropping the crumpled card, Tony turns back to the bed. "How're we gonna work this, ninja?"
"Civilized cultures employ the tactic of compromise," Ziva picks at a loose thread. "I believe the solution is apparent."
Suspicion wars with intrigue for space on his face. "Meaning?"
"It is a… large bed."
Turning the mental page on a yellowing memory, Tony misses the barest hint of suggestiveness. He's trapped in another hotel room in another city, boarded with a snoring bear who'd employed the tactic of water torture as an alarm clock. And something akin to that cold bath washes over him, bringing his shivering mind back to the present state of sleeping negotiations. Perched on the sofa's arm, Ziva appears barren of buckets and innocent as the Virgin Mother.
"I guess no harm can come from," he gestures in the leaden atmosphere between them, "brief cohabitation."
Her nod is too brusque to be welcoming. "It is only one night."
Which is all that's needed to kindle notions better left purposefully ignored. They realize this after the shower-and-change dance, the left or right side debate and the temperature concessions. Strangers who meet in the downstairs lounge feel no compulsion to regulate body position and maintain the invisible chalk line but two agents punched into the federal time clock must adhere to policy, even when no one's running surveillance on the bed.
Divine thing that it is.
It will be claimed as a new religion days from now when their own beds support bodies still mourning the lack of this ridiculous comfort. France has much to recommend it and it has nothing to do with the sites Tony spent the day snapping or the food they'd shared over wine this evening. It's all about the spine, an abused part currently chanting praises to the God who created an entire solar system for the expressed purpose of bringing this bed into existence. Sure, it's only a hotel recreation of a period piece, but his back and her neck can't tell the difference.
For once, there's no awkwardness in the proximity.
Her snores might rattle the windows but Tony's too bound by this bliss to notice. He may encroach on her side but Ziva's too deep in dreams to care. And when the alarm call wakes the entangled pair, neither apologizes for the unsanctioned embrace. They know better than to act, though the early rays shine on contact just south of propriety.
The masterwork of craftsmanship is left behind but the strange disease of contentment tempers their snark, carrying them through a protection detail, shady passengers and witness allergies.
And two variations on a fib.
Two posts in two days? I hope you won't get tired of me... Thanks for the kindness of your visit : )