This is my first NCIS fic, and I'm more than a little nervous posting. I've had some trouble feeling comfortable with these characters, getting into their heads, which isn't usually a problem for me. I hope I kept them in character, and would greatly appreciate any constructive criticism (or reviews in general :) ) Thank you very much for reading!
Tony was James Bond.
At least he was a moment ago. He'd been driving an Astin Martin at a speed that would have made Gibbs and Ziva proud. Then suddenly, it was gone.
He was blinking away the strangely sunny British coast, to the reality of an almost pitch black room. Only one diffused beam of moonlight prevented the room from being completely dark. A gentle sway threw him off for a moment, leaving him whipping his head back and forth, wondering if he'd been teleported back a year and a half. The ship hit another swell, and rocked softly through it. Tony sighed, remembering that it was 2010, and that he was indeed aboard a ship. A 3,000 man aircraft carrier to be precise. They were on a case, sleeping through the night for a change.
A pretty, 21 year-old Petty Officer had shown up at the infirmary last night, and fallen quickly into a concussion-induced coma. She'd be knocked in the head, thrown around, and raped. The military doctor who'd taken care of her hadn't gotten a name for her attacker from her, but called NCIS the following morning. The ship couldn't return to the states just for an investigation, this had been made crystal clear to them. So, Gibbs had a helicopter being them to the ship. All four of them.
The PO was in the infirmary, still unconscious, and in addition to the doctor keeping an eye on her, a soldier was stationed beside her bed. Whoever attacked her wouldn't be getting to her, and wasn't leaving the ship. Team Gibbs was waiting on forensic evidence analysis, before they could interrogate their two suspects in the morning. So, Gibbs had ordered them to bed for the night.
They were given a room with two sets of bunk beds, called racks, and told to make themselves at home. The sheepish PO who had escorted them there had apologized profusely to Ziva, and promised her, if she wanted it, he'd try and find her accommodations in women's quarters. With a raised eyebrow the Israeli had assured that kid that it wasn't a problem, she didn't mind sharing with her colleagues. It was far from the first time she'd bunked with men, she'd said. The kid blushed and made his exit very quickly, completely misunderstanding her.
Ziva had rolled her eyes and cursed in Hebrew.
Then, while still laughing, Tony had made a remark about her liking it on top, and earned himself a double Gibb's slap. McGee had laughed and Ziva glared, but she'd still ended up in the rack above him, snoring like a diesel engine.
Creaking springs suddenly alerted Tony to the reason he was awake in the middle of the night. Ziva wasn't snoring, but she was clearly shifting around in her bed. He waited silently, listening to the sounds above him, until it became clear she wasn't trying to get comfortable. He'd guess that she wasn't even awake. A soft, almost whimper, confirmed that fact for him within minutes. She was having a nightmare.
Tony glanced at the racks barely two feet across from him, where Gibbs and McGee were sleeping. Gibbs had taken the bottom, unsurprisingly, leaving McGee to climb up to the top. Both looked to still be asleep. Tony climbed as quietly as he could out of his rack, stretching and stifling a yawn. Moving with the gentle swaying of the ship, he walked the few steps to the head of the bed, and looked up at his partner.
Ziva had kicked off her sheets, the messy pile half-twisted up around one leg. The little light in the room caressed her skin, glistening off the layer of sweat covering her. Tony watched his partner shift, one leg twitching, and her hands tightening into fists. Her mouth opened with a heavy, almost gasping breath, and she whimpered again. Ziva's beautiful face was twisted in a grimace, strands of hair matted against her neck, and wildly splayed everywhere.
Tony inhaled deeply, surprised that he'd actually been holding his breath. He leaned close and whispered her name, "Ziva...Ziva."
She remained trapped in her dream. He knew that he'd probably regret it, but that he had few more gentle ways of waking her. Tony lifted a hand, and his fingers barely brushed her curls, before she caught them in her hand, and shoved her weapon in his face. Tony couldn't stifle a little gasp. It was not like that first time she'd woken pointing her gun at him--she wasn't half-asleep, or nonchalant. Ziva was staring at him wide-awake, her chest heaving, and her eyes filled with fear.
So maybe not as awake as he thought.
"It's okay. It's just me. You're safe," he tried to placate her, his other, empty hand in the air.
Ziva dropped his hand, her eyes abruptly switching back to what he was more familiar with--heavily guarded Colombian coffee.
"Yes. It is just a dream." The slight quiver in her voice said different.
She closed her eyes, a heavy sigh escaping through her nose, and nodded.
"You have these dreams a lot?"
"Are you talking to someone about them?" He pressed his lips together, and looked up at her with his head angled down.
Ziva only glared back, her eyes silently telling him that he was damn lucky to be getting what he was out of her tonight. Tony had to agree with that. Just the fact that she admitted to the dream was something.
He was surprised when she started climbing off of her rack, and followed her bare feet as they moved down the ladder, hardly making a noise. It wasn't until she pulled out socks, and was slipping her feet into her shoes that he opened his mouth
"What are you doing?"
"Going for a walk."
"At...," Tony paused while he checked his watch, "4:30 in the morning?"
Ziva offered him an almost scathing look. "I will not be able to get back to sleep."
He didn't respond verbally, but instead, began slipping his own feet--already in socks--into his shoes. When he stood back up to grab his sweatshirt, he met her irritated stare.
"What are you doing?" She demanded.
"Going with you. I could use the fresh air." He yanked his gray NCIS sweatshirt over his head and gestured for her to lead the way.
"I am fine, Tony. Go back to bed."
"Won't be able to sleep."
He didn't flinch from her hard stare, the stare that insisted without words that she wasn't broken, that she didn't need a babysitter. And, that challenged him to just try and suggest otherwise. He met it with his own intense gaze that was calm and almost eager. Let me be with you. That simple sentence is all he tried to convey.
It was enough. Ziva dropped her eyes, and shook her head, wordlessly leading the way outside their temporary bedroom. They navigated slowly through the quiet ship, both still in their pajamas and neither actually caring. His pajama bottoms were dark blue anyway, as inconspicuous as Ziva's black cotton bottoms. Her green tank top revealed a scar he hadn't previously been familiar with--a pink crescent moon on the back of her right shoulder. It was from Somalia, that much he knew, but he didn't want to think about how it got there.
There was only the smallest bit of light breaking through the clouds, but the smell of the ocean was enough sensory stimulation to wake them both completely. No coffee necessary. Tony followed Ziva as she walked straight to the railing on the portside, and stood beside her, his shoulder just barely touching hers. He was there if she needed him.
Tony made a point not to glance at her, to just let her be. If she wanted to talk, she'd talk, if not, he didn't want to pressure her. He considered for a moment trying to wish on a star, a thought that launched a tortured debate about just which star to choose. He was still arguing with himself when Ziva's voice startled him.
"Do you know what I thought of while I was there?"
Tony turned toward her, noting that she was still staring off into the distance. "What?"
"That I had been planning for that moment my whole life."
His mouth opened, but he couldn't think of what to say, he wasn't even sure what she meant.
"I did not grow up planning for the future. Only that I would serve in the IDF, go to college, and train with Mossad. After I finished training, there was nothing left to plan. There were missions, and there was surviving them to live for the next one. Even when I came to NCIS, I knew my time there would not last forever. I had bought myself a few more years, but eventually, I would go back to Mossad, and likely die before I found my first gray hair." She stopped then, sighing.
"As I understand it, that's a very traumatic experience. Unless you're Gibbs, then the ladies love the silver hair."
Her lips turned up slightly as she turned to face him. "Yes, gray hair is rather distinguished for men, but for women it is just old."
He nodded his head, that was true enough.
"I was not upset, Tony. I was grateful for what you had all given me, that I had been allowed that experience. But, I was getting exactly what I had planned for, what I had expected out of my life. Walking out of Saleem's camp was not part of that."
"You didn't exactly walk."
"That is irrelevant," she said, turning back toward the sea. "I was supposed to die there. I walked into that camp knowing I would fail, and that Mossad would not extract me. I would be an anonymous mark on their wall of fallen, and a memory in the minds of some Americans. I did not mean to survive Saleem."
"But, you did." It took all the restraint he possessed not to start insisting that she would never haven been just a memory. Not to him.
"Yes, I did. Some stubborn Americans refused to forget me."
His head whipped toward her, mouth open to object, when he saw the smile on her face.
"A month after I got back to Washington, I was in my apartment, and I realized that I had run out of plans. There is no more Mossad for me, no more missions, and I may actually live past forty. Do you know what I did then?"
"Ice cream celebration? No wait, I know, movie marathon," he declared grinning.
"No," she turned to him, her smiling falling. "I sat in my living room, and stared at the wall."
Tony once again was at a loss.
"I do not know what to do now. I can have a life. A home, marriage, children, anything I want, and I don't know what to do. It has been months, and I am still staring at that wall." Ziva had her arms wrapped around herself, her body tense with a chill, though probably not even consciously realizing she was cold. Her eyes hadn't left his.
Tony pulled his sweatshirt over his head, and held it out to her. He was wearing a t-shirt, and wasn't even cold without the extra layer. When Ziva went to object he held up a hand, stopping her. "Let me do the guy thing for once."
The fight left her body in a resigned sigh, as she took the shirt with a slight smile. "Toda."
"Prego." He had to stifle a grin of pleasure when he caught her smelling the fabric as it came over her head.
'What do I do now, Tony?" She was studying him again, her gaze intent, hoping for an easy answer. Or maybe any answer.
He opened his mouth to tell her to give herself time, it would come to her, or that no one ever really knew what to do with themselves, but changed his mind. "Something crazy."
A raised eyebrow and a smirk were her only response.
"Something you'd never ever have let yourself do before. Something completely irresponsible. Don't think it through, don't analyze it, just go out and do it. You're living for yourself now Ziva, not Mossad, not Israel, not your father. Do something for you."
He watched a debate play across her features in the slightest twitch of her mouth, the wrinkling of the skin above the bridge of her nose, and the play of shadow and light in her eyes. Then she was barely inches from his face, her lips like satin against his. She managed to steal all the breath from his body without even opening his mouth, leaving him swirling in shock and passion.
Tony stared at her, struck dumb and silent. His chest was heaving and pulse racing, trying to catch-up with his brain.
Ziva shrugged. "It was the only thing that fit."
He opened his mouth and found chuckles escaping instead of words. She smiled and laughed along with him, looking only the slightest bit self-conscious. Ziva turned back toward the sea, leaning with her arms on the railing, the tension eased from her body. Tony stood next to her, the length of his body pressing against hers, and stared out at the water.
She moved her hand over his, intertwining their fingers. He squeezed her hand, as they both settled into watching the end of the sunrise. Their moment was abruptly ended with a familiar cranky voice behind them.
"What the hell are you two doing up here in your pajamas?"
Tony sighed. "Ten bucks says Probie fell off the rack ladder, and woke him up."
A/N: It was sunset, I changed it to sunrise. Sorry for the confusion, it slipped through my proofreading radar.