Author's Note: I took some calendar liberty and Valentine's Day is on a weekday in the story. This story ties in with my other Tiva stories, but can be read by itself as well.
Dedication: To all those that love my story "Tiva". I hope this returns the love!
Disclaimer: I don't own NCIS.
A Tiva Valentine By Taygeta
Ziva wasn't one to get sentimental over "silly" holidays. When you've seen death, destruction, and mayhem in multiple ways, the celebration of things like Valentine's Day paled in importance and significance. This fact became more solidified in the days leading to Valentine's Day - the exhausting red and pink aisles of candy and stuffed animals, the shiny metallic balloons and signs to order your roses if you want your "sweetie to get the "best".
By the time February 14th reared itself from the calendar, Ziva was more than ready for it to be over. This sentiment was pounded in the moment she arrived into the office, knowing full well not to expect any valentine from any "sweetie" and, meanwhile, seeing the vases of flowers and balloons delivered into MTAC and the boxes of chocolates already half-eaten by 8:30am.
This dark mood carried over Ziva as she approached her desk and saw that Tony and McGee had already arrived. She was about to sit on her chair, when both of them clamored: "NOOO...!"
"What?! What is it?" said Ziva in full-attention mode.
"Abby? Valentine's Day gift?" prompted McGee.
"You know, the cards we make sure not to sit on annually?" said Tony.
Ziva nodded slowly, the memory of holidays past hitting her, as she turned around to see a cute Valentine's Day card with a cartoon-looking Abby and a personalized speech bubble. Her card read, "To Ziva who could help me kill someone and leave no forensic evidence! Love, Abby."
She smiled as she sat down. Now that was a Valentine's Day card she didn't mind getting.
"What did your guys' say?"
Before McGee could even get a word in edgewise, Tony said proudly, "To my film connosieur, your love for movies is only half as much as my love for you." He pointed to the card, "She even drew me an Abby cartoon with film reel."
"And McGee? You?"
"To Timmy - You will never need to hack your way into this heart."
Tony and Ziva looked at each other with questioning glances as McGee turned his attention back to his computer. They had been discussing at lunch the other day if the flame between Abby and McGee would ever really be out.
"So you two have hot dates for Valentine's Day?" asked McGee.
Tony groaned, "Only if I looked into my digital rolodex."
"You Tony? Can't get a date?" Ziva chided. "You always make it seem like there's another one lined up."
"Oh...I *can* get a date," he emphasized. "But you see, I don't *want* to. Most romantic day of the year? Not seeing someone and calling up an old interest? That's like a kamikaze move. You can't win on Valentine's Day. The world has arranged itself so that the male species cannot win." For emphasis, he brought up his hands as if it were adjusting an invisible globe and then shivered before he continued typing.
McGee looked at Tony and said simply, "Plans fell through, right?"
"I hate to say it but Tony is kind of right. There's a lot of pressure for this day, so who wants to go out with someone just to make the holiday make sense? I'm very happy to just have this card by Abby to celebrate the non-romantic element."
It was as if someone from on high had heard Ziva's very statement because at the moment it was completed, Julie Collins, the administrative assistant at the front desk appeared.
"Ziva, this came for you," she said cheerfully, resting a long narrow box with red ribbon on her desk. "Isn't today the best day? My husband sent over cupcakes. Come down to the front if you want one - if there's any left that is."
Ziva looked at the box with an expression of confusion before composing herself, "Oh thanks Julie...um...I'll try and make it back down for a cupcake. Thank you for the offer."
The moment Julie left the desk was the moment she found herself surrounded by Tony and McGee. They had wheeled their office chairs to the front of her.
"Um...do you both mind?"
"Oh no, not at all. Go ahead and open the box," said Tony.
"What Tony said," said McGee.
"Fine then," she sighed. She unwrapped the red ribbon from the box and open the lid. Beneath the lid rested six perfect red roses and one white rose. She found herself holding her breath at the sight of them.
"May I ask...who these might be from?" McGee said.
Ziva shook her head, "I - I don't know."
"Is there a card?" Tony asked, snooping around the box that Ziva immediately snatched away.
"I don't see one," she said sternly.
"Oh how beautiful, Ziva!!!" The three looked up to see the familiar face of Abby Sciuto. "Who are they from?"
"Ziva doesn't know," said McGee.
Abby inspected the flowers, "Well obviously it's a secret admirer. That's what the white rose can signify."
"I thought that one meant innocent?" frowned Tony.
"Maybe, but if Ziva doesn't know who gave them to her, I would gather to guess secret being secret admirer," said Abby.
"Didn't know you were an authority on roses, Abby," said Ziva as she fingered the flowers in the box gently.
"I learned from the best - Sister Mary Paul and Sister Grace Clarence are award-winning rose gardeners."
All of a sudden Gibbs appeared at full-speed.
Tony and McGee auto-wheeled themselves back.
"Come on everyone. Love doesn't keep people from killing," announced Gibbs. "Dead marine waiting for us at the Franklin Hotel." He glanced at Ziva's desk and said, "Nice flowers, Ziva. Might want to tell someone to put them in water if you want to keep them that way."
Ziva stood up and as she rushed to meet everyone at the elevator, she called out: "Abby?"
She saluted: "Right on it."
Ziva returned to see a tall vase on her desk with roses. The white one was prominent among the reds. As she worked on the case file - Duckie was able to rule it as more than likely a suicide on scene - she glanced up at the floral arrangement occasionally.
"You're not the least bit curious who those flowers are from?" Tony asked from his desk.
"They're beautiful, but I think I can do without men who are afraid to show themselves - I mean...not tell me who they are."
"I think you'd be somewhat curious, you keep looking at them," he said, prompting Ziva to look at him squarely.
"...which means you've been looking at me, looking at them. Are you jealous, Tony?"
He laughed, "Why would I be jealous that someone is sending you roses?"
"Perhaps because now with these flowers, that makes you the only one without some kind of Valentine's Day moment."
"I have this nice card from Abby, thank you very much," said Tony as he typed. "Besides, I don't see McGoo having any plans."
"I think we got interrupted before he could gloat," she replied. "I mean, he was asking us after all."
Tony's eyes widened: "The probie was particularly...probey..."
Thirty minutes later McGee returned from a meeting and sat back at his desk. As he was about to open up a case folder, Tony asked, "So...McGoob...you never told us if you had any plans tonight? I was thinking that if you didn't - me, you, and Ziva could maybe do a bowling night? Bring Abbs along if she didn't have plans?"
Ziva looked up from her desk. This was the first she had heard of such plans.
"Um, actually Tony I have a date tonight," McGee grinned.
"Oh...who's the lucky girl?" asked Ziva as Tony grimaced a little.
"Nothing too serious, but you know, it's nice to take someone out tonight if things are going so far so good," he replied. "But don't let me stop you guys. Maybe you guys can hang out tonight and prove that Valentine's Day doesn't have to be all hearts and flowers."
"What about Abby?" asked Ziva curiously.
"I think she has plans tonight. She was telling Duckie about something earlier when I went to pick up some files."
"Bowling?" asked Tony with raised eyebrows toward Ziva.
"I think I'll pass," said Ziva. "Home with a nice glass of wine sounds like more of what I'd like for my evening tonight."
A few hours later, after McGee (and similarly, most of MTAC) had left for his date, Ziva was preparing to leave for her evening home.
Tony still sat at his desk, finishing up some work. He glanced over as she grabbed her bag and started to head out.
"Good night, Tony."
"You're not bringing the flowers home?" He gestured to the vase that seemed to sit practically in front of him from his vantage point.
Ziva looked at them for a moment before saying, "I like them here, so I can see them every day for awhile." She smiled softly and said, "Good night Tony. Happy Valentine's Day."
He nodded, "G'nite...Happy Valentine's Day to you too."
And then she left the office, leaving Tony to look at the flowers on her desk in the dimness of the evening.
Ziva was pouring wine when the doorbell rang.
She opened the door and passionately kissed the person behind it, while leading them in.
"Hello to you too," Tony said in a low voice with Ziva's arms still wrapped around his neck.
"Thank you for the flowers."
He closed the door behind him: "You're welcome, but I didn't get them for you..."
Ziva looked at him with confusion, "But then - who did?"
"Some guy who doesn't want to be known as not showing who they are that you can do without...even if white and red roses during Valentine's Day in the middle of D.C. winter set him back...a lot."
"I didn't mean it like that. I knew they were from you, Tony. The white rose was like your name card, so you don't have any business in that category at all," she replied with a kiss. When she and Tony settled down on the couch, she confessed, "I was actually kind of sad coming into the office today. It's a silly holiday and I knew I'd see you later, but it was kind of difficult thinking that even if you wanted to send me something, you probably couldn't."
He slipped his hand into hers and kissed the back of her hand. He met her eyes and said, "If there's a will, there's a way."
In the middle of snuggling while watching a movie, Ziva asked: "You did pick the white rose for secrecy, right?"
"Well, it certainly wasn't innocence," said Tony making sure to kiss her on the forehead before getting a jab to the side. "It's funny how you and Abby didn't seem to try to decipher the red roses."
"Well that's because they usually mean - " she paused.
"I love you," he said softly.
"Are you saying that to explain to the me the meaning?" she asked carefully.
"I love you," he repeated.
As she met his eyes and heard these words, she realized she meant exactly what she was saying: "I love you, too."