At Every Opportunity

So, in general TIVA stories pick one might-have-been moment from the show and run with it. I began to wonder recently where our characters might be if they'd taken advantage of all those moments. I am going to do my best to keep this from breaking canon, and while I can (and have in other stories) make TIVA scenes from a single glance, I'm going to restrain myself to episodes that have overt romantic overtones. In light of Making Mistakes having more or less stalled out, I'm sticking to a plan for this one: twelve chapters, roughly twelve days. Then complete, at least until the fall. This one is short to get us started, and we have a T rating that will last us just one chapter.

Chapter 1: Silver War

The first time they have sex, it is only with their eyes and only for a moment.

"Right now you're thinking of doing page 57 with me," Ziva accuses lightly, and for just a split second after Tony's nervous laugh, she's right. Absolutely right. All he can think about is how lithe and soft her body might be under the army garb, how it would feel to- She's probably only teasing him, getting him back for calling her out on her last visit for slouching provocatively, but the look in her eyes suggests Ziva is imagining it too.

She turns away and Tony's gaze goes past her to Kate's desk, which abruptly diverts the flow of his thoughts. Too much else is going on for them to dwell on the moment, and both of them are grieving. He can't stop staring at Kate's desk, and Ziva would never admit it but the magazine subscription was Ari's. There are too many layers of guilt and loneliness and betrayal and deep, numbing pain for either of them to sort out.

A year later, digging the magazine out a drawer as he prepares to move his things to Gibbs' desk, Tony will hold it up with a smile and they'll remember that moment.

"That was the first time I pictured you naked," Tony will whisper across the bullpen after checking for McGee.

Ziva will cross the room to him, lean into his space to flip through to the relevant page. "Me, too," she'll murmur back. "That was the spark."

He'll twist to get a glimpse of her face. "What would have happened if we'd acted on it, right then and there?"

She'll shake her head. "I would have left. Gibbs would not have let me stay...and I would not have wanted to. I did not want to be close to anyone."

"And now?"

And then she'll put the memory away, that tiny flash of humor and desire in the midst of months of pain. And she'll give him that same look, of imagination and promise. A look that will, by then, mean a whole lot more.