Summary: Gibbs says the same thing, but Tony and Ziva each hear something different. Tagged to episode 8x20 "Two-Faced," the scene where Ziva introduces Ray to the team. One-shot.

Author's Note: A little something I wrote while waiting for my prompts from ncis_ficathon at LiveJournal. Warning: Some might find this piece a little anti-Tiva, which isn't what I had intended. But it happened while I was writing, and since I don't ship Tiva, I didn't fight it.

x x x x x

And you say I only hear what I want to
I don't listen hard, I don't pay attention

Ziva knew, of course, that one day Ray would meet her team. She couldn't hope to avoid it forever. But all her life, so much of her life has been related to her job, and she wanted to keep Ray apart from that for as long as she could — her own, private, like no other relationship she'd had before. But now here he is, arriving in the bullpen unexpectedly, meeting her team, blurring that line she'd worked so hard to create. And Tony isn't helping.

"That's very zen new-age from a man who installs puppet regimes for a living."

Ziva cuts Tony off before he can make another snarky comment about Ray, not bothering to hide her disappointment. She remembers asking Tony, back in October, what he would say if he ever met her friend from Miami. And now that the time has come, he's unreceptive and childish, finding reasons not to like Ray without even giving him a chance. Doesn't he ever get tired of being so immature?

But then, Ziva reminds herself, even Tony said that he wasn't the one she should worry about. He's not the man whose opinion matters the most. Gibbs is. She turns away from Tony and faces him.

"Gibbs, can I give Ray a tour?"

If she can just get Gibbs's approval on Ray, then she can deal with Tony's treatment of him, undeserved as it is. She waits impatiently for an answer as her boss's blue eyes move from her to Ray and back again. His face gives away nothing, as always, and the seconds seem to stretch into an eternity before Gibbs finally nods.

"Don't lose him."

Ziva smiles when she hears it, because she's been on Gibbs's team for five years now, and she's learned how to read between the lines with him. His real message is coming through loud and clear. "I like him. Don't let him get away."

x x x x x

People will find a way to go
No matter what the man said

At first, he was the nameless, faceless Miami Mystery Man. Then he was just a letter — R — in Ziva's e-mails. In January, she finally told them his name was Ray. Or rather, she told McGee, not Tony, after he asked her. And now, they're finally meeting Ray in the flesh. How could Ziva never tell them he's a CIA agent? Doesn't she ever get tired of being so secretive?

"That's what I do, not who I am."

Tony doesn't like the casual way Ray says it, as if working for the CIA is just another job, as harmless as being a dentist. He can tell Ziva's disappointed that he isn't more receptive, but he can't help it. Tony's always followed his insticts, and his insticts don't like Ray. Or his slicked-back hair and smarmy smile. Or the way Ziva turns to Gibbs, eager for their boss's approval, like some teenage girl introducing her new boyfriend to her dad.

"Gibbs, can I give Ray a tour?"

The question makes Tony suspicious. She wants to get Ray out of the bullpen and away from their team. They've already found out he's a CIA agent — something Ziva never mentioned. There must be more about Mr. Miami that she doesn't want them to know. He follows Ziva's eyes to Gibbs's face, until they're both waiting for his answer.

"Don't lose him."

Ziva smiles when she hears it, but Tony grimaces. He knows better. Ziva hasn't been on Gibbs's team for as long as he has, so she can't read between the lines with him as well. She's missed - or maybe more likely, Tony thinks, she's refused to hear Gibbs's real message. "I don't trust him. Don't let him wander off and see anything we don't want him to see."

After the two of them leave the bullpen, Tony starts to say, "Something about this guy, boss..." but Gibbs cuts him off, and he moodily goes back to work. But Gibbs hasn't taken kindly to EJ, and it makes Tony feel a little better to know that he doesn't approve of Ziva's special someone, either.

Later the next day, when he finds Ziva drinking alone in the bar, a nagging doubt occurs to Tony. If Gibbs doesn't approve of the people they're seeing, maybe neither one of them has good taste. But he pushes the thought away quickly. He's not ready to think about where that leaves him and Ziva.

x x FIN x x