Tony's eyes snapped open to the ringing of his cell phone. He rolled over to face the TV, and a quick glance told him that Michigan was still up on Perdue, and he hadn't been out long. He hadn't meant to fall asleep. It was something about the nasty weather. He had been considering going to the bar for the OSU game later, but he wasn't keen on going out in what he saw out the window.

With a yawn, he groped for his blaring phone on the coffee table. Ziva. He took a moment to admire the bikini-clad photo, then tapped his finger on the screen to answer the call. Ziva didn't often call him on Saturday. They'd hang out after work, a lot, but still did their own thing on the weekends. There was something about actually having to make a call to make plans that still seemed off limits a bit in the evolution of their relationship. He really hoped she wasn't calling to tell him they had to go into work.

"To what do I owe the plea—"

"Are you home?" she asked, cutting him off. It sounded like she was out of breath.

"I'm home. Just watching—"

"The rain has made finishing my run…difficult. If I come over, can you drive me home?"

"Yes," he answered quickly, grimacing at the pouring rain. Of course he'd help her out if she needed him to. It dawned on him what she had just said as she started her request. "You're running in this?" he asked, incredulously.

"I am two blocks away. I will be there soon." And she hung up.

Only Ziva would think a freezing rainstorm was fine weather to go running in. He heaved himself off the couch and padded down the hardwood floor in his sock-covered feet to retrieve a towel from the bathroom. She was going to be soaked. He paused as he went by the thermostat and cranked it up a few degrees. It was already a toasty 72—he didn't like to be cold—but he figured she'd need all the warmth she could get. Just looking outside made him cold.

A knock brought him to the door. "You're knocking?" he asked with a grin, as he opened it.

"I didn't have my lock pick set," she answered with a growl. "And my fingers are numb."

As expected, she was drenched: leggings soaked, jacket dripping. Her ponytail hung limply down her back. If she'd had makeup on, there was none left. He quickly held open the towel and wrapped it around her shoulders. Without really thinking about it, he wrapped his arms around her. She melted against him, her sopping wet hat, leaving a big wet circle on his t-shirt.

"Sorry," she murmured with a sniffle, but didn't move her head.

"No worries. My place. I've got plenty more shirts I can put on if this one gets too wet."

He peeled back the soggy wool cap, and let it fall to the ground. She shivered, and he ran his hands up and down her arms to warm her up. "What the hell were you thinking going out for a run in the rain—"

"I run in the rain all the time."

"It's barely 40 and getting colder."

"I realized that," she growled. "I did not think it snowed in October in Washington."

"Usually, it doesn't," he sighed. "The news is calling it Snow-tober."

"That's silly. Americans have an obsession with making an abbreviation out of everything."

"You are an American."

"Yes," she sighed. It is awful out there."

"You need a hot shower."

"You will drive me home?" she asked into his damp shirt.

"Yes. But first you need to warm up and dry off." He told her in a tone that left no room for argument, as he led her down the hall, "There are more towels—"

"In the closet."

"Yes. I'll get you something dry to wear while you're in there."

He was pleased she didn't argue, but rather headed gratefully toward the shower. While he was hoping she'd change her mind and stay awhile, he would drive her home if she still wanted him to—after she warmed up and dried off. He gathered a few things for her to put on from the drawers in his bedroom, and slipped into the bathroom. The shower was running and she had the water pretty hot, judging by the condensation already building up on the mirror.

"I've got some clothes here for you," he called out over the running water. "A pair of stretch pants that you forgot a few weeks ago when you had to break in for me—"

"I have been looking for those." Already she sounded much happier, as she thawed out.

"You forgot them. And I have a t-shirt and a sweatshirt of mine," he added. "I'll be out in the living room watching the game."

He returned to the living room and flopped on the couch. The game was almost over, and Michigan was way up. Outside the rain seemed to be turning a bit solid. Tony heard the bathroom door open, and a moment later Ziva joined him in the living room. He smiled. She was swimming in his sweatshirt, and she had her hair wrapped in a towel.

"What?" she demanded, settling the couch beside him. "My hair is soaking wet."

"It's cute," he smirked.

She smacked his arm, then put her head down on it, curling closer and even pulling her knees up into his sweatshirt. He took the opportunity to wrap his arms around her shoulders, her head falling onto his chest.

"Smooth," she snorted.

"That was an invitation," he insisted with a laugh.

She didn't say anything in response, but readjusted herself to nestle comfortably against his chest. He could definitely just sit like this for the rest of the day.

"Did you have plans today?" she asked.

"Just watching the games."

"Games plural?" she queried.

"There are games all day. The one I care about isn't till eight."

"So I have until then to decide to go home?"

He chuckled. "No rush to head out into the nasty?"

She shook her head. "I am warm and comfortable."

"And you can stay that way as long as you want."

She tipped her head to look up at him. "It is supposed to get worse."

"When—if—you want to leave, I will take you home," he assured her. "Except from eight to eleven-ish."


"If you don't want to leave, you don't have to," he clarified.

"Hmm," she pondered, nuzzling in again. "We shall see."

Well, that wasn't no. This was proving to be a far better snowy October afternoon than he possibly could have hoped.