Disclaimer: Like I even own them! This is all for some crazy fun.
Spoilers: This is all up on Housekeeping. If you haven't watched The Scene yet, what are you doing reading fanfic?
Notes: Just another post-Housekeeping fic. Had to get my two cents in! This was written in a frenzy this afternoon. But I figured if all you Tiva fans are on a smack high like me, then this will fulfill a bit of the craving. The title was stolen from a Talking Heads song of the same name. Lovely song, amazing lyrics, very Tiva-ish- though an acoustic cover probably works better for the tone of this fic than the original version. A major shoutout to Ana- because I'm so grateful we got to share in the Tivaness again! Let's see how long before we change our tune. Hee.
Enjoy fellow Tiva fans!
Tony unabashedly eavesdropped on the rest of Ziva's conversation with Agent Cruz. Ziva kept her body folded toward the window, her voice low and barely audible. But Tony wasn't Senior Field Agent for nothing; he was able to grasp most of the conversation anyway. Her words to Ray were short. He tried not to smile at her clipped tone or the obvious death knell of her "we need to talk."
Ziva hung up the phone and stuffed it into her pocket. Her shoulders sagged. She didn't turn around to face him; instead she lifted her eyes to his in the reflection of the window. Even second-hand, the intensity he saw there made his insides shudder.
He moved behind her without breaking eye contact. He got close enough to feel the warmth radiating from her body. Close enough that he smelled the last remnants of her perfume. She swayed towards him.
"I am going to break up with Ray," she stated as she turned to meet him. Her eyes skirted over his face, searching for any tell. He allowed the corners of his mouth to turn up slightly—not enough to be categorized as a smug grin, more of an approving smirk. She stood taller, a teasing glint emerging in her eyes.
"He doesn't deserve you," he murmured, letting his admiration shine through. He was pretty sure that they'd never danced on the edge for so long before.
A beautiful smile broke out on Ziva's face. They just looked at each other for a moment and Tony thought that maybe he should kiss her, that maybe she wanted that as badly as he did, but they were still in the bullpen, not entirely alone, and this slow burn was the best he'd felt in a long, long time.
Then, her face fell. He held his breath. "He's coming to visit next week. I will tell him then. In person."
"If you need help kicking his ass to the curb…" he offered with no shortage of playfulness in his voice.
She chuckled. "What I need is a drink."
"Even better," he winked.
Ziva's slender fingers toyed with the straw of her vodka tonic, stabbing at limes and swirling ice cubes. He was mesmerized by the nervous gesture. Her drink had gone just as untouched as his whiskey and water.
He'd lost track of what they were talking about some time ago, finding it more interesting to watch the play of light on her hair and the way her face seemed so animated and open, twisting and changing with every point she made.
She laughed as she recounted a McGee story from earlier in the week and he found himself grinning mostly because she seemed so amused by it. They had sequestered themselves on a dark edge of the crowded bar; their legs bumped together every so often as they jostled for the same small space between their stools. If this were any other date (or even something considered an actual date), he would've grabbed her hand or pushed her hair out of her face during a lull in the conversation. Their bodies were turned towards each other and every time she fluttered her hand in the air to illustrate her story he hoped she would bring it to rest on his knee.
He was so wonderfully distracted by her. Just by the fact that she was here, that they were here, like this, and something was finally happening.
He felt like he'd already jumped off the cliff. This was the thrill of the free fall.
"Tony," she said suddenly, her soft tone a sharp swerve in her otherwise jovial story. "What is happening tonight?"
He bit his lip against the flirtatious remark that wanted out. She deserved the truth. Even if he wasn't quite sure what that meant yet.
With a sigh, he prepared to at least give her something, the little bit he knew and understood. "I guess I've been thinking a lot this past year about my future and what that means for me…" He paused to check in with her. Her brown eyes shone, a little crease forming on her forehead and, holy shit, she did care about him, didn't she? He cleared his throat and forced himself to keep going. "...and us, really."
"Us?" She quirked an eyebrow, trying to keep her grin at bay. Then, reading the sincerity in his eyes, something like panic passed across her features. "The team us? Or…" and then her voice stuttered a bit, seemingly not believing him, "you and I, us?"
"You and me," he answered, keeping his voice even but still earnest, "us."
Ziva seemed rattled for the first time that night. Rattled, but not appalled, which he counted as a positive. She gulped her cocktail. He waited for her to catch up to him in their conversation, confident she would. It took her a few more seconds and one long exhale.
Then, she turned to him and laughed. He frowned.
"Sorry, sorry," she managed as she tried to get herself under control. "I just think this is probably the last thing I expected to talk about today."
Satisfied she wasn't laughing at him, he allowed himself to calm down a bit. He threw back a swig of his whiskey. "It wasn't exactly on my list of conversation topics either."
Any other night and she probably would've jumped on that out, grilled him about his list of conversation topics (it's just a figure of speech, he would stammer back) and the moment would be effectively over. But tonight, for whatever reason, they seemed to have flow. And it was about damn time.
She watched him expectantly, needing further explanation.
"I guess everything with Wendy and E.J. just made me realize what I really want out of a relationship, what that person in my life would mean to me…" He stopped, unsure where to go next or how much to say. Ziva's face had gone blank, guarded, and he wasn't sure if he was scaring her off or not.
She pursed her lips. "And that means talking about…us."
Catching her eye, he was glad to see her eyes brimming with unspoken thoughts. "Yeah. Yeah, I think it does. I…I hope it does. And hopefully not just talking, but working more towards acting on things...er, feelings, I mean."
Her mouth curled up at his bumbled words. For a long moment, she seemed to struggle with how to respond. He took a sip of whiskey to give her time to think.
"Ray will be here next week, Tony…"
His heart clenched, wondering if maybe she hadn't meant what she had said about breaking it off with Spy Boy.
Seeing his distress, she grabbed his forearm. The demand for him to really listen to her was clear in her expression. "I still intend to end things with Ray, but I will not start anything new until I do."
As her words sunk in, a smile began stretching across his lips until he was sure even his molars were fully visible. "Start anything new?" he parroted back. "So that would mean..."
Blushing, she rolled her eyes. "I believe you referred to it as acting on things."
"Acting on feelings," he corrected just to ruffle her feathers a bit. It helped distract him from the flood of happiness that threatened to overwhelm him. He suddenly had a new appreciation for Gene Kelly singing and dancing in the rain. He tried to keep his focus on the moment. "Should I be worried that I'm only a rebound from the International Man of Missed Calls?"
He probably deserved the pinch to his thigh. But then she didn't move her hand, even when she slid off her barstool and into the space between his legs. In fact her thumb seemed to be soothing over his wound and, well, he couldn't think too much about that right now. She had that look on her face, the one that starred in the best of his nighttime fantasies. He wasn't sure what she intended to do next, but he would hardly let her be the one to have all the fun. He trailed a finger down her cheek, gently brushing her hair aside and tucking it behind her ear. She tilted her head into his touch, her face melting into something less sexy and more serious.
"How could you be a rebound when you have been here all along?" She murmured, her cheeks still tinged pink, and he was falling again. She squeezed his leg.
"Ziva David, I'm having a really hard time not kissing you right now," he whispered as he cradled her face. She closed her eyes and he was pleased to realize she seemed to be fighting a similar instinct.
He stood up, arm encircling her waist to keep her close. She took his cue and folded her body into his. Her chin tucked perfectly into his neck as he settled for kissing the top of her head.
All too soon, she pulled away. But she wore that soft smile on her face that made him feel all gooey inside and so at least there was that.
"Walk me to my car?" she asked.
Throwing some cash on the bar, he waited for her to pull her coat on. They walked in silence to her car, their fingers occasionally brushing along the way.
He opened her door for her. She turned to him, eyes bright. "I am glad we are finally here, Tony. At the same place."
"And on the same page, even," he smirked.
With a matching grin, she reached up to plant a lingering kiss on the corner of his mouth. He rested his hand briefly on her hip; it took all his willpower to let her move away.
"Next week," she promised, lowering herself into her car.
Tony nodded. "It's a date."
He waved after her as she pulled out of her parking spot. The frigid January air bit at his skin, but that hardly mattered. They had finally landed.