"Come on!" Tony yelled at the TV. He sat up fast, leaning towards the TV. Ziva's head slid off his shoulder and she fell back against the cushion with a growl. "You said, 'I'm going to come over', I said, 'I'm watching basketball,', You said, 'I don't care…' That's what you said." He sat back beside her.
"I don't care, not really," she told him, curling back onto his arm. "I was just comfortable there."
"I warned you. I get very into my college basketball. Especially in March."
She studied the screen for a moment. Kentucky and Louisville were playing. "Neither of these are even your team." She patted the logo on his sweatshirt.
"No, but one of them's gonna play my team in the final."
"Your team has made it to the finals?" she asked.
"Not yet," he admitted. "That game is next."
"There are two games on tonight?" she sighed.
"I told you. I said, 'I'm watching basketball. All. Night.' Did I not?"
"You did," she grumbled.
"You're adorable when you whine," he chuckled, giving her shoulder a squeeze.
She never really thought of adorable as an appropriate adjective for her. "I was not whining."
"No, I was not." Okay, maybe that was whining.
"Come here," he laughed, tugging her closer.
"So you can shove me away again the next time you do not like a play?" she asked, but curled in just the same.
"I'm not cranky," she murmured into his sweatshirt.
They watched in silence for a while. There were several times he kind of twitched, and she could tell he was trying hard not to yell at the TV. He was trying to prove her wrong. For now, he was succeeding.
"I thought you said there would be pizza," she commented after a while of trying to watch the game, and still not really understanding it.
"I called it in right before you got here. It should be here just before the second game."
"Which is when?" she asked looking up.
"8:49pm," he answered quickly.
"That is an oddly specific time."
He shrugged. He was clearly focused on the screen. "Pass it! Pass the damn ball!" At lease he didn't jostle her this time. Just yelled in her ear… "Sorry," he muttered.
The game went on commercial break, and he looked down at her thoughtfully.
"What?" she demanded.
"How come you're here?"
She shrugged, looking away. Despite her complaining, she was actually hoping that the basketball game would distract him from why she was here. "I just wanted to. I cannot just want to?" She sat up abruptly. "Do you want another beer?" She escaped to the kitchen quickly.
"I do…" he answered.
He clearly was not going to let it go. She dawdled by the fridge, taking her time opening the bottles until she heard the game come back on. Hopefully that would take his attention back. She turned to go back to the living room, and he was standing in the doorway. She hadn't heard him come over. He had taken off his sweatshirt, revealing a matching T-shirt underneath. He was watching her closely.
"Here you go." She started to cross past him and he caught her arm. She jerked it away and he sighed as she continued to the couch. She took a long swig of her beer and put it down on the table, picking up his discarded sweatshirt and putting it on.
"Getting into the team spirit," he smiled, perching on the arm of the couch facing her.
"Might as well," she told him, forcing a smile. "Go…" she tried to remember what they were called…
"Buckeyes," he supplied.
"I like this sweatshirt."
She knew he knew. She stole it almost every time she came over for a movie. He settled back beside her holding out his arm. She accepted his invitation to cuddle up against him. Maybe he was going to let it go. He took a sip of his beer, and then muted the game. Damn.
"Ziva. Something is obviously bothering you."
"I just wanted company tonight," she told him. "Without—"
"Talking," he finished, exasperated. "Yabba yabba yabba."
"Please?" she asked, deflating.
She felt him sigh as he gave her shoulder a squeeze. His chest was warm against her cheek through the thin material of his T-shirt.
He hadn't turned the sound back on.
A year ago, Tony would have been happy to just let her sit with him while he watched his game. But lately, he seemed to like to actually talk about the serious things.
"I do not know why this is…" she began. "It doesn't usually…" She didn't know how to explain it. She curled her knees up—she was practically on his lap now. His other hand came around to rest on her knee. He was so damn patient these days. "It is the anniversary of…" she took a deep breath, unable to continue the sentence.
"I thought that was in August," he said quietly.
She didn't realize he remembered that date. "Tali is August. Ari is May. March…" Her voice was breaking and she hated that.
"I've thought a lot more about her this year."
He nodded. He got it.
She blinked hard. "I just did not want to be alone tonight."
"What do you need?"
"Just company. Really."
"And you really don't mind if I watch basketball?" he asked.
She got the impression that if she said she minded, he would actually turn it off. He was probably recording it, but still. But that's not what she wanted.
"Watch your game."
"Less yabba yabba," he smiled.
Well, yes. "You can have all the yabba yabba you want with the TV," she told him, adding, "just don't drop me."
He wrapped his arms tightly around her shoulders and kissed the top of her head. "I'll do my best."