Mostly Harmless

-pandorajones

'Dunblane's?' he asked. They stood in the dim light of the parking lot watching Detective Burris walk to his car.

So err... Dunblane's?' he tried again. It was the usual; and it was nice enough in a 'I have no life so I'm spending my Friday nights with my co-workers' kind of way. The others were probably already there.

Ziva was silent.

'Not Dunblane's then?' Tony prodded.

'Not tonight, Tony.' She shook her head. 'It will be too busy and- Can I take...' She dropped off again, her brow furrowed like it always did when she was searching for a word; it didn't come.

'Precipitation...?' she offered, weakly.

'Rain check?'

'Yes.'

'You okay?'

'I am fine-'

'Just you don't usually fuck that one up.'

She laughed aloud, scrubbed her hands over her face. 'I am fine, Tony. I just- I do not want to be in a crowd.'

'Do you want to be alone?'

His question just hung there, she didn't answer so he continued.

'There's a third option.'

She looked up at him now, making full eye contact for the first time since the elevator.

'We could hit Willy Wong's, grab a six pack... I'll even let you pick the movie.'

A smile spread across her face. 'We have not done that in a long time.'

'No, we have not.'

XXXXXXXXX

They picked his place because it was closer. Willy Wong's was the same as it always was greasy, salty and cheap. And he kept his word and let her pick the film.

She'd wanted something with Hans Gruber; she liked him. And a happy ending; she needed one. So Tony narrowed it down.

He'd nixed GalaxyQuest simply because it would mean he'd have to explain Star Trek. And they settled on Sense and Sensibility cos she'd already read that; and he'd already seen it; and there was nothing to explain. Well, aside from why Ang Lee had every horseman deliberately ride through that same small flock of sheep every time they approached the house when it would have been so much easier to go around them.

He had no explanation for that.

So she watched the film and he watched her.

Watched the way she drank beer from the bottle, ran her fingers through her hair... The way her whole body shook when she laughed.

She slid down to the cushions on the left side of the couch, her feet coming to rest against his left thigh. Totally Zivafying his sofa. She always did that, Zivafied everything. He knew that tomorrow night when he crashed out, everything would smell like her.

He looked up at the tv briefly - Kate Winslet had gone off alone in the rain and Colonel Brandon was about to fly off to the rescue.

He let his gaze drift back to his partner on the couch. She reached forward to put the bottle on the coffee table. He took it from her and put it with the rest of the empties at his feet.

'Should I open the wine?'

'Maybe later.'

She pulled one cushion from under her head and hugged it to her chest. Her feet pushed into him as she shifted further down.

It was then he saw them - two perfectly round scars on her right hip and he felt the familiar pang in the pit of his stomach again. She had others; he knew that - there was one slightly below those two and another lower down, around front. There were probably more as well. The reason, he thought, why she no longer wore those tee shirts that rode up. Everything now was looser, hit her belt buckle or fell below it. Ziva didn't like questions.

He turned his right wrist so he could see his own scar. It was small, crescent shaped line - barely there. He and Thornsten Gauthier had played chicken with a lit cigarette when he was fourteen. Tony had won. He remembered it vividly; it hurt like hell. But it had barely left a scar. How long do you have to hold a lit cigarette to bare skin to leave scars like hers?

He resisted he urge it reach out, to touch them again, touch her again. Like he had before, when those scars were newer...

What would've happened that morning in Paris if the phone hadn't rung? How far would it have gone?

He rarely let himself think about it anymore; two years ago now.

'Are you alright?' she asked. Her voice pulled him back to the room and he realized he was staring. 'You are looking at me wired.'

'Weird.'

'That is what I said.'

He pulled the blanket off the back of the sofa and covered her with it, tucking it in around her feet.

'I was just thinking...'

'About?' She asked, not deterred from her line of questioning, 'EJ?'

'No,' he replied, truthfully. 'Not her. Just... dysfunctionality.'

'That is not even a word.'

'You sure?'

She wasn't; it made him laugh.

She sat up, held his gaze as she did so. He didn't blink; she wasn't going to win. She smiled; he blinked. Damn.

Ziva laughed. 'We are pathetic.'

'Yes.' Tony nodded as he got up. 'I'm gonna open the wine. You're staying, right?' He shuffled into the kitchen to find the wine and the corkscrew...

He shouldn't have asked the question. For a moment he was afraid that she would get up and make for the door. She didn't. She just wrapped her arms around her knees and stared at the rain pelting the window.

'I have no desire to go home,' came her eventual response. 'My cell phone is off but my home phone... Ray may still try and-.'

'Call you.' Tony nodded, setting the bottle and two glasses on the coffee table in front of her and pausing the movie. 'Come on, I'll grab you a shirt.'

She followed him to his bedroom, leant against the door frame as he dug through the closet til he found it, still in the wrapper, pale blue men's pajamas. He tossed it back at her.

'My father sent me those for Christmas last year.'

'That was nice of him. Though you do not-'

'It's a freebee.'

'What makes you say that?'

'Logo of a now defunct New York hotel on the pocket.'

'Ah, still... The thought.'

'I'll leave you to it.' Shutting the door behind him, he wandered back into the kitchen and put a bag of popcorn in the microwave, watched it spin and puff up.

The microwave beeped a moment before he heard the bedroom door open.

He laughed. He had too, he had no choice. Ziva stood in the hall dressed in the largest pajama shirt he'd ever seen. Ever seen -like 'Jolly Green Giant' large. It fell past her knees, sleeves a foot past the tips of her fingers.

'I look ridiculous.'

'No. No, you don't.' She look nothing close to ridiculous.

'It is huge. A man would have to be seven feet tall-'

'Free.' He laughed, pouring the popcorn into a bowl. 'Come on.'

'Why did I want to watch this?' She rolled her sleeves to a manageable length as she resumed her position on the sofa.

'Hans Gruber and a happy ending. I think that was your criteria.'

'Now I think I would prefer a good massacre.'

'The night is yet young, Miss David.'

She laughed, her hand came down on his thigh; she patted his knee good-naturedly. Her touch made him shiver and he desperately hoped she wouldn't notice.

'Are you cold?' she asked. Damn.

'A little,' he lied. She pulled the blanket from around her shoulders and laid it across both of them, reaching across him for the fireplace remote. Her shoulder slid across his chest, left hand on his knee this time.

'Better?' She asked, sliding back down beside him, turning on the fire.

'Yeah, thanks.' It was better. She sat closer now, under the blanket and he slid his left arm across the back of the sofa behind her head.

They nixed watching the wedding scene for more wine and a change of genre. 'Who wants to see the old guy marry the hot girl anyway?'

He regretted saying it as soon as the words left his mouth. Ziva just laughed and he found himself hoping she wasn't subtracting 68 from 82.

His choice next and Zombieland graced the screen before them. The wine disappeared and Ziva slid once again down to the cushions on the left side of the sofa. This time he pulled her feet into his lap. She shifted and got comfortable and so did he; leaning back, putting his feet up on the coffee table, adjusting the blanket over them. They watched Woody Harrelson blow holes in the walking dead as Ziva critiqued his choice of weaponry; Tony laughed. He slid his hand from her ankle to her knee and the hem of the giant shirt and back down again... He wasn't thinking the first time he did it. He was the second. And the third. He fully expected her to pull away or at least throw a sharp comment his direction. She didn't. Instead, she closed her eyes.

So he continued. He rubbed her feet, watched as her back arched and she slid further down, closer to him. He slid his hand once more from her ankle to her knee. There were two more scars here, behind her left knee. He could feel them - round and slightly raised on otherwise perfect skin. The knot in his stomach immediately tightened. How could anyone...? He slid his fingers gently over them, drew circles around them before sliding his hand back down to her ankle and beginning again. He listened to the shift in her breathing and as the credits rolled on the film, he watched her as she fell asleep. 'Ziva?' he whispered. 'Ziva?'

Nothing. He smiled. He thought briefly about staying there all night like that with her but good sense eventually prevailed. He gently lifted her legs and slipped out from beneath them, wrapping the blanket around her as he did so, tucking it in.

'Goodnight, Ziva.' He brushed a stray hair off her face, fingertips lingering a little too long... E.J.'s words in his head. 'She cares about you...'

He picked the cushion she had dropped off the floor and as he walked into his bedroom he brought it to his face, inhaled. He was right, of course he was - totally Zivafied.

-Fin.