A/N: Hello! Sorry it's been such an crazy long time since I last posted a story. I just moved and started a new job in February so my life has been kind of crazy. But now things have settled down, and I'm back to writing again! :D Couldn't resist doing a tag/missing scene to the last episode, especially after how amazing Ziva looked in that dress! I figured we needed to see just a little more of Tony's reaction it.
Disclaimer: I sadly do not own NCIS or anything related to it. I merely borrow the characters and put them back unharmed.
She steps back into the bull pen, and Tony feels the air in the room get sucked out, replaced with a hot, dense burn that causes his mind to fog and his throat to parch. Endless tanned legs meet the hem of a shiny black dress that's really almost too short to warrant the name, and that stretches across her lithe form in all of the right places. She's magnetic, and he's helpless to look away, dragging his eyes across the flash of cleavage that makes his brain short circuit and over the tan jacket that he's really thankful she has put on; because honestly, the sight of her bare shoulders just might send him over the edge right now. He finds his hands twitching and his pulse pounding erratically as his eyes follow the column of her neck up to meet soft brown eyes; a chocolate brown gaze that is focused intently on him, wide-eyed, filled with amusement and mixed with uncertainty.
Dammit, she had caught him staring.
Yet he can't bring himself to look away, and any sly comments his mind brings forth to lighten the mood die on his lips. Because god, she is absolutely stunning, the pale pink gloss on her lips shimmering in the dim light, her hair framing her features in such a soft brown hue that he has to forcibly remind himself to resist the impulse to run his fingers through the silky strands, an impulse that would normally have worried him, had he not spent the better part of the last year slowly adjusting to the idea of his less than platonic feelings for his partner. Feelings that were getting increasingly harder to control.
Especially when Ziva wore something like this.
She arches an eyebrow at him and smirks in silent jest over his reaction to her ensemble, and his mind quickly tamps down any possible vocal response. Because if he opens his mouth, he is sure that he will admit too much, divulge more words than either of them are ready to hear right now. They're stressed, going on far too little sleep, with a terrorist threat hanging over their every thought, and quite frankly, that's not at all the way he wants that revelation to go down. Instead, his eyes caress her features, a shy smile spreading across his features, letting her ascertain her own interpretation of his gaze.
When she drops her gaze, red staining her cheeks, biting her lip against her flustered grin, he begins to realize that maybe she understands the words forming in his mind even better than he originally thought.
But then the rest of the team arrives, and they are headed for the elevators, all words fleeing his mind as he struggles not to blatantly admire his partner's barely concealed ass.
God, he really loves this dress.
Shot glasses slamming onto the table snap his focus back around to the fake bachelor party going on in front him. He grabs the glass in front of him mechanically, methodically raising his arm in toast to Palmer and knocking back the sweet liquid of the fake drink. Their silver haired leader flashes a mischievous grin and begins to flip quarters into the autopsy gremlin's drink, and Tony remembers to laugh at the appropriate moments; however, his mind really isn't present in their charade, instead focused twenty yards away on the gorgeous ex-assassin that he can't stop stealing glances at.
As everyone continues to laugh at Gibbs' continued success and Palmer's increasing "drunkenness," he sneaks a small peak over his shoulder at the woman currently distracting his thoughts. His eyes raking over her figure, his pulse racing rapidly as he tries to imagine just where in that tiny dress she has managed to hide her sidearm, much less the backup he knows she always carries. He watches as she runs a hand absentmindedly over her bare thigh, and his heart rate flatlines as he is inundated with images that are completely inappropriate for the current public space, namely running his hands over the tanned skin of his partner's legs. His body tightens uncomfortably as he imagines the smooth firm sensation of her skin beneath his fingertips. Then Palmer's voice is dragging him out of his reverie, and he mentally shakes himself, willing his frayed mind to focus on the assistant medical examiner's impending speech. He feels sluggish, his mind a hazy, distracted blur, and Jimmy seems a little too convincing in his slurred soliloquy and staggering stance. Maybe there really was more to these shots than met the eye.
"Are you sure these are just apple juice?"
Turns out Palmer is just a really good actor, and he's just drunk off of her.
It's quiet in the bullpen, the soft ringing of phones and hushed voices of the numerous agents working overtime on this threat the only sounds that surround him as he tries and fails to focus on the report in front of him. He hasn't managed to comprehend a single word since she decided to perch herself next to his desk, a stack of paper in her hands, and that black dress still hugging her in all of the right places to effectively short circuit his brain. His eyes wander over the vast expanse of toned leg his partner has extended before him, hands involuntarily clenching around the report he's holding. She is tantalizingly close to him, and it's turning into a mildly embarrassing struggle to control the urge to touch her. Briefly, he considers just how quickly she would kill him if just gave into the impulse, running his hands up her smooth skin, wrapping an arm around her waist, and burying the other in her hair... After her reaction earlier this evening he's beginning to think maybe she wouldn't injure him at all, that maybe she wouldn't mind if he did want to touch her, to kiss her, and that's the thought that really makes his head pound and his heart stutter.
"You are staring again," Ziva whispers quietly, and he quickly snaps his gaze up to meet hers, a chagrined smile spreading over his features as he flushes an embarrassed red.
"Sorry," he returns softly, not bothering to deny the accusation. After all, it was the second time today she'd caught him, obviously he was past plausible deniability.
She holds his gaze, tilting her head slightly as she studies him, "You have been staring a lot this evening."
He drops his head sheepishly, ah so maybe she had noticed a little more than twice. Damn. Raising his head, he meets her gaze with an apologetic stare, and the uncertainty and doubt he finds in her dark brown depths stop the change of topic he has prepared before he can even form the first word. Because she really has no idea why he can't stop staring at her; she doesn't understand why his eyes have followed her all evening, why his eyes are drawn to her most any day really. It occurs to him maybe no one has ever really told her, or maybe she just doesn't believe that he has that opinion of her. However, either way, he suddenly decides that she shouldn't be allowed to continue without knowing. With a deep breath, he stands slowly, moving closer, his eyes holding hers in a steady gaze.
"Ziva, look..." he begins.
And then like so many of the moments between them as of late, his words are cut short by the ring of his phone, breaking them from their private world, and plunging them back into the on alert NCIS headquarters. Vance has disappeared, there are more calls to be made, and a new investigation to undertake in this seemingly endless tangle of dead ends and mysteries masterminded by the crazed Harper Dearing. The moment is gone, and Ziva grabs her bag, heading to change before they move out to the director's last known location. He watches her walk out of the bullpen, a silent promise forming in his mind.
When this is all over, he is done with pretending. He is somehow going to find the courage to finally ask her on a date worthy of that little black dress.
And he's not going to leave her with any doubt about just how beautiful she really is.
A/N: Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed, I'd love to read your review! My muse has some definite ideas on a possible continuation of this story; however, I'm going to leave it as is for now and finish up Pencil Kisses, cause I feel really bad that I've left it unfinished for such a shamefully long period of time.