Summary: "Undercover as a singer in a shady, if surprisingly upscale, bar, it was almost a repeat of what she had done five years ago; only that time, he hadn't had the opportunity of witnessing the show." Tony and Ziva have a discussion about the Ziva "then" and the Ziva "now."
Disclaimer: Sooo ... I thought a switch in countries in which I write my fics might miraculously mean I own NCIS, but it's not happening D:
Spoilers: The Ziva then and the Ziva now. Nothing major :D
Setting: Established Tiva; set in a hypothetical Season 11.
Enjoy; please review at the end! The lil' blue button at the bottom is very lovely, if not always fully functional.
It was captivating, watching her move like her old self.
Sultry and seductive, she kept the attention of every man in the room on her as she swung her hips in time to the music, her powerful voice filling the room through the microphone. Undercover as a singer in a shady, if surprisingly upscale, bar, it was almost a repeat of what she had done five years ago; only that time, he hadn't had the opportunity of witnessing the show.
And this time, there was adequate backup and no bomb (hopefully), so he let his vigilance drop the tiniest, tiniest bit as he watched his partner do her thing.
Damn, he'd always known he found the sexy side of her to be the most mesmerizing.
They'd gotten the guy they were looking for.
Arrested, interrogated, and charged—it had been all in a day's work for Leroy Jethro Gibbs' team, and Tony and Ziva had gotten to go home at an hour when most of DC's population was heading into work.
"You should do that more often," he now said from the bedroom doorway as he watched her undo the hairstyle that she hadn't had time to deal with earlier, and the look that she gave him—halfway between knowing what he was talking about and desperately wanting to play dumb—made him want to put his foot into his mouth. He pushed ahead, though. "It's hot."
"You know I don't do that anymore," she answered crisply, angling her head so that her hair swung forward and shielded her face from his probing looks. She did that a lot, whenever she was uncomfortable, as a substitute for outright denial of certain issues.
He chuckled, moving forward and kissing the back of her head so that she knew he hadn't meant to put her on the spot. "I know. I just kinda miss it, that's all."
The corners of her lips curled upwards. "My sexuality? Even though I sleep with you every other day?"
"Well, that's hot, too. But you're so … tame, now."
She looked up in the middle of brushing her hair, her eyes unreadable and lips parted in surprise. "Really?"
"Maybe not in comparison to Catholic nuns. But compared to your old self, yeah."
"You want me to be … my old self?"
"I want you to be whatever makes you happy." He lifted his shoulders and dropped them. "But … y'know, I'm just sorta wondering where it all went."
She lowered her head again and picked at her hairbrush. "I can still be … overtly sexual and flirtatious, if I want to be."
"But I do not often want to be."
"No fun anymore?"
"Yes." Her eyes flickered in his direction momentarily, but never really met his eyes. "Do not get me wrong: I loved putting men off-guard. I loved … knowing the effect my body can have on men. But … but it was all meaningless, and…" She breathed out in frustration. "I would like to know that my body exists not solely to please men."
"I never implied that, Ziva."
But he knew she didn't know, not really, because her head was still bowed and her lip was still being chewed, as if she'd suddenly lost sense of just how much he thought of her. So he continued, "I mean, c'mon, you're the champion for woman power. Strong and confident and kick-ass. No one would think of you as just an empty shell with pretty looks."
She made a noise that might've been either a laugh or a sigh. "Thank you."
"You believe me, right?"
"I don't know, Tony," she blurted out, her voice suddenly louder and sharper, "if my … overt sexuality … was part of my image. I mean, when I first came to NCIS, sexuality was a part of me. And now … I mean, I still enjoy sex and the occasional flirting, but I am no longer as—who am I?"
"You're still Ziva David. Just … different."
"Do you really think that?" She furrowed her brows at him. "You just said you missed that side of me."
"Yeah, I do, but that doesn't mean I don't love who you are now. I love you for more than just the sex, Ziva."
She studied him, long and hard, before finally nodding. "Okay."
"So you don't mind that I no longer flirt with you as blatantly as I used to?"
"No. And y'know, you're much more ticklish and huggable now, which is pretty awesome too."
That made her snort and roll her eyes, and she flicked his arm before getting up to go into the bathroom. "Idiot," he thought he heard her mutter just before the door closed, and he chuckled and crawled into his side of the bed.
Hell, he'd trade any day Sexy Ziva for the Ziva Who Let Him Hold Her While They Slept.
"Tony?" she murmured sometime in the middle of the morning, when his arms were around her waist and his nose was in her hair and he was already three-quarters asleep.
"Mmm…" he answered blearily, and the pause she gave was long enough to wake him up a little bit more.
"Do you really think I'm a champion for woman power?" she asked, and he twitched with surprise. He hadn't been expecting that question.
"Yeah. Why not?"
"Why not? Because my whole life has been gunpowder and spilt blood."
"No. Your whole life has been defending your country and building beautiful things out of ashes."
"That's a nice way of putting it."
"Yeah." She stayed silent for a while more, and he kissed her hair. "And it's true. Because you're the woman who comes out victorious in the face of adversity. There's nothing more kick-ass than that."
Her fingertips tapped a rhythm against the bare skin of his chest. "Thank you."
He merely hummed and pulled her closer, and pretended not to notice that she let the steady beat of his heart lull her to sleep.
In the end, there was simply no one who could compare to who she was now.