Disclaimer: Why are there no nice, poetic, sugar-coated words for telling me that I don't own NCIS?
Setting: Post-S7. Established Tiva, but in the early days where they're still living separately.
Okay, this fic ... means nothing. Literally. It has no story line. It's just lots of fluff (and how long haven't I written fluff, again...?) and a teeny bit of naughty words (albeit gross ones, but we are talking Tony here) at the very end, and the latter is really the whole reason this fic is rated T. So basically, it's nothing :P
Dust Bunnies and the Mysteries of the Universe
"Why do people call them dust bunnies anyway?"
Tony spluttered with surprise as he looked away from the movie and the can of beer he was nursing, caught completely off-guard by Ziva's question. "What?"
She stood with one hand around the handle of a turned-off vacuum cleaner and another held up high in front of her, thumb and index finger pinching a tiny ball of dust. She ignored the disgusted wrinkle of his nose in favour of extending her hand towards him. "These. Why are they called dust bunnies?"
He shrugged. "I dunno. 'Cause they look like bunnies?"
She studied the ball of dust earnestly. "They look more like guinea pigs," she proposed, "or hamsters. They're so tiny."
"Ziva." He paused the movie and turned to her, fairly certain that he was failing to keep the look of incredulity completely off his face. "They're dust. Why are you trying to decide which furry animal they look like?"
"It is an interesting question, no?"
"It is!" she insisted. "Of all the animals one could have picked to say this … dust … looks like, why choose 'bunny'? Why not 'rabbit' or even 'hare'?"
Tony sighed dramatically and rubbed his temples. "It's too early in the afternoon for such philosophical questions."
She snorted. "It is mid-afternoon, you have been watching movies since you woke up, and you have almost finished your first can of beer. I, on the other hand, have cooked for you, washed your dishes, and am vacuuming for you. I think my question deserves to be answered, and by the way, do you not ever clean under your couch?"
He shifted guiltily. In truth, he hadn't looked underneath his couch in months. He didn't think he'd vacuumed any of the floor space in his apartment for weeks, either. "It's not like I wan- expected you to come in here and go all Stepford Wife on me. C'mon, Ziva, sit down and have a beer. It's your Saturday too."
Her eyes softened a smidge. "Too much dust is bad for your lungs."
"Ah, my lungs will survive. The dust bunnies have been there forever."
"That is my point, Tony," Ziva persisted, but finally let go of the vacuum cleaner's handle and brushed off her hands, going to sit beside him with her elbows on her thighs and her face serious. "The dust will keep piling up until eventually … I don't want you to have any … reactions."
He smiled indulgently and leant over to press a hot kiss to her cheek. "I work a job where chasing after suspects every other week is the norm, and I've lived in this apartment for five years. Don't you think that if the dust was going to do something funky to my breathing, it would've done so by now?"
She pursed her lips and thought about that. "I guess so."
"Mmhmm. And about those dust bunnies—they're probably called 'bunnies' because they're cute." She raised her eyebrows at him, causing him to have to clarify, "The word and the actual bunnies, not the dust. But my point is that 'dust guinea pigs' doesn't have quite the same ring to it."
That made her laugh. "No, I suppose not. But I do not see how you could compare dust to animals in the first place."
"Imagery, Ziva. Don't you have any creativity up in that pretty little noggin of yours?"
She narrowed her eyes at him. "Do you think I would have been able to think up nineteen ways to kill you with a paperclip if I didn't?"
He swallowed, trying not to be obvious about shying away from her. "No, I always thought that was something they taught at Mossad. Plus, wasn't it eighteen?"
"Breadth of experience makes for an increase in skills. Mossad did not teach me about paperclips; you are simply taught to use whatever you have at hand and turn it into a weapon."
He spluttered once more. "Remind me again why I'm dating you?"
She shrugged. "I was under the impression that you liked me because my lethalness was hot, but I could be wrong."
"Oh god." He rolled his eyes and muttered, "I must have a death wish."
She chuckled and made to get up, but he caught hold of her hand, tugging on it to regain her attention.
"Wait," he continued. "So you really don't get the imagery of idioms?"
She sat back down again, eyebrows furrowed and expression thoroughly confused as she pulled up her legs and crossed her arms over her chest. "What imagery of idioms?"
"Y'know … like when someone says 'the grass is greener on the other side,' and you picture your neighbour's lawn being greener than yours…. Okay, so you don't have a lawn, and neither does your neighbour, but don't you see it?"
Ziva's face, if possible, became even more bemused. "Why would my neighbour's lawn be greener than mine?"
He groaned. "Roll with me here. It's a saying. It means you think someone else's things are always better."
"But I don't, yes?"
"Well, okay, you're a bad example. What about me?"
"What about you?"
"I'm always complaining about how some other man's got the better deal."
"You do not," she informed him, shaking her head, "Not since…" She paused at that, a furious blush colouring her face, and decided not to finish her sentence. Instead, she changed tacks. "If you and your neighbour both had a lawn, would you say his grass was greener?"
"Probably," he answered, more for the benefit of her idiomatic education than out of genuine jealousy. He already had the best deal, after all. "I'd say his lawn was more fertile or the sun shone on it more or something."
"That does not make sense. The lawns are both in the same geographical area."
"Exactly." He pointed his finger at her. "And they're both exactly the same, but I think he has the better lawn because I'm just jealous of others and can't see what I have, y'see?"
Her eyes widened, the almost-unnoticeable frown lines on her forehead dissipating as she took in his words. "I do see," she replied, sounding quite in awe.
"I knew you'd get it eventually," he teased, a smirk hovering on his lips as something between laughter and exasperation flashed across her eyes.
She poked his thigh with a finger. "Tell me more."
"Okay…" He thought. "Windbag. Not an idiom, but still. Know what that is?"
She clicked her fingers, the frown returning to her face as she tried to remember the meaning of the word. "I know this one. A … a person who boasts, yes? Full of hot air."
He chuckled. "Very close, but not quite. A person who talks a lot. On and on and on, and never running out of air. Long-winded."
"Like you," she interjected.
"Okay, did you already know the meaning of this one?"
"No. But I might understand what it means."
"Trust you to know how to insult me." He shot her a pained look, and she laughed, startling him when she flipped herself over to lie down. She rested her head in his lap and smiled up at him. "Hi?" He raised his hands questioningly, and she scrunched up her nose.
"Do not get used to it."
"I was actually going to ask you something along the lines of 'What are you doing in my lap?'"
"That is a very suggestive question."
"Are you going to give me a suggestive answer? 'Cause I totally dig that."
"No. I want to know more about colloquialisms."
"You're really enjoying this, aren't you?"
She hesistated, blinking as she evidently considered what to tell him. In the end, her shoulders gave a small twitch. "Perhaps it is the first time anyone has ever … bothered … to teach me something like this. The rest of the time was weapons and independence, yes? And the United States Constitution. But not colloquialisms."
He breathed out, laying one hand on her flat stomach and gently stroking her hair with the other. "In that case, good job on the 'hot air.'" The corners of her lips quirked up in a tiny smile. "You can't be serious about how you've never learnt these colloquialisms before, though."
"'Cause … I don't know, maybe 'cause I went through life just speaking them. Never really had to learn them."
"I never had to learn colloquialisms in my native language, either."
"Hmm. Gotta give you credit, I guess. For someone who speaks, like, twenty languages, getting four out of five words right in an idiom isn't bad." She smacked him in the gut. "Ow! What was that for?"
"You are making fun of me. I can tell," she answered, even though she sounded more amused than anything else.
"Well, it's true," he retorted, laughing when she smacked him again. He caught hold of her hand. "Careful there. Aim any lower, and precious things are gonna hurt."
"Maybe that was the intention."
"Yeah, like you don't love Little DiNozzo as much as I do. Okay." He squeezed her hand, slipping his fingers in between hers. "Pick an idiom; any idiom, and I'll tell you what it means. I'm all yours for the day."
She shut her eyes, screwing up her face as if attempting to unravel the great mysteries of the Universe. "I have a question."
"Shoot." She opened her eyes.
"Why are rednecks not red-throated?"