Summary: A story where Tiva becomes established – and has some surprisingly effects on the rest of Team Gibbs. There is a lot of Tiva (especially in this first chapter) but the story is probably equal parts Tony, Ziva, and Gibbs. I don't usually write Tiva, and that shows in Chapter 1, but the later chapters will be better.

Author's Note: The idea for this story came to me in a dream. I woke up and thought, "Wow, wouldn't it be great to see that happen on the show?" But since it probably won't, I did the next best thing and put it down in fanfiction form! Enjoy!

For my own reference: 39th fanfiction, 26th story for NCIS.


Chapter 1
Foundation

And not a day shall pass
but we will prove our love
to you, whom we should call
a father to us both, a father to us all.

– Herbert Kretzmer, "Valjean's Confession"

On the days that their team has off, Tony and Ziva like to lounge in his bed together until late in the morning. Sometimes the two of them make love, slowly, their naked bodies tangled in the sheets. Sometimes they just lie in each other's arms and talk, or watch the soft patches of morning sunlight move across the floor, where they threw their clothes in a scattered heap the night before.

They stay in bed until they get hungry, then play rock-paper-scissors to decide who will venture out of the bedroom to the kitchen. The first few times that Tony lost, he returned with hastily-reheated take-out food leftover from dinner. But Ziva quickly got tired of pizza or fried rice for breakfast and stocked his kitchen full of bagels and cream cheese, juice and fresh fruit. Tony complained once – only once – about her health food, but then he discovered how much more delicious Ziva's mouth tastes when flavored with pineapple and kiwi, instead of pepperoni. Sometimes, after they've eaten fruit for breakfast, Tony can spend the rest of morning just kissing her, tasting the sweet juices on her lips and tongue.

Sometimes, Ziva is surprised by what topics come up when they lie in bed and talk. One morning, out of the blue, Tony tells her that he wants to learn Hebrew. He slyly asks Ziva to teach him the name of every body part. She smiles and obliges, patiently translating and repeating each word until he pronounces it right – mot-nah-yeem is a hard one for him. And his lips move all over her skin, kissing each body part as he learns it.

Another morning, when they're in bed, not doing anything but being lazy, their bodies draped across each other, Tony asks her suddenly, "Do you ever just want to go up to Gibbs and tell him, hey, to hell with you and your rule number twelve?"

His tone is joking, but Ziva can hear the quiet, simmering anger beneath it. Rule 12 is the reason why they're so discreet, why they've kept their relationship a secret from their team – which hasn't been easy – and why they still arrive at the Navy Yard separately in the mornings, even after she's spent the night at his place.

Ziva turns in his arms, until her head is resting on his shoulder, carefully considering her response. She loves Tony, but sometimes their relationship, their family, seems so impossibly complicated. Why do she and Tony have to have the same father-figure? Why does he also have to be their boss? And yet, she wouldn't change their family for anything.

"Sometimes I do want to tell him... My Bubbie David had this... saying. She hated to be told that anything was impossible or could not be done. Whenever she heard something she did not like, she used to say, 'Oh yeah, where is that written? Was that brought down from the mountain on tablets of stone?'"

Tony chuckles, his mood lightening a bit. He wishes that he could've known Ziva's grandmother. She's one of the few relatives that Ziva can talk about with a smile on her face.

"Sometimes," she goes on slowly, "I have thought about saying that to Gibbs. Confronting him about his rules. Are your rules law, Gibbs? Were they brought down from the mountain on tablets of stone?"

Tony laughs for real this time. "He wouldn't have an answer to that. He doesn't even have them written down." Then, suddenly, his tone grows serious again, making Ziva a bit nervous. "You know you'd be my hero if you did say that to him one day," he whispers, stroking her hair with one hand. "He'd be less pissed if you said it than me."

"Maybe one day I will," Ziva whispers back, smiling at him, and the subject is dropped for the moment. But for the next few days, the thought lingers at the back of Ziva's mind whenever they spend time together. Her and Tony. Gibbs. Rule twelve.


So she's caught off-guard a few nights later. It was a long day at work, and Tony seems strangely distracted, so she goes home to her own apartment that night, rather than his. She's just climbed into bed when she hears Tony let himself in. They made copies of their keys for each other weeks ago.

Tony slips into her bedroom and calls softly, "Zee-vah? Hey, sweet cheeks, sorry to wake you up, but I got big news. It couldn't wait."

Ziva pushes herself up on her elbows and yawns, squinting at Tony's shadow in the darkness. "What?" she asks, bewildered and still half-asleep.

She feels the bed shift slightly as Tony sits down on the edge. "Zi, I've just come from Gibbs's place," he says, and she frowns. What was he doing there so late? His voice is excited and a bit breathless as he goes on, "I decided it was time to come clean, so I told him about this." He pauses dramatically – something he learned from his movies – then adds, "About us."

That wakes her up, all right. Ziva feels a brief, cold rush of fear; she knew that Gibbs would eventually find out about her and Tony, one way or another, and she hasn't been looking forward to that day. But then she gropes for the lamp on her nightstand and switches it on, and Tony's bright grin banishes all her worries. His eyes are shining mischievously and his face is a bit flushed.

Ziva sits up and fumbles for words, but "You what?" is the most coherent response that she muster.

Tony chuckles a bit and moves closer to her on the bed. "Yeah, I don't know what came over me, but I went down to Gibbs's basement, and he was there like he always is, and I just..." He pauses for a moment, thinking. He suddenly remembers something that Ziva once said. "...I was tired of pretending, so I told Gibbs that you and I were together and we were going to stay that way, and that we would both really love it if he didn't have a problem with it, but if he did, that was just too bad. Then we talked about some stuff, and – "

Ziva has been listening in stunned silence, but now, she finally finds her voice. "You talked?" she interrupts, her expression somewhere between skeptic and shocked. Tony nods, completely serious, and her mouth falls open a bit. "You talked with Gibbs? He is a functional mute, Tony."

Tony laughs again. "Yeah, I know. But you ever notice how the boss just knows stuff? Especially the stuff you think he doesn't know? I've known him so long, I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but I'm pretty sure he already knew about us. He definitely suspected, at least, and – "

"But didn't he tell you..." Ziva starts, but her words flee her again. She asks, a bit hesitantly, "What about rule twelve?"

"Yeah, I expected him to give me hell over rule twelve, but he didn't. When I asked him about it, he mentioned rule fifty-one."

Ziva raises her eyebrows, surprised. She didn't know that Gibbs's rules went higher than the forties. How many rules does that man need? "What is rule fifty-one?" she asks Tony.

"Apparently it's that Gibbs makes mistakes sometimes," he answers with a shrug, sounding as surprised as she feels.

Ziva falls silent. She can't quite picture Gibbs admitting that he was wrong. It must have been one of those moments when you just had to be there. Then she turns and looks hard at the lamp on her nightstand. She once read that it was impossible to turn lights on or off in dreams. But she turned this one on, so...

"It's not a dream, Zi," Tony says with a smile, reading her perfectly. And she slowly smiles back at him, as the shock and disbelief and even fear inside her fade away, replaced by relief and pure joy. Gibbs knows about them, and he's okay with it, more or less. He isn't going to make one of them leave the team. They don't have to hide anymore.

She grabs Tony by his shirt, pulls him down on top of her, and kisses his waiting mouth.

"My hero," she grins.


So Tony is caught off-guard when he sees things slowly start to unravel, not long after he comes clean to Gibbs about him and Ziva. It isn't the two of them who start falling apart; maybe Tony would be better prepared if it was. But instead, and perhaps even worse, he sees a chasm widening between Ziva and Gibbs.