He put the certificate on the counter and started reading it. After a while, Ziva noticed that Tony was being unusually quiet. Ziva stopped putting dishes in the dishwasher and turned to look at him.
"Tony, are you ok?" Tony slowly turned around to face Ziva. The look on his face was totally unreadable to Ziva. He looked scared, excited and, fear? Ziva touched his face. "Tony, what is wrong?"
Silently, he handed Ziva the license. She looked at him confused, but took it. "Read it." Ziva started to scan the document. She looked back up at him. "What do you want me to look at, because I don't understand."
"Look at it again, Ziva. Read it carefully." Ziva sighed and carefully reread every word of the document. Suddenly, she took in a deep breath and looked at Tony. "Does this mean what I think this means?"
Silently, Tony took it back from her and they looked at it together. "Yes, it does." Tony answered. He looked at Ziva. "According to this, Tony DiNozzo and Ziva David were married on December 28, 2012."
Ziva's eyes were as big as saucers. "Ziva, you and I are legally married."
Holy Cow! I apparently am not the only one not overwhelmed by the premiere. A lot did not make sense, but no use ranting. My original next promonition was to follow what I just did, but I decided to go back in time and write about the spoiler regarding the photos Tony finds. Hope you enjoy it.
Vignette Four: "Who I Am."
Tony wiped the sweat off of his forehead. His father informed him he would be coming for a short visit in early December, so he decided to go through some old boxes that he had stored for ages, looking to see if there was anything his father might possibly want.
After five hours and just as many beers, he finally hauled the last box out of the closet. It looked different than the others; more beat up, like it had been through multiple moves.
Tony grabbed the box cutter and cut through the tape. Carefully, he pealed back the box tops and peered inside. He pulled out an old sweater, which caused him some confusion. It was a female sweater.
He tentatively held it up to his nose and took a sniff. Unbelievably, he felt tears in his eyes as he realized he recognized the smell. "Mom…" he whispered.
Gibbs looked up as Tony descended the steps to his basement. Normally, he would have gone right back to whatever he had been doing, but the look on Tony's face stopped him in his tracks. He walked over to meet Tony as he reached the bottom step.
"DiNozzo?" Gibbs looked at his Senior Agent with concern. Silently, Tony handed him the sweater. Gibbs looked at Tony as he took the sweater. "Is this supposed to mean something to me?"
Tony's eyes were so haunted that Gibbs led him over to a chair to sit down. "What is this about, Tony?" Tony looked up at Gibbs.
"It belonged to my mother, Gibbs." Tony choked out.
Understanding dawned on Gibbs' eyes. He carefully handled the sweater, looking closely at it. "How do you know it belonged to your mother, Tony?"
Tony looked away, afraid his emotions would take over. "I could still smell her." He looked up at Gibbs. "I remember my mother's scent." Tony looked lost.
Gibbs sighed and placed his hand on Tony's shoulder. "Where did you get this?"
Tony shrugged. "I was going through a bunch of old boxes at home. You know, Spring Cleaning, except of'course it's Fall. It was in the last box."
Gibbs continued to examine the sweater. "Was there anything else in the box?"
Tony shook his head. "Once I found the sweater and realized…I couldn't look any more. But there is more stuff in there. I think this box belonged to my mom, it's her stuff."
Gibbs nodded. "Hurts, doesn't it?" Tony nodded numbly. Gibbs leaned in close to him. "I want you to listen to me, Tony. You have been given a gift here. You need to finish going through that box. You need see what else is in there. What you find may be painful, but it also may end up being the most wonderful miracle that you could have ever imagined."
Tony looked away briefly, then looked at Gibbs and nodded. "I just needed some air." Gibbs shook his head. "Door's always open."
"Thanks, Boss." Tony slowly headed back up the steps and headed home.
Tony slowly pulled out his keys and opened his front door. The box was still in the middle of the living room floor, unchanged from the way he had left it. Sighing, he made his way to the box and plopped himself down on the floor in front of it.
Taking a deep breath, he began pulling items from the box. Old Theatre tickets from long-ago Broadway shows; a hand-crocheted baby sweater and hat; a family Bible, dog-eared with certain page corners turned down, showing favorite verses.
Looking in deeper, Tony pulled out a small box. Inside was a lock of hair taped to a card, a baby's birth announcement in the newspaper, and a tiny bracelet of blue and white beads, showing "DiNozzo" on the side. Tony lost it at that point and realized he found the small, precious items from his birth that his mother treasured. He fingered the items carefully; almost afraid he could somehow break them. He then realized the baby sweater and hat had been his.
He sat back away from the box, to catch his breath. "How could I have had all this all these years and not known?" He berated himself. "Am I that self-absorbed, that if it isn't in my face and about me, I pay no attention to it?"
Reluctantly, he returned to the box and reached down toward the bottom. He frowned when he his hand touched something hard. Grabbing the item, he pulled it out of the box. He stared at it for a while, not sure at first he had what he thought he had. It was an old Kodak camera.
He turned it around and around, taking in every aspect of this. "I remember this camera!" Tony murmured to himself, shocked. He gently put it down. He didn't know anything about anything resembling this camera, but he wanted to know about it. McGee? He probably would know exactly when it was manufactured and when it ceased production.
A sudden thought occurred to him. "What if there was film inside yet to be developed?" That random thought made the decision for him: Abby.
Tony paced nervously as he waited for Abby to arrive to work. Finally, she showed up. "Tony! What are you doing in here? Do we already have a case I don't know about?"
Tony looked around; to make sure no one was in listening distance. "Sort of. Call it a 'Secret Case.'" Quietly, Tony handed the camera over to Abby. Abby looked intrigued as she grabbed the camera. "Tony this is so cool! Where did you get this?" Abby grinned as she looked up at Tony, but her smile faded when she saw Tony's expression.
She stepped closer to him. "Tony, are you ok?"
Tony looked down briefly, and then looked back up at Abby, his eyes intense. "What is this?" Abby asked, her voice shaking.
"It was my Mom's. Abby, I need to know if there is still film in there, film that can be developed."
Abby hugged Tony. "Oh my God, Tony. I can't begin to imagine what you are feeling right now." Just as suddenly, she changed gears. "Ok! Let's see what's in this baby!"
She took the camera over to her workstation. After looking at it carefully and using some sort of instrument Tony didn't recognize, Abby turned to face him. "Tony, there is definitely film in here. In fact, I think the roll is done; it was just never taken out of the camera to be developed."
Tony considered what Abby just told him. "Can you develop it?"
Abby looked nervous. "Tony, this is really old film. It may not stand up to the chemicals. What's on here could be lost."
"Abby," Tony said quietly. "They're lost as long as they are still in the camera." He touched her arm. "I trust you, Abby. And I won't get mad if we lose what we have here. I want to take the chance."
Abby took a deep breath. "Are you absolutely sure?" Tony nodded. Abby nodded. "Ok. Go away for a while. I will be more nervous is you are hanging over my shoulder while I am doing this."
Reluctantly, Tony headed upstairs to the bullpen. To his surprise, no one else was in yet. He wasn't sure he wanted the attention of being the first in, so he headed for the men's room.
Ziva arrived next, closely followed by Tim. They made no comment about Tony not being there, because they didn't expect him to be there. However, out of the corner of her eye, Ziva could see that Tony's gear bag was already at his desk. She narrowed her eyes, wondering where he was.
Just as she was thinking this thought, Tony sauntered in, as if he was just arriving at work. "Morning early birds! You do know that you are not impressing anyone by getting here at 0-dark thirty. Where I, on the other hand, get another hour of beauty sleep in."
"In that case, DiNozzo, you better go back to bed." Tim responded.
Tony pretended to be hurt, but was pleased they fell for his story.
He didn't realize that Ziva was staring at him intently; trying to figure out what he was up to. Tony had clearly lied about just arriving into work, and that disturbed her more than she wanted to admit.
Every once in a while, Tony would look up at Ziva and smile, but she had this strange look on her face. He hoped he hadn't done something really stupid. They both agreed that they needed to keep up the façade that nothing had changed between them, so Tony had "appropriately" lusted after the Navy Facilities Manager "Judy, Judy, Judy" for the entire time she was there overseeing the repairs to their workplace, since that is what he would have done had things were back to "normal."
Tim certainly bought into it. Ziva didn't seem to mind, it was mostly her idea anyway. Of'course, knowing she would occasionally be with him some of those nights probably helped. He thought he had to make that final act to "close the deal" to keep his image intact, but he had to be honest with himself; although he would have found some reason to cancel if she had said yes, he was frankly hurt that she clearly was not interested in him. And then when she revealed she was already in a relationship and she said she had been "sport flirting," that really bothered him.
He never wanted Ziva to feel he was really flirting with someone else, especially once they decided whether or not they decided to go public with, whatever it was they had at the moment.
The fact that Judy had murdered Midge scared him more than he cared to admit. He was so busy playing the part of enamored suitor; he never caught any vibe that suggested she was capable of such violence. That no one else had picked up on it either did not matter in the equation: He, Very Special Agent Tony DiNozzo, missed a very important clue and he felt he had somehow let Midge down.
And then, during the interrogation of Ray Wilson, the applicant who had been turned down by Midge, Ray referred to Tony as like the "whipped boyfriend, the lovesick puppy that was hanging on over Midge and her every word." Tony and Ziva looked at each other, both thinking how could a total stranger pick up they were together, yet their friends and co-workers had not? Plus, Gibbs and Vance where on the other side of the glass. Thankfully, no one brought it up later.
Ziva watched Tony as he worked, trying to puzzle through her mind why he would lie about getting into work earlier than she and Tim. Although it could be a part of their plan to keep things as close as possible to how it was before the bombing, then it didn't make sense for him to be so careless for him to leave his bag at his desk, which wouldn't have been there if he wasn't there.
She wasn't angry at him for being careless, but she was worried that he would come in so early and be so distracted that he would forget to take his bag back out with him. She looked up at him again, only this time he wasn't smiling; he looked worried. She realized he had noticed her concern and was now probably thinking he pissed her off or something. She glanced over at McGee, who was engrossed in something on his computer. Gibbs was in Vance's office.
She turned back to Tony. Smiling, she placed her right hand over her heart. Sure enough, Tony broke into a big grin. He had been worried he did something wrong, which usually meant something stupid. It was "their" sign that all was good with them, that they were in each other's heart. It didn't exactly mean "I love you;" they were nowhere near that point yet; but it was a fun way for them to communicate their new feelings for each other without anyone else knowing. Tony repeated the sign back to her.
Just then, he got a text from Abby to come downstairs. He stood up abruptly, knocking several papers off of his desk. This time, Ziva couldn't take it. She got up and walked over to his desk.
He put on a fake smile. "Hey, I'm cool. Just a real klutz today, that's all." Ziva scrutinized his face. "What is going on, Tony?"
Tony looked deeply into her eyes. "Not now, Ziva. Later. I promise I will tell you everything." Seeing the crease between her eyes and the worry in her face, he touched her hand and moved it under his desk where they couldn't be seen. "Trust me. I am fine. We are fine. I just have something I need to take care of."
Ziva sighed and squeezed his hand. "Ok." She whispered. She headed back to her desk and pretended to go back to work. Tony picked up his papers and placed them neatly on his desk, then headed for the elevator.
As soon as he got off the elevator, he could sense the change, almost like the air pressure was different, the room felt heavier. Slowly, he walked over to Abby, who was standing by her workstation waiting for him.
Tony sighed. "It's ok, I know you tried."
Abby put her hands on Tony's shoulders. "First of all, how could you not believe in my super abilities? Second of all, I have something amazing to give to you, but I think you should sit on my chair here."
Tony gave Abby a curious look, not quite sure what she was up to. "Tony, I was able to develop almost every frame that was in this camera." She looked closely at him. "I don't know this for sure, but I am thinking that maybe these were the last photos taken of you and your Mom."
"What?" Tony's voice was barely audible. Abby handed him a sealed package. "I don't want you to look at these at work. I think you should be at home, someplace comfortable." She started pacing the room. "Tony, would you like my opinion?" Tony looked up, feeling totally lost and confused. "Yes?"
Abby smiled at the answer. "I would look at these by yourself for the first time. It's going to be hard on you to see these and I know how private you are about…well, you know; 'DiNozzo men don't cry' bullshit."
Tony looked up. "You think these will make me cry?"
Abby smiled sadly. "They made me cry, and that wasn't even my mother in those photos. This is going to bring back a lot of memories, including some unhappy ones. You need to get it all out before you share these with anyone else."
Tony nodded. "Ok, that makes sense." He shot his head up. "Hey, there aren't any embarrassing photos in here, you know, like of my mom and dad…?"
Abby started giggling. "Oooohhh…no Tony; although you might find childhood photos squirm-worthy, there is nothing to be ashamed of. They are all beautiful pictures." She paused. "Can I offer another piece of advice?"
"You're doing great so far, Abbs."
Abby looked at Tony, looking into his eyes, conveying how serious what she was about to say was. "After you have looked through these pictures and have gotten the chance to…feel comfortable with them; you should share them with someone, someone important to you."
"These pictures are a part of who you are, Tony. It's your choice who you share them with, but it should be someone who you really care about, someone who really cares about you, and will be able to comfort you if you need it."
Tony swallowed, nervous. If he was a betting man, who actually he was; he would take odds that Abby knew about him and Ziva. But she never said her name, just "someone important to you."
Tony fingered the package and thought about what Abby said. He went over to her and gave her a hug. "Thank you Abby, for saving a part of my past."
Before Tony left work, he spoke briefly with Ziva. He told her he had to do something that night, but he really wanted her to come over later. Ziva sensed the tension in Tony, but didn't push him.
"Of'course I will come over. Is nine too late?" Tony smiled. Ziva always asked if a certain hour was too early or too late to meet. She was far more considerate than he was and once again, couldn't believe that she tolerated him at all.
Before the elevator reached the garage level, Tony switched the "off" button. Ziva raised an eyebrow. Tony just hugged her. "I feel like I've ignored you all day and I have been wanting to do this for hours."
Ziva melted into his arms. "You have had an upsetting day, for some reason. I want to know what I can do to make it better." Tony kissed her. "You just did. My house. 9 pm. Be there." He gave her another quick kiss, then released the elevator stop button. They proceeded to their own separate cars as if it was the end of a normal day.
Tony sat and stared at the package, not sure where to begin. Finally, he opened the clasp and dumped the photos on the table. There were about twenty-two, the color indicative that they were from the 70's.
At first, he laughed at the fashions they were wearing, if "fashion" was the correct term. He spread the pictures out, trying to find a time sequence, because they were not all taken at the same time.
What struck Tony immediately was how beautiful his mother was. He hadn't remembered that. Children don't really understand adult beauty; hell, kids think "Barbie" is beautiful. She had lighter hair than he remembered, but her eyes…He had always thought he had taken after his father, but it was clear his hazel green eyes were definitely from his mom. It made him really happy to know that they shared something, even if it was only eye color.
After studying the photos for a while, a bit of a theme started to come through. Tony sat back, at a loss for words. He didn't consider himself a complicated man, but he had his quirks and his fascination with all things cinema. He never thought about why he had this connection with movies, it just "was." The light knock on the door interrupted his thoughts. He straightened up the pictures, and went to let Ziva in.
"Hi." She said softly. He leaned down and kissed her softly. "I'm glad you were able to come tonight." He grabbed her hand and led her to the sofa. He went into the kitchen and came back with glasses of wine.
Ziva smiled softly, realizing Tony only resorted to wine when he really needed support about something. She placed her hand on his. "Tell me what happened."
Tony waved his hands over the photos. "This…this is what happened." Looking at Tony for permission to pick up a photo. Gently, she picked up the one closest to her. Against her will, she started giggling. "Is this you?" She looked at Tony, totally surprised.
Tony couldn't help but smile as well. "Yeah, I was about seven. I found a camera accidently. I took it to Abby to see if there was any film in it and if it was salvageable. She developed all of these for me."
Ziva watched his face, nodding. Now she knew why he came in early and why he was so anxious all day. Tony then started pointing out other pictures, slowly telling a story of a very short period of his young life.
"Tony. This is your mother." Ziva all of a sudden realized the importance of what she was looking at. The next thing she noticed is that there seemed to be a lot of pictures of the two of them in costume, as if acting out…movies? Ziva looked questioningly at Tony. "Now you see where I get my movie fetish from."
Ziva shook her head. This was a bit of a surprise. "You were a very cute little boy, Tony. I am sure you had many girlfriends." Tony put his arm around her. "I wasn't that interested at that age, and once Mom died and Dad started shipping me around…" Ziva put her fingers on his lips. "You have your mother's eyes." Tony's eyes got huge at that, and to his embarrassment, tears started forming.
"Oh, Tony, I am sorry. I did not mean to upset you." She pulled his head down to her shoulder and stroked his hair.
Tony allowed Ziva to comfort him for a few minutes, then straightened up. "I didn't expect to get emotional about this."
They sat together looking over the pictures. "Tony, thank you for sharing these with me. I am honored. God, that sounds corny."
Tony laughed and hugged her, but then became serious. "Abby said I should look at them alone first, to get over the shock of seeing what was on them, then I should share them with someone, someone important to me."
"These pictures are part of who I am, Ziva. Part of my dad, part of my mom. You can see where the movie influence came from, which I didn't remember. I didn't even realize I inherited my eye color from her."
"Abby said it's was my choice who I shared them with, but it should be someone who I really care about, someone who really cares about me, and will be able to comfort me if I needed it. You are the only person who fits that description."
Ziva crushed her lips against Tony's, softly crying at his words. "Hey, why are you crying?" Ziva gave a large sniff. "Do you know how wonderful it feels to know that you are trusted, that you are cared for? I have always felt 'needed' but not necessarily 'wanted.' It is you who comforts me."
They snuggled together on the sofa and went through the pictures again. "You will make a beautiful baby, Tony." Ziva said before she realized what that meant. Tony sat up and looked at Ziva.
"Ziva David. Did you just suggest to me that I might someday be a father?" Ziva blushed. "I was just saying, I mean, you were a very cute child, so it would make sense that…" She looked at Tony, knowing she had really stepped in this one.
Tony's grin was so wide, Ziva finally had to laugh. "Ok, yes, I think you might, and I emphasize might, that you may someday be a father; if you can find some crazy woman willing to stick around long enough. And if you had a baby, if would be beautiful."
Tony leaned into Ziva. "Only if she had her mother's dark curly hair." Ziva looked shocked, then softly smiled. "Be careful what you wish for, Tony."
I doubt very seriously there will be any such sort of conversation between these two in this episode other than what has already been spoiled, that we will learn where Tony got his love of movies from. But hey, a girl can dream, right? BTW, did anyone else notice how Ziva looked like she was going to be sick in that interrogation scene and moved to the back wall, complaining about the suspect's cologne? I can't believe they would go so far as to have Tony and Ziva get pregnant, unless CdP was planning it in real life, but looked pretty suspicious to me.