"Cute, but you had your chance."

The words had been echoing in his mind all day.

"Cute, but you had your chance."

She said it as though he should know exactly what she was talking about.

He didn't. He didn't have the faintest fucking idea, and it scared the hell out of him.

He wracked his brain for any time in his life that he could have actually had a normal, functioning romantic relationship with Ziva, and he was drawing a huge blank.

There were perhaps times that they could have fumbled through a semi-functional relationship. He had thought about asking her out many times before, admittedly not as many times as he thought about bending her over his desk…or even better Gibbs' desk…he shook his head, breaking him out of his fantasy. Oddly enough, recently his thoughts were straying towards waking up with her every morning, not the acts that would undoubtedly come before.

But now that he really thought about it, there were very few times that he thought they would actually work out.

"Cute, but you had your chance." What the hell did she mean by that? It was eating away at him that he had somehow missed his opportunity.

They were pretty close during Gibbs' Mexican vacation, but there was no way she was talking about that…it was far too long ago. Then there was Jeanne and Rivkin and EJ and Ray…there wasn't ever a good time.

Her words were still gnawing at his gut a good while later. They were once again alone in the bullpen. McGeek was off playing mad scientist with Abby and Gibbs was stuck in MTAC. They would likely be alone for a while.

Ziva was typing away, her report not nearly finished. Her fingers danced across her keyboard, her face knit into a small frown. Tony simply stared. She felt his eyes on her as she always did. She quickly ceased her actions and looked up to meet his eyes.

"Something wrong, Tony?" she asked.

"What did you mean before?"

"When?"

"I had my chance to ask you out?"

"I mean exactly what I said. You have missed many opportunities to ask me out on a date."

"See, I've been thinking about that all day, and I just don't think that's true."

Ziva got up and walked over to his desk, plopping herself down right in front of him.

"Perhaps many opportunities is an exaggeration," she conceded.

"At least there's that. I mean…it's not like I haven't thought about it."

"You have…thought of it, then?"

'Well yeah. First time I thought about it you had just brought me coffee and stolen my last slice of pizza."

"That was the day we met."

"Yes it was."

She remained silent for a moment, a smirk gracing her features.

"Was there another time you thought about it?"

"When Gibbs was taking his Mexican siesta. You were sitting on my couch in nothing but a pair of yoga shorts and this giant NCIS sweatshirt. You just looked over at me and smiled because we were watching CSI and you guessed who the killer was."

"Any others?"

"There were a lot, actually. Which one were you referring to?"

"Well, as you said there are a few to choose from, but the most recent was about a month after the bombing. We had just finished watching Chicago because I forced you to watch it even though you hate musicals. I got up to leave, you walked me to the door…We were standing there, Tony, you were looking right into my eyes just as you are now…I thought you were going to kiss me, but you did not."

"It's not like you gave me a signal or something."

She raised her eyebrows in disbelief. Seven years into their relationship and now he needs signals?

"You did, didn't you? You gave me a signal and I pulled a Ted Mosby."

"Yes. I thought that would be the moment…but it seems as though we were not on the same page." She paused briefly, "There are times that I feel as though you can read my thoughts, but there are many others that you are just caught up in the jungle of your own."

"I think jumble is what you were going for, but jungle works too." She smiled.

"Did you ever think that maybe I was just too distracted by your beauty?"

"Ha!" she laughed "If that is true, I know that I am not the first woman to cause it."

"No, but I'll tell you Ziva, I have never been distracted so easily or so often with anyone but you." His voice was so sincere her breath caught in her throat. His eyes were sparkling with something she wasn't certain she could identify.

"Tony…."

"I didn't kiss you because I didn't think it was the right time. We had just been through something traumatic. I didn't want to confuse us with more emotional stuff. We're bad enough as it is without a terrorist on the loose."

"Yes. We have quite a bit of baggage between us."

"Trust issues, father issues…the list is longer than I'd like to admit."

"Maybe that is what makes us a good team."

His mind jumped back to a year ago, just one desk away they had nearly this conversation, but to a very different end. She was available, and he was too. "Emotional and romantic dysfunction."

"Yes." she whispered. His eyes bore into hers, their intense connection causing her breath to shallow, her heart to beat just a little bit faster. His hands rested on the outside of her thighs, the heat intensified by his stare.

"There will never be a perfect time." she said, breaking eye contact, eyes flicking down for a split second before meeting his burning gaze once again.

"Now seems like a pretty good time to me."

"Is it?" she asked with a smirk.

"It's as good a time as any," a matching smile spread across his face. "I know you said I missed my chance…"

"I believe I can give you just one more."