A rainy Monday morning. What a cliché way to start the week, Tony thought as he tapped out on his steering wheel the drum beats of the Queen song that had just come on the radio.
His cell phone began to buzz, interrupting the thought that was telling him to resist the urge to do the guitar solo. He answered the call, hearing Gibbs' voice on the end of the line.
"Got a body," he said. "Everyone's already here, 'cept you."
"Sorry about that, Boss," Tony replied. "Meet you there?"
Gibbs agreed and gave him the address. Unfortunately, the team had the advantage of time on him, so they were just about done when he arrived.
"Whadda we got?" he asked McGee, pulling on his NCIS jacket.
"Nothing special. Body in a dumpster, shooting. The lid kept him sheltered from the rain but washed away most of the fingerprints."
"Nice of you to show up, DiNozzo," Gibbs said flatly, walking towards the truck.
"Look, Boss, traffic was bad, I…" Tony stopped talking when he realised Gibbs wasn't really going to care. McGee just shrugged and followed the ex-Marine.
Tony frowned and observed what was left of the crime scene. He looked around, seeing Gibbs and McGee packing up the rest of the equipment, Ducky and Palmer strapping the victim in securely, but where was…?
"Boo," he heard a familiar voice call, and he looked up with a confused expression.
"Ziva, what are you doing on the roof?" And sure enough, she was standing on the roof of the building to the left of the bin that the body had been found in. She had her head tilted sideways as if she was concentrating very hard on something.
"Gibbs thought bullets might have come from here," she answered.
Tony blinked. "Why?"
"Estimated shooter distance, and there were shell casings all over the place, meaning they bounced. And," she held up a little gold object, "there was one up here too." She looked pretty pleased with herself as she stood up. The rain was still falling heavily.
"Don't fall, OK?" he called.
She was touched by his concern, but hardly took his rather obvious words into consideration. They might have come in handy when she slipped about two thirds of the way down the ladder.
Acting on instinct alone, Tony tried his best to be in her way as she fell faster towards him. Ziva's fall was enough to knock them both onto the wet pavement, but they weren't hurt.
"I have a feeling we're in this position too often," Tony wheezed. Ziva laughed softly.
"Maybe the Universe is trying to tell us something." For a second, the sound of traffic and rain and each other's heavy breathing was all they heard.
Tony frowned a little, but he was distracted by a sound - Gibbs yelling at them.
"What are you two doing?!"
"Duty calls," Tony said, boldly moving his hands to her waist to push her upwards so he could move. "And he's not in a very good mood."
"Well, you know what he is like on Mondays."
"Yeah. Hey, I gotta take my car back to HQ. Wanna take a drive?"
Ziva frowned. "You're going to let me drive?"
"Hell no!" Tony exclaimed, looking offended at the very idea. "But there's a cafe around the corner. My treat."
Somehow in the two minutes they were inside the little cafe, the rain had become even more torrential than before. There was a hotel next door with an archway which they quickly sought refuge under. Though if it weren't for the coffees, it would hardly be necessary - they were both completely soaked anyway.
"Hey, Ziva?" Tony asked, and when she looked at him, he was studying his surroundings closely.
"Didn't I follow you here once?"
In her mind it clicked. She remembered thinking how arrogant he had been. Arrogant, but…well, really sexy. She remembered talking about her sister. She remembered being the wild little Mossad assassin like it was yesterday.
"Can you believe it's been seven years?" he asked.
"Time flies," she replied, swilling the rest of her coffee and drumming her fingers against the empty paper cup. "Things change."
"Do they? I mean, seven years later and I'm still standing here. You're still standing here."
"You cannot seriously believe we are the same people that we were back then, Tony. You and I both know how much I have changed. The same can be said for you."
"Yeah, you're right." He pulled a paper bag from his jacket pocket. Inside was a bagel, which he tore in half and offered one half to Ziva. She accepted.
They exchanged a look, a sweet smile.
OK, so some things stay the same over time, Ziva thought. The DiNozzo smile had to be one of them.
"So…" Tony started. "What exactly is the Universe trying to tell us?"
Before she could answer, Ziva's cell phone began to ring. Tony couldn't help but feel a little disappointed. He had wondered what she would have said.
There were certain things the Universe just had to weigh in on at some point. Maybe their relationship was one of them. At times, he thought he understood what was between them, and then at other times he felt as if their very existence was a loose end just waiting to be tied.
"That was McGee," Ziva said. "They're halfway back to the Navy Yard; we should probably get going."
"Yeah," Tony agreed, but he was just staring into space. "Seven years, huh?"
Ziva took a few steps closer to him.
"Let's give it seven more, huh?" he suggested, very genuinely.
She smiled and, feeling as if she was making a vow of some kind, agreed. "Definitely."
Ziva stepped out into the rain, but Tony lingered for a second under the cover. She turned around, the rain drenching her even further. "Are you coming?" she called.
Tony took one last look at the doors of this hotel. It was strange and unlikely how things had ended up. He would never have guessed that wild Mossad Officer would become the one person on the planet that knew him better than anyone.
He wondered what he'd be looking back on in disbelief, seven years from now. If he had been told at that very moment, he wouldn't have believed it for a second. But that was the beauty of it. Sometimes, life really does surprise you.