Hey, just a little random Tiva Christmas one-shot, post "You Better Watch Out", because I loved the episode and I love Christmas and I love Tiva :)
just one thing that bugged me: I really don't like the idea of Ziva not knowing Tony's apartment after 8 years, so, stubborn as I am, I fixed that.
Disclaimer: All I want for Christmas is NCIS! ;)
With a sigh he dropped his keys on his kitchen counter and sat down on one of his bar stools. Dealing with his dad always required a lot of patience and Tony wasn't a man particularly known for that virtue. Neither was Senior, for that matter. But this year everything had ended… positively, even if it had taken a lot of time and all of his nerves in the disastrous beginning. After all his dad seemed to at least try to change in the end, although he was mostly failing miserably at the whole 'bonding' thing. His idea of 'bonding' obviously seemed to involve sexual intercourse with Junior's neighbors.
Another sigh escaped his lips when he got his phone out and hesitated with his thumb just above the call button. He'd wondered for the whole car ride from the airport back to his place whether to call or not, but in the end he knew only too well that he would call her anyway, even if half of him was screaming "Bad idea!". It was the same damn thing every year around the holiday season. Seeing all those happy people in the streets or at the office – minus the dead bodied in autopsy – made him painfully aware of the fact of how lonely he actually was. And mostly he didn't mind that much, but now after spending most of his free time with his friends, his family, his apartment seemed awfully quiet. And as much as he tried to convince himself otherwise, he didn't want just any company, he wanted her company. He shifted his weight so that his back wasn't hurting as badly and finally tapped his thumb on the screen of his smartphone.
She answered almost immediately, "David."
"Hey, it's me," he said, smiling.
"Tony?" she sounded surprised.
"No… Santa!" He could only imagine the eye-roll that probably accompanied her snort in response to that. "You, me and dinner at The Little Fountain Café?"
"Who says I do not have plans already?" she teased lightly, a smile evident in her voice.
For a second he felt his heart constrict painfully with jealousy, "Do you?"
She hesitated, purposely torturing him further, before answering. "No."
"Then I'll pick you up in an hour," he hung up before she could argue, more or less forcing her to accompany him.
She was already waiting on the street when he pulled up in front of her apartment building. He honked his car horn at her and rolled down the window on the driver's side. "Looking for a ride?"
His partner approached him with a warm smile, ignoring his suggestive wink, and got in on the passenger side. "Did your dad get to the airport safely?" she asked, looking at him. He kept his eyes on the road.
"'Course he did… I drove him."
"That surprising, huh?" He chuckled once without humor.
"Somewhat, yes. There seemed to be many… issues… between the two of you." He stopped at a traffic light and, feeling her gaze heavy on his face, turned to look at her. Her eyes were curious, but he knew she wouldn't ask any more questions if he kept her at arm's length. The thing was, the new 'post-elevator' them didn't do arm's length anymore. Honesty was their new thing and he definitely intended to keep it that way.
"He's never going to change," he repeated his father's words while turning his attention back on the street, as if that explained everything. And in a way it did. From the corner of his eye he saw a grin tug at her lips.
"I suppose not," she hesitated for a moment, her expression serious again, "but you have changed, Tony. Especially over the past year."
To be honest, he hadn't expected the conversation to head into that direction this early in the evening. For a second he panicked, thinking of a way to make a joke out of his answer to that, but no words would come across his lips. She seemed to be okay with his silence, though and so they continued the car-ride mutely, except for the Christmas music coming from his radio.
"So, tell me," he said mid-dinner, "why exactly did you tell my father you've never been at my place?"He thought it was a simple question, but she stopped cutting the chicken on her plate and looked up at him with big eyes, her mouth slightly agape, obviously in search for words.
"Well… Senior seems to be very… keen… on the idea of you and me… together," she swallowed once, her eyes nervously darting around to look everywhere but him, "So I thought this way he might not cause you as much embarrassment… as it is very clear now that you are not planning to 'sweep me of my feet'."
For a moment he was going to argue that last point, because he was planning to sweep her off her feet… one day. Just not quite yet. But he got where she was coming from, because if his dad had known that Ziva used to be a very frequent guest in his apartment, he wouldn't have taken 'no' as an answer to the question if they had something going on between them. The old man was suspicious enough as it was.
"He told me you two talked about my mom…"
Her eyes finally settled on his again and her expression went from nervous to caring. "Yes. And I know for a fact that he loved her a lot, just as he loves you."
"Yeah, that's why he decided to use my bed for his sinful encounters with the dragon from across the hall."
Ziva laughed, "Is that the reason for the promise to buy you a new bed when you left after the movie yesterday?"
"Yes, generous, isn't he?" he said dryly, taking a sip from his wineglass. She reached over to cover his other hand with hers, brushing her thumb across his skin.
"It's his way of apologizing, you know that."
He was too distracted by the unexpected contact to form a coherent answer, so he just turned his hand so it was holding hers and squeezed it once. They sat with joined hands for a couple of minutes before the waiter interrupted them with the dessert menu.
They were laughing lightly while walking back to her apartment, snowflakes softly dancing around them in the cold breeze. At the door she smiled warmly at him. "Thank you for the night, Tony. It was lovely."
"It's always good to spend time with you," he told her honestly, before adding lightly; "couldn't think of anyone I'd rather share my mud pie with."
As intended his words caused her to laugh, "'Share' is a very generous expression to use. You let me have a small taste."
"Only because I love you," the words were out before he could stop them and he couldn't find a way to backpedal quickly enough, but thankfully she ignored his slip of the tongue with a smile, knowing he hadn't exactly meant for it to sound quite so intimate. While she searched her purse for her keys he turned his gaze upwards, a somewhat shocked sound escaping his lips when he spotted something green just above their heads. "This has to be a joke…"
She stopped her search, triumphantly holding the key to her apartment in her hand, "Excuse me?"
He looked at her with a frown, "What would you do if, hypothetically, the two of us were standing, let's say, I don't know, underneath some mistletoe?"
His partner's eyebrow rose and she crossed her arms, "Hypothetically? I would do nothing. It is just a plant, no?"
He squirmed under her gaze, "Yeah, I guess you're right. Never mind, I gotta go." He turned to leave, but she grabbed his arm to stop him. When he looked at her she smiled, taking a step closer to him.
"You did not ask me what I would do if there actually was some mistletoe," she said softly, making his mouth go dry. Without another word she leaned up to press a soft kiss to his cheek, her lips leaving his skin burning when they disappeared again. "Merry Christmas, Tony," Ziva said before unlocking the door and entering the building.
"Merry Christmas," he whispered back, although she was already out of hearing range, before walking to his car with a huge grin on his face.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone out there! xx