A/N: Hello everyone! Yeah it's been forever and a day since I've posted. I've been busy working on my own original characters' epic story. It is most certainly a labor of love and I am having a ball :D The goal is to self-publish the series by the end of 2013 or die trying!
In the meantime, my dear friend Zivacentric, of the amazing NCIS Zibbs fandom, convinced me I needed to do a secret santa story for this group of Zibbs writers she's been picking up like Mother Goose. I was in a total block and needed to get my Muse's fat ass wedged out, so I said sure, why the hell not. This is the result for NotYetLostFaith. She wanted humor, drama, angst, fluff, romance, hurt/comfort, a kiss at Midnight and a happy ending. Of course, I threw in some smut... what can I say... :D
Set after Episode 9.11 "Newborn King", AU of course, cuz it's Zibbs...
The scrape of sandpaper rasped along the sweep of honeyed oak. Gibbs ran his hand up the curve to brush off the powder fine sawdust. The old black radio's volume escalated from the counter against the wall. The one speaker that still worked shouted out a tin-like roar of the crowd as something exciting happened in the bowl game. He paused in his ministrations to take a sip of bourbon and listen.
"And Onterio McCalebb takes it to the twenty-five, fifteen… ten. Touchdown Auburn."
Gibbs nodded. He wasn't routing for either team. He wasn't a fan of Auburn or Virginia, the game just happened to be a nice background to fill the quiet space of New Year's Eve alone in the basement. Not that he cared. It was just another night for him. He took another sip and went back to sanding the saddle of the rocking horse he started for Emira's birthday this coming February.
He only got to move the 240-grit a few times before the telltale footsteps of a visitor echoed above. He shook his head. It was a woman. High heels on the wooden staircase. Definitely not Abby's thick soled boots. He didn't even have to guess. The scent of Syrian Jasmine and cinnamon preceded her.
He'd know that exotic blend anywhere. The high heels though… now those were a mystery.
He glanced up just as she rounded the wooden railing, her hand trailing along the edge of the worn-softened edge of the two by four.
Gibbs breath caught in his chest and he almost dropped the sanding block. That was unexpected––though a natural reaction to the incredible sight before him.
His normally casual, strong, kickass agent was dressed in a silky black dress that skimmed over her every curve like the promise of a lover's touch. Her long dark curls, though often pin-straight, were pulled back and up into a sleek twist that made her face open and alluring. Delicate stones dangled from her earlobes and swung with the subtle movement of her head. She smiled at him––that shy, uncertain smile touched with a sense of self-deprecation and irritation. Not the one she reserved for DiNozzo full of sass and a bit of condescension. No, this one was for when she was perturbed with herself. He wondered why.
Obviously, she was all dressed up for a reason. Yet, she was here in his basement. And that meant that whatever plans she had did not pan out.
"All dressed up and no place to go, Ziver?"
She rolled her sable colored eyes and let out a peeved huff. He was right––definitely pissed at herself.
"Yes. Something of that nature." She crossed to the workbench and swiped the clutter away to place the champagne bottle dangling from her fingertips. "I did have some place to go. That is the problem."
Gibbs stood up from his work and cocked an eyebrow at her when she turned around.
She shrugged and let out a stiff sigh. "Ray."
"Ah." Gibbs tried to ignore the tightening of his gut at the mention of the CIA agent's name. There was something about that guy that didn't sit right with him. He was too smooth, too polished. Typical CIA. Gibbs couldn't put his finger on it yet, but it would come to him. It always did. Never mind the fact that he wasn't good enough for Ziva. No one really was.
"We were supposed to have a nice dinner and dancing. Spend this silly New Year's event together. But he was called away."
"I do not even know why I am disappointed." She picked up a roofing nail, studied it and then flicked it away in irritation. "New Year's Eve. It makes no sense to me. We do not celebrate the New Year like this. It is just another day in Israel. Rosh Hashanah is the true New Year."
She had a point there. At least that had some religious significance.
She looked at him expectantly. "Why do Americans make such a big deal out of it? All of the parties, the noise creators, the little triangle hats and sprinkles…"
"Whatever." She huffed and rounded the corner of his worktable to stand beside him. The scent of her perfume enveloped him. Her body heat seeped into his arm, only half covered by the cutoff sleeve of his old gray Marine sweatshirt and fine layer of sawdust. "What is the point?"
Gibbs slid his eyes to the corner to steal a glance. The sweep of her neck dipped into the hollow of her throat. Her delicate collarbones peeked out from the elegant neckline of her dress, the black fabric contrasting against her smooth tanned skin. Her pulse beat in silence near her jawline, only slightly obscured by the dangle of her earring. He could practically turn his nose and burry his lips right into the spot with how close she was to him. And he wanted to. Oh how he wanted to… His heart rate doubled and his throat went dry. The notion caught him in a rare moment of indecision. What the hell was going on with him? She was just a woman in a pretty dress.
He stepped to the side out of her magnetic pull and cleared his throat. What did she just say to him? Oh yeah, 'what was the point…'
"Never saw the point myself," he said.
She crossed her arms and cocked her hip against the plywood of the workbench, oblivious to the filth she that marred her dress. "Tony says it is to run around like a drunken fool before you set resolutions you never intend to keep."
Gibbs chuckled. "Sounds like DiNozzo."
"McGee says it is to say goodbye to the old and welcome the new. Abby says it is to spend time with the people you care about."
"Some see it that way."
She was quiet for a moment and ran her hand along the beveled oak absently. "Is it really so important to be with the one you care about at the stroke of midnight?"
Her wistful tone sent a splinter into his chest. She was missing Ray. Gibbs gave a noiseless harrumph. 'CI-Ray'… He would never tell DiNozzo that he agreed with the assessment. But the moniker fit. She obviously saw something worthwhile in the man––otherwise, she wouldn't be so disappointed that he was gone. Who was Gibbs to begrudge her that?
"It's only important if you make it." He dumped out a mason jar and poured her a finger of bourbon.
She took the glass and swallowed it down in a gulp. She looked at the empty glass and a slow smile stole over her lovely pink lips. "Mmm. I have a better idea."
Without permission, she took his glass and hers and clicked her way over to the bottle of champagne. Her hips swayed against the silk of her dress. Gibbs must have already had too much to drink because the curve of her ass against the slinky black fabric stirred longings in him he worked hard to suppress when it came to his beautiful teammate. Every man with even one eye in her radius would find her attractive. At least that's what he tried to tell himself when his cock would threaten to stand at attention near her. But now he couldn't really control it and he wasn't sure he cared to even try. The smooth skin of her back and the exquisite line of her spine as it dipped into the low cut of her dress almost had him bending her over the worktable. Rule Twelve be damned. Never date a coworker. He had to have a rule for fucking one over a workbench.
She held up the bottle and began to peel the foil off the cork.
Gibbs drew his eyebrows together. Oh thank god. She wanted to drink champagne. That was like a cold shower. Down boy. "Champagne over bourbon? Ziver, we're in my basement."
"I know." She untwisted the metal basket. "It's expensive champagne. If Ray does not have time to enjoy it with me, I will enjoy it without him. With another man."
Something possessive churned within Gibbs' gut. And it wasn't the first time he'd thought it either. Ray was an ass. The man was a complete idiot to walk away from her.
Her thumbs struggled with the cork and Gibbs found himself smiling as he walked over to take the bottle from her. Maybe a little champagne wouldn't kill him.
She arched a finely sculpted dark eyebrow at him. "I thought you were not interested in the champagne?"
His lips quirked into a grin. "I'm not. Just don't want to replace the window when you break it."
"I can shoot a man between the eyes from a hundred yards. I think I can manage a simple cork."
The cork popped with a tight thwack and sailed across the basement. The sparkling wine bubbled out and spilled over the edge, onto his hands and splashed on the floor.
She let out squeal of delight and clapped her hands. "L'chaim!"
"L'chaim." Gibbs sucked up the rivulets of bubbly on his hands and let out a genuine laugh. Her joy was catching.
She took the bottle from him. Gibbs' heart stopped in his chest when her pink tongue slipped out and licked up the neck of the bottle and dipped in for a taste. Her eyes held his for a moment, twinkling with a devious glint. That look… it was seductive, challenging, sexual. There was no mistaking what she was doing. Gibbs cocked his head at her. His eyes narrowed. Really?
The tip of her tongue wet her bottom lip and she wiggled her eyebrows at him. Yes, really.
The wind rushed out of Gibbs' lungs. Wow. There was very little that surprised him in this world. But this…this was a surprise. A very pleasant surprise. He couldn't help but stare in dumbfounded amazement.
Ziva held his gaze for a second more and then lowered her lashes before turning away. She poured a mason jar each and handed him one.
"Let us toast to the New Year." Her voice broke his trance.
He grunted. More because he still couldn't speak than any disagreement. She tipped her glass in the direction of the radio apparently taking his non-communication for generally idiocy.
"Ten, nine, eight…" The countdown had started.
"Ah." He nodded.
"Seven, six, five…"
"Is it not common practice to toast?"
Her face glowed. "Here is to spending the end of the year with someone you care about."
Gibbs smiled. "And to new beginnings."
"Happy New Year!"
They clinked glasses and sipped as the familiar strains of Auld Langsyne played amongst the raspy toots of horns and people cheering in the background.
Gibbs found himself mere inches from her––toe to toe, thigh to thigh, hips to hips. He had no idea how they had gotten so close, but it was nice. Exciting. More than intoxicating. "Happy New Year, Ziver."
Her breathy sigh brushed over his lips with the taste of champagne and honey. "Happy New Year, Gibbs."
The delicate shimmer of make-up over her cheeks sparkled in the dingy light of his basement and his breath once again caught in his throat. She had to be the most beautiful thing he had seen in a really, really long time.
Gibbs came to a decision then and there. Rules were made to be broken.
He took the glass from her fingers and placed both his and hers on the table behind her back. The movement took him further into her space––his arm brushed up against hers. She didn't move out of his proximity. Instead, her hands came up to rest on his chest. The light touch of her fingers against the cracked decal on his sweatshirt made his muscles twitch in anticipation.
She lifted her chin and parted her lips. It was an invitation. He knew it, she knew it. This was a line that once crossed would forever change how they saw each other. He would still be her superior, she his subordinate. Could they continue to work together in those rolls? Could he put her in the line of danger? Would she still accept his position of authority over her? Of course she would. She never asked anything of him. Even now, as desire clouded her fathomless dark eyes, her pride would not permit her to beg. He had to cross the line to meet her. They were his rules, well-known within the team, that they would be breaking.
Gibbs was never one to allow his baser desires to win over rationality. But this time he didn't want to be rational. Didn't want to hold himself back.
In the end, all it took was the subtle flex of her fingers against his shirt. He stopped the mental debate and the tight rein on his control snapped. He bent his head and pressed his lips against hers. Her sharp intake of breath when he touched his tongue to hers lasted only a second before her fingers raked into his hair at the back of his head. Her hips molded to his and his hands moved of their own volition. He touched the swell of her hips first and then slid his hands up her slim waist over the sleek, taut skin of her back. She purred deep in her throat and melted under his touch.
Ziva titled her head back, opening herself to him, free and uninhibited. His hands tightened around her and he took the kiss infinitely deeper. Their tongues mingled and slid against each other in a smooth rhythm. She tasted of sharp bourbon and sweet champagne all blended with something that was uniquely her. His head spun with desire and lust and the effects of the alcohol. But he couldn't blame his intoxication on the liquor. No, it was the fantastic woman in his arms.
Slowly, the kiss came to an end. They separated, lips clinging, breath rapid and shared. Gibbs opened his eyes and stared into her lovely face. A beautiful flush of color stained her cheeks, her lips bright red from his kisses. Her eyes were alight with fire and excitement.
"Well. That was not how I expected this evening to go." Her fingers scratched lightly against the short hair at the back of his head.
He smiled, unable to hold it back. "Me neither."
"That was…" She blew out a breathy sigh.
"I do not regret it."
"Good." The corner of her mouth lifted into a smirk. "I would hate to have to beat some sense into you."
Gibbs felt a cocky smile steal over his mouth. He didn't even bother to try and hide it. "I don't know, you think you could take me?"
"You could take that to the vault."
"Bank. You could take it to the bank."
She groaned in frustration. Gibbs smiled. Personally, he thought her idiomatic inversions were adorable.
She slid her hands around to rest on his shoulders. She smoothed the seams of his sweatshirt and frowned. "I should go."
Gibbs shook his head. "Not tonight."
"What do you mean?"
"You're not going anywhere." He reached over and flicked off the radio. The game was over and he had no idea who won. Frankly right now, he didn't really care. He took her hand and led her up the stairs. With a flick of the wrist, he set the lock on the front door. No more unwanted visitors. Especially not tonight.
He led her upstairs. She followed him willingly. At the threshold of his room, she tugged on his hand and pulled him into another mind searing kiss. He almost lost all of his faculties, all sense of propriety, and pinned her up against the wall right there. But that was not how he wanted it to go down. And he cursed himself for what he was about to do.
Breaking the kiss, he closed his eyes and rested his forehead against hers for a second before he led her into the room. He directed her to the edge of the bed where she sat and looked at him with those seductive, imploring eyes. He smiled, crossed to his dresser and took out a t-shirt and pair of pajama bottoms.
"What is this?" she asked when he placed them on the coverlet next to her.
"Something to sleep in."
Her face fell and she shielded her eyes with the dark fringe of her lashes. "I see."
He stepped to her and cupped his hand around the back of her head to tip her chin up with his thumb. "When we do this, it won't be because we had too much to drink."
"It is not…"
He silenced her with a finger to her lips. The looked of exasperation that crossed her face made him smile. He bent his head low and kissed her quick and efficiently to let her know he was most certainly still interested. When he straightened, she gave him a frown of acquiescence. "It is very annoying when you are always right."
He shrugged and left the room, closing the door behind him. In the hallway, he paused and took a deep breath. The devil on his shoulder taunted him to go back in there and finish what they started, but his conscience urged him to place one foot in front of the other down the stairs. They could tackle this in the morning with clear heads. Even if it meant that they would walk away as if nothing ever happened.
To Be Continued...