The summer sun lingered for far too long on the edge of the horizon for Tony's liking. The darker it was the higher chance Gibbs would let them leave. It was just paperwork now, right? The case was done with. Ilan Bodner wasn't a problem anymore … was he?
It seemed almost over too quickly, eerily simple. The movie master within him told him that this was far from over. Before every big showdown there was one final twist – an ultimatum, a bargain, a threat. But so far nothing of the sort had surfaced. The drama of it all had seemed to fade. This was not from lack of passion on anyone's part, oh no. They had all been as hell-bent to get him as any other pain in the ass criminal. Tony felt that it was more a lack of finality. The only real finality was the signature he gave his paperwork upon completion. He held it up in front of him for a quick proofread, and gave a sigh at the thought that real life was often not as exciting as movies. It was predictable. Familiar.
He set is paper back down and slipped it into a folder and looked across the squad room at Ziva. The light of her desk lamp made her eyes sparkle a little and she smiled at him. Sometimes familiarity was a good thing.
Tony swung his backpack over his shoulder just as McGee had disappeared behind the elevator doors. "You comin'?" he asked Ziva on his way past.
"Yes, in a minute," she replied. Her glance shifted to Gibbs for a second but then she looked back at Tony and nodded affirmatively. "I will meet you in down there."
He gave her a thumbs-up with one hand. "Night, Boss," he called to Gibbs, who replied with a wordless nod. Then the older man set down his pencil and looked at Ziva as she began gathering her things. She felt his eyes.
"I am going over to Tony's," she explained happily. "We are having a…a movie night." She almost laughed at herself. It was so delightfully cliché. Gibbs did not respond. She absolute hated when he did that. It always made her feel the need to elaborate and justify herself and she hated how he made her feel that way. "After everything that has happened, I decided…we all did, that we –"
"Something goin' on between you two?" Gibbs asked. There. He'd said it. It was out there, in the open. After eight goddamn years.
"Why do you ask?"
He stood up and walked towards her. "You didn't answer my question."
"You did not answer mine."
"You know the rules, Ziva."
"With all due respect, Gibbs," she said coldly. "You have broken your fair share of rules – andlaws, by the way. And in answer to your question, no. There is nothing going on." She was telling the truth, Gibbs knew, but not the whole truth.
She pursed her lips and tapped her foot impatiently.
"But you want there to be."
"I am not going to be interrogated by you, Gibbs." She turned on her heel and walked towards the elevator.
No. She would not have this. Relationship with Tony or not, she would not be made to feel like a child by this man. She loved him but she didn't deserve this. None of them did.
Gibbs didn't leave. He knew only a strong case of bourbon would ease being in a fight with Ziva, and he needed his head too much right now for that.
Only minutes after his last agent had left for the night, Gibbs' phone rang.
"Yeah, Gibbs," he answered classically.
"Ilan Bodner's been spotted," sounded Director Vance's voice on the other end of the line. "Call in an agent, meet me in MTAC. Now!"
Gibbs scrolled through the contacts on his phone.
Something made him scroll past them and dial Tim's number.
"Yeah, Boss?" said Tim, mid-yawn.
"Need you at work. Ilan Bodner's been spotted."
"Got it. Want me to call Tony and Ziva? I think they're together. I mean, they're at the same pla—"
"I didn't call them, McGee, I called you. Meet us in MTAC when you get here."
There was a short silence, then he spoke. "On it, Boss."
She arrived at his apartment ten minutes after he did, and he'd stopped for pizza on the way home.
"You okay?" he asked as she pushed past him when he opened the door, like she'd been there a thousand times. Her body language alone answered that question.
She rested against the arm of the couch. "Gibbs and I may have had a…small…disagreement."
He frowned. "But you and Gibbs don't have disagreements. Unless he's trying to protect you from something."
She scoffed but did not say anything else.
"You wanna talk about it?"
She avoided his gaze. "Not really."
He shrugged. "Well, when the going gets tough, the tough eat pizza," he joked, lifting the box off the table and handing her a slice.
"They certainly do," she agreed.
"So, are we in agreement, Agent David? The Wizard of Oz, because apparently you've only seen a Hebrew version?"
"Right. I suppose something always gets lost in translation."
He smiled and cocked his head towards the couch, where they sat right beside each other as to share the pizza. The movie started and he dimmed the lights.
"Is this your 'routine' for dates, Tony? Are you going to play some smooth jazz next?" She then realised what she'd said.
"A date, huh? Well, it has been a while since I had one of those."
"Tony, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to…never mind. Let's watch the movie."
In reality, Tony spent much of the movie providing trivia. "Did you know that they strapped Judy Garland's breasts to make her look younger? Did you know that only twelve or so of the Munchkins were children?
By the time Dorothy woke up in her bed in Kansas, Tony looked over to Ziva to make a joke, and saw that she was very much asleep against his shoulder. He let himself watch her for a moment. Her lips were parted slightly, and she was breathing softly. Her face was relaxed and comfortingly peaceful. Temporarily, stopped suppressing the thought that she was just so very beautiful. It was impossible not to see it at times. Most of the time. Her big brown eyes and pink lips and that smile…
"Ziva," he whispered, shaking her shoulder. She was one to wake easily, and she did, looking a little surprised that she had fallen asleep.
"How much did I miss?"
"I don't think all that much. I'm sure the Hebrew version and the English version end the same way, though."
She yawned. "It is getting late. I should go." She stood and he immediately missed the feeling of her against him. He followed her to the door to say goodbye.
There was a long pause and Ziva watched him, his eyes, his lips, his hands. He had been right. Gibbs only told her to stay away from something when it was dangerous, but how could he possibly be dangerous? He was no danger to her, and he never would be. He loved her too much; deep down they both knew that.
"Night, Ziva." It was hardly even a whisper.
Her arm snaked around his neck and ever so gently pulled her to him. She stood on tiptoes and with the ghost of a smile on her lips, closed the gap between them. Her other hand moved to his cheek. His rested hesitantly on her waist and she pulled away but only the slightest bit.
"What was that for?" he asked, surprised that he could string together a coherent sentence. Their bodies were still unbelievably close, and their breath mingle - what little was left.
"It was a thank you," she replied, tracing circles in his hair with her fingers. "For being you. And for doing it when I needed you."
Suddenly his heart was in his throat. "You know I'd do anything for you, Ziva."
"Anything?" she questioned.
"Would you kiss me again?"
Her lips covered his grin in an instant and they closed the door to his apartment.
What followed through the night and into the small hours of the morning was a mostly wordless exchange of passion. His arms were strong and she found more release in them than she had anywhere else. Garments were tossed aside with abandon but neither rushed even the slightest bit with the other. They wanted to see each other. Feel each other. Touch and kiss every inch of skin.
Her hands ghosted over his bare skin, conjuring low noises from the back of his throat. His became a tangle in her curls and stroked her soft cheeks. Her lips became bruised from his kisses but they just kissed each other harder, with a deeper need for each other each time they met again. Their love was almost desperate, but strong, too.
Neither of them remembered going into his bedroom. Neither of them remembered clambering into his twin bed. They only remembered being wrapped in each other's embrace and it feeling righter than it should peppered kisses down her jaw and she reached for his hand, entangling their fingers, ready for sweet release, which they would find together as they tumbled over the they fell, together they slept, hand in hand, a careless tangle of limbs and sheets and heartbeats.
And in the seconds before sleep took him, Tony glanced at the perfect woman in his arms and it felt right. And yes, he finally got his finality.