Somehow managed to knock this out during an hour break today. Hope you enjoy. Thank you to everyone who leaves reviews, I love hearing what you think.
"You have ink on your face."
Her voice is lit with amusement as he feels her gaze regard him curiously from across the bullpen. He doesn't meet her attention as he throws his backpack into the corner behind his desk, but she knows he acknowledges her for he begins rubbing furiously at the faded, yet still present outline of colorful ink along his jaw and cheek. She pauses her assault on her half-eaten pad thai to liberate her partner's usual order from the take out bag from their frequent haunt a block from the yard. She glances at the clock, confirming that Tony had left over three hours ago, and moves from behind her desk, placing their food on her chair before wheeling it over to where he is now using his phone to check his reflection in the camera.
Ziva clears his desk to place the take out containers atop of it, and scoots her chair to the side of his desk, making herself comfortable. She spreads out the food, and Tony takes the proffered chopsticks she offers him with one hand distractedly; still rubbing at the ink visible along his cheek.
"I do not think you are getting the rest of that off today." She remarks conversationally, before taking another bite of her lunch. Her partner, finally acknowledging her presence, shoots her a glare over the top of his cellphone, and tries futilely to rub at the remainder of the ink until he finally groans in defeat. Ziva smirks as he sets down his phone, and her eyes fall on the lock screen; her stomach flipping in the familiar way her partner usually induces. She smiles as a picture of the pair of them stays lit on the screen for several seconds, one from a baseball game Tony had dragged her to with his old college pal Mark and his wife, Celia, on a rare Saturday they had had off. She had forgotten that Mark's wife had insisted on taking their picture, and she's mesmerized by the carefree smile she finds on her face; a rare expression in the past that, she notes, has become more and more frequent recently.
But she halts her thoughts before they stray further to the reason why that is.
An unconscious smile pulls at her lips, and she diverts her attention once more to the food before her. If Tony notices the reaction, he remains quiet. Instead, he allows his gaze to linger on her for only a few moments before gesturing at the spread before them.
"I see I've trained you well, Special Agent David. Ten points for having your Senior Field Agent's lunch ready and waiting. Probie could learn a thing or two from you." He grins widely at her look of disdain, and she refrains from stabbing him forcefully with the chopstick in her hand.
She makes her effort of self restraint clear though, for she gestures wildly in his direction with the utensil, and she smirks as his eyes widen at the threat.
"I figured it was the least I could do since you offered to go keep our suspect's child occupied." Her eyes glint mischievously, and he pauses with his stir fry half-way to his mouth.
"Well, I didn't have much of a choice, did I, sweetcheeks?" He smiles sarcastically, nodding his head over to their empty co-workers desk behind her. "Since you and McGee decided to scamper down to Abby's lab when you saw Gibbs coming."
Ziva pokes at an allusive shallot with the end of her chopstick.
"I was helping McGee with verifying the evidence Abby had confirmed." She says neutrally, succeeding in piercing the shallot and several additional noodles. Tony grumbles under his breath as she looks up, chewing thoughtfully.
Waving at his jaw with her chopstick, she swallows over a mouthful of pad thai.
"So how did you come to have ink all over your face?"
Tony narrows his eyes at her as he engulfs another large bite of food, which Ziva wrinkles her nose at in disgust. Pushing her empty carton away, she moves back over to her desk, feeling Tony's gaze on her back as she begins searching through her bag she left beside her keyboard. Liberating a small packet of make-up wipes, she returns to her chair, and Tony continues chewing warily, watching her scoot closer until her knees bump the side of his chair.
He swallows while his adam's apple bobs nervously, and she can't tell if it's from the large bite he just tried to inhale, or if it's because she now holds his jaw still firmly with one hand.
"What are you doing?" He says worriedly, trying to roll his eyes so he can see what she's doing.
Ziva pinches his cheek lightly, pulling out a wipe with her other free hand.
"Hold still," she commands over his whine of exaggerated pain.
He does as he's told though, and he waits as the familiar scent of cucumber and apricot fill his nose as she wipes at his jaw gently. The scent reminds him of the casual Ziva he surprises on Friday nights with pizza and a movie, and it's one that he's gotten to know more intimately as of late. He doesn't realize he's zoned out until he hears his partner say his surname.
"DiNozzo," Ziva says forcefully, and he feels her grip leave his jaw.
He rubs at the ghost of her warm touch, returning his attention back to her.
Ziva rolls her eyes, balling up the wipe and throwing it into her empty take out container.
"Are you going to tell me how you managed to allow your face to become a coloring book?"
He returns back to his lunch, poking at the now cold vegetables she knew he wouldn't even consider finishing now.
"Suspect's daughter turns out to be a little Picasso. It was the only thing that would keep her entertained."
Ziva stifles a laugh with the back of her hand when he looks up to glare at her once more.
"You let a child draw on you for fun?" She asks, amazed.
Tony looks back down, shrugging his shoulders as if it weren't a surprise.
"She was cute." He reasons as way of explanation, and Ziva tilts her head to the side, appraising him.
"Do you often let cute girls draw on you?" She smirks, trying to catch his gaze, but he looks determinedly everywhere but her. Collecting the remnants of lunch, he begins piling their trash together, and she offers the last napkin as his hand searches the space for several moments purposefully. He nods in thanks, and wipes at his hands.
"I let you draw on my face once." He finally brings his gaze back to her, his eyes warm and playful, and the barest of smiles pull at her mouth as she recalls the memory.
"Like I said, she was cute," Tony continues, not letting the moment stretch on, and stands to push his chair back under his desk. He picks up their trash, squeezing between Ziva and the filing cabinet as he moves toward the trashcan. "I wouldn't mind a little girl like her." He throws over his shoulder, casual as day, and Ziva feels her eyebrows rise to her hairline in surprise.
Her partner, in general, shied away from children. She, too, found herself trying to keep her distance from them whenever a case involved them in rare circumstances. In fact, the only children she'd ever seen Tony comfortable around were Mark and Celia's, as she witnessed the other weekend at the baseball game; but, she reasoned, he'd been there since the moment they were born, and was accustomed to them.
And ever since they had acknowledged this thing that was between them a few months ago; though they had kept it low-key and had refrained from giving too much definition to what they both knew they were rapidly becoming, the subjects of marriage and children in any shape or form had been taboo up until this moment. They hadn't even let themselves go anywhere physically, yet. Neither of them, it seems, had decided just how exactly to move forward from where they'd been stuck for so long now. She was pretty confident she knew that he wanted this, just as she was sure that they wanted the same things. While they hadn't exactly come to the tipping point yet, she was sure they had been edging closer in closer as the weeks had passed.
And so the tension she observes in his back as he's turned away from her whilst throwing out their trash is understandable, but while the remark could easily be a throw away comment, something in her wanted to suddenly push this conversation further than she would normally.
"You think about that?"
She tries to keep her voice even, but her nerves are evident in the way her accent thickens. Wiping his hands once more, Tony turns around and makes his way back to her, and his face is carefully neutral.
"Well yeah, maybe one. A girl," he says offhandedly, and she feels him come to stand behind her, gripping the back of her chair. She focuses on her nails, examining them in her default nervous tick.
"A girl, hmm?" She chuckles, for she had always pegged him to want the opposite. Tony chuckles along with her, acknowledging her doubt, and begins rolling her backwards toward her desk. She laughs aloud when she lurches forward in surprise, and one of Tony's hands shoot out to steady her as he continues rolling her back.
"Yeah," he says, his voice more confident as she becomes less tense. Rolling her around to face him, he pushes her between her desk and Gibbs until she's returned to sitting before her desk. Tony leans on the arm rests over her, and his smile softens while his eyes seem to deepen in color.
"She's gonna be a knock-out," He grins confidently, "Curls for days, you know?" He pulls at one of her free curls, and Ziva's smile freezes on her face. Her mouth opens just slightly, but he continues on. "And these deep brown eyes; just like her mom's." His hand lingers against her cheek for just a moment, and she doesn't realize he's brushing at the corner of her eye until she feels the wetness wipe across her skin from his thumb.
He grins down at her knowingly, and she drops her gaze to his self aware smile.
She traces her thumb across his hand that rests on her armchair, and murmurs softly.
"Sounds like she is going to give you a run for your money, yes?"
Tony grins widely at her, and gives her a knowing look.
"Her mom already has. I woudn't expect anything less."