So, not much plot here. This is pure fluff. In fact, this is so sweet that you may want to arrange an appointment with your dentist before you read. Just a fair warning. Also, I struggled a bit with this, so I'd be very happy if you told me what you thought :P Enjoy!
P.S. I know I've already sort of played that Hebrew-has-a-special-meaning-for-Ziva card in another fic. But this was fun, and I needed to be cheered up. Sue me.
P.P.S Apart for some final touches, this was written before 10x23 Double Blind aired. Any connection you may find in here is pure coincidence, despite what Gibbs might have to say.
** Don't own nothing.
'Tni li yad, tni li makom, tni li yad, tni li makom, ezlech ba'olam…'
The song had been playing in her head for two days now. Like a broken record. Waking up, showering, filling out paper work... it wouldn't leave the back of her mind. It became like a soundtrack to her days, as well as her nights. She wasn't sure why; it wasn't on her current playlist, and she certainly didn't just hear it by accident anywhere, what with it being in Hebrew and all. And yet she kept humming and singing that song. That afternoon she even caught Tony whistling it, or at least, the parts of it he was able to catch. She suspected he wasn't even aware of what it was he was humming during their drive back home tonight.
Either way, she couldn't get it out of her head. She liked that song, but it was starting to drive her crazy. She thought perhaps if she went and listened to it, it would finally satisfy her brain's somewhat obsessive need to hear it over and over again.
"Ah, so that's what you've been singing all this time."
Oh, he did notice. Ziva smiled to herself. She could just make out his figure out of the corner of her eye, coming out of the bathroom and settling on the bed, getting under the covers. His contented sigh was just enough to pull her up from the chair by the desk, set her laptop to sleep, turn off the light and join him in the bedroom.
"Yes, that was the song," she responded. "It got stuck in my head for some reason. I can't make it go away."
She placed her phone on the cabinet next to her side of the bed and grabbed the book lying on it. She then climbed on the bed and sat against its head. She was tired, but somehow not quite ready to go to sleep just yet. She was just about to open the book where she had left off when she felt movement from Tony's side, and then his head peeked from under her hands, resting itself in her lap, facing her.
Putting her book away, she hummed in amusement. "Hi."
"Hi," he smiled up at her. She brought her fingers through his hair, lightly massaging his scalp. The voices of pleasure it elicited from him never failed to give her insides that warm, fuzzy feeling she liked so much. She watched him as he closed his eyes in delight, and felt his entire body relaxing at her touch.
"So, what's that song about?"
"Uh," she took a second, a bit surprised at his interest in a foreign song. "Well, it is about a man, asking a woman to let him in her life."
"Mmm." He shifted a little in her lap, finding a more comfortable position for his head. "And does she?"
She thought for a moment. "I don't know, the song does not say." She paused, then added, "They did spend a, uh… passionate night together, though, so I suppose there is a good chance she does."
"Huh," was all he said.
A few more minutes passed by, as he seemed to be indulging in her touch, while she was just happy with the opportunity to study his relaxed, handsome face. Then she felt him take a deeper breath, and he opened his eyes, his gaze right on hers.
"I have something I want to ask you."
"Sure, what is it?"
He waited a second. "Can you teach me how to tell you that I love you in Hebrew?"
"What?" she asked with a slight chuckle.
"I wanna learn how you say it," he explained as he scrambled up to sit close beside her. "I actually googled it, but something there confused me, I dunno. So, I thought I should go straight to the source," he finished with a grin.
She looked at him with amused surprise, and then nodded her head as she twisted to fully face him. "Okay, sure. Why not."
"Okay," he said, looking rather excited.
Ziva gaped at him with half a smile for just one more moment before she started. "It's actually pretty simple. Three words, just like in English. You have the 'I', the 'love' and the 'you', in that order."
"Alright? So it goes like this," she made sure he was following her words as she pointed a finger to herself. "A-ni."
"A-ni," he repeated.
"Yes, good! That means 'I'. So, A-ni; the next word is 'o-hev," she gestured with her hands at the two separate syllables.
"O-he… hev… o-… how do you say that?" Tony scrunched up his face in slight bafflement.
"O-hev. It's simple, think about it like… like when you say 'heavy', yes? It is the same sound, only without the Y at the end."
"Yes, exactly!" she exclaimed with a smile. "That means 'love'. So 'Ani ohev' is 'I love'."
"A-ni… o-hev…" he repeated again. "A-ni o-hev."
"Uh-huh, yes," Ziva approved. "And the last word is 'o-tach', which means 'you'."
"O… o-tah, o-tach," Tony coughed, apparently struggling with that last consonant. "A-ni… o-h-hev… o-tah."
Ziva smiled broadly, her eyes big and bright. They could work on pronouncing the Hebrew CH sound later, this was close enough.
"Gam ani ohevet otcha, Tony."
"Wait, what did you say? That was different, how come it was different?" he shot up in confusion.
"Relax," she giggled, "I only said that I love you, too."
"Oh," he eyed her with what she thought was a skeptical look.
Ziva laughed again as she put her hand over his. "Hebrew has different inflections for the different sexes, so it sounds a little different when I say it to you than when you say it to me."
"Oh," he said once more. "Hebrew is hard."
"Oh, I don't know," she shifted closer to him and brought her hand to his chest. "You seem to be getting it pretty easily."
"Yeah?" his own hand now laid right over her hip, his head lowered a little towards hers.
"Well then…" he lowered his voice, "let me try again." He opened his mouth, but seemed stuck as nothing came out.
"A-ni…" Ziva repeated, trying to help him start, but he found his words as soon as he heard the first letter.
"Ani ohev otah. Otach."
She smiled proudly, looking at him with wide, slightly surprised eyes. "Very good! You get an A plus in my class," she declared joyfully.
But it seemed that Tony's mind was in a different place than her light and fun one. He sighed softly, and brought his hand to cup her cheek gently but very purposefully, brushing his thumb back and forth. He looked straight into her eyes.
"Ani ohev otach, Ziva."
She could have sworn the world had stopped turning for a second or two, as his words hit her in the deepest place possible. She thought he was going to explode with the amount of emotion she felt pouring out of him, and flooding her heart. Then she realized she had been staring at him in shock for several seconds, mouth open for a gasp that never found its way out and eyes mesmerized with his. As she finally rediscovered her ability to move, she grabbed the back of his head and closed the gap between them, capturing his lips in a kiss.
A long minute and a few additional small pecks afterwards, Ziva pulled back.
Tony looked at her with mild amusement. "Are you seriously thanking me for loving you?" he chuckled. "That is, like, the worst-"
"No, I'm not thanking you for that!" she retorted playfully as she smacked his chest. "I am thanking you for…" she paused, searching for the right words. "For the effort you just made to… reach me."
"Well," his eyes smiled softly at her, "you know…"
"Yes," she kissed him again. "I do know." She clasped their hands together. "I love you, Tony. So much. And I promise you," she held his gaze intently, "the effort has not gone unappreciated." They both brought their foreheads together. "And the message… got through."
Together they laid back down, and as Ziva turned on her side to turn off the lamp on the cabinet, Tony turned along with her to spoon her body with his, his face buried in her soft hair. As they were drifting off to sleep, Ziva was vaguely aware of that seemingly everlasting tune in her head slowly fading away.
And so, her mind was left full with nothing but sweet love, and peace.
I feel obliged to add this: the song is called "Ezlech BaOlam" ("In Your World"), originally by Evyatar and Meir Banai, covered by HaYehudim ("The Jews"). You can use this transliteration if you want to look for it, by the way. And the line cited at the beginning says, "Give me a hand, give me a place / Give me a hand, give me a place / In your world."