note: Ta-da! Okay I would've posted this earlier today but things happened and then I went out and socialized so you're getting it past my 3am. Little thing to say, this story's kinda all about sex. Not in an explicit way, but if you prefer not to read stuff pertaining to it or anything then avert your peepers elsewhere, I'd say. If you're still here, hooray! Like I said it's not explicit but it centres round sex, so yeah.
Thanks go to Anne and Sophie, as they so often do, particularly Sophie since some of the dialogue was helpfully provided by her.
disclaimer: The pub quiz I went to tonight was the first time I've been out in weeks. Nothing NCIS-related has happened to me besides tears. Disclaimed.
listening to: Only Love, by Ben Howard.
The first time it happens, it's what some would call a lapse in judgment. They're slightly drunk and she tips over the popcorn and the laughs subside into serious air that catalyses when he reaches out and touches her cheek. Their kisses are hard and messy and he barely has time to reach for her before she's standing up and dragging him through to the bedroom. Their clothes come off in a glorious race and they topple to the bed almost unexpectedly. It's all so fast, no time for control or savouring moments. And it's the same at all three rounds, after which they lie tangled half in sheets and half in each other and drift off to sleep at 3am.
And though, in the morning, things aren't that awkward, and he drags her over to stand between his knees as he kisses her goodbye for a good five minutes, they don't talk about it. They continue as normal at work, save for the slightly different gazes they share and perhaps the even stronger tension between them.
The second time it happens, it's a week and a half after the first. There's a knock that sounds on his door and he pulls it open to see Ziva standing and staring at him, looking almost breathless.
"I've got 20 minutes," she says, and his eyebrows raise until she walks toward him, hands cupping his face as she kisses him near ferociously. They stumble back into a wall and then a door and he thinks something shatters but he's too wrapped up in Ziva to care. It's quick, like their first time, but he does take a little more time to admire her before him and she doesn't seem to mind.
They lie with ragged breath for only a few minutes or so before she peels herself off him and re-dresses before his very eyes, announcing her departure for Norway, of all places, with McGee. He kisses her again before she leaves, but it's slower and seems more dragged-out than any of the others they've shared as late. She pulls away with a whispered apology and he makes her promise she'll return safely.
He tries to go back to bed and sleep, but gives up and ends up sweeping broken glass for hours.
He half-expects her to turn up at his door as soon as he hears they're back, but she doesn't. Though he contemplates calling, he guesses she'll need some space, and so he sits on the couch, beer in hand, and pretends to relax until he can't bear the emptiness surrounding him much longer. He picks up his phone and shoots off a quick text of Will you be over tonight? and waits for longer than his sanity would like. His reply comes in the knock of a door and he practically tears it open before sliding his arms round Ziva and kissing her.
It's slower that night, like they're both more aware that they have more time. He holds her close and trails kisses all over her and murmurs things into her ear that he hardly acknowledges himself. It's all softness and warmth and when they fall asleep her head's on his chest and his arms are wrapped round her.
They don't necessarily talk about what they should do the next morning, but they have hushed exchanges of "Good morning," and "How was Norway?" before their lips meet again and they fit in another round before work.
Sometime, a few weeks later, she texts and asks him if he's free. He is, of course, and he tells her so, but something in his mind reminds him it's a Friday, and that they don't have work tomorrow, and that just maybe that means she won't have to leave.
When he lets her in, she smiles at him almost shyly, and his eyes take in the rather full-looking bag that's clutched in one hand. Whilst she turns and shrugs her coat off, he steps behind her and wraps his arms round her waist, pulling her closer to him and grinning as she yelps. His chin brushes her shoulder as he moves his mouth to her ear.
"Miss David, are you planning on staying the night?"
Her hands squeeze his from their position on her waist.
"I was hoping you would not mind if I did."
His teeth nip at her earlobe and then brush against her neck as his lips trail downward.
"Oh, I don't mind at all."
It's the first time they've acknowledged what they do before they act, he mentally notes, and he rather likes it. That, and the feel of her back pressed against him rather comfily. Eventually, though, she tires of the dramatics and turns in his arms to kiss him.
They don't make it to the bed, but somehow the cool leather of his couch makes everything a whole lot more intimate. Ziva just ends up lying on top of him after, head atop her folded arms on his chest, and he runs a hand through her hair evenly as she stares at him with slow-blinking eyes.
"What?" he asks, and the side of her mouth quirks into a sated, if tiny, smile.
"Nothing. I... I like this, that's all."
He gently grasps her shoulders and pulls her up to him so her head's right above his, and he kisses her yet again.
"I like it too."
He sends her a small grin before his lips find hers once more and they lose themselves again.
Returning to normality after what is effectively an entire weekend spent together is difficult. Even in such a short space of time, he'd gotten surprisingly used to having her there, just within reach, to hold or to kiss as he pleased. But the Tuesday after the Sunday evening during which she left is when his composure cracks, and honestly, he's embarrassed how quickly it does so.
They're walking back to their desks after being in MTAC when her arm brushes his and something within him sparks. He's hardly aware of his hand reaching out and taking hers, or the smooth easy way with which he steps back into the copy room, nor the way he slides the lock shut before pressing her up against the door and kissing her with all he can muster.
"I've been waiting to do that since Sunday." he tells her as he buries his face in her hair.
"I have been waiting for you to do that since Sunday."
The room's mildly dark but his eyes still catch hers and he lets out an incredulous laugh.
"We really gotta talk about these things."
"I suppose we do, yes."
He cocks his head and realizes that her words do indeed run deeper than they sound.
"What, here? In the copy room, in the dark, with Gibbs wanting us to go do something, now?"
She shakes her head and instead suggests she go to his place that evening. He agrees but still gets a few minutes worth of kisses out of her before she fixes her hair and exits.
He greets her with a chaste kiss that feels so domestic it's startling, then fetches her a beer and sits next to her on the couch. She's eyeing the leather somewhat and he knows what memory is going through her mind. When she looks up, she shuffles closer, and the lack of space between them is actually a comfort.
"We should talk." she tells him, voice thick, and he takes a sip of his beer.
She nods as if he should be the one to start.
"I, uh, hate to use the cliché phrase, but what are we doing here?"
She swigs a bit of beer and he understands the feeling. This is deep-feelings-stuff they're talking about here, and that's something they've never been too good at.
"I think there is a saying. Testing the waters, yes?"
"Yeah. And... is that what we're doing?"
"It may be what we're trying to do."
"Well, what do you think?"
She pauses, eyes darting away from his as she gathers her thoughts, then looks back to him.
"I think that... I like this very much. And that I would also like it if it went any further than this, if that were an option."
"What if I said it was?"
"Then I'd commit to it."
He can't help the smile he gives her, or the way his hand reaches out and laces their fingers together without him thinking.
"So would I."
She grins at him as they put their drinks down and he leans over her to kiss her. It's a lazy and slow embrace and somehow she ends up lying with her back flat against the cushions as he towers over her with their lips still locked. When he pulls back, his hand cups her cheek and he grins at her; she laughs a tiny laugh and places her hand over his on her skin.
He thinks perhaps their commitments have just been made there and then, but he's never loved anything, or anyone, more.
When they make it off the couch and into his bed he savours every single moment more than he has done before. The warmth of her skin, the curve of her hip, the dimples at the bottom of her spine, all of it surrounds him and masks him until it's just the two of them and a silent, soft mattress that they press into. The sounds engulf him, hitched breaths and gasping moans that fade to the distance and drive him mad and yet they're all he hears. It's so very different to everything else he's ever experienced with her, and yet it feels familiar; it feels right.
And that's why he just pulls her closer and kisses her harder because that's all he can do. At least, for now.
I'd love to know what you thought.