Chapter 1

Note: This is a Callen/Ziva story. Please don't hate me (too much) for that pairing. I do have other favorite ships too, but I just think they would be ... right for each other. I know I tagged it as "Romance" but that's because there's no "Friends with benefits" tag... The "H/C" stands.

This chapter is set in season 4 of NCIS and before NCIS LA started.

Washington DC, 2007

Special Agent G. Callen carefully tipped his glass towards the woman sitting beside him on a relatively clear corner of the workbench in Gibbs' basement.

"To... no more stand-offs?"

Ziva David, liaison officer between Mossad and NCIS, touched her cup softly to his.

"I am not sure what that means, but I'd like to drink this, so..."

He chuckled. "It means no more pointing guns at each other"

She nodded. "Good. Although...I could have easily taken you out, you know"

Callen couldn't help baiting her a little. "If it makes you feel better to think that...sure"

She bristled. "There are at least ten ways I could kill you with only a paperclip, Agent Callen"

"Good thing there're no paperclips around, then. Killing me would be quite the waste"

"Now you sound like my partner. He also thinks he is God's gift to women"

He raised an eyebrow and smiled at her. "I meant a waste of perfectly good office supplies, of course"

She opened her mouth to respond and then realized what he was doing.

"Are you...flirting with me, Agent Callen?"

"If you have to ask I'm obviously not doing a very good job... But actually not really, I'm just trying to get on your good side so you won't carry out your threats to kill me"

The banter and easy flowing conversation continued well into the night and Callen had to admit this was the most fun he had on a date in years. Of course, this wasn't a date, just a friendly drink, or five, between fellow agents. Right.

He had arrived in Washington DC earlier that day, summoned by Director Sheppard. The pretext was a lengthy debriefing following a case they'd just closed in LA; Callen suspected she more likely wanted to assess his state of mind personally after his long and hard undercover job in the course of the case in question. He accepted Gibbs' offer to crash in his spare bedroom and was just getting settled in when he found himself face-to-face with a gun. The woman at the other end of said gun seemed vaguely familiar but he couldn't quite place her. She looked like she meant business, in any case.

"Keep your hands where I can see them. Who are you?" she stayed well out of his range of motion, gun pointing surely at his chest.

"I'm a friend of Jethro's. He's letting me stay here for a couple of days"

She shook her head, clearly not believing him. "Nobody calls him that. I'll ask again, who are you?"

Not being sure who she was, Callen couldn't take the chance of giving her the wrong name.

"Well, since I can hardly show you any ID..." he demonstratively looked at the gun "... maybe you should go first. Who are you and what are you doing in my friend's house?"

"I'm the one holding the gun, and that's all you need to know for now. On the ground, hands behind your head"

He moved as if to lower himself to his knees and was flat on the ground with his own gun pointed at her in less than a second.

"Okay, what now?" long seconds passed and none of them moved an inch.

"Ziva, Callen, what the hell? Lower your weapons" Gibbs stopped just inside the room.

"You know her?" "You know him?" both spoke at the same time.

"Well yeah, obviously. Wanna explain what you're doing?"

"She just pointed a gun at me and..." "I heard someone moving upstairs and I..." again at the same time.

Gibbs resisted the urge to roll his eyes and willed his heart to slow down; this could have turned into a disaster very quickly.

"G, you got here early"

"Yeah, caught an earlier flight"

"I didn't have time to inform my team of your arrival. She came to work on some files..." he shook his head. "Putting you two together in one room...Good thing I came in right after you" he looked at Ziva. "Anyway, Special Agent G. Callen, Officer Ziva David"

"Special Agent?" "Officer?"

Callen smirked as he packed his gun away. "We gotta stop talking at the same time, Officer David. Mossad, right?"

She nodded, still obviously pissed. "You?"

"Me? I'm not Mossad"

She threw him a look that would have sent the toughest Marine running for his life; Callen just smiled, not saying anything.

Gibbs had had enough. "He's NCIS Ziva, from the OSP in Los Angeles. The undercover unit, that's why you've never seen his face. And you Callen, you should've seen at least her photo by now"

He shook his head ruefully. "Deep undercover for the last few months. I guess I did at some point, but..."

Gibbs glared at both of them, using annoyance to cover the scare. "Yeah, yeah. So, take-out?"

The take-out was followed by a visit to the basement and a bottle of bourbon. Gibbs left at some point, presumably to go to bed, and Ziva stayed to keep their apparently never-sleeping guest some company.

Hours later she threw the second empty bottle in the trash, standing up and stretching. "I am...cat-tired. I'll call a cab and go. See you tomorrow?"

He chuckled "You mean dog-tired." On second thought, she did remind him a bit of a big cat, gorgeous and graceful and potentially deadly... 'Too much to drink G., don't go there. She's off limits' he reminded himself half-heartedly, feeling pleasantly warm and fuzzy.

"I'm not meeting the Director at the Navy Yard. Too many people. If you wanna meet after..."

He could kick himself. 'Where the hell did that come from?' Maybe the Director was right; too much time undercover and he needed some time to remember who he was and what he did. Or, more exactly, what he didn't do, and that was date law-enforcement.

"Are you asking me out on a date, Agent Callen?" she smiled.

"No. No. Just...you know, to join me for some food and drinks, as a colleague. I..." he had to come clean "I have this rule...I don't date cops." He knew he should have stopped there, but she didn't say anything and he had the weird need to fill the silence with something. "Someone owns her own pair of handcuffs...I don't date her" he tried to joke.

Her smile got wider and she moved towards him, getting well into his personal space. "Anything against handcuffs, Agent Callen? Or just the idea of...being dominated scares you?"

He swallowed thickly and couldn't tear his eyes off her lips. She licked them slowly, still smiling, and moved back.

"But okay, no date then. Just some friendly food and drinks. I am a pretty good cook, you know, and I rarely have the chance to cook for somebody else. How does Italian sound?" she was all friendly again, like nothing happened. 'Well, nothing really did, but...'

What was he supposed to say to that?

"Sure, thanks. See you tomorrow then" 'Oh hell...'


Callen leaned back in his chair, too stuffed to do much of anything else.

"This was amazing! Thank you Ziva, you really are a great cook"

She smiled, obviously pleased "Thanks. You don't have to sound so surprised, though. You didn't think I could do it?"

"That's not it. It's just, in your...well, our, line of work, there's not much time to pursue many hobbies. It's nice to have something, though, to take your mind off things and keep your hands busy"

She sighed. "Yeah. Like Gibbs with his boat, no?"

He smiled. "Exactly"

"What about you?"

Callen shook his head. "I work undercover, sometimes for extended periods of time. I'm always...somebody else" he tried to lighten the tone "Besides, I have no basement to build a boat in"

"What about dating?"

'Huh' "What about it?"

"How do you manage do date anyone if you're, as you said, always somebody else?"

He was silent for a few moments. "I...don't much. But my aliases have a good time sometimes" he tried to laugh but couldn't quite pull it off.

"You have this way, of using humor to...cover up" she smiled a bit sadly.

'I have lots of ways to cover up. I have to' "Look, Ziva..."

She stopped him. "No, it's okay. I'm sorry I brought it up. I was just curious last night, why your rule about not dating cops"

He'll never quite know what made him open up to her with something he'd never otherwise shared.

"They...I don't mean just cops, but any kind of law-enforcement, sometimes they... Let's just say that no matter how close you are to someone, you risk finding yourself secondary to the mission, and trust me, it's not a pleasant feeling"

Images of her brother's body in Gibbs' basement, dead by her own hands, flashed in front of her eyes and she closed them briefly. "Yeah, for neither side"

They were both silent for a while.

"I'm sorry I..."

"I shouldn't have..."

Callen grinned, the mood lightened. "We still seem to have this habit of talking at the same time. So, more wine?"

He got up to leave a couple of hours later, again having had the best time he remembered in ages.

"Thank you again, Ziva. This... it felt really good to be able to be myself for a change. I needed it"

"You are quite welcome. And I needed it too. I don't have many friends here, and even less I can tell spy stories to, however ...redacted they may be" she smiled.

"So we're friends?"

"Absolutely. I don't cook for just anyone, you know"

He leaned in to kiss her on the cheek and she turned her head, his lips landing on hers. Callen might have thought it was an accident if she hadn't angled her head just right to maximize contact, mouth opening slightly under his. He kissed her lightly, enjoying the feel of her, then pulled back.

"Ziva..."

She put a finger on his lips, quieting him. "G, we're...still friends" she looked him in the eyes, willing him to understand what she was saying. He did, he really did, but...

"Look, rule or no rule, we live on opposite sides of the country and..."

"But we're here now"

"That we are" he took a deep breath, eyes straying to her lips of their own volition. He didn't really need much convincing, if he wanted to be honest with himself. "So, friends?"

"Uh-huh. Friends" she mumbled the last part against his mouth.

The kiss started light again but got harder fast as he slowly licked her lips, a hand on the back of her head and one on her hip. She molded her whole body to his and gasped into his mouth as she felt the hardness against her belly. His tongue was doing some pretty amazing things to her mouth and Ziva couldn't remember ever getting this hot from just kissing.

"Bedroom, now"

By the time they reached the room in question most of their clothing littered the hallway.

She pushed him down on the bed and straddled him, leaning down for some more kissing. He grabbed her hips and pulled her down to rub against him, breath hitching as her mouth moved to his neck. He flipped them over and she didn't resist the move, impatiently pushing her jeans and underwear off in one move. Callen stopped for a second to admire her toned body, curves in all the right places, face flushed. It only took seconds for him to lose whatever clothing he had left and be back to kissing her deeply. He tried to go a little slower this time, feeling like he was about to lose any traces of control left. He cupped her breasts and lowered his mouth to a nipple, licking and then sucking harder, encouraged by the sounds she was making. Alternating between the two nipples he moved a hand lower, lightly caressing along her chest and abdomen. He let a finger trace her folds gently, over and over and she bucked up into his hand, desperate for more contact. The tip of his finger found her clit and flicked it a couple of times before sliding it to caress inside of her. He moved it slowly in and out, bending and twisting it to find her sweet spots, unbelievably turned on by the sight she was making, writhing on the bed under his hands. Her nails dug into his arm as she tried to ride his hand; he wouldn't let her, pinning her hips in place. This was pure torture, she thought, the intense pleasure but not quite enough friction to allow her to finish. She opened her eyes to glare at him. "You finish this now or I swear to God I will kill you!"

He smirked, obviously pleased with himself, but he had to admit he couldn't wait much more either. His smirk completely disappeared as she grabbed a condom from the nightstand and slowly, too slowly, began to roll it on him. He was so hard it hurt and way too close to the edge for his liking. She pumped him a couple of times, fist squeezing hard, as she finished putting the condom on and he couldn't stop the deep groan and the bucking of his hips.

She leaned back on the bed and pulled him on top. He stopped breathing for a moment and froze as he slid inside of her for the first time, fighting for some semblance of composure. Obviously way too much time had passed since Callen did this last and now he was struggling to not completely embarrass himself.

Her hips moved beneath his, impatient, and she bit down on his neck. He began to move, completely unable to wait another moment longer. Again he tried to take things slower but she wouldn't let him, apparently being about as desperate as he felt. "More, God, please...yeah, close...please..."

He pumped harder, snapping his hips faster into her, almost afraid of the intense need and total loss of control he was experiencing. Callen wasn't normally especially vocal in bed, but he couldn't stop the sounds making their way out from between his clenched teeth as her nails dug hard into his ass and she arched under him, head thrown back. Apparently she, on the other hand, was vocal, and the scream in his ear combined with the rippling of her internal muscles around him drove him over the edge too. He pumped erratically a couple more times before his whole body seized, the pleasure blinding, stifling a long and agonized groan into her neck.

He let himself slide sideways after a few moments, too weak to really move.

"That was...unbelievable"

Ziva smiled at him, still trying to catch her breath.

"Yeah, it definitely was. Still, we should try and see if it was just an accident or we could maybe repeat the performance"

He turned towards her, raising his eyebrows. "Don't you think you should give me a few minutes to...regroup here? At least...that's what a friend would do"

She mock-pouted at him. "Okay, maybe a few minutes..."