Disclaimer: There'll come a time when I'll run out of titles for fics, and I'll start titling them "The Fic That Must Not Be Named 1" and "The Fic That Must Not Be Named 2"...
Spoilers: Takes place after 11x02 "Past, Present, Future," but no major spoilers to that episode. References to 7x13 "Jet Lag."
Dedication: To Anne, who should really stop playing Candy Crush and start working on some fics for me.
Notes: This fic was born when Anne gave me the following prompt: "TIVA REUNION IN PARIS WITH BAGUETTES AND SEXYTIMES" (caps included). I'm not sure why baguettes were so important to her, but this fic is the result :P needless to say, sexytime is implied. And when I say 'implied,' I mean 'it stops short of being explicit,' not 'it might have happened.' It's only a very short section, but it's a section nonetheless, so I thought I'd make this clear.
The weather in Paris was fine.
It had rained earlier; the light drizzle had left streets clean and the air smelling simultaneously fresh and pungent. As Tony pushed his way through the throng of busy shoppers, office workers, and camera-toting tourists, he took in the sights around him.
Apart from one significant difference, nothing had changed in the years since he had been to Paris.
It had never really occurred to him how many winding streets one had to pass through in order to reach the café where he and Ziva had breakfasted. The journey seemed longer than it was in his memory. Perhaps it was because he had had a scooter then where he now did not, but—no. Who was he kidding? It was the mere lack of Ziva.
Life dragged on without her.
He quickened his pace of walking.
He had arrived early.
And now he wished he had not, because the ticking of the needle on his watch to the hour was making him nervous. Had she changed? he wondered. What if she had cut her hair; changed her style of clothing? What if he couldn't recognize her—or worse, she couldn't remember him? Did she still remember him? Did she still love him?
The hand on his shoulder made him jump a foot. A husky voice whispered into his ear, "You got our table, I see," and then he found himself grinning uncontrollably.
Launching himself out of his chair, he tugged his hapless victim into an Abby-worthy hug.
"Ziva," he murmured into the Israeli-American's soft curls. She relaxed in his arms; he inhaled deeply, remembering the scent of citrus and spice and almost nine years of shared history. "Ziva."
She hummed softly, tilting her face up to kiss him. "Don't cry, mon chéri. I am here."
He wiped away the tear he did not know had fallen. "Sorry. Your hair got in my eyes," he excused sheepishly.
"Mm-hmm," she answered with a smirk, pressing another kiss to his lips.
"Beautiful country. Nice people; very nice scenery."
"China? I have never been."
"I do not speak any Mandarin. Or other Chinese languages, for that matter."
"Well, I don't speak French, and I'm in France."
"Mmm … Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile."
"That's quite a lot."
"I have been all over most of Western Europe and South America."
"How did you even get the money for that?"
"I have my sources."
"Do not worry; they are perfectly legal and have nothing to do with Mossad."
"Which is good."
"Only with you, Tony."
"Mmh … gnat!" He jerked awake with a start, swatting at the tickle against his cheek.
For a moment, he was disoriented. Sunlight was streaming in through thin, translucent curtains, lighting up a room that was definitely not his own; a head of luscious brown hair was resting on his chest, and … oh.
"It's you." The words came reflexively when he recognized the doe-like eyes looking at him, and then Ziva was frowning hard.
"Do you not want it to be me?" she asked carefully.
"I think I'm just not used to it," he breathed, pulling her in closer. "I spent so much time missing you, Ziva, that I still miss you."
She sighed heavily. "I'm sorry."
"I just … have to convince myself that it's not a dream," he murmured, catching a lock of her hair in between his fingers and twirling it far too wistfully. "So, what are we doing today?"
"Croissants, baguettes, and French cheese," he announced grandly, gesturing with both hands towards the spread before him. "You spoil me, my ever-blooming sunflower."
She rolled her eyes towards the ceiling. "It is not even a proper Parisian lunch," she retorted, annoyance dripping from her voice. "Only you would come to Paris and ask for nothing more than French bread."
"I'll save the escargot for dinner, thank you very much," he answered smoothly, holding up his hand to keep her from saying whatever it was that she had been about to say. "And now, let us dig into this goat's cheese."
"You miss her, huh?"
"Yes. Let us start with her."
"Old lab, new lab equipment. Old skull-motif jewellery, new boy toy."
"What? Ask me about McGee."
"I lied about the new boy toy."
"Oh, yeah, the Goth and the Geek gettin' it on. Now, the way I see it, McGee's more of a reused boy—"
"Was it something I said?"
"You have not changed at all. Gibbs."
"I meant, 'What about Gibbs,' Tony."
"Oh. Well. Gibbs is … eh, he's Gibbs."
"That is not informative."
"How would you describe Gibbs?"
"My point exactly."
"Okay. What about Ducky? And Jimmy?"
"Still the best medical examiner in town and still married to Breena, respectively. They have a baby now, though—Jimmy and Breena, I mean."
"Yeah. Adopted. Cutest little thing. All the cute feet and the tiny hands and the teeny little fingers—"
"You are quite enamoured with this child, huh?"
"Well, yeah, Ziva. Out of everyone they could've chosen, they chose me as godfather. I can't even explain what that means to me."
"She's my hope. She's the reason I still dream of a family."
"All I'm saying is, I do not understand why you want to spend all day in a hotel room when you're in Paris."
He ran a frustrated hand through his hair, trying not to take her words too much to heart. The last time they had been in Paris, Ziva had been the one who had protested against sightseeing, stating the assignment as the reason; as much as that had been a valid argument, he had persisted in visiting the more beautiful corners of the famous city. He had, after all, never had her advantage of having been to Paris more than half a dozen times.
Now that he had gotten his fill of French scenery, though, he was content to stay in their hotel room, but it seemed that Ziva had gotten struck by a case of cabin fever.
She currently sat two feet from him, exasperation etched into her face at the fact that he was refusing to leave the comfort of their bed. If he were to be honest with himself, the sight made his heart ache.
"Ziva," he pleaded. "I'm in Paris with you. This is the first time I've seen you in almost a year. I don't care about how nice the Eiffel Tower looks at sunset—"
"There are other things to visit than the Eiffel Tower."
"—I care about spending time with you, and I can't do that if I'm busy carrying a camera around—"
"We will still be together."
"Are you bored of me already?"
She froze. He dropped his face into his hands.
"349 days. That's how long I went without you," he murmured eventually.
Her voice was one of soft disbelief. "You counted?"
"Didn't you?" he asked. She stayed silent. "I didn't want to count, y'know. Believe me, of everything I've ever done in my life, missing you wasn't one of the things I liked doing. But I missed you anyway, and when you told me we could meet in Paris … god, Ziva, for the first time in a year, I was counting towards something. Screw the Eiffel Tower. Screw everything. Screw Paris. I just wanted you." He looked up at her. "And now it feels like you were looking for nothing more than a tour buddy."
"Tony … no." She moved towards him, straddling his lap and capturing his jaw with her warm hands. "That is not how I intended to appear, at all. I just—I thought you liked sightseeing. And I never did take you around the last time we were in Paris, the way I should have—"
"But that's in the past," he cut her off softly. "And I don't want a re-enactment of the past. I want a fulfilment of the present."
Her thumb brushed across the stubble on his chin. "The present?"
"Yeah. Where…" His voice caught. "Where you realize that for a whole year, the only thing I wanted to see again, once more … was you."
"If you could have one wish, what would it be?"
"I think you already granted me mine."
"Be serious, DiNozzo. One wish that does not involve me lazing around in bed with you."
"Hmm … I think that would be, 'To meet one of the Bond stars.' Preferably Sean Connery. You?"
"I think … I would like to see my mother again."
"Wow. T-that's better than what I could have come up with."
"It will not come true, anyway."
"Do not be. But for what it's worth, I think she would have liked you."
"Does the baby—"
"Eloise. Does Eloise have a godmother?"
"Just … answer the question. Please."
"Actually, no. No, she doesn't have a godmother."
"Second to last day," he murmured, playing with her hair. She had been tucked up tightly against him, watching a movie he was barely paying attention to; at his words, she had looked up, and was now gazing contemplatively at him.
"It is the third to last day, really," she corrected.
"The day after tomorrow doesn't count," he told her. "Not when I have to be at the airport before noon, and we'll just be sitting there for three hours, doing nothing."
"I will be with you every step of the way."
"Ziva." Her name came out more as a sob than a sigh. "When did you get so strong?"
Her tormented brow crumpled. "What do you mean?"
"This whole week—these whole four days—I've just been telling myself, 'Don't fall too much into her; she has to leave at the end,' but you got me, anyway." He stroked the smoothness of her cheek. "How do you keep walking away?"
For the first time since they had met up in a little Parisian café where memories from happier times lived, her eyes were wet. "I tell myself that I will be a better me when I return to you."
"Second to last day," he repeated, a muffled reminder against the soft lips that were brushing his repeatedly.
"I know." Her voice broke. She took a shuddering breath, pressing her body closer in a bid to meld them together. "But not for long, I promise."
"Scout's Honour?" His voice was desperate, but neither acknowledged the fact.
"Scout's Honour," she confirmed. "This time next year, I will be in DC."
She ran a hand up his jaw, her thumb brushing tingles into his cheekbone. "I will do everything in my power to make it so."
A soft, content sigh at the glide of a hand.
Trembling thighs and moans spilling from swollen lips that would not cease.
Tousled hair matted to sweat-marked skin.
Urgent need, burning red hot.
More. Faster. Harder. Please!
And at its climax—
—He wondered if he would ever stop missing her.
He grinned at the treat before him. "Red wine?"
"Red wine," she concurred with a smile.
"Steak au Poivre and red wine!" he crowed happily, grabbing the fork and the knife lying before him with all the zest of a long-starved man. "You spoil me!"
"So I have been told," she replied dryly. She cut into the meat much more sedately and ignored his attempts to overtly admire her poise. "Dig in before it gets cold."
His smile grew into a beam. "Hey, you got the idiom right!"
"Ziva? Have you given any thought to where you're going next?"
She hummed lightly as she moved their room-service tray to the carpeted floor and dusted her hands off before nestling into the pillows against the headboard. He joined her, tugging her to him so that her head rested on his shoulder instead.
"Back to Israel, I think," she said quietly. "There were some places I did not get to before…"
"Hmm." He wondered where those were.
"And you?" she enquired, resting a palm on his leg.
"Home," he answered simply, "to wait."
"So, I guess this is it."
"I'm gonna miss you, you know."
"I will miss you too, Tony. So much."
"… I'll see you around, 'kay?"
"Count to a hundred—count to a hundred … and I promise I will be home."