jelena says: More silliness for you to enjoy.
This will be his last coffee for the day. Really. It’s his third, and although he’s been known to do four or even five during a really long or particularly difficult day, Tony knows that if he has another one after this he won’t sleep a wink when he finally heads home. He has hope that will not be too far away from now. He is running one final computer search for information on a suspect, and then he will be able to gather up his little special agent backpack and go home to enjoy some special agent dreams. Experience tells him that he will be able to finish the rest of this cappuccino without it disrupting his plans to pass out in front of Sportscentre. He wants to gulp it, but he figures he’ll need it to last at least another half hour. So he nurses it like a weight watcher savoring the two squares of chocolate they’re allowed in a week.
Gibbs and McGee have both gone home, but Ziva is hanging around to finish her own searches. While Tony sits at his desk, reclined as far back as his chair will allow, his partner stands by the window overlooking the harbor. She is far more interesting and attractive than his computer screen, and he has been quietly watching her for ten minutes as she breathes on the glass and draws patterns in the condensation. He can’t help thinking it is a girlish, whimsical thing that he wouldn’t expect from a hardened soldier who grew up in a war zone. But he knows she hasn’t really been hardened in a long time. Not in the way she used to be.
The longer he knows her, the more he wonders how much of the cast iron shell she wore back in the good ol’ days was actually an act. He can’t deny that she loved (and still loves) guns and knives and getting to beat the crap out of people. He can’t deny that she can be short on patience and that her natural inclination is to deliver a verbal tongue lashing when she is annoyed. And he’s aware that she can sometimes be cold and detached when she’s in a situation that would have most people crying, panicking or otherwise breaking down. But that detachment comes from her wisdom and experience, and Tony believes that cops—the good ones, anyway—are able to separate themselves from a situation when they need to so that they can get the job done. He doesn’t blame Ziva for her intermittent detachment. Indeed, he forgives her for it because he understands it, and because he knows he does the same thing.
The fact is that the woman who is currently drawing flowing, loopy lines over the windowpane does have a girlish, whimsical side. He has seen inside her underwear drawer, and knows it is filled with enough pastel pink lace and pale yellow silk to fill a lingerie catalogue. He knows that the toes inside her combat boots are probably painted with deep purple-red polish right now. He knows that she goes to the flower market at the beginning of every spring to buy an armload of daffodils. He knows that she once squealed in shock and panic when she saw a spider the size of her hand in her apartment and forced him to “be a man” and get rid of it (which he had done with a broom from a distance of five feet while shaking in fear). And he knows that when she sleeps, she likes to snuggle.
Perhaps drawing patterns on the glass is not that much out of character after all.
“You are staring,” she says softly, as if delivering the rebuke only because it is expected, rather than because she is actually bothered by his eyes.
“No, I’m sleeping with my eyes open,” he lies.
“My butt is tingling,” she argues.
“I think you can get creams for that.”
“The way it does when you are staring,” she continues, ignoring his joke.
“Just when I stare?” he asks. “Or when anyone stares?” He thinks this might be important to know.
“When you stare,” she confirms, and then breathes on the glass again and drags her finger through the fog.
“Are you saying my eyes have a weight to them that other people’s don’t? Can this be scientifically proven?”
“I have not run lab tests,” she admits. “But personal experience supports my belief.”
“Well, it would,” he points out. “I wasn’t staring at your butt. I was trying to work out if it’s weird that our ex-Mossad warrior princess is drawing flowers on the window while gazing at the river.”
Her head barely tilts in his direction, and although he can’t quite make out her profile he is almost certain there is a smirk on her lips. “I am not drawing flowers. This,” she says with a few slices of her fingertips, “is a fourth generation Glock 17 with a front rail mounted tactical light.”
A smile spreads across his face and he lets his head fall to the side. He doesn’t believe her for a second, but letting her have the benefit of the doubt will be more fun than arguing. “Oh, Ziva. Don’t ever change.”
She finishes her drawing and then turns and leans back against the windowpane to look at him. “Do you think that within our lifetime the world will run out of enough oil and coal to meet the world’s energy needs? And that rolling blackouts and fuel rations and blankets instead of heaters will be something that we will all have live with on a regular basis?”
For a moment the question stupefies him. That…is not what he thought she was going to say. And he doesn’t have a clue how to answer. “I think I might need to be drunk for this conversation.”
She’s not willing to wake that long. “Back in the ice age humans had more body hair to help them cope with the extreme temperatures. Do you think eventually we will all become hairier again?”
“Are you about to tell me that you’ve decided to stop shaving your legs? Because I have to object to that.”
Ziva shakes her head and gives him that smirk that usually complements a backhanded remark. “No, I am just saying that you, Tom Selleck and Sean Connery will probably be the last men alive.”
Oh, she thinks she’s so cute. “I know you’re trying to insult me, but putting me in the same league as Selleck and Connery on any issue is actually a compliment.”
“I am not trying to insult you!” she lies. “I am trying to think of who will be the most effective human blanket to keep me from freezing to death. I am being strategic.”
Another grin graces his face. “Being strategic, hitting on me, potato, potahto.”
She smiles softly but ignores his comment. “Or perhaps I could find myself a large grizzly bear to slice open and crawl inside.”
“Taking the Empire Strikes Back route?”
“If it is necessary for survival,” she replies, and then points a questioning finger at him as she seems to have a bright idea. “Is that adventurer, survivalist man from television very hairy?”
“Bear Grylls? Can’t say I’ve noticed.”
“It would be smart to align myself with him.”
The situation she describes is utterly unbelievable, and yet he can’t help but take offence. He frowns at the traitor in front of him. “So, basically, you’re choosing decomposing bear intestines and a show off Englishman who eats bugs over me?” He moves on before giving her a chance to explain herself and lobs a completely lame grenade back at her. “I think you’re too far into the planning stages for something that you’re probably never going to have to deal with.”
Ziva shrugs and pushes herself off the window to stroll towards him. “I would probably choose you, but what if the grizzly bear kills you? I would not feel comfortable cutting open your carcass and crawling inside your chest cavity.”
Good lord. So much for girly and whimsical. “Thanks, Ziva. You always know exactly what to say. But why wouldn’t you help me kill the bear before it killed me?”
She settles her butt on the corner of his desk. “Perhaps I do not have a gun.”
“You always have a gun,” he points out, letting himself go along with the insane scenario. “And knives. And I’d put money on you being able to MacGyver together a bow and arrow out of sticks and chewing gum. Why am I suddenly dead when we have all those weapons at our disposal?”
Her eyes drift over his chest as she considers that, and then she shrugs agreeably. “I suppose it is possible that we could defeat a bear. It is an outside possibility but…I would probably try to kill it before just letting it have you.”
“Thank you. Because I think we’d be more use to each other alive than dead.”
“Probably.” She reaches down to take the coffee cup out of his hand and sniffs it before taking a sip.
He scowls at her. “Be my guest,” he mutters.
She nods at the offer and purposely ignores the sarcasm. “What was that movie with—?”
“The Day After Tomorrow,” he says. “I haven’t seen it in a while but I don’t think they got to the point where gangs of marauding bears became a problem.”
“And I do not recall that they had to resort to cannibalism.”
“No. They did that in Alive.”
“The one about the soccer players in the plane crash.”
She pauses to look at him thoughtfully. “I do not think I could eat you.”
The laugh that comes out of him is a surprise. “Are you getting mushy on me, Ziva?”
She gives him a rare, full smile before she pulls it back again. “But you could eat me, if you were starving,” she tells him. “If I am already dead—you are not allowed to kill me just so that you have something to eat—but if I am already dead, and you are going to starve to death, I would not hold it against you if you took a slice off my butt.”
It’s so absurd and yet so weirdly…touching that he has the urge to reach over and hug her. In the end he goes with the safer option of deflecting with a joke. “Okay, but chances are pretty high that McGee would be there too, right? I’d eat him first.”
“Yes, of course,” she agrees quickly. “I expect that I would be your last resort—” She pauses and reconsiders. “Actually, Gibbs would probably be your last resort.”
He slowly bobs his head as he turns that thought around. “Yeah, but only because I don’t think he’d taste very good.”
Ziva has the gall to roll her eyes at the comment, despite the fact that she’s driven the insane conversation. “Oh, and I would taste like what? Cinnamon?”
His grin is entirely inappropriate and he knows it, but it can’t be helped. “Okay, the conversation thus far has been firmly in the weird and disturbing category, but now you’re pushing it to dangerous. I decline to comment on what I think you’d taste like on the grounds that I might end up with a stapler lodged in my throat.”
Ziva understands the double entendre, as he knew she would, and sucks her lips into her mouth as she tries to hold back a smile. “You have a dirty mind.” She starts to take another sip of his coffee but he reaches up and takes it off her.
“That can’t be news to you.”
She crosses her legs towards him and her shin brushes against his knee. “I have heard that human flesh tastes like chicken.”
His lip curls at the disturbingly chatty way she delivers this information. “Okay, Hannibal Lecter, now you’re getting a little weird.”
She is unapologetic. “I still do not think I could get past the idea of it, even if I was starving. Obviously I could not eat you because you are you, but I do not think I could eat a stranger either.”
He’s done with that hypothetical situation, thank you very much. “Can we maybe change the subject to what we’d do if there was an alien invasion or something?”
She purses her lips. “Does Gibbs have an underground bunker?”
“I’m not certain, but I wouldn’t bet against it.”
“It may be our best hope.”
He doesn’t subscribe to that logic. “Our best hope is to be stuck in a small bunker for weeks or months…with Gibbs? When the human race might be depending on us to repopulate the earth?”
She points a stern finger at him. “I am not bearing the number of children required to repopulate a soccer team, let along the earth.”
Within the safety of the joke, he feels comfortable enough to request additional information. “How many would you bear?”
Ziva actually thinks it over. “Two.”
This seems like good information for him to have, but he’s not quite ready to consider why that is. “Okay, then the sex will just be for fun, not work. I’m still not doing that in front of Gibbs.” He tips back the second-to-last mouthful of coffee.
She chuckles and nudges him with her leg before sliding off his desk and wandering away. “Well, perhaps we should just accept that we will die, spend our last week in Las Vegas and then let them take us while we are drunk.”
That sounds much more logical than bunking down—literally—with Gibbs. “That’s some good thinking, sweetcheeks.”
Ziva winks at him and taps her temple. “I am full of good ideas,” she informs him, and then takes his coffee back again. “And I deserve this.”
She gently smacks his cheek and gets to her feet. “Because I let you stare at my butt and promised not to eat you.”
His eyes fall to said butt as she retreats to her desk and he decides not to argue. If the only price he truly has to pay for the pleasure is handing over the last dregs of his tepid coffee, then he’s willing to let her have it.
Frankly, he thinks she’s grossly undervalued herself.