jelena says: So begins the companion piece to Perception. These five vignettes (geez, I hate that word) will be the Tony and/or Ziva side to what Gibbs witnessed in that story. You really do need to read Perception first.
Part 1: See
She loves seeing him like this.
There’s no denying that her partner won the genetic lottery at conception. Recently viewed photos of his ridiculously attractive parents in their 20s confirmed to Ziva that junior was always going to turn heads. Indeed, he’s spent 40 years reaping the benefits.
The face he dons every day in tandem with tailored suits and carefully coiffed hair draws attention and attraction from people of both genders and all ages. She sees him use it to his advantage on witnesses, shop assistants, lawyers and nurses. She has no doubt he used it to literally charm the pants off women across the eastern seaboard. And she knows he has used it on her to dig himself out of trouble, often with great success.
Yes, as far as faces go, his everyday face sits comfortably on the above average curve of the bell.
Something happens to his face when he’s truly relaxed and happy. The lines disappear, his eyes brighten and his smile feeds her happiness. It takes 10 years off him, and she thinks that if his face is a weapon when he’s cruising by on 70 per cent of its effectiveness, it’s a goddamn killer when he’s working it at its peak.
And he thinks she’s the lethal one?
When he’s like this, it’s easy to forget that they’ve ever had a professional relationship. (Although really, have they ever?) She forgets he’s her look-and-tease-but-don’t-touch partner and finds it far too easy to emit her “back off everyone, this stake is claimed” vibes. This is the face that truly tests her dedication to the concept of professionalism, and makes her doubt that just having him in her life at all is really enough to satisfy her.
As they share a table in the dim bar her spidey sense begins to tingle and she knows the Rule Keeper is near. This should be the cue for her pheromones to stop trying to smother him, and for her expression to stop being so openly affectionate. But she’s not ready to give up this indulgence in Tony’s company just yet. On a half-crazed whim she decides that Gibbs can shove his judgment and scorn until he decides to stop lurking on the fringes of voyeurism. She’s not a gambler, but she’d bet the man won’t actually do much more than glare and slap if he catches his agents in flagrante delicto.
She walks the line when she reaches out to touch him, but has at least enough presence of mind to make the touch appear gently mocking. She strokes the back of his head where she knows he must be tingling, and something deliciously electric fires through her when his flutter closed and he leans into her touch. His 10 o’clock shadow scrapes the oh-so-sensitive skin along the inside of her arm, the barest brush of his bottom lip warms her up like a furnace, and her entire arm erupts in gooseflesh. Half a second later his eyes are open again, and she tries to think of a time when she’s ever seen his expression so blatantly wanting.
“You’re baiting the angry beast,” Tony warns her, clearly feeling the eyes of el jefe on their intimate moment. But the intensely personal smile he favors her with suggests that he admires her gall. Good thing, because that look on his face has just made her mind up to start enforcing her claim on him proactively.
She gives him an acknowledging wink and tells herself that enough is enough—she has to take him home tonight. The bold thought releases a rewarding wave of endorphins through her body and prematurely sends blood running south. She has enough decency to not grab him in public though, and decides she needs to hold onto the thought for a little while longer. At least until they’ve shared a token drink with their yet-to-arrive coworkers.
Her hand drops from his head and falls atop his as they reach for her beer at the same time. She raises an eyebrow, a reminder that he begged off alcohol tonight because of something to do with an hours-old health kick, and he removes his hand only to clamp his eyes on the bottle as it travels to her lips.
She loves seeing him like this.
And yes, she is definitely taking him home tonight.