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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2017 2:59 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2015 12:50 pm
Posts: 3285
Location: East Tennessee, USA
Name: Shay
Gender: Female
link: Dreamwidth Journal
Title: Mixed Messages
Characters: Tony, Ziva
Genre: Angst
Rating: FR15
Challenges: Fractured Romance

Summary: Will Tony ever learn?

A/N: Inspired by and written for the Fractured Romance challenge on NFA forum.

~*~


Tony DiNozzo sank down on the bed, and breathed upward to cool his sweaty forehead. He'd always thought if he and Ziva ever slept together that it would be intense and he was right.

His body thrummed with the sense of well-being as he settled beside her, propped up on his elbow so he could look at her. She hadn't moved yet, her body covered in a light sheen of perspiration, her chest heaving as her breathing slowly returned to normal. Tony smiled at her. He'd never slept with a woman who was so unabashed in her sexuality. She looked beautiful with her hair sprawled out around her head like a halo; beautiful and happy. He'd never seen her look like that and he felt honored that she looked like that because of him. It looked good on her and he'd love to make her look like that as often as possible.

He smiled as he thought about it. Being together outside of work, sharing meals, going places on their days off, holding hands in public, maybe snuggling on the couch watching movies. Seeing her smile at him the way she smiled at dinner would be just about perfect.

It was several more minutes before Ziva shifted, stretched, and sighed happily. He liked watching her do that, too. She looked relaxed.

After a moment, she opened her eyes and smiled. "What?" she asked, curious about his scrutiny.

He smiled a little. "Just thinking."

She raised an eyebrow and the devilish smirk returned and just like that, his lover was gone and in her place was the woman he saw at work every day. It was like a switch had been flipped and the light was too bright and he wasn't ready for it. She was "on" again and for a moment he stared at her, trying to see behind the smirk to the softer woman she had been just a moment before. She turned over to lie on her side and propped herself up on her elbow.

He was quiet a little too long and he watched as her eyes went from devilish to confused to concern. "What?" she asked again.

Tony sighed and sat up. The moment was gone and he realized it wasn't coming back.

"Tony?" Ziva questioned.

"Yeah?"

"Are you all right?"

"I'm great, Zee-vah!" he said, putting his mask on, retreating to his comfort zone.

"Then why were you looking at me like that?"

"Like what?"

She blinked in surprise and tried to mentally catch up. "The way you were just a moment ago."

"Can you be more specific?"

Ziva huffed. "You know what I mean."

He looked at her then and for a moment, Serious Ziva was present and she wanted an answer. "I was just thinking about how you beautiful you looked."

Her answering smile was smug and satisfied. It reminded him of the times she got one up on him and it felt wrong for here and now. He liked that smile when they were bantering. He enjoyed the game of wits but that was at work. Here, now, he wanted the sensual Ziva he had just seen back, just for a little longer.

Tony exhaled and his body felt heavy, and tired. It had been a long day at work, and their passionate buildup and release had been invigorating and exciting and now as he came down from the rush, his body and brain ached with fatigue. "It's…getting late."

"It is," Ziva agreed and Tony noted her fatigue and took a little satisfaction in that she seemed a little disappointed that the night was ending.

"Probably best if Gibbs doesn't figure out about this," Tony commented with a grimace, thinking about rule 12.

"I am not going to tell him, are you?"

"Just saying we can't act any different at work."

"That won't be a problem. It is not like this will change anything."

Tony winced when she said that. As he had watched her recover, he foresaw a lot of things changing. For the first time in a long time, he saw himself committing to a relationship. Ziva was like no other woman he'd ever known. He liked her intelligence. He liked the way she could match him wit for wit, even if she did screw up English idioms. He just liked…her. The great sex…that was a bonus, but getting to know her over time before sex was more than he let himself experience before and he liked it.

Tony sighed. "It might've changed things."

"What do you mean?"

"We were good together."

"In bed? Yes, we were. It was fun."

"That's it? Just fun?"

"What more should it be?" Ziva looked confused.

Tony realized that it never occurred to Ziva that this was anything but a good time. He only had himself to blame for that. He'd been ready to settle down and get married for as long as he could remember, but when Wendy broke his heart, it seemed like no other woman could ever make him change his mind. Then, he met Ziva and she was so different from every woman he'd ever dated or known and he wondered if she might be the one. As he read her confusion, he considered his options.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? "I like you, Ziva. I think you know that."

She smirked a little. "I like you too, Tony, even if your movie references are annoying sometimes.

He chose to ignore the bit about movies. "So, I was thinking maybe this didn't have to be just a fun thing."

"You want to do this again?"

"Don't you? Fun doesn't have to end, and maybe it could be more than that…better."

Ziva stared at Tony for a moment before she rolled over, swung her legs off the side and sat up. She found her clothes in a pile on the floor and started getting dressed. Tony suddenly felt awkward still lying there naked so he sat up and got dressed too. As soon as Ziva was dressed, she walked to the bathroom and closed the door behind her. Tony tried not to listen to the sounds coming from the bathroom, knowing most women really had to go after sex, but given the way she had acted, he knew how this would end. It was practically inevitable.

He'd seen her relaxed and enjoying herself, and that was even before they ended up back here. At dinner they laughed and joked, and okay, it had a sexual edge to it, but it hadn't all been sexual. When she was relaxed, she was fun to be with even without any sexual innuendo at all. Come to think of it, she had initiated most of the sexual innuendo. He played along but yeah, that wasn't all him. He wondered if she would regret this and that stung too. He didn't want her to regret it and he didn't want to regret it either.

A moment later, she came out of the bathroom and looked over at Tony. He stood up from his perch at the end of her bed.

Ziva cleared her throat. "If Gibbs finds out, it could affect the team. I do not want that."

"It's already affected the team. Everyone thinks we were sleeping together anyway. Not sure it would matter."

"To Gibbs, it would."

Tony shrugged. "Could be good together, already showed we have potential," he said jerking his head toward the bed.

"Tony, are you actually saying you want…a relationship?" Ziva looked shocked and, if Tony was reading this right, a little horrified.

He shrugged, trying to ignore the pang from her reaction. "We have good chemistry. Seems a shame to waste it."

"Tony, we have good sexual chemistry, yes but…I do not think that…"

He held up his hand so she wouldn't finish the sentence. "Yeah, I get it, Ziva. Say no more."

"You are serious, yes?"

"Yeah, Ziva. I'm serious. I can be a good boyfriend." He tried not to sound irritated because he wanted to convince her to give them a chance, but even knowing it was too late couldn't convince him to give up.

Tony watched the emotions flicker through Ziva's eyes and the doubt flicker across her face. Right now, he couldn't put a name to the emotions he read there but it was obvious she didn't believe him. That stung.

"I better go," he said finally, breaking the silence while Ziva floundered.

Ziva cleared her throat softly again. "That might be for the best," she said softly as she followed Tony into the living room. He grabbed his jacket from over the back of the chair and put it on.

That moment seemed to be just what Ziva needed in order to find words. "Tony, I…did have a good time this evening. Dinner and…after."

He could see she was trying to smooth things over. He was still hurt, but he wasn't going to call her on it. Better to let this end amicably and this mistake could settle as a footnote in history. He'd lick his wounds when he was alone. "Me too," he said with a nod, not trusting himself to say more.

"I didn't know you thought about more than…" She waved her hand back and forth between them.

He understood and nodded. "Seemed like a good idea at the time. Good sex will inspire me." He tried for nonchalance but it sounded false to his own ears, and he knew it would sound false to hers.

Ziva smirked back. "Good sex can also cloud judgment. I do not wish to ruin what we already have."

Tony stared at her as her countenance settled into a thoughtful, maybe even a little sad expression. Okay, he didn't think she meant to be hurtful, well, not more so than she already had been. The way she wasn't looking at him made him wonder if it was her own judgment she felt was clouded and not necessarily his, but that stung too. He didn't want her to regret tonight, but to say it would be assuming she regretted it and he wasn't a mind-reader.

If anything, the good sex cleared his judgment. He couldn't think clearly where she was concerned when he was distracted by wanting her. Explaining that seemed futile. He shrugged a little and stomped down on his emotions to keep them out of his eyes. He pasted on a smile. "Have a good weekend, Zee. Will see you at work on Monday."

"Good night, Tony."

She stepped up to him and reached up to kiss his cheek and gave his face a small caress, as if to soften the harshness of her earlier words. Tony wasn't sure if she knew just how much she had hurt him but it wasn't like he was going to tell her so he let it go.

"Night," he said softly, unable to fully hide how disappointed he was in that single word.

He schooled his posture as he walked from her apartment to his car. He didn't know if she was watching him walk away. He refused to look back as he didn't want to know, but he was relieved to leave. He entered the scarce late-night traffic and exhaled the huff of frustration he'd held in.

"Good job, DiNozzo," he muttered. "Screwed up another one, like always."

What did I expect? Really? I only ever let Ziva see that I was all about a good time, why should she think there could be more than that? That I could be more than that? It's not like I showed her that.

"Can't expect her to read your mind, DiNozzo," he muttered aloud, letting the bitterness of his thoughts out vocally.

He remembered to watch for traffic as he came up on an intersection but as he cleared it, a thought popped in his head. If you do what you always did, you'll get what you always got. He sat up a little straighter and ruminated on it the rest of the way home and realized that with Ziva, he hadn't really done anything different than he always had. So maybe next time he met a woman, he'd do things differently. Maybe he would end up with something different…better even.

It was too late with Ziva David, but it didn't have to be too late forever, right? Just once though, he got to see her softer, vulnerable side. Even if she regretted tonight, at least for a little while she was happy because of him and he wouldn't regret that.

~fin~

~*~


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