by B. Cavis
by B. Cavis
You meet her with knees aching and stomach churning, annoyed and tired, moving quickly through the streets of DC. There's a tail on you, an inept, idiotic set of Three Stooges who want to pick you up and throw you in a van and whisk you off to their hideaway before breaking all of your fingers and torturing you for information.
They're inept, but they're deadly serious. The back up spooks should swoop in sometime in the next four minutes. You told them not to hurry-- this isn't urgent in your eyes, and it shouldn't be in theirs. You and the CIA differ a bit more than you're used to these days, but you are still undyingly loyal, still devoted. Your first born son will still be a present to the country, and your daughter will defog code and dance with the enemy in dangerous smoky nightclubs, worming information out through drink and the smooth seduction of her hips.
You pause, just for a moment, to grin at the idea of you ever managing to find a woman long enough to reproduce, and pick up the pace slightly. Your casual stride becomes a bit quicker, feet pounding the pavement with just a little bit less lazy ease, and you turn a corner and dart across the street before your observer can run fast enough to catch up to you.
The men following don't know DC-- don't know your routine, either. They have to follow you, as opposed to cutting you off and intercepting; you're leading this little fox hunt and there isn't shit they can do about it.
Which amuses you to no end, little prick that you are.
Still. Might be best to hide your face or something of the like. You dart between people, curve around a large silver building, and grab the woman with the lime green scarf around her waist, press her back against the building and kiss her with every inch of self-preservation in your body.
That she immediately grabs you by the belt, laughs, and reverses your positions shocks you so much that you don't even feel your back hitting the wall. There's a man standing next to you who offers a confused "Huh?" in your honor, but who the hell cares about that or anything else?
She's spitfire and liquid steel against you, all hard muscle and silk movements. Her hips press against yours, dry fucking you hard and rough in the street, and her gun presses against your hipbone so hard that you'll have a bruise for the next week and a half, dark blue and painful and beautiful.
You feel one of her arms come up, fingers tangling in your hair to pull you closer. A grape flavored tongue slides over yours, soft and wet and holy shit does she know what she's doing and you are vaguely, very vaguely, aware that she's pulling you close to hide you from prying eyes. To keep you for herself and deny anyone else the chance to touch, to taste, to take what's hers.
You're not sure if she's protecting you from your Stooges, or if she's claiming you, right here, as hers. As her property, her lover-to-be. Hers.
You don't know, for a split second, which you'd prefer, but it goes away and you cautiously open one eye to look for your tail.
Her eyes are open, watching everything in your universe. Brown, you think, her eyes are brown, but it doesn't really work like that. Sarah's eyes were brown too. But Sarah's eyes were warm honey, soft and amber, sweet and basting you in affection. This woman is fire and chocolate and dark, hard packed dirt; scorch marks on the ground and dried blood on the pavement.
These eyes turn to you and you have both eyes open now to look at her. Both to devote.
Her eyes laugh at you, at everything maybe. The tail is gone, and you both know it, but she slips her tongue over yours twice, three, four more times before pulling back. She keeps a firm hold on your bottom lip, and it slaps back against your teeth with a little wet slap.
"They're gone," she whispers, accent thick and soft. Middle Eastern, you think. Egyptian? The star around her neck catches in the sunlight that is suddenly allowed between the two of you again. Israeli. God help you, an Israeli.
Her hips are still pressed against you. You're not complaining.
"Thank you," you offer calmly, and she smirks.
"Don't mention it." And just like that your beautiful, packed dirt salvation moves off you, allowing you a dubious freedom. Oh, you think, that's right, I have to go be a spook now. Huh. She smiles sweetly at you until you're out of sight.
You get about five blocks before realizing she's stolen your wallet.
NCIS sends her to the CIA as a liaison for the interdepartmental meeting, and she sits and flips through a year old copy of Maxim, bored and not attempting to look like she's listening to anything being said.
These crappy little naval agencies are the bane of your existence.
One of the NSA's people is going on and on about the need for a computer database that tracks the sale of manure. You're nodding seriously, the mature and honest and trustworthy government employee. Yes, yes, of course, that seems reasonable, yes, yes, why not, get right on that...
She pokes you.
You glance over at her, raising an eyebrow, and she slides the magazine across to you, reaching over Fornell to point her pen down at 34 Across and scratch a little question mark.
You look up at her, eyebrows furrowed, and she shrugs, smirking, completely aware of everyone in the room looking at her like the irritating child playing Nintendo during church.
You fill in ZsaZsa. It's just easier. She takes the magazine back, murmurs a not all that quiet "toda," and goes back to her scribbling.
Two minutes later she leans over and pokes you again, and this time you write in "Keebler." Most of the ones she misses are cultural references that a teenager raised in the states would know, but are beyond her grasp or word comprehension. You keep the crossword for a second longer this time, and scratch in "bum" in 29 Down.
She beams at you when you hand it back, like you gave her the world on a platinum chain, and you find yourself reluctantly smiling back.
Fornell eventually changes seats with you. Claims it's easier. When the two of your finish the crossword puzzle, she pulls out a sudoku from the pocket of her jeans and spreads it out on the table.
They eventually decide to call the manure database Fertilizer Official Operating Purchases. FOOP. Ziva snickers and murmurs "poop" loud enough for everyone at the table to hear, and you are treated to the sight of thirty or more old white men trying not to laugh.
The two of you stay five minutes after the meeting ends to finish the sudoku. You hate leaving things hanging.
Gibbs scares you in that way that men who rule the world around them by simply making it so often do. Harm used to be that way, before he overstayed his welcome in God's good graces and started pissing too many people off. He got old, and didn't want to grow up.
You got an email from him the other day. He and Sarah are blissfully happy in California. You deleted it, and oddly enough, didn't feel much of anything.
Gibbs gives you a look as he gets into the elevator with you, and you offer your best "I'm totally just as bad ass as you are, I just don't feel the need to show it is all" look. It's not as effective as you hoped for. You've never been very good at being scary unless you're pissed off.
He reaches over and stops the elevator, and you wonder just how un-scary it would be if you pissed your pants.
"She can kill you," Gibbs says, a complete nonsequittor, and you take a deep breath and lean back against the wall of the elevator.
"I'm well aware of that."
Dear God, are you aware of that. She's taken to sparing with you. You tried to teach her to fence, but she has no patience for the dodging and weaving and the waiting that it requires. Ziva prefers to annihilate her opponent before they get a chance to hatch any ideas about attacking her or making a move. She met you, wrapped in gray heather and knuckles swathed in white tape, in your gym and made you bleed.
You hit her back, knocked her down, loosened a tooth. She laughed and beat you on the back when you were done, then bought you an overpriced smoothie at the snooty bar and made eyes at all the sweating businessmen who wanted to watch her ass.
You're starting to adore her.
"She probably won't," Gibbs adds, smirking just a little at you and tilting his head to one side. You've heard he has more ex-wives than most men have pairs of underwear. It seems kind of disturbing that he's commenting on your completely platonic friendship with Ziva David, but somehow it fits. You will probably never meet Mr. David. (You picture him looking like a somewhat better trimmed version of George Carlin.) Jethro Gibbs is the closest you'll come to meeting the parents.
It's not all that new. Your date's parents have usually had multiple side-arms on them at all times, but then again, the Webbs are not a typical family.
"She won't," Gibbs decides, nodding to himself as if suddenly coming to a rather large decision about life. "But I will." And those blue eyes of God are on you, and wow, you have kneecaps?
"I get it," you offer, not all that certain that you really do, and Gibbs watches you for a while longer before leaning forward and pressing the button to start up the elevator once more. The two of you don't say anything else to each other.
Ziva smiles when she sees you. She's always doing that, and it makes you feel ridiculously happy to have someone besides your mother actually glad to see you.
Tony calls you "the guy that Ziva swapped tonsils with in the middle of the street." McGee just smiles, wide and eager in a way that reminds you painfully of Roberts and Simms, and tells Ziva he'll call her if anything comes up. You slip your arm around her waist about half-way to the elevator. She lets you hold the door for her when you get downstairs.
When Gibbs leaves, goes off to hide his head in the sand and pretend he's not an agent, the CIA moves in and hires her as an independent contractor for a couple of jobs. You watch your supervisors talk about Israeli assassins with such awe, eyes bright and excited, and you feel somehow sick.
You pick her up in the company car, and she doesn't smile. They promised her more funding for NCIS to get her to do this; more funding, and one blank IOU from the Central Intelligence Agency, to be filled whenever she wants it with whatever whim catches her eye.
"Hello, Webb," she says in a soft voice, and you want to shake her-- make her hard again, make her stable, but she just turns her face towards the window and watches the scenery go by, every inch of her calm.
She's silent and she's still and she's dour. There is no inch of her that resembles Ziva David, and it hurts, physically hurts, to know you're part of what has done this to her.
You stop the car in a McDonalds parking lot, three blocks from the hotel where she's going to enter, slash three people's throats, and leave without a trace. She looks over at you, eyes dark and wide, and you run a hand through hair that's close to thinning and probably can't take the stress.
"You don't have to do this," you say. "Ziva, you really don't have to do this."
"If it's about the IOU, fuck, I'll give you three. You can hold me over whatever barrels you want to, I promise, but you don't have to do this. I'll tell the Agency that you were found out by Tony or Gibbs or something but-"
And she reaches over with her hard hand and touches your cheek, so gentle you almost want to hold her, and smiles.
"It is all right, Webb," she says softly. "It really is all right."
And she leans over and rests her forehead against your arm for a bare second before retreating to her half of the car and retying her boots.
You start down the road again, taking her closer to a darker task. The smile never leaves her face, and you wonder if it's for your benefit or if you actually managed to say something right to a woman.
Later you watch her move, all loose limbed and deadly curves on the hotel security footage, and you wonder how many versions of Ziva David you will see before you die compared with how many there truly are.
She's smiling on the footage, soft and sweet as she bathes in blood and slips her knives through sinew. Your heart skips beats and she does a little hopscotch over the blood splatters and begins to go about the motions of covering her almost non-existent tracks.
Gibbs comes back to the real world less than a month later, and the CIA never collects on any of the future contracts. Gibbs is a pain in the butt no one wants to deal with, let alone fight with over one of his agents. The man is unapologetically territorial. Ziva is his.
All too late they tell you to hold onto the tape, in case Ziva ever threatens the Agency, and you feel better about telling them that it has already been erased, per previous instructions, than you have about anything else in your adulthood so far.
The tape sits in a box in your living room. You'll burn it eventually.
She understands your attachment to your mother. Porter Webb adores the lovely Jewish girl who her son brings over, gushing (as much as mother ever gushes) over her and speaking to her in Hebrew and Arabic and French. They sit for long hours, much to your chagrin, talking together in quick, rapid-fire vowels and soft consonants.
Your mother tells you that she likes this one.
(You do too.)
You keep your own counsel. Neither you nor Ziva have acknowledged the fact that you seem to be, voluntarily, spending a lot of time together recently/since the day you met. You took her out for a 3 AM dinner last Friday night, after showing up at her door with jet lag and too much time on your hands. She cooked for you the other night, something orange with curry and basil and lamb, and you ate it sitting on the floor in her living room and licked your fingers clean.
She fell asleep with you still there. You picked her up and she wound her arms around your neck and burrowed her face against your pulse, breathing warm puffs of air into her Webb-shaped cocoon. Trusting as a child, all softness and still against you.
You put her to bed and left before you got any funny ideas about crawling in next to her and spooning. Your bed has been empty and lonely for far too long. Tempted a man with stupid things.
Eventually Ziva stops waiting for you to take her, and you'll show up and find her and Porter deep in conversation, or half way into a pot of tea or bottle of wine, laughing like the oldest of friends. Ziva brings her little odds and ends, presents, she claims, from her various contacts and previous lovers. An eggshell thin tea pot from England, an antique dirk from Scotland, an old leather bound book with your great, great, great grandfather's name in the inscription and a slender ancient blade hidden in the binding. Her apartment is full of them, little trophies that speak to her ability to take a person in and wrap them up in her mind or in her sheets until they melt down her fingers and drizzle over her thighs.
You bring her a bottle of bourbon and an authentic Indian sari, once upon a rainy night. She laughs and twirls around the yards of fabric like a princess in her ball gown. You try not to think about how much you want to drip down her legs, and she brings you three fingers of the alcohol in one of her thick bottomed Russian glasses with the smoked edges, kneeling before you as you sprawl on the couch. The finest of harem girls.
She swims in the red and the gold, fingers combing though her thick carpet. You slide the bourbon over your tongue and the two of you stay up till four in the morning discussing global politics and your misspent youths.
"I wish I had a mother like yours," she whispers, tongue loose and sleepy, and fixes you with a mud and blood eye. "I would never let her go."
"We can share her," you reply, soft and honest. "You can have her, too."
And the look she gives you is so full of something so painful and so true that you have to look away, and you don't try and hide that.
She tells you about her father and about the long sleeved shirts her brother used to wear, even in the dead of an Israeli summer, after visiting. Tells you about her sisters, five carbon copies of her with different hair styles and degrees of loyalty towards her father. Tells you about Hasmia Haswari, who had lovely dark eyes and beautiful sweet chocolate skin, and how her death has ensured that Ziva will never be able to look at her father as anything but a murderer again.
She wears herself down, hard words sanding her raw. You watch her as she draws crimson linen around her face, peering out like an Eskimo. Dark, sad eyes.
You brush a kiss over her cheek, your first, and go to get an apple from her fridge. She takes bites of it from your hand and licks her lips while examining the patterns on the ceiling and running her fingers over the embroidery like the beads of a rosary.
The two of you don't mention that night again. She keeps showing up at Porter's house, and, eventually, accepts the offer to refer to your mother by her first name. She doesn't use it much, and you wonder what title she's giving your mother in her head.
"Of course I dance." She's searching through papers as she talks to you, idly fluttering around her desk for some report or another. "What do you take me as?"
"Do you dance well?"
"No, Webb. I'm a horrible dancer. I am complete harah. I dance like a drunken frat boy. Never have me to a party. Ever." You can hear her rolling her eyes at you. It's endearing.
"Maybe I should take you through a test run."
"Maybe you should ask me to this party and hope I don't turn you down fat."
She hangs up on you. You give her ten minutes and call back.
"She's out," Gibbs says gruffly. "Coming to shoot you."
"All I said-"
"Don't care," he reminds you promptly. "There's a florist three blocks away. She likes cornflowers and daises. Come and ask her in person, you idiot. And Webb, for crying out loud, be, I dunno, charming or something. Christ. You think you'd never asked a girl to a dance."
And he hangs up on you, too. You're really hoping this isn't the start of an entirely new and not at all fun trend.
Your secretary coos at your request for the florist's number. You make a mental note to have the CIA invent brain wiping technology, and then use it on her.
So you show up with flowers. Ziva looks at you like you've lost your mind, of course, but she does that thing with her tongue against the roof of her mouth that means she's trying really hard not to smile like a little girl with a new Barbie doll (Ken doll?) and bounce up and down squealing.
She smirks at you when you present her with the flowers. Cracks a joke about you being too cheap to bring her the long stemmed red roses you know she's allergic to. Says yes, with that soft little voice that makes you want to take her home and arm her to the teeth with your best guns and your favorite knives, give her everything you have for the building of her defenses.
You might just be crazy about this woman.
After the first time, like all things, it becomes easier. You ask her to be your escort to various social events and dinners. She shines beautiful and exotic on your arm, dark hair spilling down her back. You dance together, laugh together, sip champagne from overpriced flutes together.
At one of the events, something to do with national security or some bullshit like that, there are agents from the Mossad hanging about. She smiles and speaks to them in rapid fire Hebrew, and her eyes are dangerous and sweet.
"What did they say?" you whisper in her ear, but she just smiles and watches their retreating backs. Doesn't take her eyes off them for the rest of the night and doesn't acknowledge the fact that she won't touch any of the food after they get there.
She spills her champagne all down your left leg. You feel like the luckiest guy in the universe.
You can't dance, because she refuses to present her back to the Mossad. You leave early and she takes you back to her apartment and you eat take out sushi while drinking cold beer on her tiny balcony. The music is soft and remixed, jazz or something like it.
"You look fabulous," you say to her about half-way through your lukewarm cup of miso soup. She tosses her hair and flutters her lashes, pouting crimson lips.
"Don't I always?" And she licks wasabi off her fingers before she grabs your hand and pulls you up to your feet. You dance, swaying back and forth, and she leans her head on your shoulder like the romantic comedy you never really realized you kinda wanted to be a part of.
Her breath is a warm tickle against your throat. You listen to the sounds of her, breathe her in, and hope that everything stays just as absolutely perfect as it is right now.
Eventually, inevitably, she looks up at you with those liquid and carnage eyes and your breath catches in your throat.
"Would it end our relationship right now if I said I wanted to fuck you?" she asks, clear and soft.
You swallow. God help you, a fucking Israeli. "You do like the direct approach, I'll give you that."
"I like you. I'm attracted to you. I think you'd match my sheets perfectly." She grins, and her eyes crinkle. "You'd look very good on the left side. I sleep on the right."
"You know, before we talk about where the hell I'm sleeping or what positions we're using or how your gag reflex is, maybe we should work on the first kiss."
And she laughs, right in your face, and you realize you're not dancing anymore. "You Americans," she says affectionately, "with your oh so proper order."
"You Israelis," you add, begrudging and focused in on her bottom lip. "With your oh so frustrating-"
And apparently that's the wrong thing to say, because she's so intent on not hearing it that she leans in and kisses you, and every thought of every word you'll ever say dies, because all you can think is "*happy*".
It's nothing like the first time, when she bruised you and set you on fire. There's no urgency in her, no rush to protect or hide or distract. This is slow. Easy. A relentless tingle that starts against your mouth and radiates through you, making your nipples itch and your dick start to swell. Her mouth is soft and easy, and when her tongue comes out to touch yours its sweet and slow like molasses.
She's already fucked you dry on a busy street. This is her slow slide down your throat and into your belly. The gradual, gentle taking over of you and complete conquering of the creature known as Clayton Webb.
You're hers. Her acolyte, her lover, whatever she wants to make you. You wonder when you got so easy, fell so hard so fast, but don't really care.
She slips back, arms still wrapped around your neck, and looks up at you hesitantly. "Don't leave, tonight."
What she really means is "don't leave at all," but you hear it anyhow. You're good at Ziva David.
Lying in bed on a lazy Sunday morning, with her fingers trailing over your throat, you realize you've been played. The con artist in question is curled up, warm and naked against your side, and hey, you probably shouldn't fuck with the status quo, but when has that ever been your way?
"Ziva," you say, "were you... courting me?"
The idea is blatantly ridiculous, almost ludicrous, but she leans her cheek against your chest and looks at everything except you.
Holy shit. You are so totally the girl in this relationship.
"Seriously? That's what you were doing? Seriously."
Ziva sighs. "This is the last time I seduce an American. You're all thick."
"I kissed you" claimed you "the first day I met you, I let you touch my crossword puzzle, I let you and Gibbs do the manly macho talk, I met your mother-- I beat you up! I was so desperate to get you to notice that I hit you, you idiot." She rolls her eyes at you and flops back on the bed in disgust. You throat murmurs in disapproval. "A child would have known instantly that I liked you. But the big bad CIA man? Thick."
You roll over on top of her and pin her arms to the bed, feeling the need to at least try and reclaim some of your manhood. "You know, all you had to do was wait. I liked you from the start-"
"And did nothing about it." She glares up at you. "I am not your 'little woman', Webb. I do not do waiting." And she breaks your hold, pushes you onto your back, and slides down onto your dick like it's been days instead of twenty minutes.
Afterwards, heavy and sweat dampened on top of you, she curls her fingers into your hair and sighs against your neck. "Yes. I courted you. I wanted you, I went after you. Please do not be angry over that." And she kisses you, sweet and gentle, right over the beat of your heart. "I will not apologize for it."
"No," you agree. She doesn't do apologies often/at all. "I know that."
"I could have as easily seduced you, you know," she adds after a moment, thoughtful and quiet. "Seduction is far easier. You'd have noticed if I wanted to seduce you." And yes, you probably would have. Ziva doesn't do sex subtly. She took your fucking in public cherry last weekend. On a couch, in a club. You spare another quick prayer that your mother never finds out. Can't have too many of those.
"But," Ziva adds, a bare whisper now. "I wanted you around for longer than a night or two." She looks up at you, suddenly shy for as much as her bite marks cover your throat. "I wanted... to keep you." Her brow furrows. "I said that right?"
"Yes," you agree, wrapping her up a bit more firmly in your arms and kissing the top of her head. "You did." And she settles in against you, a comfort built from practice, and you smile into her scalp. "So. Wanna fetch me a cup of coffee to sweeten the deal?"
She twists your nipple, hard, and you laugh as she growls against your skin.
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