He flipped the emergency switch and turned to Ziva. Her brow was wrinkled in confusion. "Tony...", she began. He placed his finger to her lips to quiet her. "But Tony I don't underst....", she whispered. "Ziva just listen to me for a minute. Ever since you came waltzing in with your tough girl attitude, cargo pants and your worldly experiences I had this feeling that we were meant to be. But what do I know about suff like that? Nothing. So I ignored my feelings day after day, week after week, month after month, but I just can't do it anymore." He stopped to take a breath and almost fearfully glanced over at her. She was looking down at the elevator floor with both hands clasped behind her back. His heart was beating a mile a minute and he stepped towards her and tussled her hair. She looked up at him with a small smile & he couldn't help but notice her misty eyes. She was afraid to speak, afraid she'd mix up the American terms... but she knew one sure fire way to be receptive & let him know she felt the same way. She reached up, touching her hand to his face. He looked scared now, an emotion he didn't show often. She leaned up and kissed his lips softly. Kissing was the same in all languages, there was no way to confuse that. When he didn't kiss her back she pulled away, "Tony was I wrong? I thought you were saying that..." All of a sudden he flipped the emergency switch again and the elevator jerked back to life. In seconds they reached Abby's lab and the door dinged open. They walked silently until they reached a babbling Abby and an out of breath McGee. "What's your problem probie?", Tony inquired. "I had to take the stairs Tony, it seems the elevator was out of commission. You wouldn't know anything about that would you?" McGee said. Tony chuckled, "What's the matter Mcfit? Not getting your money out of those 4 day a week training sessions?" He didn't wait for an answer and instead turned to Abby, "What do you got Abs?" "Well I have this uncanny psychic ability to tell when two people feel love for one another, but can't admit it. I think it stemmed from this deep love I had for my high school science teacher. I never admitted my love for him to anyone, so after that year I swear I got the gift of seeing right through people who say they don't have feelings for each other." Tony and Ziva stole a sideways glance at each other. "Ziva... I lo..." bring bring bringggg. Tony opened one eye and squinted at the red numbers on the digital clock beside his bed. 4:35. Bring bring bringggg. Tony groaned and reached for his cordless phone wondering who was calling his house phone at this hour. "Hello. Who is this?" he murmered still half asleep. "Tony you better get here before Gibbs does. Triple homicide, 1 child. We've been trying to call you for a half an hour. Why aren't you answering your cell phone?" McGee hurridly
inquired. "I'll be there in 10 with coffee Probie." He hung up and rolled onto his back and sighed. It was the third time this week he'd dreamed of telling Ziva how he felt. He didn't know if this was his minds way of telling him it needed to be done or his minds idea of a cruel joke. Either way he didn't have time to think about it right now because if he wasn't in the office before Gibbs was he wouldn't have a head anymore. He jumped out of bed, threw on a wrinkled pair of pants, a button up shirt and was out the door. 10 minutes later he stepped out of the elevator, coffee in hand only to the team walking by him grabbing their coffee from the holder and stepping back into the elevator. "Your late." Gibbs barked. "Boss I hit traffic on Van Houten and the lady at the coffee shop spilled the first cup she made; seems she had a bad night and... ", he let is voice trail off. "Won't happen again boss." "Good do you think you can get in here so we can go now?" Tony slipped into the elevators as the doors were closing and brushed against Ziva. He looked over at her. "Morning Probie you look like you had a long night. Special date? Let me guess. It was a kiss & kill moment." he stated. She smiled, "Oh Tony you would like that wouldn't you?" "Ha ha... no I had my own special date last night with a very special woman in my dreams." Smack! Tony cringed. "Keep your sexual fantasies out of my case DiNozzo." "You got it boss." Ziva & McGee smirked. The elevator came to stop and they all walked silently & quickly to the car. “Boss do you think I could drive this morning? Not that you aren’t a good driver, it’s just that I’m not sure my stomach could handle the way you drive this early.” Gibbs looked at him. “Okay never mind boss. You drive. I’ll shut up.” Tony said. They loaded into the car, he ended next to Ziva again. He wondered how that happened everytime. Was it conscious, sub-conscious? Did she do on it purpose? “DiNozzo!” Gibbs yelled. “Yeah boss, sorry. Just thinking about…never mind.”
They pulled up to the beautifully landscaped house. Navy officers always had nice homes. He himself had thought about joining the Navy once; he liked the idea of nice things and the girls… oh the girls! He smiled and looked up when the trunk slammed. “Coming Tony?” Ziva asked. The next few hours were a blur of bodies, blood, crime scene photos, evidence collection and questions. He was glad to get back to the office. He sat down at his desk & put his feet up, listening to his messages. Nancy. Delete. Cara… now she was cute, but no. Delete. He sighed and hung up. No one could compare to Ziva. He vaguely heard McGee asking a question about the case, but couldn’t focus. He jumped up, “I’ll take the evidence to Abby.” He grabbed the box and headed for the elevator. He pressed the down button and waited. It dinged open and he stepped in. “Want some company Tony?” he heard Ziva ask from a few feet away. “I’m good probie. I’ll be right back up.” “I’ll be here,” she said softly. She sighed. Lately she’d been trying to hard to show him she cared about him. They had come a long way since he had killed Michael and the team had saved her. She was trusting the people who mattered the most to her; Gibbs, Tony, McGee, Ducky, Palmer & Abby. These people were her family now. She wished she could just walk up to Tony and tell him I care about you, I trust you, I love you. As tough as she was she knew she didn’t have the strength to wear her heart on her shirt… wait… maybe that is not right. “McGee what is that saying about wearing your heart on your shirt,” she asked confused. “I think you mean wear your heart on your sleeve,” he answered. “But why would I wear a heart on my sleeve. How would that be possible?,” she continued. “It’s just a figure of speech Ziva. Basically it means that you put your feelings out in the open and hope that the person you are telling your feelings to doesn’t break your heart,” McGee said. He got up and walked to Ziva’s desk. “Are you okay Ziva? Were you seeing someone we didn’t know about?” he questioned. She looked down and then slumped over her desk. McGee put his hand on her shoulder. She sighed and looked up with tears in her eyes. “There is no one I have been seeing McGee, but there is someone I would like to see,” she stopped and looked at Tony’s desk. McGee smiled and bent down next to her. “Are you finally ready to tell him?” “But… how did you…”, she trailed off. “Ziva it’s obvious that you & Tony have strong feelings for each other. Everyone knows.” She closed her eyes to stop her head from spinning. She thought everyone knows? How could they know? Tony & I… we’ve never … I didn’t even know until…. “Ziva it’s okay. I think you should tell Tony.” She opened her mouth to speak and Tony strolled out. “What’s going on here McComeOn? Is he bothering you Ziva? I gave him free dating lessons last Christmas, but I didn’t expect he’d use them on you.” “Tony. Ziva was just asking about a problem for a friend of hers,” McGee declared. “What kind of problem? Are we talking Dr. Drew or Dr. Phil?” McGee looked at Ziva then back at Tony. “Well her friend has feelings for someone and is afraid to tell them. She wanted to know how her friend should handle the situation,” McGee said. Tony chucked. “That’s easy. Tell her to buy a slinky nighty, Victoria Secrets preferably, show up at his house unannounced, open her coat to the lingerie and bam! A love match happens.” Tony explained cheerfully. “Umm… those feelings are not the only feelings she has Tony. These feelings are genuine feelings. Not all men are pigs like you and want to see a woman show up in lingerie,” Ziva stated almost sadly. “Ohh… yes they are! See men…” Tony started. “Back to work!” Gibbs howled. They scurried back to their seats. “What do we have so far?” The rest of the afternoon they were busy tracking down leads and filling out paperwork. Nightfall came quickly. Gibbs was with the director when Abby called. “I’ve got something, can you come down?” Abby confirmed. “Be right there. Hangs up phone. Abby has something lets go.” He & Ziva got to the elevator at the same time and stepped in together. McGee’s desk phone rang & as the doors were shutting, Tony bellowed “Too late Probie.” The elevator doors clinched shut. He was sweating. It was now or never. He flipped the emergency switch. Ziva looked confused. “Tony what are you doing?” “Look Ziva I just want you to know… what I said up there about your friend was well off key. If she likes this guy, or girl, is it a girl? Anyway. She should tell them. Now. Before they get snatched up.” Wait that wasn’t what I was supposed to say. What’s wrong with me? It’s only three words. I. Love. You. What’s so hard about that? He thought to himself. “Thank you Tony. I will tell her.” He nodded and flipped the emergency switch again & the elevator jerked & began moving. It seemed to take forever, but it was only a few seconds. Ding! The doors opened and Ziva stepped out. He walked out after her and watched her tiny hips sway. She sure was beautiful. Heavy breathing alerted him & he looked up. It was McGee. "What's the matter Mcfit? Not getting your money out of those 4 day a week training sessions?” Tony stopped suddenly, confused. “Wait, did we do this before? It’s like déjà vu. I swear…”, he murmured. Then he remembered his dream. “What do you got Abs?” He half listened to her go on and on with some scientific terms. He immersed himself into daydream and was unaware of just how long he’d been standing there. Suddenly he blurted out “I love you!”. “Aww Tony I know. I love you too!” Abby reached forward and hugged him. He jolted to reality, “what? I mean I do love you, Abs. As a friend of course. But I wanted to say it to…” Abby stopped him. “Are you finally going to tell her?” “Tell who? Tell them what?”, he said trying to escape what just happened. “Ziva, Tony! You know who!”, Abby squealed. “One day Abs I will.” “Well you better do it now before she gives up on you,” she said mysteriously and then went back to her work. Tony walked away more confused than ever now.
He took the stairs back up to the bullpen, wanting to have as much time to think as possible. He knew it was true. He’d lose her if he didn’t act fast. But with so much between them, how could he be sure that she even wanted to hear what he had to say. Instead of going straight to his desk he stopped by the bathroom to buy himself a little extra time. He waited in there like a school kid who had been bullied. He washed his hands 6 times & paced the tile until he was sure he made a groove in it. Then the door swung open. Gibbs walked in. “Tony is there something going on with you?” “No boss. I’m good. I mean I have problems, but don’t we all. There is this dinner debacle, what am I supposed to have on Thursday’s now? My favorite Chinese place closed down.” He rambled. Gibbs said “No Tony a more personal issue that you need to face. You have been hiding from your demons, I thought you had both dealt with what happened. I think Ziva has taken it to heart and moved on. But you… I’m not so sure.” He looked at Tony waiting for confirmation. “Boss I moved on from the bad to the good long ago. I dealt with what I did, to Michael & to her. It’s the demons within myself I’m hiding from this time. I love her boss. Rule #12 I know. But I still love her.” Tony answered. “Then tell her. Some rules are meant to be broken,” Gibbs replied. With that he turned and walked out of the bathroom. Tony was stunned. Why would he allow him & Ziva to break rule #12. Did everyone really know that he loved her? He sagged against the sink, unsure of what move to make next. When the door opened he didn’t even hear it. Ziva sauntered in, hands in her pockets. “Gibbs said you need to talk to me.” He looked up amazed with how beautiful she was. Her dark hair flowing freely around her shoulders, sparkling eyes, pride stance and those soft subtle lips. “Yeah, Ziva I need to…”, his voice faultered as she stepped closer to him. “What I need to say is that I…”, again he hesitated. “Tony it is okay. We are all friends here. You can tell me.” “It’s just that…”, he stopped. He took her by her forearm and pulled her closer, so that she was right up against his body. He could feel her breath against him and with every piece of courage he could muster he leaned down and placed his lips on hers. She was obviously surprised, but kissed him back. The soft, sensual kiss soon turned into a full on passionate, up against the wall (okay so it was up against the counter) kiss. They kissed until his lungs felt like they were going to explode and only then did he pull away. He looked into her eyes. “I’ve been trying to tell you that I love you Ziva. Since the first day you walked in here I have felt this irreplaceable connection with you. I don’t just want you anymore. I need you.” Ziva went weak in his arms and put her hands on his arms to steady herself. “Tony. In this moment you have said what I too have been wanting to say. I fell head over feet for you.” He chuckled, “Heels. Head over heels.” They both laughed and he leaned down and placed a soft kiss on her lips. Work was waiting they knew and the romance would have to wait. They opened the bathroom door walking out hand in hand. The whole office erupted in applauds & whistles. Smiling they walked by Gibbs. Smack! Tony turned to look at him. “Good job DiNozzo,” Gibbs said smiling.