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shape of things to come

by: Bether (Send Feedback)

Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 1232
Rating: YTEEN
Character(s): Tony DiNozzo, Ziva David
Category(ies): Angst/Drama, Friendship, Romance, Unresolved Sexual Tension, Vignette
Pairing(s): Tony/Ziva
Summary: [One-shot Vignette] In which Ziva hates romantic subplots and says what she means, Tony asks questions he's not ready to have answered, and it all starts with an episode of CSI: Miami... WARNING: Not a happy couple ending

Author Notes: My first foray into "Tiva", so be gentle please! I was inspired one day by the CSI: Miami episode "And They're Offed" (warning: incredibly mild spoilers for that ep) and--well, Ziva talks about it in the story, so I suppose I'll leave it at that. I should note that the opinions of Ziva and Tony regarding CSI: Miami are theirs and not mine (though I'm pretty much with Ziva) and my familiarity with that show is about equal to Ziva's, as well. Canon-wise, this is set in Season 6, sometime after "Dagger" but definitely before "Legend Part 1". Unfortunately my beta is still M.I.A., so this is unedited by anyone that isn't me. All mistakes, therefore, are (sadly) mine and mine alone. If you catch anything, be sure to let me know! Cheers.

Chapters: 1

shape of things to come

Disclaimer: Characters mentioned are used without permission and are trademarks of CBS/DPB. I am simply borrowing them for my purposes. Please don't sue.

"Say what you mean and mean what you say."
-- Cheshire Cat, Lewis Caroll's Alice in Wonderland

Ziva let out an aggravated noise, throwing a handful of popcorn at the screen. "Why do you insist on watching this Criminal Miami?" she asked in an accusing tone. Like it was his fault she'd loss the coin toss. Actually, considering the heat in the glare she was leveling his direction, she probably thought he was directly responsible for the show airing in the first place.

The picture of innocence (or as close as he could come at any rate), Tony couldn't resist correcting her: "It's called CSI: Miami." She appeared somewhat less than grateful for his help. "Okay, fine," he said, resigned. "What's the problem?"

"You mean apart from the poor acting, unrealistic crime scenarios and pretend science?" she snapped. When he had the gall to nod, she glowered further. "Fine. They always catch the criminal. Who can do that?" Her companion opened his mouth and she hastily added, "Do not even think of suggesting yourself, Tony."

Shrugging, he ran a hand through his hair. "The audience likes closure," he offered instead.

Ziva snorted, rolling her eyes. "That is not how the world works! You cannot just get tests done instantaneously--we are federal agents with superior resources and even our labs cannot do the things this CSI does in their Miami."

Tony decided to concede the issue. "The science isn't the point. It's a story, Ziva. The characters are meant to be compelling and the situations are dramatic takes on reality."

Laughing a little, Ziva crossed her arms. "Then they fail on all points," she returned sharply. "The only thing compelling about these characters is how good looking they are."

"What about Horatio? He's an ass, but he can be because he's so good." Honestly, it kind of reminded him of Gibbs. Not that he'd ever tell the man that… no, Tony liked living, thanks. "Or Calleigh and Eric?" he continued, trying to appeal to the girl that supposedly lived inside the assassin. "They've gotten closer over the last few seasons…"

Ziva shook her head. "Oh, please. The only thing more ridiculous than their supposed romance is what she said to him the last time you forced this show on me." She made a face, attempting to mimic the actress' voice, "'You have to say it, Eric.' What does that even mean? Is she so weak that she cannot brave taking the first step?"

Irritation growing, Tony frowned at her. "You're missing the point, Zee-vah," he argued, drawing her name out in the way he knew annoyed her. "Their situation is complicated--they're friends and also work together. She meant that she won't risk what they have unless he's willing to take the leap with her."

"That is stupid," Ziva replied simply. "He has made it obvious how he feels and she has not made any moves to reciprocate. Why should he leap? She could just be leading him on or trying not to hurt his feelings." She rolled her eyes. "No one would jump without a little encouragement." She met Tony's gaze evenly. "Did you not read Pride and Prejudice?"

Tony shrugged. "I saw the movie. Good score; better cinematography."

The look on her face showed absolutely zero surprise and she rolled her eyes for good measure. "Well, the point is the same. The sister Jane would have saved herself heartache if only she had encouraged the man Bingley." She glanced back at the screen. "Honestly, they would all save themselves a lot of trouble if they would just say what they mean."

Before he could stop it, Tony let out a snort.

Ziva scowled at him. "What?"

"Say what they mean," he repeated, eyebrow cocked pointedly. "Like you do?"

Expression still sour, she threw a handful of popcorn at him, too.

"Hey!" he objected loudly.

Obviously miffed, she ignored his cry. "I say what I mean," she snapped. "I mean, sometimes I do not get the words right, but I can hardly be faulted! American idioms are ridiculous."

Tony just gave her a pointed look. "Right."

"I do," she insisted stubbornly. Her eyes met his sincerely. "I have never lied to you, Tony."

Holding up a finger, he wagged it a few times and made tsk noises. "I didn't say you lied," he replied. "Only that you didn't always say what you meant."

Ziva crossed her arms, expression not unlike that of a petulant child. "Name one time."

Tony sighed but relented under her hard stare. "Elevator." It was only one word, but it was enough.

"I meant what I said!" she retorted, frustration evident in both her tone and body language.

Unfortunately for her, Tony was used to a frustrated Ziva. "Then why weren't you in autopsy with me, busting Gibbs' chops?" he asked swiftly, smirking in the way he knew she hated.

She gave him a pointed look. "Because I was not referring to the situation with Gibbs."

It was a simple response, stated as if it was as obvious as the nose on his face. So, naturally, Tony was left feeling like he'd been blindsided. "Then what--?"

"No, Tony," she interrupted, holding one hand up to emphasize her point. "I am not playing this game with you any longer."

For a cool minute, he considered feigning ignorance. (Why mess with success? It'd usually got him off the hook in the past.) He knew she'd never buy it, though. She was too smart for his tricks. Always had been. "Ziva," he returned with his own Look. It might only be her name but he knew she'd understand what he meant.

Too bad that was not enough of an argument to sway her. "No," she repeated calmly. "Since you are such a fan of Calleigh, I will take a page out of her book."

Tony couldn't help himself. He corrected her: "You mean take a leaf."

There was a small crease between her brows as she processed. "Why would a book have leaves in it?" she questioned absentmindedly but waved it off the next moment. "No matter. The game is over now. You will have to say it, Tony, or be satisfied with things as they are. Because I meant what I said--I am done pretending."

They neither of them had moved much since their conversation began, but Tony could feel the distance grow between them. There were so many things he could say--so many ways to take the leap and maybe even get what he wanted. He did none of them. Instead, he just nodded and returned his attention to the small screen in front of them.

After what'd happened with Jeanne and his own weird neurosis that'd apparently formed, he wasn't ready. Because it wouldn't be simple or a fling between them--it couldn't be. When going against a Gibbs' Rule, it was all or nothing. And he couldn't give his all, not even to her. Not yet.

End Note: I hate these but I just need to add--the thing about Ziva not playing the game anymore is not mine. Cote de Pablo mentioned just that in an interview about the show and I liked the description (plus the explanation for the lack of Tony/Ziva flirting post-"Dagger").

Chapters: 1

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