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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SEQUEL: To Crying In Their Beer.
Living Their Life
Jenny raised an eyebrow as Ziva hung up her phone.
"Ms. Sci- Abby," She corrected herself, "Won't be joining us?"
Ziva shook her head slowly. Jenny was surprised to see the slow steady smile that was stealing over her face. It made her look more relaxed and younger - more like Ziva had been when they'd first met.
"Oh," Jenny wasn't sure what to say now. From Ziva's conversation from Abby, she could tell she was missing something here, and she wasn't particularly happy that the forensic scientist had canceled on her with no notice. They would discuss it tomorrow. That was for certain.
She started to stand up to leave. Ziva shifted. It was a subtle move, but one that placed her directly in Jenny's path.
"Would you like..." Ziva paused and rephrased. "You're going to dinner with me."
"Am I really," Jenny asked bemusedly.
"Yes," Ziva said simply. "You are."
"And why am I doing that?"
"Because you've been neglecting me horribly since you asked me to come here. You have hardly spoken to me. You have not called me, or emailed me when you did not want some piece of information about Gibbs."
"Ziva," Jenny said slowly, tilting her head down, regret evident in her voice.
Ziva held up a hand to stop her. "I do not want you to feel sorry for me; I want you to make it up to me by going to dinner with me."
Jenny considered for just a moment how bad of an idea that this really was. She was weak where Ziva was concerned and any weakness was one that could be exploited. It was no stretch to say that she had enemies; both of the political and lethal kinds and she didn't need to have any more weaknesses than being the first female Director of NCIS already came with.
She looked into Ziva's eyes and opened her mouth, only to find that she couldn't do it, couldn't tell Ziva no this particular time. "Okay."
"Okay," Ziva's repetition of her response seemed a bit surprised, but she covered it instantly. Ziva David would never admit to being surprised by victory. Never.
She smirked. In the time that they'd worked together, Jenny had learned to be wary when Ziva got that look.
Jenny laughed. "You sure know how to make a girl want to go to dinner with you."
Ziva turned and held out her hand. "You know you find me charming."
Jenny took her hand, at least long enough to let Ziva pull her through the small knot of people and towards the door. When she dropped it, Ziva took a half-step back and let Jenny step in front of her. Her hand brushed the small of Jenny's back as they stepped through the door and headed towards the parking lot.
"I do find you charming," Jenny said in a whisper. "That's the problem."
"I don't find it problematic. I find it to be a good sign."
"Ziva." Now her voice held warning. Her job - and holding on to it - was one thing that was not negotiable.
The younger woman didn't respond, but leaned back against the door of a car - her car - Jenny realized belatedly. Ziva held out her hand again and this time Jenny shook her head immediately.
"No. Gibbs might not know better, but I do."
Ziva kept looking at her, her hand still held out. It took less than a minute for Jenny to put the keys into her hands. Ziva's grin of triumph was brilliant.
She pocketed the keys, but surprised Jenny by walking around to the other side of the car. Ziva opened the passenger door and held it. It took Jenny a moment to recognize the chivalrous gesture for what it was intended to be.
She brushed her fingers against Ziva's where she held the door as she got in. She watched Ziva walk around to the other side. Her seat belt was fastened before Ziva even had the key in the ignition. Unconsciously she found herself bracing herself as best as she could.
Ziva laughed as she saw it, and purposely made the car's tires squeal on the way out of the parking lot. She wove in and out of traffic effortlessly until she pulled up in front of a small restaurant. It looked dimly lit and not all that promising.
Jenny wasn't all that worried about their safety. Between she and Ziva they were well able to take care of themselves, but she didn't feel like kicking ass tonight. She felt like relaxing.
Ziva held the door to the restaurant for her again and stood close enough to her as they waited to be seated that Jenny could feel the heat from her body. Her pulse jumped.
"They serve kosher food," Ziva explained simply as the waiter sat menus down in front of them a few moments later. She flipped the menu open and seemed to be carefully studying the menu. "It is also very small, and out of the way. No one we know will be here."
Jenny blinked quickly as she studied her. Ziva constantly surprised her. "Ziva..." She waited until the younger woman had looked up at her. "Thank you."
Ziva held her gaze and then gave a curt nod before she returned her attention to the menu.
They ordered without much conversation between them and it was only after their waiter took the menus away that Jenny relaxed back in her chair.
She eyed Ziva speculatively.
"How are you settling in," She asked softly.
"I am-" Ziva changed her mind mid-sentence. "There's a lot that I'm learning from Gibbs. He is very unconventional and confusing, but he is smart. He is a capable leader."
"He's doing his best to drive me crazy."
Ziva laughed. "I'm sure he is, but," She drew the word out. "If it's any consolation, I do not believe that it is personal. Gibbs seems like the type of agent who drives every Director crazy."
"You usually are too," Jenny pointed out.
Ziva smiled. "I seem to recall you doing a few things that were outside of recommended procedures on the missions we went on together."
"I got the job done," Jenny said with a hint of a cocky smile.
"And that's all that counts." Ziva's comment was meant to be a statement, but Jenny knew her well enough to hear the hint of a question in her words. Apparently working with Gibbs was rubbing off already.
"Some days it is." She sighed. "Other days it isn't."
Ziva nodded and stayed quiet for a moment before looking back up at Jenny. "What about you? You haven't been the Director for very long now."
"Are you asking how I'm doing?" Jenny smiled to let Ziva know she wasn't angry about the question.
"I was not the only one thrown into a job where there are only a few people that can be called a friend."
"You seem to be getting friendlier with Ms. Sciuto."
Ziva tilted her head in acknowledgment. "You're avoiding the subject."
"I learned from the best."
"Ah, but you're forgetting that I'm also an expert at interrogations."
"Oh?" The word came out in a bit higher pitch than she'd intended as she felt Ziva's foot brush against her leg.
Jenny remembered seeing the sandals Ziva had been wearing at the bar, as Ziva's bare foot stroked up and down her leg, inching further up her leg, bared by her skirt, with each stroke.
Jenny blinked. "What was the question?"
Ziva smirked. "How are you doing?"
"I've been busy," Jenny said slowly, forcing herself to focus on each word. She didn't want to give Ziva the satisfaction of reaching down and stopping the motion of her foot.
"Busy working, or busy avoiding me?"
Jenny shut her eyes, as Ziva's touch trailed under the hem of her skirt and up her thigh.
"Both," She hissed out the word. She frowned and slipped her hand under the table to touch Ziva's leg. The younger woman's movements stilled immediately. Jenny took a deep breath. "Ziva, I haven't meant to avoid you as much as I have, but I'm not sure what I can offer. This job," She said very slowly, very clearly, "Is important to me. And I'm willing to do a great deal of things, and give up many other things to keep it."
"But," Ziva interjected.
"But beyond that, I would like to see you." She hesitated. "If you can live with." What she was asking, Jenny knew, was a lot.
"I am Mossad," Ziva said slowly, after a long moment. "I am very good at secret and discreet. You know this."
Jenny nodded. "I do."
"Then give me a chance to prove it."
"Okay," She said simply. Her job did come first, but she wanted this - wanted Ziva - too.
Later that night, as Ziva lay under her, shuddering, Jenny couldn't help stroke her hand down Ziva's sweat sheened cheek.
"You are so beautiful," She whispered, leaning over Ziva, pressing another kiss to the spot she marked on Ziva's neck. "Radiant."
And for now, this was more than enough.
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