AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
PAIRING: Ziva David/Jeanne Benoit
SUB-GENRE: Established Relationship
SUMMARY: Ziva knows the entire squad room is talking about her, but she truly doesn't care. She has a secret one she intends to keep. But can she?
WORD COUNT: 2,940
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written for birggitt: G - Gossip (10/41)
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
Until Jeanne had come back into her life, Ziva had never considered herself a person who snuggled. She tended to prefer sex a little more athletic and less emotional and tender. However, once Jeanne had returned to DC and the two had met by accident one morning when they had bought coffee from the same coffee shop and Jeanne had invited Ziva out for a drink which had led to dinner which had led to Ziva inviting Jeanne back to her apartment for coffee which had led to them snuggling on the couch, Ziva realized she actually enjoyed the tenderness of just holding someone.
And as she now lay snuggled in Jeanne's arms, her heart rate beginning to return to normal, her body damp with perspiration, her mouth swollen from Jeanne's kisses, her hair tangled, her entire body tingling from Jeanne's hands and mouth she realized sex could be both athletic and tender and she also realized with Jeanne, unlike with most other people she had slept with, it was lovemaking, not merely sex.
Jeanne's skill, her versatility, her dexterity, her openness had surprised Ziva more than a little. She had believed herself to be experienced and flexible; after all she had slept with both men and women, whereas she was Jeanne's first female lover. Maybe it was partly due to Jeanne being a doctor and thus knowing the human body so well, but Ziva had never known the heights of passion she experienced when in Jeanne's arms.
She moved a little nearer to Jeanne, snuggling even closer in her arms, taking pleasure in the way Jeanne held her, stroking her back and wrapping he hair around her fingers, gently pulling Ziva's hair enough to make Ziva put her hair back and welcome Jeanne's mouth on hers again.
THE SQUAD ROOM THE NEXT DAY
"Come on, Probie, you can tell me," Tony sat on the edge of McGee's desk and swung one leg.
McGee sighed, looked away from his computer screen and up at him. "I've told you, Tony, I don't know who Ziva is dating; I don't even know for sure that she is dating anyone."
Tony frowned. "She has to be; she has that look about her."
McGee sighed again. "What look?"
"You know the one."
"No, Tony, I don't."
"And you call yourself a special agent. You must know the one I mean. It's a bit like this." And Tony pulled a strange expression.
McGee raised his eyebrows. "Tony, I can safely say I have never seen Ziva look constipated."
Tony glared at him for a moment and then laughed. "Okay, fair point. It wasn't a good impersonation. But it's not just the way she looks, she's being secretive again."
McGee stared at Tony. "You know, Tony, just because not everyone wants you to know every single thing about them, it doesn't mean they are being secretive - they just don't want you to know."
"Hah! So you think there is something to know?"
McGee sighed for a third time and hid a smile. "Okay, Tony, you win. If it will make you happy then yes, I'll admit I think there is something to know."
"You think Ziva's dating someone?"
"Yes, Tony. I think Ziva's dating someone. And who that someone is, I don't know and she clearly doesn't want us to know. There are you satisfied now?" And McGee turned his attention back to his computer screen.
"No." Tony's voice was firm.
McGee sighed yet again and once more looked away from his computer to Tony; he was frowning slightly. "Why not, Tony?"
"Look, McGeek, I don’t want to know just because I -"
"Have to know everything about everyone?"
"No!" McGee continued to stare at him. Tony fidgeted a little on desk and looked away from McGee. After a second or two he looked back. "All right, yes, but that's only part of why I want to know."
McGee raised an eyebrow. "And what's the other reason?"
"Because, Tim, whenever Ziva's been secretive in the past about someone she's been dating, it has never - never, Tim, - ended well." He held McGee's stare. "Has it?" he said softly. And then before McGee could speak he said flatly, "Rivkin and Cruz."
McGee was silent for a moment or two and then he sighed again. "Okay, Tony, you're right. But what can we do about it?"
Tony looked around him carefully before leaning closer to McGee. "Can't you do your thing?" he asked his voice low.
McGee frowned. "My 'thing'?"
Tony nodded. "Yeah, you know, your computery thing. Trace her cell phone, her emails, that kind of thing."
McGee shook his head forcefully. "No, Tony," he said firmly. "I can't." Tony frowned and opened his mouth. "Okay, I can, but I won't."
"Because if she found out she'd kill me or at least hurt me very, very, very badly."
"And if she didn't I would." Gibbs swept past them on the way to his desk. In an attempt to get up quickly without making it look as if he was trying to get up quickly, Tony managed not only to fall off the desk and onto the floor, but also get his feet tangled with the wires under McGee's desk.
Gibbs stood and stared at him as Tony finally scrambled to his feet and ran back to his desk before he turned his steely gaze onto McGee. "You done that thing for me yet, McGee?" he growled.
McGee stood up quickly and grabbed a folder and hurried over to Gibbs's desk. "Yes, boss," he said holding it out.
Gibbs snatched it, opened it and scanned the first page; he squinted a little as he peered down at it, but not too much as McGee had printed it out in a slightly larger font than usual. He then closed the file and looked back at McGee. "Good job, Tim," he said, patting Tim's cheek.
McGee's cheeks flushed. "Thank you, boss," he said, stammering only slightly as he hurried back to his desk.
"Yes, boss?" Tony sat up straight and looked at Gibbs.
"You finished your report?"
Tony swallowed hard and looked at McGee. "Er, not quite, boss, I was -"
"Too busy gossiping."
Tony opened his mouth to argue, again looked at McGee, licked his lips and said quickly, "Yes, boss." Gibbs's lips twitched in a half smile as he still managed to glare at Tony. "But I'm on it now, boss."
"Expect it on my desk, spell checked and with correct grammar when I get back from seeing Ducky." He grabbed his coffee and strode off across the squad room.
Tony looked across at McGee. "Tim?" he said his voice had a slight pleading note to it.
McGee sighed. "All right, send it over to me; I'll check it for you."
Tony smiled. "Thanks, Tim. I owe you."
McGee smiled. "Yeah, yeah, I know."
"Do you know who he is, Abby?"
"Who who is, Jimmy?" Abby grabbed the sample bottles Jimmy was holding, put them on her table and signed the chain of evidence paper.
"The guy Ziva's dating?"
"It might not be a guy," Abby said and beamed.
Her smile increased when Jimmy's cheeks turned slightly pink. He opened his mouth and shut it again, then opened it again. "Oh," he managed. Then he said, "Well, do you know?"
Abby sighed and pirouetted around on her heel to once again face Jimmy. "No, Jimmy," she said, "I don't."
"But you do think there is someone?"
Abby paused for a moment and took a sip of the Caf-Pow Jimmy had brought for her. She nodded and leaned over the table towards Jimmy, "Yeah, I do and between you and me, Jimmy, I'm worried."
Jimmy's eyes widened as he stared at Abby. "Why?"
"Because when Ziva keeps who she's dating a secret it never ends well. Michael Rivkin and Ray Cruz," she said when Jimmy just stared at her.
"Oh," he said. "Of course."
"I thought she might have told me," Abby said, now sitting on the edge of the table and swinging one leg. "She'd know I'd never tell anyone. But -" she broke off and then straightened up and hurried around the table to grab Jimmy's arm. "Ducky!" she said.
"You . . . You . .. You . . . You think she and Dr. Mallard are . . . are . . . are . . . dating?" Jimmy said the final word in a whisper.
Abby rolled her eyes and patted Jimmy's cheek. "No, Jimmy," she said firmly. "I meant she might have told him who the person is."
Jimmy frowned. "I don't think that's likely, Abby."
"Why not? She's told him things before, I know she has. I've seen them having tea together."
"Yes, but -"
"But what, Jim?" Abby put her hands on her hips and glared at Jimmy.
"Don't call me Jim. You know I don't like it."
Jimmy sounded more than a little upset and Abby swiftly relented. "I'm sorry, Jimmy. Now what were you going to say?"
"Just that I can't see Ziva telling Dr. Mallard who she's dating; I think she sees him as a favorite uncle - the kind you don't tell such personal things to."
Abby stared at him and sighed; she hated to admit it, but he was probably right. "Well," she said slowly, "we'll just have to try to find out."
Jimmy looked dubious. "But if Ziva doesn't want to tell us -"
"It's for her own good," Abby said firmly. "Now off you go back to Autopsy and leave me to deal with these babies." And she grabbed the specimens Jimmy had given her.
"Would you mind if I stayed for a bit." Abby lifted an eyebrow. "It's just that Agent Gibbs is in Autopsy and the last time we were at a crime scene I . . . Um . . . Er . . . I . . ."
"Knocked his coffee over?"
Jimmy flushed and nodded. "Yes," he whispered.
Abby smiled fondly at him and took his arm. "In that case, Jimmy, have a seat." And she pushed him down onto the stool next to hers.
"Do you know who dear Ziva is dating, Jethro?"
Gibbs stared at Ducky and frowned. "Not you too, Duck. The kids, the whole squad room in fact, are doing nothing but wasting time talking about who Ziva might be dating. Why is everyone so interested?" he sounded a little irritated, but only in the way he was ever irritated with Ducky, in a way that was quite different from the way he sounded when he was irritated with anyone else.
"Well, my dear," Ducky said calmly, "regretfully it has to be said that Ziva is not necessarily the best judge of character shall we say, at least not in her personal life, and when she feels she has to keep the identity of the person whom she is dating a secret from her colleagues . . . Well, let us just say -"
"Rivkin and Cruz," Gibbs said flatly as he sighed and sat on the edge of Ducky's desk and put his hand on Ducky's shoulder. "Yeah, Duck, I know. But what can I do? I can't -" the sound of his cell phone interrupted him. "Gibbs, yeah? On my way." He pushed the off button, stood up and turned towards the door. "Bodies of two Marines been found in a wood outside Quantico," he said, his tone grim as he ran for the door.
Ducky grabbed the phone and pushed the button for Abby's lab. "Abby, please tell Mr. Palmer his presence is required back in Autopsy immediately - we have a crime scene to attend."
LATER THAT DAY
"I assure you, Ducky, that I am quite all right," Ziva insisted, as she leaned back in her chair. "I do not need -"
"Be quiet, Ziva, and let Ducky examine your head."
Ziva sighed softly. "Yes, Gibbs."
Ducky glanced quickly at the only slightly bleeding wound on Ziva's forehead; it was already drying up and wouldn't even need to be stitched. Once he'd satisfied himself of that he began to move his hands gently but precisely over Ziva's head, his hands sliding into her hair as they carefully felt every part of her scalp. She winced as his fingers touched a lump on the back of her head. "I'm sorry, my dear," he said softly and smiled at her. "Now, look at me," and he pulled a pen light out from his pocket and looked into her eyes. He frowned slightly and once more shone the light into her left eye, then into the right and once more into her left eye. He then straightened up and looked down at her. "How many fingers am I holding up, Ziva?" he said softly, holding up three.
She stared at him and blinked hard, shook her head, gasped and swallowed hard as she turned even paler, before blinking again. "I do not know," she said quietly. "I cannot tell if it is three or four; they are a little blurred."
Ducky nodded and patted her hand. "And your head hurts?"
Ziva started to nod and stopped abruptly. "Yes, a li-"
"And do you feel sick?"
Ziva sighed and sank back against the back of her chair. "When I move my head, yes."
Ducky nodded and looked at Gibbs. "She must not be alone tonight," he said. "She needs someone responsible to keep an eye on her."
"She can come home with me," Tony said quickly.
"Ducky said someone responsible," Gibbs snapped.
Abby, Palmer and McGee gasped slightly as Ducky said with an edge of a reprove in his tone, "Jethro."
Gibbs just shrugged. "She can come home with me."
Ziva sat up slightly. "That will not be necessary," she said quietly.
"Ziva, I will not allow you to be alone," Ducky said firmly.
Ziva looked at him then looked at Gibbs. "I will not be," she said quietly, taking out her phone, opening it and pressing a button. The conversation was brief - and in French. She ended the call and looked at Ducky. "I presume you would consider a doctor to be a 'responsible' person?" she asked softly.
Ducky nodded. "Yes, of course, my dear, but -"
Ziva slowly turned to look at Tony. "I am sorry, Tony," she said softly.
Tony frowned. "I don't . . ." He trailed off and just stared at Ziva who closed her eyes and let her arms rest heavily on the arms of her chair.
Everyone just stood in silence for a minute or two. It was clear they were waiting for someone.
Finally, as Ducky had expected Tony broke the silence. "Ziva, what did you mean when you -"
Tony froze and then turned around. "Jeanne?" he whispered.
She stared at him and gave him a gentle smile, one that contained clear forgiveness. "Yes," she said quietly. Then she looked away from him to Ziva and the smile that touched her lips, even as concern appeared in her eyes, left no one in any doubt as to the identity of the person Ziva was dating.
She hurried across the room and took Ziva's hand. "What happened?"
"It was nothing. It is just -"
"Ziva has concussion, Dr. Benoit," Ducky said quietly. "I will not allow her to go home alone tonight."
Jeanne turned to him and smiled. "She won't be, Dr.," she hesitated for a second and frowned a little before asking, "Mallard?"
Ducky nodded. "Yes, but do please call me Ducky. Any friend of Ziva's . . ." And he smiled.
"Thank you," she hesitated just for a second then said a little formally, "Ducky. Come along, Ziva, let's get you home." She put her arm around Ziva and helped Ziva to her feet; Ziva let her, making no objection when Jeanne tightened the single-armed embrace and supported her as she led her slowly across the squad room and past an array of agents none of whom made any attempt to hide the fact they were staring at the two women.
Once the elevator doors closed behind them Ducky, along with Gibbs, McGee, Palmer and Abby, all looked at Tony, who was still staring at the closed elevator doors.
Abby moved first, hurrying over to Tony and putting her arm through his arm. "Are you all right, Tony?" she asked as Ducky and the others moved in their direction.
"Huh?" Tony shook himself, then turned and looked at each of the others in turn. He nodded slowly. "You know what, Abby, yeah, I am. I really am. And I guess we don't have to worry about the person being unsuitable for Ziva, do we?"
"No, Anthony, I believe we do not," Ducky said, putting his hand on Tony's arm. "Are you really all right, my boy?" he asked.
"Yeah, Ducky, I am. And we should celebrate. So, the drinks are on me," he said, squeezing Ducky's hand, kissing Abby lightly on the cheek as he pulled his arm from hers and hurried over to his desk.
"First time for everything," Gibbs said, going to his own desk and grabbing his coat, briefcase and Sig.
Tony looked at him and laughed; a genuine, pleased laugh. "You're right there, boss," he said. "Well, come on then," he added, grabbing his own coat, Sig and bag. We'll wait for you Palmer and Abby by the entrance, Ducky," he said as, Gibbs at his side, he headed for the elevators.