Notes and disclaimers: all characters property of various large corporate entities, not me. No profit garnered here, ever. Written for llyfrgell. Thanks to Tigs for awesome beta magic. Title from Joan the Police Woman.
Ziva glances and sees the other runner looking up at her. She has rather striking eyes, Ziva thinks, and then focuses ahead on the path.
"How do I know you?"
"I believe I ran past you two days ago, by the Reflecting Pool," Ziva says. She idly takes a handful of popcorn from the box Tony just bought for an obscene amount of money. It's overly salty, typical of the kind of theaters Tony likes.
"You're right," the woman says, smiling. "You wore an orange knit cap that clashed with your sweats and I was thinking it was likely some sort of team specific apparel but then you were past us before I could see any logo."
"And that's a reason to walk up to a complete stranger on a date," the man with the woman says. He's carrying at least two guns, Ziva thinks, so is likely law enforcement.
"Not a date," Tony says quickly. "Team building exercise. With popcorn."
"We are the ones buying the popcorn," Ziva says, addressing herself to the woman with the remarkable eyes. She's decided the man is FBI, following her gut, and on behalf of Gibbs's usual annoyance with the FBI, has dismissed him in her head. Also, he reminds her of Tony in a bad way. "Since it's Tony's idea, Tony pays for all of us. Popcorn, tickets, the whole shepang."
"Shebang," the woman says, automatically. "I'm Temperance Brennan, from the Jeffersonian. We're also not on a romantic date and instead with a group from work."
Then they are all introducing themselves and shaking hands vigorously to demonstrate how physically fit they all are. Ziva ignores Tony and the FBI man's barbed little back and forth and smiles at Temperance.
Then they finish the ritual and Ziva goes with Tony back to her pals. It wasn't the best idea Tony's ever to had to get everyone to go the movies like they are all bosom buddies, but he seems very invested in its success. She wants him to be happy.
"You'd think this was a much smaller city," Ziva says and slides two seats over. She makes sure to smile since Tony has remarked that she can look rather predatory even when she means to be friendly. "I haven't seen you in this bar before, Temperance."
"I've never been before," she says.
"You needed a break from team bonding?"
Temperance smiles or grimaces. Ziva doesn't know her well enough yet to determine all the notes and emotions in her face. Temperance says, "I sometimes find all those people." She pauses and then adds, "It's been a hard year."
"Agreed," Ziva says. "Hard few years, I think. For me."
"Agreed," Temperance says. "I don't want to talk about it, though."
"Me neither," Ziva says.
"You work for NCIS but your accent " then Temperance pauses again. "Israeli?"
"Yes," Ziva says, smiling. "Yes, Mossad. Yes, I have killed people as part of my job."
"So has my partner. At the FBI, he used to be a sniper. But he refuses to go with me to a shooting range," Temperance says. "I'm sorry, did you expect me to ask questions about your life experience?"
"People often do. Anthropologist people specifically."
Temperance is definitely smiling now. Ziva says, "You enjoy being atypical."
She shrugs and says, "I don't believe in psychology, you know."
"I do," Ziva says. Despite this, they find enough to talk about to have a conversation.
They go to Ziva's apartment for further conversation without any of the tiring negotiations Ziva is used to. It is clear Ziva's is the closest, so to Ziva's they go.
The conversation goes the way Ziva expected from the first. Temperance is not the least bit inhibited, she is as fit as Ziva guessed and she talks constantly, unless her mouth is otherwise occupied. It's an enjoyable challenge to make her stop talking and see her stop her analysis.
Sprawled on Ziva's bed, naked and clearly uncaring, Temperance says, "I was hoping to make you swear in Hebrew."
"I forgot all my languages," Ziva says, laughing.
Temperance pats herself on her back. It shows her breast in an extremely flattering light. Ziva says, "Maybe you could do it twice?"
Temperance calls the next day. She wants to ask about the address of a restaurant Ziva mentioned that serves kosher Chinese food. Ziva says, "And that is all you called for?"
"Actually, yes," Temperance says. "Should I have called for something else?"
"No," Ziva says. "But people sometimes seem to think they should."
They pick a date to eat at the restaurant, though as Ziva notes, "we both have things pop up."
"That makes it easier. You won't get upset or resentful if I can't come because a case calls me away." Temperance says, "Is it okay if I bring a friend? It's not a coded message about my lack of interest in you. I enjoyed our sexual encounter and am open to repeating it, but I'm not looking for a settled relationship right now. I think that was clear, wasn't it?"
"Absolutely clear," Ziva says, smiling. Tony is now paying attention to her side of the conversation. She winks at him. "I feel the same. And I very much hope we can have sex again." They don't have a big case right now, so Ziva is perfectly happy to spend the next half hour fending off Tony's questions.
No one dies in a grisly manner the next week in either of their jurisdictions, so Ziva brings Abby and Temperance brings her friend Angela. They have a wonderful time, of course.
"Of course, there's more to us than casual sex," Temperance says. They are at one of those ubiquitous Georgetown coffee places.
"Yes," Ziva says, nearly laughing. She enjoys Temperance's way of simply saying things straight out. It is a little like Gibbs. "We have a friendship," she says.
"Separate from the family structure we've both built in our workplaces," Temperance says.
This time Ziva does laugh. "Families," she says.
"I know," Temperance says. They clink their plastic cups together and drink like it was a toast. "Someday we can talk about fathers, our respective fathers."
"Not today," Ziva says. "But maybe. I'd rather go back to my place this afternoon and have sex."
"That's a much better idea," Temperance says. She puts down her cup. "Let's go."
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