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Gibbs and Ziva, 'Zibbs', their journey together has seen mistrust, faith, loyalty, forgiveness and baseball, but what happens if both of them do not want their relationship to be labelled and Father/Daughter, what if they both want something more? Be aware that this story contains suggestive language and adult themes which are not suitable for younger readers.
A head of dark chocolate curls is replaced by two eyes the colour of dark cherry wood, slightly drawn together in a look of concentration.

- If her. . Yep there it is!

A pink tongue completes the look as it peeks out the side of her perfectly formed lips.

- Just breathe you're a grown man, not an adolescent boy!

As she bites down on to her lip, I look up to the heavens and thank whatever gods that are listening that my moan was only inside my head.

- I really need to get a grip! hahaha. . ." no pun intended!

I run my hands through my hair, take a sip of my coffee, and once composed I walk in to the bullpen with a ghost of a smile still drawn on my lips.

. . . . .

It feels like the charge of energy just before a thunderstorm, an inaudible humming that is only noticeable by the small bumps that are raised from your very own skin.

- He's here!

I mentally brace up, readying myself for the mask to fall over my face. The words from my report which I have been struggling with for the past fifteen minutes blur on the page in front of me.

- Breathe. Focus. Breathe. Smile.

My personal mantra runs laps around my brain. I look up from my report and see him walking into the bullpen with his morning coffee in his hands, as he sits down behind his desk I notice a smirk on his face.

- If only my inventory of skills included mind reading!

A fan in the corner of the bullpen circulates the familiar scent of old spice and sawdust which automatically heightens all of my senses.

"Elohim ya'azreni!"

"Sorry Ziva, didn't' quite catch that?"

- Zevel! I must have said that out loud!

"I said don't you think it's a bit cold in here?"

"I hadn't noticed"

I left the safety of my desk and walked across the bullpen to disconnect the fan, as I walk back to my desk there is only one thought running through my mind.

- I have noticed it is definitely anything but cold!

. . . . .

As I glide the block of sandpaper over the wood my mind begins to relax and my body begins to move instinctively to the job at hand. I glide my free hand over the smooth wood to feel for any imperfections. To me wood is like human skin, smooth yet rough, tough yet pliable.

- Oh Ziver. . ." to touch your skin, to feel your imperfections . . .

"Stop it! You will only be a father figure . . . nothing more!"

I throw the sandpaper block across the basement, it hits the wall and bounces back to my feet. I bend down to pick it up, then look round at the unopened bottle of bourbon on the stool.

I shake my head - too easy! Then get back to the job at hand. I'm lost to my torturous thoughts until a creak on the stairs rips me from my moment of contemplation.

"Boss? Sorry to disturb you but we got a call. . ."

"Tony, why didn't you call me?"

"I tried boss but. . ."

I looked over to the worktop and saw my phone in the usual jam jar, clearly switched off and sighed.

"Don't worry Tony, give me a moment, and I'll be with you, where is the rest of the team?"

"They're waiting upstairs boss."

After I gave a swift nod of understanding, Tony disappeared from the top of the stairs.

. . . . .

While we are waiting in Gibbs's house, my senses are being overwhelmed, his smell is everywhere.

- What does the man do? Mark his territory like an animal!

My self-control is being pushed against its very limit. Saleem would never have needed a knife if he had a bottle of Gibb's scent! A twisted laugh escapes my lips.

"What so funny?"

"Nothing Tim, just imagined Gibbs throwing tools at Tony for disrupting him."

Tim laughed lightly at my lie, clearly imagining the scene in his head.

"I'm just going to use the bathroom, I will be back in a moment Tim"

A sound of 'uh huh' followed me outside the room. As I approached the stairs leading to the second floor I saw Tony coming up from the basement, clearly unharmed.

- Tim will be disappointed!

I washed my face in the sink, cooling my thoughts and my skin down with the coolness of the water. I looked into the mirror in front of me, using the hand towel to wipe the droplets from my face.

- Breathe. Focus. Breathe. Smile.

Composed and slightly cooler then when I entered the bathroom, I opened the door and walked straight into a wall of flesh. I automatically placed my hands on this 'wall' as if to push it away and looked up in to a pair of tormented blue eyes. His skin felt warm and solid beneath my hands, and I moved my hands as if I had been stuck my static electricity, my mind instantly regretting that movement.

"I'm sorry . . . I didn't mean to . . . I'm sorry Gibbs"

I don't know if I was apologising for colliding in to him, or letting go of him, my once composed brain was now a pound of marshmallow.

"Ziver . . ."

The tender use of my name forces my eyes to look back in to his, and for a moment I see my feelings reflected back at me in every shade of blue I know. The moment was so fleeting I must have imagined it, his next words seemed to confirm that idea.

"It was just an accident, no harm done, I'll see you all down stairs in five."

I nodded in agreement, it was all I can do, without fear of screaming, and headed towards the stairs. I had the feeling that I was being watched all the way down the landing. As I was walking down the stairs I let out a breath I didn't know I was holding and felt my heart drop with every step.

- He thinks you're just a little girl, lost, without a father figure to guide you! You will never be one of his red haired women!

. . . . .

- Holy, Mother! Did that just happen!

My hands had replaced the exact points her fingers touched my skin, although I was left unmarked, it felt like I had been branded, her touch forever tattooed in invisible ink. I watched her go, hoping she would turn round and touch me again, she didn't.

- Jethro you idiot! You had the perfect moment to kiss her yet you bottled it, Marine my ass!

"Rule number 12 . . ."

There, I said it out loud. Even my own rules were convincing me that this infatuation, midlife crisis, whatever you wanted to call it, was a bad idea. Yet as I walked in the bathroom and under the shower, my thoughts were haunted by two dark cherry wood eyes filled with disappointment.

. . . . .
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