Picking Up the Pieces - Chapter 9

What the...?

Tony had envisioned what would follow his confession of love...But he’d been thinking more along the lines of kissing each other senseless, neck like crazy against the door, and then moving to his bedroom and to his bed. He’s been waiting for this moment for eight freaking years! He sure as hell didn’t expect her to burst into tears.

He had no idea what to do. Not that he hasn’t yet had the ‘pleasure’ of dealing with a crying female, he’s just never had the pleasure of dealing with a crying Ziva. At least not crying as she was doing now.

What did it mean, anyway? Was it good? Bad? Somewhere in between? And what was expected of him at this precise moment?

Deciding he’d simply wing it, he pulled her against his chest, closed his arms around her trembling frame, tucked her head under his chin, and simply held her. He didn’t say a word, just stroked his palm up and down her spine.

Damn, it felt good.

Damn, it felt good to hold her, feel her against him. Alive. Jesus, she was alive.

And he’d almost let her slip out of his grasp. Again. He mentally kicked himself. Idiot! Yeah, he’d been pissed off. Royally. But what the hell?! Pissed off or not, she’d been there, in his kitchen, handing him her heart on a silver platter and he’d just stood there. Idiot!

Even seeing her walk out of the kitchen, into his living room, toward the door, back straight, head held high, hadn’t spurred him into action. Only when she’d had her hand around the doorknob, opening the door, he’d finally moved. Only the thought of her walking out of his apartment, out of his life—again—had snapped him out of his stupor. He’d straightened, and rushed after her, reaching her just in time to shut the door closed.

And even then he’d not been feeling very amicable. The thought of her leaving him again had pissed him off even more. And it had showed. In the tension in his muscles, in his clenched jaw, in his voice, in his words. No wonder she hadn’t wanted to turn, look at him.

She’d shook him off, but he’d finally started to function semi-normally by then. And instead of getting angrier, he’d finally noticed the tremors in her body, the hitch in her voice. She’d been crying, and he, the idiotic oaf that he was, had been making things even worse. So he’d clamped down on the anger, on the resentment...on the fear...and had treated her the way she was supposed to be treated. Gently, tenderly.

And the look on her face, the tears in her eyes, when he’d finally got her to look at him, had broken his heart. He’d put that look on her face, he’d made her cry.

No more! He’d sworn it to himself, and her, in that moment, he was done hurting her, making her cry. Yes, she’d made him believe she was dead, she’d told Gibbs and not him—he’d talk to his boss about that—but she had her reasons.

She’d done it for him. Because she loved him.

Didn’t she?

He’d had to ask.

And she’d nodded. And he’d forgiven her. How could he not? Then he’d kissed her, told her he loved her. And she’d burst into tears.

Tony had no idea how long they stood there, in front of his door, she clinging to him, him stroking her back, her hair comfortingly. He finally noticed she’d cut her hair. It was just long enough to brush her shoulders, the curls twining around his fingers as if to keep him there. He liked it.

He dropped a soft kiss onto the top of her head, murmuring his love for her into the unruly curls as her sobs were slowly turning into soft whimpers, her body no longer trembling.

She burrowed even closer to him, plastered herself against his chest for a moment longer, before she moved slightly away.

“Sorry,” she mumbled.

“Don’t be,” he murmured. “You needed it. We both did.”

She looked at him, then quickly averted her eyes. “I am a mess.”

Tony once more tucked his finger under her chin, made her look at him again. Her eyes were swollen and red-rimmed, her cheeks shiny with drying tears, the tip of her nose red...And she’d never looked more beautiful.

He told her so and grinned at seeing the blush spread across her cheeks.

“Wow, I just made you blush,” he teased and watched the pink spread from her cheeks to her ears and down her throat. “I like it,” he murmured.

She smiled and brushed her sleeve over her nose. “Of course, you do.”

He stopped grinning, devouring her with his gaze. She was so beautiful it hurt...And that smile. God, what that smile did to him. She had no idea what she did to him.

Something in his expression made her take a small step back, and he tightened his hands around her upper arms.

“Tony,” she whispered. “Stop looking at me like that.”

Like what? Like he wanted to kiss her until they ran out of air? Like he wanted to rip off her clothes and fuck her blind against the wall? Like he wanted to take her to his bed and make love to her for days?


With a growl, he curled one arm around her waist, plunged the other hand into her hair, and took her mouth in a ravenous, wild kiss.

She parted her lips immediately, granting him entrance and moaned as he slipped his tongue into her mouth, tangling it with her own. He angled her head a little more, and deepened the kiss, tasting her, teasing her. He sucked her tongue into his mouth and she transformed from the shaky, timid girl he’d held in his arms and comforted, into a passionate, excited woman.

He loved both of them. The girl and the woman.

She groaned, tightened her grip around his neck, and jumped. He caught her around the waist as she circled his hips with her legs, plastered her torso against his own.

And then, she took over the kiss.

He wasn’t complaining. Not when she delved her tongue deep, slid it against his own, not when she bit his lower lip as he pushed her back against the door, not when she curled one hand against the back of his neck and let the fingers of the other tunnel in his hair as her tongue stroked his. Just. Right.

Nope, he wasn’t complaining. He had the woman he loved in his arms, undulating against his body, kissing him as if she’d die if she didn’t.

When they finally came up for air, he merely growled her name, and buried his face in her neck, gently biting, laving the tender spot under her ear with his tongue, dropping soft open-mouthed kisses under her chin, up and down her throat, enjoying her ever-deepening moans, the movement of her body against his.

She was driving him insane!

He leaned her upper body against the wall to help her get the long-sleeved tee off and went back to kissing her neck. As his lips traveled down, toward her shoulder, he pushed her bra straps off, and licked her collarbone. He freed her breasts, clamped his lips around one nipple, licked it, gently bit it, plucking at the other one with his fingers, using the sounds coming from her mouth as a roadmap to what would make her as crazed at he was at the moment.

He released her nipple and lavished his attention to its mate, letting his fingers play with the one he’d worshipped with his mouth. Then, both hands on her breasts, he moved up, leaving a trail of wet kisses from her nipple to her shoulder, up her neck, until he once more reached her mouth.

He’s lost track of time. Track of anything but their ragged breaths and sounds of pleasure.

Mindless with lust, he unbuttoned her cargo pants, and slid his hand inside, pushing the zipper down. She moaned and her head dropped back against the wall when he brushed the tips of his fingers over her sex. She was swollen and wet and she moved against his hand, begging for a deeper caress. He flicked her clit and she groaned, rubbed herself against his hand. He pushed two fingers inside her, and her eyes slid closed on a long moan. He pumped his fingers, once twice, flicked her clit with his thumb, and she shattered.

Tony grinned. She looked magnificent. Head thrown back, the tendons in her neck straining, eyes closed, back arched, making her flushed breasts, nipples rosy and pebbled, thrust toward him and he couldn’t resist another taste. At the first pull of his mouth on her nipple, he could feel the convulsions that have been slowly subsiding, start anew against his fingers still buried inside her.

Sweet Jesus.

And he couldn’t stand it anymore. He was so hard it hurt. He needed to get inside her, needed to feel her spasm against him, over him.

He slipped his hand out of her pants, pushed them down her hips just enough and went to work on his jeans. Her hands were immediately there to assist, and when she slipped her hand inside his boxers and gently curled her fingers around him, he had to grit his teeth to keep it together.

She freed him from his jeans, ran her hand from the base to the tip and he could feel tiny fireworks explode under his skin. Not yet! Not yet!

He wanted to come inside her, he needed to come inside her. He just needed to find a—

“Fuck!” he snarled as he remembered. He’d thrown away the condom he’d carried around in his wallet months ago. And he didn’t keep any spare in his apartment. He hadn’t needed them.

Until now.

If he would’ve been one of those preppers, not that he believed in the end of the world or anything, he’d probably have a box stashed somewhere. No luck, though. Shit.


“What is it?” she asked, still stroking him, and he wanted to weep at the injustice.

“No condoms.”

She smiled slyly. “Backpack.”

He glanced down at the backpack at his feet. Looked back at her, arched an eyebrow.

She shrugged. “I believe in being prepared.”

“Oh, I love you.” He kissed her. Quick and hard. “Hold on.” He bent his knees, picked her backpack, straightened, and, one hand firmly on her ass, carried her into his bedroom.

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