Ziva was entertaining Ronon and Rodney over dinner when he entered the mess hall to get some food himself. Sure, he loved her, and didn’t think it was a good idea to have her on his team because you should never really date a team member for complicated reasons, but maybe it was fine. Ziva was more than capable to fight on her own, and she got along with the guys which was fantastic.
He grabbed a tray and put some chicken, salad and potatoes on it before making his way towards the table they were sitting at. Ronon and Rodney burst out laughing as soon as he sat down. “What?” he said innocently.
“Ziva was just telling us that you aren’t that hopeless with relationships, just adorable.” Rodney hiccuped.
“Like a puppy.” Ronon added.
“What did you tell them?” John said, glaring at Ziva.
She shrugged and sipped her tea. “Only good stuff I promise,” she grinned.
“Okay.” he shrugged and took a stab in his chicken. “Ronon, no cracking jokes in your report about today to Carter please.”
“Whatever,” he answered around a mouthful of Salisbury steak.
“How did your meeting go?” Ziva asked looking up at him as Teyla approached with Torren in her arms. “Ooh! May I?” she asked as she stretched her arms where the Athosian transferred the child over.
“Fine,” John replied and stuffed his mouth with salad so he didn’t have to say anything for a while.
Teyla raised an eyebrow at his lack of an answer. “Did something happen on the mission this morning?” she asked looking around the table. Ziva was focused on the baby, Ronon took another hearty bite of his meal, and Rodney suddenly found something strangely fascinating with his tablet that was powered off.
“Things went great, Teyla.” John nodded with his mouth full. “I managed to stay civil towards Cowen without any help at all. We gave them some meds, they gave us grain.” he looked at her and smiled. “How’s your friend doing?”
“She is doing better. Doctor Beckett looked her over and said it was something your people call the flu?” she said. “Why do I sense that you are not being completely truthful with me?”
He took a deep breath. “Ziva took a tumble into the mud pit,” he shrugged. “It could have happened to anyone.”
“But it did not, it happened to me,” Ziva added. “And I still feel grimy despite taking four showers. I certainly intend on another before bed tonight.”
“Ah, yes,” Teyla smiled, slightly amused. “At least you do not have to worry about Ronon or Rodney pranking you any time soon, because they will have the image of you falling into that mud pile to entertain themselves for a while.”
She shook her head. “If they try pranking me,” she said glaring at the men in question, “I will just break their necks – or get them back. I have worked with the best of pranksters for the last five years. I do not frighten easily.”
John started to cut his chicken into pieces and kicked Rodney’s leg under the table as he started to snicker again. “Ouch! Why did you do that?”
“Because I can.” John nodded and looked at Ziva, “Carter told me that 4 team leaders requested you to be put on their teams today, after they saw you return from the Genii planet.”
Ziva shrugged and explained to Teyla who missed the show. “I began to strip in the middle of the gateroom to get the mud and – poop – off as quickly as possible. Will I be assigned to one of those groups?” she asked as she popped a french fry in her mouth.
“What? Wait! She’s leaving us?” Rodney cried. “Who asked for her? I’ll make sure that they get plenty of babysitting duties…”
“Wow, Rodney, I didn’t realize you liked Ziva that much.” John said, amazed.
The scientist simmered down a bit and looked a little embarrassed. “Well she actually listens to me and doesn’t pretend to be interested,” he said holding his head up…little did he know that she was just that good of an actress as she winked over at John.
“Well, when Carter showed me the candidates, I just knew they had requested Ziva because of the effect she has on most men,” he nodded. “Plus, one of the teams was a science team,” he looked at Ziva and grinned. “You would have them for lunch.”
“Oh let me guess…Grossmahn,” Rodney replied throwing his fork on his plate. “I swear that man can barely keep it in his pants around Miko and Sampton.”
“It was Burke, actually.”
He actually had the decency to look disgusted at that. “Well you wouldn’t have to worry about him. What with the warts on his face and all…”
“I know that, but the other teams were even worse than Burke… well apart from Stackhouse but yeah.” he shrugged.
“Was Stackhouse the one that helped me in the armoury while you were finishing breakfast?” Ziva asked.
“I don’t know, I wasn’t there,” he tilted his head a little. “Someone helped you in the armory?”
She narrowed her eyes as she let Torren pull on her hair. “Yes…” she said slowly. “He helped me with the thigh holster so that it was secured properly as I have never used those before. You do not need to get your boxers twisted in a knot. Besides, we never said if we were exclusive with each other or not…”
He didn’t say anything and just focused on his chicken, sulking.
Rodney looked back and forth with curious anticipated. If Sheppard actually announces that they were in a committed relationship before two weeks of her arrival, he would have won the pool to the grand tune of almost $2,000.
“John?” Teyla prodded him, curious herself.
“Call me old fashioned,” he started carefully, “but when you’re having sex with someone it usually means that you’re not seeing other people, is it?”
“I’ve had sex with female friends without being involved with them,” Ronon shared.
“Yea, they’re called fuck buddies for a reason,” Rodney added.
Teyla made a face and smiled at Ziva. “Kanaan and I were together initially for – comfort,” she admitted.
John shrugged. “That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard, really.”
Ziva wasn’t sure if she should be disappointed or relieved that he avoided the question. Relieved because he was certainly no Michael Rivkin and was not with her just on orders from her own father. But she was disappointed because she was most comfortable and content in his company and the romantic girl inside her hoped that it would be for the foreseeable future. Sighing, she turned her attention on the child in her arms, smiling while playing and making faces with him while trying to ignore the voice in her head that made her want to settle down and start a family of her own one day.
“Yep, you’re still hopeless.” Rodney nodded and held out his hand towards Ronon. “Money.”
“Damnit.” Ronon groaned and handed McKay the American money that he owed him. “I will never bet against you again.”
“I can’t help it that the guy still has issues he refuses to accept and deal with.” McKay smiled widely.
“The guy is still here!” John exclaimed and picked up his tray. “Good luck.” he nodded and left the mess hall.
“At least John is not hopeless in bed,” Ziva smiled sweetly which caused Rodney to gag. “Is this what you two do? Bet on your friends’ personal lives?”
Teyla nodded. “Unfortunately they do. They find it difficult to find other entertainment around here and your relationship with the colonel is the biggest thing that has happened since the Ronon, Jennifer, Rodney triangle..”
“Hey! I thought we agreed to never bring that up again!”
John didn’t care that Ziva was comfortable with talking about the both of them with their friends, even though he usually felt embarrassed by it because it was so different, but at the same time it was endearing as well.
He needed to get his ducks in a row and decided to swing some golf balls off the pier as it usually helped him think.
He didn’t like it that he was getting laughed at for assuming that when people spend a lot of time together and have fun in bed that they were together and that both parties wouldn’t do anything with someone else. He trusted Ziva enough not to see other people, why did he have to make it clear to her and everyone else that he was falling for her and that he wanted her all to himself?
And he wasn’t hopeless in relationships. He was just private and liked to keep things to himself. He was hopeless in communicating things, sure, but… he shook his head. No, he was hopeless, which was why his marriage to Nancy didn’t last and why he’d been alone for the past 6 years.
He chuckled as he swung a golf ball off the pier. Ziva should receive an award for dealing with him.
After the group finished eating dinner and shared more laughs – and Ziva pointedly making sure that the rest of the discussions did not involve her and John’s relationship, she set about looking for him. When he wasn’t in her quarters, or his, she ended up spending some time wandering around before requesting his location from the control room techs.
Eventually she found her way to the pier that they said he could often be found at if nowhere else. She came up quietly and watched him as he had the most adorable expression when he concentrated.
“Did you have more fun on my behalf?” He asked while he hit another golf ball off the pier.
“No, but I am sorry. It was something I should have waited to ask you when we were alone,” she apologized sincerely. She really had no intention of making fun or tease him in that respect, it just got out of control because of a scientist friend that couldn’t keep his mouth shut.
“Oh don’t apologize, it’s good that you feel comfortable around Rodney, Ronon and Teyla, considering you’re joining the team permanently,” John said and put his driver back in to his golf bag. “Congratulations.” he planted a kiss on her cheek.
Ziva looked at him shocked and blinked through the surprise. “Really? Colonel Carter approved that?” she asked dumbfounded. “Do you think it would be a problem between us? Because I am sure that I can handle it. I’ve worked with – partners – before and didn’t impeach on the missions.”
“Ehm… that’s impede you’re looking for,” John said, for the first time telling Ziva that she had one of her idioms wrong and he felt guilty about it. “Sorry,” he apologized.
Rolling her eyes, she smiled and shook her head. “It is alright. Tony does, did, all the time. English is not my first, or only language.”
“It’s just that your English is great and you’re trying your best and I’m not really in one of the best moods right now, so I apologize. I find your idioms mix-up cute.” he smiled, “And yes, Carter had to approve it because she received great recommendations about you from Director Vance and Agent Gibbs.”
“Well I am sure Gibbs would give a recommendation, as well as Vance, but Gibbs has rules and rule number twelve is to never date a coworker,” she explained. “Which would keep us from working on the same team at the very least.”
“Basically, if you were put on any other team, you and your skills wouldn’t be utilized as well as you should be. You’d be bored too,” he said. “I have my own rules about dating team members and it’s sort of the same but it is what it is, to use your words, and Colonel Carter has faith in our ability to keep our feelings for each other separate from the job.”
She nodded slowly and carefully asked. “What are your feelings for me?”
It was hard to stay pissed off when she was around. “What do you think?” he replied.
“I do not know,” Ziva said. “I know how I feel about you, and while we do not need to have something to talk about when we are together, sometimes hearing it is good too. I like you John – actually more than like you. I liked you more than I should have in Miami and I cannot help it and I really would like to see where our relationship could go and if you don’t want more than what we have now, I am okay with that. I cannot say that I would be saddened, but I would accept it…” she babbled on.
John pulled her towards him and started to kiss her senseless. Eventually, when they both were in need of air, he gently broke it off. “I don’t like to talk about personal feelings,” he said slowly. “It’s something I need to work on as it destroyed the relationships I had in the past.” John added. “I also have to admit that the pressure I get from Ronon and Rodney in particular for finally having found someone with whom I feel comfortable with is a bit distracting and discouraging in some way.” he gently caressed her hair. “But what you just said, I feel the same way, Ziva.”
“So … are we in a committed relationship?” she asked slowly.
“I’d like to think so.”
Ziva nodded and laid her head forward to rest on his chest. “Good because there is one girl in botany that I would really like to break her arm off for ogling your ass in front of me.”
He sighed, “Ziva, you’re paranoid.”
“And you are blind.”
“No I’m not,” he shook his head and kissed her. “I can see you just fine,” John smiled widely.
She hummed with a smile of her own. “Yes and I would like to see you, in my bed. After all it is larger than yours…”
“Yeah well… I did say I was going to fuck your brains out tonight.” he grinned, “but I still need to clean your gun.”
“Hmm yes, you did. Which reminds me…I forgot to ask Beckett about birth control. I doubt that you would want to have a child anytime soon.”
“Well you can do that tomorrow,” John nodded. “I still have a few condoms left.”
Ziva grinned remembering their weekend skiing. “Yes, I believe there were a couple left in the box. We did have – a busy weekend there. But I can go clean up the gun. I do not mind.”
“Well, you do that, and I’ll go and tell Rodney that he has won his bet with the rest of Atlantis.”
Nodding she kissed him again quickly. “Be sure to get a cut for us. I have some ideas of what I could use that money for.”
“Sure,” he grinned, knowing that Chuck was running the betting pool. All he needed was someone who hadn’t bet on him and Ziva yet, tell them to place a bet at Chuck, then drag Chuck, Ronon, Rodney and someone else off to some quiet place where he would tell them that he and Ziva were exclusive to each other and cash in his half of the bet that that certain someone had placed. Easy.