Author's Note: This story was originally written several years ago, to go along with the TV show, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, which ran from 1983-1987, and has since been rerun on various different stations. Instead of continuing it as a SMK story, I have changed it and adapted it to fit with NCIS. This is set after the end of season three. I hope you enjoy it. :)Disclaimer: I don't own NCIS, its characters or anything to do with the show - its just a guilty pleasure I like to indulge in to escape reality from time to time.
Tony slowed to a stop as the light in front of him turned red. He smirked, knowing without looking that his passenger was giving him a dirty look. If she was the one who was driving, he knew she would have punched the gas and tried to race through the light without getting hit. That was exactly why he would never allow her to drive his beloved Mustang, no matter what kind of threats or promises she made.
Six months had passed since Gibbs left NCIS. Those 6 months had been some of the longest and hardest in Tony's career – but, despite that, they had also been the most amazing. In those first days after his boss' abrupt departure, he had never imagined how drastically his life was about to change. He couldn't help but smile at the thought.
"Undressing me in your mind again Tony?" Ziva asked, knowing what the look on her partner's face usually meant.
"Maybe..." he glanced over in her direction, sending her one of his mega-watt smiles. "Do you want me to be?" Ziva leaned in as close to him as her seatbelt would allow.
"Maybe...," she replied as she looked him over, a devilish grin on her face. "But we're already late for work. Someone didn't want to get up this morning."
"Well, that's because someone," Tony replied, emphasizing his last word, "kept me up half the night."
"I don't remember hearing you complain at the time." Tony opened his mouth to reply, when a car horn blasted from behind them. Both Tony and Ziva looked up to see the previously red light had now turned green. Ziva settled back down in her seat as the car began to move forward.
"Luckily, being the Team Leader that I am, I know that McGee was going to be in late this morning also. Appointment with his publisher or something like that. So I doubt anyone has even missed us yet." Ziva groaned.
"Please tell me he's not written another book!"
"He didn't say..." Tony glanced sideways, chuckling. "You mean you aren't the least bit interested in seeing what's going on with Special Agent Tommy and Mossad officer Lisa these days?"
"More like I'm worried that he's decided to take up non-fiction writing, yes?" she replied. Tony hadn't considered that. He was pretty sure it was obvious to everyone they worked with there was more to their relationship other than just being partners – but he doubted anyone knew to what extent exactly that relationship really went.
"Honey, don't worry about it. Even if McGee thinks he has us all figured out, we'll just have to remind everyone that his book is purely a work of fiction – he said so himself when we were all upset after Deep Six was published." He glanced sideways again, hoping that he was giving her a reassuring smile.
"Honey, huh?" Ziva studied him as he slowly steered the car into what had become their usual parking spot. Honey wasn't something Tony called her often, unless he was worried – or afraid he was in trouble. "You're worried he does know, aren't you?"
"McGeek? Nah, he couldn't know," he paused and thought for a moment. "Could he?"
"Well, if he doesn't know yet, he's going to soon." As she spoke, Ziva pointed to Tony's left hand, which still gripped the steering wheel. The gold band on his 4th finger caught a ray of sunlight and shone brightly. He gave Ziva a sheepish grin and quickly pulled the ring off of his finger. He handed it over to her. She took it and placed it a small pocket of her backpack, next to her own. Her body language spoke volumes – she was irritated with him.
The two then exited the car and headed into the building. As the elevator doors closed, they both turned to one another and began talking at once.
"Look, Ziva I..."
They laughed and automatically moved closer to one another. Tony slipped his arm around her shoulder as the elevator continued to move slowly upwards.
"We were able to spend a long, uninterrupted weekend at home. I didn't even think about taking my ring off this morning. I know, I know, its something I need to be more careful about...but believe it or not, I like wearing it, that's all." Tony felt Ziva stiffen. Instantly, he tried to figure out what he said to her now that he shouldn't have.
"So, because I wasn't the one who was still wearing my wedding ring, it means that I don't like wearing it, yes?" The words shot out of her mouth harshly.
The elevator lurched to a stop at its appointed floor. Tony opened his mouth, trying to reply, but Ziva quickly exited the elevator, leaving him standing there with his mouth open. He shut his mouth quickly, then he hurried forward, closing in the gap between himself and his wife.
"That wasn't what I meant and you know it," he hissed as he leaned over her shoulder, his lips just millimeters from her ear. Normally, his breath on her ear would have some kind of affect on her, but this time, it didn't.
"Then what did you mean exactly?" She asked as she moved behind her desk, took off her coat and sat down.
Tony placed both hands down on her desk. "I just meant," he paused, realizing that he had better lower his voice so that anyone nearby could not overhear. "I just meant that there are going to be times where we both need to be more careful. If Gibbs were here..."
"If Gibbs was here, then what, Dinozzo?"
Tony inhaled sharply and his body stiffened at the sound of Gibbs voice. What the hell was he doing here?
"If Gibbs were here, we'd have to do a better job at being on time Boss," Tony said quickly, as he turned and straightened up. He hoped that his response didn't sound as surprised as he thought it sounded.
A quick glance at his wife told him that she was as equally surprised by Gibbs as he was. Ziva moved out from behind her desk and stood next to Tony, her arms crossed.
"So, do you two always share a ride to work?" Gibbs asked he walked past the two, the air of confidence still present in his walk.
"Well, Boss, you see..."
Ziva quickly jumped in. She could tell Tony was still shaken by being surprised by Gibbs, and she knew that things could quickly go downhill if she didn't come to his aid.
"My car is in the shop again, Gibbs. Tony is giving me a ride to and from work until the work is completed." Gibbs gave them a knowing smirk.
"Is that what they're calling it these days...?" Gibbs mumbled loud enough for both of them to hear.
Ziva looked over to Tony and raised her eyebrows, but said nothing. They watched their former boss go over to his old desk and shift around some papers. Finally, Ziva nudged Tony and motioned for him to go and talk to Gibbs. Tony shook his head no, which earned him a hard shove in the direction of Gibbs, from Ziva.
"So...ah Boss...I mean Gibbs...what brings you back here today?" Gibbs shrugged.
"The Director asked if I would come in and help her update the mandated background checks for all of the agents. She just found out that the deadline was moved up by several days, and now she has very little time and a whole line of agents to get through."
"Updated background checks?" Tony said, his voice showing that he had no idea what Gibbs was referring to. "How come I didn't hear about that before now?"
"Something happen in your life recently that you don't want us finding out about, Dinozzo?" Gibbs asked as he studied the younger man's face.
"Ah, no Boss...nothing that I can think of off...hand," Tony's voice trailed off as he noticed Gibbs had stopped listening. Instead, he had gathered a handful of papers and was now headed upstairs, in the direction of the Director's office. He glanced over in Ziva's direction and noticed that she was again seated behind her desk.
"Shit," Tony swore under his breath, once he was sure Gibbs wouldn't be able to hear him anymore.
"What?" Ziva asked. Tony looked over at his wife. How could she remain so calm at a time like this?
"You don't get it, do you?" Tony asked as he moved in closer to her. He swiveled her chair sideways so that they were looking at one another.
"Background checks look into the private lives of agents. Things as minor as traffic tickets can show up – so something bigger...say a marriage license for example...will definitely make its way onto the report."
Ziva took a minute, thinking about what this could mean. After quick glance at their surroundings, she reached for one of Tony's hands.
"I think the best thing to do is just calm down and not go off half-caked..."
"Cocked," Tony interjected as he lowered himself so that he was closer to her eye level. He rubbed this thumb over her hand, as much to reassure himself as it was to reassure her.
"Excuse me?" she replied indignantly.
"What you just said...its half-cocked, not half-caked."
"Fine...," she grumbled. "We should go off half-cocked, getting ourselves all worked up over nothing. Gibbs isn't the one in charge of the team anymore, you are. So rule number 20...12...whatever it was, was null and void the moment he handed the team over to you. Besides, we went through that employee manual beforehand and there was nothing in there that said we couldn't be married and not remain partners. The only thing in there at all stated that one of us would be subject to a transfer or reassignment if said relationship interfered with our work in any way. And that's never been an issue with us."
"So, does that mean you aren't mad at me anymore?" Tony asked pleadingly, giving her one of the looks that he knew she had a hard time resisting.
"Okay...okay. So I overreacted a little..." Tony chuckled. Ziva leaned forward. "But look at this way – we both can look forward to when we go home tonight, where we can makeup properly, yes?" Tony smiled and leaned in, giving her a quick kiss.
"You bet," he grinned. He rose and began to make his way over to his desk a huge grin on his face. "Maybe this day isn't going to turn out to be so bad after all."