Standard Disclaimer: I obviously don't own NCIS, but I do have bills and if anyone wants them I'd be more than happy to turn them over.
This is just a tiny little vignette for Under Covers. Enjoy.
"How many times did they hit you?"
"I don't know," Tony answered miserably.
"Seven times," Ziva replied to the question without thinking.
"Of course she was counting," Tony rolled his eyes in exasperation.
"It was hard not to." Ziva looked at her toes as the memory of hearing Tony being punched sent a strange pang through her gut.
Ziva and McGee supported the slightly unsteady Tony as they walked to the elevator. Ziva didn't let go of him even when he felt steady enough to walk on his own and Tony didn't object. Ziva still had his keys in her pocket. She unlocked the door and helped him into the mustang. He saw the guilt and uncertainly in her eyes as she looked at him.
"Please let me drive you home," she said quietly. "I will drive like an old grandfather."
"Little old lady," Tony corrected absently. "The phrase is drive like a little old lady." He watched her face intently. "Okay," he nodded and looked over his shoulder. "We'll be alright Probie. Thanks for the offer though."
True to her word Ziva looked both ways as she turned out of the Navy Yard and obeyed the speed limit and most of the traffic laws as she navigated the city toward Tony's apartment.
"So, if you can drive like a normal human being why do you insist on driving like a crazy girl all the time?"
Ziva shrugged. "I like it," she replied simply.
"Oh," Tony answered as if her answer made sense to him.
Ziva was quiet as she pulled into the parking lot and chose a space close to the door. "I will walk you upstairs," she said with a tone that left no room for argument.
She helped Tony out of the car and stayed close to his side as they walked to the door of his apartment.
"Would you like me to get you that glass of whiskey that Ducky recommended now?" She asked seriously.
"Sure," Tony nodded. "And pour yourself one too. You look like you could use it."
Ziva went off in search of glasses while Tony leaned back against the couch. She returned a few moments later with a generous amount of amber liquid in each glass. She took a large swallow of hers and winced as it burned all the way down.
"They could have killed you when you sent me out of the room."
"He intended to."
"You should not have done that."
"What was I supposed to do? Sit there and listen to them slit your throat?" Ziva didn't have a good answer to the question.
"I am sorry they hurt you Tony." She sat down beside him and turned her body to face him. "I couldn't get the ropes loose enough to get free." She hung her head and looked down at her lap.
Tony looked at the top of her head in surprise. "It wasn't your fault. It was a bad situation but it wasn't your fault."
Ziva stood suddenly and paced in front of the couch. Her expression was fierce but Tony recognized that her anger was turned toward herself.
"I should have recognized that the waiter in the elevator was not a waiter. It was sloppy. In Mossad actions like that get people killed." She stopped and turned toward Tony again. "It could have gotten you killed."
Her gaze was raw and Tony could see the pain through her carefully erected walls. "Ziva, come sit down," he said gently.
She hesitated but slowly moved to the far side of the couch from where Tony sat and perched on the edge of the cushion.
"Ziva," Tony reached for her hand and pulled on it until she reluctantly moved closer. "This is not Mossad. You have to learn that you are not solely responsible for everything that happens to the team. Maybe I should have looked at the guy on the elevator more closely, but he was just a guy on an elevator. I refuse to spend my whole life looking at everyone as a potential perp."
"Being on your feet saves lives."
"Toes," Tony corrected with a small smile.
Ziva waved her hands. "Yes, yes whatever. You know what I mean."
"I do know what you mean but believe me, you did a great job today. You got backup to the room before they killed me, and we got great information from the disk Ducky found on Sophie."
"You were doing a pretty good job of defending yourself when I arrived." The tension started to drain out of Ziva and she smiled at the memory of Tony beating the blond Neanderthal with a chair.
Tony beamed. "I've got secret ninja skills too, bat girl."
Ziva giggled even as she tried to hide her yawn behind her hand.
"Why don't you stay here tonight? You look beat, I know I am."
"And you don't want me to drive your car home." Ziva added knowingly.
Tony squirmed on the couch. They had a moment and he wasn't ready to ruin it by insulting Ziva's driving again."
"Don't answer that," Ziva said suddenly, letting Tony of the hook. "I will sleep on your couch tonight because you are injured."
Tony tried not to smile. "Come on Ziva, this couch is a lumpy mess. We've slept in the same bed all weekend. What's one more night?"
Ziva raised her eyebrow suggestively. "Tonight we are not Sophie and Jean-Paul."
"Tonight we are both too tired to think about anything other than sleep." Tony leaned down and gently kissed Ziva on the lips.
She looked up at him, eyes open wide with surprise. He grabbed her hand and pulled her to her feet, leading her toward the bedroom. "Come on sweet cheeks, but try not to snore tonight."
"Snore? I do not snore, but have you ever heard yourself, my little hairy butt?"
Their voices trailed off as Tony let the door close behind them with a click.