Disclaimer: I don't own anything beginning with the letter N. Especially not the chalky flavored things.
Summary: I don't normally do the holiday fics, but I had this idea and it consumed me with its tiny messages of refined sugary sappiness.
Ziva ground her teeth together and willed herself to continue staring at her computer monitor. She wasn't going to give him the satisfaction. Not going to do it. Nothing was going to distract her from the case that was keeping her at work so late. There were no little projectiles flying through the air every few seconds, hitting her in the…she clapped a hand over her eye. "Damn you, Tony DiNozzo!"
He fell out of his chair and tried to hide under his desk as she charged him, threateningly brandishing her knife. "Accident! Accident! Didn't mean it!"
She couldn't help smiling when she stopped just short of crashing into the filing cabinet and turned to see him cowering in the tiny space, one hand covering his face and the other shielding his groin. "That was a bigger flinch than normal."
He spread his fingers and peered at her through one eye. "That was a scarier, uh, knife thing than normal." His hand dropped from his face, but the position of his other hand told her that he wasn't yet willing to trust her entirely. "In fact, you usually just say something crazy about a paperclip or pencil or some other office product."
"Your aim is not usually that good."
"Hey, you can yell at me all you want, but if you want to take this down to the firing…er, basketball court…"
She appreciated the concession made without a crack at her Moussad training, but needled, "Then you admit were aiming for my eye?"
"Why would I do that? You'd just murder me with office products. Anyway, I don't think you could pull off an eye patch."
"Would they glue it to my face?" She sheathed her knife and dropped into his chair. "Besides, telling someone you will kill them eight different ways with a stapler just gives you a chance to shoot them while they think about how."
Still under his desk but relaxing more every second, he poked his head out. "That's good to know."
She leaned over and whispered, "It does not mean I could not think of a number of ways to kill a man with…" she grabbed the first item she found on his desk, a plastic bag weighted with contents she didn't bother to examine, "this, for example."
He blinked at the bag. "You're gonna kill me with candy?"
"What?" She pushed the chair back to give him some room, as he seemed content to stay on the floor, and looked at the bag. "You were throwing these at me?"
"You're okay, right?" He seemed ready to flee back into his refuge at any moment.
"Fine." She exerted some pressure on her eyeball by pressing her finger against her eyelid. "There does not appear to be any injury."
"Yeah, I don't see any, uh…eye…goo squishing out." He pushed himself off the floor and took a seat on his desk, taking the bag from her. He reached into it, took out a handful and…looked at each one carefully before eating it. It took him a few moments to notice her amazement. "What?"
"Nothing. I just find it admirable that you have developed some self-control instead of cramming all of those into your mouth at once." She took a few of the candies from his hand and popped them into her mouth. His caution became obvious when she bit down and discovered that she couldn't be sure whether she had broken the candy or a tooth.
She glared, rising to her feet, but taking the time to run her tongue over her molars for a quick confirmation that they were intact. "What? I can't eat them unless you have thrown them at me first? Not that I can imagine anyone eating many of them."
"Hey, they're the most popular… wait. No, you can't eat them unless you read them first," he explained slowly. "Conversation hearts, y'know?"
Not willing to admit that she did not, in fact, know, she took more candy from his hand to inspect. "Hot stuff. Tell me. Email me. And these are meant to replace actual conversation?"
"Well…no. But you still have to read them before you eat them. And some of them do have real messages – like the ones I tossed at you!"
She picked up one of the hearts from her desk and read aloud, "Love me."
"Huh?" She searched his face, but all she saw was his infuriating and dazzling…his grin. "Oh, there wasn't one that said 'Look up and pay attention to me,' so I thought that was close enough. I was really trying to get you to read the first few I tossed."
"Look on the back."
She turned the candy in her fingertips and read, 'Pizza?' scrawled in uneven black ink. Sighing with exasperation, she said, "You could not just ask me if I wanted to order dinner?"
He shrugged and continued grinning. "I was feeling creative."
"Right." She swept the remaining candies on her blotter into the trash. "Order the pizza."
The next morning, Tony had been sitting at his desk for no more than five minutes when something bounced off his forehead. He looked up at Ziva, but she appeared to be focused on her computer; they still hadn't found any helpful leads on their case. His gaze drifted down to his blotter, where he saw something small and purple that hadn't been there before. "Hi there."
"It seemed appropriate."
He spotted a red bag of candy on her desk, partially hidden by an open file folder. "I thought you said you didn't like these?"
"I do not. They taste like dust. However, you did tell me that you must read them before you eat them." She aimed another heart at him.
"'Pretty boy.' Huh. Never seen that one before." He winked at her. "But I guess it's appropriate. Are you trying to tell me something, Ziva?"
"Try this one."
He felt a little quiver in his chest as she tossed another heart, wondering if 'sex god' was another new phrase the candy company was trying this year. His eyes widened as he read the actual message in the familiar red block script, "Hairy butt?"
"Yes." She smirked in a self-satisfied way.
He saw her get a little less confident as he grinned back. "Very clever. A little too obvious, but still clever." He walked over and settled himself on her desk. "That's a lot of effort."
"Specially ordering these things with the personalized messages? I didn't know you cared so much."
"I did not order these," she huffed, puffing up like an offended cat.
"You expect me to believe you just found a bag with a 'hairy butt' heart in it?" He looked down at the candy she unexpectedly dropped into his hand. "Slap?" He cringed as a familiar feeling spread through the back of his head.
"Read my mind, DiNozzo." Gibbs strode to his desk and set down his coffee. "Any leads?"
"We're working on it, Gibbs," Ziva replied.
"Uh huh." He walked right back out of the bullpen, taking the time to head-slap her first. "Don't spend so much time changing the messages on Valentine's candy and you'd get more work done."
Tony waited until Gibbs had disappeared before saying, "Nice to know I'm worth all that effort." He waited, still smiling, as she hunted through the bag and handed him another heart. He felt his face drop. "Well, that's a little rude."
"I debated over the second word for quite some time."
"So you're saying I should be glad you picked 'off' instead of 'you'?"
There was something troubling in her expression. "Ziva?"
"It's nothing. I was just thinking that we should try to talk to the bartenders at other clubs in the area to see if our seaman had been drinking and picking fights earlier in the night."
They spent the rest of the morning discussing the case with McGee. By the time lunch rolled around. Tony had completely forgotten about the strange, almost sad look on Ziva's face from earlier that day.