Missing scene from the end of Recoil. Not Tiva. No, seriously, not even a little.

Big Thanks to my wonderful beat, VanishingP2000. The NCIS gang, unfortunately do not belong to me.

A/N: sorry for the confusion, what with me posting the completly wrong story last time. I just took my AP European History exam this afternoon, so I'm kinda braindead right now.

Drinks on Me

He knew that she thought that he was just being jealous. He knew that both she and McGee thought that he was jealous of her new-found (and short-lived) relationship with Michael. He wasn't. He saw Ziva as a friend, albeit it a very good friend, like a sister, but nothing more. Never anything more. He had tried an office romance once, back in Peoria. It hadn't ended well and had resulted in him leaving for Philadelphia. He had never made that mistake again. Sure, he dated a couple of NCIS's secretaries, but that was different. He didn't have to go into the field with them, didn't have to worry about being distracted by them in the field. Not to even mention the rubble left behind when it ended. Not that he was even thinking about starting up another serious relationship anytime soon, anyway. Jeanne was still haunting him, tormenting him.

No, he wasn't jealous of Michael. He was just worried about Ziva. Killing Hoffman had hit Ziva hard. She was fragile- he had never thought that fragile was a word that he would ever associate with Ziva David- and he didn't want her to get hurt. Hoffman was a suspect- in a serial killer case- and she was going home with the guy. That wasn't smart, no matter how incredible her crazy ninja killer skills might be. And she was getting emotionally involved in a case; she wasn't thinking clearly, ignoring Gibbs' orders and ignoring an entire avenue of evidence because she had screwed this guy. You never ignore evidence, no matter who it implicates.

He had to admit that it had stung a bit that Ziva refused to believe that Locke might be guilty; refused to even entertain the notion, when only a few weeks ago she had seemed willing enough to believe that he could be a murderer. That stung, he had to admit. Knowing that his partner seemed to have more faith in a complete stranger than in him was more than a little insulting. But he pushed his hurt feeling aside, chalking it up to Ziva being affected by the incident with Hoffman.

He tried to get her to open up to him about Hoffman, tried to get her to go out for drinks, to talk to him about it, but instead she had brushed him aside, like some kind of nuisance, and run off to a bar where everyone either called her Gina or the 'that fed'; the bar where a serial killer could still be prowling about, looking for his next victim. It wasn't the sex that bothered him- Ziva could bang whoever the hell she wanted, she was a big girl- it was the fact that she acted like he didn't actually care, like he was just trying to bug her. It hurt to know that his own partner seemed convinced that he didn't give a damn about her. He just wanted to help, but she pushed him aside in favor of a drunken one night stand. Not that he couldn't understand that to a certain degree- he just couldn't understand having that one night stand with a possible serial killer.

But he wasn't being vindictive when he investigated Locke- he was doing his job. He knew that Gibbs would undoubtedly ask him to look into the guy, so he did so before Gibbs could ask- no sense in Ziva being pissed off at both of them. He assumed- though it was against Gibbs' rules to do so- that Gibbs knew why he had investigated Locke so thoroughly, though he never made any indication. He just wanted to make sure that Ziva wasn't sleeping with a serial killer because if it turned out that she was and they didn't investigate him properly because of that…. Well, it could only end badly. Very badly.

It was never a good idea to get emotionally involved in their work, he had learned this all too well from Jeanne. But there she was, getting emotionally involved after having admonished him for doing the same and when he tried to warn her against this, she got her defenses up. And Jeanne was never even a murder suspect, just her father. It irritated him that everyone thought that he was being an asshole for trying to warn her against the dangers of mixing pleasure and serial killer investigations. There was no real downside to investigating him- if he was clean, they'd know it and if he wasn't they'd know that, too.

He threw his pen at his computer angrily, glaring at his still barely started report on the screen. The others had finished up hours ago and were long gone, but he had lingered, past Gibbs even. He had to come up with a way to write this that didn't involve his mentioning of Ziva's sextracurricular activities. That made explaining how they obtained Locke's fingerprints more than a little tricky. He noted dimly that he should have asked Gibbs this before he had left for the night because clearly he was the only one on the team having difficulty spinning the facts in a way that didn't advertise Ziva's poor- and regulation violating- choices.

"Don't cover for her, DiNozzo," Tony jumped as Gibbs spoke softly behind him. He spun around to see his boss leaning against the back of his cubicle, coffee in hand as usual, watching him. How had he not realized that Gibbs was there?

"You scared me Boss," he said lightly, ignoring Gibbs' comment. Gibbs simply raised an eyebrow at him.

"Tony, do not cover for her bad judgment. Not this time," Gibbs said again and Tony stared at him.

"But, Boss-" he began, but was cut off by Gibbs' terse comment.

"You don't owe it to her, DiNozzo. I didn't cover her ass in my report, neither did McGee," he made no mention of Ziva's own report. "She messed up, Tony. She made some stupid choices. You weren't wrong."

"She's my partner, Boss. I should have trusted her judgment. I shouldn't have gone after Locke like that. He was innocent," Tony said as Gibbs came around the cubicle wall and Tony followed his movement with his chair. Gibbs sighed as he sat down on the edge of Tony's desk.

"DiNozzo, you should trust her judgment. Except for when your own judgment is screaming at you that she is wrong. Your instincts are good, just as good, maybe better than hers. At least, when it comes to investigations. You have to trust them and today they were dead on, DiNozzo. We don't just investigate suspects that we like. We can't ignore a suspect just because he got in an agent's pants. That's not how it works."

"I know, Boss. It's just that… I feel like I betrayed her," Tony admitted reluctantly and Gibbs sighed.

"You didn't. Tony, what if Locke had been our killer and you hadn't investigated him? What if, tonight, Ziva had gone home with him again, only this time, he slipped something in her drink and then killed her? You were doing the right thing. She might not want to see that, but trust me, better she be pissed off for a little while over this than be dead," Gibbs told him and Tony nodded slightly, fiddling absently with his pen.

"I know. I know that I'd rather she be mad and alive, I just… if I put this stuff in my report, she will get into trouble and then she'll be even more pissed off at me. I know, it sounds stupid and juvenile, but I really don't want her any madder at me than she already is."

"She won't be mad at you for that. She put it all, everything, in her own report, too. She knows that she's gonna catch some heat for this," Gibbs assured him and Tony gave him and exasperated sigh.

"Why didn't you just say so to begin with? Why did we have to have this whole roundabout conversation?"

"Because, DiNozzo, you looked like you needed someone to talk to. And, contrary to popular belief, I'm not a complete bastard. Not all the time anyway," Gibbs smiled and Tony couldn't help but throw him a grin in response.

"Well, I wish you could have not been a bastard a little bit sooner, cuz now I'm gonna be here writing this report until starting time tomorrow," he quipped and Gibbs fought the urge to roll his eyes.

"You can finish tomorrow. I'll give you an extension- just have it to me by tomorrow night and don't spread it around. Everybody'll be wanting extensions," Gibbs smirked.

"Aw, Boss, I knew you were just a big softie under that gruff Marine outside," Tony grinned and Gibbs reached around the desk to smack the back of his head, though not as hard as many of the slaps that he had received.

"Come on, DiNozzo. What do you say we go have a drink? I'm paying," Gibbs smiled and Tony gaped at him.

"Wow, Boss, is that a new kind of coffee you're drinking?" he asked and Gibbs laughed, causing Tony to stare at him in shock.

"No, DiNozzo. You just look like you could use it. You've had a rough few months and Ziva isn't the only one who deserves to have someone who cares enough to listen. Come on, lets go," Gibbs said, giving his signature head jerk towards the elevator. Tony saved his report before quickly shutting down his computer and grabbing his bag, running to catch the elevator before the doors closed out of habit, only to find Gibbs holding them open for him.

"Thanks, Boss," he said as he slid into the elevator and Gibbs hit the button for the lobby.

"DiNozzo, what would be the purpose of inviting you for drinks and then leaving you here?" he asked, exasperated.

"Right, Boss," Tony said, shifting his backpack so that it was actually on his shoulder correctly, instead of having the left strap thrown haphazardly over his right shoulder.

"Ah, DiNozzo," he muttered affectionately, shaking his head slightly and hiding a smile with his coffee cup.