Disclaimer: Baaaaaaaaaa. Humbug.
Spoilers: I suppose I should just bite the bullet and accept that I wandered into AU territory many months ago. So, continuity diverges in early season 4 – actual NCIS spoilers are fairly safe from there on, with the exception of the McNovel. Series begins with Locked, continues with a bunch of stories that are listed in order in my profile and ends up here. So far. I have a funny feeling this will never end, unless rocks fall and everybody dies. That last part isn't a self-spoiler, by the way. This section makes me feel both egotistical and tired. I'm not pressuring you to go back and read from the beginning, just letting you know what's up – established Tiva, that's what. And there you have the super-oversimplified summary of the whole series.
Summary: Picks up right where The Boy Who Lived ended – well, the morning after that story ended. While an intelligence op means Jen and Ziva are away, the boys will play. Or work, because that's what they do. They're investigating a curious dead body that Tony recognizes.
"I'm going to run upstairs myself, Dennis."
"Are you sure, Ma'am?"
"I'll just be a few minutes. Wait here."
Ignoring further protests from her driver, Jenny Shepard got out of the back of the black Town Car and walked up to the building just as a man was exiting, as luck would have it. She'd been wanting to see Tony and Ziva's new apartment and had the feeling that if she buzzed them, Ziva would just come down. Or perhaps not come down.
Jenny took a deep breath as she stepped out of the elevator and found the right door. She was running about twenty minutes late by design, hoping that she wouldn't interrupt their goodbyes – or anything else. After a few moments hesitation, she raised her hand and knocked lightly on the door. Tony opened it with a slight scowl. "Director Shepard."
"No need to be so formal, Tony."
He grunted and waved her in. "Ziva made French toast. She made some for you, too."
"Tony…" She was distracted when she looked around. "This is a nice place."
"Thanks." He walked into the kitchen. A plate clattered loudly as he dropped it on the counter. "Hungry?"
She stopped at the counter that parted the kitchen from the living room. "I really couldn't…"
"I made extra for you, Jen," Ziva said, her voice carrying down from upstairs. "And I made it with homemade challah, so you can't say no."
"Well…" She had eaten a light breakfast before leaving home, but there was a tempting smell hanging in the air. "All right."
"I'll get it." Tony yanked a towel off a plate sitting by the stovetop and stabbed a few pieces of the golden French toast with a fork, transferring them to the plate he'd taken out. Jen tried to ignore the fact that he shoved it roughly into her hands as he walked past. "Coffee?"
He had just smashed a coffee cup on the counter, miraculously not breaking it, when Ziva appeared at the base of the stairs, carrying a small suitcase. "Good morning, Jen."
"Good morning." She sat on one of the high stools in front of her and shoved a piece of the warm bread into her mouth to prove she was eating it; it was delicious. "Fank oou…" She took a moment to swallow. "Thank you. You didn't have to make anything."
"Not a problem." She dropped her suitcase by the sofa and circled around the counter. "Didn't you want syrup?"
"Here." The bottle bounced on the counter as Tony tossed it in her general direction and Jenny had to reach out to prevent it from sailing into the living room. He was more careful but no less surly with the cup of coffee he placed in front of her. She decided it was best not to ask for milk and sugar.
Ziva frowned at him but said only, "Would you mind pouring me a cup?" Jenny noted that he placed it in front of her very gently, not sloshing any over the rim. "Thanks."
"Hmmm." He moved to stand behind her, slipping his arms around her waist and resting his chin on her shoulder.
"Aren't you going to eat?"
He smiled and buried his face in her neck. Jenny half-turned in her seat to avoid looking at them and said, "I like this apartment. Very open. Is it just the master suite upstairs?"
"Yes. I'd offer you the tour, but it is a bit of a mess up there at the moment." She smirked at Tony, who smirked back until his gaze drifted to Jenny and became a death glare. Apparently learning from Gibbs carried far beyond investigative skills.
She finished her French toast and coffee quickly, not wanting to prolong the awkwardness. "Ziva, we should probably get going."
She nodded and turned to face Tony, who rested his forehead against hers. "I'll be back in a week." He didn't relax his embrace as she tried to pull away. Jenny noted that she wasn't putting much effort into it either and stood to emphasize her desire to depart. She felt a slight twinge of regret for forcing them to separate, even for a week, given what they'd been through in the past – year? Had they really been together for over a year? She blinked. There was no reason for her to feel bad. She was taking a qualified agent on a legitimate mission, any co-dependence notwithstanding.
Ziva's hands slowly moved up Tony's chest and around the back of his neck as she nuzzled his cheek. "It's only a week."
"On a super spy mission," he sulked, holding her even tighter.
Jenny interrupted them as much to assuage some of the guilt she was unwillingly feeling as to remind them she was still there, "It's not going to be like it was with Tushkevich, Tony."
He tipped his head to the side, still not releasing his hold on Ziva. "That's not what I'm worried about."
"It's going to be fine. We're going to interrogate a prisoner and come back."
"Ziva! Need to know!" Jenny reprimanded.
She shrugged. "He needed to know, Jen. Would you mind giving us a moment?"
"Meet me at the car in five minutes." She waited in the hallway rather than leaving. What else had Ziva told Tony? She had never even considered the fact that Ziva might share sensitive information at home. It sure as hell wasn't a Moussad-approved practice. Jenny crossed her arms tightly and tapped her foot; it was going to be a long flight if she found out that love had made Ziva loose-lipped.
She appeared after the specified amount of time. "Didn't trust me?"
"I thought perhaps you two would lose track of time."
"Hmph." Tony pulled the door closed behind him, taking Ziva's suitcase in one hand and her hand in the other.
Jenny followed them into the elevator, no longer in a mood to indulge them. "There's no need to take this personally, Tony. Ziva is familiar with this particular case, so she's the best option for…"
"You could have read someone else in, Director," he spat.
"It isn't that simple," Ziva said before Jenny could reply.
"Please stop making this so hard." They passed through the lobby and out onto the sidewalk. She kissed him, her fingertips resting on his cheeks. "I love you."
"Please don't go. I have a bad feeling."
"Everything will be fine. I'll be home in a week." She rose to her tiptoes to kiss his bowed forehead. "I have to go now."
He sighed heavily as he let her go. She picked up her suitcase and moved toward the car, but he suddenly pulled her into his arms again. "Sorry. Forgot to tell you I love you."
"As if I need reminding."
Jenny cleared her throat and got into the car as they kissed a final time. Tony remained on the sidewalk looking dejected when they finally pulled away. She allowed a few blocks to pass in silence before saying, "He seems very…needy."
"He is worried. And frightened. As far as he's concerned, if I leave the country, I'll need surgery." She gave a few mirthless snorts of laughter. "For the record, I agree with him."
"You're planning to get shot?"
"No. I also have a bad feeling. Mine happens to be about you, though."
"What will you do if Sahrawi does not remember you?"
Jenny saw her both her opening and an excuse to change topics. "What's Tony opinion on it?"
"Why would he have an opinion?"
"Oh, well, I just thought since you were so quick to share details about this mission with him…"
"I couldn't leave him worrying about nothing for a week."
"You gave classified information to…"
"A sworn federal agent? Who do you think he is going to tell?" Ziva gave Jenny a look she hadn't seen in quite some time, the one used on their missions when Jenny had asked a question she probably should have know the answer to. "He doesn't know anything that Gibbs can use against you."
"I never said…"
"Do you want to know exactly what I told him? He knows we are going to Morocco to interrogate one of the men Dmitri was planning to sell me to when we were kidnapped. He doesn't know why you are so eager to confront Sahrawi, nor would I ever tell him or anyone else about Cairo." Ziva looked her in the eye. "I do not think this will accomplish what you hope."
Jenny decided to ignore the idea that the entire agency would be gossiping about her personal vendettas. "And what do you think that is?"
"Is it something you want to discuss in front of your driver, or should we wait until we are on the plane?"
She frowned. "We'll wait."