Ziva David was glad that she was the first agent in that morning

This story is sort of a prologue for the main one I am writing. The idea came to me while I should have been studying for my last final, which is this afternoon, and I just had to write it.

Look out for the main story, which is the beginning of a series, at the moment titled 'This Love'. I'll post it once it's finished, which will only be after I've written myself out of the hole I wrote myself into a couple of weeks ago.

Oh, and please review. Please!

Ziva David was glad that she was the first agent in that morning. Being a Monday, DiNozzo wasn't expected to appear until after 0800, a good thirty minutes after he was due, and for that she was grateful again.

Last night had been awful. Dreadful. Sickening, almost.

Her date with Martin Kotter had started off well, ignoring the interrupting phone call from Tony, until they had left the restaurant more than slightly drunk.

It was Tony's call that had changed her perception of Kotter. Her partner hadn't drunk-dialled her, she knew he was completely sober the moment he had whispered her name.

"Ziva," Tony's voice whispered over the line.

"Now is not the time, Tony," she said, smiling in apology to her date.

"Ditch the asshole, sweet cheeks, and come over to my place. We can have pizza, movies and popcorn."

"No, Tony."

"Come on, Ziva. I'm better company than that man."

"How do you know that?"

"What, isn't he 5"4', blonde, business suit and briefcase kind of guy?"

"How do you know that?" she repeated, a scowl becoming increasingly evident.

She heard him chuckle. "Sweet cheeks, I know everything."

Ziva sighed. "Just remember what I can do with paperclips, my little hairy butt…"

Tony giggled. "Ah, but you love it; and me. Call when you get bored."

He hung up, and his last words hung in her head all night.

Ziva had ended up leaving alone after she had exited the restaurant with her date. She returned to her lonely apartment and let herself in, not bothering to turn on the lights, and sat down on the couch after safely locking herself in.

She didn't know how long she sat on the couch in her dark living room, the only light coming from the almost-full moon, but the whole time she stared at the blank television screen she was thinking about one person. One man. Tony.

Ziva thought back over the past three years she had been with NCIS as their liaison officer to Mossad; all the times she had spent hanging out with Abby, arguing with Tony, playing pranks on McGee, investigating with Tony, spending time with Director Jenny Shepard, playing her own pranks on Tony, learning how to be an investigator rather than an assassin from Gibbs, falling in love with Tony…

Wait, she thought. When did she fall in love with Tony? Did Tony feel the same way?

I was with those thoughts of her partner that she fell asleep with on the comfortable couch in her living room.

Ziva's mind returned to the bullpen when Gibbs made his entrance at 0715, ten minutes after her arrival. He gave her a quick nod, which she returned, and placed a takeaway coffee cup on her desk before sitting down at his.

Without further acknowledgement, as usual, Ziva grabbed the cup and took a long drink, savouring the hot caffeine hit at the early hour of the morning. Then, still in silence, she continued her morning ritual of checking and replying to her emails, most of which were meaningless from Tony or Abby anyway, following up on the previous weeks' cases, and sending her monthly update to Mossad.

Gibbs was returning from the director's office by the time Tony stumbled in and landed heavily in his chair. Though he was most likely hungover, Ziva still admired the way he had styled his hair that morning and the attractive shirt he had chosen to wear.

This particular one made him look almost grown up. Well, more grown up than usual. Or maybe it was just her perspective of him that had changed since she had last seen him.

Yes, that was it.

Her realisation, the one she had learned the night before, stayed in the back of her mind.

Well, actually, it was in the front of her mind, because she was astutely observing her partner across the bullpen, and she could not seem to keep her mind off him.

I wonder if he feels the same way, she thought as he absentmindedly ran his fingers though his hair and raised his eyes to look at her.

They shared a glance for a moment; well, it actually felt like a minute or more to Ziva, before Gibbs' voice sounded throughout the bullpen.

"Gear up, we have a case."

The assassin sighed. Obviously today was not a good time to ask Tony if he shared the same feelings she did.

Maybe tomorrow would be better.