Disclaimer: I don't own NCIS, or the characters I'm writing. Wish I did, 'cause then we'd be in completely different kettle of fish right now. But I don't.
A/N: This came to me almost completely by accident. I'd been re-watching Series Four and this look Tony gave Jenny at the end of 'Shalom' just caught my thoughts and up sprang this. We all know that photo he left for her at the end of Shalom said more than "I remember." So I decided that someone had to do something, and we all know that Gibbs' team, whether they're led by him or not, can't keep their noses out of something like this for long. So here comes what I thought followed Shalom, there will be more chapters coming from other episodes, not sure yet if they'll continue past Faking It. Thanks to Verity, my new beta reader, for getting this back to me so quickly and being so encouraging. Any thoughts will be very gratefully received, I've never written the other characters in much detail before and I would really like to know how I did and what I could improve. So please review! I'll send Jamaican coffee!
Summary: The team make a pact to help the two people everyone knows should be together but are just too stubborn to see it. Jibbs.
"They were together." Tony said with conviction, out of the blue. The Director had returned to her office not a few minutes before and the bullpen had been quiet. Now all three of his agents looked up from their work and frowned at him, unsure what he was talking about. There was a sneaking suspicion in the minds of the two people who knew their temporary leader but they weren't sure.
"Who?" McGee questioned for everyone's sake, especially Agent Lee, as she had a very blank look on her face. Tony rolled his eyes, almost unbelieving that no one else could see what he saw, then flicked them up at the Director's office, knowing they would get the point but also very aware that it would be unwise to let anyone else know what they were talking about.
"And Gibbs?" Ziva figured it out in a second, Tony's thoughts always having been easy to read, and a somewhat incredulous look climbed her face, still covered in bruises and band-aids. With the meaning now clear, McGee shook his head, uninterested in another of DiNozzo's hunches. As their leader looked over, Tony spared a thought that the frown Ziva was wearing once more must have been a little uncomfortable when he sarcastically replied,
"Well, I wasn't talking about Sachs." Ziva rolled her eyes and was about to come back with something no doubt quite sharp but McGee, on hearing what Tony had meant, transferred his interest back to his computer screen and answered tiredly before she could snap, knowing it would only lead to an argument and him having to step in anyway. Agent Lee quietly got up and left, the rest of the team barely giving her a glance, engrossed in the conversation or their computer, and she didn't mind, knowing she was different from them and that she didn't have the interest in their old Boss and their Agency Boss that they did. It also occurred to her this was not a discussion she wanted to hear anyway, knowing it would conflict with her steady morals.
"Tony, we've been over this before. We can never really know." McGee said almost mechanically. This was a discussion they'd had so many times, especially since Gibbs' departure because there had been obvious signs that him leaving had affected their Director in a personal way. The hints from Cynthia that she was worried, the less than reasonable mood swings, any hint about Gibbs and where he was leading to an icy answer. But nothing was concrete. And slowly the signs were disappearing as she retreated from sharing personal feelings with even them.
"Come on McGee, the thing with the photograph clinches it!" Tony retorted back enthusiastically, letting go of the calm he'd previously been giving off and leaning over his desk so he could see his teammates expressions easily. Now everything was back to relative normality he could joke; in fact, he was dying for a little mischief now that everyone was safe. He was still Tony under the new grown-up face. It was a fact that would have made Ziva smile if it had not hurt her to do so.
"You saw him go up to her office, they may have just been talking about it." Ziva suggested, affecting a non-caring stance and also leaning further forward to meet Tony's eyes in a challenging way, though something in the way she spoke alerted Tony to the possibility that she may be considering what he was saying. It was an encouraging sign he would not dismiss. There was no point in trying to appeal to McGee until he'd won someone else over.
"Then why leave the photograph?" He asked, a glint in his eye that said he was going to be dogged about this. McGee shrugged, not ready yet to give up his part in the conversation. Tony quickly realised that he wasn't going to win McGee over to his side, at least not without better evidence, so he turned to the other participant and hoped for better luck. "Ziva, you saw it, you saw how happy she looked in it. And that little smile after you asked her where it was taken? Unfinished business!" Tony explained triumphantly, his hands dancing around in front of him, looking eagerly at his partner for any sign she was coming around.
"She did look happy." Ziva agreed quietly, looking away as if remembering something, with her own small smile. How DiNozzo wished he could read her thoughts just then.
"Don't tell me he's gotten to you." McGee said, a little exasperated, leaning to look at the Israeli with a raised eyebrow. Ziva looked a little reluctant, and that pause meant Timothy already knew the answer to his question before she explained gently, with a tinge of something that resembled regret to her tone and face,
"Well McGee, when you're undercover a lot of time, with only one person to rely on and trust, and that person is someone you respect and admire, it can happen." Not for the first time or indeed the last Tony wondered if he would ever know enough about his partner. There were so many things he would like to ask and yet he knew she would never answer. "And she did talk of him often when we worked together." She added as if to herself, lifting a hand to her mouth, obviously thinking hard. Tony brushed away the feeling of longing and declared in a self-righteous tone,
"That settles it. They were together." Tony finished for her in a satisfied way, once more leaning back in his chair and a smug smile taking up residence in his expression as his hands swung back to rest on the top of his seat and cup his head, thinking he'd proven his point. But the conversation wasn't over.
"Which begs the question," Ziva continued with a tiny smile, looking around at Tony, and the stance she knew he'd adopted from Gibbs,
"What?" Tony queried, a little peeved his perfect smug moment had been ruined, leaning back up in his chair and angling his head at Ziva.
"What happened?" Ziva completed her question with a mildly curious face. The question hung in the air and made both men frown a bit, knowing it was probably one they would never have a proper answer to. Tony pondered various answers for a few moments then almost grinned as an obvious realisation occurred to him.
"Well, we all know Gibbs' track record with women, maybe he just-" Tony began but Ziva interrupted.
"No, it would have been her decision." Her tone was determined, she knew what she was saying was right and that made Tony frown, because he didn't like not knowing their Director as well as she did. He liked to know everything about everyone, which was why he gossiped so much, and why Ziva intrigued him as much as she did, because he seriously doubted he'd ever get past all the layers she wrapped herself in.
"How do you know?" Tony asked quickly, hoping for a little detail of the time before Ziva joined NCIS but the Mossad officer was never one for telling secrets and Jenny's time working with her was mostly consisting of those.
"Trust me Tony, I know Jenny. It would have ended on her terms." The response was so quick it was slightly defensive but Tony let it go. Sometimes, it wasn't worth pushing the point. Especially as he was winning the argument at the moment. He replied in a slightly derogatory tone of voice as if talking about stubborn five years olds, quite appropriate really,
"Well, if so, how come nothing had happened since? She obviously still-"
"Lower your voice!" Ziva shot at him and stopped his self-satisfied speech, glancing around her before leaning further over her desk and saying in a low voice, "Maybe something was going to happen. But then Gibbs left. Any chance would have left with him. Not to mention his memory loss, you know how much it hurt that he wouldn't remember you. Imagine how much worse that must have been for her! Someone she cares about that much. Maybe when he gets it all back she may say something. But then he would have to come back here and tell her. Which he won't do. Neither of them will." There was a touch of sadness in her voice just then, as if she could understand the regret Jenny and Gibbs had to be feeling as well as the reluctance to risk everything on a second-time-lucky relationship.
"Well, if Gibbs comes back-"
"When he comes back," Ziva corrected, smiling in a knowing way that made Tony sigh in what was supposed to be an exasperated way but maybe there was a hint of longing there as well, though he did not alter his wording. He didn't want to take anything for granted. He'd thought he knew his Boss, but he wasn't so sure now.
"If he comes back, maybe us and Abby should make a pact. Do everything we can to help them." Tony offered, and for the first time in the whole conversation, Ziva knew for sure he was being deadly serious. It was times like these she knew there was a decent man inside Anthony DiNozzo that really wanted the best for the people he knew, though generally he made life difficult for them.
"That's sweet Tony." She commented, but did not agree, knowing an obvious flaw with his plan. "But if either of them find out, they would most likely kill us." She paused for a moment and then amended her statement. "Well, they would kill you two. Individually, and painfully." There was definitely a twist of amusement in her tone then and that cheered Tony up immensely. So much so that he felt safe to carry on plotting.
"So we try and be subtle about it. Call it a covert operation if you like." Tony replied, glaring at Ziva when she snorted sarcastically.
"Tony, subtle?" She laughed. "Might as well ask a banana to be orange." McGee tried to withhold his laugh at that but didn't do a particularly good job, because he received a Gibbs glare from Tony before the team leader pouted and turned away, muttering mutinously,
"Bet Abby'll help."
"That's because they won't kill Abby. They would kill us!" McGee called over his computer, his voice a little high at the thought of being tracked down and eaten alive by the two people he was most in awe of.
"Well, I'm going to try." DiNozzo stated determinedly, folding his arms and pouting a little. When no other offers of help were forth coming, he enquired pointedly, "Anyone else?" There was a second or two of silence before Tim reluctantly looked up and nodded, much to the surprise of the two other people in the bullpen.
"I'm in." He said, making both other team member's eyebrows go sky high. He'd spent the entire discussion submarine-ing their ideas but he was going to go along with it anyway? He saw their expressions and explained his decision with a look at both of them both. "Though I hate to admit it, you're usually right about stuff like this Tony. And they both deserve to be happy." The young Agent said with a small smile. Ziva sighed, though she was a little touched by the softer side to the Probie she usually teased, and turned to their leader as well, her expression saying even before she did that she was also giving in.
"In that case, I will also help." Ziva agreed, making Tony grin as wide as his mouth would let him and he leant back in his chair again, hands behind his head again, at last sure that something good had come out of today. It gave him a warmer glow than he'd had in a long time. Probably since the first time McGee called him Boss. He let it fill him up and grinned widely, satisfied, already thinking how to go about breaching it to Abby in a way that meant she would be able to keep it a secret from Gibbs.
"I'll talk to Abby later." He informed them before closing his eyes. Both other team members rolled their eyes in a unanimous movement and went back to their work, though all three minds were contemplating what they had just agreed to do and various ways they could actually pull it off. It would be a difficult undertaking, but if it worked, then they all knew the result in their Boss and their Agency Boss would be well worth the effort. Assuming Gibbs did come back. But he had to, didn't he?