Title: What Boredom Breeds
By: Robin
Rating: PG
Category: General, Humor, Episode Tag
Spoilers: 5x12 Stakeout
Disclaimers: Neither NCIS nor any of its characters belongs to me.
Summary: Why Ziva should never get bored.
Note: Thanks to Rose Wilde Irish for betaing!

Ziva was bored. When she was bored, she tended to ramble. It was mostly an unconscious habit; she didn't normally notice it until someone brought it up. Few people did, though, out of fear. Gibbs, obviously, was not afraid of her, merely indifferent toward her rambling; aside from saying "Ziver" once or twice when she was being particularly annoying, he left her alone. He really was not helping matters by being his usually reticent self. After all, someone had to fill the boring silence.

It made her almost wish she had been partnered with Tony. Teasing him was always fun, especially when they were alone. But no, eventually his incessant movie references would have driven her to kill him, and that would have been bad. In her imaginary defense, three days of hearing nothing but his movie trivia and movie quotes would have given her no other option. She was sure Jenny and her father would have understood.

In any case, Tony was (fortunately?) not here, and Gibbs seemed to have tuned her babbling out, as he had for the past several days. Occasionally, she wondered what he was thinking. She respected Gibbs, admired him, sometimes even thought of him as a father figure. But he was a complicated, intensely private person, which she could relate to, and she rarely tried to understand the inner-workings of his mind, at least outside of what her job required.

Was Gibbs as bored as she was? She knew he would never give any indication one way or the other.

In her opinion, both professional and personal, this was one of the dullest assignments she had ever had. As a rule, Ziva hated stakeouts. So much waiting and waiting and waiting, followed by more waiting and even more waiting. Long hours in cramped spaces, often with irritating or smelly teammates, eating only take-out and fast food, with nothing to do but wait, watch, monitor, and listen. Monotony at its worst. She'd rather be in the middle of a shoot-out than on a stakeout. At least then she'd be doing something.

This assignment was even more tedious than others. Unlike many of her previous stakeouts, they were not monitoring suspected terrorists, or crime lords with ties to terrorists, or... well, actual terrorists. No, she was instead watching low-level drug dealers and drug addicts, prostitutes and jacks, and drunken hobos, intermixed with normal people going about their everyday, pedestrian lives.

People, as a general matter, did not really interest her. She noticed things only because she had to, because she had been trained to. Because noticing details meant that she or her colleagues might get to live a little bit longer. However, most people were not fascinating enough to warrant anything more than her standard brief assessment, as she clinically committed them, their features, and their actions to memory and then moved on. Even the dyed-platinum-blond prostitute from across the street, whom Tony had dubbed "Goldilocks" (Ziva knew the story, to Tony's shock), only mildly stimulated her interest, and never for long. It was a sad commentary on her mental state when she began to philosophize, with some seriousness, on the personal lives of prostitutes.

It was inevitable, then, that she had resorted to this. Boredom also made her reckless. Of course, she would never do anything to Gibbs. She was bored, not stupid, mentally deranged, or suicidal. McGee was really too sweet for her to target; she and Tony already tormented him enough as it was, and McGee hadn't done anything lately to warrant her "picking him." (That wasn't quite right. Picking at him? No, that was what monkeys and birds did. Picking on him? Yes, that was it.) But Tony. Well. She could spend all day listing every offense he had ever committed against her. She still had not gotten him back for a fifth of those offenses.

So here she was, lining the eyecups of Tony's binoculars with black shoe polish, while Gibbs was in the bathroom. It was a little sick, her pleasure. Childish, undoubtedly. Gibbs would head-slap her if he knew what she was doing. But trying to take the high road with Tony never worked, and this was a bright spot in an otherwise non-descript three days. She couldn't help but smile as she slathered more shoe polish on.