Tony sat at his desk, tapping his fingers against the top of it. He had tried reading a magazine, he had tried flicking paper at McGee (a distraction which had worked quite well, actually, until he finally got up and went home. Probie was always such a spoil sport), he had tried doing something productive with work, and he had tried playing computer games. He had tried quite a few things, even, but every time he glanced at the clock, it seemed like only one more minute had passed since the last time he looked. Time was moving slowly – maybe even paused entirely like in that one British flick, Cashback. Had he somehow gotten the power to stop time? While Ben had found it entertaining and a source of passing the hours he worked at night, Tony was not nearly as patient. He didn't want to freeze time. In fact, he would have very much have liked it if he could have sped it up instead.

He wondered if Ziva was ever going to come back from the evidence room.

He cracked his knuckles, just to see. It had worked in the movie to get time moving again.


"That is disgusting."

Tony nearly jumped out of his skin at the sound of that familiar voice behind him. Grabbing onto his desk to stop from practically flailing, he paused for a moment, before turning around to face the very person he had been trying to will to come back upstairs. He hated that she was just as quiet and just as sly as Gibbs. He had warned her on several occasions to stop sneaking up on him, but since their relationship had become rather… rocky, she seemed less compliant to the rules that had governed his being comfortable around her. Rather than lecturing, he forced a smile, letting out an amused sigh.

"Take the stairs, huh?" She didn't answer, walking over to her desk instead and settling into her seat. She pulled out a stack of papers which she seemed to find more interesting than him. Sighing, though not from enjoyment this time, he turned himself back around to his desk, placing his hands on the top of it and staring at the form he'd thought about filling out at least ten times. He tapped his hands lightly on the desktop, a mild beat forming as he did so. He'd always hated silence.

"Stop that." She hadn't even looked up from her papers. He obeyed, not wanting to irritate her further for once, and rested his chin into his hand, watching her carefully. "A portrait would last longer."


"… It works either way."

"Yeah, but the phrase is --." Her glare silenced him quickly. God, she was nasty when she was bitter. Pushing away from his desk, he spun his chair around quietly, staring at the ceiling and contemplating.

At some point when she had been captured and tortured, they had taken her necklace. He hadn't seen her wear it since her return to NCIS and he was relatively sure that she would have if she had it still. He assumed it was broken. Or perhaps just stolen. Either way, it had been something of importance to her and now she no longer had it. He had waited to see if she would replace it, but she never had. He wondered why but never questioned it – perhaps she was waiting for her father or another family member to give her a new one. Or maybe she didn't even want one.

Taking a box from his desk, he hoped the later wasn't the case. He fiddled with it carefully, shaking it for a moment and hitting it against his palm. When Ziva didn't look up, he pushed himself away from the desk, standing awkwardly and walking to the edge of it. He waited for a reaction. He got nothing. Sighing, he bit his lip, clearing his throat, and walking slowly over to her.

"I uh…"

"I am not really in the mood for talking, Tony," she murmured. It had been the response whenever he'd opened his mouth when they were alone, whenever he'd come near her in an attempt to make friendly conversation. Sometimes she listened quietly, occasionally she teased, but mostly… She was cold and distant. She seemed that way with everyone and he wondered if she was still working on everything that had happened to her in Africa. He wished, and not for the first time, that he could know what she was thinking; somehow obtain super, telepathic powers and reach into her mind. He stared at her, his gaze intense, hoping that they would come to him.



"Alright." He nodded, opening the box and staring at the gold chain with the Star of David hanging delicately from the center. He hesitated, glancing at her working diligently, and finally placed it down at the end of her papers. She paused, staring at the gift, and said nothing. Returning to his desk, Tony picked up his bag, slinging it over her shoulder. "I'm gonna head home. You probably should too. Get some rest for work tomorrow." Giving her an awkward wave, he headed for the elevator.

Ziva let him go. She stared at the necklace for some time after she'd heard the ding of the elevator and the swoosh of air as the doors closed. Placing her pen down, she picked up the box carefully. She let her fingers trail over the chain, ending on the star. She swallowed, her throat feeling almost tight. While the reaction would likely not have been seen even by the keenest of observers, it was a rather large one for her.

Her lips twitched in a sad smile and, carefully, she removed the necklace from it's box, fastening it around her neck. Her fingers once again touched the star, her eyes focusing on Tony's now empty desk, before she leaned back over and returned to her work.