DISCLAIMER: NCIS stands for Naval Criminal Investigative Service. No, I didn't come up with the show. No, I do not own the show. Yes, I wish it was mine. No, it will never be mine. Yes, I'm in denial. Please don't remind me. _
A/N: So...how's everyone doing? Good I hope? I am super exhausted. I crammed about two weeks of homework into one (over achiever!)and so now I'm finally getting back into writing. Hooray!
Tony sat at his desk, catching himself once more staring at Ziva as she worked. He'd been doing that alot ever since she came back, smiling whenever he realized it. Fortunately, she didn't seem to notice. If she did, she was doing a great job hiding the fact that she knew.
The work day was over, and Tony was done with his case report.
"I'm going home," McGee announced, standing from his desk and putting on his coat. "You both better head home soon. It's almost 2300."
"I have yet to finish this report," Ziva explained, looking at McGee. "I'll go back to the naval lodge when I'm done."
"Alright. I'll see you both tomorrow." Sensing Tony's want for privacy, McGee nodded in farewell as he caught the elevator.
"Still haven't found a place?" Tony piped up after the junior agent was gone.
"Hm." Tony rubbed the back of his neck. "You almost done with that?"
"Need any help?"
Ziva looked up at him, a faint smile on her lips. "Are you waiting for me to finish, Tony?"
The senior field agent shrugged, hesitating to give his answer. It was like Somalia all over again, when she asked why he was there to rescue her. "Only if you want me to."
Ziva's smile showed more clearly on her face. "That would be...nice." She went back to typing.
Tony let out a silent sigh. Though his partner was back physically, she wasn't the same, mentally. He missed that Ziva. The old Ziva. The normal Ziva. The Ziva that would play along with his childish pranks, throw back a crumpled up piece of paper, reply with answers that consisted more than a few words. Was she ever going to be the same again?
"So who replaced me while I was gone?" Ziva suddenly spoke.
Tony loosened his tie, frowning at the question. "No one replaced you, Zi."
Looking up with her brown eyes, Ziva's eyebrows rose. "You didn't have anyone else to work here?"
"That's not what I meant. It's just..."
"...No one...could...replace you. You were never replaced. You were just...absent."
"Then who was working here?"
"Some wannabe probies."
"And how long did they last?" Ziva resumed her typing, carefully listening as she did so.
Tony laughed. "I think the longest one lasted four days."
Ziva joined his laughter. "What'd you do?"
"I really dunno!" Tony leaned back in his chair. "She turned in her resignation after you returned, calling me...childish, immature...I mean, really?" He waited for Ziva to show any signs of understanding his sarcasm, and when she failed to stop herself form laughing harder, it brought a 1000-watt grin to his face.
"I see your point, Tony. How could anyone think that of you?"
"I know, right? It's crazy!" Tony stood up from his chair, stretching his legs. "You done?"
"Just about." Ziva rolled over to her printer, waiting for it all to print. "I almost forgot the formatting of these reports," she continued absentmindedly.
"So...you wanna go get a drink?" Tony didn't mean to press her into anything, but after four months, he was dying to rebuild their friendship.
"I'm actually pretty tired, Tony." Ziva replied. "Perhaps tomorrow night?"
Hiding his disappointment, Tony smiled. "Yeah, sure!" He grabbed his coat and go-bag, heading towards the elevator. Before the doors could close though, he stepped back out. "Wait."
Ziva turned to look at him. "What's wrong?"
Tentatively, Tony tried to find the right words. "The naval lodge must be...awful right now, right?"
Ziva didn't understand where this was going. "It's not so bad--"
"So you can...stay at my place if you'd like...?" Tony stopped himself from speaking once he realized what he'd just said. "I mean...you know, we could watch a movie like we used to. A lot of good ones came out while you were gone, and I don't think you saw them all so..." He sounded like Abby.
Ziva was still a little shocked at Tony's offer, but recovered quickly. Looking down at her desk, she shook her head slightly. "I would hate to...be a burden to you, Tony."
Once again, Tony couldn't help but answer without stopping himself. "Not at all. I insist.... .... ... ...Please?"
Looking up into his green eyes, Ziva smiled once more. "Sure."
Releasing a breath he was unaware of, Tony smile back. "Great. Let's go."
The two stepped into the elevator, trying not to act like the situation was at all awkward, when in truth, it kind of was for both of them.
Out of the corner of her eye, Ziva watched Tony as he anxiously waited for the elevator to reach the parking garage. "What will we watch?"
Tony shrugged. "I dunno. You can pick. I'll watch anything you want. Just name it."
Ziva thought for a second, smiling when she came up with a title. "Anything, right?"
"The Sound of Music."
"Oh, come on---"
"Ah!" Ziva patted him on the back of the head in a mild form of a Gibbs slap. "You said anything."