A/N: This is my first NCIS fanfic, written in the heat of the moment straight after I watched Good Cop, Bad Cop. There is still another chapter to come, but I don't yet know if the TiVa relationship will be resolved by the end of it (those two are so complicated!)
I hope it's not too out of character, I am a reasonably new fan to the series, but please review and tell me what you thought of it!
She hadn't intended to stay at work until late. Her new apartment was still flooded with a large number of cardboard boxes, and she had intended to continue unpacking them that night.
The paperwork that both Tony and McGee had eagerly placed on her desk had been finished long ago, her contentment at being re-instated as an NCIS agent having spurred her to work through the tremendous amount of files. She could feel the familiar presence of adrenalin coursing through her veins, and could sense each member of the team silently working beside her. Slowly, the ice cold feeling of loneliness that had been worming its way through her gut during the hellish interrogation she had been subjected to that morning was fading away.
McGee was squinting at his computer screen, hunched over what she assumed was an extremely long list of phone numbers. Gibbs was facing the television, regarding CCTV images with a hawk-like stare. And Tony was hunched over his desk, green eyes scanning a witness statement with careful precision. He looked older, she realised with a pang, wondering when his boyish demeanour had slowly ebbed away.
She had missed this, it seemed. She had forgotten what friendship felt like.
The minutes appeared to fly by, and one by one her companions left. Gibbs was first, surprisingly, and he stopped to give her a suspicious glance on his way out. 'Don't you pull an all-nighter, Probie.'
Probie. It wasn't just a nickname, but more of a term of endearment. And although it was her instinct to back away from affection, she couldn't help but feel an invisible warm embrace wash over her. After all, ruthless assassin or not, she was human, right?
McGee left soon after, explaining that Abby was giving him a lift. His eyes were drooping with tiredness as he gave her a friendly smile. She was half-expecting Tony to make a suggestive remark about this, teasing the younger man in a brotherly manner, but it did not happen. The elevator doors slid shut.
And then there were two.
'You didn't have to do all of that paperwork, you know.'
She smirked. 'You will pay me back.'
He chuckled and rested his feet on the edge of his desk. 'I am sure I will.'
Her attention was briefly diverted to the pitter-patter of the rain against the window panels, washing away the dirt and grime that had accumulated there. It was the first time she had seen it rain in four and a half months.
'Did you miss it?'
Snapping her head back she saw him regarding her with one of his silly half-smiles. He wasn't referring to the weather, and she knew it.
For one fraction of a second, just before she answered him, she dared herself to take it all in – to check that it was real. It wasn't just the job she'd missed. It was the people. It was her team. Her partner. Tony.
It was strange, but even now that they had sorted things out- now that they were back to being friends again, there were things that had still not been disclosed, feelings that had not been discussed- not properly anyway. They had been there before Somalia, but they were different now. More subtle. More calm.
Whatever those feelings were, they made her feel frustrated whenever she looked at him. She wondered it he could tell.
He grinned. 'That's not an answer, Zee-vah.'
'Fine. Yes, Tony, I did miss the stupid weather.' Now was probably the best time to leave. She did not want to talk, not after spending the whole day remembering. Slinging her rucksack over her shoulder, she made her way around the desk and towards the elevator. 'Goodnight, Tony.'
'I missed you.' It was just a statement, but it made her freeze and turn toward him, her dark eyes wide. He was still leaning back in his chair, but the laughter was gone from his expression. 'I…didn't have the chance to tell you earlier.'
Of course, she had known this. From the moment the foul-smelling sack had been wrenched from her head and she had been able to take in her partners face, equally battered, his usually kind eyes filled with more emotions than she could name, she had known.
'I missed you too.' With that, she swirled around and began walking swiftly towards the elevator, hoping that with every step, the painful lump that was rising in her throat would simmer down.
'Take care,' his voice reached her ears. 'That hot weather woman says there's gonna be one hell of a storm tonight.' He paused. 'And call me if you need anything. We're partners, right?'
And there it was. With those three words, she was able to identify one of those peculiar feelings.
It was shame.
How could I ever have doubted you?
A tear trickled down her cheek, and she wiped her face quickly.
'As I said before, you have always had my back.'
With that, she stepped into the elevator, and begun the journey home.