I do not own NCIS or any part thereof.

If you follow my stories then you will realize why I felt compelled to write this piece of fluff.

Spoilers for Season 7 up to and including Code of Conduct. Much thanks to the lovely jeangrey136 for helping me out with her awesome critique.

Tony says something that scares him.

The L-Word

It just slipped out. She'd stood at his desk asking him not to call her Probie anymore, something he'd been enjoying for the past week. Indeed, he reveled in calling Ziva "Probie." Just thinking about calling her Probie made him smile. But when she stood there in front of him so alive, back at work, looking and smelling and moving like his Ziva, the L-word just popped out of his mouth. Crap.

She'd noticed too. Confusion, uncertainty, pain, maybe some anger, or perhaps even a bit of hope had shown clearly on her face before he'd had the presence of mind to speak, distract her, ask her what she was going to do about it if he didn't stop? Nah, probably not hope. Not even sure what he'd hope for her to be hoping.

But then she'd said he was her senior field agent and she was entirely at his mercy. Stunned. He'd been stunned into silence. Even now remembering made him swallow heavily and shift in his chair. How much had those words figured in his fantasies about her, about them together, over the past few years? She'd said them. She'd actually said them. And in front of a witness. He knew he must have looked like Gibbs had head slapped him but he'd recovered quickly with "As you should be."

Then he drank the coffee his submissive probie had given him and smiled and McGee's hoot of laughter echoed from the ceiling and across the room. McGee, who pointed his finger at him and then doubled over in a frenzy of amusement, unable to speak.

Pulling out a CD Tony looked at his reflected image and saw the blue teeth and lips. Oh, he was going to make her so miserable. Then he happened to glance at Ziva still standing in front of his desk, wearing the biggest, most beautiful smile he'd ever seen in the entire four years he'd known her. Even her dark brown eyes were, well, twinkling. Remembering the emptiness she'd shown him in Somalia and even upon her return his anger disappeared. Even with blue teeth, having been pranked by a mere probie, he was happy. Apparently, a happy Ziva made a happy Tony.

"You will pay, Probie Ziva. You will pay."

"It was worth it."

She turned and went back to her desk. He watched her all the way thinking how much he'd missed that strut while she was gone. How much he'd missed her getting the better of him. How much he just plain missed her. He'd told her the truth when he'd said "couldn't live without you."

Crap. Almost as bad as the L-word. And the L-word scared him the hell out of him. The L-word meant commitment and settling down and giving up…well, what would he have to give up he hadn't already given up? Even scarier.

Turning to the drawer where he kept his personal supplies he heard Gibbs' voice right by his ear.

"Brings out the color of your eyes, DiNozzo."

"Uh, Boss, it was Ziv…"

"I know. Go brush your teeth."

As he stood up he looked over at Ziva typing away with a smile still on her face. The smile did it. It was all he could do not to say the L-word again.

Crap.