I do not own NCIS or any part thereof.

Spoilers for all of season 7 up to Endgame.

Tony remembers to thank someone.

Thank you, Director

Tony saw the Director walking ahead of him toward the elevator and made up his mind. There was something he'd been needing to say to the man. As the steel doors slid shut he forced his hand between them triggering the automatic open feature. He squeezed in as soon as he could and nodded.

"Director Vance."


Taking a deep breath he reached over pressed the button for his floor and then hit the emergency stop.

Vance gave him a quizzical look.

"Something you need, DiNozzo?"

"Yeah. I just wanted to say thanks."

He reached back across the director and released the stop and they both jerked as the elevator started moving again. As the doors opened on his floor he nodded one more time at Vance and made to step out.

"Hold on a minute, Special Agent DiNozzo. Thank me for what?"

Tony blocked the doors from closing with his body. He looked out into the squad room. Abby was standing in front of Ziva's desk talking loudly and rapidly with much arm waving and McGee stood by her, trying to get a word in but failing miserably. Ziva simply looked from one to the other with a smile on her face. The same smile he'd been noticing since her return. The smile that seemed to say, at least to him, I am happy. He'd rarely seen that particular smile before they'd brought her back but it happened more and more often now and seeing her smile made him happy, all kinds of happy. Kind of neat how it worked out.

With his eyes Tony indicated the group standing only a few feet from them.

"For that, Director Vance."

Seeing that Vance still look confused Tony continued.

"For giving us permission to go to Africa. For supporting the mission. For helping Gibbs get a strike team together."

He held up his hand as Vance opened his mouth.

"I know Gibbs has clout in places I can only imagine but even he couldn't have commandeered the SEALs. Somebody higher up the food chain had to be involved and I know it was you."

The faint sound of Ziva laughing came to him followed by Abby's squeal. Looking over at the threesome again he saw McGee must have lost the battle of whatever it was and now sat back at his desk, head in his hands while the two women continued to laugh.

"You saved Ziva's life. Every bit as much as me and McGee or Gibbs. Without you she'd be dead."

When he said it out loud it stopped him for a moment. The reality of what might have happened if they'd been even a day later threatened to overwhelm him. He reached out and gripped Vance's hand and shook it firmly. Then let go.


Vance nodded. As Tony turned to see Ziva coming his way, the Director spoke again.

"It was my pleasure, Agent DiNozzo."

The doors closed before Tony could say anything else. Ziva touched him lightly on the shoulder and asked where he'd been.

"That's for senior field agents to know and little probies to find out."

She huffed at him and he grinned. Turning away she stamped back to her desk; the dark curls hanging down her back catching the light. Tony's smile slowly left him. He knew he still owed Vance big time. And Gibbs. And McGee. Because having Ziva back, alive, here with him… he owed them for his life, too.