A/N: Hey guys, it's Autumn again with another oneshot. I guess I'm kind of on a oneshot roll, lol.

I've had this idea for several months now, and it's something I think should happen in the show, but likely won't. I thought it was really sweet though, and couldn't resist writing it up for you guys.

It's set after Good Cop, Bad Cop--no real set timeline except it happens this "quarter".

--Autumn


Ziva stood in front of the door, unsure. She was mentally pacing, trying to decide. Finally, she opened the door and walked in to see the Director's secretary working as usual at her desk.

"Is the Director available?" Ziva asked.

"One moment," she replied before calling Vance to speak with him. She hung up the phone. "You can go in when you're ready, Agent David,"

Ziva smiled—she wasn't sure if she would ever grow tired of hearing her name spoken like that—Agent David. It felt so right, so full of promise. She opened the door to Vance's office and he looked up with a kind smile.

"Agent David," he greeted her.

"Director Vance,"

"What can I do for you?" he asked as he set aside a file, looking up at her.

"I would like to make a nomination for this quarter's commendations,"

"Ah, who?"

"Tony," she said decidedly.

"Agent DiNozzo," Vance said. Ziva nodded. "On what grounds?"

"He searched for me for months. And even when he did not find me, he did not stop looking for Ulman. He went in to a very dangerous situation to take down Ulman, which he did. He took the entire training camp down, and he saved me. I believe he deserves a commendation,"

Vance looked at her curiously. "And Agent McGee?"

"I would like to make a nomination for him as well," Vance continued to look at her, wheels spinning so clearly in his mind. Ziva walked a little, looking around before stopping to speak again, eyes transfixed upon the window. "The whole world thought I was dead. They wanted to move on, and understandably so. But Tony…"

"He couldn't live without you," Vance finished for her. Ziva looked at him, brow furrowed.

"Did he say that?"

"It wasn't necessary," Vance stood and sat down upon his couch, gesturing for Ziva to sit across from him. She followed, and he began to speak again. "I usually don't like to get involved in the personal lives of my agents, and I don't like relationships between co-workers—I've seen the damage it can do," Jenny and Gibbs, Ziva remembered. "But in your case, I might be willing to make an exception,"

"Tony and I have never had anything more than a professional, work relationship," she insisted.

"I believe that," Vance assured her. "But it's like you said—the whole world wanted to move on. Agent DiNozzo not only wouldn't, but it was impossible for him. Now, I know Gibbs teaches you to be loyal to your partner—I've known him for a long time, I know he was a Marine,"

"Semper fidelis," Ziva said.

"That's right," Vance agreed. "But most agents, when they leave this agency, move to another team—they move on. Agent DiNozzo couldn't, and that tells me something,"

Ziva didn't look at him, but kept her eyes focused on her hands. "What does it tell you?" she asked quietly.

Vance sighed and stood, moving back to his desk. "You should ask him," he shuffled around his desk. "Thank you for your nominations, Agent David. I'll take them into consideration,"

"Thank you, Director," Ziva said as she made her way to the door, deep in thought as she closed it.

Ziva walked out onto the platform that overlooked the squadroom. Tony and McGee were chatting, appearing to hold a true conversation. Ziva smiled softly; before, Tony and McGee would only bicker and argue and tease. It was just how they communicated outside of work, it was their relationship, and they were comfortable with it.

But since she came back, Ziva noticed something was different about them, mostly Tony. Instead of constantly provoking the younger agent, she found him engaging in meaningful discussing with McGee. And as she watched them from above, she found herself being proud of him.

He deserved the commendation, and so much more.

Tony had saved her life, but he had done far more than that, long before she was being held in Somalia.

Over the years, Tony taught her to laugh. He taught her to enjoy life, to be a little immature sometimes—things she never thought she'd know. He showed her how to have a good time that did not involve a book and cup of tea.

They'd go see old Hollywood movies, the black and white ones from "the good old days," he called it. There was even a time they'd watch movies at her place, when Gibbs was retired. They would play pranks on McGee, on one another—it would make her laugh for days thereafter. He helped her with her American idioms, and even though she might act like it irritated her, his constant correction, she knew it was because he cared—she would never ask him to stop.

Tony gave back her life.

She owed him.


Day of the Quarterly Commendations Ceremony

The large group of agents and NCIS personnel stood in the usual room where commendations ceremonies were held each quarter. They were all well-deserved and well-earned, a ceremony that all enjoyed and made them more proud of their agency and their country.

This time, however, Ziva was awaiting the end of the ceremony. She joined in applauding the next agent, the rest of her team spread out throughout the room. Tony was on the other side of the door near where she stood, Abby close by, telling him something that made him grin.

"I have one last commendation award to present today, but I'd like to ask Agent David up to the podium to do so,"

Ziva could feel the confused expressions of her friends following her up to the podium where the Director stood, waiting. He nodded as she took her place beside him and began to speak.

"Last May, I was involved in a high-risk mission with Mossad. I had left NCIS and I was hurt and angry. I was captured by the terrorist Saleem Ulman, and I was held by him and his men for several weeks," Ziva glanced at Tony. His eyes were serious, so serious. "After the first few weeks, I realized that everyone assumed I was dead. I believed there was no hope of rescue nor escape, and I resigned myself to that fact. Though I found it unfortunate at the time, Saleem kept me alive for several weeks. One day," Ziva blinked hard, a tear threatening escape at the corner of her eye. "I was dragged from the cell in which I had been held to another, a canvas hood over my head, my hands tied behind my back. It was the first time I had stood in weeks," Ziva smiled softly. "And as the hood was pulled from my head, I saw Tony—Agent DiNozzo sitting before me," she looked at him, a kind expression on his face, unaware of the dozens of eyes now focused on him. He saw only her. "It turns out that he had been looking for me for months. That, even when they told him I was dead, he was looking for Saleem, that he might avenge my death," she bit her lip.

"Agent DiNozzo saved my life many times. We had been partners for four years when I left, and there were many times when he put his life on the line for me or with me," Ziva took a breath, composing herself. "This award goes to Special Agent Tony DiNozzo, for going above and beyond the call of duty,"

Tony couldn't tear his eyes away from her as he made his way to the front of the room where she waited for him. He stood beside her and she took his hand and looked at him. "Thank you," she said sincerely, her voice nearly a whisper.

"Anytime," he whispered back.

"Agent David," Vance said after a moment. Turning, she took the small black box out of his hand.

"Agent DiNozzo," Ziva said, holding the box out to him, looking up at him. For a moment, they stood there silently, each person in the room holding their breath, watching the pair.

"Thank you," he said quietly.

Many were surprised that day. In the past when Tony would accept a commendation on Gibbs' behalf, he would have prepared a lengthy speech, his grin wide with pride. But today, all he could do was say "Thank you." Not only had this man grown, he had changed too.

Before Ziva had been rescued, just weeks after she had left, theories began t circulate about what had happened to this man, once the overgrown frat boy.

Many would suspect it was due to his brush with death in the altercation with Rivkin.

Others would say it was due to Gibbs' influence.

There was the idea that he had merely grown older, and with time, wiser.

However, the day that the news about Ziva's death was given to Tony was the day they all realized they had been wrong. From that day on, he was different—quieter, distracted, serious. Everything about him changed.

It was that day they began to realize the truth.

Today, they were all proven right. It had all been because of her, for her. And as they stood up in the front of the room, silent thanks floating in the air, it was clear what the truth really was.


I decided to end it there. Just imagine a *foop* as they stand there, eyes interlocked. It works doesn't it?

I know it may seem as if Ziva is a bit out of character, but remember: she's a changed woman. After a year of dealing first with keeping secrets from the team, from Tony, from the agency, and then losing everyone she trusted on the tarmac in Israel, then being tortured for several months in captivity, then struggling to get her position at NCIS settled—she's been through quite the emotional trauma, and I think more emotion is something we'll be seeing from her this season.

So.

There you go. : )

Alright, I think that's about it. New episode tonight though! Sooooo excited to see Power Down—it should be amazing.

Don't forget to review!