Title: Not in the Script

Warnings: a bad word or so, angst, UST, and an utter lack of context

Summary: In which Tony is not the action hero.

Disclaimer: Truth time: I don't own any part of NCIS and I like mindless shoot-em-up movies probably way more than I should.

Patching up someone's wounds is only sexy in the movies. That's the sad realization Tony reaches. In the movies, the hero always stands stoically in some temporarily safe washroom, stripped to the waist and bravely doctoring his injuries. The femme fatale or the naïve charge enters, hesitant, and takes the bourbon-soaked gauze, or the snowy bandage to continue. Fingers glide, touches linger, biceps are caressed, and suddenly the thought of actually losing the other becomes too much—

It's not like that at all, Tony thinks, striding briskly down the hall. For one, it's not his biceps that need bandaging. Not that it matters, because the only one doe-eyed enough to play nursemaid is McGee, and that's a much different movie than the one Tony wants to be in. For two, it's not the luxury washroom of a four-star resort or the half-bath of some shot-up Parisian apartment, he's aiming for, but the third floor handicapped bathroom. While not nearly as glamorous, the sink there is almost low enough to sit on and privacy is assured by the fact that it's single-occupancy.

Well, mostly assured.

He knocks once and eases the door open without waiting for an answer. Sure enough, Ziva's balanced on the counter, shirt hiked up, and one foot braced on the floor for balance, as she cranes her neck to examine her back in the mirror.

"They should really fix that lock," his partner remarks, looking up to meet his gaze in the glass with an expression amused and resigned. "What if I were actually using the facilities?"

"You'd break my arm in three places," Tony guesses, shutting the door behind him. "But then I wouldn't be of much help to you."

"I don't need help," Ziva says calmly, pinning her shirt up with one elbow as she flips open the first aid kit that lies next to her. Usually the sight of Miss Super Spy's bared midriff would be cause for some friendly harassment, but the angry wound angled from hip to spine and as long as his hand, is sort of throwing him off his game. "I just thought I should change the dressing."

"Yeah, I can see why," Tony says, stepping forward without invitation to rip open a sterile pad for her. "That looks more like a gouge than the 'slight graze' you were telling Gibbs about."

"Well I want to be here when you bring him in," Ziva says, giving him the look that says she's going to trip him to get into the interrogation room first.

"And what, you can't be properly terrifying unless you're risking infection?" He holds the pad while she dabs on the antibiotic cream. "You better hope that Neosporin's going to cut it." She responds with an unladylike snort. Oh sorry, he forgot. Ziva isn't afraid of bullets, why should she be afraid of the marks they leave?

The part that doesn't come across onscreen, is how blood is so not sexy, not when it's streaking the crinkled bandage lying next to the sink. They don't show how if you're patching the hero up, you're usually not consumed by a haze of lust, but rather consumed with annoyance over how he got hurt in the first place, and for making you worry when he is so clearly not worried for himself.

Only Tony's pretty sure he's not the him in this scenario, but rather the fresh-faced ingénue, (though please let him at least be the sexy femme fatale, and not the almost-got-you-killed waif.) Ziva's obviously the stone-faced action stud, since she doesn't even flinch as he presses the fresh bandage over the wound, and pats it firmly to make sure it's in place in a way that just maybe betrays a little of his sidekick-annoyance. No lingering touches here, though he does run his fingers over the tape one more time than is necessary to check that it's truly secure.

She examines the finished product critically in the mirror, then tugs her shirt back down, hiding the bandage. "Thank you," she says politely. "That's much more centered than when I did it myself."

"Sure thing," Tony says, realizing he should step back now that he doesn't have a reason to stand this close. He waits a beat though, just to check, because he knows this is the part where everything changes. The hero realizes he can't turn his companion in for bounty or deliver her back to the evil syndicate because he's fallen for her. The companion realizes the gruff façade is just to keep people at a distance because her hero doesn't want to be hurt again. They both realize they've already gotten under each others' skin, and they might as well indulge in some quick, cut-shot sex, set to whatever thrasher song is next on the soundtrack, and with total disregard to the hurts that just got tended to.

But proving that her knowledge of cinema is just as hopeless as Tony has always maintained it is, Ziva doesn't follow through with the rest of the scene. Instead she hops down from the sink, with a little wince to show she's human after all, and even though mundane things like cleaning up are so not in the script, she begins to pack away the first aid supplies. He leans one hip against the sink and watches as she takes the old blood-streaked bandage and wraps it in toilet paper before placing it in the feminine hygiene waste receptacle.

That's such a Bond thing to do, Tony thinks in irritation, no, scratch that, it's downright noir, hiding the evidence of just how hurt you are. He knows the first aid will disappear too by the time they get back to their desks. The sad bit is, she does it all out of habit, in the absent way that says she's actually busy wondering how he knew both where she was and the real reason she took a bathroom break in the first place. He feels the question bothering her as she washes and dries her hands, but he just doesn't feel like getting into the discussion about how yes I can read your facial tics now, and it scares me as much as you.

Instead he just crumples the wrapper in his hand, drops it in the trash, and holds the door open for her with an empty, helpful smile. He has to remember not to put a hand on her back to guide her out.

But then she stops, and looks up at him, and there's a different question in her eye, some uncertainty, almost fear.

Tony's inner-ingénue gets a little light-headed for a moment. He quirks an eyebrow in a way that he hopes is manly.

"Tony?" Ziva starts, and he let's his mind spin a million answers, all along the lines of yes I will always be here to help your crazy ass bandage hard to reach places in the small of your back.

"Yeah?" Tony prompts, and if he were the action stud this time round then his next words might be something along the lines of hey, let's you and me skip to the part right before the thrasher music for the credits roll, where the hero and heroine shack up in a non-trashed Parisian apartment, content because they got their guy or they got their millions, and they're going to live happily ever after without having to worry about so much as a paper cut.

But he's the heroine, and Ziva is working off a different script anyway, which is why the next words out of her mouth are "You won't tell Gibbs."

Maybe it's supposed to sound like a request, but it comes across as an order, and Tony just offers a sarcastic two-finger salute, and Ziva nods, satisfied.

Here's to holding out for the sequel Tony thinks, and flips the light off behind them.

((Oh Tony, you're such a girl. BTW, I totally did not mean the doe-eyed comment as a diss to any Tony/McGee shippers out there, just more friendly poking fun. :D Anyway, new FunFact: Reviewing actually makes your New Year's Resolutions more likely to stick! It's true!))