Disclaimer: Anything related to NCIS or that seems like it wouldn't belong to me, doesn't belong to me.

Hey there...so this is the beginning of a new story, I guess. Just so you know, it takes place early enough in the current season (seven) but not too early. And I know it's short, but it was kind of necessary, so what can I say. Also two more things: First, this is not a sequel to my other story in case you read that, for no other reason than it just doesn't really work that way. Second, speaking of my other story, I might be replacing some of those chapters with more recently edited ones, and I'm not sure if that shows up on alerts or whatever, but my apologies in advance because it's not really that important lol. Okay anyway, sorry for rambling. Please continue...

"What?" asked an indignant Tony, swallowing an impossibly large bite of pizza and putting on a look of feigned innocence. His companion, who had stopped eating to watch him with a look of amused disapproval, raised her eyebrows.

"It is a miracle you have slept with so many women, Tony," replied Ziva, shaking her head at the fact that he had already taken another bite before he had even finished chewing the first one. He chuckled, sending a little smirk her way, falling into their practiced and comfortable routine.

"Trust me, I don't think there's anything supernatural about it," he scoffed, knowing what he was implying and loving it. Apparently his partner did too, because she let out a small laugh of her own.

"Anyway," he continued, getting up from his seat at the counter and heading towards the cabinets, looking for some glasses. "Chicks dig a guy who knows how to relax. Got any wine glasses around here?" he asked, already having opened and closed several cabinets and not finding what he was looking for. It had been some time since he'd last been in Ziva's apartment like this. Maybe too much time.

He turned around to face her, expecting some guidance, but instead he found her staring at him with that mischievous spark in her eye. She already had two glasses, and the bottle of wine, sitting in the middle of the counter.

"Oh," he said lamely, frowning half-heartedly. "I hate it when you do that."

Ziva smiled, satisfied with that. In truth, she was satisfied with a lot of things at the moment.

The past week at work had been long and difficult, a fact attributed to a stressful case involving a missing child and a jurisdiction battle with the FBI, two things that were equally bad on their own and made that much worse when put together. There had been a lot of yelling, a lot of tension, and a lot of work to be done. But thankfully, here they were, hours after solving the case, enjoying a little well-earned relaxing. It had been Tony's idea to get together after work, and Ziva's idea to come here - she had her doubts about Tony's apartment being clean enough.

She was brought out of her thoughts by Tony clearing his throat, fiddling with the edges of glass as he was about to speak.

"So," he began, looking at her with a serious expression, but his eyes still playful. "Ready to hear my story?"

This story, which he had been babbling about earlier in the day but didn't have time to tell, was partly the reason Tony had wanted to hang out after work. So he said. Ziva raised her hands, palms upturned, encouraging him to continue with a slightly mocking smile. He noticed, but chose to ignore it. He was used to such things.

Just as he was about to start talking again, his cell phone rang, sending loud vibrations over the countertop.

"Perfect timing," he muttered darkly, glaring at nothing in annoyance and reaching for his belt to unclip his phone. He just flipped open he receiver, not bothering to check the caller ID.

"DiNozzo," he stated, his tone more professional than it had been two seconds before. "Ah hey McGoo. Not calling to apologize for ditching us, are you?" he joked, glancing at Ziva out of habit. She held the same expression he did.

Then Tony's amiable features changed completely.

"You're kidding," he said lowly, returning to seriousness. "Yeah yeah, alright. I get it. No don't bother, she's sitting right next to me."

Ziva frowned to herself, already drawing conclusions about where this was going. A few seconds of silence passed in which they both waited expectantly.

"Yeah, see you there in twenty," said Tony smoothly, closing his phone shut and putting it back on the counter, sighing. "Guess our week isn't over yet."

"A case?" asked Ziva, figuring she already knew the answer. How very typical.

Tony nodded, rising from his seat and grabbing his coat.

"Yeah. Dead Petty Officer just turned up outside a bar downtown. And ding-ding-ding, we're the only team on call this weekend," he finished sarcastically, heading towards the door. There was something unusually serious about his disappointment, something other than work having disturbed his plans. It was foreboding and accepting at the same time, and for some reason it made Ziva freeze for a second, studying him.

He turned back to her with a lightly curious look on his face, any trace of whatever had passed over him a second before, disappeared.

"Gibbs won't kill me if I bring that pizza with me, will he?"

He didn't wait for her to answer before swiping the entire box from the counter, ignoring her look of protest as he impulsively cut into her line of motion to grab it. She erased any doubts she had about whatever strange mood he was in, and continued out the door, which he was holding open widely with his characteristic juvenile grin. She rolled her eyes at him.

"Better watch it David or I'll save my story for Mr. Gemcity, and we all know what happens when he gets ideas in his head," he scolded, letting the door shut behind him and following her to the end of the hallway.

She ignored him. He laughed in spite of himself, amused and secretly proud that he was irritating her enough so that she was intentionally trying to leave him behind on the stairs. Well, at least the night hadn't been a complete failure. Any time, although it was interrupted, was better than none. It had been a long week...

Ziva stepped outside into the late summer air, enjoying the warm radiance that seemed to hang over the area. It was inviting and had a certain powerful calmness to it, making the fact that they were cutting their weekend ridiculously short just a little bit better. She breathed it in briefly, waiting for her partner, still on the stairs, to catch up to her.

"Ready?" he asked rhetorically, his voice a little softer than usual. She just smiled softly, nodding.

They walked forward on the sidewalk, heading towards the car parked on the curb. It wasn't long before Tony was playfully leaning on Ziva's shoulder, eyes lit up with humor.

"So what do you think McGee was doing before we were called in? Or should I say who?"

Ziva snorted, eyes narrowed but lacking any real anger at his sudden closeness.

"Is that all you think about?"

"Ohh I don't know, he's been taking some personal calls lately."

"Yes well that does not necessarily m--"

But she was immediately cut off, the sound of harsh footsteps and a threateningly shadowed figure approaching.

"DiNozzo!" someone yelled, his voice echoing sounds of determination and agression. The two of them immediately turned around at the sudden interruption, startled and confused.

Time did not stop, the world was not ending, but the loud crack of three gunshots pierced the night with the force of something that cannot be measured. There was the low thud of a body crumpling to the ground, followed swiftly by an impossible silence.

Ziva, whose tuned instincts had reacted instantly to the threat of danger, rose from her slightly crouched defensive position with her weapon drawn, eyes wide and heart racing. She was staring down the black barrel of a gun, pointed directly at her heart.

The shooter's face was covered by the dark fabric of a ski mask, the only feature visible the flickering heat of his irises. His hand was steady, radiating control and power. Burning. Ziva kept her own weapon held loosely by her side, unable to do anything but stare at the man before her. There was a tense silence as if anticipatory but already completed, causing her stomach to clench and the inside of her palms to begin sweating.

Then suddenly, he dropped his hand.

She stood rooted to the spot, watching with the deep eyes of a wounded child as he spun around and ran, sprinting away from the terrible mess he had just made, not looking back. He disappeared around a corner, leaving only a stilled silence in his wake. She hesitated for only a moment, exhaling and running a tired hand over the thin layer of sweat on her forehead. She turned quickly, and her weapon clattered to the ground.

Anthony DiNozzo lay still on the concrete, eyes closed with the ghost of a smile and the dark crimson of fresh blood seeping towards her feet.

He was dead.

Ooh shocker! Anyway, thank you so much for reading! Like most people, I always always appreciate reviews, so leave one if you like! Stay tuned :)