A/N: Because I do not have a ridiculous amount of unfinished pieces laying around, I have decided to launch another piece. This is a five-parter, which is a spin-off/companion to my story 'L' -a single study in fifty short parts. Anyway, I took my five favorite parts and expanded upon them (which is the result of one nagging plot bunny that decided to reproduce more nagging plot bunnies). This story is 'V' because the roman numeral for 5 is V -just like L isn't really a letter L but the roman numeral for 50. Am I making any sense? "Cause, it's like late and I need to go to bed. So I think I'll shut up now. Feel free to review if you want to, definitely not a requirement though. Keep the peace until next time, Kit.

DISCLAIMER: Alas, I own not a single thing. . . . .


14 seconds until thirty thousands pounds of steel screeched to a resounding stop, only twenty feet away from the single most important person in his world. And for the record, it took an additional twenty seconds to control his pulse and rein in his frantic heartbeat. And a full three hours later that night to check her over, very carefully, in making sure she was unhurt.

He's not stupid enough to think that he's caught her unaware. Nor is he stupid enough to try and sneak up behind her as she brandishes a knife -because she can wield the blade at him as surely as she can wield it against the vegetables on the chop block.

She's standing at her kitchen sink, deftly, of all things, peeling potatoes. And for a moment, he's stunned at the fact that this simple domestic action has become so familiar to him. Her presence in his kitchen, his presence in her kitchen, both now so routine. And his jogging shoes are sitting at her front door, his cell phone charger resting on her cabinet. His shampoo is in her shower and several Armani suits hang in her closet. And it seems that it's been this way for a long time even though it hasn't. And he likes that.

She is humming now, swinging her hips, murmuring something softly in Hebrew, her sultry alto melodious. And he can't help but think how pretty she is, right now, standing at her kitchen sink in worn grey sweats and a tank top chopping potatoes. And he almost forgets why his heart is still hammering erratically in his chest.


So he takes a purposeful step across the tile, abandoning his vantage point of the doorway.

"Tony," she calls over her shoulder, acknowledging him. And he almost wonders how she does that. Almost. (because he knows it's because she's a ninja assassin -or at least this is what I tells himself).

So he sidles up behind her, resting his hands on the curves of her waist, kissing her head. And the chopping stops and she rotates, her back pressing against the countertop, chocolate eyes peering up at him through a fringe of dark lashes. Though her lips quirk upwards in a playful smirk that falls slightly when she sees the vat of turbulent emotions churning in his ocean eyes.

He isn't angry at her, exactly. More scared, worried. Perhaps a little mad. Definitely relieved.

And her lips remain silent, permitting her eyes to translate what words cannot.

And her eyes are asking what his problem is.

And he doesn't trust himself to be rational and calmly explain why he is so wound up, so tense. So he leans forward and occupies his mouth with hers, but his original plan to steel his thoughts through the action shatter as she renders his mind useless.

She draws back, looking into his eyes once more, brow furrowed in confusion. Because he kissed her rather desperately. "Are you okay?" she asks, bringing her palm up to touch his cheek. His own hand comes to rest over hers, fingers lacing through her own.

"Are you okay?" he counters, not entirely redundant.

"Yes?" And she sounds uncertain, even to her own ears, so she clarifies with, "Should I not be?"

"You were nearly hit by a truck, Ziva." -and he is so proud that he managed to keep his voice level.

"Tony, I-" but his finger pressed to her lips silences her words.

He takes a step back, still holding her hand, tugging her along with him -which she permits, double checking that she left nothing on in the kitchen, as he leads her to her bedroom.

"Sit," he orders, prodding her gently, and she complies, perching on the edge of her bed, watching him, now more amused than flummoxed. He discards his suit jacket unceremoniously on the floor, followed by his tie, and, forgoing the buttons on his dress shirt, pulls the garment over his head, letting it whisper to the floor with the his jacket and tie. He runs a hand through his hair, moving to sit next to her on the bed, wearing a white t-shirt and his slacks and his socks.

She open her mouth but again was silenced by his finger pressed to her lips.

"What were you going to do if that truck did not stop? Why did you not get out of the way? I'm trying to understand the thought process here, Ziva, but I'm stumped. So clue me in, okay?" and his eyes are boring into hers, begging for her to grant him comprehension.

She sighs, blinking, laying back on the mattress. And as she watches the ceiling fan blades slice through the air, she talks, voice light, conversational: "I honestly do not know, Tony. I was not going to move, I was going to stare it down, it was a test of sorts . . . . But then, I think I froze," and this last admission is whispered so softly he scarcely catches it -by now having also flopped down beside her.

He rolls over onto his side, propping himself up on his elbow, studying her as she studies the space above them. "Look," he tells her gently and her eyes do flicker over to meet his so he continues with his speech, "next time you need to be tested, don't let it be life or death, okay? Because I was pretty sure I was going into cardiac arrest there for a minute, Ziva. And I think my blood pressure has just now returned to normal."

"I did not mean to worry you, Tony."

"Worry me? Sweet cheeks, you scared the hell out of me. I was kinda beyond worrying at that point. My heart rate is just now returning to a safe level, thank you very much." And he finds her fingers pressed to his jugular vein, monitoring his pulse before acknowledging, "Your pulse is still high, Tony."

"Well yeah, but it was coming down. It's just that you happen to have that effect on me."

And a smile ghosts across her lips as he maneuvers himself over her, his hands, bracing his weight on the mattress, resting on either side of her neck, his knees on either side of her thighs. She smirks up at him, running a hand down his t-shirt, "What do you think you're doing?"

He dips his head down, kissing her shoulder, her neck, her jaw. "I'm checking."

And she laughs softly as his lips find the hollow behind her ear. "Just what," she wonders aloud, "do you think you're checking for?"

And he shrugs, peppering her collarbone with kisses. "Making sure you're 'okay.'"

"I told you I was."

He paused, lifting his head up to look at her, "Do you object to my methods, Miss David?"


"Then hush and let me assess the situation."

Which he does. Thoroughly, carefully. For three hours.