Tony mulls things over when Ziva is in trouble and she calls Gibbs for help. Set during Shalom.


Tony wasn't really sure what he felt. There were too many conflicting emotions swimming about his stomach. He tried to single them out and focus on one but another would over ride it and he would be swamped by them all, a huge wave of confliction overwhelming him that he had to take a deep breath to refocus. He found himself pushing them away but somehow they would worm their way back.

He sat now at Gibb's kitchen table. An untouched cup of coffee sat in front of him on the worn wood. The roller blind on the window was down but Tony could tell that it was reaching dawn outside by the tiny lines of light that slipped past the blind. Tony sighed and let his finger run around the rim of the now freezing beverage.

He felt annoyed. Annoyed that his team didn't trust him like they had trusted Gibbs. He was annoyed that they didn't follow his orders immediately like they had before or that they questioned his authority. He was annoyed he was even in the position in the first place.

He was frustrated that Ziva had called Gibbs for help instead of him. And Gibbs had swanned back to DC from his silly little holiday in Mexico where he lay about drinking beer and getting splinters in his hands. Back like on a white horse in his suit of armour. Back to protect his precious Ziva. The same Ziva who Tony would do absolutely anything for, if only she realised it.

He was scared. Scared that he would loose her and she would be taken from him. His feelings had grown for her exponentially and he wasn't really sure how to react to them yet. He had spent the last 24 hours worrying about her, thinking of plans of how to find her after she had disappeared off the grid. Fearing that she had been hurt or killed. His mind being occupied of images of her lying in ditches somewhere, blood pouring from her skull. Plotting the whole time he had heard word that she was being investigated, that she was in trouble. Calculating how to save her, help her when she needed it. He had worked hard to get all the team in on it and then it was ripped from him. The wind blown out of his sales by the fact that she had already contacted some of them. Contacted the others, contacted Gibbs. Relief had flooded him when he found that she was alive but it only lasted so long as he realised the full implications of her actions. Bitterness consumed him as he walked into Gibbs's house, down the stairs to his damned basement. His attempts at leading her to safety not recognised and dashed without a second glance.

He was angry that Gibbs had left. Angry that he came back. Angry that he thought Tony would only "do" He was only just getting used to his new promotion. In the swing of it, Tony was a far better leader than Gibbs had ever been. They had taken every case that hit his desk and only maybe one had got away. Tony had started coming in at three or four in the morning and did all the paperwork. Case reports lay on Jenny's desk when she arrived in the morning, on time, in perfect condition. They had even started racking up an impressive record on all the cold cases they had been doing as well. Tony had lost their respect in the process, he was no longer their partner Tony. He was Tony who was doing his new high pressure job. He knew that none of the would admit it, but Tony was doing more work than he ever had done and most importantly, he was doing an excellent job of it. And now it would be forgotten in a heartbeat because he was back.

He was hurt that Ziva didn't trust him as much as he thought she had. Over the past few weeks they had grown closer, no more threat of Rule Twelve. Finally they had gotten past the line and went for it. Attempted to resolve all the tension they had built up. But she disregarded that and went to Gibbs instead. She didn't want his help. Didn't think he was capable. He knew that this would change them again. They would go back to the way it was before, forgetting their little summer together.

This in turn made him hate himself. He loathed himself for letting his own guard down. For not sticking to his easy, one night relationships. The ones where he wouldn't get hurt and he didn't have to get any feelings involved. He would forget about them once he was done and that would be that. There would be no complications. No emotions. No woman he loved sitting across from him every day. Because that was what had happened. He had fallen for her, fallen hard. He well and truly loved her now.

There was a noise in the doorway and Tony spun around. Still alert in his exhausted day dream.

"Shouldn't you be asleep?" Gibbs asked him, that annoying smirk on his lips, he narrowed his eyes at the younger man, daring him to retort or snap at him. "Or at least making yourself useful?"

Hate flared up in Tony's stomach again and he let it. Revelling in the feeling for a long moment as he returned the older man's glare. Before self pity and the rest of the emotions came back, fighting for their time to exert themselves on him, making him even more conflicted as he bottled it up and let it stew in his stomach. Gibbs rolled his eyes at his broody younger agent and reached for the coffee maker, flicking it on and ignoring the heated and angry eyes that bored into his back.