A/N: This little oneshot came to me randomly and wouldn't go away until I wrote it. And then it still refused to leave until I posted it. And now I will be able to write up the next chapter of Our Forever without it constantly nagging at me and distracting my creative process (and, no, I am not serious about the creative process -the nagging, yes; the distracting, yes; the creative process, not so much). Love and peace, Kit!

DISCLAIMER: For those of you residing in America, watch out. Kit is now a licensed driver. *insert evil cackle here*


There's a bright ding and he looks up from his fruitless search, immediately noticing that her movements are tentative as she exits the elevator. Her mouth is pursed in a firm line, her eyes slightly narrowed in frustration and he wonders idly what's pissed her off. And then there's McGee at her elbow, his own face contorted in a hybrid of concern and poorly feigned neutrality.

Ziva stalks behind her desk, simultaneously shucking her jacket and unclipping her holster. McGee, on the other hand, retreats behind his own respective workspace, opening the bottommost drawer and pulling out a white box, a red cross stamped across the lid. And Tony regards the First Aid Kit warily, asking in a carefully controlled voice, "What happened?"

McGee continues his search for whatever he seeks, not even glancing up, utterly focused on the task at hand. So green eyes gravitate to smoldering mahogany, prompting Ziva to announce vaguely, "I am fine, Tony." And he concedes that yes, perhaps she is fine, but he still would like to be clued in as to what she is fine from.

"What happened?" he demands, now engaging an unwilling McGee into the lacking conversation.

The younger man crosses the width of the bullpen, approaching Ziva's desk, bearing a box of Band-Aids, ointment, and another packet of something. "Ziva had a run in with Petty Officer Whales-"

"It is only a graze," she interrupts, exasperated. "Whales ran and I tackled her. It was textbook. I just was scraped a little. It is no big deal." And she lifts her tunic, perching on the edge of her desk with McGee standing behind her, uncertain.

Tony's alarm skyrockets when the Probie's eyes widen and something akin to shock flickers across his face. In an instant Tony's beside McGee, scanning Ziva for whatever it is that has McGee so unsettled.

"It cannot be that bad," Ziva says and Tony fixes McGee with a quizzical look before assuring Ziva that, "It isn't bad at all. Just a scratch." And it is just a scratch, right behind her left hipbone, thin and shallow and not bleeding much at all. Tony picks up the abandoned packet of antiseptic wipes and tears it open with his teeth, sliding out the moistened towelette, dabbing lightly at her wound. He studies McGee out of the corner of his eye, completely at loss at what is so surprising. His gaze returns to his partner's back and he studies her briefly before applying the Neosporin.

Her back is smooth and golden under his calloused fingertips, the muscle toned and taunt, firm beneath soft skin. Other than the thin red line crossing her hip, nothing is off, unnatural, not right. The clasp of her bra is playing peek-a-boo and perhaps it's been a while since McGee's seen women's undergarments, but seriously, it isn't something to get all worked up about.

Ziva sighs impatiently, her back expanding and contracting, the faint outline of her ribs visible with her exhalation.

"Do you want a Band-Aid?" he wonders lightheartedly and when she yanks her hem back down, he accepts that as a no. Ziva hops off her desk, a cascade of files fluttering to the floor, and with a groan, busies herself by retrieving the fallen papers. Tony nods to no one in particular and makes to return to his own desk, quirking an inquisitive eyebrow at McGee as he brushes past.

Ziva is facing away from them on the other side of the glass, Gibbs prowling behind the Petty Officer. And Whales honestly looks like she's about to break into pieces, shattering into oblivion because she realizes she has been caught and cornered.

"Guilty," McGee murmurs, studying her pale face as she watches Ziva silently, eyes wide and glassy, forehead damp with sweat.

Tony shifts beside him, leaning his shoulder against the two-way glass, eyes settling on McGee decidedly.

"What?" And the younger man's voice isn't exactly hesitant, but it cannot be considered sure.

"What was up with you earlier? With Ziva," he clarifies at McGee's vacant expression. Sheepishness creeps into his countenance and Tony is distantly amused at Tim's sudden –and now uncharacteristic- diffidence.

"I just never imagined . . . ."

Tony smirks, "You never imagined Ziva naked?"

"What? No! I mean, I just never imagined, you know, the scars. Yeah, she was, like, well, like Ziva and sure, she's been through warzones and, and explosions and all, but I never guess I thought she would have quite so many scars." Like Abby has tattoos is an analogy on the tip of his tongue, but he doesn't say offer it out loud, it seems inappropriate.

Tony turns back to the events unfolding inside the adjacent room, Gibbs leaning menacingly over the table, Whales red-faced and in tears. McGee supposes he has nothing to say, it isn't like he can refute the obvious evidence marring Ziva's flesh, and accepts the silence.

And then, "She says they don't hurt anymore, the scars. They're just part of her now."

And McGee just nods.

Later, when he's sitting at his typewriter, searching for his elusive muse, he'll wonder why Tony wasn't so surprised to see those marks that are usually concealed beneath clothing. And he'll realize that perhaps his conversation with DiNozzo alluded to the latter having a previous occurrence with those battle scars, as if he'd seen them before.

And then he'll ask himself why he's so surprised.

A/N: Hmm . . . . ?