A/N: This is an insight to a scene from 'Spider and the Fly', the first episode of season 8. I don't know if it is the NCIS withdrawal talking, but Tiva seemed different in this scene. Is it just me, or has Tony giving Ziva new nicknames, fantasising about her sunbathing, possibly naked, and complimenting her smell in more words than 'you smell nice' taken it a little too far for co-workers? Or has what happened in Paris made them 'friends with benefits'? Well, the more Tiva the better! This will be an insight following Tiva throughout season 8, hopefully with a chapter for each episode.

"Hello, Tony. I'm back!" Ziva David crooned cheerfully as she strolled into the almost empty bullpen. Maybe it was because she was in a good mood, or maybe she was just happy to be home, but either way, her cheery smile lit up the room on what appeared to be a rather bleak day in Washington DC.

"Well, hello, Little Miss Sunshine State. And don't you look balmy." Tony DiNozzo smiled half-heartedly at his partner. The comment may have been simple, unemotional, but that was his way. He didn't let people see his emotions unless he wanted to. And right now, he was feeling relieved that Ziva was home. But he knew that Ziva was the one person who saw through him, and this time he hoped she would read the subtext of his statement.

"I do not know what 'balmy' means but I assume it is not good." She had to admit, even with Tony, that she had been expecting something a little more...friendly. But why had she expected that? She had been setting herself up for failure.

"Well, just because I was alone, manning the fort, handling Gibbs solo, while you've been strolling around South Beach, why would I feel the need to say anything negative?" Tony regretted his words a little. They made him sound envious and self-absorbed, and if he knew anything about women, it was that those two qualities were the two worst you could find in a man.

"Because you are you." And you are perfect the way you are, she thought to herself. She observed him enough to see the way he doubted himself, his strength, his ability. "Besides, I was working the entire time."

He laughed sarcastically. "Ha!"

"'Ha' what?"

"Working." He shook his head. "How about those tan lines?"

Ziva nodded and smiled. This was the Tony DiNozzo she knew. For the first time in a while, they could have one of their trademark 'conversations' where they basically took turns baiting each other. Tony would make a remark that most women would find slightly offensive from a man they work with, and as a comeback Ziva would hook his curiosity and leave him hanging. "Where do you think you're looking?" she asked, smiling.

"Does it even matter?"

"Well, actually, yes it does. And I can assure you I do not have any tan lines." Snap the trap. She had him there. His head was now clouded with images of her. He was away on some far off planet.

"Oh. So you did lay in the sun."

"Yes I did, actually, this morning before my flight. And I came up with something case-related prior to my departure." Ziva tried to ignore his dreamy state of mind as she walked over to him, focusing on their work. But of course, he didn't, and she couldn't help but flinch when she saw his nostrils flare and heard sniffing noises.

"Mm. You smell like ocean and Shea butter," Tony said, eyes shut, trapped in a fantasy. She had the urge to slap him, but she didn't. She was too shocked at that unexpected comment. He opened his glistening emerald eyes and they looked at each other for a moment. Maybe things were back to normal for them.

Later, in the now empty bullpen, Ziva is at her computer...

Click. Click. Tap tap tap. The only sounds came from Ziva's fingers hitting the keys and buttons on her computer as she did case work. She was almost finished, and planned to go home for the night when she was done, and then a thought hit her as she remembered the conversation she had had with Tony that afternoon.

"Well, hello, Little Miss Sunshine State. And don't you look balmy."

Balmy. What on Earth did that word mean? Now that she had thought of it, it was eating away at the back of her mind when she pushed it away to make room for case work.

She hit the URL bar and typed in , entering in 'balmy' for a definition.


–adjective, balm·i·er, balm·i·est.

1. mild and refreshing; soft; soothing: balmy weather.

2. having the qualities of balm; aromatic; fragrant: balmy leaves.

3. producing balm: balmy plants; a balmy shrub.

4. Informal . crazy; foolish; eccentric.

Mild and refreshing, soft, soothing, aromatic, fragrant, crazy, foolish, eccentric. Is this what Tony had meant to tell her? Maybe she had been too quick to assume that what he said was a bad thing. He had complimented her. She had her reasons for not thinking it was a compliment. He didn't compliment anyone that often.

"OK, I admit my word choice wasn't great," Tony muttered from behind Ziva. She was startled by him, but did not move.

"I agree," she replied.

"Maybe 'radiant' would be a better substitute." He grinned at her, not daring to say she was beautiful.

Ziva didn't know what it was, but something was different about Tony. He was letting her past that shield just a little more, but it was making a huge difference. Give it time, who knows where it would take them.

A/N: Stay tuned for more and please review!