A/N This is what I imagined Tony's thoughts were at the end of Royals and Loyals. If you pause on the email Ziva sends it indicates that she's seeing this mystery guy and that she is keeping him a secret because the others are very protective of her.
What I Didn't Say
You asked me what I would say to him. Him. I don't even know his name but I can sense him siphoning away your affection. How can I summarize how high the expectations will be for anyone who dares to claim such an intimacy with you? How can I make him understand that he not only needs to respect you, he needs to guard your heart and as much as you would resent me stating this fact, he needs to protect you. You need no protection from physical attacks, you are more than able to defend yourself, but there are darker, vulnerable spots under that tough ninja armor that make you fragile. You have kept him a secret, and with good reason. It does not matter his name or the great qualities that caught your fancy, no one will ever be good enough. Not for you. Not in my eyes.
I said, "Be careful." If he hurts you, he'll have to answer to Gibbs, McGee, but especially me. I have killed for you before. Yes, it was justified and while I don't intend to put a bullet into his chest, I'm not saying I wouldn't go to extremes to protect you again.
I said, "Handle with care." Honestly, what frightens me most is not that he will break you heart but that he won't. That he will be careful. That he will treat you right. That he will be a better man than I could ever be. That you'll run into the arms of Mr. Mysterious and out of DC, out of NCIS, out of Gibbs' parental oversight and out of my line of sight forever. Then there would be no heroic rescue, no hope of your return. You would have the American dream you fought so hard for, and I would lose the brightest part of my day. You would settle down and I would be forever unsettled, mourning you from the moment I'd have to concede well-faked congratulations on that shiny size five ring that would be your ticket out of my life.
I said, "Contents, priceless." And that, Sweetheart, is exactly what I mean. There is no replacing you, Ziva David. I know what happens when you are not here. This job becomes just a job. My days lose all meaning, and the team loses a depth that can only come from your unique perspectives, your killer instincts and your beautiful eyes. We tried to live without you, we tried to replace you and it was a disaster. We know what you mean to us. We know you are invaluable, we know you are irreplaceable. I know this more acutely than the rest. This chump has no idea how lucky he is just to be on the other end of your emails. How could he ever cherish you enough? The simple answer is he couldn't.
You said he's just a friend, but you said it with a twinkle in your eye. You would think I am insane to worry about your future with this man at this point. Maybe I do seem childish and insecure trying to hack into your computer, but all relationships start with a fling. The pheromones fly, a few emails flit back and forth and before I know it you'll be gone. Yours is not the only fragile heart in this bullpen, but yours is the most precious.