I'll admit it, not my best chapter ever. feeling pretty wrecked and uninspired. Trying hard to get some writing down before I head away with work next week. Having difficulty finding the writing spirit again... Hope it's not toooooo bad.

Chapter 8

Tony rolled over in his bed, he stretched his arm out to wrap it around Ziva, to his surprise she wasn't there. He opened his eyes and glared at the alarm clock that sat on the bed side table on the other side of the bed. 0312. He sat up, reached for some fresh briefs and started out of the room. Still tired and half asleep he stumbled towards the kitchen. He hoped that she hadn't left, he hoped she was just getting a glass of water. The kitchen was lit only by the moon light that floated in through the window. There was no sign of Ziva. Out of the corner of his eye he could see light coming from the living room. He turned the corner, and there, wearing one of his shirts with half the buttons done up, sitting under a small, dim lamp was Ziva reading the case file. "What are you doing?" he asked running his hand through his hair, puzzled.

"I am getting to know this case. There could be something in here that might help us."

"arn't you tired?"

She didn't look at him, she didn't want to lie, but she didn't want to reveal anything that could be used against her, and already she felt vulnerable after what had happened. "No," she replied.

"don't you sleep anymore?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, you... you don't seem to sleep anymore... have you slept at all tonight?"

"I wanted to look through your mother's case file. You are right, it has to be the same killer. We're going to catch him."

"Ziva it's like 3 in the morning. You need your sleep... Hell I need my sleep."

"I am not stopping you from sleeping."

"Why won't you just come back to bed?"

"I need to finish reading the case. I will come back shortly."

Tony suspected that what Ziva had said wasn't true at all. She was merely trying to avoid the inevitable bad dreams and knowing her the way he did, he assumed that a big part of that was that she didn't want to have them while she knew he was around. Being the experienced gentlemen that he was, he had refrained from pushing the issue and raising the undeniable evidence of the dark rings under her eyes, he knew it would only insult her, and he knew from experience that this would would only result in a red handprint on his face. He would let it slide this time. He would hope that he had worn her out enough that she would, at some point, sleep.

When Tony next woke, the smell of freshly brewed coffee and eggs helped him to rise. He walked down the passage and into his kitchen. There she was, she was facing away from him but he could tell she was showered and dressed. She had made a concerted effort to look different from the way she had looked yesterday, clearly she didn't want to have to go through the walk of shame at work. She wore the same pants, but they were relatively generic so no one, especially the males they worked with would question her. Tops were what would give it away, she was wearing an old sweater he recognised from her leaving at his apartment weeks ago when they were watching The Green Mile. Only he couldn't see a stain on it. He'd remembered why he hadn't returned it to her, it must have falled off the arm of the couch and onto the floor, and when he had seen it, in bending over to pick it up, some of the creamy carbonara sauce of his dinner had spilled from his plate and onto the fabric. He had meant to wash it, or get it drycleaned before he returned it, but hadn't got around to it... but today there were on sight of it. Come to think of it, her pants didn't look dirty, he'd even go as far as saying they had been ironed.

He stepped back from the kitchen doorway and into the door directly across the passage way. The laundry looked clean and hanging on a hanger was the shirt she'd been wearing last night. Clean, dry and ironed. "Okay, crazy ninja chick!" he muttered to himself before returning to the kitchen.

"Arh, Ziva..."

"Good morning Tony."

"Yeah, good morning, hey, by any chance did you..." he paused, was it wise to bring up the laundry he didn't know how she'd react, and he didn't want to piss her off, after all she'd had no sleep, and he wasn't sure he should draw attention to that either.

"did I what?"

"Did you check those eggs before you cooked them, I don't remember when I bought them."

"Don't you think, that if I had cracked an egg that was off, I wouldn't be able to smell it?" She had a point, off egg was a rather unpleasant odour.

"Moving on..." he again muttered "So what's for breakfast?"

"Omelette with ham cheese and tomato."

"Great, I love ham cheese and tomato, but you didn't have to do this." He had wanted to crack a joke, the way he usually did with Ziva, some sort of zinger about, 'so is he special or does she make this for all her male friends after a special evening?' he was sure he would have worded his witty comment in such a way that made him sound like he would have been the best sexual partner she'd ever had, but thought better of it. Even if he would have love to hear it.

"I know I did not, but it doesn't mean I should not." The Toaster popped up 2 pieces of lightly cooked toast, and seconds later, 2 more. It hadn't surprised Ziva he had a 4 slice toaster, he'd probably used it regularly for morning guests.

"Well thank you." He walked around the island in the middle of the kitchen, opened the refrigerator and pulled out some butter and started to spread the yellow substance across the toast before placing them on the plates. It wasn't long before Ziva was putting the omelette on there also. He picked up the plates and laid them on the table, Ziva followed with two mugs, one full of coffee for him, and the other, a hot cup of tea for her.

"Tony what do you want me to say at work today?"

Oh God! What did he want her to say... Gibbs would have a fit if he knew they'd broken rule number 12. What was going to happen to them if they did come clean? Would they be split up? Would Gibbs fire one of them... because he had a feeling it would be him and not Ziva that would get the boot.

"Arh, what do YOU want to say?"

"I think you need to tell Gibbs everything."

"EVERYTHING?" he said astounded by her calmness at that suggestion.