Tony was breathing hard by the time he got back to his street. As he came to a stop in front of his building, he pulled his cell phone out of the armband he wore and tugged the headphones out of the jack. Looking at the clock, he noted he'd set a new personal best for three miles. Well, personal best for this stage in life. He wasn't going to win any races, but he was improving steadily since he'd started running every morning a few weeks earlier. It gave him time to gather his thoughts and get rid of tension, which was well needed since the whole mess with his Black Op.
He nodded hello to the man at the front desk, and went up to his floor. He reached into the pocket on his armband for his key. The little neoprene pouch was empty. Oh shit. Where was the key? He'd had it in in his hand as he stood at the kitchen table munching on a banana. He was about to put it into the pocket like he always did…and he didn't have his headphones. He went back into the living room to get them…putting the key down on the kitchen table while he did it.
And he'd left it there.
Fuck, fuck fuck.
His new time record had left him with plenty of time to shower and get himself to work. He reached his door and tried the knob. Locked. He hadn't expected it to be open, but it seemed silly not to at least try it. He couldn't pick the lock even if he had a tool. For all the times Ziva claimed his lock was an easy design, he'd never been able to do it. But Ziva could…
He wondered if she'd kick his ass for calling at 6:45 in the morning. Who was he kidding? She was certainly up. Ziva had long touted the joy of an early morning run. Though she might kick his ass for interrupting her run.
With a sigh, he slid down the wall to sit. He swiped his finger across the screen to bring up his favorites list, and jabbed her photo with his pointer finger on the touchscreen. As it dialed, he lifted it to his ear.
"Yes?" she answered with a sigh.
"Good morning," Tony started with, sounding as cheery as possible.
"What do you want?" she asked, cutting the pleasantries.
"What are you doing right now?" he ask sheepishly.
"What do you want?" she asked again. Her breath was a little choppy. He'd definitely interrupted her run. Better to cut to the chase before she got really pissed off at him.
"I locked myself out," he admitted.
She snorted a laugh.
"I thought I had my key," he sighed.
"You are certain it is in your apartment?"
"Yes," he answered quickly. "Well, I'm pretty sure its there…"
Ziva huffed a sigh.
"But if it's not, I have a spare I can take with me. That's definitely in the apartment." He left out that he'd made this particular key with the idea that he'd give it to her. He figured that if she could let herself in whenever she wanted to by picking the lock, she might as well have a real key. He hadn't yet found a casual enough way to actually give it to her.
"I am almost home. Half a mile," Ziva told him. "I will be there shortly." And she hung up.
Tony was still sitting on the floor, playing Angry Birds on his phone, when Ziva appeared in the hallway. She was still dressed for run, with her backpack slung over her shoulder. He smiled as he realized that she'd placed a higher priority on helping him out than on getting ready for the day.
She looked him over appraisingly. "How was your run this morning?"
He pocketed the phone and pushed himself up with a grunt. Sitting on the floor for fifteen minutes has caused him to stiffen up.
"That well?" she chuckled, offering her hand to help him up.
He took it with a scowl. "It was a new personal best. Then I sat here. Not a good choice."
"Time?" she asked.
"Now?" he asked confused.
She rolled her eyes. "Your run. You said you set a new personal best."
He hesitated. She'd run every day as long as he'd known her. His time would just seem sad compared to hers. "I only just a started running again. Three weeks ago."
She nodded, pulling her lock picking set from the pocket of her bag. "Distance and time."
"Three miles. Twenty-one minutes," he told her.
She nodded, no sign of mocking on her face. "Seven minutes a mile. Where were you three weeks ago?"
He smiled. He felt better talking about the improvement than about the raw numbers. "The first day was twenty-five."
"Nice job," she told him, turning to the lock. He could tell she meant it. With a few quick movements, she had the door open. "I do the dumbest things for you," she laughed.
"You love it," he teased as he crossed in, the words out of his mouth before he really thought about them.
She turned to face him, with an amused expression on her face. Their eyes locked for several intense moments. A mere foot of space separated them. It would be so easy to just close that space. But as much as he wanted to, he wasn't ready to. The Black Op had shaken him more than he cared to admit, and he needed to process that before he could think about actually taking things to a new level with Ziva.
"Thank you," he said, kissing her forehead and crossing past her into the apartment. The moment was gone as quickly as it came.
"I need to change," she declared. Tony sat on the kitchen table fiddling with the wayward key and watched her head for his bedroom with a familiarity he could certainly get used to seeing.