note: Wow. It's been a while, huh? Erm, sorry about that. Not only have I not had a laptop, but I've had a load of block recently, and the stuff I have written, I haven't been happy with. Plus I've had to start studying for my exams in May. Which really sucks.
Anyway this is something I wrote in November but never finished, so I decided to continue it and post it today. Why today, you ask? Well, today's my NCIS-anniversary; three years ago I completely fell in love with this show. I just couldn't not put something up. So, enjoy.

disclaimer: You know you're obsessed with NCIS when you want a Little Prince-style storage box (I do love The Little Prince anyway, though)

listening to: Poison and Wine, by The Civil Wars (oh my gosh what a beautiful song)

Day 1.

She walks into the bullpen, eyes trained specifically on her own desk. McGee's typing is rhythmic and audible, and it's refreshing comfort from what she knows the next four weeks or so will be; far from normal.

"You look tired." Tim says pointedly, and she looks to him as she sits down. Her eyes flit to the desk in front of her, only for a minute.

"I did not get much sleep last night, McGee."

He pauses slightly, as if thinking, then a look she can't place settles itself on his features.
"You saw Tony off at the airport?"
It's half a question, half a statement.

"Yes. His flight left at 3am, he needed a ride to the airport."

"Ziva, it's seven o'clock, you could've-"

"I have had much less sleep before, Tim, don't worry. Besides, it was not for an unworthy cause."
Though the memories are vivid in her mind, she fails to mention the tight embrace Tony had held her in, minutes before he left. Or the long, heated kiss they shared right before he left.
It was both the best and worst thing to do; she won't be able to forget that at least until he returns.


Her eyes snap back to her co-worker's, and she smiles briefly.
"Perhaps I could have done with some more sleep."

She fakes a yawn, drags her gaze over Tony's desk once more, then flips open a file and reads words over and over.

Day 4.

"Hey. Sorry, did I wake you up?" he asks, a small smile evident in his words. She smiles, too; his voice is familiar and warm and this is the first time she's heard it since he whispered goodbye and ran through the gate.

"No, I was not asleep yet."

She knows he'll be checking his clock and working out the time difference; realizing it's nearly 1am.
He doesn't mention it.

"How are you?"

"I am tired. Work has been exhausting without you here, we seem to have double the workload. I believe McGee was shocked at how much you actually do."

"Well, I don't do much..." he trails off, then clears his throat. Audibly. "Anyway-"

"How are you, really?"

There's a long pause, but despite the quiet buzzing on the line, she can still hear him breathing. In, out. Controlled and even and a constant reminder.
"This is... tough. The work's hard, and I don't know the people, and I'm missing you like crazy."

Her heart pounds, her breath hitching. She can tell he has something else to say.
"I mean you."

"Tony, I..."

She gulps, unsure of what to say that won't sound stupid or premature, over the phone of all things. Why they finally seem to be working things out as he's halfway round the world, she doesn't know.
All of a sudden, she hears a beeping from his end, and a loud voice shouts something seemingly urgent that she can't quite catch.

"Shit, I gotta go. I'll talk to you tomorrow, though. Bye."

The dial tone has never seemed so unforgiving.

Day 11.

"Keep tracking his phone, McGee. Ziva, with me."

She grabs her things quickly- there's no other choice with Gibbs- and dives into the elevator just before the doors shut.
They stand in silence for a second and she wonders if he'll hit the emergency switch.

"You're distracted, Ziva." he murmurs, staring at the doors, even when she turns her head. "You miss DiNozzo."

Of course, a part of her goes to deny the idea, profusely, but she's tired and merely replies "Yes, Gibbs, I do."

He hums, and tilts his head to the side.
"He'll be back."

She nods, if only to reassure herself of the fact.
"I know."

He eyes her then, but she continues to stare ahead. He has an uncanny ability to break her.

She thinks he's about to say something else, but the doors slide open, and he just takes another sip of coffee.

Day 19.

Abby grins and waves at the camera, squealing somewhat as Tony's own smiling face pops up on the screen. Ziva opts for an eyeroll and a smirk.

"Oh, look at your beautiful faces. You too, McGoo."

The man in question raises and eyebrow and drinks some coffee, clearly testing out his Gibbs routine.

"So? What's the news?"

Abby raises her hand and speaks anyway, rattling off a lengthy story about a Nun and a very slippery floor, but Ziva isn't paying attention. She can't drag her gaze away from the screen, from the face she hasn't seen in far too long. And maybe Tony's having the same problem, because his chuckles and comments get few and far between and he looks as if he's daydreaming.



She snaps out of it, turning to Abby with a dazed expression.

"Ninja's losing her touch." says the voice behind her, and she sends a glare to the computer.

"I don't think so, Tony."

He laughs, but quickly stops at the expression on her face.

Day 23.

"I'm counting down the days, Ziva."

Smirking into the phone, she flips through another double-page in her magazine.
"Oh, really? How many are there?"

He pretends to sigh happily before uttering a content "Nine days."

"That few?"
Her voice is sarcastic; nine days is far, far too many.

"Nine days until my feet are back on American soil. Nine days until I can have coffee that doesn't taste like sand or might have someone's spit in it. Nine days until we… finish what we started?"

A wave of emotion crashes over her and she swallows. It's the first time either of them have mentioned what happened between them. She tries to speak but the words get stuck in her throat and she can't say anything.


"Unless… you don't want to. You know, that's… that's fine too. I mean—"

"Tony, stop talking."


And then she wonders how she ended up being the one discussing this.
"When… you get back. We will see what happens. We need to see where we are before we can do anything. But I—"

"Oh there you are, Ziva, you gotta come quick, Gibbs needs us all." Abby says as she stumbles into the breakroom, blissfully unaware that she's interrupted anything.

"I will speak to you when I can, Tony. Goodbye."

It almost sounded like he got halfway to "I" when she hung up.
Some day they'll catch a break.

Day 32.

She spies him instantly. His bag is slung over his shoulder and his hat is askew on his head, but he saunters the same way he always has, and when he looks up he's grinning. So Tony.

Abby jumps up and down and runs to him first, tackling him in a hug so tight she can hear him go "oof" twenty feet away. McGee walks past, in her periphery vision, and before she knows it Gibbs' hand is pressing on the small of her back, urging her forward.

There are handshakes and quiet words and the whole time, she lingers at the back, completely unsure of what to say.
But then her eyes meet his and something slots into place and she doesn't care where they are or what will happen, because nothing that feels this good can be wrong.

And so she takes the three steps forward and wraps her arms round his neck and kisses him there and then, regardless of who's watching. He kisses her back and his hands clutch her waist, and she can feel him smile into the embrace just before they pull apart.

"I missed you." he says quietly, shaking his head as if in disbelief.

"I missed you too."
She plants another kiss on his lips before standing back and lacing her fingers through his, smiling at the floor.

Gibbs sends them both a look that's not unkind, then picks up Tony's apparently discarded bag. He looks round at the four of them, then nods, murmuring "Let's go home."

If you liked it, I'd love to know.