Happy April Fool's Day? I can't give you any more explanation for this random ball of fluffy postcanon thing. But hey, go ahead, read it. You already clicked the link, didn't you?
Ziva David felt absolutely terrible.
It was early on a Thursday morning, and when she woke up, she felt as though her head was being beaten with a two by four board. Wincing at almost any noise or amount of light, she practically dragged herself out of bed and into her kitchen. She checked her temperature, and seeing that a high fever wasn't accompanying the headache, she took some Tylenol, placed the bottle in her bag, and went to work.
She arrived early, as usual, and sat down at her desk, putting her head in her hands. Her hair fell over them, and she sighed, pushing it out of the way almost roughly. She'd thought that putting it up in a ponytail would have made the headache worse, so she'd left it down. Now, however, she was wondering if that had really been her best option.
Tony's overly exuberant mood did nothing to ease her still persisting headache, and she had to bite down hard on the inside of her cheek to avoid snapping at him to lower his voice. He didn't deserve her being sour to him just because she wasn't feeling well. His chirpiness was one of the things she loved most about him, after all. She gave him her best attempt at a brief smile as he walked up to her, casting a glance to each side before leaning down to press a quick kiss to her cheek in greeting.
"Gibbs not here yet?" he asked, walking over to his desk and sitting down.
"Not yet," she told him promptly, squinting at him. He didn't seem to notice her irritation, and she wasn't sure if that was good or bad.
"Ah, what about McGee?" came his follow up question, and she bit back a sigh.
"No." Her voice sounded strange, but at least she was staying relatively calm for someone whose head was pounding with every beat of her heart. She squinted at the clock on her computer, having to turn down the brightness of the computer screen in order to properly do so. She had two and a half more hours before she could take another dose of Tylenol. Cursing under her breath, she rubbed her hand over her forehead, trying to will the pain to go away.
She felt Tony's eyes on her, and she opened her own eyes to look at him. He was watching her, his lips pursed thoughtfully. "You okay?" he asked, concern in his tone.
She shrugged, closing her eyes again. "Headache."
"Bad?" he asked, his eyebrows coming together as assessed her.
She nodded, fighting back a wince at the motion. "It is fine."
"Gibbs should be interrogating Lieutenant Moore's wife today. If that goes the way we're planning, today shouldn't be too bad." She could tell he was speaking more softly now for her benefit, and she felt a small rush of affection pull up the corners of her lips.
"I hope so," she told him, pushing her hair out of her face again, feeling agitated at it. For some reason, it never seemed to give her trouble unless she really didn't want to deal with it.
"Hair bugging you?" he asked as if reading her mind, standing and walking over to stand behind her. Starting at the top of her forehead, he ran his fingers through her hair, pulling it away from her face behind her shoulders. She let herself relax into the feeling of his fingers threading through her hair. She had to admit it felt nice, and for a moment, her headache lessened.
"That feels nice," she murmured, sighing heavily and leaning her head back.
"Really?" he asked, almost as if he'd felt self conscious about his actions and was looking for confirmation that he genuinely was helping her.
"Mhmm," she hummed, smiling slightly.
He continued to run his fingers through her hair, massaging lightly as he went. She felt her body relaxing into his nearly magical touch, her eyes drifting closed. About a minute passed before he spoke again. "Do you want me to put your hair up?"
She opened her eyes, the headache still present, but definitely not as bothersome. She blinked once, trying to think clearly. "Uh, no, sometimes putting it up tightly makes you have a headache, so it probably would not help circumstances here."
She felt him lean down slightly, pressing his lips to her head. "I could do something not tight, like a braid," he murmured into her hair, his fingers slowing slightly.
Her eyes closed again involuntarily. His lips were cool against her skin, and she couldn't bring herself to tell him that someone would see. That was the one condition they'd been given upon announcing their relationship: keep it under the radar. It was okay for people to know about it, but in order to keep a professional look, it was supposed to be left unseen. They had their ways of getting around that, of course, but for the most part, the aspects of their relationship had remained personal. They only spoke of their relationship outside of the job, unless they were directly asked.
Occasionally, McGee or Abby would ask how things were going. They usually responded with a simple answer and then moved on. Though at first, the concept of keeping things hidden had seemed like a terrible idea, they'd managed to make it work just like they'd managed to make them work. Neither one had been easy, but they'd done it.
She pulled herself out of her thoughts and forced herself to focus on what he'd said. "You know how to braid?" she asked, and he chuckled slightly, straightening back up.
"Would that be such a surprise?" he questioned, his fingers finding the area just behind her ears and rubbing softly.
"Maybe," she managed to say despite the relief that he was manifesting.
She could almost hear him roll his eyes. "Well, I can. You got a rubber band or something?" She could hear the smile in his voice and pointed where she knew her bag was beside her desk.
"There should be one somewhere in the side pocket," she told him.
She felt his hands leave her hair, and she instantly missed the feeling. The sound of Tony rummaging through her bag reached her ears, and she reopened her eyes to see him pull out a rubber band, a look of success on his face. He smiled at her. "Found one."
He spent the next few minutes braiding her hair just tightly enough to keep it together, but loosely enough that it didn't pull.
"There," he said when he was finished, going to stand in front of her chair and lean against her desk.
She put her hand on his knee. "Thank you."
He put his own hand over hers, letting his fingers close around her hand. "Anything to help."
"Gibbs is about to interrogate the wife. We should probably get in there." McGee chose that moment to come into the squad room with this information, apparently just passing through, as he went to leave right after. Ziva winced, and she saw Tony's eyebrows come together as she did so.
"McGee, do you have to talk that loud?" Tony asked the agent, who turned back to them, confusion on his features.
"Ziva has a bad headache, Probie. Show some sympathy," Tony told him, and Ziva stood, giving his knee another pat.
McGee looked sympathetic. "Sorry, Ziva."
"It is fine, McGee. You did not know," she assured him, and then turned back to Tony. "But thank you."
He gave her hand a quick squeeze and then stood, keeping her hand in his as they walked to observation. The dimmed light there was a relief to Ziva, and she stood a few feet back from the glass, still feeling like she was squinting at everything.
"Hey." Tony put his hand on her back. "When did you take some Tylenol?"
"About six," she told him quietly, frowning up at the clock that told her it was only about thirty minutes after eight. "Time seems to be dragging by."
"I'm sorry you're not feeling good, sweetheart." His voice was low- only she heard him.
Casting a glance at the occupants of the room and deciding she was safe, Ziva leaned her head against Tony's shoulder, a heavy sigh escaping her. "Me, too."
He reached up to cup the back of her neck, and then the back of his hand touched her face. "Were you running a fever this morning?"
"No," she replied, her eyebrows coming together.
"I think you are now. Come on, let's go get you checked out," he whispered, his hand finding her elbow.
"I am fine, Tony. Gibbs will probably not let me leave," she tried to tell him, but he shook his head.
"If you're running a fever, you need to get home and get some rest. Ziva, I think you're sick, sweetheart," he told her gently.
She didn't have enough of a fight in her to argue with him. "Okay, fine."
An hour later, she was lying on her couch, a cold rag on her forehead and a worried boyfriend fretting over how comfortable she was.
"I am fine, Tony," she assured him for what seemed to be the millionth time, and he smoothed her hair back, the braid he'd done slowly coming unraveled. He picked up the cloth on her head, which was becoming warm, and went to switch it with one he'd just pulled out of the freezer.
"There you go," he whispered, placing the new cloth on her forehead. "We need to get that fever down." He glanced at the clock, pursing his lips. "You might could go ahead and take more Tylenol."
"Do you have to go back to work?" she asked him, shifting slightly, her head pounding in protest.
"No, Gibbs told me to stay with you," he informed her.
"Oh," she responded, closing her eyes.
"He's come a long way, you know?" Carefully, he picked up her legs, sat down, and put her legs in his lap. "Remember how he acted when we first told him?"
She smiled fondly at the memory. "I did not think he would ever let you live that down."
"Part of me thinks he knew the whole time, and just gave us a hard time about it because he's Gibbs." Tony let his hands run over her calves and down to her feet, which he began to knead gently.
"Mmm," escaped her lips, and her eyes closed. "You have magic hands."
He failed to suppress his laugh, but he didn't stop rubbing her feet. "I'm going to let that one slide because you're sick."
She slapped halfheartedly at his arm, her fingers barely grazing skin. Her eyes opened, but the small spark that was there quickly vanished when she winced. "I think I will take you up on that dose of Tylenol."
"Okay, baby. I'll get it," he said, slipping out from underneath her legs and going to her bag to get the Tylenol out. After getting some water in a glass, he headed back to her living room, only to find that she'd drifted to sleep. Smiling, he set the pill bottle on the table in front of her couch and turned on her TV, sitting in the recliner closest to her head.
When she woke about thirty minutes later, groaning that her head hurt, he handed her the Tylenol and water, which she took gladly while he replaced her cold cloth again. She laid her head back down, placing the cool material on her forehead, her lips pursed thoughtfully. "What is it?" he asked her, and she sat back up, wincing as she did so.
She paused for a moment, as if trying to remember what she'd been doing, and then she spoke. "Come here." She pointed to the spot beside her, next to the arm of the couch. He obeyed, sitting down where she'd implied, pulling the rubber band out of the bottom of her hair. It wasn't doing her any good with the state her hair was now in. Moaning slightly, she laid back down, putting her head in his lap.
He chuckled lightly, and she smacked his leg. "Stop making fun of me."
"I'm not," he defended himself, picking up her cloth and pressing it to her forehead. Thankfully, the fever had noticeably lowered. "But you're sick, and you're never sick... and it's kind of adorable."
"Oh, God," she mumbled into the fabric of his jeans, and he chuckled again.
"I love you," he told her gently, tucking a piece of hair behind her ear.
She smiled, opening one eye to look up at him. "If that is the case, then you can do something for me."
"What is it?" he asked curiously.
"Play with my hair?" she requested, feeling as if the desire sounded silly.
But when he put the cloth he was holding to her forehead to the side and she felt his fingers find her scalp again, a sigh escaped her lips, and she relaxed monumentally. "I have to make sure I save this away for future reference. A sick Ziva likes it when you play with her hair. I never would have guessed that."
"Hmm," was all that she could get out. She was already losing herself in the way his fingers massaged the perfect spots.
"I love you," he repeated again, massaging the back of her head.
"I know," she told him softly. "I love you, too. Thanks for taking care of me."
She was already quickly being put to sleep with the actions of his hands, but she just did hear him reply to her before she succumbed to her exhaustion.
"I'll always take care of you."