Disclaimer: I do not own NCIS.
Spoilers: The minor-est of minor references to 11x02 "Past, Present, Future." Also, R.
Dedication: To Andi, the most mesmerizing butterfly. (Does that sound a little weird?)
Notes: This fic came about courtesy of Andi, who requested that I write a tag to that scene where Tony woke up in the bullpen with two boxes of Chinese food. Enjoy!
"Yes! Done!" Tony let out a victory cheer, tossing his pen aside and throwing his hands up into the air. Opposite him, Ziva gave a grumble; he peered at her and gloated, "Paperwork not finished yet, Probette?"
"I finished my own hours ago," she snarled, not even taking the bait of the well-hated nickname, "but someone had to play a prank on me that would result in Gibbs punishing both of us."
"Hey, you loved that prank," he protested. "I mean, didn't you think your cubicle looked much nicer without walls?"
She rolled her eyes and ignored his question. "Go home, DiNozzo."
"No can do, darling," he answered smoothly. "It's 5.00AM, and I'd have to wake up within the hour if I went home. Think I might stay here and supervise you instead."
"I do not need supervising."
"I disagree." He propped his feet on his table and continued eloquently, "You see, the paperwork of NCIS is very intricate and requires—"
"DiNozzo, shut up," she said tiredly. He observed as she lifted two weary hands to rub her temples; worry quickly replaced his jaunty smugness. He did not really want to ail her, after all.
"You okay, Ziva?"
Her eyes flicked to his for a moment before closing. "Yes," she breathed. "I am just … tired. And dizzy. And … slightly hungry."
"What?" she asked in confusion.
"Sounds like you need some food in you," he clarified. "I don't think a chocolate bar from the break room's gonna cut it, and I don't know where else delivers at this time of the ni—morning. You gotta wait half an hour for the food to be cooked and delivered, though."
"Come on, it's just half an hour," he teased, hoping his tone did not betray his concern. "You're telling me the great ninja can't wait that long?"
"N-no, I just mean—"
"Save it." He grandly held a hand up. "It is the job of the Very Special Senior Field Agent to look after his subordinates. I won't have anybody saying I abuse my minions."
"How do you feel about Crab Rangoon?" he asked, pulling out his cell phone.
He pretended not to see the blush that accompanied her grateful smile.
"I do not understand why you keep ordering this Crab Rangoon for me," Ziva groused, setting down her own carton of food and reaching for his carton with her chopsticks.
"Hey, hey!" He swatted her hand away. "Stop stealing my shrimp!"
"I like seafood," she answered, petulant in a way only she could be.
"Says the woman who complains about Crab Rangoon."
"Seafood and cheese." Ziva snorted. "Seafood and cheese. They do not mix in Chinese cuisine!"
"Maybe not in China," he retorted, "but we're in America now, and cheese goes with just about anything."
A wordless grumble left her lips.
"I thought you liked them," he commented with amusement. "Because I swear—the first time I got them for you, I thought you were going to wear a hole in the carton."
Her cheeks reddened. "It was interesting. I had never had it before."
"And now you're bored of it?"
She shrugged. "I am just saying there are other types of Chinese food."
"Yeah, but this one has sentimental value."
An eyebrow of hers arched up. "How so?"
"Well…" He paused. "It marks the first occasion we had food over late-night paperwork … after."
She did not need to ask 'After what?' for the expression in her eyes to soften a smidge. "Yes, it does," she answered quietly.
"The first time you had Crab Rangoon, too," he added.
"It never did appeal to me when I was choosing my own Chinese food," she told him drily.
"Well, you're an American now," he replied smoothly. "American Chinese food is what you gotta eat."
"You ever do this with him?" he asked on a quiet night.
"Who?" she questioned, her eyebrows in a confused furrow.
"Ray," he murmured. "Ever just sit down and order Chinese and fight over seafood with him?"
He wanted to shut up—he genuinely did. Ray had not contacted her in weeks, and thus was a bad topic to discuss. Besides, Tony sounded completely jealous, asking about something as innocuous as Chinese food.
But the senior field agent just had to know.
By the look in Ziva's eyes, she understood why he was asking. "No," she answered softly. "No, this is just for us."
"Me and you?"
"You and me, yes."
He bit his lower lip. "And you're not just saying that to humour me?"
"No." She chuckled softly. "Because Ray and I have no 'After' … and you and I do."
He smiled in contentment. That was all he wanted to look for, he realized. The acknowledgement that there was still a 'Tony and Ziva'.
"Hey! Eat your own food!" Ziva scowled, her eyes tracking the progress of her crab into his mouth. Tony grinned dazzlingly through the meat.
"You steal my food all the time."
Her eyes narrowed. "But that is different."
He chortled at her deadpan tone of voice. "Maybe, but you're also my ninja."
In all honesty, he expected threats of maiming from her, which was why he was surprised when she pressed together lips that were obviously trying not to smile. A hint of pink appeared on her cheeks, startling him; so much so, in fact, that he managed to dodge out of the way of her attack only in the nick of time.
"Whoa," he chastised from where he had rolled his chair to, holding his hands up in front of him. "I know what you're up to, Miss David. You're not going to kiss me and then do some weird tongue manoeuvre just to steal your crab back."
She batted her eyelashes, unabashed, and licked her lips deliberately as she took up both their cartons of food from her desk. "Your loss," she purred like the victor she was.
He gazed stunned at her, chuckling.
Yeah, it was his loss.
I got you Crab Rangoon, was his text to her the moment his Chinese food arrived. Think it'll last till I get to Tel Aviv?
He could almost hear her snort in her reply: Even if it did, they would not let you take it through Customs.
His smile dropped. Bummer.
It's okay, she assured him, we have Chinese food here.
Is that Kosher? he asked curiously.
Her answer was derisive. What makes you think I am the only person in Israel not keeping Kosher?
I look forward to it, then, he told her. Stay safe, okay?
Her response was crisp. I always do. See you later, xo.
He allowed himself a sigh. Pressing his phone briefly to his chest, he tucked the device back into his pocket and then opened a fragrant-smelling carton.
'This is just for us,' she had once told him.
He was counting on that promise of hers to get him through the days.