An: Just something from "Outlaws and In-Laws" that I think could have been expanded upon. Enjoy!
Summary: A late night conversation started by Tony and his curious nature of what exactly Ziva felt for Corporal Daemon Worth. And how she feels now for him, seeing Worth after all this time. Could Tony be a bit jealous?
He that is not jealous is not in love. ~St. Augustine
"So it must have been interesting, seeing Daemon Worth after all this time hm?" Tony asked, his pen writing something indiscernible across a stack of papers. Ziva barely looked up as she nodded; her eyes skimming the page in her history book about checks and balances of the three branches of government. "He looks good." He stated watching Ziva under a half lidded gaze.
Again she nodded, suppressing a yawn. He raised an eyebrow curiously.
"Don't you have anything to say about it?"
When she looked up he could see the bags under her eyes, the bloodshot gaze narrowing on his form. He smiled charmingly, trying to diffuse her annoyance.
"What do you want me to say Tony?"
He shrugged, returning to his own paperwork. He had been uncharacteristically nice to Ziva, opting to finish his own forms than to make her fill them out for him. "Nothing." There were a few moments of peace as Ziva shrugged to the silence and looked back to the book. The print outs stuffed into the pages were fanned out all over her desk. She blinked, her bleary eyes strained and exhausted. She had to study even as her eyes protested against it.
She grounded herself. Focusing once more on the task at hand, she licked her dry lips and began to read – only to be interrupted by her partner once again.
"You had said before you had feelings for him." His sing-song merriment voice caught her ears as he stacked more forms together. The ruffling of the papers distracted him from the real question he was asking of Ziva. He ignored the green eyed beast long enough to listen for his partner's reaction.
Sighing, she wished that God would end the incessant chatter so that she could study; but she looked back at him anyway, her curiosity taking hold of her. Her eyes narrowed dangerously as he studied her face.
Tony regarded her seriously, even though a slight smirk sat on his lips. He was enjoying himself remembering the years old conversation they had shared with McGee. But Ziva could tell there was something hesitant about him; trying to prod a response without directly asking for one.
Shaking her head, she stretched cat-like, the back muscles popping as she went. Tony not being direct was as odd as Gibbs without his morning coffee. Or midnight coffee. She plopped back, slouching lazily. "I was experiencing feelings, Tony. Not having them for Corporal Worth."
"Just Worth now remember? Dishonorably discharged. That's what pumping steroids into your blood does to you."
She rolled her dark eyes skyward. "Yes, but he was honorable for what he did while on them."
"And that's what you like about him huh?" Again she noticed the strange look that overcame his face. She raised one of her sleek eyebrows in turn. "He's honorable."
"I like that he has honor. And he tried to do the right thing, after making such a horrible mistake while in the Marines."
He nodded laughing sarcastically into the office area. "He decided to join a mercenary for hire gig-"
"Which he did not know was something bad! He thought he was being the hero!" She shouted, enjoying the general debate. It had been awhile since they could banter like old times, and the rush of it was making Ziva smile.
Unbeknownst to her, Tony was growing irritated at her defense of the Ex-Corporal Daemon Worth. "Did you get any feelings when you saw Worth again?" His eyes flashed with something that Ziva could not describe. She blinked and the emotion had passed, that left clear green eyes staring back. The abrupt change of conversation had her momentarily distracted.
She gathered her thoughts sluggishly. "Tony, I do not wish to talk about feelings I might or might not have. He is an old acquaintance who we have helped. It is nice to be able to see someone after something like that – to see what they have been doing."
He nodded, leaning back in his chair, the pen held out in front. "Well you two were spending a lot time together in the backseat of the Charger, after Gibbs took Bell away."
She laughed an outburst of annoyance and amusement. Tony didn't seem to flinch at the sound, but locked eyes on her. "We were talking Tony! Is that not something people do? Catch up?" Again a shake of her head. "I am tired." She whispered, running a hand through her hair, the long strands tugging at the skull.
"Me too." She looked across the bullpen to see him still leaning in his chair, looking out the window into the cool night to the right of them. He barely seemed to realize he had spoken aloud. Ziva decided against calling him out on it; she was sure it would only open up a box of snakes.
Or was it worms? She sighed again, gathering her study material to herself slowly. Even her thoughts were becoming jumbled. She waited for him to pull himself out of whatever trance he was in before strapping on her book bag.
"Will you be going home soon?"
He tilted his head, looking at her in thought. "Maybe." He rolled the pen into his palms for a few seconds further before he looked at her awkward form. She wasn't quite sure if she should leave him just yet while he looked thoughtful. It was not a common occurrence. "Amira took a liking to you."
She smiled fondly, fighting back the yawn. "She reminded me of someone I used to know."
"An old friend?"
Ziva smiled again, but the pang of hurt cut right into her heart in remembrance. "Tali. She was a lot like Tali when she was younger." She cleared her throat, wiping away the emotions that now came more freely to her than before her bout in Africa. She was learning to let them out; the psychologist had said it was the only proper way of truly healing and assimilating into America. She had to let the emotions come more naturally to her.
It did not mean she was experienced when it came to them, nor prepared when they struck her. She blinked her eyes once more, rubbing the tiredness away.
When she looked at Tony, his face was kind and open. She could see the understanding in the edges of his small smile and in the way his eyes twinkled. She counted herself lucky right then that he had grown enough not to tease her about the emotional way she had handled the question. They both were growing.
"Would you have done what Leyla had done? Would you have killed to protect?" He questioned quietly. She was thoughtful for a moment and Tony was almost afraid he had treaded on dangerous ground. They were still not where they both wanted to be, and they still had a lot to work out, but he was curious. She had only mentioned Tali to him when they first met; back when he was so set on catching Ari and making him pay for Kate's death.
And he was sure she thought of Tali when Agent Lee had been killed and the news broken to her sister. Those tears weren't because of their coworker/traitor's death. But she never discussed her family – Eli David did not count as family anymore – with him more than that.
The pensive look had him fascinated as she tried to answer. "I would have shot them more than Leyla had done if it had been Tali cornered. Or if it had been my own daughter." Her brown eyes were sad though her face remain impassive. "Or any one of you, here. McGee, Abby, Ducky …Gibbs. Even you, Tony."
"Good to know." He swallowed thickly, the tension swimming around them. He pushed it away, like he always did when confronted with it. "Go home Probie. You look like death."
She huffed and rolled her eyes. "Thank you, Tony." She turned on her heel and walked away, waving him off as she went. Tony watched her back as she retreated, and left through the cold steel doors of the elevator. Looking up to the ceiling, he rubbed the bridge of his nose absentmindedly. He wasn't sure what that conversation was about, but he was determined to figure it out when the sun was high. Tonight… tonight he was just too tired to think.
AN: Whatcha think? A bit heavy scented of TIVA with surprisingly a bit of TATE if one squints. Comments?