Chapter 8

"Sooo, What is this exactly Ziva?" Tony was the first to take one look at the dish and practically lift his nose to it; his eyes glancing around for any other menu options. Ziva however only gives a look of daggers towards her partner. "It's a traditional meal that originated from Scotland. It's called-"

But before she had time to finish, a bellowing voice randomly cuts in. "Is that my Yorkshire pudding? My, my! I think you've done something right for a change!"

Tony and Ziva both look to see an excited Mrs. Mallard standing at the kitchen's doorway- with a wide-eyed looking Probie just behind her.

"It looks scrumptious!" The elderly woman makes her way into the room now with a blinding smile before shuffling towards the large table that was already set.

"Yes. I made it just the way Ducky- I mean, Donald makes it." Ziva remarks before gesturing towards her co-workers to come join Mrs. Mallard at the table.

"Oh cool! Smells delicious!" McGee quickly hurries for his own seat before asking, "What else are we having?"

Ziva blinks before looking back at Tony who had merely asked the same question just moments ago. "Well, it is called Rumbledethumps. I-I personally have never had it, but it is one of Ducky's traditional foods that he makes and I actually believe it is-" But she is cut off by another imposing remark from Tony. "Uhh, I have never seen anything like this stuff."

Ziva scowls at the man before prompting him to sit down with a look. "I cooked it. Therefore, it is good. Now eat."

McGee chuckles at the small banter before going to pick up his own silverware. "Well, I for one think it looks great, Ziva."

This causes for the Israeli to beam. "Thank you McGee."

She then goes to ask for the approval of Mrs. Mallard when she notices the woman already enjoying the dish. A whole scoop of Rumbledethumps were already upon her plate along with a mountain of the Yorkshire pudding.

The agent meekly smiles to herself.

Yes. You really did it this time Ziva...


The agents finally commence to their own meals, and after a few bites, McGee can't help but perk up his head and ask, "So how are the Corgis coming Tony?" He smiles around a mouthful as Tony nearly drops his fork to his plate. "Oh. Those little hooligans? I'd consider myself done with them by now." He grimaces before going to shove some pudding into his mouth.

Ziva and McGee only smile at his reaction. Mrs. Mallard is simply too caught up with her meal to bother with Tony's remarks to her dogs. She was enjoying her food too much to care.

McGee then takes a sip of his drink before continuing. "Hey, it could always be worst for you. There could be more than five?"

Tony's eyes widen before he gives a frustrated look and he swallows his food hard. "Don't say that Probie. Or more might magically come yipping around the corners of the earth."

After the meal had been thoroughly enjoyed, there was nothing left to do now but start pending on sleeping arrangements. Surprisingly enough, even Tony had sort of enjoyed the different, foreign food and it hadn't been as bad as he thought it was going to be. Mrs. Mallard had even downed about three whole servings...

"Alright, so... How about we decide where we're going to sleep and pick up on Ducky's To-Do list tomorrow?" McGee was the first to inquire- for nobody really knew how this was about to go down.

"Okay, but where are we going to sleep exactly? And, are we going to have someone stay up on watch shifts? Or no?" Ziva wasn't about to take any chances here at sacrificing their good efforts on this. Simple assignment or not, she was willing to treat this like a real, true protection detail.

Tony on the other hand only looks to her with a confused frown. "What? Night shifts? Why would we do those? We're just watching Ducky's mother for him."

Ziva crosses her arms next. "Exactly! It is also known as protection detail!"

McGee hurriedly steps between the two yet again, in hopes of avoiding another quarrel. "G-Guys! Let's just... take a deep breath and decide as a team here."

Tony goes to scratch the back of his neck before simply remarking, "Well uh, technically Gibbs put me in charge. So..."

And at this, Ziva merely scowls. "Oh come on. We all know how many bad decisions you've already made in just one day."

Tony nearly flinches before going to open his mouth for a harsh retort. But he then stops himself and almost chokes on his own words.

Honestly? Ziva had a point. He had already made some poor choices today...

The Senior agent finally slumps a bit before frowning again. "Whatever."

He hangs his head before going to storm out of the room- leaving McGee and Ziva alone to themselves.

Ziva's gaze immediately falls to the floor and McGee only shuffles in place.

After a small awkward moment, McGee then decides to break the ice by slowly going to look out the large windows to the front of the house. He then clears his throat. "I-I'll take first watch if you want. We can just take turns." He then pauses before adding, "I-I don't want to argue about it."

Ziva blinks at the man before nodding slowly. She was already beginning to feel guilty for what she had said to Tony. Perhaps she shouldn't have said anything at all...

"Okay. Thank you." She trails off again before deciding, "I will go see how Tony is before going to deal with Mrs. Mallard." And without waiting for a reply, she hurries off into the elegant house; her guilt clawing at her from the inside out.

Why did things have to be so complicated on a simple assignment like this?

She enters a nice sitting room- the same direction in which Tony had headed. The room's lighting made everything look warm and dim. It seemed like the perfect atmosphere for sleep.

She glances around the room before spotting Tony lying on one of the couches; his head propped up by his hands with a pillow underneath them.

She tips her head to the side at how peaceful he already looked. Why couldn't the two of them just get along together?

She walks over to him before placing a light hand upon his arm and this instantly causes for the agent's eyes to open. He blinks at her before sluggishly asking, "What do you want?"

Ziva averts her gaze to her hands before slowly exhaling. "I am sorry."

Tony's rough expression quickly melts away at her words. He immediately feels surprise overtake him. Why was she apologizing to him? Hadn't he been the one in the wrong?

She continues though and looks back to him. "You were... You were right. Gibbs did put you in charge. I-I was only suggesting that we take extra precautions."

Tony stares at his partner and ponders to himself on why Ziva even cared so much that she even came to apologize. Did it truly matter to her?

He shifts and tries to sit up a bit. "Ahh, it's alright. I'm not doing too swift as 'in-charge-agent' right now anyways." He mutters, and he almost even feels a smile tug at his lips. It was nice that she cared.

"Well, I should not have said that to you. I know you make rational decisions. I did not mean it." She pats his arm just one more.

There is then a small silence between them before Ziva ominously starts for the door again. Tony's gaze sticks to her before she pauses and turns to look at him just one more time.

It seemed as if there was a whole lot more to say between them- but neither could find the words.

The woman then finally rounds the corner- ending their solemn eye-contact.

She pauses and exhales to herself before then going to look for Mrs. Mallard.


Tony watches Ziva leave before going to lay back onto the pillow cushion again- his mind whirling with a million thoughts already. It was very thoughtful of Ziva to have come and apologized- but why did she really feel the need?

She was right though. I do make bad decisions sometimes. His mind was already going back to him chasing the Corgi today.

He then tries to roll over and forget about the situation but... it is somewhat hard to do so.

He liked how Ziva cared that much to make up with him and he liked that she hadn't wanted to remain on bad terms with him.

He smiles to himself slightly.

Tomorrow he would surely prove himself worthy. Tomorrow he'd be better at being in charge and soon Ducky would be back to relieve them of this assignment.

He exhales just once more before closing his eyes. Things already felt ten times better because of her.

"Young lady, I can take care of myself! I can decide when it is time for me to get some rest!" Mrs. Mallard, as usual, was wanting to be difficult about the situation. She didn't want to cooperate one bit.

She turns back to her book in hand and goes back to her reading that she had been 'rudely' interrupted from.

Ziva David however, wasn't about to take no for an answer.

"Mrs. Mallard, please do not make this difficult. I think it is rightfully time for you to get some sleep." She places her hands on her hips as Victoria Mallard only goes to flip the next page in her book- clearly ignoring the Israeli.

Ziva exhales- not wanting to deal with this at the moment when suddenly she gets a tremendous idea.

She smirks to herself before leaning forward. "I have a wonderful suggestion for you, Mrs. Mallard."

The elderly woman doesn't even look up- her eyes were staying continuously glued to the pages of the book with her reading glasses hanging from her nose ever so tightly.

"Mrs. Mallard?" Ziva tries again with a small prod, and this time Mrs. Mallard looks up. "Ohh, What do you want you little pest?"

Ziva feels like fuming but ignores the harsh innuendo. She reaches for Mrs. Mallard's hand and says, "How about this. You can continue reading, as long as you move into your bedroom and do it. Yes?"

Mrs. Mallard gives a puzzled look simply and finally sets her book down into her lap. "And why on earth would I do that?"

Ziva gives a fake smile. "Because that way, if you happen to fall asleep, you'll be in bed."

Personally, she thought it was a great idea that would accommodate Mrs. Mallard's wants- and luckily the elderly lady finally gives a gruff sigh. "Oh, alright! But only if my lovelies accompany me. Don't want to be too lonely you know."

Ziva smiles with relief and simply nods. "Yes. I shall round your Corgis up for you and take them to your room."

She then begins leading Mrs. Mallard back towards her bedroom- one of the largest rooms on the ground level.

As they're walking though, Ziva can't help but wonder how Mrs. Mallard can actually still manage to read. Wasn't her eye sight getting bad?

Perhaps she manages decently well?

It is then though that Mrs. Mallard huffs and asks, "Young lady?"

Ziva smiles at her. "Yes?"

"What book was I just reading exactly?"

A/N: Stay tuned for more! :)

(Writing two stories at once now so please be patient) Thank you all!