A/N - Here's the next chapter since I at least want to get to the meat of the story as soon as possible. I do want to re-assure anyone reading my other stories that I am not going to let this new fic delay my updates to my other fics. I am close to updating both my Bones fic (Mistaken Identity) and then my NCIS fic (Consequences Of The Truth). Please review this one in the mean time so I know how it's being received. Thanks! I will correct any missed errors later as always - just wanted to get posted asap!

Previously on A Deadly Phobia:

The rest of the afternoon was business as usual with the exception of Tony trying to think of a reason for not eating when they ordered in lunch so they could keep working on the case per Gibbs' orders. Tony glared at Ziva after he made up an excuse that he was trying to lose a few pounds, almost daring her to tell everyone about his tooth and blow his cover. Gibbs had seen the entire scene out of the corner of his eye, something was up. He had seen almost every grimace that Tony had let slip and even an occasional moan when he thought no one was around. Now apparently Ziva was covering for him too.

But he would get to the bottom of their charade sooner or later and they would both be sore from the head slaps that would be getting for their secrecy.

A Deadly Phobia

Scene Two

Finally after what seemed like an eighteen hour day rather than just their usual ten, Tony dragged himself towards the elevator wondering how a little thing like a toothache could make him feel so lousy. What he didn't realize was that what started out as a normal toothache with a hint of inflammation – through the course of their busy day had started to abscess.

Inside the confines of the elevator he leaned his body back against the back wall, his head falling forward planning to just rest for the short two minute ride to the parking garage level. But then just as the doors of the elevator started to close suddenly a small hand jutted in between the closing doors stopping them from meeting in the middle. Pushing the doors back open – Ziva jumped inside the box along with him. She was so quick that she was able to catch sight of her partner's exhausted stance and the way his head was down, chin resting on his chest. Tony obviously hadn't been expecting company, especially since he had made sure to sneak out after he had been sure she had gone to the restroom.

His head popped back up once he realized who had just hijacked his ride, apparently she hadn't been in the restroom he realized - she had tricked him.

"Ziva what the hell? That makes twice in one day you ss -" he stopped himself before he said something he would have quickly regretted.

"What Tony? Please, continue . . . twice in one day that I did what? That I sc-a-ared you? Haha Is that what you were going to say?" by now she had moved in closer, definitely entering his personal space as she now stood less than a foot away from him.

"No . . . NO! That's not what I was going to say Zee-vah. I uh . . . you just startled me that's all. No big deal." he was too tired to argue with her. All he needed to do was to fake it long enough to get to his own car and he could finally be rid of her. "Ah-ha, I see." she pretended to believe him but knowing she had more than startled him the way his breathing had increased – his chest rising and falling faster than it usually was. 'damn he has a nice chest.' she thought to herself. 'Okay Ziva stop it. He's your partner and nothing can happen.'

Moving to stand right beside him against the rear wall of the elevator - so close that her shoulders were touching his, she looked at him just as he let his head drop back against the cool metal wall and closed his eyes. She couldn't help but wonder if he was doing that so he could pretend she wasn't there. Standing upright again she moved forward, reaching for the infamous shut off button, halting the elevator in between floors just in time, they only had one floor left to go before reaching their destination.

Once she resumed her previous position right next to him and he was now looking over at her in frustration, she lowered her voice, using a softer tone she confronted him again but with more understanding this time. "Tony. Seriously now – you should at least let me just look at your tooth to see how bad it looks. I mean maybe you don't even need to see a dentist. Maybe it's not even that bad and you can just gargle with salt water or something."

"What? Now where the hell would you have learned something like that Ziva?" he had almost forgotten they were holding up the elevator from all of the other employees most likely trying to leave for the day. He knew her well enough to know that she would not let this rest until he agreed to something. This wasn't the first time they were in this type of situation and he knew that if the tables were turned – that he would have done the same thing.

"That is not important right now Tony – all I will say is that I have lived in America for years now. You don't think I see a dentist now and then myself? What do you think I am - some kind of . . . robot?" she smiled and nudged his shoulder with her own. It always amazed her how he sometimes spoke of her as if she were some kind of female super hero. She would never admit it to him but, she found it so charming and sexy that he thought of her that way. As if she could accomplish anything.

"So . . . if I let you look at it – will you let me go and stop harassing me?" he finally conceded, knowing it would be the only way to end this conversation as quickly as possible.

"Okay, it's a deal." she smiled over her win and moved to in front of him again, facing him. As he started to open his mouth, ignoring the pain it caused his jaw on one side, she reached forward and gently tipped his head back to allow what little light was still in the elevator, to give her a better view. She had already figured out which side of his mouth the nagging tooth was on simply by observing him all day and seeing him holding the right side of his face when he thought no one was watching. Similar to what Gibbs had been doing – also watching Tony though unbeknown to her.

As she looked inside she lowered one of her hands to rest on the side of his face, holding the lower half of his jaw to get a better angle. "AAAHHOWW!"

He yelped with a higher pitch to his voice than she had ever heard him use. Dropping her hand away from his face she quickly apologized and when he tried to shy away and move she stepped on his foot to hold him in place with her other leg bent at the knee placing it in a very dangerous position. "Tony if you don't stop fidgeting, I will give you a pain that will make your little toothache seem like pleasure!"

Tony immediately froze in place once he noticed the precarious position of her knee – hovering just below his groin. Now holding his breath, he let her continue with her inspection.

"Oooh . . . ~hissing~ . . . Gosh uh . . . sorry Tony but that does look painful." she let go of his head and backed up so she was a foot away again. "Sorry but – that is definitely infected Tony. I still think you better go see a Dentist before it gets any worse."

As he let out the breath he had been holding he found himself feeling a little turned on by, not only the forcefulness she had used to get him to stay still, but also the tender almost caring way she spoke to him now. He felt his face getting hotter, reaching up he loosened his tie. "Okay Dr. Da-veed. I will consider that option."

he then quickly moved forward and restarted the elevator. "Now, we had a deal. I'm outta here."

By then the doors had finally opened allowing him to finally escape it's confines, heading towards his car he realized she was still hot on his trail. Stopping in place he felt her soft body smashing into his backside, having stopped so abruptly while she was following far too closely, she couldn't help but collide.

"Ooophh" she felt her body slamming right into his as he stopped in his tracks. Backing up she continued ragging on him, determined to get him to promise to make an appointment. But she also had wanted to offer to go with him so she was going to follow him right into his car if necessary!

"Zivaaa!" he yelled without even turning around. "I thought we had a deal. What – are – you – doing?"

Running around him until she was facing him again she explained, "Yes – we did have a deal but . . . well I just wanted to tell you that I would come with you. To the Dentist . . . you know, for uh – moral support – yes?"

She thought that's what they called it, when you help someone go through something even though you don't have to.

To say he was shocked by the offer would have been the understatement of the year! It warmed his heart to see her so . . . helpful. It was just so rare that she let that side show that he was taken aback whenever she did. "Okay, I'll think about it alright? I will call a Dentist tomorrow and I will 'consider' letting you come. Now I'm sorry that's the best I can do – take it, or leave it."

"Okay Tony, I shall - take it. Now go home and put some ice on your cheek. Trust me, it will help ease the pain and the swelling a little." she leaned forward and placed a gentle kiss on his sore cheek, barely touching it so as not to cause him more pain. Then she left him there in stunned silence and headed towards her own car.

Tony walked the rest of the way to his car like a zombie. 'What just happened back there' he thought, 'Did she just kiss me?' he brought his hand up and carefully laid it on top of the spot she had kissed. Wow, talk about kissing it to make it better – he swore it didn't feel as sore now. What he didn't know was that the only reason he felt less pain after the simple action of Ziva's kiss – was merely due to his endorphins that had skyrocketed right after she kissed him. He had already been turned on by her attitude in the elevator, and even more so when he felt the soft curves of her body as she crashed up against him when he had stopped, the kiss had simply put him over the top to where he now felt almost giddy.

The Next Morning At 0715 Hours – The Bullpen . . .

Tony had arrived at work at least a twenty minutes ahead of his partners for a after a very restless night left him even more exhausted than the day before after only managing to get no more than 4 hours of actual sleep. He had laid in bed trying to sleep for at least an hour but kept awake by the now severe throbbing and worsening pain in the right side of his face. Finally getting up to retrieve an ice pack from his freezer, having plenty in stock from the many injuries he had received in his past, as he decided to try the advice his partner had given him. Although he had no intention of ever telling her that! It had actually worked long enough to allow his body to succumb to his only restful sleep of the night, for an hour at least.

Eventually he woke up again around midnight as the pain came back with a vengeance. The rest of the night only consisted of light dozing off and on until he finally gave in, getting up for good at 4:15 am when his stomach joined in on the symphony, grumbling loudly as he realized he had barely eaten anything the previous day, he just couldn't think of anything that sounded good that would not require chewing and moving his jaw. Not even soup would have worked since anything hot or cold only worsened his agony and he didn't care how hungry he became – he was not going to eat room temperature soup! "Man, it's going to be another lo-onng day!' he said out loud to no one.

Gibbs was the first to arrive at the office after Tony, entering the bullpen just after 0730. After getting over his initial surprise at seeing his senior agent there before anyone else when he typically arrived at least 5 minutes late, the very next thing to catch his attention was the pale complexion minus the dark circles that filled in the area underneath the man's eyes – which only managed to make his too white pallor stand out even more.

Walking past Tony Gibbs walked silently to his own desk. "Morning boss." Tony greeted him, his voice not as energetic a usual.

After waiting another minute trying to decide how to approach his agent Gibbs finally spoke, "Care to tell me why my senior agent looks like he pulled an all-nighter for the second day in a row?" he never even looked up at Tony while speaking, he merely put his gun and badge away and turned towards his computer.

"Uuh . . . I don't know what you talking abou- . . . er, I uhm -" he was too caught off guard to think of a come back and thankfully stopped himself before he finished a sentence that would have essentially implied that his boss was wron . . . mistaken. Even though he was wrong, Tony knew better than to point it out!

"Cat got yer tongue DiNozzo?"

"No boss. Jus' didn't sleep well last night that's all."

Gibbs pushed his chair back, stood up and walked over to stop in front of Tony's desk. "Alright Tony, let's pretend for a minute that I believe you – why? What kept you up all night – or do I wanna know?" he added, knowing his agent's reputation for having more flings than a paid gigolo.

" 'S nothin' boss – really. I just ate something that didn't agree with me. You know me – I'll eat just about anything - only sometimes I pay for it later – know what I mean?" he lied. How could he do that? 'You just lied right to your bosses' face!' he reprimanded himself. This was not good.

"Yeah?" Gibbs replied, noticing the way Tony's eyes shifted up and to the left just like Ziva had taught them someone usually does when they are not telling the truth.

"Well, you must've been hungry after not eating lunch. What happened to your uh – diet plans?" Gibbs grilled him further, mainly wanting to let him know he wasn't so easily fooled.

"Uh, well . . . when have you ever known me to stick to anything like that for very long? I guess I'll just have to settle for keeping the extra pounds.

"Uh-huh." was the only response he received from the man he looked up to more than anyone.

"I'll be in MTAC – call me if we get any dead bodies." and with that Tony watched Gibbs walk away and up the stairs. Letting out the breath he didn't know he was even holding he sagged against his chair in relief. Damn that whole conversation had really taken it out of him, he felt even worse having lied like he did. All of this over a dang tooth! He thought in disbelief until he was interrupted by another voice, looking up he realized Ziva had walked up to his desk and had said something to him. He stared up at her trying to figure out what she asked him.

"You look like something the cat stepped in." she added, letting her first question of whether he was feeling better, go unanswered.

"It's 'dragged in' Ziva – something the cat dragged in!" he glared up at her, not in the mood to have this conversation with her.

"Well whatever – I think stepped in is more appropriate considering how you look right now." she explained. "Did you even sleep last night Tony?"

"Okay Ziva, here's how it's gonna be today – you are going to drop this line of questioning and we are not going to discuss it again. I already looked up some dentist's this morning and I already made an appointment. So you have no reason to bug me about it any longer. Capiche?" he concluded in Italian.

"Wow, that is very mature of you Tony, you are actually taking my advice for a change. I'm flattered."

"Well don't be. I just wanted to prove to you that I am NOT afraid of something so ridiculous as a dentist! Conversation over." he turned back to his computer and with one hand he picked up his phone to check his voice messages and making it clear to her that he was done talking about it.

Smiling while walking back to her desk, knowing he couldn't see her grin because her back was turned – thrilled that she had just succeeded in getting him to go to the dentist simply by using reverse psychology. It had worked like a charm and she knew he would never let himself appear weak enough to even ask her to come with him, she didn't care, all that mattered was that he would be taken care of before the infection spread any further. She knew firsthand what kind of damage that could cause one's body since during her childhood she had lost her favorite uncle to that very thing. What had started out as an abscess tooth had ended up resulting in his heart being damaged as the infection spread because back then in Israel, no one could afford the luxury of dental care, hell she didn't even know if they had dentists since it wasn't until she had gotten into her late teens that she had first even heard of them.

4 Hours Later – Tony's Car En Route to the Dentist's Office . . .

Finally he was on his way and this nightmare and awful pain would soon be treated and over with. He couldn't help but notice that his palms were getting more sweaty on the steering wheel the closer he got to his destination.

Luckily he had found the dentist fairly easily simply by doing a search using an online phone directory, purposely searching only for dental offices that were located no more than 5 miles from the Navy shipyard where the NCIS office was based. Using a phone in one of the vacant NCIS conference rooms when he got to the office well ahead of the rest of his team, he didn't want to take the chance that one of them might arrive early as well and overhear him on his desk phone. He ended up having to call quite a few offices before finally finding one that could get him in around the time the team usually took their lunch hour (unless they were already out on a case) - he thought that time would be best since he wouldn't have to tell Gibbs where he was going. He planned to just tell them he had lunch plans with an old frat brother if anyone asked.

Michael Kincaid was the one – and he wasn't just a dentist either, he was also licensed as a DDS, which Tony had looked up and had found that it stood for Doctorate of Dental Surgery specializing in oral and maxillofacial surgery. That sounded good enough to Tony since if he had to see a dentist, he definitely wanted one who knew what they were doing.

But since he hadn't been to the dentist since he was a Police Officer with Baltimore PD – he didn't realize that it wasn't a good sign if a Dentist was able to accommodate a new patient on the same day they called in. That typically meant that they had plenty of openings in their schedule due to lack of clientele. One reason for a dentist to be lacking in clientele, was the fact that they were not necessarily the best dentist around so most patients who tried him once, never went back after having such a bad experience either by not being numbed sufficiently before a procedure such as say, a root canal – or, they had immediately lost the filling or the crown that they had just received – sometimes caused by an action as little as just biting down on a soft sandwich.

Even if he had known, Tony wouldn't have cared. He just wanted to get the whole thing over with! He had a long time fear of dentists in general dating back to from one rather traumatic check up during his per-pubescent years.

Even though he had bucked up as an adult and tried to give dental treatment another try - that experience had come with new set up issues that only managed to exacerbate his phobia of the entire profession!

The most recent unnerving experience had occurred back when he worked as a Homicide Detective for the Baltimore PD. He had gone to see the same dentist that his partner at the time had suggested and had the unpleasant experience that is probably every patients worst fear – the feeling the drill cutting directly into his already sore gum line after the hand of his dentist had 'slipped' while drilling into his molar in preparation for a filling. The tiny but powerful drill had managed to slide off of the tough enamel and right into his gum line and no amount of numbing medication or nitric oxide would have been able to deaden the unexpected stabbing pain that seemed to jolt through his entire jawline.

It didn't help matters finding out the hard way that the area of gum line that had just been drilled into, was a portion of gum line that had NOT been numbed by the injection of Novocaine since the dentist had barely numbed the area directly surrounding the tooth he was working on. The one thing that freaked Tony out almost as much as the pain, was the surprising amount of blood the injury had produced which had immediately started running out of his mouth onto the pristine white bib he was thankfully forced to wear to protect his clothes. He cringed at the memory and had to force himself to shake it off and stop thinking about it before it caused him to bag this whole venture to a new dentist and just turn his car around and head back to the office!

Inside The Dental Clinic Across Town . . .

Dentist Michael Kincaid sat in his small office staring at the bills on the desk in front of him. When it came to the serious lack of funds to pay all the bills in front of him – his diminishing patient list was only partly to blame. Kincaid was also a problem gambler, having gambled more and more frequently as his practice had started to bring in less and less money – mainly due to the fact that the majority of his new patients never returned – not even for the free teeth cleaning that most insurance plans provided. It didn't take long before he ended up severely in debt after being forced to borrow from some not so nice people in order to continue his chase for his 'big win'! That was all he needed was to get a couple of big wins under his belt and everything would be fine.

While Tony was in the waiting room filling out some of the new patient forms, the doctor was in his office with two very muscular 'visitors' who were there to pass on an important message from the leader of their 'organization' – the message was simple.

"Pay up within 24 hours Mis-ter Kincaid - or you just might find yourself having a serious accident!"

The threat was delivered in a loud, firm whisper by the larger of the two 'messengers' as the buff man had the small framed dentist pinned up against his bookshelf while holding him up by his meaty hand around the man's skinny neck. They kept just quiet enough to prevent anyone from hearing the conversation through the closed door and after making it clear just how much money the man needed to deliver they let him go and exited his office – leaving the shaky and frightened dentist to pull himself back together.

As Tony was walking up to the receptionist's desk to turn in his completed forms, when he had first stood up from his seat he felt a head rush caused by his blood sugar levels being much lower than normal caused by not eating much in over 24 hours. Shaking it off he continued forward until he was nearly trampled by a large man who came barreling out of the swinging door that led to where the patient's were taken for their dental care, but also typically where the office of the dentist himself presided. He caught himself before losing his balance again and after backing up to allow the men through he couldn't help but notice how the sizable men as they immediately slowed themselves down as if just realizing that their hasty behavior might appear suspicious to others.

Tony made eye contact with one of them before proceeding on his original mission to the front desk. He turned and watched the two men as they slowly walked the rest of the way across the long waiting room. They were smiling now as they moved but something about the whole thing seemed rather forced to tony - as if they were putting on some kind of front. His gut immediately tightened – something didn't look right but he couldn't put his finger on just what that might be. The men didn't look like they just had dental work and though he hadn't been to the dentist in a while, he hadn't recalled people going there - in pairs!

One of the men had made direct eye contact with Tony when they nearly collided with the man. The slight eyebrow raise that unfortunately went unnoticed by Tony, was the only indication from the shady man that would have alluded anyone to his immediate curiosity. He knew the well dressed man from somewhere – but where? His own gut told him it wasn't good – if he could just remember why!

Once he was outside and several feet from the entrance on the way to their vehicle – he suddenly stopped in his tracks. "Wait! Hold on a minute Cal!" he yelled to his partner who was only a couple of feet ahead of him. Cal turned around impatiently with a scowl on his face to emphasize his irritation over his partner's delay. "What the hell is it now Jesse? We don't have time for any more nonsense! We have to get back!" he was referring to the elaborate mansion that their boss ran his rather dangerous operations from, knowing there would be hell to pay if they were late in letting their boss know that his message had been delivered.

"Wait, just trust me, you're gonna wanna hear this - I promise! You know that man we nearly trampled in the waiting room just now?"

"Yeah, whatabout'im!"

"I just remembered where I saw him before! The man could be trouble Cal!

"Why, what's so damn special about 'im?" Cal impatiently demanded.

"He . . . he's a Federal Agent!"

To Be Continued . . .

A/N -Please keep the reviews coming – especially since it's a new story I really want to know what you think so far! Thank you in advance for taking the time to review!