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"Ziva," Tony called sharply, for once not drawling out the syllables of her name as he usually does.
The woman in question looked up sharply. She rose slowly from her desk, lessening the distance that she had to look up to meet Tony's eyes.
"We need to talk." Tony didn't look back as he walked to the elevator. He waited for her to follow him before he entered. He turned to face the doors as she took her place beside him. The doors slid shut, and Ziva calmly reached over and hit the emergency stop button.
Tony tipped his head with a slight smile, acknowledging the familiarity of the moment - and the distinct oddness of being there with one another instead of Gibbs.
"You think Jenny will panic when she realizes that the elevators are stopped and Gibbs wasn't even in the building," Tony pondered sarcastically.
Ziva snorted. "The point, Tony," she prompted him, folding her arms over her chest. The team was still getting used to working without Gibbs, and Tony especially was still adjusting to his new position. And though she wouldn't tell him, even if pressed, Ziva still thought he was doing fairly well so far.
"The point is that we need to talk," he fingered his chin. "And talk somewhere that's not here. Come by my apartment tonight after work."
Ziva hit the emergency stop button again. "This is work related, Tony, yes?" The threatening note in her voice was plainly obvious.
"Of course." He managed to sound shocked that she would suggest such a thing as they got off of the elevator and re-entered the office.
When she knocked on his door many hours later it was dark outside, his front steps illuminated only by the orange glow of the street lamps.
"Ziva," he answered slowly, "Come on in."
She stared at him for a moment before stepping into his apartment. It wasn't the first time that she'd been to his place, but she did notice the distinct lack of general messiness that had always seemed to be his preferred decorating style.
The look on his face, determined and serious, distracted her from commenting on the state of the room.
"I know," he stated simply.
Ziva crossed her arms, and leaned back. This looked like it was going to be a long conversation. "I'm happy for you."
Tony glared. "You're supposed to ask what I know...or start confessing random things that I might know, now."
"I'm far too well trained for that. And besides, if you already know whatever it is that you know, then there is no need for me to tell you about whatever it is."
Tony coughed. "True." He straightened. "I know about you and Abby."
Ziva remained silent.
"You're going to make me spell this out?" He asked rhetorically. "Fine. I know that you and Abby have been dating, going at it like bunnies, whatever you wanna call it."
"So why do you wish to talk to me about this, Tony?"
He looked momentarily surprised that she didn't deny his accusation.
"I wanted to tell you to be careful. It could make things difficult for Abby."
Ziva pushed closer to him, refusing to back down. For a second she looked as if she wanted to hit him before she turned away and began pacing the apartment. When she finally stopped, she looked at him fiercely. "I'm aware of that, Tony, and so is Abby."
"She's my friend," he said just as sharply, "And I don't want to see her hurt."
"You mean that you're afraid that I'll hurt her," Ziva countered bluntly.
"The thought had occurred to me." He hesitated and took a breath. "Abby's not as tough as she looks and you're a lot of trouble rolled up in a small package."
"Gibbs trusted me."
"And I trust you to watch my back too, but Abby..." He shook his head.
"Abby can make her own decisions, Tony," she answered with more calm than he had expected. "And she has. You can't protect her from what she wants, and it isn't your place to."
He stepped forward again. "Don't hurt her and don't let it interfere with the job."
She smiled, and patted his cheek. "Good night, Tony."
Abby mumbled in her sleep as Ziva sat down on the edge of the bed, and began to slowly pull off her boots. She was in the process of undressing as Abby rolled over to face her.
She saw Abby's green eyes watching her and smiled at her, then paused in the middle of tugging her shirt off to lean across the bed and kiss her. Abby responded sleepily, deepening the kiss. She grabbed the edges of Ziva's blouse and tugged her closer, not letting her go.
Ziva braced her hands on the mattress and leaned closer. For a moment, one of her hands tangled in Abby's hair. Then she settled it next to Abby's hip, before she pulled away enough to sink down on the bed next to her.
"You're late," Abby noted with a frown.
"I'm sorry." Ziva looked down, to where Abby's hand had found her own and was curling through her fingers. "Tony wanted to talk to me, to tell me that he knows about us."
Abby rolled her eyes. "What else did he want?"
"He told me to make certain that you didn't get hurt."
Abby cocked her head and considered that for a moment. "Kinky."
Ziva laughed throatily, but then sobered. "That's not what he meant."
Abby grew serious, the teasing glint in her eyes fading as well. "I know, and I know that it's just his way of showing that he cares, but it's not his job to decide who I give my heart to. That's just mine and you're the one that I want to give it to."
Ziva didn't take the opportunity presented to lighten the moment. Instead she continued to meet Abby's eyes. "I'm very glad."
"Come to bed," Abby said softly
"In just a moment," Ziva replied, as she finished getting undressed.
She slipped smoothly under the covers and pulled Abby to her tightly, wrapping her arm around the taller woman's waist and pressing her face to the back of her shoulder. She let out a breath that she hadn't realized that she'd been holding and hoped that Tony was wrong about her.
When Bashan hands her the photos of she and Tony standing outside of his apartment, Ziva is both relieved and terrified. Relieved that they don't know more, and terrified that of what they already know.
Tony was right. Her mere presence could be dangerous to Abby. It's all come back around now - full circle.
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