Chapter 10

John and Ziva had a private celebration of her birthday after they had both retreated for the night, leaving Gibbs and Tony being baby sat by a couple of marines, not the best solution, but orders were orders; the two NCIS agents weren’t allowed to roam Atlantis unattended.

He had asked the kitchen crew for some fresh strawberries, knowing that the SGC sent a batch – amongst other things- over when Tony and Gibbs came through the gate, and gathered up other things to have a mini picnic in their quarters. Apart from the strawberries and the beer, everything was untouched as they ended up celebrating in bed.

The following morning, Ziva’s actual birthday, he woke her up for morning birthday sex, and after they got cleaned up and dressed, they picked up Tony and Gibbs for breakfast.

Tony eyed his former partner from across the table. “You look particularly glowy this morning,” he commented. “You sure you don’t have anything else to tell us?”

A firm and well place kick from her under the table made him shut up. “I am having a beautiful morning,” was all she said and smiled at Gibbs who kept quiet with his own smirk and shake of the head.

“So, what do you want to do today?” John asked as he sacrificed his morning fruit to Ziva’s tray knowing she was particularly fond of the Athosian berries.

“Hmm,” she hummed in thought. Looking at her friends, as well as Ronon and Teyla approaching the group’s table, she grinned. “Do you think that Carter would let them through the gate? I was thinking of maybe some sun and sand or to visit Teyla’s people. I’ve actually been wanting to hear Halling finish his story from our last visit.”

“Probably not, but I’m sure some of Teyla’s people could come over here,” John said, then seeing the look on Ziva’s face, she was disappointed, “But, I’ll ask.”

She smiled happily and leaned over to kiss him her thank you on his cheek. “Good morning,” she greeted the other regulars of their table as they sat down. Ziva did not miss the glances of both of the NCIS agents at how loaded Ronon’s tray was and even then still he tried to swipe the biscuits off both Teyla and her tray. Teyla rolled her eyes but Ziva was a little faster and her fork came down just shy of his hand. “Mine.”

“We’ve talked about this, Chewie,” John said, “When it’s someone’s birthday, you stay away from their food.”

Ronon shrugged and stole John’s biscuits instead.

“I feel robbed today,” he sighed.

Ziva put her biscuit on his tray and blew her beau a kiss with a wink and shrug of her shoulders. Gibbs was simply too amused at the exchange. “I don’t think you got away from NCIS at all. You have the same issues here,” he pointed out.

“Yes, Tuddle-Dee and Tuddle-Dum,” she said pointing at John and Rodney, who was on the food line and could be heard complaining from where they sat.

“It’s Tweedle, Ziva,” Tony commented in correction. Some things just never change especially when she glared at him.

“No, he’s Tweedle,” John pointed at Ronon. “She decided to go for Tuddle for me and Rodney.” he deadpanned and took a sip of his coffee. “He just needs a dum to his dee.”

Tony glared at John in something of a mock testosterone challenge of best glare. This one however went unnoticed by the source of the jealousy because she was now preoccupied with speaking to Teyla over the possibility of visiting her people if Carter approved her request.

Maybe Ziva was used to it, but she had never asked him, John, to correct her when she made a simple mistake in English, so he wouldn’t tell her if she did something wrong. He didn’t care either, it was cute, and everyone with a healthy working mind knew what she meant anyway.

Sure, maybe Tony thought that there was still a chance for him and Ziva, but John wasn’t worried now. After yesterday, he really wasn’t. He returned Tony’s glare with a big smirk and took a bite out of his un-buttered biscuit. He made a face, stole Ronon’s butter and started to butter it.

She grinned and laughed at something Teyla shared before looking back at John with a hint of deviousness in her smile. Turning to him, Ziva was glad of the shirt she put on that morning because it would work perfectly. Leaning over to him and resting her chin on his shoulder, her blouse hung from her just enough for him to get a good look down it. “When were you going to speak to Carter?” she asked so sweetly innocent and batted her eyes.

“Christ, Ziva,” John said softly and swallowed hard. “Did you just have to do that?”

She looked at him thoughtfully and smiled. “Well…Is it helping my case?”

“What happens if she says no?”

“Oh, I think you could try to persuade her,” she answered. “I really do not see why they wouldn’t be allowed to go. They can certainly handle themselves in a fight. Gibbs, he was a marine and I have seen him take some pretty big guys down. Tony…” Ziva started to say recalling how he killed Michael but thought better of it. “He is good with weapons.”

“Yeah well…” she wasn’t moving, he had to do something. “Fine,” he kissed her, grabbed a breakfast roll and his coffee and made his way to Carter’s office.

“Wow, you’ve got him whipped,” Tony said in awe.

Ziva smirked and sat back down with a nod towards Teyla. “No. Just well trained,” and bit into her banana happily. “Don’t worry. I don’t have any doubt that she will say no. There is truly not logical reason that you have to stay around here. It really does get boring at times which is why we end up in a three way death spar at times.”

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“You know that it’s not regulation to take pleasure trips through the gate, with people from Earth that we don’t know anything about, except for Ziva.” Carter said and looked at him.

“I know that, but she really wants to go and visit Teyla’s people, and since it’s a safe planet, why not let her friends tag along?”

“John…”

“They’re trained NCIS agents, heck, even one of them has been a marine.”

“What did she promise you?”

“Nothing, really. It’s just something she really wants to do for her birthday.”

Carter stared him down. “Bullshit. I’m sure she has something over you to push for this so much – but I guess I will approve it. You are limited to gating to these two planets and nowhere else. It is up to you to make sure that Ziva stays in line. If anything happens to these people, it will be on you.”

“What could possibly go wrong?” he wondered out loud and saw the look Carter gave him. “I’ll make sure that Ziva pays you her gratitude in a month’s worth of her favorite chocolate,” he nodded. “Thanks.”

She raised and eyebrow and snorted a laugh. “Yes and I’ll see it in three months because of all the chocolate she banked with McKay to have him stay away from you this weekend…You didn’t know about that? Oops.”

He groaned. “I hate women.”

“Then I suppose I should cancel this approval for off world travel?” she asked, picking up the form she just signed.

“Sure, if you want to raise hell…” John nodded. “But only if you grant me to take my team apart from Ziva, through the gate on a mission.”

Sam looked up at him after filing the paperwork. “Why wouldn’t you take Ziva with you? Aside from her friends being here?”

“She’s a trained Mossad agent, what do you think?” he shook his head. “But thanks,” he nodded.

“John, that’s the reason you pushed to have her on your team to start with.”

“No I didn’t, you did, because the other guys requesting her were just lusting after her, and then you showed me the papers by Gibbs and director Vance,” he walked towards the door.

“Yes, you did. You’re using your own excuses! Go, take the birthday girl away for the day. At least it will be quiet around here for a few hours and maybe your neighbors could get an afternoon nap in.”

“I… what?” he reacted puzzled as he walked back to the mess hall.

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After the group finished breakfast, they migrated out to a balcony where Ziva lounged out on the ledge as she did often, with Gibbs and Tony hanging out. They talked about random things, Atlantis, and some of the people as well as things back on Earth.

John had gotten into his gear and was looking for Ziva, he found her and the rest of the breakfast party, including Rodney, on the balcony outside the mess hall. “Hey, what are you waiting for? I’ve been waiting for you in the gateroom!”

She sat up surprised. “Well you didn’t radio me to say you got the okay. What were you expecting? Us to be suited up and waiting for you to come back and say no?” Hopping off the ledge, Ziva looked at Tony and Gibbs. “You two need to change. John can you see to them while I run to my quarters?”

Ziva didn’t wait for him to answer before she ran off to change into their standard off world uniforms and meet them in the locker room for the gear.

They stopped by the laundry room to get Gibbs and Tony standard uniforms, much to both men’s dismay, and then headed to the armory to get them a standard issue gun. “No shooting at the natives, even though some may look scary.”

Gibbs stared at him in question while Tony actually spoke. “What? Are they like aliens? Non human aliens?” he asked before shuddering in nerves.

“No, they’re Teyla’s people,” John said slowly. “However, they’re simple people, farmers, and some look scary and smell bad.”

“Colonel!” Teyla exclaimed as she just entered in her Athosian outfit. “That is quite unexpected to hear coming from you! You know my people hold you in the highest regard!”

“I love your people Teyla,” John said, “But you have to admit, if Halling doesn’t shower or has recently hunted, he looks like a yeti.”

She looked at him confused and speechless. “What is a yeti?”

“Never mind, but I love your people, I was just explaining to Gibbs and Tony that yes, your people are humans, but that they have different customs and aren’t as technological advanced as we are.”

“I see,” she said nodding slowly. “Ziva is in the locker room putting her gear on. You – might want to speak with her before we depart…” she said with a sneaky smile reminiscent of Ziva’s before nodding to the men and going to collect her present she acquired from Earth catalogs for Torren.

“I’m not sure if I want to…”

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They had a blast off world, introducing Gibbs and Tony to a different culture, and having Ziva’s birthday party over there. Halling was telling stories and Ziva just loved them. Sheppard loved playing with the kids, together with Gibbs, he taught them about the game of football much to Sheppard’s enjoyment. Ziva and Teyla both tried to warn Tony of their wine but he didn’t listen and was passed out before lunch and definitely had been quite hungry by the time dinner was ready. Halling to great liking to the man and asked many questions about movies which was a relief to Ziva. That kept the man occupied and away from her for the time. As much as she loved having them here, she truly had hoped that Tony would have gotten over her and the could have beens.

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