Title: Under The Surface
Author: Thought
Rating: PG13
Category: Romance
Genre: slash
Pairing: Abby/Ziva
Summary: "Yes, Tony, exactly what you're thinking."

Disclaimer: These characters belong to DPB, CBS, Paramount, et al. No copyright infringement is intended.

For the last three weeks, Abby has been dealing with a... problem. Not a large one, really, she's not losing sleep over it and it's not interfering with her work. At least, not usually. No, she is fairly sure that if she truly, with all her mind and heart wanted to completely forget about her small problem and let sleeping dogs lie, she could do so with little effort. That's what she's telling herself and that is, she has decided, exactly what she is going to keep telling herself.

Her problem is in the form of one Ziva David. Abby admits that Ziva has been a problem for her ever since she first laid eyes on her, however; recently the nature of the problem has taken a dramatic turn. No longer does Abby wish to see Ziva packing her desk, handing in her resignation, being packed off back to Israel. Now, Abby finds herself looking forward to every opportunity she gets to interact, or even watch, the other woman. She takes pleasure in their verbal sparring, and even more when she has caught Ziva in a metaphorical corner, and the other is forced to back down, lips almost forming a tiny pout as she stalks away. She finds Ziva's attempts to correctly master American slang cute, instead of irritating, and the sight of her holding a deadly weapon isn't so much a reminder that she is, as Abby had first thought, a cold blooded killer... no, now Abby admits to herself, it's damn hot.

Most of all, she enjoys cracking Ziva's cool, collected exterior, forcing hints at the emotions lying beneath to the surface. A true, unguarded smile is just as welcome as a moment of unbridled anger or even a defeated glimpse of sadness. Ziva is always in control of every situation she is in, her own actions and reactions regarding said situation and more often than not anyone else involved in it. Abby knows the human mind. She's even got a piece of paper courtesy of LSU tucked away somewhere declaring her competence in it. Therefore, she knows that maintaining that level of control all the time is taxing on anyone, even the most highly trained of individuals. Abby wants Ziva to show emotion; she does not want her to have a mental breakdown. Abby wants to take away that almost obsessive need for control, if only for short periods of time.


It is Monday. Abby *hates* Mondays. It takes her an extra twenty-four minutes to get to work this particular Monday, as a new section of road is replacing the old one on her preferred route, and in her haste to make it in time she wins herself a speeding ticket on the alternate one. She flirts with the rookie cop while he writes up the ticket because she gets bored easily and he is there and pretty to look at and, well, a momentary distraction from the problem. Which she doesn't think about all that often. Really.

"You're late, Abigail," Tony says from too close behind her as she stands at the elevators. She reaches behind her, linking her fingers with his by touch alone. His hand is warm and soft and she smiles because she's seen the bottles of hand lotion and skin care kits he hides under his sink.

"Going to punish me, Anthony?" She knows that her voice gets huskier the more cigarettes she smokes. She only smokes when stressed and Tony knows this. He also has ears that will pick up on the quality of her voice the second the words leave her mouth. She can only hope that he has the tact to ignore it.

He laughs, and the elevator comes. She releases him, stepping in first and pressing herself into a back corner. Tony grins at her across the car as the doors slide shut. "Wanna here about my date last night?"

She flips him off idly. "Talk to me when you're holding a Caf-Pow."

His grin transforms into a knowing smirk. "Grumpy without our caffeine fix, are we?"

The walls of the elevator are shiny and reflective, so she sticks her tongue out at her image across the car and works very carefully on ignoring the man with her. The car stops on his floor, and he takes the few steps across the small space to tap her nose before stepping out. "I'll be sure to send your caffeine dealer down ASAP. We wouldn't want you falling asleep in the middle of the lab."

She smacks his ass as he turns away because she can. "That's harassment," he calls back to her cheerfully before the doors close.

Flirting is like breathing to her. There are times when she's not even consciously aware that she's doing it. Flirting with Tony is a fun way to pass the time. They're both attractive, unattached human beings. Nothing has come of it to date, and Abby doesn't really care one way or the other. There's a very blurred line between friends and lovers with her, and it's one that she'll happily skip over whenever the situation calls for it.


It's no more than half an hour later when she hears Tony and Ziva arguing in the outer area of her lab. She doesn't go out to greet them right away - she actually earns her paycheck. When she does venture forth, Tony is waving his cell phone around, the screen turned towards Ziva. "Come on. You can't tell me I don't have good taste."

"I just am not seeing it, Tony," Ziva says, and Abby can tell from the tone of her voice that this argument has been going on since they sat down at their desks.

"Abby!" Tony spins to her, holding out the cell with a picture displayed on the screen. "Is she hot?"

Abby studies the short red head, emerald green eyes, ringed with thick lashes. "Sure." Red heads are more Gibbs' thing than hers.

"Would you do her?"

Again, Abby shrugs. "Going just on physical appearance? Yeah."

Tony grins triumphantly. "Too bad, I've already got that honour." He's distracted by the way Ziva's hair is falling in her eyes. He wants to push it back, Abby can tell because she's been staring at the same few strands for the last thirty seconds. Neither of them do a thing.

Instead, Abby frowns. "You know, Tony, I seem to remember seeing that girl somewhere before." She chews her bottom lip. "Yeah! She was the lead in my cousin's high school play last month."

His face goes positively white. "You're kidding me."

She nods blandly. "Yup, but you should've seen your face." Ziva laughs while Tony just glares at Abby.

"I'm going to go upstairs. At least if I'm with Gibbs, the abuse is only physical."

There is half of Abby that wants anything but to be left alone with Ziva. The other half wants nothing more. She telepathically screams At Tony 'don't leave me here!' but her telepathy apparently only extends to Gibbs, as Tony is gone within the next ten seconds and she's left staring at an indeterminate point somewhere over Ziva's shoulder. Not embarrassingly awkward at all.

"There's probably something I should be doing upstairs," Ziva says after the silence has drug on to a point where it's surpassed uncomfortable.

"Its fine," Abby says, possibly too quickly. "I'm not doing anything. You can stay. Besides, Tony's up there." She adds a dramatic grimace for effect and the corners of Ziva's lips turn up in amusement. Abby does a tiny victory dance in her head.

Ziva shifts from one foot to the other and Abby wonders what she is doing to make the other woman show unease - this woman who has been trained to reveal only what she wants to be seen. Abby shoves her computer chair towards Ziva, reaching over to a box of gloves and snapping a pair over her hands. "Sit down. You can sort forms for me. Blue ones in one pile, pink ones in another, anything from the director that's marked 'urgent' on top of my computer so I don't forget and anything from the director or from Accounting that's marked 'special request' in the shredder." Abby dumps a large cardboard box beside the chair.

"You're not serious?" Ziva asks, sitting down.

Abby nods, pigtails swinging. "Dead."

Ziva frowns. "You're not that either, unless the vampire thing…"

Abby grins. "No, no, dead serious. And was that your way of asking me to bring you over to the dark side?" She winks.


Abby takes her life into her hands and reaches out, tugging Ziva's hair, forcing her head to the side and running a finger over her exposed throat. "Just one bight."

Ziva does not break her neck, which Abby considers herself lucky for. She does go completely rigid, and the Goth has a feeling that even mock threatening physical contact might have not been the best idea. At the same time, she tells herself, it's not like they've really been doing well on that whole trust thing, and it really is something that needs to be worked on. Not to mention, it was a lame and yet still explainable excuse to touch the Mossad officer, which - okay, probably not the best idea when she's running on three cups of coffee in less than thirty minutes.

Ziva doesn't move. Abby tugs at the handful of hair she's still holding, her mind filling with a morbid curiosity. Ziva's head tips farther to the side, unresisting. Abby releases her and steps back because… fuck. She turns, walking quickly toward her office. Behind her, she can hear the sound of shuffling papers.

Sitting at her desk filling out an evidence report with Siouxsie and the Banshees blaring through her iPod, she considers that she really, really needs to stop while she's ahead. Of all the people she works with on a usual basis - not that she should even really be considering sex with coworkers - Ziva's probably the last person she should be trying to seduce. First of all, Abby has played enough lunch table games of gay or straight to be able to tell, and Ziva isn't even registering a blip on her gaydar, though Tony disagrees rather strongly. It takes her about five minutes of working before she realizes that she's wearing gloves for the ever so dangerous task of typing. She actually smacks herself in the forehead.


It's about an hour before Tony comes in, Caf-Pow in hand. She turns off her iPod and turns to him, hand extended for the plastic cup. "Where's Gibbs?"

"With the Director. He's not in the best of moods today. I figured I should bring you a caffeine fix or you may never have gotten one. I'm pretty sure he hasn't even noticed that Ziva's missing yet."

She took a long sip from the straw and smiled. "You're a god."

"Speaking of Ziva, how in the name of whatever unholy deity you worship did you manage to get her doing your manual labour?"

Abby grins. "I'm charming and persuasive like that." In all actuality, Abby had been fairly sure that Ziva would have fled the lab as soon as her back was turned, but what Tony doesn't know won't hurt him.

"What're you working on?" he changes the subject and she does another mental victory dance.

"Stuff. It's boring. Why are you down here? Aside from fulfilling my addiction, I mean."

He shrugs and perches on the edge of her desk. "I'm bored. I'm getting walled in by paperwork and I think it's reproducing when I'm not looking."

She tilts her head to the side. "Your paperwork is having sex."

"And babies. Don't forget the babies."

The door opens. Abby jumps to her feet and pounces on Ziva as she enters. "Hi!"

Ziva glances at the desk where the now only half full Caf-Pow cup sits innocently. Abby rolls her eyes. "Yes, the caffeine just hit. Did you get all that stuff filed?"

Ziva nods. "I didn't shred-"

Abby sighs dramatically. "Of course you didn't."

"I put it over by the microscope."

"The big one…"


"I'll just shred them later, you realize?"

Ziva shrugs. "I'm not responsible. I'm just your slave."

Abby chokes on air. Ziva is laughing, mildly sarcastic. Abby smiles weakly and resists the urge to smack herself in the head again. Tony is looking at them strangely.

"Should I leave you two alone?"

Abby walks backwards until she hits the desk. "I need a fucking vacation and possibly a brain scan."

Tony snorts. "No, just your Ritalin."

Ziva blinks. Abby gives him a death glare. "You want to buy me lunch."

He shrugs. "It's barely nine-thirty."

She nods up and down, starting to vibrate slightly. "Later, obviously. When it's lunch time."

"Ziva's coming with us," he informs her.

"Yeah, I know."

The other woman cleared her throat. "Remember me?"

"Lunch. Noon. Tony's buying. I'll come get you both, so Gibbs can't make you stay and work." Abby nods, rubs her hands together, and plucks her drink off the desk.

Ziva shifts, looks at Tony, then back at Abby. Abby almost laughs because it is so very obvious that the Israeli is struggling to comprehend their strange methods of communication without appearing to do so. Tony sees it too - there's a reason he's the senior field agent. Abby beckons Ziva closer. "We don't bite."

Ziva's eyebrows go up. "That's not what you said earlier."

Tony perks up at this, glancing between them with curiosity dancing in his eyes. "Am I missing something?"

"Yes," Ziva says at the same time Abby denies it.

Tony's attention focuses on Ziva. "Do tell."

"Abby threatened to bite me."

Abby closes her eyes and counts to ten. "I was just offering…"

Tony stared at her. "You-"

"Yes Tony, exactly what you're thinking," she says, keeping a perfectly straight face.

"So you and Ziva were having kinky sex?" Tony still seems a bit confused.

Gibbs walks in.

"Hi, Boss," Tony stands up straight, looking mildly panicked.

"This doesn't happen in real life," Abby states calmly. The older man turns around, walks out, and closes the door. Abby and Tony count down from five; Ziva moves farther into the office. The door reopens and Gibbs walks back in, expression blank.

"DiNozzo, David, the director wants you in her office half an hour ago."

Tony and Ziva scamper away and Abby frowns. "Why can't I make them react like that?"

"Glare more," he says, shrugging.

She ponders this, folding her hands together in front of her. "I'm bored, Gibbs." He shrugs and sets his half empty cup of coffee down beside her Caf-Pow. She stares at it. He walks out without another word.


"I'm not talking about Brad Pit, necessarily," she says, stabbing a piece of chicken viciously with her fork.

Tony snorts. "You don't have to be. There's an endless supply of attractive male actors who I am comparable to. Take your pick."

"Perhaps you are in the wrong career, Tony," Ziva suggests, smirking around her teacup. Abby tries not to focus on the way her moist lips form the lightly accented words. Tony laughs.

"Sadly, my talents weren't geared to the stage." Ziva does not need to know the truth-that Tony's father had crushed any artistic aspirations that his young son may have had long before Tony had the ability to strike out on his own.

"A shame," Ziva notes. "You certainly have enough skill to convince women that they want to sleep with you."

Tony smirks. "That's got nothing to do with skill, Ziva, that's all the DiNozzo charm."

"The ass doesn't hurt," Abby adds. Tony merely nods mock graciously.

"Don't build up his ego any more than it already is, Abby," Ziva pleads. No, Abby corrects herself hurriedly, asks. In a completely platonic and joking manner. The Goth is tempted to stab her brain out through her ears with her butter knife. Tony is smirking in that very superior way he's got when he knows something and is preparing to use it to his advantage. She can't imagine it has anything to do with her, unless she truly is as transparent with her emotions as she sometimes believes herself to be.

"It's going to take a bit more than good manners to get you anywhere with her," he stage-whispers to Ziva. Abby slams her head into the back of the booth. Then again, maybe it is aimed at her.

Ziva's eyebrows shoot up. "Flattery?" she asks dryly, playing along with Tony's game which, Abby thinks semi-hysterically, she doesn't know the rules of.

"It will get you a long way," Abby says lightly, trying to move the conversation along. She opens her mouth to introduce a new topic of discussion, but Tony speaks first.

"Including into her bed, if you're very lucky. Just ask Gibbs."

Abby kicks him, hard, under the table. Ziva's eyes widen very briefly, but her mask is quickly back in place. It takes a great deal more than a little sexual innuendo to rattle the other woman in Abby's experience. …which is limited. Their waitress comes at that exact moment, and Abby smiles a little too cheerily at her.

"Could we get the cheque, actually? We've got to get going. You know, work, bosses, paychecks. Every day is exactly the same."


Ziva is just leaving the office, heading towards the elevator that will take her down to the underground parkaid. Abby is sitting at Gibbs' desk, playing Tetrus and waiting for a call on her cell, and jumps to her feet when it becomes apparent that the other woman is preparing to head out. "I'll walk you to your car," she says before her brain has caught up with the rest of her body.


Abby blinks. Ziva smiles at her, shrugs and waits for Abby to slip her cloak on before padding across the carpet of the almost deserted squad room to the elevators. Abby watches Ziva as the car descends, the way her fingers play with the hem of her sweater, a habit which Abby is fairly sure isn't something that one would usually find in a highly trained Mossad officer. Neither woman speaks until the doors slide open on the underground parking. Ziva glances up at Abby, who tries to appear as if she hasn't just spent the last thirty seconds staring at her. "I-- I guess I'll see you tomorrow," Ziva says finally. Abby nods, and steps off of the elevator. Ziva trails after her.

Abby reaches her car, and turns to face Ziva, who is slowly making her way toward her own vehicle. "Hey! Ziva?" Abby snaps her fingers to get the other woman's attention. She spins around, taking a few steps back toward the Goth.


"Me and Tony and McGee are going out for drinks after work Friday. If you want, you could join us..." she lets her voice trail off, watching for the other woman's reaction.

Ziva seems a little taken-a-back, but quickly recovers. "I'd like that. Thanks." An awkward silence blossoms after her reply, and Abby shifts uncomfortably. Ziva's dark eyes are fixed on her, and they seem to stand out in her face, which is thrown into shadow by the choppy florescent lighting overhead. Finally, Abby nods, once, and offers a cheerful smile before hopping into her car. Ziva walks away, and Abby watches her go through the window.


There's a knocking on her door at nine-thirty that night. She is sitting at the computer, dancing in her chair to her newest CD and playing with Photoshop while she waits for something interesting to happen. It takes her a minute to distinguish the knocking from the percussion of the music, and when she does her mind provides a flurry of possibilities as she walks to the door. Gibbs has been fatally injured. Tony's car has broken down. Gibbs is pissed at her. Her brother's wife has kicked him out again. Her neighbour needs baking soda. Zombies.

"Hi," Ziva says after Abby has spent at least a minute just standing in the doorway, trying to make her brain work again. The Israeli is drenched from the rain, hair tangled and hanging limply around her shoulders and face. Her white cotton shirt is soaked through, and Abby smirks mentally once her mind is able to come to terms with the fact that Ziva is standing outside of her apartment at nine-thirty at night, baring a strong resemblance to a drowned rat. Mud coats the cuffs of her pants and her shoes, and her eyes are fixed on the floor. Abby can honestly say that she has never seen her anything like this.

"My God, what happened to you? Come in, c'mon. Take off your shoes... Christ, you're soaked."

Ziva allows Abby to pull her into the apartment, but once the door has closed she gently extracts herself from Abby's hold. Abby stops, frowning. Ziva looks up to meet her gaze, head on. "I'm rather used to taking what I want, and getting it," Ziva says calmly. "Lately, however; I've been confronted with a situation that I don't know what to do with."

Abby doesn't bother correcting her slightly awkward English, too interested in what she intends to say. Ziva pauses, then continues, still calm. "I have gone into life-threatening situations, with the full understanding that I may not come out alive, and yet I have never shown any weakness. I have stood up to great men and women, the least of which was my father, and refused to go along with what they wanted me to do unless I was completely in agreement with it. Usually, it takes me *years* to develop respect for someone."

Abby feels uncertainty creeping into her conscious, not entirely sure why Ziva is telling her this. "I--"

Ziva shakes her head, holding up a hand to silence her. Abby only notices then that Ziva's hands are shaking. Ziva takes one step closer to Abby, invading her bubble. She stares up into Abby's eyes, a spark alight in her own, as if daring Abby to say something. Abby doesn't. Ziva remains like this for only a few seconds, and then, hands still at her sides, she speaks. "Abby... may I please kiss you?"

The world explodes.

Okay, Abby thinks, maybe it doesn't explode, but it may as well have. Ziva wants her. Ziva wants to kiss her. Ziva is asking *permission* to kiss her. Ziva can and probably has killed people with two fingers, and can threaten anyone into doing anything she wishes with a few well placed threats. Ziva is fucking super-woman... and she is asking Abby's permission to kiss her. Abby tries really, really hard not to start hyper-ventilating. She closes her eyes briefly, forcing herself back under control, mentally and physically taking a few deep breaths. When she opens her eyes, Ziva is still standing there, perfectly still, eyes glittering with confidence and resolution. Determination pours off of her in waves. There is no way, Abby thinks irritably, that the other woman gets to be that fucking calm at a point in time when Abby's on the verge of passing out. She has the sudden, fierce urge to force the other woman to show real, human emotions, to compel some sort of reaction from under the cool and collected surface. She catches Ziva's gaze, holding it with her own. A minute of complete silence passes -- she times it on the clock behind Ziva -- and Abby can see Ziva's uncertainties coming to the surface, though barely. Finally, Abby breaks the silence.


Ziva's eyes widen fractionally, and then she is moving, scrambling to shove her shoes back on and get out of the apartment, head down, not looking at Abby at all. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have come. We can forget this happened... I'm sorry. That was completely inappropriate..." her accent grows heavier.

Abby realizes that her small victory has hurt Ziva more than she has intended it to. She reaches out, catching hold of the other's arm, firmly turning her to face her. Ziva squirms. "Abby, I--"

"Be quiet," Abby tells her, voice stern. "Look at me." It is only when Ziva's eyes finally raise to meet her own that she allows a gentle smile to break out on her lips. "You're dripping wet, covered in mud, and probably freezing cold. Where the hell is your jacket, anyway?"

Ziva frowns. "At home."

Abby rolls her eyes... she can't help it. "That's a fantastic place for it. Anyway. You're going to get changed, wash up, and I'm going to make us some tea and I may, possibly even have cookies. And if I don't you can blame Tony. *Then*, and only then, we can do all the kissing you want. And I'm kind of hoping you didn't just have kissing in mind."

Ziva blinks. She looks, for a second, as if she's going to murder Abby, and the lab tech holds her breath, hoping that she has interpreted the situation correctly and that her own twisted sense of curiosity has not ruined this before it can even get started. Finally, Ziva's eyes drop, and her body slowly relaxes. "Okay." Abby nods, refusing to outwardly display any of her own mental freaking out.

"You can use my bedroom to change. There's pajamas in the top left hand drawer of my dresser, and wash cloths beside the sink in the bathroom. There's a rail in the bathroom where you can hang your clothes to dry out. Peppermint tea or Chamomile?"

"Peppermint," Ziva replies without hesitation. Abby nods, and turns heading toward the kitchen. Ziva enters her bedroom, and Abby decides to stretch her luck.

"Leave the door open.""

There is no reply, but the door does not close. Abby enters her tiny kitchen, and it is only then, out of Ziva's sight, that she collapses against the counter, hands flying up to cover her face as she tries to get her body to stop shaking. She is giddy and shocked and coming down off of an adrenaline high because Ziva is damned scary when she wants to be, and Abby knows that she wouldn't have a chance in a physical fight with her. She pulls two cups down from the cupboard and fills the kettle, trying very hard not to giggle manically to herself over the fact that this is actually happening.

By the time Ziva comes out of the washroom, clad in a loose fitting pair of black cotton pajamas emblazoned with little bats, Abby is just pouring the tea, and her hands have finally stopped shaking. "Find everything okay?"


Abby sets aside the tea kettle, and opens another cupboard. "How do you take your tea?"

"Black, thanks," Ziva says. Abby can almost feel the awkwardness creeping back into the room.

"I even managed to scrounge up some cookies. Oreos. Food of the Gods." She holds up the box, grinning. Ziva rolls her eyes.

They enter the living room, and Abby sets the cups and box down on the coffee table. She settles down on the sofa, and Ziva perches at the other end, edgy. Abby smiles reassuringly at her. "It's okay, you can relax."

Ziva doesn't move, but returns Abby's smile with a slight one of her own, all of the confidence that she had possessed when first arriving at the apartment seemingly vanished. Abby has been there, made those spur of the moment, 'fuck it all' sort of decisions more times than she can count. She reaches out carefully, resting a hand between Ziva's shoulder blades and rubbing gently. Ziva's hair is still tangled and damp, and Abby reaches behind her, plucking her hairbrush off of the end table. "C'mhere... For a moment, Ziva doesn't move, and Abby waits patiently-- the last thing she wants to do is rush her. Slowly, Ziva slides over on the couch until she is right next to Abby, still sitting just on the edge of the cushion, body still as taut as a bow string. Abby firmly draws her back by the shoulders, guiding her to turn a bit so that she has her back to Abby and is forced to draw her legs up on the sofa, curling up tightly. Abby begins to work the knots out of her hair, being careful not to tug too hard. Her hair is coarse, but thick and Abby has a feeling that she's not going to be able to keep her fingers from combing through it whenever it happens to be within reach. She's always referred to herself as having 'Ooo, shiny!' Syndrome. As she works, she can see Ziva's muscles relaxing, bit by bit, and while the other is nowhere near to falling asleep, she is at least not ready to bolt at the slightest provocation. Finishing with her hair, Abby sets aside the brush and begins to massage the knotted muscles of Ziva’s shoulders, drawing the tension out with firm strokes of her fingertips.

“Feel better?” Abby asks when she is done.

Ziva nods, turning to look directly at Abby. “Dare I ask where you learned to massage like that?”

Abby grins, miming zipping her lips closed. “It’s my secret.”

Ziva arches an eyebrow. “Tony?”

Abby blinks. “Yeah, actually. How’d you know?”

Ziva just smirks, and Abby is surprised just how much more relaxed she is compared to her tension when they had first sat down. She leans forward slowly, eyes locking on Ziva’s, intention clear. Ziva has all the time in the world to back away, but instead she moves forward, initiating the kiss herself. She tastes like peppermint, and Abby wishes it could never end. As they break apart, Abby’s hand reaches up, tangling in the recently tamed strands of Ziva’s hair and holding her in place for another, more demanding kiss. Ziva’s arms come around Abby’s waist, sliding the fabric of her shirt up to caress smooth, china-white skin. Abby shivers at the contact, and tries to focus. She rises, pulling an unresisting Ziva with her.

“There are much more comfortable places to do this,” Abby explains, making her way to the bedroom. Ziva only hesitates a second, but Abby notices it. She stops. “I’m sorry. Is this going too fast?”

Ziva laughs, pressing herself closer to Abby. “Hardly. I was merely considering… well. A coffin?”

Abby’s brief moment of uncertainty is swept away with the mental image of Ziva spread out on the deep purple satin lining of the ebony coffin waiting in her room. She grins, and continues walking. “Trust me, it works.”


Two weeks later and they’re finally all going out for those drinks that were, Abby remembers, originally intended for the previous Friday. A ridiculous number of sailors have decided to commit or be the victim of crimes within the last couple of weeks and everyone has been working practically twenty-four/seven up until the day before this one.

Tony and Ziva are tag-teaming McGee in regards to his taste (or lack thereof) and she’s pretty sure if he shrinks any lower in his seat he will slide right under the table. She and Jimmy Palmer, being the designated drink fetchers, have struck up their own conversation on jazz music, and she’s finally beginning to relax.

“Abs,” Tony snaps his fingers to get her attention. “Tell us all about that time you took McGee bowling, won’t you?”

McGee’s eyes widen, and his cheeks become an even brighter shade of red. His eyes plead with her, and she smiles reassuringly at him. “You’re mean, Tony.” She shakes her head, and Tim gives her a grateful smile.

Abby’s gaze flickers over to Ziva. Big mistake, she thinks. The woman is pouting at her. Her glass is half raised to her lips, and her eyes sparkle with mischief – she knows exactly what she’s doing to the Goth. Ziva tilts her head to the side, hair falling aside, giving a glimpse of the narrow black leather collar around her slender neck. Abby swears, mentally, and turns back to Tony.

“Ok, so he’d never been bowling before in his entire life…”